Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Felt Food Frenzy!

Ever since stumbling onto etsy.... albeit "accidentally" I've loved felt food. In all honesty it was love at first sight! how cool to have lifelike goodies and dishes all lovingly handmade with felt (wool felt for the connoisseurs...) I've been impatiently waiting for my little one to grow up and start to appreciate the art of pretend... that way I get to play tea party all over again! While we aren't quite there yet, just a rather mature 16 month old... I figure it'll take me a while to curate and make these goodies so I could get a head start already...

There are many books on making pretend felt food goodies... all of them in Japanese?! maybe something to do with the Japanese fetish for all things Kawaii... while I have a couple on my wish list I've been perusing the web for free patterns and with a little improvisation making my own. Let me tell you it is addictive!!

So far I've been "baking" up some cookies and we've "harvested" some veggies.... and I can't stop!! nor do I really want to, not until we have a play kitchen full! I'm making some "reverse" patterns, meaning cutting freehand and tracing the successful pieces... trying to get hubby to help transfer some to pdf form so I can post a tutorial or two... In order to make my creations complete I wanted to learn some new embroidery stitches, thanks to youtube (I love the possibilities of the net!) I now know how to execute the blanket stitch and the very evasive french knot! Below are the video tutorials I watched.

So simple! really it is!

I could do this stitch in my sleep now... whipping up a new batch of cookies in no time...

Here's a plate of dark chocolate raspberry cream filled cookies... looking almost good enough to eat on my mothers vintage Noritake.

and of course some classic choco chip and choco sprinkle cookies...

Sweet tooth's aside we try to get a health dose of wholesome veggies everyday...

The felt food craze fits my Montessori and Waldorf influenced parenting style spot on, I mean what could make a better plaything for a toddler than felt food loving whipped up by your doting mother?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Let 'em eat cake!

While birthday season is over for us... DD birthday was back in November, any old day of the week is reason enough for yummy frosted cake in our house! While I used to be all about chocolate nowadays I really probably prefer a nice butter cake with butter cream frosting! so we often just whip up a batch of cupcakes and indulge! Did you know that cupcakes have like there own cult of followers? google cupcakes and you won't believe the amount of foodie websites and blogs devoted to the perfect crumb, or frosting to cake ratio! nevermind the insane decorating!

I've been collecting baking gear for many months now and have youtube and some decorating books to thank for my developing cake dec savvy... like all addictions collecting baking/decorating supplies will cost you... but ebay has helped with prices and availibility...

Trying my hand at the 1M swirl...

Recently Parents.com featured a roundup of 31 birthday cake designs complete with recipes and step by step instructions... for those of you with special b-days coming up it worth taking a peek or favoriting for future reference! Here are some of my favorites...

One of DD first words was ladybug... these are on our list!

Pirates are always cool... I mean seriously Johnny Depp.... I'll arr arr anyday!

I'll no doubt be doing at least one of these Choo Choo train cakes over the course of my birthday planning career...

Friday, March 27, 2009

Baby? will travel!

It's no secret that I love baby/toddler/kid gear.... walking into any of my favorite boutiques... no need for hard sell... most of the time I've bought it even before I stepped in! and matter of factly let them know that I'd like this or that.... sometimes this AND that...

A couple months ago I decided it was time to invest in a travel highchair, our daughter is getting a better handle at feeding herself and the need for a place for her to eat comfortably while visiting grandparents, friends or dining out (the thought of a restaurant high chair makes me shudder!) was pressing... as it's nice to eat with your lap and both hands to yourself.. at least intermittently!

Beaba traveling booster

I already knew what it was I wanted... I really like the idea of an inflatable seat as sometimes we're just walking over and I wanted to be able to carry it or stash it in the stroller basket easily. I had my heart set on the Beaba traveling booster seat and called my go to stores only to find out, to my dismay! that my colour of choice wasn't in stock! how dare they! I really wanted the gray/blue as we're trying to make bigger investments gender neutral for the sake of future offspring... not that I'm really into pink everything anyway... but everywhere I called only had the pink version... as we had a series of outings that would really make the seat worthwhile... I didn't want to postpone getting one until it would or wouldn't be in stock.. one of the shop owners mentioned another similar product she thought was even better so off we went to check it out!


And boy am I glad we did! I introduce to you the Hoppop! it's a travel booster and a diaper bag in one! ingenious award winning design! when placed on it's back you just unzip the front pocket and snap it around a chair and it converts into a booster seat complete with three point harness! I love that it has just enough pockets to tote a change of clothes, some diapees and wipees and our feeding gear... even room for my pocketbook, cellphone, and some toiletries! The bag even comes equipped with a change pad and the adjustable strap fits over our stroller handles with ease. The Hoppop original comes in 7 different patterns and colours, we got the Latte Macchiato which is neutral enough for Daddy to tote around without griping! Hoppop is a brand worth watching, they have a whole line of impressive and innovative baby and toddler gear.

