Wednesday, June 29, 2011

dragonfly toys + giveaway

When I started blogging, back when Che was a little bubba, I loved visiting The Story Hour - the blog of a Newcastle mum with three boys. It was one of those blogs that was beautiful for its simplicity and honesty - a peek into the world of gumboots, bugs and school paintings. A few recipes here and there and glimpses of a much-loved family home. I was a little sad when its creator, Tracie, decided to stop blogging. The Story Hour may have been small but it was definitely memorable.


Tracie emailed me last week with news that she has recently, with her friend Linda, become the proud owner of online store Dragonfly Toys. Dragonfly offers a plethora of magical children's and baby products - sourced from ethical companies across Australia and over the oceans. Inspired by a handmade, mama-made, Steiner philosophy, it offers parents a beautiful alternative to the plastic mayhem so readily available in department stores.

Tracie and Linda were keen to promote Dragonfly Toys here, in this space, and as thanks are offering one of my readers a Baby Patchwork Quilt and a pair of the cutest little Tibetan koko booties, both from Kokonor, a brand the women created. All the products in the range are handmade by Tibetan refugees living in the Indian Himalaya.

For your chance to win simple leave a comment on this post. For two entries, you can become a new follower or blog about the giveaway in your blog space. Plus, if you 'like' Dragonfly Toys on facebook and mention you came from Che & Fidel, you will also go in the running to win a Story CD.

I'll close the comments next Wednesday the 6th July.

Tracie and Linda kindly agreed to be interviewed for this post, a glimpse into the lives of two inspiring creatives. Read on to learn a little more about their families and Dragonfly Toys.

Jodi: You are both mothers. How many children do you have?


L: I have 3 children - Nyima and Yeshi (11 and 7) are my gorgeous big boys, and then we have Pema, our lovely little girl who will soon be 3.

T: I also have three children- all boys, Arki (8), Jude (6) and the youngest is Ezra (3). It’s nice that we have children of similar ages; we understand each other’s commitments and our need to have balance between work and home life.


Jodi: Your children are educated at Steiner schools. What do you love about the Steiner way of life?

L: I love so many aspects of my children's school it is hard to list them all.... you really have to spend time there to understand it - but some of the standouts for me are - the incredible passion that every teacher has for their role as teacher and the genuine love they have for their students.... I love that my children get to be with their primary teacher for a full seven years.... I love the strong community there - that every year the entire school from Kindergarten to year 10 all go on one huge big winter camp together for one night and the big year ten children are there alongside the tiny kindy's helping carry bags, set up tents etc...

T: I love it all..I’m so happy dropping them off there in the morning. The school is aesthetically beautiful but it’s not just that...there is a spirit about the place. The school is a beautiful community and I am so confident that their days will be filled with joy. I teach at the school casually and seeing how the days flow and watching the children be completely engaged in whatever activity they are doing makes me completely confident in our decision to send them there. I love how innocent the children are; how full of song. I love that I often have to tell my 8 year old at bedtime “Ok Arki...you can finish knitting that row then lights out”.


Jodi: What inspired you to purchase Dragonfly Toys?

L: Dragonfly Toys began for me around 4 years ago when I purchased a tiny little business from a friend... Caitlin was selling a small selection of Steiner art and craft materials through an organic shop in our local area. I had been collecting ideas for a business like this for years - so when Caitlin said she was planning on closing down and having another baby, I offered to buy Dragonfly from her.

My original inspiration came from finding that there were so few places in Australia that you could find all these beautiful toys - so starting something online seemed an obvious solution.

T: I have only recently joined Linda with Dragonfly. I have been friend with Linda for a few years, having met her at the school’s market. It was an important meeting for me..it was Linda who inspired me to look into Steiner education, she was so confident and down to earth about it all. I was thrilled when she asked me to join her as a partner as I have always loved what she did and enjoyed working for her. It seemed like a great way for Dragonfly to build...having the energy and enthusiasm of the two of us. After teaching in public high schools for the past ten years going to our office for the day is such a blessing.


Jodi: What is your criteria when selecting products for the website?

L: They need to be unique - I never want to sell anything that you can find in your average local chain of toy shops.

They must be made under fair work conditions - this certainly stops us from stocking a lot of things that we know people would like to buy, but we want our customers to know that they can trust our choices and that we are always putting ethics above sales.

They need to be beautiful or wonderful in some way... things that we truly love ourselves.


Jodi: What do you love about owning an online store?

