Kate started Stubby Pencil Studio in 2006 after being inspired by a positive response to thank you cards she made for her own twin daughters. Stubby Pencil Studio now offers 100% recycled cards and stationery, eco-friendly art supplies, do-it-yourself kits, Mary's soft dough, Plan toys and gifts from forest-friendly materials.
We all really wanted to try Smencils. Smencils (5 for $5.00) are scented pencils made from 100% recycled newspapers. The recycled newspaper is wrapped around #2 graphite and soaked in environmentally-friendly fragrance liquids, in kid-friendly fragrances like cotton candy, bubble gum, watermelon, root beer and cherry. Each Smencil comes packaged in its own freshness tube - I don't know if the plastic for these tubes is recycled, but they are recyclable. Arielle enjoyed using one to do her homework. My 12 year old neighbor was thrilled when I gave her one, apparently these are very cool for middle school students. Just a warning for those with sensitive noses, the fragrances are fairly strong.
Colored Smencils are also available (10 for $14.00) and would be a great gift for an older child with a set of cards or a pad of recycled paper.
Prang Soy-based crayons (8 for $1.00, 24 for $3.00) Traditional crayons like Crayola are petroleum-based. These earth-friendly crayons are made from all natural pigments and soybean oil and AP certified non-toxic. The colors are bright and smooth and the crayons hold up well to being abused by toddlers. They do have a strong distinctive odor, but it is not unpleasant - just different. Arielle and Linnea have been enjoying these all week.
Linnea actually sat down quietly and thoughtfully colored a masterpiece while I was working this morning. It was very funny to see a 16 month-old carefully considering what color to scribble with. She has a strong preference for pink and purple. No photo yet.
Forest Choice Colored Pencils ($5.00 for a box of 12) are manufactured from California Incense-cedar wood that originated from environmentally well-managed forests. They are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. To save even more trees, they are packaged in a recycled paper box. Merlin (my 18 year old son) creates his own trading-card games using colored pencils for the artwork, so I had him try them out. Merlin says the quality is surprisingly good although he still prefers artist's pencils. Arielle loves them.
They also make regular graphite pencils with erasers (12 for $3.50).
(Those are whiskers on Arielle's face. She likes to be a mouse.)
Color n' Kids Cards (.80 gift tags, $1.50 single card, $7.95 set of 6) are simple cards printed on 100% recycled card stock. The images are simple so they are easily colored and the wording is dashed, so it can be traced by those still learning to write. Each card comes with a matching colored envelope. Arielle had a lot of fun coloring a card for her cousin Alivea, and we are going to stock-up so she can send lots to her daddy while he is overseas. I'm also going to keep some thank-you cards on hand to use after birthday parties. They also offer Wink n' Curtsy custom cards that can be colored to look like your child and printed with your child's name.
This month receive a free set of 3 Plan Monkey Pencils made from renewable rubber wood as an Earth Day bonus, and Sara's Toy Box readers can enter bonus code "SARA2008" at checkout by clicking Questions, comments or BONUS CODES to receive a free 6 pack of Color 'n Kids Birthday Wishes with any purchase ($7.95 value). If you can't find where to put the code, send an email to Kate. Happy drawing!
Update: Kate says "Just want to let you know - yes, the smencil tubes are made from recycled plastic and are recyclable. We can put ours in the curbside collections for plastic. The scents will 'mellow' out and seem just right after a day or so out of the 'freshness tubes'."