Friday, November 30, 2012

Life with Aria: Advent Calendar

A HUGE congratulations to our Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway winner - Corey Olomon!!  If you didn't win, stick around, here in Tansy Doll Land we LOVE giveaways!  And just a little hint, you might want to follow our Facebook page closely in December.  We might be running some special promotions.  ;)

The winter holiday season is certainly upon us.  Whichever holiday you celebrate, I hope its full of good cheer and loved ones.  In my household, we celebrate Christmas.  Its the tradition that both my husband and I grew up with.  Our version is perhaps a bit more secular than the ones from our childhood, but I think that we still hold true to many of the same core values of good will, family, friends, and giving back.  One of the things I struggle with during this season is the media's obsession with consumption.  Don't get me wrong, I love hunting down the perfect gift ideas for my loved ones, but the values I want to pass down to my child are about so much more than gift giving and receiving.  When she is older, I want her to look back on her childhood and remember the love and warmth of family and friends and even more so a sense of compassion and profound love for the world.

I try my best to infuse those values throughout our daily lives but this season serves as a moment to really focus on them and to be mindful about not only how I impart those values to Aria but how I make them a part of my life not just during the holiday season but every day.  Last year, I stumbled upon a ton of lovely ideas for advent calendars.
1. Envelope calendar, 2. Matchbox calendar, 3. Stamped bag calendar, 4. Paper bag Calendar
I had these grand visions that I would make a beautiful fabric one that could be reused every year, but I never got around to it.  I ended up using simple twine, pushpins, and note cards.  It wasn't as spectacular as the ones above but it did its job. Back in January, I swore up and down that I would make one in time for this year's Christmas, but that didn't happen either.  So here I am again with twine, pushpins, and note cards. Advent Calendars can feature just about anything you can imagine.  The ones from my childhood were filled with little chocolates.  Some include small trinkets or ornaments, but we like to feature an activity a day.  One of the hardest things for me is compiling the list of activities.  So I thought I'd share my list in case others have the same trouble.  
  • Afternoon Tea at Heathmans with Mom 
  • Buy an Angel Tree Gift 
  • Drive around with Cady, Max, and Matt to see Christmas lights 
  • Get a library card for Aria and pick out multicultural holiday books 
  • Go see the Nutcracker Tea with Grandma and Mom 
  • Go to Mt. Hood to play in the snow 
  • Got to Zoo lights 
  • Grow a magic Christmas Tree 
  • Grow snowflakes 
  • Make a Jar of love 
  • Make Christmas Tags 
  • Make and decorate Christmas cookies 
  • Make and decorate gingerbread house 
  • Make and hand out care packages to those who are homeless 
  • Make Chocolate spoons for teachers 
  • Make coach gift 
  • Make Dried orange slice ornaments 
  • Make Paper snowflakes 
  • Make Salt Dough Ornaments 
  • Make snowglobes 
  • Make woven ornaments 
  • Visit Alpenrose Dairy Farm 
  • Visit Santa Claus 
  • Watch Christmas cartoons in our PJs 
These are not in the correct order so tomorrow I'll have to spend some time thinking about when we'll do each of these but I'm already excited to start our 24 days of mindful quality time together.  Some of these are repeats from last year, but I'm excited about some of the new additions.  In particular making care packages for those who are homeless and buying an angel tree gift should be really great moments to talk to Aria about systems of advantage and disadvantage and our responsibilities to reach out to those outside our close circle of family and friends.  Right now most are focused on quality time with family and friends, but as she gets older, I'd like to add more activities that focus on giving back to the community.  We are all interconnected after all and I want Aria to understand the importance of compassion, of giving back, and of shining light and warmth into the darker corners of our society. 

When I finally get it up tomorrow, I'll post the advent calendar on our Facebook wall if you're curious what it will look like.  Again, its not the prettiest or fanciest calendar, but it serves its purpose and its quick and easy. If you're doing an activity advent calendar, what's on your list?  And even if you're not, what special activities does your family have planned for the winter holidays?  We'd love to hear!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Magic Chalk

I'm feeling oddly sentimental today. Not that feeling sentimental is bad, though it's not my most common emotion, by far. No, the odd part is what has sparked these feelings: chalkboard paint. Let me explain.

Last weekend was Tansy Dolls' first craft fair. (Thanks to those of you that came to see us! We love you guys!) We wanted to do it right, so as you guys know we've been working on our booth off and on for over a month. There were a lot of tiny details we really wanted to get right. The right colors, the right display ideas, the right props and presentation. One of those details are these cute little chalkboard signs to label the dolls and goodies. I suppose we could have bought some, but we are pretty crafty...