L: The fact that it fits in with family life.... I have never had to miss a single school picnic or performance.. things take care of themselves even when you are off hanging washing on the line, cooking dinner or reading a bedtime story. When Pema was a baby I used to love that even though it was 10am and I was lying in the bath with her for half an hour, the shop was open and customers were still shopping..

T: I love the flexibility of it all as well...I’m still home most of the week with Ezra and if I get called into work at the school I can go. Linda and I can swap days when we need to, leave early, do work from home at night; it’s perfect.


Jodi: What are your dreams for Dragonfly Toys?

At the moment we are planning to put a lot of energy into Kokonor, our little tailoring workshop in India. We employ 7 women there full-time, all of whom are Tibetan refugees living in exile in the northern mountains of India. We would love create the majority of what we sell ourselves, and the idea of being able to bring all of our ideas to life, while providing ethical jobs for women is such perfect combination. So I would love to see that part of Dragonfly continue to grow - eventually allowing us to travel to India with our families each year and creating employment for more women in India and eventually in Tibet...

Comments now closed. Random Number Generator picked #17 - Madeline. Congratulations! xxx


53 COMMENTS

  1. Hi I've only recently discovered your blog (came here from The Beetle Shack) and some of your thoughts and ideas have already inspired me. I'm pregnant with my first baby and your definitive 'I don't do dates' is exactly what I've felt like saying but instead I feel the need to answer everyone's questions all the time. But you've shown me it can be done!

    I'm counting down the weeks with you and look forward to hearing all about your newborn.

    I also love the idea behind dragonfly toys - the patchwork quilt is just beautiful! I'll definitely be shopping here instead of scouring through all the plastic hideousness in the shopping centres. Thanks :)

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  2. What a gorgeous giveaway. And yes, I am so over plastic too. Please count me in :)

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  3. Just checked out their online store, amazing products!

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  5. Beautiful products, I have come across this store before - they sell the 'heidi walks' moccasins you said you loved! In fact, I might just order Lalie a navy pair right now!!

    xx claire

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  6. I found your blog from already being a facebook fan of Dragonfly Toys, and I love both! Can't wait to visit their store in person.

    Keep your beautiful and insightful words up!
    Meegan

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  7. such a gorgeous patch work quilt ... and very sweet little slippers. heading over to dragonfly toys now - i have a little boys birthday coming up in August.

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  8. this is a wonderful giveaway. yes. please.

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  9. How lovely to read about the people behind a great shop!

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  10. Those little booties are just divine, i'd love to be able to gift a pair to my beautiful friend who had a gorgeous baby boy 6 weeks ago after many years of IVF. She hates all things plastic for her little man & i know these are just her style! I'll definitely be checking out their site for when i'm blessed with my own bubba (fingers crossed, not long to go!)

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  11. Just checked out Dragonfly's website. What beautiful products, I would love to win these items for my first baby! Thank you for your wonderful blog, it inspires me everyday. Good luck in the coming weeks with the birth of you baby.

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  12. Oh ... could I be that lucky?? Please count me in! Thanks x

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  13. That quilt is beautiful...and very appropriate for us now! What a lovely site. xx

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  14. Another generous & sweet giveaway. That quilt is absolutely divine & I'm sure it will be treasured by the lucky winner.
    Dragonfly Toys have such a beautiful aesthetic & beliefs. It's so important that companies like theirs exist amongst the mass of plastic toys out there.
    All the best for you & your family.
    Kitty x

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  15. Such gorgeous things! The booties are so cute.

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  16. Wow, I love those patchwork quilts! How gorgeous! I'm in!

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  17. Those booties are so sweet! And the quilt...how much do I love that quilt?! :) Am crossing my fingers!

    Am also off to check out their site now! I'm having a difficult time explaining that although we appreciate all the toys people are wanting to pass down to us, we don't want all the plastic!

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  18. These would be so lovely, especially coming from such a special store.

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  19. Beautiful interview & Dragonfly Toys is a shop I would love to support. Thank you so much.

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  20. with my own first babe on the way (january!), i'd sure love to win these! thank you!

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  21. Oh my, so beautiful ~ what lovely things! Thanks for the opportunity :)

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  22. Such a wonderful giveaway. Love all the handmade, wonderful items.

    ambular1818@hotmail.com

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  23. Such lovely items. I have been trying to make a quilt for my baby daughter for the past year. I've come to accept sewing is not my forte but love love love other people's work (even more appreciative since my own disaster!)

