Thursday, February 19, 2009

moving!


Okay- today is the day- moving day! I hope you will come visit me at my new spot- website and blog all in one - to celebrate there is a little give-away! Thanks so much for reading here and I hope to see you at my new blog!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

green reading


I just got these books in that I ordered for the bookstore where I work and I got the chance to pick these cuties up this morning and browse through them. What's new- board books about animals, trees, senses, and gardens?? Well nothing really new in the subject line- we all have seen a plethora of cutie board books like this, but . . .what I thought was unique about this line is the green factor.

This is a new line from Innovative Kids called Green Start- they are printed on 98% post consumer recycled materials and printed with soy based inks. I also like at the end of each book has "parent tips" that helps you take it one step further.

Lovely and green- psst my favorite is "One Tree"!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

stay tuned . . .


I really wanted to release the new site to you today on my Blogaversary- but you know sometimes the best made plans . . .I am having a couple domain name mapping issues that I hope to get resolved tomorrow- technology is a bugger sometimes!

Till then I wanted to share this really neat book that I picked up today that is pretty fitting. I am not putting blogger in the past, but really do look forward to the future with my new blog. All of these books about "soul work" have caught my eye lately and this one seems really interesting.

It is called Soul Visioning: Clear the Past Creat Your Future by Susan Wisehart. It seems to be workbook style leading through several chapters and steps to learn how your past lives impact your present and future- maybe this will be the year I actually get that past life reading. I trust my incredibly intuitive friend and she has always recommended School of Metaphysics past life intuitive readings.

Heavy duty- but what can be more fun but to learn more about what your own soul is destined to do?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Signs of Spring!

I know, I know- I was probably suppose to be talking about presidents or something like that with the boys home from school today, but I ended up cutting out a bunch of stuff this morning and then the boys and I went out for a "Signs of Spring" walk- with all 3 of us with brand new foraging bags from the handmade world of Etsy- we set out to see what we could.

It is still very much winter- but the sun was shining and we had such a quiet sweet walk in the neighborhood to see those first glimpses of spring that give this Aries girl hope and love for spring! When we stopped at our Goblin Walk tree I found a marble next to the tree. This is the oddest thing that has always happened to me since I was a little girl on the farm where I grew up. Okay- it could be because they were used with slingshots by kiddos back in the day and I am sure trees were often the targets, but I see it as a greater sign of my roots of being a toymaker- hahaha and even more fitting since my last name is Willow and company name is mamaroots- it is cosmic I tell ya!

Above are a couple of the pictures and you can view a small slide show here-spring, spring, spring- I love you spring!

ahhhh


98% done! Yes that is right my kitchen and window remodel project is 98% done and I had a wee party for my parents and older sis this past Valentines. It was so great and I have to say, I love my new kitchen. It may be hard to catch the true essence, but here are a couple of the before and after shots I got. I thought I lost my before shots but found some in a tucked away folder in the computer- ha I am so bad about that!

This project did put a big dent in my crafting time, but I am hoping to get all caught up and new spring stuff loaded in the shop in the next couple of weeks- now to go make that cup of tea in my new digs!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Dear Blogger

you have been a great blog spot, you were there in the beginning and helped me go from "what the heck is a blog" to absolutely loving to blog. But I must confess our relationship has run its course and I will be leaving you soon- but you will always be a fond part of my life.

All kidding aside- I had to write my love break-up letter to blogger today on Valentines because it is coming close to when I will be switching over to a new spot. I really have enjoyed blogger, easy to use, neat gadgets, did I mention free. . .but I wanted to have a blog that could function more like my website and blog all in one spot.

So coming next week will be my new spot- some giveaways and also the February Once Upon a Table story project. I love blogging, I love reading blogs- it is ironic, in some ways I have never felt so connected with people I have never met, and also I love seeing more glimpses in the lives of my dear friends.

So thanks so much for reading, thanks for posting on your blogs so I have fun stuff to read- keep spreading the blog love! I am off to plan a special Goblin Walk for my lovey doveys!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Jasper's Heart is . . .

handmade- after a week long of evening times spent making different Valentines for different folks, Jasper's handmade heart made my heart grow 3 sizes this week, and we are still not quite done!

