Friday, October 31, 2008


vintage halloween party decorations

It bothers me to hear that carved pumpkins or Jack o’ Lanterns are classified as vintage Halloween decorations. If you travel the streets of your town I challenge you to take a head count of how many artificial pumpkins with electrical lights inside versus real pumpkins. I have no doubt that the fake ones will greatly out number the ones picked up at the local discount store by at least two to one. And my favorites, twisted black and orange crepe paper and balloons, have disappeared from the scene altogether.

Modern parents are pressed for time and in the modern world of today; time is money. However, I find it sad to know that kids are missing out on the unique artistic experience that creating these vintage Halloween decorations entails. Remember the excitement of knowing that when mom picked you up at the school bus stop that the next stop would be the local farmer’s market where you would be allowed to choose what you believed to be the very best pumpkin in the whole wide world?

We considered ourselves to be so very grown up until we tried to pick up that giant pumpkin to take it home. The fear of dropping our prize was a wakeup call that we still needed assistance from time to time from the adults in our lives other than at the checkout counter.

If you were too cocky and insisted on carrying your purchase to the car and dropped it you were punished for your push for premature independence. Your porch was one of the few on the block that was dark and had no decorations whatsoever which shows another advantage to these vintage Halloween decorations. They helped to teach us a few of life’s lessons.

In those days, there were fewer overindulgent parents that might share the pain of their child’s loss and jump in to fix things and make it all better. Overcompensation due to budgetary constrictions was rare. We learned by experience that we had to be careful or pay the consequences. If you dropped the pumpkin, the best you could hope for would be to salvage the pumpkin seeds and the meat that would make a tasty pie. But, you can’t carve a broken gourd no matter how artistic and creative you might be.

This brings to mind other popular vintage Halloween decorations that were commonly seen: Homemade ghosts. These unearthly beings were nothing more than the white bed sheet that was drawn tightly over your basketball and hung from the ceiling of your porch. If you were lucky, the night was windy and the makeshift ghost would have the decency to float in the breeze. My mom let me borrow sheets from her linen closet with the promise no harm would come to them. No holes were cut out for the eyes, nose or the mouth. A piece of charcoal was used to carefully draw features while taking care not to snag the fabric. In fact, these vintage Halloween decorations worked fine as vintage Halloween costumes in a crisis.

All this might sound like a lot of work just to get a little bit of spooky atmosphere but it was fun. Is Martha Stewart the only one besides myself that gets the concept that these simple vintage Halloween decorations were so much more cool than manufactured plastic?

Return to Unique Baby Gifts Baskets, Kids Stuff and Party Ideas for more ideas for an old-fashioned Halloween.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


unique practical baby gift basket ideas

There are many shower gifts that are appreciated and a favorite is unique, practical baby gift baskets. You might ask what to do to compile and arrange an assortment that would qualify as both practical and unique. If you are a person who is out of touch with modern baby gadgets or has no idea of what day to day childcare is about, coming up with gifts that qualify to be in both categories might be difficult or impossible to find.

So, here are some instructions for well meaning friends and family without a clue. What happens is that you buy a basket or other baby oriented container and fill it with items that are used every day for an infant's care or entertainment. It's very simple, but if you need more information we have drilled the process down even further.



Just because we use the term "basket" doesn't mean that you have to stick to the Little Red Riding Hood style of delivery. Elegant baskets are decorative and desirable, but perhaps not the best receptacle for our purpose of creating a unique, practical baby gift basket.

Here are some ideas for containers that will serve the same purpose and will even add a little something if you are shooting for gifts in a particular theme:

  • Baby bath tub
  • Nursery clothing hamper
  • Plastic beach bucket
  • Diaper pail
  • Baby changing bag

If you are the traditional type and insist on using a classic woven basket you will need to embellish the handle or decorate the sides of the basket with something pretty to send the message that something special is inside. For small items, a round basket with a handle is fine but you may need to find an old fashioned, woven laundry basket to handle large items like a baby quilt or plush toys.


