halo! welcome to my humble headquarters, here you can see what fun we are getting up to in the studio, kitchen, garden and out and about. You can check out our crafty goods in the toyshop and the crafty-shop - and what we are offering in our edible endeavors over at humble food (recipes and fun ideas for nourishing your own sweet family!). Please enjoy!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

baby and first summer GIVEAWAY

good beautiful morning!

 I keep meaning to find time to sit down and post something on the blog - but babies and dollies and everything keep me pretty busy. :) 

Also, for some reason I think I think I need to make some kind of EPIC post - which - really - who reads long rambling blog posts, anyways? 

soooooo... keeping it short and sweet, I will give you a little update and details on the new giveaway. 

baby news 
oooo - our sweet baby arrived, safe and strong. Another girl. We are all shimmery with love as we embrace her and adjust to life with FOUR amazing, brimming beings. 
I am busy keeping up with nursing and making and baking and trying to spend time outside, too! ;) 
With her arrival comes a new chapter in our life. I am excited for the new changes and growth we are embarking on as a family. So grateful!

seems like I'm making the baby a bit of a footnote :P really really, I am NOT. She is infinitely more important than business or dolls or giveaways, of course! BUT I do need to *keep on* - and I am just getting back into the swing of things here in the studio. I do want to share my excitement about new dolls and designs and such trivialities. And my latest giveaway. I am planning on quite a few over the summer leading into fall. 

this is mainly a facebook promotion.


I want to make a custom doll for the winner of this draw! It can be a Little Lu style or one of my new Bobbi style dollies, the value will be 100$ - the balance of the essential doll (usually a doll with one outfit) will be extra clothes for extra fun play!! And of course, shipping is covered, as well. 

Little Lu doll - value of 50$ - custom!! no shipping charge. :)

30$ humble-dollars towards your next purchase of a doll! (shipping not included)

So, to be included in the draw you MUST have liked my page on facebook. I think right now I have close to 400 likes, which is awesome, but the more the merrier! :) 

Things that are awesomely helpful but not required (but will speed up the process for everyone!!) are sharing my pictures, sharing the contest, sending this blog link to people, mentioning me or this on your blog...the usual suspects. :)

To be included in the draw you simply must have liked my page. I will draw 3 names from my "likes" list as soon as possible after reaching 500 likes - I will include ALL names on the list (even if it's over 500 at the time of the draw) -- so keep liking even if it goes over 500. :) I will try and do giveaways for every 100 after that and another big one for 1000. 

Disclaimer: This promotion is in NO way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. humble and all the participants of the said giveaway hereby release Facebook of any liability. Information collected is NOT collected by Facebook. Information collected by humble(Home/toys) is used with strict confidentiality, is not shared with third parties. The winner is chosen at RANDOM within 48 hours of the end of the Giveaway, this can be delayed slightly on some occasions due to workload. All postage costs are covered by humble no matter where the winner resides (see my shipping policies www.humbletoys.etsy.com)  There are no age/gender or residency restrictions from our end. The participants MUST comply with their local laws & regulations to the best of their knowledge. Sharing this post on one’s timeline or on one’s friends timeline does not provide additional entries and likewise isn’t a prerequisite of an entry in this giveaway. (The same goes for tagging yourself or your friends in the Giveaway post). I will announce the winners on my facebook page. 

Making a living as an artist is definitely challenging. We are in the birthing stages right now, and I hope to continue. It is unbelievable - the changes this road has made in my personal and family life. It is powerful and positive and I really hope to continue. Please do consider helping me share my work, farther and wider. 

on a sort of crumbier note: I may have to up my prices again. :P I know I warned of incremental increases. I will hold off until fall, but things might go up again at that point. Or else I might simplify the clothing that is included. What do you think? I hope to have clothing packages you can purchase alongside your dolls soon. 

Feedback on this is appreciated - I just put so much love into these things - and when I look around at other people's prices and creations I do realize that my prices might be a bit low, for what it is. I mean, a pair of crumby earrings at walmart can cost more... I really want to keep things affordable for people, though! I also know, as a parent - I am hesitant to let my kids play with expensive things. Can be daunting when you know they will likely wreck them. :P 

Anyhoooo - just a heads up. Feel free to weigh in. :D looks like it turned into a long rambling post after all. 

