Category Archives: Uncategorized

Busy Hands

We had some pictures taken last fall by the lovely Devon Gillott. Hands at work, always busy at the Bamboletta studio.

I hope everyone is keeping well. I’m shifting some stuff at the studio so that I will have more time to blog and I am really looking forward to it. I miss writing and chatting on here. It crazy how fast time goes by!

Talk soon!
Christina

Courtney Scaggs - August 15, 2014 - 9:04 am

Will you sweet ladies ever put out clothes patterns? Thanks xoxo

admin - August 15, 2014 - 9:24 am

We are working on it :)

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a little man, and his little friend.

We are very honoured to introduce to you our guest blogger Laura, mother of sweet Amos, a boy you would find impossible not to fall in love with. Laura and her beautiful family are local on the Island with us, as well as new friends of ours! We were first brought together through a photo she posted on Instagram a couple months ago (oh, how we love the power of social media) and her blog ‘Little Feet in my House’ and story touched us so much we had to learn more. She wrote a gorgeous entry about her son and his special bond with his Little Buddy friend…

Thank you Laura, from the bottom of our hearts. We’re blessed to start to get to know you and your family and to have you open our eyes up to the world of your darling son Amos.

<3

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A few years ago, our lives were turned upside down and inside out with the birth of our special little guy. Amos Abraham was born one quiet, spring night. His peaceful and serendipitous arrival into this world gave nothing away of the turmoil we had felt the previous weeks. We knew he was a boy. We had just learned he had an extra copy of the 21st chromosome, otherwise known as Down syndrome. We knew he also needed surgery to correct his bowel, or he would not survive. We knew we weren’t allowed to bring him home for weeks.

We knew a lot of painful, heavy and difficult things.

What we didn’t know was how fiercely we would love him, and how powerfully his presence in our lives would change us.

