Saturday, December 5, 2009

Stuff a stocking and win a really good prize!

My two favorite places for stocking stuffers are A Toy Garden and Stubby Pencil Studio. A Toy Garden has a special section devoted to "little things" and stocking stuff. Stubby Pencil Studio has a large selection of eco-friendly art supplies, toys and a selection of gifts under $10. Both stores make it possible for Santa's elves to bring smiles on a budget.

So, let's stuff an imaginary stocking. Ho, ho, ho! The rule is nothing over $10.

1. Wild Cards Bugs ($9.95)

Arielle and her daddy love reading books about animals. These cards are printed with beautiful buggy photographs and educational facts. They can be used to play three different card games: Memory, Old Maid, and Go Fish. They are suggested for ages five and up. There are two other sets available, North American mammals and Who's hiding? (camouflage).

2. Play Silk ($7.00)

Who doesn't love play silks. A Toy Garden's silks are made in the USA and are available in 24 different vibrant colors. They are 36x36 inch, hand-hemmed, home-dyed, thick (8mm) play silks.

Becky, a blog reader, emailed recently to tell me about how she uses play silks. She bought some some suction cups with hooks and expandable curtain rods to hang on the hooks. So she can hang a rod in a corner or between some chairs, and then she attaches the play silks with clothespins to make a temporary playhouse. The rods can also be set up in a hallway or a doorway to make a puppet stage. Thank you, Becky, great idea!

My girls use them as doll blankets, dress up clothes, and lately they like to blindfold each other and spin around. These are very versatile toys.

3. Washable Markers ($3.95)

We always need markers. Arielle uses hers every day. And, they must be washable because Linnea can't always be trusted (and washable marker wipes right off ultrasuede with a damp cloth). These markers are made in the USA from 25% recycled plastic. The packaging is 100% post consumer recycled.

4. Ornament

If you give your child an ornament each year, they'll have the start of a nice collection when they grow up.

I went shopping with the girls this morning and every ornament we saw was made in China - and not particularly well made. And of course, my kids get their hands all over them and in their mouths and up their noses... If you search on "ornament" at A Toy Garden, there is a great selection of inexpensive ornaments, made in the USA and Germany or that handmade fair trade items from other countries. Here are a couple I like from Germany.

Ladybug Ornament ($4.95)

Puppet Theater Ornament ($8.95)

5. Finger Puppets ($9.95)

These fair trade puppets are hand knit in Peru, so no two are the same. They come in sets of five, so you can split them between your kids. We love puppets here. Whenever we go on a car trip, the girls fill their purses with finger puppets, and they play with them while I drive.

6. Mini Animal Set ($9.95)

These are not for kids that put things in their mouths - they are teeny - only 1/4" to 1 1/4" tall. Arielle loves itty bitty little animals like this and will sit for hours making up stories and adventures. The set includes a deer, rabbit, pig, dog, cat, frog, hummingbird and snake.

7. Tie-Up Shoe ($7.95)

Eventually, even velcro-lovers have to learn to tie shoes. It's much easier when the shoe isn't on your foot. Five-year-old Arielle is getting one of these. I'm sure Linnea will try to string beads on the laces. She's silly.

8. Starlight wand ($5.95)

Tap the wand and it plays a note. The wands are fun for both boys and girls and are made in Mexico. Arielle and Linnea have never seen these, but my older kids tried some out at a fair when they were little, and they were fascinated.

9. Snifty Gingerbread Pen ($2.00)

My girls love ballpoint pens and mine are always being snatched away. These pens are made in the USA, are nontoxic and cute and are seasonally scented (like gingerbread - yum!).

10. Wood Tea Bags ($9.95)

or treats from Haba. These are cute, sturdy and made in Germany. They will get years of play. But, the treats are doll-sized, so they are not for children who like to mouth their toys.

11. Made By Me Bug ($4.00)

I think I've mentioned these a lot. That's because the girls love them so much and they are such a good deal. All you need is a hammer and some art supplies. Your child attaches the wheels and then decorates the wooden vehicle. Voila! A personalized toy. And, they will be so proud. I'm putting more in Arielle and Linnea's stocking this year.

12. Ladybugs In A Pot ($9.95)

Our very favorite!! These were Linnea's favorite toy last year and she still plays with them almost daily. She uses them as ingredients in soup, for counting and sorting, as little pets, and today she was wrapping them in a play silk and giving them to me as a gift.