He started off wanting to make his daddy a pillow- this was out of the blue but he asked for the password to the fabric stash in my studio, needle, thread, and some help from mama. He did the cutting, sewing, and drawing (love those fabric pastels) and I helped him sew the 2 pieces together at the finish. I knew he could not hold out till tomorrow- he was so excited to give it to daddy he surprised him the other night!

This year for his Valentines for classmates he got cardstock in his favorite color- the password for my rubber stamp stash and stamped and wrote out each friends name. I had some extra wood hearts left, and so we drilled holes and put each friends initial on them and then we strung them on some fun eco yarn we got from one of our favorite local yarn shops.

His little fingers we all inky last night when we finished!

**Boxed Valentines from Walmart .99 cents
**Handmade Valentines made over the course of 3 evenings- priceless!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

three simple words . . .

that I love to hear during my day job is . . . do you have . . . and usually this is proceeded by some book title that they are looking for. I am usually in my office looking through catalogs, planning author events, daydreaming about different toys I want to make etc. . . and then I pop out into the stacks and help some customers when I get a chance. Today was one of those days that I got those magical words "do you have" and it was from a young fella visiting campus with his older sibling and family and he was looking for a particular book. He let me know that where he is from they don't have any good bookstores.

Well, my fingers danced across the computer to see if we had it, and score! We had it- as we walked to find the book he told me that he was just about done with the 3rd in that series and was so ready for the next book. Ahhh- that is when being a book buyer is complete- a kiddo coming up asking for this book he is dying for and then having it on the shelf waiting for him! In case you were wondering it was #4 in the Patterson Maximum Ride series for youth reading- huh who knew!

So here are some book recommendations for my younger readers as we are all getting ready to tell Winter bye bye!1- Trudy by Henry Cole- super cute with a surprise ending!
2- Frog, Bee, and Snail Look For Snow by one of my favorite Dutch authors Loek Koopmans
3- Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms by Julia Rawlinson- another funny ending
4- A Bell for Ursli by Selena Chonz- swiss setting and a neat tradition for welcoming spring!

All of these make my mind spin with ideas for new story sets to come to the shop this spring! Here's to good books!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

crafting some change

I was browsing a magazine that I read weekly for the buzz in the book industry and came across this article that talked about a genre of books that is bucking the ecomonic trend- craft books. Seems like us crafty folks know that mantra of "I can make that" instead of always buying it. Please don't get me wrong, it is really troubling to hear about folks loosing their jobs and the economic crisis that we are in, but darn it sometimes I think we do just need to keep our consumerism in check as a society.


I for one was happy to read this article that continues to breath air on the burning desire for people to DIY. So in light of the article, and a current obsession (remember my warnings of my obsessions that come and go) here is a really lovely sewing book that I loved browsing this morning. It is called Home Sewn and has all of the natural and lovely ideas of stuff to sew for your home.
Here is the obsession- there were these amazing dandelion embroidered linen napkins- oh I am in-love with dandelions right now! Soon their sweet little yellow heads will be popping up all over my yard and at The Womb Room!


Here is to finding some dandelions this spring and wishing for some change for our economy-

Monday, February 9, 2009

sweetness

Blimey where did the past few days go- what have I been doing? Well the ongoing drama of the remodel continues to unfold, but we are getting oh so close and we are in the unpacking and more cleaning phase with trim and paint touch ups happening in the evenings! I am having a kitchen warming, anniversary party for my folks on Saturday and decided to also plan a goblin walk for my boys and neice and nephew on Saturday during the party! I will post more details to come but it is so sweet and fun to plan these out!


So I also wanted to pass on a reminder for the Missouri folks that tomorrow is the annual Cookies Day at the Missouri State Capitol. I just learned that there is another attempt to repeal the language that finally made Midwives legal in Missouri once more. Here is a link to the article to read more about it. I am not able to get off work to go down, but if you get a chance it would be a great time to visit once more with the Missouri folks to let them know Missouri women are capable of making their own choice in childbirth.



As an extra sweet treat, Jennifer Block, the author of Pushed will be at the 1:00 rally in the Rotunda. See the Friends of Missouri Midwives website for the full details but basically in 3 easy steps:

*make some yummy homemade cookies

*attach a sweet valentine and write a message from your family

*go to the Capitol- meet outside Room 113 and deliver your treats!