We used these little wooden plaques, painted the top surface with chalkboard paint, then the rest with the same color at the crates. If you haven't used chalkboard paint before, it's really easy and makes for a fun, versatile end product. Anyway, once you've painted it on and let it dry (a nice long time!), you have to prep the chalkboard surface by coloring all over it with chalk, then erasing it really well. That final step is what really helps turn it into a chalkboard.
To finish prepping the chalkboard surface scribble all over it with chalk and erase thoroughly. Repeat until it looks like a chalkboard.
Well, last week when I finished painting our little chalkboard signs and they were all nice and dry, I went to go grab some chalk to prep them with. I found Max's bright sidewalk chalk, but no nice plain white chalk. I didn't want to prep with color (it shows) and was getting all annoyed at myself for not thinking to buy chalk earlier. Especially because last week, if you remember, was Thanksgiving and I really didn't want to brave the store just for chalk. I was digging through all my craft supplies looking for white chalk and coming up empty. Then I found this little dented Altoids tin in the bottom of box. And sure enough, folded up inside some paper for protection, was my Magic Chalk. Yes; Magic Chalk.

So here's where the sentimental part starts. Some of you know and some of you don't, but my career goal is to be a high school math teacher. I'm getting close, but there have been several hiccups on this journey. My dad was very good at math, and I can credit him for a lot of my love and understanding of it. In fact, we have a lot of math and science in my family. My mom, dad, sister, grandfather, and several aunt-and-uncle types are all what I would call math/science folk. While I've always really loved math, there was a time there when I thought I wanted to teach sociology or psychology or something. It was the math people in my life that helped me get back to what I love.

Mr. Merbach was my Calculus teacher in North Dakota and he told me over and over again that I shouldn't turn my back on something I obviously loved. Later, in California, my math teachers were always supportive of my dream and seemed to understand that it was more of a calling than an ambition. (Ok, I know that sounds pretentious, but go ask a teacher; it's true.) Toward the very end of my Math degree I was talking with a professor in the math department office about wanting to teach. One of my math teachers, Prof. Callahan, stopped in and said something along the lines of how he thought I'd be a great teacher. (*sniff*) I talked with this professor some more about my dad, my grandfather, and family traditions of math and science. It turns out he'd taken classes from my Grandfather! Anyway, we bonded. I really wish I had any idea what his name was!

Right before I left he took me back to his office and presented me, rather ceremoniously, with the Magic Chalk. He wrapped it in paper and put it in the Altoids tin for safe keeping. He said he'd been teaching for decades and this was the best chalk ever. He used to buy it by the case, but the company went out of business. Then classrooms started switching to white boards. He maintained that chalkboards were far superior and always fought for classrooms that still had one. He was rationing out his Magic Chalk now, but insisted that I take some. He said he could tell that I was going to be a great teacher (*sniff sniff*) and it would bring me luck. He told me to hold on to it and it use it for something that mattered and take at least one little bit into my first classroom. Now, I'm not the most superstitious person, but I certainly have a healthy streak of sentiment, so I've held onto it. And last week the Magic Chalk helped me get our booth ready for that first Tansy Dolls craft fair.

It just seems so interconnected sometimes; these crazy life paths we end up on all come full circle. That's the sentimental part. Learning to love crafting from my mom. Learning to love math from my dad. Getting encouragement from my math teachers. The Magic Chalk helping me get ready for a craft fair. Anyway. All of you who have given me so much support and love in all areas of my life I love you guys and I'm trying to live up to your dreams and mine. Mr. Merbach, you were right; math is what I really love and I hope I'm half the teacher you are. Gifter of the Magic Chalk, thank you for bringing some luck to our fledgling business. Mom, Dad, thanks for imparting so much passion into my life.

Ok, I'll get back to a tutorial or something next week, but thanks for taking an oddly sentimental break with me.


Monday, November 26, 2012

A little under the weather

Hi everyone,

I hope all of you friends of ours in the US had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year. My daughter (now almost 5) and I really got to have discussions about history and the meaning of Thanksgiving, what we're Thankful for and all that important stuff. It is so very cool to have these 'grown up' conversations with her now.

