Valentine’s and Spring!!!!!

As we turn our calendars away from January and on to February, Valentine’s Day is almost always on our minds. Even though it is a Hallmark Holiday, it is an important holiday to remind you of the people in your life who you love and who love you back. It’s also a great excuse for showing someone how much they mean to you! A few years back, we came up with this cute little personalized block for a customer and it was too adorable not to share. Not only does it last longer than a box of chocolates (what, no one else eats them in five minutes like I do?), but it will be there for years to come as a constant reminder for you or your loved one.

If Valentine’s Day isn’t for you, or if you’re simply an appreciator of cheerful holidays, then you should check out our Facebook page. I have been having a lot of fun playing with our blocks for adults (a.k.a. Holiday Blocks) and this month I had two options. While Valentine’s Day seemed fitting with the personalized blocks, Mardi Gras is only two weeks later. It is a time for celebration and, if you participate in Lent, binge eating any food you might be planning to give up for the month and a half!


The Holiday Blocks are great for any holiday or occasion. Every year, I find something new I can spell with them, as I am sure you do if you own a set. Currently, we are at over 100 sayings with the 17 blocks (yes, there is a cheat sheet for those of us who are too lazy to figure it out on our own). If you’ve displayed any cute saying at your house, snap a picture to send to us! We’d love to hear from you.
February also officially marks the start of yearning for warmer weather, or at least for my family it does. When we finally reach this month, we’re tired of the freezing weather and we’re excited for the lively and colorful spring days ahead. I love going out every year to snap a picture of the first crocus flower that pops up in my yard. I know they can come up when there is snow on the ground; I’ve got a few of those pictures and they tell me spring is on its way! So perhaps it’s a good thing February is such a short month – it means fewer days till spring, and, if you’re an animal lover like me, baby animals! LeeLoo thinks I’m crazy because every time we drive by the farms on the way to and from school I get excited looking at the baby cows (yes, I say moo to them, and yes, if I could I would take them all home with me). LeeLoo’s favorite thing is going to the local farm animal feed store and holding all the baby ducks. We’ve had some as pets before, but due to bad luck (and coyotes) we just hold them and dream.

We are really excited to be thinking about spring, and that is why now is a great time to order our countdown blocks. You guys will be able to count down till spring with us, and, when spring finally arrives, erase the chalkboard and set it for summer!

The Benefits of Block Play

It’s official. Our Christmas shopping has begun. Chances are yours has as well – at least your online gift buying. It seems this time of year gets earlier year-by-year. Much of that probably has to do with the fact that few of us budget for the holiday season, so we buy over the span of 3 months… instead of the 2 weeks prior to Christmas.

All of that said, we wanted to reach out to you with gift buying tips for some of our smallest customers – babies and toddlers. They’re rolling over, crawling, walking, and they’re in to EVERYTHING. We know. We’ve been there.

What many people don’t know is that many infant and toddler behaviors are imperative to teach gross and fine motor skills. We’ve done plenty of research on block play and the importance it plays in early development of our children. It can help with everything from shape identification to team building (for those larger block projects).

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The National Association for the Education of Young Children states that block play is important from infancy all the way through primary grades. Some of the areas in which block play can help:

  • Problem Solving
  • Mathematics
  • Self Expression
  • Imagination
  • Creativity
  • Social and emotional growth

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According to Hands On As We Grow, block play can also significantly help with fine motor skills. Be sure to check out their website for fun activities including blocks.

One of the benefits of our blocks beyond the benefits previously mentioned is that they can be used as learning tools. Our ABC Block set hosts letters, numbers and illustrated words. You can imagine that these can come in handy all the way through primary grades.

Likewise, our Barnyard Blocks are perfect for the little one learning animal names and sounds. Our Barnyard Blocks even take it a step further and spell out the animal names. Nothing like raising an early reader/speller!

Remember that our block sets and baby blocks are made from all natural products. The edges of the corners have been rounded off so no sharp edges. All block sets are finished with beeswax instead of stain or clear coat. We all know where new toys go for the little ones – right in the mouth. Might as well give them something that isn’t laden with chemicals, right? Our Barnyard Blocks come 9 to the set and our ABC Block Set comes with 30 total blocks.

