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Bamboletta Doll Magic and Contest

Sponsored by: Bamboletta Dolls

Hosted by: Mommy Footprint

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Many years ago I heard about the doll maker on BC’s West Coast that makes beautiful Waldorf styled dolls. With my journey to discover toys made from organic materials and trying to reduce the number of plastic dolls quickly adding up for my daughters after every celebration, I wanted to learn how Bamboletta’s were different. It only took a minute to get hooked on the beauty and story behind these dolls that were produced with materials I wanted surrounding my girls.

If you are just discovering this business now, it only takes a day following Bamboletta Doll owner Christina on Facebook or Instagram to understand the passion and love she has for her business. She lets us into her magical world of living in a beautiful community and the process that goes into every step of the handcrafted dolls that originated in her living room many year ago.

Christina’s doll making process has stayed the same – with just more hands involved now. The vision to create a succussful business while still feeling connected to family and community is at the core of Bamboletta. They do everything from dyeing the doll’s wool hair, sewing all the bodies, and even making tiny underpants! Materials are sourced close to home, furthering the goal of helping keep a local economy stronger. Keeping this process as true to how it started has kept one thing alive in the dolls, which could never be outsourced, and that is love. ♥

About Bamboletta

Bamboletta creates outstanding natural dolls and doll accessories handcrafted with skill, care and a lot of love. The stories the Bamboletta team share through Instagram and Facebook, showcase the love that is poured into each of these dolls that are then shared around the world. These special natural dolls protect childhood and do not propel little ones into adulthood. Bamboletta is committed to provide a supportive, ethical, fulfilling, and creative environment for women to work in.

We are so excited to work with Christina again and give you the opportunity to win a Classic Bamboletta Doll! These dolls can take upwards of 12 hours to make and after watching the below video of how much love, detail, and people that touch and work on these dolls, you understand why Bamboletta’s business model is so special. This is not a doll that could ever be factory made. These dolls are loved every step of the way during the process to make them:


Do you have a little person that would love to a Bamboletta? We feel VERY lucky that Bamboletta owner Christina wants one of our lucky readers to have that chance! We will definitely want a picture from the winner of this giveaway!

One lucky winner will win this

Classic Bamboletta Doll – $240 value

Giveaway ends 10/1/14 at 11:59 pm ET! Open to Canadian and US residents 18+ and older.

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Should My Family Be Using Silicone?

When food and products are put on the market without real testing, it’s up to parents and consumers to complete their own. Yes, silicone was FDA approved in 1979 but we are unsure if there’s been follow-up since as it’s really evolved as a ‘go-to’ material in recent years. Silicone is widely used in bake-ware, dishware, and freezer molds and the fun colors and price point have helped increase it’s popularity in family kitchens all across North America. There are many stores that promote and market silicone as a wonderful sustainable option… so is it?

The problem with using silicone to manufacture products is that it doesn’t have an end of life (EOL). The strategy of how to properly dispose or recycle silicone wasn’t implemented with the wide roll-out of silicone products. I called the largest recycling depots in the greenest cities I could think of across North America, I could not find one that recycles silicone. So when you market a product as waste-free, but it ends up in the trash, then landfill, is it sustainable? So the environmental effects of the silicone revolution in my opinion are not the best.

What about health effects? My research of silicone started from the fear it could possibility be leaching when heated at high temps or put in the freezer. For parents of pre-teens and older, we remember the recalls, uproar, and frustration when we discovered all plastics weren’t created equal. It turns out there are different types of silicone, but unlike plastic, silicone isn’t labelled or coded with symbols because there is no point to it having recycling codes.  To keep it brief, the type of silicone you want to be using is called platinum rather than tin based which are usually cheaper (price and quality), not suitable for skin contact, and cured pieces have a shorter life as they loose their elasticity.  Here are the benefits of platinum silicone:

– platinum is added as a catalyst and there are no by-products

– little shrinkage, high chemical resistance (dimensional stability)

– high resistance to high temperatures and aging

– environmental odorless and non-toxic

Silicone itself is a rubber material composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. With the different ways to form silicone, the difference is if fillers have been added to change properties and reduce cost. Many experts say if you twist your coloured silicone and see white bending than the silicone you are using contains fillers and is the cheaper quality (tin) silicone.  But if you are using silicone in the kitchen, especially heating it at high temps (microwave, dishwasher) or freezing (making ice or popsicles) it’s important to talk to the manufacturer and ask what type of silicone they’ve used to make the product. If they have NO idea, ask how the silicone is cured in the manufacturing process. The options I found for this process are : platinum-catalyzed cure system (or called an addition system), a condensation cure system (also called tin based cure system), a peroxide cure system (medical products produced from this system), or an oxime cure system.