Try to get the answers to these questions:
    This information will help you to know whether or not to buy products in pink, blue or if it might be best to forego the feminine or masculine colors and choose items in a gender neutral color scheme. Neutral colors would be green, lavender, yellow or even purple. In fact, the modern opinion might consider anything except pink and blue to be unisex. However, you may come across a dad that raises an eyebrow at lavender for his baby boy

    If you want to score points with the hostess as well as with the mother to be, ask what the layout of the party is to be and then shop for your gifts accordingly. The reason this is so cool is because your unique, practical baby gift basket will be included as part of the shower decorations and everybody will admire your creative, beautiful baby gifts.

    If mom is breastfeeding, a gift basket filled with baby bottles and nipples would not be practical. Nor would you want to present a basket filled with breastfeeding supplies if baby will be given formula


    It probably wouldn't hurt to include a few of each as most mother's have the motto: "Let no diaper go unused" for the first few years.


    While not a necessity, it is lots of fun to present some cute decorations that reflect the decor that mom and dad selected for their baby's room. To do so will give their taste in decorating a big thumb's up of approval.

Over the next week or so I will share more ideas for homemade as well as boutique and themed items to include in your unique, practical baby gift baskets on Unique Practical Baby Gift Baskets, Kids Stuff and Party Ideas so get your pens and pencils ready to take notes.

Friday, October 24, 2008


kids art drawings gift ideas

No matter what time of the year, we always need a few kids gift ideas. Here's one that parents are going to love simply because first of all, the toys are endearing and cuddly and secondly a really neat way to build a kid's confidence in regards to their first attempts at drawing.

unique kids gift ideas

Annie, at Create Your Own Critters came up with the idea of taking children's artwork and designing a stuffed toy that is as close to the original drawing as possible. And, as you can in the example they do a fine job! The picture at the top left of the page is the child's color drawing. The picture to the right of the page is the finished product. The design is so close that you would have to really look close to ascertain which is the drawing and which is the picture of the actual toy which by the way is known as Pugly. I believe that Pugly may be of the Polka Dot Bat species, but I'm not for sure.

The concept is one that I can appreciate as I have boxes bulging with craft paper, pencil and crayon drawings that my kids made as special gifts for me and their dad. Whether they were made at school or at the table in the dining room, I have a difficult time convincing myself to throw them in the trash. By using Create Your Own Critter's services, I pick my favorites, have them made into keepsakes and show my kids how precious and WONDERFUL their drawings are to us.

For more cool examples of kids art that has been magically transformed into unique, personalized dolls, check out CREATE YOUR OWN CRITTERS you will see why they made my unique kids gifts ideas pick of the day.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Our favorite fashion diva doll is nothing if not adaptable as the popular online Barbie dress up games attest. I won’t say that paper dolls are a thing of the past as my girls still like to take the scissors and clip out cute outfits from mail order catalogues and stick them on cardboard cut outs to dress them up in their ideas of what’s stylish or fashionable for the season.

The computer has just added a new layer to Barbie girls dress up games and while I consider most websites to have rather limited capabilities, I’m certain that the popularity will encourage webmasters to employ the experts in cutting edge technology to start pushing those pixels to improve the appearance and performance of the Barbie dress up games that are currently online.

I always recommend that parents take a look at websites that are marketed towards children before turning their kids loose and leading them surf the sites alone. Here are some of the top rated sites that offer Barbie dress up games. I hope that once you visit them a time or two that you will come back and post a review.

Criteria for a helpful review of all kids dress up games should include information on the following items:

  • Whether or not the dress up game is age appropriate
  • Ease of use
  • Size and style of wardrobe and accessories

For instance, it’s rather irritating to search online for hours trying out page after page of dress up games only to find one after the other that MIGHT entertain your girls for less than 15 minutes before they are saying that they are bored and want you to come back, search for and approve another game. The ideal website will offer lots of different dress up costumes for various special occasions as well as everyday wardrobes with shoes, accessories and hairstyle options so that I feel my time searching for something fun to keep my daughter busy is well spent.

