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13 Feb '22

Bri Heiligenthal's Toadstool Sugar Cookies

Posted by Annie Messing in Recipes

Back in September, I wrote about how toadstools have become a beloved design trend in fashion, clothing, and children’s lifestyle products. As you can see, Brimful is fully on board with this trend with no signs of stopping! In fact, if you follow the shop over on Instagram, you will want to tune in tomorrow for a toadstool themed giveaway!

My friend Bri is graciously hosting the giveaway and along with Brimful shop credit, one lucky winner will also win cookie decorating essentials to make her gorgeous toadstool sugar cookies. So if you’re toad-ally gah gah for toadstools like we are, please join in the giveaway fun on Monday, Feb 14th at 9AM PST.

Bri uses this trusty sugar cookie recipe year round - the only thing she omits is the lemon juice.

For the icing, Bri has come up with an easy-to-follow method that gives her great results, batch after batch. Here is one of the toadstool cookie cutters that Bri likes using.

Icing Recipe and Tips:

Start with one cup powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of water-mix together until the consistency is smooth and not too thick/not too runny. You want it not so thin that it will drip right off the side of the cookie, but not so thick that it won’t easily squeeze from the bottles. Continue adding water in very small amounts (you can always add more powdered sugar if you find it’s too runny). Once you’ve got the right consistency, add food coloring. A few drops is all it takes for a nice bright red color. Bri recommends this one for the most true red.

Once it’s all mixed well, pour it into different squeeze bottles and essentially “color” it onto the cookies. Start with the red and let it harden completely before switching to white icing for the toadstool's white dots and stem.

I hope you've enjoyed this cookie decorating tutorial and be sure to tag Bri at @burtsbrisplease on social to show off your cute cookies!


19 Nov '21

Cyber Monday 2021

Posted by Annie Messing

Is it just me or does planning for the holidays feel a little bit precarious this year?

I have been leaning hard on my belief that keeping things simple is best.

The shop is fully stocked for the Christmas shopping season a bit earlier than usual, so that's good news! You can see all the newest arrivals here and there's even a few ornaments this year too.

Brimful's once-a-year sale will be on Cyber Monday, November 29th at 8am PST. The two promotions being offered are:

15% off orders > $50

20% off orders > $150

The sale codes for both promotions will be emailed out to Brimful's newsletter subscribers the evening before the sale. If you aren't signed up already, you can do so on the homepage or welcome pop-up. Please note that Animals & Dolls, Brin d'Ours, Grapat, and a few Olli Ella items are excluded from the sale.

To ensure your orders get to you by December 25th, the shipping deadline for Christmas delivery is Wednesday, December 15th. Orders will continue to be shipped after this date, but may not make it for the big day. Fingers crossed for no delays!

This is my ninth holiday season playing Santa at Brimful and the excitement of seeing your cute holiday orders come in never fails to thrill me. Thank you for supporting this little shop! Despite the ongoing pandemic and uneasiness we may feel about gathering together over the next month, I hope you all have a beautiful, memorable holiday season.

xoxo, Annie





07 Sep '21

11 Whimsical Toadstool + Mushroom Themed Gifts

Posted by Annie Messing

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11 //

I recently read that one of this year's hottest design trends is mushrooms, so it comes as no surprise that cheery red toadstools and sweet brown mushrooms keep popping up on children's apparel, toys and accessories. I mean, just look at this adorable toadstool teether added to the shop last week - so cute!

Toadstools and mushrooms are ubiquitous in children's stories as fairy homes, so I think it's rather cute that we are seeing these whimsically shaped fungi having their own design moment. Whether you're obsessed with this trend or just mildly dipping your toe into it, I hope you enjoy perusing through today's gift roundup.

P.S. This mushroom trend also gives us the perfect opportunity to remind our little ones: DO NOT EAT WILD MUSHROOMS.



24 Jun '21

A Visit with Brin d'Ours

Posted by Annie Messing in Behind the Scenes, Brimful Favorites

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Brin d'Ours and getting a tour of their studio, located in a quiet small town in eastern France. For those of you not familiar with this small toy brand, Brin d'Ours designs and makes beautiful wooden animals which Brimful is honored to have in the shop. It was such a pleasure to meet the founders, Daniel Williams and Marie-Charlotte Pagnoux and learn more about their design and manufacturing process. It was such an exceptional experience that I decided to write it all down to share with you'll!

