Mushrooms, Mushrooms Everywhere

...and some unicorns!

 No matter how many I paint there never seems to be enough mushrooms. They are so pretty and sweet but take a lot of time. Because all of my items are so tiny I need to paint in sections so not to overlap or smudge the step before.

To get to this stage it has taken painting white one the top (dry 30 min.), middle (dry 30 min.), bottom (dry 30 min.), and then repeat it all over. The white paint needs 2 layers  so that you do not see the brush strokes. Then the red paint needs 2 layers (with 30 min. dry time for each layer). I then stamp the bottom ( this needs 24 hours to dry or it will smear when putting the glaze on).

Next step is all the little dots, hundreds of dots!!! I end up seeing dots everywhere. I have a certain number for each size mushroom and all the counting gets very intense! This stage is kept for late night painting when the children are asleep so they don't make me lost count a hundred times.

As you can see I get pretty covered in paint. My husband says that I could not make a profit if I had to add in the cost of all the clothing I have to replace. I now have painting clothing and clothing to go out in public in.

Last stage is 2 layers of satin finish glaze in the 3 stages: top, middle, bottom ...and then repeat.

There is a lot of "wait" time in my work. During that time I am homeschooling the kids, keeping house, cooking, baking, listing or relisting on Etsy, breaking up fights, finding my daughters shoes ( she is obsessed with shoes), marketing my shop, blogging, doing marketing or planning for my NaturalKids Team, and on and on.....

And when they are all done they look like these lovely wooden toy mushooms

Look What the Mailman brought

Well I was wrong it was not Anne of Green Gable. But what a sweet thing to be wrong about.

Love the rainbow yarn! Nicely packaged like a present.

Little Red Ridding-hood is the first doll in a Doll of the Month Series from The Fairies Nest. Each month a new doll will be sent with a riddle.

The detail is so lovely, there are many layers to the little dress.

I could not help myself I had to, I mean the kids had to, play!

Not so scary when you are bigger then the Big Bad Wolf.


Not Just Any Toy Storage

Since I have started making and collecting great hand made toys it is such a shame to just store them in some plastic bin. I wanted to find fun and functional ways to store the toys but also honor their "wholesomeness".
 Look at how sweet these toys are with little hands at play

Wooden Toys at play

First I started with some wooden cubes from my local unfinished furniture store ( they can also be found at most craft stores). I added colored canvas cube bins to hold the toys. Later I added recycled tags I found on

Red Bins full of Childhood Treasures

Wicker Baskets are also good for storage (found at local Craft Store)

Then I found and became a little obsessed with these great fabric storage bins. I found a wonderful shop that has worked to customize the size that I need. She even worked to make them nest inside each other so the store nicely when not in use. She has been great to work with and if she does not have the fabric I need she goes out of her way to find it. 

From kathip22 of

Nice and Neat Toy Storage

Wooden Toys by:

Etsy 'Jerseylicious' Finds

Ocean Blues



Find more great items from the members of the  etsynj team on

Who Am I?

So you all know by this point that I love Etsy! I am not only a seller but a shopper. If I can find it on Etsy I would rather buy it there then in a store. It is so much fun to get that package in the mail, to see other sellers packaging and how they have branded themselves. Sometime it comes at just the right time when I needed a little joy in my day!

So my new favorite thing is to tell the seller to surprise me! Surprise me with the color, etc! I have also asked one of my favorite doll makers, Cynthia Toy of The Fairies Nest, to do a "Doll of The Month Club" for me but not tell me what I am getting from her selection of Storybook Dolls!!! BUT She is going to give me a hint/riddle each time.

So I decided to share the fun with you! Help me guess what it will be, leave a comment and tell me what doll it might be. Check out The Fairies Nest sold section to see other storybook dolls she has made.

Here is her hint:
This little mystery character was infamously disobedient and put not only her own, but the life of another member of her family in grave danger. Can you guess who she is?

NaturalKids Eye Candy


I Just Love This!

Okay, truth be told I love everything that she makes. Wanda has just found such a sweet way to make collage beautiful. Her paper Art is simple and sweet yet very colorful. She also donate to Trees for the Future to plant a tree with every product purchased.

One of my favorite things about Etsy is that you can ask for a custom item. A while back I asked her to make me a set of the Art Clips but for them to be trees! I love them, they hang in my office with my kids art on them. It is an ever changing collection of expressions of love from my kids.

I hung them very low so that kids could reach but I didn't want to put nail holes in the wall so I used the 3M Wall Hanging system and that fixed it perfectly. With the 3M system I can also change what set I use.

Which inspired me to ask for this mushroom set! I love mushrooms! I plain to use them in the decor of my office. Once I move the kids Clip Art set to their room I will use my mushroom set for when I do storyboards or for creating a new line of toys. I like to see my drawings side by side to get a good visual on the project.
What to find out more about Wanda and her shop check out this interview:

Some Etsy Love

Front Page This Morning

Tips from Women of Etsy - Wanda of MapleShadeKids

 We Women of Etsy are busy we run online shops and are become SEO experts and PR pros. We keep our families and houses running and try to have time for ourselves. Sometimes in the muck of it all we get lost and need some help getting back on track. I wanted to do some short interviews with other Women of Etsy and share their ideas with you.

