Thursday, April 30, 2009

Kids Konserve Discount!

I know I talk quite a lot about environment and have committed to teaching my children a more eco-friendly lifestyle but I am honestly not fanatical. It's the simple everyday things I have focused on because I feel the little things add up and everyone must start somewhere. Alright I am a bit fanatical about recycling and reuse. Lately this eco-friendly idea has really become a more mainstream craze and I'm glad! Schools in many places are becoming focused on waste-free lunches and Kids Konserve makes this reality much simpler with their Reusable Waste Free Lunch Kits and lunch accessories. I love these! One child on average creates 67 lbs of lunchtime waste per school year. If we could cut back on the use of plastic baggies, throw-away containers, and juice cartons think of what a difference we could make! For two women this translated into a mission and a business!You can order lunch accessories individually but Kids Konserve also bundles their products into perfect kits. A lunch kit includes a stylish recycled cotton lunch bag with a recycled aluminum name tag, two stainless steel food containers, a food kozy, a cloth napkin, and a stainless steel drinking bottle! Yes, I said stainless steel food containers! Stainless steel as many fans of the stainless steel water bottle know, is the safest material to store your food in! This eliminates the BPA anxiety today's parents are feeling and they are far more durable and easy to clean than plastic. Everything in these kits is reusable! Kids Konserve is also launching a Build your own kit for back to school in 2009. The kits are $40-$42 but because they are totally reusable and you won't need to buy the disposable bags and containers it is a worthwhile investment.
Kids Konserve provides many opportunities for school fundraisers as well. Imagine helping the environment and your child's school with one fundraiser! Schools can gain 10% of the sales if they participate in a waste free lunch challenge or they can purchase and sell stainless steel bottles customized with the school logo!

Kids Konserve is currently offering Northern Mama readers a 10% discount on their products until May 31st, 2009! To get the 10% please use the code: northern when ordering!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

There was an Old Lady....

I think most of us are familiar with the traditional children's song and story "There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly"! Well here's a cute hands on twist to the tale. Children love to act out, role play, or have some kind of hands on experience with literature. A familiar story can become that much more exciting when you add one new element. Puppets are a great way to engage children in literature and storytelling but what about a very large interactive puppet? Even better right? I think the "Old Lady" puppet is so much fun! Mine pictured above is made from two paper shopping bags but one could be really crafty and make a perhaps more durable fabric version.
How to make it:
~Take your first paper shopping bag and cut a rectangular hole in the center of it. Make sure it is on the side of the bag where the bottom flaps down.
~Under the flap cut a mouth shaped hole {a large half circle}. This will be the mouth opening of your puppet.
~Use a clear transparency or perhaps a transparent report cover to cover the large rectangle you cut in the center of the bag. You can glue this on from the inside of the bag. This will form the Old Lady's see-through tummy.
~Take your second paper bag of similar size and insert it into the first so they form a doubled bag then staple them together around the bag opening.
~Out of cardboard or bristol board create two old lady legs, arms and a large face to fit over the flap formed by the bottom of the bag. Glue or staple on these pieces.

You should now have an "Old Lady" puppet. You can embellish it by adding cotton ball hair, a protruding pointy nose, pipe cleaner glasses, or maybe some lace around the bottom of her dress to hide the staples.

Now to make it interactive!
~Find graphics online, in colouring books, or even draw your own pictures of the animals the Old Lady eats in the story. Cut these out and if you like laminate them to make them more durable. Your children can now feed these to the Old Lady as you tell the story and because her tummy is see-through your children will be able to see her tummy fill with animals!

There are now many new versions of this timeless favourite. "There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Bell" is I believe the title of the Christmas version. You could create the graphics to fit each new version and the puppet will become a new thrill all over again!

Bow me over Bows -- Review and Giveaway!

I have two beautiful daughters who are both rambunctious and carefree! They are absolutely adorable...if I do say so myself, one with long flowing dark hair and the other with long silky blond tresses and both with no interest in ponytails! This can pose a problem for mommy who would love to keep their wild hair somewhat tidy. Enter Bow Me Over Bows! Though my girls love to out run the best of the boys and keep up with their older brother they also love being girls. Bow Me Over Bows even caught the hair care fickle eye of my little beauties.
The hair bows we received were bright and cheerful delights. My daughters could not wait to wear them! As I have said my girls do not care to restrain their hair in ponytails {they have just recently given up their weekly protest on dance nights and have resolved themselves to that torture} but they don't mind clips and barrettes which are quick and simple and I guess feel less restraining. Usually I have to suggest barrettes but now that we have Bow Me Over Bows the girls need no suggestion!

