Monthly Archives

April 2010

Giveaway, Waldorf Toys

$100 Giveaway from Bella Luna Toys & Simple Organic

In celebration of TV-Turnoff Week, Bella Luna Toys is partnering with one of my favorite blogs, Simple Organic to offer one lucky reader a $100.00 GIFT CERTIFICATE, good towards anything at Bella Luna Toys! Use the certificate for any of your favorite Waldorf toys, natural toys, wooden toys, Waldorf dolls, play silksdress ups from Sarah’s Silks, and more.

This is the biggest giveaway that Bella Luna Toys has ever sponsored!

Simply visit SimpleOrganic.net for instructions on how to enter. While you’re there, be sure to explore Katie’s ideas for “Make Week,” lots of  fun ideas for alternatives to TV to keep your family busy all week long.

This giveaway will end Sunday, April 25, at 11:59 p.m. CST. The winner will be announced Tuesday, April 27.

Lots of  luck!!

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Play, Toy Safety, Waldorf Toys, Wooden Toys

The Care and Feeding of Wooden Toys

 

We love wooden toys because they are safe, natural, and durable, but also because they are nourishing to a young child’s senses. They feel good and, with their variety of natural colors and grains, are beautiful to behold! Not only will wooden toys provide many years of play for your children, but with proper care, they will also be enjoyed by your grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Wooden Toy Cement Truck

But how should one care for wooden toys to make them last? Because they are made from a natural, living material, they need special care and loving attention.

Simple cleaning with a mild solution of soap and water (I like Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap) or a vinegar solution will keep your wooden toys safe and germ-free. Vinegar has mild disinfectant properties. Be sure to avoid bleach, detergents or abrasive cleansers, which will dry out the wood, leading to cracks and breakage, and will also lighten the surface. Use a damp cloth, soft brush or a sponge to wipe clean. It is best not to submerge wood in water (and never put it in the dishwasher).

Wooden Toy Dish Set

Wood needs to have its natural moisture replenished in order to prevent it from drying out, warping or cracking. The best way to keep your wooden toys hydrated and well-nourished is with a natural oil or wax, like plain mineral oil or beeswax polish, like Bee Luna Natural Beeswax Polish. Beeswax polish is not only completely non-toxic and safe for children, but it also smells like honey, further adding to the sensory deliciousness of wooden toys!

Bee Luna Natural Beeswax Polish

Like all wood, wooden toys can be affected by changes in temperature and humidity. Be careful not to leave them outside overnight or for extended periods of time. Heat, sun and humidity can all affect the appearance and shape of wooden toys, and worse, lead to cracking, swelling or breakage.

With proper care and feeding, the wooden toys you purchase for your child today will be enjoyed for generations, delighting other children and families decades after the plastic toys end up sitting in the bottom of a landfill for all time.

What are your favorite wooden toys? Leave a comment and let me know!

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Crafts, Easter, Holidays

Spring Has Sprung: Dyeing Easter Eggs Naturally

Spring has finally sprung here in Maine! This morning, after three days of deluge-like rainfall and flooding, we finally awoke to bright and welcome sunshine. When I stepped outside this morning, I saw the first spring bulbs blooming outside my doorstep. I was heartened that they had survived the pounding rain, and it inspired me to grab my camera. You can see, the honeybees are already out now, too!

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The flowering bulbs reminded me that (yikes!) Easter is only three days away. My boys, being teenagers now, aren’t champing at the bit to color Easter eggs as the did when they were younger, but when I gently queried William (the artist formerly known as Whit) as to whether he was expecting a visit from the Easter bunny this year, he made it clear in no uncertain terms that he is. Made me realize it’s time to dye some eggs!

Photo by Emily Weaver BrownPhoto by Emily Weaver Brown, used with permission.

While I was teaching, we would always dye eggs naturally in our class, using colorful vegetables and fruits to produce subtle but beautiful hues. Red cabbage (yields a vibrant blue), and yellow onion skins (burnt sienna) were my favorites. We’d let the eggs soak in the dye baths overnight, then the real fun came the next day when we would pull the eggs out from under layers of cabbage, and later slowly un-peel the layers of onion skins that were wrapped and tied around each egg.

When they eggs were dry, we’d rub a little vegetable oil over each one to give them a glistening sheen. Gently, we’d place them in the baskets of Easter grass we’d grown, and admire them as a marvelous, colorful centerpiece before the children took them home for Easter.

Here’s a website with great recipes for dyeing eggs naturally.

Read about Emily Weaver Brown’s experience with natural egg dyeing, and see more of her gorgeous photographs!

Has anyone had success dyeing with other plant materials?

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