We know buying for small children can be tough, but these blocks will provide them with hours of enjoyment – and learning!

Until next time, Keep It Craft E!

A Craft-E-Family Fall

Fall is here, there’s no hiding it at this point. Temperatures have just a little bit of a bite to them. The morning routines involve decision making between long sleeves or sweaters. The changes in the leaves are subtle this early on in the month of October, but they’re there nonetheless.

As business owners of a specialty store, this time of year is when business starts to really pick up. We still have a little time before the holiday rush hits, so we take advantage of this weather and our time together before business really explodes in the next 2 months.

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Autumn is a time to be celebrated at CEF. Our family loves walking the property together to photograph the changes taking place in nature. We love looking back on fond memories and we REALLY love the shift to autumn foods. We enjoy making them almost as much as we enjoy eating them.

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Other than taking walks around our property, we love to take annual trips to Greendell to participate in their hayride, corn maze and of course we pick our own pumpkins. Bonfires help to keep us warm as we soak up the last few weeks of tolerable weather, but they also serve as a way for us to toast up our homemade… yes, homemade (and quite delicious) marshmallows that make a perfect s’more. If you’re not up to making your own mallows, head over to 240 Sweets to buy some of theirs. They’re really good too!

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Some of the other treats we look forward to this season are homemade chicken pot pies, pot roast, and Williams-Sonoma hot chocolate with homemade whipped cream. Their hot chocolate is now available on their website. We’ve already ordered our years supply! Peppermint bark and salted caramel are family favorites, but LeeLoo’s favorite is salted caramel.

leeloo-dressed-up-for-halloween-little-girlHalloween has been a bit of an evolution in our family. LeeLoo is maturing into a beautiful young lady and as she matures into her teen years – her taste is maturing as well. What used to be a little girl that loved to dress up for Halloween – mostly as a cat – is now a teenager that doesn’t dress up and loves Godiva chocolates. Now we just think back fondly of the times she’d head out to trick-or-treat in our very rural area. She’d receive bags and bags of candy from neighbors since they didn’t get many little ones ringing their doorbell. It’s one of the many joys of country living.

 From our family to yours, Happy Autumn! We hope you create some masterpieces when trying these recipes out, but more importantly, we hope you create some memories at the same time. Until next time – Keep It Craft E!

Why Gift Cards Are The PERFECT Gift For Any Occasion

 

When 75% of Americans dislike the gifts we pick out for them, that’s a clue that we’re doing something wrong. REALLY wrong. Think about last Christmas and the gifts you received. How much of that was junk that people got just to fill a stocking? Ever get a shirt or sweater that is the exact style of the person that purchased the gift – but it’s nothing you’d actually wear? Yeah, us either.

The truth is that people, for the most part, are awful at picking out gifts unless it’s something of a sentimental nature – and even still sometimes then they fall short. So, then, what’s the answer?

Growing up, I heard (and still hear) my mother’s voice saying, “Don’t get a gift certificate. It’s so impersonal.” Sooo – then do I opt for the automatic change counter? The ever so personal coffee liquor set complete with matching shot glasses? Perhaps the matching hat and glove set. Yes! That has personal written all over it.

If you’ve followed Craft-E-Family for any amount of time now, you know that we have a plethora of personalized gift options perfect for many different milestones in our lives, but that’s not what this is about. This is about gift cards and gift certificates.

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My mother’s statement, as previously mentioned, could be true – if you truly give it no thought. On the other hand, let’s play out a couple of scenarios. Your sister who is getting married next year is pretty well set financially, so she could buy herself whatever she wanted. You know her style well and you saw our countdown blocks online that would be perfect for her wedding, her bridal shower, eventually – maybe her baby shower and it fits her style perfectly. Oh, wait – the Contemporary Perpetual Calendar fits her style too! Plus it will allow her to make notes of all of the things she still has to do to prepare for each of the events. Which do you get her? Our gift certificates are personalized and we can make them for any amount you would like. Now your sister can buy one or the other – or maybe even both!

