Tag Archives | Bamboletta dolls

Bamboletta Doll Magic and Contest

Sponsored by: Bamboletta Dolls

Hosted by: Mommy Footprint

octbamboletta

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!

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West Coast Natural Toy Magic

My love of Waldorf, naturally handcrafted toys is more than just admiration of a person’s craft. When you see a toy that has tenderness infused into the stitches and wooden seams, you absorb the love that was given to make this special toy. Being a West Coaster that is connected to two of the leaders in the Waldorf play and education fields, I’m super honored to be hosting a contest with Bamboletta Dolls and Natural Pod.

I’ll start with Bamboletta. If you haven’t read their story, please click over and be ready to fall in love. The heart of Bamboletta is the founder Christina who has developed a business model that creates a better world. She has perfected a craft, taught others, and along the many years of hard work, never sold out with how the dolls are manufactured and what materials are used to make them.  Christina and her busy helpers have stayed where the dolls were created – right here on the West Coast making her magic bloom. What is new with Bamboletta since we last checked in? Over to Christina.

We’ve introduced 2 new styles last year that have been extremely popular. They are different then the traditional type of Waldorf doll as they are sewn to have more flexible limbs. Great for having a snuggle or a tea party! We will continue to do what we do, which is to create high quality dolls made with the best ‘ingredients’ we can find. I’m working hard to find more and more local sources my materials and have started working with a mill in Nova Scotia to get our yarn hair from. All our dolls are made right here in the Cowichan Valley by local moms creating a strong community of women working together with a lot of love hand crafting these dolls. They are infused with love in the stitches and will be an item that your child will eventually pass on to their child when they get older.

We are so excited to have our own Little Buddy doll from Bamboletta for this contest (her picture is in the contest box at the bottom of this article). She is so sweet and the beautiful touch at the front of her hair is a handspun yarn made by a local weaver from Cowichan Valley. Details are never left out with the Bamboletta ladies. Here is a picture of the Bamboletta shop. Doesn’t it look like Santa’s Workshop with magic and creativity bursting out the doors?

bamboletta doll shop

Over we go to Natural Pod who I’ve known for many years. They were one of the leaders in the naturally made toy movement 9 years ago and they haven’t slowed down with earth stewardship. With more of a global focus now, Natural Pod has shifted their expertise to help design and build beautiful, sustainable natural play spaces, furniture and open-ended play items that foster different learning environments for children. Their mission to foster how children can develop and learn from their environment when the focus is play is so important. They continue to inspire and ignite passion for teaching with the beautiful environments they create. I invite you to check out their Fan Page and look at the pictures of open-ended play spaces they’ve dreamed and delivered over the years. Very inspiring! More words from owner Bridgitte.

We serve educators and children in childcare, home-day, preschool, kindergarten, elementary and middle schools along with hospice and special needs students around the world. Raw materials for our products are sourced as close as the forests near our office on Vancouver Island and the wood we use is Forestry Stewardship Certified (FSC), supporting responsible forestry practices. Our other products are made of natural wood, wool or silk and finished in plant-based dyes, harmonic beeswax or in some cases are left naturally unfinished. The bulk of our product line is not only recyclable, but even 100% naturally compostable. Since our beginning, we have worked with over 500+ different learning organizations and have successfully delivered more than 27,000 products to our customers.

Check out how lovely this newly created classroom space is from Natural Pod.

newnaturalpod

Now over to the fun part of this feature – a contest!  Can you imagine winning a Bamboletta Little Buddy and Natural Pod Wooden Rocker? You could pretty much call Christmas shopping a wrap if you are the lucky winner! My thanks to Bamboletta and Natural Pod who are waiting to ship the lucky contest winner these two items. The contest runs from November 13, 2013 – November 20, 2013 – closing at midnight. This contest is open to North America. Good luck!

