You could easily spend hours perusing Maki Squarepatch's site with all of their quirky, hand-made items. They've got everything from stuffed toys, purses, small pouches, clothing, holiday ornaments and so on. All of their goodies are about recycling discarded, unwanted items and breathing new life into them so that they become treasures for someone else to love. You can't help but feel happy when looking at everything that they've created.
If you're looking for unique, hand-made holiday gifts then I have no doubt you'll find that perfect something at Mahar Drygoods. They have pooled together some of the most talented artisans. I'm completely infatuated with the shadow puppets and Ms. Bean was instantly smitten with the bumble bee mittens.
Ms. Bean came home from school on Wednesday and without any doubt in her mind, expected me to whip up a gingerbread house. Of course, this five year old has no idea what a gingerbread house really entails except for the decorating part. Somehow, I managed to calm her expectations by convincing her that I would make one with her on Friday (yep, I'm officially committing). So here I am, Googling "how to make gingerbread house" and found a basic pattern. The designer in me wants to get more creative but the realistic mama in me says "stick to the pattern or you'll be sorry". Anyhow, on my journey to find a gingerbread house, I found this brilliant modern gingerbread house that is already assembled and comes with a rock garden! (this might be my back-up if all else fails).
Okay...keep in mind that these Bosse brass figures are teeny-tiny! They're only .75" x 1.75" but aren't they simply wonderful!? Obviously, these aren't practical for a child to play with but I had to feature them because I thought that the creative nature of these little figures were so unique. They were originally designed to make “as many people as possible happy”. Walter
Bosse’s collectible figures have been reintroduced in exacting detail.
Bosse first started producing this collection of miniatures in the late
1940s using Viennese brass. You could decide to collect them all...
eight3one is a local Seattle company that began when pending parents, Sven & Aimee, were frustrated with the lack of quality clothing available for babies and children. They took matters into their own hands and began designing and screen printing their own line of onesies and tees for babies and children. They even have a line of organics. I particularly love the Tyrannosaurus Rex!
I would selfishly love Ms. Bean to love this Brio's Weaving Loom but I just don't know if she's ready for it yet. She's five and gets distracted easily and may not have the patience required BUT she's capable of surprising me and proving me wrong. I may end up getting it anyhow and if she doesn't like it then I'll just weave some napkins or make doll blankets (right?).
I had a poncho as a little girl and I remember LOVING it because it was like wearing a big blanket and had major "swingability". Hazel Wood Children just started featuring these beautifully designed Poncho des Andes from Les Petits Chapelais.
I think every baby should own at least one NooNoo comfort blanket! Babies love to chew on tags and soft, cottony corners, not to mention having an attachment to a object. They're all handmade and hand-embroidered with cute little animals like bugs, slugs and sheep. I love their unusual shapes and sizes and I couldn't imagine a baby who wouldn't love snuggling with one of these.
We just got back from a fantastic holiday in Kauai, Hawaii and were fortunate enough to experience stellar weather and catch up on lost sleep. Now I've got the energy I need to survive the winter. Speaking of survival and especially since we're entering a major travel season, I thought I would share a few key items that we brought along with us that made traveling with the Mini so much easier...
I've got to rave about the Phil & Ted's Me Too chair for a second. Every time I take this chair to a public place, someone will inevitably ask me what it's called. The Me Too folds flat, attaches easily to all of the tables that we've come across so far and it just looks impressive. It makes a great gift too. Love it!
The Kiddopotamus TinyDiner is an essential addition with the Me Too chair. It's a rubber mat that suctions to most surfaces and has a gutter to catch dropped food. It came in handy a couple of times in Kauai when we dined at some rather "rustic" tables. It's convenient to have when you're at a restaurant so you don't have to scatter nibbles directly on the table and leave a huge mess. I just throw ours in the dishwasher to give it a good cleaning.
While on the subject of the brilliant Phil & Ted company, we bought the t2 Travel Cot before our trip as our "crib" for the Mini. Obviously, it was a gamble since she had never tried anything like it before. The first night I popped her in it for bed time, she mustered up a little fight until I (get this) managed to squeeze myself inside for a few minutes to make her feel like it wasn't a scary place. In retrospect, I should have employed Ms. Bean for this job. Anyhow, after that night, the t2 was our savior! The Mini managed to love her evenings in the t2 and literally had 3 nights where she slept through the night. I'm not sure if that was due to a full day at the beach or the comfy cot but, all I have to say is that I'm thrilled to own it and highly recommend it for travel.
Finally, this one goes for Ms. Bean (who is 5) but I consider it highly essential: our DVD player or iPod for the airplane ride. We alternated between a
compact DVD player and our iPod to keep Ms. Bean occupied while she was
forced to sit still for 5+ hours. The iPod is great to listen to
audiobooks downloaded from iTunes. Her current fave is the series of
Dr. Seuss narrated stories.
If you've got any great travel ideas, please share...