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On to your brother. Maybe your brother is an avid camper, but you don’t know the first thing about camping, nor do you have the inclination to learn. You don’t know what he has or what he doesn’t have, but he’s always bragging about the newest, latest, greatest camping gadget he bought. Why not step into a sporting goods store and purchase a gift certificate for him there? Maybe he’s saving for a kayak and your gift card contribution just put him over the top of what he needed to purchase it. Talk about making someone’s Christmas!

When it comes down to it, give that voice in the back of your head a big shoosh. Gift certificates can absolutely be as personal as a gift you hand select. In some cases – far better.

Until next time, Keep It Craft E!

Now You Know! Order “Off The Menu” Items With Craft-E-Family

If you’ve been around Craft-E-Family long, you know that we try to stay current. We try to stay with the times when it comes to product development. We aim to out-do ourselves in terms of customer service with every order we receive.

One of the ways we are able to achieve such high scores on customer service is by going out of our way to offer customizable or personalized options that other companies do not. We know that our customers have creative vision and we want that vision to be a part of the products you order or gift to others. These products and/or gifts are an extension of you and they reflect it!

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Many people are unaware that we have a large audience and customer base outside of the United States. If you would like translation services for you or for a gift you’re ordering for someone else, we’re happy to accommodate that request. We may run words or phrases by you to ensure we’ve done the translation appropriately – but that’s only because we want you and your family and friends to only have the best when it comes to our products. We’re also able to add special characters such as accents or umlauts at no additional charge. We also add a special touch for our military families. If you request and provide us with the artwork we can replace one side of the block with your squadron patch.

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When orders come in, we proofread all orders instead of simply completing the order as it was submitted. We know that we’re human and we’ve ordered (and received) some pretty ridiculous gifts. It was our fault – we spelled things wrong when we ordered it, but the company we ordered it from didn’t proof anything. That’s the downside to ordering from big businesses sometimes. They don’t have the time – or they just lack the small personal touches – that small, family run businesses take the time to do. After we receive an order, if we have any questions about the order before we make it, we will reach out to you first to ensure there were no mistakes made when submitting your order.

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Have a special occasion coming up and want a personalized gift, but don’t see exactly what you’re looking for on our website? We can do custom orders any time! We often do custom personalized blocks for special occasions and/or situations, which cost $35. If you ever have a question as to what products we can customize or even create a product just for you – simply email us and we’ll respond in a timely manner so we can start creating your item.

 

 

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One of the services that we offer that works very well for businesses is the ability to add your company’s logo to any item at no additional charge. Realtors use this when ordering our Personalized Family Coasters for new homeowners. Other businesses that use this offer are photographers – be it wedding photographers or baby photographers. Many such businesses purchase Personalized Baby Block Picture Frames or Personalized Bubble Name Picture Frame from us as a gift to the new couple or new parents. They personalize it for their clients, but leave a lasting impression by putting their logo on the back so they’ll always remember whom they used. Doulas also use this service when they gift new moms and dads with our Personalized Baby Block.

When we say we take on some really unique projects, we aren’t kidding. To give you an idea of some work we’ve done:

  • We were asked to do custom work for FedEx. We did a custom project for them that they used for a company wide training seminar.
  • Eli Lilly & Co. asked us to make custom blocks to give away as training awards.
  • IMS Radio asked us to make custom blocks for the sales team to hand out to clients.
  • United Advisors had us make custom blocks for new clients.
  • Black Sheep Gifts have asked us to make multiple items from Irvington related coasters to Christmas Ornaments & earrings.
  • DTE Energy asked us for custom blocks.
  • Parker’s Place Foundation had us make custom color blocks for their launch party.

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We love seeing new orders from clients. We love it even more when it’s a custom project because it presents us with a challenge and gives us just one more opportunity to exceed the expectations of our customers. The next time you have a special occasion or have a random crafty idea, let us bring it to life for you.

 

We look forward to seeing how we can wow you with those projects so send them our way! Until next time – Keep It Craft E!

6 Tools and Tips to Make Family Life A Little Easier

If there’s anything we understand at Craft-E-Family, we understand a hectic schedule. We understand moms and dads running around. We understand not seeing your significant other except early mornings and right before bed. We understand.

