Friday, February 26, 2010

Going Barefoot

Three years ago (I can't believe how quickly time has passed!), when I was pregnant with Matthew, a parent of one of my students gifted me with the book, Welcome to the World. I have cherished it since, it is still on Matthew's bookshelf, and Matthew especially enjoyed discussing the pictures right around the time Ben was born. That was my first experience with Barefoot Books.

Several weeks ago we checked out some books at the county library, which is something the boys and I do just about every week. Because I have both boys with me and I don't want to drive the librarians too crazy, I often look up a subject in the card catalog, quickly find the call numbers and books, check them out, then read through them once we get home. Two weeks ago the subject we were interested in was "dinosaurs," and I ended up checking out I Dreamt I was a Dinosaur by Stella Blackstone. Matthew just loved it, and so did I. Being a crafty, fiber-loving person, I especially enjoyed the illustrations by Clare Beaton composed with felt, beads, ribbon and other embellishments. After reading it about ten times in a row to Matthew, I looked at the information at the back of the book and found that the publisher was Barefoot Books. The following information was also included:

"At Barefoot Books, we celebrate art and story with books that open the hearts and minds of children from all walks of life, inspiring them to read deeper, search further, and explore their own creative gifts. Taking our inspiration from many different cultures, we focus on themes that encourage independence of spirit, enthusiasm for learning, and acceptance of other traditions. Thoughtfully prepared by writers, artists and storytellers from all over the world, our products combine the best of the present with the best of the past to educate our children as the caretakers of tomorrow."

As a parent, former elementary-school teacher, and someone who just appreciates a high-quality book, I was intrigued. I started checking out more Barefoot Books from the public library and was met with literature and illustrations that met, if not exceeded, my expectations.

During this same time period Matthew and I discovered the you-tube video (the "watch our new video" button on the sidebar will take you there) for Driving My Tractor, another fun Barefoot Book ! You see, Matthew has an obsession (like many preschool-aged children) with trucks, trains, construction equipment and tractors. With our supervision, of course, we allow him to pick out you-tube videos of such transportation vehicles to watch. I ended up purchasing the book, with sing-along CD, for him and he just loves it!

After these numerous positive experiences with Barefoot Books, I decided to become a Barefoot Books Ambassador. I'm not one to jump into a business without looking at the details first, and after much scrutinizing, Barefoot Books looked like a perfect fit. I thought I'd post this here in blogland because, well, it's now a part of my life that I'd like to share. Plus, you never know who might be in the market for a great children's book!

Please let me know if you have any questions regarding Barefoot Books, whether it's about the products, my experiences, or becoming an Ambassador yourself. You may also check out My Marketplace, or click on any of the Barefoot Books buttons for more information on the books mentioned above, among many others. I am truly excited about this new journey in my life!

Thank you,

P.s. If you decide to become a member of the Barefoot Community (basically, providing your email address--but you can choose if you want to receive email from Barefoot Books or not), you will receive 20% off your first purchase.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Matches Made!

I sent out emails to all exchange participants last night. Please let me know if you did not receive an email or if you have any questions. Participants names are in the sidebar with websites linked to their names. Have fun choosing items for your partner and participating in this exchange!

Warm regards,
Katie :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"Can't Wait 'til Spring!" Exchange

Edit: I'm going to add a two day extension to the sign-up! Please email me at by Tuesday, February 23 (midnight, mountain time). Thank you!

Yay! It looks like there's some interest in an exchange, so let's get it going!

1.) Please email me at with the following information by Sunday, February 21 (midnight, mountain time):
Mailing Address

email address
website (if applicable)

favorite colors

2.) I will randomly assign recipients to each participant, and contact participants through email (hopefully by Monday evening). This is a SURPRISE exchange! You may check out the person's blog/website, etc. who you will be mailing a package to, but please don't reveal your identity until packages have reached their destinations!

3.) Please send your packages out by March 20 (the first day of Spring!). Prior to sending out your package, please take photos and share on your blog, if you have one. It will be be fun seeing what everyone is sending out!

