About Mama Made Them

When my son was one and a half, I moved back in with my parents until I could find another live-in nanny job. I was pretty broke, but I had just learned about the wide world of wooden toys, particularly the Waldorf style ones. Since I was poor, I didn't buy any.

Then I read on a forum about making wooden animals with a scroll saw, and I thought, I can do that! So I racked up some more credit card debt, and bought a scroll saw, and made my son some animals and some other toys for Christmas.

It was FUN! I slowly built up my workshop (then located in my parents' barn), relying more on craigslist than my credit card now, and I opened an Etsy shop in March 2009. I had maybe four sales by September of that year, but I kept making more things, and going to craft shows, and suddenly, Christmas time rolled around, and the orders started rolling in.

At the time I had a nanny job (not a live-in), so I was working until late at night, with the baby monitor right next to me, so I could run in when my son inevitably woke up wailing. But I survived, and with my Christmas money, I bought a conversion van.

I took out all but 2 seats, added a "kitchen" and a bed, and some lighting. Then I loaded it up with toys, my scroll saw, and some wood. For 6 months we traveled around, mostly in Florida (as it was winter). I sanded keys and animals on the beach while my son made friends with everyone we met.

But then fall rolled around, and I was tired of the road, and started looking for housing. In West Virginia, we found it: a house for $4,000, and the roof didn't even leak. It didn't have a working furnace, but it had plugs for my tools, and it was dry, so we called it home.

We've been there ever since. After that first freezing winter, we got a furnace. And the next year we bought a station wagon (the van became a money pit after we moved in, so we walked).

This shop has evolved with every step of our journey, and the story of our life is the story of our shop. As I could afford it, I added tools. Most of the original ones were dirt cheap from craigslist, and I've been slowly replacing them over the years with nicer, newer ones.

I work in my basement and my living room. I play games with my homeschooled son and put wheels on cars at the same time. Life, work, and play weave together in a seamless web here at Mama Made Them.