Having said that, we thought you might be interested in some tips and tools to make your life a little bit easier. Organization isn’t such a bad thing. If you get really good at it, you might actually be able to save enough time that you can schedule yourself a bubble bath with a glass of wine or an hour with just you and your beer in your man cave. Who could be mad about that?

MEAL PLANNING

One of the most time consuming priorities in the house is, of course, meal preparation and cooking. It can be overwhelming at times – especially if there are options on the menu other than chicken nuggets and mac ‘n cheese. We found a free app/website that is perfect for moms that need a little help with meal planning. We really like Big Oven. Its features like Recipe Ideas and Recent Raves help start the creative juices flowing. There are plenty other apps out there. Try them out and see which you like best.

COACHING

Are you one of the over-achievers? We kid. It’s incredibly important to teach our young ones sportsmanship. It carries over into so many other parts of life and we salute your commitment to them. You’re making a difference and you stick with it – even through screaming parents and argumentative littles – or not so littles. It’s tough taking on this role while you’ve got a family of your own at home so we wanted to find something to make life a little easier for you. Wiggio has an app available or you can use it from your desktop computer. It allows ease of communicating with parents, adjustments of practice and game schedules, sending emails and more.

SCHEDULING

One of the things parents find most frustrating is that things can so easily start to slip through the cracks with multiple schedules. You may have had the following conversation a time of two unless you’re on top of this: “Babe, why did you schedule golf on Saturday? You KNOW Xavier has a game that morning.” We’ve all been there. It can cause a lot of stress if it’s not managed well. Don’t worry! There’s an app for that! Cozi is the #1 organizing app for families. From a photo journal to the calendar to list making function, it’s a great option for families that have a lot going on.

CHORES

Does it seem like a never-ending battle with your kids to get them to brush their teeth? Make their bed? Do dishes? We know the feeling. If you’re a parent that believes in rewarding their kids for chores, we found a really cool tool for you. Have you heard of Chore Monster? Click that link and they’ll show you a really cool and cute demo video about how it works. It just might work for your family. You can also find out what other families do in regard to household responsibilities and glean some insight there!

BIRTHDAYS AND SPECIAL DAYS

No matter how incredible your memory may be, the best of us have trouble remembering every single anniversary, birthday and holiday. Whether you’re an app user or not, having a visual reminder every day will help you remember those special occasions. At Craft-E-Family, we have a couple of options to help you out in that regard. Our Contemporary Perpetual Calendar is one way to always have a visual reminder of what important events are coming up. Another option we offer is our Countdown Blocks. This one is newly introduced and we’ve had a lot of great feedback from people that have purchased it so far. Use this to countdown days until weddings, graduations, anniversaries and more. It’s a great tool to remind you how quickly days are approaching. For us – it’s a great reminder to stop procrastinating gift buying!

REALIZE AS MUCH AS YOU WANT TO BE, YOU’RE NOT A SUPER HERO

Moms and dads out there, we know you want to volunteer for PTA. We know you want to be a room mom, chaperone the field trip, coach little league, sponsor the class Valentine’s Day party, plus be super mom, super husband, super daughter, super nephew and super friend. I mean – did you just read all of that? I’m tired after having typed it. Can you imagine how exhausting it must be to do all of it? What’s the point? Remember that in order to take care of anyone else, you must first take care of you. Find something that you find joy in and volunteer for that one thing. If you love going on field trips, sign up for that for the year. If you’re all about holidays and deck your house out for every one, be a volunteer for holiday festivities. Do something that “feeds” you as well as others so you don’t wear yourself out.

Our hope is that we’ve somehow made life a little bit easier for you. Managing a family is certainly hard work; so make sure to give yourself a breather every now and again. We’re in your corner rooting you on!

Until next time – Keep it Craft-E!

Baby on Board – 8 Steps to a Great Baby Shower

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The perfect baby shower doesn’t have to involve loads of money if you just have a little time and have a crafty hand. Don’t have a crafty hand? Trust me – you’re not alone. We’re guessing that you have friends and/or family that LOVE crafting though. USE THEM! People love being asked to be involved in this sort of thing anyway, so ask away!

