I’m convinced my kids’ toys are spontaneously spawning in the playroom at night while we sleep. Surely I’m not the only parent who can’t figure out where all my kids’ toys have come from. As a result, I’m constantly in need of new storage options. My playroom is lined wall-to-wall with cabinets and storage bins to keep stuff organized, but over the years, I’ve found there are a few surprising household items that I never throw away, because they make great toy storage solutions. Here’s to free stuff that makes your life simpler and more organized. Because, we’re all for that. And...Read More
It used to be that clothes and gifts made from recycled materials compromised on style. But these days, companies are finding creative ways to make fabulous products using resources we already have, making a huge, positive impact on the planet we live on and the one we’re going to leave our children. That’s why we’re so thrilled to get the exclusive first look at Newly, a new company offering some of the most gorgeous home goods we’ve ever seen, all made from 100% recycled materials using sustainable, energy-efficient methods. The five founders, including Barrett Ward, the creator of Cool Mom Picks favorite FashionABLE, established Newly...Read More
As cute as those little baby fingers and toes are, winter is coming, and it’s time for all those digits to go under wraps. If you’re looking to keep your little ones snug and warm in something really special, you’ve got to check out the eco-friendly and adorable handmade wool slippers and mittens for babies from Cate and Levi. Related: Cool gifts for baby’s first Christmas: Holiday gift guide 2015 We’ve been gaga over Toronto-based Cate and Levi ever since we saw how the company took reclaimed wool, mainly from discarded sweaters that were destined for the landfill, and turned it into unique stuffed animals, incredible wall art,...Read More
We’ve seen some pretty spectacular kids’ toys made out of cardboard, from those beautifully designed cardboard food truck playhouses we recently shared, to pirate ships and toy castles. And now we’re loving the cardboard furniture from the Cardboard Guys which was recently funded through a successful Kickstarter campaign. Their inventive, smartly designed kid-sized cardboard desk and chair gives our kids a great place to work and to create. This assembly-challenged parent is very thankful to hear that putting the five to six pieces together for each component is really simple and requires no adhesives or emergency trips to the hardware store for supplies. Just snap the recyclable...Read More
Keeping the playroom clean is a regular battle at our house, and I’m ready for a truce. But when I start to get sick of the mess, I usually turn to storage bins as my go-to method for keeping clutter to a minimum. It’s a system that’s easy enough for my kids follow when they clean up—they just dump their toys in the bins. And it works for me, because I don’t see a mess everywhere. Lately, I’ve added the modern shelving and storage bins from Sprout Kids to my wish list. If you’re looking for an IKEA Kallax storage system alternative, take a look at...Read More
It’s pretty easy to find a teddy bear that my kids will love. Cute and stuffed? Check. But finding one that I love for them is a bit trickier. Bears for Humanity is a winner for all of us. My favorite thing about Bears for Humanity is their buy one, give one business model which husband and wife team Vijay and Renju Prathap modeled after TOMS. Each purchase means an equal bear—not some cheaper facsimile–goes to one of their U.S. partner organizations, like Toys for Tots, pediatric cancer org Expect Miracles, and Save the Children, all to brighten up another child’s day. Beyond that, Bears for Humanity hits so many of my...Read More
Like many parents I know, I have never been a fan of the pouty-lipped, heavy-lidded, overly-made-up Bratz line of dolls. But after I saw what this mother-daughter team has been doing to “rescue” the discarded toys, I was totally charmed by the sweet little dolls who it turns out were were hiding behind all those false eyelashes and lip injections. Renamed Tree Change Dolls, from an Australian phrase that refers to a move from urban glitz to a more down-to-earth style, these repurposed dolls aren’t even recognizable as their formerly wide-eyed selves. Their eyebrows are repainted to be more natural, their lips look less injected, and even their hair is reconditioned...Read More
Holiday photo cards have become such indelible parts of the season, they’re right up there with shiny wrapping paper, gift-giving, Cyber Monday sales, and gingerbread lattes at Starbucks. (Take a seat, PSL™, you’ll have had your time by then). Since some of you are already asking us about cool holiday photo cards–and we bow down to you–the first really newsworthy ones have come across your desks. This year, the talented folks at Artifact Uprising, whose gorgeous photo books our readers have all gone nuts for, have added a cool twist to the usual holiday greeting tradition with a clever new 3-in-1 Photo Card. It’s...Read More
Packing lunches is one of my least favorite parts of the back-to-school grind, but I think these quirky reusable lunch bags from Etsy shop Oh Little Rabbit would make it a little more fun. The unexpected designs on these handmade, screen printed bags make me smile, and make low-tech lunch packing very cool. Each lunch bag is made from 100 percent recycled cotton scraps, then screen printed with one of Jason and Carla Hibb’s whimsical, original hand-drawn prints. Large enough to fit a tall drink inside, these bags are the perfect size for kids who have to pack a lunch...Read More
Whether your kid needs a school supply pouch like no other, or you want to keep your own makeup organized while traveling, check out this Junk Drawer Pouch, a cute recycled storage bag. It harkens back to the days when every kitchen had a junk drawer that, like Mary Poppins’s bag or Doctor Who’s Tardis, was bigger on the inside. Our pals at Perpetual Kid are always serving up fun ways to do normal things (they’re all over our back to school guide, you may have noticed) and I’m sure you can come up with a ton of uses for this pouch...Read More
