Gifts for Creative Kids

We love toys that need no batteries and encourage creativity in kids and grown ups. Here are some of our favorite picks currently in stock. As always, we have many more ideas so email or call 360-752-5522 if you need help.

Everything you need to create your own cuddly owl friend. Kit includes stripey sock, felt sheets, cotton stuffing, beads, thread, felt pieces, needle, and instructions.

Make Your Own Sock Owl – $20

These colorful tiles snap together using magnets and can be configured in endless constructions. Not only fun, they help with fine motor skills for younger children, while encouraging spatial reasoning and geometric understanding for older kids.

Magna-Tiles, 32 Piece Set – $52

Make and decorate your own keychain. In fact, the kit includes enough materials to make two keychain dolls so invite a friend over!

Wood Bead Keychain Doll- $9

Over 90 pieces of different shapes which can be connected together in countless formations. Build tall, build wide, build abstract or representational. Hang from the ceiling and turn your creation into a mobile. The possibilities are endless. Grownups like these just as much as kids.

Shapescapes – $35

These food-grade silicone placemats are hand-silkscreened with engaging illustrations just waiting to be colored in by kids. Using dry erase markers, this mat is transformed into a coloring book that can be wiped clean and recolored again and again.

Modern Twist Mark-Mat + Markers – $25

Old school fun. This 37-piece set is just as great now as it was in the 1930s. Made in the USA.

Log Cabin In a Box – $10

This cheery, sun-shaped disc is perfect for nighttime reading, camping, outdoor festivals, and more.  To charge, simply set in the sun with charger side up. A five hour charge results in ten hours of soft light or four hours of bright light. It hangs on a lanyard to provide hands-free light when needed.

Little Sun Solar Lamp – $30

Explore the world with this color-in map, complete with animal and landmark stickers, plus colored pencils.

Citizen of the World Map – $5

Design this digital watch just how you want it. Decorate the Tyvek band with pens, pencils, stickers, you name it.

Paper Watch – $12

Everything you need to create six different origami designs of varying difficulty. Includes 50 sheets of assorted sized origami paper and instruction booklet.

Origami Set – $8

A busload of animal crayons perfect for small hands to grip. This set of six is plastic, rather than wax, eliminating flaking and mess.

Animal Crayons, $6

Stocking Stuffers for Grown-Ups

Here are some of our favorite small gifts for grownups that fit well in stockings and will be enjoyed long after the wrapping paper is cleared.

Chill these soapstone cubes in the freezer and they are ready to cool your next dram. Clever package design slips right over the neck of a bottle of whisky. Made in the USA.

You Rock Whisky Stones Set – $8

Colorful charms to keep everyone’s glass straight. This clever package is designed to slip over the neck of a wine bottle, turning into an instant gift.

Charming Wine Charms – $8

The Kumo Cup is inspired by Japanese pottery, each cup being slightly different from the next. Kumo means “cloud” in Japanese and like their namesake these cups are all one-of-a-kind. Made in the USA.

Kumo Cup – $14

Lovely holding a tea light candle or all on their own, these votives look beautiful on the table or mantel. They also work well to hold small snacks like nuts or candy. Available in six colors.

Kosta Boda Votive – $12

A cleaning brush that’s comfortable in your hand, made from natural materials.

Danish Washing-up Brush – $14.50

The charcoal blended into each bristle of this toothbrush prevents bad breath, deodorizes and removes plaque. Made in Japan.

Binchotan Toothbrush – $7

Features the classic Varvunraita (Twig Stripe) print by Vuokko Eskolin-Nurmesniemi. Dishwasher, microwave, and freezer safe. Also available in black or red dot pattern.

Marimekko Ceramic Spoon – $14

The comfort of a wooden pencil with the precision of a mechanical one. Refill with any 5mm lead. Made in Japan.

Delfonics Wooden Mechanical Pencil – $10

Be prepared, whether barefoot at the lake, hiking in the hills, working on your garden, or puttering in the garage. Made in the USA.

Uncle Bill’s Sliver Gripper Tweezer – $7

The conical shape allows it to fit in most any bottle, transforming it into a light. Features a rechargeable LED bulb and simply twist the bottom to turn on and off.

Rechargeable Bottle Light – $16


Well-Designed Games and Puzzles

With the weather turning cold, it’s good to have some fun indoor activities for the family to enjoy when you come home and get cozy. These make great gifts for kids, adults, teachers, and more!

