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Honour the Child

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BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Thursday, 30 April 2009
Greetings from the countryside :).

OK, we live in a rural area, but that is highlands woods and lakes and rocks~ this week Rowan and I are home visiting my mom. Home is a house on the home farm land with gently rolling hills, towering weeping willows along the river side and horses grazing behind the house.

We are enjoying being in the place where my Grandfather's people settled after arriving from Scotland in 1845. Swinging on the swing in the tree that graces my mother's childhood photos.

And of course, time with family.

We hope that there will be a new foal born before we leave tomorrow (sadly, one died yesterday during foaling).

So this is just a hello from the farm where the grass is green and the daffodils are in bloom (at home we still have snow in places LOL and only 400 km difference!).
Sunday, 26 April 2009
Rowan loves to save animals~ I am sure it is a combo of Wonder Pets, and her own natural inclination to *be* animals (we have been unable to call her either a kid or 'Rowan' for two years, she is always an animal). So give her a cape and she is a superhero animal saver rescue dog!
In honour of Rowan's rescue streak and the need of kids everywhere for simple lightweight costumes to aid in their superhero/fairy/princess/evil dwarf/ whatever fantasies, we are now making 100% silk capes in custom colours. Lightweight, breezy, all natural and so versatile and simple.... Each cape is 35 x 33" with a silk tie, anchored for safety and convenience.

And one last picture ~ as Tyra Banks might say "FIERCE!"
Friday, 24 April 2009
The theme for the May stocking on ::FRESH:: is EMBRACE.

We are featuring mom and child creations (made together~ Ro and I are doing some wooden toys) as well as items that fit the theme. This sculpture is my favourite yet ~ if the mom were more, er, Rubenesque, I would keep it!

HUG~ needlefelted with wool, accents of tussah silk and wensleydale locks. Inspired by those rock-you-back hugs toddlers love to throw! Approx. 5" tall, 7" long.
Wednesday, 22 April 2009 can have some, too!

We received a real treat in the mail today~ modelling beeswax from the very sweet Charlene in BC. Charlene's shop is 'Twinkle of my Eye' on Etsy and is full of beeswax for natural play!

Beeswax warms in your hands and doesn't dry out or crack, so you can use it repeatedly.

Made with non-toxic colours, local beeswax and organic oil, this is a great modelling compound for kids~ check out the seller's FAQ to get tips for working it up and using it!

I am generally sensitive to the scent of beeswax (achoo!) but these blocks are not overly fragrant and I had absolutely no problems with them. Yay!

Charlene has some great spring promos running~ keep watching the shop and snag some samplers. So many beautiful colours to choose from and the little containers are great for storage. Fast shipping, too!

The bowls pictured here are from Glazed Over ~ super cool little vessels for tiny things!
And seriously the best-packaging-EVER.
I want those salt and pepper shakers!
I have blog block again, and more than this, between work, BTRT and daughter still not walking properly it has been hella busy! So this is just a note to say I'm trying to get back on track!
Tuesday, 21 April 2009
All stocking today at 1 pm!

Come and see what is in store at BTRT on Hyena Cart~ I am clearing out my blanks and have dyed up EVERYTHING! Sizes 6m to 6/8/10 youth! A couple things for mama, too!
Saturday, 18 April 2009
I was in meetings all day today and I always carry ample needles and wool with me to work on felting during the proceedings. And people always ask what I am doing.

'Is that white stuff a dog's tail?'

And explaining the white blobs (destined to become Nativity figures in this case) often defies people's imagination.

Enter my fancy-schmancy iPod (named Clementine~ she's orange) and I was finally able to give a suitable answer to the end results~ I just turned on ol' Clem and showed them the finished work. The looks of surprise and admiration were *much* more satisfying than the "I'll take-your-word-for-it-that-those-will-become-cool-toys" look I usually get.

Yay, Clementine!
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
Yes, they do!

I made the decision to switch from clothing and toy making to just natural toys last fall. But I have been hanging on to all of my blanks (my precious blanks!). I finally decided it was time to end it by letting go....
So I spent several evenings dyeing it all up~ no turning back this way! But it reminded me of how much I love it, too!
Everything will be stocked and near cost prices on Tuesday, April 21st at 1 pm on my Hyena Cart. Lots of hand dyed prettiness (mostly low water immersion) for the 6M - 6T crowd!
Tuesday, 14 April 2009
We had a rough day today.

Rowan has not been able to bear weight on her right leg since Saturday~ without warning she collapsed in pain ~ missed a long awaited birthday party (that breaks my heart)~ and is still unable to bear weight. The long and short of it is she has synovitis, an inflammation of the hip joint sheath. It should resolve in a few more days and she is not sick with it~ happy, crawling about, just can't walk.