I used to be a journal junkie, until time and obligations got in the way of collecting my deep thoughts and poetry on paper. So I can see why our Cool Mom Tech team is going nuts for the new ecojot Connect journals which let you turn your grocery lists and inspiring doodles digital with a companion app. But if you still think old fashioned journals and notebooks are just fine, thanks so much, I’m loving this new collection of recycled paper journals from ecojot. We have been fans of ecojot’s quality Earth- and people-friendly notebooks for years, which help donate...Read More
In case you missed them, here are 5 of our most popular cool tech picks from Cool Mom Tech this past week. Enjoy! 1. We love this geeky upcycled jewelry — a perfect Mother’s Day gift for a techie mom. 2. You’ll never guess what this new selfie app can do. 3. Could someone really hack into your baby monitor? Editor Liz offers some facts to put your mind at ease. 4. This hot new tech toy might be at the top of every kid’s (and dad’s) wish list. 5. Is Amazon Fire TV a good fit for families? We’ve...Read More
If you’ve ever tried to refinish old picture frames you know the look is so gorgeous. As for me, I am such a fan of the distressed frames from O’Brien Schridde, whose frames I now own quite a few of, and more recently, the stunning array of refinished frames above from The Art of Chic on Etsy. That said, my inclination is generally to buy great frames from artists like these, since I don’t always have the time to do major DIY projects. But if you want to refinish old picture frames yourself, here are a few resources to help you...Read More
Growing up in the age of The Official Preppy Handbook, I coveted Izod shirts and monogrammed sweaters. While my mother agreed to the Izods, she argued that a monogrammed sweater was a waste, since we knew no one else with the initials JRW and couldn’t hand it down. As a mother myself now, I can concede that she had a point. But if Match My Monogram (and, uh, the internet) had been around back then, I might have scored someone else’s outgrown JRW-emblazoned sweater. This smart site helps gently used monogrammed items find matching initials in new homes. Just...Read More
We love fabulous jewelry around here, so, naturally, we love to find new, innovative ways to store all of it. Recently we shared a great jewelry storage tip in our post about solving 10 tricky organization problems, making us thinking about some of our other favorite ideas for jewelry storage. So here they are, including DIY projects, repurposed vintage items, and some amazing purpose-made storage pieces should you want to splurge. One of my favorite ideas comes from the Love and Lace blog. In fact, I’m swooning over the way she’s organizing her amazing jewelry collection. This wooden serving bowl (at...Read More
12 awesome toys you can actually make from cardboard boxes. (Because we all know the best part of the gift is often what it comes in.)
With all the empty cardboard boxes that may still be around your house post-holiday, don’t throw them out! Take a lesson from my kids, who have never seen an empty box they didn’t turn into a playhouse, a race car, or a doll cradle. Since we all know the boxes are often more fun for kids than the stuff inside, here are a whole bunch of toys you can make from cardboard boxes — and I promise, they’re actually doable, unlike some of the ridiculous things I’ve seen on Pinterest. (No offense crafters, but I don’t have six days...Read More
I had a lovely Christmas wreath once. But then the cat got to it. You can only clean up so much pine barf before your door goes naked. And that’s why I love this fabulous and unexpected take on the traditional door-hanging: it’s natural, but not too natural. Our pals at Cardboard Safari have taken their laser-cut recycled cardboard creations to the land of the holidays and emerged with a variety of holiday wreaths and tabletop Christmas trees. Each one comes in white or natural brown cardboard and can be easily assembled at home. The white ones can be...Read More
I’ve tried to be a pretty eco-savvy mom. But with three kids and all the gear that goes along with a posse that size? Yeah. Many times I’ve struggled to wrap my brain around how we could have wound up with so much stuff … and where it might end up years down the road. When my kids were teeny babies, there just weren’t many green”options to choose from. But today things are different, in the best way. And CMP fave Bumbleride is making it easier for parents to make choices that are healthier for our kids and better for the...Read More
I swear I am not Alarmist Mom. I did not plug every outlet when my kids were toddlers and my jeans were the only pacifier sterilizer I owned. But one thing I knew is that I didn’t want my kids sucking on keys, knowing that real keys may be one of the worst things for them to put in their mouths. And that includes the cat. I’m so happy to see that CMP favorite Green Toys has expanded their baby toys line with a set of toy keys for babies that they can teethe on to their heart’s content, and...Read More
I’m hardly an inspirational quote junkie, but every now and then I find something that catches my eye. This time, though, it wasn’t a poster, but rather something I can wear around my neck. I’ve heard of (and adore) letterpress cards, but letterpress jewelry? Well, let’s just say I’m equally smitten. This line at Lulubug Jewelry, made from mostly reclaimed silver, is right up my alley, with all sorts of cool quotes, whether you’re looking for a gift for someone special, or need a little personal inspiration. I’m pretty sure no mom would be able to keep a...Read More
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