"Anyone that doesn't agree with leggings as pants can physically fight me.
And I'm going to win because I have a full range of motion due to the fact that I am wearing leggings as pants."

Thursday, August 2, 2007

To Build a Better Toy

This morning, I just read about a recall of almost a million toys by Fisher-Price. Apparently, their Chinese manufacturer used lead-containing paint on a bunch of toys, including quite a few Sesame Street and Dora ones. So you might want to check the link for a list of them (half way down the article).

It's been quite awhile since we've bought anything like this (my daughter's 8), but it's a good lead in to a post I've been meaning to do for awhile.

The more time I spend on the internet, the more fun things I find that would be great as presents for kids. My favorites are things that are either hand-made or really original, or both. I also like buying from smaller companies or the artisans themselves. That way the money goes directly to the person, or people, that made the item. I like that. It's like eating dinner at the family-owned restaurant down the street instead of the the giant chain that you can find in every single town in the country.

One of the companies I found is called Mahar Drygoods. They've got loads of vintage and artisan crafted things for kids. Two of my favorite things aren't in stock right now, but you can sign up for an email when they are. That's the thing with artisan crafted toys, they aren't mass produced (which is good), so you may have to be patient.

Lily Bean has a whole series of Play Food, and this is the Bento Box.

It contains:
  • two pieces of California roll sushi,
  • one piece of salmon nigiri sushi,
  • one piece of shrimp nigiri sushi,
  • seaweed salad,
  • three cucumber slices,
  • one sweet strawberry.
And it even comes in a three tiered bento box. How great is that?

Here's what they have to say about the Shy Monsters Activity Book (above)...

"Inhabited by sweet characters from the imagination of artist Christine Haynes, each double page spread in Shy Monsters presents a story line, a journaling activity and a large illustration to color. There are galleries that invite you to draw your own shy monsters, an official monster membership card and a decoder to write your own secret monster messages. And if that weren't enough, each book is accompanied by a set of 24 monster stickers to color and enjoy!"

Another idea I've been keeping in the back of my mind is buying books of Moo stickers. You can custom order them with up to 90 different pictures of whatever you want to upload. How fun would it be to get an entire book of stickers of youself? The books are $10 plus shipping. Along with these, I was also thinking of doing some customized magnets from Zazzle. With both of these, just upload the picture you want and they'll make and send you the finished product. Together these would make an awesome little personalized gift.

And lastly, of course, there's Etsy. They have a whole section of handmade toys. And tons of other very cool things that would be perfect for presents for any adults on your gift giving list. I love Etsy. Really I do.

And that's not just shameless self promotion.

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