But she had to have an xray, ultrasound and bloodwork.
We had good success with play acting the various procedures and staying connected by talking about feelings and fears~ so on the whole I feel good that my sensitive kid and I made it through with more smiles than tears. But it sure is hard on a mama's heart!

A couple of months ago I had Ro with me for a doctor's appointment and I had to have blood taken. I explained it all to her and she watched quietly. When we left the lab she broke down crying and started to wail "I don't want you to have holes in you". She was genuinely distressed and it took some effort to calm her.

So my trepidation was high when they mentioned the bloodwork today, but we got through it with assurances that the hole would heal IMMEDIATELY and thankfully she accepted them with a minimum of tears.

The world can be a scary place for little ones and today my heart goes out to all the parents and the children who deal with hospitals and illness and needles on regular basis~ with fervent prayers that the holes heal and the hearts stay strong.
Sunday, 12 April 2009
When I say my child is persistent (yes, maybe stubborn~ she gets it from both Scottish families on either side!) I mean it. She decided this year that our house was visited by the Easter Kangaroo and no one could tell her otherwise, and anyone who tried was promptly corrected themselves.

I suppose they might have an Easter Kangaroo in Australia, what with rabbits being rather unwelcome pests there!

So, Kangaroo and all, we enjoyed the Easter weekend, having a rare visit from family and many community activities. A community egg hunt on Friday and a pancake breakfast to celebrate what looks to be a great syrup season, on Saturday. The EK (Easter Kangaroo!) visited our house on Saturday both indoors for Rowan and outdoors for the whole family.

This morning began with an outdoor service at 7 am at the church with frosty ground, misty breath and the colours of sunrise still showing over the hills across the icy lake. Bird song and sunshine and fellowship made it a lovely moment. Our 10 am service was lots of fun with many young children excited and eagerly shouting 'Alleluia'!

This afternoon, family on their way home, we napped in the sunshine, watched some classic Sesame Street and Rowan perched happily for most of it on her new 'big girl' bike from the EK.

We hope the EK and many Easter Blessings came your way, too.
Saturday, 11 April 2009
If people want to support handmade, why do they want artisans to make copies of licensed characters and images?!

This one drives me a little nuts.

So... someone wants to support handmade. And they really love Mickey Mouse. So they figure it is *better* to buy Mickey made by hand by some sweet mama in her home than to buy it from Disney.

But~ in doing so they are supporting the theft (in many cases) (albeit unintentionally) of copyright materials for profit. And I know that many people who do children's items get asked to recreate copyright images and characters on a regular basis and lose sales if they won't do it.

So... how is this supporting handmade, exactly? It is still saying we want what the big corporations are making, we still buy into their marketing. And personally, I think if you ant Mickey, or Dora or Nintendo, then you pay their creators and owners their due.

To *me* supporting handmade means supporting the artisan to create what *they* create~ their own art and expressions~ to support the whole artist. Not to use them as a conduit for stickin' it to the man and paying lip service to buying handmade.

Who is with me?!
Thursday, 9 April 2009
I was just going to make one fairy, but then I got rolling and the limbs started piling up... and I have 5, with another waiting for a dress.

Standing between 3-4.5" in height, with arms and legs that move about and bend, each fairy is one of a kind. From her teeny fairy slippers to her carefully rooted locks, these little girls are all natural. Each one has detailing done with tussah (peace) silk. Various skin tones have been used. Suitable for play for the 3+ crowd as there is a bit of glitz on their wings and fairies do prefer gentle play.

There are more pictures in the Flickr Gallery. I plan on stocking these sweeties at Etsy when my spring break is done!

How about a little trip down memory lane?

Check out this post from the Tough Pigs Blog that recounts some of the most memorable freakouts of the beloved Kermit the Frog.

It made me smile and allowed me to live vicariously through Kermits flip outs, because I am having one of those days.
Tuesday, 7 April 2009
Thanks to Laura at I Can Make That for a great idea! I even have some ideas from her ten things in mine~ because her list made me think of happy things!
  1. Being wakened by daughter's kisses and the ritual 'Good morning Mommy_____' (fill in the creature) to which I must reply 'Good Morning Baby Cat/dog/Apatosaurus' and the role play begins.
  2. A trashy novel~ historical, Fabio-look-alike on the cover, cost less than a quarter, picked up from a rummage sale somewhere. Perfect mindless reading for drifting off to sleep.
  3. Listing new photos on Flickr always gives me a sense of accomplishment.
  4. Preaching.
  5. Lying in bed at night and looking out the window at the moon on the lake and the stars, watching the constellations shift from season to season out my window.
  6. A hot shower when I have time to enjoy it and neither dog nor child sticking their head around the curtain for something.
  7. Clean laundry. A rarity, but I love to open the drawer or closet and have every choice available.
  8. Fiber~ feeling it in my hands at that starting point of a new project when I haven't yet decided *what* to make and I am just waiting for inspiration.
  9. Mail. We do almost all of our shopping other than household/groceries online so going to get the mail is a daily ritual of expectation and satisfaction.
  10. Sitting in the sunshine of a late afternoon, after work, and reading stories with Rowan. The closeness of physcial contact reconnects us and the stories are a shared experience of imagination and discovery. Even better when spring comes and we can do it on the front porch.
This is good for the soul, I'll have to do it again. How about you? Link us up!
In a recent conversation somewhere on the interwebz someone suggested that no kid today would choose a natural/ handmade toy over a store bought plastic toy. Their point was that the kids don't have the imagination or desire to play imaginatively (any more)... and that is so... sad. And perhaps for all those kids hooked on their screens, it is true.

