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May Day

Here’s a branch of snowy May

A branch the fairies gave me

Who would like to dance today

With the branch the fairies gave me?

Dance away. dance away

Holding high the branch of May.

Dance away, dance away

Holding high the branch of May.

From Festivals, Family and Food

Today is the first day of May. Happy May Day, everyone! Do you celebrate this day? I’ve never really paid it much mind but this year I’m getting into the spirit. Flowers, dancing… I love it! We homeschool but we’re planning on making a trip to the local Waldorf school to join in the festivities this weekend at their May Faire. But today we will make flower chains for our hair, paper cones for holding flowers to hang our our neighbors door knobs and make a sweet cake, too!

To use as we dance and sing the above verse we made some very simple ribbon wands. Even the littlest one enjoyed picking out colored ribbons for hers. Andrea, of ZieZo Designs showed us how to make another variation here.

You can learn more about May or Beltane customs and traditions here. How are celebrating?

Julie Hunter is a wife and mama, raising 3 spirited girls, two babydoll sheep, angora rabbits and a gaggle of chickens and ducks in the North Carolina Foothills. She spends her days at home, crafting with her children, homeschooling, taking long gathering walks in the woods and knitting Waldorf-inspired toys. You can find her blogging and keeping shop at This Cosy Life.

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Helping Garden Friends For Earth Day

The celebration of Earth Day and the gift of Spring it is a wonderful time to focus on what I call “garden friends” with family and friends. These are the creatures that Mother Nature created to keep balance, health & harmony in our garden and yards and beyond. Learning about them and being aware of them fosters understanding and compassion towards the Earth we are all a part of.

Wild life such as the common songbirds, that can even be found in urban areas, and native toads found in more rural areas are tremendously helpful to all yards and gardens. And on the smaller side, lady bugs, praying mantis & dragon flies do their part in consuming harmful bugs and garden pests as well. Honey bees, native bees & butterflies pollinate our crops for us. It is always nice for children to learn about how helpful insects can be and to respect them and care for them. The experience of watching a pair of House Wrens build a nest, sit on the next and feed their young until they leave the nest is something they will always remember. They can watch how busy mother and father wren are, collecting insects to feed the young. When children learn about these creatures at an early age, to love and respect them and think of them as friends, it establishes a life long relationship with nature and a sense of being apart of this greater family.

To help establish this awareness and care, there are simple things families can do to participate in the support and longevity of these creatures. It is very important to find a balance of this kind of activity so that human intervention does not create a co-dependency of wild life on mankind, but rather encourages them to care for themselves naturally by supporting and protecting a healthy wild life habitat. A simple example of this would be feeding the birds. It is better to plant flowers and vegetables that are favored by the birds, such sunflowers, coneflowers, rudbeckias and elderberries instead of putting out commercial birdseed regularly. I only put out birdseed in deep winter when there is snow on the ground. Sometimes birds that should have migrated south & do not, like robins, need our help to get through the winter. Over all want to make wild life strong, but not dependent on us. We want to protect and create ideal habitat for them so they can prosper. Human development of homes and commercialization of land is one of the main problems for loss of natural habitat. Many common birds are what are called “cavity dwelling “ birds and their natural habitat is a hollow tree. As one can imagine, there are fewer and fewer hollow trees. We can help remedy this situation by putting up birdhouses, often called “ nesting boxes” or “bird boxes”, all being the same idea. This is a tremendous help to native bird populations and has helped bring back our native bluebird populations. The important note here is that the bird house is of the right dimension and design and mounted in the proper way. This information is readily available on line and in books. In a similar vein, nesting boxes can be put up for native bees, which are also called solitary bees. They are great pollinators and are very non-aggressive and do not live in hives. A native bee house can be hung in an orchard to great benefit of all. Houses and water can also be put out for our native toad population. Often referred to as the “the gardeners greatest friend” the common toad, harmless to all but the bugs— will consume literally thousands of bug a month. Native toads were once everywhere, have diminished from disease The toads diet includes all of our gardens greatest pests, such as earwigs, snails, slugs, squash and rose beetles, flies and many more!They feed mostly at night and only need a small water source for soaking in, such as a pot tray or crockery dish. Toads respond to human kindness in amazing ways, even learning to come when called for a bit to eat. They live 35 yrs or more in the same place and always come back to it after winter hibernation. To help toads we can create habitats for them with a water source, a house or place for them to dwell and lots of plants for them to find food around. My experience has always been that when I created a toad habitat, with water, vegetation, shady places, etc. toads would always come! Imagine the the excitement!

