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Welcome! I continue my trek backwards through the alphabet to bring to you the most wonderful and imaginative treasures. They are all handmade with natural materials from…yes! the NaturalKids Team on Etsy! Once again, we are featuring a wonderful variety of artists who all work with natural materials and today, are all Waldorf-Inspired! All their shops start with an F…could that stand for open-ended “free play?? I think so! Enjoy!

 Fee Tartine  is the home of various styles of Waldorf-Inspired cloth dolls. Johanne, is from Canada. She is a Mother, midwife and craftswoman, who is “overwhelmingly busy but literaly addicted to sewing and knitting.” Her latest, the Punk-Dorf 15″ Waldorf Inspired Doll , is a simple but sturdy one-of-a-kind doll,  made from quality re-purposed materials.

Donni, the creative wonder behind Fairyfolk,  makes needle felted and silk treasures. She grew up in South Africa, where she had a lovely, natural childhood surrounded by animals and wilderness. She has lived in many different countries, Ireland, England, New Zealand and now, finally, America where she has settled at last. “I have a loving Kiwi husband and two gorgeous children. Crafting is how I reconnect with myself. It is the language of my soul. I came to needle felting only recently and have fallen in love with all of it… the sound of the needle in the wool, the smell of the wool, the feeling of my creation in my hands. I am so grateful for the wide range and color of the wool I can work with… it makes anything possible.”  Here is her latest Set of 8 Snow Felted Acorns. 

Free Trade Family  hails from Arizona, the shop offers a wide variety of cotton and wool play foods for your child’s play kitchen or market or for imaginative fun anytime, including fruits, vegetables, ethnic foods, and sweets.  Here is the latest…  Cotton Play Food – Chocolate Sandwhich Cookies.   

Those are the featured new items for this week– from lovely upcycled Waldorf dolls to wool decor and play acorns to cotton play food play…they are all from natural materials and from the hands of folks who love nature, children and open ended toys..this is just a small sample of the quality and variety our customers enjoy from the fine crafters and artists of the NaturalKids team.

Thanks for joining us this week and please do return again next Monday as we continue to feature all the wonderful members of the Naturakids team on Etsy! Til then, I invite you to browse all our wonderful shops.


Warmly,
Rebecca aka Nushkie
Nushkie on Facebook

 

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What’s New, and Well Natural from the Natural Kids Team on Etsy

Welcome! I continue my trek backwards through the alphabet to bring to you the most wonderful and imaginative treasures. They are all handmade with natural materials from…yes! the NaturalKids Team on Etsy! This week, we feature wonderful variety of artist from who have one thing in common – they all work with natural materials!

Ulla is the visionary behind GermanDolls. Her shop is a wonderful resource for Waldorf style handmade dolls and doll clothing. All of the items you see in her shop are made by her from patterns she designed. She makes her dolls and doll clothes from natural fibers, wool, cotton, and felt. Here is her custom made Leaf Buddy.

Finns and Flowers is a small husband and wife team family business in the beautifully small and rural community of Palermo Maine. Both are endlessly inspired by their three magical children. “We believe that children need toys that invite them to be active not only physically, but mentally as well. They need toys that are pleasing to look at and enjoyable to touch. Most of all they need toys that are fun and safe!” They don’t paint or stain the wood, but let it be in its natural form. Ten hand rub each wooden toy with either a mixture of beeswax and jojoba oil, or environmentally and child safe linseed oil to further enhance the beauty and protect the wood. Here is their Natural Heart Teether.

FeeVertelaine is located in Canada. Julie is the heart and soul of this “oui” shop. All dolls are earth friendly as they are made with natural quality fiber such as wool, mohair, cotton, and alpaca. Julie says, “I always enjoyed creating, it is my passion, my hobby…it is a part of me, a joy! Through my creations a piece of my soul is revealed. I have a daughter, so the first doll that I did was for her…and now guess what happen???…ha!ha! I couldn’t stop…I had to make more. I just love to create them!” Here’s what’s new from her: Sweet Little Traveling Family House

Those are the featured new items for this week– from sweet play toys to teethers – all from natural materials and from the hands of folks who love nature, children and open ended toys..this is just a small sample of the quality and variety our customers enjoy from the fine crafters and artists of the NaturalKids team.

