Saturday, 8 September 2012

face painting


One of our favourite rainy day things is to get out the face paints and draw and play... This week we had a day that was too windy and rainy to do much and we had a cat, a butterfly and a mouse... and a little windswept landscape drawn on my cheek by my little one. It's so fun to hand them the paints and let them go for it. The imaginative play that ensues is amazing... Face painting can also be a beautiful way of connecting and creating some calm for a few minutes in the day.

We've been playing with our new face paint pencils today. My little one put a windy landscape on my cheek... To match the weather #windy #facepaint #spiralgarden

We were very lucky that our new Giotto face paints arrived that same day. We were very keen to give them a try. They are the same product as the Lyra face paints that our customers may remember... Made from wood, in the shape of a pencil, and a mix of natural ingredients, including beeswax, they are super soft and creamy. The colours glide on with ease, blend with water, and come of with a little soapy water. What's more, they've not been tested on animals and they are reasonably priced... A perfect addition to Spiral Garden.

Thursday, 6 September 2012



We've been working hard on our range of art supplies. Our aim is to bring our customers the same fantastic quality products they expect from us, but at more affordable prices. Many of our customers home educate, or have children attending independent schools and neither option is cheap - we know! So we want to pass on the savings to our customers, if we can... So little changes have started filtering in, beginning with our beautiful blackboard chalk

Traditionally, we've bought and sold this chalk under the Lyra label, but we've managed to track down the manufacturer in Germany to bring it here directly, under another label. For us, this means fewer hands transporting our product, which is great for our Global Footprint. For you, it means big savings. Still the same high-quality product, in the same colours and packaging we're used to, but at a fraction of the price. Great news all round!

Here's some inspiration for using our blackboard chalk:
The Parenting Passageway
Waldorf Chalk Speed Draw

Tuesday, 21 August 2012


Since beginning our work at Spiral Garden, we have undertaken a great deal of research into the products we stock, wanting to bring our customers the best quality range of ethical and environmentally friendly products we can find. We're still working our way through the range, seeing if we can improve it. We've asked why our popular products are so popular and what our customers love about them best. We've also looked into their manufacturing, shipping process and ingredients lists, where possible.

It's not always an easy task to find the nitty gritty on certain products. And many we take for granted as being "safe", "non-toxic" and "harmless", when a little further research suggests perhaps they are not 100% so... It's quite an eye-opening process and as such, certain products may not be re-stocked as we find they do not meet our expectations. Or, we'll continue to stock them but let you know their credentials as much as we can. With all that in mind, to begin with, our attention turned to art supplies in the garden and today, I'm going to tell you all about our range of crayons and the process we've undertaken to understand them and bring you the range we have.

The first product we bought from Spiral Garden, as customers many years ago, was a tin of Stockmar Beeswax Crayons. They are so beautifully packaged in their sturdy little tin. Their bright rainbow colours in block or stick form... They smell like honey! And they last a series of toddlers, as our set can attest. These are artist quality crayons, meaning the colours are bright and bold. They glide onto the paper and their colour stays fast. Unfortunately it stays fast to the walls too, another fact our series of toddlers have demonstrated...

The shape of the Stockmar Block Crayons is fantastic for small hands to hold and begin drawing and experimenting with colour. Our children held them and enjoyed making their first marks on paper at only nine months! If you want a great to use, artist quality beeswax crayon that will last forever, this is it. Something our research has turned up is that, while Stockmar crayons do contain pure beeswax, they also contain a minimum of 10% paraffin (we've heard it may be even higher than this), among other chemicals which are used to help the colours stay fast and the crayons non-sticky and solid for years. Their pigments are often reported as "food safe" and "natural" when in actual fact they are pigments safe for use in food packaging, not food itself and some pigments are organic, while others are inorganic.

Paraffin in crayons, whilst being non-toxic and safe for human use, is made from petroleum, which in itself is toxic and not something I'm super comfortable with my toddlers ingesting and is one reason we've avoided buying commercial brands of parrafin crayons.

But its only a little alarming, when I consider many of the other things our toddlers have ingested... Overall, we love these crayons. Stockmar is an ethical company as far as we can tell and while not all product information is displayed transparently, basic information is generally accessible. They are made in Germany and shipped to a distributor in Australia who ships them to our local supplier in Tasmania... there's a fair bit of handling involved.

