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Natural Kids

Natural Kids: June 2010

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dying Yarn With Kool Aid

Dying yarn with kool aid and can be a bit surprising if you've never attempted it before. Kool Aid has all different colors to choose from and the process is very simple.

We purchased a skein of bare yarn from Knit Picks. Bare yarn refers to yarn that is undyed. Bare yarn can be purchased there for a small sum of money. That is great because if the yarn doesn't come out the colors hoped for...its easier to deal with mentally because there is not much money out on yarn.
Soak the bare yarn in warm water taking care not to tangle the yarn up.

While the yarn is soaking the Kool Aid colors can be mixed up. We used 3 quart jars and mixed 4 pack of Kool Aid in each jar with a big spoon of vinegar.

Heat a big pot of water on the stove. I brought the water to a boil then backed it off to a simmer. I used one of my pressure canners but any pot that can be filled to around the shoulder of the quart jar can be used.

We tied the yarn off twice to create 3 sections of yarn.
Set the quart jars of Kool Aid into the pot and carefully (so nobody gets a splash of HOT water) put one section of yarn into each jar.

Let the yarn sit in the jars until the color has all been absorbed by the yarn. The color will actually leave the water and the water will be fairly clear or sometimes have a milky look to it.

Take the yarn out of the water and place it in a sink of cold water to set the dye. We let the yarn sit for around 15 minutes.

Gently squeeze excess water out of yarn and hang to dry.

Roll it into a ball. Knit it up. :)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hot off the presses: naturalkids moms in the news

Welcome to our first ever "hot off the presses" Tuesday post! On Tuesdays, we'll be taking a look at natural kids shops in the press, and at the artisanal process of one artist's work. We also welcome contributions about business tips and success stories for helping handmade artists succeed.

You can read all about it here and find out how to contribute to our blog!

Thank you to Erin, from ImaginationKids, for today's inaugural post!

Natural Kids Moms in the Press, by Erin of ImaginationKids

We all know that the Natural Kids Team is a really amazing and talented group of moms. This week just confirmed what we already knew when they released their list of the top 50 moms of Etsy! Several moms from the Natural Kids team were awarded with this honor including AsherJasper, LaLa’s Pequeños, Little Alouette, Mamma4Earth, and SewnNatural.

Take a peek at their outstanding work and you will know why they were picked by as Etsy’s top 50 Moms.

{above, photo from AsherJasper}

Vicky of Asher Jasper from Fullerton, California and her whimsical felted wool toys.

Alessandra of LaLa's Pequeños and her snuggly soft Noonies.

Amy of Little Alouette from Columbus, Ohio and her eco-friendly heirloom wooden teethers and toys.

Linda Dawkins of Mamma4earth from in South Africa with her beautifully hand knitted, Waldorf inspired animals.

Jen and Jane, a mother daughter duo from Ontario, Canada and their organic clothing, quilts, and other goodies from SewnNatural.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Mini Monday - Banana Bottoms

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

Meet  Kristen of Banana Bottoms:

I have been sewing since I was a kid and love to create. I have been making/designing cloth diapers since the birth of my oldest, 12 years ago.

Banana Bottoms organic cloth diapers and cloth diaper covers are handmade using organic fabrics, these gorgeously crafted cloth diapers are drafted and designed by me and are handmade with love in my Halifax, Nova Scotia home.

You can follow Banana Bottoms  here:

article by prettydreamer


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saturday Giveaway - Wool Crown from Kats in the Belfry

The winner is Jaspenelle! Kats in the Belfry will be contacting you to confirm mailing information.
Thank you for entries and look for another giveaway this Saturday!

Come visit us each Saturday morning for a giveaway of handmade goodness!

This week Kat, from Kats in the Belfry, is offering this beautiful handmade crown.

Made of wool felt, it will last through many birthdays and is sturdy enough to withstand daily wear by little dress-up artists.

The adorable buttons are upcycled from a child's shirt.

The crown adjusts to different head sizes with an extra-long grosgrain ribbon tie for maximum comfort.

