We want our name blocks

October 25, 2007

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Friends, you may have noticed that our beloved custom name blocks by Golly G Designs have temporarily disappeared from the shop. Although we haven’t even seen the tail end of October yet, Ginger is already in high demand for her block sets, and we may not be able to guarantee holiday delivery for additional orders. (Each block takes an average of 3 hours to make. All the embroiderers out there are nodding their heads in collective sympathy.) 

If she is able to lighten her workload in the next few weeks, the sets may become available for a few more lucky babies. We promise to keep you posted.

cool-mom-picks-safer-guide.gif It seems the Cool Moms have been at it again. In what they have dubbed “The Year of the Recall,” they’ve “dedicated many hours to tracking down some of the best handcrafted, locally made, organic, fair trade or simply safer alternatives for younger children – for you, for us, for all the grandchildren and nieces and nephews of the world.” They “want you to know that safer doesn’t mean boring, and handmade doesn’t mean rustic.”

The result of all this effort is the Cool Mom Picks Safer Toy Guide 2007, and I was happy to discover yesterday that several items from Quiet Hours are featured in this handy and fun resource, along with a slew of other products from some of my favorite online haunts. They’ve covered everything from baby rattles to the big-ticket items we all seem to gravitate toward around the holidays, including our Rainbow BabiesTool Rattle and Vegetable Rattle Sets, and our Golden Crown from Jess Nicole. (Jessica just gave birth to her second baby last week, so it seems she’s having a good month.)

Thanks, as always, to the Cool Moms. Not only are they expecting new babes of their own, but they were due to promote their guide on Martha Stewart Living Radio this morning. Congratulations, ladies!   

Holiday Preview

October 15, 2007

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If you are on the shop’s mailing list, you have already received the Fall Preview Newsletter where some of the season’s new items were introduced. If you missed out, you’ll find some highlights below (Princess and the Pea Set, Knit Produce Set) and can check our New Arrivals pages for the full update.

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Since fresh pieces will be arriving all the way through November (You just never know who is going to make something around here.), Quiet Hours is inaugurating its first annual Holiday Preview for your browsing enjoyment. Some items are already listed on the site, along with information about ordering and delivery. Links for these are provided and you need only click through to a specific toy for further details. Other pieces are still in the works. For these we have supplied photos or written descriptions. As always, if you have questions about anything you see feel free to get in touch. 

So cozy up with a mug of something warm and enjoy the work of some of our talented friends, old and new. Here is what will be gracing our shelves in the weeks to come:

New members of Denise Mollison’s Sweater & Sock Kid gang are awaiting their initiation into the Quiet Hours clubhouse come November. Our first batch quickly sold out (You can see pictures in our Gallery section.), so we’re looking forward to some more lads and lasses slouching their way through our door soon. Two are pictured below. $22-$35 (for organic kids) SOLD OUT

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We have some beautiful keepsake pieces in the works from Apple & Eve in Germany. Eva crafts animals of pure white vintage cotton and hand embroiders each with meltingly lovely one-of-a-kind designs. For us, she has made a series of small bunnies (below), some hedgehogs and a few mama bird/baby bird sets that could serve as toys or room decor (similar to styles below). Prices from  $36 – $52.

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From Danish company Maileg comes a hutch-full of small cotton rabbits and tiny wooden accessories for bunny housekeeping. There are mothers, fathers and babies, plus a cradle, a pram, and a stove with kettle, pots and food. Prices range from $16-$36.

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There will be new soft-sculptured Waldorf-style dollhouse dolls from Evi. Not only has the clothing been updated but the outfits are removable, making these the first dress-up dollhouse dolls of their kind. Families will come in different ethnicities and hair colors along with casual clothing and pajamas. 11/19/07 update: We have been informed that the Evi dollhouse dolls will not be arriving until very close to Christmas. Please contact us if you are interested in them.

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From Holzkram, we’re anticipating the return of our favorite Little House. This most elusive of objects has become the rock star of toys around here. It disappeared fast; everyone wants it to come back and it has kept us waiting for a good long time. Relief is in site, as more will be available come November.  

There will be new-style booties from Heather’s Treasure Box to help keep your baby toasty through the long winter days. And the talented ladies of Ohma! are replenishing our cupboard of baby supplies with a new batch of their popular bib-and-burp-cloth sets (Retro Baby Set, Retro Dog Set):

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Ana Paula Rimoli’s beloved Cozy Food will be re-packaged as a set, because those happy little comestibles are just too cute to languish in the play pantry by themselves. The new set will include a cupcake, tea cup, pear, mushroom, carrot and three tiny peas in a pod.

From Fantashion, a few more pieces to add to your medieval gear: a sword-and-sheath set to match our leather Knight’s Tunic and a “chain” cowl.

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There will be more Sock Critters (Sock-a-phants and Little Sock Bears) from Sockadoodle Do; more Soft ABC Block Sets from Golly G Designs; some new dollhouse furniture; new Twinkle Cake decoration packs; and, if we’re very lucky, a new full-sized modular dollhouse from Holzkram.