I will be going into more detail of how to create habitats for these garden friends in future postings! Please feel free to contact me with questions.

 

For further learning you can go here: Garden Toad Watch.

 

 

 

Lucinda Macy has been making delightful, functional & eco friendly homes out of found wood and recycled materials for many years…….time tested and loved by all. To learn more please visit her websites;

http://gardentoadwatch.blogspot.com/

http://elucinda.com/

http://willodel.blogspot.com

 

 

 

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Earth Day Giveaway From The Enchanted Cupboard

Comments on this giveaway are now closed. The winner is…

 

Carrie @ Crafty Moms Share

 

I’ve already contacted you, Carrie, and you have through 4/28/2012 to respond before a new winner is drawn.

 

Our giveaway this week is coming from Beccijo of The Enchanted Cupboard. I’ll let her tell you more about it.

Earth Day is really important to me, it reminds me of why I started my business. I wanted to make child-friendly/earth-friendly toys! I wanted to use sustainable supplies and make toys that would be cherished for generations.
It was also very important that I reflected all children and all families. When I first started there was not much diversity in similar toys being offered and I wanted to fill in the gaps. I offer a range of skin tone and have worked with many different combinations of family. It is so rewarding to hear parents say how happy they were to find my shop because they could not find dolls that represented their family!

When I started making my toys there was very little educational item on etsy. I developed and work on a collection of fun and educational toys to spark a child’s imagination. Recently a new customer came to me with a new need they were a Family Therapist and need simple dolls of many skin tones. This again I saw as something that would also work in a school setting.

In celebration of Earth Day I would like to offer, Dolls of The World and Earth Box.

These simply painted dolls are part of my Educational Toys. These are great for learning about the different shades of humankind and teaching children to appreciate their beauty. They are nicely stored in a hand painted Earth Box. You get 8 dolls in different shades of skin tones. The Earth box can be painted with any Continent as the main one .

 

Beccijo is also offering a discount code to everyone. Simply type in NATURALKIDSTEAM during checkout in her Etsy shop to receive 10% off your order. Good through 4/28/2012.

 

 

Here’s how to enter;
Leave a comment on this post. Don’t forget to leave us a way of contacting you.

For additional entries;

(leave a separate comment for each entry, if you don’t, they count as one)

Tweet this (include @NK_Store in your tweet)

Share on Facebook

Blog this giveaway

Follow the NaturalKids blog

Like Natural Kids on Facebook

Like The Enchanted Cupboard on Facebook

Add the Enchanted Cupboard to your Etsy favorites

Follow Beccijo’s blog

 

Giveaway is open worldwide. Natural Kids team members are not allowed to enter.

We will choose a winner randomly on April 26th, 2012. (Please, make sure we have a way to contact you!)

 

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Never Ending Onion Dip

This is one of our families New Favorite recipes. It is very simple, 3 ingredients, and super yum! It is also a great treat to serve on Earth Day. We love this with raw veggies but it is also good on chips.

 

Never Ending Onion Dip

 

1 Bunch of Green Onions ( tops only)

2 cups of sour cream

Sea Salt to taste

 

Finely chop green onions. Mix in sour cream. Salt to taste

Simple…

 

Now here is the never ending part. Take the onion bottoms and add then to a recycled jar ( we used jelly jars ) half filled with marbles, find out about my Marble Relocation Program here. Fill water only to the top of the marble level. Place jar in a sunny window and the green tops will keep growing back!! We have several jars going at the same time and just cut off what we need with scissors.

What could be more EARTHY on Earth day, we recycled and reused!! ENJOY!

 

 

Article written by Beccijo. Find her creations at The Enchanted Cupboard and blogging here.

