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The Best Eco Pen & Eco Craft Options – & Not Just for the Kids

Eco Pen 7 Eco Craft Supplies For the Conscious Parent

Eco Pen & Eco Craft Supplies For the Conscious Parent

Doing craft, coloring, drawing, making, cutting, slicing, sticking is a big part of kids’ lives, and they use a lot of ‘stuff’ doing it. So thinking about the impact on the environment of all this activity means eco craft & eco pen supplies do matter. After doing a rather soul destroying sort out and throw out of the kid’s dud felt tip marker pens, I wondered whether apart from using wax crayons and recycled or sustainable colored pencils, (and recycled paper to draw on), was there an eco pen option for kids specifically for coloring (not just writing)?

Then it occurred to me that actually with the new craze of coloring pages for adults catching on, eco-friendly pens, especially felt tip pens are kind of important for the big kids too (because who wants to use that fantastically awful product the Bic Pen For Women to do coloring with?).

So off I set on the internet hunt to find an eco friendly pen for colouring, to assuage my conscience of the probably millions & billions of plastic felt tip pens and markers that no longer have any love to give gathered in landfills everywhere. You see only part of most felt tip pens is recyclable (the lid), so the rest? Well you know the drill, it takes petrochemicals & heaps energy to make then, then after short term use our rainbow hued releasers of childhood imagination end up in landfill leaching chemicals into the soil and yup eventually the waterways. Ace.

Because nothing says ‘the wonder of childhood’ quite like making products that pollute their future.

So are there any Eco Pens on the Market Suitable for Coloring In?

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Our New Kid

As we get closer to launching (incrementally!), I have focussed a little more on what ‘muka kids’ is all about and how to best convey that in the imagery. With a bit of thinking what I knew was missing from our current design was the ‘quirk factor’. muka kids is all about stepping outside of the way we currently do things in kids clothing.

It is a new model of making and using kids clothing that is kinder, more sustainable, innovative and just happier. Drawing heavily on how clothes were made,bought and used 20, 30, 50 years ago, but looking firmly to the innovation need for the future. The clothes themselves are all about celebrating how kids really live their lives, the vibrancy they bring to world, and the totally unique way they have of being in the world around them (no stereotypes or mini adults here). So what was needed was something that told this story: retro quirky fun.

When you bootstrap a social enterprise you get pretty good at turning your hand to many things (not always with great success I add) and while I am like a pig in muck with design I do draw the line at coding and pattern making.

So I read a heap of kids books looking closely at what elements of kids illustrations work really well..


Lost & Found by Oliver Jeffers. SUCH beautiful images

Lost & Found by Oliver Jeffers. SUCH beautiful images

I risked giving the ever willing child a large stick and took lots of photos…

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The Story of Grinling

Grinling, is a wee seagull who makes an appearance all over the show in muka kids first designs. Here is his story.

Grinling started life with no name at all, just as some amateur doodles by me.

Before he had a name

Before he had a name

I have always love our native seabirds, perhaps because the coasts & beaches of New Zealand are so fundamental in our childhood experiences as kiwis.  Over the years I have much admired the colour palette of our Red Billed Gull. Grey & Red & White. Classic.

 Summer days on the idyllic Coromandel

Summer days on the idyllic Coromandel

Then the talented Genevieve Packer took my doodles, my vague and waffly talk about hand drawn images, the rocky shore and seagulls and he was born… Continue Reading →

Filming Muka Kids: Part 2

Yesterday we shot the second part of our film about muka kids (for our super exciting secret crowdfunding project). This was the hard one. Thanks, however, to some amazingly supportive friends & family and their very obliging children, it was a relatively smooth process. I think the kids even had some fun!

We filmed in a super space, with beautiful art by Ngatai Taepa taking pride of place. Ngatai’s work is so fantastically aligned to the ethos of muka kids it was just perfect.  If you are in Wellington you should check out his exhibition in fact.

Now we have been selected as one of the nine projects for the secret launch, the pressure is really on to do a great job of this video, here is a peak…


entertainment provided

entertainment provided


lovely space


entertainment required


the real director


a few tips


so this one?


no I think you will find it is this one..


could you just ..?

balloon fun

balloon fun


yep there is at least THREE jelly beans in here


still smiling


fun times

kiddy wrangler a must

kiddy wrangler a must


Filming Muka Kids. Part 1

Today we filmed the first section of our new video all about muka kids.  Mostly me talking….phew. Part 2 on Sunday.

and again ....

and again ….


camera & sound & lighting

camera & sound & lighting

it is all high tech stuff in a start up

it is all high tech stuff in a start up

The Quiet and Important Art of Navel Gazing


mr mouse I love you

mr mouse I love you

I think infrequently (probably it should be more frequently) about the luck of being born here, into freedom, and a culture that celebrates diversity and art and expression, and everything that offers my children. If offers more than just the very obvious – an appreciation of art and culture – it offers a more nebulous appreciation of there being other experiences, other ways to see the world, and certainly other realities than their own. All of which I hope builds people concerned about and interested in the experiences of others, which to my mind is a valuable commodity in a world facing a lot of serious challenges that require some significant actions.

So this is a wee ode to the lovely collision of art and children. This weekend we spent a small amount of time (children seriously have SUCH short attention spans) at the City Gallery in Wellington. Downstairs was a fantastically interactive series of installations by Seung Yul Oh, which was full of children having fun and grown-ups having fun, and children and grown-ups having fun watching each other have fun.

And behold upstairs was an entire selection of wonderful, quirky and thought provoking children’s books published by gecko press, oh and some bean bags.

So if you are in Wellington any time in the next month or so, kids or no, step into a bit a joy and appreciate if you can, your wee bit of luck and what art and culture can do for us all.




a quiet moment immersed

a quiet moment immersed


light and movement

light and movement