A brief bio and give all your links:
I live in Derry, Nh with my husband, 3 children and newly adopted cat. As a child, I grew up in Maine climbing apple trees, balancing on old rock walls and creating lots of gifts for family members. In college, I studied nutrition and worked several years as a Register Dietitian. After living in Israel for two years with my husband, we returned to the United States, settled in Boston, MA and I gave birth to my first child. When my daughter was 2 and I was pregnant with our twins, we sought a more rural area to raise our 3 children. It was then, in 2002 that I rekindled my passion for designing and creating after moving into our New England farmhouse. With much excitement, I created several items for my children's rooms. I am very fortunate to be able to continue with this passion in my current Maple Shade Kids designs.

How do you schedule your day?
I really like a variety in my days and weeks so I am quite flexible in my creative process. I do, however, have specific times I work:
5:30/6:00am I wake.... ahh, this is my favorite time of day! The house is so peaceful. While sipping on hot brewed coffee, I check for sales, return emails, pack products to be shipped and write down my "work goals" for the day.
7:30am I wake my three children, feed them breakfast, pack their snacks and drive them to school. While out, I usually drop off any packages I need to ship at the post office.
9:00am I return home and start working on my goals for the day whether it be creating collages, cutting my wood products, organizing my creative space or taking pictures of products to be posted online.
12:00 noon: With the warmer weather here in New Hampshire, my husband and I try to go for a 30 minute walk and then return for a quick lunch.
1:00 pm Back to creating.
2:50pm Make snacks for my children who arrive home at 3:00.
3:00-6:00pm Bring children to extracurricular activities, prepare dinner and try to fit in a few quick emails, facebook/twitter postings and/or put a coat of sealer on products I created during the day.
6:30pm - One of my most favorite and important times of the day is when my family and I sit down for dinner and discuss our day.
7:00pm Help children with homework, read with them and have them get ready for bed.
8:00/8:30 Get kids into bed.
8:30 - Answer emails, finish any goals I need to complete for the day and then relax with a book or movie.
10:00pm - Sleep

What % of your day do you allot for your Etsy Shop?
Etsy is where the majority of my sales take place. I just love the support, community and opportunity it offers. I would say about 90% of my work day is committed to my Etsy shop whether it is creating products that I have sold through Etsy, replying to convos, listing new items, or taking pictures of products to be posted.

If you have children, what is your tip for occupying young kids so you can work?
Even though I try to complete most of my "creating" while my children are at school, there are always days that this just isn't possible. At these times, I let them use their creative spirit with my scraps of wood or pull out the crayons and give them the opportunity to put their design ideas for Maple Shade Kids onto paper (which they are always anxious to do). Also, I just recently bought a MAC laptop. It is so wonderful to be able to sit outside and finish listing products, replying to emails or completing interview questions :) while my children play and have fun.

What do you do for "ME" time?
I would say my daily 30 minute walk is the time I recharge my batteries. I also enjoy my quiet time in the morning before my family awakes. In addition to these moments, I exchange babysitting services with my friend a few times a month. This gives my children the opportunity to play with their friends and gives me "mom time" to browse shops for inspiration, take a walk or enjoy a nice dinner with my husband.

What is your best organizing tip?
Have a plan for each day by writing down goals.

Wordless Wednesday: Everett's Photo

Team Work

I have been studying up on my Inbound Marketing. You can see the books I am reading on the bookshelf to the right of this post. The basic is simple you DON'T need money to do great advertising just a little know - how and time. When you get right down to the nitty gritty it is just about how many inbound links you have coming to your shop or blog ( present count 4/09/10 729 and a score 89.3/100) and how important they are to a search engine. As I learn more I want to share my learned knowledge with you.

Part 1 of my plan is: to do joint in Etsy Marketing.
When deciding to do this it is best to join a team with your point of view. My point of view is natural toys. I am a member and leader of the NaturalKids Team on Etsy. I have picked a few members to do joint projects with. To make a toy that can be matched or paired with another members items. There is no way on etsy to place an "ad" on you website but you can featured each other's items in your photos and give links in your listing to there items.

Example one: Party Time Playset for  Bendy Dolls

Dannielle's listing at Princess Nimble - Thimble

The Bendy dolls and Playset sold very quickly. I can also see on my GA how many views are coming from her shop by her website set up to be a launch pad to her shop.

Example two: Rainbow Sorting Bowls featuring matching sorting felted acorns.

Donni's listing from FairyFolk

Both items sold with in hours of listing (same customer followed the link). Since in both cases I am a team member and friend I can keep in close contact with the other shop.

Key points:
  • I found this worked best if I bought the items that I would be featuring and then asked the other party to do the same.
  • Links will only be live if you add the whole URL shop name.
  • Keep good records so that you can see if this works as good advertising for both shops.
  • Keep the photos simple and beautiful.