Speaking of Cookie Day- it was that day 2 years ago that was my first blog post! You may have noticed this past week a bit of an absence from me. I decided to take the plunge and merge both my website and blog into one spot- a weblog I believe they are called. So behind the scenes I have been working on creating a new blog that gives you access to individual pages for The Womb Room, Crafty Mamas, Root Children, etc . . . so needless to say my nights have been busy!
So watch out for the move- I decided to leave this blog up as an archive. I will have some fun give-away contests also! I am anticipating the new spot to be up on my blogaversary of 2/17!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

root children


When you have a few little Renicks lined up on your craft table ready for paint it can mean nothing else except that tomorrow is his debut at Root Children story and hand craft! I am so excited to be sharing him tomorrow with my special friends- most of them under 3 feet tall!

We will be reading "Naming Renick" - my first children's book and making medicine bags. Look forward to seeing you tomorrow!

It is freezing today but I am still dreaming of spring . . .

Last night we lit our Brigit candle at dinner and thought about the warmth of the flame, melting the snow and ice and letting those shoots come up! Then we all gave our wishes and blew out the flame together, breath from the four directions! So we sent our wishes up and mine always include an early spring!


I am a spring baby and I love those first hints of green- so it does not help that this morning the wind chill was like -12 when I got up, but to keep my spirit light I thought I would share some recent goodies that I got with spring in mind. A couple of these are getting tucked away until just the right day for the boys- but these are all so fun.

I just love the creativity and love in so many handmade items out there! So these are my

4-For Spring Loves!


1-Herbal Roots- Feb 09- from Luna Farm Creations- this lovely mama is just a few hours away from me, so I am hoping to meet her this summer! This is a great PDF for herbal learning with kiddos! I am so excited to explore this with the boys- if you purchase a copy mention me as a referral and I just might get a free copy next month hehehe- she is also dedicating her Monday posts the the Herbal Roots subscribers-

2. Berries Foraging Bag- from tiny happy shop- these just made me smile so I had to get this- it will be perfect for our nature and troll walks- what is a troll walk- oh that is another post all together but probably soon as the boys have been asking me for one!

3. Nature/Playground Scavenger Hunt cards- from Blynken and Nod- so well made and cute- laminated and so sweet. Keep them together or take them apart- a talented mama who made that amazing Amend the CPSIA graphic.

4. Mushroom Foraging Bag- from tiny happy shop- well I could not have just one, each of my boys had to have a lovely foraging bag! Too sweet to resist!

Well- I can keep dreaming as I put on all my layers of winter clothes! Happy dreams to you-

Monday, February 2, 2009

Shadow Play

Happy Groundhog's Day, Candlemas, Imbolc . . . oh and big happy Anniversary to my parents who celebrated their 40th yesterday- hehehe- I guess that means the 4-0 will be here for me in a few years, but I get to watch my big sis hit the milestone first!

So I guess you may have heard that Phil saw his shadow today- yep 6 more weeks of winter- this is always the hardest month for me to get through! But I thought I would share some history of today- I just love love love how oral folklore and history transcend down over time. I found this nice concise history from a landscaping website that was more about pest control, but . . . that set aside there was a good history of today:

In its earliest incarnation, Groundhog Day was Imbolc, a pagan celebration associated with fertility and weather divination. The word, Imbolc is Gaelic, the language of the Celts. There is a strong association between Imbolc and Brigid, a Celtic fertility goddess. When the pagan holidays were transformed into Catholic equivalents, two new holidays emerged from Imbolc. One, Saint Brigid's Day (a.k.a. Saint Bridget's Day), was celebrated on February 1. Saint Brigid's Day honored an Irish saint, named after the Celtic goddess, who was a contemporary of Saint Patrick's.
The second holiday deriving from Imbolc was Candlemas Day and was celebrated on February 2 (Groundhog Day). Candlemas was the feast of Mary's purification and was marked by a candle procession. The ties between purification rituals and the month of February also hark back to the pagan era. Indeed, our very word, "February," which derives from Latin, unmistakably designates the month as a time for purification (februa means "expiatory offerings"). The Lupercalia, a pagan Roman purification ritual, took place in February.
But how did a groundhog become the symbol for a holiday that was marked by a candle procession? Well, the Romans, for instance, had celebrated a rough equivalent to our Groundhog Day in early February -- only a hedgehog was in charge of the weather divination, not a groundhog. And such beliefs survived the Christianization of Europe (going "underground," if you will), attaching themselves to Candlemas Day as folklore. European settlers in North America kept the pagan tradition alive, but substituted the native groundhog for the European hedgehog. Clearly, Imbolc and the older traditions have won out: today in North America, almost everyone in the general public has heard of "Groundhog Day," while mention of "Candlemas Day" would generally draw expressions of puzzlement!