Hoppop original in R&B

Monday, March 16, 2009

A soft spot

I love pillows! no actually that's not the whole truth.... I lust them! Shelves, bedscapes, and big bins of brightly coloured pillows at my favorite home dec stores get me swooning! There's always room for one more, so many patterns, shapes, textures..... how could anyone possibly stop at 20? 30? or 40?!

When DH and I were first married we lived in a teeny tiny! (were talking 30 sqm...) apartment if you can call it that... needless to say storage was a hot commodity... nonetheless one of our cupboards was home to pillows that would be just perfect for our "den". Yes I know how could you possibly have a den in 30 sqm.... well you're right we didn't.... but we do now! and I've been saving up for years!! nothing brightens up a drab room, chair, couch, bed? like a brightly coloured and patterned pillow. I love pillows on beds, couches, casually tossed on the floor... ooh and I'm a rug person too... love getting cozy with a favorite interiors book on our shaggy carpet propped up by, you got it! more pillows!

To help foster my love of the cushiony stuff, I bought the Pillow Book by Shannon Okey, it's home to over 25 patterns for fun decorative pillows for use around your home, as well as Amy Butlers Gum drop Pillow pattern. This is my attempt at making this addiction a little more affordable.... you can get whole yards of gorgeous fabrics for the price of your average tossing pillow. You don't need to be to an accomplished seamstress either to make the most basic of square pillows. Like all home accessories you'll get the most bang for your buck if you invest in quality home dec weight or upholstery fabrics. I always keep my eye out for great remnants, they're generally large enough for at least a pillow or two and for a fraction of the original yardage cost.

These are just a few samples from my collection...

To spruce up our playroom a little, I decided to make a little "house" pillow/plushie to sit on my daughter' rocking chair when it isn't in use. It's put together entirely from scraps I had lying around, and a button for a door knob. It was very simple to put together, just two rectangles for the body of the pillow and I eye balled the roof... finishing it off with a scalloped edge. I cut the windows, door, flowers and grass freehand and zigzag stitched them in place. The possibilities are endless, using different fabrics and whatever embellishments you prefer. I love it! How about trying your own?

Thursday, March 12, 2009


After all my complaining about having to take mandatory french class in grade school (blame Canada!) I actually signed up for a year long course in University. My thoughts were set on traveling the countries flea markets in search of desirable treasures from days gone past... then came reality and motherhood, and my coveted trip has been postponed until the unknown... To stay in touch with my inner french chic I subscribe to the Cute.fr newsletter.

I wouldn't describe Cute.fr as just cute.... they are tres tres chic! they design accessories for children's rooms with that oh so hard to achieve french non chalant attitude! as in I just threw these pillows and toys in an old vintage cupboard and voila! instant chic! I'm definitely jealous of anyone who has gilded mirrors and Louis whatever chairs passed down to them... Anyway my grasp of French is being put to good use as the site caters to Francophones (or Francophiles...) only. They'll ship anywhere but as we're talking euros things are pricey..... but one or two "splurge" items can make the room... Or just draw inspiration from their eclectic styling!

It's fun to see a great girls room with grey walls and calming purple tones... Love the hanging bird mobile, I made something similar with hearts for my own daughters room...

I decided not to neglect the boys this time.... If I had a son I'd love a room like this for him.... not too babyish... and could easily morph into a young mans room.

Love the bold colours mixed with the neutral backdrop... that little bed looks so cozy! Love the paper lanterns and the bedside decor at childs eye level!

Silhouettes are all over the place right now and these could easily be replicated in sturdy cardboard or for the jackson savvy.... mdf or wood.

How cool are chalkboard walls?! I've yet to try one out in my own space... mainly because we're still renting but how fun! I'd probably put mine in the playroom though...

I love the mature colour palette of this masculine/gender neutral nursery. It could work really well even if your "nursery" is just a corner of your master bedroom...

I couldn't not include this princess room, if I were a princess my room would look like this! none of that pink and purple frou frou stuff.... just vintage linen, lace and loads of nostalgic ephemera!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Israeli Design fest

I've been bookmarking great baby and children s design websites for quite awhile now and can say that I've got it down to a fine art. All of my links are categorized and I can boast to owning probably the most extensive and inclusive lists of worthwhile IMHO children and baby websites. With friends I casually joke of having a doctorate in baby, name a product and I can tell you where to find it, what colours it comes in, who and where the designer/company is from, and sometimes even how to score the coveted item minus a few bucks! The fact that Israeli designers have tons to offer in the children and baby design department is old news to me, but I'm glad to see that they're charm and potential are beginning to gain recognition worldwide. Israeli designed and made toys, apparel, room decor, and furniture have been featured recently on some of my favorite sites like ohdeedoh and decor 8. I've been meaning to showcase some of our favorite products for quite sometime so here goes...