Experts have been concerned that the process of adding colour to silicone might disrupt inert properties of the polymers, but manufacturers I’ve talked with that have tested for any breakdown from adding colour say that is incorrect. If this concerns you, stick to plain silicone commonly used to keep stainless steel or glass containers air-tight.

I hope this helps you answer the question “should my family be using silicone?” To summarize, if you are concerned about what happens to that silicone ice cube tray after it starts to smell or breakdown, you can not recycle silicone in most recycling depots in North America. There isn’t research to support how long silicone takes to decompose in a landfill. It’s a natural element made from sand and rock, but if containing fillers and colorants – I would assume these are a problem for the earth to absorb.

It also appears that similar to plastic, there are different types of silicone. It’s unfortunate for consumers that our Governments don’t mandate these types be coded at the bottom of all products. If you love using your silicone bake-ware, etc., take the time to call the manufacturer and inquire about what type of silicone is used. You are looking for the word platinum for a higher quality. Also, ask what the manufacturer is doing to close the loop of the end-of-life for silicone with recycling efforts.

silicone_WP

 

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Miou Kids – Fair Trade KnitWear

We have learned fast fashion comes at a price. It’s not displayed on the price tag, rather it’s the dark side of clothing consumers don’t see;  poor manufacturing practices resulting in chemical residue left on clothes. So it’s a pleasure to introduce you to Miou Kids’s line of clothing that has turned knitwear into beautiful, handmade fair trade collections made from baby alpaca wool and organic cotton. The Spring/Summer collection of organic cotton is their current hot seller and perfect for that special Easter outfit. article miou We have teamed up with Miou Kids for a contest and couldn’t decide between the adorable options owner Christine gave us for a contest prize (see above). Which one is your favourite? The lucky winner gets to pick. Here is more on Miou and what makes their collections different and earth friendly.

None can deny that making something from hand rather than machine is special. Both lines of alpaca and organic cotton Miou Collections are made by a certified fair trade company and knitters in Peru receive a fair wage and are able to knit from home while caring for their children. Organic cotton is used and any dyes are eco-friendly. So I guess Miou Kids would be the opposite of fast fashion. Designed by West Coast owner Christine, these collections are produced with nothing but safety, quality, and beautiful manufacturing practises. If I could get people thinking about the true cost of clothing, the question everyone needs to be asking is “why does Big Box clothing costs so little?” There is always a hidden cost to cheap clothing and it’s up to consumers to question what this cost is . . manufacturing practices, chemicals, environmental footprint, etc?

The photographer from Lark Rise Horse House that captured my twins Ecoparty, hosts Beatrix Potter and Easter portraits filled with tea parties, bunnies, chicks, and classic portraits. Any of the Miou line would be a stunning compliment for Easter or Beatrix photos.  Miou and Beatrix Potter are the perfect match – the knit bonnets are so beautiful they would make a special accessory for Easter this month. Before you enter our contest, here are a couple of interesting tips on ‘slow fashion’ from Miou that I through were very interesting. Did you know?

 1) Huge quantities of fossil fuel are needed to create machine knitted garment.
 2) Cotton is the most pesticide intensive crop in the world.
 3) Natural fibres not only have a smaller carbon footprint then synthetic but also have the advantage of being biodegradable.
 4) Alpaca is one of the most eco-friendly wool available.
Our thanks to Miou Kids for working with us to showcase clothing that’s produced with love and environmental commitment.  Good luck to all of you with the contest – I definitely want to see pictures from the winner! This contest is open to all residents in North America and will close midnight April 12th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

** Contest entry note ** I’m excited that my friends from Groovy Green Livin, Bit Of Mom Sense, and I Don’t Blog are on board to help spread the word about Miou and this contest. They are the extra entries on the Rafflecopter post so please give them some love and follow their blogs.

Related Posts:

5 Tips To Reduce Chemicals In Clothing

5 Tips For Hosting An Eco Party

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Kids Deserve A Healthy Start In Life

This article is a guest post by Maggie MacDonald, toxics program manager at Environmental Defence. If this is your first introduction to Environmental Defence, they are an organization that inspires a greener and healthier life with government, business and people. They are doing great work on studying human body burden pollution and more research is demonstrating how widespread the issue is. Please watch the below video and read Maggie’s post to bring attention to the problem that our children are being born pre-polluted.

