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Birchleaf Designs’ Poem

   This awesome diamante style poem was sent in by Wendy from BirchLeaf Designs.  Wendy and her husband  Mojo have been part of the Natural Kids team for many years. They live in the woods of Michigan creating the most wonderful playsilks and toys that spark the imagination.
Wendy is also in charge of our Naturla Kids Team’s  Facebook page. Thanks for the lovely poem and being a valuable member of this team!
              
Silk
 Soft, Colorful
Flowing, Playing, Wrapping
  Sling,   Dress,   Cape,   Knight  
Fighting, Pretending, Protecting
        Brave, Honorable
         Sword
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New Natural Kid on the Blog: JWrobel

My broodbaby collection started rather organically.  It was a seed that was planted long ago and was slowly nurtured into what it has become:  a line of wardrobe, accessories, home decor and patterns all with the comfort of your baby, you and your home, and our planet in mind.

My materials are all either organic, fair trade, eco friendly, and/or recycled, my favorites being the organic fair trade soft and chunky cottons I knit the cocoon style buntings from and the recycled woolens and sweaters I make the Sweet Critters with.
I design and work with many different techniques including knitting, rug hooking, sewing, and appliqué.  Going to work every day is a joy and an unfolding story.  New designs are endlessly twirling around in my head, and I’m always thinking of new ways I can tinker with a current one:  how would the pigs look in a novelty color?  What happens if I shift my perspective on a hooked piece?  And my work is frequently inspired by the materials I find.  Especially when working with recycled materials, I never know what I will discover or what will come out of it.  My need to not waste anything is a driving force behind my design process, too.  Just about everything gets used.  Just about everything finds new life.  Peonies grow from the linings of jackets and tiny pieces of felted wool left over from making the Organic Lavender Starfish Sachets become the appliqué pieces for penny rugs and tooth pillows.

I particularly love creating for commissions and special orders.  What is better than exploring all the design possibilities to create something just for your special cherub?   What will make his or her little smiling face burst with happiness?
What I love most about what I do is knowing that everything I make is going to a special babe and their family.  Through my work, I seek to bring comfort and joy to you and yours through the quality and simplicity of a well made, well loved, handmade life.  From my hands to your home.

Jess Wrobel
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A fresh start !!!

I tell myself every years now since I started this FeeVertelaine ”adventure”, that I should take the habit of cleaning the studio in January …right after the Holiday ”ToRNaDo”. I work like a little Santa’s elf from October to December  and I’m sure you can imagine what my messy studio ends up looking like… please imagine, as I will not show it to you….hi!hi!  In french we say ” Je vais me garder une petite gêne quand même!”

But yet I never did it…I was to excited after the holidays  to come back in and start making my precious dolls and toys again….

Well, believe it or not, this year I DID IT !!! …and not to mention how happy I am to start a new year in a FRESH and clean studio…So I felt like sharing some pictures  with you today … 

 

{ I love that my room is filled with bright light….I have big  windows to see nature….this is precious to me… }

 

{ Oh well I know that my little baskets  are still filled with felt pieces …but honestly how can I throw away wool !? }

 

{ Here is the space where I put my future doll inspiration….hummmm…. }

I always love to see other studios, so now here’s mine…. very simple, but a happy place where my imagination comes alive !!

If you are wondering what  item that I create in this ”special place” of mine, you can go visit my Etsy shop.

I hope you enjoy <3

~*I will take this opportunity to wish you all a wonderful new year 2013…may your heart be filled with love …all the best to you !!*~

~Julie xo

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Tools of the Trade: Pretty Handmade Stamps

I received a new studio shot by NaturalKids Teammate Beccijo Neff from The Enchanted Cupboard this week.

I love getting a glimpse into another artist’s studio and see what they are working on. Looks like our friend from the Enchanted Cupboard is working on some mushroom stamps.

It is always so much fun to see a project emerge…

 

Can you guess what Beccijo is making with these cool stamps? Please, go visit her shop to find out!

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Tools of the Trade: Thread Heaven

I told you how my husband always puts sewing related items in my stocking at Christmas. Stockingstuffer item number 2 I received this Christmas was a product called thread heaven. It’s a tiny square jar with some goopey waxlike stuff in it. You are supposed to drag your thread through this substance to keep your sewing thread from tangling.

Sounds like a lot of work to drag each piece of thread through this tiny jar. It also requires patience and nimbleness. I got it after years of training! =) I tried it out when sewing one of my little miniature dolls. I really liked it. It kept my thread from turning into a knotted mess while sewing on the tiny dollheads.

 

The package also promises that the product “Reduces Hand Fatigue” and that it is “acid free and Hypoallergenic.” The only problem I have with this product is that it doesn really say what it is made of.

Have you ever used thread heaven or something similar to it? I think I will contact the company to find out more. Could it be a trade secret? Maybe just a little bit of softened beeswax would do the job just as well?  I am intrigued.

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Tools of the Trade: Useless Gadget

I hope you got some good Christmas presents this year. I am very pleased with my loot for sure. Really, my husband and I don’t give each other a ton of presents. It’s mostly for the kids, right? But he always tries to find me small sewing related items to put in my stocking.

Oh my, this year I got 3 different things. Two gadgets were okay. The third item was a bit of a bust. It was called a wrist magnet by Dritz company. You are supposed to wear it strapped around your wrist while sewing.

