Tag Archives | giveaways

Sponsor Giveaway from Simply Playing

Today I have a lovely interview and generous giveaway from Ann over at Simply Playing.

Linda: Tell us about the beginnings of your business and how it has  developed and grown.

Ann: I began making toys when my son started preschool at a Waldorf School four years ago. Before then I never really thought of making toys, they were just something you purchased.  But seeing the wonderful array of handmade items, including toys, that the children were surrounded with in the classroom of this school really moved me.  It was like an “ah ha” moment of, this is as it should be; children should be surrounded by warmth, beauty and items which have soul.
My Corner1

So, at first I only made toys for my son.  But after a while Sam had pretty much all he needed, but I didn’t want to stop making these knitted toys.  After inundating friends with gnomes, cats etc. I turned to Etsy as a way to be able to keep creating and sharing my love of wool toys.  My shop has grown over the years with items changing some, but always wool based material.  After a short while I turned to only using plant dyed wool as I felt that even deepened the handmade natural quality I wanted my toys to have.

Linda: Who or what is your inspiration?
Ann: My original inspiration for Simply Playing was definitely my son Sam, but I’ve always had a deep need within me to create.   Now, I’d say my inspiration are the fibres and toys themselves.  I can always see something more – another color, form or size and these changes, albeit small, really keep me moving forward.  After all these years of knitting cats, gnomes and crowns I still truly enjoy making them.  

fiberyarn gnome

Linda: What is your creative process?

Ann: My mood changes very frequently so I like to have many projects going on at once all in different stages.  One day I’ll want to only knit, the next day only sewing and stuffing toys will do.  Sometimes the rhythm of spinning is all I can think of to fill me up.  When I get to creating, it’s very random and really is woven throughout my entire day.  My son is now homeschooled which gives me more freedom and time to sit in my little corner of the living room, pick something from the basket beside my chair and knit, sew, stuff etc.  I will pretty much always end my day with knitting as a release for any worries and stress.

multibluecrown (3)

Linda: What do you enjoy most about your business?

Ann: What I enjoy most about my business is how I feel when I finish making a toy,  a doll blanket or a skein of yarn.  Knowing that each item really began with a bit of wool and then transformed into this warm soulful object filled with love, really makes me happy.  I mean you can’t help but smile when you have a knitted gnome in your hand – it just makes you feel good inside.  


 Linda: Are there any new exciting products you would like to tell us about?

Ann:Coming soon to Simply Playing will be handspun yarn that will either be in it’s natural color or plant dyed.  I’ve always purchased my plant dyed yarn so I am very excited to be taking on this part of the process myself.

Ann’s Social Media Links:



Ann is generously offering this beautiful hand knit bunny, knitted in a luxurious hands-pun wool and angora blend. Isn’t he gorgeous? Here is a link to the listing on her shop for you to read more about this lovely giveaway item:)

Ann is also offering my readers 15% off items in her shop for the month of September with the code NaturalSuburbia15

To enter this lovely giveaway for this beautiful handmade bunny, please leave a comment in this post. To earn extra entries, please share about this giveaway on your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram pages and leave extra comments here each time you share:)

The winner will be chosen on Wednesday the 18th of September and will be announced here.

Congratulations to Kathleen for winning the beautiful bunny.

Ann, thank you so much for sharing about your business with us today and for your lovely giveaway:)

Have a wonderful weekend friends:)

I would be very honoured to promote your handmade business, if you would like to sponsor on Natural Suburbia you can contact me at lindadawkins@mweb.co.za


Sponsor Giveaway from Ziezo Designs!

It is with great pleasure that I welcome and introduce Andrea to you from Ziezo Designs. Andrea, is also offering a gorgeous giveaway, a red pencil roll filled with 12 coloured pencils!

Rainbow felt crown, Ziezo

Waldorf Birthday Crown

The beginnings of my business

Our move from South Africa to Kenya, five years ago, allowed me to stay at home full-time with my three kids (the last one was born a few months after our arrival).  It was here that I had a chance to re-connect with my creative side, which I had neglected for a good decade while studying and working.

