Mount Vernon artist and designer Kristin Loffer Theiss has given birth to KLT Kids,
a line of handcrafted and just plain fantastic toys and products for
babies and kids. Using a vibrant color palette, soft textures, and bold
shapes, Loffer Theiss has created whimsical and modern plush toys,
mobiles, finger puppets and onesies based around an invented set of
characters from the "Planet Dot." Loffer Theiss also creates and sells
an array of functional art for grownups, including greeting cards,
thread drawing pillows, and porcelain/felt pins. Visit the website to learn more about Loffer Theiss and her unique blending of art, craft and imagination.
Do you aspire to feed your little ones fresh and healthy meals but lack
the time and creativity to prepare stuff they'll actually eat? Full Tank
frozen organic meals for babies and young kids are a guilt-free
shortcut. Full Tank (formerly TotPots) was founded by Seattle couple
John and Whitney Anderson, parents of two young boys. (Whitney is also
a pediatrician.) Their products include Baby FuelTM, conveniently
spoon-free baby food for parents on the go ($2.79 per serving), and
Secret AgentTM kid entrees ($3.99 per serving), which incorporate a
patent pending method for hiding the flavor of veggies in kid-friendly
foods (like mac and cheese). Full Tank recently partnered with Seattle
chef Tom Douglas to develop a signature line of baby foods and a school
lunch program featuring local and seasonal ingredients.
The organic craze has extended well beyond food, as anyone who has
browsed the clothing aisles at Whole Foods knows well. It's a lucky
baby who finds herself snapped into onesies by Kee-ka.
Almost as aesthetically pleasing as the luxurious, organic cotton
bodysuits, bibs and bedding (which feature words and images such as
"sweetpea" and "peanut") are the self-sealable and ready-to-mail brown
boxes they come packaged in. Visit the website for local retailers or to order online.
Design-conscious and environmentally aware moms and dads will also want
to check out the baby clothes line from babysoy. With simple designs
that mix and match easily, Babysoy
clothes are made from soft-as-butter and earth-friendly soybean fiber.
The line includes everything from onesies and one-pieces to blankets
and outerwear. Babysoy also sells carefully selected products from
other design-savvy manufacturers, including outrageously cute baby
bonnets and caps by Bebello.
If you're looking to outfit your baby with a little more spunk and edge, check out Mercer Island's own Pixie Rock, founded by husband-and-wife team Jeff and
Erin Underwood out of "a love for style and an endless love affair with
rock 'n' roll" (according to their Web site). Their onesies and
T-shirts for babies, toddlers and kids feature clever parodies of rock,
punk and hip-hop icons, such as the highly popular "Ipoo'd." Visit the Pixie Rock website to view designs, find local retailers or order online.
If you're not averse to spending as much on your baby's skin care
products as you likely do on your own, here are some that are worth
Noodle and Boo
makes a complete line of products for babies' hair, skin and bottom
that are gentle, hypoallergenic, and specially formulated for highly
sensitive skin. For diapering, check out the Ultimate Cleansing Cloths,
which contain lanolin, are alcohol-free, and have just a hint of Noodle
and Boo's signature crème douce fragrance. Products are priced from $9
and available online and from select retailers.
Using naturally derived ingredients and essential oils, Duvall-based Babeez
has created a line of aromatic skincare products -- from its
lavender-and chamomile-based baby line ($13.95-$15.95) to a yummy
Chocolate Vanilla Body Crème ($23.95) for mom. Though the fragrances
are natural and pleasing, they are strong -- not for the faint of nose.
Here's an ingenious and simple solution to a dangerous problem: Little Bear Industries
has created the Stroller Safety Flag ($12.95), designed to mount easily
on any stroller. The flag is height adjustable, collapses for storage
or travel, and can also be mounted horizontally, so drivers on roads
without sidewalks are forced to make a wide path around the stroller.
It's a smart purchase in the Northwest, where weather can make for bad
driving conditions and compromised visibility. It also works on kids'
bikes and ride-on toys.
Originally published in the May, 2007 print edition of ParentMap.