Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mini Hunting at NYIGF

It's an egg chair, right? Nope, it's an egg cooker by Christian Ghion for Alessi
I had an exhilarating and exhausting trip to the New York International Gift Fair last weekend at the Javits Center in Manhattan. I spent the better part of Sunday trekking down aisle after aisle, but of course ran out of time and did not see everything. As I've reported in the past, the show is filled with nearly 3,000 major retailers, smaller stores and manufacturers, and independent business owners who aim to share their latest and greatest lifestyle, home, and gift products with buyers and the press. There is so, so, so much to see and absorb, so I try to limit my activity to exhibitors who have miniatures or whose products are transferable to a modern miniature environment.

This time around, I made an appointment with Alessi to see their latest miniature offerings.

Alessi holds a very special place in my heart; my husband and I share a great affinity for their products and even included many of their home products on our wedding registry back in 1998. Alessi products are incredibly inventive, well-made, fun, and are true objects of design. Seemingly "humble" products like a teapot, honey jar, or toothpick holder have such sophisticated lines and materials and always possess some element of humor. Alessi already has a line of miniature versions of some of their most popular products (launched in 2008), like the tea kettle, corkscrew, and fruit holder, which each measure about 3" high. While not fit for a 1:12 environment, they are adorable and very high-quality, and retail for approximately $25-50 per piece.

Courtesy of Alessi
Cute, eh?

This year, based on the success of the mini replicas, Alessi has gone even smaller and has just come out with refrigerator magnets of their popular pieces, which I saw at the show. They measure about 1-1/2 to 2" high and are amazing!

Four snazzy product photos above courtesy of Alessi

What do you think?

Some gorgeous silicone food molds, designed by Mario Trimarchi for Alessi, also caught my eye -- the shapes are architectural and could definitely be transferable to a modern miniature environment (table? stools?).

All food mold photos courtesy of Alessi
Moving on to the Bambu booth, it was great to see additional pieces from their line. I've used their products many times in the past, most recently in this mod nursery post -- look at the crib! It's a salt cellar!

There were some lovely bamboo coasters and pebbles -- lots of potential here!

One of my next stops was the Design Ideas booth, which was filled with many interesting modern wooden trees of all sizes. There were also adorable critters, "Woodland Creatures," meant to be paired with the trees, or arranged on your mantle, your dollhouse, perhaps??!

I also saw this urban stairwell mounted on the wall. I could see using this in a funky loft space...

In addition to these mini finds, a dollhouse took center stage at the show when it was voted one of the "Best New Products": the Plan Toys "Play House," a three-story structure made of rubber wood, which is a wood-like material made entirely of recycled Plan Toy product components. I actually saw the house at the Toy Fair back in February, and was impressed by the materials and construction.

Photo courtesy of the NYIGF
Plan Toys is known as one of the greenest companies around, and this newest product is no exception, especially when you think about how little waste is generated as part of the production. The furniture is quite neat -- here are a few photos from the Toy Fair:

Congrats, Plan Toys!

Last, but not least, was my visit to the AREAWARE booth, where a great Cubebot display greeted visitors:

The massive 2-1/2 foot Cubebot standing in the back is new for fall, as is the Micro Cubebot, which measures about 4-1/4" high! If you are not yet familiar with Cubebots, you should be...designed by David Weeks, the Bot has a cult following. It's no wonder they are sprouting up in different sizes; perhaps they might even go smaller one day???

Stay tuned for a truly exciting opportunity to have some fun with Cubebot. I am working out the details now with AREAWARE 
for a great challenge and giveaway. More information coming in September!

If you've read this far, thanks for sticking with me through my NYIGF tour, 2012! Hope you enjoyed it!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Let's Go Wild: A Safari Giveaway!

When I was first getting (back) into miniatures as an adult, my childhood memories of playing with minis came flooding back. I suddenly saw the potential in everyday items, ordinary household objects, and especially children's toys. Trips to the toy store were not only welcomed by my three kids, but encouraged by me!

I gravitated especially toward mini animal figurines and similar toys, which can work so well as adorable accents in nurseries and other scenes, like this one from 2009, right after I started blogging:

Check out the full post, too!

See that little dino on the wardrobe, at the upper right of the photo? That was one of my first purchases of Safari Ltd. toys, and I have bought many since. And now...

I am so thrilled to offer a wonderful giveaway of TWO Safari Ltd. products to one of my readers!

Safari's TOOBS sets are among my favorites of their products. Like other Safari products, they are well-made and lively replicas--the Around the World and Trains sets present so many great opportunities for mini scenes, in 1:12 and larger scales. Have a look at these realistic painted rubber pieces!


  • I will be giving away one Around the World set and one Trains set to one lucky reader! 

  • To enter, simply comment on this post anytime between today and Saturday, September 15, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time. You may only comment once. Please share how you might use the sets for your mini endeavors, or even just to play. You don't have to own a dollhouse to win them!!

  • You must be a follower of my blog to enter. You can live anywhere in the world -- Safari Ltd. will get it to you.

  • To choose the winner, I will pick one number based on the total number of comments using the Random Integer Generator on or about September 16, 2012. So you have a whole month to log in your comment! Feel free to spread the word, too!

I am so glad I am able to thank my loyal readers a cool giveaway! Thanks for following and GOOD LUCK

And be sure to check out the latest with Safari Ltd. on their website, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. The company is celebrating 30 years in the business -- congrats and thanks, Safari!