Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year's

Happy New Year to all! It has been a wonderful rollercoaster of a year for me and I have loved the ride!

I have never been one to stay up until midnight - though I valiantly try every year. I think there is a gene that is triggered after you have kids that your body simply has to go to bed at 10pm. So while you all will be partying away, banging your pots & pans, lighting firecrackers and dancing in the new year, I will be cozily snuggled in bed with my toe socks, warm jammies and dreaming my way into the new year.

I found these questions on a great blog that I read & thought it would be a fun way to sum up the year. Some are pretty personal and deep, but I loved the memories they brought back. I hope you enjoy the peek into "me."

Reflection Questions for 2009

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
We moved to a new home
2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
Managing my time as a business owner and making my family the first priority.
3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?
Swimming laps most mornings - I used to HATE them in Middle School
4. What was an unexpected obstacle?
My Son starting Kindergarten
5. Pick three words to describe 2009.
A rollercoaster ride
6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2009 (don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you).
happy felty fun
7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2009 (again, without asking).
Fishing. More. Fishing.
8. What were the best books you read this year?
Friday Night Knitting Club, The Eagle Has Landed, The Scarlet Pimpernel
9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?
My husband and children of course!
10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
Learning to ask for help
11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?
Learning to let go my need to control everything.
12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?
Learned that I need constant, DAILY help from God - and that I must be worthy to receive that help
13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?
Swam & worked out a lot this year
14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?
I am learning to trust people more
15. What was the most enjoyable area of managing your home?
I love the feeling of a clean house
16. What was your most challenging area of home management?
LAUNDRY.  Bane of my existence!
17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
The Wii -dang addicting games... though learning to knit was not wasting time, it took up a lot of it!
18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
Taking my kids to the park, and swimming together
19. What was the biggest thing you learned this past year?
20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2009 for you.
Come what may and love it. - Joseph B. Worthlin

Monday, December 28, 2009

Associated Press Interview

A few months ago, I was contacted by a reporter from the Associated Press, who had found my shop via Etsy and Twitter,  and was interested in interviewing me about my felt play food. By chance, I found that the article came out today!

I am so excited to share it with you as well! I found it on a few media websites, like, and I love that they mentioned several other Moms like me who are tired of worrying about the quality of items their children are playing with. It is wonderful to see the creativity of caring mothers, and the beautiful felt food they are making. 

I can't wait to hear what you think!

Friday, December 18, 2009


I am having flashbacks of crazy college end-of-semester days - where deadlines loomed, art projects and final papers scrambled together, and last minute studying done in attempt to get every last bit of information stuffed into every spare memory brain cell? Then... the blissful moment when the last exam is done, all art projects turned in, and the feeling of numbing bliss washes over, and then utter relief. I am reliving those feverish days.

The prospect of a full day with no sewing before me is so unfamiliar. I see my empty, clean desk - no towering, toppling cutout felt stacks, spools of unraveling thread, random bits of scrap and fluff littering my space making my OCD brain crazy. For the last 4 months, I have been a whirlwind of planning, sewing, processing orders, trips to the post office, reams of paper, boxes and boxes of printer ink, and so many yards of felt - I don't even know the count. Now, finally, the quiet... My desk is clear - who knew it was white underneath? My sewing machine sits idly in the corner, cooling down for the first time in way too long. I still giggle at the weekly cleaning of my trusty machine - pulling out enough fluffy felt fibers to stuff an apple.

So, with the utter relief of all Christmas orders shipped out and no customer cue cards papering my computer monitor, I have days of freedom before me. I really do not know when my shop will reopen for business, but I promise myself that it will not be until I have had a great long rest, am restocked (I will NEVER sell items I don't have in stock again - playing catch-up sucks!) and am excited to sit down and sew again. I greatly look forward to my days of knitting, baking, making homemade marshmallows and being a lazy bum playing games and blocks on the floor with my two kids. I have been the Elephant balancing on the ball, and am ready for a more steady foundation.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The long absence...

The holiday season has begun with a KABOOM (instead of a bang) this year. Please forgive my long absence from blogging - I have been flooded with sales and special requests for the Christmas season, and my once-ample stock of felt play food has been almost completely depleted. 

