He's here! Welcome François!

We welcomed the newest addition to our family not long after my last post (I had a feeling I guess!).  Meet our son, François.  I can't think of a nicer way to start a new year than with a beautiful new little person in my arms!  I'm feeling incredibly happy and fortunate to have these three healthy and beautiful sons of mine. 

Happy New Year to you, dear readers.  I have a feeling 2014 is going to be pretty sweet (and over in the blink of an eye).



a thank you, and happy news

(The shop is open right now but will be closed for a bit sometime soon...)

Thank you all, once again for making my update such a great experience.  It makes me truly happy to create things that people enjoy and appreciate.  This update was especially sweet for me because I have so little time these days for toy making and so I really cherished every moment I had in my studio...and only made the things I really wanted to make as I'm not doing any custom orders at this time.  Many things sold in the first day or so my shop was stocked but I'm happy that there are still a few things available as I'm not sure when I'll be able to make more toys again. 

Teaching this year has kept me busy, but I'm about to get even busier in a totally different (if not familiar) way very soon...I'm due to have our third child pretty much any time now!  So if you see that my shop is closed for a bit, you know why.  If there is something you have been planning on buying for Christmas, sooner is probably better than later!  I hope you all have a very happy holidays with those you love and I'll be back in the new year.  Wish me luck please! 


now in the shop

 All these items (and a few more beaded ornaments) are now in my Etsy shop.  Stop by and have a look!


about the update this saturday

Everything is almost ready to go for this Saturday's shop update and I'm really excited about the things I have to offer!  I've had a few questions about the update and about buying from Etsy so I'll try to address some of them:  I'll add everything I have to offer for the update to my shop at noon (CST) on Saturday.  Nothing will be sold before then.  You can now pay with either Paypal or credit card in my shop.  If you see something you know you'd like to purchase, it's probably smart to put it in your cart and check-out right away.  Until you actually go through the check-out process someone else can still buy it.  If you to go back to my shop and buy any additional items I can adjust the shipping for combined items later, no problem.  I do ship overseas.  I use USPS priority shipping with insurance unless otherwise noted. If you prefer for me to use a less expensive shipping method I can always adjust the shipping cost for you later but please keep in mind that I can only insure your package and track it with USPS Priority Shipping so you are taking a risk with other shipping methods.

I'll be checking in on my shop messages and also my email all weekend so I can answer any additional questions. I hope you find something you like!


and now a boy

The Holiday Update will be on November 30th at 12:00pm CST!  This guy is bundled up and ready to go!


first update peek

Saturday November 30th 12:00pm (CST)


nursery bear

A bear I made at the end of summer for a special family member who won't arrive for a few months still.  I found a beautiful piece of vintage mohair at the thrift store and sized down my favorite pattern to make this little (boy? girl?). I knit it a wool sweater vest as I have for so many of my bears over the past couple of years.  A little secret:  It's about the only thing I know how to knit and I don't use a pattern, just eyeball it each time.  Not very efficient, Erika!

My shop is bare, and I can't take any custom orders at this time.  I've been trying to figure out if it's really possible for me to do an update for the Holidays (my new job is keeping me very busy) but I've decided to do it!  I've started planning and sewing and I'm excited to finally have something to offer to those of you who have been patiently waiting for me to make more toys.  The update is planned for Saturday November 30th.  It's official!


a narwhal for rosie

I love an excuse to design a new toy.  Happy Birthday Dear Rosie! (who loves narwhals)


summer vacation

Well it seems I have taken an extended summer vacation from blogging.  It's never my intention to let so much time pass between posts but somehow here we are in the very last days of summer!  My kids are enjoying their last days of summer fun before they head back to school.  After finishing up the school year teaching at St. Catherine University, I spent the summer making art with Kids at The Minneapolis College of Art and Design.  Now I've started a really exciting new job as the Art Teacher at a wonderful Montessori school.  I'm still working in my studio (painting, making toys) but because I'm teaching so much more I'm not able to produce as much work.  Most of the toys I've made lately are for family and friends (so many babies to make things for!) and I'm still not able to take on any custom work.  I'd really like to do a little holiday update again this year...I'll make a decision about that soon.  I don't want to let the toy making slip away because honestly, I'm happier than ever about the toys I'm making, I just can't produce what I was able to at one time.  I'll show you a couple new toys in my next post (soon!). 

Since I have some catching up to do here, I'll post another group of "Summer Snaps" to sum up what I've been up to:

1:  one of my last days teaching at St. Kate's 2-4: starting the summer off right with a family road trip to South Dakota (Mount Rushmore, The Badlands, Wall Drug) 5-7: Making art with 5-8 year olds at MCAD 8:  my studio with a few precious projects in the works 9:  berry picking in Wisconsin (18 lbs. of blueberries!!)


happy boy's day!

A very happy Boy's Day to all who are lucky enough to have boys in their lives as we certainly do around here!  I found this little kid-craft via Pinterest from here.  Cute, right? 


5 is fantastic

We had a birthday in out house today...our youngest is five years old!  I gave him a bear he's been wanting and I made him a little sewing kit too.  There were also some great dinosaur related presents as he's big on all things prehistoric at the moment, and a new obsession: Monchhichis.  I's good to have diverse interests, right?!  And check it out:  I got a FIVE year old to take a nap!



My little loves made such pretty valentines for their classmates this year.  They each made a drawing which we had copied on card stock and then they painted each one with watercolors.  It always gets a bit daunting for a little kid (or anyone for that matter) to make 30 of anything but they did it and felt very satisfied in the end. 

Happy Valentine's Day!


chickens for babies

I just made these little chickens for a very dear friend who is about to welcome two little ones into the world.  They are made of some super-soft vintage blanket wool my mom gave me and have a rattle inside.  I've been thinking about REAL chickens a lot and I'd really like to keep a few in our backyard. I keep thinking I'll get serious about it when our backyard is in order but that just never seems to happen!  Maybe this summer?



This past weekend there was a kite festival out on the frozen lake near our house.  It was (relatively) warm and very windy which was perfect for January kite flying.  That wind brought in some very cold weather however;  today it was -12 F when the kids went out the door for school!  It looks like we will have to resign ourselves to indoor activities for the next several days but our house and my studio are toasty warm, I have work to do for the new semester, and my kids are pretty good at finding ways to keep busy inside.  Bundle up, Minnesota!


maxine's bear

I love the gorgeous color of this handsome guy.  I've had such fun making toys for the nicest customers lately.  I feel lucky.


bits of bears

These are just some casual shots of bears at various stages from the last couple of months. I try to always get a good "formal" picture of each toy before it leaves the studio but in the mad rush of the holidays I think I missed a couple.  I just finished my last custom order for a while and am gearing up for lots of teaching in the next semester and into the summer.  I miss making toys when I'm not doing it but in order to make time for other projects I have to take a break with the toys for a while.  I'm looking forward to sharing other things with you here like projects with my kids and my own drawing and painting.