After assessing all this information about Stockmar Crayons, we needed to understand the crayon making process. We procured a block of local beeswax and made our own and learnt that we are not so great at making attractive crayons ourselves! But, we did understand more about the process, the chemicals and how they work to get the colour onto the paper.

So next we found the most natural crayon we could. Busy Bee Beeswax Crayons are made with Beeswax, natural pigments and clays. That's it. They are sticky to touch, so the wrapper is handy. We're thinking they may break a little more easily than Stockmar crayons, although this hasn't happened yet. Their colours are very natural looking. So natural that they lend themselves very well to drawing nature and in particular, the Australian landscape. The colours remind us of Tasmania.

These crayons are not what I would describe as artist quality. They are more transparent and they don't have the same glide as Stockmar crayons which we understand from our crayon-making experiments... But they are still beautiful to use and in the hands of an artist, any tool can create a thing of beauty.  They smell like honey! And they come direct from the hive, being made in the US by a family company with natural parenting values akin to our own. We love these crayons so much that we're thrilled to have become the Australian distributors for them.

Looking at our crayon range so far and Spiral Garden's historically most popular products, we decided to reintroduce a vegan option. And we are thrilled with Crayon Rocks. They are bright, great quality, fun to use... They look like jelly beans! They come in a gorgeous red velvet pouch which adds a little magic and is super transportable - perfect when we go outside to draw and can throw them in a bag or basket. Crayon Rocks are made from soy wax, and a mix of other waxes including carnauba wax, mineral pigments and limestone. They are kosher too.

Crayon Rocks are made ethically, by a small company in the US and ship directly to us. They work fantastically for little growing hands and have been recommended by occupational therapists for helping to develop children's tripod grip, ready for pencils and pens as their skills develop. They are best used with supervision and are not recommended for children under 3yrs because they are a choking hazard, although our toddler has been ok with them as she's moved past popping things in her mouth. We just love that they are so special and fun and offer something different for our art supply cupboard.

We find that our children choose crayons to suit what they are doing and they mix and match them if the mood strikes.

We leave crayons in a space where they can easily reach them, near sketch books or paper, and they use them readily as they play and learn about colour.

If you'd like any additional information on our crayons, we'd be happy to provide as much knowledge as we can. If you are a retailer, school or community group, we offer wholesale prices for bulk purchases of our Busy Bee Beeswax Crayons. 

Friday, 10 August 2012

Global Footprint

When we choose new products for Spiral Garden, we are concerned about the global footprint left behind in the manufacturing and shipping process. We've applied our understanding on this to develop our own simplified global footprint rating system so that we can fairly easily see the impacts of each product comparitively. We've taken into account how fair, how local, how direct and how renewable each product is by the time it reaches us and we've given each product a point rating so you can see how it fares. This gives us a bit of transparency and impetus to find the most ethical, environmentally sound products for you. 

The manifesto above is how we approach our work at Spiral Garden, and life in general. We hope you love it and enjoy spending time in our garden, knowing we are tending it with the intention of treading lightly on the earth and helping you to do the same. xx

we love colouring!

You may have noticed that we have a new category on our website for colouring books. We find them an excellent form of downtime at our house and they are something that we like to do together. We all join in to make the colours jump from the page! In the last week or so, we've added two of our favourite colouring books to Spiral Garden, including The Babushka Colouring Book, by Babushka Girl.

It is full of beautiful, shapes, some simple, some more intricate, that everyone will love to have a go at. There's also space to embellish the page further once those creative juices are flowing! Or if you're feeling really organic and free, you'll find blank babushkas inside so you can decorate them any way you like. We sell these books on their own, or as part of a gift pack with a beautiful little matching doll. All designed in Victoria by Babushka Girl. Colouring books are printed locally on 100% recycled paper. How awesome is that?!

Our other favourite colouring book is the Indie Rock Colouring Book which features illustrations inspired by some of our favourite musicians like Feist, Bon Iver, Grizzly Bear and so many more... Royalties from the sale of the book go to charities chosen by the musicians as part of the Yellow Bird Project. The best bit is that you can all colour and listen to the music together along the way. Super cool and lots of fun.