Thanks for joining us this week and please do return again next Monday as we continue to feature all the wonderful members of the Naturakids team on Etsy! Til then, I invite you to browse all our wonderful shops.


Warmly,
Rebecca aka Nushkie

Nushkie on Facebook

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Nature Table, The Mess of It All

Everything gets a little messy from time to time even our beloved Nature Table. Sticky hands and messy play can do a little damage but never fear all can be cleaned. With a little care your natural toys will last many lifetimes.


Unfinished Wooden Toys:
Regular care: Clean with a damp sponge, but do not soak unfinished wooden toys as they will absorb water. Alternatively, wipe gently with a cotton ball moistened with rubbing alcohol. Wood needs to have its natural moisture replenished in order to prevent it from drying out, warping or cracking. The best way to keep your wooden toys hydrated and well-nourished is with a natural oil or wax, like plain mineral oil or beeswax polish. Periodically rubbing with oil or beeswax will help refresh the wood and provide some protection.

Stains/Discolorations: Fine-grade sandpaper may be used to remove any discolorations/stains (from food, crayons, markers, etc.).

Water Damage: Fine-grade sandpaper may be used to restore the toy to its desired smoothness if the toy has been exposed to water and become rough.

Finished/Painted Wooden Toys:
Regular Care: Wash gently and quickly with soap and water. Please do not soak them.
Stains/Discolorations: Spray and wipe with a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water.
 Play silks
 Recommended care: Hand or delicate cycle cold wash, hang or air dry.
 Felted toys
Care: Spot clean with a damp sponge do not soak in water.  Best kept indoors.

There are other great items from our team members on the NaturalKids Team website:
http://www.naturalkidsstore.com/cat_tables.html

Please leave a comment and share with us some ways you celebrate spring!

Article by Beccijo, The Enchanted Cupboard

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What’s New, and, Well Natural from the Natural Kids Team on Etsy

Welcome! I continue my trek backwards through the alphabet to bring to you the most wonderful and imaginative treasures. They are all handmade with natural materials from…yes! the NaturalKids Team on Etsy!
This week, we feature an international array of artists from the United Kingdom to Canada to across the United States, who have one thing in common besides having their shops begin with the letter L – they all work with natural materials!


Love A Little is a three generation family of creators from the United Kingdom. Grandma, “mum” and daughters work with wool, cotton, and other natural materials to make Waldorf inspired dolls, brooches, and this, just for mommies…The Peace Flower Pouch is a cheerful 100% cotton flower print zipped tetra pouch. It is made to fit a Mooncup or other menstrual keeper when clean and in need of a safe 3D style pouch. It features a twisted thread pull to assist in opening and shutting the pouch.

Jade is a stay at home mommy creator from Canada. She is the loving engine behind …Little Lily Baboo. “I love being a stay at home mom to Addison, Tegan and Myka, and spending any free time sewing for my Etsy shop! Inspired by my girls, Little Lily products are a natural, gentle way to care for the most precious people in your life!”

Her blankets, wipes, towels and onsies are made from the organic and renewable fibers of bamboo. Here is her latest…the Cars Bamboo Hooded Towel for baby…

Making natural treasures for children Little Elfs Toy Shop is at the hear of Kelley from Oregon. “I love kids and making kids happy and have wanted to be a toy maker ever since I was a little girl. All of my toys are double sewn for best quality and are made with lots of love and care. I want these toys to last a long time so they can be loved for many, many moons.”

She specializes in natural dolls and toys, each doll is lovingly hand made of natural materials and are great for imaginative play. The dolls are all double sewn and stuffed with 100% sheep’s wool which will retain the body heat of one who holds them close. Here is her most recent treasure…a yummy Waldorf inspired cloth 12″ girl doll wearing an adorable light blue, hand sewn outfit.

Joe and Amy from Ohio are the creators and crafters behind Little Alouette‘s beautiful Montessori and Waldorf Wood teethers, organic blocks, safe infant and toddler toys, modern traditional rattles.


