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Natural Kids

Natural Kids: May 2010

Monday, May 31, 2010

Mini Monday - The Sitting Tree

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

Meet Elizabeth of The Sitting Tree

I am an obsessed knitter. I knit anywhere & everywhere, except while riding my bike~have not figured that one out yet. My favorite place to knit, though, is nestled into the trunk of a shady tree overlooking the St. Croix River.

I'm inspired by everything nature, and try my darnedest to make sure my products reflect the love and respect I have for mother earth.

I am married to my best friend and am the proud mama of three home schooled boys Jake, Cole, and Luke.

You can follow The Sitting Tree here:

article by prettydreamer


Friday, May 28, 2010

A Visit to Beth Curtin's Studio

Welcome to my studio! It is a wonderful, sunny room in an old mill building in New England. The walls are full of my portrait work. These pictures are part of a series called "The Thayer Street Project," portraits of young people posing in front of their favorite shop or restaurant on a busy street in Providence, Rhode Island.

Here is the little corner where I draw. I am working on a contemporary annunciation scene, using a favorite painting by the Flemish primitive Campin for inspiration and help.

I also have colorful abstract pastels laying about, and inspiring collage materials.

I love color, and my studio is messy with it.

A lot of the color comes from my sewing and doll making supplies. This is a quilt my daughter and I are making together.

If you are a waldorf doll maker, you know why I have band-aids in the studio.

I think it is good for me to mix the art and craft sides of me in one place. I used to keep them separate.

It is good to have a place to try things and to make mistakes. These are failed doll experiments,

and doll clothing designs which didn't work.

To be comfortable in my studio, I need toys for when my child is with me.

I need natural things.

I need children's art.

I need a little kitchen area for making warm drinks and lunch.

I need inspiring books and magazines. Here are some of my vintage Threads magazines, which used to belong to my friend Magda.

I need to feel it is clean and cozy so that I can take off my shoes and feel at home.

I need a place to sit comfortably and do hand sewing, and room for visitors, because I love to make art with friends.

I need to feel it is okay to be messy.

I am so lucky to have all these things. I think all of us need a special place to make things. Perhaps it is not a whole room, luxuriously large like this one, my first studio away from home. But we creators need a spot, especially a spot where the mess can be left out. My husband has always helped me make a special place, whether it was in an office shared with him, or a corner of the guest room. Thank you, Sweetie.

Something else which you need in your studio is your energy. I want to share a little story with you told to me by an artist friend. She had a studio away from home, and small children. She would hire a sitter to come watch the children, and before the sitter arrived, she would bustle around her house doing all the chores, the cooking, cleaning, and laundry. By the time she got to the studio, she was so tired she would fall asleep on the cement floor. We must save a part of ourselves for creating. You can do the chores when you are tired and half-awake, but it is hard to either be a mother or create art without a rested mind and spirit, and some physical energy. And it is worth making the space for creating in our lives and in our homes, because we can pour the energy which art gives to us right back into our families.

This is the first in a series about studios for Natural Kids blog, organized by Tonya of naturalearthfarm. I'm looking forward to seeing other people's creative work spaces as this series continues.

If you want to see more of my art, go to My waldorf doll etsy shop is My family, craft, nature, and art blog is See you there! love, Beth

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Make vanilla coconut oatmeal cookies

Today's recipe was created by Steph from Elemental Handcrafts, full of beautiful earth-friendly handcrafted pieces. She made these cookies up for her kids to give them a healthy (but so cleverly disguised) snack. Thanks, Steph, for sharing this great new recipe.

RECIPE: Make Healthy Vanilla Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients :

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup unhullled sesame seeds
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1/2 shredded raw coconut
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup maple syrup (or other natural sweetener)
1/2 cup barley malt
2 tablespoons vanilla


Preheat oven to 325 degrees and cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper or spray your pan with oil.
Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.
Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl and mix well.
Add your wet to your dry and mix until well incorporated.
Drop by spoonful onto prepared baking sheets and bake for about 15 minutes, until lightly brown.

*hint* Measure oil first, then maple syrup and barley malt. The oil left in the measuring cup will keep the malt from sticking.

Makes: 24 cookies, Preparation time: 10 minutes, Cooking time: 15 minutes

Here is one of Steph's new beautiful needle-felted dolls!

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Easy Toddler Sculptures

This simple sculpture collage will keep even the littlest hands busy, but would be fun for older kids too. A basic salt dough is a blank canvas for anything your little artist can imagine.

The clay is easy to mix up, and you have everything in your kitchen already:
4 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 3/4 cups warm water

Mix the flour, salt and water in a bowl. Knead for 5-10 minutes before modeling.
(Store extra in an airtight container.)

