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New Designs for Spring by broodbaby

 

 With the Arrival of Spring, New Designs Break Ground

When I first met my husband we quickly made scavenging the local flea markets a favorite past time.  He’d routinely select some item from a vendor’s cache and ask me what I saw.  I’d respond shoe form, wrench, or whatever else the item happened to be.  “No,” he’d say.  “That’s what it is.  I want to know what it could be.”  Such a simple statement that became the cornerstone of my point of view in all my ensuing design challenges.

We live a pretty earth friendly life.  My husband spends a good part of the year chopping the wood we use to heat our home through the New England winters.  I manage the kitchen; cooking and baking our breads, snacks, meals with an emphatic keeping to organic and local ingredients.  We know our farmers.  We are fanatic recyclers.  We drive a hybrid.  So, it should come as no surprise that when I started my fiber and textile business my materials would continue in the vein in which we live our life.  The fabrics and yarn I work with are all organic, natural, fair trade, recycled, and/or re-purposed.  With a steady eye on quality of both my designs and my materials, my constant challenge is to eek out the best of possibilities from my cottons or woolens.  What shape will my collected treasures take next in their recycled evolution?

Quite honestly, I can’t even recall how I first started working with sweaters, but somehow I started collecting beautiful wool, cashmere, fair isle, aran—exquisite sweaters that for some reason or another were being discarded.  Sifting through thrift shops and rummage sales became a favorite activity.  And my husband’s first questions that he posed during our courtship became a constant echo.  What’s next?  What’s next?  And then one day designs started falling from mind’s eye to my pencil and paper to my cutting table.  Cashmere bunnies, and fair isle elephants all started to take shape.  Pigs and starfish and puppy dogs began to fill the studio.  My little gallery now hosts a community of little friends to join the community of our littlest treasures:  our kids.
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This incredibly soft Cashmere Bunny satisfies her sweet tooth with Cupcakes, which are also made with bits and pieces of recycled sweaters.

 

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A gentle elephant springs to life with cheery thanks to a wool fair isle sweater.

 

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Everything starts with the washing and felting of the sweaters and very frequently some design detail in them–be it a placket or a seam–will inspire the Sweet Critter that it will become.

Jess Wrobel:  A lifelong creative type, my studio is filled with an enormity of wonders from the fiber world from which I create my knitwear and pattern designs and textile art pieces.  With my husband as my cohort, we reclaim, repurpose, and salvage old pieces into new functional home decor and furniture works.    I teach, and write, and enjoy meeting everyone in person at artisan shows. Please visit www.Jwrobel.com <http://www.Jwrobel.com>  or follow me on www.facebook.com/JwrobelStudio <http://www.facebook.com/JwrobelStudio>  to learn more.

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Hello, this is me, Nalina

 

Hello!

 

I’m Pia from Nalina Puppen. We haven’t met yet – not officially at least. So, hello. It’s really nice to meet you. As this is our first time together, I thought I might share a little about Nalina, and I hope that you’ll connect with me, through comments or social media.

 

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 Pia and little presents for customers

 

Nalina was born in 2008, when I was studying to be a Waldorf teacher. I started crafting little fairies and gnomes just because I enjoyed the handwork. Doing crafts back then wasn’t so popular as it is now. Knitting and crocheting were considered uncool, but for some reason people wanted to buy my little things. I didn’t understand why people would want to buy them, but I was happy they did. Looking back now, I still don’t understand it. Stitching was all off, products weren’t very unique, but they were made with lots of love. I guess that did it back then. In the years that followed I learned to make Waldorf dolls from my art and crafts teacher at Waldorf seminar, Ms. Thiesen. Watching her paint, draw, and create beautiful crafts with such precision and love was like a pinch of fairy dust to my life. To this day, every time I sit down to create a doll, gnome, fairy… I think of her.

 

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Doll maker in making – from the first doll to the real Nalina Puppen doll

 

This memory helped me go through four years of trial and errors in pursuit of a perfect Nalina Puppen doll. Last year when I create my first doll that could properly sit my world stopped for just a minute. Long enough to know that was it. I came from someone who learned how to make a Waldorf doll to a doll maker – a proper one. I started believing in my work, and my dolls. And getting feedback from happy customers was like a happy pill for my heart.

