We took Archie to Palm Springs this weekend. One night. Less than two hours away. Oh. My. Goodness. I had SO MUCH to pack! Because it’s not really a matter of how long you’re gone. If you’re going period, you need everything. For example, while the amount of diapers you need may vary based on the length of your stay, you still need every single bit of your diaper changing paraphernalia. Same goes for meals. Same goes for toys.
Well, Ohdeedoh has been publishing tips on traveling with kids this week, and I wish I found out about some of these travel solutions before we left for the weekend.
First off, the car. I sit in the backseat with Archie for long trips, because while he’s gotten better about his car seat, it’s still not his most favorite place to be. For this car trip, I made sure to buy some new toys so that he wouldn’t get bored with the same old stuff. I made sure to have bottles on hand for when he got hungry. I made sure to have books to read him. The end result? By the time we arrived at our destination, I was absolutely surrounded by junk. If only I had known about Martha Stuart’s ingenious use of a shoe organizer (via Ohdeedoh).
Then, once we got to the hotel room, I proceeded to set up the play area. Again, I could have used this handmade blanket from Merriment Design (via Ohdeedoh). It’s amazing. It can serve as a playmat itself. It’s got pouches and velcro hooks for toys. And it’s got it’s own play features, such as tags around the edges. Beautiful. If only I could sew. Maybe one of my crafty friends will help me out with this…
While I came to Unique LA to spend, I only ended up walking away with one item: a set of five finger puppets from Muddy Cloud. These finger puppets constituted the five little gnome/alien/robot/bunny-like characters that were also represented as plushies, stickers, and in what I thought was a particularly smart/cute move, line drawings for children to color.
Overall you could tell this vendor had put some thought into their brand identity and they stood out from the other hoards of plushies. Their website tells a sweet little story about how these five little characters were created for their daughter and are meant to be ambiguous creatures, thereby sparking childlike imagination. The website also sells hat and mitten sets. Unnecessary for So Cal weather, but cute all the same.
My mom (who watches Archie a few days a week) reports that Archie enjoys the finger puppets. I’ve only tried them out for a few moments when Archie was not in the best mood, so I reserve judgement until more playing has been done. My only issue so far is they’re a little loose on my fingers. Maybe they’ll work better for Daddy!
As part of their Color Zoo line, Allen Ave. Designs make a wide variety of stuffed animals–monkeys, hippos, bears, the list goes on. These aren’t your floppy, raggedy stuffed animals either. They are stuffed full and firm, statuesque in their poses. Fabric choice however is what makes them stand out. Composed of bright, solid floral patterns, these stuffed animals make the familiar unfamiliar.
This weekend Archie, my husband and I attended Unique LA, which is (according to their website) the largest independent design show, with over 300 vendors from the LA area. Actually Archie slept in the carrier the whole time we were there, so in his consciousness, it never happened. Anyway, Unique LA is basically a craftsplosion of screen printed posters, ironic t-shirts, and felt plushies.
I’ve been to the events before and this time went with and eye for the toys. I have to admit that while I was really, really excited to go, I was a bit let down this year. As my husband said, it seemed as if even the hipsters moved on and the level of craft was a bit substandard. Like “Here buy this mobile to which I glued a few pieces of origami to for 40 bucks!”
Okay, enough criticism… There weren’t all that many toy vendors and most of course were plushies. Probably the plushie arena has the lowest barrier to entry in the toy game. You just need some felt, scissors, and basic sewing abilities. No, I said enough negativity! Moving on, my next posts will highlight some of the standout vendors.