We’re crazy for stripes at the babyscoop. Blue and white, black and white, and especially multi-colored stripes that ooze retro Canadiana appeal. On a recent Fall fashion hunt, our editors spied a few new, hard to resist additions to the iconic HBC Signature collection for kids: thick velour onesies, striped cashmere sweaters, and a matching mitten and hat set. Small luxuries never looked so good! Sizes 0-24 months.
HBC Striped Cashmere Sweater – $95
HBC Striped Cashmere Hat & Mittens (sold separately)
I’ve spent all winter waiting for the glorious dog days of summer, and now that they’re here…I’m begging for a bit of sun relief. Hollie & Harrie to the rescue! Based in Australia, long time friends Skye and Claire have designed an alternative to the typical beach tent — the Sombrilla. Made from 100% cotton, this stylish beach shade not only looks beautiful, but is open concept as well, offering lots of ventilation and 95% UV protection. So take the kids to beach worry-free and relax!
As everyone knows, kids love to leave birthday parties with something of their own. So, when we stumbled upon these lovely customized favor bags from Sila Boutique, we were more than excited. They add a sweet touch of the personal to any party or gathering.
These 100% cotton bags can be customized in a variety of ways for each guest of your party – be it a baby shower, birthday party or any other special event. You can choose from a variety of options including: baby footprint, butterflies, dinosaurs, fairies, ducks, birthday age, elephants, monkeys, ballet shoes…you can even personalize them with each guest’s name for a special touch. There’s definitely something for everyone.
Fill them with a cookie, candy and small favors. They make for a memorable and thoughtful keepsake. And who knows, maybe you’ll be remembered as the “Martha Stewart” of party planning!
Siesta time anyone? This Mexican-inspired chair circa 1950, is based on the weave of the Mayan hammock – but with a slightly retro twist. The Baby Acapulco for kids, by Innit Design, is an exact replica of it’s parent, and so so gorgeous. And comfy. Made out of durable vinyl cord, it seems to cradle the body while offering up great support.
But to be honest, we just plain love the look of the Acapulco chair. And with a selection of Micro – Acapulco chairs to accessorize their favourite dollhouse, you’re kids will too!
So pack ‘em up, stack ‘em up, or simply wash ‘em down. They definitely say summer.
Here are some more “life lessons” that are resonating with me while visiting the magical domain of the Berlin playground. For the start of this little series, please go to the previous entry.
Object Lesson #5: Revel in Natural-World Imagery.
Froggies, camels, mythical dragons, snakes, huge bugs…these are the stuff of a kid’s universe. The playgrounds here are like stage sets: zany, grotesque, colourful characters pop up their friendly faces and evoke nature – but with a storybook twist. So much richer with possibility, than Disney or Dora!
Lesson #5 - natural world imagery
Object Lesson #6: Be One-Off.
Why should kids’ environments be cookie-cutter? We adults demand variety and uniqueness in our playspaces (think of restaurants and bars!) – and it’s even more important in playgrounds. I have never seen a piece of play equipment in Berlin replicated in any other playground: each swingset, slide or monkey bars, is a one-off piece. Because they’re mostly hewn from tree trunks (without each gnarl or edge sanded off to total uniformity) there are cool challenges to balancing and holding on: kids get to know their way round their local pieces!
Lesson#6- be one-off
Object Lesson #7: Kids Need Respite from Adults!
A recent book by a Canadian mother about French parenting caused a bit of a storm back home. One caller to a radio show fulminated that “in France, children at the beach are ignored by their parents – and so they’re forced to play by themselves!” Truth is, most children aren’t just OK with the feeling they aren’t being watched…they actually require it.
(Please know it’s the feeling of not being watched I’m recommending: not NOT being watched. Thank you.)
Lesson #7 - kids-need-respite
Playgrounds in Berlin offer lots of inviting nooks for kids to take shelter from the adult world. This is especially crucial for kids who don’t have backyards of their own to play in.
Object Lesson #8: Provide Loopholes
A hole in a fence…a patch of grass behind the shed…a swing that’s supposed to go up and down but is much more fun when it goes round and round…these are the tiny customizations that imaginative, physically curious kids make for themselves. In Berlin playgrounds, the signs this is taking place, are everywhere.
Object Lesson #9: Distinguish Safety Culture from Liability Culture
In Berlin playgrounds, there are way more ouch-attunities than I’m used to at home in Toronto. (I saw a toddler mistake a sand-chute for a slide the other day, with painful consequences – but he’ll return with extra caution: no serious harm done.) These playgrounds aren’t dangerous places – far from it. But they do offer room for real challenge…mistakes…getting back on the horse and trying again. You can bet that the benefits (lower obesity rates, agile, physically intelligent kids) outweigh the cost of the odd boo-boo.
