Posted on

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
*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.

Posted on

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



Posted on

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

Posted on

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:


Today’s interview by Kat, of kats in the belfry.
Posted on


by Jen of SewnNatural

What are the sources of our inspiration? Where do we, as artists, mothers, fathers, teachers, chefs and community members, find fuel to light the sparks of creativity within us?

image above via Flickr

For one NaturalKids member, Farida (you can visit her magical shop, Alkelda, here) stories and storytelling are closely woven into her artistry, and her life. “I create figures for people to use in nature table displays and in storytelling for folk tales, fairy tales, saints’ legends, therapy… wherever the imagination leads.”

We are thrilled to announce that starting very soon, Farida (of Alkelda) will be regularly posting interesting and delightful book suggestions on this blog. Our new blog bookshelf will be a fresh new feature for our minds, hearts, and imaginations.

image via Flickr

This week, Farida curated an Etsy Treasury based on the inspiration she found in a wonderful story called Sand Flat Shadows – you can read it here. Here is the collection of handmade pieces she put together, a collection you can also see here for the next few days:

Here is one of the lovely dolls in Alkelda’s shop, the Blue Blossom princess, ready for gentle play on your nature table or woven into your stories!

Posted on

Blossoms for Birds.

Hi, I’m Donni from The Magic Onions Blog. My shop is Fairyfolk.
Here in Southern California, Spring has definitely arrived! Our nights are cool, our mornings are crisp and our days are warm and sunny… it’s lovely weather, my favorite time of the year. The squirrels come out, the jasmine blooms and the birds start collecting treasures to build their nests with.
We have a spring tradition that we call ‘Blossoms for Birds’. Each year as Spring approaches and we start to notice the birds building their nests, we decorate a bare tree branch with lovely soft wool for them. We find a branch.

Saw it to the right length for little people to reach even the top branches.
And then we put the bare branch in a spot in the garden, just beyond our deck, where we can watch it from our dining room. It’s best to put the branch in a visible place, somewhere where you can watch it, undetected by the outside creatures.
Collect a basket of spring-colored wool scraps. I let K choose any color she wanted from my precious stash.
Decorate the bare tree with the wool, winding it around the branches and twigs.
Timone, our squirrel, came to see what we were doing.
She caused great distress by climbing down our Blossoms for Birds tree, nearly knocking it over and making K very angry… “This is for the BIRDS, Timone!” K scolded.
We were able to placate her with a few nuts while we finished decorating our wool tree.
It looks so pretty, covered in colorful tufts of wool, however, a pretty tree is not why we made our Blossoms for Birds Tree… it’s for the birds to build their nests with!
All Spring long, we’ll watch from our dining room table as the neighborhood birds are attracted to the colorful wool. They’ll twitter about in a frenzy of excitement at the lovely soft wool they’ve found. They’ll take a colorful bundle in their beak and fly off with it to build their nests. Just imagine what their nests will look like… pink, blue yellow… so pretty and soft for the sweet little baby birds.For more nature-inspired children’s activities, visit my blog The Magic Onions.

Blessings and magic!
Posted on

Easter/Spring NaturalKids Team Blog-A-Thon

The NaturalKids Team was started by woodmouse in 2007. Early members included faerierebecca, fairiesnest, cozycottage. It was a small group, with a small presence on etsy. Since that time members have come and gone but our mission has stayed the same. To be a group of sellers dedicated to creating natural products for children. We are a diverse group of artisans who make natural toys, utensils, clothing and accessories for kids. Our sellers work with materials from the Earth, such as wool, cotton, silk and wood. Our goal is to support, promote and have fun together while building our businesses. 

One of our 1st Team Blog Post read as below and it is still true today….
We are a diverse bunch from all over the globe who have at least one thing in common:  we all work with natural materials in our products for children.  Oh yeah, and we’re all pretty darn crafty & talented too!  Wool, wood, cotton…just simple materials direct from the Earth.  

So who are we?  
Some of us are mothers of small children.
Some of us are mothers of grown children.
Some of us make dolls, some of us make hats, some of us make toys.
Some of us have been selling our wares for many years.
Some of us are just starting to discover our talents and start selling.
Some of us work with natural materials for environmental reasons.
Some of us work with natural materials as part of the Waldorf educational philosophy.
Some of us work with natural materials because we believe they are healthier and safer.
Some of us just like working with natural materials.
Some of us sell our wares for a living.
Some of us sell our wares as a hobby.

