Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Toys at risk

Yes, the rumors are true. A bill passed in August 2008 mandates testing for all toys being imported to the U.S. Already, one of my European favorites, Selecta, has announced that they will pull out of the U.S. market at the end of 2008 because the cost of this new testing will be too prohibitive. 

I appreciate that the government is trying to protect our kids, but they didn't make any provisions in the bill for the small U.S. firms that still make toys, or the crafters on Etsy, for instance. At $4,000 a pop, these people will not be able to afford the testing.

In addition, the European companies already meet the stringent standards of the E.U., but apparently that will count for nothing here. 

Please stop by the Handmade Toy Alliance to read more and to take action. Follow their links to write to your representatives. We've got the power to change this! Let's not see the small, innovative toy companies driven out of the U.S.

Friday, November 21, 2008


My daughter is the kind of girl who will change outfits three times a day if she has the chance, and will choose a skirt or a dress every time. (No, she didn't get this from me!) 

So when a friend raved about the reversible dresses from Twirly Girl, I knew I had found the perfect gift for the grandparents to give Bea for Christmas.  The construction is impeccable and the colors are outrageous. We're going to have to peel it off of her. 

(And I have to admit, it looks awfully fun to have such a swishy skirt. Wonder if they make adult sizes??)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pants fit for a hero

My son is only interested in clothing if superheroes (or maybe Star Wars) are involved. I ordered him these custom patchwork pants from Sunshine Salad's shop at Etsy. You get to pick five different patches and the corduroy color. She even does a reverse color on the cuffs so they look cute when they're rolled up. Wish I could show you a photo of Ronan wearing them, but they're a Christmas gift -- sssshhhh, don't tell him!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Busy bugs are great for sorting, counting, matching and learning colors. Three is the perfect age for them. Good luck keeping all the bugs together, though! I think we're only missing a blue beetle currently...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Spatial Relations

If you have a puzzle-obsessed five-year-old, check out Castle Logix. With only seven pieces, it's maddeningly simple, yet the booklet has 48 challenges. The wood pieces are satisfying to build with, too.

I often see it at Target, and it's also available online from the usual suspects. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Girly Bling

I found these personalized necklaces on Etsy, and they've become my go-to gift for five-year-old girls. This one is from Dara, but I have also purchased darling ones from VMDesigns. (And notice the pink bag in the background? That came with it!)

My Etsy tip of the day: If you want to order more than one of an item, use the blue "contact" link on the right of every shop to start a convo with the owner. They'll usually set up a custom listing for you, and you might even get a deal!

The holidays are coming up fast, so get those custom orders in.

Monday, November 10, 2008


These scented colored pencils are a fantastic stocking stuffer idea. Made from recycled newspaper, each one in the ten-pack is individually packaged. Come to think of it, they'd be great for an advent calendar, too. A pencil a day!

The scents are scrumptious -- my favorites are root beer and cinnamon. There's also a "holiday scents" pack, but they're regular pencils, not colored. I bought mine at Stubby Pencil Studio, but they're available at many online retailers.