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Natural Kids

Natural Kids: September 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tutorial Thursday

How to make your own organic lotion at home - eco and money conscious! AND ALL NATURAL!

As a mom to a young toddler with eczema, I learned firsthand how making my own skin cream could be healing (I could customize the ingredients) and save me a bundle of money. Making one's own skin cream is a wonderful, easy thing to do for anyone - it's luxurious, and you can re-use (sterilize first) all the glass jars you may have, including jam jars.

You can experiment with different oils and even use cocoa butter or coconut oil - the recipe is not super exact, so you will either end up with a thicker or thinner cream depending on the combo of ingredients you use. The only challenging bit is at the end: once you add the water and the oil mixture together in a big bowl you need to stir constantly without a break for 15 or even 20 minutes until it thickens. I've learned from experience you can't shorten this process: if you do, your oil and water won't mix together properly and you'll get a really lumpy cream.

What you need to start:

EQUIPMENT - not much, just stuff in a regular kitchen
2 cooking pots that fit into each other (to make a bain marie), 2 big mixing bowls (again, that fit into each other so you can make a bain marie to cool the lotion down faster), a spatula, plenty of glass jars and lids

INGREDIENTS - mostly things you can find at a health food store
your favorite essential oils (organic is best as these can carry chemicals as they are so concentrated), note: benzoin essential oil is great as it acts as a natural sort of preservative, carrier oils (high grade, cold pressed, unrefined and even organic oils are best - olive oil, hemp seed, almond oil, grapeseed oil, macadmia nut oil and in small percentages, you can use rose hip oil, hazelnut oil, wheatgerm oil), emulsifiers to thicken your blend (I use beeswax), and a little time... maybe 30 minutes tops.

RECIPE - feel free to adapt this and see what works best for you

2 cups oils (of choice)
1/3 cup of melted beeswax - if you buy it in chunks lik me, just cut it up first
1/3 cup of cocoa butter or coconut oil
1 cup distilled, or filtered water
about 30 drops of essential oils of your choice (or less if you want just a whiff of scent)

Warm the oil, beeswax and cocoa butter/coconut oil in a double boiler until melted. In another pot heat the water until it's roughly as hot as the oil (neither should "boil"). Meanwhile put a big bowl into an even larger bowl filled with cold water. This will chill the bowl a bit and cut down on the amount of time you need to spend stirring in the next step. Now pour the oil/beeswax mixture into the big empty bowl and then pour the warm water very slowly into it, stirring constantly. Whip it constantly until it cools so that the water and oil don't separate. When it's cool and has become more opaque, stir in essential oils, and let it cool completely. Than spoon it into your clean, dry, sterile jars. I store mine in the fridge, just to help them stay fresh longer.

Big thanks to Jen for sharing this awesome tutorial for Natural Kids Team's Tutorial Thursday! You can go check out Jen's shop at

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A Natural Family Wednesday

By Way of Introduction

Is this really me?

Can this really be me?

I think this almost every night as I put my babies to bed.

How did it happen that suddenly I have a little family?

A husband. An almost 4 year old. A sweet sweet 1 year old. Can I be dreaming?

Before I had them I wasn’t even aware I wanted a family of my own (well, I knew I would be a mother, wasn't sure I would be a wife) And now I am achingly, almost painfully aware of how much they mean to me. Funny how that works....

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Volunteering for this Natural Family Wednesday has brought this into an even sharper relief than before. I lay at night contemplating the meaning of natural, the meaning of family and even what it means to be ‘living’.

I suppose that's what these posts are for. A place to 'figure it out'. I'm not sure I can talk about how we are a 'natural family' yet. There are lots of parts of this that are obvious. The organic, homegrown food, the limited plastic, the lack of a working television etc. But I think I'm searching for something more...

I'd like to post about teaching our kids how to be gracious, loving, and funny. How to be graceful and

walk with confidence. How to be 'natural.' Comfortable in their own skin and aware of their own convictions but not so aware as to forget the importance of other people's.

Maybe in the course of these 'Natural Family Wednesdays' we can figure it out.

I am brand new to the natural kids group, still getting to know it's members and unravel it's intricacies. Hopefully before too long I will consider these people a part of my 'family', too.

Thanks so much for reading,

Mama K's Aromatic Play Clay

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Mini Monday - BirchLeaf Designs

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

Meet Birchleaf Designs:

BirchLeaf Designs is a small, family-run business in northern Marquette County - lovely Moon Mountain, near the Yellow Dog River in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We live off the grid...making natural playthings and some housewares for children and adults alike. We live, work, home school, create, love and play nestled amongst the Hemlocks.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

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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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Treasury Tuesday

Children of the Forest by Nushkie is filled with the warm colors and textures we all love!

