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little spring places

while Spring arrives quickly to other places ….  we find ourselves  looking at even the littlest greening things to know that she will be returning just as always ….

little bits found while searching for spring

here is some of what we find as the land starts to green from its shade of brown …


and some other little things we found as well …


and here is what we do …


in tiny cups  and glasses ….


and jars that still have no purpose ….


we make little green worlds while we wait for Spring …

 hello,  I am Pamela of  prettydreamer.   I am mama to a lovely prettydreamer  of my own.  I am still in love with toys,  storybooks and fairy tales of all kind.  I love trees, rocks, maps and unknown places and stumbling upon ideas turned upside-down, folk hands  and honest traditions that run deep. and all the other friendly playful things that function or are simply made to bring joy





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Easter Egg Treat Pouches

If your family is like ours, you might have quite a few paper bags from the grocery store piling up in your pantry. We mostly end up with them as a result of our impromptu shopping trips, those last minute runs to the market when we’ve been out and happen to not have our cloth bags with us. Most of the time, these paper bags end up re-used as garbage bags but can be re-incarnated as handmade envelopes, parcel wrapping paper or even as table liners for the children’s enthusiastic watercolour sessions.

This Easter, we are recycling some of these paper bags to make Easter egg treat pouches. I never really quite know what to do to portion the loose candy (jelly beans, jordan almonds, etc.) in the baskets each year; in the past, I have used little plastic bags tied with ribbon to divvy up the goodies. So instead, I thought that the paper bags could

be used to do a simple craft (either on your own or with your little loved ones) to house all the little bits and bobs they receive from the Easter Bunny. The threading and lacing involved also presents a wonderful opportunity for youngsters to sharpen their fine motor skills.


You will need the following materials:


1 large paper bag (grocery store-sized)


Twine (hemp, raffia, or any other natural cord that is easy to thread)

Paper + pen (to draw your egg pattern)

Hole punch


Begin by drawing a generously sized egg shape on your paper and cutting it out. This will serve as the pattern for your egg pouch.

Next, you will need to remove the large flap from the bottom of the paper grocery bag.


Cut along the bottom seam, through both layers of paper, until you are left with a bottomless bag. Then, cut out the thin side strips of the bag so that you are left with two large rectangular pieces of paper.



Remove the handles from your shopping bag (if there are any).


Trace your egg pattern onto the paper twice, giving you a front and a back for your egg pouch. Put the two identical eggs together and using your hole punch, punch holes about every half-inch or so around the perimeter.



If your paper is particularly plain, you can certainly enlist your child’s help to decorate it with crayons, stampers or whatever craft supplies you have in your home.

Start threading and lacing up your egg, being careful to leave the very top hole unthreaded – this way you’ll have an opening to slip the treats through later. The rigidity of the cord makes it especially easy for young children to complete this portion on their own.




Once you have finished lacing, add your sweets and thread the remaining cord through the very last hole.



Tie with a flourish, flash a smile…and you’re done!



This tutorial was shared by Ariana Lyriotakis-Macdonald of Niko &  Nonnie

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Dyeing Easter Eggs Naturally

Every spring my kids and I dye eggs for Easter. We do it naturally without chemicals and artificial colors, experimenting with different  herbs and colorful fruits and vegetables.

According to, “Many food colorings contain color additives such as Red No. 3 and Yellow No. 5, which, according to a 1983 study by the FDA, were found to cause tumors (Red No. 3) and hives (Yellow No. 5).”

Last year we had so much fun using the leaves and flowers to get some contrast to the rich sienna color produced from the onion skin, that I would like to share this method with you.

Take 10-12 white eggs. Get some fresh small leaves and tie them to the eggs with a string.  Place the eggs in a single layer in a pan. Add water until the eggs are covered and add the skins of 12-15 small yellow onions. Bring to a gentle boil, then lower heat, and allow the eggs to simmer for 20-30 minutes. The longer you leave the eggs to boil, the deeper the color will be. Remove the eggs, unwrap the string, rinse the eggs in lukewarm water and cool them. If you’d like to add a soft sheen to your eggs, coat them lightly with vegetable oil and polish with a cloth. As a result, you’ll get beautifully decorated Easter eggs! Enjoy!


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Play Food Product Review

My princess is a girl through and through, and one of her favorite things to do is cook for her dolls. We have bought all kinds of play food. In fact, sometimes there is more “food” in her playroom than there is in the kitchen. Some of the play food did not hold up well. Although I love having natural options, felted food pilled and got dirty fast. Soon it looked, well, unappetizing!