 

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 Nalina Puppen dolls

 

Though I can make every doll myself I enjoy that this is actually something I often do with my husband. In our crazy computer infested world (he works as senior developer and I as freelance web designer) we take time to be with each other, to talk, watch movies, and ground ourselves, crafting dolls. We were together at seminar for Waldorf teachers, and we are together after all those years, working and learning how to live simple natural life. If you want to know about my creative process as a crafter click here to read the post about it.

 

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 Nalina Puppen boys

 

In search of that life we are moving to Germany in a month, hoping to settle, have a family, and enjoy living. We make a very limited number of dolls per month, making sure each is really well made and infused with all the love our family can hold. We are happy to see them finding new homes all over the world, and In our little country.

 

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 Nalina Puppen gnomes

 

If you want to know more about our stumbling as expats please find me at Joie de vie blog.

 

Until next time, have fun!

 

Pia

 

 

Nalina Puppen on Etsy (https://www.etsy.com/shop/nalinapuppen)

 

Pinterest  | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

 

Links to put on the social medial names:

 

 

 

 

 

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Meet Rebecca of Handmaiden Canada

Let me introduce myself…

Becky and Dolly
My name is Rebecca, and I live with my husband and 9 children in the “back woods” of Eastern Canada. I grew up here, and I love it. I love that I can sit out on my back porch in the early morning and hear silence. I love that I can walk down the road to a sparkling, clean lake to swim. I love the drama of the seasons.

My father and mother instilled in me a deep love for all things handmade. My dad was a Luthier. He built gorgeous one of a kind guitars. My mom was the type of “self- sufficient” woman who would make her own granola, hand-smock each one of us dresses for Easter, always had a knitting project on the go, and wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty in the garden. She had me sewing my first outfit when I was six years old. I’ll never forget it. So many seams sewn and then ripped out….and then sewn again. Did I mention she had the patience of a saint!? Creativity was always encouraged in our home. It was a very “organic” process. We had trunks of fabric scraps, yarn and craft supplies always at our disposal and we were encouraged to just “try stuff”. My mother would teach us the skills necessary, and then give us free reign to design and create. Of course she LOVED every single project even more than the last! A woman can always use another pot holder, right?

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What inspired me to start my shop Handmaiden Canada? After six months of my husband being off work with ulcerative colitis and awaiting imminent surgery, I started to rack my brain, trying to think of a way I could make some sort of an income from the home. I have been a stay at home mom for the past 18 years, and though I’m so grateful I’ve had the opportunity to be home with my children during these tender years, I do feel I am a little behind, with very little outside work experience under my belt. I decided to start a business from the home. This was something I could do, even with a nursing baby.  I opened a shop and called it Handmaiden Canada.

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Now, what to sell? I started to experiment. I started knitting wool bags and then felting them. I then started making things with recycled, felted sweaters and that was a lot of fun. Then I discovered Waldorf Dolls, and I fell in love. I have always loved dolls. I watched the way my mom was with my seven younger siblings, and I would imitate her. I  would nurse my baby, change her, and carry her around on my hip, just like my mom did with my baby brothers and sisters. Dolls were my first introduction to motherhood, and they still hold a special place in my heart. But there is something about the simple face, the softness and warmth, the natural materials of a Waldorf doll that sets them apart from any other type of doll. Something that makes you just want to snuggle up with them and tell them all your secrets.



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I had to try my hand at making one. I made one for my daughter for her first birthday, and what a hit that was! Before too long, I was blissfully caught up in a whirlwind of dolly making creativity! I was kept up many a night with visions of my next dolly dancing through my head! It is a process that I don’t think I could ever tire of.  I have now “joined forces” so to speak with my mother. She makes a lot of the doll clothing, and many of the other items in the shop. We get together often, to work on projects, to keep each other motivated and inspired! It is so amazing to be able to collaborate with her in this way.

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My husband and children are also involved in the business. My husband helps me with the shipping. My children (ages 19 down to 3), are my muses, and my helpers. They humour me by modelling things in the shop. Sometimes it is with a promise of a trip to the little candy store, or ice cream shop in town afterwards!

Nadia and her dollies
It truly is a JOY to be able to work from the home, to use my creative abilities to help provide for our family.  I do have to do part-time work outside the home…but I look forward to seeing this handmade business of ours continue to bloom and grow. 