BUT. Every child has the ability. Every child has an imagination. And as parents and friends of children we can encourage and support imaginative play. If children don't know the alternatives we can't simply dismiss them!

If you have a child or know a child who needs to get in touch with their creative and playful spirit, there is a whole group of artists and artisans creating gorgeous, handmade, natural toys that are 100% imagination powered.

If you shop on Etsy use 'naturalkids team' as a search tag, or start at the Natural Kids Store which will hook you up with many wonderful toys.
Monday, 6 April 2009
I have long been a fan of This Handmade Life and I finally came up with a reason to purchase one of their adorable upcycled journals!

If you have nostalgia for the things of childhood like I do, you will love the journals at THL~ made from original Little Golden Books, these journals are bound *with* the storybook in tact and 100 pages of fresh white paper to fill. I purchased 'The Four Puppies' as we are waiting for our own little Sheltie puppy this spring and I couldn't resist the images ~ I am carrying it around to write down ideas, sketches and so on that otherwise flee my mind and disappear.
There are also appealing magnets and buttons of classic images (Smurfs, anyone?) from our 70s childhoods. Bags, art, seeds and so much more. Keep checking back!Even better than the practical, unique and downright make-you-smile products, a portion of every sale, every month, goes to charity. Right now 25% (yes twenty-five!!) goes to the Haitian Roots organization which supports haiti's children through education.

So go snag a journal, you know you need one!
Thursday, 2 April 2009
That simplest of toys.
That most perfect of shapes.

When you have a ball, big or small, the possibilities are truly endless!

I am passionate about simple toys. The ability to play and imagine is innate within each of us and simple toys become tools that allow play to be lead by a child's creativity and not the toy itself. And it doesn't get simpler than a ball. (Hey, even the grownups getting pretty excited about ball play~ on pitch, field and diamond!)

Yesterday, while waiting for a doctor's appointment, I had the delight of watching a very kind young man (16ish) play with Rowan for 35 minutes. There was much giggling, action and deep engagement in their play. They were playing with 5 balls of yarn in a room with nothing but chairs. And with those five balls of yarn they counted and sorted, they bowled and bounced and caught. They hid and found and laughed and surprised one another. I was deeply impressed by the boy's gentle nature and willingness~ once he warmed up, took off the headphones, set aside the cell phone~ to just play.

That is the magic of a simple toy. Alone, with a new friend or on a team we can engage one another, make eye contact, shift effortlessly between scenarios or games. Simple toys meet us where we are help us make the most of the space we are in.

And the humble ball deserves our praise! For that one round item is played with around the world by humans and animals in many shapes and sizes. I have started a Flickr group gathering up pictures of balls~ it may seem odd, but I am truly enamoured of the amazing ability and versatility of this one toy that can connect us through shared experience across time and culture and species!

Go pick one up and find a friend to catch, or just bounce it against the wall or floor and enjoy the momenet~ I am sure you will!
Wednesday, 1 April 2009
Today I reached my BIG Etsy goal~ to reach 1000 sales by our 2nd anniversary in business.
Last year we hit 200 sales by our first anniversary and I hit this new anniversary goal 2 months ahead of time (May 27) and I am thrilled!

And now I am taking 2 weeks (or more) off from selling to rest, catch up on housework and mark the Easter season. I am also looking forward to new projects, too, now that the Easter sales of chick balls and itty bitty bunnies are done LOL Andy is working on some natural wooden toys and I am hoping to launch a few new items as well, if the muse inspires.

I captured the big moment (heehee) in screenshots... wanna see?

OK... this is me (isn't that how we always tell people about photos? it is a standing joke around here... 'this is me not listening to you' 'this is me ready to go') at 999 sales (click any image to see real sized if you want the FULL experience ;) )....
This is me hitting 1000 sales (moved by the moment to doodle on the page)...And this is me as the newest seller on the top sellers wiki ... more doodling, it is going to my head...Hmmm.
Now to think about new goals!
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