“In 2007 Little Alouette reinvented a way of thinking of natural toys. We breathed life back into the wooden teething industry by creating the first modern and fun shapes that the country had seen in a long time. Modern families want natural {old school} toys but they want them funky and gorgeous and safe. We do that at Little Alouette. We do it best.” Here is their Gigi Giraffe Ohio Maple Wood Sweet Teether.

That’s it for this week…. from pouches for mommy to bamboo baby hooded towels, Waldorf inspired wool stuffed dolls to wooden teethers …this is just a tiny sampling of the quality and variety our customers enjoy from the fine crafters and artists of the Naturakids team.

Thanks for joining us this week and please do return again next Monday as we make our way through the alphabet, featuring all the wonderful members of the Naturakids team on etsy! Til then, I invite you to browse all our wonderful shops.

Creatively yours,
Rebecca aka Nushkie

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Felted Wool Dryer Ball Tutorial

Green up your laundry routine with this week’s How-To Thursday: Felted Wool Dryer Balls  by Liz, from TheSittingTree.


How To Make Felted Wool Dryer Balls:
This winter, we weren’t able to hang dry laundry in the house due to some moisture issues in the basement, so I wanted to come up with a more eco~friendly, non~toxic way of doing laundry through the colder months. After some research, I found wool dryer balls to be an energy efficient & safe alternative to toxic dryer sheets, fabric softeners, and other plastic dryer balls.

Just a few of the benefits of natural Wool Dryer Balls:
*Natural Fabric Softener
*Non~toxic
*Reduces wrinkles
*Eliminates static cling {this was a big one for us, and it really works!!}
*Quiet while tumbling
*Cuts drying time in half by absorbing all of the moisture from the clothing
*Fun & Safe for babies and pets
*Safe for all cloth diapers.  {The waxy residue from fabric softeners and dryer sheets will decrease absorbency of diapers}
*You can scent them naturally with a couple drops of essential oils {just let them dry first}


Please visit Liz, at TheSittingTree, for her original post and other eco~friendly tutorials.  In her own words, “Come join me under The Sitting Tree for stories about my life as a wife to my best friend, proud mama of three homeschooled boys, obsessed knitter and lover of Mother Earth.”


You can also find TheSittingTree on Etsy with a shop full of knitting patterns, upcycled clothing, handmade soaps and other natural handmade products for the whole family.

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What’s New, and, Well, Natural from the Natural Kids Team on Etsy

Welcome! Today I’m going to continue my trek backwards through the alphabet to bring to you the most yummy treasures, which are handmade with natural materials from…yes! the Naturalkids Team on Etsy!

 Danielle is the creator behind Princess Nimble Thimble dolls.  She hails from St. Louis Missouri and features little hand sewn bendy dolls made from wood, and wool. They are small but mighty and incredibly cute.

There are few listings in Danielle’s shop, as they sell out quickly. Check in for her stocking calender and see when the new arrivals will be…arriving! Here is her  Birthday Party Bendy Doll    

When you visit Pretty Dreamer, you will be asked to remember your days of wonder…”that five year old self that managed to stay with you through the years … at the heart of toymaking is a giving life to the cherished plaything. I hold an image of many far away workshops and kitchen tables in close and distant lands where love and imagination shaped a wonderful plaything…”

She makes her handmade Waldorf-inspired and classic wood toys, art toys, home decor and housewares from materials that are carefully chosen and non-toxic.. And they are always “Lively, useful, colorful, simple – for home and play.  Here is her Golden Egg – Fairy-tale inspired beeswax candle.

Dayanra of Pin Pon  is a native Chicagoan, who studied art at Columbia College. As a former Early Childhood Educator, she understands the need for open-ended play, simplicity, and nurturing in a child’s life. “Inspired by the Spanish lullaby my mom sang to me as a child I create one of a kind, original playthings for the young and young at heart.”

In her shop you will find soft dolls, wooden toys, and imaginary friends made of natural and re-purposed fabrics, mostly cottons, wools and linens. They are all stuffed with cotton.