And now for your holiday surprise. One very lucky reader will win a $25 gift card from A Toy Garden and another will win a $75 gift card (with free shipping) from Stubby Pencil Studio. That can stuff a whole lot of stocking.

How do you enter? Go to both sites and then post a comment suggesting one stocking stuffer from each site that I haven't mentioned. There are so many good things on both sites, that this should be super easy. It doesn't have to be under $10.

I'll announce the winners on December 12th, so there will be just enough time for shipping.

Good luck!


Alie said...

I'd get a colored twig pencil set from Toy garden and a Bee spinner From Stubby Pencil!

Jessica said...

Ooh, I want to play!

Our Christmas last year consisted of gifts from both of these sites and the goodies are still in play a year later.

I actually have in my cart at this very moment:
Colored Smencils from Stubby Pencil Studio (we got holiday smencils last year for Jake's stocking)

At A Toy Garden: A Star Silk Dress Up Veil for our 2 yr old dd, Kaiya. She loves all things "princess" right now...this is perfect!

Stockings are always the hardest part for me...any help I can get is appreciated! Thanks, Sara!

Esther Ruth said...

The wooden tops set from Stubby Pencil and the mini colored pencils set from A Toy Garden.

Shannon @ Some Fine Taters said...

My faves are the Spinny Speller at Stubby Pencil and the Snowman and Bunnies Ornament at A Toy Garden!

Amanda said...

we love these
Handcarved Owl Gourd Shakers from a toy garden:

we love the crayon rocks from a stubby pencil:

allison said...

On Stubby Pencil Studio, I love the owl kaleidoscopes and the fish castanets. They're so cute!

On Toy Garden, I like the frog finger puppet.

Anonymous said...

From A Toy Garden I want the rainbow horse mobile, I wonder if I could fit it in a stocking?

From Stubby Pencil this awesome coloring book:

and some bunnies for my youngest, she loves bunnies!

~ Donna

Anonymous said...

I love these!

We burn a candle at the table every night while having a bedtime snack, a great tradition that helps everyone re-connect. I'd like to start using beeswax candles to do this so I suggest this cute candle.

Anonymous said...

We would love a toad croaker and Stockmar cubes from A Toy Garden. From Stubby Pencil we would get Mary's Softdough, I'm dying to try it! Thanks!!

Amanda said...

My son loves the monkey pencils from Stubby Pencil Studios. So cute!

And though it's not a toy, the wool/cotton Balaclava from A Toy Garden would be perfect for my babe.

Tanya said...

I love A Toy Garden. I just ordered the neckalce doll for my 2 year old daughters stocking. Would love to get her some play silks. At Stubby Pencil I would get the watercolor paint set. Your blog is so awesome!

Anonymous said...

So much to choose from! From A Toy Garden, I would like the felt pig for my Charlotte's Web obsessed almost 4 year old, 3 rainbow crayons and 3 rainbow silk streamers. I know I want more, but those things jumped out. From Stubby Pencil I would like the bunch of bunnies in the zippered carrot bag, 3 aprons (one cats and dogs, one blue flower and one pick flower), the wooden bead necklaces and the pebble crayons. I can't decide! Good thing this is pretend or my husband would be shaking his head at me. :) Well, maybe he already is b/c I am spending all this time looking at a website for gifts that I am only buying in pretend. Oh well, it is fun.

Krissy said...

From A Toy Garden I think we would want the wrist ribbons. From Stubby Pencil the Nursery Rhyme Cards. :)


dinahsaurus said...

I have a busy little one-year-old who would surely love the Jazzy Jingle Bells from A Toy Garden and the Kaleidoscope Owls from Stubby Pencil.

Angela said...

What fun! From A Toy Garden- a lovely Sewing Apple made from wood, with a little wooden worm to sew with! It will just fit into a good sized stocking.

From Stubby Pencil- Crayon Rocks! Every child should have some. These have helped my special son grip.

ilovethemso @

Anonymous said...

I really like the busy bugs wooden walkers and the earth-friendly nature bag from Stubby's.From Toy Garden the Victorian herbal play bean bags are so pretty,smell good and are open-ended.

Anonymous said...

from Stubby Pencil studio the recycle crayons are cool and also the rainbow soft dough.I really like the deluxe on the go bags are great for the trip to grandma's for the holidays!