Our choice to choose Waldorf Education for our children was another important contributor to my creative path eventually leading to the magic combination Waldorf and one’s own creativity can become.  An entrepreneurial friend and my husband encouraged me to create a label and sell my goods.  The Ziezo label was the next step and it became my new passion, which I can combine in wonderful ways with being a mum.

Ziezo Pencil Roll

Pencil Roll, Pencil Case

Who or what is your inspiration?

My main inspiration comes from my children and their respectful, wondrous, and innocent view of the world and nature.  Creating something that enhances their imagination and creativity is such fun.  Lately, more functional items have also become part of my creations based on the children’s path to requesting functional items in addition to fantasy items.  The pencil-case roll is one of those most recent functional creations.

ziezo - rainbow wings

Butterfly Wings

What is your creative process?

When I get ideas, I try to work them out in my head and then as I go along.  It’s a hands-on process through trial and error.  The prototype then evolves as I continue to work on the initial idea.

I also prefer to work with natural materials and you will find a lot of East African cottons such as kanga and kikoys in my creations as well as hand-dyed silk and wool-felt.  I further try to re-use pre-loved fabrics such as denim and felted wool jumpers in my creations.  The materials often spark my inspiration.

What do you enjoy most about your business?

I enjoy the crafting time itself.  It’s a time for me to balance and to come to an inner calm.  The business side is a nice side effect where you get to know lovely people all over the world who appreciate your work.  Each time one of my creations is sold, it triggers great excitement and deep gratitude for the trust expressed in my work.

Kanga Apron


Are there any new exciting products you would like to tell us about?

My products are developing as my children grow older.  As my daughter is starting to use pencils more and more, my most recent product is the pencil roll.  A simple practical yet colourful and fun way to keep the pencils tidy.

I have also started experimenting with dyeing felt in rainbow colours as my rainbow coloured butterfly wings have been in high demand.  My first felt rainbow products are crowns, but I am certain that other items will also develop once I have more experience in dying the felt.

Ziezo Designs Social Media Links:

Etsy Shop

Facebook Page




Pencil roll collage (2)

Giveaway Description:

Ziezo Designs is giving away a red pencil roll filled with 12 coloured pencils.

The pencil roll is made out of traditional East African kikoy fabric and lined with recycled denim.  The roll can be closed easily by little hands through the button and elastic loop system.  The wooden triangular pencils are easy to hold for little hands and are PEFC certified for being made of wood from sustainably managed forests and controlled sources.

To Enter this Giveaway:

Please leave a comment, if you would like to earn extra entries, please share on Facebook, Twitter, Pin on Pinterest or share on Instagram. Remember to leave a comment for each time you share:)

The winner will be chosen on the 4th of April and will be announced in this post.

This giveaway is international.

Congratulations to:) 🙂

Brigette April 1, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Thoroughly enjoyed reading this post! Your pencil roll is beautiful. I have an artistic son that I’d love to give as a gift if I’m chosen. The fabric is lovely. Thank you for sharing :)

Andrea, thank you so much for sharing your story here with us and for offering this beautiful giveaway, I absolutely love your pencil roll, it’s beautiful as well as portable, easy for children to use and can be carried along anywhere.


Sponsor Giveaway from Armadillo Dreams


It’s with great pleasure that I welcome Dustin and Amanda from Armadillo Dreams to Natural Suburbia as our new sponsor. They will be sharing their story and offering a gorgeous giveaway too!

I give you Armadillo Dreams;

Tell us about the beginnings of your business and how it has developed and grown.