I have a larger Boutique Style Bow attached to a french clip barrette. What I like about this barrette style is that it snaps together tightly around the hair and does not easily come unsnapped. It is also easier to open and close than those barrettes that have to be slid closed from one side and often become loose. My eldest daughter loves this beautiful bow of green and floral ribbons especially. It is not only vibrant but is adorned with a large tree button which says "Tree Hugger"! I love the environmental sentiment and my daughter thinks it's just "cool"! These bows are about 3 inches and work well for older girls and toddlers with a substantial amount of hair.

If you have a younger child or are looking for something slightly smaller Michele also makes equally beautiful bitty bows on clips with that all important Velcro which keeps them from slipping! We tried a bitty bow and what I think is fabulous is how easy it is to clip one on my daughter and go there's no tricky closure to deal with and everyone comments on how lovely their hair is even though you spent exactly 5 seconds doing it! Our bitty bow is fuchsia with an adorable hot pink button in the center. Again I was drawn to the vibrancy of it's colour but Bow Me Over Bows offers so many choices and such wonderful variety to suit any one's tastes!

Fear not if your daughter is not a fan of bows because Bow Me Over Bows also has clippees. These ribbon covered clips like the bitty bows are made with that not so secret slip-free ingredient...Velcro and are as simple as clip and go! Again we went with the environmental them and received a very cool green clippee with a "Keep the Earth Beautiful" peace sign which both my daughters love so they wear it interchangeably!
I have seen many hair bow and clip companies online but Michele's really caught my eye! My daughters have very vibrant and spirited personalities and these bows are like the icing on a cake. They really reflect their personalities, make a statement, and allow them self-expression and confidence! Bow Me Over Bows makes being a girl fun and isn't that what it should be?
Now your daughters or another little girl you cherish can express their vibrant personalities with three hair accessories from Bow Me Over Bows! Michele is offering a lucky Northern Mama reader: One Boutique Style Bow, One Bitty Bow, and One clippee of the reader's choice!
To Enter:
  • Visit Bow Me Over Bows and tell me what three bows/clips you would choose if you won {Required}
  • If you are a non-blogger you can still enter but be sure to leave your email!

Extra Entries:

  • Follow my blog
  • Subscribe via email
  • Grab my Button
  • Blog about this giveaway with a link back here {please include the link to your post with your comment}

{Please leave a separate comment for each entry}

This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents. Giveaway closes May 14th, 2009 10:00pm CT. Please see General Giveaway Rules for details.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Syracuse Cultural Workers Winner!

3. Pam said...
I'm a subscriber.melacan at hotmail dot com
April 14, 2009 4:12 PM

Congratulations Pam!! I will email you now.

Amauti -- The Arctic Baby Sling!

As I hop around the mommy blogosphere I am constantly inundated with the world of infants. Unlike many of the mommy bloggers I've encountered I no longer have a tiny bundle of joy but rather three independent little grown-ups! I admit I love the baby gear and have seen some very exciting new products I only wish I had access when I was a new mommy. I am particularly impressed by the many versions of baby slings and would probably have been a sling mama had I lived in the south at the time but instead I was an amauti mama and loved it! For those of you without knowledge of the arctic and its people an amauti is the traditional baby packing parka of the Inuit. Working and travelling the tundra through the brutality of an arctic winter's weather required very special protection for an infant.
I imagine... the young woman drops one kamik padded foot off the edge of the komatik, the wooden sled laden with caribou skins and a few cherished tools. Her half-moon shaped knife is tucked safely in a sealskin pouch along side the soapstone seal oil lamp she will use that night to light and heat the newly finished igloo. The dogs whimper and howl as they stop and eagerly turn to chew the sled runners fashioned of frozen fish wrapped in thinning hides. The woman smiles at her man as he smacked wildly at the dogs calling them away from their sled scavenging, her grin marred by teeth dulled from the constant chewing it takes to soften hides for sewing. She turns to place both feet sturdily onto the solidly frozen earth and heaves herself forward hefting the weight of the baby upon her back. The wind is up and she lifts the hood of her amauti up over her head careful to tuck her dark hair under on either side. Her hair is wrapped tightly to sticks on either side of her head with thongs of caribou hides she had cleaned and cut into strips with her sharpened ulu. She pulled the hood down over her tanned forehead and shifted the baby hidden safely in the pocket upon her back. Her man had already cut several blocks of snow and had aligned them. He was cutting the tops diagonally with his puna, the machete-like snow knife he always carried at his side. She must start to unpack the sled. She needed to find the large flat wooden shovel she would soon use to throw snow upon the dome of the snow house her man was constructing. The loose snow she threw would fill the cracks between the snow blocks which would protect them from the elements. She was a strong woman and well schooled in the ways of her people. She knew there was a second puna strapped somewhere onto the sled. Perhaps she would help to cut blocks of snow for the little house they would create to safely keep the sled from the scavenging dogs and hungry wandering animals. Baby on her back she began to work!

