Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New! String Games are Back!

By Jay Jay
Our String Games are back in town! Sarah's Silks has brought them back this season and they are flying off the shelves. They are made in the US, and dyed and put together right here in our workspace. Here's a video of Morgan showing off his string game skills.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Enchanted - NYC

By Jay Jay
I met Gloria, who runs this beautiful store in the upper East Side, at the Nuremberg Fair back in February. It was so great to meet her there and chat with a fellow American, so of course I had to stop by the store and say hello today! The ladies at Enchanted have done so much to personalize the store and make it special. So many of the fixtures are stripped down and re-painted to match the feel of the place. I was really struck by the gorgeous hand-felted tree behind the counter! It just sets the tone for a place that you know is one of a kind. This time, I also got to meet Carolina, who is a Waldorf mom and used to run the school store at the Pasadena Waldorf School for years. I thought her daughter was so lucky to grow up with a metropolitan mom that works with these gorgeous toys all day. It really is special to find a quiet, magical little store in the middle of crazy manhattan. It is a haven for beautiful toys and books, and the perfect place to find a gift. Just as I was getting ready to leave, a woman at the door was hopefully looking in the shop. They let her in even though they were getting ready to close, and she explained to them in a heavy European accent that she was told that she had to come by the store and look around. It's true - even if you don't have kids, this shop is a great place to stop and marvel at the whimsy that has been created. Enchanted Toys - 1179 Lexington Ave (bet 80th & 81st), NYC

Playing Mantis - Tribeca, NYC

By Jay Jay
Ella and I are in NYC for a wedding this weekend, and while I was here, I really wanted to at least stop by one or two stores. I love visiting the stores we work with because I know that they will not only be beautiful, but the people there always care so much about the toys they sell and the families they are selling them to. Playing Mantis is a gorgeous store in lower manhattan. They have just the kind of space you would expect in Tribeca, long and tall with that gorgeous loft feel. Joel and his crew have done such a great job transforming the space into a magical land of natural toys. They somehow made it work so well in this industrial, hip location. Ella, of course, has no problem coming along with me and testing the toys for them. We had a great time and encourage you to visit them if you are in the area! Be sure to visit the dress-up corner in the back of the store! Playing Mantis - 35 N Moore St, NYC

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Dying Unicorns

By Jay Jay
Our unicorns are finally back! Carol's favorite Sarah's Silks product is the unicorn wand. I think she even has one next to her bed. She happily spent the morning dying some more unicorns so we can make our wands. They have been out of stock for too long already!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Sing-a-Long at Sierra Waldorf School Store, Sonora, CA

Sierra Waldorf School Store

By Jay Jay
Ella and I got to visit the Sierra Waldorf School Store today. It is a sweet little space filled with gorgeous toys! So many of the toys, dolls, hats and clothes were made by local artisans. We enjoyed meeting Ginny, the owner of the shop. She is a potter herself and has the back half of the space dedicated to pottery classes for all. By our good luck, we got there in time for sing-a-long! We joined some of the local tots for music and stories by Bizby - a wonderful grandma herself. It was such a great visit. If you are ever in this quaint town, make sure you stop by and say hello!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Birthday Banner

There are some real perks in working with these beautiful silks all day. My daughter celebrated her 4th birthday this past weekend. My husband thought of this great idea to decorate for her party! The hallway looked magical!

How to Make Butterfly Wings

By Jay Jay
We made some of our beautiful wings today. This is not one of the products we usually make here, but since we are out of stock, Zahira came in to help us dye some more. Check out the pictures of the process. I still love watching Carol or Sarah or Zahira dying silks. There is something so beautiful about the simplicity of the project.

First, we start with a beautiful, clean batch of pure white silk wings.
Then, they are dyed a sunny yellow.

Then, Zahira takes them out of the machine and folds them a special way.

Then, she dips certain parts of the wings into the red/orange dye

And...voila! Now they are off to get their pretty satin ribbon sewn on!

A few days later...finished wings!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fairy Blanket

The fairy blanket will be back this fall! We have been working hard on a new design and are coming down the home stretch. Our bookeeper, Mandy brings her two adorable girls to work once a week, and they tested it out for us. I think they like it!