So far, here are the best dress up games for Barbie that I have tested online. If you find a site that’s not on my list, please list it using the comment form and I will add it as soon as possible.


So many girl's dress up games and too little time keep me from expanding our reviews and listings very quickly. Please send us your reviews and addresses of your favorite kids dress up sites to help us out.

Please encourage your little divas to pull out the trunk, the dress up clothes and invent their own party ideas! We don't want to send the message that the only cool, fun dress up games are online.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I'm always on the lookout for cheap baby shower favors and I found some cute baby booties favors that I am dying to make! I forgot to take my camera with me to the party last night so I don't have pictures to share, but I can give you the instructions and I found a video that will give you some ideas on how to get the job done.


  • Styrofoam cup
  • Narrow satin baby ribbon
  • Small charms or bells to decorate the front of your baby bootie shower favors.

1.) The lady in the video I watched tore one side out of her Styrofoam cup but I found the unfinished edges rather unattractive so I'm going to recommend that you cut one side out of your cup with straight edge scissors or if you have a pair that makes a decorative pattern that might be cute.

2.) Use a hole punch to make openings or eyes to pull your narrow satin baby ribbon through to lace the booties.

3.) Thread your decorative charm or bell onto your ribbons that you will use as laces.

4.) Zig zag your shoelaces through the eyelets in the same way that you would lace your own shoes taking care to display your charm in an attractive location

You will be amazed at how much these inexpensive baby booties favors resemble the real thing only they are really cheap and easy to make. Use them as decorations for the tables for many baby shower themes or as baby shower favor boxes.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Farm families have a deep affection for their rural farming lifestyle, so unique baby boy gifts of tractors and the farm animal of your choice would be appropriate to welcome a newborn into an agricultural environment. You can always pick up ready made, designer farm animal gift baskets filled with country farm gifts that might include delicious fruit preserves and jams from Knotts Berry farm or you can design a more personalized baby gift basket that you make yourself using our baby shower gift ideas.


John Deere baby gifts and tractors are a perfect fit, so a farming baby gift basket would really shine with a John Deere green tractor as a centerpiece. However, you should do some research before jumping into shopping for a collection of Baby Deere toys and gift items to see if they plow with Ford tractors rather than the JD brand. Once you have that information in hand, here are some ideas for your gift basket filled with farm theme baby boy gifts that will look great when displayed alongside the pink or green John Deere baby crib bedding set and nursery decorations.


There’s no need to buy a fancy, expensive basket when a cheap one straight from the farmer’s market would be best. If you just have to decorate it, you can stencil the John Deere logo on the front or tie a big raffia bow on the handle just for fun. Use a large, red and white checkered napkin or tablecloth as a liner to give it a finished look.


Farm gifts for babies can be tricky as so many of the cute farm sets with the big red barns, tractors and farm animals can present a choking hazard. Save these toys for toddler birthday parties. For newborns, we want soft onesies with funny farm sayings on the front or if you like to buy larger sizes to help mom out in the near future, toddler farm appliqué clothes, so the baby isn’t overloaded with more infant outfits than he or she could possibly wear before outgrowing them.


For those who don’t know a tractor from a tricycle; country farm gifts are cute. You don’t have to be a farmer’s baby to love baby cows, chickens, horses and pigs. Some farm animal figurines would be nice to display on wall shelves as collectibles are very popular. A gift that you could make yourself would be some small farm animal pillows that you sew from fabrics that will coordinate with the colors mom has used in the bedroom. A patchwork quilt with animal appliqués would be lovely if you are a quilter.


It has become common to include a gift for the mom and dad to be in the gift basket. For daddy, a new cap with his favorite farming logo on the front would be appreciated. Mom might prefer some casseroles that could be frozen and thawed for those times when homemade meals are impossible to fit into her schedule.

For more baby boy gift items and ideas, return to UNIQUE BABY GIFTS, KIDS STUFF and PARTY IDEAS and cruise through the labels.