We have found that the knitted or crocheted play food holds up the best under heavy play cooking. Our very favorite kind is from Fair Trade Family. We bought this set in November of 2010 and as you can see in the photo they have held up well to serious play time. Fair Trade Family food selection is wonderful and plentiful. Her prices as fair and they certainly last and will become an heirloom toy to cherish.

Cotton Play Food from Fair Trade Family

Beccijo Neff is a toymaker, storyteller, and award winning Artist from Pennsylvania. She homeschools 4 children and is happily married. You can find out more about her life and her work at her blog . To see her enchanting toys stop at her shop, it will brighten and delight your eyes to see all the magical things she creates.

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The Natural Home: Spring Cleaning

Not only is the Natural Kids team full of great artist that specialize in items for little ones, we are also mamas and papas. We live our lives as natural as we can, keeping traditions and natural methods alive. We know that many other mamas and papas are striving to live this way too so we thought it would be good for us to share with you a few tips to help you have a natural home too.

Lanolin Soap from The Sitting Tree

Spring is such and important time of renewing. As the world wakes from it sleep so do our natural longing to clean. Spring is a great time to open those windows and let the fresh air in to our homes. Cleaning, organizing, and discarding unwanted items will help your house feel as fresh as a spring day! Here are a few more tips from our members.

 Beccijo of The Enchanted Cupboard

Sanitizing sponges

I love sponges for cleaning, They do a great job and fit nicely in the hand. Here is a great tip for keeping it fresh, clean, and sanitized. The best part, as you are sanitizing the sponge you can get the microwave clean too. This will make even the hardest baked on goop come of easy in the microwave.

What you will need:

1 Dirty Sponge

1 Dirt Microwave

1 (microwave safe) Dish

Water (fill bowl 1/2 full

A few squirts of lemon

Put the sponge in the bowl fill 1/2 full of water and add the lemon juice right on the sponge. Place in microwave and cook for 3-6 minutes depending on you microwave. It is going to get very hot and steamy. Let it sit and door stay closed for 15 -20 minutes. Once things have cooled down to where you can touch the sponge, wipe down the inside of the microwave. Everything will come off easy from the steam bath, and smell fresh from the lemon!


Farida of Alkelda Dolls

Scrubbing the Floors

A friend of mine once wrote for her Facebook status, “I would rather be crafting than cleaning.” I empathize. I enjoy the process of creating order out of chaos, but floors become dirty again, forced-air heat coats surfaces with dust, and clutter creeps onto flat surfaces. A wool felt doll I sew stays sewed.

Every week I have to scrub the kitchen floor tiles by hand, and change clothes to do it (knees and socks get damp). I make a notation on the calendar after I complete the 15-20 minute job. Then, I make sure everyone in the house knows I’ve scrubbed the floor. Acknowledgement and documentation of a needful but unglamorous task helps me feel like the job is worth doing, and reminds others that scrubbed floors happen through human effort, not fairy magic.


Stephinie of Gypsy Forest

My favorite is a squirt & mop solution. It just makes the whole house smell so clean!

Floor Cleaner:

A repurposed Dish Soap Bottle

2 parts water

1 part vinegar

1/2 tsp dish soap

6-10 drops of essential oil

Pour all ingredients into a repurposed dish soap bottle. Shake before use. I use a hot bucket (or sink) full of water to rinse my mop and squirt this cleaner right onto the floor for mopping. It leaves no film and makes the floor so clean! I love it. I’ve read you can use a little baking soda sprinkled onto the floor for extra dirty spots.
Beccijo Neff is a toymaker, storyteller, and award winning Artist from Pennsylvania. She homeschools 4 children and is happily married. You can find more about her life and her work at her blog . To see her enchanting toys stop at her shop, it will brighten and delight you eyes to see all the magical things she creates.

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5 Harmful Effects of Disposable Diapers and Training Pants

Because Super Skivvies is an eco-friendly and sustainable company we feel that it is necessary to help people make an educated decision when it comes to choosing which products to use for their children. This is for the benefit of you and your child, as well as the environment.

(Super Skivvies Convertible Cloth Potty Training Pants – click photo to visit shop)

It still amazes us how many people out there give no thought or regard to how the products they use are destroying the very Earth that we all call home, even after being educated and shown the truth about harmful products. Unfortunately, a lot of people want to sweep these problems under the rug and forget about them. However, I think we can all agree that we need Earth in order to survive and give future generations the basic necessities of clean air, clean water, and healthy food. Simple right?