Introducing the Shibaba, rhyming with the hebrew feel good catchall Sababa this bath seat is just that! This product has transformed bathtime for us. Made by Israeli company Pomfitis the Shibaba is made of and filled with foam beads and is sewn from bathing suit like material, just hang to air dry. Great for swishing and swooshing across the tub, reclining on for shampoo rinses, The Shibaba floats slightly but like all other bath devices is not intended as a floatation device and please don't leave a child unsupervised, ever.

What do you get when you combine nostalgic "Once upon a time" handcrafted wooden toys with a great cause? Pastel toys of course! Pastel toys produce a wide range of developmental wooden toys and room decor for children, using natural materials and the handy work of mentally challenged and handicapped adults. Pastel toys are recognizable by their pastel colour range and the slightly distressed finish of their toys. We have two sets of wooden building blocks and hope to expand or collection to include pull/push toys and other goodies! I think Pastel toys are excellent value for money and are a great long term investment.

Vinyl Wall decals and stickers have taken the world by storm! They are a great way to instantly brighten up a wall or furniture, and because they're easily removed they work for renters as well. I love them for childrens spaces. Studio Luka are responsible for these great designs.

Can you tell I've got a thing for Babushkas?
I almost got these for our nursery....

Manuella products have been popping up all over the web lately. We love Designer Merav Flams soft huggable designs. Manuella recently came out with some new softies; like the Zebra, Horse or mouse. Our personal favorites are her child size pouf and and the lovely Daschund extra long and extremely versatile jersey pillow.

The Bibs are also Manuella...

Love these dogs!

Artlook is home to a great selection of fabulous Israeli designed homeware, giftware, baby and childrens products and quirky home decor. They feature all of the products I mentioned and so much more! take a peek! they'll ship anywhere!

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Last Week we enjoyed a couple of really nice sunny days.... sorry for the lull in posts, we were out enjoying the good weather. The weekend brought the winter back with it though, it's been pouring since Friday and we've been cooped up inside and doing a lot of reading....

I've been a reader my whole life, started when I was three and I've never looked back. As a child I was often caught reading under my covers with a flashlight in the wee hours of the night. Nothing thrills me more than a real page turner. Books are the foundation of language, culture, and an endless source of knowledge. Needless to say that I want my daughter to love books at least as much as I do! Lucky for me we seem to be on the right track. I started reading to her as early as 6 weeks old, and spend many a morning just reading book after book, I'm sure the very animated story telling has a little to do with it as I often don't just read the story rather perform it! Since her birth we've collected at least 60 board books many of them classics that I grew up with some of them forgotten until now. In her room we store the "sleepy" time books, and more lively books are on her shelves in the playroom, in the bathroom we even have a stack of bath books! Some days she likes some books more than others but there are many favorites. Here is our unofficial list of must have toddler books.

1. Good Night Moon - by Margaret wise Brown and Clement Hurd. It's probably on every must have list, but that's not the reason we love it so much.... repeating the story in a slow drawn out voice has often been enough to lull her to sleep.

2. Hug - by Jez Alborough Though short on words the feelings of this book definitely get across to the toddler set! A little monkey wanting a hug from his mommy is something I guess mine can relate too as the slightest mention of Bobo brings a huge smile to her face!

3. Goodnight Gorilla -by Peggy Rathmann also short on words, this book unfolds almost entirely through the illustrations, but is a permanent part of our bedtime routine.

4. Jamberry - by Bruce Degen. This infectious rhyming book about counting and berries definitely grows on you. Every time you read it there's more to discover in the illustrations. While almost ignored when we first got it this book is probably "the" all time favorite!

5. My First Body Board Book - by DK publishing A.K.A. Bibi! This board book has been read and reread hundreds of times sometimes repeatedly for an hour! Sometimes we read every page sometimes we just "skip" to the favorites either way this book is on the list to stay.

6. Dear Zoo - by Rod Campell this lift the flap book is always well received, my daughter loves lifting the flaps to discover the animal sent from the zoo and shouting out their names.

7. What's wrong little Pookie - by Sandra Boynton This one totally inspired my daughters nicknames; pookie, pookie pookster, pooks, pookiesaurus, pookiesauraus rex, etc... it brings a smile to my face everytime we read it! mothers know best...

8. Yummu Yucky - by Leslie Patricelli This was a recent aquisition and we haven't put it down since. It has a place of honour on our shelf. Everyday food and objects broken down into two groups toddlers can understand; Yummy v.s. Yucky! and the illustrations are great too!

9. Brown Bear Brown Bear What do you see - by Bill Martin and illustrated by Eric Carle I'll admit that I don't entirely "get" it's appeal, maybe it's the repetition.... either way my daughter loves! this book, it was probably her earliest favorite....

10. Are You My Mother - by P.D. Eastman The tale of a little bird looking for his mother and there sweet reunion when he finds her at last is great for snuggling story time.

The list could go on and on but I promised it would be my toddlers top 10!

What about you? what are your must haves?
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