Anywho - after all that excitement (Thanksgiving AND our first craft fair weekend) I'm pooped. And, feeling a tad run down, hopefully not sick. Which brings me to the point of my teenytiny post tonight. Hah. Here goes:

We finished 2 customs this weekend (the last customs for 2012!) and I had such a good time working on them and imagining the joy of the kiddos that get to snuggle with them. Both mamas happened to choose peach (blush) skin and dark blue eyes

- BUT -

one wanted shades of pink mixed in with brown hair. She sent me a pic of her daughter and I knew - pink sparkles would have to be included. As well as bangs to match her lovely little one.

The next mama was nervous about her hair decisions: " Lesley... I feel like a hungry person standing in front of the open refrigerator, everything looks good. I'm worried I'll end up with an ice cream sundae covered in pickles and cheese." HAH! LOVE this, and totally know the feeling. But she made a beautiful choice with a base of brown, blues, greens, and some hints of yellow.

I think they both turned out fantastic, so unique in their own way despite starting off looking pretty much the same. And thus, the beauty of handmade:

I'll be adding more pix of these gals to our flickr page soon

Have a great week, everyone!

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Holiday Gift Guide VI: Dress those walls

Yesterday was Thanksgiving here in the US.  For those who celebrate it I hope you had a lovely day filled with family, friends, and laughter.  Before I get into the last Holiday Gift Guide, I'd like to pay homage to a few special people in my life.  

I am thankful for my beautiful friends and business partners, Cady and Lesley.  After I had a child, my life changed so much and at times I felt so alone.  When these wonderful mommas entered my life I felt such an incredible peace.  I am thankful for my friends and adopted family the Burdsalls.  Tina and Derek give me faith that it is possible to raise amazing, strong, and compassionate daughters.  I am thankful for my friend Amy who has not had the easiest life but manages to rise above it all with spunk and grace.  I am thankful for my husband who, no matter how much I may doubt myself, has a confidence in my abilities to be successful and who finds me beautiful even when I feel my least becoming.  I am thankful for my sister who despite what she may believe is an incredibly strong woman who takes on far too much of the weight of the world upon her shoulders.  I am thankful for Shellie, my mother in law, who loves her children and grandchildren with a fierceness.  I am thankful for InĂªs from Toward the Stars who inspires me to keep fighting the good fight.  I have never met her in person but I consider her my friend; her compassion and energy motivate me to push forward even against what feels to be impossible barriers.  I am thankful for my daughter for simply being the amazing little force of awesomeness that she has been since the day I knew I was pregnant.  I feel like she has always been a part of my life and cannot imagine life without her.  And finally I'm thankful for you for reading our blog posts, for supporting small business, for helping make Tansy Dolls come to life.  Take a moment and recognize the important role you play in the lives and work of small businesses the world over.  You make it possible for us and those like us to thrive and do what we love. 

Speaking of small business and's gift guide is the last one.  I've had a blast putting these guides together and also managed to mark a few people off my holiday gift list.  If you haven't seen parts 1-5 yet, you can click on the links below to check out the fabulous shops!  Plus if you haven't already done so, you can earn extra entries into the Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway by sharing Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, and Part V on your Facebook wall. Did someone say giveaway? Why, yes someone did.  :D  One lucky reader who enters the Tansy Doll Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway will win $30.00 to put towards any ONE shop featured in the 6 part series gift guide. All you have to do is click here and enter by following the directions.  This is the last chance to enter to win.  On November 30, we'll announce the winner!

Here's a reminder of the schedule:
Sept 14 - Waldorf Inspired Toys
Sept 28 - Transportation, Fairies, and Lil' Artists
Oct 12 - Clothing and other Wearables
Oct 26 - Tiny Treasures
Nov 9 - Pamper Thyself
Nov 23 - Dress those Walls

Art to Dress Your Walls

I love artwork, always have.  When I was a really young girl, I wanted to be an artist but somewhere along the line I figured out that as much as I love art its not really my calling.  I don't have the passion for it that I feel is necessary to make true art, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying the art of others.  The artwork in this gift guide runs the gamut from sweet to dark, but all are pieces I would personally love to own.  
In the artist's own words, "two bluebirds sit perched in a tree silhouetted against a gently weathered reddish brown & blue background. Green leaves hang hooked like ornaments to it's branches."  This is an 11X14" signed print from one of her original paintings and is part of her Tree of Life Series.  I love how the birds and the green leaves almost shine against the dark background. You can bring home this print for just $30.00.  Follow her page on Facebook at
You have two options to bring home this sweet little illustration.  For $20.00 you can purchase an A4 print suitable for matting and framingThe image is set in the middle and apparently, this print does fit standard sizes, including 8x10 frames.  You can also buy this image on a card for only $4.00.  I think it'd be sweet to buy a set of cards and hang them on the wall in matching frames.  She has so many sweet illustrations to choose from.
It was hard to choose just one print to showcase.  All the little red cap girl prints are just simply adorable.  This print prices at $20.00 and measures 8.5 x 11. The actual image is about 7x7 1/8 centered to leave a white border for framing.  The little bunny hanging onto the girl is really too sweet.  Follow the artist on Facebook at
Okay, so my confession is I have a slight obsession with Little Red Riding Hood.  I love this take on the fairy tale with Little Red having clearly tamed the Big Bad Wolf.  You can pick up this print for just $22.00 and it measures 8.5x11.  You can follow the artist on Facebook at

