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Send photos of your little ones enjoying their toys from Bright Life Toys. Photos must be high resolution, and at least 1500 pixels wide.

Need ideas? Pictures of kids running with playsilks, having a tea party with dolls, carting around their gnomes or simply squeezing their OBV plushies would be great!



By sending photos, you agree for them to be used in any online and / or print advertising for Bright Life Toys.

If your photo is selected, you will be sent a e-gift card for $15 towards any instock item on Etsy.

Have multiple pictures? You can win multiple gift cards! If more than 1 of your photos is chosen, you'll receive more than 1 gift card!

Entries will be open from 1/27/2012 until 1/31/2012 at noon EST. Send photos to

Good luck!

Let There Be Music!

My kids were born into a musical family.

My mother has the voice of an angel and once sang with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. One of my brothers sings, another can play anything with strings, and the other plays the drums.

My mother-in-law taught my father-in law how to play the guitar, and he brings it with him everywhere. My husband was taught to play the guitar by his father, and cut a record.

Then there is me. Birthing cats sound better than me singing, and my 18 month old keeps a better beat than I do. I was apparently somewhere else when the Divine was handing out musical talent.

Needless to say, there is no escaping music in our household. I was super excited when my parents told me they were going to give my daughter a lap harp for Christmas. She LOVES music. Her favorite song is "Popular" from Wicked. She is constantly making up songs and singing show tunes. (That is what being raised by two Thespians gets you - show tunes from birth. My oldest watched "Into the Woods" before he watched anything else on television, including cartoons.)

It fits on her lap like a dream, and is SO easy to use. She was gifted about a dozen or so double sided sheets of music to use with it. It is cut to fit under the strings, so little ones can play songs by following the notes and the strings.

 The absolute BEST part? It is handmade! Super score for my parents! They bought it from Craggy Mountain Music, which is located in North Carolina.

"Without music, life would be a mistake." -Friedrich Nietzsche

Words to live by.

This is the Way We Wash the Wool

In other words, how we get this:

from this:

But first, a word about the wool. Early last year I decided that I wanted locally sourced wool to stuff my toys with. I really wanted to get my hands dirty (little did I know...ha!). My ancestors hail from Scotland, and I feel close to them when I start from the bottom up, so to speak. I oftentimes find myself wondering how they did something, and who taught who (whom?) to sew.


I found an amazing sheep farm in northern Virginia called Touchstone Farms. They were the first certified humane sheep farm in the United States, and raise Clun Forest sheep. I met with Alan, (here he is!) and told him what I was looking for. He hooked me up with a LOT of wool. The catch was that it needed to be cleaned.

So my husband put the bags of wool into the back of his truck and we headed for home.

Here is how I wash my wool and prepare it to stuff toys with.

The first look. Super dirty!

I lay a big sheet on my deck and dump some wool onto it.

Then I start picking through it. The skirts (the REALLY dirty parts, the bits near the back end of the sheep and near the belly of the sheep) go in a bucket for compost.

I get as much grass, hay, and anything else that doesn't belong there out of it. Now it's ready for the wash!

You can pick up these laundry mesh bags at any of your local big-box places, like Target, Bed Bath and Beyond or Walmart. Each bag will hold about 1/4 pound of dirty wool. You don't want to cram it in there, just lightly stuff the bags.

Fill your washing machine with the hottest water you can. Add a glug or two of Dawn and gently add your wool. Squish it down in there.

See how gross the water is? Mmmm! I generally let it sit in the water for 2 hours or so. DO NOT LET YOUR MACHINE AGITATE. I leave my lid up on the washing machine with several signs hanging around the laundry room saying NOT to touch the washing machine.

Take the bag of wool out of the washer, and refill it with super hot water again. Then add your bag back in (no Dawn this time). I rinse at least 2 times, more if it needs it.

It is done when the water is clean and there aren't any suds. You can let it spin out at this point. We don't have a clothesline, so I spread mine out on a clean sheet in the yard to dry. I also make great use of my son's Tonka trucks this way.

Now it is ready to card, but that is another blog post.

In the Beginning...

I've been sitting here wondering where exactly I should start. Some of you have known me for years (maybe even my entire life!) and some of you are "meeting" me for the first time.

I started this blog because I want you to get to know me better. There is a person behind the computer screen and sewing machine.

So...hi! I'm Gail, a WAHM (work at home mom) to 3 pretty amazing kids. I love gardening, making pretty things, dyeing and reading.

I started my family before I met my husband (I was a package deal - I came with 2 dogs!).

I adopted my dogs soon after I turned 18, just because I could. (Great reason, I know.)

My handsome man came first.

A couple of weeks later, I adopted my sweet Molly.

Molly LOVED getting muddy; if there was mud, she found it. I'd often find her lying in this boggy area in our backyard with just her eyes peeking over the grass like a crocodile. We said goodbye to Molly this past summer due to cancer.

A few months later, we decided to get our handsome man a companion, so we headed to the local SPCA. As soon as we walked in, we saw her.

We knew we wanted a German Sheppard, and I fell in love the minute I saw her and her one floppy ear. She came home with us that afternoon. They told us that she was at least 18 months old and wouldn't get any bigger. Yeah...they got that one wrong.

She is quirky and exactly what we needed. She is an enormous puppy, and has restored youth in my other 12 year old dog. Sometimes when Ana the Banana comes inside covered head to toe in mud, I swear I catch a glimpse of Molly in the yard.

I'll be putting a weeping willow tree near the bog this spring to honor my sweet girl.

Do you have a loved fur baby? I'd love to hear about them!