I found this thing way too cumbersome. The magnet, though very strong, did not hold my needles very well because there is not enough surface touching, I suppose. Then there was my constant fear leaving the magnet too close to my phone or computer. It could really mess up data I am being told…So why not just use a pin cushion for your needles?

Forget it! I hung it on the frige. Maybe hubby can use it when fixing something around the house – so the kids and I don’t have to be the nail- or screw -holders during the project. LOL

I’ll tell you about the other gadgets I got another day…

 

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Tools of the Trade: Dollmaker’s Tool

I recently received this brand new tool in the mail. I am sad to say that I have been too busy to use it much.  My fingers are itching to make a new doll but these days I am mostly occupied with shipping and finishing off other products. Maybe in the New Year?

What is this curious looking tool that kind of looks like a little hedgehog? It actually is a miniature brush for fluffing up doll hair. Looks so cool, doesn’t it?

If you want to see some samples of dolls with fluffed mohair wigs you can find them in my shop on Etsy.

 

 

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Tools of the Trade: Thimbles

I didn’t know it until just this morning – I am a digitabulist. You may ask yourself: What in the world is that? A digitabulist is what you call a person who collects thimbles. Well, my collection is rather smallish. In the photo you can see all four of them. I keep the 3 useful ones in my sewing box.

The German word for thimble is Fingerhut. In translation that means  fingerhat – a hat for your finger. This is my humble collection of fingerhats.

Number one is made of leather. Number two of ceramic. Number three brass. Number four is made of plastic.

The ceramic one was given to me by a friend who brought it back from a visit to the UK or Ireland. It’s really pretty but probably the most useless of the lot. It usually hangs out on my windowsill. Long before I knew about the hobby of digitabulism, I actually tried to slip the ceramic thimble on my finger to help push a needle through thick fabric. The thing slipped right off my finger and fell to the floor. Luckily it didn’t break. I suppose it was never meant to be used.

On Wikipedia you can learn many interesting facts about thimbles.

Besides learning a new big word and that this tool has been around since Roman times, approximately 1 AD,  I discovered that people didn’t just use them to push needles through fabric. Thimbles were used for some other interesting purposes – if you want to believe Wikipedia:

In the 19th century they were used to measure spirits, which brought rise to the phrase “just a thimbleful”. Prostitutes used them in the practice of thimble-knocking where they would tap on a window to announce their presence. Thimble-knocking also refers to the practice of Victorian schoolmistresses who would tap on the heads of unruly pupils with dames thimbles.

Well, maybe I’ll gift the ceramic thimble to my husband who is a teacher. He says it might help his students think a bit better in class…

You can find very cool pictures of antique thimbles via this link. Kind of puts my collection to shame.

http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/201205/little.thimble.big.journey.htm

 

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Tools of the Trade: Mini Vacuum

I have been doing a lot of sewing on my sewing machine lately. As we get closer to Christmas my m trusty Bernina workhorse has to run 4 hours a day on average.

I found that one of the most essential tools in keeping my sewing machine clean and running is a miniature vacuum cleaner. Instead brushing lint out or  blowing the dirt into your machine you must remove it by sucking it out. I got the idea from my husband who is using a miniature vacuum for his computer keyboard. You can find a mini vacuum at any office supply store such as Office Depot or Office Max. I think mine cost about $20. After a couple of hours of sewing I open up my machine and vacuum the inside. Then I take out all the removable parts and brush the lint off. I oil the moving parts and put them back in.

Since I own only one sewing machine it’s crucial to take good care of it. I simply can’t afford to have it fixed or serviced this time of year.

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Make a Jacaranda Seedpod Gnome

It’s the time of the year where the Jacaranda tree is starting to get its summer blossoms here in the Southern Hemisphere and the seedpods are starting to fall.  The Jacaranda Tree is a beautiful subtropical tree with gorgeous purple flowers that bloom two times in a year, in early spring before the leaves return, and then again in summer after the leaves have grown.

The seedpods are perfect to craft with and create cute little gnome ornaments.  They are perfect for the Nature Table, Christmas tree, or just as a playful ornament around the house.  Here’s a brief tutorial for a craft you can do together with your kids.

 

Items needed: jacaranda tree seedpods (remove the seeds if the pod is opened up) that have some of the stem still attached, wooden beads (14/15mm), felt, thread/embroidery floss, needle, scissors, craft knife and craft glue.

 

First, select a seedpod that you want to work with and check if the bead fits over the little stem.  Shave some of the stem off with the craft knife in case that the joint is to think (be careful though!).

Cut a piece of felt in shape of a triangle that will be the gnome hat.  We made a long pointy hat, but you can shape it as you want.  Thread a needle with embroidery floss or a few strands of thread and sew the hat.  We used the blanket stitch to do this.

Put some craft glue on the stem of the seed and slide the bead on it.  Let it dry.

 

Take another piece of thread – this will be the loop from the head on which the gnome hangs – and thread the needle.  From the inside of the hat, find the top and stick the needle through, pull the thread through and then stick the needle back into the top of the hat again – a loop had formed on the top of the hat.  Take the two ends on the ‘inside’ of the hat and knot them securely together a few times so that the knot is large enough to not slip through the top of the hat.

Put some craft glue on the top of the bead and place the hat on it, let it dry thoroughly and you are ready.

 

 

In case you have no Jacaranda Seedpods available, you can also find the ready made gnomes in the ziezo shop