We’re excited about artists and designers dedicated to creating beautiful, fun toys and accessories for kids.
• color + design
• individual style
Here’s five of our favorites…
1. PANLAND, Steelpan
Trinidad and Tobago
Michael Cooper, President: The steelpan is one of the friendliest musical instruments in terms of someone wanting to learn and play a melody. It’s easier than the piano or wind instrument. It’s easier than the guitar. As long as you can use your wrist, hands and sight you can perform a melody in five minutes. Kids don’t have to work too hard to enjoy themselves musically. You will see young kids playing the steelpan in orchestras as professionals because they are so easy to play. www.panlandtt.com
2. GOOSE GREASE, Wooden Peg Dolls
Juan Donado, Owner: Goose grease is an old southern term for homemade medicine that cures everything [laughs]! Each design is painted by an artisan we have personally trained. We have some historically based dolls like Gandhi and Mother Teresa. We have another set of Great Book dolls like characters from the book Treasure Island by Robert Lewis Stevenson. We have another set about modern artists including Dali, Frida Kahlo and Van Gogh. We like to mix in cultural themes in a fun way so as people decorate or kids play, they learn. www.goosegreaseshop.com
3. IZIPIZI, Kid Sunglasses
Daniel Basiletti, Representative: IZIPIZI is well known for producing a great line of adult reading, sun and blue-light glasses for screens. We’ve just launched a line of baby and kid glasses. Today’s parent is a little more design conscious than maybe their parents were because overall we’ve had an awareness or awakening to contemporary design. It’s not just about the looks. It’s about the materials and the techniques used that makes a quality product. We’re interested in things that are simpler. Simple is best. Less is more. It’s about fun. There is a nice range of colors and fun shapes and the packaging is really nice. It’s a nice gift and of course kids like to look cool too [laughs]. www.izipizi.com
4. OF UNUSUAL KIND, Paper Dolls
Anja Kroencke, Illustrator: My daughter had a concussion and was stuck at home and I was drawing and crafting with her and some how it developed. I remember liking to play with paper dolls. They were all self made cut out pieces, but remembering the ones with the tabs were really annoying; they just never fit well. I was like how can I make them move better. I have two daughters of my own and know how quickly it goes from working with our hands to being on social media or texting. I feel it’s kind of fun to explore who you are. The fun is you can have more than one doll. You can mix and match. Each doll has a one line story to them, but I didn’t want to get to deep. I leave the character up to the person who plays with it. www.ofunusualkind.com
5. TIA CIBANI KIDS, Hats
Tia Cibani, Designer: I think hats are a great accessory for kids. When I design I think about color and adding flair to the outfit. They have to be fun. That’s why we added pom-poms, tassels and beads. It’s really fun designing for kids. There’s a joy in it. An innocence. An element of fantasy that you don’t really get in the adult fashion world. With kids it’s about playfulness. It’s about pretend and imagination so you have more room to play and that’s what I appreciate about designing for kids. www.tiacibanikids.com
We’re geeked about Joe Journeyman puzzles by YouTheFan.com.
Once assembled, Joe Journeyman puzzles are a seek-and-find adventure centered around finding Joe Journeyman, the only athlete to play for all 32 NFL teams.
In addition to finding Joe, other hidden objects can be found throughout amazingly hand-drawn illustrations of NFL stadiums, their fans and unique city surroundings.
Size: 18″ x 24″ / 500 pieces.
JED BRUCE is the sole illustrator of the 32 NFL team puzzles…
brandnewdaydesigns: What’s your process for illustrating the puzzles?
Jed Bruce: I start by hand-drawing the entire piece on illustration board with pencil which takes about a week for me to do. The second week I go over the entire [piece] in ink. The third week, which is my favorite, is putting the color on. I always start with the sky which sets the mood and time of day for the piece and work my way down. After that I go through and ink everything again and touch up with markers. It’s a combination of fine art and illustration. The sky is more fine art and the illustration helps tie it all together.
JB: It’s great if you’re a sports fan, but you don’t have to be to appreciate [these puzzles]. It’s a blast for anyone who lives in one of these locations. For example if you’re from Denver, there’s mountain artwork. I do a lot of research. One of the search items is a Denver Omelette. Denver was a gold town at one time, so there’s panning for gold as a search item in the piece. We’ve also got the Hot Springs. So we try to make it specific to that area and team. In the mountains, I have the Denver Broncos logo hidden and if you look closely, you can also see some horses. It’s not just putting together a puzzle. It’s an activity. After putting together the puzzle you still have a bunch of designs to look through and talk about. It’s a story within a story. —
DISCOVER: Joe Journeyman Puzzles