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The surgeon nicknamed our precious baby Famous Amos. His hospital stay, while feeling like decades at the time, was short when compared to many others. He came home. We fell head over heels in love. He grew, I grew, his daddy grew, his siblings grew. Our hearts were bigger and better, because of our Famous Amos.I became connected with the beautiful world of other families raising children with special needs. One of these moms is a lovely lady in California with one of the most beautiful little boys I had ever seen. I fell in love with her family, partly because they were so beautiful, but also partly because I recognized that bigger and better heart that was now familiar to me. Their 3rd child was a beautiful little boy with Down syndrome, and his presence in their lives lead them to adoption, and they brought home a second little child with Down syndrome. A precious little girl. Each of these little children they had nuzzled into their hearts were so incredibly beautiful, and the love that this mother had for each of them, and her two older boys, and her husband–well, it was such a thing of beauty, I was so honored to join the ranks of parents like her.
Through her, my eyes were open to the broader world around me that I didn’t know existed previously. These were the beginning stages of where my eyes and my heart and my husband’s were opened wide and gasping to the drastic and overwhelming need for adoptive families for children with special needs all over the world. These children need their lives saved. Literally. And this family had worked and prayed and gloriously brought home their baby daughter. This beautiful mama, a few beaches south of my own loves her two little children with designer genes so richly, and so warmly, she commissioned an artist to create two handmade Waldorf style dolls each in the likeness of her beautiful littlest littles. The dolls were beautiful, and I wondered if my snuggly little lovely guy would enjoy laying hands on such an incredible creation.
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Fast-forward a few years later and we find ourselves living on a little slice of paradise on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Not long after, I realize we are on the same island that is home to the incredible little world of Bamboletta Dolls. As we were settling into life with our burstingattheseams family of four (at the time) children, us as the mom and a dad and busy with buying a business (couple o’ local skateboard and snowboard shops), and my pregnant belly about to burst with our newest babe, little did I know that a mere hour’s drive away was the enchanting little studio, the creators, the heart and the team of amazing folks that make up the magic known as Bamboletta.
Bamboletta means baby doll, and Amos loves to do the sweet, cradling, rock-a-baby sign in American Sign Language for baby, and he has an affinity for these dolls. They’re soft to touch, but firm to squeeze and lug around, they smell like home and have sweet little faces, their facial features can be poked and prodded while Amos can pretend feed, to help drink, to place in the highchair, to point and learn yes, those are eyes!, to snuggle into bed, to dress and undress, or to have a little friend accompany him to appointments, or to be in the car, or to help with potty training.
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Amos struggles with transitions, and as of yet, at just past 4 years old, has not spoken his first word. He came close when he was a littler Bub, but then his tiny, barely sprouting vocabulary vanished. He gets frustrated, angry, bored and is so darn stubborn. He can be like a tornado.
Amos is awaiting a secondary diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.
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When we first learned of it, there was a familiar crushing pain in my chest–only for a moment–and then the moment passed. I was reaffirmed that he is still my beautiful son, I am still his warrior mama, and any way that I can help enhance his environment, and take joy in him, and find pleasure in the tools and therapies we surround ourselves with, I am going to seize the opportunity and be blessed through his curiosity, and his learning – on his own developmental path.
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Just as he is, Amos brings me joy–so much joy–to watch him hold hands with his dolly friend. I get tears in my eyes when he helps his little dolly walk across the floor, his head bowed in serious concentration. It brings me immense pride to watch him take his little cup of water, and put the straw to his doll’s mouth just like we do for him, and just like his therapists have done for the last four years. It makes my heart swell with such joyful pride to see him flip his little dolly in the air, just like daddy does to him. I literally weep, unabashedly, when he graces his dolly with such tenderness, just like we do to him. 
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To hear his squeals, and to see his eyes light up and his face get so bright and excited when he gets to play in his little pretend world, the world that not everyone is privy too, and not everyone understands–but when I see him connect with this little dolly, (tears now)–and I grow to know more of the love and care that went into making this doll, and all the other dolls that pour out of this little studio in Cobble Hill –…
…the dolls may seem expensive. But when you consider how many hours of handmade stitching and stuffing and the cost of natural materials that go into each one, and the fact that these are heirloom toys, a doll that can be passed on to my children’s children, enjoyed, loved, played with and valued for generations–not just a toy that will end up in a landfill a few months down the road…
I know that to some, it’s just a doll. It’s just a toy. But when you have a little child that struggles to communicate, a little child that you love so fiercely, more fiercely than you knew was possible, when you have a little child that the world sees as different, or the world might see as not as worthy, or that in other parts of the world a child like my beautiful little son is given away, or abandoned, a child that needs a little more help to learn…a little child who sometimes locks himself away inside his own head……when you see your child connect with this little pretend baby friend, and hug him tight to his chest and breathe sighs of contentment and gratitude? Well, it is such an incredible gift. An immeasurable, beautiful, and wonderful gift. This is my little man Amos, and this is his little friend.
and I’m crying.
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Amos has strabismus, which means he has one good eye, and one eye turning inward, so he has prescription eyeglasses. But with all of his sensory sensitivities and his teeny tiny little bridge of his nose, his glasses press up against his beautiful, long luscious eyelashes and squish down his eyelids so he removes the glasses in a flash. And when he decides to look at something without his glasses, like his doll’s face, he puts it up so close to his own little face–to study the features, to learn them and know them–and then his little pointer finger comes out to touch each thing that he’s looking at so closely and studying the details of so very intimately–this is how Amos looks at his doll. He peers right into its eyes, full of unconditional love. It is the same way he looked at me as a little tiny newborn infant. Gazing up into my eyes, into my very soul, saying I love you so much, mama.
looking closely, searching for dolly

looking closely, searching for dolly’s bare feet.