I never had to endure the difficult life of an Inuit woman on the land in the Canadian arctic wilds but I love to envision how it must have been. I gained a great respect for how it must have been to travel and work the land with a baby on ones back in the biting cold. I packed my babies, as they say, upon my back walking through the arctic communities in which we lived. I even packed my babies upon my back in the arctic winter upon a skidoo on short land excursions but could never bring myself to go too far for too long. In the summers I was less wary to venture further using a lighter version of an amauti termed a packing shirt. The fear of frost bite and exposure if I decided to "unpack" my babe no longer a concern. My amauti granted me the freedom to venture out of my home with my baby in the winter months without worry and that was a gift of Inuit ingenuity I was very thankful for. Having one's baby on one's back is a very different experience from that of most women in our western society. Women in our society feel comforted by the sight of their baby. In this world view having one's baby strapped to one's belly or chest is felt to be more intimate and protective but for me packing my babies on my back gave me the freedom of movement not easily granted by carrying a baby in front and was still intimate and warming. I would not trade my baby "packing" experience for any western ideal! I now display my amauti proudly in my home as a piece of personal memorabilia and functional art!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Re-Read Review and Giveaway!

As far back as I can recall I have been passionate about books. Perhaps this fascination began as a toddler with my daily ritual of emptying my mother's living room bookshelf. I do enjoy curling up with a great story but my obsession with books extends beyond reading them. I am a book hoarder! Over the years my collection has caused our shelves to overflow and our storage to become cluttered with stacked boxes filled with tomes. When last we moved a colleague of my husband's helped and laughed each time I answered his questions about the contents of boxes with the response, "Oh it's full of books". I refrained from telling him that I had sold and donated about 5 large rubber maid bins of books before moving! There is something about the smell of a new book, and the texture of an old one that is irresistible to me. My children and husband are also book lovers so at least I am understood by my clan! Books in our home are sacred ...but I have often pondered over what to do when a book has past its usefulness to anyone. I dread the idea of having to throw out a book. I have relented and thrown a few in the recycling but the founder of RE-read had the fabulous idea to upcycle children's books into unique and quirky brooches, earrings, and bookmarks!

I have two RE-read brooches. They are very light weight and simple in concept but would look fabulous pinned to a silk scarf! These brooches are made in a variety of shapes from hearts to owls, wolves to penguins! I like that they are quirky and are often adorned with words or phrases.
Like the heart that says, "I was right!" or "lost again". The page segments are selected with an artist's eye!

These charming little items are made by a woman named Hayley in Australia and are not only made of upcycled book pages but are packaged in them. One Northern Mama reader will receive two brooches from RE-read --One heart shaped and one owl shaped.

To Enter:

  • Visit RE-read and let me know what your favourite item is. {Required}
  • Non-bloggers can also enter just leave your email address with your comment!

Extra Entries:

  • Follow my blog
  • Subscribe via email
  • Grab my Button
  • Blog about this contest with a link to Northern Mama {please leave the link to your post with your comment}

{Please leave a separate comment for each entry}

Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents. Giveaway closes May 12th 2009 10:00 pm CT. Please read General Giveaway Rules for details.

Skoy Cloths Review and Giveaway!