I first ran across Badbird when I was pregnant and looking for some artwork for the baby's room.  I fell in love with the bunny series.  This particular print costs $25.00 and I promise you it is just as cute in real life as it appears to be online. 
Yes, its another Little Red Riding Hood print. I told you I had a problem.  Heh.  Anyhow, this one measures 10x10 and costs $25.00. The original was created on canvas encausting original pages from an early 1900's Grimm's Fairy Tale book and painted with acrylics.  I think the look is just brilliant.  Follow the artist on Facebook at
Lea's artwork is a fabulous mix of the surreal with a touch of darkness.  I love the piercing blue eyes on this beauty and the amazing tattoos that climb up her back and neck. This print costs $20.00.  You can and should check out the rest of her art in her shop; all of her work has a slight edge to it, which I just love. You can also follow her on Facebook at
Okay, I really really want this artwork.  Something about it tugs at my soul.  Looking at this print makes me feel like I'm peering into a secret little world. According to the artist, this is a limited reproduction of an original painting. She mounts the print on a 1" thick maple panel with hand painted edges then covers it in a thick layer of plastic resin. The resin protects the piece from fading and damage and gives it a unique, satiny smooth finish.  This print is $35.00.  You can follow the artist on Facebook at
This print is $16.00 AUD (that would be $17.06 in US dollars).  It features the sweetest deer girl with her little fox friend.  I think this one would look amazing in a little kid's room. Be sure to check out the other adorable prints.  They all feature little animal people hybrids and they are all just as sweet as this little deer girl. Check out the artist's Facebook page at
Weren't those some great pieces?  If you buy something from one of these artists or like one of their Facebook pages, let them know that you saw them in the Tansy Dolls Gift Guide.  

Thank you for coming along for this adventure.  I've really enjoyed putting these together.  It gave me the most brilliant excuse to check out other small businesses that focus on the handmade and now I have a go-to list for whenever I need a special gift.  I hope you found them useful as well.  


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Fuzzy Friends

It's Thanksgiving tomorrow here is the U.S. so today I'm giving thanks. I have tons to be thankful for this year; wonderful family and friends; cute bunnies; a job and home; hobbies I love... it's a humbling list, honestly.

But in this blog specifically, I'd like to give thanks for this amazing Tansy Dolls adventure we're all on. Less than a year ago my dear friends Lesley and Robin were over here for a playdate with the kids. We were making (more) coffee when Lesley said she had a crafty idea she wanted to talk about. Craft junkies that we are Robin and I were soon on board, and that idea quickly grew into Tansy Dolls.

It's crazy to me how recently that was. And it's amazing to me how wonderful our audience and customers have been. I can't think of one person we've dealt with who hasn't been great. That's pretty spectacular! So I'm thankful for you guys too. ♥♥♥

But let's get into the selfish part of this: I'm very thankful that Tansy Dolls has given me an excuse to get even more craft obsessed! I've loved to knit and crochet for quite a while so this, if anything, has given me a little focus there. I always have a couple of  pieces going at a time, but these days it's mostly doll stuff.

The best part, though, is that I've had a great reason to pick up new crafts too! Tansy Dolls has given me a great reason to start hand spinning! I'd done it a bit before, but I've had a lot more reason to practice these days. Spinning doll hair is positively addictive! I've even started carding my own fiber and we're planning on doing our own dying next summer! It's sooooo much fun. And Max has really loved getting involved in the whole wool process. (Remember when he asked for a sheep?)

Then a while ago we decided that some of our Tansy Dolls looked a little lonely. They needed pets! And little gnome and fairy friends! This was the perfect excuse to get deeper into needle felting! (I love an excuse to craft.) I've really enjoyed seeing those tiny critters and friends take shape. I've made some that never make it into the shop because they're adopted before we even get pictures taken! Wool is just such an amazing medium, but I'll wax rhapsodic about that another day. ☺

So thank you thank you thank you to Tansy Dolls' community and supporters for letting me indulge in all these wonderful crafts guilt-free!! Love you guys!!

