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Honour the Child

Blog Archive

BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Monday, 31 May 2010
May 29th marked the third anniversary of my Etsy shop. I am proud of our success to date (2100 sales, #8 top toy seller on Etsy)! For a business that started out rather by accident (too many tie dyed clothes for one kid to wear!), it has become a big part of our lives and I thought I would share a few learnings.

In reflecting on this time I realize how critical it is to love what you do and do what you love.  And that is not just trite sentiment.

In terms of running a business (in addition to parenting and working full time!), if you don't LOVE it all of the minutiae will eat you alive.  The marketing, the photography, the listing writing, the endless packing and typing and all the other things that go along with the creative aspects take a LOT of time and energy and must be done WELL. But if you spend your creative portion of your time making things you aren't in love with (process, concept, materials, whatever) you will quickly burn out.

Another aspect of loving what you do, is honouring yourself and your time.  Your time is worth something. At the end of the day I would rather make one item and pay myself well, than make two, sell them for the price of one and feel resentful about it! This took a while to to accept. It took a growth in confidence and a letting go of the need to sell, embracing instead the need to create. I still use this as a touchstone for potential projects, wholesale requests and so on... is it worth my time that could be spent otherwise (say, housework?! haha). And I follow my gut.  I say no a little more often and it really doesn't hurt at all! As my daughter says to me "sometimes you just have to say no.".
Also, when you love what you do, you have the opportunity to connect with others who share your passions and interests~ and you can engage in community with them wholeheartedly.  It isn't about 'targetting your niche market' it is about living along side like minded folks and creating items to support your shared values and lifestyle choices. I am so blessed and enriched, and so often taught by, the women (and men) I have met along the way with BTRT.
Other bits of learning? Developing good marketing skills and a brand identity *are* important.  Good photography is a must.  Collaborate and cooperate with others:  I spent a lot of my time early on (less work to do!) featuring others, doing collaborations, building a network.  Do as much as you can for yourself, but you don't have to do it all~ it is far better to pay for what you need than to waste time/ money on something that is simply not 'in your wheelhouse'. Communicate well with your customers. Have fun. Have fun. Love it or don't do it.

I'd love to hear the things that you have learned if you have a creative business, too!
Sunday, 30 May 2010
In Waldorf education, each day of the week has an associated colour, planet and grain.

Over the next while I am going to feature handmade, natural items that would be wonderful to help mark the rhythm of the week at home with your little ones.  Many of the items come from members of Etsy's Natural Kids Team (search: naturalkids team).

Sunday is white.

There is something magical about white, and it doesn't get ANY more precious than this little hat by threefishshop (I wonder if you can order the baby with it?!):
And if I get the baby, I'll need an organic teether/ rattle from pinkhouse:
 And maybe my own little flock of hens? from mamma4earth:
To lay fresh eggs for my breakfast since I'll be up early with the baby (by Fair Trade Family):
Baby needs a bamboo quilted blanket from Sewn Natural:

And finally, baby needs a dolly! From Starry Sheep, Mima the Waldorf doll:
But then again, I am betting that you don't get the baby with the hat. Oh well.
Have a great Sunday!
Saturday, 29 May 2010
I love a Saturday with room enough for chores and my own projects, too!

I fell in love with the 'My Folklore' fabric by Lecien a while back, and managed to find enough of it in one place (I love this site's matching software, very helpful!) to make this little sundress for Rowan.  Along with the squirrels and toadstools, the dress has trees with rowan-esque leaves and red berries~ and given that it is a Nordic Folklore inspired print, they are very possibly rowan trees, either way it is a sweet print for any season. The dots print ... I don't know its name!
I used the Macy Giggles pattern by Ivy & Izzy Designs which is readily available on Etsy.
I made the size 4-5 which is ample for my 4/5T kiddo (the buttons can be moved over another inch or more as  she grows), I will add extra length to the same size if I get around to making another.  The straps are gathered and can be worn as straps or spread over the shoulder as a cap sleeve.  I can definitely see this dress as a pinafore for school come fall!

And, having recently taken a look at the deplorable condition of Rowan's beloved stuffed 'Puppy' and his current well worn dress (bought for a Waldorf doll but given immediately to Puppy), I decided it was time for a new one for Puppy, too.  A few stops and starts and I got it done, and not a bad job of canine tailoring considering I had no pattern and I am not a natural seamstress! I even snuck Pup into the 'bath' (washing machine) while I had him in my possession for his couture.

The ponytail holders are for Rowan, but I suspect Puppy will be wearing them to church tomorrow.
Friday, 28 May 2010
Our newest Daydream Believers design features the wise words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, paired with a vintage illustration which defies description in its silly sweetness.

Available in a variety of colours in baby, child and youth sizes (grownups, too).

Wednesday, 26 May 2010
We have been working on establishing a Fairy Garden for the summer, and it has been lots of fun and lots of learning, too!
Rowan (age 4.5) decided that our fairy tree (Burning Bush) needed some fairy windchimes to make music for the fairies. So we made some!

