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Friday Feature with Birchleaf Designs

Tell us little about yourself!

We are Mojo, Wendy, Kiah, Milo, and Zora the wonder dog…Benji’s lesser known twin sister. I bet you didn’t know Benji even had a twin sister! Yah, we live 2 miles back dere in da woods, eh? Up dere in da Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We live off the grid and use solar power for all our operations. We homeschool, live, love, work and learn nestled amongst the hemlocks. This may sound a bit weird, but we love to meet new folks and encourage visitors! If you ever need to ‘get away’ from the crazy hubbub, be sure to give us a jingle.
What do you make and how long have you been creating?
We like to make piles of wood in the woods…all kinds of wood; fire wood, slab wood, sauna wood, hot tub fire wood, bonfire wood, cookstove wood, heating stove wood, rotton wood, and oh and we make lots of sawdust in the workshop. We make a lot of ski tracks in the wintertime and a lot of syrup and snowshoe tracks in the springtime and we do lots of festivals and art shows in the summertime. But when we are not working with our firewood or bees or maple syrup, we are making buttloads of swords and shields and steamers and other natural playthings for children and adults. It was all Kiah’s idea to “set up a booth at blissfest (http://www.bilissfest.org) and sell stuff”. After much discussion it was decided that we make children’s toys. At the time, Kiah was 5 1/2, she’s now 9.
What inspires you?
The thing that inspires us most is the burning fire that comes from inside our very souls! Also, Laughter. Love. Nature. Teachers. Elders. and Kiah really wanted to add “being funny”.

What got you started working with ——–?
Well, we don’t work with ——–, but we do work with wood, silk, wool, the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve (http://www.yellowdogwatershed.org/), some leather, our bees, we work with the tractor every know and then, and we work with a chainsaw a lot (see answer #2). It was all Kiah’s fault to work with the children’s toys (see answer #2)!

How long have you been on Etsy and how has it been for you so far?
Our love affair with Etsy began back in December 2007. Etsy’s just great, I tell you, just great! It brings in a much needed income that allows us to be right were we want to be…home.
What advice would you have for other Etsians?
Like, list what you got and, like, don’t list things you are out of. Because, then, like, you get an order for, like. something you don’t have and, like, you have to make it like, right then and there and still, like, ship it out the like, next day. OMG!
What do you hope to learn/gain/contribute from be
ing part of the NaturalKids Team?
When I joined NaturalKids, I thought I was supposed to get a pair of *in your best infomercial voice*…”fabulous indestructable, kitchen shears! So strong, so sharp!”
You know, the ones where you can cut through a pop can or a quarter, and still be able to cut through grandmas finest linen with ease. No, really, a fierce sense of camaraderie! Being a part of Etsy’s NaturalKids group is amazing! I feel like we have created a tight bond, as tight as a dread lock, between our natty sisters and brothers! We can bounce ideas off each other and support each other in ways that not only support our businesses, but our new-found friendships as well.
What thoughts do you have for parents on the importance of natural toys for creative play?
You can’t get any more natural than nature. Being outside is the most important natural toy you can give your children! Even over our products! Yep. We admit it. But if you really want to replace that stick with a cool sword, we got one.
Your items can be found where:
But more of us can be found at festivals throughout Michigan and locally at our home or farmer’s marquette. It is at these places (or by phone) that you can find the stuff we don’t have listed online.
We have to tell you that this interview was so fun to answer! It was an entire family affair…all uf us gathered around the computer, our faces a-glow, trying to come up with the most goofiest answers. Much giggling and laughter was had by all! Thanks for the fun! But if you want to read our more standard, serious BirchLeaf Designs side, please go here: http://birchleafdesigns.blogspot.com/ Thanks for reading!
Interview by Beccijo of The Enchanted Cupboard

9 thoughts on “Friday Feature with Birchleaf Designs

  1. Great interview. Wonderful to read a bit more about you and your family. :0)

  2. Cabin fever or a silly bug has taken a bit out of Wendy! You guys must have had great full getting these answers and photos together!
    Beccijo
    http://www.beccijo.com
    http://www.theenchantedcupboard.etsy.com
    http://www.theenchantedcupboard.1000markets.com
    http://thereluctantcitydweller.blogspot.com

  3. Thanks for the interview Beccijo! No, not cabin fever yet…you just wait until March! Look out!

  4. Loved the interview! Greetings to my friend up north!

  5. I LOVED reading this… you guys are a hoot… you sound like you genuinely have fun with what you do. Good job!
    Blessings and magic.
    Donni of Fairyfolk.

  6. Love that!

  7. Sounds like a very nice life out in the woods.

  8. I loved reading the intervieuw a lot!! I envy you that you can live like that. I would want to live like that too, but then I have to find a nature spot here in The Netherlands first and that will be impossible as every nature spot is "monumented" . Emigrating seams to be the only thing then…….
    I hope you will get lots of sales!

  9. Hi there

    A wonderful family making life happen…

    Congratulations its a great interview.

    Warm regards
    Suzanne
    http://www.downinthemeadow.etsy.com

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