Skoj is a Swedish word for "Just for Fun" but SKOY cloths are not simply for fun! 2.5 million tons of paper towel fill landfills in the US annually! This equals an incredible amount of waste and uses an incredible amount of paper which means of course trees. Yes there are sponges but they tend to soon fill with bacteria and are not washer safe. Regular cloths are fine but often are not extremely absorbent. What if there was a cloth which could outlast 15 rolls of paper towel, was 100% biodegradable, natural, and reusable? What if this cloth could absorb 15 times its own weight and was also washable? Well, such a cloth does exist! SKOY is all these things.
I was given a package of SKOY cloths to review and was so impressed with their absorbency and effectiveness. They are durable and I love that they can be thrown in the washer and drier or even the dishwasher. I always despise how smelly regular cloths can become due to bacteria. This is not a concern with SKOY cloths which can be sanitized in the microwave! Just wet your SKOY cloth and toss it into your microwave for 1-2 minutes to kill germs and bacteria. Oh and SKOY uses original designs so they are cute and colourful besides.

The SKOY cloth business was started by two mom entrepreneurs in 2007. Michelle and Karen were looking for a high quality cloth like Michelle had used when living in Europe. The concept of the SKOY cloth comes from similar European cloths. The SKOY is actually produced in Germany. Their factory practices are based on environmentally responsible principles and has become an example of such practices in the industry. Because the product is made in Germany Michelle and Karen were careful to determine the carbon footprint shipping their product would create but have determined through independant consultation that this is minimal due to the weight and size of their product. SKOY cloths is currently selling from their website only in the US but they do have a retailer, The Healthy Cottage who will ship internationally {that includes Canada}.
I really think my SKOY cloths are far superior to other regular cloths. I have try never to use paper towel to clean anything but the outside of my toilet and my windows and mirrors on occasion. I love that the SKOY cloth gives me a great absorbent product for kitchen cleaning which will not be immediately tossed in the trash!
SKOY sent a package of four coloured SKOY cloths and one white SKOY cloth for one lucky Northern Mama reader!

To Enter:
  • Visit SKOY and tell me something you learned about SKOY cloths {Required}
  • Non-bloggers may enter too. Just leave your email address so I can contact you if you win!

Extra Entries:

  • Follow my blog
  • Subscribe via email
  • Grab my Button
  • Blog about this giveaway with a link back here {please include the link to your post with your comment}

{Please leave a separate comment for each entry}

This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents. Giveaway closes May 11th 2009 10:00pm CT. Read General Giveaway Rules for details.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

TrAsh Can JEwels Review and Giveaway!

TrAsh Can JEwels
One of the most wonderful things I've experienced since starting this blog is meeting so many amazing people! One of those people is Anne from Trash Can Jewels. Anne is a local artisan. This allowed me the rare pleasure of meeting her face to face. She graciously invited me...and my husband, and my youngest daughter into her home and gave us a tour of her workshop. I instantly knew I was in the presence of someone with very similar interests to my own. What I truly love about TrAsh Can JEwels is Anne's use of "found" things. As her business name suggests Anne uses what other people have relegated to the trash and transforms these items into treasures! We were shown drawers and drawers of wonderful finds. From drawer pulls and name plates, souvenir spoons and old game pieces Anne creates unique and fun jewellery you will not find anywhere else! Initially it was agreed that I would review one piece but when I came to pick up the item Anne insisted I take a second piece as a gift. Because of her generosity I would like to review both pieces!

The first treasure I received was a pair of earrings made from the bowl ends of two souvenir spoons. Yes, spoons and they are beautiful, polished silver. What endeared me most to them and what she picked up on intuitively was that one of the earrings is engraved Tuktuk, N.W.T. Ah the North! What does the other say? North Dakota! I love the whimsy and humour she adds to many of her jewels! The earrings are actually quite sophisticated as well as fun.

I also have the pleasure of now owning a TrAsh Can JEwels charm bracelet. It was created in blues and golds to coordinate with a Visa charm formerly a key chain! I must admit here I am not a shopaholic myself but I am secretly a "chick-lit" fan {you know chick literature} and have ...oh should I reveal this? all Sophie Kinsella's books including the Shopaholic series. This bracelet appealed to me because it reminds me of those frivolous books and is just plain FUN! I must admit it also looks fabulous. Some of the unusual found items on my bracelet include crystals from a chandelier, an old watch back, a ring, a baby bootie charm, a key, a tiny dream catcher {perhaps from an earring}, and beautiful glass beads. The words Love and Strength also make an appearance!
TrAsh Can JEwels takes recycling to a new level! "One man's junk is another man's treasure" is no longer an antiquated sentiment it is a stylish new way to live!