Spider said...

I would get the Fish Castanet from Stubby Pencil ( )

and the Felt Train Set from Toy Garden ( )

anne said...

Claire would adore the silk streamer from A Toy Garden and I adore the Cards to color from Stubby Pencil. :)

The Sefton Family said...

I love this little thumb drum from A Toy Garden:

From Stubby Pencil Studio I would stuff both of my daughter's stockings with aprons- we make some serious messes and these are so cute!

Katja said...

I like the pocket charms set from toy garden..the boys loves tiny things to leave in their self-created moss garden for the fairies. I also love the mini silks in their own bag for traveling or car trips. From stubby pencils, I already have quite a few things squirreled away for stockings, but we missed the crayon rocks and crayon things that babies and big kids can use together. NO fighting!

john & catherine said...

My daughter would love a felted acorn baby from Toy Garden, and I've been wanting to get the colored Smencils for my crew for ages--from Stubby Pencil. So many great suggestions too. I'm going back to Toy Garden to check out the beeswax candles. Thanks for all the ideas!

Lisa (JeepGirl) said...

From the Stubby Pencil site, I would get the jumbo jacks (an oldie but goodie!) and from the Toy Garden, the Victorian play bean bags!

What great sites!! Thanks!

sarah said...

from a toy garden the itty bitty wizard and from stubby pencil studio the kaleidoscope owl

lynchesfour said...

It's so hard to choose. My youngest would love the handcarved owl gourd shaker while the older would love the felt mushroom ornaments from A Toy Garden. They both love the smell of peppermint, so I would have to go with the smart smencils from Stubby Pencil.

blue circle bird said...

Ooo! How great to be offering another giveaway! Thank you!

I'm sure I could pick a lot more than the following but these were two of my favorites from my wishlits between both these stores: I'd go for the lovely beeswax crayons from Stubby Pencil and the beginners rainbow puzzle from A Toy Garden.

Dale,Lindsay and Shannon said...

Crayon rocks from a stubby pencil and the frog finger puppet from toy garden.

Alex said...

We love both of these stores, and order from them regularly!

From Stubby Pencil I would get the Kaledescope owls, and from Toy Garden I would get the Rose Gnomes for my little girl.

CC said...

I love the herbal bean bags from A Toy Garden and the crayon rocks from Stubby Pencil Studio!

My Boaz's Ruth said...

Interestingly, I just got packages from both A Toy Garden and Stubby Pencil Studio!

There was just play silks in the Toy Garden order, though I also have my eye on the dice game and the felt sandwich

From Stubby Pencil Studio, we got soy crayons, and a wooden top, and a pink castenet, and a Made for Me Race Car.

The Car is MUCH smaller than I expected. You might want to put it next to something else in a picture to let people know the real size of this. The package is smaller than my hand. At this point, I'm not comfortable giving it to my 2 year old.

Ashley S. P. said...

The crayon rocks were in my kids stockings' last year (from Stubby Pencil Studio) and I love the felted acorn babies at A Toy Garden!

Melissa said...

I'd get racing cars from Stubby Pencil and the wood bird whistle from Toy Garden!

Meka Foo said...

My son would love to find a Fish Castanet from Stubby Pencil and a Felt Stick Crayon Case from Toy garden in his stocking!

kathleen said...

ooh, i want to find the winter ecology bingo fundana from a toy garden, and smencils from stubby pencil studio in my stocking! my kids and i love everything from a toy garden, and this year will be my first ordering from stubby pencil studio, though i've been reading about them and meaning to check them out for a long time!

megan said...

I love the Rainbow Heart Award from Toy Garden. My kids would love that for sure.

And my oldest has been very into wind-up toys, so Picky the Penguin from Stubby Pencil would be a hit. And a lovely alternative to the plastic ones.

Debbie said...


From The Stubby Pencil Studio I would include The Wooden Tops set. I don't think we have enough plain tops around anymore. I used to love them as a kid. From A Toy Garden it would be a set or two of Wrist Ribbons. I can just see a kid running around Christmas morning with those on his/her wrists.


betsy said...

I would get a wooden top and a racing car from Stubby Pencil Studio. A felt sheep and fox finger puppet from The Toy Garden.

Becky said...

I liked the Bunch of Bunnies at the Stubby Pencil and the Fruits and Vegetables Herbal Play Bean Bags at Toy Garden. Bean bags are a versatile toy and these are especially nice in that they are scented and have pictures of the fruits and vegetables.

justin said...

