Not your average children
I am inspired to buy handmade items for my original, one-
of-a-kind kids. I don't have cookie cutter kids, why should they have cookie cutter toys and clothing? My
amazing autistic boys, Pieter, 7 and Micah, almost 3, are each unique individuals, despite their special needs
diagnoses. And my spitfire redhead Aubrey, 5, could never be duplicated.
I also love supporting other
parents like me, who choose to create items at home, so that they can stay home with their children as much as
Passing on a tradition
What inspires me to buy and make handmade? I have a hard
time nailing down one thing. I guess I grew up in an environment that cherished handmade.
Growing up in a
small farming community we made as many of our own things as possible. Mass produced items were just not readily
When I started to make my own bath and body products I was inspired by my grandma. The
comforting scent of her "chamil-a-tea" that she used for just about everything. The way that I was brought up to
trust nature and what it could provide. My mom telling us 20 years ago that she thought plastics were bad for our
health. My grandpa making toys in the garage. The wonderful sweet taste of chokecherry jam and sryup, homemade
pickles, salsa, and pickled beets. I could go on and on.
But the biggest thing is I want my children to
experience these things. I want them to know that you can pick berries and make jam. That you can grow your food.
That you can sew beautiful clothes. That you can make lotion and soap that is good for your body and the
I have found that in almost every case things that are handmade are of a much higher
quaility then their mass produced counterpart. Not to mention that a handmade product gives back to you the love
and care the person put into making it. What more could you ask for.
Melissa's handmade inspiration
My inspiration for buying and selling handmade
items was and is my son, Emerson. From the time we began trying to get pregnant till my son was born we had about
a year and a half to read every book we could find on natural childbirth and healthful living. When my son, 2
weeks past due, began to die in my womb and I swelled to 230 lbs - double my normal pre-pregnancy weight - our
dream of a homebirth ended in an emergency c-section which barely saved both of us. It was a very slow and painful
recovery for me - in fact at 21 months post partum I am not fully recovered. My son did great though and was a
fighter from the start! He kept me going on the days when I couldn't even get up to feed myself because of the
pain. Somehow he kept me going. As I had been stuck on the couch the last 11 weeks of my pregnancy, I was still
stuck on the couch for most of the first few months of his life. All I could do was love him, nurse him and hold
him. I eventually learned to crochet and then Tunisian crochet longies to go over his cloth diapers to have
something else I could do since I couldn't get up and around well. As I crocheted, I healed - both physically and
emotionally. It was a creative outlet that kept me at my best for him. I discovered Hyenacart as a place where I
could go to chat with other similar minded Mommas. I enjoyed buying and eventually selling items that were unique
and made with so much love. It means a lot to me to know that often my hard earned money also supports another
family's ability to be together as much as possible by having the chance to work from home. Hand made is home
made - and that is important!
I grew up in a traditional, old fashioned home. We grew
our own produce in the summer(which was preserved for winter months), chopped firewood for our furnance, visited
yard sales and flea markets for treasures, bought locally grown foods, and handmade items, as well as spent a lot
of time together as a family.
During the winter, I remember sitting by the fireplace with my mother working
on crafts. We would make wreaths, quilts, ornaments, stuffed animals, clothes for my dolls, etc. Spending time
with my mother and learning a skill was quite interesting and enjoyable, even at such a young age. I preferred
sewing, painting, dyeing, and crafting over the typical kid behavior of watching tv or going to the mall. It gave
me a chance to chat and bond with my mom, while we labored over a project which we could later reflect our hard
earned pride on.
When I got married and moved away from my hometown, I carried on my mother's beliefs by
crafting items for my new home. Shortly after having my first child though, I noticed how unfulfilled I felt when
purchasing or receiving store bought toys and clothes. Soon I began to seek out handmade items for my son to play
with. Even though I didn't have the time to make everything myself like I did before, I still had the option of
providing him with quality toys by purchasing them from wonderful work at home mothers, just like my own mom. As
our family grew from three to four over the years, and one more coming soon, I continued to buy handmade items for
my children to adore. I love to see their faces when we get a new toy in the mail. They are so fascinated by the
unique and imaginative details, something that is lacking in store bought items.
I even began to carry on
the tradition of crafting with my oldest. We frequently spend time together drawing pictures, playing with
homemade play dough, and making holiday crafts.
All in all I feel so much more complete as a person
knowing that I am doing something right and carrying on a family tradition. I hope that my children do the same
when they have children of their own.
Homemade toys are real friends
I was raised with a tradition of handmade. My mother is a hand quilter who
learned from my great-grandmother and then passed the skill down to me. I hope to pass the art of hand sewing down
to my children. I truly believe you can't beat hand made goods for durability, safety, quality, and most
I didn't have to pose this picture. This is something my son (now age 2) often
arranges himself, or directs me to arrange for him. He adores his "bibis", dressing them every day, picking which
ones get the special privilege of accompanying him on errands, and tucking them into bed at night. He sleeps with
so many of them at night (ranging from tiny 4 inch babies to his two big dolls) that sometimes I can't fit in the
bed with him to give him snuggles and we have to reallocate a few of them to their little canvas bin.
Could you imagine your little one sleeping in a pile of plastic dolls? What's cozy about that? Where's the
love in that? Every one of the "bibis" in bed with my son was made by hand, so it's like tucking him in with
portable, huggable representations of love. The natural fibers adjust to his body temperature, making the babies
feel like tiny living companions through the night. Sure, they make take a little more wear than a plastic baby
that could be wiped off, but I can't help but think of the Velveteen Rabbit. It's the love, the wear, the
personality instilled into a one-of-a-kind toy that makes it become Real.
Let's see Barbie manage