New Products Include Make Your Own Streamers and Guitar Case

New Products Include Make Your Own Streamers and Guitar Case

I have been busy with trying to knock some to do items off my list, but it keeps growing!  I am sure you can relate to that.

One of my lists is new product ideas. I’m always thinking up more and getting suggestions from customers, so I have finally added a few to the site and updated some other products.

I will also sharing a 20% off code for Black Friday/Cyber Monday.  AND – a special Gratitude = Giving event that will be happening in the Bear Paw Creek Insiders group on Facebook.

Read on to learn more!

2017 new products cyber sale

Make Your Own Streamers, Bags, and Balloon Balls

Make Your Own Streamers

A little story, for 15 years I made our hoops for our streamers out of food grade tubing. Safe right?  Well – a few years ago they failed the test for compliance on phthalates.  WHAT!  I was truly surprised since this is food grade tubing, meaning we are consuming drinks out of it.  So – I went on the hunt for compliant hoops.  I landed on poly-carbonate and had a bunch made up.

Make Your Own Hoop Streamers - 4" Poly-carbonate Hoops

I thought it would be fun to offer these for sale so you can make your own streamers!  At $1.25 each, this can help the budget and for those creatives out there, you’ll love being able to make your own styles up. You could even re-use them, tying on themed streamers, and taking them off for another event.   Get your kids or clients involved making them!

Here some ideas of how you can do it:

  • cut plastic table cloths into strips and tie them on
  • ribbons
  • fabric strips  (thrift stores are great places to find fabric, sheets, or even clothing) 
  • yarn
  • crepe paper streamers

Martin Backpacker Guitar Case

At a customer’s request, I’ve made up a case for the Martin Backpacker guitar. This was a fun project.  I am still testing this product out on a few more people before I completely launch it, but if you are interested in it, shoot me an email and I’ll put you on the list.  This product will be custom made to order, and will have limited availability each year.

The customer will be able to pick from my fabric stash, or send me their own choosing.  Here is the fabric and case for the original customer.

Fabric with birds on Custom Martin Backpacker Guitar Soft Gig Carrying Bag

Bag on Custom Martin Backpacker Guitar Instrument Case

 

 

 

I used the left over fabric to make up drawstring bags for her!

 

Extra Drawstring Bags from Custom Martin Backpacker Guitar Soft Gig Carrying Bag

Zipper Pouches

I just added more small zipper pouches to the site with a few new colors!  These little pouches were originally made for small first aid kids to our 4-H group.  The kids love to clip them on their bag, or belt loop to carry items in.

Balloon Ball Additions

 

We are always coming up with new balloon balls!  The apple one was suggested by Miss Carole of Macaroni Soup and the acorn by our daughter.  We also attempted a banana, but so far that has been a fail! Another one on the list is a Christmas ornament.

 

Apple Balloon Ball

 

[Tweet “New BPC Products: create your own streamer, Martin backpacker guitar case, balloon balls, bags.”]

 

Stand Up Bag

 

These bags were inspired by my sister who wanted a bag that she could store egg shakers in and it would stand up so the kids could throw them in.  These stand up bags are 12″ tall by 6″ wide.  Great for storing small instruments or other items in.

 

Limited Stock on these. 

 

Bear Paw Creek New Stand Up bag for small instruments or items

 

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale and a  Month of Gratitude

Get 20% off everything (with free shipping) from Friday November 24, 2017 through Tuesday November 28, 2017.

Use this code at check-out: cyber

AND….a month of gratitude will begin on November 27 in our Bear Paw Creek Insiders group on Facebook.  If you haven’t – come join us! 

GRATITUDE = Four Weeks of GIVING

Janet Stephens is the founder and creator behind Bear Paw Creek’s creative movement props and bags. She is passionate about learning and sharing along the way.

Boomwhacker® and Boom Tote Giveaway

 

Do you use Boomwhackers®? 

 

In this post I will share a little bit of history and my current favorite video of them in use.

 

Creator of the Boom Tote, Michelle Erfurt, is partnering with us for this giveaway!