Step 1 – Create a checklist. If a shower is going to fall apart, it’s because it’s not been properly organized. Create a solid foundation for the shower you’re planning by creating your own unique checklist. Use the one at Real Simple as a guideline if you need help getting started.

Step 2 – Determine whether this will be a shower just for the ladies or if it’s going to be a co-ed baby shower. In days past, dads tended to stay home, went golfing with the guys or found a project of their own to get involved in. Co-ed showers are a pretty common occurrence now, as dads really want to be involved in every aspect of the child’s life. This information is also important when it comes to activities that will occur at the shower.

Step 3 – Pinterest. Use Pinterest like it’s your lifeline. Planning a shower, whether you have a lot of money to spend on it or not, requires organization (which takes time) and execution. Make life a little easier on yourself and use the tools so readily available to you. Pinterest is just one.

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Step 4 – If you’re hosting a party for the mommy-to- be, please be considerate by running everything by her. Don’t assume you know every aspect of her life. If it’s a co-ed shower, run it by the daddy-to- be as well. There may be foods that bother her stomach now that didn’t when she wasn’t pregnant. Certain scents may set her off. There may be games or activities she has in mind that aren’t on your list. All of these ideas need to be sorted out before the shower to avoid any surprises.

Step 5 – Ask the mom and dad-to-be if there are any out of town relatives that would like to be included in the festivities that aren’t able to physically be there. Remote baby showers are a necessity for many. Military families in particular use this when they are stationed overseas. This can get complex as Skype requires upgrade to allow for more than one party to join a web call. Softwares like oovoo can be glitchy at times, but if money is an issue, oovoo is your best bet. It does allow up to 12 users to join in. Your other option is Web Baby Shower. They help with all aspects of the remote baby shower and the cost is a flat $75.

Step 6 – Purchase the gift you’ll give the mom/dad on the day of the shower. Of course, we have quite a variety of gifts for baby at Craft-E-Family. We’ve also covered a number of other handmade products in blogs past to choose from.

Step 7 – It’s quite likely the day before the big event. You’ve purchased everything, but it’s all in bags. Tomorrow begins the execution. Do yourself a huge favor. Tomorrow is going to be all about time management. Do you need to pick up a cake? Ask your cousin to pick it up on her way over. Have 2 people on hand. Call them ahead of time and ask them if they can be your fallback person in case you forgot anything on the day of the shower. Use them if you have forgotten anything. Get a list going again with a list of what needs to be done today. What often happens is we know we have 32 things to do so we tackle little bits of one task and move to another task – leaving the first unfinished. Prioritize that list and just start checking each one off as you get them done. Don’t bounce around.

Step 8 – Welcome your guests, make your mom and/or dad-to- be feel like the king/queen that they are and most importantly, have fun!

Until next time – KeepItCraftE!

Taking Taboo Out Of Adoption

When you are introduced to a couple that has adopted a child, what’s your first reaction? Do you become uneasy? Unsure what to do, what to say, how to react? Being adoptive parents, let us reassure you… you are meeting just another child. We’re not talking aliens here. It’s laughable because at first, many people don’t know how to react to the fact you’ve decided to adopt and we’d like to take the taboo out of adoption.

You’ve probably heard, “you’ll never love another baby like your own” before. When you adopt – that baby IS your own. While there are certainly families that are made to be biological families, just the same – there are families that adopt and they genuinely were made for just that. Here’s what we hope you take from this, though: Whether you adopt or whether you have children biologically – we’re all families just the same.

There are families that take great care to hide the fact that their child is adopted for fear that the child will be rejected. We have no room to judge those families. We, on the other hand, chose to adopt a beautiful baby girl from China. With two red-headed parents, there’s not much hiding that LeeLoo isn’t our biological daughter… and that’s perfectly fine with us

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We adopted LeeLoo at about 1.5 years old and any question she’s asked us about her adoption – if we have the answer – we’re very honest with her. When she was about 4 years old, we started getting the questions from people. “Does she know she’s adopted?” Sometimes it’s hard not to be sarcastic when answering that question. Clearly our daughter doesn’t look like us – we weren’t going to lie about it. As she’s grown and people have come to know her, the questions have slowed quite a bit. Finally, people are seeing her as LeeLoo. Not “the Chinese girl” or “the adopted girl”… simply LeeLoo and that’s exactly who she is.

