Now that it’s officially December, I will soon unpack and set up my childhood nativity set, even if our holidays are largely secular nowadays. However after three kids who turned my nativity into a sort of dollhouse toy each year, it’s time for me to consider something new. Which is why I have been looking around the web for a beautiful and unique nativity set for families that won’t be easily destroyed, should the kids get a little handsy with the Wise Men. In other words, no $800 porcelain figurines painted with 14k gold leaf. So I came up with seven nativity sets I really...Read More
14 of our favorite small shops and online children’s boutiques to help you #shopsmall for the holidays.
Since the first November it launched several years ago, even long before we teamed up with partner American Express who is now sponsoring and championing the campaign, we’ve been staunch advocates for Small Business Saturday. And we’re still thrilled to mark on our calendars each year. In fact, supporting small businesses is the whole reason we started Cool Mom Picks in the first place. So this is very dear to our hearts. While it would be impossible to share every small business we adore (i.e. visit our archives in every single category since the beginning of our site),with the help of our editors, we’ve somehow managed to narrowed...Read More
Last year, our post on amazing illustrators making modern custom family portraits was such a hit, we took another look this year. And wow, so many options! From sweet to stylized, these are the kinds of personalized holiday gifts that make a huge impact, and often for far less money than you’d expect. The one caveat: you want to get a jump on ordering now if you’re interested, which is why we’ve done our best to specify order deadlines for Christmas — but be sure to contact the artists directly just to be extra extra extra sure that they can make your...Read More
Pop culture peg dolls, for fans of The Penguin, Harry Potter, pirates, princesses, or Percy Jackson.
Though there are sure to be many awesome high-tech toys out there this holiday season, our latest obsession is the adorably low-tech wooden peg dolls by Wooly Llama on Etsy. I mean, what could be better than hearing your kids playing their own imaginary game of Star Wars while making their best beep-beep-boop noises for the wee little R2D2 peg? Or doing their own version of Harry Potter complete with a rolly-polly Hagrid? Beyond those two huge franchises, Wooly Llama has even more incredibly cute wooden peg dolls, with sets paying homage to the casts of Lord of the Rings, and Percy Jackson so you can pick one that appeals...Read More
Sponsored message: Find unique, handcrafted items for less at Etsy on Sale — and possibly win them, free!
This is a sponsored message from Etsy on Sale. What’s better than finding that perfect gift for someone special over the holidays? How about finding it on sale, all without the need to search for a parking space or stand in long lines of holiday shoppers. The huge new searchable marketplace of Etsy sellers, Etsy on Sale is now letting shoppers do just that. – Don’t miss a big giveaway just for CMP readers, below! – Whether it’s one-of-a-kind jewelry, handcrafted leather goods, tech accessories, ceramics, room decor, or gifts for kids, Etsy on Sale makes it easy to find the sale items,...Read More
Custom Star Wars family portraits: The ultimate holiday gift from a galaxy far, far away. Or you know, Etsy.
Since Star Wars is back this year in full force (ha, get it?) we bet a whole lot of you will be thrilled to see your families done up as your favorite characters in these custom Star Wars family portraits. (Update: The shop is sadly no longer operating. For a similar option, be sure to check out the custom Star Wars family portrait from Henry James Paper Goods, another fave Etsy shop!) Illustrator and designer Thomas Brush of the Modern Brush has a really charming, modern style that I’d say makes the result more playful and fun than intensely realistic. In other...Read More
I’ve seen all these DIY tutorials around the web lately for handmade knot pillows and if you have as well, these images may look familiar. Only after a whole lot of searching and secret sourcing, turns out the original photos are not from loads of brilliant crafters who all remarkably had the exact same idea (and photography styling), but from a wonderful little shop called Umemi from Icelandic product designer Ragnheidur Osp Sigurdardottir. Thus begins a new series we’re launching called The Originals, in which we attempt to track down the original makers who have invented products so wonderful, they quickly become copied and passed off...Read More
Everything you need to know about Handmade at Amazon: Is it the Etsy competitor everyone says it is?