 

Boomwhackers® Boom Tote

History of Boomwhackers®

Have you ever played with Boomwhackers®?  They are a wonderful addition to the music world: they are affordable, great for group participation, spark creativity, and can open up music to many that wouldn’t have a chance to play an instrument.

My current favorite Boomwhacker®  video out there is by Louie’s Cage Percussion.  It is a song medley – enjoy!

Because of my curious nature, I wanted to find out about the history of the Boomwhackers®.  The about us page from boomwhacker.com had some great information, but I enjoyed the article at Wikipedia even more.

I also love that they are manufactured in the USA, which means more jobs are created and revenue is put back into our economy.

American Craig Ramsell reportedly came up for the idea for his boomwhackers in 1994 while at home recovering from radiation therapy for cancer. While cutting cardboard tubes into shorter lengths for recycling he happened to notice the different pitches resulting from the different lengths and decided to investigate their creative potential. He experimented with various plastics before settling on plastic mailing tubes.[1] He and his partner, wife Monnie Ramsell, formed DrumSpirit as a sole proprietorship to market the tubes. The original plastic boomwhackers were first produced in 1995. The current version, which is far more durable than the earlier prototype, was released in 1997.

Ramsell started Whacky Music, Inc. in 1998, marketing a wider variety of boomwhacker sets and materials. Boomwhackers are now available to span 3½ chromatic octaves. (The addition of the Octavator Tube Caps in 1999 allowed for the third lower octave.)

In July, 2009 the Sedona, Arizona-based Whacky Music, Inc., sold its interests to Rhythm Band Instruments LLC of Fort Worth, Texas, through an asset purchase agreement. Boomwhackers are made in the USA and distributed internationally by Rhythm Band Instruments.

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They Just Keep Rolling

Creator of the Boom Tote, Michelle Erfurt shares the following:

Boomwhackers®: loved by students and teachers… except when they need organized. How could a bunch of little tubes be so hard to keep together? It’s like they have a mind of their own… they just keep… rolling.

There is a solution: The Boom Tote, a Boomwhacker® storage bag with a closeable drawstring top to make them all stay in one place and a mesh top so you can see if you remembered all of them. There’s even a zippered pocket for your extras.

 

Want one? You can only get them at Bear Paw Creek and right now, we’re giving away a Boom Tote + a set of Boomwhackers®.

Boomwhacker and storage bag Boom Tote giveaway

Save

Janet Stephens is the founder and creator behind Bear Paw Creek’s creative movement props and bags. She is passionate about learning and sharing along the way.

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Movement Prop & Musical Instrument Organization

Organizing for traveling music therapists, educators, caregivers, and professionals

 

 

As a traveling professional, organizing on the go is a must. Your vehicle serves as your office, lunch room, and closet all at the same time.

In part 2 of this organization series, we explore the intricacies of being a traveling professional who travels from site to site.

You can read part 1 here.

 

organizing-traveling-professionals-blog-post-sm

Practical considerations for traveling professionals:

  • Utilize a large tote bag for your various materials and for your larger instruments like hand drums, paddle drums, sound shape drums, tambourines, and all of the accessories (BONUS TIP: I recommend contacting a vendor who sells Thirty-One bags and accessories – they have a nice selection of sturdy bags of all sizes that may hold your materials, instruments, and movement props very well)
  • Organize your smaller materials, like small rhythm instruments, streamers, and scarves, in totes and bags — doing this makes it super simple to grab what you need right in the middle of a session or class
  • Use a rolling cart, rolling luggage, or even a wagon (more on this in a bit!)
  • Find and use a good quality gig bag for your guitar and invest in a Guitten
  • Use a BoomTote to keep all of your Boomwhackers together instead of letting them roll all over the car trunk

[Tweet “Are you a traveling professional? Organization tips and tricks via @BearPawCreek: “]

 

Getting from Point A to Point B: 

Transporting all.the.things from place to place can be a tricky job! 