Monday, July 13, 2009

How Our Playsilks are Made

We've created a slideshow from Mike's recent trip to China. It was great to see all the photos of the people who help us make these beautiful playsilks. Now, that I have learned how to make this slideshow, there are more to come!

Please visit our website to view the show:
Sarah's Silks Slideshow

Friday, June 5, 2009

Another Long, but Good Day in China

Mike is having a great time in China, but I bet he is going to crash when he gets back! Here is some of what he had to say:

"Another long and grueling day. But again very productive. Here's a photo of one of the sewers that works on our products. There were 2 that were working with our products today. [The factory manager] explained that the best sewers do our products because they are the hardest ones to do. They were a lot of fun to interview!

Then went for a fancy lunch with the managers of the factory and another one of their customers who buys scarves. All dishes I had never had!

In the afternoon, went to the hand hemming village to first work out a process with the hand-hemming supervisor to talk about pricing and how we can document that the hemmers would get their increased pay. We're targeting a 25% increase over the market rate. Then went into this marvelous old house where we interviewed the women. They were quite chatty and spoke so openly about their lives. Here's a photo of the hemmers."

It will be great to see all the videos and pictures when he gets back.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Chengdu Waldorf School

By Mike
June 2, 2009

Chengdu. Once a starting point of the Silk Road, it is now a tourism draw of its own with the Panda Breeding and Research Center not far from the city. It's also a bustling city of 3 million people. The Chengdu Waldorf School. What a different sense of calmness w once you step onto the grounds. The teachers and children were all so welcoming, going out of their way to call me over to be included in their mid- morning snacks or to join the kindergarten at play. While the language was different, the gentle play of the children, the circle games, and the sword making projects reminded me so much of my own children's Waldorf kindergarten days.

Today is my last day here. I've been speaking with Harry Wang about starting a craft business of hand-painted silks that we could help market but with revenues going to benefit the school. The last hours were spent on those tedious, but necessary details of business records, packaging, labeling, and shipping.

I had brought some of our silks as gifts for the kindergartens and these were eagerly examined and put into action. What fun! I was touched when the teacher tenderly folded up and put the rainbow silkscape away at the first sight of a child pulling on it. She seemed to think it was too precious to keep it out.

One of the funnest moments for me was when I was asked to come to a kindergarten teacher training meeting at then end of the day to teach them string games they had seen me do.

It's been a great time- just wish I wasn't so jet-lagged! Now it's off to another ancient city of silk - Suzhou.

Here are two pictures from the School. They are both pictures of the kindergarten. One is inside at lunch just before they sang a blessing. The other is a playhouse outside in the courtyard.

Here is a picture with one of our silkscapes.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Streamer Sale!

Hi Everyone! We are having a summer sale for our retailers on one of our most popular (and one of my favorite) items - our beautiful silk streamers! Summer is the perfect time for these fun toys. Take them to the beach, the parks, the family bbq, or running around the back yard. They were always at a great price point, and for this month only, even better! Take 30% off any order of 12 or more in any one particular style. Choose from rainbow, star or heart. And don't forget to use the promo code: streamer09.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Maker Faire 2009 was a Blast!

by Jay Jay
We had a great time at Maker Faire last weekend! I went to the fair Sunday while Sarah and Carol manned the booth on Saturday. We had never gone to this fair before, but it just sounded too fun to pass up. It certainly exceeded all our expectations. There were arts, crafts, techy and green projects from all kinds of creative people. The energy there was truly catchy. If you've ever read The Celestine Prophecy, you may believe that if you are close to someone who is feeling a particular surge of emotion, you can feel it too. That's how it seemed to me at the fair. The whole place was buzzing with excitement, creativity and happy vibes. What an inspiring Sunday for me!
We came up with a little project for the kids who visited our booth. We had a dye your own silk station that was a big hit. I loved working with the kids as they flexed their creative muscles and came up with some really beautiful designs. Thanks to everyone who stopped by - we loved meeting you all!

