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Friday Feature with Woolies

Tell us little about yourself!
I’m an old married lady (lol), with two teenage boys. We live on a little ranch, with two horses, four dogs and two cats. Periodically, we have other animals – various rodents, goats….I really want a desert tortoise. We’re from the east coast, but now live in the wild west – southwest Arizona. I love the wildlife here, and the mountains. The heat – not so much! I work full time for an advertising agency, but have the wonderful luxury of a home office – which gives me time to lurk on etsy all day. Don’t tell anybody!

What do you make and how long have you been creating?
I am a knitter. My Mom taught me to knit when I was a little girl. I used to knit baby clothes, but when I opened Woolies on etsy almost three years ago, my shop evolved into stuffed animals. I can remember saying (a LONG time ago) to my sister in law that I was always searching for patterns for softies. Finally, I found some great ones, and have developed some of my own as well. I also sew, and make some softies at the sewing machine. Everything at Woolies is made from natural fabrics. I’m a yarn junkie, and could easily develop into a fabric junkie. And then I got into jewelry making, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.

What inspires you?
I can still remember what it felt like to be a small child and hug/hold my stuffed animals. I went everywhere with them. (I still have one, Lucky, a horse). What a comfort my animals (both stuffed and otherwise) were to me, during a difficult -and  a bit lonely – childhood. I want my animals to provide the same sort of comfort and love to children. My stuffies are all very good listeners – just in case you wondered.

What got you started with making knitted and soft toys?
Hmmm, might have answered that one already? I am a true animal lover. And a true lover of anything soft and squishy (which includes cookies and brownies). It was natural that Woolies became knitted soft toys. And I have my Mom to thank for teaching me to knit.

How long have you been on Etsy and how has it been for you so far?
It will be 3 years in just a couple of weeks. It has opened an entire new world for me. I love it here.

What advice would you have for other Etsians?
If you really want your Etsy shop to be a business that provides an income, you have to treat it like a business. Selling on the internet is a vast undertaking. I do not pretend to fully understand SEO, for example, but am trying to learn. Don’t expect all your sales to come from buyers on Etsy. I recommend reaching out across the world – via advertising – to reach your target audience.
If I could tell shop owners just one thing – treat your customers like you would want to be treated. Excellent customer service is the best thing you can do to grow your business.

What do you hope to learn/gain/contribute from being part of the Natural Kids group?
It wasn’t that long after I started to sell on Etsy that I discovered the Natural Kids Team  – and it was like meeting your new best friends without even expecting it. Like minded women (mostly), making incredible, wonderful, items for kids. From natural materials. Ecstasy. Now that we have our website up and running beautifully, I just want to continue to grow with the team. I was leader for about a year and a half, and I’m very happy to relinquish that role!

What thoughts do you have for parents on the importance of natural toys for creative play?
Children’s imaginations are incredible things. I love to see a child come alive, with a natural toy in their hands. I think a big set of natural blocks is one of the greatest toys a child can have – let them imagine a city or a fort or a tunnel. One day I’ll write a book – Plastic is the death of the human race. (lol).

My items can be found at:
Also several toy stores and online stores.
My blog:

Interview by Beccijo of The Enchanted Cupboard

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Tutorial Thursday – How to Dye Wool using Kool-Aid.

Hi. I am Donni of Fairyfolk and my blog is The Magic Onions.
I was working on a needle felting project and needed orange wool. Alas, I had none. NONE! Three boxes full of different shades of green, but NO orange, anywhere! Ordering from my online source would have taken a week… much too long for an impatient like me! What could I do but dye my own? Kool-Aid to the rescue.
Kool-Aid is a great light and color-fast dye for protein fibers; wool, silk, alpaca. (Sorry, it does not dye cotton or synthetic fabric.) It comes in an array of fun, bright colors and, best of all, it does not need a mordant to set the dye and so can be used as a dye with no prior preparation.
All we needed was a glass or porcelain dish, three packets of orange Kool-Aid, natural wool roving and hot water.

K poured the Kool-Aid into our dish.
We added about 4 cups of very hot water and stirred to dissolve the Kool-Aid.
We carefully soaked our white wool in the Kool-Aid, gently submerging it in the orange liquid. We were careful not to agitate the wool too much as this would have felted our wool.
We left it to soak up the orange color.
After about an hour, it was clear that the wool had soaked up most of the orange.
We took it out of the Kool-Aid and rinsed it gently in cool water. Then we hung it on the line to dry. Look what a bright orange it became…
When the orange wool was dry, I got down to some serious needle felting and… Pumpkin Gnome was born!

In South Africa we have a saying, ‘n boer maak a plan’. Translated, it means ‘a farmer makes a plan’. So, next time you are frustrated because you have to delay a project as you don’t have the materials you need, think again… perhaps, with a little preparation, you can turn what youdo have into what you need.