I hope everyone has an amazing Thanksgiving weekend, however you chose to celebrate it.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

So Very Thankful

Happy Monday, everyone. I hope all of our friends in the US are getting excited for fun times with family and friends this Thursday, I know I am.

This week, in terms of my professional life, I am so very thankful for:
- being in business with 2 caring, smart, beautiful, funny, and thoughtful creative geniuses: Cady and Robin.
- having the ability to grow a business AND be a full time mom and watch my little ones grow each day.
- connecting with other artsy people, eco-conscious parents, and sharing creative ideas on a daily basis
- having a 2 page spread in Green Child Magazine this week!
- being surprised each Friday at our 'business meetings' with the amazing cuteness that the ladies work on each week.

Speaking of which, it seems my Monday posts have (for the most part) turned into showing off the new goodies in our shoppe (which I LOVE to do) so hey! let's roll with it.
handmade 16" Waldorf doll bamboletta eco-friendly toys all natural handmade
Introducing, "Snow"

handmade 16" Waldorf doll bamboletta eco-friendly toys all natural handmade
Snow with her little sis, Lilac
(disclaimer: as Cady and Robin handmake most of our stuff, it's not really shameless of me to boast about it all the time- right? right? hah.)

handmade 16" Waldorf doll bamboletta eco-friendly toys all natural handmade
Here is Snow modeling a lavender Ballerina Outfit!

handmade 16" Waldorf doll bamboletta eco-friendly toys all natural handmade   
and a Rainbow of 10" Dresses with matching shoes!
*sigh*  Dreamy, non? See THIS is why my job rocks so hard - they just keep bringing the goodies!

Have a wonderful week, my friends. Upload will be Friday morning this week as we'll all be taking a break from business this Thursday, and I hope you will too. :)


Friday, November 16, 2012

Life with Aria: Identity and Uncertainty

Wait. What?  Yes, I know I've changed the name of my every other Friday post.  I've been feeling a wee bit limited by the title. It sounded like a great idea since Aria LOVES doing art, but to be honest...often Aria wants to do the same art projects over and over.  I can't exactly write a blog post on the same art project over and over, but who am I to interfere with her creativity?

So with that, today's post is not art related at all.  It's about my own journey coming to terms with being a multiracial mother. Its been a while since I took time to reflect on that journey and what better way than through a blog post. For one, I've been so busy lately that I never seem to make time for reflection.  This blog is the only place that I seem to write anything that is not school related.  And two, even if you're not a multiracial mother, I'm sure all parents can identify with coping with uncertainty when raising their children.  We're not given parenting manuals.  So much of what we do is shaped by uncertainty.  We hope we're doing the best for our children but we don't know for sure and I'd argue that we need to remind ourselves that the only thing we can know for sure is that we parent from a place of love.  

“To realize that you do not understand is a virtue; not to realize that you do not understand is a defect.”
― Lao Tzu

Some of my earliest memories from childhood revolve around race. My father is a White American from Michigan; my mother a Korean American.  They met during the Vietnam War, when my father was stationed in Korea.  I sometimes wonder how my life would have been different if my parents had stayed together, but they got divorced when I was only 4 and my father with help from his parents raised both my older sister and me.  
Mum and Me when I was still a wee one.
Growing up I was constantly reminded that I wasn't really White by both children and adults. It wasn't always malicious but regardless of intent, I grew up feeling like I never quite belonged.  I turned to my mother's heritage because my father's never seemed to fully accept me, but instead of peace I found more questions.  Could I call myself Korean even though I wasn't raised culturally Korean?  Could I be comfortable identifying as White when all it took was a pair of perceptive eyes to betray me?  Did I want to identify as White or Korean? What did it even mean to identify as Mixed?

When I found out I was pregnant, I was consumed with new concerns and questions.  Would Aria identify with her Korean heritage at all?  Would she understand and be able to relate to why racial identity is such a big deal to me?  Would she care to know anything about it at all?  Was I wrong to want her to at least acknowledge her Korean heritage?  

Sept 2010.  One of my favorite photos of Halmoni and Aria.
Aria's middle name is Jae, its a Korean name meaning respect.  And it was my first homage to the Korean heritage I feel simultaneously tied to and estranged from.  The second homage was Aria's first birthday.  I was determined that she have a traditional Korean first birthday. 