So, with my head barely "above water" and my "to do" list is down to only 7 orders behind (a vast improvement from the 15 or so), I feel I can almost breathe! I am so excited for the Christmas holiday to spend with my family baking gingerbread, sledding, making our snowman, and going to see the beautiful Christmas lights in downtown Salt Lake City. I just hope I can get a leg up on these orders and get them out the door in time for Christmas.

Stay tuned - I have LOTS of great new designs coming out in January, or as soon as sales slow down enough for me to make & list them in my shop! I have several new ORIGINALS that can not be found on Etsy, or anywhere else, and I am so excited to "unveil" them!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Special Order Surprises

I love getting custom orders!  It can be easy to get stuck in a bit of a play food rut when making multiples of one item over and over again. The creative juice just dries up. Then along comes a lovely custom request that shakes things up, gets my problem-solving left-brain clunking into gear, thinking of new ways to approach a play food item and its design logistics.

I have some really fun items "cooking" lately and wanted to share a few. The Burrito Chips and Salsa set makes me drool for my favorite local Lone Star Taqueria, if only the felt version could taste as good!  I also love the yogurt cups that were a custom design requested from a large wholesale order. My kids love taking the lids off, grabbing their spoons and playing snack time with them. Now I just have to hide a few for my customers!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween Tricks

Blood. Gore. Hearts racing in panic. Frantic 911 call. A race to the hospital. No, I am not describing the latest teen-horror movie, this was our Halloween night - only for real.

We started out with a great weekend but who could have guessed that it could change so fast? We were getting ready to leave for trick-or-treating (literally walking out the door), Austin comes running in the house holding his hand, which is dripping blood. We both rush to the bathroom in shock as his hand is literally gushing blood all over the sink. I have never seen anyone bleed so much! Of course, we weren't sure how bad the cut was, as we had hand towels covering it and didn't want to remove the pressure, but when Austin soaked through 2 hand towels in about as many minutes and passed out cold on the floor - I grabbed my phone and called 911. Thank goodness we live 2 blocks from the Police station! We had a Police Officer, an Ambulance and a Fire Truck there within 4 minutes. Needless to say, I was nearly hysterical!

We were so grateful that he wasn't serious enough to require an ambulance ride, so I rushed him to the ER. So there began our 4 hour wait in the ER. When he got cleaned up and we finally saw the doctor, we found out that he had a deep, 2 inch laceration on his thumb. So, 7 stitches and a Tetanus shot later, we finally left and drove home to a quiet house. Halloween was over, and we had missed the highlight of trick or treating with our kids.

Since our ordeal, I have been a bit behind in my orders but am finally getting my shop and production back on track. So, I have had my fill of Halloween terror and gore for the rest of my life, and greatly look forward to a normal, blood-free and HAPPY  Halloween next year!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Friday Feature - GreenManShop

I am always on the lookout for gorgeous shops on Etsy, shops that combine superior craftsmanship, eco-friendly materials and amazing aesthetics. So this week, I would love to introduce you all to one of my long time favorites - GreenManShop


"We design and make by ourselves a variety of unique items aimed for children, a well as adults. They are not just toys, and are made with a lot of thought and with caring hands. We believe that all of us, children or grown-ups, are entitled to enjoy high quality, natural, hand made toys, the kind of toys that can become dear friends to be cherished for many years."

The doll is one of my absolute favorites, it is called The Eternal Hug It is a Mother and Daughter Waldorf style doll that is all about love. I love the beautiful, simple faces! Plus, they are made with cotton linen and stuffed with all-natural unbleached cotton.

 Another of my absolute favorite items is their Elephant Rider. The originality and  craftsmanship of this pair is inspired by India, where two of their children were born - "a country in which elephants actually roam in the streets and are loved as gods by all people. Seeing an elephant so close-up and in such a mundane way makes reality somehow much less reasonable and more magical."

I am excited to see their new dolls coming out soon, and can't wait to purchase one for my little girl - though with the addition of new dolls to their shop, it is going to be that much harder to choose! Happy shopping!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What I'm Working on Today

After a delightful soiree to Pumpkin Land with my little Man's Kindergarten class this morning, I am back at my desk, feverishly trying to crank out Ham Sandwich Sets, Chips & Grape bunches before school lets out for the day - the time when I switch gears into full Mommy mode. Sometimes I dream of "self-stitching" grapes that will just magically assemble themselves together, because 10 grape sets can get tedious when you hit that 100th grape ball. Though, that negates the whole purpose of "handmade" so I'll just keep plugging along.

