Waldorf Can be Budget Friendly with Rebecca of Bending Birches

January 19, 2011

We are joined today by Rebecca of the wonderful blog, Bending Birches. Rebecca is a stay at home mama who creates a serene and beautiful world for her son, while exploring Waldorf education on a budget. We hope that you enjoy these insightful tips for making the world of Waldorf a little bit more accessible.

Waldorf Can be Budget Friendly with Rebecca of Bending Birches

What a year we are looking towards!!

The finishing touches are being made on our Waldorf Inspired Playschool….
Operating this small group will be so very helpful in funding my waldorf early childhood teacher training.
I can hardly believe that this dream is becoming a reality…
Especially since I never, ever thought we could afford to furnish such a space. A space that would be filled with beautiful handmade items from so many different people..

All of this seemed so out of reach a few months ago..
but I can attest…where there’s a will…there is always a way!!
I am not one to focus on concrete items…the energy of our space will be the most important aspect. However, there were some core items I felt we should have…dolls to love, a wood playkitchen, a beautiful snack table, a carefully selected assortment of natural and handmade toys…

Everything else would be details that would arrive to us eventually…if it was meant to happen.

I’d love to share some advice that I’ve found to be helpful with you, dear friends…

:: Look second hand

You never know what is hiding in thrift stores, yard sales, estate sales..turn over every rock! Much awaits!

:: Try Ebay

I have found so many beautiful items on ebay for excellent prices…
I’ve also sold over $400 worth of things that were just laying around my house!
Dvds, clothing, baby items (cloth diapers, etc.), handbags, and electronics have sold very well and has helped us declutter.
Navigating through Ebay is basically easy. Don’t be intimidated!

:: Make connections and network

Become friendly with your local beekeepers for beeswax and other supplies..

Get to know your local sheep farmer..
Become involved in your Waldorf community…you never know who you will meet…perhaps they are looking to sell or give away gently used items…

:: Believe in the kindness of strangers

I recently met the most generous woman and doll vendor at a Waldorf Holiday Craft Bazaar.
Fate was on my side that day, and I won a beautiful gift basket full of Kathe Kruse dolls. W loves them; offering them kisses every chance he gets…

Last weekend, she called me to see if I was interested in some items she wasn’t selling in her Ebay store any longer…she offered them to our playschool for free.

Generous might be an understatement…

If you’re looking for beautiful dolls at very reasonable prices, check out her ebay store, Inspired by Waldorfs….tell her I sent you over; she may give you a discount!
I know I’ve mused about this before, but joining the Yahoo group Waldorf curriculum supplies was so very helpful…I have been able to find many Waldorf supplies at fantastic and generous prices…

the Wynstone series…a second hand steal at $45.00!
a large tin full of used stockmar crayons…free.

:: Repurpose and rethink

Much of the time, there are already treasures around the home (or found very cheap) that can be turned into something wonderful with a bit of creative thinking…

our repurposed festivity tier (originally it was a candle holder)

rethinking playstands (not in our budget at the time!)
silks + 2 chairs + clothespins….

The postcards above were not purchased. I cut them out of magazines, brochures for Waldorf schools, etc. and glued them onto cardstock. Free and lovely!!

The shelf is also repurposed!

:: Believe in Yourself

Oh, it sounds a bit cliche, but it’s so true! You have the power and creativity to live the life you’ve imagined! Nothing is out of reach! The power of the will is a force unparalleled….tap into it!

Make 2011 your year to use your creativity to the fullest!


Rebecca Smith is a stay at home mom from Bethlehem, PA who spends her days singing, crafting, studying to be an early childhood waldorf teacher, and scouring the internet and second hand stores for forgotten treasures! She blogs her findings and other musings at Bending Birches.

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Two Chicks and a Hen January 19, 2011 at 8:39 am

Woohoo–someone who is as thrifty as I am! These are some great ideas, particularly what you did to make the postcard art. I’m off to your blog right now :) .

. tiny twist creative . January 19, 2011 at 9:32 am

I just adore all of her ideas!

Cat Carter January 19, 2011 at 10:22 am

Lol…some people rescue dogs, some cats, I rescue furniture…the stuff folks toss by the road or leave in an alley. Thankfully I have had a Suburban at hand the past 3 years so it’s easier than in my Toyota days! lol.

I found a plastic kitchen the right size for my kids to replace a really poor and too small plastic kitchen someone gave them for Christmas. I know plastic isn’t the best but it was FREE and did the job for a while…then we found a *small* IKEA computer table someone else had tossed and bingo! Daddy’s workshop got a project. I wish I had taken “before” pics..cus it’s such an awesome kitchen now! We put in around $40 of wood and bolts and hinges and paint, but what a steal for a good-sized playkitchen! ;) no shipping required either..lol… (The plastic one is now outdoors in the backyard where it can take the caprices of SoCal weather better than lovely wood (rain one day, high temps the next, ya never know what you’re gonna get some days).

I continue to scour thrift stores…love them! Who shops at retail for anything? and it’s like treasure hunting!
But you do have to be patient…it takes time to phase things in/out but certainly worth it. I look forward to the day we are 80% Waldorf, which in our techy family is the closest we’ll probably get, but we are also medievalists/LOTR-Narnian/steampunkers so we shoot for a Victorianish and/or earthly-rustic-gothic look in things anyway…more soul than most modern styles so there’s an ambience and richness to it all as we make progress. Lol.

sherene cauley January 19, 2011 at 11:06 am

Great ideas Rebecca, and I had no idea you were so close. Maybe we will bump into you at some festival sometime. Do you come this way for MD sheep and wool?

heidi margit January 19, 2011 at 11:10 am

very useful and inspiring budget tips!

Lacey January 19, 2011 at 11:13 am

these are great ideas! We are making changes around our home slowly and steadily–but making connections certainly seems to help!

Nicola@Which Name? January 19, 2011 at 11:50 am

What a lovely article. These tips can apply frugally to just about anything! Patience and kindness can net a lot, can’t they. And if you have a Freecycle or Craigslist available in your area, tap those, too!

anna January 19, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Oh my goodness, this is done so beautifully. I think spaces like this, filled carefully and mindfully with beautiful things sourced from a range of places, are very often more beautiful than those filled straight from a catalogue.

I also think it’s a wonderful thing just to let everyone know what you’re looking for. I find it irresistable, when I hear someone has a dream, not to want to contribute something if I can. And I think many people are the same way. I love that so many people have contributed to this Playschool.

Mädchen für alles January 19, 2011 at 11:48 pm

I love things that you wright about. Every thing has second purpuse, so wy not use it .
Greetings from Germany.

ashley January 20, 2011 at 7:58 am

Bending Birches and Rhythm of the Home – Thank you for your inspiration and gorgeous blogs as a resource and support. Blessings on your work and play!

angie January 21, 2011 at 7:04 am

wonderful ideas… another playstand idea for the budget wise: when ours were little we got quilt racks from an unfinished wood shop nearby for $10 each. Though not as tall as some playstands they worked great for years!

Becca May 3, 2011 at 3:32 pm

I love, love, love this! I am all about doing Waldorf on a budget. So often Waldorf seems to fall into the abyss of materialism. I love that you are thinking creatively and making your way. Great tips!

Bella November 5, 2011 at 5:52 am

Love her site, and its wonderful to se how other´s use the waldorf inspiration in there lifes. Thank you!

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