  • assorted beads
  • small jingle bells
  • wire (picture hanging, household, anything at all) fine enough for the beads OR needle/ thread.
  • miniature wooden flowerpots
  • paints, shells, stones, glitter etc. optional to customize

Adapt as suits your needs and child(ren)~ you could lengthen the craft by decorating the flower pots in advance.  You could use a needle and thread or leather or plastic cord in place of the wire.

1) Cut wire to desired lengths + 1". We cut to 6". Use 3-4 pieces per windchime.
2) Thread wires through the small opening in the flowerpot and twist together to make a hanging loop. This will leave you with a hoop to hang from and a spray of wires coming out of the mouth of the flowerpot.

3) Thread beads onto one wire at a time, leaving half of the wire length to fold back and twist around itself.  Alternately, leave enough wire to thred through the last/ bottom bead twice to secure the beads. Finish off each wire before proceeding to the next.  Add bells as desired with your beads.

4) Straighten and arrange your wires for maximum jingle.
5) Hang for the fairies to enjoy! Leave them a sweet snack or some honey water, too.
Have fun!
Tuesday, 25 May 2010
Three years!
And I never meant to start a business in the first place!
What started as creating items for my then-toddler has become an important part of our lives and my creative expression.  We are celebrating 3 years in business with a great big stocking at Hyena Cart tomorrow.

The fun begins at 9 am, with stockings at 9, 3pm and 9 pm (est).

The theme is Three Ring Circus, because well, that's what life is most days, with lots of juggling and sometimes too many clowns.  There are giveaways and lots of guest artisans, so be sure to pop by and join in the Circus fun!

(Please note that Hyena Cart works based on set stock times~ unlike Etsy and other venues~ the items go live at a specific time and folks (the hyenas) stalk the items they want... it sometimes confuses new HC shoppers!)
Monday, 24 May 2010
Thanks to the curator of this sweet fox Treasury that made it to Etsy's Front Page, including our Memory Coins!
Saturday, 22 May 2010
We planted our Faiy Garden!
Rowan is is diligently watering it every day (so much so in fact, I have to restrain her for fear of washing away the not-yet-rotted moss).

We filled our cedar barrel with enriched potting soil and black earth and mixed them up together.
Then we chose the site for each plant, keeping in mind where we wanted to place such landmarks as the house and the pond.  We started with the tree (Rowan planted her first tree, she was very proud!), and followed with the plants and finally placed our moss all around like a jigsaw puzzle, fitting in the pieces.

Next came the house (Forget-Me-Not Cottage, #9), and the small metal bowl for the pond.  We considered glass as it would look more natural, but knowing my daughter's love of water play and the fact that we were adding rocks, I figured something non-breakable would be wiser. We set the bowl into the soil, and added some stones to keep it in place and hide the metallic bottom.
Last came the stone path, which enabled us to move some of the moss around to areas that need it more (we were a little short).
And now we are giving the Garden some time to take root and get established before we add further items.  We will need to be sure to tidy up after play so as not to leave anything on the moss bed that would deprive it of light for too long.
Coming soon: How to Make a Fairy Windchime.
Thursday, 20 May 2010
In Waldorf education, each day of the week has an associated colour, planet and grain.

Over the next while I am going to feature handmade, natural items that would be wonderful to help mark the rhythm of the week at home with your little ones.  Many of the items come from members of Etsy's Natural Kids Team (search: naturalkids team).

Thursday is Orange.

Eve's Little Earthlings offers this adorable upcycled wool butterfly:

 I love this sweet orange haired dolly by sewfunky:
Wouldn't this little fellow be so much fun in your garden? Garden Gnome by woolies:
One of these organic quilts by BearyOrganics would be a dream for a 'Thursday Child':
And finally for the mamas, a gorgeous brooch by Nushkie:
Orange you glad it is Thursday?!
Wednesday, 19 May 2010
What a beautiful day.

Our lilacs are blooming so early for this region thanks to the early spring, and the air is fragrant with their scent.  I am so allergic at this time of year, but I have all the windows open to fill the house with the smell of lilacs.
As we took the dogs out for a run after dinner I noticed the lilac bush (in need of a serious post-bloom pruning this year!) was fluttering with butterflies (and more than a few bumblebees!).

Can you spot one butterfly in the first picture and 3 or more in the next?
After the dogs had a splash and run, we snapped some pictures in the purple blooms spreading across our backyard.  I'd love to know what they are (anyone?) they spread each year and are so lovely in their three shades of purple to pink.  I'm glad we took some pictures, since Andy mowed them all down with the lawn about an hour later. Sigh.
And the dogs had a good time, too. Although it is sad to see the old fellow failing so much... he kept going out to fetch a stick and then forgetting what he was doing and just standing confused in the lake.
Sweet old Boo.
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