Any parent knows that you can avoid to keep close by a couple of bins filled with your baby or toddler toys. So, it’s best to look for great looking toy bins. Three friends who lived in New York and Toronto started 3 Sprouts in 2007. They produce cute, fun and practical toy bins and storage caddies that parents and kids would love to use.
You can put on the storage caddy all the essential nursery items – from diapers to lotions, washcloths and onesies – that you need in one spot and ready to go. My son’s nursery is on the second floor. When I have a babysitter, I carry all these essentials on the main floor. Having a tote like this will eliminate some steps. Later, the storage caddy could be repurposed as a magazine holder, a craft tote or a toy tote. I just wish that we could wash them in the machine.
You have a choice of 8 animals for the storage bins and 3 animals for the caddies. You can buy those online at 3 Sprouts (they ship to Canada and the United States) or from these local retailers. These would make wonderful baby shower gifts that would be appreciated by mom and dad.
+ Organic Cotton Nursery Caddy by 3 Sprouts $23.99 USD or CAD
+ Organic Cotton Storage Bin by 3 Sprouts $39.99 USD or CAD
If you have the space, a sandbox is wonderful backyard addition that can keep kids occupied for hours. It provides an instantly-accessible outdoor space for kids to build and create.
The builders of this DIY version – Carla and Jason of Small + Friendly – definitely thought outside the sandbox with the double-duty lid/deck design, and paid special attention to make it eco-friendly and safe for their son.
Not only is it built with salvaged wood, the hinged cover helps keep the sand free of environmental waste (like leaves and grass clippings). They also sealed the wood with low-VOC sealant so the mini deck is safe to play on.
What kid-friendly features would you like to add to your backyard?
+ Deluxe DIY Sandbox on Small + Friendly (via Oh Dee Doh)
Parties are all fun and games until it comes time for clean up. Worse still is the pang of guilt when you see how much garbage your small yet sociable gathering generates. After all, it’s easy to get carried away in decor and menu planning without a thought toward hosting an eco-responsible party.
Enter Acme Party Box Company, an online shop specializing in eco-responsible tableware, favours and party decorations – all created to be reused and enjoyed over and over again. This doesn’t mean rough recycled paper napkins and colourless decor though. Acme design their wares with modern colourways and charming themes with both adults and kids in mind.
If you need to plan a party – and plan it fast – opt for a “Party Box”. Each box includes custom letterpress invitations; table linens (fabric napkins, bunting, favour bags and a table runner!); favours; bamboo tableware and utensils; and centrepiece standbys like candlesticks and vases.
My favourite is the ultra-feminine Cottage Floral theme. It would be perfect for an outdoor bridal/baby shower, or for a sophisticated little girl’s birthday party. Just need a few extra essentials? You can also purchase items individually to freshen your existing supplies. I’ll definitely be adding a few of these super cute glass drinking jars for warm weather gatherings.
Want a little party planning guidance? Acme also has a free, downloadable instruction sheet and planning checklist to help your soirée on its way.
Are you planning any parties this spring? Will you follow a theme or stick to the basics?
+ Acme Party Boxes, from $290 USD
+ Glass Drinking Jars (Box of 12), $36 USD
+ Free Party Planning Guides
+ Photos: Acme Party Box
Do your new year’s resolutions included eating healthier? If you’re stocking up on fruit and veggies, you’ll also want to stock up on Credobags produce bags.
Made of organic cotton mesh, Credobags are a practical alternative to often unnecessary plastic produce bags. Plus they help to prolong the life of produce in the drawer of the fridge – which helps reduce food waste and save money. Plus, they’re compact enough to tote along to the farmer’s market and the grocery store.
In addition to mesh produce bags, the Credobags line includes stylish options for storing bulk food items, shopping and catch-all tote bags in reusable, environmentally-responsible fabrics like organic cotton, hemp and bamboo. So you can cross “be more eco-conscious” off your list of resolutions.
Check out the complete Credobags line at www.credobags.com. They also have gift sets.
+ Store locator for Credobags
If you do not have the space or the time to make a traditional Christmas tree, you might look for simple and affordable alternatives. I spotted three Christmas trees online that are made with unconventional materials. Plus, they are reusable years after years.
First, Cascades launched a recycled cardboard Christmas tree line. Available in three declinations, their height varies from 52 inches to 24 inches. My favorite model is the tallest one, Moderno in natural cardboard with printed decorations. It also comes in white or in a green version, that you or your kids can decorate.
Smaller Christmas trees
If you are looking for smaller trees, you will find at trees from 3 feet to 1 foot at the Cardboard Christmas Tree. They come with cardboard ornaments and a stand that you can use as is or paint.
Or you may prefer the more traditional style of the 24-inch TOTEM Xmas Tree available at Hip from Holland. It comes with angel, deer, peace doves, candles, decorations and a star to out at the top.
+ Moderno Recycled Cardboard Christmas tree $37 CAD
+ The Cardboard Christmas Tree 1-ft $9.95 USD, 3-ft $19.95
+ TOTEM Xmas Tree $49 USD
I cannot resist the beautiful rustic charm of reclaimed wood cutting boards. They make awesome serving trays or plates. They transform a simple soup and sandwich meal into a delightful affair.
Although serving food in wooden café plates is an expensive option, I feel that it is worth every penny. As long as they are roughly of the same size, they do not have to be identical. It’s definitively something to put on your Holidays wish list. It’s on mine!
The Most Practical Size
My favorite one, due to its versatility, has to be the Sunday Styles Cutting Board. A 22 inch long, this wooden board works perfectly as serving ware on a buffet table, to serve antipastos at your dinner table, as a cheese plate or to eat your breakfast on weekends.