There’s something so incredibly loving and nurturing about watching this in any child, but in particular observing this in a very special little child. Seeing our Famous Amos connect with something, anything in this way–is just such a pouring of sweet salve onto a mama’s spirit, and it is one I am so incredibly grateful for. Christina and her team at the Bamboletta studio bless families and children young and old over and over and over with these beautifully handmade, heartfelt little creations.

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I’m so incredibly thankful to have found not just a toy, but a friend. A friend that my little guy will play with, even if it is only for moments at a time, a friend that my little guy will interact with in a way that so closely matches my interactions with him, or daddy’s interactions with him. And to see him be so sweet, and tender, and gentle with this little toy–his little friend, well that’s just a gift that’s too sweet for words.

Thank you, Bamboletta. Thank you for all you do.

there it is, eye contact with his dolly.

there it is, eye contact with his dolly.

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Amos and mama, summer 2014.

Amos and mama, summer 2014.

Bamboletta, you bless us. You bless us so.
Thank you.

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To learn more about orphans with special needs waiting for adoption, check out these wonderful organizations.
Reece’s Rainbow
National Down Syndrome Adoption Network
and waiting children, in our own province.
Adopt a Waiting Child, British Columbia.

There is always more we can do, more we can give, and more we can pray for. Perhaps you are feeling called to give more of yourself, your time, your heart, or opening your family to one or more of these waiting children. (thank you).

To connect with me, you can follow me here:
blog: http://www.lauraluyt.com
instagram: http://instagram.com/lauraluyt#
twitter: https://twitter.com/lauraluyt 

kat - June 25, 2014 - 3:29 pm

I defy anyone to read this and not tear up. Amos has the ‘designer genes’ like some of my absololute favorite people ever.
This is so incredibly well written. Bless you Amos and Mama.

Shelly Gudmunsen - June 25, 2014 - 5:51 pm

Tears. Thank you for sharing a snapshot of your incredible son and the love Bamboletta has brought to his childhood journey. You are clearly an incredible mama <3

Christine - June 25, 2014 - 5:53 pm

What a beautiful entry. This touched me to my soul and now I’m crying! Thank you for sharing ❤

jai - June 25, 2014 - 6:03 pm

Beautiful.

laura - June 25, 2014 - 6:45 pm

Thank you. <3

Cheryl - June 26, 2014 - 3:37 am

Thank you so much for sharing, I am so crying. Give Amos a extra hug from me. :)

Barbara H - June 26, 2014 - 10:48 am

This is an absolutely beautiful story and as someone else that has seen firsthand the magic that is a Bamboletta paired up with a child, I know so very much what a magical connection that is. Thank you for sharing Amos a bit with us, I feel better to have “met” him. What a lucky family you are that his soul found you and you found him. <3

Lynn - June 26, 2014 - 6:19 pm

Such an amazing, touching, beautiful post. Thanks for sharing Laura. Tears…streaming…there is no greater love than the love for a child. Just beautiful.

Marie M - June 27, 2014 - 9:45 am

Ok. I have tears in my eyes. This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing this amazing life & journey.

Jennifer Varanini Sanchez - June 27, 2014 - 12:25 pm

TEARS streaming down my face….beautiful beautiful words….beautiful wonderful love.

Judy - June 28, 2014 - 9:27 am

First, I will now try to get a Bamboletta for my 17 yr. old son that has down syndrome and who still loves to sleep with a ‘stuffy’ of some sort.
Secondly, and VERY importantly. My son Gavin has glasses and we encountered the very same problem with his glasses. We were referred to ROBERTS AND BROWNN optometrist in Vancouver (right around the corner from Children’s hospital) and although I didn’t think it could make that much of a difference, it was like night and day. The glasses are fit amazingly to children with Down Syndrome. It really did make a huge difference to his behaviour and personality too as he was able to see clearly! I also will NEVER go anywhere else. We travel from Vancouver Island yearly to have them made and they are so accommodating sending them via post. Lovely story, thanks :)

MAY - July 1, 2014 - 7:43 am

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story and I am so touched.
I love all the pictures, they are so sincere and full with love. Tears.

