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Nature Table, Spring

Mother Nature gave her best for April’s Fools Day, this is what I woke up to:
Even thought it may look like winter outside it defiantly looks like spring on our Nature Table.
 We set the table with a Spring Silk and then added our fairy treehouse.
Next we added lovely spring items in like mushrooms and bushes.
The fairy house is staged for company.
The spring fairies brought gifts for the children.
Every one had a new item to love!
Last we added the new spring animals to the table.
Happy Spring!!
Items on Nature Table Can be found at:
Felt Fox and Bunny by Muddyfeet
Wooden Raccoon and Wooden Skunk by justhatched
Wooden Deer Family by Dadswoodentoys
Wooden Acorn Gnome by katsinthebelfry
Spring silk, Wooden Fairies, Wooden Flowering Bushes by TheEnchantedCupboard
There are other great items for your Nature Table from our team members on the NaturalKids Team website:
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Felted Wool Dryer Ball Tutorial

Green up your laundry routine with this week’s How-To Thursday: Felted Wool Dryer Balls  by Liz, from TheSittingTree.

How To Make Felted Wool Dryer Balls:
This winter, we weren’t able to hang dry laundry in the house due to some moisture issues in the basement, so I wanted to come up with a more eco~friendly, non~toxic way of doing laundry through the colder months. After some research, I found wool dryer balls to be an energy efficient & safe alternative to toxic dryer sheets, fabric softeners, and other plastic dryer balls.

Just a few of the benefits of natural Wool Dryer Balls:
*Natural Fabric Softener
*Reduces wrinkles
*Eliminates static cling {this was a big one for us, and it really works!!}
*Quiet while tumbling
*Cuts drying time in half by absorbing all of the moisture from the clothing
*Fun & Safe for babies and pets
*Safe for all cloth diapers.  {The waxy residue from fabric softeners and dryer sheets will decrease absorbency of diapers}
*You can scent them naturally with a couple drops of essential oils {just let them dry first}

Please visit Liz, at TheSittingTree, for her original post and other eco~friendly tutorials.  In her own words, “Come join me under The Sitting Tree for stories about my life as a wife to my best friend, proud mama of three homeschooled boys, obsessed knitter and lover of Mother Earth.”

You can also find TheSittingTree on Etsy with a shop full of knitting patterns, upcycled clothing, handmade soaps and other natural handmade products for the whole family.

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What’s New, and, Well Natural from the Natural Kids Team on Etsy

Welcome! Today I’m going to continue my trek backwards through the alphabet to bring the stories of the creators and their newest wonderful handmade treasures, made with natural materials from…yes! the Naturalkids Team on Etsy!

Welcome to the The Wood Garden  Chris and Laura,  create natural, handmade wooden toys and dishes for babies, toddlers and children. They are a husband and wife team who have always been creative–in fact, they met in high school art class. When their first son was small Chris started making wooden trucks for him, and quickly fell in love with woodworking and creating wooden toys especially. He bought more tools and made it his hobby, and later a business as they started to sell the toys at craft shows under the name CB (Canadian Built) Woodcrafts. Eventually they heard about Etsy and decided to open up a shop here under a new name, The Wood Garden.  Here is their  Handcrafted Wooden Rattle in Walnut and Purple Heart.

The shop The Violet Sparrow  is named after their two saanen dairy goats, Violet and Sparrow. They aim to please our planet-and you with every natural, handmade item they create, from children’s upcycled wool sweater slippers, needle-felted designs, children’s stuffed toys, waldorf dolls and thier hand-made, hand-milked goatmilk soaps and accessories.

The shop is filled with goods inspired by the treasures they make for and with their children. As a Waldorf-inspired homeschooling family, they are constantly creating our own playthings, dolls, and beautiful things for their  home and nature table. This is reflected in thier shop!

  Here is the   Heart Purse with Valentines Fairy and Gnome Friends 

Elizabeth from the The Sitting Tree    is an obsessed knitter. She knits anywhere & everywhere, except while riding her bike, as she has not figured that one out yet. Her favorite place to knit, though, is nestled into the trunk of a shady tree overlooking the St. Croix River. Perhaps this is the very tree she named her shop  after!

She’s inspired by everything nature, and tries to make sure her products reflect the love and respect she has for mother earth. By upcycling and using natural fibers, this goal is manifested in one of her newest listings, the Tree Squirrel Upcycled cloth diaper soaker.

