I’m not a shopper by nature.  I don’t enjoy the hunt, I don’t enjoy spending money, I don’t enjoy hours of walking.  Nothing about shopping, unless it is in a bookstore, is enjoyable to me….

But, I will say that handmade holds a special place in my heart.  WAHMamas have been a love of mine since 2000 when I sewed my very first cloth diaper.  And the recognization that there are amazingly talented women out there, who choose to stay home and be with their family while they “do what they do” deserves recognition.

Most of these mamas have a sincere passion behind what they do.  The motivation is so much more than just financial, and if you look very carefully, you’ll see what that is in their products.

I will gladly admit my favorite Work at Home Mama is Lori from Beneath the Rowan Tree.  Her toys…..  They’re art, pure, simple, and amazing.  Full of wonder…..  I’ve been blessed to speak with Lori before and I know that Rowan (her daughter) has been a source of inspiration and joy.  And I wonder how someone can translate such beauty to silk, or clothing, or toys.  She did something recently that just absolutely took my breath away.  I didn’t know wool could become, well, this:

Beneath the Rowan Tree Wool Sculpture

Beneath the Rowan Tree Wool Sculpture

BTRT's "Mother & Daughters" Sculpture - Back

BTRT's "Mother & Daughters" Sculpture - Back

I have never in my life seen such a beautiful handmade object.   What Lori did with this….  It’s breathtaking. 

My children are very blessed to own a few things Lori has made for them.  Two of the girls have matching shirts, Sweetest Pea has a handpainted dress that doesn’t fit her anymore, yet she refuses to give it up… It’s more of a smock top now, lol.  She also made us a set of incredibly vibrant playsilks.

Lori's Silks

Lori's Silks

My children don’t own many toys.  The only plastic is some Schleich animals. 😉  In our home, there is no toybox.  There are no shelves of toys.  But there is one very special picnic basket.  It contains a tea set, 7 silks, and crocheted food.  And it can keep three little girls entertained for hours….  Playing, dreaming, imagining.  I was skeptical of play silks.  I bought the first one from EllieBelly when Lizzie was just a baby – 2002.  And it became her lovey.  Now, with more, the girls can make princess dress, sling their babies, have a picnic on them, wear a turban, tie on an apron…  You are only bound by your imagination.  Open ended toys create a sense of wonder, they grow the seed of creativity into a sapling, they inspire.  With natural playthings you’re giving such a gift, so much more than a plastic something….  And moreover, it’s been created by loving hands.

Give more than a gift…. Inspire wonder. 

Two links for you today – one is the one of the finest collaboration of WAHMama artists I’ve ever seen and I’m proud to link to them…  Fresh Congo.

The other is Lori’s store at Etsy… Hours of window shopping enjoyment.  Do look through her past sales.  You’ll go back over and over again.

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I am incredibly proud to be part of the Etsy’s NaturalKids Team. This is a group of folks who are absolutely dedicated to creating beautiful things from natural materials to inspire children to play and use their minds. You can view the NaturalKids Team by typing ‘NaturalKids’ into Etsy’s search function. Here is an example of their work on display at the Treasury right now.

NaturalKids Team prepares for Valentine's Day

NaturalKids Team prepares for Valentine's Day

Owner and creative director of True Vine Herbs, I’m also the mama of eight, yes, eight little folk.  My husband and I have been happily married for almost thirteen years.  True Vine is the very necessary outpouring of creative energy.   The name is based on the book of John, chapter 15 and defines my goals as a mother. 

We have been homeschooling for eight years and we’ve recently moved to a farm in the Midwest.  Our children are thoroughly enjoying their new found freedom… 

We school with a classically eclectic style and a Charlotte Mason twist. 😉  Essentially, it’s a hodge podge of what I like and what I can tolerate, with a firm belief in lots of outdoor time, short lessons, and a plethora of truly great books.   All children need hours of fresh air and plenty of food for the imagination…

 I’ve been asked where these toys came from!

The playsilks were dyed by Lori at Beneath the Rowan Tree.  Playsilks truly inspire children to use their imagination and ours are played with constantly.  Every child should have some!  And Lori makes the most beautiful ones.  But I’m biased.  We love Lori.  Where’s the heart icon? I actually asked Lori to make these for ME as I wanted them as the backdrop for photos.  But I felt SO greedy, hoarding them to myself.  The kids would have drooled all over them.  They pretend the green one is grass, the brown is dirt, et cetera.  And the colors aren’t just solid.  They are a beautiful blend, just like in nature.  I can’t tell you how vibrant the colors are and pictures just DON’T do them justice.

The waldorf doll in the picture is made by Barbara from Aunt Boo’s Babies.  Barbara and I both belong to the NaturalKids Etsy team and I can only say she makes the most beautiful waldorf dolls I’ve ever seen.  She also does customs.  This is the third doll we’ve had done by her and her work is lovely and my girls love her dolls.

The play food was crocheted by Jessica of Crochet Fun Time.  I know, lots of people make wool food.  However, the detail on these are fabulous.  The pink grapefruit has pith, pink flesh, an orange/yellow rind.  The avocado pit is actually 3D.  The radishes are made of a yarn that is this lovely pink/red variegated blend… The veggies and fruits have leaves, and they are just fantastic.  A lot of thought, creativity, and love went into these and I just can’t thank her enough.