Most people have now distanced themselves from fertility rites, purification rituals and weather divination (well, except for meteorologists, perhaps!). Nonetheless, on some level, don't we still intuitively associate fertility and purification with spring? Nor can we help but spend our winters speculating on spring's arrival. If hope had a scent, it would be the smell in the air on a warm February day.

Isn't that fun! I was so excited to wake up today and see that Phil and Bill- my groundhog brothers made it into the Etsy Storeque Great Finds spot for today- they or I should say I am blushing! How sweet!




So in the spirit of Imbolc- the forth coming spring, my spirit animal- and the burning creative spirit- here is an older picture of me conversing with my spirit animal via shadow play!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Ahhh- some relief . . .

I am on my way out the door The Womb Room to meet up with my Crafty Mamas and make some handcarved stamps for valentines and I took a second to check the Etsy Forums for CPSIA news- a multi day ritual as Feb gets closer and saw this:

CPSC Grants One Year Stay of Testing and Certification Requirement

Oh I am so excited- I have so many ideas for new toys and story sets that I have been holding back on- Yeah- but I need to read up more on the details . . .

Off to meet with the mamas-

ribbit

I wish I had a picture of a new forthcoming book to show you but it is not to be found yet. As a girl growing up in the 70's the Arnold Lobel books were my staple beginning reading books- how could I resist Tear Tea from Owl and the hilarious bumps in his bed, Mouse Soup, Grasshopper in the Road, and of course Frog and Toad!

I was so excited to hear yesterday that a new Arnold Lobel book is coming out in May. His daughter who is also an artist, discovered several of her father's handmade books and together with Harper Collins publishers put together some the best poems and pictures to create Frogs and Toads All Sang-
Described as "silly sweetness" this is one that will make my spring! In the essence of silly sweetness- here is a picture of a couple of fellas I work with that I talked into being Frog and Toad for me a last year at the bookstore where I work- how cute is that!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Once Upon a Table . . .


You may remember last month when I had the first Story Table Project -Tomten- with a few days to spare I finished up the tutorial for the January project. I also came up with a name for this ongoing monthly offering:


Some coordinating ideas are brewing but wanted to offer this for some cozy storytelling as we go into the final stretch of winter!

Enjoy! Let me know what you think! This is called Brigit and the Wheel- it celebrates Candlemas.

wishes


I could not resist showing this amazing graphic made by Hilary, blynkenandnod of Etsy. In it's simplicity it says so much . . .

CPSIA Blog In- Holding the Key

Right now as my fingers dance across this keyboard- I envision tons of other fingers and hands that are usually crafting away. Fingers weaving, sewing, sanding, painting- cottage industry folks who I would imagine would much rather be making some amazing handmade children's items than blogging about trying to find away for our voices to be heard.

I am still meeting folks who have not heard of the CPSIA that was enacted last August so I wanted to share some basic information that was put together from an Etsy forum if you are curious how the new Consumer Protection Safety Information Act will affect you:
How will these new laws affect you?
Well, here are a few examples:
To the Parents of Young Students: Due to the new law, expect to see the cost of school supplies sky rocket. While those paper clips weren't originally intended for your student to use, they will need to be tested now that your 11-year-old needs them for his school project. This law applies to any and all school supplies (textbooks, pencils, crayons, paper, etc.) being used by children under 12.


