Zara Home is another one of my favorite shops. Unfortunately, all of these great places tend to be far away in Europe! You've got to love this water hyacinth chair designed especially for children by Zara Home Kids.
I've been to Terence Conran's Habitat store a few times while in London and I have to say that it's one of my favorite stores of all time. They've got the most genius furniture and home decor. It's not fussy nor unfriendly and there's an element of surprise in a lot of their pieces. This bright red, plywood desk designed especially for Habitat by Ora Ita is a fine example of the things you would find.
These little felt houses are terrific for imaginative play. The roof opens with a tassel zipper to create a great hiding place for dolls or stuffies. With a little carrying handle, they can easily be toted anywhere...like restaurants, car rides, grandma's house. Who doesn't love a portable play thing?
I'm absolutely crazy about Seattle's own Little Overcoat creations! Made from a mixture of recycled and new European materials, they do a tremendous job of mixing and matching the perfect colors and fabrics to make a vibrant fashion statement.
"Inspired by the tale of an old man who had a little overcoat, and when it became too old he made it into a jacket. And when the jacket became too old, he made it into a vest. And when the vest became too old, he made it into a tie. And when the tie became too old, he made it into a button."
The Thilde Pocket was created by the mother of a child who was an early riser. Instead of dragging mom and dad out of bed to keep baby busy, the idea is to fill it with your child's favorite things and some little surprises that will keep them occupied (when they're waking up with the birds) while mom & dad get a bit more sleep -- couldn't we all use more of that?
The Knoppa Hanging Crib is designed by Swedish designers Anna Häggblom and Ola Stålhammar. It's such a practical idea and great for small spaces. The cord's height is adjustable, so you can hang it at varying distances. They even suggest hanging it above your bed so you can sway the baby back to sleep in the middle of the night.
I was at the bookstore this weekend and found this nicely done craft magazine "101 Hip, Handmade Gifts" from the editors of Creating Keepsakes. The first several pages of the magazine were geared toward fun crafts that you could make for or with kids. This mini board book will be the perfect project to do with Ms. Bean during winter break (she is unstoppable when it comes to drawing and making her own books of paper and staples). You can purchase blank, pre-made mini board books from Creative Imaginations. All you have to do is come up with the artwork. Step 1. Create your own cover and inside images. Step 2. Cut to size. Paint boardbook edges with acrylic paint to match your cover. Step 3. Use adhesive to secure the cover and the pages to the book. (Easy!)
10 grain is on a roll with a series of simply designed, bent plywood toys and functional decor pieces. The Log Rocker is one of those toys that struck me as a very obvious concept yet I was surprised that no one had thought of it before. I love that it can accommodate a solo kid or two rambunctious ones at the same time.
While on the subject of rockers, I couldn't resist mentioning the elegant and eco-friendly Polar Bear Rocker from Netto. Rufus came all the way from the Arctic Circle! What a beautiful gift this would make.
Gala Bent is a local Seattle artist that has definitely caught my eye. She delicately draws animal imagery, patterns and geometric shapes tinted with gouche. In person, Gala's art is really captivating when you have the opportunity to observe the intricate lines that she's so carefully drawn on, what appears to be, tea-stained paper. I recently shared an email exchange with Gala and learned that she's the mother of two boys under the age of 3. Somehow, she manages to fit in painting while her boys nap during the day -- now that's awe inspiring!
Gala is currently showing her work at Caffe Fiore in Old Ballard and is having an artist's reception this Saturday, December 8 from 6-8pm. I'm definitely putting Gala on my list of art that I intend to purchase!
I've been meaning to write about the Woobee all weather blanket for about a month now. It deserves a little limelight! Woobee is a Seattle-based business that was inspired by Heather Correa after the birth of her first daughter.
So, allow me to break this very practical blanket down: one side is made of a unique, velvety-soft material and the other side is made of a durable water-resistant nylon fabric that acts as a protective barrier from the elements (hello, rain!). The other detail that makes these more than just a blanket are the ties that allow you to tie it to your baby carrier, stroller, or car seat. I got to see the Woobee in action while on a trip to Portland with our friends and their newborn on a particularly rainy day. Baby M's momma tied the Woobee to her Baby Bjorn, flipped the blanket over Baby M's tiny head and kept him perfectly protected from the rain -- that was the moment I was sold! Woobee also just introduced the Super Woobee (30”x 36”) that would be ideal for picnics -- no more wet bottoms!