Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Kudos for Cottages

These little cottages are perfect for the little girl on the go. They open from the top, so she can tuck in a few dolls or toys for traveling or for stylish storage. Each cottage has two picture windows and a velcro door on the side. She can nest one inside the other, or carry one in each hand as she heads out the door. A totally sweet gift, we think.

And guess, what? We're not the only people who love this item! Two very credible blogs have posted nice reviews just this week. At Cool Mom Picks, you'll find some very kind words from Kristen Chase. And if you check out Droolicious , you'll see that writer Elizabeth Leach is a fan too. She also loves Cool Mom Picks, and all the super cool toys at Excellent, taste ladies!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Cookie Magazine Rocks!

Cookie Magazine's October 2008 issue features the Trillium Rocker from Chelsea's very own Roebuck Studio !

It's the top recommendation in the Cookie Dough section where readers "score serious discounts on products that will thrill every member of the family!"

This child's rocker, designed for ages 2 through 6, is an elegant yet rugged piece for your home. Chair measures 26"L x 13"W x 22"H . The parts come flat packed for shipping and are easily assembled by fitting the slots together. All edges are rounded for safety and a safe, shellac finish is applied. Available with contrasting sides in black, white, red, orange, green, yellow or a clear finish.

About Roebuck Studio:

Roebuck Studio is a fun, imaginative children’s furniture design and manufacturing company offering high quality, moderately priced, modern styled furniture built with sustainable materials in an environmentally responsible way. Their furniture is designed & manufactured in Chelsea Michigan -- just a few miles west of headquarters in Ann Arbor!

The Birch Plywood furniture is made of baltic birch, which is strong, lightweight, and stable. Low emission glues keep off-gassing to a bare minimum as compared to MDF, particleboard, or other engineered materials. Only FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified birch plywood is used.

All furniture parts are finished in traditional shellac, which creates a natural, durable, water-proof finish that can be wiped clean easily. Shellac is a time tested wood finishing material that is made from the cocoons of a small beetle dissolved in alcohol. This makes it safe enough to put in your mouth and chew on, in fact, some apples, candy, and other fruits in the grocery are coated in shellac to add shine.

Water based interior wall paints are used to add contrast and interest to the pieces, but all furniture is also available with clear finish.

Kids' Trillium Rocking Chair from Roebuck Studio
Save 25 percent. Regularly from $171;
Cookie Dough price: from $128 each
How to get it: Go to and enter "OLIE" at checkout.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Zen for Little People

Inspired by nature in all of its beauty & simplicity, the Fisher Price Zen Collection was designed to create harmony in the home with its earthy colors, beautiful wood accents and richly textured fabrics...

Let's see, the company that sells America about a zillion tons of obscenely bright plastic every year now intends to "create harmony in the home"? Could they be worried about karma? Nah, they probably just see a chance to sell even more stuff to exhausted parents. Kind of like selling the virus and the cure.

But if Fisher Price has truly found the light, then I guess the new way to Zen is earth toned baby gear...

With graceful patterns that are inspired by nature, each piece in the Zen Collection promises to complement your home’s d├ęcor while creating a serene, soothing environment for baby.

All I can think of is how are they going to make yoga pants to fit those Little People figurines? Now that would be transcendent!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Asian Kitschology

At last, the perfect gift to get those tv-watching, computer-game-addicted boys off their butts and into the outdoors.

Inside this gift-giver's delight of a tin, you will find a carefully chosen vintage-style metal torch, magnifying glass, metal compass, string with knot-guide and notebook and pencil.

Featured in magazines the world over - this absolutely rocks!

Created by illustrator, Fiona Hewitt, and expert in Asian Kitschology, Andy Tainton, Dumpling Dynasty kits were inspired by years spent living in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong, endlessly trawling the flea markets and junk shops for inspiration.

Check out all of our Dumpling Dynasty kits at

Monday, September 08, 2008

Another Reason to Love the Internets

Tick Tock Toys: A Cavalcade of Images & Ideas, is a virtual treasure trove of rare & kooky kid-related commercial art from the 1940s thru 1970s. It is just one of the many public services offered by the talented, Dan Goodsell (see my Sept. 7th post).

