Whistle While You Work

I remember reading once that the perfect amount of toys to have on hand for a child under five was the amount of toys an adult felt like cleaning up at the end of the day.  While the tots in our lives are still discovering the joy of a tidy space, we can help them find great pleasure in the task.  Any of these adorable toy holders will surely make clean up a breeze!.
These felt toy chests are available here

These delightful sacks will make picking up at the end of the day seem almost like a treat- almost.

This lovely trunk is available here.
If these pretty places to put stuff don't do the trick- try singing a merry tune! That will usually put a smile on even the most sour of faces.


Alain Gree

Alain Gree's illustrations and books have delighted families for years.  Thanks to a large Japanese following his work now adorns bento boxes, dish towel, mugs and more.  Find them at Japanese Zakka.   

These make me want to take my own lunch to work!


This is very exciting!

In last Friday's  New York Times there was an article about the Historical Society of New York's plan to build a children's museum. This interactive museum will focus on children in history. Guests of the museum will be able to talk with a portrait and learn what life was like for the daughter of a textile merchant in the 17th century, walk through a pavilion filled with "newsies", or learn about "orphan trains" that sent thousands of impoverished children to live outside of New York in rural communities.  Set to open in November 2011, this is going to be a must see! The curators' focus will be aimed at a fourth grader's knowledge level, but we are confident the museum will appeal to all ages!  And the best part- it's going to be free for children 12 and under! We are all ready making our plans to see it when it opens!


Art Table

Copper and Glass on etsy make it easy to save a forest with their brilliant table topper! Say goodbye to using endless reams of paper.  Now your tots can use erasable markers and their sketches will wipe right off!  The steel looks so fab you won't have to banish the table to the art room.  Love, love, love!

You can play tic-tac-toe and hangman paper free!
A Valentine's Day gift the family can use together!

With sleek styling and functionality I think I need one to top my desk.
 Saint Valentine, are you listening?


Clementine Art

It's been raining cats and dogs here in Southern California! Finally this weekend we got our famous sunshine back. But a week indoors with the preschool set will remind you of how important art supplies are! Clementine Art has a wide range of supplies made right here in the USA. Not only are these products non toxic. They are made from natural and generally pronouncable materials. And their packaging is made with post consumer materials. These products will have you singing in the rain!

They are available at Le Cirque des Infants!


Children and Nature

 Richard Louv and the Children & Nature Network are heralding a movement to return children to nature.  Louv wrote the scholarly yet accessible book, The Last Child in the Woods.

Studies show that our children are suffering physical, emotional and mental consequences due to their lack of time in Nature.  Children and Nature Network hosts a website filled with the latest stats on nature deficiency as well as uplifting stories from those who are reconnecting with the earth.  It's a site worth checking for the latest info on developmental health and environment.  Plus, there are recommendations for fun outdoor activities!


Starting Small

 I read this book many years ago and it has always stuck with me. The book shares many stories and insights from inspiring school programs throughout the US. It starts off with a tale from a school in Seattle, Washington.  One of my favorite ideas from the entire book is practiced at the Happy Medium School. Here the teacher opens the year by asking the children to paint self- portraits using multicultural paints.  Children are invited to mix the colors to match their skin tones.  Debra (the teacher) tells a new student: "One of the things we decided was that instead of saying we're white, or black, or brown we'd find out exactly what color we are."  Her class rejoices in finding out what color they are exactly and readily share their discovery: "I'm gingerbread" "I'm peach" "I'm terra cotta."
As we are all aware identity is a complex process that we work on well into adulthood. Many studies have shown that infants and young children are aware of racial differences.  They quickly adopt the language and attitudes their culture have towards race.  While creating broad categories  limit the way children see themselves and their peers, pretending the world exists without differences has been found to be dangerous to the psyches of children with multicultural backgrounds.  The genius of Debra and Happy Medium School is that they created an environment that was as specific as we all are. We are all unique and would need more than a blanket label to fully describe us.  What color are you?


Make your voice heard!

In honor of yesterday's celebration of Martin Luther King Jr., we are featuring a kindred spirit who is bold enough to speak her truth.  Ruth Beaglehole is a beacon of light not only for those who have lost their way but also for parents just beginning their journey.  The Center for Nonviolent Education and Parenting is based in LA's Echo Park and is changing the lives of children, one family at a time.  Their motto is "raising children with care-raising children to care".  We, at Willie & Henrietta, believe in the power of nonviolent child raising and ascribe to the definition of nonviolence found on CNVEP's website:

