New Name, New Stuff.

So I’m only three months late with my name change. That’s okay, though. I’ve been having a total blast making new business cards, new banners, new packaging. Thanks to the incredible carving skills of Erica from SubtleActs, I now have an amazing parrot stamp that has become my new logo!

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And I’ve been making new stuff too.

4 SeasonsĀ  Garland

The Four Seasons. Embroidered Seasons Garland by Aly Parrott on Etsy. Made to order.

Anne of Green Gables doll. I’m really loving my new Jacquard fabric paints.

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New colored version of the Little Mermaid

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Cloth Mermaid Doll. The Little Mermaid. Hand painted cloth doll by AlyParrott on Etsy.

American bison pillow toy

Handmade Buffalo Toy. American Bison Animal Pillow Soft Sculpture by Aly Parrott on Etsy. Ready to Ship.

Handmade Buffalo Toy. American Bison Animal Pillow Soft Sculpture by Aly Parrott on Etsy. Ready to Ship.

Caribou pillow toy

Handmade Toy Caribou. Organic Cotton Animal Pillow by Aly Parrott on Etsy. Ready to ship.

Handmade Toy Caribou. Organic Cotton Animal Pillow by Aly Parrott on Etsy. Ready to ship.

Brown bear family pillow toys

Handmade Bear Toys. Hand-painted American Grizzly Bear Family set by Aly Parrott on Etsy. Ready to ship.

Handmade Bear Toys. Hand-painted American Grizzly Bear Family set by Aly Parrott on Etsy. Ready to ship.

Strawberry counting/sorting toy

Strawberry Montessori Work. Handmade Summer Fruit Counting and Sorting Toy by Aly Parrott on Etsy. Made to Order.

Strawberry Montessori Work. Handmade Summer Fruit Counting and Sorting Toy by Aly Parrott on Etsy. Made to Order.

Strawberry Montessori Work. Handmade Summer Fruit Counting and Sorting Toy by Aly Parrott on Etsy. Made to Order.

New expanded seashell set

Summer Ocean Toys. Felt Seashell Nature Montessori Toys from Aly Parrott on Etsy. Made to order.

Summer Ocean Toys. Felt Seashell Nature Montessori Toys from Aly Parrott on Etsy. Made to order.

Summer Ocean Toys. Felt Seashell Nature Montessori Toys from Aly Parrott on Etsy. Made to order.

There is much more to come! Including some new animals that I can’t wait to show you all.

Cheers xo.

Song of the Day: “I’ve Just Seen a Face”

Today’s collection is inspired by The Beatles’ “I’ve Just Seen a Face.”

To play song, click here:


I've just seen a face

Click to view on Etsy.

 

 

Song of the Day: “Luck Be A Lady”

A treasury inspired by Frank Loesser’s “Luck Be a Lady” from Guys and Dolls.

To listen to the song, click here:


Click to view on Etsy.

Click to view on Etsy.

Actually, I made this a few days ago, but I liked it so much I wanted to share:)

Happy Thursday!

Penny Dolls are back…

…and I am so excited to show these two little ladies to you all. Everything about these reminds me of home; from rifling through my mom’s scrap basket for the perfect pieces of fabric to sitting down with a cup of coffee and a movie to stitch. When I was a child, my mom bought me an actual penny doll at Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts. She came with a kit for making clothes, and a little book with patterns, directions, and a bit of history. We had such fun making the clothes, and it’s one of my earliest memories of sewing.

When I first opened my shop, I listed a set of these penny dolls and I’ve been itching to make more ever since they were sold. Photographing them alone feels like a treat to myself–I spent the day today looking through our whatnot shelf and china cabinet for little props, and finding spots in the house that would suggest a little life for each doll. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.

It’s tempting to create “characters” for these dolls, and someday, I may do a few dolls with accompanying stories, but for now, I prefer to leave them open-ended. They have untold stories; and stories that will be told by the folks they end up with. They are a little indulgence–I’ve streamlined the process of most of the made to order things in my shop and these dolls make me slow down and really think about how two fabrics will look together, or how to construct a teeny-tiny hat with size zero knitting needles.

So, without further ado, here are the products of a Sunday’s indulgence!

ImageImageImageImageWinter Girl 3Winter Girl 1See you all Wednesday or Thursday for a preview of my new shop design! xo

Shipping Increases.

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Hey, Friends. Just a quick business note on this brisk (read: frigid) Saturday evening. Tomorrow, the new USPS prices take effect–this will mean a small shipping hike for US customers, and a fairly large one for international customers. The good news is, tracking will now be available for First Class packages shipped to Canada! Hopefully, this will expand to include other countries soon.