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What I’m Loving This Week


Love our Earth Coll…

$39.00

Playsilks – set of …

$84.00

EARTH DAY Peace Dov…

$10.00

Rainbow Mandala Flo…

$15.00

Bunnies, mother and…

$3.00

Children DIY Waldor…

$24.00

Fly Agaric toadstoo…

$16.90

Needle Felted Wool …

$33.00

Earth Pony, Waldorf…

$32.00

Elemental Handcraft…

$20.00

Tiny Flowers Growin…

$9.75

Waldorf Toy, Four S…

$18.00

Shepherd and flock …

$20.00

Leafbuddy, Waldorf …

$29.95

Mossy Green Earthy …

$40.00

Tutorial for Tradit…

$6.00

Etsy treasury created by Little River Dolls

 

This recipe… I made it last week and it was a hit!

♥This home apothecary, love it!

Preserving herbs. I hope to have a huge herb garden this year.

♥Wow, I never realized there were so many uses for coconut oil!

♥We’re trying to sub honey for most sugar in our home so I really appreciate this how-to.

♥I love this dandelion song! (scroll all the way to the bottom)

 

 

 

Julie Hunter is a wife and mama, raising 3 spirited girls, two babydoll sheep, angora rabbits and a gaggle of chickens and ducks in the North Carolina Foothills. She spends her days at home, crafting with her children, homeschooling, taking long gathering walks in the woods and knitting Waldorf-inspired toys. You can find her blogging and keeping shop at This Cosy Life.

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Interview and Giveaway With ZieZo Designs

Comments on this giveaway are now closed.

The winner is

Janne Ellingsen

 

Congratulations! I’ve already contacted you via email and you have through 4/21 to respond.

 

 

This week our giveaway is sponsored by Andrea of Ziezo Designs. Andrea is a fairly new member of the Natural Kids team, so let’s take some time to get to know her a little better.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a SAHM of 3 (Boys 4, 5 & Girl 7) and married to my best friend. Our family has been living in Nairobi, Kenya since the middle of 2007. Being a SAHM allows me to re-connect with my design background, particularly sewing, and as the children attend Waldorf School/Kindergarten, I get more and more time to create things. I love working with natural materials such as 100% wool felt, wool, silk and cotton as those work well with crafting in the Waldorf tradition. Living in an environment where toys in shops are mainly electronic or otherwise battery-driven, I started crafting and creating toys for my little ones early on. An entrepreneurial friend of mine encouraged to take my passion a step further and start creating larger quantities of natural toys, so others could enjoy them as well. Every item in my shop is truly and thoroughly “child” tested and approved with the exception of non-toys such as the ornaments and buntings/banners.

What inspires your creations?

My main inspiration comes from my children and their respectful, wondrous, and innocent view of the world and nature. Creating something that enhances their imagination and creativity is such fun.

What are your favorite materials to use?

Natural materials such as silk, wool and cotton are my favourites. They are so nice to work with, the feel and characteristics of the natural materials are a totally different experience from man-made materials. I feel often that this is what Nature intended for us: use the gifts that she gave to work with, rather than trying to invent another material.

 

How do you encourage children’s creativity?

I believe that children are naturally creative and curious. I try to do some of my creative work while they are around and where possible to have them join in, in the painting, knitting or sewing. It’s always interesting to see what they come up with and I do share the outcomes of those processes on my blog. In addition, they certainly have the benefit of attending a Waldorf school, where their creativity is stimulated as well.

Today Andrea is offering to one winner 100% silk butterfly wings in rainbow colours. The habotai silk is hand-dyed in non-toxic professional grade dye. The wings are embellished with a yellow satin ribbon on the back, creating the illusion of the butterfly’s body. Elastic shoulder- and wristbands make it comfortable and easy for children to dress and undress themselves. This ‘small’ size fits most children 2-5 with an arm length of up to 35cm.

The pure silk cloth moves gracefully with the airflow when your child “flies” through the air.

 

Here’s how to enter;
Leave a comment on this post. Don’t forget to leave us a way of contacting you.