Blessings and magic.

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Friday Feature with Threepetals

Tell us a little about yourself..

I am an artist….seeing that sentence written out like that still “gets me”! It’s taken such a long time to allow my hand to write it! But it is easier now to accept it and squirm a bit under its weight, than to continue to justify why I could never use that label. I may never be a great artist, (and some days, not even a GOOD one), but I have to own up to it—artist….I’m an artist.

What do you make? How long have you been crafting?
I have been creating, for the sake of creation, my entire life, really. I was a quiet child, drawn to creative people, and effervescing with creative energy. And fortunately, although I was rather “odd” as a child, the people who loved me continued to encourage me to create—-write poetry and short stories, paint, sketch, sew, build, and recreate! Since my most astounding creation to date (3 amazing children: Edie, Owen, and Liam) I have focused most of my creative energy on them—homeschooling, loving, living and creating with, for and around them!

What inspires your creations? What started you working with fiber and fabrics? How long have you been on Etsy? Most of their toys are made with “natural” materials, and I have so loved the relationships my kids have developed with these toys, that I began making many of their toys myself. I love finding new fibers and fabrics to work with! But wool and cotton are still my favorites, by far!
Such warmth goes into and is exuded from these fibers! And I see in the way my children play with toys made from these fibers, just how drawn to nature they really are, and how much they get out of playing with elements of nature. Magical, really!
After I’d been making little gnomes and fairies, and pouches and what not for my kids and for their friends’ birthdays etc, I had a few people ask me where they could buy more items similar in nature. This eventually led to a few conversations with other moms who had started their own Etsy shops…..And , after MUCH mulling over and hesitation, I finally decided to give it a shot! And while it still feels a bit strange to sell an item rather than just give it as a gift, I have to say I am loving Etsy! I opened my shop in September 2008, and have learned and grown a great deal as an artist and as an entrepreneur since then!

Do you have any advice for fellow Etsians?
My greatest advice where Etsy is concerned is “Go for it!!” The cost is minimal, the effort is as great or as little as you want to or can exert, the experience is informative, and the reward can truly be great! If you’re wondering if your items are “good enough”, go ahead and try anyway! You just may sell something while you’re trying to figure that out!

What do you hope to learn/gain from the Naturals Kids Group?
I am so excited to be part of this group! How wonderful to feel such kinship with so many other artists! I have wanted my kids and myself to be part of a “community” like this since I first started having them!

Where can your items be found?
Aside from a couple of local craft shows I do with my home school co-op, I only sell items on Etsy at this time. My husband and I are currently renovating his grandfather’s old jewelry making shop in West Virginia, however, and are hoping to open a small retail establishment in the next year.

You can view some of Carrie’s creations at

Interview by Ecoleeko

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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

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Friday Interview with MaDau Creations

Today’s interview is with the co owners, Cat and Dodi, of MaDau Creations whose lovely Waldorf dolls have a certain joyful innocence about them that is so wonderful to see. So let’s get to know them a little better….

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how and when did you get started with arts and crafts?
MaDau Creations is a Mother & Daughter Team consisting of Dodi Moody and her daughter Cat Macri. We began MaDau Creations by creating items for Cat’s children for Christmas. Friends and family then asked for similar items, we grew from there and hopefully will continue to grow in the Etsy community. Dodi has been crafty her whole life, she paints, sews, does a multitude of things with fiber arts, scrapbooks and makes cards. Cat dabbles in many mediums; drawing, painting, scrapbooking, digital scrapbooking, desktop publishing, crocheting, knitting and felting. She just likes to experiment with her creativity and searches out new ways to express herself often.

What is the main thing you make and sell in your store? What else do you make and/or sell?
Currently in our Etsy store we sell Waldorf Style dolls and accessories. We have a variety of different sized dolls listed as well as clothing for those dolls. Dodi paints all kinds of decorative items and has another business called Pretty Wooden Plates. Cat knits, crochets, weaves and creates items of magic wool for her children during the home schooling day. We both are very busy creating something most days though you won’t often see our handiwork on Etsy. Currently our Etsy creations are fixated on Dolls.

Who if anyone has been instrumental in helping you hone your craft?
Cat’s children are really instrumental in developing new ideas for our creations. They play and pick up something and request that we help them make say a cat or doll and next week that item is in the project of our home schooling week. If it inspires further creative juices we go from there. Our Princess and the Pea doll was inspired by a game we play at home called “Sleepy Princess and the Pea” we had been reading the fairy tale and the kids asked to play this game we have from Haba toys. Later I noticed them playing with pillows and a doll we had made them for Christmas and acting out the story. Dodi thought Wow what a great doll idea and we ran with it from there.

Where do you get your inspiration?
Books, nature, my children’s imaginative play, other etsian artists. There are so many fellow NaturalKids Team members with grand imaginations they inspire me to work hard.