  • Shopping downtown just became easier. For the month of December, park for FREE on floors 1 and 5 of the Commercial Street Parking Garage at 1300 Commercial Street.
  • We have extended our hours! Now through December 23, our hours will be Monday – Saturday, 10am-8pm and Sundays, 10am-6pm. Grab dinner at one of the delicious downtown establishments and come shopping after!

We are loving these new jigsaw puzzles from New York Puzzle Company. Based in Brooklyn, they started with the idea of making a puzzle of the iconic NYC subway map. Now the company has grown to an expansive line of puzzles including witty New Yorker magazine covers. All puzzles are durable, double-thick chip board with fully interlocking pieces. Made in the USA. $16 each.


New Yorker Cover Puzzle , Dog – $16


New Yorker Magazine Puzzle, Tree – $16


New Yorker Puzzle, Winter Weekend – $16

Mobi is a fast-paced math game that’s fun and great for all abilities.  Players create equations using tiles, building on the structure similar to a crossword puzzle. A set of 162 tiles fits neatly into a whale-shaped canvas bag for easy portability.


Mobi Number Tile Game – $20

This set has been made in Finland since the 1960s and includes the following: an irresistible, reversible green and white board, five weighted darts, and an instructional pamphlet. Made in Finland.


Finnish Dart Set – $60

This entertaining set of cards includes 32 artists, each given numeric scores for categories including influence, shock factor, top price and more. Try to beat your opponent on your strongest category.


The Art Game – $9.95

Even if you are on a losing streak, these shiny gold playing cards will show your opponents you’ve got class. Pair this set with The Ultimate Book of Card Games for a nice gift.

Golden Playing Cards, $15

Golden Playing Cards, $15

Pair this book with a deck of Golden Playing Cards and you’ve got the perfect gift for the card aficionado in your life.


Ultimate Book of Card Games – $19.95

The original set, designed in 1952. Just as fun now as it was then. Cards are slotted on all sides, allowing them to be joined together in a variety of formations, each featuring a different image. Made in the USA.


Eames House of Cards – $27

Not your run-of-the-mill memory game, Match Stacks are sets of 16 sturdy wooden disks ready for hours of matching fun. Toddlers and preschoolers also enjoy stacking and organizing the wooden disks. Made in the USA.


Sea Creature Match Stacks – $19.95

Andy Warhol’s classic sculpture is reborn as a jigsaw puzzle.208 pieces, packaged in cube-shaped box.


Brillo Soap Box Puzzle – $17.99

You’ll have a good chance to meditate on the nature of color when working on this puzzle. Its 500 pieces are arranged to remind us there’s no fixed point on the chromatic scale where one color ends and another begins. For the true puzzle lover!


Gradient Puzzle – $18


Good Design for Him (or her, or you)

Happy December! This is our first of several gift guides, designed to help with ideas for everyone on your holiday list. Men sometimes get a bad rap for being difficult to buy for. We disagree! Here are some of our favorite functional, clever gifts that many men happen to love (and lots of women, too).

  • Shopping downtown just became easier! For the month of December, park for FREE on floors 1 and 5 of the Commercial Street Parking Garage at 1300 Commercial Street.

Wool Scarf by Faribault Woolen Mills – $50

A cozy staple, made in Minnesota since the 1860s.


Metalplus Italian Tool Box – $100

Super stylish and great for organizing all sorts of small objects, from tools to art supplies. Made in Italy.


Nomad Carabiner Phone Charger – $29.95


Leave those tangled cords at home. This carabiner/charger will ensure your charger is always with you.


Swiss Pocket Knife – $38.50

This compact tool has 10 features and countless uses. Made in Switzerland.


Topo Designs Web Belt – $39

A belt to take you comfortably from trail to office. Made in Colorado.


Topo Designs Dopp Kit – $29

This clever design stands up on its own or features a hanging strap for easy access to toiletries when traveling. Made in Colorado.


Quin Candy Gift Box – $16

A selection of 24 handmade candies made in Portland, OR using all-natural ingredients.


Smart Warmer-Charger – $35

Light your way, warm your hands, charge your phone – all in one device.


Distil Union Wallet – $60

Pull the ingenious ribbon tab to discreetly “eject” credit cards without even opening the wallet. An interior money clip keeps bills flat and organized.


Topo Designs Wool Ball Cap – $38

A simply perfect cap. Made in Colorado.


Happy Thanksgiving!