One Northern Mama reader will have the opportunity to wear her own unique piece of jewellery from TrAsh Can JEwels. Anne is offering one reader her choice of item up to $15 in value {you may choose to pay the difference and choose a more expensive item if you wish}!
To Enter:
~Visit Trash Can Jewels and tell me what your favourite item is {Required}
~Non-bloggers may enter but please remenber to leave your email address with your comment!

Extra Entries:
~Follow my blog
~Subscribe via email
~Grab my button
~Blog about this giveaway with a link back here {please include a link to your post}
{Leave a separate comment for each entry}

Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents. Giveaway closes May 10th, 2009 10:00pm CT. Please see General Giveaway Rules for more details.

Oliver's Label Winner!

4. Capital Mom said...
I have your button
April 13, 2009 7:04 PM

I love giving things away. Congrats Capital Mom! I will be emailing you shortly.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Surfaceflik Review and Discount!

Since high school I have always had the passionate desire to visit Africa. Explore the Olduvai gorge and discover the "Cradle of Civilization" that anthropologist Louis Leakey discribed, go on safari in Kenya, live with the mountain gorillas, and learn more about so many of the tribal cultures...these were my dreams and perhaps they are still. I cannot afford to travel to Africa but I now have an Acacia tree in my bedroom! You know one of those flat topped Umbrella Thorn trees one sees in so many depictions of African landscapes. I can now see this tree each time I enter my room and my dreams start to come alive thanks to Surfaceflik! Surfaceflik can bring many whimsical designs to life on your walls through its artistic vinyl wall decals.

I have some across many wall decal companies but I don't think I have ever seen as many fanciful unique graphics. Surfaceflik is also based in Canada which, as a Canadian blogger, I love!! What I also love is that you can choose to have your vinyl decal printed in a wide range of colours. I had originally planned to place my decal in our basement on a red wall so I chose the black. After seeing the decal I thought it would look far more dramatic over our bed and may have chosen a brown. It is wonderful to have that option so you can easily coordinate the graphic with your existing colour scheme. I also thought it exciting that Surfaceflick carries some very large wall decal designs at reasonable prices.

Worried the decal will be difficult to apply? Fear not. Surfaceflik decals are simple to apply and come with both written and video installation instructions. You can currently view the installation instructions on You Tube! Our tree came in two pieces and were very easy to align and apply to our wall. Peel off the paper backing, position on your wall using the contact paper the decal is attached to, rub the decal area with a credit card or other plastic scraper, then carefully remove the contact paper! Oh...and Surfaceflik actually guarantees your decal will stay stuck to your wall without peeling for 10 years or they will send you a new one FREE!! How great is that? Add a bit of whimsy and fantasy to your home decor. Let your style reflect your dreams!
Surfaceflik is offering Northern Mama readers a 20% discount on all regularly priced items and 10% off their sale items! Just mention my blog "Northern Mama" in the notes when you place your order!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Congrats to the Abigail Road Winner!

15. Angela said...
ooh ooh I love the brown beaded necklace with flower pendant! She has some cute stuff and I love the handbags too. I love all handbags and hers look easy and
April 18, 2009 9:37 PM
Congratulations Angela:)

How Did You Celebrate Earth Day?

We were actually blessed with glorious weather on Earth Day and spent the day outdoors! I transplanted my pumpkin seedlings into larger pots and planted more vegetable seeds but I also decided to start some of my flowers from seed early. The growing season starts so late here I really like to get a head start! I planted Nasturtiums which are such lovely edible flowers {my husband loves them in salad}, Echinacea {purple coneflowers} which I hope to learn to make tea from this year, Scarlet Runners to climb our deck, asters, hollyhocks, and zinnia. What a joy it is watching our seedlings grow knowing they will give us sustanence through the summer and fall. I enjoy watching my children eat fresh from the garden. It reminds me of my childhood snapping beans from my parents' garden and shelling peas.
We also spent the day doing the less enjoyable task of raking our yard. Any spring task is a godsend though after such a seemingly long winter.
My children made birdfeeders out of large pinecones, peanut butter and bird seeds! I love these simple nature crafts that not only entertain the kids but teach them about caring for mother earth and her creatures. All you need is a large pinecone collected from a nature hike, local tree, or if need be a craft store. Cover it in a thick coating of peanut butter and roll it in birdseed. Attach a string and hang it in a tree for the local birds to feast upon!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Second Miss Gina Designs Review and Giveaway!

