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Natural Kids

Natural Kids: November 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

Interview with Huesofnature

Today you'll meet our new blog writer Hues of Nature. She'll be sharing this space with me on Fridays so I wanted to take this opportunity to let you get to know her a little better.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how and when did you get started with arts and crafts?

I am a wife and mother. Until January, 2006, I was also a science teacher and nature photographer. A chronic illness forced me to leave teaching. My art has always provided balance to my life, but played an even more important role when I was too ill to work. I was not able to explore nature physically, but felting and needle felting provided new ways to explore my creativity and share my love of the natural world. It has been wonderful therapy for handling the stress of a long illness. The friends I've made on Etsy and in the NaturalKids team have been a wonderful addition to my life and I feel very blessed to be a part of the NaturalKids and Etsy communities.

What is the main thing you make and sell in your store? What else do you make and/or sell?
My lil' pixies have been very popular. When I was a young girl, my grandmother made two tiny dolls that I still cherish. Each lil' pixie reminds me of her. I know she would have loved them. My felted animals have been very fun, too.

Who if anyone has been instrumental in helping you hone your craft?
Early inspiration came from a book, Making Wee Felt Folk, by Salley Mavor. I was also intrigued by the work of Nancy Bevins of motleymutton on Etsy. Her animals are amazing! After seeing her work, I bought my first set of felting needles and some delightful roving from a friend's sheep, Blackberry, and my Blackberry bunnies were born. I instantly became addicted and have developed my own style.

Where do you get your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from the natural world and my daughters' wonderful imaginations. It feels really great to create magical treasures that are impossible to find on the shelves of the big chain stores. The fabulous wool fibers also provide their own inspiration, both with their varying textures and gorgeous colors.
What are your favorite materials?
I love to work with beautiful wool roving! My favorite materials come from fellow Etsy artists. Joyce Vance, of Elliebelly first introduced me to Etsy. Her roving and yarns are pure pleasures to touch and view. I love supporting our Etsy community and local businesses in my hometown for supplies.

What advice would you give other Etsy sellers and those interested in opening up a shop?
The photography of your items is so important to your sales. You may have the most wonderful product, but if your picture is poor, it will not sell. If you have an item that is not selling and you love it, take a look at your picture. Reshoot it if you need to. You won't be disappointed that you did.
What advice would you give to beginners in your main craft?
Buy band-aids and prepare to fall in love.

Tell us a little bit about what topics or themes you plan on exploring with your blog posts.

I would love to explore the wonderful people and treasures of our NaturalKids team. Perhaps some articles on effectively photographing your work would be of interest, too?

What is your Etsy shop address and name? Where else can we find you?
My Etsy shop is at I have started a blog at

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Music to craft by

What do you listen to when you are crafting? It is such a busy time of year and one does not have much time to relax with all the things that need to be done. So it is best to stay relaxed while at work.

My favorite things to listen to are :

1. KUNC my public radio station because, except for some local ads, it is commercial free. It is the most like German radio stations. I don't know how people can stand listening to regular radio stations here. The roaring noise of commercials really hurts my ears. In Germany radio stations are not allowed to play commercials all day long. They are all clumped together in a 5 minute sequences right before the news come on. That way one can choose whether you want the news AND NOISY commercials. Or just skip the whole thing. =)

2. Pirate radio 104.7 is my second favorite local Colorado radio station. I love it because they play a lot of music from the Big Band era and music from old movies.

3. CDs from my collection.

My favorite CD at the moment is "girls and boys" by an artist named Ingrid Michaelson.

But I also love listening to movie soundtracks. Back when I was living in Berlin, Germany I worked at a gallery. My boss was a great fan and collector of film music. Often I would know the soundtrack of a movie before I had even seen a film. It really gives you an interesting perspective and feel for a movie. You should try it some time. Get the sound track first and listen to it! Try to picture the movie. Then go see the movie!

One thing I don't enjoy listening to is Christmas music. Sorry pals but the music played at stores really ruins it for me every year. I try to hide the "Frosty the Snowman" CD my kids own for as long as I possibly can. Once it comes out that is ALL they want to listen to.

So tell me: What are your favorites? What helps you relax while crafting marathon style?

I can't wait to read your comments!

Love, Ulla

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday Treasuries

Lovely treasuries for a Tuesday morning. Grab a cuppa and get ready for some clicking!

Orit starts us off by showcasing Wonderland items from the team.

