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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

charmingwall prints

Charmingwall is a New York Gallery that specializes in open edition prints from a diverse range of up and coming artists with unique and well, charming (!) styles. Prints can be purchased unframed for $20 each, or framed in either black or brown for an additional $40 (plus $20 for mat). The webstore even has it's own "Kid-Friendly" section!

Some of my favorite prints are the Heiko "Anamony" print (pictured above) and Andy Kehoe's "Wary of Menace" (below).

Charmingwall's gallery is located at 191 West 4th Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues in New York City (212-206-8235) and is open from noon to 7 pm 7 days a week.


Monday, December 22, 2008

gama goo

Gama-Goo, the baby and toddler oriented line from San Francisco based clothing and accessory company Gama-Go, carries a small (but nonetheless cute) range of onesies and toddler tees such as the ones pictured above (click on the image for a closer view). These pieces of apparel are not only cute, they are also sewn in the USA from USA grown cotton! Gama-go carries a nice variety of size and color options for each of their designs. Both the onesies and tees sell at a very reasonable price of $20 each.

Gama-Go also carries a large women's and men's clothing line with accessories (there something for everyone!). One of my absolute favorite items from the company is their "keytar" key covers. Cute!


small, quick giveaway!

As a small token of thanks to all my new readers I am having a small, quick giveaway! Just leave a comment here telling me your favorite entry/item posted in my blog so far & you will be entered into the drawing (one entry per person). The prize will be:
  • a gift card for 1 free game or movie rental from Blockbuster video (expires 12/31/08 - hopefully this gets to you on time!)
  • a $5 Moe's Southwest Grill gift card
  • coupon for a free Wanchai Ferry Dinner kit up to $5.57 in value (exp 5/20/09)
The deadline to enter will be 5:30 A.M. PST on Tuesday, December 23rd. You must also be a US resident to win, however, the next giveaway (the one I promised in a previous entry) will be open to anyone in the world!

Thank you all for reading & I appreciate any comments you've left me so far, I've enjoyed your feedback!

EDIT: Storm, The Psychotic Housewife was the winner of this giveaway, congrats!

flensted mobiles

I'm not normally a huge fan of bright colors, but when done right, like in this Flensted elephant mobile, they look absolutely stunning.

Denmark based Flensted produces a huge line of amazing mobiles ranging from classic, clean styles to fun, playful and colorful. I find that many mobiles today are way overdone, often resulting in a sloppy and cluttered looking product, but Flensted manages to create a perfect balance of simplicity and engaging.

I love love love the elegant and minimal use of primary colors and simple shapes in the elephant mobile pictured above. The images below are just a sampling of the many designs created by the company (click image for a better view).


Saturday, December 20, 2008

gloomy grizzly

To be honest, I'm not really a huge Gloomy Bear fan.... but I do love this 11" traditional teddy bear style Gloomy in soft brown. The soft color and texture of the plush along with the dainty red ribbon around his neck are a nice pairing with the cute Gloomy Bear face. I actually think the brown is a little more flattering to the character than the typical pink. I think this might possibly be the most kid friendly Gloomy to date (other than baby Gloomy of course) ;). However, this Gloomy still keeps a nice edge with the characteristic Gloomy Bear claws. Perhaps this Gloomy isn't as soft and cuddly as he appears! The Grizzly Gloomy is available for $28 from Ningyoushi.


gumby on youtube

DMGI Family has a Gumby playlist on their YouTube page which includes more than 50 Gumby videos! The playlist consists of mostly newer episodes of the show, but also has a few of the classic older episodes from the 50's (which are my favorite ones). To see the older episodes, head over to page 5 and 6 on the Gumby playlist. My favorite episode "Trapped on the Moon" is embedded below. I love the randomness of the original episodes, "They're only pretending to be stones, look!"


Friday, December 19, 2008

re-launch coming soon

My hopes for the near future are to purchase a domain name, overhaul my blogger and re-launch this blog in the form of an actual website. Once I do, I plan on having a huge giveaway sponsored by, well... ME!! If all goes as planned this should happen before the New Year so stay tuned!

roost carved wooden animals

Ahhhh! I love the carved wooden animals from home furnishing company Roost that are pictured above. These life size figures ($90 and up) remind me of those creepy taxidermied animals at the natural history museum. The stuffed walruses used to freak me out! Although even these harmless wooden animals would probably scare me if I were a kid, I would have loved Roost's plant fiber and wood animal figures (pictured below). Honestly, I even want them now just as a cute decorative item for my home. The "brushy" animals are on currently sale at the Velocity Art and Design website for the very affordable price of $9 each (originally $36 each).


pup cup and little wanderer

Yoshitomo Nara, one of Japan's most popular contemporary artists, had produced a couple of very cute and serene looking wind up toys in the early 2000's. I always held off on purchasing these as they were open editions, but as the years passed they became more and more difficult to find until they finally just about disappeared.