We started Cool Mom Picks shortly after Etsy launched, and we’ve been big fans ever since, discovering and happily sharing some of the coolest indie artisans and their handmade goods here on our site for nearly ten years now. So as huge supporters of the handmade movement and indie artist in general, it’s probably no surprise that our interest was piqued when Handmade at Amazon launched last week. So, we took a closer look to understand what it’s all about, and whether we think it’s something you’ll want to have on your radar, as a consumer, and for those...Read More
Today is the last day of International Babywearing Week, so we thought we’d put together some of our favorite new stylish baby carriers carriers for you all. But it’s not like we need a pseudo-holiday to remind us what a lifesaver a baby carrier can be, whatever the reason you use it — attachment, convenience, going hands-free, carefully concealing that postpartum gut. (Ha.) Plus you can get more of that delicious new baby smell, on demand. Personally, I love using a carrier for naps on-the-go and having a hands-free option while I get meals ready, and even as a way to go the bathroom without having to having...Read More
Since birth announcements no longer really need to “announce” anything — Facebook seems to be taking care of that these days, right? — we love when we find something really fun and unique to commemorate your baby’s appearance into the world. Which is why we’re pretty sure that anyone who receives one of these custom birth announcements from artist Todd Borka, will be absolutely thrilled. You might recognize his work from the custom portrait pendants that were a favorite of ours this past holiday. And now he’s putting those great illustration skills to work in a whole new way. Send him a simple, uncluttered digital photo of your baby, along with...Read More
Buying a new cosmetics case isn’t a bad annual tradition, at least if yours gets as beat up as mine do, with spills and smudges and that glittery who-knows-what embedded in there. It’s more affordable than buying a whole new handbag, and a great way to stay organized if you tend to carry bigger bags and totes all day like we New Yawkahs do. If you’re in the market, I am loving these handmade metallic leather cosmetics cases from Etsy’s Gift Shop Brooklyn. Artist Annie Olean Bukhman claims they can work on their own as small clutches when you’re running quickly out the...Read More
I was never a musical crib mobile kind of parent. And now that there are so many options for piping in lovely music into a child’s room — as in, lovelier music than that tinny awfulness in most crib mobiles — I love the idea of just a simple, pretty crib mobile that you can hang above a crib or changing table to dazzle a baby and lull her to sleep the old fashioned way. I just discovered an Etsy artist called Wonderfeltland who is doing the cutest things with handmade felt baby mobiles. Check out the selection from...Read More
A new baby may be small, but they all have some magical ability to fill an entire home with all of their things. So we’re always looking for those gifts and gear essentials that both baby and you will love looking at, like baby play gyms. I love all three of these wooden play gyms that I found from makers on Etsy; they’re all such beautiful alternatives to those big plastic contraptions that can be eyesores in the middle of your living room. But while these are all simple and modern in terms of shape and design, there’s still plenty of accessories and other options to keep...Read More
Have your kids been slacking on their daily chores lately? Or really, have you been slacking on enforcing them? First, give yourself a break; summer just unofficially ended. Second, I’ve got help for you: download one of these cool printable chore charts for kids. They will help. I find this time of year is perfect to introduce (or reintroduce, as the case may be) daily chores and tasks, as kids are in adjustment mode. The new school year means new routines — at home, at school, and on the field. And yes, even toddlers and preschoolers can be tasked with daily...Read More
I’d like to preface this post by saying that I know inspiration quote art prints aren’t everybody’s jam. Kristen, for example, prefers funny inspirational quotes for her walls. Her picks are hysterical, but I admit that when I’m in the middle of a total fail day, I often need more than just a laugh. I need words that motivate, inspire, or encourage me to get through whatever’s getting me down. What can I say, sometimes just seeing a quote that strikes the right chord can have an impact on me. Luckily, motivational posters have come a long way since the days of...Read More
When you are pregnant or have a new baby, you are suddenly super aware of all the ingredients in everything you put in and on your body. Decoding labels can be a chore and while we’re all for splurging when it counts, it’s even nicer when we can find affordable, natural, safer options. So hooray for Dear Baby, a handcrafted line of all-natural baby and pregnancy skincare products that makes it easy to treat yourself — and your baby — while protecting all that extra-sensitive, precious skin. Dear Baby was founded by mom Kate Ansari after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer during her pregnancy–...Read More
I keep being told that donuts are the new macarons, which used to be the new cupcakes, so I shouldn’t be surprised that I’m seeing them everywhere. And my kids are clamoring for them. They are emblazoned on stationery, tote bags, t-shirts, even toys and cosmetics, making them perfect for birthday gifts, or to tuck into a camp care package for a donut-deprived child of yours. I will say that though my favorite donuts are more simple cinnamon sugar or glazed, the frosted variety with sprinkles definitely seems to be winning out in the kitschy donut gift category. Hey,...Read More
What’s making me happy right now? Totally randomly, I’d say really good tart lemonade, extra daylight while we still have it, an available outdoor table at my favorite local Italian place, the 80’s station on Sirius/XM, the latest episode of SPAWNED, and now, The Legendary Tastemakers series of plush pillows from designer Brian Nesse. You have to check out these adorable, and pretty accurate depictions of some of your favorite pop culture icons, from Minnesota’s Loch Ness MPLS on Etsy. There’s definitely the perfect one for anyone ultra cool on any gift list you may have right now: Jon Waters for a film buff. Jackie O, Iris Apfel, Karl Lagerfeld or...Read More
Do you know how much the average parent spends on back to school shopping? Let’s just say, a lot. We love supporting smaller indie brands, and finding the cool school supplies out there that helps make this time of year a little more fun — but we also love a great bargain. Which is why we are beyond happy to be working with our sponsor Ebates, which is now helping us all do both. From July 21 to August 3, when you sign in with your Ebates account, you get double cash back from tons of online retailers you may be shopping anyway, like Old...Read More
We’ve always been big on recommending personalized gifts for people asking us for great baby gift ideas. Personalization makes any gift extra thoughtful, turns nearly anything into a keepsake, and it doesn’t even have to cost a fortune. So my latest find to add to the recommendation list are the personalized baby shoes from UK Etsy shop Born Bespoke. Samantha Gillan’s sweet, entirely handmade leather baby booties are fit for a royal prince or princess, but priced for many of us commoners, which I like. The styles range from not-at-all-scary dinosaurs to the cutest birds and woodland creatures, birth signs and classically simple monograms, hearts, and stars. I...Read More