One of the best parts of my job is sharing discoveries with my readers. Some things I come across while shopping--others are gifts. My eldest daughter was given a blabla doll for her 1st birthday.
Ah, What's a blabla? Why it's the mushiest, sweetest doll around. No makeup. No high heels. Just fabulous color, soft cotton and the perfect item to hug. Blabla was born when two women teamed up with some expert knitters in Peru. The result is sensational designs. These amazing dolls are available in all sizes and shapes. Many resemble animals, others just wild and wacky friends. The newest offerings are the Boogaloo dolls. Your guess is as good as mine when it comes to animal inspiration for this cast of characters--and that's part of the fun. I gave the 10" x 5" Zookie (pink at top) as a big sister gift and it was a HUGE it! Mr. X (right)got the attention of a 3-year-old boy who refused to set the doll down during a 2-hour playdate. The pair carried on a mysterious conversation that was magical to watch. (Yep. That's why we avoid battery-operated toys 'round these parts). $36
Another gorgeous set of handcrafted products comes from Kata Golda. I stumbled onto her site when writing a story about tea sets for Babble.com. All of her things are made in the Pacific Northwest with endless care and creativity. If the sky is the limit on your Amex card, the gorgeous felt animals are wonderful treasures (but pricey at $113 for and elephant). A more cost-conscious gift is the tooth-fairy pillow $35 plain $51 personalized.