I am planning several new items for my shop in the next few weeks. Especially with the plethora of pumpkins today (we picked out 2 GIANT pumpkins for the front porch) it is making me think that I need a little pumpkin & squash set in my shop.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Palumba Days

I finally confess visually why I have been a reclusive office-hermit. After weeks of planning, ordering and supply waiting, there came the wonderfully-dreaded month of non-stop, full-production sewing to finish a rather large order I was blessed to receive this summer. Being mostly a small, one-at-a-time maker of felt play food, this avalanche order of felt toys was a make-or-break offer for me.

The pictures are terrible, I confess, but standing on tip-toe on our highest chair, trying to frame this in was a challenge, so please forgive the photography. It also doesn't look as impressive when viewed with half of the items bagged up - I was under a shipping deadline & refused to unpack the 11 piece Breakfast set, the 18 piece Turkey set, & the 28 piece Pizzas, just to get a mere photo, but believe me - it was awesome!

So, with deadline looming and never having tackled an order this large, I was sweating bullets to get this 1300 individual-piece order done in the month that I had. I won't even mention that I still had my family, house, Church activities and an increasingly-busy Etsy shop to run all at the same time.  So, to my friends and family - this is the reason you saw so little of me this last month and a half!

It was a wonderful experience, a great lesson in time management, and precision planning. Most special thank you's to the endless patience and support from my wonderful husband and children (I "neglect" you no longer, my luvs!)

So, after 18 yards of wool felt, 25 spools of thread, 2 scissor sharpenings, and more hours at my desk than I would like to confess - and even less sleep, I am finally finished - earning a well deserved break from felt food... oh, wait - strike that - the Holiday season is approaching... NO BREAKS! Work, work, work Becca!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Great Crash of 2009

It finally happened. After months of limping along with my faithful iMac G4 - which is considerably old, the great crash came & took with it all my vital info, documents, & meticulous records (thank goodness for paper backups). Needless to say, I was devastated & more than a bit miffed that my computer had the audacity to crash completely without notifying me of its intentions in time to back up my hard drive. Oh well, I guess that is the way things go. So after 2 days of shopping, I am back online with a Ferarri of a Mac, humming quietly away as I lovingly tap the keys... Funny how you don't know what you are missing until you try something new - in this case, it was like my old iMac was a 1950s jalopy & I have just been given the aforementioned sports car.  Aaah, the wind in my hair!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My Studio

Much to the chagrin of my husband, I have almost completely taken over "our" office. Bins full of felt, batting & boxes overflow the closet, my 2 desks take up 70% of the room, & my poor, sweet hubby's fly-tying desk is relegated to the tiniest corner. At least he is next to me when we both work however, so that makes my guilt a little more sweet.

Ever since a giant wholesale order has taken over my life as CEO of Bug Bites Play Food, I feel like I live my life in this small 12'x12' cave. Thank goodness my kids love to play at my feet or sit on my lap while I sew! So with desk overflowing with cut-out play food waiting to be assembled & sewn, random scraps, thread & wool fluffies all over my floor, I trudge on through the seemingly endless piles of felt all in the hopes that one day I will have order to my space, a large, sunny bay window in front of me & my husband, still tying his beautiful flies still by my side.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Felt Cookie Tutorial

Everyone loves cookies! Especially Little Chefs, so here is my chance to share the love & give you the opportunity to make your own cookies! These are super easy, fun & infinite variations are out there for color & design combinations. Have fun!

Cream Felt
Pink Felt
Cream Thread
Pink Thread
Poly Fill or Wool Stuffing

1.  Cut out 2 Cream felt (2 1/2") circles; Cut out 1 (2") Pink Felt circle, scalloping the edges however you like.

2. Pull out an arm's length of pink thread. Double up the thread so it is 2 strands thick. Tie a knot in the end & thread it on the needle. Starting on the underside of the cookie, bring the needle up through the 2 layers & back down. Continue along the edge of the pink felt in this whip stitch. Continue until you reach the beginning point & tie off the thread underneath the cream felt so the knot is not visible.