Gerard, the Paella Guy from Sebastopol. I STILL didn't get to try his paella!! The line was way too long, and I had to man the booth.

This giant snail shot fire out of its antennna!

A crazy sculpture made from empty plastic soda bottles

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Maker Faire 2009 - May 30-31

By Jay Jay

We are going to the Maker Faire this year! For those of you who haven't heard, the Maker Faire is like no other. It is created and put together by the editors of Make (and formerly Craft) magazine. This fair is basically a gathering of hundreds of some of the most creative and innovative artists out there. Thousands of people come to see, and I fully expect to see lots of interesting inventions, crafts and arts there. Learn more about Maker Faire here.
The Sarah's Silks booth will feature a fun craft for kids! We will be letting the kids dye their own capes to take home to show off their creativity. It will be alot of fun. If you are going to be in the Bay Area the last weekend in May, please come by and visit us!

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Story of Stuff

By Jay Jay

**I want to start off this post by expressing that this post is the explicit opinion of me, and not necessarily of the company. I am hereby absolving my really great co-workers and Sarah of any crazy things I may say in my passion on the topic!**

I have been wanting to post about this for quite some time now, without a clear idea in my head of how to formulate what I was trying to say. Then, one of the moms I know sent me a link to this video and the light bulb struck!

The Story of Stuff

Please watch this video and pass it on. It very concisely and clearly illustrates the crazy consumerism and not-so-slow decline of our environment as a direct result. Yes, there are parts that seem a bit overboard, but valid all the same. The basic direction of the short film is for us to all take a more careful look at the where, how, and why of the origins and by-products of what we consume.

A big reason I love working for a company that produces natural toys is that I do feel that I am promoting a product that helps our Mother Earth. By using products made from natural, sustainable and renewable resources, we are cutting out the use of harmful chemicals, and not to mention by-products, that pollute the air, land and sea. By being careful about which sewers and producers we work with, we are cutting down on the world's glut of unfair labor practices and social irresponsibility. And by using the best methods we can to produce these natural toys, we are passing on our values to the next generation.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Come See Us This Weekend!

Click here for the Sacramento Waldorf School Website

Click here for the Pasadena Waldorf School Website

By Jay Jay

Sarah and I are each going to Waldorf Fairs this weekend. These fairs are always great fun for us. We love getting out and talking to everyone about the silks and life in general! They always have fun activities for the kids, lots of local artisans and good food. Since we are on Waldorf school campuses, the grounds are going to be lovely too. The weather should be just perfect, so if you are looking for something to do this weekend, please stop by and say hi!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Support Your Local Business

By Jay Jay

Sarah's Silks is a mom-and-pop and we fully support small, local businesses. Most of the stores and websites that carry our products are independent businesses. As a former retailer myself, I know first-hand that the importance of supporting your neighborhood businesses is crucial to a thriving community. Small business is the heart of the American dream and the flavor of your community. I stumbled onto The 3/50 Project through one of our customer's websites: Peapods in St Paul, MN. (Incidentally, the owners of Peapods are great advocates for small businesses and heroes of handmade toys!) I love the 3/50 philosophy, and I encourage everyone out there to read what they are saying. We all have so many choices in life and can really make a difference if we try!

Nuremberg international Toy Fair 2009

I love this picture of Bianca in our Unicorn Costume. I had set up a little table with Ghiradelli chocolates. Germans make such wonderful chocolate, I wasn't sure if they would even like it - but it was a huge hit! Chocolate raspberry was the overwhelming favorite.

Nuremberg Toy Fair 2009

By Jay Jay

We had a great time at the Nuremberg Fair this year. I had been to other trade shows in all different locations in the US - Javits in NYC, Vegas, LA, San Francisco, but the Nuremberg Fair tops them all! The convention center was enormous! Over 12 halls chocked full of toys of all shapes and sizes. I wish I had a chance to take some pictures, but there were several uniformed men cruising the corridors bearing badges that had a camera with a slash through it. Since it was my first time there, I decided not to chance it! Here are a couple of pictures of our booth. I was proud to represent our line and meet all the wonderful people there. Thanks to everyone who stopped by!