Wendy Tsao (originally from Vancouver) is the genius mom who tapped into the idea of transforming the wonderful imaginary creations of children into one-of-a-kind plush toys. In her own words, Child’s Own Studio sprouted from a simple idea: to make a recognizable comfort toy for a 4 year-old boy based on his own drawing. It was an idea that spurred the launch of her home-based craft business and since then she has custom-made hundreds of quirky, loveable, personal soft toys based on children’s drawings, each one as unique as the child who drew it.
We love the quirkiness of her creations and the overall celebration of creativity. If you’re as addicted to these little gems as we are, you can check out Child’s Own Studio flickr feed that features a gallery of hundreds of these unique recreations. Unfortunately, as popularity goes (and Wendy being only one person) she is currently not taking new orders as she strives to catch up on her waiting list. But keep checking in on her website and facebook page to find out when orders are being accepted again!
Hailing from Holland, you can see why this gorgeous bike seat for children has won several prestigious awards globally. The BoBike collection has received high marks for everything from safety and design, to ease of use and comfort. And luckily for us, it’s now available in North America.
The Bobike Mini + is a very cool looking, compact front mounted bike seat for kids 9 months to 3 years (20-33lbs), and can be paired up with a matching windscreen (sold separately). Parents love the front mount, because it means they can keep an eye on their child without always looking back — and besides, it gives your child a perfect view of the world in front of them. The adjustable foot support trays are another great feature of the Bobike Mini, and the bevy of designs means there’s a look to suit everyone.
If a rear mounted bike seat is more your speed, they offer the Bobike Maxi. With the same safety standards as the Mini, the Maxi can be used from 20-50lbs. Available in two contemporary styles to match any bike frame.
Comes with brackets and can be installed on any type of bike.
Win a Bobike Mini+ Bike Seat! (windshield sold separately). How to win? It’s easy, Write A Review of any product on the babyscoop. Winners are chosen randomly. Contest runs Tuesday May 1, 4pm – Wednesday May 9th at 12pm. We will select our winner on May 10th, after 11pm EST.
Sheba and I were waiting for the bus the other day, on busy Dufferin St. Distraction was required from the icy wind whipping dust in our faces (condo developers: your slick creations might render Parkdale less gritty in the long term but meanwhile it’s grit-city round here).
I suggested the ‘Call Out The Colour Of The Car’ game. As each vehicle raced towards us Sheba’d yell its colour and I’d go ‘Yay Shebes!’.
The only trouble was, that they were all grey.
‘Grey!’, she’d yell. (‘Yay!’).
The exciting deviations were: ‘Black!!’, and many were ‘Errrrrr…whitey-yellow-grey!’ (she doesn’t know about ‘beige’ yet).
I disagree with this norm. Cars, phones, laptops, fridges, DVD players…all grey or black. It’s as though industrial designers are stuck in some 80’s and 90’s cinematic art-directed construct called ‘The Future’ and everything in that so-sleek, so-fast future is goddamn silver grey.
As a treat therefore, I bring you:
Ahhh. Doesn’t that luscious, life-affirming Liberty print refresh the eyeballs and open up the mind’s eye in a whole wonderful way?
Sheba and I are a mother-daughter team on a hue-mad mission to singlehandedly undo the hegemony of silver grey. If we had our way, the whole of western society would be speaking on jade-green Bakelite phones just like the one beside Don and Betty Draper’s bed; pouring our kids milk from stately royal blue refrigerators; yanking out lemon-yellow iPhones to text on rainbow-glorious keypads. Powerful men would give press conferences wearing entire suits of mouthwatering lavender or emerald green.
In Sheba’s aesthetic world order, the wearing of at least seven different prints in one outfit would be mandatory, both on days we’re ‘dressing up as a big girl’ and those where we’re ‘dressing up as a big boy’.
Femmy, mascy…what’s the difference? Colour is gorgeous, colour is powerful and colour gives us something simple to exclaim and delight over.
About The Abi Chronicles:
As our in-house blogger, Abi reports weekly on the full spectrum of parenting – from the searching, essential questions to the quirkier territory all families sometimes inhabit.