For additional entries;

(leave a separate comment for each entry, if you don’t, they count as one)

Tweet this (include @NK_Store in your tweet)

Share on Facebook

Blog this giveaway

Follow the NaturalKids blog

Like Natural Kids on Facebook

Like ZieZo Designs on Facebook

Add ZieZo Designs  to your Etsy Favs

Follow Andrea’s blog

 

Giveaway is open worldwide. Natural Kids team member sare not allowed to enter.

We will choose a winner randomly on April 19th, 2012. (Please, make sure we have a way to contact you!)

 

 

Julie Hunter is a wife and mama, raising 3 spirited girls, two babydoll sheep, angora rabbits and a gaggle of chickens and ducks in the North Carolina Foothills. She spends her days at home, crafting with her children, homeschooling, taking long gathering walks in the woods and knitting Waldorf-inspired toys. You can find her blogging and keeping shop at This Cosy Life.

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Painting Wooden Easter Eggs

Spring and Easter is a fun time to paint eggs. Not just the edible ones but wooden eggs as well. Keeping kids occupied during their spring break can be easy with a few crafts around. My kids love to paint up these wooden eggs and egg cups. We also like to use the egg cups all year long for our breakfast eggs. Check out this link for how to make the perfect Soft boiled egg.
Tips for painting with kids:
Have a cloth for them to dab their paintbrush on. Teaching them to follow these steps will keep the paint from getting to runny; Rinse, Dab, In the Color, and Paint.

Use an ice cube tray to keep wet things off the table and round things from rolling away.

Keep a basket under the sink to hold water cups and paintbrushes – this lets the kids clean up and set up by themselves.

Child safe paint for wooden toys:

 

Use Certified  AP Non-Toxic, such as Plaid Folk Art Acrylics.  Larger well know toy companies like HOLZTIGER are painted with non-toxic, water-based acrylic paints and wooden figure has an additional topcoat of satin-finish water paint to make it resistant to perspiration and saliva.”

Certified as AP non-toxic watercolors is also a nice paint for children and will need to have a finish added like a beeswax wood polish, there will always be a chance that the color will come off if it gets wet. Check out this link for how to make homemade watercolors!

To find items like these check out these shops:

Egg and Cup Kit

Beeswax wood polish
And
Lavender Beeswax Polish

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Easter Egg Treat Pouches

If your family is like ours, you might have quite a few paper bags from the grocery store piling up in your pantry. We mostly end up with them as a result of our impromptu shopping trips, those last minute runs to the market when we’ve been out and happen to not have our cloth bags with us. Most of the time, these paper bags end up re-used as garbage bags but can be re-incarnated as handmade envelopes, parcel wrapping paper or even as table liners for the children’s enthusiastic watercolour sessions.

This Easter, we are recycling some of these paper bags to make Easter egg treat pouches. I never really quite know what to do to portion the loose candy (jelly beans, jordan almonds, etc.) in the baskets each year; in the past, I have used little plastic bags tied with ribbon to divvy up the goodies. So instead, I thought that the paper bags could

be used to do a simple craft (either on your own or with your little loved ones) to house all the little bits and bobs they receive from the Easter Bunny. The threading and lacing involved also presents a wonderful opportunity for youngsters to sharpen their fine motor skills.

 

You will need the following materials:

 

1 large paper bag (grocery store-sized)

Scissors

Twine (hemp, raffia, or any other natural cord that is easy to thread)

Paper + pen (to draw your egg pattern)

Hole punch

 

Begin by drawing a generously sized egg shape on your paper and cutting it out. This will serve as the pattern for your egg pouch.

Next, you will need to remove the large flap from the bottom of the paper grocery bag.

 

Cut along the bottom seam, through both layers of paper, until you are left with a bottomless bag. Then, cut out the thin side strips of the bag so that you are left with two large rectangular pieces of paper.

 

 

Remove the handles from your shopping bag (if there are any).

 

Trace your egg pattern onto the paper twice, giving you a front and a back for your egg pouch. Put the two identical eggs together and using your hole punch, punch holes about every half-inch or so around the perimeter.

