🐸My Etsy Sh🌎p🐸

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Busy as a bee...no, as busy as a whole huve!

 I am not busy as a bee. I am as busy as the whole hive! I am jamming to Putumayo European Playground - not even kidding you! - and getting a lot done.
 I was in the studio all morning, photographing new items. Actually, I was playing, but I did take a few pictures. So that counts as "working", right?
My to do list is getting longer. Yikes! But it is THAT time of year!

Have a fun and playful day

Sunday, November 13, 2016

But Peg Dolls Don't DO Anything

 I was at the Mini Market this past weekend with my play mats and peg dolls. One customer said this exact thing - But peg dolls don't DO anything.
No, I said, but they can BE anything.
 I went on to tell him how these simplistic, wood toys can take on any role in a child's imagination.
 Princess, explorer, zoo keeper, doctor, mom, dad, baby, storytelling inspiration, fire man, astronaut and more!

The play possibilities are endless!

 I believe in the power of play, the power of imagination, and the magic of childhood.

Toys do not have to have bells and whistles. In fact, the less bells and whistles, the MORE imagination kiddos use.

I won't bore you with ivy league college studies about the connection between imaginative play and happy, healthy, intelligent children. But it is true!

That customer bought 12 peg dolls. I think my love of imaginative play rubbed off on him!

Have a fun and playful day.

Open Letter to My 20 Something Self

Dear Me,

I know that you are 20 Something and struggling to find balance and happiness in your roles as wife, mother, teacher. I want you to know that everything turns out better than you ever imagined. God will provide for you in the most surprising ways.

The dream of having four children does not come true. But the two daughters that you do have turn out to be pretty amazing. You also become an influence on many many children through your preschool teaching, your books (yes, you do publish!), through Sunday School and Girl Scouts, and through your strong belief in the power of imagination.

That man who was so unkind to you, he doesn't break your spirit. You find love. True love. They make movies out of this kind of love story kind of love. He is funny and sweet and good to your daughters. He encourages your dreams and empowers you. He is in your corner every.single.day. He is your best adventure, your deepest love, your friend.

You are young and brave. Keep going. Some days are hard. You will know great pain. But you will also find great joy, make friends in expected places, and learn to be an encourager like Grandma Helen.

I am writing this to you to tell you that you are going to love the way your life turns out. I know there are many more ventures and adventures ahead of you. Be brave. Love fiercely. Make lots of memories. Dance in the kitchen barefoot. Your life is a good one. Enjoy it.

44 year old self

To the young moms struggling with toddler tantrums and work and...Life, it will be okay.  Reach out to a friend or family member or spouse. Prioritize. Focus on the important stuff. Kids won't remember that they had toast for dinner, but they will remember the laughter at the dinner table. I pray for you. I pray that you see the good in every day. Be brave.

Friday, November 4, 2016

What mountains can I move today

 I woke up this morning with a thought...what mountains can I move today?

I am preparing for a mini market craft fair next weekend. I have painted 180 peg dolls...
 And 50 plus trees. My goal is 100 trees painted but next weekend.
 I have mountains painted and ready to go and...
I have Castle Playscape Play Mats ready to go as well.

Crossing my fingers AND my toes about this one! I still need to play around with how my table will be set up, but...I am almost ready.

Have a fun and playful day

Loch Ness Monster Found!

 My imagination travels to faraway places. I have had this vision of having a Loch Ness Monster on one of my play mats.

So, I searched.

Just like the real Nessie, Loch Ness Monster toys are hard to find. But finally I found one through the British Natural History Museum (fitting, right? Because I want to visit Great Britain so badly!)
I ordered Nessie. He made it through customs just fine and to Ohio! He is perfect! I was playing ALL morning on my new Large Lake Playscape Play Mat.

Where will your imagination take you today?

Have a fun and playful day

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Motherhood and the Holidays - keep it simple

So when you hear the word Christmas, do you a) break into a smile and dream of gingerbread or b) break into freak out mode and panic?

I do both. (laughing) Christmas time is very busy for me, because I have an Etsy shop and make imagination sparking items that people buy for their kiddos all year long but especially at the holidays.

But before I had a shop, the holidays were always busy. Too busy sometimes to enjoy. Wrapping gorgeous presents became less important. Because, let's face it, that gorgeous wrapping is garbage on December 26th.

My survial guide to the holidays is to keep it simple. Less is more. It's an old saying but still rings true. It's not rocket science. It's sanity. I know, I know. Holidays and sanity in the same sentence.

We buy 1. Something they need, 2. Something they want, 3. Something to wear, and 4. Something to read. It's not a HUGE pile of packages, but the gifts are meaningful and personal.

Play should be the same. Keep it simple. If I have something that requires my attention, I set up a simple invitation to play like above to keep the kiddos creative while I return an email (or 20!)

Have a fun and playful day

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Naturally Curious Kids

 There is a small toy store in Uptown Westerville that I adore. First, I love the space. (I want to move in!)

