Thursday, October 29, 2009

Finding the toys on the internet

  Until recently my toys were available online only on Etsy at 
The first new thing is that it is no longer necessary to remember the etsy part of the address. I acquired the domain name and have directed it to my etsy store. Now it is easy to remember. And easier to tell others

   I have also placed my toys on a few new venues.  Artfire and 1000markets are two smaller but somewhat similar venues for handmade goods.  For now the largest selection of my toys is still found on Etsy. If I ever determine that one of those venues is better I will direct traffic from  there.  The toys are priced the same on all the shops. Artfire charges me the least comission so if the item you want is there already please buy from there. However in order to increase my number of listing there I have to pay a monthly fee and I am watching to see how much traffic that site generates to determine it if is worth it.

  For now I thought I would share the links to those new shops in case you prefer those venues, and to give you something to do in case you were board.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Exotic wood for the Toys

I am so excited I just acquired a bunch of "curly maple". Normally my toys are made with hard maple. Curly maple is sometimes referred to as Tiger maple, or flame maple. No matter which name is used it is considered an exotic wood. It is a rare phenomenon that occurs during the growth of a hard maple tree. The result is that there are beautiful iridescent lines in the wood.

This wood is usually used to make fancy guitars, violins, or very fine furniture. A friend who runs a lumber mill about an hour from here gave me the wood otherwise I couldn't have afforded to use this wood without significantly raising my toy prices.
Most of my clients will not be familiar enough with lumber to realize how rare it is but I think everyone will enjoy the beautiful iridescent look.
I also received a single board of "bird's eye Maple" an even more rare phenomenon where little circles are found scattered through out the grain. I have yet to decide what to to make with that board.
So if you are ordering toys in the near future, It is very likely that you will get "curly maple" animals. I am very excited.

Here are some of the first toys made from the Curly maple.
In the lighting of these pictures the animals whose stripes are running vertically are very noticeable, the pieces whose stripes run horizontal were not as visible in the pictures. Interestingly enough when handling them they looked about the same.
Here is a wolverine in honor of Wolverine hardwoods where the lumber came from:

If you would like to purchase toys made of the Curly maple just mention your preference in the note to seller when purchasing from my Etsy shop. Remember the exact striping will be unique to each piece. As always there are no chemicals, dyes or finish on any of the toys I sell. The toys you see are just 100% wood.

To visit my toy store click here

Monday, October 5, 2009

Interview for the natural kids store

I am a part of a group of natural toy sellers on etsy a blog wanted to interview some of the members here are the questions. I thought you might find my rhyming responses interesting

Question1: The Toys in the Natural Kids Store seem to be throwbacks to a simpler more natural time of the human existence. Do you agree? Do you try to instill “old school” values and a way of life in your kids and family life and if so why?

Yes in times gone by, these toys were the norm
You could say in a way we try not to conform

When my wife and I went searching to find
toys that were natural and good for the mind

The toys every where made noise and light
but I think the kids not the toys should be bright

I like that these toys say "life is what you make it"
not "whatever you find in the box, you must take it"

I enjoy the assurance that these toys won't conflict
with the values my family and I want to depict

when buying the latest of a cartoon craze
a parent is tied to the values they praise

if that character lies or sasses its dad
then I promote that to my little lad

The toys in our store don't come from a script
you can rest easy no values are shipped

Our toys come to you, a perfect blank slate
the lessons to learn are yours to create

Question 2: Why types of natural materials are used in your craft and why is that so important?

I know natural things are generally good
that is why everything I make is wood

It's natural and nontoxic you see
Like I think more things should be

No chemicals paints or dyes
just wood without any disguise

I also enjoy the comforting fact
that my toys left anywhere long enough stacked

will eventually return into the ground
leaving nothing unhealthy that could be found

many new toys are destined to fill
a garbage dump somewhere disguised as a hill

even when thousands of years have past
those broken toys will continue to last

Question 3. How do these toys compare in terms of fun and creative use to mainstream toys?

New toys it seems have one use intended
Very few are made to be open ended

I want my kids to actively play
so I avoid toys they would just watch most the day

When you give kids a toy that's hand made
it changes slightly how it gets played.

The toy is a toy but also a reminder
their mind is the actual toy and fun finder

the toy teaches kids that the things they may need
aren't always bought on a treadmill of greed

instead one must give their thinker a chance
to find the solution for their circumstance

Question 4. What is it that you want to accomplish with your store?

The goals for this store are many yet one
ultimately we want kids to have fun

but also we want to be kind to the trees
not filling up landfills way up past our knees

Each of us too hopes to earn extra money
a store that didn't now that would be funny

But profits are not our only concern
for happy bright kids we also yearn

Friday, October 2, 2009

Toys or art?

A local children's boutique Hopscotch has been carrying my toys . They sent me an email inviting me to attend a evening open house. This event was in coordination with several other stores on that street. There would be free food and a lot of the local art would be showcased.
I thought it sounded interesting and decided to check it out. When I got there it turns out the event involved showcasing the work of 30 local "Artists" throughout the various stores. Visitors to the shops were encouraged to see visit all the shops by getting their fliers signed by as many "Artists" as possible. I was one of the artists :)

The owners of Hopscotch had set up a wonderful display of my toys right in the front of the store. I am so appreciative of their promotion of the toys.

I had never really considered the toys to be art before, at least not to that degree. But it was fun. I suppose if paint dribbled on a canvas can be worth millions my hand drawn and hand cut toys can be considered art as well.