The Chut Dol or first birthday is a pretty big deal. In ancient times, infant mortality rates were pretty high so if a child reached her Chut Dol, her chances of survival greatly increased and it was a reason to celebrate.
I bought Aria a traditional Korean Hanbok to wear to her  Dol.  These pictures were actually taken roughly a week before her birthday.  I wanted to be sure to get some great shots of her in her Hanbok. Photography courtesy of my good friends Tina and Nicole Burdsall.  

Funny story actually about the location.  March in Portland is known for rain so I randomly sent an email to a store (Cargo, Inc) in downtown Portland that specializes in imported furniture from around the world. I didn't really expect them to agree to my proposed scenario since it involved letting a toddler loose in their store of highly expensive furniture and home goods. To my surprise, though, I got back a lovely email letting me know that we were welcome to have an impromptu photo shoot in their shop. 
A rare photo of me.  I swear I only pop up sporadically in the "family" photos.  Comes from being the person often wielding the camera.  At least this one was actually taken by someone other than myself.  I have far too many "Facebook" style mirror shots of Aria and I together.
My favorite shot of the day.

Perhaps it seems silly to get so wrapped up in a single birthday, but it mattered to me.  A single day held the weight of all my worries.  It was as if I was making a pact with myself to do my best to ensure that our Korean heritage wasn't lost entirely.  I can't say I've come to terms with it all, but I will say that I would love for Aria to know that her Korean heritage is beautiful and important. I make sure that we have books about Korea around the house.  I talk about the fact that Halmoni is from Korea.  I cook a few Korean dishes occasionally even though I don't like to cook. 

And here's the thing, one of the few things that I have come to understand about myself is that at the end of the day while I want her to take pride in her Korean heritage, more than anything I want her to celebrate the beauty of the world around us. We get so hung up on the bad.  To be fair, there's plenty to get hung up on, but I want Aria to be able to see the good too.  I want her to be a part of cultivating, sharing, and spreading more of the good.  I think one of the most important things we can do for kids is to make sure that their books and toys reflect the diversity of the world.  One of the things that really got to me when I was growing up was that none of my dolls looked like me at all.  Not a single one. Okay...maybe Hawaiian Barbie came the closest but for the most part I didn't see myself on TV, in the books I read, or the toys I played with. I felt both incredibly exposed and invisible at the same time.  One of the most exciting things about making dolls is having the ability to not only appreciate but honor and value diversity. 

 "You know when ubuntu is there, and it is obvious when it is absent. It has to do with what it means to be truly human, to know that you are bound up with others in the bundle of life."
  - Desmond Tutu

Aria and I...we already talk about the importance of diversity and compassion and the courage needed to realize a better world.  Sometimes I think she gets what I'm saying and other days I am not so sure.  But that's okay because sometimes I'm not so sure I know what I'm trying to say myself.  But I try.  And I think that counts for something. I'll continue to try.  I'll speak to her from a place of love and respect for not only her but for the world around us and the people in it.   And I'll hope for the best, even though I'm not sure what the best will actually look like.  But I think that is one thing that all parents no matter their backgrounds and experiences share in common.  We hope for the best even in the face of uncertainty.



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Pinterest Addiction

Ok, so are you guys Pinterest addicts too? Have you been to check out our Pinterest page?

I really love Pinterest. (No, I mean reeeeeally.) If you haven't heard of Pinterest yet, I can't recommend it enough. It's awesome, it's free, it's pretty! Pinterest is basically a highly visual bulletin board with a social media twist.

As a user you can create boards to collect pictures and links from anywhere on the internet or upload your own pictures. Since they're your board you can create whatever collections interest you. How about the color aqua? Sure, collect a bunch of beautiful photos based on color. Or how about beach vacations? Yep; you can gather links that talk about all the spots you dream of sunning (especially heading into winter). Whatever you're in to, you can create a board about.

The social part comes next; you can see other people's pins and repin them to your own boards. You can follow favorite boards or pinners to keep up with what wonderful things they find. It's pretty awesome.

Now me, I use it for one part organization, one part inspiration, and one part just plain fun. The boards I consider organization are things like recipes, gift idea boards for Matt and Max, books I want to read, things like that. They're fun but very practical.
Then there are the inspiration boards like awesome ideas for things to do to the house, craft projects I want to try, and fun stuff to do with the kiddos.
The just plain fun boards are things like gadgets I will never buy, geeky humor, and videos I think are worth watching more than once.

