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For Love of Dolls

This past weekend I got to spend 3 wonderful days with a fellow team mate, Dayanara from Pin Pon. We spent our time crafting, eating yummy food, and watching crazy reality TV. When the rest of the family was asleep D. and I would spend hours talking and crafting.

Free Form Cutting
An Artist at work

Watching her hands work as she lovingly brought the dolls to life was magical. We shared fabric and collaborated on combination of colors, so much fun! I loved to see her work with just an idea in her head… no pattern just free form cutting. Almost as if the doll had already been in the fabric and she was setting it free.

Finished Doll, Miss Kitty
D. dog guarding the supplies

The following day we had great fun setting up a photo shot with the kids. My daughter had the best day getting to do dress changes, she was in princess heaven! The boys and dogs got in on the action  too and we all had a great time. At the end the we all promised to do it all again!!

D. setting up the shot. Swing Top by Imogen’s Garden
Apron by Pin Pon
Rainbow Playsilk by The EnchantedCupboard

Post by Beccijo of The Enchanted Cupboard

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Friday Feature with Pin Pon

Tell us little about yourself!

I live and work in the Chicago area. When I am not creating and designing toys and fun stuff, I work at a local specialty toy store, and I am on the Board of Directors of the Cuentos Foundation, so I do a lot of community/art projects around Chicago. I’m single, in my thirties, and own a very spoiled weenie dog (spoiled with love not stuff). I studied art at Columbia College and I was certified in Early Childhood Education through the State of Illinois. I love my family and friends and even though she is in California, I talk to my mom on the phone for hours every Sunday.
What do you make and how long have you been creating?

I design dolls and toys made of natural fabrics and materials. I mostly use cotton fabrics and cotton stuffing. I’ve been creating since I was a little kid. I’m the kid that already knew what they wanted to do when they grew up. I knew it and everyone around me knew it and expected it. Yeah, I was a weirdo….. Still.
What inspires you?
Nature, people, memories of childhood, children. I live on the beach and that inspires me a lot. I love my morning walks, I get a lot of ideas that way.

What got you started working with fabric?
I fell in love with fabric 12 years ago, while in art school. I always thought I’d be a painter or illustrator, that’s what I was studying. I borrowed a friends sewing machine to fix some pants or something like that, then I started making little figures and dolls. I never gave the sewing machine back, I still have it. I was hooked! I not only make toys and such but I also sew installations, that I exhibit in art galleries and shows.

How long have you been on Etsy and how has it been for you so far?
I was a buyer for a year, but I have been selling for almost 2 now. Its been good, could be better, but I’m not complaining, its been good.

What advice would you have for other Etsians?
Join a team, have patience, don’t quit your day job just yet, make and sell things you believe in, pay yourself well you deserve it, ask questions, if you are overwhelmed and can’t think walk away breathe and come back to it, don’t take yourself to seriously (you make toys!), be cheerful and helpful to others, treat your customers well, and please don’t copy me! Just kidding with the last one……but really, be you, trust yourself.

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

I joined because it was suggested to do so on some “Etsy How To” list. I’m so glad I did. Its not only about the networking and business stuff, but I love that I’ve met new friends and warm and loving people, who have the same goals as me. To make and sell quality natural children’s products and make a positive difference in children’s lives. I love being a part of this team! I have learned a lot. I don’t know if I contribute much, but I try my best. that’s what great about this team you give what you can. When I can I go for it. When I cant, others lend a hand and I very much appreciate it….team work!

What thoughts do you have for parents on the importance of natural toys for creative play?
 I chose to use natural fabrics because I have always had skin allergies. It was hard for my mom to find stuff that wouldn’t break me out in a rash. Cotton has always been good to me. Also I learned while working with small children that basic, simple and natural toys lasted longer and had better play value. Children need toys that will help in their development, not toys that will play to them or a distraction. Play with your children, enjoy them, teach them, nurture them. Think of natural and basic toys as tools. They are not junk you throw in a Rubbermaid bin, then put it in the trash later on. Your children are special, don’t they deserve special things, and special time?

Your items can be found where:
Handmade Galleries, Sherman Oaks, Ca
Abby Brown, Chicago, Il
Big Cartel
In bins at my house……..waiting……..for owners

Interview by Beccijo of The Enchanted Cupboard

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Versatile Playsilks

Playsilks are simple. So simple in fact that many adults balk at the idea of a toy that does nothing. Toddlers, however, revel in such toys! When people ask what to *do* with a playsilk, I always answer ~ give one to a child and you’ll see.Playsilks come in an endless variety of sizes and colours. No one is better than any other~ they all work in the hands of a child. You may want to choose your size and style based upon your space, planned uses (ie quiet play in the car vs. nature table backdrop or playstand canopy), and child(ren)’s age. Solid or mandala? Rainbow? You decide! At our house we prefer solids for imaginative play and multi-colours for dressup.The Natural Kids Team has a number of seller’s making or making use of gorgeous silkies. Be sure to search “Naturalkids Team” on Etsy for great finds! (Suggested keywords: playsilk, silkies, playsilks, waldorf, natural…)This article is revised from my blog, written on a dreary winter’s day when my daughter (then 2.5) and I were looking for some physical activity to beat the winter blues.I thought I would pass these along for the adults out there who may be looking for something to help them get into silkie play, or for some fresh ideas to get in some extra activity before spring releases us all to the outdoors!We had four of different colours, we could have done all this with one or two, too!1) Practice colours. Lay out various coloured silkies around the room. Child stands at center and runs to the colour you call. Add some more activity by having them jump on it, spin around with it, whatever!2) Practice counting. Lay silkies on the floor and have child step on them like ladder rungs, counting as they go.3) Literacy?! Our local literacy worker has told us that one of the big concepts children lack when they reach kindergarten is a sense of position/ relations. On top, beneath, beside, along, between… Use a silkie and practice! Put it on your child’s head ~ they are under the silkie, the silkie is on top of them. Have them place it in various relations to their body, or yours (put it behind mommy). Up, down, away, left, right…4) Throw and Catch. Bundle one silkie into a ball and knot a second around it and you have a lightweight indoor-safe ball with a handy tail to help novice catchers and throwers feel successful.5) Jumping and other Gross Motor Skills. Jump over the silkie river, walk along its bank (balance), crawl under a silkie thrown into the air, spin around with one in each hand, step over and crawl under one held up like a limbo stick.6) Fine Motor Skills. Weave two silkies together. Stuff them into a cup. Lay them down in a straight line.7) Imagination. Rowan wore her extra silkies as hat and snowsuit while we played. We hid one another and popped out to scare each other (she is at the stage where this is big fun!). She pretended to be a kitty curling up on a kitty bed. She made her big girl bed all up and climbed in to ‘sleep’.8) Rhythm and Body Awareness. We finished with dancing with our silkies~ feeling the music, moving our arms and legs in various patterns (flapping wings, waving in the sky, tiptoeing).Exercise for body, mind and spirit.All in about 30 minutes.Using only a couple 35 x 35″ squares of silk.It doesn’t get much better than this!Put a silkie in the hands of your child and watch the magic happen!Lori Campbell(, September 8, 2008.