A pregnant mother often wonders “Will my baby have my eyes? Her father’s nose?” But she probably doesn’t think too much about whether her baby will be born with her grandmother’s DDT or PCBs. Nor should she have to.

But our new report, Pre-Polluted: A Report on Toxic Substances in the Umbilical Cord Blood of Canadian Newborns, shows that even in the mothers’ womb, the developing fetus is exposed to a slew of dangerous chemicals – chemicals that might have health effects like cancer, lower IQ or thyroid problems later in life. We cannot see with the naked eye that Canadian children are born pre-polluted, but our latest results demonstrate just that.

Environmental Defence tested the umbilical cord blood of three newborn babies from the GTA and Hamilton, and found each child was born with 55 to 121 toxic compounds and possible cancer-causing chemicals in their bodies.  We tested for, and found at low levels, PBDEs (flame retardants), PCBs, PFCs, Organochlorine pesticides, dioxins and furans and mercury and lead – chemicals that are pervasive and persistent in our environment. Of the 137 chemicals found in the umbilical cord blood, 132 are reported to cause cancer in humans or animals.

All Canadians have a right to live in a clean, healthy environment. If evidence that babies – who are especially vulnerable – are burdened with a toxic chemical load before they are born is not enough to signal a change must be made, we don’t know what is.

Moms: it’s not your fault. When it comes to reducing toxic pollution, government, industry, and the public all have a role to play. When scientists and government agree that a substance is toxic to human health, it must be phased out as soon as possible. Currently, chemicals like certain PBDE flame retardants can still be contained in imported furniture, despite plans for prohibitions having been announced by the federal government several years ago. Industry often takes action before bans are announced, but there are many chemicals still in products that businesses should stop using, like phthalates and PFCs (non stick coating chemicals). The public can make a difference by refusing to buy products that contain toxic “chemicals of convenience” and by letting decision makers in government and business know that it’s time for a change.

There are also things you can do at home to reduce your exposure. Simply mopping or wiping down furniture and floors to rid your home of dust can have a positive impact. Many toxic substances are persistent and can lurk in dust, even long after being banned! You can help reduce the amount of hormone-disrupting flame retardants, DDT, and PFCs in your home by wiping away the dust bunnies.

Environmental Defence is asking the federal government to move towards improving chemical regulation in Canada, to protect the health of all Canadians. We’re asking companies to proactively remove toxic chemicals from their products ahead of government plans to phase them out.

You can help too! Read the report to learn more, take action by signing the petition, and keep visiting Environmental Defence to find out more about how you can get involved.

All Canadians live downstream of the history of our industrial society. Let’s make sure that stream is clean, for our children and future generations.

 

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Plastic Dolls For Christmas

Navigating through our standard list of no-no’s this time of year seems to all go out the window when we are trying to find that perfect gift at Christmas. As green minded parents we know that plastic is always a bad option for toys. But when I found myself in Toys R Us after not being there for probably a year, I was completely overwhelmed and fascinated with the obvious love the big box stores have for plastic. And why not? The perfect details on the faces of toys, the cheap prices, and the packaging that will make a child scream with excitement! However, there is a big downside to these plastic options and it’s simply ‘health’. Now I’ve got you thinking the health of who? The planet or our children?

There are many toys that even very environmentally minded parents will make exceptions; especially those that include building, constructing, and creating. Lego and Playmobil have long been favorites for one of my sons and I don’t mind when he asks for a special set at Christmas. The imagination and hours of play are a great pay off and these products are hardly cheap. They are also not made from vinyl. Now here is where vinyl gets interesting – all plastic dolls are. And these dolls will be the focus of this article. They are probably one of the hottest toys at Christmas because when you don’t know what else to buy a little girl – you can always guess ‘doll’ because you know the shrieks of delight will be heard when a doll is opened. It’s immediate gratification, where they grab the doll, release their mothering instincts, and pour their love into this little being. It’s a tough thing to not buy into. I was even curiously drawn to the new Disney Brave dolls that lined the shelves at Toys R Us – the plastic replicas look so much like the fiery tempered character that is a different role model from the usual princess role (shooting arrows, being physically and mentally strong, and brave) which we all love. But my long standing struggle with how all the huge toy makers like Mattel, Disney, etc. produce dolls is always disappointing and I believe, a health issue.