To the Avid Reader: Due to the new law, all children's books will be pulled from library and school shelves, as there is no exemption for them. That’s okay though, there's always television. Our children don’t need to learn the love of reading after all.Article from the American Library Association http://www.wo.ala.org/districtdispatch/?p=1322


To the Lover of All Things Handmade: Due to the new law, you will now be given a cotton ball and an instruction manual so you can make it yourself since that blanket you originally had your eye on for $50 will now cost you around $1,000 after it's passed testing. It won't even be the one-of-a-kind blanket you were hoping for. Items are destroyed in the testing process making one-of-a-kind items virtually impossible. So that gorgeous hand-knit hat you bought your child this past winter won’t be available next winter.


To the Environmentalist: Due to the new law, all items in non-compliance will now be dumped into our already overflowing landfills. Imagine not just products from the small business owners, but the Big Box Stores as well. You can't sell it so you must toss it. Or be potentially sued for selling it. You can't even give them away. If you are caught, it is still a violation.


To the Second-Hand Shopper: Due to the new law, you will now need to spend $20 for that brand new pair of jeans for your 2-year old, rather than shop at the Goodwill for second hand. Many resale shops are eliminating children's items all together to avoid future lawsuits.


To the Entrepreneur: Due to this new law, you will be forced to adhere to strict testing of your unique products or discontinue to make and/or sell them. Small businesses will be likely to be unable to afford the cost of testing and be forced to close up shop. Due to the current economic state, you'll have to hope for the best when it comes to finding a new job in Corporate America.


To the Antique Toy Collector: Due to the new law, you'd better start buying now because it's all going to private collection and will no longer be available to purchase. “Because the new rules apply retroactively, toys and clothes already on the shelf will have to be thrown out if they aren't certified as safe.” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123189645948879745.html

To the American Economy: Already struggling under an economy that hasn’t been this weak in decades, the American economy will be hit harder with the inevitable loss of jobs and revenues from suppliers, small businesses and consumers. The required testing is far too costly and restrictive for small businesses or individuals to undertake.

To the Worldwide Economy: Due to this new law, many foreign manufacturers have already pulled out of the US market. You can imagine the impact of this on their businesses.

If you think this is exaggerating, here is a recent article from Forbeshttp://www.forbes.com/2009/01/16/cpsia-safety-toys-oped-cx_wo_0116olson.htmlAnd for those of you prepared to be stupefied and boggled,


Did you know? If this upsets or alarms you, please react.
Now- because I am also a storyteller, or talkie talk as my friends and family like to call me, I thought I would share a story with you. See that is one of the really great things about all of these local cottage industry folks is that you can get to know me- I am a one-mama company. I am happy to answer questions and share who I am.

So- this is a story about me. I grew up in the country in the midwest. I grew up pretty humbly- I always had clothes on my back, homegrown food on my plate, and tons of love around me. Some of my first memories were of living in a trailer next to an abandoned big farm house that my parents were remodeling for us to live in. It was the middle of the middle of the midwest. I meandered through the house and all the barns, fields, woods growing up as my parents worked hard everyday making this old home beautiful and tilling up the soil to grow our food. Sure I had toys also- most of my play was domestic play and full of imagination. For some reason though I always remember going to some friends of my parents house and they had tons of plastic toys that fascinated me. This was the 70's and it was Fisher Price heaven. I had my dolls, a wood cradle my great grandpa had made and lots of stuff around me to make things out of.

For some reason I was always fascinated my my friend Jamie's plastic giant keys- I don't know why- but they really seemed so neat to me. I had a skeleton key from our house. Yes I did have some plastic toys here and there, but in so much appreciation now to my parents- they just did not buy us a ton of stuff. I appreciate that so much now- because I always had their love and desire to create.

Flash forward 30 some years and I have my own children. I knew from the time they were babies that I wanted them to have as many natural toys as possible. It was only natural that I made toys for them. When I started working with wood, want to guess what one of the first things I made was? Wood keys- all natural- toss them in the woods when you are done keys! Everytime I sit down to make another set, one of my favorite things to do is listen to the way they sound clinking together- so natural. I cut each and every key out by hand- sand it by hand, color it with the same non-toxic watercolors my son's paint with and seal it all up with beeswax mixed with jojoba oil.

I love making these and really feel that for me natural, imagination driven, handmade childrens creations are a vital key to a sustainable, slow, greenroots based vital part of our economy. Just for fun I thought I would show you a couple comparison pictures, a couple of the keys that I make, and a picture of some I found on-line- plastic, noise making, battery operated keys . . .made by who? made where?