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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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Eco-Friendly Dolls for Christmas

I’ve been asked this questions many times over the last few weeks with parents getting ready for Christmas: “What is an Eco-friendly doll?”  Greener dolls are often called Waldorf dolls because historically they didn’t contain facial expressions to further enhance imaginative play for children. I believe the definition of Eco-friendly dolls include ‘manufactured locally’, ‘stuffed and made with natural materials’; no plastic or polyfill preferably.  I prefer a face on the Waldorf dolls when I was searching for my twins because children become quickly accustomed to how ‘real’ many of the plastic dolls look.  But we know that plastic dolls are far from Eco-friendly. I have yet to find a plastic doll that’s make from a recyclable plastic or from ‘rubber tree’ design like the toy Sophie the Giraffe.  When I think of an Eco-friendly doll, my first thought are Bambolettas or Dragonfly’s Hallow dolls. I was lucky enough to purchase two Bamboletta dolls for my daughters but it took me close to a year. Why a year?  The demand for these hand-made dolls is so high, you are very lucky to actually get the opportunity to purchase one. Both doll makers handcraft these beautiful dolls, step by step, from dying the wool to create the magical hair, use wool stuffing, hand-embroidered faces, even the doll’s clothing is made the by the respective store. They are unique, one-of-a-kind, and like nothing you will find in a traditional store. They are truly Eco-friendly.  Follow either of the Facebook pages for a few days and you will get the feel of how much work and time goes into creating these dolls. Here is the link to my article on Bamboletta Dolls from last year. Here is one of my girls snuggling their Bambo.


By now you’ve fallen in love and your chances are low to purchase a doll in time for Christmas. That wasn’t my intention – honest! There is hope, with getting a doll. I’ve also just become a fan of Crazy Baby Accessories doll’s called Gumdrop Kids and asked her about her beautiful waldorf dolls. I wanted to know what the dolls were stuffed with and the dolls listed in the shop are a mix of wool and polyester, but can be custom ordered 100% organic for an extra $20.  I can’t believe there is actually a listing this time of year – walk don’t run mamas!

One of my favorite things about these dolls is the interchangeable clothing options that become available after you own a doll. There are many stores that make clothing for these dolls and the clothing is also mama-made and totally unique! One of my favorite waldorf doll clothing suppliers is Reggies Dolls. She is a very sweet person and the clothing she makes Waldorf Dolls is awesome. I purchased some mermaid tails for my daughter’s Bambos and it solved my dilemma of trying to find a Waldorf mermaid. It transformed the Bambo from a doll into a mermaid and was easy for my girls to pull onto their dolls. With different clothing options your children will play with these dolls longer. It’s kind of neat to add to the dolls wardrobe and see how adding PJs, bathing suits, mermaid tails, etc. keeps the dolls in more demand by the child. Also promotes reusing with the doll because instead of buying more dolls to change things up, you are just adding clothing.

I’ve also carried dolls stuffed with wool and bamboo at Green Planet Parties – trying to make an affordable option for Eco-friendly dolls.  Also for Christmas I love the Sweetie Petites that are fabric panels, ready to be sewed to create a little doll and yes, they come with carded wool stuffing! They are a completely different designs from the Waldorf dolls I’ve talked about, but also a very nice option for greener gifts.

 

I hope this explanation of an Eco-friendly dolls gives you some options. You will most likely not find these in a store – check online by using Google and the phrase ‘Waldorf Doll’, checking out winter markets, or checking out my above recommendations. I love the Bamboletta and Dragonsfly Hollow blogs so much because they are able to breakdown and educate us why these dolls are so special, why they cost what they do, and why it’s important to support how they are made…it’s mama powered and mama created!  That’s important.