I missed this one--it expired before I could blog it this morning--but not only did it have three sales over the weekend, it also made the front page at Etsy this morning!! Congratulations to curator, Birdie!

(HT to Winsomehollow for the screen cap!)

Until next Tuesday!


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Friday Interview with ViltalaKim

Today we get to meet Kim from viltalakim. She is a brand new member and I think you'll enjoy getting to meet our new thread sister from the Netherlands.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how and when did you get started with arts and crafts?
I am Kim, aged 33, happily married, I have 2 girls(5 and 7) and live in The Netherlands.
I have a job as a florist teacher and my pupils are 14- 17 years old. It's a nice job to do, but to relax, I love (and need) to make felt.
Ever since I was a little girl I was always crafty, making things, creating, origami, little knitting, little simple sewing, little crocheting, working with beads, etc. My other passion at that time was classical ballet, which I tried to do at professional level. But unfortunately my body didn't have the right shape for that.... So I started an education to become a florist teacher. After working in a flowershop and making flower arrangements for 10 years I looked for a job as a teacher. During a Summer vacation in Sweden my friend introduced me in to the world of wet felting. I was immediately hooked to it!!!! At home I tried a lot by myself but also followed special felting workshops.

What is the main thing you make and sell in your shop? What else do you make or sell?
The main thing I make and sell in my store are wet felted crowns, animals and shawls. I have plans to make some more children mittens and hats as well. At the moment I have made some Christmas trees and I love to experiment a lot.

Where do you get your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from my children, nature and my surroundings. I often dream about an item how to make it. When I start making it ,it will be just the way I thought it would be. I also work very intuitive. I use colors that fit to the season.
What are your favorite materials?
Woolroving fibers of course! I have Gotland wool and Merino wool which I love to use because it's so soft and felts perfect. To make felt I also need soap and my favorite is 100% pure olive soap. It is gentle to my hands and smells good.

What advice would you give other Etsy sellers and those interested in opening up a shop?
Just do it! I have doubted for about a year now, before I opened an etsy shop, but I should have done it sooner. It's great fun, sending my items all over the world! And filling a shop is not that difficult.
My tip to beginners in Wet-felting: make samplers with different kinds of wool, so you'll now how much shrinkage that wool has, otherwise your item will be to small or stay to big. When you place layers of wool fibers, make them evenly thick. The thinner laid out, the more shrinkage.

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

My shop is
I have not yet made my own website or blog, maybe in the future........
Shopname = Vilt Г la Kim. Vilt means felt in Dutch.

Thanks so much Kim! Next week meet my new co-writer for the Friday blog, huesofnature!
'til then, take care! Cynthia

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Winner of the Bake Off:

The beautiful vessel holding the names for the drawing was created by
It normally holds my pencils, paintbrushes, dollmaking tools...

The winner of the Stutenmann Bake Off is MEIKE from Congratulations!

If you are not the winner don't be sad! There will be more Bake Offs in the future!

Etsy ♥ NattyKids!

Go check out this terrific article about members of the NaturalKids Team!

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Entries for the Great Breadman Bake Off

Well, the good news is we had some. Who has time for baking when you have a family to take care of, run an etsy shop, blog, and attend team meetings?
I counted 5 entries in all. Please let me know if I forgot someone! I have been going slightly crazy with my doll orders lately...So let me know if I forgot you!

1)Mike from the Netherlands. She has a lovely etsy shop called starrysheep. I don't think she is a member of our group yet - but looks like she should be here! I love her blog! =)

2) Our famed leader FaerieRebecca! I am so glad she found the time to participate! I would have loved to try her family's version of breadman with fresh lemons. How cool is that!

3) sent some very cute pictures too! I really loved the different ghosts and shapes the kids came up with.

4) sent a cute entry too! If she wins will have to make a trip to the Post Office to ship the price to our lovely neighbor in Canada! Which is true for Mike too! I love the diversity here!

5)Cat from sent a link to a whole bunch of sweet pictures. The kids were working so hard! You can see that in the pictures! Also looks like they tried a new variation with green pistacchios.

I really really wish I could send a price to all the kids who helped bake! But I just cannot afford it. But I promise we will have more bake off competitions with other fun recipes. I have a lot of good ones! =)

Like last time the drawing will be in the afternoon. I think my son will do the honor this time. The winner will be announced later today! Drawing for what?

A custommade Wee Pocketdoll. The winner can choose from these colors:

See you later...