This is a great link if you would like to be part of the activism that is spreading- oh and thanks for sharing in my childhood moment that started my fascnination with keys and thanks to my folks for a great way to grow up!

Monday, January 26, 2009

the burning muse

shew it finally came . . .amidst the paint fumes and dust at my house of our extended (unintentionally) remodel last night and today the Story Table project came to me. Remember the Tomten project in December? Well this is a fun one celebrating Candlemas- stay tuned. I will be taking the pictures and writing up the tutorial in the next couple of days. This new venture is called:

Once Upon a Table- Story Table Projects

beige is the new black or is it green?


What am I going to do? It has been a question that I have been asked by a reporter, fellow craftsman, customers, and myself.

The CPSIA debaucle is looming and I have been thinking about it alot. I am not very good at reading government documents, (though I have been trying) and reading blogs, Etsy forum ect . . . But regardless Feb 10 is just around the corner so I do need to make a game plan. First I will continue my teacher, storyteller, and birthing line of gifts as these are not affected. I will also continue a few collectibles such as the Imaginary Friends line as these are a collectible OOAK wood art that is for the Lifestraws project.

But what about all the toys? Well, in my heart I do feel this will all get worked out- but as it stands now there is not a fiscally reasonable testing method that I can afford, nor do I wish to raise my prices to cover the testing expense. This past weekend I did go through and spot test my toys with a home lead test and not to my surprise they came up lead free. But that does not satisfy the new law.

As soon as I see in writing the the proposal of unaltered natural materials has been exempted I will be creating the Naked Natural line- it will many of my classic wood animals and toys without the color, without the beeswax seal. I am putting together a zine that will accompany each toy that gives activism talking points to direct customers too, before and after images, and recommendation on the non-toxic finishes I normally use. I am also in the works of putting together homemade beeswax seal that I will not charge for and include and let the parents choose to use it.

So this is my ode to colors, some have said that beige will be the new black- but you know this is how I see it, it will be more like green, like grassroots green- it is my way of not giving up and closing shop but still trying to figure this all out. I am starting to re-read The Secret tonight to remind myself of the positive energy and it's force!


Till then this is my Mouse Paint story set for the love of color and a sweet video I found of a song my Jasper loves to sing- I hope our children will not just have to sing about color but will be able to have it in their natural toys as well!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

celebrating


some visual treats last night! It was such a great opportunity to celebrate some art in my community! The 3rd annual Art Auction and Silent Film to benefit my oldest son's school was such fun. It worked out that the boys ended up at my folks for a sleepover and hubby and I got a date!

I had a lovely time visiting with folks and then it happened- a piece of art just reached out and tugged on my heart- I new I must have this piece! After some neurotic hovering over the bid sheets I was victorious! This small subtle piece is entitle "Urge to Worship II"- it symbolizes my boys and my spirituality in one. Under these trees with sticks in their hands . . . under the deep winter . . . the energy of these 2 boys swirling in the trees- oh I just loved it. And yes here is the honesty- many times those actual sticks in my boys hands maybe somewhat more weapon oriented than I usually like, but many times they are wands, fort builders, magical sticks!

I caught a few moments of a Buster Keaton silent film- a true celebration of cinema art before I purchased my art and then headed to our local independent theatre for Slumdog Millionaire- I am still absorbing that movie- a dynamic movie- a dynamic date celebrating art.

You can bet I was rested and missing my boys this morning when they came running through the snow to my front door all smiling and loving being spoiled at my folks place!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

painting community


I have often been apart of the the discussion about education with children. It naturally happens when you have children. Thanks to the country where we live there are so many choices that we have as parents- public, private, homeschool, etc . . . Isn't it great to have the freedom choose. We can be king for a day in so many different learning settings.

I think the one thing for me as a mama, my hubby and I as parents believe is that if families define and create something that works for them that is what is important. What may work for some folks may not work for others. When we can peacefully look at a non-judgmental place of sharing those worlds- the beauty of learning can happen.

