Sunday, 25 November 2007

Toys for the Sensitive

One of the things that I've become excruciatingly aware of is that in today's world, toys can be the most toxic of elements in our surroundings. Lately, in Canada, news reports are frequently being run stating that imported toys have lead in them among other toxic loads.

Sensitive people, especially children, have to be more careful than most. This has led me to begin looking for alternatives to plastics and stuffed animals that off-gas for unknown periods of time. Other toys have corn in them. I was really quite surprised to find this out since corn is one of the top offenders. However, I know a lady who, every time she would clean up one particular toy of her daughter's, would become ill shortly afterward. She eventually called the company to find out that indeed, that little rubbery toy contained corn.

Really, that's not the worst thing... most toys have stuff in them that is not even pronouncable... and your child, dog or spouse could be knawing on it! - Well, okay, maybe not your dog... because you wouldn't leave the toys where the dog could get at them.

I was reading, just the other day in "The Virtuous Consumer" by Leslie Garrett (a book that I totally love because this woman comes from the same planet I do) that even toys that are labelled as 'non-toxic', when tested often show the very toxins that they claim to be devoid of!

So, in my search, I have become aware that two people who I already knew, are currently practising the art of felting. I'm shocked and amazed that I know people who do this! It really does pay to just chitchat with people. They'll divulge all kinds of information about themselves that you would normally never know. ;)

My organic farmer's daughter is creating a line of animals, and a set of six Christmas balls for me at my request. And a fellow gluten free lady who I met via the internet but have come to regard as a friend, makes dolls and ornaments.

For now, I only have photos of the dolls but will come back later and add more of my Christmas tree with the felted balls, as well as some of the 'stuffed' animals.

The benefit to this art is that there is no polypropelene filling and hence, no off-gassing. The materials used are simply sheep wool and plant-based dyes or koolaid for colour.

Though pricey, the idea of my child sleeping with a toy that is off-gassing in his/her little face makes me shiver... Therefore, I'll pay more so that I can sleep better. :)

Here are some of Leslie's dolls:

I was absolutely thrilled to be told that the one in the blue and pink, with the long auburn ponytail was inspired by a photo of me. I had to share this because it's not often in one's lifetime that this type of honour befalls them.

I cannot tell you the relief and delight I am now experiencing, knowing that this 'antique' art has not been completely lost to our modern day world!

This discovery has also spurred me forward to consider other forms of toys that are safer for everyone, including we(e) sensitive folks. ;)

And so soon, I'm hoping to have a full repetoire of toy possibilities that are not only *really* non-toxic but also earth friendly.

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