Greenman Buttons + Hemp yarn = Fantabulous Longies

Woooo hooo!  My hemp yarn arrived in the mail today, and I must say that it is so much softer than I ever expected it to be.  I spent a good part of an hour twirling the worsted weight plant fiber around my fingers, imagining all the custom longies...

Also in the mail box came another little present, two of the most stunningly handcrafted buttons you have ever seen.  Skye, owner of Green Man Buttons, creates these little works of art from Standing Deadwood in North Carolina's Smokey Mountains.

First, I ordered the shooting star.

Then he posted this butterfly that looks as if it's about to come to life and fly right off the page.  I bought that one too.

Then, I thought if he could do intricate shapes, why not a tree.  I convo'ed.  He created.  And now I have my own exclusive gnarly oak tree buttons for my new fall line!

He's been speaking of hair sticks and I'm trying to talk him into some handcrafted knitting needles!

If you'd like to check him out and see his latest project, you can find Skye on Etsy@  GreenManButtons

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Tutorial: How to Tie Dye T-shirts

Instead of dyeing eggs every spring, we tie dye t-shirts.  Here's how we do it::

*Collect t-shirts through out the year from Goodwill and thrift shops.  The t's in the photos were donated to me brand new with the tags still on them!! SCORE~  Some are organic and some are from Old Navy (which ordinarily I wouldn't use except they were shipped with the others)

*Wash shirts to get rid of all the sizing (do not dry)

*Scrunch the shirts into a ball and wrap with rubber bands

*Mix your dye according to directions (We use Jacquard dyes~ low impact & eco friendly)

*Add 1/4c. vinegar, enough water to cover shirts, and dye to pot (don't use it again for food)

*Boil until all the color is absorbed into the cotton

*Wash shirts again in hot water and dry on the clothes line

*Stop by the shop on Wednesday to purchase these beautiful artisan hand dyed organic baby t's
A percentage of the profits will be donated to our local food shelf 

~hunger knows no season~

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Benefits of Hemp Yarn

The anticipation of receiving my pound of hemp yarn in the mail is about to do me in.  I feel like I did as a child the week before Christmas when all I could do was think about what was going to be in the packages under the tree.  Except now I'm 30 and every time the UPS truck drives by, I want run out into the street, chase him down and yell, "Hey, you forgot to stop at my house!!!"  Fortunately, I'm a relatively sane woman (no laughing allowed) who has at least one ounce of self respect left in my body.  Oh yeah, I also have three boys and a husband who promise they can never be seen in public with me again should I actually pull off the maneuver.

As I promised on Monday, here is some info about hemp::  (~warning~  amazing properties of this fiber may cause mass hysteria)

What is hemp?
Hemp is a natural fiber from the cannabis sativa plant (no, it's not pot silly) which is specifically produced for yielding long soft fibers.

Benefits as Clothing
*Ultra absorbant (perfect for cloth diapers!!)
*Washer and dryer friendly
      ~will not shrink
      ~gets softer each time you wash & dry
*Holds shape
*Acts like wool in that it breathes, absorbing moisture to cool the skin in hot weather and insulating in cold temps
*Blocks harmful uv rays
*3X stronger than cotton

Benefits to Environment
*Improves soil structure
      ~Root system is large (up to 3ft), anchors and protects soil from erosion
      ~Replenishes nitrogen and nutrients
*Biodegradable, Recyclable, and Reusable
*Grows very fast allowing large yields in every climate
*No herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers needed due to fast growing wide canopy of leaves. (Production of cotton consumes almost one half of the nation's ag chemicals used)
*Cleans up toxins from the ground through the process of phytoremediation

Other Uses for Hemp
*Paints & Cleaners
*Building Materials

I'd love to hear about your experiences with hemp...
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To the River


We come here often to fill our souls.  The water is where we belong.

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10 Things I Love About Spring

1. Robins
2. Frisky squirrels
3. Saying YES when my guys ask if they can go out and play at 7:00 pm
4. Frogs emerging from the mud
5. Mud
6. Playing "zombies" at the playground
7. Drying laundry on the line
8. Planting seeds
9. Thunderstorms
10. Tie dying t-shirts

What are some of your favorite things about spring?
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Hemp Yarn

I can not even begin to tell you how excited I am at this new prospect!  Ever since I bought a pair of hemp pants from a beautiful mama at The Backporch Boutique and a hoodie from Handfull I have been in love with the plant fiber.

The benefits of hemp are endless and another day I will dive into them all, but for now I will say that great new designs are to come from this pound of hemp yarn I purchased from LanaKnits.

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On My Needles

Over the last week, I've been trying to design some board short overalls based on a percentage formula.

Over coffee this morning with my brilliant girl friends I thought I'd finished them!  I hurried home to try them on Luke.  They definitely fit his feral personality, but probably not suitable for sale.  The bottom half was about 3 sizes too big and the top was about 6 sizes too small?!