3. Pull out another arm's length of cream thread (Brown thread shown here for visibility). Double up the thread so it is 2 strands thick & tie a knot in the end & thread it on the needle. Insert the needle between the 2 layers & bring it up through the top layer (frosting layer) only - this is so the knot is hidden between the 2 layers.

This seam will be finished with a Blanket Stitch, which looks nice & neat,  but you may finish with  the same Whip Stitch as used with the frosting along this edge if you prefer.

Confused about a Blanket Stitch? See this tutorial from Primrose Design

Continue the Blanket stitch until you are about 1-2 inches from the starting point. Stop here.

4. Now take your Poly Fill stuffing & fill the cookie.

5. After the cookie is filled, continue your Blanket Stitch & close up the hole. Tie a knot at the starting stitch & take the needle through the middle of the cookie, bringing it out anywhere & cut the thread so it tucks back inside.

You are finished! Looks great, you did it & are on your way to being a Master Felt Pastry Chef. There are endless variations of frosting & cookie color & design combinations to play with. Try different shapes, colors & toppings for each cookie. Think felt, beads, french knots, etc...

I'd love to see what you come up with!

School Lunch & Hoggogs

School Lunch & what?! Since having kids a number of years ago, I have discovered that completely ordinary words take on new nicknames once spoken from the mouth of a precocious 2 year old. Simple words like "umbrella" turn to "rain-brella," "grapes" into "bubba's" and "hot dogs" into "hoggogs." It just charms the frazzled-mother right out of me & makes me smile. With that knowledge, my play food hot dogs were christened "hoggogs" and have been called that ever since.

To celebrate my other little precocious child, I decided a small felt tribute to the first days of Kindergarten were in order, so here is a mini school-sized milk carton & apple. My two little darlings love to pretend it is school lunch time, pop out their Ham Sandwich lunch sets with their new Milk & Apple addition & imagine away.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

This Traffic Jam...

Today was a great day for Bug Bites Play food - I was thrilled to login to my shop & see that I was featured in an Etsy Storque article: Etsy Finds: Room for the Whole Family.   A delightful collection of home decor & playroom/bedroom essentials. I am happy to be included with them!
So far this evening, I have experienced an incredible amount of new hearts to my shop, & I am just itching to see what Analytics has to report about today! So come I say, bring on the traffic jam! 

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What I'm Working on Today....

A busy week it has been, & there's no end in sight with a wholesale deadline looming & new orders coming in. I am especially focusing on Holiday items today, making Halloween & Christmas cookies for my shop. I have some new designs in the works - watch for Candy Corn Sugar Cookies for Halloween, as well as new Christmas cookie designs - Bell, Star, Stocking, Tree, Snowman & of course the Gingerbread men felt cookies from last season.

I continue to plug away on the Palumba toys order, I think it will be a felt food Pizza day today, with pizza crusts, pizza sauces, & a few hundred toppings to complete. I can't wait to be finished & take the photo of all the items - I might need a wide-angle lens!!


Monday, September 7, 2009

Wool Felt vs. Eco-Fi Polyester Felt Comparison

Ahh, the great debate - ok, for BugBites Play Food that is... The question of which material is better to use for felt food toys. I have been debating for years which felt to use & have come up with a complete breakdown of Wool/Rayon Felt vs. Eco-Fi Polyester Felt, with both Pros & Cons listed.