There’s very little a parent loves more than a multi-use product. Maamam, a clever design company out of San Francisco clearly understands this, and has launched a series of well-designed, functional products that are genius at multi-tasking. Bath time at our house is not something to be taken lightly – with 3 kids and a dog, it often means going through a number of towels and rarely does anyone (especially me) end up dry. That’s why this product is so appealing. The 4-in-1 aacua is a supremely soft and versatile towel: it serves as an apron to keep you dry while bathing baby, a towel for drying, a babywrap to keep your baby safe and warm (no more reaching for towels), and a bathwrap for toddlers. Plus, it’s 100% cotton terry with a beautiful clean design.
Bath time just got a whole lot easier and a lot more fun! Available at Amazon $42.00
With babies spending 2/3 of their first year sleeping, few things are as important as a really good mattress. Nook has clearly taken this into close consideration with their line of beautiful non-toxic mattresses for babies and toddlers. The highly coveted Nook Pebble, a natural crib mattress (albeit premium at $599), is rife with features parents love: a unique pebbly and colourful surface, natural materials (organic wool and cotton), no off-gassing, and nano-level particles that make it stain and water resistant. And the bumps actually do serve a functional purpose – they help facilitate better airflow and temperature regulation, so baby sleeps better. Besides, it looks so good, you don’t even need a mattress cover!
For those wanting to spend a little less, take a peek at the recently launched Nook Lite. Lite comes with the same great look (pebbles and great colours), but a few things have changed: the materials used aren’t organic and they use a non-toxic foam core instead of natural latex. But like the pebble, it’s comfortable, hypoallergenic and washable. Dual-sided too, so it’s firm for babies, and softer for bigger kids. But the end result is a mattress that weighs and costs less!
Above: Nook Pebble Organic Mattress -$545-$599
Above: Nook Pebble Lite Crib Mattress - $295
Above: Inner Nook Pebble Crib Mattress
Above: Nook Pebble Twin Mattress -$695
Above: Nook Lilypad Playmat -$120
Looking for some helpful mattress buying tips? Check out BabyCentre.
4 moms (with 15 kids between them), is actually a five woman company who have combined their experience and incredible smarts to great effect. Simply put, they make products that make things easier for parents. Their newest addition, the Origami, is the world’s first power-folding stroller. You might have to see it to believe it, but this gorgeous little machine actually folds itself. The generator that’s stored in the rear wheels is busy at work charging the stroller while you stroll. Little luxuries abound – you can charge your cell-phone, and count mileage while you walk. Plus, the Origami has daytime running lights, pathway lights for low-light conditions, and sensors that detect when a child’s in the seat (so it’ll never fold by accident). Talk about easy.
For anyone who has tried to cram a regular sized crib into a wee room, or spent countless hours putting up/taking down a crib, the foldable mini crib from babyletto will seem highly appealing. The Grayson sports a hip, modern design, and is incredibly light at only 62lbs, but it’s real magic lies in it’s portability — it collapses easily into a compact flat so it can be stored behind a dresser or under a bed (for those lacking in closet space). With two adjustable mattress levels, it works well as your baby grows. Made of zero-grade MDF, the Grayson is available in espresso, grey, navy, and white. And at $240, it won’t break the bank!
Guest Blogger Michelle Savin is clearly a woman of many talents: she’s an eco stylist, mom, blogger, and runs Until Kara, a company she founded in 2006, that creates eco-friendly products for the nursery. She has generously agreed to share her Top Picks for baby’s first year with the babyScoop. Of her list, Michelle says, “These products have changed my family’s way of thinking Eco, and will hopefully be helpful to yours. Here I bring you my Top Ten Eco-Friendly favorites!.”
1. Until Kara Organic Mattress
Of course my number one pick is untilKara, which is my line. We push the envelope on being one of the best organic mattresses in the U.S. We use only organic cotton and natural wool from organically raised sheep.
2. Naturepedic Organic Cotton Contoured Changing Pad
This changing pad contains a waterproof organic cotton cover that is 100% polyethylene food grade. They use organic cotton filling that is pure, natural & chemical free. This year I did a comparison versus a typical vinyl version, and this pad is so fab in comparison!
3. Little Fluffy Onesies and T-Shirts
The epitome of cuteness, each garment is 100% organic cotton and hand-printed in San Francisco using water- based inks.
4. Sophie The Giraffe
This 0+ month teether is phenomenal. It is made of all-natural rubber and is 100% phthalate free. Made in the French Alps, Sophie has been a design classic for fifty years.
5. Oeuf Cribs
Awarded best crib of 2011, Oeuf is well-known for great crib design. Made of solid birch and Eco- MDF, all their finishes are non-toxic and free of VOC’s.
6. Bla Bla Dolls
Designed by Florence Wetterwald and knitted by Peruvian artisans using only 100% hand picked cotton. Each doll has its own personality and is well worth getting to know!