Soooo - that is all for now!! Thanks for stopping by and I will hopefully post again soon. I have hopes of sharing a bit about how to make some simple clothes for your dolls at home - great fun for the creative child - or mum ---- or dad! 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

changes and promotions for spring!

spring spring spring spring spring...

Ah well, it will come in it's own time. Like everything else.
Right now I am eagerly awaiting spring AND a new baby. Anytime. Whenever. 

So, that is just a little heads' up. If I'm a little slower responding to emails/convos/facebook messages -- you will know why! 

I've been keeping really busy, though. I am really anticipating our new little one, but keeping my mind off it by making lots and lots of dolls and experimenting with some new designs and ideas. 

And I have been getting ideas and inspiration from lots of creative folk requesting custom orders. Seriously inspiring! 

down to business. 
I did have to bring my prices up a little this week. It's not toooo much, really - just helps me make ends meet a little better! New designs will still be unleashed at experimental prices and some fun new designs and ideas are on the way -- along with a line of all natural dolls stuffed with 100% wool and using all natural yarns and materials for the hair and clothes. Custom Big Lu dolls will be available in all natural materials, too. 

But - to soften the blow a little bit, there are some positive changes, too. The little lu dolls are a weee bit bigger now - and at least for the month of april I will be including a little something extra with the dolls, sometimes listed with the dolls on etsy or sometimes a surprise! Just a little more than I would usually list. 

AND I will be holding two promotions this month!! The details are being ironed out but I will post something a bit later with details! (they will likely last a little into may, so I am not too rushed!)

Keep updated by liking my facebook page! 

for now, you can try and catch one of the new bunnies on etsy! 

I have a new batch of boys on the way too - just waiting to be dressed. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

draw WINNERS - yeeeeeeeeeeeeee haw!

I am so so so so so so excited. 

snip snip snip.

swish swish swish.

the winners are

first prize

a little lu (12") doll with your choice of hair and/or clothes (unless there is something you absolutely love already made that you really want!!)

(from the blog comment, please contact me!!)


second prize 

20 humble dollars
towards your next purchase from humble toys!


third prize

15 humble dollars 
towards your next purchase from humble toys!!

(from the blog comment, please contact me!)

if you are one of the lucky winners please send me an email at


and I can give you the details for claiming your prize!!!

Thank you sooooooooo much to everyone for participating. It was so much fun. I am planning the next event already, but in the meantime please don't forget my discount this march

use the coupon code


when you checkout and receive 10% off purchases over 50$ !! 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

featured artist! HONEY POT HERBALS and Renegade Productions

I have been tossing around the idea in my head for awhile that I would like to feature other artists/crafters here on the blog, maybe once a week --- and the perfect opportunity has come along! For the month of march I am partnering with 4 other etsy shops to offer discounts and promote our shops! We are all in Ontario - so shop local and support your local artists! 
Take a moment to check them out! 
Use the coupon code MARCHON10 when you check out to receive a discount! 
*check shop announcements for details

I will feature each one individually over the next few weeks, but here is a sneak peek!

custom illustrated keepsake boxes, shopping bags and art - really cool hand drawn items that are super reasonably priced! 

Lovely handmade jewelry - with a really neat twist! I love the juxtaposition of feathers and bullet casings and jewels. So cool....

This is the lovely shop I will be featuring today!! (Officially Honey Pot Herbals and Renegade productions) Read on for details about her all-natural process and how she involves her whole family in the creation of natural herbal body care products!

Another lovely jewelry shop from Ontario - two sisters that make beautiful boho chic wearables! Check them out! 

now, onto the main article of concern.... 


sweetgrass soaking in sunflower oil - the sun helps draw out the medicinal properties

and the general awesomeness of Joanne and her natural offerings for caring for yourself and your family. She is a registered Herbalist in Ontario and grows a lot of her own herbs for her products. Read on to find out more about her and her process (AND her goods are totally affordable - especially this month ;) )

soaking Calendula petals in sunflower oil - basis for lotions and topical baby products

Here I've asked Joanne to share some info with us about her process and philosophy.  (my questions in purple!)

