My Modern Guest from Small For Big

Mari, the friendly, charming and talented toy designer behind Small for Big, is just whose perspective you need if you’re obsessed with choosing only the best toys for your kids.  She has selected this list of newly discovered playthings to keep your kids busy and happy this summer!  Thanks Mari!

8 Toys I’m Obsessed About

Thanks Esther for having me over! Esther is one of my oldest blogging buddies – we’ve even met in person, which can be rare in the blogging world. I’m always jealous of her Florida weather, and I tease her about my Minnesota snow. Her Instagram photos prove she practices what she preaches here on this delicious blog. In other words, I’m jealous of her well-decorated home! Let’s continue that well-designed goodness with some great toy design finds.

These toys are my current absolute favorites. A couple of them for more obvious reasons than others, I suppose. All of them are relatively new to me – within the last 6 months – and all of them feature either a truly classic play value, or a new innovation that has my designer gears spinning. I tried to include a range of ages, as well as some rainy day toys too. But honestly, I just had to share my faves with all of you. I hope you enjoy them too!

  1. Wood Balancing Toy, Keepsake Toys
  2. Totem Nature Building Set, Alex and Alexa
  3. Story Box Circus, Janod
  4. Slingshot and SeedBomb Kit, Poketo
  5. Sailing Ship Kite, Haptic Labs
  6. Suzu Lever Bike Bell, Crane
  7. Ybike Glider Scooter,
  8. Rambla Tumble Toys, Hoppop

Thanks everyone!

Xo – Mari

Some affiliate links included.
6 Jun 2011, 7:32am
real room tour:
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My Modern Guest from Small For Big

I’m kicking off my week’s vacation with a Real Room Tour from one of my best blogging buddies, Mari Richards of Small for Big.  Her blog is full of bright, fun and modern finds for kids, and if you don’t already follow it, you should start right now.  In addition to her blog, Mari is a successful, creative and talented toy designer.  You’ll probably recognize some of her creations if you don’t own a few already!

Real Room Tour: Birdie’s Green Retreat

Room tours are always so fascinating – I love peeking into other people’s homes. I’m the girl that likes to drive down the prettier streets in town after dark so I can get a glimpse inside the rooms all lit up in every house I pass. I’ve seriously considered driving to certain neighborhoods and going for walks at twilight. That’s not creepy, right?

Anyway, it seems only fair that I should share a little bit of my home in return for the potential stalking I’d do if I lived near you. Luckily Esther’s Real Room series gives me the perfect solution! I actually took these pics when my daughter Birdie was 6 months younger. It’s shocking to look at them now and see how much her room has already changed – now we have a twin bed and not enough space!

There were so many cribs I loved when we first started looking almost 3 years ago, but we just couldn’t convince ourselves to spend $1000. Luckily, we found the babyletto Modo 3 in 1 crib for $350, and it’s been lovely. (If only I’d known to put teething guards on the top edges a little sooner!) The dresser is from World Market. The artwork on the walls is mostly vintage, with a print from Binth and some paper money featuring birds from Doha, Qatar (thanks Rachel!).

I fell in love with this retro Swiss Family Robinson Poster while at Disneyland before I was pregnant.  It became the perfect focal point for Birdie’s room.  Until the day I heard a strange noise from her room, and found it laying perfectly centered in her crib, with her sitting in the middle, bouncing up and down!  Ah well.  The Measure Me Stick is from Studio 1am.  The stuffed elephant and stool are both old samples from my in-house days as a toy designer for Manhattan Toy.

Super easy DIY?  Browse your local thrift store for children’s records, I found ours for $1 each! Then I grabbed record frames for about $10 a piece from a craft store.  The stuffed animals are vintage, except for the black cat, a design of mine that’s still available from Manhattan Toy.



My favorite secret source for custom affordable rockers is Off Your Rocker. The chairs range from around $325 – $399, and are handmade in Canada. I even sent him the fabric I wanted to use for the upholstery. We still love ours (and it’s very comfy)!

The bookshelf is from Ikea, and the floor tiles are similar to  The folded quilt is from Dwell Studio for Target.  If you have a question about any of the toys in the shelves, feel free to ask!



The red-haired doll is one of the original Lilydolls that I designed, now reissued.  Behind her is a side view of another one of my designs – Trilby, a Galoompagalot.  The White dude is a favorite pal from Friends with you.

The floating Bird mobile can be found here (bird only, the stars and moon are an old mobile from the now defunct Pappa Geppetto’s Toys).

You’ll notice there are lots of my own toy designs in her room – the poor girl is spoiled rotten.  But it’s nice to finally have a use for all the bins of toys I was saving from my years as a full-time toy designer!  These days, my freelance product design work is a little less active.  It may mean less toys designed, but it’s more time with my girl.  That’s a very worthy trade-off.

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