Today I decided to do a little research and see if any websites still carried either the "Pup Cup" (pictured above) or the "Little Wanderer" (pictured below) and found that Pup Cup is still available from a limited number of retailers at a slightly inflated price. Unfortunately, however, the Little Wanderer supply seems to now be kaput! Both of these also pop up on ebay frequently, though none appear to be available at the current time.

It would be nice to see a second edition of these made, I love the soft blue and peach color palate... and the face on the Little Wanderer is so angelic that it's almost scary!


arthur live!

I truly believe that Arthur (PBS kids) is the best childrens show around today. Heck, even I watch it! Not only are the stories thoughtful and unique but the animation looks great and best of all.... no commercials!

Recently while searching for Arthur information online I came across the Arthur Live! website. Apparently there is a touring Arthur musical which seems like it would be a lot of fun for kids. Currently there is only one location set for the tour in 2009 (5/9 - 5/10 in Uniondale, NY), but there is also a link on the website for a mailing list where I'm sure you can be kept up to date with any new tour information.

Also check out the Arthur site on the PBS kids website. The site contains coloring pages, games, songs, e-cards and other great stuff for kids.


jonathan adler needlepoint

Jonathan Adler carries an adorable line of needlepoint carrying cases. Varieties include: a case for your mp3 player, cell phone cozy, a pencil case, coin purses, and cases for eye and sunglasses. Pictured above is the pencil case, which is my absolute favorite of the items. It even comes with a set of Jonathan Adler Pencils. Too cute! The pencil case is currently out of stock (and perhaps out of production), however, these may still be available at JA retail locations.

Pictured below is Adler's new needlepoint mp3 player case which retails for $48.

For those looking for more economical alternatives, Barnes and Noble also carries a HUGE line of JA branded goods at very affordable prices, no needlepoint however. The B & N online stock ranges from pencil cases at $6.25 to a $26.95 leather bound presentation book. Or perhaps these cute cases can serve as inspiration for some crafty items!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

cute video - "an eye for annai"

This has been out for a few years, but it's too cute not to share in case any of you haven't seen it yet. "An Eye for Annai" was created by Jon Klassen & Dan Rodrigues as a student animation project. The following was written about the film by Klassen on his website:

"This film was done by me and Dan Rodrigues in our third year at Sheridan College's Classical Animation Program. Everything is hand drawn and animated. We coloured the animation digitally, and the backgrounds are a mix of traditional and digital. I played the recorder for the soundtrack, and the jazz music near the middle is from Louis Armstrong's "Jeepers Creepers". The whole film comes in at just under 5 minutes long, and we're pretty darn proud of it. Tell your friends."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

tokidoki bambino

If you're looking for the perfect combination of tough and cute, look no further than Tokidoki. Tokidoki, the Japanese pop inspired brand by Italian artist Simone Legno, has created a nice line of onesies with plenty of attitude. As many of us recall, Tokidoki first gained major ground a couple years back with a very sucessful handbag collaboration with Lesportsac. Additionally, the brand has now partnered with Sanrio/Hello Kitty for a great line of Tokidoki/Hello Kitty hybrid items.

At $28 each, the onesies pictured above come with a pricetag a little on the hefty side, but the artwork is too adorable not to take notice of. I think these would make wonderful gifts for expectant moms!


fun with flossing

Germany company Koziol produces some of the cutest and quirkist functional items on the market today. One such item is Koziol's fish shaped "Kai" dental floss holders with serrated teeth for easy floss cutting. While the sharp teeth of the Kai floss holder may be inappropriate for young children, I can definitely see older kids digging this. The floss holders come in 5 semi-translucent, pretty colors (blue, red, green, orange and clear) and retail for $17.95 at wrapables.com (no clear available). Could flossing possibly get any more fun?!

Koziol also produces other common place household items with a funky twist. Just check out the Elvis tape dispenser, Coco cake knife, Oskar notepad/sticky holder, and Dimitri CD holder pictured below!

There's a number of other items available from the company, although I'm not exactly sure how to obtain them all here in the US. Regardless, they are pretty fun to look at, just give the Koziol website a look if you're interested to see them all.


shinzi katoh

Currently, there seems to be a (very welcomed) revival of cute 50's Mary Blair style artwork. One of the artists at the forefront of this revival is Shinzi Katoh. Katoh's work only in part emulates the carefree and playful styles of the 50s & 60s: he also gives his artwork a modern, 21st century edge.

