Wooden Food Toys

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I never outgrew my childhood obsession with toy food. Somehow everyday edibles become magical when rendered in delicately painted wood and—unlike the real stuff, not to mention most other toys—these wooden objects are made to last for generations. German toymakers Haba and Erzi offer the most extensive collections of wooden kitchen play toys. From great basic sets like the gift basket by Haba which includes an assortment of fruits and vegetables, bread, dairy and chocolate ($19 from Moolka) to more obscure items like Sugar Cubes ($6), Noodles ($4) and Canned Pineapple Rings ($28), Haba's intricate details are irresistible. The Cheese Roll Cutting set from Erzi ($15) is a child-sized cutting board, knife, cheese and roll with halves that velcro together to make that satisfying real-life sound when "cut." American toy makers Amazon. For children with more international tastes, the Wooden Sushi Set ($20 from Genius Jones) is a wooden bento box that comes complete with chopsticks, wasabi, ginger and soy sauce.

Pet Hypothesis Jewelry

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Handmade from repurposed billboard vinyl, the debut line of Geopanic for its confetti-like abstraction of CMYK colors with red stitching, but you can see all her designs here. All pairs cost $75 and, true to the cause, $5 from every sale goes to the environmental organization, Conservation International.

Made from vintage Nixie Tubes (old-school electronic displays) reclaimed after sitting for 30-60 years in Russian warehouses, the exquisite K7 Klok Kit will win over DIYers and design geeks alike. Industrial designer Mike Mayberry custom fabricates the limited edition, aircraft aluminum housing that he sells along with the tubes as a kit for home assembly. The beauty of the ten layered electrodes glowing orange with overlapping dimension can only be appreciated when it's right in front of you. See more info and a link to a video here. The K7 starts at $129 and tops out at $295 for the largest size tubes and can be ordered through Klok Modern—supplies are limited, so act quickly!. A few more parts are required, which Mayberry provides links for here.

Waris Tears Pins

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Jewelry designer and sometime actor Waris teamed up with French label A.P.C to create these Waris Tear Pins. Part of a new line he designed for the brand inspired by "love and heartbreak" and Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Freebird," the all-silver pins make understated accessories and are an unconventional gift. They come two to a set for $77 from A.P.C.'s site.

Trees For the Future

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Trees For the Future (TFF) works with local communities to help reforest degraded lands and teaching local people agroforestry—how to grow, plant and tend to trees. The trees minimize soil erosion, provide foliage for animals and fuel-wood for the people. TFF also creates income generating schemes by helping communities produce timber and non-timber forest products. For a work associate, your crunchy environmentalist cousin, or to send a message to a friend who drives a big gas-guzzling car, get them a veritable grove of 1,000 trees for $100 (or 450 trees for $45). Not only will the trees help to offset the greenhouse gasses that we produce as a byproduct of driving, or flying, these trees will help developing communities in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Best of all, you don’t even have to plant them.

Beautiful/Decay Holiday Season

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Beautiful Decay recently released the latest in their superior line of artist-designed T-shirts just in time for gift giving. The new designs include Kyle Thomas' manic stream-of-consciousness "Scribble" (pictured left), toy design duo Friends With You's whimsical "Black Magic" (center) and Rob Thom's ode to monkey faces and short-shorts "Tennis Club" (right). As always Beautiful Decay's designs are printed on custom-cut, custom-dyed, 100% cotton T-shirts using a "discharge" method for increased softness. Click the images for detail. Available for $30 from Beautiful Decay Shop. Also on Cool Hunting: Beautiful/Decay Tees andBeautiful/Decay Tees: Aya Kato and Jonathan Nicol.

For perfectionist tea lovers on your list, these beautifully designed teacups (on CH here last month) are now in production. The work of British designer Laura Bethan Wood the bone china cups are £35, come with a saucer and are all hand finished. This product challenges the assumption that use—i.e. scratches, discoloration, wear and tear—is damaging or bad. Designed to improve through use, the inside of the cup is treated so that it is more susceptible to the staining that results from tea drinking. The more the cup is used, the more the pattern is revealed and, over time, the intensity of the pattern will increase—the speed depends on the owner’s personal tea drinking habit. Contact Laura through her site to purchase.