Here is Barry the Polar Bear

Pinkhouse Handworks is the dream of Janice Kearley, who came upwith the name years before opening her shop. “The birth of my first child in November 2007 has made the business a reality. After being a Montessori guide in Austin, Texas for 10 years, I left my classroom to be at home with my daughter.”       She makes “Montessori Baby Toys” from wood and cotton, which are appropriate for all babies and can be appreciated by Montessori and non-Montessori families alike…Here is her Wintery Blue soft Circular Rattle/Teething Ring .
That’s it for this week….from rattles to bendy dolls, from beeswax to stuffed polar bears, it is a pleasure to bring you all the new treasures from these fine crafts folk/artists. 
Please visit again next Monday as we make our way through the alphabet, featuring all the wonderful members of the Naturakids team on etsy! Til then, I invite you to browse all our wonderful shops.

Creatively yours,

Rebecca aka Nushkie

 

 

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What’s New, and, Well, Natural from the Natural Kids Team on Etsy

Welcome! We may be past Valentine’s day…but we’re not finished with the love! In this case, the love of making handmade treasures created with natural materials from…yes! the Naturalkids Team on Etsy! Today I’m going to continue my trek backwards through the alphabet to bring the stories of our members and their newest listings.

The Fairies Nest is the home of OOAK (one of a kind) art dolls, fairies, Waldorf toys, and textile treasures from the Lands of Enchantment. All dolls found there are designed and handmade by Cynthia Toy, using her own patterns and eco-friendly natural fibers and fabrics.

Cynthia’s dolls require many hours to make as she designs and creates each doll completely from her own imagination. Many of the dolls are made from the inside out without patterns, and each face is carefully drawn and painted by hand using no patterns or stencils. Because of this, no two dolls are EVER exactly alike, they are all one of a kind; like people, each has its own distinct personality.

Speaking of personality, here is a new and incredibly adorable rat! This rat is not cute just once…but twice…proving two heads are better than one! Two headed Rat Art Doll

The Enchanted Cupboard: “You enter a quaint gift shop…You see a large old enchanted cupboard with a vast amount of drawers and doors; you walk to it as sweet, whispered words fill your ears, ‘Inside you will find your heart’s desire!’ “

Beccijo of The Enchanted Cupboard is an award-winning artist from the age of eleven, when she picked up some oil pastels and began to draw everything she saw with her eyes and in her imagination. Her parents signed her up for Art Class at a local Art Studio. She received many Gold Key Awards and donated many of her art works to charity for auctions. Beccijo sold her first painting when she was 17. She went off to study Art at college and was awarded The Most Outstanding Student of Art for 1991. Since then, she has let her heart and her art lead her. Beccijo continues to draw and paint but has now found great passion for toy making and personal custom dolls painted to the likeness of her subject…from wedding cake toppers to childrens’ toys. You just have to open the cupboard to find them! Here is her Rainbow Wooden Dolls and Mushroom Box

Sunshadow Slippers is a ‘from home’ business that Tracey runs with her three children. They make indoor shoes for Steiner/Waldorf schools, but they are just as fabulous to be worn as slippers around the house. They are soft and ‘snuggly’ for baby toes all the way up to older toes in need of some nurture.

All materials are natural fibers. The soles are leather, the tops are made of snug fitting cotton, and inside there is a pure wool felt insole – your feet will never feel more loved!

Each pair of slippers is uniquely created to be as individual as her customers. The motifs are from nature, butterflies and dragonflies, frogs and possums, dolphins and turtles, like ones featured here: Playful Possum Print Slippers – Hand dyed in pure cotton

Sheree, creator of Sheree’s Atelier is an MIT trained chemist. Now, instead of mixing up chemicals in the lab, she prefers to spend her days at home with her family mixing up fabrics and yarns and other magical ingredients to create the items in her shop.

Sheree designs and makes all of the lovely dresses, bags and other goodies from the finest natural materials, and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Here is Sheree’s Aqua Floral and Dots Emma tote for Girls

From wooden toys to woolen stuffed animals, slippers and accessories, this week’s selection from the Natural kids Team on Etsy offers you just a taste of the natural creations you can expect to find and make part of your life from our wonderful artists and craftspeople. Look here for a full list of our shops!