I just spent over an hour exploring the hundreds of cereal boxes, store displays, newspaper ads, packaging & more. And I didn't have to move anything heavier than my carpal tunnel afflicted fingers - a mere ten thousand times. Such injurious repetitive motion is a small price to pay to lay eyes on all this cool stuff. In the non-virtual world, even if you left the couch for DAYS, you would not find anything that comes close to this stash.
So hats off to Dan & the Internets! You make life more fun, and way less productive. (This hilarious artwork is from a prototype for a bubble gum card. Question for the kids ... do they still make bubble gum cards?)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Food For Thought

transitive verb : to attribute human form or personality to things not human
Entry Date: 1845

According to Webster's Dictionary, people have been trying to make objects seem human since at least 1845. Do you think they were drawing smiley faces on clouds & potatoes way back then? If so, why? Something to ponder, and research, for sure ...

Fast forward to 2008. People are still drawing smiley faces, plus arms, legs and all sorts of humanly attributes on inanimate objects, and we love it! What is so adorable, engaging, endearing, & hilarious about a winking carrot or a french fry in a bad mood? I don't have an answer at the moment. If you do, please comment!

What I do know for sure is that I am totally in love with Mr. Toast & friends and was thrilled to meet their creator, Dan Goodsell, in Las Vegas, recently. Although, he was sharing a booth at Magic Kids, with Monkey in A Dryer (we'll talk about them in another post) Dan confessed he wasn't sure why he was there. He had a bunch of vinyl Mr. Toast key chains to give away, so we decided that was his purpose. I asked him to make some toddler sized tees for us featuring Mr. Toast, his best friend Joe the Egg, and a few others. He said that could probably happen if I e-mailed him. (I did & I hope it will!) Dan also hooked me up with a source for some plush versions of Mr. Toast & friends. And guess, what? After tracking down this source, leaving lots of messages, I was actually able to order them and should have them on the site in the next week or so!

Until then, just gaze at this photo, and imagine how much cuter Mr. Toast will be when you see him in person. UPDATE: Mister Toast & His Friends have arrived at Check them out!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Endlessly Funner

Did anybody see our full page ad in the September issue of Wondertime Magazine? The photo shoot was a little insane. We rounded up 11 or so kids through friends & co-workers and set them loose on a local playground. The jumping dude is Mikey, the son of Amanda our Customer Service manager. (Yes, he is always that cute!)

For more behind-the-scenes dish about the photo shoot, check out this post at Relish (a blog written by our fab photographer, Myra Klarman).

Tell us what you think of our ad!

P.S. : You can still enter to win a year of free tees. Just go to

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Tokidoki Time

Tokidoki is a Japanese expression that translates loosely to "sometimes, I guess, whatever" It is also the name Italian artist, Simone Legno, gave to his endearing take on Japanese culture. I've been a fan of Tokidoki character art for a while, so it was really cool to discover Little Rocker & Cactus Girl baby clothes at the Pool show in Las Vegas last week.

These snide yet innocent little characters exhibit some serious 'tude while somehow remaining totally adorable. Kind of like the stubborn toddler who wears his underwear on his head, or his boots to sleep. Oh yeah, he's baaadd. But in a good way.

Look for genuine Tokidoki clothing & toys to appear at in January 09, if not sooner.

Ashita Tomodachi (English translation = later, dude )

Monday, September 01, 2008

Finding Our Barry

Who would have thought my B.A. in Anthropology (class of '81) would finally be useful (told you dad!). But it actually was on my recent buying trip to Las Vegas. As I waded through every genre of fashion, culture & humanity itself, I felt much like a scientist exploring a totally foreign, yet fascinating world. Millions of products on display - each loved by somebody - for some reason. And all set within a city offering every idea of entertainment imaginable.

Not only was it fun, but it helped me see Barry Manilow in a whole new light. I may not want to wear his face on my chest or own a set of "Manilow - the Hits" wine glasses. But I can totally see why someone would. Everybody has his or her own Barry. Our goal in life is to find it, wear it, embrace it, be it.

And that is exactly what is about. We're devoted to our idea of what is cool for kids. It may not be yours. But if it is, we're your Barry. And you know, we can't smile without you...
P.S. I'm thinking Barry isn't so bad, is he? What do you think?