I’m currently on maternity leave, and some of my colleagues have been kind enough to share their expertise through guest posts throughout the summer. The following comes to you from Bear Paw Creek owner Janet Stephens, who creates many of the wonderful movement props I use and love.

As a child, my dream was always to be a wife and mom. I got married while living in Alaska in 1997 with a baby soon to follow in 1998. My husband and I wanted to raise our family in the “Lower 48,” so the fall of 1999 found us moving to Missouri.

Part of my dream was to be able to stay home with my children. Shortly after our move, I was trying to figure out a way to bring in some income. Enter my big sister with an idea. She was a self-employed music therapist and discovered a need for movement props and endless quantities of fabric bags to stay organized–my sewing business was born.

I started creating and sewing stretchy bands, bean bags, Q Chord cases, tone chime cases, puppets, and tote bags. I started on the sewing machine I purchased in high school but soon found the need for my first of several industrial sewing machines. Those were the days before YouTube had tutorials on how to use industrial machines. It has been a continual learning experience.

In the spring of 2012, I took Kat Fulton’s fantastic Online Zenn Course and started working on building my web presence. My favorite outcomes of the class are the connections I made and “meeting” some of the people that actually use what I sew. It’s a pretty humbling and awesome experience to see and hear first hand how they are used.

While my sister was visiting last year, we were able to do a video shoot showcasing the stretchy band. Rachel Rambach wrote a fantastic song especially for the event. Here is one of the long awaited videos.

We also have a new and exciting Stretchy Band “cousin” going to be released soon. Can you imagine a stretchy band that can be used in a straight line and then connected together, combining different sizes for your needs? Watch for the Connect-a-Band™ coming out soon! Come get connected with us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+. You’ll be the first to know about our new products and sale events.

As always, our products are proudly made in America. So are all seven of my children–my dreams being fulfilled!