Mary is the creator behind The Green Goat.    She’s an artist with a Bachelors degree in Graphic Design, living in the Midwest. She’s a wife, a stay-at-home momma of two, and someone who enjoys the simplest things in life. The Green Goat came about after her second child was born. It was then that her bottled up creative energy exploded into a children’s collection and then some. She is head-over-heels in LOVE with her new roll as mommy, but  can’t quite shake the desire to create things. So, she works in the evenings, after her babies are fast asleep. Mommy by day, screen printer by night. “I have the best of both worlds! I truly LOVE what I do and am so tickled to be able to share my creations with you,” she says. Here is her
 Peacock on Seafoam spaghetti strap dress   !

From clothing to dolls, to diapers and rattles, this week’s offering brings you just a taste of the natural creations  you can expect to find and make part of your life from the Natural kids Team on Etsy! Look here for a full list of our shops!

Thank you for visiting this week! I’ll have another bunch of our shops to introduce you to next week as I showcase their recent creations. I look forward to seeing you then, in the meantime, our blog has interesting and informative entries each day. Enjoy!

Creatively yours!
Rebecca    aka Nushkie

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New Items from The NaturalKids Team

Team members were busy last week making lots of natural goodies for kids! Take a peek:

A gorgeous love spoon from prettydreamer

An adorable dollhouse girl from Woolhalla

A very useful dolphin marker holder from Dad’s Wooden Toys

A “cool” King Winter from The Enchanted Cupboard

A bright little heart fairy from Alkelda

And the sweetest pink kitten from Little Elf’s Toyshop

To see more simply search “naturalkids team” on Etsy…or click here!
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Friday Feature with Beary Organics

Tell us little about yourself!
I am a thirty something vegan mother of two wonderfully rowdy boys and a dog. Sometimes I mother my husband too, but he totally deserves it. I grew up in southern Mississippi, where my hometown is sadly now covered in tar balls and oil sheen. It was a lovely place to grow up; exploring marsh lands, bayous, and barrier islands. But… when the teens years hit, I couldn’t wait to leave. Alas, I got out and spent a couple of years drowning myself in college at the Maryland Institute College of Art. I was working hard towards that BFA in sculpture when I suddenly dropped out because I really just wanted to ride my bike. I worked and saved and pedaled some major miles in several different countries. Then it was off to Atlanta, where I met and fell in love with a small circus troupe who taught me everything they knew. Eventually the troupe fell apart and I fell in love again, this time with a cute tattooed boy whom I convinced to move to San Francisco, where I enrolled in circus school. I spent a year and a whole heap of dollars in that lovely city before getting sucked back to Atlanta. Then, I got married, had a baby, and made that baby an organic quilt. After my first one’s first birthday, we started looking at different cities. Portland, OR won the toss up and here we are, and I am finally “home.” I love this city. It’s got the good vegan food, the family friendly everything, bike trails galore, and is surrounded by nature nature nature. Baby #2 was born here and is a true pale skinned Oregonian. Our little family spends as much time as we can in the woods, rivers, and on mountains. I’d probably have more stuff listed on etsy if there weren’t so many dang waterfalls to find.

What do you make and how long have you been creating?
At this point in my life, I mostly make organic baby quilts. I do some wall-hanging quilts and clothes as well. I’ve been creating as long as I can remember, isn’t that how every artist/crafter is? There’s a picture of me, in a high chair, sleeping, with the outer crusts of a pb&j sandwich stood up in front of me. They are placed just so, my first sculpture.

What inspires you?
My children, Portland and all it’s grandness, and all that nature. Portland is a great city for artists, every business contributes a percentage to the arts. There are beautiful sculptures all over the place, as well as artists markets. The parks are amazing. The Willamette River and all the grand bridges, old and new, that bring it all together. The wildflowers, trees, and birds of the Northwest.

What got you started working with quilts?
When pregnant with my first child, I couldn’t find any organic quilts. Organic foods were really important to me, and when I got pregnant, I started thinking about how I wanted to expand to organic fabrics as much as we could. I couldn’t find one, not even on etsy, so I got a couple quilt books from the library, ordered some fabric, and did the best I could. I fell in love with the process, the textures, the way the cotton batting pulls everything in and shrinks and wrinkles the fabrics. It satisfied my love of 3D and 2D art all in one.

How long have you been on Etsy and how has it been for you so far?