For our family we did choose to go with public school. In making that choice though we did look at our neighborhood school and then decided to seek out a different option. Our community has something really unique to a public school setting- it is a school whose curriculum is based on the arts. It is the Expressive Arts school that approaches all learning from art. I really enjoy this approach to learning. Is it perfect- well no, but nothing really is, but I love that it is this small old school nestled in the downtown of my community a short walk from where both me and hubby work.

But here is the lovely part of this school- with every brush stroke of paint, every small hand hitting drum or transforming clay into a figure a community is created. I love walking up the sidewalk and seeing my friends and getting to talk with my son's friends. I love going to the local community Art Studio with other mamas to work on the upcoming fundraiser while our children are scattered about the floor with pencils in hand creating pictures for each other.

Tonight is one of the annual fundraisers for the school at the recently renovated Missouri Theatre. It is a Silent Film and then Art Auction for the school. The boys and I stopped by yesterday to drop off some wood mushrooms we made to donate to the art sale. I am so excited to be apart of this community- vibrant and growing.

We create a loving learning atmosphere at home centered on art and storytelling, I adore the festivals we go to and share at the local Waldorf school. So what type of schooling do we have for our children? Well we like to call it the shoedgepodge- kinda like hodgepodge but with the schomaker side- (shoemaker) walking our own walk- underneath that willow tree!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

tweet!




I discovered a tweet giveaway indeed today- on the wings of change it has been great fun discovering all of these different beauties- if you have a thing for some birds be sure to check out the listing of individual blogs!





I also wanted to share a new storyset that I finished up that was so much fun! It was inspired by both a lovely story "The Robot and the Bluebird" and all of my Missouri friends that help me create such a cozy nest at The Womb Room! I will be listing another set soon at the Etsy Shop as my first set went to my boys who told me that the first toy I make in a series is always the special one for them! Seriously did you hear my heart break with that one!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

like a ray of hope



my tears were dropping down my cheek, falling on my son's shirt as he sat in my lap basking in the rays of hope . . .

Monday, January 19, 2009

How Do You See Yourself?


I know this may be a stretch, but yes this is my Inauguration Eve post- I have thought alot about how we are seen as a country on the eve of this incredible historic and hopeful presidency. I listened to a great story on the radio about how other countries like France are now looking at America and what we did this past election and now looking at race issues in their own country.

Wow it feels good to be looked at again as a country that is hopeful and diverse. I have a thing for toys that personalize our portraits and it is so funny to sit back with some craft in my lap and watch them play out their imaginations with their toys!

Here are a couple newbies!

1- Our woody family by Dawn Alice Designs- so cute
2-My Custom Set I ordered from Woodmouse- so beautiful- this toy is for me!
3-A new favorite- my boy fairies (shhh . . .they have not seen these yet) from Star House- so sweet!
4-Freshly made today- Jasper and Silas' self portrait sock puppets!- Jasper set up this tutorial for us to do today, and I broke out my stash of my grandmama's buttons I played with when I was little!

So how do I see myself tonight- crafty, happy, and hopefull!

Friday, January 16, 2009

change


sometimes it is a little dusty, okay alot dusty, but change can be so exciting! We are on the homeward stretch of our kitchen remodel and the dust feels like it is in my clothes, my tea cup, my tooth brush, wait it is in all of those places, but . . . it means:

1-our 1/2 person kitchen can now at least be a 2 person kitchen
2-our boys can eat their breakfast at a breakfast bar instead of the cobblers bench on the floor!
3-I can look out into the front yard from the new kitchen window
4-I can grow to love my humble little abode even more- a place where we live, love, be born, and grow!

Now onto the painting tomorrow- though to be honest I am chomping at the bit to make toys and paint them instead of the walls- I will have to sneak in some craft time!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Last Day to Vote

Save Handmade! BuyHandmade.org

My head is definitely still swimming with all of the CPSIA stuff, but just a reminder that TODAY is the last day to vote at Change.org- to at least get this issue presented to President Obama-

I believe it is currently in 6th place- the top 10 make it to a presentation to the President. Let's keep spreading those out those grassroots!