Celebrity dress up games are not only fun, they might give you a few ideas on how to choose a wardrobe or mix and match your own clothes before the next birthday party or trip to the mall. Girls should take this opportunity to use free dress up games for role playing and living your fantasy of being a move star or teen queen free of charge with no paid subscriptions required.

What happens is you visit the website and pick the teen idol or rock star of your choice. A page will open that has a cartoon picture of your favorite movie star in her panties and bra. Often the picture will seem to be place in her luxurious walk in closet filled with a virtual treasure trove of cool designer clothes, shoes, purses accessories including sunglasses, belts, and other items right down to the chandelier earrings, hats and ornaments for hip and trendy hairstyles.


They are the hip and trendy version of paper dolls. In the old days, you bought a book with a stand up cardboard doll wearing her underwear. Sheets of clothing cutouts came as a set and your job was to get the scissors and carefully clip them out leaving little tabs along the outline that were supposed to hold the cute stuff in place on the doll. The bad part is that the paper was often flimsy and it was difficult if not impossible to get the dress up clothes to stick to the doll without sticky tape.

Modern celebrity dress up games, haute couture clothes and accessories are so much easier because the outfits don’t fall off and the activities are FREE!

Kids can dress up their favorite Bratz dolls, Icarly, teenage girls can play Britney Spears dress up games and even boys can take part in the fun with the Emo dress up games where you dress up an Emo boy or a pet rock with a bad attitude. Who would have ever dreamed that celebrity dress up games would include a rock or a guy?

Even mom and dad get their chance to dress up famous people like politicians and sports stars. How much fun will the old folks have updating Hillary Clinton’s pantsuits and jewelry or giving John McCain a Beatle haircut? It’s not all about fashion and fantasy; there’s a lot of fun to be had for kids of all ages.

We would love to hear your reviews of the celebrity dress up games that you have played online, so hit the comment button and share your opinions with other girls. Here are a few favorites dress up games for girls according to our viewers:

Goth is not my style, but I had a blast playing dress up as a Gothic princess. On the same dress up website, I put on pirate wench clothes and sailed the seven seas and then picked up a feather boa and spike heels for a celebrity diva look. It's good to find something to online other than facebook and chatrooms!

Monday, October 13, 2008


MARGARITAVILLE Frozen Concoction Maker<br />(Model DM2000)

We have some Parrothead baby gift basket ideas that will have even the most fanatical Buffet fans buzzing.


Rather than a traditional woven basket with a handle, I would buy an extra large beach bum hat. The best kind might be the big straw hats with the unfinished edges that the tourists like to wear. The straw around the brim will give some support for a bow or a small arrangement of tropical fruit or seashells while highlighting the contents.


A trip to Margaritaville is a good place to pick up a licensed baby item to use as your signature centerpiece for your arrangement. You might pick up a couple of funny onesies with phrases and sayings taken from some of the most popular songs or a pacifier from paradise to kick off your collection of tropical baby gifts.

Here are some tips for more stuff to buy for your baby Parrothead:

  • Sun Hats
  • Sunglasses
  • Baby safe sunscreen
  • Bikinis or swim trunks (depending on whether the beach gift basket is for a baby boy or girl)
  • Parrothead toys for the beach
  • Floaties

Don't forget to include something cute for mom and dad in your baby gift. Here are some ideas for Margaritaville theme gifts that will tickle the most avid Jimmy Buffet Parrotheads:
    Parrothead clothing and attire like t-shirts, hats, ties or boxer shorts
  • An official Margaritaville blender
  • Margaritaville tin signs
  • Margaritaville flip flops
  • BBQ Aprons and hats
  • Packages of Margarita mixer and a recipe for salsa
  • An Official MARGARITAVILLE Frozen Concoction Maker Model DM2000 which is perhaps one of the best Parrothead new dad gifts of all time!

