Tag Archives: Staunton

2014 Painted Pumpkin Contest at Pufferbellies starts October 13!

2013 winner of the Pufferbellies Painted Pumpkin Contest

2013 winner of the Pufferbellies Painted Pumpkin Contest

We want to fill the windows at Pufferbellies with works of pumpkin-y art! Bring your painted pumpkins to the store starting Monday, October 13 through Thursday, October 23 and we will display them in our front windows.

The final chance to vote will be the evening of the 24th at our Halloween Hullabaloo.

The pumpkin that gets the most votes will be named the champion, and the person who painted it will receive a $50 Pufferbellies gift card, $50 worth of free gelato from The Split Banana, Co. and bragging rights ’til next year’s contest!

We will also offer voting on Facebook! The pumpkin with the most Facebook votes will receive a $25 Pufferbellies gift card and $25 worth of Split Banana gift certificates.

The winner will be announced on October 25, and you will be able to pick up your pumpkins any time between the 27th and Halloween (so they can decorate your porch for the holiday).

Group or family entries are welcome.

Please limit your pumpkin to a maximum of 12″ tall, and be sure it is uncarved. Any style of paint or decoration is permitted, as long as the pumpkin is not cut. Pumpkins that have been cut or carved will NOT be accepted, because they will rot in the heat of the window. ūüôā¬†


Make a PlushCraft change purse at Pufferbellies

plushcraft change purse

Hi, local friends! We are hosting a special event on August 7. Kids ages 5+ can drop in to make a PlushCraft change purse with us between 2 and 4PM. The cost is $2.50 per child and tickets are limited, so please click here to register.

Lulujo swaddling blankets are at Pufferbellies – whoop whoop!

The Canadian brand Lulujo has been making incredibly soft, super cuddly cotton and bamboo muslin swaddling blankets since 2009 — but they weren’t readily available in the States. UNTIL NOW. We are so excited to be one of the first stores in the US to carry Lulujo swaddlers and muslin security blankets.

You can get all snuggly with them here in the store (we have samples of both the cotton and bamboo out to feel), or you can shop right here on our website.

The great thing about Lulujo muslin blankets is that even if you don’t use them for swaddling, there are about a million other uses. Tummy time blanket, changing mat, stroller cover, nursing cover, security blanket, on and on. And they really do get softer with every wash, even though that sounds like a cheesy marketing slogan.

Lulujo muslin blankets on display at Pufferbellies Toys and Books in Staunton, Virginia

Lulujo muslin blankets on display at Pufferbellies Toys and Books in Staunton, Virginia

#hellostaunton Instagram contest

We are working on a project. Something BIG. Something SECRET. We will be able to tell you alllll about it soon, but in the meantime, we need your help!

Our project involves things that are quintessentially STAUNTON. What are the best, most iconic parts of our little town, especially for kids? If you had friends coming into town with their children, where would you take them? What would you show them? We want to know!

Share your photos with us on Instagram and you could win a $25 gift card to Pufferbellies! 

You must tag us (@pufferbellies) and include the hashtag #hellostaunton. We’ll collect photos until July 25, and choose a winner then.

Private profiles: If your profile is private, we can’t see your pictures even when you tag us! Please send your entries to us in a private Instagram message.

You can enter as many times as you choose; just don’t forget to tag @pufferbellies and #hellostaunton.

One winner will be chosen by the staff of Pufferbellies Toys & Books to receive a $25 Pufferbellies gift card. The gift card may be redeemed in our store or on our website.

We can’t wait to see your #hellostaunton¬†pictures!

hello staunton for instagram.jpg

American-made baby toys from Earnest Efforts: Safe, non-toxic, beautiful rattles

If you know me, you might know I’m a little bit of a snob when it comes to woodworking.¬† (I blame it up on my upbringing. My dad built furniture at the Anthony Hay shop at Colonial Williamsburg when I was a kid, and now he builds pipe organs at Taylor and Boody near Staunton.)

That’s why I tend to be super picky when it comes to wooden toys, and I really scrutinize ones made by small woodworking shops. If we’re going to sell them, they need to be good. And these hardwood teether/rattles from Earnest Efforts are good. They’re sanded silky-smooth and the glue joints are essentially¬† invisible. They’re a great size for teething babies to hold and gnaw on, and the rattle sound is excellent (nicer than similar rattles I’ve tested). And the wood selection is cool — they offer familiar options like maple and cherry, plus madrone (a hardwood that grows on the Pacific coast. We don’t see it here on the East Coast very much, so it’s kind of fun!).

If you’re looking for a safe, beautiful, American-made rattle option, these are a fantastic choice! Local customers can find the rattles in our Staunton, Virginia store now, and our online customers can find them here.

Earnest Efforts teething rattles

Earnest Efforts teething rattles in walnut, Madrone, cherry and maple

Tuesday Crafternoon: Slime Time

Slime with extra Watercolor Magic and glitter, for good measure.

This week at Crafternoon we made SLIME. It turned out slightly putty-ish — a denser sort of slime — but everyone loved it! Here’s how we did it.

(First, let’s have a brief chat about Borax. The bottom line is that you pretty much need Borax to make good slime. But I have seen questions from people online about whether Borax is safe to handle. The most informative thing I’ve read on the subject is here at Crunchy Betty. My personal feeling is that it’s fine — we’re using a tiny amount and we’re not eating it or anything. But I always like to let people know ahead of time that we’re using it, so that they may make their own decision. There is a recipe you’ll find on the Internet for “slime without Borax!” that uses commercial liquid starch. But, as it turns out, one of ingredients in liquid starch is Borax, aka¬†sodium tetraborate (which is why it works to make slime; surprise!). But in addition to the Borax it has a bunch of other chemicals like formaldehyde, so … I don’t like to use it. I just make my own liquid starch, and add a little Borax. Now, on to the recipe!)

Ahead of time, I made my own liquid starch and mixed in some Borax. To do that, bring 3.75 cups of water to a rolling boil. In a little cup or mug, mix 1/4 cup cold water with one tablespoon of cornstarch and one tablespoon of Borax. Whisk thoroughly, then slowly add to the boiling water. Let the mixture cool. You can also totally make slime without cornstarch — just mix water and Borax together during this step. But I feel like there’s something about the starch that just makes better slime, so I go the extra mile.

To make the slime, put about 1/3 cup of white glue (we used Elmer’s) into a gallon-size zip-lock style bag. Add about half as much liquid starch. Then squirt in some liquid watercolor (or food coloring, but be careful because it stains). I always use Watercolor Magic and let the kids squirt it with a pipette — so fun and great for their fine motor skills. We also put in some extra-fine glitter, which was fun.

Next, zip up the bag tight (get rid of the extra air inside) and start squishing everything around. You’ll want to knead and squish until the majority of the liquid is absorbed and you have a nice gloppy goo.

Then, dump out your gloppy goo onto a paper plate (I prefer the kind that’s sort of shiny so the goo doesn’t stick) and knead it around some more. The more you knead it, the nicer and softer it will get, and the less sticky.

Once it’s all nice and smooth, you can play with it! Try stretching it, forming it into a ball, making impressions in it with rubber stamps, and cutting it with child-safe scissors. It’s all fun! When you’re done playing, seal it up tight in your same plastic bag and it will keep for a good long while.

Stamped slime with extra glitter on top.

Stamped slime with extra glitter on top.

The perfect travel toy for toddlers and preschoolers

We found it! The ideal travel toy for toddlers and preschoolers. It can be hard, we know — you need something quiet, portable, no-mess and very, very engaging. Well — this is it. Water Wow¬†from Melissa and Doug.¬†Check out the video to see how it works: