We just wrapped up a family movie night of stew and watching "How to Train Your Dragon"- a well timed movie that brings up our themes for "dragonmas" of training or even freeing our inner dragons. Sometimes the fire inside us can burn but often it warms and sustains us!
I will be updating my recommended Dragon Reading list for you tomorrow, but till then I also wanted to share a chance to have an all natural wood dragon that you can paint with your own little dragons! What color would you choose?
Leave a comment here between now and Monday night at midnight for a chance to win. Bonus entry for sharing on your social network or blog- just leave me an extra comment letting me know you shared it! Good luck!
Because we love daddy berry much we had a slight theme to Father's Day this year that included a cinnamon rolls, lots of handmade expressions of love, family BBQ, strawberries with brownies and angel food cake, and just plain hanging out on the deck. How else do you let your children's daddy and your own daddy know they make the world berry sweet? Well, maybe by making some berry fun monsters!
It is usually the calm after the whirl of April birthdays that hit this week right before the whirl of an annual inventory at my day job at a local bookstore. The word that I can describe Silas' birthday this week was "simple"
We started this little tradition a couple years ago on the day of their birthday we set up a little wood leaf/branch candle holder with a single candle. I made a little "7" gnome, added some fresh from the oven breakfast muffins, and made a trail of 7 gold dollars out to the candle. When he woke up he counted his way along the trail and then we sang happy birthday and he blew out the candle.
My big ol 7 year old went onto school to share a snack of his choice with friends, while mama worked in the woods and did a little shopping and last minute making!
I set up a little afterschool snack on the deck and then he played with brother while mama and daddy made his requested dinner: hamburgers, mac and cheese, sparkling lemonade, and ice cream cake!
Of course presents were opened, and I do believe I had a mama genius moment of just using my stash of vintage linens and colorful yarn for wrapping. Eco-friendly, lovely, and easy! Hubby said he was sure Martha would be proud!
Pokemon fever hit our fella this year and it emerged just a bit this birthday with his custom mama made Pikachu candle holder, and a one of kind painting by brother and mama!
Sigh . . .seems just like yesterday when I was slinging my baby and now he is slinging his "babies" he bought with his birthday money! Cheers to all you Aries folks out there. I will be back in full swing both on the blog and in the shop starting next week.
Congrats to Rain- you were my lucky winner #13 for the Root Children book. I will be in contact to get your addy to mail it out to you!
Welcome March and also welcome to the spring edition to the Rhythm of the Home Magazine. Thank you to the hard working folks behind this wonderful magazine. Thank you again for the honor of including my piece with such great other submissions for the spring! I just love it when March arrives!
Be sure to stop by and check out my piece on making surprise yarn eggs, and if you stop by the ROTH blog you can sign up to win a chance a getting the set that I made for the project- good luck!
Time to make some "in like a lion" cookies with the boys!
I am super excited to learn about "cleavers" I did not know that there was medicinal properties to this plant, but that is the wonderful thing about what Kristine does with Herbal Roots ZIne- such a great resource! She lists the other names that this plant is known by: Bedstraw, Clivers, Goosegrass, Stickywilly, Stickyjack, Stickyweed, Stickyleaf, Catchweed, Robin-run-the-hedge and Coachweed. How can all of those fun names not entice you huh? Looks like I will be making an earthworm next month- how fun, I love making bugs!
Would you like a chance to win the March issue of Herbal Roots Zine? Just leave a comment here between now and Wed Feb 29 at midnight and I will draw a winner's name and e-mail you on Thursday March 1. Let me know which name you like the best for this herb.
Have you seen those vintage pom pom critters out and about as we get closer to Valentines? For some reason I also loved these little buggers when I was little. I saw them at Target recently too as a kit for kids to make and picked it up and did my normal groan when I saw all the "foam, plastic, and nylon" materials inside.
I thought it really can be made all natural and even cuter! So I rummaged through my supplies and put together a little fella. It is pretty quick and would be a super cute little friend to Valentine friends!
natural material yarn- I used a varigated cotton yarn
pom pom discs
wool roving in white and black
1-Create a yarn pom pom, I used the largest disc set in the Clover pom pom making kit- but you could adjust this depending on the size of your hearts.
2- After you have your pom pom all trimmed up, glue to the heart so that the upper part of the heart creates the feet.
3- Take some white wool roving and wet felt in between your fingers to create to small wool balls. Dry in a towel, the take a small bit of black wool roving and needle felt this on the white ball to create eyes.