What are your favorite materials?
Alpaca & Angora! For dolls we stick to wool, cotton and silk. Sometimes we use bamboo and other exotics but we are hoping to make something warm and cozy with Alpaca wool or Angora soon! They are just so soft!

What advice would you give other Etsy sellers and those interested in opening up a shop?
Keep at it. Advertise your shop with your friends and family, through email correspondence just by signing all your email correspondence with your etsy shop name and link. Perhaps join in coop advertising with your team members and relist your items often. That is the advice I have been given by Natural Kids Team member, Blossombabies, and I am trying to keep at it.

What advice would you give to beginners in your main craft?
It is hard work and takes time to get it right but once you get the hang of it you’ll be able to make some beautiful creations. Make mistakes, get your hands dirty, mistakes spawn grand ideas and new ways to do things so don’t be afraid to make them.

What is your Etsy shop address and name? Where else can we find you? Our dolls can also be found at Butterfly Baby on Congress Street in Portland, Maine. Dodi’s commemorative plates can be found at

I hope you enjoyed meeting Cat and Dodi, I certainly did!

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Friday Interview with Nushkie

If you’ve been keeping up with the blog you’ll know that every other Friday there is a wonderful article on the Waldorf /Natural playroom. (If you haven’t been keeping up go back and read them now ’cause they’re worth your time!) Well today’s interview is with the author of those terrific posts, Nushkie, and I think you’re really going to enjoy getting to know her.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how and when did you get started with arts and crafts?
I suppose it started in the 3rd grade. I made a puppet with a hand-sewn costume and clay head portraying my teacher, Mrs. Briggs. It was as mean and troll-like as Mrs. Briggs herself. (Dickens could not have penned a more wicked character in his pantheon of unforgiving, switch-wielding school masters). At 8 years old, I suppose I felt rather vindicated molding her so
realistically…I am still redeemed: my four-year-old daughter, Eva, likes to bring this ancient, gnarly artifact from Mommy’s past out whenever she needs something truly scary for a puppet show! Loathsome as my memories are of Mrs. Briggs, it was a time when schools still had arts and crafts as part of their every day curriculum. It is a crime that schools today consider arts, music and theatre as curriculum which is a “nice to have,” but not a “must have.” In addition to choirs, cello, piano, and all the school theatrical productions, I was always writing or drawing and painting. Horses and dancers, mostly, but occasionally some really surreal Dali –type explorations, like a volcano with a cigarette-wielding hand plunging from it into the sky …sort of burning the sky.

My family was very musical, with lots of improvisation going on. Occasionally, we would just jam in the “music room” after meals. My brother Sam would play the drums, my other brother, the piano, my dad, the Lowry organ, my mom on tambourine or just dancing, and me playing the claves or singing. Eventually, I pursued much of my performance and writing interests through poetry, short stories, journaling, jazz singing, political theatre, one-woman cabaret, and even stand-up.

Over the years, I also used my creativity in cooking, and have made my own home décor items, including pillows and curtains, small paintings, as well as clothes. But it was last year when Eva enrolled in our local Waldorf nursery and I started mingling with all these fellow moms who live and breathe wool, that I rediscovered my interest in visual arts and my absolute infatuation with wool and felting!

I had seen these beautiful fairies at one of the fairs and tried to figure out how felting worked. I tried smashing wool together between my palms, needle felting with a regular needle (good luck!), throwing hot water around…etc. G-d forbid I should actually take a class. But I have a certain “I can do it myself” attitude that I now share with my toddler, so no classes for me. But
my friend Amy took one. She showed me a needle-felted pumpkin she made…It was beautiful. I said, “How did you do it?” She said she poked the wool with a felting needle. I said, “Yeah, I tried that with a regular needle. What’s the big deal?” Then she held up her needle. “Did your needle feel like this?” I felt the barbs along the side…and had a real “Ah hah!” moment. And that was it. I placed an order for needles, ordered fleece and proceeded to make pumpkins, fairies, playscapes, etc, for Eva, tapestries for her teachers, and dolls for her friends. I even felted a giant pair of butterfly wings for Eva’s Halloween costume last year. This was before I “honed” my craft. I stabbed them into our now fuzzy ottoman. Then, when they weren’t firm enough, I threw them into the bathtub and poured pots of boiling water on them and put on rubber gloves and massaged them with Trader Joes Purple Dish Soap. When all was said and done, they were beautiful but a little hot for wearing on a warm Southern California Halloween… It was the beginning of a beautiful addiction from which no 12-step program can cure me!

