🐸My Etsy Sh🌎p🐸

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Art of Play

The art of play is mastered by children.

Toys do not need to have bells and whistles to entertain them.  Let them entertain themselves.  Simple, quality toys lend themselves to more creative, imaginative play.

Studies show that children with an active imagination who engage in pretend play are happier, healthier, and mentally healthier.

Children utilize play as a tool to understand the big, confusing world around them, to act out scenarios, to escape from reality, to make sense of everything they cannot control.

Let them play.  Let them be little. If you need to schedule time for them to just play, do that.  Even better, get down on the floor with them and make funny voices for the toys, but allow them to "lead" the play.  Let them guide where it goes. You can ask questions like, "what should we do next?" or "how do you think we should play."

Children are rarely in control in this world (except for that temper tantrum in Target!). By letting them take the lead of the play scenario, they feel in control, become confident, relax, and engage fully with you.

I have 20+ years of teaching in the early childhood field.  These are just a few random thoughts that I have on the subject of play.  I am going to be better about posting.  The blog has taken a backseat for a while - through Etsy chaos, family medical issues, and...well, Life.

Have a fun and playful day!
Mel

Monday, February 13, 2017

Baby it's cold outside

This crazy Ohio weather has been up and down. One day it was 56 and the next day it was 19! Well, weather aside, I have been sewing sewing sewing up a storm (maybe this crazy weather is MY fault!😂).

I am trying to find a balance between creativity and a clean house! I tend to paint and sew and photograph everything all in a whirlwind and my home ends up looking like a tornado blew through! I am also trying to find a balance of keeping the Etsy shop momentum going while staying present in my family's lives. It is all a balancing act.

The dream of traveling to Europe is close. My mother in law and I plan to travel next spring if all is well. I worry about the political scene and traveling abroad. My mother in law has the same worries. We tend to be in the same page as each other most of the time.

Thank God my husband is fully supportive in all that I do. The living room is a mess...okay. I have peg dolls all over the kitchen table...so what? I have a pile of felt on the couch...no problem. He really is a saint!  So, last night, while he was at school working on lesson plans, I turned up some music, danced barefoot in the kitchen, and tidied up. It felt good - the tidying AND the dancing!

I think my secret to doing everything I do is 1) I never do dishes :), 2) I only do what I can do in one day. Some days, I pray as much as I breathe. Some days, I cry more than I should:) just because I realize that I am indeed NOT Winder Woman! I set small goals and accomplish as many of those as I can. I keep it simple. I drink a lot of caffeine!

Just a few things I wanted to share.

Have a fun and playful day
Mel

Monday, January 16, 2017

Weathered Forest

Maybe it is something deeply rooted in my childhood, but the forest has always captured my imagination.  In the hills of southeastern Ohio, my bare feet ran on mossy carpet, canopies of tall oak trees shielded me from the sun, and woodland smells tickled my nose.

I think about children who grow up in the city and how they may never know the simple treasure of growing up with a forest in your backyard like I did.  Maybe, just maybe, through my imagination-sparking toys, I can give them those treasure, too.

I live in a fairytale world. I really do.  My husband is part Prince Charming, part Constant Encourager.  I make things with my hands.  I create toys.  That's pretty fairytale like if you ask me.  I have an amazing family and extended family, who all support my craft.

If I dare to dream for more (which sometimes seems selfish), I would dream of travel. I want to see the world and translate it into toys to spark more imaginations.

I love the pins that Pinterest picks for me.  Yesterday, they picked the word Meraki - to do something with soul, creativity, love; to put something of yourself into your work.  I think that word is so fitting for me.  Melanie/Meraki

So, I am going to "put this out in the universe" as they say.  My goal for this year is to create more (not sure when I will sleep!), to open my Amazon Handmade store, to travel. My goals also include encouraging & empowering the women in my life more this year, cooking more (Heaven help us!), and donating to more causes that are special to my heart.

Do you make resolutions? Or do you set goals?

Have a fun and playful day!
Mel

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Looking forward to 2017

Michelangelo said, "I saw an angel in the marble and I carved until I set him free." I am no Michelangelo by any means. But I do see the possibilities in a flat piece of felt or a colorful bauble.

I want to make 2017 more purposeful, more memorable, more than I imagined. I have so many things I want to create, so many places that I want to travel, so many possibilities.

Everything I create is hand sewn or hand painted with the purpose to bring joy to a child. I dream of taking my toys to orphanages around the world and doing good.

Everything that happened yesterday in Berlin makes my heart break. How children cope with and make sense of situations and their world is through play. I have felt for a while that I need to do more.

I want to write another book in 2017. I want to travel. I want to make some really good memories and take some really good photos. I am looking forward to 2017.

Have a fun and playful day
Mel

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Mom and Tot Box

 Mom and Tot Box is a subscription that brings something for the child and something for the mom delivered to your front door each month.
I was happy to be a part of the October box. My large peg doll and boat AND my 3 little red houses & tree were all part of the little treasure box.

I love seeing pictures of children engaged with my toys. My heart is full to the point of bursting at these photos!

Have a fun and playful day
Mel

Water Beads

I took this photo five years ago and it is still one of my favorites. Those little fingers. That belly! The lighting.

I found two acrylic bowls at the Dollar store. One, I flipped upside down and tucked some white Christmas lights  under it. The other, I filled with water beads.

She was mesmerized. The lights. The texture. The simple play.

She was 15 months at the time. But we sat there playing for over an hour. I remember an Elmo toy taking a swim in the water beads at one point.

I love when Facebook gives me memories. I cherish them so much. Now, she is in kindergarten and reading chapter books. Time passes so quickly.

Have a fun and playful day
Mel

Sunday, November 20, 2016

City Zoo

 So, some time ago, I had this idea to make a Zoo Play Mat. I have been rolling it around in my noodle for a while. Then, my husband says, you HAVE to make a Zoo Play Mat. And then, a customer suggested a Zoo Play Mat last week.
This is what I came up with. I made it, photographed it, and listed it this weekend. 20 minutes (that's right two zero!) after I listed it, it SOLD.

Time to make another?

Have a fun and playful day
Mel