Rolling carts are always a plus — two traveling music therapists share their favorite traveling accessories below: 

Just Keep Rollin’
Jody Tucker of Access Music Therapy, LLC in Duluth, MN, shares her favorite rolling bag, her visuals, and other cool materials she can keep in her HUGE travel bag…pssst, think ocean drum!

Bumping Up And Down in an EasyGoWagon
Linda of RhythmWORKS Music Therapy, LLC in Chicago, IL, shares her favorite music wagon – and it’s easily foldable and carries a ton of equipment. Check out her post!

Additional things to help you along your way:

  1. Phone and phone charger
  2. Podcasts (for when you are stuck in traffic or have a longer commute between sites)
  3. Mileage log or app
  4. Voice memo app (for when you think of a great idea, you can quickly record it for future use)
  5. Hand sanitizer
  6. A good ice scraper/snow brush or sunshade for your vehicle
  7. Umbrella

Katey of On a Good Note has written an entire Traveling Music Therapist blog series on apps, podcasts, and tips just for traveling music therapists. Check it out!

Take care of your vehicle:

Carve out time to take care of your car. Get regular oil changes and car washes, vacuum all of the seats and trunk, and throw away all the coffee cups.

Also, take some time to organize all of your materials. This is the most important step. As I wrote in Part 1 of this series, having an organized space certainly makes your life as a therapist, educator, or professional much easier.

Be flexible as a traveling professional:

Amy Buser, music therapist and owner of Wholesome Harmonies, LLC, in Miami, FL, shares about the one day she forgot all of her materials for her music therapy sessions. She relied on her music therapy training, as well as her spontaneous creativity to get through the day. 

And finally, a little humor to lighten your way:

 

mt-meme-bpc

Do you have a great organizing tip or resource for those professionals who travel frequently? Please share in the comments below.

Written by: Julie Palmieri, MM, MT-BC is the owner of Serenade Designs, which specializes in helping music therapists create, enhance, and rock their online presence. She is a board-certified music therapist, wife, and Momma to 2 beautiful girls. Visit her website and follow her on social media: Serenade-Designs.com

Movement Prop & Musical Instrument Organization

Organizing for clinics, studios, and classrooms

We know how important organization is for music therapists and music teachers, whether you have a clinic space, a studio, a classroom, or if you travel from site to site in your mobile office on four wheels (aka your vehicle!!).

In part one of this two-part series on organization, we explore ways to organize your clinic, studio, and classroom spaces (read Part 2 here). 

Utilizing wall space

Whether you have a thriving studio or a busy classroom, having your movement props and musical instruments stored up and off the ground is advantageous. This keeps some of your most important tools away from curious hands.

Using a guitar wall mounts/hangers is a perfect way to keep your guitar safe. This neat guitar wall mount from Wallaxe.com is visually appealing and super cool (and bonus points because their products are made in the USA!).

wallaxe-guitar-mount

If you are handy and want to make your own guitar wall mount for your clinic or classroom space, you can easily search for “DIY guitar mount” or “DIY guitar stand.” You’ll find hundreds of results, building plans, and ideas.

[Tweet “Ideas for organizing your clinic space, studio, and classroom via @BearPawCreek.”]

 

Our friends at Music Therapy Connections in Springfield, Illinois have put together a neat and efficient slatwall that easily holds movement props (there’s the Stretchy Band!), books, baskets of instruments, and special materials for their early childhood music classes.

music-therapy-connections-organize

The team at MTC shares their process and the reasoning behind using this simple wall piece that can be purchased right from a local hardware store. It’s a perfect solution for them as it keeps their instruments better protected and cuts down on distractions for their students and clients.

Establishing storage areas

Having a separate storage space in your clinic or classroom space is a nice perk, as well.

Whether your movement props, musical instruments, and visuals are stored in a closet, an office, or simply a bin or bookcase, having a storage makes your life a little bit easier.

Everything is in its’ own place so that you can easily find it for the next time.

Organizing for itinerant Music Therapists

Music therapist Kathy Schumacher from Tuneful Teaching shared exactly how she organizes her music therapy equipment — from instruments to puppets to visuals. She primarily uses drawstring bags, tote bags, and an organized system of labels.