What is the main thing you make and sell in your store? What else do you make and/or sell?
It’s funny. When I first opened my shop, I had started to get really interested in wet felting and I bought baby shoe lasts and thought I was going to make baby booties and other wearable felt mostly and home décor… I started with two clutches…the third one; I made off with myself and
wear to parties! I plan to do more of that as we go along, but in the meantime, I have found myself tending toward needle felted tapestries, dolls, gnomes, playscapes, fairies and all things Waldorf. The natural and soft feel of the wool and the ethereal quality of what emerges in form offsets my darker, writing self, and creates not only beauty, but balance in my life.

As I have made non-patterned “Waldorf” dolls for my little one and make practically all her clothes, I may branch out there as well in the future. Perhaps I will also finally make use of those shoe lasts! I think the felt covered diaries are a step in the direction of practical applications of this beautiful art form, as are the earrings I just posted. I also made her a cute felted light switch plate that I’d like to make more of. Speaking of Eva…the toys I make for her, the dresses, doll clothes, scarves and hats… It really all starts and ends with my little one… Her nickname is Nushkie. That’s why I’m Nushkie Design.

Who if anyone has been instrumental in helping you hone your craft?
Ok, I did just take a Eurythmy class (no, I still can not spell that word!), but don’t usually like to take classes. I have found with acting and singing that I lose myself in trying to please a teacher. I tend to try to conform and try to be the “good student,” even when it doesn’t feel right. So, I don’t do it. I learned this with singing, that when I was studying, I was straining. When I practiced on my own I was fine. A few years ago, before Eva was born, someone my dad met had written an opera. He gave her my number. She called. When she asked if I was an opera singer, I said. “Yes.” I had never sung an opera before. I practiced like a crazy woman and auditioned and two months later, I starred as Anais Nin in a two-person opera to wonderful reviews.

You see, I lost my mom several years ago. But her inspiration remains. She sewed and cooked all the time without patterns. Because she never went to college, she did not often give herself enough credit. She would somet
imes complain, “Please don’t look at my seams!” But she was a huge talent. She made beautiful things and was a wonderful cook. She opened up a successful clothing boutique with no business experience, and when she got tired of that, at 55, she decided to become an actress. Again with no formal training, she had quite a prolific career as a television actress until she passed away. It is really from her that I learned not to follow too many rules and to just follow my heart when creating. I guess I never learned to draw between the lines while coloring. Now I know it was a good thing! Thanks mom.

Where do you get your inspiration?
Again, from my mom, but also my dad. He has a “can do” personality that enabled him to start a retail chain of organ (not internal, but keyboard!) and piano stores after convincing the Lowry Organ company to let him keep one organ and sell it on consignment. He rented a store, painted his name out front and that was the beginning of his becoming the national best seller of Lowry organs in the late seventies.

Mostly these days, however, it is my little Eva. Her waking dream life is so joyful, so boundless in its creativity and, thankfully, so, incredibly contagious!

Artistically, I’m inspired by anything beautiful that surrounds me. It can be writing, the more esoteric music of Kurt Weill; a film like “Wings of Desire”; the movement found in a Rodin sculpture; the emotion of a Van Gogh painting; the expression on a friend’s face; a song my daughter has improvised; an idea that pops into my head; the books of Elsa Beskow (what an incredible artist she was!); other Etsy artists whose work I admire, such as fellow Naturalkids team members or felters from Nfest team.

What are your favorite materials?
Let’s see…Wool, wool, wool and when I can get it, organic cotton…oh, and tree branches.

What advice would you give other Etsy sellers and those interested in opening up a shop?
Find something you love, make a few of them and open a shop. I think Etsy is the best deal in town. It would not be as easy or affordable to design and host a site and have the built-in traffic and promotional opportunities available to you that Etsy has to offer. Also there is this from my dad…I think one of the keys to his success was something he said to his sales folks. And it went like this, “When a customer walks in, don’t look at them with dollar signs in your eyes; Look at them and think, ‘how am I going to bring music into their lives.’ ” My goal is to bring my customers natural and heirloom quality creations that will add beauty and harmony to their surroundings.

What advice would you give to beginners in your main craft?
Invest in a felting needle and some fleece. Then experiment, but watch your fingers or, at least confine yourself to a sound proof workshop, as expletives will fly when that needle veers off into your finger during a rogue moment of exultant abandon!

Take a class if you really need to but don’t get schooled out of your natural instincts.

Try not to worry about how much time you have or don’t have. I do everything I do from about 9-11 pm after Eva is in bed and my inner cleaning elf has made some effort to unearth the bottom of our kitchen sink!

Try not to be so verbose when being interviewed…ahem…and lastly and quite seriously, remove “I can’t” or “I’m not creative” from your personal lexicon and just do it. Get an image in your mind and run with it. “Good is the enemy of great.” So forget about having to be good at something and you will allow your greatness to emerge.

What is your Etsy shop address and name? Where else can we find you?

The other place you can find me is at home with my little sprite, Eva and my wonderful husband, Bob…