Both these books would make a perfect gift with, a bag of crayon rocks or packet of Lyra Pencils thrown in... or even just a great thing to tuck away for a rainy day when you feel like doing something relaxing and fun together... We hope you love colouring them as much as we do!

Monday, 23 July 2012

Spiral Garden's Little Mid-Winter Sale - One Week Only!

We're having a little mid-winter sale at Spiral Garden this week! Just our little way of saying thanks for the warm welcome you've given us.

There are lots of lovely goodies... some new and old favourites among them. Things to keep you busy indoors or to keep your seasonal table looking fresh and gorgeous while the cold weather is still here..
Sale ends July 31st, so get in quickly!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Keeping it Local

The beautiful view at the end of our street

When we started to think about tending Spiral Garden, we were excited to share some of the talents of people local to us here in beautiful Tasmania. Among our friends and extended networks there are so many talented people! The local scenery provides endless inspiration and the cold winter provides lots of time to hone one's craft ;) We've gradually been putting the feelers out for things that might suit...

Mt Arthur Boronia Booties

Heidi from Willywam Whims contacted us one evening with some things she'd been making... Using repurposed woollen jumpers and pure wool felt, motifs showing Tasmanian endemic and endangered species... Is this something we'd be interested in? Umm.... YES!! Oberon's ears pricked up at the endemic threatened species bit... He's an ecologist and botanist at heart and knows the local threatened species well. We want to share our love of this beautiful place with you. We want to do it in a way that is as ethical and environmentally sound as possible. So Heidi's products have ticked pretty much all boxes. They're beautiful too, don't you think?

Waratah Elf Hat detail

 The Waratah elf hat was a special request from us and holds a special place in our hearts. Our toddler's middle name is Waratah. We do love it so! And it is amazingly warm and snuggly.

Wedge-tailed Eagle Elf Hat detail
We've also been blessed with the beginning of a beautiful range from local textile artist Acorn Girl. We're so excited to provide an outlet for her gorgeous little gnomes and other needle felted delights. I'm excited to see what she comes up with next!

Acorn Girl's gnomes

Next month, among other things, we're looking forward to sharing more of our own handmade goodies with you. It's been a little while since we've made things under the owlet label... About as long as we've had our littlest... But we're looking forward to spending some time in the evenings crafting and getting them ready over the coming weeks. We really can't get much more local than our own lounge room! We generally try to shop for local products, especially if they've been locally made or grown. But for the things we can't buy direct from the maker, we're really happy to know that it's been made with as much care for the planet as possible. And if possible, as close to home as we can find.

If you're local to Hobart, make sure to write "Local" for the discount coupon code and shipping will be deducted when you buy from us. You're welcome to drop by and collect your lovely things straight from the garden, or we can arrange for you to collect them in town most days. If you'd like to keep up to date with what's going on at Spiral Garden, make sure to sign up for the newsletter using the form over on the right. You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest! All the links are in the right hand column there... Do say hello and let us know if there's anything you'd like to see in the garden. We'd love to have a chat and a cuppa with you. xx

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Hello from Hobart!

Hello fellow Garden lovers! We thought we might take a moment to introduce ourselves. We live in beautiful Hobart, a looong way from Spiral Garden's previous home - and a lot colder right about now too! Well we're slowly settling in here as new head gardeners at Spiral Garden... We have been pottering away with Bel for a few months now, working towards this and we are a little nervous and excited to begin! We've tidied and trimmed around the place and have now begun introducing lots of new beautiful things to the garden to complement our old favourites... Like this beautiful little set with two child dolls and a little sled. It even has little sparkles on it! It was handmade in Melbourne and picked up on our holiday there last week... just perfect for your winter nature table.

The dreamy wooden clouds are too... They are handmade in NSW and coloured with all natural, safe paints.

As are these beautiful wooden rainbows and their accompanying range.

While in Melbourne, we also picked up this amazing Pixie House while visiting our supplier there... hand felted and pieced together with such care.  So beautiful. It even has a little hidey-hole under the toadstool lid. The beautiful mushroom family pictured here are sold separately, but wouldn't they have a fab time inside? We'd love one for our home.