Katoh's work is highly accessible in the form of a wide range of afforable, yet high quality, household goods. I own a few a his pieces and the quality is absolutely amazing. My favorite amongst his wares is definitely the glasswork. The glass is superthin and light weight, giving them an almost plastic appearance, but they are also suprisingly strong and durable.

Katoh's range of household goods includes not only glassware (tumblers, soap dispensers, small dishes, etc.), but also plastic lunch/bento boxes (pictured above), aluminum bottles (also pictured above), stationery, fabrics, t-shirts, towels, and tons and tons more!

A large number of retailers and independently run webstores carry Katoh's goods, so if you do a quick google search of Katoh's name and the item you are looking for you are likely find a domestic webstore that carries that item.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

home decor courtesy of APAK

Thanks to the internet it's become so much easier to find emerging artists who do unique and quality work. Among those artists are Ayumi and Aaron Piland, a husband and wife team collectively known as Apak.

The subject matter in Apak's work is often whimsical and always amazingly adorable! The most appealing thing to me about the works is the use of soft subtle shapes and a soft color palate - making the work a perfect addition to a nursery or child's room (but they work well in any room).

The price of a standard signed and numbered giclee print is around $30. The print pictured above is $30 and on a 8” x 7” sheet with a 7” x 5” image.

For a more economical option, Apak’s etsy store also offers a number of pretty note cards at $5 and $7 each which are great for framing in standard postcard or photograph frames.

miffy and friends

The Dick Bruna Huis (Dick Bruna House) or "the Miffy Museum" in the Netherlands pays homage to the creator of one of the most well known and adored children's book characters of all time. Miffy, or Nijntje as shes known in the Netherlands, was created in 1955 and has been in constant popularity since then.

One of the major draws of the Huis is it's gift shop which carries almost anything Miffy that you could possibly need or want. Of these items, a favorite of mine is the small plastic Miffy & friends figures at € 4,99 each (roughly $7).

I don't own these (YET!) but from the pictures provided by the Dick Bruna Huis webstore, the quality seems rather good and there's an excellent selection of toys ranging from Miffy, her entire family, friends, beds, cars, and even Miffy's house! You can even purchase the whole set (pictured above) for € 138,30, a little under $200. But my favorite item from the store is the animal set pictured below. How cute is that!


i want candy!

As a kid, I don't think there was anything that I loved more than candy. Surprisingly I managed to make it through my entire childhood cavity free, but the coast is not yet clear as I still have a MAJOR sweet tooth! I'm always on the lookout for the most exciting new varieties of candy and Yummy Earth Lollipops have become a new favorite of mine. Yummy Earth Pops are made with organic ingredients, real fruit juice, evaporated cane juice (rather than your basic refined sugar) and natural colors. The pops are free of major allergens (see the Yummy Earth ingredients FAQ for more info) and are also free of all animal products. No high fructose corn syrup, no red #2314234214 and other gross stuff.

The pops are on the small size (which I personally love) and the taste is great! The flavors are perfectly fruity although most are slightly on the tart side. In my opinion cherry, grape and sour apple are the flavors on the least sour side of the spectrum. Yes, sour apple is one of the less sour flavors! Weird!

These can be purchased on a ton of websites, including the Yummy Earth website and Amazon.com and also at many retailers including whole foods and apparently places like Toys R Us as well.

I recently purchased a 5lb bag, yes, 5 lbs!!!, from Amazon and am sharing them with pretty much everyone I know. I also plan to keep these close at all times so I'm not tempted to reach for snacks of the less-good-for-you variety.


what is that in my icon?

Many people have inquired about my ubiquitous use of the "plush elephant" icon. And of course they would, it's adorable isn't it?

Well, today I will finally give you all the answer to that burning question of "what is that in your icon?".

This underwear doning elephant by the name of "Pan-chan" is designed by Japanese artist Chinatsu Ban who works in part under Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. a company run by artist extraordinaire, Takashi Murakami. Murakami, #28 on ArtReview's 2008 Power 100 list, is probably best known for the grossly overhyped Murakami monogram used by Louis Vuitton a few years back.

The elephant plush was also released a few years back, and it's become somewhat more difficult to find since then. The plush came in 6" ("medium") and 10" ("large") heights and was also rather pricey by plush standards, with the small version retailing for around $30. However, a few websites still stock this item and it can most notably be found on MoMA's webstore, although only one size is available.

It's also important to note that this plush is not recommended for children under 3. And while it would make an adorable little pal for children, I think this item would better serve as a more decorative item, perhaps in a nursery or even as a decorative pillow.