Heartfelt is one of the cutest shops I have ever been to. And believe me, if you knew my mother, you would know that I have gone to my fair share of "cute" shops.
In my search for unique places in the Twin Cities, I was introduced to Heartfelt. After speaking to Lisa on the phone, I loaded my children up on a rainy late night. As my children bombarded the quaint little shop, I stood in open-mouthed awe.
Just by stepping into this shop, you are invited to quietly appreciate playing. You are encouraged to take a deep breath and enjoy with wonder what nature and your imagination can create. Lisa MacMartin, the founder, would not ask for anything else. Because once you take that breath and enjoy the wonder, you will see the magic through the eyes of a child, your child.
The ingredients that fill heartfelt are an array of natural crafting fibers (i.e. wool and beeswax), local artisan pieces, and toys.
You will not find Tonka trucks or Barbie dolls at heartfelt. Instead, you will find handcrafted (and as much as possible, USA made) wooden trucks, dolls, dollhouses, costumes.
And oh, the costumes! Princess hats, capes, tutus, dresses, wizard hats and capes, knight helmets, wooden swords and daggers. Everything an imagination may want to play fairytales out in the woods under the trees.
Not only were my children allowed to try on every single thing they wanted to wear, they were shown more! And Lisa, the Lord bless her, gently followed my children around helping to fasten and unfasten clips, reach and suggest costumes, and experience their joy.
Like I mentioned, the store is small, but I still feel like I wasn't able to see everything. With chairs placed around the floor of the store and a child-sized work counter and benches, the store welcomes you to sit and enjoy. The store is full, but it gives you plenty of space to breathe. I kept saying, "Oh, we are SO coming back here."I loved Lisa's philosophy of playing and creating with children because I just want to relax and let my children discover.
- A gigantic treehouse in the far corner of the store. I was told of this treehouse before I set foot in the store, but I had no idea what to expect. How exciting to go into a store and be invited to take your shoes off and crawl around in a little "secret" space made just for you.
- The store is a dog-friendly store! It welcomes your favorite beasts to join you whether that be your children or your dogs. They even have dog treats for you to enjoy (although hopefully you won't enjoy them).
- Lisa is warm and welcoming to all her customers--be it young or old. She really does invite you to enjoy your children; not conform them to who you want them to be. She joined Dash on the floor showing him all the different toys he could play with.
- The word organic was never used. Even though her store is full of organic material, she used the word natural. I don't know if this is intentional or not. Sometimes I feel the word organic is overused as it's the current buzz word. It was refreshing to hear the word natural being used referring to things actually from nature itself, and not just a "lifestyle."
- The treehouse is not made for the extremely small. Jack (being 22 months) excitedly rushed up its first small ladder and its second small ladder. It wasn't long before we heard a strangled cry and a tumble bump. I raced over to the tree and ducked into the opening in time to see him fall headfirst down the last small ladder. Did my mama arms work at bionic speed to save him? Oh, yes. Did I catch him in time? Let's just say I caught him as his head hit the floor. The poor little dude has a nice scratch on his eyebrow that was still very visible several days after our visit! Needless to say (but I'm going to say it anyway), Jack was not tempted to go into the tree house for the rest of our visit!
- A toddler is at a height where he can reach the toys with his fingertips, but most of them are too heavy for him to hold. Trucks and cargo came crashing down off the tabletops more than once. In conclusion, heartfelt is not best-designed children 2 and 1/2 and older.
While it is a shop, heartfelt focuses on its crafting classes (for preschoolers through adults) and birthday party options. While they have beautiful things to purchase in store, the emphasis is the worktables and benches around the store used for hands-on projects.Each month, different drop-in crafts are available. Offerings include crafts such as woodsy cottage, a leaf baby, a pompom hedgehog, kite-making, clothes peg mermaids, ribbon wind ring, little pot of grass, fairy garden, and a needle felted bluebird.They also offer specific crafts if you make an appointment: For instance, Needle-felting and Building a Fairy House (which I want to do with my girls so much).On this dark night, Lisa invited us to experience a drop-in craft. It was absolutely thrilling for the kids to participate.Let's just say that this face says what we thought of heartfelt, to a T.There is so much happening, and yet, in the midst of all the different activities heartfelt is a place that lets you stop and enjoy the experience.
This article was originally published by Gianna Kordatzky in April 2013
2018 Updates and Renovations Coming to Heartfelt
Seven years after opening in spring of 2011, Heartfelt is overflowing and getting ready to expand into an adjoining space. Renovations will also include opening up the tin ceiling currently hidden by a drop ceiling, installing a kitchenette with a dishwasher, adding an art sink and some redecorating. The target date for completion is spring break 2018.
Birthday Parties at Heartfelt
Heartfelt hosts craft-centric Birthday Parties. Contact the store for details.
Preschool Festivals at Heartfelt
Once a month Heartfelt offers gatherings for preschool families. Each festival includes a craft or two and a snack. The program is aimed at children ages 2½+ with an adult, but all ages are welcome. The cost is $18 for the first adult/child pair and $10 for each additional child per family. Advance registration is required for this program.
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