11.28.2016

Handmade Holiday Gift Guide • Handmade Happiness by Ruth

My holiday shopping deadline for Canada is December 1st, for the US is Dec 15th
Reagan Middle School Holiday Bazaar in Haymarket on December 4th 


Ruth in her own words...

Hi, I'm Ruth of Handmade Happiness by Ruth and I make toys.  I started making toys when my oldest was born, but didn't start selling the toys that I make until a friend saw my youngest at a Christmas party, up way past his bedtime, and instead of melting down like all the other kids, he was playing quietly with his car mat, perfectly content.  She bought 3 on the spot.  Once people realized I was selling toys, they started lining up to buy them.  

Handmade Happiness by Ruth seemed like the perfect name because I handmake every toy and they sure do bring a lot of happiness.
My biggest dream for my business is to grow to a size that I can employ women around the world, providing flexible jobs for the mamas out there who need to work, but want to be there for their children.  I have a vision that one day, when you open up a Handmade Happiness by Ruth package, there will be a card inside with the picture and a brief biography of the maker and what the positive employment opportunity means for her family.  "by Mary" or "by Tamar" or "by Sophia." 

As a licensed architect, my absolute favorite part of the business is designing new toys.  I will prototype a toy for weeks on end, having my two lead toy testers (my 5 and 3 year old boys) test out my designs and tell me what they love or don't love.  The joy they get from helping me design a new toy is beautiful to watch. 
My absolute least favorite part of the making process is making mistakes and pulling out stitches.  My seam ripper and I have a love hate relationship.
My friends all call me Ruthie because it was more fun to say that just plain Ruth.
I grew up in Tennessee in a little town just outside of Chattanooga and I now live in another small town, Winchester, Virginia (as far west from DC as you can go before you hit West Virginia).  I have a henna artist husband and two sweet boys, one who loves to cook with me, and one who loves to tell me stories. Watching them develop their own unique personalities brings home for me the reality that children everywhere are so unique, so I keep making new toys and new designs, hoping that out there somewhere is a child for whom the next design will be a perfect match.

This year is my first in business as I officially launched November of 2015.  So after the rush of the holidays, I will be taking 6 weeks off to rest, to recharge, to sleep more than 4 hours a night, to reconnect with my family, and to dream up new ideas for the coming year.  I am so excited for this break and what it will mean for our family to have mama fully engaged instead of half thinking of business all the time.  It will all start with my favorite part of the Christmas season: decorating our Christmas tree.  Last year, we couldn't share any photos of the fun because my then 2.5 year old insisted that he decorate the tree naked (he was potty training at the time), insisting that he WAS dressed because he had on socks. 

Shopping small and shopping handmade means so much to me, not just because it is my livelihood, but because my grandmother used to make so many things for us.  Every Halloween costume or fancy holiday dress was made for me by either my grandmother or my mother and every last one of them has a memory, a feeling of being so special.  When something is made with love and with care, it is almost as if some of that love and human connection rubs off on the item.  Handmade things just FEEL better.  Every item that I make is sent off with love and with prayers that the child on the receiving end will feel how precious he or she is to the people who gave the gift.  

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