For more information, and specific pricing for your location, click here

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Thank you all so much for your continued support!

Xo

Resolutions and Rennovations:

Hey, friends! Within the next week or so, the Handmade Classroom will be undergoing some changes. The first and most significant change will be the name. I have been throwing around the notion of changing the name of my Etsy shop for some time now, and now, with the zest of resolution in the air, I think it is time to make the change.

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The Handmade Classroom began with a very specific vision in mind–to bring interactive, environmentally conscious toys and Montessori works to classrooms all over the world. Over the past year or so, that vision has been realized and then some, due in large part to the support of every single one of you. You have no idea how grateful I am to have had such a successful first year as a small business owner! Having said that, I have realized that disassociating myself from the things I make by selling them under a very business-like name does not lend itself to the personal, intimate nature of the work itself. I think many times, people begin a business looking for a catchy name that looks good on a business card–that’s definitely how I started mine! But I’ve begun to realize that the things that have come about as a result of starting this business have become far more a part of me than I could have anticipated. Therefore, I am changing the name of my shop to (drumroll……) my own name!!!! (Aly Parrott, for those of you who are just joining me.)

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I think this is a good decision for a lot of reasons, but here are my top three:

1) My name is pretty awesome. I used to hate it, for obvious reasons, but I have come up with many, MANY parrot-related sketches for a logo, website, blog header, sticker labels, tags, and just about everything I had SO much trouble designing for The Handmade Classroom and it’s almost too perfect to resist.

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This could go on and on.

2) A small business under a person’s name implies intimacy and personal attention–this person is creating something especially for you, which is a special experience in this world of mass-produced everything.

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3) The work I’m producing has more wiggle-room to evolve. I think my shop has a unifying theme of precious, handmade objects that are meant to be played with and touched. There is also a teaching aspect to everything I make–you may only be buying a garland from me because it will look pretty hanging over your mantel, but in every garland, there is a lesson to be learned; the different phases of the moon, or what a storm looks like. Everything I ever make for the rest of my life will have these two things in common. Because that’s been everything I’ve made since I was four years old. The things that are conducive to selling on Etsy will go up in the shop, the things that aren’t will go somewhere else and serve a purpose in their own way, and in their own time. But this way, they can all be sent with the same business card, and seen under the same name–my own! Because (and yes, it sounds really trite, but I’m saying it anyway!) everything I make is a part of me.

[Insert picture of me working *here.* I don't actually have one!]

So, even though I know the transition from one name to another is a tough one, I think it will be a smart decision for myself and for my marketing. I have already begun work on a new logo, banner, blog layout and business card, all of which I will be sharing with you very soon.

Which brings me to my resolutions:

1) BLOG MORE. I feel like Rachel on that episode of Friends where they all make New Year’s resolutions because I never blog after I promise to. I think the name change will be good for keeping that one. I will feel less obligated to just post stuff directly related to my Etsy shop, and more free to post about all of the stuff I love. I miss writing–I’ve been in what Tony Stark refers to as “hardware mode” for the past few months and this post alone has demonstrated how great (for me, anyway) it is getting all of this stuff out of my head. I can also, you know, talk about how much I love superhero movies and Law & Order without readers being like “what the heck does this have to do with making classroom tools?” I’m hoping my blog will take on an identity of its own. I have lots of ideas for series of posts that you will all hopefully enjoy. Don’t worry, it won’t all be about superheros and crime shows.

2) List at least one new thing in my shop every week. I’m getting to the point where I’m tired of looking at the same stuff in my shop. I’m determined that this year will see a more fleshed out shop and if I keep all of these ideas in my head for any longer I might explode. Jen from SewnNatural lists at least three new things a week, does made to order work AND has children (and she home schools!). Sasha from What. No Mints? and Sara from IFeltFuzzy list new stuff in their shops while getting PhD’s. I think, in my indulgent post-Bachelor, pre-PhD, pre-Child, twenty-something life I can handle listing one new thing per week. To start off, here are two new things in my shop!

4 Seasons Garland

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Seashell nature table set

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3) Take more photos. I have a beautiful Nikon d3100 DSLR that spends way too much time in its bag.

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I have about fifteen more food and exercise-related ones I won’t bore you with at the moment.

I will be sharing the process of transition as it evolves. Expect a name change in the next week!

Thanks for sticking with me:) You all rock.

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