Kat enjoys making toys that inspire creative play. All creations she makes are made from natural materials; fabric, wood, felt, paper. She strives to make things that spark the imagination, feel good in children's hands, and are just plain pretty. Kat also makes every effort to use reclaimed or recycled materials when possible.

To enter this giveaway for the beautiful wool crown, please visit Kats in the Belfry, and then come back here and leave a comment about what your favorite item is from her shop. The drawing will be Monday morning at 7:00 am EST.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Artist Studio Series with Knecht Ruprecht

Another featured studio from a talented member of the Natural Kids Team ~

Knecht Ruprechts manufactory is dedicated to handcrafted treasures for babies and children made from natural, organic, ecologically friendly and pure materials.

~just a sampling of her beautiful work~

"I absolutely love my work as a dollmaker. Since my own Waldorf schooling, I have created handmade toys from natural materials. Since I had my daughter, I started to make her things just like my mother did for me when I was a child.
I believe very strongly in the importance of dolls and dollplay in a child's life, and it is a great pleasure and honor for me to create these important little friends for children who accompany them through the most significant childhood years."

Where she creates ~

You can visit her shop here and stop by her blog here.


WIN a pile of natural kids toys

Pop over to Inhabitots (the fabulous modern eco kids blog) to enter the NaturalKids giveaway!

You can win a pile of natural kids toys worth over 100$, including:
a knitted bunny from The Fairies’ Nest, a wooden car stacker from Just Hatched, an upcycled vintage cotton duck rattle toy from SewnNatural, two knitted acorns in a pouch from Woolies and a set of five tubs of Mama K’s Aromatic Play Clay.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Starch Paste Tutorial

It's Sqrl & Bee Studio's turn to do a kid friendly activity tutorial for those Natural Kids out there! Since I don't have kids yet (very soon, as you all may know) I decided to share our homemade Starch Paste recipe. It's a great recipe to have on hand for any kind of paper craft - especially paper mache.

Starch Paste! A glue for paper crafts that is Non-toxic, Biodegradable and can even be Organic.

1/2 cup flour
4 cups water
1/2 tsp thyme oil (this works as a really great natural preservative)
1 tbsp salt

First you add the four to cold water

Heat the water and flour -- stirring all the time!!!

Cook until the mixture starts to get translucent (you do not need to get to a boil) -- it will only get ever so slightly thicker at this point. As you can see below on the spoon.

Now, remove from heat, let the mixture cool. Once it's cool it's pretty much ready to use. You can use the paste fresh. Or put the leftovers in fridge -- it will get gelatinous (rubbery) from getting cold, and you will have to break it up with a whisk when you want to reuse it.

Above is Andrew(the Bee of Sqrl & Bee) showing you how to go about dipping paper for Paper Mache. You just dip, pull and squeegee the excess. We mainly use Starch Paste for paper mache but there are other uses for it such as::

  • collage
  • book binding
  • any paper craft
  • make your own paint by adding dry pigments, Bio Shield (their link is currently broken too bad 'cause they are such a great company) and crayola make non-toxic pigments.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mini Monday - Cute Little Thing

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

Meet Roseann of Cute Little Thing   :

"Do what you loved to do when you were 8 years old, for that is your true passion!"

Well, here I am, in my 40th year, doing just that, creating, making, playing, imagining, and oh how much fun it is! It is in this year that my daughter, my true teacher, turns 8.

This is no accident. So it is in her 8th year and my 40th that we share this wonderful thing called life in an abundant, grateful and creative way. In the exact same moment she rolls out of bed she starts to create something.

I look at her and say “she’s got something there” So I let the dishes pile in the sink and the leave the dust bunnies in their secret hiding places and create. I dedicate all my work to my daughter, who has changed my life forever and has opened my eyes to living a healthier, more natural life

Each handmade "cute little thing" is lovingly made with care and natural materials.  All stuffed "things" are all double sewn for the best quality and are firmly stuffed with 100% sheep's *Eco-wool* which retains a lovely warmth of one who holds it.

article by prettydreamer


Saturday, June 19, 2010

White is not a mere absence of color, it is a shining and affirmative thing!