I must thank Regina Moore from Miss Gina Designs for her generosity and faith in me. Regina agreed to two giveaways before I even really made it off the blog cutting-room floor!
Alright I am learning to come to terms with the fact that I am, heaven forbid, the quintessential "soccer mom"! I have three very active children who love adventure and excitement and feel they must be involved. This means activities, activities, activities times three! Our van has therefore become a second home on wheels. It's frustrating at times keeping the van tidy and there are always those odds and ends scattered here and there and the utter chaos can drive me to insanity. Wouldn't it be great to have a "catch-all" for all those bits and pieces of life, sunglasses, loose-change, pens, or just for the bits of trash that get tossed around the vehicle? A "catch-all" that you can easily remove and return to the vehicle? One that doesn't get in the way, has it's own spot, oh and looks cool besides? Miss Gina Designs has just what you were looking for! Miss Gina Design Car Carry-alls are trendy little bags which clip simply to the vent in your vehicle. The top of the bag is formed using a metal ring so you can easily toss this in and reach your hand in without desperately trying to hold the top of the bag open. Regina adds her personal touch with fabric patterns to suit everyone's personal style! She actually personalized my car carry-all with my initials and the interior of the bag is a great zebra print! I use mine for just about everything and it has helped keep our van a bit tidier and well, stylish.

Regina was so sweet she actually threw in an extra purse personalized with my initials. I just had to review it too! I love it. The fabric is a fantastic green, yellow, and aqua stripe and is aheavy weight upholstery fabric. The fabric is so fresh for spring. The interior of course is fully lined in a beautiful cotton print with pockets for everything. I love that the closure is magnetic which makes it a breeze to open and close. At Miss Gina Designs as always it's about quality, detail, practicality, and style!
One of my lucky readers has the opportunity to experience this quality style! Miss Gina Designs is offering one reader her very own Car Carry-all {reader's choice}!
To Enter:
~ Visit Miss Gina Designs on Etsy or Miss Gina Designs online store and let me know what your favourite item is {Required}
~If you are a non-blogger you can still enter but please leave me your email!
Extra Entries:
~ Follow my blog {publicly}
~ Subscribe via email
~ Grab my Button
~ Blog about this giveaway with a link back to Northern Mama
{Please leave me the link to your post}
~Follow Regina at her Miss Gina Designs blog!
{Leave a separate comment for each entry}
Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents. Giveaway closes May 8th, 2009 10:00 PM CT. For giveaway details please read the General Giveaway Rules.

Friends of Socktopus Review!

Do you remember the sock monkey? Well, he was invented well before our time! I must admit I knew little of the history of Sock Monkeys and what do I find myself doing if I am ignorant of something? Research! Did you know sock monkeys have been enjoyed for over 100 years? No one truly knows who the original crafter was but in the 1900s mothers started making the first manufactured socks, those created by the Nelson Knitting Co., into cuddly sock monkey friends and other animals. Soon the Nelson Knitting Company was including the sewing directions for sock monkeys with every pair of their Red Heel socks!

Why am I spewing out this bit of trivial history? Though the sock monkey has been around for over one hundred years he still inspires crafters including Hilary the creator of Friends of Socktopus ! In a new era of eco-mindedness sock creations have taken on a whole new meaning. In the past a thrifty toy? Perhaps. But now an eco-friendly toy created using re-purposed fabric! Socktopus is an endearing creature...just ask my three children including my 8 year old son! Simple, a little goofy he seems to appeal to the sympathy of children and adults alike. Hilary creates socktopus using wear softened sweaters and the result is a lovable, squishy buddy no one can resist. I must admit when I first unwrapped socktopus I laughed. I was not sure if my kids would take to him but the moment they all saw him he became an instant hit! My 8 year old is actually sleeping with him tonight and thinks he's "so cool"! I remarkably can't help but feel his squishy legs every time I happen to walk by him. Why is he so endearing? I think it's his simple design which allows us to exercise our imagination, and his soft, warm wholesomeness. A classic toy with a twist can mean so much!

Socktopus is durable and sewn with strong upholstery thread. Hilary actually offers free repairs if socktopus has a bit of an accident! Friend of Socktopus by Blackbird Fashion also carries owl mobiles and eccentric pincushions out of vintage and found objects. Hilary tries to use eco-friendly, natural , and recycled materials whenever possible! Pay Friends of Socktopus a visit and buy someone you love a new, "old" friend today!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Enjoy Earth Day all Spring and Summer Long!

