Sweet vintage: Zoé de las Cases let’s you travel back in time

The essence of a beautiful childhood and past, happy memories are bottled up in French designer Zoé de las Cases‘ beautiful products. This French brand combines vintage photos with colorful drawing and children’s handwriting, and the result is extremely adorable and extremely French! Check out these cardboard gift boxes, postcards, paper dolls, adhesive cardboard characters and magnets:


Available at Mes habits chéris. Magnets €25.00, cardboard characters €10.00, paper dolls €13.00, cardboard boxes €8.75.



Vintage book bags by Miniséri
June 25, 2008, 10:30 pm
Filed under: Accessories, Decor, Picks for Grown-ups, Toys and games | Tags: , , ,

I know it’s only summer now, but back to school sales start much earlier than fall. So if you want to spice up your kids’ school supplies and are looking for some really out of the ordinary bags with a French vintage feel to them, I have the perfect items for you here. And even better: there are also great totes, satchels and other items for adults, not just for kids! I bet the bigger ones would make great diaper bags, too!


Miniséri is a very young company, whose first collection was only presented in January 2007. They produce a range of children’s accessories, mainly bags of all kinds and sizes, from book bags to lunch bags, handbags, shoulder bags… They are all beautifully crafted, most are in leather, and many also have French prints on the top flap.


Available at Mes habits chéris. Big bookbag (grand cartable) €90.00, small bookbag (petit cartable) €65.00, mini bookbag/purse (mini cartable) €80.00 (leather) €49.00 (fabric)



More of Playsam’s modern classics: from rocking toys to jetliners

It’s been a while now since I’ve introduced Playsam’s Streamliner and Xtreamliner cars on SunnyKidstyle, so now it’s definitely time to come back to this fabulous Swedish company and tell you, which other great products they have in store, because all of them share a magnificent, modern and simple design.

Just take a look at their Airliner and Jetliner series, just as beautifully designed as the Streamliner, only that this time, the outcome is not a little toy car, but an airplane. For those kids who like it even faster, they have a Formula 1 and an oldtimer racer in their collection, while budding little sailors will surely enjoy the beautiful sailboats.


And the good news don’t finish there quite yet, because Playsam has just the perfectly designed item for each family member: Your littlest ones will surely enjoy the Swedes’ interesting twist to rocking toys with this rocking rabbit, or this beautiful Saab ride-on, while teenagers or adults might be more tempted by these gorgeous JoJos,pens and key chains.


Design buffs on the other hand will surely fall for their incredible Playtown and Saab 001 concept car: Not that all of Playsam’s items aren’t masterpieces of design already, but especially these last two products are modern art in perfection and would make the perfect sculpture to display in your living room! The polished wooden pieces of the Playtown represent the four most characteristic sights of Sweden’s capital Copenhagen, i.e. The City Hall, Kaknaes Tower, The Globe and The Royal Castle. The superb quality of this set shows in the details: The City Hall’s crown is made of silver and palted with 23 carat gold! On the other hand the Saab 001 model is inspired by Sixten Saxon’s prototype of the Saab Concept Car 92001, which did not look like a normal car, but was futuristic and aerodynamic design in perfection. The modern design of this wooden toy, or rather piece of art, brings the charm of the origninal Saab home with its wonderful sophisticated design. Check them out yourself:

While researching Playsam’s products, I found even more interesting things: In 2006 Fitzsu Society, a Los Angeles based store for modern design home accessories, had gathered a group of designers from around the world to create their own interpretation of Playsam’s cars. While the most beautiful products are of course sold by now, I could still find a few beautiful ones available:

Among others, the whole collection of Playsam products can be bought at US shop UnicaHome except for for the playtown, or at UK shop Juuka . The Fitzsu designer GP cars can be bought at Fitzsu .



Wind-up toys by Jesco von Puttkamer

After finishing the above Playsam review, I started looking around which other items Unica Home sells, and I got lucky, because I found my inspiration for the following two features there. Originally, I had planned to write about more traditional wooden toys, but I guess I can always do that tomorrow or the day after.

Anyway, here are great wind-up tin-toys by designer Jesco von Puttkamer. They are hand-made in Germany, which makes them one-of-a-kind, as well as high quality products. Jesco’s unusual designs comprise a telephone with moving receiver, a boat, a police car (which I find has more resemblance with a tractor, but never mind), a swiss car and a Red Cross ambulance that can both climb uphill due to their assymetric cross-shaped rear wheel, as well as a set of race cars, which are a bit smaller than the others, but at least they come two per package, turning the lever increases their speed drastically. All tin vehicles are simply beautiful to look at, and were designed with happy memories of childhood and the joy of simple toys in mind. Once wound up with the included key, they run for about two minutes.

However, part of their nostalgic charme stems from the fact that these gems do have exposed gears like in the old days, and also the sharp edges make them unsuitable for children, at leat for the small ones. But I am sure many older kids or adults will just love them for their decorative value. Arriving with a numbered and signed instruction leaflet, they are a great collector’s item after all. And surely those parents who buy these precious cars for their children are responsible enough to only let the kids play with them under supervision until they are old enough not to hurt themselves accidentally (at least I hope so).