Since that time, some of us are fathers.

To see more items from The NaturalKids Team go here!

Thank you for reading and now join in the fun to take a trip to see what you may find at these NaturalKids Team Members Blogs! Happy Spring!!!
Visit these Blogs:


Posted on

Friday Interview

It’s time for another Friday interview! This time it’s with one of our new team leaders, Dannielle of the shop Princess Nimble Thimble . Dannielle is the head of the Membership committee and has a wonderful shop full of magical little people. So let’s get to know her a bit better…

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how and when did you get started with arts and crafts?
I live in St. Louis, MO, with my husband and two children. We’re a homeschooling family so my focus tends to be on my children. Creating dolls and toys is, for me, a very natural extension of this focus.

What is the main thing you make and sell in your store? What else do you make and/or sell?
For the past six months or so I’ve been pretty much making bendy dolls exclusively. I don’t know if it’s due to the current state of the economy or if they’ve just caught on but that’s where the demand has been. Luckily I never seem to get bored with them.
I also make larger Waldorf-inspired dolls, nature table dolls, felt animals, and I’m working on preparing my felt animal patterns for sale in the near future.

Who if anyone has been instrumental in helping you hone your craft? I suppose I would have to say my husband because he always indulges my desire for more supplies and crafty books.

Where do you get your inspiration? Goodness, I find inspiration so many places. I love a good crafty book. They always get my creative juices flowing. New supplies inspire me, too.
I would have to say my best source of inspiration is my customers. I am sometimes asked to create things that are just outside my comfort zone as well as things that I had never thought to make. My customers have the best ideas!
What are your favorite materials?

I adore wool felt. Hands down it’s my favorite material. And, of course, I love my DMC embroidery floss. They just go together and always provide me with endless inspiration.

What advice would you give other Etsy sellers and those interested in opening up a shop?
Goodness, I could go on and on. I’d start with, “Go for it!” for those interested in starting a shop. I suppose I’d end with, “Always put your heart into it, always be completely honest, and always provide excellent customer service.”.

What advice would you give to beginners in your main craft?
This advice would really apply to any craft but, “Be patient.” is what has served me well. Be patient while your reputation develops and people get to know you. Be patient while you grow in your craft.
If someone is a beginner at making dolls similar to those I make patience is definitely required. They definitely take their fair share of practice in the beginning.

What is your Etsy shop address and name? Where else can we find you? My Etsy shop, Princess Nimble-Thimble, is found at Right now Etsy is my only venue though I hope to soon join my NaturalKids teammates at our HyenaCart shop,

Thanks so much for sharing Dannielle!!
The Fairies’ Nest

Posted on

How long does it take to make a German Doll?

Often people will ask me if there is a discount when they buy more than one of my dolls. Then I have to tell them that making a Waldorf style doll takes many hours of work. Most of the work is done by hand. If you know how to sew or have ever attempted the task of making a cloth doll from scratch you may know how hard it is, and how much labor goes into the production of a single doll.
Aside from the fact that the materials I use are high quality, hard to come buy, and mostly shipped to me from faraway places because I cannot buy them at the local store – the price of a Waldorf style doll is mostly explained through the many hours go into making of a doll. Here is a list of the many steps it takes to create a doll:

1. Washing every piece of fabric and materials that goes into the dolls, ironing: 1 hour
2. Tracing and cutting out the body from interlock fabric: 20 minutes
3. Making a shaped doll head : 1 hour
4. Sewing and turning the body: 30 minutes
5. Stuffing the body: 45 minutes
6. Sewing on legs, arms, head: 1 hour
7. Embroidering the face, putting on blusher: 30 minutes
8. Making the hair/wig, sewing it to the head: 1 – 1.5 hours
9. Making the doll clothes: 1-1.5 hours
10. Putting on final touches: 30 minutes
Total: 8 hours
Of course each doll is different. Depending on the clothes and what hairstyle, the production time may vary. But when you look at my list, please understand that I cut no corners. Whether I make 1 or 10 dolls the labor remains the same. Maybe I can save a few minutes if I trace and cut 10 doll bodies and make a number of heads at once. My husband and children find it quite amusing whenever I am having a “ head making day.”
To turn out a high-quality German Doll I must put in at least 8 hours of labor per doll. It also takes time to order and search out materials. After a doll is finished it has to be put on my virtual “store shelf.’ Taking pictures and listing an item is one more step not included on my list. Getting it to the customer all wrapped up and pretty another…
So really when you consider all the hours of labor that go into one of my sweet dolls, my asking price does not seem all that high any more. I have to pay myself at least minimum wage to continue…
Each doll is a little work of art. I enjoy the process of creating each little personality.
I tremendously enjoy being able to stay at home with my kids. I also like being my own boss, manager, advertising agent, photographer, shipper, wrapper, accountant, and and and….
It sure beats working at Walmart…