{Title adapted from quote by Gilbert Keith Chesterton)

Thank you to Sue from PolarBearCreations, a shop full of beautiful Waldorf dolls and natural toys, for putting together this selection of handmade pieces from among the NaturalKids artisans.

peace organic onesie by MoonpathDesigns

Juniper, hand knitted sheep friend by Woolies

waldorf window paper star by harvestmoonbyhand

organic baby sleep bag with red poppies by purepixie

organic monkey stuffed animal toy by SewnNatural

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Make birdseed cakes

Today's fabulous how-to is by Emily from yarn miracle. Her beautiful shop specializes in companion animal placement, including the most luxurious cashmere bears and bunnies. Thanks, Emily, for this great & very summery tutorial!

How to make birdseed cakes

It's nearly summer and there are birds everywhere. When Ellie and I woke up last Saturday, Birdseed Cakes just seemed like a great idea.

Neat right? To make your own, you'll need

From the pantry:
• 3/4 c. flour
• 1/2 c. water
• 3 T. corn syrup
• 4 c. birdseed, or a mix of birdseed, raw nuts, dried fruit and other seeds
You can create combinations that are suitable for the native birds in your area, or just pick pretty ingredients if you want to use these as gifts or party favors!

From the kitchen:
• a sheet pan - line it with parchment or wax paper if you don't want to scrub the sheet pan later.
• a rolling pin is helpful but optional
• another piece of parchment or waxed paper if you don't want to scrub the rolling pin later.
• every cookie cutter you own
• jute or twine to create hangers

Pour the flower, water and corn syrup into a bowl and whisk it all together until it is well combined. Add the birdseed and stir everything until all the seed is coated and sticky. The mixture will be loose and messy and you'll think you made a Terrible Mistake.

Dump the mixture on the lined sheet pan, cover with the extra sheet of parchment and use a rolling pan or your hands to compress the mess tightly to about 1/2" thick. The more tightly you can pack it, the better it will hold together when it dries. Toddlers love this.

Once you are satisfied with the depth and density, press the cookie cutters into the "dough" and leave them in! No matter how tightly you've pressed, don't take out the cookie cutters or it will still fall apart! Just fit as many cookie cutters into the dough as you can.

(Yes, those are her pajamas. I *did* mention it was Saturday morning.)

Now let them dry just like that for about 6 hours. When you are able to handle them without disaster, you can remove them from the cutters, flip them over and leave them to dry for another six hours. Plain shapes hold up better (hearts, flowers, leaves, some rabbits), things with arms and sticky out bits (gingerbread men) tend to loose their fragile arms and sticky out bits. I'm convinced that the cat's tail survived because Ellie loves cats and the Universe didn't want to break her heart. If you run out of cookie cutters, grease your hands and shape the remaining dough in to donuts/wreaths (these may need to dry a little longer). The scraps can be dried the rest of the way and then placed in a basket or scattered on your back porch. No sense in wasting them.

Once the cakes are completely dry, wind them with twine to create simple, rustic hangers. And now they are ready for the birds to enjoy!

Speaking of birds, here's a beautiful little lemon yellow knit bird from yarn miracle (and organic to boot!)

handknit organic cotton little ittie birdie toy

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Making Sumac Wind Chimes with Finns & Flowers

Hi, this is Melody & TJ from Finns & Flowers and we would like to share with you how we made our sumac wind chime. First you need to gather sumac(or other hollow wood, like elderberry). Sumac is very soft, so our pruners were perfect for the job!

Cut your wood to desired length (1"-6"). Then push the pith out with a straightened wire coat hanger. Our five-year-old was very capable of this, but our two-year-old needed a little help. Please use caution with the wire hanger!

Make sure it's hollow! :)

Peel the bark. Very fun!

Poke small holes in the cut pieces of wood(the hanger works nicely for this). Tie your wood pieces onto a branch and.....


A sumac wind chime!!!

Enjoy and have fun!! We did!