Tell us little about yourself!
Hello, I am the infamous ‘Kat’ behind ‘kats in the belfry’! I live on the Southern California coast with my oh-so-handsome husband & our sweet boys. In a nutshell: I am a mama, vegetarian, homeschooler, environmentalist, writer, artist, urban farmer, & woman who got lucky enough to marry her split-apart. Oh, & I love reading, thrift shopping, spending time with my friends, singing show tunes, & vintage everything. That’s probably more than you wanted to know about me 🙂
What do you make and how long have you been creating?
I create beautiful things that are safe for children to play with & love; using predominantly vintage & reclaimed fabric, wool, wood, & paper. I just love the way natural materials feel, look, & smell. Don’t you? My toys, kits, & more – all spark the imagination, & enhance creative play. That’s important to me.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by my own childhood. My brother & I spent most of our time either playing make-believe, or creating (what we thought were) artistic masterpieces. We were also blessed to have toys that even back then were considered old fashioned. That is the childhood I want for my boys, & that is what I focus on when creating things for ‘kats in the belfry’.
What got you started making handmade items?
I made my first crown for my now 12 year old’s 6 month unbirthday, & never stopped. Other items (totes, aprons, pencil pouches, art kits, etc) were created for the birthdays of his friends over the years. We didn’t have much money, so I cut up old clothes & linens – thus starting my love affair with repurposing. My wooden toys were first created for my son to play with, except my ‘people’. They were just for me. I have a thing for words, so wanted to clothe a doll in them. The ‘people’ dolls are now my biggest sellers. Isn’t life funny sometimes?
How long have you been on Etsy and how has it been for you so far?
I’ve been on Etsy since 2007, but did not open my shop until the end of 2008. I was just too busy selling at local Waldorf fairs to put things in the shop. Plus, I was a scaredy-kat.
What advice would you have for other Etsians?
My advice to other Etsians? Stick with creating what you love. Every time I created what I thought others would like, I was miserable. That doesn’t mean to not accept custom orders, nor to not give gifts others would like. Instead I am saying that in whatever you create, stay true to who you are, to what you like. And never ever ever run out of coffee.
What do you hope to learn/gain/contribute from being part of the Natural Kids group?
Oh my! I hope for more of the same. This group of talented artisans has been an amazing source of support, inspiration, advice, & friendship. I would not want to continue on Etsy without them. In April my Mother passed away, & I needed advice on using my shop to raise money to get my family to Oregon. Instead of advice, they filled my PayPal with donations & sales. They also filled my heart with joy during the most painful time in my life – apparently I can be bought 😉
What thoughts do you have for parents on the importance of natural handmade products?
Well, I think most parents reading this already know of the importance of natural toys. Just surround your kids with the trappings of a magical childhood, & they’ll know what to do.
All you links:
Are you still awake? If so, head over to my shop & blog. Oh, & do say hello – I love hearing from people.
Interview by Beccijo of The Enchanted Cupboard