Mary Arnold Toys, an Upper East Side institution since 1931, is bringing an outpost of the Oxford, Mississippi art and design shop Amelia to its Upper East Side store starting October 20 through the holidays. After F.A.O. Schwartz closed its doors for business this summer, Mary Arnold Toys became the oldest continuously run toy store in the U.S. One of the first items on offer through the Amelia outpost will be this adorable croissant-shaped baby rattle. The idea of a toothless baby chomping down on this soft rattle is almost too cute to bear. Handmade in the USA by the Los Angeles-based toy maker Wild Pines, the linen-wrapped rattle is available in a limited number for $28.00 exclusively at Amelia’s website and the Amelia Outpost at Mary Arnold. Doughnut shaped rattles are coming out next, so the question remains … can Cronuts be far behind? Images courtesy of Mary Arnold Toys & Amelia.
I spotted these whimsical wooden cubes from London Cube Co at the 100% Design show in London last month. Claretta Pierantozzi established her design shop in 2013 after graduating from the Architectural Association and having worked for top architecture firms including Foster+Partners, Heatherwick studio, and David Chipperfield architects. Handcrafted in Shoreditch, these oversized versions of the alphabet block can be used as stools, side tables, shelves, or design objects. In addition to letters, the cubes can feature illustrations from children’s books or entomological plates. The custom cubes are made to order from techniques including silk screening, letterpressing, laser cutting, and CNC milling, along with hand-crafted labor. The cubes feature frames, fretwork, and plates in birch plywood, white oak, or black walnut and come in two sizes, 17.3”-square or 8.7”-square. Though decorative, these pieces aren’t flimsy. Depending on the size and style, they can weigh from 4 to 30 pounds. This type of quality doesn’t come cheap however, and prices start at £340.
I was drawn to the modern-twist booth at this winter’s New York Gift Fair by their unique collection of food-grade, hand-screened silicone placemats. Based in the San Francisco/Oakland area, modern-twist makes a range of products, from bracelets to coasters, in a manner that allows them to be both a socially and environmentally conscious company. Free of BPA, latex, and chemicals, their products are good enough to literally eat off. The line of 12” x 16” KIDZ mats, starting at $17 each, are filled with child-friendly scenes by contributing artists that can be doodled on with washable or dry erase markers and wiped clean again with a damp cloth. Adults can have fun too, with a line of silky smooth silicone place mats in subtle geometric and floral designs. Other product designs from modern-twist include trivets, coasters, wine glass markers, jewelry boxes, pillows, and a line of silicone bracelets that will appeal to kids of all ages.
Watch out silver spoons, the Cameo by Rux Custom Baby Rattle is the hot new heirloom baby gift in town. The latest concept from New York City-based RUX Design, Cameo by Rux rattles feature the custom carved silhouettes of the parents on either end and the baby’s name engraved in the handle. Cameo by Rux founder and designer Russell Greenberg says the inspiration for the rattle, which follows a line of other customizable objects, came when his wife was pregnant with their now five-month-old son Kingston.While it doesn’t take as long as a baby to make, this gift does require a bit of planning. First, the 8”-long maple rattles are sold as blocks of wood with instructions branded on all sides. A pre-paid and pre-addressed shipping envelope is hidden inside the block base, which the customer then uses to mail the block to the company’s workshop for carving. A gift-code on the base of the block is used at the Cameo by Rux website to upload the customer’s profile photographs. Rattles are completed within three …