Posted on

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

I’m so thrilled to take over the post of highlighting new goodies in the shops of the artists and crafts men and women of the Natural Kids team on Etsy. Please check in here every Monday for recently posted fresh picks from our team members for when what you want for your family comes…naturally!

Here are the first few as we go in alphabetical order….reverse order that is!

Nothin’ here but us chickens! Here’s a fun patten to delight any knitter in the house by Yarnmiracle. “Yarn Miracle specializes in Companion Animal Placement. Each of my animals, large or small, is hand knit with the structure, durability, good looks and charm required in a stuffed playmate. I choose natural, sustainable, humanely grown fibers and fillings to create conscious, comfortable, eco-friendly companions for all ages…”

Woolies is “home of heirloom quality knitted and sewn stuffed animals and dolls. Using all natural materials, always.” Here is Sara’s newest: a delightful hand knit horse…a lovely plush toy for any child.
You can find so many delightful hand knit treasures in her shop!

Here’s what a recent customer said: “Boutique quality and absolutely adorable. I love the all organic yarn and stuffing. Also I loved being able to custom design such an adorable snuggly for my daughter. Thanks!”

Woolhalla specializes in “heavenly all-natural Waldorf & dollhouse dolls and wool felt animals.”

Here’s where the name comes from: “With the risk of being struck by a thunderbolt from Thor… the name Woolhalla is a play on the heavenly home of the gods/godesses Valhalla. When I look out my front window across the lake nearby I can see Mt. Loki, named after one of the Norse gods.”

Here is her sweet valentine dollhouse doll.

Queen of Etsy’s front page…Woodmouse features handcrafted wooden toys and Waldorf toys made to inspire stories. “My toys are made to encourage creative play and their magic is shown best in the hands of children. I love to hear about the stories, personalities and scenarios children invent with my toys!”
Here is Amber’s Wee Wooden House Quartet!


More sustainable goodies from… Wood Toy Shop  is now solar powered! Most of the wood comes from mill ends and scrap from cabinet shops…all the trees are left standing for you children to enjoy! “I am pleased to bring a collection of finely crafted wooden heirloom toys. If you are looking for a gift of lasting value, a wood toy is a wonderful choice. ” Here’s the latest for when your child simply must chat on the phone: a wood toy phone!

Thank you for looking, reading, browsing. I’ll be featuring more next Monday as I work my way back down the alphabet.  Til then, stay healthy, joyful and filled with wonder!

Warmly, Rebecca aka Nushkie 🙂

Posted on

Kid Craft: Festive Feast for the Birds

Give your feathered friends a festive treat this winter (and make your trees look pretty, too!) with these fun, simple bird feeders from Lori. Hang vertically, or create unique garlands to decorate the outdoors for the season!

If your house is anything like ours, we are often over run with crafts, so this craft, being consumable and meant to go outdoors, was just what we needed on a sunny day home sick from school and seemed just right for the season!

The tutorial shows the craft being done (almost) independently by a just-turned-5 year old. Younger children will enjoy picking the elements for their own special garland and leaving the needle work to a grownup. This craft helps to build fine motor skills and is *great* pattern building exercise for those kindergarteners who are starting to work on math skills by detecting and predicting patterns.

Age: 3+
Time: 15 minutes or more

This craft is easy to make with items commonly available throughout the holiday season.

* Walnuts (halved, save the meat for a holiday recipe!)
* Bird Seed
* Peanut Butter
* Cranberries(frozen or dried), raisins, apples, popcorn and other bird safe treats
* Tapestry needle
* String, yarn or floss cut half again as long as desired garland/ feeder

Prepare ahead of Time:

* halve the walnuts and drill a small hole in each half shell.
* if using fresh cranberries buy frozen or freeze : they are easier to thread and *much* less messy!
* if working with younger children, or concerned about mess, fill the walnut shells with peanut butter ahead of time, cover with bird seed as shown in the directions below and chill. This means less peanut butter slopping about, but the kids can still get a needle through.

1) Gather your materials and prepared supplies.
2) Tie several knots in one tail of your string. Thread the other end through the tapestry needle.

3) Invite your child to lay out the elements they wish to add to their garland feeder, or just get started threading pieces onto the string.

4) We have pictured adding peanut butter and bird seed to the walnuts after stringing the entire garland. An alternative, as suggested above, is to fill and chill them in advance.
5) Once the garland feeder reaches the desired length, remove the needle and tie a loop and then hang this on your favourite limb outdoors for the birds to enjoy!

If you have any leftovers, there are sure to be some little creatures to eat them up…
…and the birds will help, too! ♥

Beneath the Rowan Tree is currently on vacation for welcome rest, renewal and family time. They’ll open shop again January 5 with more hand dyed playsilks, Fairy Silkies ™, wooden games, ribbon toys and more. And Twirl Skirts! Don’t forget the Twirl Skirts!

Posted on

Friday Feature with Kreativ Spiel

Today’s interview is with new Natty Kid Angela, of Kreativ Spiel. Enjoy!

Tell us little about yourself!

My name is Angela,  I am Mom to 2 boys and I am now living in my 7th year in the United States. But I was born and raised in Germany and had the luck to grow up with all the wonderful quality wooden toys, Germany is known for. Waldorf principles are naturally incorporated in a German child’s every day life.
I have many wonderful memories of my childhood thanks to the magical toys and freedom of play that was given to me.

What do you make and how long have you been creating?