Buffet fans love to celebrate and advertise that they are members of the Parrothead Club, so any party supplies or licensed items with the logo on them will be greatly appreciated. Just don't let your own wishlist overload your Parrothead baby onesies and take the focus off the arrival of a new baby Buffet fan.

The calendar may say that it's time to start knitting sweaters and hats, but you can bet it's summertime somewhere and whereever it is, you can bet that Parrotheads will be there.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


When it comes to baby skin care, some moms are sadly uninformed including yours truly. My baby was born with beautiful skin without the mottling and wrinkling that many newborns have. With such a pleasing initial appearance, I have to admit that I was caught unaware when the baby’s skin rash and acne made its appearance.

My pediatrician went into a canned speech about baby hormone levels at birth, the causes of milia and baby acne, how they are common and nothing to be alarmed about. I had already read all that stuff in my newborn care manuals and I wasn’t in the mood to hear him rattle on about how it would probably go away on its own in time.

I simply wanted to know how to I clear up baby acne and which baby skin care products would be best to put a rush on things so I could go back to snapping pictures. Plus, the rash seemed to itch and I had heard that babies not bothered as much as moms with the condition and that no special steps other than normal newborn bathing procedures would be required.

I believe that he saw the frustration on my face because he felt the need to caution me not to put extra oils and creams on milia bumps on her face. He advised me to continue the use of plain old Johnson’s baby soap and basically not to sweat the small stuff because the bumps would go away on its own without treatment.

I headed back to the house determined not to search on the web for remedies and home treatments for milia. I also made a pledge not to become obsessed with switching to expensive organic baby skin care products when the tried and true store brands were cheap and there was more than enough evidence to prove that they work just fine.


To make a long story short, the cut off date came and went with no improvement in the baby’s acne. She still was red, inflamed and obviously itching. Rather than being soothed and relaxed after her bath, she was often fussy and uncomfortable. I raised the issue with my pediatrician and his advice was to give it a little more time. At this stage of the game, I was past arguing and decided to take matters into my own hands. I decided to make the switch to an organic crib mattress and organic nursery bedding and baby skin care products. I completely replaced the mainstream baby bath soap and lotion with baby skin care products that contained nothing but organic oils.

The effects were practically instantaneous and for the first time my baby girl didn’t want to scratch like crazy after her bath. I never advise a mother to go against her pediatrician's advice, but I can honestly say that if I had not started to use organic baby skin care products and bedding that my baby would probably still be covered in a nasty rash. I give organic baby products all the credit for getting her skin in tip top shape, comfortable and ready for photographs.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Any day is a good day to dress up in fancy clothes, but a girl’s birthday requires special dress up birthday party ideas. Everything from designing your own special invitations to choosing the menu should be approached with fun and flashy fashions in mind.

Pop up birthday party invitations in the shape of a jeweled purse covered in silver and gold metal decorations and hardware with embossed designer logos or your little diva’s monogram in raised letters would be an excellent way to announce your event. If time is short, bought invitations will do just as well. Don’t stress yourself out with unnecessary craft projects and homemade dress up party invitations when you are pushed for time when there are cute invitations that are so cheap.


It’s perfectly acceptable to allow your guests to dress in random clothing styles but sometimes it’s nice to have a theme when the dress up birthday party falls close to a holiday. Here is my list of the best dress up birthday party themes:



The dress up birthday party ideas follow along the lines of online dress up games that are so popular with girls who like to play on the computer. Computerized games are lots of fun, but it’s my opinion that they pale in comparison to the real thing. A kids’ dress up birthday party and dress up clothes are much more entertaining and versatile than clicking and dragging on graphics to look at for a few minutes on a computer screen.

Online games are fine, but don’t deprive your girls of the games that we played when we were kids. Who can forget how much fun a group of kids can have with a pile of old clothes, purses and high heel shoes? A dress up party might be the best way to introduce our children to the delights of hands on entertainment in addition to the virtual kind.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


bride dress up clothes costume

Halloween may be the most publicized event for kids dress up clothes and costumes. At my house anything from a rainy afternoon to a girl’s play date is reason enough to go digging in the old trunk for a princess outfit or a bridal veil for a make believe wedding ceremony. If you don’t have a little boy on hand to walk down the aisle with your imaginary bride, draw straws for who will wear a false mustache or beard that mommy can quickly draw with one of the pencils from her makeup case.


