Starting new traditions: The Night Before Christmas Box

TweetThe night before Christmas or Christmas eve, whatever you prefer to call it has always been a special one in our family. Growing up my Mom did a movie night, we’d watch Little Woman while wearing our new Christmas PJ’s and eating junk food and chatting about the reason we celebrated Christmas. Over the years

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Ice Galaxy, the coolest place in the universe

TweetLast night the Thomas gang was invited to attend the opening of the Ice Galaxy at Canal Walk. This is something Danny has been wanting to do for so long, but we’ve never really found the time or energy to take him (yes, bad parents). And since the boys have been more challenging of late

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Countdown to Christmas has begun

TweetIf you don’t know by now then let me enlighten you, the holiday season is OFFICIALLY here! Last weekend we finally put up our Christmas tree and started getting into the festive swing, discussing plans, sharing our prezzie wish list and spending time as a family together (love tank full, the older I get the

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Series : Supporting Momtrepreneurs – Meet Sam from Smallschoollove

Good Morning Lovelies

I ABSOLUTELY love doing these posts!

Do you know what grows businesses? Word of mouth and supporting our local companies!

This morning I’m so excited to share my latest find. I love all things Pinterest and love searching through Facebook for awesome baby and kids related products, so when I stumbled onto Sam’s Facebook page I fell inlove!

I have always loved wooden toys and accessories for my kids, I just feel they last so much longer and they’re just so different. Each one is unique, no 2 pieces of wood will ever be the same.

I recently asked Sam if I could do a feature on her and she jumped at the opportunity, I love that inbetween the busyness of running her own business and raising her family she still had the energy for me and my questions.

So here goes….

So tell us a bit about yourself, who you are, your background?
I’m a mom to 3 gorgeous kids and I’m a teacher running a small playschool from home. I have a background in graphic design.

So now that we know you have kids tell us a bit about them
Yes – 3 amazing kids! Our eldest is 17 – a beautiful young lady with only 1 year of high school left – I seriously can’t believe this!! Our middle is a boy of 13 – gentle kind funny and very sporty. Our baby is 2 going on 15 – incredible little guy who keeps us all busy and involved in each others lives… Talk about blessed – its a great privilege to be involved in their lives.

How, when and why did you start your small business?
As a mum and teacher I’m always on the look out for natural wholesome toys for the children. I’m drawn to wooden toys and love the natural textures…I also feel they stimulate the senses and are durable which is important in a school environment. While there are a lot of beautiful wooden toys out there most of them are painted and imported. I stumbled on a tutorial one day while I was searching for wooden toys and it was a lady making her own and I thought yes – I can do that!

R400 9 piece
R400
9 piece
R400 15 piece
R400
15 piece

Starting a business has its rewards. What has been one of the highlights of venturing out on your own.
The actual process of making the toys has been a major highlight – sourcing the sustainable local wood, making patterns and packaging up a final crafted piece is so fulfilling…I love that my kids can be a part of the experience and play around experimenting with their own creative journeys…

When doing new designs, what do you look for. Comfortability, affordability, latest trends? Where does the inspiration stem from?
I get a lot of my ideas on line. I also try to think about what children would like to play from their perspective and then experiment on my own kids! I often start off with an idea and it turns into something completely different that I hadn’t even considered…

R160 4 Piece Approx. 15cm X 39cm
Table Mountain Stack R160
4 Piece
Approx. 15cm X 39cm
R160 8 piece
R160
8 piece

Can one only order via the catalogue you have available on Facebook or do you do custom orders too?
You can order via facebook catalogue and I do make custom orders!

What are some of the challenges you have experienced with starting a small business (be it time, suppliers, huge orders etc.)?
I definitely underestimated the amount of time and work that goes into each piece and finishing it off. So time is definitely a challenge for me and I do get carried away on each piece making sure they are perfect to send out!

Any upcoming markets or events we can come and support you at?
At the moment I’m just making orders that I get through facebook and I will be doing one twilight gift market at St Stephens church in Claremont on the 4th of December.

Where can one find your awesome products?
For the time being on line as I make to order! 

R400 13 piece
R400
13 piece

Packaging Packaging bag Bunny Family

Care to share a piece of advice with other aspiring small business owners
I suppose the best advise is to just give your ideas a go – I never thought I could make my own toys but with the support and help of my amazing husband and family I was brave enough to try and the outcome far exceeded any expectations I had. You should also love your product or the hard work involved will put you off!!

So now that I’ve blown your mind with Sam’s amazing goodies, hop on over to her Facebook page or email her at smallschoollove@gmail.com and place your Christmas orders!

Bird Teether R00
Bird Teether
R100

Teether Packaging

Elly Teether R100
Elly Teether
R100

Some FAQ about the products

Do you use paints, varnish, or stains on toys?
No! All we ever use is non toxic beeswax and organic flax seed oil. Did you know wood is anti-bacterial & non-allergenic?! If you want RAW local woods just let us know. We use local sustainable farmed gum and pine.

How does postage work?
We are currently posting at about 1 week lead time. Once I have your location and order I can supply you with an exact postage price. All prices on the site exclude postage. We deliver your items in natural-style packaging.

Do you do local delivery or pick up?
Yes! Please email me for details.

How can I pay for these natural toys?
We accept eft’s.

Do you make custom orders?
With pleasure. Just ask us. We can make you something really special according to your specifications. (Two week turnaround on custom pieces.)