Scarlett Reverie - July 1, 2014 - 7:37 pm

What a beautiful story! Brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. Hugs to little Amos. God bless all of you!

Lisa - July 4, 2014 - 12:17 pm

at my desk in tears – God Bless sweet Amos… his sweet family and the sweeties at Bamboletta… that pic of him snuggling his doll makes me so warm and fuzzy! Thanks for reminding me about the good in this world. Hugs to all!

Stephanie Gilbert - August 10, 2014 - 1:26 pm

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. We adopted our Winnie with Down syndrome from China last year. She is 6 years old, and we found her on Reece’s Rainbow. She is such a GIFT to us each and every single day, and she loves her bambo baby dolls just like sweet Amos does. Bamboletta is such a sweet and genuine company…thanks again for spreading the word on how to adopt a child with Ds.

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How a Bamboletta is Made

Oh, it’s been so long since I’ve written. I feel like we must have one of the lamest blogs, ever! Things have been just so busy – like in an every day sort of busy way. I think about blogging all the time and have all these great ideas written down for blog posts but by the time the kids are down to sleep I’m about ready to hit the sack too … the older I get the more important and vital sleep seems to be.

Anyhow, enough about that! I wanted to post this here on the blog to share with you that may not be on Facebook. I’ve been wanting this video made for about 6 years now at least – just never really got around to it. Then a few weeks back Meg from Shaw made this little segment …

I knew she was the one to make our video! She’s  also coming by in a few weeks to make a ‘What goes on for an upload’ which will be a fun video to have made. A lot happens on Thursdays and it’ll be sweet to have it documented.

It’s getting late and I have to get to bed, obvs. Hope all is well with everyone!

xo
C

Britney - May 25, 2014 - 1:16 am

I love this!!! You guys rock.

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We Won!!

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As I’m sure many of you know we recently won Small Business BC’s  Best Community Impact Award. We had to complete a pretty intense application and then I had to do a 10 minute presentation in front of a panel of judges – a wee bit intimidating! Everyone was great and I had a blast doing it, so glad I went through all this. On Thursday night we had the award ceremony and gala followed by a cheese plate and tea at Chill Winston .. us Bamboletta gals really know how to rip it up!

You know what really struck me during the whole thing? It was how all these men in suits came up to me and were telling me about their wives that made dolls or their moms that made sock monkeys or their daughter that does stuff on Etsy. They just melted and I felt deeply honored to be at the receiving end of it. When I made my speech I said that by putting community at the heart and center of Bamboletta, I built a product that had love in it. It felt like I was maybe being a bit cheesy by saying that but so many really responded to it. It was tweeted and commented on many times throughout the night. It was nice to have the opportunity to say what I feel about business and how I believe it can and should be run and it obviously hit a cord.

So, thank you to all my gals at Bamboletta. I’m in Vancouver at the Market right now and haven’t had a chance to tell them how much they mean to me. Everyone that works at Bamboletta is so rad – these ladies really care about what they do and infuse them with so much love. You know, I was out for dinner last night with some good friends and was telling them about how we hire. It is not based on skill – with enough time and perseverance anyone can learn how to sew a doll if they have the desire too. We’ve been making dolls for so long now that we have the whole thing down pretty pat and know how to teach ;). When we hire it’s based on a feeling, on a certain something that the sewer has. Like I just said, these women are awesome. And you know what happens to that awesomesauce they have? It goes into the doll. Well, not literally, but something does transfer over. This sounds crazy, I know, but when something is made by hand there is a transfer from maker to doll. Once in a while Rachel will pick up a doll and just by looking it over will say ‘Is ‘S’ having a bad week?’ and sure enough ‘S’ had her basement flood and is stressed to the max. It’s nothing really in the construction – it looks fine – but to us it’s a feeling. The reason why I’ve been able to get to this point of making as many dolls as we do is because we’ve hired on from our community of ladies, and we’ve hired on ladies with a certain something something. And I KNOW this is one of the big factors of why so many of you can feel it in your dolls. We are pretty sensitive beings:)