Thank you for visiting this week. I’ll have more shops to introduce you to next week as I showcase their recent creations. I look forward to seeing you then, in the meantime, our blog has interesting and informative entries each day. Enjoy!

Creatively yours,
Rebecca a.k.a. Nushkie

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Friday Feature with Harvest Moon by Hand!

Today’s interview is with Ann, of Harvest Moon by Hand. Enjoy!

Tell us little about yourself!

I am a stay-at-home mom who homeschools my two daughters (ages 9 and 7). Both of my daughters were born in China, and adopted at 11 months and 10 months respectively.
I have always enjoyed crafting – especially embroidery, needle-felting, needlepoint, crocheting, and cross-stitching. I hope to pass the joy I feel when I craft along to those who purchase my items. My other interests include: photography, traveling, reading, cooking/baking, and bird watching.
My home is in Scandia, Minnesota (a small rural town about 35-40 minutes northeast of downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul) on a ten-acre hobby farm. With a miniature horse, pony, two dogs, and five cats…there always seems to be a lot of activity here.

What do you make?

The most popular item in my store is by far the translucent window stars. These are some of the first items that I started with when I opened my store, and I continue to add new patterns and colors each month.

I also sell:
– art kits and supplies for creative people of all ages (children to adults);
– all-natural children’s toys (e.g., felt food, small stuffed animals that tie into children’s books);
– supplies for sewers and homeschoolers (e.g., fabric-covered buttons, needlebooks, patterns);
– handmade gift items (e.g., fabric gift bags, eco-friendly postcards, greeting cards featuring my photographs, Christmas ornaments);
– paper bags made from vintage children’s books; and
– educational supplies (e.g., postage stamp sets).
In addition to these items, I also do custom orders based on what people see in my store or on my Flickr site.

 

 How long have you been creating?

As a child, I loved to color, draw, and do crafts. My parents were very supportive of creative expression, and registered me for summer school arts and craft classes. When I was junior high, I took a lot of art classes – including pottery, calligraphy, and rug making. Now as a mother, I enjoy crafting with my daughters and seeing their enthusiasm for expressing their creativity.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by the creative work that I see on Flickr and Etsy. I also like browsing through craft books and magazines that I check out of the library.

Living in a rural area, I’m always inspired by nature and wildlife.
Last, I’m inspired by my daughters. It’s interesting to see what they use when they play, what their play centers around, and what they tend to gravitate towards when we go shopping. I try to create all-natural items that they and other children would enjoy playing with and using.

What got you started working with the window stars?

When my daughters were younger, I took them to a weekly program at the local Waldorf school. The windows were decorated with a variety of the sun catchers, and I thought they looked so beautiful with the sunlight shining through them.
While the children were playing, the parents would attend a “class” about different topics. One session was focused on creating a calming and beautiful home environment for children. I immediately thought of the stars and how they could enhance different rooms in the home.

How long have you been on Etsy, & how has it been for you so far?

I opened an account in February 2008 after reading about Etsy in our local paper. In Spring 2008, I began listing items in my shop, Harvest Moon by Hand. Being a part of Etsy has been wonderful. It has given me an opportunity to create and sell my work to people around the world.

What advice would you have for other Etsians?

Try to stay visible by listing often, by listing a variety of items, and visiting the Forums. Include your business card and a small promotional item with each order.

What do you hope to learn/gain/contribute from being part of the Natural Kids group?

Being a part of the Natural Kids group keeps me aware of the breadth of natural, eco-friendly toys and home furnishings that are available. If people are looking for a place to get a well-made, handmade toy that they will be safe for their children, I always refer them to the Natural Kids website.

What thoughts do you have for parents on the importance of natural toys for creative play?

Because both my daughters love to play and use their imagination, I make many of their toys by hand – all from natural materials (primarily wool and cotton). Knowing they have quality, safe (and lead-free) toys is important because I know they won’t adversely affect their health.

Natural toys – in addition to being safe for children to play with – also seem to be more open-ended which fosters deeper and more imaginative play. Children are not limited by what a toy does (e.g., makes a particular sound, can only be used one way), but rather can use natural toys in multiple ways in their play and daily life.