Find these dolls at:

HandMaidenCanada on ETSY

FACEBOOK

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Wooden Spring Toys

I’ve been busy making lots of new toys for spring, and I thought I’d give you a little background on some of them.  Firstly, one of my facebook fans suggested a flower crown girl earlier this year when I was asking for spring ideas. I worked on it for months until I was happy with it. I love how it came out!  I thought it would be nice in a whimsical little set, but it can also be bought on its own.

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I was inspired by my daughters to make these little people. I never told anyone I was thinking of them when I designed them, but when my brother saw them, he said they look like my daughter! I’m so glad he can tell, because they’re meant to!  Here’s the other girl based on my daughter:

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Another suggestion from a facebook fan was a bluebird, so I did that one too!  There are now quite a few of my bluebirds in homes around the world, and I was working on one today as well!

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Ever since I made my Life Cycle of a Butterfly, I’ve wanted to do other life cycles.  I finally made this Life Cycle of a Frog and it’s one of my favorites!  It sparked a lot of learning when I showed it to my girls.  We ended up looking at pictures online of frog’s eggs, tadpoles and frogs, and then in the next few days both my girls were finding pictures of frog metamorphosis in books in our house!

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This next one is another of my favorites.  I love making mommy and baby sets.  I think it started with my babywearing figures, and then I made animal sets, like the mama and baby squirrel, mama and baby hedgehog, and I’ve been just itching to make a mama and baby pig set!

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And last of all, I have to show you my ice cream cone!  I’ve was thinking a lot last summer about making an ice cream cone but never got around to it.  Then a couple weeks ago I just really, really, really wanted to make that ice cream cone, so I did!

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I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing a bit of the background of my newest products.  I’ve enjoyed telling you about them!  For more photos of them, and to see all my other toys, check out my Little Woodlanders Etsy shop!  You can also visit and follow me at these links:

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Blog

 

 

 

 

 

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A Pony for Sara

We have a new pony! It’s a long story how I found him, but this pony needed a new home. I didn’t know how badly, until he got here. His hooves have possibly never been trimmed (our horses get their hooves trimmed every 2 months). Underweight, although not drastic. Still a stallion (never neutered). Shedding in weird patches.But the biggest thing wrong: Terrified. Scared to death. Literally shakes all over. Runs away. Cannot catch him. Abused.

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This is Winslow, day one.

So, got his hooves trimmed. My blacksmith was so kind and patient. Spent a week working with him everyday, several times a day. Very hard to catch him. Usually takes two people – have to corner him. Left his lead line on him, so when you get close can either grab or stand on the lead line. Once caught, his terror is blatant.

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Then he got gelded (neutered). This is major surgery. The vet was awesome. My friend Elaine, who came to lend moral support, fainted in the stall. 🙂

Winslow eating grass

This is Winslow, no longer a stallion. Very wary of me. Now he must be exercised twice a day, to help his incision heal. At first I thought, how will this ever work? But, bit by bit, he got a tiny bit easier to catch. And lead. It was a great day, when he would trust me enough to put his head down and eat grass (instead of watching me constantly in fear). The bonding and trust between us has grown. I bring sweet feed with me to his stall, and he will usually come to me, although not always – sometimes it is as if his fear was never even slightly abated. I exercise him every day. We go on walks. I’m teaching him that it is ok for him to be brushed, and washed with a hose. I now have him in a stall next to my “big” horses, and Belle (my mustang mare) has fallen in love with Winslow.
He’s still scared, but not as bad., usually.

Winslow yesterday

He is so adorable, and so sweet. Not an aggressive bone in his little body; just wants love. I try to imagine a day when his fear is gone.

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My love of horses began for me at age 2. It gives me such pleasure to knit little horses. I call them Earth Ponies, and you can request them in practically any color of the rainbow.

Woolies Unicorn
Earth Ponies at Woolies on Etsy!

Thank you for reading about me and Winslow!

Woolies Shop
Buster N Boo Shop
FACEBOOK
BLOG

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BirchLeaf Designs a Farm

Playsilks and Swords and Shields, OH MY! We recently came across a photo of a boy who was not afraid to play. His imagination was wondrous!

Boy who was not afraid to play.
Boy who was not afraid to play.