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A quick word to those of you who may be coveting a custom-made piece for the holidays:

All of us who help make Quiet Hours happen would like you and your children to receive whatever toy is lighting up your holiday dreams. So please, when browsing through the shop, take careful note of our product descriptions. If a toy is listed as a limited edition or one-of-a-kind, or if the artist’s name is mentioned, you can be certain that there are not hundreds of these pieces lying around in a warehouse. Someone is toiling away in his or her studio to make a small number of such items in the hopes that they will find their way to children who will love them. 

I’d like to give our artists and craftspeople plenty of advance notice so they may complete orders in time to enjoy the holidays with their own families. If you’d like to commission a special item or inquire about its availability, please don’t hesitate to send me an e-mail at info@quiethourstoys.com. I’d be happy to discuss particulars with you.

Carey

Gift Packaging

October 13, 2007

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After months of e-mails from time-pressed parents, grandparents, and thoughtful uncles asking if I couldn’t just “wrap this up with a little note”; and after subsequent rummaging around in drawers for the perfect indie-designed cards and gift wrap, I’m very happy to introduce Quiet Hours’ new gift packaging service. The packaging is nostalgic, fun and, best of all, re-usable. Hopefully, it will enable you to check one more item off your multi-tasking list when it comes to gift buying.

This new option is listed as its own category in the drop-down bar on the left side of each web page. Click on “Gift Packaging” and choose from three different child-sized pressboard suitcases in sky blue (small, medium and large). Your gift will be wrapped in chocolate and blue polka-dot tissue, tied with grosgrain ribbon and topped off with a retro-style notecard from Papered Together (See photo above). Then everything will get tucked inside the case and sent on its way to your favorite little person.

Please note that not all our items will fit inside these cases. If you are unsure about sizing send an e-mail and I’ll be happy to assist you. Sizes and prices are as follows:

small: 5.5″ x 7.75″ x 3″ – $6.00

medium: 7″ x 9.75″ x 3.25″ – $8.00

large: 8″ x 11.75″ x 3.5″ – $10.00

Soto Softies

October 7, 2007

Some girls like to make stuff.

Some girls bake, some girls sew… some girls make bugs…

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One of the great things about running a shop like this is coming into contact with people like Maritza Soto, a woman who is forging her own path in attempts to live a creative life amidst all the everyday obligations of work and family. An illustrator born and bred in New York City, Maritza now resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts where she designs and sews a fantastical menagerie of stuffed creatures in her home studio.

In her own words, she was “a frustrated daydreamer who got friendly with a sewing machine and opened the door for a whole cast of colorful, fun, quirky-yet-endearing characters”.  All those doodles and cartoons she’s been drawing over the years have found riotous new form under her label Soto Softies. And these are not your everyday plush critters. Softies often fall into two categories: those made expressly as toys and those that cross over into the realm of art or 3-dimensional sculpture. Maritza’s could easily fall into the latter category – I first encountered her work earlier in the year with her entry in the first annual Softies Awards contest (Manny the Praying Mantis (below) caused something of a sensation) – but she’s chosen to share her custom creations with the rest of us. Being the original that she is, no doubt she is secure in the knowledge that non-conformists come in all sizes, and that some child, somewhere is just dying to invite a stuffed Zaubermaus – a toy with a name like a Teutonic superhero, and just as cool – home to play.

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We have a couple of one-of-a-kind Zaubermausi all our own (See the gang above and on our New Arrivals page.) and are expecting some Lovebugs and Woodchucks to make their way to our door in the next week or so. In the meantime, feast your eyes on some of Maritza’s work below. (Photos are the property of Maritza Soto.) All you crafty gals will appreciate the workmanship that goes into each of her creations, while the rest of us can marvel over her eye for color and pattern, and her ability to transform a few scraps of fabric into handfuls of plush happiness. 

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Read more about Maritza, and living the crafting life, at her blog. It’s also a good place to keep up with her latest work and show schedule. 

P.S. – She can knit and bake, too.

Update: The funky woodchucks Maritza made for us never even made it onto the shop pages. Some of Maritza’s fans who had seen pictures on her blog contacted me to reserve their favorites and the remaining two were snapped up by friends virtually out of the box. Wait until you see the lovebugs though…

Babyology Blog

October 6, 2007

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One of the shop’s Australian mom friends e-mailed to let me know Quiet Hours had been given a lovely write-up by one of her favorite blogs Babyology. I took a browse through the pages and liked what I saw; not to mention getting a renewed kick out of how easily the internet can link us to fellow parents in the land of Oz and elsewhere.

Editor and managing director Mandi e-mailed me some information about the site, so read on and consider paying them a visit. Clicking on over is also a great way to keep up on what is going on in the Australian design and craft scene for kids.

“Babyology gives you daily information on unique and fabulous baby products from around the globe. Babyology is a trend report for bubs – dishing up the hottest, newest, most-wanted products for kids and where to find them (anywhere in the world). There’s a discussion board so you can chat with other hip parents, a product chooser to help guide you in selecting the right products for your child and, of course, the daily stream of hot new finds (everything from maternity to nursery).”

**A note to faithful blog readers: Please forgive the absence of posts here of late. Things have been very busy as this is the prime time of year for re-stocking inventory and coordinating new projects. Be assured that a slew of new posts are on the way soon, including some eye candy in the form of our first Annual Holiday Preview. I’m also just about to send the Fall Preview e-mail, so if you’re not on the shop mailing list and would like to receive it, you still have time to subscribe.