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Natural Kids

Natural Kids: June 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

i love dirt! (a little book review)

Hurray for summer!  My family and I live in a big city in Canada and there is nothing more exciting to us than watching our trees and flower beds come to life after a long snowy winter.  Our city is blessed with many green spaces, lots of great paths thru ravines, creeks and rivers.  

When I first saw this book I thought, "I don't need a book to tell me how to enjoy the outdoors with my kids."  That's the beauty of it right?  Simple, uncomplicated nature.  And while one may not need a book to tell you how to get outside and enjoy nature with the kids, this book does have a lot of great ideas and prompts to fall back on while your out there.

It lists over 32 activities to do with your kids and organizes by season.  There are lots of open ended questions and activities to do with the wee ones.  I liked the chapter on worms which I know my kids love, and provided me with useful information about worms that I forgot from grade 4 science class.  As much as I like to think I'm this ever creative mom, my sleep deprived brain does appreciate some fresh ideas.

I do find the activities to be more for younger kids but there are lots of good ideas there to build on for older kids.  Even for the younger kids, there is loads of room to expand on themes they show a particular interest in.  Over all I found it to be a sweet little book and was happy to have found it in the library.

My kids have been showing a keen interest in seeds so I'll pull out some little planting trays and we'll start some seed from inside.  We did this last year with mostly herbs, we found cat grass to be the most satisfying!  While the weather holds out we will spend as much time outside, exploring the amazing outdoors, examining rocks, tree roots, buds, imitating birds, running from imaginary 'pumas', finding the perfect spot for a snack...

How do you enjoy nature?  Are there any special activities you do with the kids outside?

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Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday Feature- The Fairy Ring

Tell us little about yourself!
I am a Toymaker, a Writer, a Dreamer, and an Artist. I am also a devoted, deeply in love wife to a wonderful man and a homeschooling mother of 4. I am a very busy mom who toils away the day in service to my family. I love my life and my family. They are my pride and joy, but sometimes it is hard to find the joy while you clean a toilet after 3 boys. Then at the end of the day I get a few moments to create and bring my little people to life. They make me laugh, down right giggle! We also strive as a family to take care of the Earth and be as GREEN as possible. You could find out more about me here on my blog:

What do you make and how long have you been creating?
I paint wooden dolls and create wonderful playsets and playboxes for them to have a life in. I opened my first shop on Etsy in September of 2008, but it took awhile to list and figure out what I was doing. I struggled with product photos, and it took some time before I got it right.

What inspires you?
My childhood and the imaginary things I dreamed up while living on Sunshine Mountain in PA are my inspiration. Also, my own children and the things they want to play with inspire me. It is so rewarding to be able to create with them. I love to watch them and see how they use the wooden pieces. One of the greatest rewards for them is to be able to go into my studio and get a bunch of unfinished pieces and play things like, Mars Mission and Super heroes with them. My daughter is always running in and stealing the items I am trying to photograph. You see her in the one photo as she sees her chance and grabs a few to play with.

What got you started working with wood?
I really wanted to create this plastic free environment for my daughter. Other people were painting them, but more as a collectors piece with non expressive faces. I bought a few unfinished dolls for my kids cause I really wanted to make something for them for Christmas. After other people started seeing them and telling me I should sell them, I started thinking they were right. I also started using other wooden pieces to make playsets for them. No one was doing that at the time. I then found these boxes that I could change and paint and make into this little peek into the dolls world where the kids could join in the play.

How long have you been on Etsy and how has it been for you so far?
I was a shopper on Etsy way before I was a seller. We had a lot of Etsy items under the tree this past Christmas. Our kids were left a note from Santa telling them how the very best kids get toys made by the elves. Etsy Elves to be exact! This year all our birthday gifts have been all handmade gifts from Etsy sellers! My son Max is next and he will be getting quite a few wonderful creations from fellow members! I didn't start selling on Etsy until December of last year.
What advice would you have for other Etsians?
First, you have to know what your goals are. Is it a hobby or will it be a source of income? If it will be a hobby, then enjoy and use the money you make to pamper yourself and have some good mommy time. If it is going to be an income and a business, then you need to research, promote and stay positive. Get help when you need it. There is a wonderful free national program called SCORE. They are like a Big Brother/Sister for Small Business. They will meet with you and guide you through the process to make your company be what you want it to be. You will get a mentor who will be your personal guide. I have 3, I call them my Business Grandpas, and they are great! They are retired successful business people who volunteer their time to help others just like you.

What do you hope to learn/gain/contribute from being part of the Natural Kids group?
I am so excited to be in this group. I also belong to other groups, but being with other toymakers makes me feel like I have found kindred spirits! I hope to learn from those that have traveled these roads before me. Knowledge is power! I hope to gain lifelong friends. I hope to support others and to be supported. I hope to be able to contribute to and promote our group in a positive manner.

My items can be found here:

I am also working with a few gift shops on some consignment and wholesale jobs. Additionally, I am working on getting my own website. These thing as well as my storybooks for my playsets are in the beginning process. I will have more details in the months ahead.

Interview by Ecoleeko
Thank you Fairy Ring!!!

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Welcome Wednesday!

Good morning to you all.  June has arrived and I must tell you, the natural grasses in my garden are all ready waist high, I do love watching things burst and reach out!  Kind of like our team is doing with the addition of 13 new members!!  SO welcome new folks, I can't wait to have some time and check out all your shops.

We will be adding your names over the next few days to the various lists and such.  So welcome and please ask if you have any questions, and by all means don't be shy and introduce yourselves in the google group!