Save Small Business from CPSIA

As a proud mommy blog- I thought this comment was very interesting from a representative from CPSC that "mommy-blogs spreading misinformation "- hmmm- does that show the scope of their underestimating what we do as moms and natural toy makers???? Check out the story here and a link to the video.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Graditude

During our bitterly cold night, Jody and I trying to fend off some colds our selves and also having to mostly hunker down in the basement of our house to avoid the dust and nails upstairs we decided to go ahead and make our thank you cards tonight for the wonderful holiday presents we received.

I love being able to find a way to engage the boys in this also. Here is a real simple but sweet way to make a thank you, have your kiddos write thank you however they like- snap a picture of their cutie pie faces- use a simple postcard program like Publisher, give them some space to write their name or other thanks and shebam- a sweet little thank you postcard!

This is the picture from the photo shoot tonight that we ended up using- Jasper has been enjoying making "curly" letters! I also have to love Silas' signature!

Thanks to everyone for your great support!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

It is getting wild . . .


Anyone else dreaming about CPSIA? Besides this affecting me as a mama who wants quality toys for my children and as a natural toymaker, this new law is equally affecting during my day job as a book buyer. I am trying to figure out this new law and how it affects the books that i purchase for my local independent bookstore- so confusing. It is equally confusing for libraries also. Here is some early morning reading I did today:

Congress bans kids from libraries?
New safety law may prohibit children under 12 from libraries – or make many books illegal

I generally say I am a posititve person and am still very much holding to the light that this will all work out in the end. Part of my continuing to be positive about the whole situation is to offer a moment of my gratitude each day of blogging. Today I am so grateful I have 2 spirited, imaginative boys to read to and to always make toys for. Jasper asked me to other day if I will make toys for his kids someday- how is that for a swollen mama heart and a very loud rompus YES!

I leave you this morning with 2 books that I am not recommending yet . . . but just wanted to share what is on my reading list. These are both YA or young adult titles that I wanted to read last fall but am going to dedicated the winter weeks to reading them. As a book buyer for both the bookstore and myself I am a sucker for covers- as they are intended to be eye catchers. Both of these books seemed so interesting.



Bird is by Rita Murphy- look at the cover- an old house, a girl named Miranda who must wear special boots to keep her grounded so the wind does not take her away, and a spinsterly widow named Wysteria- yeah this book had me at the old house!




The other book that will be gracing my bookshelf next to my bed is Mimus by Lilli Thal and translated from the original German by John Brownjohn. What is it about Jesters- this is the second book that the jester just jumped out at me! I feel a wood jester series coming soon to the shop! From what I read this is a fairly dark and original fantasy, so I will wait to give a full recommendation on this until I read it! I believe also the mimus is another word for mockingbird- hmm wonder how that will play into it! I am really interested in the role of the jester though in history- my obsessive side of my personality it chomping at the bit for something just like this! There is a lesson plan for this one here.
What is on your reading list?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

why I love where I live

I love living in Columbia- it is not too big like the city living I did fresh out of college, and it is not tooo small like I had growing up in a rural farm town- but just right. I also love that it is a liberal college town with lots of activity happening! This came through in an e-mail and cracked me up! Though I am not sure I will make it down to the "note" for this one, it gives me an idea to host a little Bye Bye Bush party of my own!

Peaceworks and our allies in the Columbia Peace Coalition invite you to participate in a festive evening celebrating the end of an era (or was that error?). Somehow, we have survived the past eight years and, despite all the harm and suffering that the exiting administration has caused, this is reason to celebrate. We will be holding the Bye Bye Bush Bash--A People's Inaugural.

This free event will include a potluck dinner (at 5:30), speakers, music, a costume contest (come dressed as an artifact of the Bush era), an open mic, games, and much more.


I also wanted to share something that caught my eye that was just plain interesting. It doesn't deal with birth, or crafting, or books, or handmade toys- it is completely different but worth blogging about. I read about this in the most recent Inside Columbia magazine and could not find a link to the article but googled another article that talked about Green Burial options that forming in the area. This article is about a Wiccan group that is creating a "green" burial area, but I also found information about an area here in Columbia also called Pushing Up Daisies. Now mind you readers that I am not obsessed with death- though I spent my early wanna be photographer years photographing and charting Missouri artistic movements via tombstones . . . but I have always struggled myself with what I would like to happen to me when I enter into that part of my cycle of life- this by far has been the most appealing so far!

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