Available at Unica Home , $55.00-$75.00.

If you’re interested in a little more information about the artist, read on, otherwise, just skip to my next entry 🙂
After a bit of research I managed to discovered Jesco von Puttkamer’s website and thought I should also share some pictures of his studio and some other works.

I had never heard of him before, but apparently he must have some reputation, since he has already completed contract work for many big companies, such as Volkswagen and Fuji, and actually began his artistic career recycling leftovers from industrial production, out of which he created large metal sculptures which could be turned, twisted, pulled or otherwise set in motion, making an awful lot of noise. His current focus is on small collectors toys that double as objets d’art and are produced by himself, using the brand name ‘Jetzt Produkte’.


You can also order his creations directly from him, with the order form on his website, and he also completes custom orders. But there’s one big catch though: His website is only in German! No wonder why it was so difficult to find it in the first place, and of course apart from the fact that he belongs to a widely extended German noble family whose tradition it is to name their first-born Jesco. Thus you can imagine there are quite a few of them historically, among them is a rocket enginer and senior NASA manager, as well as a governor of German Cameroon, back in the days before World War I, when Germany had joined the European rush to divide Africa among themselves (see Wikipedia). By the way,’von’ means from in German and is a prefix denoting nobility. More precisely, it refers to the city or village under patronage. So Jesco von Puttkamer’s ancestry must be going back to some (probably tiny) place called Puttkamer.
OK, enough off topic rambling, back to children’s toys…



Alexander Girard’s wooden dolls for Vitra
June 22, 2008, 11:05 pm
Filed under: Decor, Picks for Grown-ups, Toys and games | Tags: , , ,

OK, today’s picks ended up being much more design oriented than I had originally planned, but the Alexander Girar list were still something in the back of my head, and seeing them at Unica Home just reminded me that I haven’t posted them yet. Besides, it is already a while ago that I have featured some of Girard’s items, so why not have another turn.

These wooden dolls made of pinewood were originally created by Girard as decorations for his Santa Fe home. Fortunately though, design museum Vitra is reissuing models 1-11 of his wooden dolls. These dolls with sometimes happy, sometimes melancholy faces are hand-painted and not suitable for very young children. But with their modern design, they would surely look fabulous as room decoration, not just for the nursery! They also make perfect gifts, since they arrive in a printed, wooden box.


Available at Unica Home for $150.00 each.



Nature inspired decor by Roost, not just for the nursery
June 20, 2008, 9:52 pm
Filed under: Decor, Picks for Grown-ups, Toys and games | Tags: , , , , , ,

Actually Roost is not a company for children’s items, but their whole range of nature inspred lamps, vases, stools and what not is just too gorgeous to be left out. Besides, they do have a couple of really nice items that would fit perfectly into a nature inspired nursery, or one with classy chic, because even though the designs are nature inspired, they are anything but rough and country style. Quite on the contrary, Roost’s whole collection has a very unique and elegant look to it. Take a look at these lamps and you will immediately know what I’m talking about:


Made of matte porcelain, the owl lamp emits a warm, soft light. The birdcage lamp made of the center stalks of palm fronds has a white light diffusor inside with a bird stenciled on it and a cage door. As usual with fragile items that are not designed for tiny hands, you will have to keep them out of your child’s reach until they are old enough to handle them. But of course that is really not a problem for these items, as the owl lamp would look amazing on a shelf and the birdcage lamp being a pendant will be out of reach, but still visible to be admired, anyway.


Each bird from the flock of swallows mobile is handcarved from basswood and hung on a debarked, natural branch. The barnyard animals actually are an item for children, for those older than five years at least. They are made from wood, filt and natural fibres and come in a set of goat, sheep, pig and donkey.

Available at Velocity Art and Design, porcelain owl lamp $121.00, birdcage lamps $230.00-270.00, flock of swallows mobile $140.00, brushy barnyard animals $36.00.



Colorful, funky tableware by French Bull
June 18, 2008, 5:45 pm
Filed under: Picks for Grown-ups, tableware | Tags: , , , ,

Today is all about color, lots of color, and some groovy design, that catapults you right back into the 60s and 70s. Here they are, the colorful mugs, plates and the whole shebang of Jackie Shapiro’s French Bull tableware:

All items are made of high quality melamine that is dishwasher and heat safe and will neither fade, chip nor discolor. So you can be sure these items will continue to look brandnew, so you can enjoy the great designs for a long time. And of course that makes sense, because not only are their designs so much more appealing than the standard Disney character tableware, of which you grow tired aleady right after purchasing, but you can even get your own set of French Bull wares, too! Now that promises to be a great, colorful picknick and barbecue season!


Check out Cocoa Crayon for the collection, e.g. printed bowl $7, kids set $22, Cup $6, discontinued items are 20% off.