Let me take one step back before talking about the tour and say that for years, I had searched for wooden animals to add to Brimful. In particular, I wanted to find a small brand that was still growing their presence in the US. In my research, I came across many well-crafted animals, but none felt right until I happily stumbling upon Brin d'Ours about two years ago.

Their wooden animals possess a kindness and charm that I had not seen in other animals - and as my children like to point out, the eyes are warm and friendly. I think many of you will agree with this sentiment, feeling similarly drawn to the sweet red fox, the adorable duckling, and spotted fawn.

Fast forward to the visit with Daniel and Marie-Charlotte and I realized within the first five minutes of our visit where the whimsical charm of the animals is rooted! Daniel and Marie-Charlotte met at university studying animation and I believe it is their background in this art form that informs their designs. Daniel trained in furniture making after finishing his studies, which is what eventually led him to starting Brin d'Ours. He still uses his animation skills by designing new animals on an animation tablet and I think it's so neat how he's found a way to combine his love of woodworking and animation. Marie-Charlotte manages the business side of the company while also contributing to product design and caring for their two young children. She is gracious and soft-spoken and even before we met in person, I admired what a lovely person she is through our emails.

My family was also along for the tour and Daniel was very patient with my children's questions and curiosity. He first showed us the linden wood that came in long rough planks from a local lumber yard. After the bark is removed and the planks smoothed out, the wood is cut down into smaller blocks. Taking one of these blocks, Daniel took a stencil in the shape of a fox and sketched an outline onto the wood. With careful precision on a machine, Daniel cut out the fox and then show us step-by-step how it is shaped and formed until the hard edges are softened into two attentive ears, a bushy tail, etc. He made the wood-carving process look so fluid and easy - the sign of a true artist.

Once an animal has been carved out and smoothed, it is ready for paint. This process actually takes the longest, because of the drying process. Each animal is painted by hand and the artist is trained for up to 3 months! Looking at the rows of animals on the drying shelf, it was obvious how much love and patience each employee at Brin d'Ours puts into his/her part of the creation process. We especially enjoyed seeing the personalized items that some of the employees had crafted - like a rabbit with tiny flowers painted on its ears, or a black and white panda bear. Daniel explained that while he now spends most of his time overseeing the manufacturing, he's still involved in making the animals. In fact, if you happen to have one of the wolves in your collection at home, those are Daniel's specialty. I really appreciated how Daniel talked with such love about this brand that he and Marie-Charlotte have so thoughtfully nurtured. They are both humbled by the wild appreciation that customers from around the world show for Brin d'Ours. While it is a brand geared for children, we shared a light-hearted chuckle at how many adults also adore Brin d'Ours. Obviously, I am one of them.

I hope you enjoyed learning more about the makers of your favorite wooden animals and be sure to follow Brin d'Ours on Instagram. Daniel and Marie-Charlotte, thank you so much for taking the time to give me and my family such a personal and heartfelt tour of your studio. We can't wait to come back!


12 Apr '21

Pandemic Fatigue and Sticking Together

Posted by Annie Messing

The timing of Grapat's newest collection of wooden loose parts could not have come at a better time. I don't know about you, but I NEED the reminder that no matter what life flings at us, leaning on each other makes any burden more bearable. Parents, I know you are feeling fatigued from remote learning, not being able to visit your loved ones, grappling difficult conversations on racism with your children and so much more. This past year has left an indelible mark on us all.

I came across an article recently that had just the right words to lift my spirits.

"Good and tired people need to cultivate community, to stay connected to our tribes of affinity, and to carry one another through the fatigue when it comes. We fill in the gaps among us, and we let those of us who feel strong enough today to engage the fight for those who need to catch their breathe and renew their strength. We surround ourselves with people who value us not only for the work we do and the causes we support, but for the inherently vulnerable beings with finite resources that we are; those who demand that we rest and encourage us to play and give us space to pause—so that we are not consumed by the brutality of the day. Community is an elixir for the soul, and we need such good togetherness medicine more than ever..."

Throughout this past year of the pandemic, you have consistently shown up to support Brimful. Your emails and messages of appreciation/satisfaction of an order truly bolster me. Thank you. 

With much gratitude, I'm having a little giveaway this week! One lucky winner will receive the new Together set. You can enter on Instagram. The giveaway will only be open for 24 hours and a winner will be announced on Tuesday, April 13th.

xoxo, Annie



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