Having an organized space certainly makes your life as a therapist, educator, or professional much easier.

For more organizing ideas, make sure to visit our Pinterest board for organizing!

TIP FOR PROFESSIONALS

Place an instrument (eggshaker, jingle bell, rhythm sticks, small tambourine) in a drawstring bag. Give it a shake and see if your students or clients can guess the instrument.

Great for sound identification and awareness goals.

Tell us — what are your tips and tricks for organizing your clinic space, studio, or classroom? Leave a comment below!

Written by: Julie Palmieri, MM, MT-BC is the owner of Serenade Designs, which specializes in helping music therapists create, enhance, and ROCK their online presence. She is a board-certified music therapist, wife, and Momma to 2 beautiful little girls. Visit her website and follow her on social media: Serenade-Designs.com

Re-useable Fabric Drawstring Gift Bags

Re-useable Fabric Drawstring Gift Bags

Probably about ten years ago my sister started making fabric drawstring gift bags for Christmas and birthdays.  That is also what she started asking from me to make for her gifts – drawstring bags!  About four years ago, I got on board with converting all our wrapping paper over to fabric.  It has been wonderful and so much less waste for gift giving.  Drawstring bags are so versatile that they make a great gift in themselves.

You can find a four pack of Christmas print drawstring bags on our site for $10.

For the third year we are also sending a Christmas print bag with every order in December.

Wrapping Up 25 Christmas Books

I also saw a fun idea on wrapping up 25 Christmas books to open each day with your children. I need to add a few more to my shelf to equal 25, but we started opening and reading on Dec. 1.

Opening Christmas Books in drawstring bag count down

Please tell me your favorite book so I can build my wish list to get to my goal of 25 Christmas books!

Christmas print re-useable drawstring bag

 

Can you wrap a pile of presents like this in 32 minutes with out paper or tape? 

Check out the blog post all about it!

PIle of Christmas gifts to be wrapped

Wrapping presents in 32 minutes

Wrapping presents in 32 minutes?

Guest blog post by Kathy Schumacher of Tuneful Teaching

Well, it’s December 24, 2014, and I have managed to put off my gift wrapping until today.  This is actually the first time I’ve procrastinated until this late in the season.  Was I stressed just thinking about the task?  Nope, not at all. 

I knew I had this tote of reusable fabric “wrapping paper” waiting for me.  Some of the fabric holds special meaning.  One is made from Grandma’s apron fabric.  Others we’ve been using for so many years that the kids recognize the bags and enjoy the familiarity of it all. 

Tote of Christmas print drawstring bags for wrapping

 

So, here’s my pile of gifts.  I started wrapping at 11:15 and was completely finished by 11:47 — that’s exactly 32 minutes!  

PIle of Christmas gifts to be wrapped

Our tradition is to have “Santa” bring the presents in the stockings and one present under the tree, usually a family game or puzzle.  That’s why you see one present in traditional wrapping paper.  I performed this present-wrapping feat on my ironing board this year–I don’t recommend it–for the simple fact that I was hiding in my closet to accomplish the job due to the late date.

Drawstring fabric bags wrapping paper for Christmas presents

The tags are cut out of last years’ Christmas cards and hole punched.  I tie one simple knot to close the bag, put a tag through one string and then tie a bow without an additional knot before the bow.  This makes unwrapping easier for the kids.  

Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 6.21.25 AM

Oh, I also get rid of all packaging before I wrap.  Huge time saver and stress reliever come Christmas Day!

The dark blue bag is one that I made large enough to hold a saucer sled many years ago.  Occasionally, we have a present that big, but usually I just use it to hold all the presents.  When those big presents do come around, it sure is nice not to waste all that paper!

 Giant drawstring fabric storage bag.

So, that’s our tradition.  I highly recommend giving it a try!  My sister, Janet, has a version of these fabric bags for sale.  Janet and I have also thought about putting a simple pattern together in case you’re interested in making your own.  If that’s something that interests you, please leave a comment below!​
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