Child of the Wild Wood brought to us by codilollyskye is filled with natural treasures that remind us to leave no child inside!

Oh, those Naughty Hobgloblins by NaughtyHobgoblin! You have to love them all!!

Small Wonder by Nushkie reminds us of the magic of childhood!

Wishing you a wonderful week! Many thanks to those who captured, clicked, and commented on a treasury this week!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mini Monday - Primroses

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

Meet Beth of Primroses:

I started creating Waldorf dolls as break from an intense drawing project I had been working on for three years. The day I worked on my first Waldorf doll, I sat in a patch of sunshine handling pure, fluffy sheep's wool. It was cold outside, but I was warm and happy and the wool felt springy and alive in my fingers. I thought it couldn't get much better until the day I finished my first doll and gazed at her and saw how obvious it was that she was made with love. I wanted to fill many children's arms with these dolls. Wool, love, and children - that is why I make Waldorf dolls.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tutorial Thursday: Making Felt

How to Make Wool Felt
by Kerstin of

Elephant by Oritdotandolls

So many of my favorite toys are made of wool felt. It's not always easy to find nice felt in your local store, but it is not hard to make yourself. It's a fun and soapy ( and sometimes soggy!) activity that your kids might want in on too. You need only a few simple things to get started: wool roving-a fine wool like merino is best (NOT superwash), a sheet of bubble wrap, a piece of tulle or netting, soap and water. Two rubber bands and a towel to soak up extra water are a good idea to have on hand as well.

1. Lay the bubble wrap bubbles side down. Pull thin wisps of wool off the roving and begin laying it on the bubble wrap with the fibers running horizontally. Begin at one side of the bubble wrap, but keep roving 2 inches from the top and bottom and 4 inches from the side opposite the starting point.

2. Make another layer of wool with fibers running perpendicular to the first layer. These fibers should be running vertically. Continue layering wool, alternating the direction of each layer of fibers, until you have 5 to 8 even, thin layers.

3. Place netting on top of wool. Add a few drops of dish soap to a bottle of warm water. Sprinkle some soapy water over the netting, pressing down and making sure all the wool is wet.

4. Get hands wet with soapy water and rub one hand vigorously across the top of the netting for 15-20 seconds, while holding the netting in place with the other hand. Put a little extra soap on your hands to help it slip.

5. Starting at the edge the wool is even with, tightly roll up the bubble wrap, keeping the netting on top of the a plastic and wool burrito. Keep it rolled up by putting two rubber bands around it. Begin quickly rolling the bubble wrap bundle back and forth on a counter or table, exerting a little pressure.

6.After you have rolled for a minute, unroll the plastic and check your felt. Remove the netting and carefully flip the felt over and rotate it 90 degrees so you will next be rolling it in a different direction. Stretch out any wrinkles, add more soapy water if it is dry. Tightly roll up the bubble wrap again, leaving the netting out this time. Secure with elastic and roll for another minute or two.

7. Unroll the bubble wrap and check the fiber by pinching across the top of the fabric. The fibers should be sticking to each other and you should be able to pull up the whole fabric without separating the layers. If this is not the case you must re-roll the wool until it is so. If the fabric passes the pinch test you are ready to get rough with the felt!

8. Rinse the felt with hot water, sprinkle with more soapy water and rub the fabric back and forth across the rough side of the bubble wrap. Really rub vigorously, changing direction and flipping felt over frequently. You will feel the wool getting thicker the more you agitate it.

9. When the fabric is at the thickness you desire (1/16 -1/8 inch), rinse in cold water and throw the felt against a hard surface a few times. This is fulling and should make dimples appear in the surface of the wool. Rinse wool again, roll in a towel to get out excess water and set it out to dry. What kinds of decorations or toys will you make?

Felt Donuts by HarvestMoonbyHand
Leaf Pins by Chimera


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Treasury Tuesday

She is 8 Years showed us what viltalakim's daughter would love for her birthday! It makes me wish I were 8 again!