I think I started in ’05, when my little one was still little. My first shop was under the name crustychristy, an insulting childhood nickname I had embraced and stuck with. I started BearyOrganics in ’09 because I wanted a more refined shop, image, name. I love being a part of the etsy family. It hasn’t been extremely lucrative for me yet, but I spend far more time outside and playing with my children than in my sewing dungeon. It is a creative outlet for me, that’s there when I have the time, and doesn’t get jealous of my life when I don’t. One day, maybe when the kids are in school, I’ll have more than one page’s worth of stuff, and the sales will roll in.

What advice would you have for other Etsians?
I am so not the person to give advice here. My aunt though (Artsy), she’s full of great ideas. She’s been on etsy forever and makes wonderful things, and a decent living. She always says, use all your tags, take great pictures, use all your pictures, re-list occasionally if you aren’t making new things, and network.

  What do you hope to learn/gain/contribute from being part of the Natural Kids group?
I love being part of a group of mostly parents and grandparents who care about their kids and this world enough to pass by the cheap plastic beeping toys, and make great things. The toys, clothes, bedding, furniture, etc. that NattyKids members make inspire children, and they do so in a sustainable way. Eventually, I’d like to learn more about running the business more efficiently, and pick at the brains of those in the team that do make a living at it. As for contributing, I must admit that I’ve mostly been a bug on the wall so far. If anything is asked of me, I try to provide in a timely fashion. I’m sure that in that magical ‘one day’ place, where all the time that I don’t seem to have exists, I’ll become more involved.

What thoughts do you have for parent
s on the importance of natural toys for creative play?

Natural toys are just so much more inspiring for children, not to mention safer. Natural Kids team members make quality non toxic products for children, as all products for children should be, but somehow aren’t. The closer the toy is to nature, the more they can just imagine themselves in the world, doing worldly things, or out of this world doing alien things. The possibilities are endless. Sticks, rocks, and dirt have always been the favorites around my house, but we also love blocks, books, and puppets. Kids imaginations are so fascinating and wonderful to watch at work. I guarantee the parents of children playing with natural wooden blocks is happier than the parent whose kid is playing with the sesame street tool bench that makes horrible noises all day long. Wouldn’t you rather listen to your child sing and talk out scenes while playing with toys, than those crazy recorded hi-pitched machine voices? Of course you would.

All you links:

Interview by Beccijo of The Enchanted Cupboard

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happy earth day, today and every day

From all of us on the NaturalKids team on Etsy… may today be a day of connecting and reconnecting to nature and celebrating our earth as we protect it for generations and generations to come.

(photo above by Fairyfolk)

We’ve tried to make it a little easier for families to choose all-natural, eco friendly gear for their kids and homes by having a gigantic 56-shop-wide sale, so please check our shops out for all the details or search on Etsy for “naturalkids team earth day”.

And you can receive a free e-book filled with tutorials, kids crafts how-tos, ideas on connecting to nature and fantastic, wholesome recipes… just by finding a drawn gnome hidden in the listings of so many of our shops.


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the greening of a family

Today’s post about Earth Day and raising eco consciousness in our families is from Amy Turn Sharp of Little Alouette – you can visit their lovely shop of heirloom wooden rattles and toys here.

(photo above from Little Alouette)

Earth Day 2010 celebrates the 40th anniversary of a wonderful movement started by Senator Gaylord Nelson. He had a great idea and kept working at spreading the word in a grassroots way, starting with a Scholastic Magazine article that the schools across America read and shared. It seemed that everyone began working together to focus on starting this special day. It started small but has grown into a promise by many of us to protect and nurture Mother Earth.

photo via Flickr

I love the story of the movement being started by the small ones! Yay for wee ones and educators! You can start today to make life a bit greener in your home in simple and affordable ways. The greening of a family can start slowly with simple deliberate actions.

photo via Flickr

Here are some ideas for raising eco consciousness in your family:

• Make your own household items like detergents and cleaners. I made laundry detergent last year and have fallen in love with the economical and greener clean I get from the mix. Check out our blog here to find out how!

• I like to use vinegar for most of my cleaning. You can dilute it and add water and presto you have a perfect cleaner that is very inexpensive. Baking soda is perfect all-purpose scrub and won’t harm little ones. I love using natural products and I find that adding essential oils can give you a fresher scent and mood lift while cleaning.

• If you can give up a paper towel addiction turn to washable cloths and kitchen towels. I love micro fiber cloths!

• Teach your children well! Talk about recycling and head to a local landfill and recycling center for a field trip. Have a simple recycling center in your home and let even the youngest place items in the bins. Label bins with pictures and word and encourage your children to recycle each day. Try out backyard or kitchen composting. For a load of fun and science try vermicomposting! WORMS! (We do it and it is a blast!)