I am tremendously lucky to have three children who adore the outdoors! With the rise of computers and video games many children have forgotten the treasures nature has to offer and the unparallelled joys of outdoor play. Here's a simple traditional idea which one Etsy artisan has taken to a new level--The Scavenger Hunt! blyken and nod is a small business I came across on Etsy which has only a few items for sale currently but they are unique! I purchased one of her scavenger hunts thinking it would be wonderful to tuck away in the van for trips to the park, road trip stops, beach and camping excursions! Hilary from blynken and nod creates beautiful 32 laminated card scavenger hunt sets featuring original colour pencil sketches, strung together with a lovely hemp string, adorned with a colourful felted bead, and enclosed in a small draw string bag! These are currently selling for $16.00 US. Blynken and Nod also sells original games and felt board play items.
If you are cost conscious you could probably create a scavenger hunt card set for your own children which perhaps isn't so elaborate. If you are artistic you could create drawings of items to find or if you are less than artistic why not cut pictures from books or magazines to create the cards. Inexpensive laminating machines are now available at department stores and are great for preserving children's art and game pieces rather than throwing them away. Laminate the cards, string them together using string or ribbon and even a wooden bead. Voila!


Celebrate Mother Earth
Enjoy her Blessings
Love and Protect Her

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Heartfelt and Handmade Review and Giveaway from The Craggy Moor Store!

"...Bronwynn had a little lamb its fleece was gray and flecked!" When I announced Hannah Herdwick was coming to live with us my children became very excited. Of course I had to explain who Hannah was and show them her pictures which had been emailed to me. Who is Hannah? Hannah Herdwick is an adorable handcrafted lamb from The Craggy Moor Store! My children, especially my two daughters begged to know who Hannah would belong to. I explained decidedly that she would be a special friend of the whole family, though I knew it would be my youngest, Bronwynn, who would fall head-over-heels for the precious little creature! The girls started planning Hannah's first night's sleeping arrangements immediately.
Christy of the Craggy Moor is absolutely lovely and one knows from speaking with her that each creature she creates includes a very special, unique element--a small part of Christy's heart! She sees the personality expressed through each truly heartfelt creation. I have tried my hand at "doll -making" in the past and I know how exacting the work can be and how rewarding as you watch the bits of fabric, buttons, and wool become "real" and evoke a personality. Christy forms her lovely critters of re-purposed fabrics like gently worn sweaters and fills them with natural new wool batting, and just enough inert lentils or beans to lend some weight to them. Perfect for an Earth Day week review!

When Hannah arrived in the mail my daughter Bronwynn reached into the box and pulled out a handmade bag. With curiosity she stealthily untied the crocheted drawstring, her eyes alight as she withdrew the soft, weighted body of the precious little creature. Bronwynn quickly took it upon herself to make Hannah at home. Hannah is meticulously crafted and has those wonderful moveable joints that add character and movement to her soft and cuddly body. Her glass bead eyes seem to twinkle. She has already become a loved and cherished friend!

Christy also has her own store blog at . Any of my readers can comment at the Craggy Moore Store blog or leave a comment on their convo at The Craggy Moor Etsy store mentioning Northern Mama to receive 25% off their first purchase!!
The Craggy Moor Store would like to offer one of my readers their own "Heartfelt and Handmade" Jointed Lamb of black and grey! Her name is "Lilly Greywool".To Enter:
~ Visit The Craggy Moor Store and tell me what other creation is your favourite {Required}
~If you are not a blogger you can still enter but please include your email with your comment.

Extra Entries:
~Leave a comment on The Craggy Moor blog or through convo {the contact link} at The Craggy Moor Store on Etsy
~Follow my blog {publicly}
~Subscribe to my blog vis email
~Grab My Button
~Leave a comment on The Craggy Moor blog or through convo {the contact link} at The Craggy Moor Store on Etsy {this will also qualify you for the 25% discount on the purchase of one item}
~Blog about this giveaway with a link back to my blog {please leave me the link to your post}
{Please leave a separate comment for each entry}
Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents. Giveaway closes May 5, 2009 10:00 PM CT. For further details please read the General Giveaway Rules.