Do you have a project you need to rip out and start over?  It's ok, don't be scared.  Go get it and we can rip together.  Take a deep breath.  Ready. Go!  Let me know how it went...
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Happy Spring

It's March here in Wisconsin, 63 degrees one day and 28 degrees the next, but we're used to it and try to roll with the punches.  We had planned a daylong celebration of the Spring Equinox, complete with a grand picnic under the trees, trout fishing in our favorite hole, picking up trash along the ditches, and an elaborate treasure hunt.   
Well, mostly it worked out according to plan.  Instead we wore coats, hats, and mittens.  Made a bonfire.  Picked up way more trash than should be allowed.  Had a short treasure hunt and got in some fly fishing.  

My favorite part, though, was when my family opened their nature journals and quietly dispersed to their own private spot for their first entry.

When Cole came back to the fire, he sweetly confessed, "I wasn't sure what to write, so I closed my eyes and drew what I could hear."

Cold weather, HA!  Nothing could ruin that moment where he was able to come into balance with the earth and take in the renewal and rebirth of the season!  Happy Spring~
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Nature Journals

All throughout the year our family does nature journaling in one way or another.  A spiral notebook that gets lugged around in the backpack while berry picking or scrap pieces of paper with sketches of the latest bird Luke has discovered.  I thought this year for the Spring Equinox, I would surprise everyone with their own custom, beautifully handcrafted nature journal from apwyne.  I think a treasure hunt is in order...

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No Bake Cookies...

Nothing cures sick kids faster than chocolate!  My mom used to make these fast and easy treats for my brother and me when we were kids.  She made them with her mom and I'm sure this recipe goes back all the way to the Mayans and Aztecs who used the cacao seeds as offerings to the gods!  O.k. maybe not that far back, but I'm sure it goes back at least a few generations.

A little lovin' from Grandma's dog doesn't hurt either!

Chocolate No Bake Cookies::
2c. sugar
1/2c. cocoa powder
1 stick butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2c. quick oats
1c. coconut

Bring sugar, cocoa, butter, and vanilla to a boil for 1 minute.  Add vanilla, oats, and coconut.  Drop on cookie sheet and chill for 1 hour.

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Willow River Park Day

Between the coughing and sneezing, we found a beautiful sunny day to take a hike at our favorite state park.  The lake was still frozen over, but the 63 degree temps beckoned us to the wilderness.

Tic tac toe in the dirt...

Leftover foliage from last year...

Picking up trash...

And a leisurely game of stick ball...

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Peruvian Hat and Mittens

I wish I could wrap the whole world in wooly goodness...  Peruvian hat and mitten set.

 Sending some love to Singapore this week!
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There's music in the air...

My son picked up a guitar a few weeks ago and I think he's found his passion (other than fishing, of course).  He's been spending about eight hours a day teaching himself from an old lesson book and writing some great tunes.  Yesterday a new electric guitar arrived in the mail and it sounds amazing, however,  I think I will be splurging for a set of headphones!!

His biggest fan...


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Blog a Thon

Spring NaturalKids Team Blog-A-Thon

The NaturalKids Team was started by woodmouse in 2007. Early members included faerierebecca, fairiesnest, cozycottage. It was a small group, with a small presence on etsy. Since that time members have come and gone but our mission has stayed the same. To be a group of sellers dedicated to creating natural products for children. We are a diverse group of artisans who make natural toys, utensils, clothing and accessories for kids. Our sellers work with materials from the Earth, such as wool, cotton, silk and wood. Our goal is to support, promote and have fun together while building our businesses.

One of our 1st Team Blog Post read as below and it is still true today....
We are a diverse bunch from all over the globe who have at least one thing in common:  we all work with natural materials in our products for children.  Oh yeah, and we're all pretty darn crafty & talented too!  Wool, wood, cotton...just simple materials direct from the Earth.  

So who are we?  
Some of us are mothers of small children.
Some of us are mothers of grown children.
Some of us make dolls, some of us make hats, some of us make toys.
Some of us have been selling our wares for many years.
Some of us are just starting to discover our talents and start selling.
Some of us work with natural materials for environmental reasons.
Some of us work with natural materials as part of the Waldorf educational philosophy.
Some of us work with natural materials because we believe they are healthier and safer.
Some of us just like working with natural materials.
Some of us sell our wares for a living.
Some of us sell our wares as a hobby.

Since that time, some of us are fathers.

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Adventures in soap making

I made cold press Castile soap for the first time four very long weeks ago and it's finally finished!!!  WOO HOO!!  This was definitely a test of my patience to let it cure for that long.  I even had to move it to the basement about a week into the process so I wasn't tempted to cheat!

The kids tried it out this morning in the bath tub and it's a hit.  No overpowering scents and no itching on my son's highly sensitive skin~


Ingredients:  ORGANIC coconut oil, olive oil, vegetable oil, lye, and distilled water

Here's another creation (equally exciting!!)

Castile with Hazelnut Coffee Beans and Oatmeal.  This one has earned a permanant home in my soap dish in the kitchen!  Perfect for removing cooking odors from your hands while gently exfoliating, leaving your hands soft and beautiful!

Both of these will be for sale in the shop tomorrow. $4.50 each.  If you'd like to order outside of etsy, just email me at and I'll send you a paypal invoice~
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