 What first inspired you to start your business?

Our business was born from the desire to be able to support our family doing the things we love and in order to try to live the way we want to- gardening and harvesting food and medicine from the bush, living in manner that respects the environment, learning to depend on what nature provides around you, engaging the kids and family in culturally positive activities- powwows, drumming, singing, traditional lifestyle, ceremonies, etc.

 We want to pass on to our children as much as possible the teachings and traditions of an Anishnabe way of life.I have harbored an interest in herbal medicine and herbal healing for over 20 years and have always wanted to make a living through my love of herbs and belief in their healing abilities.

mixing together ground herbs and clay for facemasks

How long have you been crafting your goods, for yourself and for sale?

I have been making herbal remedies for over 15 years, always with the idea that working with herbs would be my life's work. When our first child was born in 2000 I made a salve to prevent and treat diaper rash, as well as to serve as an anti-sceptic and healing salve for minor scrapes and bruises. I gave samples of this salve out to friends and family. After receiving good reviews for the salve from many people, my husband and I started to put our heads together on how to market it.

During this time, our son was playing outside and scraped his back on a tree. He came inside crying and very upset. We cleaned up his scrape and put this same salve on the scrapes. Then, he smiled and said his owies were gone, "like magic", and so our salve became "Magic Ointment"!

We officially began our business in 2007. In 2012 we began selling at markets and powwows. In October of 2013, we opened our Etsy Shop.

making rose infused oil and rose glycerite from transplanted wild roses

What is your favorite part of the process? What part do you find most challenging?

I love working with herbs and learning new things! I love the garden in the spring when everything is fresh and full of promise. I love to create new remedies- which is usually a process that takes some time, often more than a year- because I like to pay attention to detail. 

The herbal products I create are a combination of research of scientific findings, experience of actually working with herbs and a certain degree of intuition. Everything starts with an idea and I like to play with it until it has been tried and tested and I feel that something has been produced that is both effective and pleasing to use.

My least favorite part is the business side of business! Keeping track of finances is necessary but not a particular interest of mine. And learning how to be a "business person"- a manager and promoter- certainly presents some challenges. Although, even that has had its rewards!

The rose oil is used in "rejuvenation face cream" and the glycerin tincture is  used for  the teething tincture for babies and mild upset tummies

 Do you involve your kids or family? If so, how?

Yes! The whole family is involved! Our garden's are a family project. Our four kids, myself and my husband all work together to prepare the gardens and plant and maintain them through the season. 

The kids help with much of the harvesting and many kids in the community stop by for fresh veggies or just to satisfy their curiosity about the medicines we grow.

We also make maple syrup, harvest firewood and medicines from the bush for family and community use. It is important to us that the kids be involved in every aspect of this so that they can learn these traditional harvesting skills and also learn about giving back to your community by sharing what has be taken.

fresh harvested raspberry leaves for tea

Why is it important for people to find and use alternatives to chemical products?

There are so many good reasons to use a natural alternative! Many of the chemicals used in personal care products are harmful to both ourselves and the environment. Some chemicals used in personal care products are synthetic estrogens which, when used continuously over a long period of time, can wreak havoc on our bodies. And when these chemical wind up in the environment-through being washed down the drain- they wreak havoc on wildlife, causing problems with reproduction. 

Also, many toiletries and beauty products contain "ethoxylated" ingredients. This means that some ingredients have been treated with "ethylene oxide", which is a known carcinogen. The process also creates and leaves in the products a compound called "1, 4 dioxane", which is a probable carcinogen. But, its not listed on any labels because it is a by-product of manufacturing, not an ingredient per se.

Many commonly used preservatives and synthetic fragrance can have a detrimental impact on our health, also. There are many good resources out there for those who wish to learn more about the dangers of conventional personal care and cosmetic products.