If using oven-safe items (aquarium rocks, pebbles, shells), your sculpture can be baked at 325 degrees for 1 hour. If using other items (drinking straws, feathers, leaves, Popsicle sticks, sticks or twigs), let the sculpture air dry for several days.

My son was barely 2 years old when we first tried this. We dug into our collection of rocks and shells to add to the sculpture, but the possibilities are endless.

You can add a hook to the finished product for hanging. For a shiny finish, you might brush the sculpture with an egg wash before baking.

At 2 years old, this craft was all about feeling and exploring. But I would imagine that an older child could create all kinds of things with this: a sculpture of your family, a dream house, a magical landscape...

Use found items in nature or recycle things from around the house. What about cookie cutters? Hand (or foot) print keepsakes... A free-form sculpture for dad for Father's Day... I'm sure your little ones can dream up something fantastic!

- Amanda of Just Hatched

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Handmade Natural Toys from our Team

If you search "naturalkids team" at Etsy, this is just a small sampling of what you might find:

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Mini Monday - Princess Nimble-Thimble

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

Meet Dannielle of Princess Nimble-Thimble :

I live in St. Louis, MO, with my husband and two children. We're a homeschooling family so my focus tends to be on my children. Creating dolls and toys is, for me, a very natural extension of this focus.

Each Bendy Doll has its own unique personality and is made with careful attention
to detail and a bias toward natural materials. While they may look delicate, bendy dolls are very sturdy. I double wrap their hands, feet, and legs for added strength and durability. I think you will agree that they are very well made.

You can follow Princess Nimble-Thimble here:

article by prettydreamer


Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday Feature with Pinkhouse Handworks

Tell us little about yourself!
I am a wife, mother, gardener, crafter and Montessorian. I live with my husband and 2 year-old daughter in a small town in Central Texas. We enjoy playing, walking, making music and trying to take life slowly. I was a Montessori child and then a Montessori guide for ten years. I am currently home full time with my daughter. Montessori philosophy and life is our passion. It influences how we spend our days and what we choose to have in our lives.

What do you make and how long have you been creating?
I learned to crochet and knit as a child. Since then I have pursued a number of other avenues for creativity. I love to needle felt, sew, spin yarn, draw, sculpt clay and paint. Currently I make and sell what I call Montessori Baby Toys, which at this time, consist of crocheted rattles, hanging toys, sewn pouches and wooden toys for infants and toddlers.

What inspires you?
I get inspired to create when I learn of a new technique or pattern. I also love to see what others have created and get inspired to try something similar. My daughter has been a great inspiration to me. I love making toys for her and am excited to one day teach her how to knit, crochet, needle felt and spin.

What got you started working with Montessori Baby Toys?
While I was pregnant, dear friends who had taken the Montessori training for ages 0 to 3 years lent me their training albums. The albums suggested beautifully simple toys to offer to infants. I set out to make these for my daughter. In finding the parts and creating the toys for her I found that they made a nice little collection and thought it might be nice to offer them to other families interested such toys. I gradually brought together the little collection of five toys and began to sell them. Since then I have added other items and continue to have more ideas for items to offer in the future. In 2009 I had the Montessori Baby Toys bag and Circular Rattles tested and they are safe according to the new CPSIA guidelines.

How long have you been on Etsy and how has it been for you so far?
I joined Etsy a little over two years ago after a friend sent me the link to her shop. It was before I had even started making my toys. I just thought it was a wonderful place to purchase handmade items directly from sellers. Becoming a seller on Etsy has been so wonderful. I tell people about Etsy all the time because I know that everyone will love it. I love being directly connected to my customers. Making baby toys is a really special work and being connected to the parents and family of babies all over the world is an amazing feeling. Through Etsy I have had the pleasure of selling to families in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. What a treat to ship a package to a far away place and to get to add that place into my awareness.

Early this year I got to join the Natural Kids Team on Etsy and have found it to be so educational. The team has so many amazing sellers with the same feelings about offering beautifully handmade items for children. I learn so much from that group and have felt more connected to Etsy in general by belonging to the team.

What advice would you have for other Etsians?
I think Etsy sellers continue to learn from each other continuously. Buying from other sellers and seeing how they package their product and what they include in the shipment is a really good way to learn. I find it especially helpful to read the Etsy Success emails. I love that Etsy connects the sellers to such great information about all aspects of selling such as photography, taxes, promotions, tagging etc. I've found so many great blogs and web sites from reading Etsy articles.

What do you hope to learn/gain/contribute from being part of the Natural Kids group?
When I requested membership to the Natural Kids Team I was looking for like-minded folks who share ideas and help to support each other’s shops. The camaraderie and sharing of ideas and information has been so much more than I had expected. As a new member I am still learning the ropes and hope to get to be more of a contributor in the future.