This is a "Can't Wait 'til Spring!" exchange, so please include 3-5 cheerful, lift-your-spirit, Spring-themed items. I want this to be fun, not costly, so try to keep the TOTAL amount spent under $20 and get creative--handmade is always great!

Here are a few ideas:
bright-colored tote bag
fruity lip balm
light reading
light-weight scarf
gardening accessories
found objects from nature

If you have any other ideas, please feel free to leave them in the comment section. Also, feel free to contact me with any questions via my email or through comments.

Have fun,
Katie :)
P.s. I took the above picture yesterday while exploring our backyard with my boys. This will be our first spring in this house/yard, so I'm excited to see what bulbs have been planted. So many surprises await!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Exchange, anyone?

Usually around this time of year I'm in need of a little pick-me-up. I know that spring is just around the corner, but realistically, we can still have snow through April here in northern New Mexico. Once, it even snowed on my birthday (May 7th)! So, I was wondering if anyone was up for an exchange? I was thinking that it could be a "Spring is Just Around the Corner" exchange with an emphasis on cheerful and spring-y items. Anyone game?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

This and That

As mentioned in my previous post, I have been working on a lot of different projects lately. I have been knitting and crocheting, of course, but I've also been enjoying sewing again. After much consideration I had decided to take my sewing machine in for a tune-up instead of purchasing a new one, and it was $70 very well spent! Now my thread isn't breaking every two inches, and my sewing machine and I are friends once again. It's not a fancy machine by any means, but it gets the job done, and it was my grandmother's so I like having it around for sentimental reasons as well.

First, I have a couple of birthday crowns I made for a first birthday (star crown) and second birthday (flower crown) birthday party we attended last weekend. Working with wool felt is so nice because fraying is not an issue and the fabric is nice and thick. I had purchased this felt many months ago from A Child's Dream Come True and have been very happy with it. I also enjoyed working on my embroidery and hand-sewing skills with these crowns. I see many more in my future!

I have several sketch books and journals I've been using lately and decided that they needed a special place of their own. I wanted a pencil holder/caddy that could house at least 24 colored pencils as well as my journals. I also wanted to use some of my Japanese fabric I purchased last year to add a little character. I am happy with the trifold design of this pencil/journal holder, but if I were to do it again I would make it a little bit smaller and add a top flap to ensure that none of the pencils fall out.

I've made it a goal of mine to focus on organizing our kitchen for the month of February. When we moved in last summer everything was put away very quickly, and now that we've been in this house for a good six months I'm starting to discover what works best for me in terms of organization. We have a little table for Matt next to the kitchen, but his art supplies have been constantly piling up on the kitchen counter. Thus, some wall pockets were in order to hold his supplies. He even picked out the fabric!

Finally, I wanted to draw attention to a great natural multi-purpose cleaner recipe found in the comments of the previous post. I'm excited to try it out! Thanks, BKD!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

WIP Wednesday and One Small Change, February

I've had a lot of this and that going on lately, and like my husband has pointed out several times, I often flit from one project to the another. Thus, Work-in-Progress Wednesdays! I've been working on this sweater (Ravelry link) from Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard. I absolutely love the top-down, seamless construction, although I now have 270 stitches on my needles! It will all be work it in the end when I have minimal seaming. :) I've also been working on Valentine's Day presents, birthday presents, a pencil case, and wall pockets. Yes, flitting, from knitting to sewing to embroidery to crochet and back. Plus I bought an eight ounce bag of lavender from an Etsy seller the other day for no reason in particular. Hmm...any lavender ideas?

As discussed in this post, for the month of January my "one small change" was to routinely bake bread for my family instead of purchasing it at the store. This was a fairly successful endeavor, and I hope to bake more "from scratch" in the future. I also made some homemade yogurt and granola, which turned out well for the most part: the granola got burned but Matthew assured me that he still liked it. That's my boy.

For the month of February I've decided to take more steps towards green, diy, cleaning. I've dabbled in this, but the convenience of store-bought products typically gets the best of me. So, I've stocked up on baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, borax, tea tree oil, and castile soap. I'm excited to feel like a scientist as I mix my concoctions. Hopefully I'll also be inspired to clean and tidy the house a bit more as well! :)