7. Plan Toys
All-round great toys made from non-toxic natural materials such as organic rubber wood. Such a huge selection of must-have toys: stoves, food, stackers, car repair stations, activity sets, and dollhouses!
8. Little Twig Natural Products
These safe and mild formulas are really great for babies with sensitive skin. They are made with organic and natural ingredients. Even better: they are phthalate, paraben and SLS free!
9. California Baby Skincare
A real leader in organic skincare and bath products. Their products are beautifully scented with aromatherapy, and they only use natural, raw materials.
10. Tushies Disposable Diapers and Wipes
A great alternative to cloth diapers & regular disposable diapers. This is the only natural cotton disposable diaper that is gel free!
Being Dutch, I am inherently intrigued by the chance to better organize and tidy up a space; I think that’s why these cabinets immediately appealed to me. Inspired by Dutch architecture, these Kast van een Huis cabinets are well-designed, multi-functional, and adjustable! They seem to create an air of whimsy, a magical place for your kids (or you) to store and play with all of their goodies.
The cabinets are FCS certified MDF with non toxic paint. They are available in 2 different shapes (stepped gable or bell gable), and can be placed side-by-side to create your very own promenade or village. Perfect for clothing storage, as a bookcase, cupboard in a playroom, toy storage or room dividers.
For those of you with insatiable wanderlust, we have found the most interesting, well-designed maps, something you and your kids can stare at as you construct your next adventure. Design Studio, These Are Things has managed to chart the world with gorgeous, modern world maps. Nothing too textbooky or geography class, everything beautifully simplified and colourful, with a modern minimalist slant. Their collection includes a map of the U.S, Europe, and local city maps such as San Francisco and NYC. And their gender neutral feel makes them perfect for kids rooms, or any room in the house!
Above: The original modern world map. Simplified geography with country borders. A selection of countries and oceans are labeled in burgundy.
United States of America Map -Price $99.00
Above: Silkscreened by hand in the USA in five colors plus overprints. Measures 20″ x 30″. Limited edition of 100.
Beck to Nature, as the name implies, is a family-owned company in North Carolina that is committed to bringing the safest, greenest kids products to the market. You’ll see from their collection, each product is beautifully simple, yet well-designed, with a decidedly modern European twist. It’s hard to walk by this furniture without stopping to stare and touch…
Their firm, all-natural cradle and crib mattresses are made from 100% renewable materials, such as coconut coir and natural latex. Incredibly durable, firm and breathable (so you can sleep worry-free). The zippered mattress covers are water-repellent too!
KOKO mattress with coconut husk
KOKO mattress with coconut husk
KOKO mattress with coconut husk
They recently launched their sixkid furniture line — it’s all about handcrafted forms, natural sustainably harvested woods, and smooth finishes. Just plain drop dead gorgeous.
sixkid rocking horse in beech plywood with walnut saddle. 2 heights
Everyone seems to be launching a vintage line these days, but no one can lay claim to Canadian Heritage quite like the Hudson’s Bay Company. Canada’s Company of Adventurer’s have been churning out fashionable striped products for over 300 years, and now their gorgeous collection includes a line for babies and kids. We love how the stripes can create a look that is slightly retro and contemporary at the same time.
Image Source: Mjolk via Remodelista
Hudson enjoy his Hudson’s Bay blanket. Photographer: Megan Battersby.
Pod by ubabub in Australia is a cosy cocoon-shaped crib made of curved timber plywood with smooth, rounded edges for a distinct modern look. Innovative clear acrylic sides with star-shaped cutouts allow an unimpeded view of your little one for parents, making checking on baby simple. Plus, it’s easy to assemble, clean and maintain and as your baby gets older, the Podconverts easily to a junior bed.
As an added bonus, it’s made from sustainable and non-toxic materials, so it’s a responsible choice you can definitely feel good about. The only bad news is that right now it is only available in Australia. But, they are in the U.S. this weekend looking for a distributor and believe us, we will be huge advocates of this amazing line coming to America (and Canada…and Europe…).
Daniel from ubabub spoke to the babyscoop about Pod’s unique design
In an age of visual information and infographics, this is a beautiful, personal way to capture your child’s first year of life. The Paloma Poster, customized and hand-crafted by artist and designer Chase Simmering, offers a unique way to visualize the milestones and events of your baby’s first year.
Printed on heavy-weight, cotton, fine art paper this is a keepsake like no other we have come across. What a lovely marriage of technology and art coming together to tell such a meaningful story.