Then there's that board that it's hard to explain. I've found a lot of pinners end up with these boards; one you can't really explain why it exists, but it just does. Mine is full of toasters. Yes, toasters. Really weird, cool, funny, or beautiful toasters. I'm not sure why I have an entire board of toasters. I don't have a deep and abiding love of toast. I actually don't even own a toaster, just a toaster oven. But these toasters kept creeping into my other boards until there were so many that I had to admit they deserved their own spot. Here's my current favorite:

It launches toast! That would seriously perk up my morning.
However you use it, Pinterest can be pretty awesome. There are even private boards now (up to 3 per user), so that you can create boards that can't be seen by others. Good if you're collecting ideas for a surprise party, for example!

I know some people think Pinterest is just another great place to waste time on the internet, but at least for me, I must disagree. The great part about Pinterest for me is that it inspires me to get off the computer and go actually do some of the things I've pinned. Don't get me wrong; I can spend quite a bit of time browsing if the mood strikes, but I also have a growing Projects I've Done board that helps keep me motivated.

Also, whether you're a brand new or very seasoned pinner, I can't recommend enough that you go read Jen Yates post on pinning the right way: Seven Ways To Be a Better Pinner.Very worth the read.

So come follow us if you haven't already!

Follow Me on Pinterest

And let us know; how do you use Pinterest?


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Bastian, Call my name!

I loved The Neverending Story as a child and can't wait to share it with my own kids.That is, when I don't think it'll scare the beejeezez out of my oldest, Stella (she's a sensitive soul).

And with that wonderful story in my mind, this magical little doll we finished up today received (what I consider to be) a great name, Bastian.
10" waldorf doll, Tansy dolls, bamboletta, dragonsfly hollow, steiner dolls
Fantasia can arise anew, from your dreams and wishes, Bastian!
Maybe we should make an Atreyu doll with a Falcor felted critter...that would be radical. hah.

Bastian comes with a sweet forest green sweater with matching boots, undies, & he has jeans! Robin whipped these up and dang, those little pants are cute.

Fantasia Bastian waldorf dolls tany dolls bamboletta dragonflys hollow
My first wish is...
And did you notice his awesome hair? We wanted to give a shout out to all the wonderful under represented boys in our lives that love pink. :) This soft & silky boucle yarn is amazing to touch.

pink boucle waldorf doll tansy dolls steiner doll boy doll handmade all natural
Joining Bastian this week in our Thursday SHOP upload with be Jasmine (blue) and Daisy(yellow), our newest BUD Blanket Babies:

waldorf pocket dolls blanket babies stocking stuffers
Jasmine and Daisy, snugglin'
Also, I'd like to announce the places and times we'll be at craft fairs in Portland this season.

Friday Nov. 23rd, 24th, and 25th:
- Tansy Dolls will be at Lake Oswego Market
- Located at 599 A Ave in Lake Oswego the market is on A Ave & 6th Street. There will be a Christmas Tree lot out front, so if you're the right after Thanksgiving decorators(like I am) you can pick up a nice tree there as well. :D

And then we'll be hanging with the cool kids on Sunday, Dec 9th at:
Crafty Underdog
- Located at The Mission Theatre, 1624 NW Glisan, Portland, OR

Cady, Robin, and I are looking forward to chatting with everyone that comes by and showing off how cute and snuggly our dolls are. :) Please come up and say hi if you're around!


Friday, November 9, 2012

The Holiday Gift Guide Part V: Pamper Thyself

Squee!  Who doesn't love pampering bath and beauty products?  This giveaway guide features great shops offering luxurious products that encourage you to take a little time for yourself. If you haven't seen parts 1-4 yet, you can click on the links below to check out the fabulous shops!  Plus if you haven't already done so, you can earn extra entries into the Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway by sharing Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV on your Facebook wall. What's the Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway?  Glad you asked.  :D  One lucky reader who enters the Tansy Doll Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway will win $30.00 to put towards any ONE shop featured in the 6 part series gift guide. All you have to do is click here and enter by following the directions.  As each part of the gift guide goes live, there will be additional ways to earn entries, so keep checking back!  

