Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Big Thank You And Some Questions

I want to thank everyone who left me a comment or emailed me yesterday. I was feeling pretty low because I've loved putting together my art, handicraft and nature study kits. It just doesn't seem right that it could be illegal in a few weeks to sell something I know isn't going to harm any children.

But I am going to carry on in the hopes that the laws will change. In the meantime, I am looking for new opportunities for Hearts and Trees.

I am asking you for any suggestions of what you homeschooling families would like to see from Hearts and Trees in the coming months.

A few have suggested that I sell PDF instructions for handicrafts (like the ones I have included in my kits) and make specific supply lists (possibly even linking through Amazon) so parents can gather the materials themselves. I think part of the appeal of my kits is that I have been able to provide all of the materials packaged together, but if the instructions are something people would be interested in, I am more than willing to consider the possibilities. Here are some things I am thinking I could put the instructions together for: a tote bag/library bag, basic apron, crochet scarf, pincusion, doll blanket/lap blanket, freezer paper applique. Are these things you'd be interested in purchasing the instructions for as a PDF, even if you'd have to gather the materials yourelf or purchase the materials through Amazon links I would provide?

I have been toying around with the idea of putting together a mini-kit focusing on embroidery. I would introduce a number of basic stitches and your students would complete a small sampler. At this point I don't think I will be able to sell the kit with materials, but would you be interested in a PDF set of instructions with photos (like what I offered in my mini kit- you can see in the first photo) of how to make each embroidery stitch to make a sampler?

I have also been thinking about putting together a quilt square of the month club, if this is something people would be interested in participating in.

These are just some of the ideas I have in mind for the handicrafts portion of Hearts and Trees. I have some ideas for nature lapbooks and art/artist notebooking pages as well. If you have any ideas or suggestions of what you'd like to see from me, please email me ( or leave me a comment. Thanks!

I am also putting a poll in my blog sidebar. (If you are reading this in a reader or email you will have to click through to my blog to vote in the poll.)

I still have quite a few Winter Kits that I need to sell before February 9th. Be sure to check them out!


Rhonda said...

I love the quilt square of the month club idea. I've wanted to make a quilt with my daughter and this would be a perfect project.

MamaLion said...

I would still be interested in purchasing directions with material lists but I admit I love buying it all together. Hopefully this will be resolved soon!

One thing I would love is a mini unit study on one artist at a time, with artwork (maybe 6 different prints), questions and notes for each print, a project or two and short bio information. I like to hang the art print we are studying on the refrigerator so if each print could be on it's own page, that would be great.

Melissa said...

We would so love the embroidery kit, & even the sewing kit without materials would be good! The lower price w/probably help us to be able to buy more too. We have "supplies" coming out our ears!!

Don't be discouraged.. This too shall pass! Keep up the great work.

Jennifer said...

I agree - I think this will have to pass, as there are too many of us who consider handmade to no longer be a luxury but a part of our lives!

I have younger kids, so the pdf of simple lapbooks (like the wonderful weather lapbook pages pdf) would be wonderful. And I think a basic level embroidery kit would be fantastic! As a sometimes sewer, I've got lots of scraps, and a how-to (on a kids level, much less for the adults) hand sew quilt squares would be such fun for everyone (even my boy would love that).

Blessings to you - I've enjoyed this site ever since I've found it! We are just about to start a watercolor unit, following the lessons that have graced these pages the past year!

Mamaduso said...

My youngest whom I buy the kits for likes to embroider. So I would love the instructions for that for her. It is just sickening this new law. The ramifications are monumental. Hang in there.

Kenj said...


I just left this comment on your mom's blog- what if you market the kids to the moms? An embroidery kit for the moms? Then who says we can't use them with our kids?


Kenj said...

LOL! That's KITS!

Georgiaberry said...

Don't you think suppliers will offer materials that will be lead tested or otherwise in compliance? There will be huge market incentive for them to do so.

I really miss being able to get doll-making kits from Magic Cabin. I think they quit selling them due to lack of demand, but I would love to have a source for doll patterns. I never got the mermaid one from them and I always wanted it. . .

SC said...

I'd still buy a pdf kit if I had to buy the supplies!

Linda said...

Nature and art, you are talented in both.

I've also been thinking that you should market through Currclick. You are young and talented, there is no end to what you can offer the homeschooling and educating community.

Hopewell said...

Ebook or pdf would be great. I'd love to see some kits aimed at Middle and High Schoolers [not sure your age, but I expect you are not elementary age]. My daughter is soon to be 13 and would be excited to see what another homeschooler would design and sell. We'd be willing customers whatever format though!

Why not write a sample letter and post it that people can email to their Senator and Congressman? You could provide links tot he House and Senate directories on Great civics lesson [sort of a current-day version of the "Wild Horses Annie" act in Margurite Henry's "Mustang" book... Post a model petition that people could take with them to craft fairs, etc, to get the idea to Congress! The President is supposedly hot for change--why not THIS change!

Amy Lu said...

Oh my!

I love-love-love your site! I just found it today through Restoration place...

I'd like to buy a winter kit, and would be very interested in future kits. Even if they are just PDFs.

Don't you think you could just market your kits to age 12 and older? Hopefully all this CPSIA stuff will work itself out. I can't imagine the long term consequences of it.

Fiddler said...

Amanda, here's an idea I'd love to see you do, whether or not the gov't gets its act together: put together packets featuring several artists to study like the one you did with Edward Hicks--an art print to study with information about the artist and some gentle questions to get kids thinking about what they are seeing, and then a list of resources for extended learning. I think the CM method has students spend a month on an artist, but we rarely spend longer than two weeks on one. So a packet to last a season--maybe six artists? Would it be worth your while to do something like this?

Best to you,

Anonymous said...

I probably would not be as likely to just purchase the a lot of that you can find online these days.

However, I would be thrilled to purchase lapbooks that go with the Charlotte Mason theme. Lapbooks based on 1 artist. Lapbooks based on 1 topic in nature. Those 2 categories right there would create a ton of lapbooks!

Oh, and if you do sell lapbooks, I am more likely to purchase them when the companies actually show a sample or a picture of the lapbook. :)

Can't wait to see what all you come up with!!

Vicky said...

I am relatively new to your site, but I have been very pleased with the kits Ihave purchased. I love everything about them...

I would still be interested in PDF files/links if the kits are not available in the future.

I particularly like the embroidery idea and quilt square of the month. I volunteer at a local outreach to international students and I teach quilting and embroidery, so I'm always looking for new ideas.

I volunt