LeeLoo is the goofy girl who runs out the door, leaving doors open behind her – just the same as your children do. And when I follow after her yelling, “Were you born in a barn?!”, her quick witted response typically goes like this: “Could have been but we will never know now will we.” To say she doesn’t see herself as adopted would be misleading you. She does see herself as adopted and she embraces it because she knows her family loves and accepts her. We chose her. Sometimes, she even assumes other children are adopted too if they come from multi-cultural families. We all tend to see life from the perspectives we know.

Our hope is that others stop seeing Mya – the girl from Ethiopia or Milo – that kid from Kazakhstan and start seeing the person behind the name or behind the nationality. LeeLoo is the same as your teenagers, but she has qualities that make her unique and beautiful like your kids are. Sometimes she’s shy. She’s in gymnastics just like your kids. She’s playful, she’s funny, we quarrel, we laugh and sometimes we’re sad together. Just like your family.

When it comes right down to it, there’s nothing taboo at all about choosing to love someone and to make them part of your family. There are plenty of people that informally adopt brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles, moms and dads. Do you have someone in your life that you couldn’t love any more if they were blood related? That’s adoption. That’s love – and there’s more than enough to go around.

 

 

The Father’s Day Gift Buying Struggle is Real.

Let’s be honest. There’s a reason dad’s closet is filled with Santa Claus ties, shamrock ties, World’s Greatest Dad ties, pink ties, blue ties…. You see where we’re going with this. Dad is hard to buy for. I mean – is buying dad a hammer a bit like buying mom a vacuum? Is that Dremel the equivalent to buying mom a blender? It’s true that some moms cook or clean as a hobby and some dads actually enjoy woodworking. However, sometimes – those are just “go-to gifts.”

We wanted to do a little something for you to get the creative juices flowing. Dads are special and they have such important roles in our lives. For many, daddies are often our first loves and our forever heroes. Having said that, shouldn’t we really put some thought into this year’s Father’s Day gift? We think yes.

Did you know that the inaugural Father’s Day was in 1910 and it was to honor a single-father of six…. Yes, S-I-X children. We often hear of life as a single mother, but there are certainly dads out there that are baring the load of single parent as well. To all of those dads: You, my friends, are rock stars.

When buying gifts for dad, there really isn’t a one size fits all solution. Some dads are very family-centric, but work forces him to be a road warrior. What’s a gift that can quickly remind him of his family on the road?

Some dads are great at fixing stuff around the house, but they are always in trouble because they’re missing mom’s birthday or their anniversary. Uh oh! How about you save him the pain of the silent treatment in the future? Our countdown blocks are the perfect gift to make sure he never misses another important date.

Some dads love the outdoors! Why not plan a fishing trip with him? Nothing you could purchase him would amount to 8 hours of peace and conversation as you come up with stories about “the one that got away.” Oh – we know… it really WAS a 12 pounder.

Our dads are individuals. Their interests are as varied as the grains of sand on the beach. One gift would never suit each and every dad. With that being said, we wanted to give you some ideas. Maybe these gifts are what you’ll purchase – maybe it sparks another idea.

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On our Pinterest page, we have noticed our Personalized Baseball, Bat and Glove rack has been pinned over and over again to go in to “man caves” and we think that’s a great idea. If you’re looking to go all out, send hubby or dad on a weekend get-away. Turn a corner of the basement or even the WHOLE basement into a permanent place for him to escape. Don’t have a basement, but have an extra room? That will work too. Trust us, this is the ultimate dad gift.

 

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For some dads – particularly entrepreneurial dads – his hobby is his work. It seems like he’s always in his office. For him, work isn’t work because it’s something he created. He loves the time he spends in his office because his business is his work of art. Make the time in his office even more enjoyable with the products at Grovemade. Their laptop and monitor stands are incredibly sleek and we know he’ll love them.