Wishing you a wonderful week! Thanks to all who have created, clicked and commented!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mini Monday - Mamakopp

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

Meet Lorilee of Mamakopp:

I am a mother who stays home with her kids to ensure they have a unique educational experience. This is the love of my life, being home with my children. Next is my love to create. I love being part of heirloom toymaking. I am very proud to be part of it and so proud to make things for famlies all over the world. I strive to tempt imagination in children as well as adults. It is important to me that each piece be made as perfect as can be. I use quality, natural materials. And hold close to my wooden art waldorf traditions. And if I can sneak in a little educational element I will.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Friday Feature with Penguin & Fish

Tell us a bit about yourself-- name, location, affiliations, personal stuff.
My name is Alyssa Thomas. I'm 29 years old and I live i
n Minneapolis, Minnesota. I share a 13th floor apartment with my wonderful husband, Jon. Besides Penguin & Fish, we own a company together called Studio Collective ( where we do illustration, graphic and web design, film titles, and motion graphics. We also just finished our first children's book, No Monster Here ( It went to the printer last week and I can't wait to see how it turns out. Yippee!

Please describe your creative process--how, when, materials, etc.
My creative process always starts with writing down ideas in my sketchbook right when they come. I only use one sketchbook at a time and I write everything in it – ideas, sketches, to do lists. I also put the date at the top of the page when I use it. Having everything in one book makes it really easy for me to find stuff, even if it was an idea I had a year ago. After writing down my idea, I'll sketch it out. With my embroidery patterns, I'll sketch out designs to a point but then I'll bring them into Adobe Illustrator to refine them. For a plush character, after sketching I will try to make a little mock-up in paper. Once I like that mock-up I will make one in fabric, make notes where I want to refine it, then I'll usually end up with a final piece after that.

What are your sources of inspiration?
I can get inspiration from anything, but animals (especially cats and my parent's cat, Sammy) are a big one for me. I love that you never know quite what they're thinking.

What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I really love this teddy bear that my husband made for me. It was his first time using a sewing machine and the bear turned out super wonky and the stitches are all crazy. But it was so sweet of him to make it. In the image of my studio space, it is the white bear with the pink "A" on the top of the shelf.

Name your top five books, movies, songs/musical groups, etc.
Hmm, this is a tough one for me. I don't know if I'll have a top 5 for each but here are a few. Books: 1984, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Watchmen; Movies: Oh Brother Where Art Thou, The Big Lebowski, High Fidelity, Dirty Dancing, The Never Ending Story; Music: The Flaming Lips, Andrew Bird. Honestly I don't listen to too much music. When I work I like listening to NPR or Craft Sanity Podcasts.

What advice would you give to someone just getting started with their crafty business--on Etsy or otherwise?
Really I think one of the biggest things I could say is save up as much money as you can. Knowing that you have a little saved up makes it WAY less scary to try and do what you really want to.

Where can your items be found?
My Etsy shop ( is the main place where my items can be found. I also have items at Fawn & Forest, Mahar Drygoods, Craftsbury Kids, Egg Mercantile, Happy Baby, Design Collective and The Pajama Squid.

Interview by MoonpathDesigns

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Treasury Tuesday

From raindrops on roses to whiskers on kittens, A Few of My Favorite Things from huesofnature showcases the delightful talents of NaturalKids and fellow etsy artists.

The warm colors and textures of Autumn to winter by oritdotandolls are sure to warm the hearts these coming months.

Thank you to all who have created, clicked and commented! Wishing you a magical week!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Mini Monday - Dragonfly's Hollow

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

Meet Nancy of Dragonfly's Hollow:

Sept 1st marks our one year anniversary on was exactly one year ago to the day when I opened this little shop. It has been an amazing year and to celebrate we are having a giveaway on our blog. What are we giving away you might ask? It is a gorgeous 16 inch doll named Fae.

To take a peek at her and to find out the details on how to win her, visit the blog at :


The Velveteen Rabbit was my favorite story as a child. It is the philosophy that is at the heart of all our dolls. Each is made with the fullest intention that they will be played with and loved.

I believe that the most gorgeous Waldorf doll ever is the one that is stained and worn because that doll is a lifelong best friend and companion :o)

While I am making these lovely dolls, I am a homeschooling mom of 6 absolutely wonderful children ranging in ages from 14 to 5. I love traveling and just being outdoors.

My children are my muses. They are an abundant source of enjoyment and creativity for me. Everything I make I make with the mind that I am making it for my own children.

I believe that children's toys should be durable, made from the best, natural materials and priced reasonably. I will always strive to maintain an affordable price for my items.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Treasury Tuesday

Chillin' with the gnomes by chimera from the NaturalKids team!
Orit of oritdotandolls has captured the epitome of Cheerful, a collection sure to make you smile!

Fairyfolk reminds us that Halloween is on its way!

At the end of the rainbow is one of my favorite treasuries ever! Hooray to merrydaledolls!

While visions of sugar plums dance by freedomRainbow was oh so very lovely!!!

Thanks to all who captured, clicked and commented! Wishing you a magical week!