Your German Doll Maker
Ulla Seckler

Posted on

Friday Interview with Cozy Cottage Creations

Today we’re going to meet Lynne of cozycottagecreations , or as we call her Cozy! And “cozy” perfectly describes her lovely felted wool creations…along with warm, delightful, and fun! See for yourself…

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how and when did you get started with arts and crafts?
My name is Lynne and I’m a stay-at-home Mommy to two little girls, ages almost-8 and almost-6. I have always gravitated towards anything that involves creating something new. I love making stuff! Like a lot of people here on Etsy and on the team, it was my kids who led me toward doing what I’m doing now. My business really began when my oldest was 3 and I enrolled in the parent-tot program at a nearby Waldorf School. A few weeks into the session the teacher passed out yarn and knitting needles to all of the mothers. She told us that with our knitting, we would be doing our work while our children did their work, which was to play. I fell in love with Waldorf Education right then and there. I had learned to knit at some point in my childhood and I was so thrilled to be picking it up again. When I finished my knitting project – a little kitty cat – I couldn’t wait to make other. Pretty soon I had two families of four cats (which, five years later, my girls still play with) and was looking for what else I could make. It didn’t take long to realize I wanted to create a business making things for children.

What is the main thing you make and sell in your store? What else do you make and/or sell?
I make items for children and their families out of wool. All of my items are felted using various techniques. My knitting led me to try felting what I had knit. That inspired me to embellish my items with needle felted designs. From there I began making needle-felted sculptured pieces. And eventually I delved into the exciting process of wet felting. Basically it’s been one big experiment followed by another big experiment. I have found that the more I explore what wool can do, the more there is to explore! I like to try new techniques and create products I think a naturally-minded family would want for their home and for their children.

Who if anyone has been instrumental in helping you hone your craft?
No one person in particular. I feel very inspired by the work of my fellow teammates. Being on the NaturalKids Team makes me always want to do my best work.
Also, I seem to be following in my grandmother’s (my mother’s mother) footsteps. She was incredibly creative and was always making something. One of the first times I had my mother to my house after I had felted something, I apologized for the wet-wool smell. She said, “Oh, I don’t mind it – it reminds me of when my mother used to make hooked rugs out of boiled wool”. I never knew my grandmother had done that.

Where do you get your inspiration?
Mainly from nature, and also from the desire to create a home filled with natural goodness. I remember as a child going to my grandparents (my father’s parents) house. My father would refer to this house as “the museum” because it was filled with treasures no one was allowed to touch. As much as I loved my grandparents, I’m wanting to give my kids more of a “hands on” childhood. And I feel it’s important to honor and nurture their spirits with products that are from or reflect the natural world.

What are your favorite materials?
Wool – I’m obsessed with it. To me it’s a magical material. It can transform into anything you want. It’s so important to me for my girls to know that from this pile of wool, anything can arise as long as you have the vision and patience to bring it to life.

What advice would you give other Etsy sellers and those interested in opening up a shop?
Well, basically to go for it. When I first started I had no idea where it would lead me. I had no idea if I’d have any sales. Now I have a bona fide business and a wonderful camaraderie with like-minded artisans. The experience has been ten-fold what I was looking for. And with that in mind, it does take work. You get out as much as you put in. You can’t expect to open up a shop and be carried along by Etsy. It’s very true here that the more you contribute, the more you get back.

What advice would you give to beginners in your main craft?
Experiment with your materials as much as you can. If you have something in mind you’d like to make, you’ll get there if you allow yourself some mistakes and to learn from them.

What is your Etsy shop address and name? Where else can we find you? You can find me here on Etsy! Thanks for reading my interview!

And thank you Cozy!
Cynthia/ fairiesnest