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Is your dad a biker (of the motorized sort) or would he like to be? We certainly aren’t suggesting that everyone has the money to drop on a new motorcycle, but it may be an option for some of you. If this is up dad’s alley, we’d like to recommend that you take a peek at Janus American Motorcycles. Janus motorcycles are hand-built in the USA and their products are insanely beautiful. For dads that are more shop and less bike inclined, Janus also has a leather and canvas shop. Here you’ll find quality, handmade worker’s aprons as well as moto-rucksacks.

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Maybe your dad appreciates the finer things in life. What could be better than a genuine handmade leather collection? At Howl & Hide, you can walk away with a full leather collection. Handmade belt? Check. Wallet? Check. Has dad been in the market for a messenger or portfolio bag? You haven’t seen craftsmanship like this before.

Whether you choose one of our suggested gifts or if you come up with something on your own, we hope you truly put some thought into dad’s gift this year. Gifts of time and thought can literally cost you nothing, but will let him know you care and appreciate is many sacrifices. Happy Father’s Day, all you awesome dads!

Until next time… Keep it Craft-E!

Oh… and if you’re wondering where to get that I <3 Daddy frame in the image above, just click

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Keeping it Small and Craft-E

As a new parent, there is more than enough to worry about. You investigate thoroughly the type of diapers to buy. Do you go cloth or disposable? If you go disposable – which brand? You spend countless hours on mommy blogs digging for the latest advice. You’re already planning for your child’s educational future. There’s already so much on your plate and you’d just like one decision that’s easy to make. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a blog out there that handed you a list of toys/toy makers that take the work out of it for you?

Your wish is our command.

When we are in the market for most anything, we really like to focus on the little guys first. The small businesses everywhere are the ones that sustain our local economies. These companies are also the ones that take the time to add small, personal touches to really make your purchases stand out from the rest. At Craft-E-Family, we really make an effort to build relationships with our customers. Over time, that allows us to know how we can step our service up a notch and make each buying experience the best it can possibly be.

We love looking for other “mom and pop shops” that add that same personal touch to their crafts. You can buy wooden toys pretty much anywhere, but it doesn’t mean they’re handmade. We wanted to find some authentic workshop toys that you and your family can enjoy for the coming months and years.

At Craft-E-Family, we’re particularly proud of all of our kid’s blocks like the ABC Blockset, Barnyard Blocks and personalized baby and adoption blocks. With all of these blocks, we use solid white maple wood and they are treated only with beeswax. No chemicals are used on our children’s blocks.

wooden camera

Fact + Fiction  is a small business that started as Little Adventure Toys. This year, they started a new chapter and became Fact + Fiction. We love this company not only because they’re focused on wooden toys as well, but they also are as passionate about the environment as we are. Safety is a major concern for Fact + Fiction and that’s evident in the design of their toys. Very smooth, rounded edges prevail in the toy design on their Etsy store. One of our favorites on their store is the Wooden Toy Camera.We’re big fans and we think you will be too!

stool

We’re particularly fond of Rootin’ Ridge Toymakers. Rootin’ Ridge started in 1975. Specifically, they left their “real jobs” and started living their dream on April Fools Day in 1975. Their shop started in a very humble 8’x20’ space. They began making wooden toys that day and have been living the dream ever since. Over the years, they’ve made toys, games, puzzles and even musical instruments. Late last year, they closed their brick and mortar to focus solely on an online presence. We’re particularly fond of their Personalized Puzzles and Step Stools.

alice

While wooden toys hold a very special spot in our heart, we were completely fascinated by Laughing Moon’s Toy Makers Collection. Terrie and Richard Floyd have been toy making since 1967. Over time, they’ve learned to blend different genres of art into their collections. Laughing Moon specializes in handmade and hand painted Jumping Jacks and wooden clocks. The detail that goes into both products is unmatched. They’re more than just toys and clocks. They truly are works of art. As we scrolled through the different products they offered, we found it hard to pick just even one or two that we loved. They’re all beautiful.

We’re so pleased to see such amazing toy makers out there that started from small beginnings and stuck with it to make successful businesses. We will continue to build them up the way that others have built us up through the years. Take a look at these incredibly talented makers. If you see something you like, purchase it from them. Small business truly does make our economy go-round. They may not be Craft-E-Family, but they really do #KeepItCraftE.