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Monday, June 22, 2009

Spotlight On ForeverandAfters - Review & GIVE-AWAY!!!

Today we are showcasing the lovely& quaint ForeverandAfters ~ a small business owned by a woman by the name of Georgia, who hails from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Raised by a carpenter & machinist father, and a seamstress mother, it seems only natural Georgia would end up where she is today.

I stumbled upon her shop in my never-ending search for adorable yet practical & whimsical children's toys for my son. I love natural toys, so it is no surprise really that I ran into ForeverandAfters on Etsy. Last week we received the "Sack Lunch" toy from her shop. It is comprised of a brown fabric sack, peanut butter & jelly sandwich, banana, juice box with straw, & a gingham napkin. Everything is handcrafted by Georgia herself, using only woods & fabrics for inspiring your child's imagination and being natural at the same time. The effect is a collaboration of textures that is quite vitalizing, and the whole set elicits a comforting & primitive, vintage feel. I love that the PB&J sandwich is stackable, too, as it helps your child develop his coordination and sequencing skills. How can we go wrong here? Natural toys that *DON'T* make noise, and help teach your children practical skills?? This would make a fantastic birthday present for a toddler, by the way, or a great addition to any chidren's kitchen play set.

Through an interview with her, I have developed a fondness for her business of making heirloom, quality, handcrafted toys, and can't wait to share her journey into the business of toy-making with you!

How did your business start and when? "It seems that I have been making toys for as long as I have been a parent...which is longer than I will disclose. We had 4 childen in 8 years. Dollars rarely went far enough and it was just a natural to put creativity and my children's needs together. Then I began working in the educational world and nothing had really changed. Dollars were still short. So I began making things for my classrooms and the preschools that I directed. One of the real frustrations of parenting and the preschool directorates was that the toys cost so much, but they lasted for seconds. So, it seemed like a natural to put my knowledge of children, my love for sewing and woodworking, and the desire to present a better option to budgeting parents and schools to work by creating toys and furniture that would be durable and economical."

How did you come up with your business name? "By divine inspiration, I think. That's what happens when you scream for help. As I stated previously, I was very interested in providing better options to the noisy, 'don't need no imagination', break in a heartbeat toys that are so frequently available for kids. There is nothing worse than watching a child fall in love with a toy and then having to reassure them that you will try to fix it 20 minutes later when it breaks. I wanted the products that I make to be heirlooms, something a mom could give to her little tike while saying, "I played with this when I was your age." Hence, Forever and Afters. Granted, it may cost a little more right now, but you only have to buy it once!"

How long have you been making your creations? "I started making toys when I turned my first cardboard box upside down as a little girl and used the round trademark printed on the bottom as the heating element for my 'kitchen range'! I think I've been doing something of the kind ever since."

What mediums do you use to create your products? "I like to mix color and wood tones. I like the lines to flow under the tools. So I'm not really big on hardwoods. (Besides, I've seen what they can do in the hands of an angry child!) So we use a bit of hardwoods, a little poplar, but mostly pine and aspen. I like to add bright colors, and a splash of fabric to my creations. I want to give the child enough to work with for really good, imaginative play, but not so much that they don't have to build a sense of creativity.

Is there any other advice you'd like to share with our blog readers? "I do want to urge parents to put things in their children's reach that will give them opportunities to develop the wonderful power that is in their hearts and between their ears. The mess they make will be far less than the ones they find themselves in when they don't have the creativity, small motor skills, imagination, and determination to make it work in a few years and even later in life. Spread a drop cloth, take out the play dough and the cookie cutters, and stand back. You will have hours of "fight and fright" free time, too, when your little ones are engrossed in productive, character-building play."

Georgia has also graciously offered any blog readers who place a first-time order with her 10% off their total purchase. In order to receive the discount, please just mention this blog in the comments to the notes to the seller upon check-out. As an added bonus, she will be GIVING AWAY the Ironing Set (retail value of $35.00)!

Here is how you can enter for your chance to win this amazing set!
*Visit ForeverandAfters and then come back to this blog and post a comment on this thread, stating your favorite item from her shop AND why. (You must state both the item AND WHY to be entered for a chance to win!). Make sure to leave your email address for purposes of contacting the winner.

Once you have visited ForeverandAfters and commented on your favorite item and why, you can do the following for more entries in the drawing:
*Become a follower of the Haute Tot & Baby Couture blog
*Blog about this give-away (make sure to post the link to your blog)
*Tweet about this give-away (make sure to post the link to your tweet)
*Copy my Adam's Blankie & Haute Tot Couture blog buttons and post on your own webpage (make sure to post the link to your site)

The winner will be drawn & notified on Tuesday, June 30th! Good luck!

Thank you so much for joining us for this special "Spotlight" today, and thank you so much also to Georgia for sharing a little bit about herself & her inspirational business! I know I'll be looking forward to perusing her shop for future purchases myself!


JC said...

I love the Toy digital camera!

itsonlyjc AT hotmail DOT com

chicletj said...

The Winged back upholstered chair is so adorable! It is so hard to find beautifully made, non-plastic furniture for the little ones. It looks cozy enough for my 16 month old to settle into for sure! All of the items on the Georgia's ETSY page are adorable, though!

shaunamartone said...

My favorite is the breakfast set with the coffee pot and toaster with 'toast'-a FULL pretend breakfast! It's so unique and not the 'usual' in kids toys-I found her shop a few weeks back on Etsy and instantly fell in love! Wish I was as talented!

Harvest Moon by Hand said...

My favorite item is the wooden picnic table with the colorful benches. It looks very well made and would be inviting for children to use. I know my daughters would sit at the table and color, have tea parties with their dolls, and want to have picnics every day during the summer...especially under the umbrella that comes with it!

Harvest Moon by Hand said...

I forgot to leave my email address. It's hmcf@lycos.com. Thanks for entering me in the contest! Have a great day.

Chelle said...

I love both the all wood bookshelf and the A Touch of Class Children's Picnic Table with Working Umbrella. The bookshelf would be adorable in my daughter's room! And I've been looking for an outdoor table set for my Isabella--this one is just gorgeous!

Thank you for offering this amazing giveaway!


Chelle said...

I'm a follower of your blog :)

Chelle said...

I have your button on my left sidebar! Thanks :)

shaunamartone said...

Forgot to leave my email with comment :) sorry!!-