We will be closed this Thursday to celebrate the holiday with our families and wish you a festive day filled with laughter and delicious food. After a good night’s sleep, should you decide to venture downtown on Friday, we will be back in the shop ready to help you at 10 a.m.

Shop Small Saturday and Raffle – November 26
Please join us on Saturday, November 26 for Shop Small Saturday, when many of your favorite locally-owned businesses will be offering treats and festivity throughout the day. We will be raffling off nine gifts in celebration of our ninth holiday season. Stop by to enter for your chance to win! We are also participating in Sustainable Connection’s Shop Small Saturday Passport. Pick up a passport, get it stamped by us and many other local businesses to be eligible for several prize packages.

We Love Our Neighborhood
As we enter this holiday season, the importance of community is foremost on our minds. We are grateful to live and work in downtown Bellingham and we value interacting with and relying on neighbors of all sorts. Supporting the businesses we love ensures they will remain downtown, making this area the energetic mix it is. In that spirit, we encourage you to support some of our favorite downtown spots this season. There are so many great choices we decided to limit this selection to those which are within only 2 blocks of us on Cornwall Avenue and Holly Street. Look at how many there are! Show them some love this holiday.

  • Greenhouse – we are lucky to be neighbors and frequently rely on their expertise. A wonderful selection of housewares, furniture and more.
  • Backcountry Essentials – a great spot for new and consigned outdoor clothing and gear. Their knowledgeable staff is very helpful.
  • Kids Northwest – a longtime downtown store filled with quality kid clothing, shoes, and toys.
  • Modsock – socks in an amazing array of fun patterns and themes.
  • A New Leaf – so nice to pick up a fresh bouquet on the way home.
  • Dakota Art – an excellent selection of art supplies along with expert staffers who know what works best.
  • Spruce – lovely party supplies, stationery and wonderfully festive things.
  • Bureau of Historical Investigation – handmade goods made by local artists.
  • Cafe Akroteri – we love the happy hour special. Gyro and beer for $10! Prosser in the bar always treats us well.
  • Horseshoe Cafe – tasty food available at all hours, much of it locally-sourced. Yes, you can eat downtown after midnight!

There are so many others we could list beyond a two-block radius. Come downtown, wander and have fun!

Happy Thanksgiving to you. Fill it with peace and kindness.

Your Ideal Staff
(Lisa, Kathleen, Tyler, and Julia)

ReMade: Kitchen Opens Friday, November 4

It’s time once again for the annual ReMade project from WWU Industrial Design! Join us Friday, November 4 from 6-9 pm for the opening reception and get first dibs on these great designs for your kitchen.  ReMade is a project the junior class of ID students embarks on every year, with the goal of taking materials that would have ended up in a landfill and turning them into functional and well-designed consumer products. In a mere matter of weeks, each student designed their piece, sourced all the materials, produced a limited edition of 20, and created all packaging/branding for their product. We provide a bit of guidance to the students throughout the process, sharing our thoughts from a design shop perspective as well as hosting the sale. Products will be for sale until November 18, while supplies last. Students receive a large portion of ReMade sales as incentive to design and make superior work.

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Chilewich Tote Bags and Zips Are Here!

They’re back! We have proudly carried Sandy Chilewich’s designs since we first opened in 2008. Her floormats and tablemats have been dependable shop favorites since day one. For the first few years we were open, Chilewich also made handbags and zippered pouches using their proprietary vinyl textile material. Customers and staff were thrilled with these sturdy, elegant bags which were built to last. Production of bags was halted several years ago, but we are thrilled to report tote bags and zips are once again available. See below for a preview of what’s in stock. Stop by to see for yourself – these bags are fantastic. Made in the USA.

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Introducing Tyler and Julia

This past spring, we added two delightful new staffers to the Ideal family. Tyler and Julia share our love of authentic, good design and you will most often find them in the shop on Saturdays. Meet the latest additions to our mighty staff of four. Read more

Designs for Dad

Father’s Day is Sunday, June 19! We can help you find a gift he will use and treasure for years to come. Here are some of our top choices but as always, we have many more ideas to share so please call (360-752-5522) or email if you are stumped. Read more

End of Year Teacher Gifts

You know they put up with a lot from your kids all year long. Forget the “World’s Best Teacher” coffee mug. Treat those hard-working teachers right with a gift of good design. Here are just a few of our favorites.

We have a good selection of Riverstone Vases from Sugahara glassworks in Japan. These look lovely with a small single stem or even all by themselves. Beautiful on a windowsill or desk: Read more