What thoughts do you have for parents on the importance of natural toys for creative play?
In our family we select items for our home that are made from natural materials such as fabric, paper, natural fibers, wood, metal, glass and stone. To us it is important that we can recognize what material an item is made from and possibly even who made it! We spend as much time as possible at home and outdoors playing, reading, cooking and exploring. We have set up our whole home to be accessible and safe for our daughter. We adhere to the principle of rotation when organizing our home. We have out only small amounts of toys at a time and each toy has it's own special place. We rotate toys in and out of the cabinets and closets based on our daughter’s interest, abilities and the seasons. In living our life in this way we have found that our daughter is deeply connected to nature, is creative with language and with her toys, takes care of her belongings, has good control of her body, has a deep sense of confidence and is independent and joyful.

Your items can be found where:
Etsy shop:
Web site:
Facebook page:

Interview by Beccijo of The Enchanted Cupboard

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Make whole wheat flat bread

Today's {delicious} recipe is from Beccijo, whose The Enchanted Cupboard">shop is filled with handpainted wood toys and dolls.

Whole Wheat Flat Bread by Beccijo

This past summer my family made a plan to go without air conditioning for as long as we could. We made it until the very hot month parts of August and September but still used it sparingly when we did turn it on. The one downside to this plan was baking bread in the hot days of summer.

About 2 years ago, I started grinding my own wheat for our bread and baked goods. The benefits of fresh ground wheat are overwhelming and outweigh an extra work it makes for me. So now I was faced with over heating our house or giving up my baking. I was not prepared to do either and I researched other options.

When I first started my homestead, green living lifestyle I was in love with the idea that I could make anything. Our own ketchup, hamburger buns, salad dressing, and laundry soap to name a few of the things we make for ourselves. It was so rewarding to know that when we ran out of something it did not mean a trip to the grocery store. Instead, we could mix a few ingredients we already had in the pantry.

I started researching other ways to make bread-type items without the use of an oven. I checked out bread makers and bought an inexpensive bread maker that is working out nicely and is great for mixing up dough that I may use for rolls or pizzas! I also found some great recipes that are for making flat breads on the stove top. The kids and I experimented and made a recipe that works for us. It has a good bit of oil in it but it makes a nice dough that is easy for kids to roll out.


2 cups of whole wheat flour [note from Jen: organic whole wheat or whole spelt can be used here as well]
1.5 cups all purpose flour
0.5 tsp of baking powder
7 tsp of oil
1 cup very hot water

- 3 minutes of kneading
- 15 minutes to rest under wet warm towel
- then form into golf ball sized balls
- next roll out and cook on a cast iron grill or non stick pan, cooking on medium heat
- cook one side until browned and then flip


Here is a sweet painted toy, a woodland accessory set, from Beccijo's shop!

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

How to Make Colored Sand.

Hi, I'm Donni from the Etsy shop Fairyfolk and the blog The Magic Onions.

My son, Mr T, insisted on bringing home a bucket of sand from the beach. Unlike me, he loves sand so much and can play with it for hours. He really doesn't mind if it gets in his hair, his clothes, his bed!
So, to enthuse with this love, we decided to make colored sand.
This is what we needed;

a bucket of sand
a sieve
6 large Ziploc bags
6 colors of foodcoloring
paper towels
all the ingredients we needed for making colored sand
We made little bowls from the Ziplock bags like this...
ziploc bowls for making colored sand
We set our sieve in the Ziploc bowl and filled it with sand.
making colored sand
As the sand was from the beach, it was full of small shells that we wanted to separate from the sand. T loves to sift stuff. He took this job very seriously and meticulously sifted all the shells from the clean sand.
sifting sea sand
We arranged the sand-filled bags on the grass as the next step is to add the food coloring. We wanted to make sure that a mistake did not mean a permanently colored patio!

Granny helped Mr T wet the sand with water from a jug.
how to make colorful sandWe added enough water to make the sand soggy. Too much water will make it hard for the sand to absorb the food coloring.

K joined us for the fun task of adding color to our soggy sand. We added food coloring liberally.
adding food coloring to color sand
Then we zipped up the bags and massaged the color into the sand. K loved the tactile nature of massaging the sand through the bag. It was cool and squishy and made a wonderful scrunching noise if you listened carefully.
using food coloring to color sand
We added different colors to our bags of sand and then laid them flat for 30 minutes to let the sand absorb the color.
colorful sand
Then we turned each bag out onto a couple of sheets of strong paper towels to dry in the sand.
drying colored sand
It dried in a day and was ready for all sorts of fun activities.
our beautiful colored sand
Look at these posts to see what we used our colored sand for.

Blessings and magic.
Donni of Fairyfolk

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