Whoa, I totally digressed there. NONE of this would be happening without you gals out there that are buying our dolls. Thank you all so much. We are showing that there can be another way of doing business and every doll bought is making this message louder and louder. With love. LOTS of love:)  I want to leave our kids  businesses that are run by caring about people and the environment.

xoChristina

PS Its been a bit biz heavy lately on the blog. Cute doll stuff coming up soon:)

Belinda - March 4, 2014 - 9:08 am

Congratulations to you all, it’s a well deserved award! xxx

Ilene Chalmers - March 11, 2014 - 6:25 am

No one deserves this award more than you wonderful ladies do. You are so right about how the dolls make us feel. They give off a real sense of love and caring. It’s so hard to explain, but it’s there. I know I keep saying this, but I can’t wait to come to BC this summer and visit the shop. It’s just one stop on our week long vacation, but to me, the most important and super fun to look forward to. Again, Congratulations on this great accomplishment! :)

Dana Williams - March 11, 2014 - 10:50 am

Congratulations, Christina! So well deserved. I love supporting you, your dream, and all the families that share their love with our dollies.

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One of  the comments we get here at Bamboletta is ,why do the dolls cost so much? I totally get it – $250 for a doll is a lot. We are used to seeing a doll for a lot less. I’ve talked about this in a bunch of blog posts, but today I want to touch on the real cost of things. So many people talk about wanting to buy local and handmade but then balk at the price because we are conditioned to seeing such low prices on things.  Those low prices come at a heavy cost to the environment and to the people making them.

I’m continuing this post to sort of go along last night’s one, which is the possible affect that the business part of Bamboletta may have on our kids. When a sewing mama takes a doll home, her child sees the 2 hours or so it takes for her mom to put the doll together (and that’s about a 3rd  of the actual labour part of the doll constructions – not including the clothes), then she can see how much her mom is paid and make the connection between work and time and money. With what that sewing mama got paid for one doll, you can buy 2 finished dolls at Walmart. Somehow, somewhere, someone is paying a very heavy price for that  Walmart doll. When I see the pictures of the factories that dolls and toys are made in, oh man, it’s rough conditions.  I get it, people in other countries need to work too and I applaud businesses that have found an ethical and helpful way to do so – not all factories are the same.  But that seems to be the minority and it’s sickening what conditions people are put through to make a cheap plastic doll.

There is so much more I could go on about , this is a topic I feel very strongly about. Why are we making people so expendable? What is wrong with us?  You know, when I was in highschool I was voted ‘Most likely to be arrested at a protest rally’ and ‘Most likely to become a famous artist’ Haha – not sure about the artist part (well, doll–artist, I suppose 😉 ) but I do get fired up when I see injustice in the world. The older I get the more passionate I feel about this – maybe this is what my side gig will be – an advocate for local commerce and business? Anyhow,  I digress, I just felt like sharing this with you all.

Much love and thanks for your business. I see the impact your business has on the people who work here and it’s amazing – I am in deep gratitude to you all.

Christina

Crystal - June 4, 2015 - 10:00 pm

Thank you for writing this post! I am a kids clothing designer/maker and I sometimes worry that my prices are too high, even though I have yet to make a living wage doing this job. Your business is one of the ones I think about when remembering that you can ask people to pay what is a product is worth and feel good about it.

Crystal - June 4, 2015 - 10:01 pm

Thank you for writing this post! I am a kids clothing designer/maker and I sometimes worry that my prices are too high, even though I have yet to make a living wage doing this job. Your business is one of the ones I think about when remembering that you can ask people to pay what is a product is worth and feel good about it.

Thank you!

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