When we first started Armadillo Dreams, it was mostly a hobby business that we did in the evenings and weekends when I wasn’t working at my day job. It didn’t take long before we knew we really loved the business and wanted to grow it into a business capable of supporting our family. At first we only had toys in the shop that were ready to ship and that were natural finish. After about 6 months we felt that we had mastered our painting methods and started making painted toys. It was around the same time that we started making toys “made to order”. This allowed us to really focus our time on the toys that sell and to have more time growing our catalog. Currently we are up to about 200 toys. This year we are continuing to grow our catalog and regularly release new toys. This year we are working hard on growing our blog, so that our customers can get to know our family even better. We are also working on our local following this year by getting a booth at our local Saturday markets, Summer festival and Fall festival. It’s going to be a busy year!

Dustin, Amanda and Family

Dustin, Amanda and their beautiful family

Who or what is your inspiration?

Our two children are our main sources of inspiration, Lucy (age 6) and Lincoln (age 2). We also live in beautiful Central Oregon, which is know for it’s abundance of nature and sunshine.  We are surrounded by multiple forests, the Cascade mountain range, desert, lakes and rivers. We are also just a few hours away from the Pacific Ocean. We live at about 3,000 ft. elevation and we experience all of the seasons here in a pretty dramatic way. We get lots of snow in the winter and most days are near or below freezing. In the summer it gets really hot and dry with some days over 100 degrees!


What is your creative process?

Once we come up with an idea for a new toy Amanda goes to work drawing and creating a pattern. The pattern then gets traced on wood and taken out to our backyard wood shop where it is cut and sanded. Then we bring the toys back inside where Amanda wood burns them. We then both do painting with AP certified non-toxic watercolors. Once painted and dry, the toys are sealed with natural beeswax polish. Lastly, the toys are photographed and listed in our shop. There are a few trademark details that I’ve left out, but this gives you an overview of what we do. We also take a lot of pride in our packaging when toys are ordered. Each toy we send is carefully wrapped in tissue, placed in a natural cotton drawstring storage bag, wrapped in more issue and then sealed with a cute Armadillo Dreams sticker. We feel that opening a package received from us should be like opening a present or be ready to give as a gift.


What do you enjoy most about your business?

My favorite part of my job is reading the feedback we receive from our customers. After sales are complete, customers generally leave us publicly available feedback in our shop and/or send us an email. It’s usually not just short “thanks for the wooden toys” types of messages either. Our customers will usually write a few sentences to a paragraph about the toys they received from us. We really enjoy reading stories about how excited their children were to receive the toys and how they helped their children to have some great imaginative play time. Sometimes they will tell us about how their child wanted to take the toys with them everywhere and even asked to take them to bed with them. Hearing stories like these warms our hearts and gives us a really good feeling about what we are doing. It’s our fuel to keep going and to continue expanding our business!

Armadillo Dreams Collage

 Some of the beautiful items on offer in the shop.

Are there any new exciting products you would like to tell us about?

We have been working on releasing new toys regularly, usually 1 or 2 new toys per week. Here’s a few of our latest creations…


Three Billy Goats

Rainbow Mushroom House & Gnomes

Frida Kahlo

Frida KahloFrida Kahlo

Armadillo Dreams Social Media Links:


Etsy Shop




3_month_toy_subscription Armadillo Dreams


For the giveaway we are offering one lucky winner a 3 month surprise toy subscription ,valued at $30.00!!

With our surprise toy subscription, the lucky child of your choice will receive a handmade, surprise wooden toy in the mail every month for 3 months! Each month’s toy will be valued at $10 and up and will be selected just for them, by us. They may receive anything from an animal, to a figure, to a small set of toys, to something seasonal, or a brand new toy that isn’t even in our shop yet! The first month we will send a surprise toy to the child of your choice along with a printed card explaining the subscription. They will receive a toy each month for 2 subsequent months.

The giveaway is also open to international entries!

To enter this giveaway;

Please leave a comment in this post, to earn extra entries, share this giveaway on your Facebook page, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram. Remember to leave extra comments each time you share:)

The winner will be chosen on the 28th of March and will be announced here in this post.

Congratulations to:

Mama Sunflower March 25, 2013 at 11:51 pm

We love these toys!! So sweet.