Take a look at some of the information we found about disposable diapers and training pants:

  • 18 billion disposable diapers end up in landfills every year in the U.S. alone, adding 5 million tons of untreated human waste to the soil. And did you know that it is illegal to put human fecal matter in your household garbage? The American Public Health Association and American Academy of Pediatrics have advised parents that “fecal material and urine should not be allowed to be co-mingled and disposed of as regular trash. This contaminates ground water and spreads disease.” Yes, you must remove all of the fecal matter from disposables before you throw them out. (Click here for information on disposing of disposable diapers)
  • Sodium polyacrylate is a chemical that makes disposable diapers so absorbent that it can absorb up to 100 times its weight in water. However, it can stick to children’s genitals and cause allergic reactions. In the U.S., this chemical was removed from tampons in 1985 when it was linked to toxic shock syndrome. And when this chemical was tested and injected into rats, it caused hemorrhaging, cardiovascular failure, and ultimately death.
  • 500 years! This is how long it can take each disposable diaper and training pant to decompose in a landfill. That means that every disposable diaper and training pant ever used in the world is still decomposing in a landfill somewhere. And almost 30 percent of each disposable diaper and training pant consists of non biodegradable products such as absorbent vinyl layers, Velcro, absorbent gelling material, and plastic packaging that will never break down.
  • Dioxin is a by product of the paper bleaching process used in the manufacturing of disposable diapers and training pants. It is the most toxic of all the cancer causing chemicals and causes birth defects as well as liver disease in laboratory animals.
  • As many as 100 viruses can survive in soiled disposable diapers or training pants for months. This includes the live polio virus and hepatitis excreted by recently vaccinated babies. These viruses constitute a potential hazard to sanitation workers and garbage handlers. No to mention the critters that will crawl into the landfill to find a meal and the birds that will pick through this garbage and fly to who knows where.

This is obviously not an exhaustive list of harmful effects. Ultimately, the choice is yours.

(Wild Coconut Wear Wool Cloth Diaper Cover – click photo to visit shop)

Steph & Anthony of Super Skivvies

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Today is America Recycles Day – Let’s Celebrate!

We all know how important recycling is for the health of our families and our planet, but did you know there is an official day to celebrate and promote it?

Newspaper Seedling Pots

All over the country, cities, schools, and groups of all sorts are hosting events that you may want to check out!   The official website for America Recycles Day has all the details and even an event finder.  In my community, I found computer and electronics recycling, the grand opening of a recycling education center and a community college that will be sifting through it’s trash from the day before to evaluate it’s recycling habits.   Click on over to and you can search for specific item recycling – like left-over paint or used batteries.

While at the America Recycles Day site, be sure to take the pledge and check out the video contest and cast a vote.  Here’s a fun one that might inspire you to make some music of your own using what you find in the recycling bins:


What activities will you do to celebrate recycling?  We’d love to know!

Tell us about it in the comments, or send us some pictures!

Looking for some inspiration?  Check out some of our great recycling fun in previous posts:

  • Compost recycling in Wild, Wonderful Worms!
  • Recycle a sweater and Make a Gnome Hat
  • Reuse those T.P. tubes and make Owls!
  • Fabric scraps and wool roving bits make awesome Felted Balls
  • Newspaper can be transformed into Seedling Pots with just a few folds.
  • This adorable bunny decoration uses up fabric scraps – how cute would some holiday elves be in the same style?!
  • Start gathering little wool bits from your holiday projects to use in the spring activity Blossoms for Birds
  • Friendship Dolls are another great project for tiny bits of fabric and wool and they make a great gift for a best friend!
  • This (quiet) Noisemaker makes use of a recycled cardboard tube
  • Use those branches that had to be cut off the Christmas Tree in order to get it to fit inside – make a Door Decoration!
  • A gorgeous transformation of children’s artwork into Bird Ornaments
  • This great Nature Collage project uses a recycled cereal box, but it could be modified to include more!  Instead of using natural items to make your collage, let’s see what you can do with recyclable bits and pieces.  Maybe things you find on a walk that could have been recycled, or a journal of your day illustrated with the actual recyclables used.
  • Make an I-Spy Jar using odds and ends that might otherwise be tossed in the trash.
Recycled Owls



Kelly of MudHollow (aka. MuddyFeet) can usually be found surrounded by stacks of wool felt and piles of wool roving, sewing or felting happily away or she may be out in the workshop carefully shaping a piece of wood and sanding it smooth.  When not absorbed in a project, she spends her time homeschooling one of her two boys, attending soccer games and caring for a small zoo that currently includes:  2 dogs, 3 cats, 9 frogs, 1 turtle and a variety of insects.  You can learn more about her by visiting her at MudHollow or on Etsy.

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Reminders are important!