Using natural products, on the other hand, is gentler on the environment and safer for people. Using plants and natural materials to care for and heal ourselves also teaches a greater respect for the natural world as we learn that our well being is connected to the well being of the plants we depend on for our health. In this way we become more cognizant of the need to maintain the necessary natural habitat for healthful plant species to flourish.

All Natural insect repellant! and after bite stick --  the background is the herb used for the insect repellant (GET LOST SPRAY) soaking in homemade distilled witchhazel...the first step in making the insect repellant.

What advice do you have for parents who want to treat their families with herbs?

Herbs and other natural remedies can provide safe alternatives and adjuncts to conventional medicine. There are good books and resources out there for those who wish to learn more.Parents should proceed with some caution, however; just because something is "natural" doesn't mean that it is safe in all cases.

In Ontario, the Ontario Herbalists Association maintains a list of Registered Herbalists. (I am one!) A Registered Herbalist can help you figure out a safe and effective manner to proceed with herbal health care for the family. Registered Herbalists are knowledgable about using herbs to treat common health concerns as well as herbal interactions with other prescription and over the counter medications.

whipped butter salt scrub with calendula oil (making it yellow) just before packing into jars

 Many herbs and herbal remedies can be used by parents and families with a minimal knowledge of herbs. Sometimes it is necessary to consult with someone- a Registered Herbalist- who is trained to know how herbs behave in the body and interact with other medications, so that those who take herbs do so safely. This is especially true for children, expecting moms and people who already use prescription medications. Herbalists can also help with dietary recommendations to treat health concerns.

 How does your art and craft intersect? 

Actually, my husband- Martin Kewageshig- is the artist! He creates culturally significant artwork and attended George Brown College to learn graphic design. Martin designs the images and labels we use on our products. I would be challenged to draw a decent stick person if my life depended on it, lol!


Thank you Joanne for answering some questions and sharing more about your goods with us! If you haven't tried natural products for yourself or your kids I think you will be pleasantly surprised by just how great they work -- and how much less stress you have to feel about putting questionable chemicals onto/into your body, especially for young, growing bodies that just soak everything up! 


p.s. draw winners will be announced tomorrow! yay!

Monday, February 24, 2014

tools of the trade

There is something really soothing about handsewing. Also sometimes painful. Like, when you are trying to push the needle through 5 layers of fabric on a weird angles and the blunt side of the needle pokes into your finger. Erg. and then you think of that thimble -- but really - who can actually sew deftly with one on!? Not me.

There is quite a bit of handwork involved in my dolls. Handwork. I even love the word. I use a variety of needles and thread for the hand sewing. I love using bright and contrasting colours - forget trying to hide the stitches. I tried that -- too stressful. So I started opting for bright, obvious stitches. Makes it much more fun! 

I use dowels to stuff the dolls -- and turn the pieces inside out. The pliers help when smaller pieces get stuck. Stuffing is a big part of the process -- it's an art. It can really make the difference of how a piece looks and feels. 

These are my favorite fabric scissors yet -- I have kept them safe from paper for a while now. They do need some sharpening, though.

This is my sewing machine. I need to learn how to take care of it better, but I am improving, slowly. The paintbrush is for dusting out lint on a very regular basis. I find this helps alot! I actually taught myself how to oil it earlier this year. That is a big accomplishment for me. 

I do actually use pins. And an iron. I just love these pearly ones. 

I will share more about how the dolls come together soon. And maybe even share some pictures of some of the crazy messes I make in the process. The above picture is a detail from my box of doll hair. The rainbow collection. 

Starting to stitch the face - that is definitely the most challenging part of making these dolls. Starting - possibly totally messing it. Totally messing it up - or thinking I do - and continuing anyways. Usually it ends up okay!! If not...my girls can always use another doll... 

Okay ... well, hot pink paper isn't really a tool - but the camera certainly is. I bought this paper on Saturday for fun. What do you think? 

I had been wanting to make a glasses girl for a while! She looks so smart.

I am trying to get a little photo studio set up for the dolls so I can take more portrait like pics like these. 

thanks for stopping by!