Dustin and Amanda, thank you so much for sharing here and for your beautiful giveaway.

To become a sponsor on Natural Suburbia, please contact me on lindadawkins@mweb.co.za


Natural Suburbia Sponsor Giveaway from Little Woodlanders

Today I would like to welcome Rachel from Little Woodlanders, she is a new Natural Suburbia sponsor and lives in the United Kingdom.  Rachel makes the most gorgeous Waldorf and Montessori inspired wooden toys, in her lovely shop you will find, teethers, toys, stacker puzzles, play food and nursing necklaces. Rachel is offering a beautiful giveaway choice that you can see below. She has a beautiful blog too and has shared some lovely projects there…

This is Rachel’s story…

Natural Suburbia: Tell us about how your business began.


I started making wooden toys for my children shortly after I discovered the Waldorf ideas about play.  I love the idea of open-ended toys made from beautiful natural materials, that allow children to use their imagination.

The Owl and the Pussy Cat


 Natural Suburbia: Who or what is your inspiration?


My inspiration mostly comes from my children.  I watch what they like to play with and talk about, and often get ideas from them that way.  I also get ideas from going outside or looking out the window at nature and from storybooks.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears


Natural Suburbia: What is your creative process and how long have you been creating these beautiful treasures?


I’ve been making wooden toys since the end of last year and opened my Etsy shop in January.  My creative process begins with an idea that I sketch onto paper and then transfer onto wood.  I have a few different power tools I use, and then some hand sanding with a couple different grades of sand paper.  I then do some carving, painting, wood-burning, and beeswax/olive oil polishing, to end up with a completed product.   It’s very exciting to see an idea that begins in my head become an actual wooden toy!


Wooden Rainbow Village


Natural Suburbia: What do you enjoy most about your business?


My favorite thing about my business is knowing that I’m supplying children all around the world with natural, handmade, open ended toys, that will allow them to use their imagination and have fun!


Wooden Balancing Butterfly and Tulip Set

Natural Suburbia: Are there any new exciting products you would like to tell us about?


I’m very excited about my newest product, the Balancing Butterflies Set.  It comes with 5 little wooden butterflies each in a different colour of the rainbow, and one red tulip.  You can stack the butterflies on top of each other on top of the tulip or fly them around to get nectar from the flower.

Some other new items are the play food, such as the toast and jam with a knife set and a wooden dinosaur.  I have lots more new toys in the making as well!

Baby-Wearing Mama


Rachel’s Social Media Links for you to follow and see what beautiful items she is busy making:

 Giveaway Items:

Butterfly Metamorphosis set for the Life Cycle of the Butterfly

(PS I love this so much I have just purchased a set from Rachel for Kye, I can’t wait for it to arrive!!!)

Giraffe Teether made from Maple Wood

Mama and Baby Squirrel made from Oak



Rachel is very generously offering these 3 giveaway items above to choose from.

Giveaway: Worldwide 🙂

One winner will be chosen and can choose 1 of these gorgeous giveaway items.

Rachel is also offering Natural Suburbia readers a 10% discount for the month of August, the coupon code to use when you visit her shop is Natural10.

To enter just leave a comment and let us know which is your favourite treasure from Rachel’s shop.

To earn more entries:

Share about this giveaway on Facebook

Share about this giveaway on Twitter

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest

Follow Little Woodlanders on Facebook or Twitter

Please remember to leave a comment for each share or follow for your extra entries.


The winner will be chosen and announced on Tuesday the 14th of August and will be announced in this post.


Congratulations to:

NinnyNoodleNoo August 9, 2012 at 1:20 pm # Edit

And I pinned one of the babywearing mamas – as they were my favourite from her shop.


Thank you so much Rachel for sharing your story with us and for offering your beautiful treasures to our readers. We really appreciate your support by being a sponsor on Natural Suburbia.


If you are interested in our very affordable sponsorship options you can email me at: lindadawkins@mweb.co.za

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