We all need reminders. Reminders are good! This summer, a bill arrived in the mail. It came as very much of a shock to me and my husband. How could this happen? How come our electric bill was suddenly double of what it normally is? It’s not like I stayed up all night sewing up doll clothes. Could it be a broken appliance sucking up all this energy?

Air conditioning? Haha. Not funny! We don’t have that in our little old house. To beat the heat, we own a few window fans to get us through the worst part of the summer. We really don’t run them enough to double our bill. DH (husband) was quite annoyed. Of course, it must be something we (the kids and I) were doing. Like leaving the refrigerator door open or leaving lights on.

Now we had to get to the bottom of this. Who wants to waste energy in these times of global warming? And who can afford to double their electric bill when the economy is down in the dumps? So, we all decided to watch ourselves more carefully. We got on each other’s cases about turning off lights that were unnecessarily on. We turned the dishwasher and clotheswasher only on if they were full to the brim. Cutting down on TV time also helped!

Mostly, I watched my own actions. One thing I noticed I had been slacking off with was the clothes drying. It’s criminal – really. I even wrote an article on just this subject on the NK blog a while ago.  Back then, I ranted about Americans wasting so much energy by using clothes dryers instead of hanging their laundry and drying it outside. You know how many gazillions of kilowatt hours could be saved if we all dried our clothes on a clothing line? A LOT. But here I was all lazy and Americanized finding excuses: It was too hot, or I am too tired to hang clothes, my back hurts.

In a way the shocking electric bill was a good reminder for me. MUST HANG UP LAUNDRY. And guess what? The next bill came and it was $15 less than our normal monthly bill. At the end of the bill was a note tacked on saying that the last bill had been a mistake. They had accidentally overcharged us by double the amount int he previous bill. Wow! I am so glad we found the reason for this strange bill. But I am even more glad it got me back doing the right thing for the environment…Reminders are good!


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From the Annals of a Crazy German Lady…

I am feeling a bit depressed today. Our baseball season has come to an end, and I will really miss watching this amazing American sport. Being German I did not know much about baseball until my son started playing. I instantly fell in love with it! There is nothing that gets your adrenalin pumping like a game of Little League kids going at it.

But there is one thing that really bothered me all summer. I had never seen such waste, mountains and mountains of trash, than at those little kids’ baseball games. Most of this trash came in the shape of water bottles.

I felt like a total outsider carrying around giant gallon sized refilled water-jugs from home. I could feel the stinging looks. (Lookey here: There comes the crazy German lady again with her water bottles.) My son was the only kid – I am pretty sure of it – who had a refillable water bottle in the dugout. I kept jogging over to refill his drink bottle about three to four times per game. Was that too much work? Not really. Not much different from grabbing a throw-away bottle from a cooler.

I know they all thought I was crazy. But what seems crazy to me is that people would pay up to $10 per gallon of bottled water (or even more if you buy at the concession stands) when you can bring it from home for about 1 cent per gallon. But that’s not the reason I am doing it. I am doing it because I like to avoid trash at all cost! I just don’t like it when a giant overflowing trashcan obstructs my view of the baseball field. Sigh!

Here are some facts I found on the Internet. Maybe I should print them up as handout for the next season? Will they still give me that look?

• Unlike soda and other carbonated beverages, there is no deposit on water bottles so fewer are recycled.

•Nationally, only 10% of plastic water bottles are recycled—90% end up as either garbage or litter.

•30 million single-serve non-returnable containers end up in landfills or as litter every day.

• We spend millions annually to clean up plastic bottles that litter our highways, parks and open spaces.

It’s a Waste of Energy

• 18 million barrels of crude oil equivalent were consumed in 2005 to replace the 2 million tons of plastic bottles that were wasted instead of recycled.

• Manufacturing that much plastic releases more than 800,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, contributing to global climate change.

• If we recycled the water bottles used in New York, we would save more than 67,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases.

• In New York, the oil used to make our bottles is equal to 66 million gallons of gasoline; enough to power 120,000 automobiles for a year.

Taking Action

• Since New York adopted the bottle bill in 1982, 90.6 billion beverage containers have been recycled. Roadside container litter has been reduced over 70%.

• San Francisco and Los Angeles have banned city departments from buying bottled water. Ann Arbor, Michigan is calling for city events to be bottled water free. Salt Lake City urges city workers not to buy bottled water.

Maine, Hawaii, California and Oregon have deposit laws that include bottled water.

What You Can Do

•Recycle or return all of your beverage containers.

•Pick up bottles along the road or sidewalk and recycle them.

• Drink tap water—it’s better for the environment, even using a fi lter is cheaper than buying bottles.

•Get involved—help start a recycling program at school, work and sporting events.

•Buy and refill reusable bottles.

•Learn more about your local recycling program.