 

 

If your paper is particularly plain, you can certainly enlist your child’s help to decorate it with crayons, stampers or whatever craft supplies you have in your home.

Start threading and lacing up your egg, being careful to leave the very top hole unthreaded – this way you’ll have an opening to slip the treats through later. The rigidity of the cord makes it especially easy for young children to complete this portion on their own.

 

 

 

Once you have finished lacing, add your sweets and thread the remaining cord through the very last hole.

 

 

Tie with a flourish, flash a smile…and you’re done!

 

 

This tutorial was shared by Ariana Lyriotakis-Macdonald of Niko &  Nonnie

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Lavender Filled Flower Necklace Tutorial

I made these little necklaces for my little girls and a friend of theirs to tuck into their Easter eggs. They’re made very simply of wool felt and filled with sweet smelling lavender buds. They work up quite quickly and can be made in a variety of shapes…. stars, heart, circles. Here’s how I made them;

You’ll need;

Wool felt scraps in two colors

Embroidery floss (I used 2 plys)

Dried lavender buds

Yarn

Any kind of paper to make pattern

 

First I cut out the flower shape with plain paper to use as a pattern. I also cut a circle to fit in the center. Size is unimportant, whatever feels right to you or works with the size of your felt scraps. I pinned them them onto my felt pieces and cut out one of each.

I chose to decorate the front of  my circular piece with french knots. Here’s a good how-to on them. Or you could leave them off. They add a nice texture but are optional. After you’ve finished the front use a blanket stitch to attach the circle to the flower.  You will be stuffing the lavender buds between these two pieces so be sure to keep your stitches  pretty small. Leave about an inch or so opening before you close it up and fill with the lavender. Continue sewing closed and tie it off.

 

Now size your yarn… to go over a child’s head I cut a piece that just barely fits over my own. Use a tapestry needle to sew it to the backside of the flower.

These are the perfect size to stuff into Easter eggs. I’d love to see yours if you make them!

 

 

Julie Hunter is a wife and mama, raising 3 spirited girls, two babydoll sheep, angora rabbits and a gaggle of chickens and ducks in the North Carolina Foothills. She spends her days at home, crafting with her children, homeschooling, taking long gathering walks in the woods and knitting Waldorf-inspired toys. You can find her blogging and keeping shop at This Cosy Life.

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What I’m Loving This Week- Easter


Children Wooden Toy…

$28.00

Waldorf doll clothe…

$149.95

Montessori Toy, Rai…

$12.00

Playsilks – Pastel …

$84.00

Spring Mushrooms Wa…

$12.00

Knitting Kit – DIY …

$32.00

SPRING SALE -3 Days…

$36.00

Waldorf Toy- Sprin…

$40.00

Earth Pony, Stuffed…

$32.00

Butterfly Wings Cos…

$25.00

Needle Felted Acorn…

$20.00

Easter waldorf toy …

$24.00

ball of wool felt d…

$35.00

wee wooden mushroom…

$20.00

DAILY DEAL – Cloth …

$12.56

ECO Kids Handmade A…

$10.00

Treasury tool by Red Row Studio.

Etsy Treasury created by Little Rivers Dolls.

♥Embroidered eggs (real eggs!) if you’re feeling adventurous.

♥I love the idea of creating an Easter garden.

This one is beautiful, too.

These finger puppets would make sweet fillers for the Easter basket.

♥You still have time to plant some wheat grass for your Easter baskets…. ours sprung up in about a week.

♥A tissue paper blossom tree would make a lovely addition to your eater garden.

♥And some blossom fairies to hang from it would be perfect!

♥Here are some sweet Easter songs to sing this week.

 

Please tell me what’s on your to-do list for Easter!

 

PS Don’t forget to enter to win a Tiptoes Lightly book for Easter! Winner will be drawn tomorrow morning.

 

 

Julie Hunter is a wife and mama, raising 3 spirited girls, two babydoll sheep, angora rabbits and a gaggle of chickens and ducks in the North Carolina Foothills. She spends her days at home, crafting with her children, homeschooling, taking long gathering walks in the woods and knitting Waldorf-inspired toys. You can find her blogging and keeping shop at This Cosy Life.