Friday, February 28, 2014

Toy Fair 2014, Highlights, My Studio Girl

Welcome back to day two of highlighting some of my favorite companies and products from the 112th Annual American International Toy Fair held at the Javits Center last week.

If you are not familiar with the Toy Fair, it is the show where imagination comes to life in various products from action figures and dolls, video games, electronics, educational, creative products, crafts and more.

In continuing to highlight the show, I'd like to introduce you to UGames and My Studio Girl.  A company with products that will appeal to children, teens and adults alike.  To spark creativity and unite families together with fun artsy, crafty interactive products.

After meeting the group at UGames and My Studio Girl, along with the fabulous Barbie Davalos of Grand Avenue PR, I'm now a huge fan of the My Studio Line of arts and crafts kits. These kits are  geared to spark the imagination and bring out the artist in your child or teen.

As an adult artist, my memories of childhood continue on in my work and my life. I'm an avid collector of children's novelties, artwork and storybooks. In 2005 I wrote and illustrated the children's book, "Star and the Milky Way Cafe". Star is a little girl who lives in all of us, she is you, she is me. This paved the way for my next book, "Altered Art Circus" published in 2009 by Quarry Books.  Altered Art Circus is an arts and crafts book with a colorful circus theme, with each project telling a story. Easy project for kids to do, and inspiring for adults. After seeing the selection of kits in the My Studio Girl line, I was transported back to the imaginary world which lives in my crafty book.

The themes of the kits, their style and quality instantly grabbed me. I really couldn't pick a favorite kit. The fox girl which is apart of  collage canvas art kits was beyond adorable. I could see kids creating a wall of fox art, each telling their own stories. I can't wait to create my storybook canvas using some of these fabulous kits. Then I can ask: "What did the fox say"?

After my excitement of this set of products I was introduced to the sketch portfolios series which combines various drawing and coloring techniques. This is perfect for enhancing a child's drawing and coloring skills. Its a great companion for rubber stampers and mixed media artists wanting to learn fun illustration. So easy to use and no drawing experience neccasary. I'd like to use these kits in my mixed media illustrative collages.

 For the doll maker and creative stitcher, this series of product kits will bring a smile to your face. The Best Friend Dolls and Hang Abouts. These are by far the cutest series of felt and fabric stitch kits I have seen, I especially love the doll and owl ones. I can't stand the cuteness here. You don't need to be a sewer to enjoy these. If you are an adult wanting to get into the art doll trend these kits could be the perfect beginner for you.

Now we all know how much I love clay and paper mache. So this set of products is no surprise, The Paper Mache and Artist Model Kits. Need I say anything more? I love the Japanese Girl, my favorite paper mache kit, followed by the owl and the dog. Just too, too cute for words. I can't wait to show you my version of the Japenese Girl with the help of some fabulous kids.

My Studio Girl is definitely a line you will want to know more about. Stay tuned for some product reviews, projects and creativity coming soon revolving around My Studio Girl.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Toy Fair 2014, Highlights, Educational Insights

For the past week I have been unwinding from all the excitement of the 112th Annual American International Toy Fair held at the Javits Center last week.

This is the show where imagination comes to life in various products from action figures and dolls, video games, electronics, educational, creative products, crafts and more.

As an all in one creative arts guru with various industry titles, going to trade shows is apart of the job.  But going to the Toy Fair is my favorite one to attend.  I get to reconnect with old friends, meet new ones, review products, and consume all the new trends.

Over the next few days I will be showcasing my favorite companies and products at the show followed by a series of product reviews.  Some of these reviews will be interactive and some will be filled with eye popping photos allowing you to escape your world for a few minutes and enter their worlds.  My intent is to introduce you to new companies filled with products that will appeal to children, teens and adults alike.  To spark creativity and unite families together with fun new interactive products.

My first Toy Fair company to showcase today is Educational Insights. A company where education meets fun, they are creators of unique toys, games and classroom tools for today's kids. Their products are built to inspire kids to learn and create while having fun at the same time, making them the perfect companion to parents and teachers.

At the show I had a wonderful opportunity to tour their booth with an extremely helpful and friendly staff which made my experience even more exciting. This really made their products shine even more for me. With so many fun products I had a hard time picking some of my favorites to highlight for you today. I want to start with the first series of products I saw, "Chet the Cat"!
Chet the Cat is a series of products for kids ages 3 & up, which introduces them to a world of baking and cooking. A great way to explain what is in the kitchen and a way to keep the kids busy while you are cooking. This series of products also sparks the imagination and propels creativity. It builds interaction, social skills and enhances technical skills.

This is a series which comes to life with a whimsical storybook character named Chet and his friends which is easy for young children to relate too. As a children's author and creative adult, I was instantly drawn to Chet's overall look and storybook magic. As an educator I was drawn to its interactive qualities.

I will be re-visiting the Chet the Cat line soon with a series of interactive reviews and fun.

The next product I came across was Dinosaur Puppet-On-A-Stick, all I can say is I love this.  I was drawn to its color, look and theme, Dinosaur! One of my majors in college was Social Studies, which required many trips to the museum and led to my fascination with many decades in history.  One of these decades is the age of Dinosaurs.

I am apart of the museum group and frequent many museums and centers.  At the The Museum of Natural History I can be seen wandering through the Paleontology area getting inspired by all the dinosaur remains and fossils.

Seeing this fun product appealed to my explorer side, creative side and theatrical side. This is a great product for playtime, parties and a fun gift. This series of interactive puppets aid in expression and
communication. It can be the perfect companion for that budding actor or actress in the family, the explorer or paleontologist in the house. I can't wait to share with you a puppet show or dinosaur day at the house with a few little friends of mine. Afterwards My own Dinosaur will find a magical place in the studio and for my friends a place in their play space.

Now I have to mention the fun and adorable series of games; "Kitten Caboodle" and "Diggity Dogs"! Can you guess which one is my favorite???? If not, I will reveal it, Kitten Caboodle. As a cat owner of a large Maine Coon Cat named Lucky, I was destined to find this product.

Besides the great theme, Kitten Caboodle is a go-fish type of game with a cat theme which features photo's of real life cats which were chosen from a contest the company held.

Its a game which promotes the art of "Good Sportsmanship, along with practicing matching, memory and counting skills. A fun game to involve the whole family.

Some other products available through Educational Insights are: Nancy B's Science Toys, Geo Safari (Love the Talking Globe & Motorized Solar System),  The Riddle Show and Surf Side Scramble Game.

I look forward to sharing with you more of their products and their interactive fun which will make your buying experience much more exciting.  Stay tuned for future giveaways and new products via companies, my affiliates and myself.