Under $10, I would want to get:
24 Color Triangle Pencil set (Stubby Pencil)
the Jacob's Ladder (Toy Garden)

Over $10:

Chubby Colored Pencils (Stubby Pencil)
Itty Bitty Wizard (Toy Garden)

The pencils because I am an artist and am encouraging any kind of artistic expression in my daughter. The Jacob's ladder because I always thought they were cool when I was small. The Itty Bitty Wizard, because Wizards are awesome!

Mary said...

i like the colored blackboard chalk from stubby pencil studio or the dragonfly guiro or even the soy crayons (just one dollar!)-- hard to pick one thing! same with a toy garden-- i like the owl gourd shaker though.

Anonymous said...

From A Toy Garden I would definitely without a doubt get the book 'Sing Along Song'. What a beautiful cover illustration and positive story inside! (though I guess the stocking would need to be bigger, then). From Stubby Pencil I couldn't pass up the origami ornament kit. My oldest has just discovered origami and she is completely fascinated!

gilbride. said...

from toy garden, i'd get the peekaboo pixies. :) my little girl comes up with all sorts of uses for acorn tops, and i think these would be perfect for her and her fairy house project.
from stubby pencil studio, i'd get the smencils color pencils. what a great idea!!!
you can contact me at
--Lindsay W.

Angie said...

I would get Petit Fours in a Box from A Toy Garden and the adorable ABC Animal Magnets from Stubby Pencil Studio. Thanks for the great giveaway!

Beth said...

Great giveaway!
From A Toy Garden, I would get some felt animals. The pig and sheep are so cute!
From Stubby Pencil Studio, I would get the wooden harmonica... among other things :)

Jenn said... hard to choose just one from each. I would get the Fish Castanet from Stubby and the felted acorns from A Toy Garden. My daughter filled buckets of acorns this fall!

Carolyn said...

There's nothing better than a top! The Stubby Pencil has wooden tops in several colors. That would fit perfectly in a stocking! And from the Toy Garden, the necklace dolls are too adorable. I hope I win!
Carolyn -

RR - Fully and Completely said...

The flower puzzle from a toy garden is unbelievable. For a puzzle that great, I may just have to make bigger stockings! The softdough at Stubby Pencil Studio would be a great stocking stuffer.

Silka said...

I love the Suitcase Cars from A Toy Garden (I will admit that I have awfully large stockings) and the Recycled Crayons from Stubby Pencil Studio

silkaphyllis at

Christa said...

I love the Colored Smencils from Stubby Pencil and can't wait to give them to my daughter for Christmas. From a Toy Garden, I'd choose the ladybug yoyo b/c she's in a real yoyo craze right now.

jessica said...

Oh from toy garden I'd get the little pixie people and from stubby pencil the butterfly spinner! I have a two who year old who loves all things butterfly and is just developing the coordination to really dig spinning toys. :)

Candace said...

My little girl would love the handcarved Owl Gourd Shaker from Toy Garden. An Envirosax from Stubby Pencil would be great, because she loves carring around a bag just like mommy!

Candace at

Carrie said...

I'm going to leave my comment again because I have no idea if my contact showing.
I love the wooden bug walkers and earth friendly nature bags from Stubby's.From the Toy Garden the Victorian herbal bean bags-smell great,are so pretty and are very open ended!Thank you!

Thank you!

CC said...

I left a comment on 12/6. My contact info is:

forgetmeknot said...

Decisions decisions! I think a pull back mouse from A Toy Garden would be a fun stocking stuffer and I love the Kaleidoscope Owl from Stubby pencil! Thank you!

forgetmeknot said...

Decisions decisions! I think a pull back mouse from A Toy Garden would make a fun stocking stuffer and I LOVE the Kaleidoscope Owls from the Stubby Pencil! Thank you!

Megan@SortaCrunchy said...

Nothing like coming in under the wire!

My daughters would LOVE everything from A Toy Garden and Stubby Pencil in their stockings!

My two year old would be bananas over the finger puppets at A Toy Garden - especially the cow. My almost five year old would love some beeswax for modeling. Oh, and what about some fairy tale wool?

From Stubby Pencil? Really. Everything. Smencils, erasable crayons, soft dough, tops - I wish we could have it all!

Wonderful giveaway.