Tag Archives: children

A Summer Afternoon in Fort Collins Means Fun for Children across the Country

Natural wood toys from A Summer Afternoon

Natural wood toys from A Summer Afternoon offer hours of imaginative play. The school bus at left has been the top selling toy according to owner Aaron Nuland.

Aaron Nuland enjoyed playing with the wooden toys his father made for him when he was a boy. Now that he has sons of his own, Aaron makes wooden toys not only for his sons but also for thousands of children across the country through his business A Summer Afternoon.

Making toys wasn’t Aaron’s original life plan. Five years ago, Aaron supervised multi-million dollar construction projects that kept him away from home for extended periods. When he and his wife Erin were starting a family, Erin kept suggesting alternative careers that would give Aaron more time at home. The toys he made for his first son received such acclaim from family and friends that she finally convinced him to make a business of it. Continue reading


Kristin’s Clothes Line and The Pink Moose: Stories from Severance, Colorado

Kristin’s Clothes Line and the Pink Moose sounds like the title of an imaginative story for children. However, it’s really two stories of two resourceful young women in Severance, Colorado, whose businesses provide children and families with exceptional items made from upcycled materials.

Hanging Around Kristin’s Clothes Line

Heirloom linen upcycled to little girl dresses by Kristin McMahan

Kristin McMahan upcycles heirloom linen to create one-of-a-kind dresses for little girls

I met Kristin McMahan at The French Nest Market in Fort Collins this past summer. Handmade dresses for little girls hung from clothes lines strung around her booth. Embroidered flowers and birds adorned their skirts, which were frequently edged with crocheted scallops. Occasionally a small embroidered apron had been sewn into a dress’s waistline. The dresses epitomized the sweetness of little girls, so I couldn’t help stopping to admire them and to chat with Kristin. Continue reading


Animals from HollysMeadow Help Imagination Run Free

A Polish chicken at HollysMeadow, made of wool felt and stitched by hand, stands just over 2 inches high.

A Polish chicken at HollysMeadow, made of wool felt and stitched by hand, stands just over 2 inches high.

So many little animals — so many little stitches!

That was my reaction when I stepped into HollysMeadow this summer during the Firefly Market in Boulder. There were horses and cows, billy goats and sheep . . . peacocks and ducks and geese . . . turkeys and various chickens . . . nearly every animal a child might want for one fine farm   . . . and more.

If anything is missing that would suit a child’s fancy, Holly Myers can design and make it. (HollysMeadow is her special spelling for her new business.)

That’s how Polish chickens joined the brood at HollysMeadow. A mother contacted Holly after the family’s Polish chickens had an unfortunate encounter with an animal hungry for a chicken dinner. To soothe her upset young daughter, she wanted to buy three toy chickens that the little girl could play with.

Holly offered to make the Polish variety especially for her. She researched the chickens online and incorporated their lush upright tails and tall topknots into her design. The little girl named the three toy chickens after the three animals the family had lost. The Polish chickens had so much appeal that Holly kept on making them, and adults have bought them for their own inner child. Continue reading


At Pat Abbitt’s Workshop It’s a Zoo

What toy for a little one?

What gift would you buy for the little one looking through those eyes? (Photo by Dani Castillo)

Before retailers convince us that our children or grandchildren must have what many parents and grandparents will be buying for holiday gifts, let’s take a look at what artisans on the Front Range are offering. Every Wednesday for the next few weeks, “Handmade on the Front Range” will feature an artisan making items for children . . . and sometimes for our own inner child.

The bustle around Pat Abbitt’s booth of colorful stuffed animals at Boulder’s Firefly Market this summer looked a lot like Christmas season in July. The animals were making quite a stir when I came by . . .  so let’s start there. Continue reading