Published back in March in the U.K. (left) and in September in the U.S. (right), Life by Lennart Nilsson is a phenomenal book. Born in Sweden in 1922, Nilsson is regarded as one of the foremost scientific photographers ever, and looking through the 300 or so pages in Life it's easy to see why. The heavyweight book is split into two parts. The first charts the creation of life, and features incredibly detailed pictures of the components and mechanisms that make all of us. Photographs of the male hormone testosterone look like alien, multicolored gems, while what looks like a beautiful coral reef is in fact a close-up of the Fallopian tube. Nilsson broke new ground in the 1960s with his images from inside the womb, and the equivalent pictures featured here are still breathtaking. The second part of the book deals with life after after birth. The body's main organs are all minutely investigated, as are the senses. Far more uncomfortable to look at, but no less interesting, are the images of things that can kill us. A pox virus looks truly ugly while HIV spreading over a white blood cell is nothing if not ominous. You can get Life from either

CH Gift Guide 2006

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For our third annual holiday gift guide, we’re going for a slightly different approach. By visiting our 2006 Holiday Gift Guide page, you’ll be able to see hundreds of items that we covered over this past year that make good gifts. This week we’ll add a fresh crop to the mix, devoting all of CH to gifts only. What’s more, if you haven’t checked out the Gift Shop featuring our hand-picked selection of goods from Miami’s BASE boutique, you’re missing a bevy of exclusives and other clever gifts, like a Camo Pattern Book and a scent called “Sand.”

Muji Multi-Functional Clock

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This Multi-Functional Clock from Muji rotates to change from clock to alarm, calendar or thermometer. The information on the display rotates to show whicever feature is on top. Perfect for travel, the compact rubberized clock is another example of great design from Muji. Available for £6 complete with batteries from Muji Online. Also Cool Hunting: Muji iPod Speakers, Muji Award, Muji Apartment

Grafuck 2 is the second annual publication of erotic art works from husband and wife design team Fiel Valdez and Peter Vattanatham (me,me). With illustration, photography, fine art and graphic design from emerging and established artists the second installment has all the lust and humor we loved about Grafuck 1. Grafuck 2 features a double-sided centerfold by kozyndan as well as works that range from whimsical and romantic to graphically raunchy by Lisa Alisa, Zip,Timothy Saccenti and many more (See images after the jump). Available from Beautiful Decay. Lisa Alisa Timothy Saccenti Zip

Alexis Canter Jewelry

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Alexis Canter creates beautiful jewelry from casts of baby teeth, coffee beans, chicken bones and other organic remnants. The Brooklyn based designer's signature piece–a 14k gold casting of the winning half of a wishbone–makes a perfect good luck charm and the 14k gold baby teeth earrings (pictured) are the ideal synthesis of creepy and cute. Available at Stuart and Wright in Brooklyn the "Lucky Half" is $150 in silver and $400 in 14k gold, the baby teeth earrings are $190 and a solid 14k gold coffee been pendant is $436. See more images here. If you can't make it to Brooklyn, you can find Alexis Canter's Apple and Lemon Seed necklace ($320) online at Matter.

CH + BASE Holiday Gift Shop

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An oasis of taste on the otherwise gaudy Lincoln Road on South Miami Beach, BASE has been one of our favorite shops for years. This holiday season, in addition to our annual gift guide (coming soon), we teamed up with Steven, the founder of BASE, to offer you a selection of gift items. We really like most of the stuff BASE sells so narrowing down to a short list wasn't easy, but we're happy with the picks. Check them out here—each item can be purchased by following the link to BASE.

Mortified: Real Words. Real People. Real Pathetic. is a collection of hilarious real-life letters, journal excerpts, poems, lyrics, and locker notes detailing the excruciatingly embarrassing pitfalls of youth. With all the voyeuristic thrills of reading your sister's diary without the consequences, Mortified is hard to put down. First performed as a live stage show, Mortified has been selling out seats across the country since 2002. Editor David Nadelberg and various contributors will be reading from their personal relics and signing books live in New York, Boston, Chicago, Pasadena and San Francisco during November and December 2006 Available from Amazon.

Perfido Bracelets

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Contrasting the warmth and rich tones of wood with lucite's sleek modernist appeal, these bangles are made by Brooklyn-based furniture studio Perfido Design. The chunky, brightly colored bracelets made their debut as part of New York-based fashion label United Bamboo's Spring/Summer 2006 line, fitting well with that collection's Modern Art-influenced looks. You can get them in a variety of wood/lucite combinations from Perfido Design for $45.

Popular Science’s Best of What’s New 2006: FatMax Xtreme Fubar Demolition Tool

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In our final installment of picks from Popular Science's Best of What's New 2006, we're featuring Stanley's FatMax Xtreme Fubar Demolition Tool, a new four-function tool inspired the way contractors often use hammers for more than just nails. Made from tempered steel, the mega-tool's design includes tiered jaws for bending boards and grabbing lumber, a tempered chisel that can cut and split, and a nail slot and a claw for prying. Sheathed in a rubber grip, the Fubar is the ultimate multipurpose tool. Pick it up for $40 from Lowe's.