Your links:

SHOP: http://www.harvestmoonbyhand.etsy.com/
BLOG: http://harvestmoonbyhand.blogspot.com/
TWITTER: http://twitter.com/harvestmoonMN
FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/harvestmoonbyhand
PHOTOS ON FLICKR: http://www.flickr.com/photos/picturesbyann

Today’s interview by Kat, of kats in the belfry.
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How To: Nurture Art Appreciation in Kids

Muddy Feet and More is a rare treat: dragonflies, butterflies, foster animals and paper cutters all receive equal time. For the complete version of today’s How To, be sure to take a look at Kelly’s original post. There are even more great cloud pictures to ‘oooh’ and ‘ahhh’ over!

The development of art was one one of the first steps that mankind took on his path to civilization. Throughout history, great value has been placed on beauty, originality, and creativity. From cave paintings, shell beads and tattoos to modern day architecture, advertisements and photography, art is all around us, and in fact, embedded deep into our very being.

Exposure and communication. That is all we need to appreciate art. Exposure is easy, it’s all around, right? You just need to look at things in a new way. Look at everything for the art in it, listen and feel too! Use your senses. The communication may be a little more difficult. We are a verbal species. We need to learn the terms for communicating what we are experiencing. We need to learn what questions to ask to evoke responses in ourselves and the children we are with. Okay, that’s really pretty easy when you get the hang of it too!

So where to begin? Outside. No, really! Go. Visit the ever changing multi-sensory work of art that nature provides us with, that nature IS. For the first assignment, take a step back. Look up. Every day, the sky is different. Even here in Phoenix the sky is never quite the same shade of blue. The sunsets are never quite the same. Even the night skies are changing, moving. Rather than seeing sky, or clouds, or the moon, you are seeing art. Now discuss that. Ask questions. Make statements. Even get excited. Do this whenever you are outside.

“Wow, look at the cloud in front of the sun! It’s really beautiful!
I like the way the edge is so bright. It really contrasts with the darkness
of the inside of the cloud and makes it stand out from the other clouds!
What do you think?”

“I really like the different cloud shapes and colors. Which ones
are your favorites? There are so many shades of gray in the clouds,
and so many layers. The blue sky behind is so bright. It isn’t like
the paler blue we saw yesterday, is it?”

“Amazing! Going outside is like walking into a sepia photograph!”
(Actual conversation last night.) “The sun is being filtered by all
of the dust in the air, turning the sky this unusual color!”
(The next photo is actual color, it has not been changed.
It was taken with the same camera just a few hours after the ones above.)

“Isn’t is amazing how many colors nature gives us?!”

Hopefully now you are beginning to get you child(ren) a little excited, a little involved in communicating about what they see. Don’t forget to ask about sounds, feelings and smells too. “Can you smell the rain in the air? How about the dust? Do you hear any birds? Are the crickets chirping? Did you know you can tell how hot it is by how quickly the crickets chirp?” Tie in whatever might interest them. Or you. It’s all about making connections. There is beauty in science, creativity in math (how can you solve that equation you’ve never seen before?!), and originality in writing. Art is everywhere.

What next? Break out that box of crayons, those watercolors (get some good ones – more on that later), construction paper and create something inspired by what you saw. YOU create. Don’t just give materials to the kids. Don’t even make it into an activity that “we’ll all do together” unless you are doing it as a class activity. Kids need to see adults participating in the creative process for it to become something of value. Otherwise it is just “something kids do.”

This does not necessarily mean draw clouds. This means use that blue you liked from the sky and the gray from the clouds. Let them mix and join with each other. Or make something abstract. Use the fluffiness of the clouds to inspire a world made of fluff. If you want to do clouds, try out some in different colors, and try to shade the colors in rather than drawing a traditional cloud shape. These activities encourage thinking out of the box. We don’t want cookie cutter thinking, we want creativity. This may take time, but the example you set will inspire the children around you.

Muddy Feet, Kelly’s Etsy shop, carries hemp jewelry and eco friendly toys in a variety of materials. “By giving children beautiful, creative playthings and showing that these are meaningful ideals to ourselves, they will come to treasure these values, develop them and use them in their own lives.”