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  24. This is such a beautiful store, thanks Jodi for helping them to promote it, and this is an amazing giveaway! The patchwork quilts are heavenly! Would love to add to my blog about it, will let you know when its done xx

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  25. Just found your blog and so glad I did! I came here from Little Red Caboose. Thanks for the info on Dragonfly toys. I am always on the lookout for Steiner inspired products.

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  26. wow! that is beyond generous.
    that quilt...and those lil boots! (lucky for me i'm back in the baby game *wink*...shhh!)
    i love your blog Jodi, but ever since blogger had their little "maintenance" day awhile back, i haven't been able to follow any new blogs. i promise yours is at the top of my list if i'm ever able to again!! >.<

    Dee

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  27. Jodi - I am a new mum with an 11 week old little boy. It can be a challenge to find ethically produced clothing and toys, and you have pointed me in the right direction with so many lovely things for him already -eg Naturebaby clothing, and a Sakura bloom sling. I can't wait to check out Dragonfly toys as well.

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  28. Such beautiful things! And empowering other women too... lovely! :)

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  29. Such beautiful things. Good on you guys for providing ethical toys.

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  30. The quilt! Oh wow. Just so beautiful.

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  31. I had another looksie at the dragonfly site, and there are so many things that are just calling out to come to our home hehe.
    I wrote a little post about the site, definatley want an extra little entry for this competition!
    Thanks to you again Jodi for such a wonderful opportunity for your blog readers.
    Rhi x
    http://lovewisdommotherhood.blogspot.com/2011/06/beautiful-new-store-to-dream-in.html

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  32. Thanks for popping by and taking the time to comment on my blog - I love your's!!!

    The dragonfly toys sound awesome and I've just checked out their on-line store and it's great...

    Cheers - Jodie :)

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  33. I randomly found your blog, so glad I did. Will have to take the time to read it through. Have long loved Dragonflytoys! Love what they are doing! Check out their pencilcases folks - so so beautiful! ( also made in India). Thanks so much for this opportunity!

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  34. Such gorgeous creations.
    What an amazing giveaway, thank you.

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  35. I am head over heels in love with that quilt! My pregnancy hormones are going nuts! I love that little shop and the lovely things they stock.

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  36. I really love the look of the Dragonfly Toys website, very bright and clear, easy to navigate. It helps that the products are amazing also.

    I'm baby-mooning at the moment with son #3, online shopping is the perfect activity from my bed ;)

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  37. Lovely little shop - it will have to get added to my list of 'baby sites'...

    Ps. Thanks for your comment on my Calmbirth post. I'm hearing (and appreciate!) your advice. From memory Ina May talks a bit about noise, and talks a lot about keeping your jaw relaxed and using, what I can only remember as 'horse lips'! So yes, I must go back and re-read in the next few weeks...

    I'd be very grateful for you to expand - but am aware that you're also very busy focusing and preparing for your own birthing journey, lovely lady. So I won't hold you to it if it doesn't happen :)

    Hope you're having a restful day. x

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  38. what a beautiful online store. yes please!

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  39. The Tibetan people have gone through so much over the years so to support a business such as Dragonfly, that holds these people in their hearts, is such a positive thing to do. I will be visiting their online store.

    Your blog is such a lovely place to visit Jodi..My 2 daughters and I often discuss your posts...you write with such wisdom and a good heart.

    I send you warm wishes for the soon to be arrival of your little one.

    Take care x

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  40. What a beautiful site, and a great business model. Either of these would be wonderful for my new baby, due to make his or her appearance any day now!

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  41. Such a beautiful blog. I found you via little red caboose, a few days ago and have been reading all of your archives since. Please add me to the give away. I just looked over their site and have mentally done my Christmas shopping.

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  42. Would love to win this for my new nephew/niece who is due this week!

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  43. Oh I love the shop and love your blog. what a wonderful giveaway!

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  44. I write this before Dawn, after awakening from a dream of this beautiful patchwork quilt. I have just nestled my new baby boy back to sleep and im thinking this chilly wee morning in our house along the snowy river, that this quilt would be wonderful this winter.

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  45. Please enter me in this fabulous giveaway!

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  46. i just love dragonfly toys and have already made a mental wishlist for my baby girl. ooh to win the gorgeous quilt to keep her warm on these cool eves. thanks for link to a new fave store

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  47. Your toy it's so beautiful, I like it vey much, I also bought one at omega watches for women
    , If you want one too. can visit this address, The backpacks are
    beautiful at there. I think you will be love it too.

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