Wool/Rayon Felt
  1. Wool is a Natural Fiber
  2. Rayon is made from Cellulosic Fibers (made from cotton or pine wood). Rayon is one of the most peculiar fabrics in commercial use today. Rayon is a manufactured regenerated cellulose fiber. Because it is produced from naturally occurring polymers, it is neither a truly synthetic fiber nor a natural fiber, it is a semi-synthetic fiber. Strictly speaking, it is not an artificial fiber, because it is derived from naturally occurring cellulose. It is not, however, a natural fabric, because cellulose requires extensive processing to become rayon. Rayon is usually classified as a manufactured fiber and considered to be “regenerated cellulose”. This complex process results in a great deal of environmental pollution. Courtesy:
  3. Stronger than polyester, doesn't stretch.
  4. Renewable & environmentally friendly resource.
  5. Highly resilient, retaining its strength & unique properties for decades.
  6. Dry Clean Only
  7. Allergy Risk for those with wool allergies.
  8. Expensive - around $8 a yard (36"x 36") - or $16 a yard when compared to the 72" yard of eco-felt.
Eco Felt
  1. Ecospun is a polyester fiber made from 100% recycled plastic bottles.
  2. Ecospun enables billions of plastic containers to be recycled each year, instead of them being buried in landfill. 10 bottles = 1 pound of fiber or 2 yds of felt
  3. Recycled Eco-Felt is compliant with the Consumer Product Safety Act, including lead limits, making it a great choice for children.
  4. Machine washable
  5. Allergy-Free
  6. Vegan
  7. Inexpensive - $6 a yard for a (72"x 72")
Also, Eco-Fi has the capacity to keep billions of plastic PET bottles out of the world’s landfills each year by using post-consumer plastic bottles instead of virgin materials in the fiber manufacturing process. By doing this, we can lower harmful air emissions and save millions of barrels of oil from being used which, in turn, reduces the harmful effects of acid rain, global warming, and smog.

Fabrics made from Eco-fi fiber are chemically and functionally nearly identical to those made from non-recycled fiber. The difference is that Eco-fi fiber is made without depleting the Earth’s natural resources. With properties such as strength, softness, shrinkage-resistance, and colorfastness, market applications for Eco-fi are expanding every day. Courtesy:

Here’s how the Ecospun process goes:
  1. Plastic containers are collected from curbside and community recycling centers
  2. The containers are sorted by type and color
  3. All labels and caps are stripped off
  4. The plastic containers are then washed
  5. Then they’re crushed
  6. Then they’re chopped into flake
  7. The flakes are then melted and extruded to create fiber
  8. The fiber is crimped, cut, drawn, then stretched into the desired length (based on its strength), then baled. Courtesy:
I have been using the Eco-Felt for 2 years & am loving the durability, color selection & price, above all, as it lets me keep my costs down to make felt food more affordable. I also love the fact that Eco-felt is machine washable! I wouldn't dry it in the dryer, as it tends to "pill" up, but the thought that I can wash the toys - especially after they have been mouthed & played with, is great. One of the only downsides to Eco-felt is that it tends to stretch, which can be helpful when making the toys, as it "gives" a bit when making certain shapes, but the downside is that it can be torn out of shape if stretched & played with too roughly. Wool felt does not have this problem.

After working with wool felt exclusively for a rather large wholesale order for Palumba toys, I am seriously considering offering wool felt food in my shop as well. I am enjoying the feeling of the wool, its strength, its softness & the beautiful colors available (though I have to order it online). I greatly dislike paying almost twice as much per yard as the Eco-Felt, but I think there are people out there who love the feeling of wool despite its price & non-washability.

So for me, I think I am going to enjoy the best of both worlds & use Eco-Felt & Wool/Rayon Felt interchangeably throughout my sewing, enjoying the benefits that each material has to offer.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Knotted Love

Ok, as if I needed one more hobby (I sculpt, paint, throw pottery, draw, sew) to add to my list, I have done it again... knitting. I have always wanted to learn this beautiful art form that also brings a daily functionality to the finished product.

As I am an incredibly visual person (artist), I cant tell you my favorite color, because I love all of them. I confess, a favorite pastime is to expand the color palette or swatch boxes on Photoshop & try to pick my favorite color. I still can't. I love the intricate, swirling moods they place me in at the moment I see each color. I swear I was on the color-mixing committe in God's art studio (lol).

So with my passion for color confessed, I have fallen in love with several shops on etsy & am particularly enamored with the following items:

This Hand Painted Superwash Wool-Nylon Sock Yarn by SeeJayneKnitYarns is such a beautiful blend of cool purples & blues, I can just imagine the visual dance I would do with this yarn & some knitting needles. She has a shop full of incredible hand-painted yarns and really fun stitch markers.

Another shop that is full of eye candy is homelab. I have fallen in love with these Fingerless Red Gloves. The button accents are a great addition. Homelab also has amazing Cable Knit Fingerless Gloves (a similar pair to the ones seen in a certain vampire film), Shrugs & Scarfs.

This adorable Pink Pea in a Pod by forthetiny makes me want to have another baby to swaddle in such a warm cozy pod, or just knit a giant one for me to cuddle up in on cold nights.