So, a little more about us...

We travelled here on our honeymoon over ten years ago and fell in love with the natural beauty of the place and were thrilled to move here when Oberon's conservation work called. Lauren trained and worked as a textile designer for many years before and after our move, going on to make children's clothing and other things to sell at the fantastic local design markets and a few stores, including Spiral Garden! Since moving here with our eldest daughter, we've bought a house near the river, birthed two babies at home and shared our home with a dog, a cat, two kittens, a guinea pig, two chooks and a bunch of gold fish... We home educate our three girls and spend our days following the seasons, exploring nature and treading as lightly on the earth as we can. We've shopped at Spiral Garden for a number of years and have always loved the philosophy and thoughtfulness of the range Bel has stocked. We're so excited to work with such beautiful products and look forward to bringing you more, with an emphasis on ethical products and showcasing local Tasmanian talent... There's so much more to come!

Wishing you a wonderful rest of the week and happy new beginnings,

Lauren and Oberon. xx

Friday, 15 June 2012

Farewell from Bel


Thank you for supporting Spiral Garden during the past few years I have owned this business. It has been such a blessing to work with such gorgeous products, and the beautiful people who appreciate them.

With your enthusiasm, feedback and of course purchases, I have been able to nurture a hobby into a successful business.

NO we are not closing down - in fact this email brings GOOD news! I'm so excited to share with you that Spiral Garden has recently been purchased by Lauren & Oberon Carter!

Welcome to Lauren and Oberon!

Lauren & Oberon live, work and home educate their three young children in Hobart, Tasmania. Lauren has a background in textile design and Oberon works in conservation. They are particularly passionate about quality handmade, ethical and environmentally friendly products.

Lauren has supplied Spiral Garden with her own handmade products in the past, and has also been a long-term customer of Spiral Garden. We have a working relationship of a couple of years. I have no doubt that I've chosen wisely for the continuation of the business, and I know that Lauren & Oberon will do their best to meet your needs.
Lauren & Oberon are keen to hear your suggestions as customers, and also from potential suppliers. Please don't hesitate to email them at lauren @ or oberon @

Don't forget we currently have a HUGE stocktake sale running. About one-third of the products have already sold out, but there's still plenty of bargains - books, Debresk wooden toys from Sweden, dolls, games, items for your nature table - and more!
If you wish to unsubscribe from this mailing list, since it it changing hands, please do so. If you have any problems, contact us to help you.

This sale of the business will be finalised on 30 June, 2012. There will be a ONE WEEK delay in orders from that date, but the online store will remain open.

Please email me at spiralbel @ if you wish to contact me after June 30.

With love,


Belinda Moore

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Winter ... and big changes ahead!

Spiral Garden has some big, big changes ahead.  Our business will soon be nurtured by another home educating family, far away from Far North Queensland!  Spiral Garden will be trading out of Hobart, Tasmania, from 1 July 2012.

The online store will still offer lots of old favourites, but I’ve heard whispers of BIG plans for some amazing new products, gorgeous handmade items and lots of new ways to view and buy through Spiral Garden.  Stay tuned for more information!

** Don't forget that we still have some amazing Specials available, while current stocks last! **

Monday, 2 April 2012

Autumn Blessings (pssst - a sale!)

For the next two weeks, all orders of any size are eligible for a 15% discount if you use the code 'April 15' at Checkout. You must type this code into the Discount Coupon section to receive your discount.

We still have lots of Autumn stock available at Spiral Garden - books, bunting, dolls, playcloths, cards, gnomes, craft packs and more. Perfect for the Easter holidays! And for those of you in the northern hemisphere, Spring products are also fully stocked.

Don't forget to follow us on Facebook for news of sales, craft ideas, interesting articles, product reviews and more!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012


Do you have a nature table or season table?  We do, and it has grown and evolved alongside our family.  A friend shared this link with me the other day, for anyone looking for inspiration.  There are some stunningly simple ideas here, as well as amazing pieces of handcraft...

Hand Felted Playmat

Happy New Year!  Creative blessings to you all for an amazing 2012!