Wondrous and amazing…very much like this mosaic shield. Made from a blank shield from our shop and then sold at an auction to help raise funds for the Portland Waldorf School in Portland, Oregon.

Mosiac Shield. Photo courtesy Portland Waldorf School.
Mosiac Shield. Photo courtesy Portland Waldorf School.

The mosaic shield reminds me so much of our life…with the family in the center, the heart, the hearth, the fiery life-force. Then, branching off of the heart center are our many activities in which we are involved. Each day is filled with a bit of this and a bit of that…from eating healthy foods, to homeschooling, to farming, to making toys. These past few weeks have found us in the woods. Many blessings are upon us!

Maple Sap is flowing!

Pro Maple sap taster!
Pro Maple sap taster, Kiah.

Little baby chicks are healthy and here!

Baby chicks are a'peepin'.
Baby chicks are a’peepin’.

And little lambs have arrived!

Meet Patience.
Meet Patience.
Kiah and her lamb, Patience.
Kiah and her lamb, Patience.
Milo and his lamb, Temperance.
Milo and his lamb, Temperance.

It only gets livelier from here on out! Garden starts are ready to be planted. Piggies are due to arrive April 20th and bees shortly thereafter. Festivals and art shows are in the not so distant future…which brings us back to our shop…BirchLeaf Designs…Playsilks and Swords and Shields, OH MY…

Wendy, Mojo and their 2 children, Kiah and Milo live, homeschool, farm, and make toys off the grid near Marquette, Michigan. Please visit their shops at http://www.birchleafdesigns.etsy.com and http://www.northernchildren.etsy.com

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~ It’s time for a new spring/summer wardrobe !!!

I don’t know if you are like me, but every time spring is near I’m anxious to go to my wardrobe and start wearing my little dress and skirt again ! Not to mention that I love to go shopping for a couple of new sets…I don’t know why but it’s not the same for fall…do you feel the same !? Spring is really a  ”blooming” season, you want everything to look fresh, clean…all new !!  Also it’s that time of the year we, as parents, need to find new clothes for our children…omg they grow so fast ! I think my daughter gained 2 inches more this winter !?? She is going to turn 12 soon, and shopping for her is now a bit of a headhache. She’s not an adult yet, but children’s clothing don’t fit her anymore…boy oh boy..I have to be really creative to find something decent for her ah!ah!

Sometimes I kind of miss the time when she was younger, to dress her up in little colored shorts and skirt sets, with bows and frills…you know what I mean !? I used to work as a fashion designer for children and I’ve always loved clothing…to mix and match them and not to mention to design them. I just loOoove designing clothes…sketching, drawing… it’s another passion of mine!

I’m now the creator behind FeeVertelaine, handmade natural toys and dolls. Lately I did offer myself a treat ! I started a project that I’ve been dreaming about for many years now…Creating my own paper doll !! As a little girl, paper dolls were one of my ABSOLUTE favorite things to play with! So I took my pencil away from the cobwebs, and started to draw Emilÿ…it so reminded me of my time in fashion school. I also loOove watercolor,  so I told myself why not do the coloring this way…so I did ! Every little step of the creation of this project was a pure delight for me.

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After many months of sketching, coloring, editing…she finally came to life. This was pure joy for  my daughter, who was my assigned tester 😉 She and her friend had such a great time playing.. humm sorry testing…all the new spring/summer wardrobe that Emilÿ comes with. It was so sweet to watch them mixing and matching everything together…4 hands on one doll is a true test !! So I knew she was ready for the world to meet her !

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My heart is filled with excitment to introduce her to you today…Emilÿ my first paper doll…all ready for spring with her new wardrobe !! Enjoy !!!

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You can find her here in my Etsy shop.

 

This lavender dress reminds me of a dress that I sewed recently for one of my winter fairy dolls…a last glimpse of winter just before spring shows up  at our door !

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If you wish to see and read more about my creative process, I invite you to visit my Facebook page where I add pictures of my everyday work and things I cherish…. I will soon offer Emilÿ as a giveaway…keep an eye open !!

Happy spring !!