I started really thinking about dolls a month ago when I watched two girls during my son’s hockey game looking with pure love at their American Girls dolls. I had never seen these dolls up close before but heard lots from my nieces when they went through the phase a couple of years ago. They seem to be the perfect solution to keep older girls (Grade 2 and up) playing in the wonderful world of imagination and dolls. Apparently visiting an American Girl store in the US is quite the experience – you can even get the doll and your daughter’s ears pierced at the same time!  I asked the group of girls playing with these dolls to tell me about the dolls and they were so excited – the popularity for American Girls hasn’t gone away and I live in Canada! I like to prepare myself for when my own daughters see a toy like this – so I started researching immediately. I know the dolls are over $100 so I assumed the materials used to make the dolls are something other than vinyl. I was wrong – the plastic arms, legs and face of these dolls are vinyl plastic. Plus, do you want to guess where the American Girls are made?  China.  Why the hell are they made in China – they are American Girls!  And the Canadian version of these dolls Maplelea Dolls are also vinyl made in China and the ethnic option Karito Girls are also vinyl and made in China – which for Karito Girls might make sense since they represent the world collection. So I immediately asked my friends if anyone had an American Girl doll that I could see. I was trying to find out if the vinyl that they are made from is actually PVC. I checked the doll to see if there was a material listed on the plastic and no luck. I also took a deep smell of the plastic and it didn’t smell like 100% PVC normally does but since the company states they are made from vinyl – I would guess a mixed variety of plastics have been used. After all we are taught that vinyl almost always means PVC. I asked my friend Alicia from The Soft Landing for some input on this subject – it’s something she’s written about and her article ‘When Is Vinyl Not PVC‘ is awesome! She also let me use this quote regarding vinyl and dolls:

“Vinyl is PVC 99% of the time, and so far we haven’t found a single plastic baby doll made from PVC-free materials.”

After I read this quote from Alicia I found it so much easier to wrap my head around the fact that all, yes all dolls until proven otherwise, made from plastic are PVC. When we are buying to hear the shriek it’s selfish. I know if I picked up that Brave plastic doll for my daughters it would be played with and happily received but I’d rather give them one of the older doll designs from my friend Kellie at The Rice Babies. She’s combined a funky design with high fashion boots, funky hair accessories, and I even saw tattoos when I visited her beautiful display at a craft fair a few weeks ago.  There are options out there. I would have to say Christina from Bamboletta is my doll hero and after seeing Bamboletta dolls for so many years you simply can’t compare the quality and care that go into her creations. Read the story of Bamboletta here. Of course the fact that she hasn’t strayed from her first mission of keeping these dolls made with the safest of materials, by a group of sewing mamas, local to her community keeps her totally unique. And her magical dolls are truly unique in the world of Waldorf doll making. You might initially scream they are expensive but I say they are the safest toy on earth. No worries of off gassing, no worries that it will fall apart, no worries of asking questions to the manufacturer that can’t be answered. I say don’t buy the 10 plastic dolls you probably will before your daughter turns 2 years old and invest in a doll that’s been handmade with cloth, wool, and cotton. Don’t give them all the plastic, commercialized options  – only 1 or 2 dolls to love and appreciate with a story that is unique.

The first dolls my girls received were from me. I was so excited to purchase Corelle dolls but with my current awareness of plastic, I would lump these high-end dolls into the same vinyl category as the rest. Made from vinyl and what makes Corelle dolls even worse in my opinion is the fact they release scent when squeezed. Yes, we probably even pay extra for it. But will the company respond to questions asked about if the perfume being released is synthetic or not?  Of course not. And to me – unless you prove and market to me that your doll is something other than made from the cheapest form of plastic that starts polluting with carcinogenic dioxin from the moment it’s first made – then I won’t even entertain the thought that you’re different.

But do you want to see something different?  Check out Bamboletta’s magic. And just in case you think Christina forgot to add the hair to the dollies in the front – this upload of dolls was on it’s way to Ronald MacDonald House in Vancouver – the dolls in the front have lost their hair after going through chemo so you can guess who the recipients are for these bald dolls. All of the dolls in the photo below have been donated from this generous company that just keeps on giving back to the community. All the time. When you follow their updates on Facebook you feel like the world truly contains people with good hearts, doing good things with their talent. The team at Bamboletta is special and there is a good reason why it takes so long to actually purchase these dolls. If you are wanting to purchase a Bamboletta doll just remember that all magical things in life are worth waiting for but might take a little hard work – these are no exception.

And here is a photo I snapped from a recent table from The Rice Babies doll selections; hip, handmade, and perfect for the older crowd.  Way to go Kellie – I’ll be proud to say “I knew her when..”

 

Related Articles:

The Bamboletta Story

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