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday Treasuries

Welcome to Tuesday, and another edition of Tuesday Treasuries. I'm sure you'll find lots to treasure in these wonderful collections!

First, in keeping with the Mystery Gnome theme, TheSingingBird has decided to give everyone a very b r o a d hint as to where he has hidden himself. Can you find the Mystery Gnome?

AuntBoosBabies is offering a helping hand as well! Can you find the Mystery Gnome in NaturalKids Hide and Seek?

Orit has a simple invitation for all of us: play with me...

Until next Tuesday!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mini Monday: Gnomes!

In honor of the Hide and Seek game, I'm showing off some of my favorites featuring gnomes from the NaturalKids Team. Why gnomes? Well, because you're looking for the Mystery Gnome when you're playing Hide and Seek, of course! So, go find that Mystery Gnome--he'll be waving at you from behind a tree!

Your Mini Monday correspondent...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hide and Seek ~ Come Play!

Can you find the Mystery Gnome? Come join the NaturalKids Team in a game of hide and seek. The rules are dead simple...
  1. Go shopping in your favorite NaturalKids shops as usual.
  2. Look in every item for the picture of the Mystery Gnome.
  3. When you purchase the item featuring the Mystery Gnome, you'll receive a special gift or offer from the shop owner.
Want to make your seeking even easier? Then just take a gander at our participating shops. Click the banner to go directly to the shop and start seeking!

Our game starts on Monday, November 17 and ends November 30. Come and play!


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thursday Treasuries

Once again, some great treasuries from the Natural Kids!

Red and White, some pretty favorites from oritdotandolls...

Flyingzoo is showing off items From Natural Kids Store...

BeneathTheRowanTree shows off some beautiful red and green in Yule!..


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

BreadMan BakeOFF!!!

It was a tough weekend for me. The hubby went to the moutains with some buddies. I had to cart the kiddos to so many activities. Between getting the yard ready for winter, basketball games, Nutcracker practices, church, preparing every single meal, and trying to sew some dollies - I pretty much felt like going insane...

How do single parents do it? Seriously! I was exhausted after three days...

One of the activities that helped me entertain the children and keep my sanity was baking the breadmen! I had never ever tried to make these from scratch. In Germany they were handed out to me as a kid. The local bakery makes them and hands them out for free!

So we made breadmen according to the recipe I posted here last week (SEE my post from last Wednesday!). Here are some pictures of how they turned out. The children loved making them. Enjoy!

Now you must try it! So much fun! We substituted the raisins with chocolate M&Ms in places. The color ran and made for some gruesome color on the mouths of our breadpeople. The kids also complained how the raisins popped up and burned to a crisp in the oven.
How in the world do German bakers do it? I really should have become an apprentice to a baker after finishing highschool in Germany. It would have been so much more useful here in America.
I miss German baked goodies so much!

So please join in the big BREADMAN BAKEOFF this week! Send me pictures and a little report about how your attempt to make them went, and I will enter you in a drawing for one of my Wee Pocketdolls!
Please send by next Tuesday - so I can post them here and enter your name in the drawing!

Happy Baking!


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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Team meeting!

NK Team members, please vote in this poll :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Mini Monday: Little Alouette!

Meet LittleAlouette, one of the newer members of the NaturalKids Team!

Wood is so Good!

Little Alouette is a small family venture. We are four people: Master British Craftsman Dad, Writer Mom, and two wee ones who help us with many many things such as finishing toys, testing toys, and giving us the inspiration to create. We are always busy thinking of new and exciting toys for you. This is a labor of love and we are so honored to make each handcrafted item for you. We know there are a lot of small and large companies out there making lovely items, but we are so joyous that you have chosen Little Alouette.

We use certified organic seed oil to finish our product. We also use Ohio Maple when whenever we can-we believe in natural materials that are locally sourced and all our products are made here in Ohio.

Your Mini Monday correspondent...


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thursday Treasuries

We have a few new treasuries to share. Be sure to click on the links to find these great items on Etsy!

Natural Star gives us a little taste of Christmas in this Natural treasury...

What is the Natural Kid's Team?... The Singing Bird gives us some lovely examples...

There are also some great examples of Natural Kids Team members included in Felted Fun...

This treasury was made by Etsy administrator Daniellexo, after a needle felting tutorial with winsome hollow and little love blue in the virtual labs. You can find the same needle felting tutorial in written form, with pictures as well!

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