Art for kiddos- talk to kids about thinking first about the supplies we have in the home for art. The recycling bin is a perfect place to check first.

Check out the Crafty Crow for amazing recycled art activities!
I found this amazing Springtime fun on the site this week….

boats from cork!

Save those corks!

Another fun activity for Earth Day and beyond is stamp making in the recycling bin

You can start small and teach your children that tiny steps in the right direction will help us all and truly honor Mother Earth.

Thanks! Amy Turn Sharp of Little Alouette xo

Be sure to check out Little Alouette’s beautiful teething trees, made from Ohio maple wood (and much love), and all the other beautiful handmade pieces in their shop.

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Earth Day how-to :: make an upcycled shipping envelope {and another GIVEAWAY!}

Earth Day is just around the corner, and the NaturalKids team here on Etsy is having a huge (56 shops!) sale and promotion to celebrate. With the Earth as our muse, today’s tutorial is timely and fabulously functional. It’s by Kat from katsinthebelfry, her lovely shop full of gnomes, toys, kits, crowns and more.

Oh, and you can enter another beautiful GIVEAWAY of natural kids toys and more over at the beautiful blog, NaturalSuburbia

(a beautiful playsilk from PolkadotDragon, a felted snail from MuddyFeet and a wooden iron from PrettyDreamer)

Now onto the tutorial….
New (upcycled) shipping envelopes – the tutorial, by Kat

People have been emailing, asking about the envelopes I talked about recently. Since I needed to make a few the other day, I thought I’d photograph the process for you.

*prepare the bag: carefully remove the handles, & toss them into your recycling bin. Next you’ll need to cut the bag open; do this by cutting down one corner seam, then around the base. now your bag should lie flat.

* place your item on the bag, & measure 2 inches around. you can either cut out 2 of of this size, or fold your bag over, then cut once. i did the latter here. definitely fold if your item is bulky.

*with your machine set to zig zag, stitch around three sides. leave a bit of a seam allowance, & don’t forget to back stitch.

*slip your item in. make sure you ease it to the bottom of your envelope, so you don’t accidentally sew through it. for a bit of padding you can first wrap your item in some of the tissue you saved from your birthday prezzies.

*sew the fourth side closed, back stitching once more to avoid ravelling.

*if your bag has a fancy design, as does mine, add a label for the address.

*a reminder to recycle your envelope would be a lovely addition. perhaps i should have gone with a color not in the bag’s design.

*make more! my bag made 1 small, & 1 large envelope.

these are fun to make, & take very little time. happy envelope-making!

Here’s something lovely from Kat’s shop!

Sunee, a Shakespearian wooden doll, clothed in Shakespeare’s writing, and sweet as can be!

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Make your own linen freshener (from your garden)

Today’s all-natural tutorial is by Luisa of DanceInMyGarden, her Etsy shop stocked with beautiful flag buntings, and much more. Gardens in Luisa’s home of Australia are in full bloom, while ours in more northern climates are just getting underway. Now we know what we’ll need to plant this spring to use in our linen fresheners!

How to make your own linen freshener from your garden

You can use this laundry freshener in any room of course,
it has a fresh green herbacous scent, and is fun to make with the kids.
You will need 3 things from your garden, and 2 ingredients from your kitchen pantry.
So here it is…

You will need some lavender

some rosemary

bay leaves

Dry out the leaves and lavender heads, and crush them up in your hands.

Then you need to add some rock salt, and whole black pepper.
You don’t need lots and lots, just a couple of tablespoons of each.
The quantity isn’t important, just wing it.
And buy some cheap rock salt, don’t use your expensive organic salt, like I have done!

Find a nice bowl to put the pot pourri into and voila! You are done.
Now, wasn’t that easy peasy?
If you want you can also add a little orris root powder as a fixative, but I didn’t.

Sweet smelling linen and towels.

Bag up the rest, and save for later, or give-away little bundles wrapped in muslin.

Oh, every now and then, when you go into your laundry cupboard to pick up a fresh item, and you see your little bowl, remember to crush the dried leaves to release their scent.
You could also add some drops of essentials oils of lavender, rosemary, to make it smell a bit stronger, and it will last a lot longer.

What’s in DanceInMyGarden’s handmade shop? Here’s a beautiful bunting, perfect for ushering in spring to our backyards!