Warm regards,

~Julie xo

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A day at the office, 3 parts //mosey handmade, morning glory garden & mama

merry spring//bread day
merry spring//bread day

 

We have an early start to our day around here…

early light//sleepy heads
early light//sleepy heads
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naptime//mealtime

The littles wake with the sun, and there is work to be done. We have a little school in our house! This means many things, like bread day, soup day and rice day. All with their own set of recipes and each with their very own song.
we chippity chop, we kneed the dough and stir that rice pot.

table set//bunny hop
table set//bunny hop

Our school follows the rhythm of a Waldorf kindergarten and that means that as much as we work we also play!
There are carts of wool to be sorted, towers to be built, train rides to take and even some traveling to far away lands, like Boston!

polishing day//birthday
polishing day//birthday

We have a full day here in this house, me with my youngest on my back and my oldest playing about with her friends.
And at the end of that day a new day begins, one of snuggles and books read, one where usually my two little children curl up and fall fast asleep and then my life as a crafter and blogger begins. i have joked many times that my bed is my desk and in many ways it is. My children all nested in and my computer perched on the edge, me sitting Indian style on the floor rearranging my etsy shop or writing a blog post.

my littlest//bed as a desk
my littlest//bed as a desk

This is how we live and work. This is how I help support my family and stay centered, this is also in many ways my “me” time. My time to step away for a minute as wife and mother, and work at my craft. Then I suppose in someways isn’t it all a *mother’s craft*? The toast cut just right in the morning, the outfits for the children laid out and ready, the songs we sing and the way we apply ice pack after a fall and kisses after a scuffle. The way we write our to do list and check it off and gently add to it all day long.

setting the table//fancy slippers
setting the table//fancy slippers

that’s the thing about being a mother, it doesn’t have an ending. there is no closed sign to be turned over, and the lights may go out but we are always open for business.
and in a world that tries to put a name on what a wife and mother should be i say we are all crafters, lovingly eeking out what it means to us to be a family, and i hope a beautiful one at that.

You can read more about our days here:
www.littlebitsandbobbin.blogspot.com
See our little school here:
https://www.facebook.com/morningglorygarden

See what we sew and create at our etsy shop:

www.mosey.etsy.com

Follow us on instagram to see all the amazing dinners my husband cooks me! #morningglorywaldorfschool

 

 

 

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MamaWestWind, Stories…

Once there was and once there was not, a magical meadow on the edge of an enchanted forest. The forest was home to many magical beings. MamaWestWind knew them all…

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I fell in love with story when I was little.  As a child I loved nothing better than to lay outside under my favorite horse chestnut tree, feel the cool breeze on my skin, smell that green earthy smell of the grass, wildflowers & trees and be carried away by a book.  In my books I could travel to distant times and places all over the world.

When I became a Mom I really wanted to impart my love of story to my children.  One of the books that has captured our hearts is “Old Mother West Wind” by Thornton Burgess.  My boys and I really love the creative way in which the forces of nature are personified.  There is Old Mother West Wind who is the wind, her children the Merry Little Breezes, Old Dame Nature, Old Mother Moon and many others.

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So when I began making peg dolls for my three year old son and couldn’t stop, I knew an etsy shop had been born.  I didn’t have to look very far for the name of my shop, MamaWestWind.   I loved the idea that “Old Mother West Wind” being the wind, the very air around us, would know every creature in the forest. She would know the animals, the gnomes, fairies & all. My littles call me “Mama” & so MamaWestWind became my alter ego, my friend, my creative outlet & so began her story.

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Since that time my little shop has grown and I am so ecstatic to be doing what I love.  I get the privilege of creating little playthings, friends. that children then take into their worlds and imagine the most wonderful stories.  And so the circle is complete.

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(picture by a happy customer & photographer Jacqueline Leigh)

Please visit me at my blog, Chocolate Eyes where I blog about crafting, homeschooling, gardening , just life with three boys in the sunny Southwest.  I recently wrote a post about my brand new studio, so come for a tour!  Also check out my shop MamaWestWind on etsy.   For shop updates and giveaways “like” my MamaWestWind Facebook page.

MamaWestWindblog

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Tools of Trade: Washboard for Wet Felting

Remember my post about my journey with felting? I recently tought myself how to wetfelt. Most of the things I needed I had at home already. Soap, hot water, old towels, roving. What was missing was one of those cool washboards for agitating the wool.

Luckily I finally got a hold of one.

 

You can read the story of how I came across it here.