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Friday Feature with Pinkhouse Handworks

Tell us little about yourself!
I am a wife, mother, gardener, crafter and Montessorian. I live with my husband and 2 year-old daughter in a small town in Central Texas. We enjoy playing, walking, making music and trying to take life slowly. I was a Montessori child and then a Montessori guide for ten years. I am currently home full time with my daughter. Montessori philosophy and life is our passion. It influences how we spend our days and what we choose to have in our lives.

What do you make and how long have you been creating?
I learned to crochet and knit as a child. Since then I have pursued a number of other avenues for creativity. I love to needle felt, sew, spin yarn, draw, sculpt clay and paint. Currently I make and sell what I call Montessori Baby Toys, which at this time, consist of crocheted rattles, hanging toys, sewn pouches and wooden toys for infants and toddlers.

What inspires you?
I get inspired to create when I learn of a new technique or pattern. I also love to see what others have created and get inspired to try something similar. My daughter has been a great inspiration to me. I love making toys for her and am excited to one day teach her how to knit, crochet, needle felt and spin.

What got you started working with Montessori Baby Toys?
While I was pregnant, dear friends who had taken the Montessori training for ages 0 to 3 years lent me their training albums. The albums suggested beautifully simple toys to offer to infants. I set out to make these for my daughter. In finding the parts and creating the toys for her I found that they made a nice little collection and thought it might be nice to offer them to other families interested such toys. I gradually brought together the little collection of five toys and began to sell them. Since then I have added other items and continue to have more ideas for items to offer in the future. In 2009 I had the Montessori Baby Toys bag and Circular Rattles tested and they are safe according to the new CPSIA guidelines.

How long have you been on Etsy and how has it been for you so far?
I joined Etsy a little over two years ago after a friend sent me the link to her shop. It was before I had even started making my toys. I just thought it was a wonderful place to purchase handmade items directly from sellers. Becoming a seller on Etsy has been so wonderful. I tell people about Etsy all the time because I know that everyone will love it. I love being directly connected to my customers. Making baby toys is a really special work and being connected to the parents and family of babies all over the world is an amazing feeling. Through Etsy I have had the pleasure of selling to families in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. What a treat to ship a package to a far away place and to get to add that place into my awareness.

Early this year I got to join the Natural Kids Team on Etsy and have found it to be so educational. The team has so many amazing sellers with the same feelings about offering beautifully handmade items for children. I learn so much from that group and have felt more connected to Etsy in general by belonging to the team.

What advice would you have for other Etsians?
I think Etsy sellers continue to learn from each other continuously. Buying from other sellers and seeing how they package their product and what they include in the shipment is a really good way to learn. I find it especially helpful to read the Etsy Success emails. I love that Etsy connects the sellers to such great information about all aspects of selling such as photography, taxes, promotions, tagging etc. I’ve found so many great blogs and web sites from reading Etsy articles.

What do you hope to learn/gain/contribute from being part of the Natural Kids group?
When I requested membership to the Natural Kids Team I was looking for like-minded folks who share ideas and help to support each other’s shops. The camaraderie and sharing of ideas and information has been so much more than I had expected. As a new member I am still learning the ropes and hope to get to be more of a contributor in the future.

What thoughts do you have for parents on the importance of natural toys for creative play?
In our family we select items for our home that are made from natural materials such as fabric, paper, natural fibers, wood, metal, glass and stone. To us it is important that we can recognize what material an item is made from and possibly even who made it! We spend as much time as possible at home and outdoors playing, reading, cooking and exploring. We have set up our whole home to be accessible and safe for our daughter. We adhere to the principle of rotation when organizing our home. We have out only small amounts of toys at a time and each toy has it’s own special place. We rotate toys in and out of the cabinets and closets based on our daughter’s interest, abilities and the seasons. In living our life in this way we have found that our daughter is deeply connected to nature, is creative with language and with her toys, takes care of her belongings, has good control of her body, has a deep sense of confidence and is independent and joyful.

Your items can be found where:
Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/pinkhouse
Web site: http://www.pinkhousehandworks.com
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/Pinkhousehandworks
Catalog: http://www.michaelolaf.com/

Interview by Beccijo of The Enchanted Cupboard