I LOVE socks & have a strange fetish for knee-high & toe socks. So, diving into knitting, I bravely (or foolishly) have started a pair for my first project. I am stumbling my way through them, but hope to one day be comfortable enough to do more than just a simple K2, P2 Rib stitch & move into patterns like this beautiful pair of socks by FearlessFibers which have a lace panel with a diamond motif bordered by bands of a mock cable twist stitch. All I can say is wow.

So, to all you talented & fabulous knitters who have been perfecting the art of twisting yarn into intricate patterns, I take my hat off to you as I join your ranks - the newest of newbies & look forward to posting more about this "knotted love" that I have found.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

200 Sales!

A great milestone for me - I just had my 200th sale yesterday, & am ecstatic at the success of my small little business. It is also a big event, as my shop turned 1 year old just last week!

I look back to last August when I decided on my business name, signed on to etsy & started timidly listing items. I have to say that I laugh a little at myself at my ineptitude at the beginning. I knew very little about running a business, making up for that with many late nights reading business models, blogs & attending every Newbie Chat in the Etsy Virtual Labs I could. I owe many thanks to Danielle at etsy for her expertise & patience with me, as I think I asked the most questions in her labs for several weeks & I'm sure she was relieved when I felt confident enough to stand on my own two feet. Bless her!

I still remember the unbelievable rush when I made my first sale - a Ham Sandwich Lunch set to a wonderful customer, who still buys from me. Funny, but I remember thinking "wow, someone really likes something that I made enough to buy it?" I still smile to myself & call my husband each time I make a sale - he is sweet enough to be as excited as I am. I don't know what I would do without my "Idea Man" & my best supporter. I thank all of my customers who give me these excited smiles with my husband each time.

Well, a year & 200 sales later, I am more excited at the prospect of the coming year. I have many new designs in the works, much more business experience & am a much more streamlined & confident seamstress. Though my business is growing, I still remember the reasons why I started in the first place - to rid children's toyboxes of mass-produced, toxic, junk-plastic toys in favor of toys that educate & encourage imaginative play. I love the thought of over 200 children around the world playing with a toy that is made with all the love that seams can hold.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What I'm Working On Today...

Today is busy! I have been blessed with a very large wholesale order for a toy company & am frantically getting ready for the final production push. After weeks of negotiation, calculation & emails, I am ready to get sewing. But first comes the massive orders of felt from Joann's &

This order is very different, as all the play food is going to be made with wool felt & wool stuffing. I usually work with polyester eco-felt, so this will be a wonderful challenge. These toys will escape CPSIA regulation because of the natural materials used, & so far, I love the feel of the wool felt - it is very strong & doesn't stretch like the polyester does. I may think about adding some wool felt food to my etsy shop soon.

I have found a wonderful company back East in Pennsylvania called Earl Woolen Mills that sells the best wool filling. I found them through a google search & related blog links. They don't have a website, so I called & spoke to a delightful woman whom was very helpful in helping me order my wool batting. I can't wait to receive it!

So today, I am finalizing my fabric order, sewing 30 little handstitched "Popcorn" labels for popcorn bags & am prepping to tackle the 360 popcorn kernels that need to be sewn. The stacks of felt on my desk is almost overwhelming! I am so happy to be so busy.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

This is Me

As I browse etsy & other handcrafted sites, I often wonder what type of people are behind the genius crafts they create. So, in effort to see what all of you out there are like, here's a bit about me.

25 random things about me:

1. I started my business because I was tired of throwing out Lead Recalled toys, & wanted to offer my kids toys that are educational & safe.
2. I love to paint with watercolors & would do it every day if I had the time.
3. I regularly get my butt handed to me in chess by my husband, but am able to beat him if I fight dirty.
4. I love Futurama - I usually watch an episode every night before sleep.
5. If I had super powers, I would want to fly & be able to read people's minds.
6. I love to watch people. I don't naturally interact well with others, but am fascinated by watching them.
7. I am terrified of centipedes - even small ones. Working on a Hawaiian papaya farm with "finger-thick" centipedes will do that to you
8. I cant drink milk, eat Chinese food, red meat or pork - they make me puke.
9. I would swim laps every day if I could. I plan on having my own pool someday.
10. I have a bizarre love of toe socks.
11. I love ferrets & will have a dozen some day.
12. I regularly stumble over & twist my words. I absolutely can't say words like "buck futter" (from Saturday Night Live) or "have a pheasant-plucking day" - I get into big trouble!
13. I am absolutely head-over-heels, completely, irrevocably, & utterly in love with my hot sexy husband!
14. If I could invent anything, I would invent a time-freezing machine so I could enjoy stages of my kids a little longer - they grow way to fast for me.
15. I want to be a painter when I grow up.
16. I was a pitcher in softball for 9 years when I was younger.
17. I grew up with boys & am a huge tomboy - though my girlfriends now that I am older are definitely the best!
18. I never eat junk food, soda or candy - except really good gourmet dark chocolate.
19. Orchids are my favorite flower, but I can't have them in my current house because our salty water kills them - as I've proven at least 14 times so far. I have to endure the silk ones for now.
20. I love my sketchbook. It is filled with drawings of my kids, my feet, & flowers.
21. If I could go back to college, I would study Dietetics & become a Nutritionist.
22. I love flyfishing & am fortunately married to an expert fly fishing guide, though I regularly out-fish him!
23. I suffer from severe "buyer's remorse" & regularly put items back before checking out or return them - even if I need them, because I can't handle the sticker shock.
24. I love being outdoors - biking is my therapy.
25. I am extremely shy & hate walking into a room full of people.

Well, that's me - now I tag YOU & would love to read about you in the comments section!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Candy Dreams

I just can't stay away from chocolate - I will admit it openly... "Hello, my name is Rebecca & I am a choc-o-holic." Even my play food business cant escape my chocolate addiction. So here is the newest item cooked up in the Bug Bites sweet shop: Chocolate Candy Bars! Just please don't lick it, the fuzz doesn't melt in your mouth...

This life-sized bar fits into its felt wrapper perfectly & is held inside by a velcro tab - so much fun for Little Chef's, my daughter loves to carry her bar around, wrapping & unwrapping it. A future Willy Wonka someday?

Now, if you want to try the real thing - I highly recommend Green & Blacks Organic Ginger, Organic Mint & any of their Organic Dark Bars. For a real twist, & for the adventurous chocoholic like myself, try Chuao Spicy Maya Chocolate - spicy, tingly & ooooh so delicious! Now, off to my chocolate stash to indulge!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Breakfast Buffet

With a busy summer season of Farmer's Markets, craft shows & kids fairs, I have been creating new items like mad & am excited to add 2 of my favorite breakfast items to the Bug Bites kitchens - Cinnamon Rolls & French Toast. Just seeing these makes me want to bust out my flour, eggs & cinnamon & get baking! I have always been a breakfast-person & love making my own culinary loves come to life in felt.

I have a spectacular recipe for Cinnamon Rolls that I thought I would share so you can make your own real versions of these breakfast favorites!

Quick Cinnamon Buns
3/4 C. packed Brown Sugar
1/4 C. Granulated Sugar
2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/8 tsp. Cloves
1/8 tsp. Salt
1 Tb. Unsalted Butter, melted

2 1/2 C. all-purpose Flour, plus extra for the counter
2 Tb. Sugar
1 1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 1 /4 C. Buttermilk
6 Tb. Unsalted Butter, melted

3 Tb. Cream Cheese, softened
2 Tb. Buttermilk
1 1/2 C. Confectioner's Sugar

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Coat both a 9" nonstick round cake pan & a wire cooling rack with vegetable oil spray.
2. For the Filling: Combine filling ingredients in a bowl until mixture resembles wet sand.
3. For the Dough: Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk buttermilk & 2 Tb. of melted butter together. Stir buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon until absorbed (dough looks shaggy), about 30 seconds. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured counter & knead until smooth, 1 minute.
4. Press dough into a 9x12 inch rectangle using your hands. Brush dough with 2 Tb. of remaining melted butter. Sprinkle dough evenly with filling, leaving a 1/2 inch border, then press firmly into the dough.
5. Loosen dough from counter with a scraper & starting at a long side, roll the dough, pressing lightly to form a tight log. Pinch the seam to seal. Slice the dough into 8 pieces & place in the pan. Brush with the remaining 2 Tb. melted butter. Bake until edges are golden brown, 20-25 minutes.
6. Use a knife to loosen buns, flip onto wire rack then turn upright & cool for 5 min before glazing.

