Children’s Media Wish List 2015

One of my favorite annual traditions is compiling a wish list of all the kids media “stuff” that would be a delight to unwrap on Christmas morning. Sarah and I pin our favorites all year long right here, and you’ll recognize a few items that have made it to the blog today. This year’s list is more a reflection of where I’m at. I’m not really feeling the Muppets this year, I’m nostalgic for the Sesame Street of my childhood, and I want to snuggle up and read an awesome book.

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1. I’ve really come to love Dallas Clayton’s artwork and life philosophy this year. This sweatshirt from his shop says it all…why we do what we do!

2. I didn’t have a chance to see this Big Bird documentary in theaters, so I can’t wait to watch it from the comfort of my couch.

3. Rainbow Rowell is the gosh darn best. If you love YA, Harry Potter, vampires, or just like reading good books, this story won’t disappoint.

4. Carry On is great, but Eleanor & Park will always be my favorite. I’d tuck these bookmarks into my next good read.

5. Tattly, the premier temporary tattoo company, just released two sets of Sesame tats. This black and white set is the more realistic and more adult of the two.

6. WHAT?! Check out this playground chic necklace set. Kate Spade does rock, paper, scissors.

7. Becoming Maria is my new favorite book. Thank you, Sonia Manzano, for your words and your honesty. You’ll always be one of my favorite humans and my favorite Law & Order judge.

8. Wouldn’t it be cool if we could write all our notes on an Etch A Sketch? If that’s your thing, you’ll definitely want this notebook.

DIY Hugga Bunch Plush, Part 2

This week’s post is a peek into my process creating the Hugga Bunch plush doll for my friend’s birthday, and the final result. This is more a reflection than a how to. Feel free to reach out directly with questions (via email) if you are working on your own doll and need help setting up the project or troubleshooting.

The project took approximately two months. If I had worked continuously on it, it would have taken approximately half the time, at most. It is intense and includes multiple pieces, so I feel really good about my decision to stretch the process out. I used my weekly time at SF Recreation & Parks sewing classes to work on the doll so I could get guidance from an instructor as I worked with materials and techniques that were new to me. I bought all of my supplies in one swoop at Fabric Outlet in the Mission during one of their major sales. This really helped keep cost down and forced me to ensure that the fabric colors I was picking out matched as needed.

Here are all the different pieces the project entails and the order in which I did them…

1. The Huglet doll (mini)-I did this first so I could practice working with the fabrics on a smaller scale. It was a good choice and took approximately 2 to 4 hours total. This project included:

  • The face (multiple pieces plus eyes, nose, and mouth)
  • The body (probably the easiest part of the project)
  • The hair and ribbon
  • The diaper

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2. The Huggins doll (big doll)-I would estimate that this doll took approximately 15-20 hours. I worked slowly and meticulously, which is why it took so long. This project included:


  • The face (Similar to Huglet but on a larger scale)-In addition to the elements that I had to include for the face, I used two packs of inexpensive fake eyelashes to make her look more realistic and sweeter.
  • The body (including a belly button-kind of gross)
  • The legs and feet (including toes which were surprisingly challenging)
  • The arms
  • The hair and bow (This took the longest and was done while I watched a few episodes of Friday Night Lights. In addition to following the directions, I had to sew in many pieces of the yarn to ensure it would all stay in place)
  • The bloomers
  • The shirt

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The dolls still looked a little scary once I was done with them. I referred to a CreativeBug tutorial where the instructor used fabric paint to blush the cheeks. I used the exact brand and color she recommended. It made all the difference!


I’m super proud of my finished product. Not only was it a personal gift, but it was personalized by me making it. It was a gift worthy of my fantastic friend and something we’re both really happy with. I recommend making one for a friend who loved the film, or for a young one who might be seeing it for the first time 30 years later.

All photos by me.


DIY Hugga Bunch Plush

As a 21st century children’s media producer, I can say with certainty that a film like The Hugga Bunch would not be made today. The plot? A young girl travels through her bedroom mirror under the guidance of several main character muppet-like puppets adorned in 80s bedroom and exercise clothes in order to find a fruit that will make her grandmother young again so she doesn’t have to live in a retirement community, or as they often say in the film “get sent off to pasture.” Did I mention it’s also really scary?


My childhood bestie, M, was obsessed. And what 5 year old wouldn’t be? Those Huggins were just so darned cute. Seriously, bravo on the character design! It’s worth noting that Petko Kadiev was the production designer. From my research he seems like a really interesting human, and I highly recommend spending some time reading through his credits and history.

M and I were born the year the film came out and really missed the flood of merchandise that hit the market. For her 30th birthday, I wanted to see if I could actually find her a Hugga Bunch *something* in good condition. Hallmark was one of the co-producers on the film, and really spread the Hugga Bunch love by way of clothing, pins, sheets, cards, party goods, and dolls.


My Etsy search led me to a Butterick pattern to make my own doll. This appealed to me much more than buying something old with potential mold issues. The project was one of the most challenging and rewarding crafty endeavors I’ve completed. I look forward to sharing my process and the final doll with you next week!


Hugga Bunch GIF from

Dolls photo from The Ravishing Blog

Instagram photo by me, Christina Zagarino

Lotta Jansdotter for Nod

…and we’re back!

I’m so happy to say that it’s Lotta Jansdotter’s design that prompted my return to the blog. Jansdotter is a Brooklyn-based designer and maker that I’ve admired for a while. Unfortunately, I didn’t know until recently that her studio was just blocks away from my old, Brooklyn apartment. Oh, the regret!!

Her latest collaboration is with the kid-friendly, design-savvy Land of Nod. The collection is filled with pieces that could translate from nursery to play space to big kid room to living room. I think the throw pillows are particularly chic!


It’s hard to resist this beautiful, patterned play shelter


And these storage containers might be making their way onto my wedding registry!



All photos from The Land of Nod website.

Band-Aids Get a J.Crew Makeover

Remember the days when decorative Band-Aids were limited to Muppets and Spiderman? Cynthia Rowley changed all that with her dress-up Band-Aids (still a favorite) in 2011, and now J.Crew’s Jenna Lyons is putting her own spin on the age old plaster.


Available in both grown-up and crewcuts patterns, it only costs $5 to glam up your boo-boo. Stocking stuffer or cute gift add-on? Check!

Photos by J.Crew