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This Christmas Think ‘Compliment’ Rather Than ‘Replace’

It’s so much easier sticking to the concept of ‘compliment’ gift giving for Christmas with my daughters as I know it gets tougher the older kids get…but the whole idea of ‘replacing’ everything with birthday or Christmas gifts is what adds to the over consumption we, as consumers, will be contributing to over these final few weeks of shopping. It starts with parents of course.  How many people do you know that ditched phones that worked great to purchase iphones or replace computers/laptops every year?  And we wonder why kids suffer from the same compulsion to have the latest and greatest?  Xbox, Wii, DSi, Playstation 3, and more…it’s literally ridiculous the options that children are requesting this year (including my sons!).  So although this concept is easier with my daughters – I’m trying to stick to ‘complimentary’ toys rather than ‘replacing’.  A few examples of this?  Little girls love their dolls –  why not purchase beautiful doll accessories or clothing rather than hunting for new dolls?  Back in April at Mommy Footprint, I was very excited to write about Bamboletta. I was able to buy two Bambolettas for my twins and I had patiently waited a year to finally purchase these wonderful dolls. I had spent hours researching the Bamboletta experience and have discovered a few very special shops that do very well selling doll accessories. You don’t need to own Bambolettas in order to order from these sites – they sell smaller clothing (12″) for more standard (plastic) dolls and (15″) for larger Waldorf dolls or American girls, etc. Here are my favorites…I’ve ordered from them all and love the customer service and imaginations of these very talented ladies!!

Reggies Dolls

Can I start off by saying that although I haven’t met Reggie personally, if you’ve dealt with her before or followed her fun ideas on her Facebook fan page – you would want to meet her in person and give her the biggest hug.  She is one of the sweetest, most generous, lovely people I’ve ever followed. I’m a huge fan of her spirit and shop called Reggies Dolls. Reggie makes a lot of the clothing that Bamboletta dolls are purchased wearing and also sells 12″ and 15″ clothing for dolls. I first purchased mermaid tails from Reggie shortly after receiving our Bambolettas because the girls always wanted mermaids. Well – voila…we got mermaids and didn’t have to settle for plastic Barbie mermaids because the tails are made from felt. I recently stayed up until 2am when Reggie sold a bunch of clothing at a discount with all proceeds going to her friend with cancer. There were a bunch of moms waiting for the clothing to go on sale thrilled that we could support such a great cause and pickup some of Reggie’s creations. One time dealing with Reggie and you’ll have a hard time ‘Mall’ shopping ever again!  Check out these mermaid tails and she included little veils and purses!

Amanda Cowell

I received a pair of cloth wings from Amanda last year that my girls just love. She was specializing in matching doll and little girl cloth wings that are so easy for young children slip on themselves. Now she’s hatched a new Etsy shop and is making matching capes for kids and their dolls. Plus, skinny jeans, leg warmers, and more for dolls that are wonderful! Her shop is now closed for Christmas, but bookmark her site for future gifts. Amanda’s creations have truly evolved into unique and magical items that will keep the interest alive in any child’s doll.  I’m mean really……leg warmers?  My girls would freak out for these and the matching cape or wing idea is very special.

Lovely Duds

I did purchase two slings for Christmas from Lovely Duds for my girls to tote around their dolls. The simpler version of the doll sling looked best for my girls because they are easily frustrated when they can’t navigate through instructions right away. But if you have a child that is patient checkout the ‘Just like mommy’ sling version – this style is adorable too! A great older sibling gift when there is a new baby and mom is using a sling.  Check out these doll slings styles from Lovely Duds:

Simple Sling 1

‘Just Like Mommy’ Sling Version 2

Fig & Me

Is it just my girls or are all children hoarders?  Give them a purse or bag and they walk around putting everything they can find in the bag. These specialty papoose style carriers are at the top of my list for the girls birthday in February. The talented owner is no longer accepting orders, but this site is very special and I need to experience the papoose magic. They are modeled after the ancient native American way of carrying babies…made from 100% cotton corduroy and cotton. My girls would love these for their 15″ Bambolettas….they would love the ability to walk around ‘hands free’ just like a busy mommy!

I hope these ideas help you with complimenting gift ideas for an already favorite toy. All of the talented shop owners featured in this article are either located in the US or Canada so based on where you live – your chances of having orders arrive in time for Christmas are still good!  Also, it just feels good to know where your consumer dollars are being spent…locally and with small business owners.

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