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Local Toymaker


Challenged to find a toy that is not “made in china?”  Or ridiculously priced?  Or plastic?  Or requiring batteries? 

Want to support a local craftswoman? 

Check out Ashley’s amazing handmade Waldorf toys.   Ashley is trained in Waldorf Early Childhood Education and is a parent educator.  Click here for more info on  Waldorf education .  She makes her beautiful toys in Traveler’s Rest but, of course, can ship anywhere.  

She says:  Inspired by the limitless imaginations of young children, each toy is created with much love and warmth.  Toys are purposely without detailed facial features to promote open-ended play and feed the infinite expressions of the child’s imagination.  The beauty of the craftsmanship and simplicity of each toy beckons to be played with in a myriad of creative environments for years to come.  Appropriate for ages birth through 7 years (and beyond!).  My own children, ages 1 and 2, are my research and development team!  I craft each of these toys from my home.  The all natural materials I use include: hardwoods; wool – roving, batting, felt and yarn; cotton; bamboo; and found materials like acorn caps.  Please allow 1-2 weeks for most custom orders.

I know I’m purchasing several pieces for Norah’s stocking.  Take a look and if you’d like to see pictures of all of Ashley’s work or if you would like to purchase a few, email her at waldorfmama [at] gmail [dot] com.  


 Gnomes – (measuring approximately 4″ tall) in custom tailored outfits; gnomes are warm and wonderful to touch, all outfits are securely attached, and make great imaginative play toys as child grows – $4 each; 3 for $10; 6 for $20 

Flower children and acorn fellows – each meticulously created and inspired by the changing seasons. A wonderful addition to sprout on a nature table and into imaginary play.  Acorn folks are $4 each; a family of 3 – 2 adults and 1 child – for $10. Flower folks $6 each. (not recommended for children who will put them in their mouth) 

Birthday/Dress Up crowns – a delight for the birthday celebration or for dress up; sized for young children to adults with adjustable velcro. – $15 each

Birthday Ring – inspired by rings from Germany, contains 12 hand tailored figures on a beeswax sealed wood base; customarily, child chooses one each year to stand in the center and the spot on the ring is filled with a candle; at 12 years old the ring is fully alight with all figures in the middle.  Not recommended for everyday play. – $85, set includes 12 figures, wood base.

Knot dolls – a lovely first toy for the young child; knots are easily grasped and soothing to gnaw on; made from soft cotton fabric &/or organic bamboo fabric with wool batting in head (choose solid blue or pink) – $10 

Balls of all sorts – felted (both wet and needle felted) wool with custom designs (small 2″ diameter $6, medium 3″ diameter $9, large 4″ diameter $12), embroidered cotton with a small rattle enveloped inside (4″ diameter $7); wool felt patchwork ($10); great for indoor play as first a rattle then an interactive toy

Carved wood animals – each hand carved, sanded smooth and finished with food grade beeswax; lovely as a first toy (safe for teething) then an addition to imaginary play as child grows older – prices start at $7. 

Knitted animals – Soft and soothing to the touch (wool and cotton yarns), they can accompany many lovely tales children never tire of hearing (consider a mama duck and her babies with Jemimah Puddle Duck, bunnies to accompany any of the many fun rabbit tales, or a donkey, cat, dog and rooster set to illustrate the Bremen Town Musicians…) – Mama Duck $10, ducklings $4 each or a set of Mama and 2 babies for $15; rabbit $8; horse/donkey $10; rooster or chicken $4; cat $5; dog $10; elephant $15

Felt animals – pictured are two Scotty dogs; more designs to come in the future – $8 for solid $15 for appliqued

Mobiles – each individually crafted from pecan branches with wool and silk decorations – custom order, sizes and prices vary

Washcloths – knit or crocheted with organic cotton and quite lovely for the entire family – $7

Gift sets – multiple items may be selected to create a fun gift set; great for baby showers and birthdays! – prices vary

Aren’t they gorgeous?

Another Toy Ramble

Someone recently asked me where we find our toys.  I have several places I look to first. 

1)  Etsy:  I love buying handmade and supporting other moms.  I would prefer to make them myself.  But–um, that prospect is not quite manifesting as I’d hoped.  Check out this gnome furniture and the autumn gnome that might sit to sup. 

2)  Oompa and Three Sisters Toys:  my favorite online sites for toys.  No electronic noises and no batteries required.  Three Sisters may be pricey but they have an “under 10.00” toy category and they offer 5.00 flat rate shipping.  Oompa offers free shipping over 65.00.  Last year I ordered all my Christmas gifts for kids from Oompa so that I received free shipping.  I didn’t have to stand in a single toy store line. 

3)  Amazon makes it easy to create wish lists and to find used books for a fraction of the cost.  And Amazon does offer HABA and Plan Toys.  Now they also have a “Green Toys” category. 

4)  If I need a toy in a hurry, I usually go to O.P. Taylors.  They carry a good selection of Plan Toys and Melissa and Doug.

And again, lest you think I live some ideal life and have no plastic toys…as I write this post, Norah is playing in the tub:  “Mama, did you know Nemo likes warm milk?”  I glance over to find her “nursing” a plastic clownfish swaddled in a wash cloth.