Courtesy of America's Test Kitchens

Friday, June 5, 2009

Unintentional Environmentalism

I am not an environmentalist. I repeat, I am not an environmentalist... but am I? Now, please don't misunderstand, I LOVE the earth & strongly believe in taking care of Her, cleaning up trash, recycling, using less packaging etc... I just don't want to be labeled as a radical, card-carrying, save-the-planet, stop-global-warming-neo-nazi Al Gore fan - because I am NOT. What I am, however, is a very earth-conscious, pro natural-living mother who is trying each day to do my part to lessen the impact of garbage & pollution. Leaving the planet a better place for my beautiful children.

Example #1: I use 100% Recycled Eco Felt in all my BugBites Toys. I believe that we shouldn't be afraid of toxins, lead & other nasty garbage in our children's toys. I am an advocate for soft, tactile play food that teaches good eating habits & care for the earth through play. What better way than to play with recycled post-consumer plastic bottles?

Example #2: I use Cloth Diapers on my baby. This actually started out of desperation at the rising cost of diapers - $70 a month, money I thought could better be used elsewhere (flyfishing trips or buying orchids). Doing my homework on how to cloth diaper also enlightened me on how much damage conventional diapers really do. It is estimated that a child will go through 9,100 diapers in 2 1/2 years of diaper wearing. see for more: . Imagine the landfill space that one child's diapers takes up - by the way, conventional diapers DON'T biodegrate, especially when wrapped tightly & then placed in individually twisted sausage-sections of plastic bag. If only the Diaper Genie® magially made diapers decompose as well... PLUS disposables never look this cute! I found these darling diapers from monkeysnugglesdiaper at her shop on etsy:

Example #3: I use handmade Cloth Wipes on my baby. Figure the cost of cloth diapers plus the cost of wipes that just go in the trash - you might as well wipe your child's bum with a dollar bill each time & toss it in the trash... Reusable, cute & much sturdier than the thin, don't-wipe-too-hard-or-you'll-be scrubbing-ick-out of your-fingernails, store-bought wipes... need I say more? I found these adorable wipes from Bundled on

Example #4: I use Cloth Lunch & Sandwich Bags. Again the cost of lousy ziplocs that just end up in the trash made me rethink the logic of ziploc. I make my sandwich bags with a nylon inner fabric & cute cotton prints on the outside. They work so much better, are easily washable, & take about 5 minutes to sew myself. These are from Britgaldesigns at

Example #5: I use Cloth Feminine Pads. Okay, I am the biggest hippocrite in the world on this one. Growing up, I had never heard of such a thing & thought "eeeeew gross!" at first, wondering why anyone would ever try cloth menstrual pads. However, after finding out the hard way for years I never knew that I was actually allergic to plastic maxi pads, suffering each month from uneccesary infections & discomfort. Natural cotton is a million times better next to your skin than cancer-causing SODIUM POLYACRYLATE, DIOXINS, & TRIBUTYL TIN (TBT). Besides, if lovely, soft, natural cloth is good enough for my daughter's bum, why not mine? These cute pads are from an etsy seller named Pleat - see her shop here:

Taking stock of some of my habits over the last year, I have come to the conclusion that I am inadvertently a serious advocate of "Green" living. We all would do better to improve our lives, pocketbooks & of course Mother Earth by switching from harmful, cancer-causing, chemical-laden plastics & synthetics to natural renewable fibers like cotton & bamboo. Go Green!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Cherry pie in my eye...

A new season of spring makes me think of new ideas faster than other seasons - so I have 2 new play food designs to present to the BugBites fan-club. I must have pie-on-the-brain because I have been dreaming of these pies and am wanting the real thing a little too badly to confess!

I love the discovery of what pinking shears will do to felt (thanks for the pair Mom!). They bring a feel of real handmade pie crust to the cherry pie - just like my Grandma's.

I guess homemade pies bring me back to family gatherings & make me nostalgic for my childhood summer picnics with dozens of cousins & Aunt Maureen's Lemon Merengue pies. So this newest lemon-mint slice is dedicated to her pastry genius - though it doesn't taste the same - its too hard to pick the fibers out of your teeth. Enjoy!