I am fairly new to creating wooden toys. I started in February of this year and, as it is with most things in life, it’s an ongoing learning process.

What inspires you?
Memories of my own childhood, books, nature and of course my two boys.
What got you started working with wooden toys?
The desire to create something with my own hands, that my will bring joy to kids and that incorporates everything that is important to me: the use of natural materials, the option for open, imaginative play and uniqueness in the design.

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

I have been selling on Etsy since February, though due to a move always across the country, I had to take a long break. But now I am bursting of new ideas and I am trying much as my time allows to put those new ideas to work.

What advice would you have for other Etsians?
Always keep going, don’t give up. And having a great customer service is key to everything.

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

I hope to gain some more experience about selling on etsy, as well as get inspired and maybe inspire others through our exchange of thoughts and talents.

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

I believe surrounding your children with the beauty of natural toys is one of the biggest gifts you can make them. In a world of hustle and bustle, the simplicity and warm energy those kind of toys radiate is more important than ever. Toys that allow for imaginative play are of such value in a time where almost everything around us seems battery operated and function with the pushing of a button.
Our children should be worth these toys, vs. cheap, mass produced and potentially hazardous toys from China.

Your links:
Thank you Angela!
This interview was by Kat, of kats in the belfry.
Posted on

Make birdseed cakes

Today’s fabulous how-to is by Emily from yarn miracle. Her beautiful shop specializes in companion animal placement, including the most luxurious cashmere bears and bunnies. Thanks, Emily, for this great & very summery tutorial!

How to make birdseed cakes

It’s nearly summer and there are birds everywhere. When Ellie and I woke up last Saturday, Birdseed Cakes just seemed like a great idea.

Neat right? To make your own, you’ll need

From the pantry:
• 3/4 c. flour
• 1/2 c. water
• 3 T. corn syrup
• 4 c. birdseed, or a mix of birdseed, raw nuts, dried fruit and other seeds
You can create combinations that are suitable for the native birds in your area, or just pick pretty ingredients if you want to use these as gifts or party favors!

From the kitchen:
• a sheet pan – line it with parchment or wax paper if you don’t want to scrub the sheet pan later.
• a rolling pin is helpful but optional
• another piece of parchment or waxed paper if you don’t want to scrub the rolling pin later.
• every cookie cutter you own
• jute or twine to create hangers

Pour the flower, water and corn syrup into a bowl and whisk it all together until it is well combined. Add the birdseed and stir everything until all the seed is coated and sticky. The mixture will be loose and messy and you’ll think you made a Terrible Mistake.

Dump the mixture on the lined sheet pan, cover with the extra sheet of parchment and use a rolling pan or your hands to compress the mess tightly to about 1/2″ thick. The more tightly you can pack it, the better it will hold together when it dries. Toddlers love this.

Once you are satisfied with the depth and density, press the cookie cutters into the “dough” and leave them in! No matter how tightly you’ve pressed, don’t take out the cookie cutters or it will still fall apart! Just fit as many cookie cutters into the dough as you can.

(Yes, those are her pajamas. I *did* mention it was Saturday morning.)

Now let them dry just like that for about 6 hours. When you are able to handle them without disaster, you can remove them from the cutters, flip them over and leave them to dry for another six hours. Plain shapes hold up better (hearts, flowers, leaves, some rabbits), things with arms and sticky out bits (gingerbread men) tend to loose their fragile arms and sticky out bits. I’m convinced that the cat’s tail survived because Ellie loves cats and the Universe didn’t want to break her heart. If you run out of cookie cutters, grease your hands and shape the remaining dough in to donuts/wreaths (these may need to dry a little longer). The scraps can be dried the rest of the way and then placed in a basket or scattered on your back porch. No sense in wasting them.

Once the cakes are completely dry, wind them with twine to create simple, rustic hangers. And now they are ready for the birds to enjoy!

Speaking of birds, here’s a beautiful little lemon yellow knit bird from yarn miracle (and organic to boot!)

handknit organic cotton little ittie birdie toy

Posted on

Make a No-Knit Yarn Nest.

Hi, I’m Donni from The Magic Onions blog. My shop is Fairyfolk.

A few weeks ago, to K’s utter delight, we discovered a little nest in the eves inside our front porch. We have been watching Mr and Mrs House Finch building this nest from our front window. K has been consumed… it reminds me, a little uncomfortably, of myself when the first Big Brother came out.
Whenever I ask if she’d like to make something, the answer is always… ‘a nest! Oh please, Mommy, can we make a nest?’
So today, we made a nest.
As I’m no knitter… (I can’t knit… shock horror!) I have been thinking of ways to make a nest using yarn that doesn’t require knitting. This is what we came up with…
What you’ll need is:
* Glue or Hodge Podge
* Water
* A baloon
* Scissors
* Yarn

We blew up the balloons to the right size for a nest.
We cut long strips of the yarn.
I lined a glass dish with a plastic packet for easy clean-up later and filled it with glue. I added enough water to the glue to make it about the consistency of milk.
We dipped the yarn into the glue mixture and wrapped it around the balloon, making sure to keep the yarn in a nest shape.
When our nests were wrapped around the balloons, we set them in the sun to dry.

When they were dry, we popped the balloons with a pin and our perfect little nest were left.

They have been treasured playthings all day and K is so delighted to be able to play ‘Birdie-in-a-nest’!
Visit The Magic Onions to see our post on our real nest of chicks and how we watched them grow from eggs to fledgelings.
Blessings and magic.