Will you make a personal love note for the little one I am sending this gift to?
Yes! Just ask. We love to personalize your gift and make it extra special.

Whats the best way to care for my special toy?
Each toy comes with a little care guide! It will give you information on how to keep that toy ready to play with for many generations.

Christmas is Coming….

Keep Calm

Its no secret that Christmas is by far my most favourite time of the year.

Growing up I had the most amazing Christmas’s, from the tree decoration, to the atmosphere in our home around this time, till watching our annual movie (tradition). I love everything about it.

Its great growing up in a big family, all these wonderful events means a BIG family gathering. And since coming from a blended family we’ve had the annual tradition of celebrating with a Christmas eve dinner hosted by my amazingly awesome Aunt Karen (if you’ve ever been to one of her gatherings then you know what I’m talking about) followed by a wonderful Christmas lunch either by My Mom, Dad, or in-laws.

This year I thought I’d get a head start with the Christmas planning and do a few posts on ideas for Christmas. These will range from Christmas Eats, Christmas Treats and new traditions.

Since last Christmas our little family has grown with the addition of my perfect little niece Izzy – Rose Petal. Guys she’s beautiful and super bonus is she loves her Lala as much as I love her.

So without further a do… Lets kick off with some Christmas Treats.

Inexpensive Christmas ideas

Gifting Ideas:

  • A few years back, due to the ever growing family we decided that the adults in the family would draw names for presents and all the kiddies would get presents. Its been so much easier this way as the ever growing family just did not fit into everyone’s budget. So score.

The idea is you make up a gift for the person to the value of R300.00. This should include something that they have put on their want list (yes we do 3 ideas for the other person so that they have an idea), and then maybe something else small. Last year I was the lucky person to pick my Hubbys name, perfect for me as I knew exactly what he wanted for Christmas.

  • If you’re feeling creative then make something. Since I’ve taken up a side hobby (Crocheting, yes I can see my little sister rolling her eyes at me) this could be useful when coming to gift ideas. There’s patterns readily available online for the cutest goodies i.e. headbands, cushion covers, placemats, coasters, blankets etc.
  • Have a special photo framed.

One of the most special gifts I’ve received was from my Dad. He gave me a photo of us from my wedding day in a beautiful frame which I display proudly in our lounge.

When embarking on a new project I always check on Pinterest for some inspiration before I get started. I’ve done a quick round up of some of the things I’ve pinned.

Something for the chef in your life

Gift 1 - For the Baker or Cook

For the one with the Sweet Tooth

Gift 2 - Sweet Tooth

For the Grandparent who loves to cook / braai why not get the kids involved and do a custom hand painted Apron

Gift 3 - Hand print Apron

Monogrammed Totes

Gift 5 - Monogrammed Tote

Personalized Christmas Baubles

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Personalized Christmas baubles

DIY pillow (see tutorials below)

Gift 6 - DIY Pillow

Pillow - Puppy

Pillow - Cactus

Arts and Crafts:

  • Salt Dough Ornament

How to make salt dough:

1 cup salt

1 cup plain flour

Up to 1 cup of water (add gradually)

Method:

Combine the salt and flour then pour in the water gradually, stopping when it has become dough-like and not too sticky. There should be no residue left on your fingers when you touch it.

Knead it on a floured surface for a few minutes to make it soft, workable and stretchy, like you would with any dough.

This step is wonderful for strengthening those small hand muscles essential for writing and cutting!

Choose a range of cookie cutter shapes and simply cut straight from the dough. We used Christmas trees, stars and hearts. Poke a straw through the centre, near the top, of each shape so that ribbon can be threaded through later.

Lay them on some greaseproof or baking paper and on a baking tray. Cook them on a VERY low heat (around 100ºC) for up to 3 hours. If the shapes are over 1cm thick then they will probably need to be turned over during baking.

It is VERY important not to have the oven on too high. This will cause the salt dough to bubble up and fill with air, as essentially it is being cooked. What you are really aiming for is to dry them out thoroughly, over a slow period of time.

As soon as they are out of the oven they can be left to cool while your child chooses which colours and decorations to add! We used acrylic paints which adhere to the dough really successfully. Ordinary water-based children’s paint does work, but the colours are not as vibrant and the paint can flake off eventually.

The acrylics work as a sealant and keep the colours strong and beautiful!
Once the paint is dry, spread on some PVA (runny) glue and sprinkle over some glitter for a wonderfully Christmassy effect!

When they are dry, thread through with thin ribbon or twine and hang on the tree! You can write the date in the back to remember when they were made too, adding a special memory to the occasion.

And then finally, add a new tradition to your Christmas this year. Why not build a Gingerbread house together!

Sets are available from :

Gingerbread House Kit

Sweetly Does It

R219.00

Sweetly Does It Gingerbread house kit 3

Sweetly Does It Gingerbread house kit 1

Sweetly Does It Gingerbread house kit 2

DIY Kit – Gingerbread House

Harck & Heart

R350.00

Pre-made

Included

ALL YOU NEED IN ONE BOX:

  • easy step-by-step instructions
    • ready baked gingerbread house panels
    • gingerbread door and window
    • gingerbread trees and stepping-stones
    • cake board
    • icing sugar
    • piping bag
    • assorted sweets

Easy to assemble.
Great family fun for all ages

Harck & Heart 2Harck & Heart 1Harck & Heart 3

Let me know what you thought, and if you have any special Christmas traditions!

Till Later

LT

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