Anybody can learn to put together an inventory of clothes or costumes to fit just about any size in any given style. The key is clothing in large sizes that are adjustable and flashy, colorful accessories in their favorite themes. You may have to buy some items at party supply stores if the kids want to dress up like a particular celebrity, but in my opinion the best outfits are ones that are found in a trunk in the attic or the back of your closet.


Girls love to wear costume jewelry, garden hats, opera hats, high heels and gloves that their mother or even their grandmother wore when they were the height of fashion. If you are fortunate enough to have vintage pictures of how they were worn, have the photo album on hand for a quick show and tell session. What an excellent opportunity to share some family history with your kids!


Boys are more into dressing up like pirates, cowboys and playing soldier than playing house with the girls. But, maybe if you agree to let them wear buccaneer hats and an eye patch they will allow themselves to be invited to a tea party in between sailing the open seas with a parrot on their shoulder.

Here’s an idea for parents; start gathering the kids’ dress up clothes in a special box or trunk to have ready for the next play date. When the children say, “I’m bored” you will be ready for them. All that’s required is to point them in the direction of the treasure trove of cool stuff you have on hand and let the games begin!

Return to UNIQUE BABY GIFTS, KIDS STUFF and PARTY IDEAS for more cool ideas for entertaining your kids!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008



We don’t have to wait for baby to start school to find stylish Baby Uggs. If you were wondering, "Where can i find infant Uggs" your search is over! We have resources for these cute, crib shoes in pretty pastel colors for baby girls and masculine brown for baby boys that are just as rustic and manly as suede. Plus, they come in sizes small enough to kick around in the crib.

I picked up two pair of the black infant Uggs for my little one and let me tell you that she looked like a stylish little doll wearing them in on our outings about town. And because they are small enough for babies they don’t get dirty like the ones we bought for our toddler (especially after she stepped in the mud, but that’s another story for another day) and can be used for several infants before they will look worn.

If you read the reviews for Uggs baby boots, you will see where some consumers say that the sizes were off or not what they expected. My advice is to email your seller and have them give you some measurements of the soles in your child’s size and be certain before you order because as we all know; postage is far from free! That’s the only negative I have ever heard or read about Baby Uggs so don’t let sizing stop you from enjoying the quality and style of always fashionable and stylish Baby Uggs crib shoes.

Thursday, October 02, 2008



Do you need artwork with inspirational quotes for kids? Check out the Designing Fairy shop for some of the most thought inspiring and imaginative drawings with inspirational quotations that I've seen lately.

Beautiful pictures and prints in kids rooms is important as are inspirational sayings for kids. It seems at times that I can't pick up a newspaper or read my news feeds without there being breaking news of some child in dire circumstances. As my husband is so fond of telling me; I can't save the world. But I truly believe that if we all did just a little bit we might make it better for the most innocent among us.

If kids can't count on their parents for positive parenting, the art that we display may in fact be the best inspirational reading kids do in any given day. Can you name the number of times that you trekked off to the library to pick up a stack of books when you were just learning to read? Unless you were exceptional, chances are that just didn't happen. Reading is something we learn to love; we don't come here with a burning desire for inspirational quotes, sayings or the written word.

This is why cute art with inspirational quotations and sayings is so very important. Inspirational kids motivational posters, pictures and art prints might be just the ticket to get children on the right path. It's not just a decorating issue, it's an investment in our future. It's an excellent idea to line the halls of the schools, daycares and after school programs with original drawings with quotes to remind kids just how special and important we know they are. You never know when one short sentence or a single word will make a world of difference. I appreciate that the artist who made the drawing on this entry, Ronni Ann, gets it!