Here's a reminder of the schedule:
Sept 14 - Waldorf Inspired Toys
Sept 28 - Transportation, Fairies, and Lil' Artists
Oct 12 - Clothing and other Wearables
Oct 26 - Tiny Treasures
Nov 9 - Pamper Thyself
Nov 23 - Dress those Walls

Pamper Thyself

1. Mix and Match 4 Soaps of your choice by Sweet Trade Soap Company
This is a great deal.  For $13.50 you get to pick 4 soaps of your choosing.  This would make a great gift for just about anybody on your list, including yourself.  What?  You don't buy gifts for yourself.  You should fix that.  Everyone deserves to pamper him or herself occasionally.  My favorite soap from this company is the Scallywag, but I just bought the Voodome and I'm excited to try it out.  Like Sweet Trade on Facebook at
 2. 8 oz Soy Candle by Orange County Candles
I'm excited to try out these candles from Orange County Candles.  I bought the six pack of 8 oz candles for $45.00.  I intend to give a few away as Holiday gifts.  And I have to tell you they arrive already packaged in the absolute most cutest way.  Oh and the scents...perfection.  I've definitely found my go-to person for candles! She has a HUGE list of scents to choose from so there is something for everyone!  From what I hear soy candles burn cleaner and last longer so they are the ecological and economical choice of candles.  Follow her Facebook page here
 3. Mineral Eyeshadow by Rocksterize
$7.00 gets you your choice of color in mineral eyeshadow.  I'm not one to wear much makeup but when I do I like it to be dramatic.  These mineral eyeshadows fit the bill with vibrant and bold color choices.  Follow her on Facebook at
I'm not sure if I want eat this or take a bath with it!  For $4.50 you get this scrumptious little bath bomb filled with good for your skin ingredients.  This particular bath bomb is made with vanilla, sugar, butter and loads of chocolate fragrance. The "chips" are made from olive oil based soap chunks.  Go like Savor's Facebook page at
5. Sugar Scrub Bath Bars by Bella Luna Crafts
Each sugar scrub bar is $5.00 and you get your choice of lemon cilantro, spa tonic, ripe raspberry, or mojito. Offering these sugar scrubs in bar form is simply ingenious as it cuts back on unnecessary packaging.  These bars contain a glycerin base for cleansing, sugar of course for scrubbing, and grapeseed oil for moisturizing.  And at only $5.00, you might as well buy all four scents!  Like Bella Luna Crafts' Facebook page:
  6. Organic Lavender Milk Bath by Breath of French Air
For $10.50 you can purchase one glass bottle (4.5 oz) full of soothing Organic Lavender Milk Bath.  Okay, first what a great treat after a long day.  Second, when your milk bath is gone you can reuse the bottle!  I didn't intend this gift guide for the kiddos but check out her sweet animal cracker soap set. Adorable. Like A Breath of French Air at
 7. Cotton Candy Confetti Lip Sugar Scrub by For Goodness Grape
Come winter time, my lips are always dry and chapped.  According to For Goodness Grape, a lip sugar  scrub is a great way to exfoliate and moisturize your lips.  For $7.75 you get a tube of this fabulous and yummy looking sugar scrub.  And the best part, this is one beauty product you can actually eat.  Well...okay, maybe you shouldn't eat the whole tube, but apparently you can lick off the sugar scrub after applying.  While you're in her shop pick up a fabulous lip balm to apply afterwards.  I already bought some Vanilla Cardamon lip balm and I can't wait to try it out! Follow her on Facebook at
 8. Complexion Clarifying Facial Cream by Bunny Butt Apothecary
I've got problem skin and from the looks of the feedback this might be the product to help clarify and settle down my skin.  For $12.00 I am totally purchasing some of this facial cream!  She also makes and sells a complexion zen clarifying charcoal soap that I will have to try out as well.   Follow along on Facebook for updates:
 9. Lotion Balms by Yreka Soap Co
For only 5.00 you get your choice of Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, or Baby (no scent) balm perfect for soothing those hardworking hands.  These seems like the perfect gift for anybody who uses their hands a lot, your favorite crafter.  ;)  The balms are made with shea butter, coco butter, coconut oil, pures bees wax, olive oil, rice bran oil ,vitamin e, grapefruit seed oil & *Essential Oil. *Baby balm does not contain essential oil for those who prefer a non-scented balm.  Follow her on
10.  Solid Perfume by Scodioli Creative
These solid perfumes sell for $14.00 per tin.  I've heard of solid perfumes before but  what makes Scodioli Creative different from others is the unique scent combinations.  I am seriously coveting this one in lilac and bergamot, but there are some other equally tantalizing scents.  If you;re like me and have a hard time choosing just one, pick up her wee sample set of three to find out which is your favorite.  Like her Facebook page at
I think that this giveaway guide is my favorite right now. I've already made several purchases from a few of these shops in my effort to get a jump start on the Holiday gift buying frenzy.  Most years, I make all my gifts, but this year I've vowed to buy from crafters and artists.  I love supporting handmade!  Only one more gift guide to go, so don't forget to get those entries in for the Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway!!!