4- Glue the eyes in place and your critter is all set to keep your Valentine company!
Congrats to my winner for the Natural Wooden Toys book is:
my favorite color has always been mediterranean blue"
Thanks everyone for sharing all of your beautiful favorite colors! Mediterranean blue is just the color I have been working on with some of my first knits that I have been working on. Since I am pretty new to the world of knitting, this picture book is quite clever and very much enjoyed it and its reminecents of yarn bombing! Hope you can take a look at this one soon- just another wonderful way color can add magic to our world!
You know that feeling after thunderstorms when the rain clears, the sun comes out and there is the biggest rainbow in the sky. Does it still stop you in your track to see those bands of color up in the sky? Maybe not quite at the "double rainbow" intensity, but I still am in awe and happy when I see rainbows.
Well, for the past 3 years there has been a stormy tide in the toymaking industry. You have probably heard me talk on and off during the past 3 years about trying to figure out what all of the CPSIA regulations would mean. To be honest there were many times I did not know myself. There are many folks that are much more eloquent with their understanding but I thought I would do a post about how I understand everything. There has been the past few years of a "stay" until the government could figure out the new law.
This past fall there was a pretty big amendment to the original CPSIA regulation that was enacted that originally wanted all individual toys or run of toys to be 3rd party tested. This most recent amendement actually helps small batch toymakers. I strongly recommend you check out this page if you are thinking about making toys to sell. It is very informative, please also watch the webcasts that are listed there as well- I thought they helped me with trying to understand the regulations.
What many folks may not realize is that these regulations went into effect on Jan 1 of this year- essentially the "stay" was lifted. I will try my best to let you know how this relates to me as a wood toy maker below:
1- I used natural materials that are by nature lead free- these are exempt from further testing. This was exempted the first year. There is a list here that includes wood, yarn, wool etc . . . please refer here: Table B on the exemption list. If you apply no paint or surface coating of any type- you are still need to label and track, but not test your paints. But if you add surface coatings you need to keep reading.
*If you use paint of any type, even AP Certified Non-toxic, and plant based washes or paints you are required to have the paints 3rd party tested in a CPSIA approved lab
2- I registered with the CPSC as a Small Manufacturer. The toys I make are not intended for children under three and I label all of the packages with the required standard warning. I am not required to do small parts testing because my toys are intended for children under 3 and I am a registered Small Manufacturer.
Now, that may seem complicated and it has felt so, but I actually thought the registration process with CPSC was pretty efficient, and in January of this year I had my paints tested and there was an expense to that but the lab I worked with was great- VHG Labs, they had results to me within a day. If you are a member of the Handmade Toy Alliance you get a reduced testing rate.
What have I learned in the process? I really like working with some woods with natural coloration like walnut. This is such a lovely wood that requires no additional brown coloring- and feels gorgeous! When I took a little break after the holidays I realized I was working too much. I like Red Bull and all, but I needed to cut back. I like knowing that I am a small toymaker, not a mass producer and that alot of effort and times goes into each of my toys, clear down to the packaging.
Will I continue- oh yes, but not at the same level. I will probably continue to hold off on custom orders and make what the inspiration fairies whisper in my ear- this week I am so happy to be able to use rainbow colors where I want again! So here are some links again if you are thinking about getting into the biz:
So how do I reward you for reading this very lengthy post on my process? By encouraging you to go ahead and jump in and make some toys if you are inspired. The process may seem odd and complicated and I am so thankful to the dedicated folks at the Handmade Toy Alliance that worked so hard on our behalf. It was time where I knew I could not be at the legislative sessions that they attended but I could certainly contribute money to the Alliance to help pay for the expenses. If testing seems expensive and daunting to you- just keep the wood unfinished.
Wood toymaking has been around for generation upon generation. I really enjoy seeing new toymakers pop up and see their toys, because heck I am really still pretty new myself. I have been making toys going on about 11 years now with about 4 years in a primarily wood medium. This year I am learning to knit to add that to the mix!
But I am still rambling, I really hope this post has helped. Please don't take me for an expert on the CPSIA and research and ask questions. But also please don't dive into the business without understanding the government regulations either.
Remember that reward part- well I wanted to give away a copy of this book that is a sweet, very well done book on making wood toys done by a fellow Etsian Erin from Imagination Kids. It is a great start to the world of wood toymaking.
So leave a comment here between now and Tuesday at midnight and let me know your favorite color to be entered into a drawing for the book. Want extra entries?