"CNVEP does not use the word nonviolent in reaction to violence, but as a word that honors the connection with a child that respects the core dignity of the child as a full and complete human being. Therefore, the right relationship to have with a child is one that is built on respect and kindness towards the core feelings and needs of the child.
Violence, we define to include anything that hurts the heart, mind or body of a child and leads to disconnection and distrust. This includes spanking, bribes, threats, name calling, shaming, manipulation, being untruthful or praise and rewards. This view moves beyond the current legal definition of child abuse and into a responsible more comprehensive understanding of what violence toward children can be.
What every human being needs and yearns for is a deep, loving connection with their parents that is built on unconditional acceptance, affection, appreciation, autonomy and attention. It is the parent’s responsibility to be the child’s emotional coach, guiding them through the world of emotions and core basic needs; creating and building emotional intelligence and setting limits.
Learning the Philosophy and Practice of nonviolent child raising gives us a framework to think about our actions as parents and what our children truly need to thrive as healthy human beings. Envisioning our children as adults gives us clarity and insight into the relationship we need to have with our child to bring forth the traits and qualities we hope for their future."
-The Center for Nonviolent Education and Parenting

If this resonates with you, their website will provide you with a wealth of information including a well edited reading list featuring Alfie Kohn, Faber & Mazlish and Daniel Siegel all of whom have guided our work with children.  We all need guides and Ruth Beaglehole is one of the finest.  Dare to dream of a world where all voices are heard no matter how small, we are.


I have a dream...

Hoping you all have a luminous Martin Luther King Jr. day.
May he continue to teach us and move our hearts to action!


Enfant Terrible

This French store 
is just stupendous! From the merry animation to the glorious collection. This store has captured the fun of shopping!  Their collection is made up of artists and designers who have made exclusive items for them. 

If you know anyone who is expecting a baby or a little brother or sister,
this lovely Mommy To Be bunny is so heartwarming.


Little Nest

Australia's Little Nest takes iconic furniture and replicates them in pint size.  With attention to detail and sound construction these investment pieces will be enjoyed for generations.
Curl up for a story in a replica of Eero Aarnio's 1963 play ball chair.

A Mini Eames replica for your wee worker's home office.

An Arne Jacobson inspired yolk chair is perfect for a game of peek-a-boo.  Plus, they can spin 'til they're dizzy on its sturdy swivel base.



Kast van een Huis has designed these canal houses for children's storage.  Use them for keeping costumes, toys, and clothes but our guess is they'll quickly become doll houses and car garages.  That's what Kast van een Huis had in mind.  Furniture that is both pleasing to the eye and inspires creativity.  Who says storage has to be boring?  Plus, isn't it easier to invite a child to put their things away when the dolls can go to their home for the night and the cars back to the garage?

Caps for Sale

It's that time of year where we are all wearing them. And since there are so many lovely options out there why not have a whole slew of them to choose from!
Here are a few of my favorites!

One guess as to why I love this one ;)
Viking Hat from Short, a designer on SuperMarket.

Love the modern take on an old classic.  Found on SuperMarket, too.

Isn't this just the sweetest thing?! We had it's twin on our Etsy sidebar all week!

Baby Bits also found on Etsy.

Always love these hats by Naturally Crafty Shop

Soil makes both the aviator cap and the SooPer Cap

Happy Hat Wearing!


Elias & Grace

London's Elias and Grace offers one stop shopping for Mothers and their children(they even have maternity wear at their brick and mortar stores).  A website that's easy to navigate and includes lookbook shopping makes coordinating outfits almost effortless.  What's not to love about easy style?  Be sure to checkout their huge sale going on now. . .

Oh, how I love these handsome shoes and dapper knits.

Nothing beats these gray corduroys and matching sneakers!  Who knew that having pants and shoes of the exact same color was such an easy shortcut to a well dressed child?

 Classic sophistication created by elegant neutrals.  Love it!

A comfy, flowing play dress or smart trousers? With sharp choices like these it's a win-win!


The Name Says It All.

I Love Jezebel!!!!
This Brooklyn shop creates designs that are a feast for your eyes.
Featuring cards, totes, and t shirts the designs are inspiring, whimsical, and finally FUN!
If you are in need of custom work- they do that as well!


Night Owl Paper Goods

not only makes the most adorable wooden cards but they also make
these cuddly plush owls!

I love these cards!


Design Within Reach

If you're looking for clever items for indoor Winter fun they can be found at Design Within Reach.  This Matroyshka doll set is just waiting to be painted and the nesting of dolls will last for days on end.

Here are DWR's crayons.  Great to keep in the gift closet or break out for your own enjoyment on a cold day.

A swing outside is fun but a swing inside is out of this world!  Hang this swing from a beam and you'll be the coolest grown-up around.

Bruno Munari's Plus and Minus game returns from the 70's.  These cards have transparent backgrounds that allow the images to be layered.  You and your child can create your own storyboards on a lazy day or stash some in your bag to have on hand for unexpected waits.

With Alexander Girard's wooden doll collection displayed proudly on your shelf, neither you nor your children will be able to keep your hands off them.   They will be begging you to bring them to life.  Each one is a keepsake and comes individually wrapped in its own wooden treasure box.



San Fransisco retailer Bell'occhio has an array of objects that would tickle almost anyone's fancy.
I simply adore their lovely stationary. But I also want to get my hands on some of their chalkboard oil cloth! How fun would dinner time be with a tablecloth made from that!

For the more sophisticated young ladies in your life, they have the most perfect odds and ends that will certainly delight. I love this wooden box inspired by
French boxes used to hold items that were being patented.

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