Second, it's a mother daughter duo that own the shop and carefully curate the selection of toys - not your big box type of store. They know kids. You go in and say I have a three year old boy to shop for and they will give you great suggestions that any three year old boy would love.
There are toys and books and games and puzzles and puppets and art supplies and...you get the idea.

It just has a good small town feel to it. Stop in. You will see what I am talking about, too.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Weekend shenanigans

 This weekend was a long one. It was a busy one. It was a...lot.
 I did a little painting and added a few new boats to my Etsy shop. But there wasn't a lot of time for creativity this weekend.
 Just when I think I am getting to the finish line...Life shows me what is most important. I tend to work a lot.

My daughter fell and was diagnosed with concussion no.5. Much of the weekend was spent checking on, doting on her. We ended up in the er just because I needed to know that what was going on with her was "normal" for 5 concussions.
We watched London Is Falling over the weekend. I was inspired to make a guard peg doll for @teenyweenytoys Queen peg doll. THAT was about the extent of my creativity this weekend.

Sometimes, Life says 'slow down' and you have to listen.

Have a fun and playful day

Friday, October 21, 2016

Harry Potter window display

 Here is the Harry Potter window display at Naturally Curious Kids in uptown Westerville.

Have a fun and playful day

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Play is a powerful thing

 This weekend, Toys R Us had a sale on Schleich toys. I bought some baby elephant calves. My husband said that I bought the whole herd! Funny man, that one! :)
 The girls and I follow several Elephant conservation groups on Instagram. Every morning, we check in for updates on the different elephants in their care. We love seeing pictures from Elephant orphanages in Africa.
 The girls - ages 3 and 6 can locate Africa (&some of the countries within Africa!) on any map or globe now!
I am setting up a play elephant orphange with all these baby elephants from Schleich. Can you see the DETAIL on these toys? I mean, their leathery skin! Amazing. No. I am not getting paid by them, but I do love their animal replicas. Each one is hand painted!

It is on my list to visit Schleich when I go to Germany! Someday, someday.

Through play, we have learned about the elephants, people who care for them, and also people that try to hurt them. We talk about people who run the conservation centers and their jobs. We talk about people who champion for The end of the ivory trade. Prince Harry and Prince William always are mentioned :) The girls take on the roles of vets and caregivers of the elephants and love "feeding" them with baby shower favor baby bottles.

Africa is thousands of miles away. And poaching and extinction of elephants are big concepts for little ones. But through play, the concepts have become tangible and close to their hearts.

I am sharing the world with children through play. Play is a powerful thing.

Have a fun and playful day

Monday, October 17, 2016

My husband doesn't buy me flowers

 In almost 18 years together, I can count on one hand how many times my husband has bought me flowers.
 Before you start to judge, here's his theory. "Flowers die. Toys, however, are forever.
 So he buys me toys. Lots of toys. Toys to stage my play mats. Toys because there was a sale. Toys because it's Tuesday or because it was whimsical or...
He is so funny, my husband. I think I will keep him! It's the little things that he does!

Have a fun and playful day

Making of a Harry Potter window display

 So...I think I need to preface this post by saying that I grew up watching The Princess Bride, Mannequin, Flashdance, etc. That being said, I grew up in a teeny tiny town (no traffic lights, 2 stop signs kind of small!) Growing up, I wanted to study ballet and decorate store Windows in New York city.
 Fast forward some years later, I was given the opportunity to decorate a Toystore window in my small city. Okay! This window will be for Halloween. I picked a Harry Potter Magical Menagerie theme.
 I have been working on the envelopes for weeks, hand addressing letters to the fictional characters. It was a lot of fun. We have a huge amount of Folkmanis puppets in the toy store to work with.
 I will post more when the window is finished. Wednesday is the target date for completion.
Have a fun and playful day

Monday, October 10, 2016

Etsy Shop Updates

My Etsy Shop will close Sunday, December 4, 2016 for the holidays.

All orders need to be placed prior to 12/05/16.

I am not longer accepting custom orders as I have several to do.

If you see it and love it, buy it. :) that sounds funny, but...I have worked hard to stock my shop for months. What is there is what I have. I cannot guarantee that I will make another one similar to it.

Thank you for your sweet word, positive feedback, and purchases.

Have a fun and playful day

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Making goals into reality

 This morning found me home alone with lots to do. But I woke up needing to try something.
 I began painting a new stock of mountains. They are flying out of my shop and I had to restock.
 But I also wanted to paint something new. So I tried the above mountains. They are more modern that my usual stock but with whimsical colors. I love the way they turned out. I do love it when a thought comes to fruition, becomes tangible.
 I wear many hats - more lately it seems like lately. For months, I have been working non stop toward a goal. I want to take my mother in law to Europe. I have been sewing and painting and not spending and working crazy hours to achieve this goal.
 I cannot remember the last time I read a book. No lie. I am an avid reader and I cannot remember the last time I read a book. It will all be worth it to stroll the streets of London.
My planner is my saving grace right now. It keeps me on task. I wonder if I can schedule myself a nap? :)

Have a fun and playful day