The month of November must have had a lot of rainy days because there were so many creative little citizens who participated in our Activity Book Contest. This month, Olivia dazzled our Tea staff with her tribe of snowy monsters with actual snow! Congratulations, Olivia!
Olivia’s snowy creation.
We love the snowy hula monster.
Thank you everyone for entering and be sure to submit a new picture for December’s contest!
Browse all the entries on our Flickr page.
Interested in entering the contest for next month? Take a picture of your child’s completed activity book picture and send it to us at [email protected] with “Activity Book Entry” in the subject line. We pick one winner each month to receive a $100 Tea gift certificate.
Download all of our activity book pages by visiting our activity printouts blog tag.
Recently, Studio T teamed up with Made by Joel who has been featured on the Martha Stewart Living Show and various print publications for his ingenious craft ideas and ability to make art accessible.
Learn how to make paper slotted animals with Joel:
We’ve been enjoying a lot of indoor paper crafts lately, and a few days ago we made some little slotted animals based on a wooden set that I made awhile back. I was lucky enough to get to work on this craft with Tea, so the color pallet for our animals is based on their very fun Nordic collection. I love the idea of celebrating winter with red, cool blue, and yellow green.
Nordic inspired paper slotted animals.
Cutting out the slotted animals.
Cutting the animal shapes out and putting them together was just the right amount of challenge for the kids. They were quite focused, and really enjoyed seeing them stand up when they finished. After getting the hang of it, my son started making his own creations, including a Jabba the Hut and Luke Skywalker. Cool! (See photo below)
A little crafter’s original creation of Luke Skywalker and Jabba the Hut.
The kids enjoying their slotted animals.
Making them is easy. Just cut out a body shape and two legs. Then cut slots so you can stand them up. Click here for a Made by Joel for Tea Paper Slot Animals Printable or you can make your own designs! If you use a thicker paper, then you might need to cut your slots slightly wider so the feet stay straight.
After you finish, you can take them apart and put them in a little box or envelope. Then you can take them on the go to restaurants, etc.
Time to put you glasses on boys and girls! Find this gnome’s twin.
Once you’re done, submit your creation to [email protected] for your chance to win a $100 Tea gift certificate! Every month, Tea staff will pick one artistic little citizen to win! Honorable mentions will also be uploaded into their own featured blog post. Let your creative juices flow and show us your inner artist!
Download your own copy of spot the gnome.
Each month Studio T will feature one of our retailers. This month we are getting a glimpse into the mind of Miki, founder of Cotton Tails in Memphis, TN. Learn about her store philosophy here.
Miki at her first Ikebana lesson.
Tea: How did you decide to take the leap and open your own store?
Miki: When my oldest daughter was born, I used to frequent a children’s store. Every time I would walk in, I was completely ignored. I would find things on my own and would ask if someone would please ring me up! It was so frustrating but it was the only place to shop. When the opportunity arose, I felt I could start my own children’s store but have wonderful customer service. I don’t think Cotton Tails would be here today for 24 years if they had only treated me nicely at that store!
Tea: We know how special and unique all of our stores are, what makes your store unique?
Miki: We do Saturday arts and crafts for the children every weekend. We do an annual Sidewalk Sale that people arrange their vacations around. Twice a year we have a calendar sale with a different category on sale every day of the month. We do seasonal events, like Mrs. Santa, silhouette artists, frozen yogurt treats during the summer and anything else we can think of!
Our 2012 Nordic Holiday Collection at Cotton-Tails.
Tea: At Tea, we “Go There”, how do you share in that mission at your store and/or in your life?
Miki: I’ve ‘Been There!’ My mother is Japanese, and I was born and spent my early years in Japan. I have been very fortunate to be able to instill my mother’s heritage and customs into my life. It has given me a better understanding of working with people from different nationalities and backgrounds.
Tea: How do you balance it at all? What tricks can you offer us?
Miki: I do a daily list of what needs to be done at the store and check off accordingly. I try to just put the top ten.
Tea: What do you do in your “spare” time?
Miki: I love to cook and have friends and family over.
Tea: What is something that your customers would be surprised to learn about you?
Mikie: I LOVE to dance! Really!
Leigh and Miki at the Tea Time event.
To help everyone at Tea “go there,” we make a yearly contribution to each employee for international travel and exploration. Upon their return, our Tea travelers write blog posts to share their adventures with all of us (and the world).
Kelly and Cristy, part of our power house sales team, traveled to Thailand for the first time together. Read more about their adventures here.
First stop: Bangkok.
The song is right. One night in Bangkok WILL make a tough man humble! What a modern and bustling city. I think it must rival NYC as the city that never sleeps. What stuck out to us here was the contrast of how very modern the city was but with so much history and culture sprinkled through it. Looking out over the city from our hotel room were tall hotel buildings surrounded by small bazaars and restaurants…and every few miles you would see the amazing tips of a golden temple reaching up through the craze as if to say “Don’t forget me!” Riding down the street in our Tuk Tuk we would pass busy merchants, 7 Elevens, and school children in uniform making their way home…..and then right in the middle of it all, a Spirit House cloaked in fresh flowers and a glowing candle no doubt recently lit by a very thankful Thai. Even walking through the markets crammed with vendors selling all types of food and wears you would be passed by monks in their vibrant orange robes making their way on some errand. Such an amazing contrast and a constant reminder of where the Thai people came from and what they hold sacred.
We were able to get in a visit to one our favorite manufacturers while in Thailand (think girls knit dresses and boys French Terry bottoms!). Mahin and Samsuk were kind enough to take us to dinner on our first night in Bangkok to ‘debrief’ us and make suggestions on things we shouldn’t miss while in Thailand. Their best suggestion, in our opinion, was the Weekend Market. Wow! This was a shopper’s paradise. This HUGE shopping market was filled with stalls of vendors selling anything from antiques to traditional Thai spices. This market had it all! My favorite was the contrast between vendors…one stall was selling ornate textiles made by hand and loom in the same fashion Thai’s have been making textiles for centuries and next to him was a very hip young woman selling these amazing clutches that she had made herself. Beautiful handmade leather clutches and wallets that had then been spray painted with designs or embellished with studs and embroidery. I’m bummed I didn’t buy one for myself. Kelly was excited about the stations for quick foot and back massages as we spent quite some time wandering this vast marketplace!