Gray Works Design produces one-of-a-kind, handmade footed cutting boards, bistro plates and bowls in their small studio located in Woodstock, NY. The collection varies from small to extra-large formats, depending of the products. Made with locally and sustainably harvested or salvaged American hardwoods, the are protected with natural, organic, food safe finishes. Gray Works Design’s products are all available on Etsy.
+ Rustic Cutting Board in Hand Planed Rock Maple by Gray Works Design $70 USD on Etsy
+ Cafe Cutting Board in Salvaged Cherry $56
+ Sunday Styles Cutting Board in Sustainably Harvested Walnut $95
+ via Fonetik
Cooler temperatures mean sweater weather has officially arrived. But it’s not just your wardrobe that can incorporate this seasonal must-have.
These so-clever-they’re-chic crafts use less-than-stylish wool sweaters to add texture, softness and – go figure – warmth to your fall and winter decor. And chances are you already have a drawer full of supplies to make these incredibly easy projects. Here are a few faves that you can do a rainy or cold day:
+ If You Have An Hour: Recycled Sweater Vases at Under the Table and Dreaming
+ If You Have An Afternoon: Recycled Sweater Pillow Cover at Country Living (number 6)
+ If You Have A Day: Recycled Sweater Blanket at Homemade Holiday Gifts
+ For more inspirations about this fall decor trend, read Kim’s post on Recycling Your Old Sweaters as Lampshades and Vase Covers.
As a parent-to-be, I care about providing a safe environment for my baby. This includes my house but also the world I live in. I remember last year when a girlfriend M. adopted the most adorable Vietnamese little girl. Just before her trip to Vietnam to bring her home, M. had her home professionally cleaned by a team who only use green products. It made me think about how harmful regular cleaning products could be for our health and nature.
A few years ago, I switched to a biodegradable multi-purpose cleaner to clean my floor, to do the rough part of cleaning the windows, and to remove dust and dirt around the house. But old habits die hard. I stuck to my regular bathroom cleaners and glass cleaner because they work well. When I got pregnant, I became worried about the fumes produced by the chemicals in the products I used. This told me that it was time to explore what are the more natural alternatives at the stores.
It’s funny how having a baby changes your perspective in all aspects of our life. I think that it forces us to take better care of ourselves, to eat better and to reevaluate how we run our household. As parents-to-be and parents, we want to do the best for our kids.
About our Sponsor: Green Works
A division of Clorox, Green Works describes their line as a range of naturally derived cleaning products. They are made from at least 95% natural ingredients. Green Works make two all-purpose cleaners, one bathroom cleaner, one toilet bowl cleaner, two glass cleaners, laundry products and a dishwashing liquid available in four scents. You will be happy that they contain no phosphorous, no ammonia nor bleach.
Using natural or green products does not mean that you can relax on how you store your household cleaning products. As written on the labels, you still have to keep them out of reach of children.
Notice: Green Works asked us if they could sponsor a post in our “Getting Ready for the Baby” series. In return for their sponsorship, we simply mentioned them as the sponsor and wrote a brief description of their product line at the end of the post.
There’s something about “wool” and “pillows” that doesn’t quite scream comfort – at it’s worst, wool can be rough, scratchy and irritating to the skin. But these cushions from PLYtextiles are more objet d’art than just a place to rest your head.
The handmade cushions created from recycled wool sweaters feature bold, graphic and geometric patterns in modern colour combinations. I love the Octagon Tiles pillow – it has a contemporary quilted style and looks like it was inspired by vintage tile flooring.
PLYtextiles also has a limited selection of home decor items. The Modern Doily and table runners can be customized in any colourway to add a boost to a side table or credenza.
Felt Christmas Decorations
And if you’re already on the lookout for contemporary holiday decor with a handmade aesthetic, keep an eye on this shop. They’ve previously offered wreaths, adorable needle felted snowmen and penguins, and needle felted and yarn wrapped trees.
+ Octagon Tiles Felt Pillow $109 USD by PLYtextiles on Etsy
+ Felt Modern Doily $42
+ Cube Ottoman $279
+ Tree Family $27
+ Anna the Penguin $29
Fiona Richards is known for her unique style. I love what she does. Therefore, I am happy to introduce the new collection of Cartolina greeting cards and notebooks. I only selected a few. So make sure to check out her entire collection because it is exquisite.
This time, Fiona was definitely inspired by the fashion history of France. Her variation on Baroque fashion is splendid. It allows her to display burst of colors in a refined way. It is one of the rare occasions where I will suggest that you buy a kit.
More Florals and Nature Themes
If you wish to give a little something to a girl friend, you can match your card with a notebook. You could mix the White Swan notebook and the Blue Lotus notebook to create an ensemble.
It’s OK to think outside the box when you select a greeting card. For example,the Lucky You card could be used to wish Happy Birthday! to a kid or for a Baby Shower.
In case you did not know, Cartolina produces environmentally reponsible paper products. Their recycled paper cards are printed with vegetable based inks. Their printer was named Most Environmentally Progresive Printer in Canada for the last 5 years at the Environmental Printing Awards.
+ Cartolina Notebook $5.98 USD, Card $3.49 at Modern Paper Goods
+ Store Locator for Cartolina Cards
I like to encourage designers who gave a second chance to materials that would otherwise go to waste. Creatables decided to repurpose thrown-away sport felt that are used for tennis courts. Creatables manufactures the stuff. They collaborate with designers to create their product lines.
+ Swedish designer Jonas Forsman gave a nice form to a newspapers collector. The concept behind Old News is to provide a practical way to store your newspapers and magazines while you wait for the recycling day in your neighborhood. €48
+ The Tennis Notice Board uses an invisible wall mounting system. Optional accessories include small white hooks for keys. You can go for the Winbledom green, the red Roland Garros, the blue US Open or the gray Sodertalje. €22