Friday, September 28, 2012

Feature Friday! With Christine from Christines Baby

I skipped Mon and Wed's posts due to lack of anything I felt was interesting to share and focusing on schoolwork but hope to be back to the regular blog schedule next week!




Today, I am thrilled to introduce you to Christine from Christines Baby on Etsy!  She has an absolutely adorable and original selection of children's items-Enjoy!
 
Tell us a little about yourself and how your shop came into being:


Hooded Towel
About 2.5 years ago, I became a stay-at-home mom after working my entire life. Before children, my creativity was poured into my day job - I was in sales, and was responsible for creating a lot of my own marketing materials. It was nice to have a break for a while and to focus on raising my first son, but when I became pregnant again, I felt this absolute *need* to make him a layette. So I did – I made blankets and burp cloths, hooded towels and washcloths. And then I started to make them as gifts for friends who were pregnant when someone suggested that I should try selling them on Etsy. Thus, Christine’s Baby was born! As my children grow and change, so do the offerings in my shop. I’m no longer just making baby blankets, but clothing, accessories, and goods for the home as well. I’m also now offering embroidery, monogramming, and applique thanks to my new sewing and embroidery machine!


What inspires you?

Fleece Mittens
My children inspire me to constantly do more, and to do it well. My oldest son loves to go to the fabric store with me and has a really great eye for color and pattern. He will find a fabric or a piece of ribbon and tell me I need to make something with it (which is how my Pirate Shorts came into being). And I love to be challenged – I’ll see a picture in a magazine or a piece of clothing in the store and think, “hmmm. . . I could do that!” And then I just have to go home and try!


What do you like to do when you are not creating?You can usually find me at the park with my kids! My husband and I also love to travel, and we try to get to the Caribbean at least once a year. We also love good wine and visiting Napa (so beautiful, no matter what time of year it is!)

What is your favorite item that you've created?


Waterproof Diaper Clutch
I have so many favorites! The most functional item I created for *me* has got to be the water-resistant diaper clutch. A year ago, I was constantly on the go with my son and would throw a water bottle in my bag along with my phone and some diapers. My phone and diapers would always get soggy from the condensation, and I couldn’t find a product at a reasonable price point in fabric that I liked that would protect my diapers and phone. So, I designed and made the diaper clutch. I still use it in my purse today (and have sold quite a few!) My new favorite has got to be the princess shirt/ruffle skirt outfit - I don’t have girls of my own, and it was fun to make something so frilly!


Favorite purchase or shop on etsy?

I love to browse the treasuries. They are so much fun, and introduce me to new shops and ideas. There are so many creative people out there!

Onesie Dress

Any local events coming up that you will be selling at or shops where your work is displayed?

Unfortunately, no. I’m hoping to start doing some craft shows within the next year, but nothing in the near future. But I do love doing custom work (whether sewing or embroidery/applique)!


 
 
If you would like to contact Christine or keep up with her newest creations, find her here:



Thanks Christine!

If you would like to be have your business, blog, or website featured send me an email at mastarkey81@yahoo.com or convo me through my Etsy shop!

Have a great weekend!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Feature Fridays! Edi from Memoriesforlifesb

Here is our first Friday Feature!  Edi is a shop owner at Memoriesforlifesb and is stopping by today to tell us a little about herself and her work:

Tell us a little about yourself and how your shop came into being:

Baby Photo Album Scrapbook
I've been paper crafting for over 15 years. I started out in stamping and then moved to scrapbooking. My shop started small with handmade greeting cards and soon I added scrapbooks. In February 2011 I purchased a laser engraver and my whole world changed! This machine gave me the ability to expand my creativity and my shop. It also allowed me to quit my factory job I'd been at for 10 years! I'm now able to offer a wide variety of items in my shop and I can personalize each one :)


 
 
 
What inspires you? 
Personalized Wedding Guest Book
My inspiration seems to come in waves. I'll see something and think of 20 other ideas that it can be made into. Like a wooden magnet...it can become a pendant, an earring, a key chain. And why not make them in color? And what about shapes? My brain works like this in circles thinking of new things all the time...and all it takes is one little idea :)

What do you like to do when you are not creating?
During the summer my boyfriend and I enjoy air boating. It's so relaxing to be on the river and out in nature! I also enjoy quiet movie nights on the couch :)

What is your favorite item that you've created?
Baby's First Christmas Ornament
I love making engraved photos! It's so amazing watching them come to life on the wood!
I also love making items for weddings (like my guest books and invitations). This allows me to work closely with my customers and be a small part of their big day.

Favorite purchase or shop on etsy?
I don't have one shop in particular, but I think I could browse the jewelry section for hours every day!

Any local events coming up that you will be selling at or shops where your work is displayed?
I have 4 shows planned for this fall. One in September, two in October and one in November. I also sell on consignment at two local wineries.

Personalized Bridal Party Flutes
If you would like to contact Edi or keep up with her, go to her etsy shop and/or blog:
memoriesforlifesb.etsy.com
memoriesforlifescrapbooks.blogspot.com

Thanks Edi!


If you have a shop, blog, or webpage that you would like featured just send me an email at mastarkey81@yahoo.com or send a convo to my Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/thegiftgarden

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

WIP Wednesday!

Here it is, another Wednesday!  How has your week been going?  Let's see, I can barely remember Monday for some reason-I think it was kind of a lazy day.  Yesterday, my hubby stayed home because he wasn't feeling well Monday.  Took the kiddos to the partnership yesterday, let them play for a while, came home with some tinker toy-type toys and some counting worms with activity cards.  I think they'll really enjoy them.  Anyway, having the extra person home really threw me out of my routine.  So, now I'm trying to get back in it!

I finished my fall quilted table runner-yay!


I am hoping to start on the Halloween one this week.   Need to order some black quilting thread. 

Here is the other project I'm working on:
It will be a crochet lap blanket.  Eight more strips to go! 

I cannot wait to see what everyone else has been up to!  Linking to Freshly Pieced's blog.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Motivated Mondays-Being the Glue

Mid-September already, can you believe it?! 

Someone told me recently that the mom in a family is the glue that holds the whole household together.  While I think I knew that on some level, I am realizing how much we really do hold it all together.  More than that, we are like a little bag of tools, ready to make all the quick fixes needed to keep a machine running smoothly. 

Hammering out the kinks.  We have the abilitiy to read others' emotions and tweak them as needed.  Example from this morning (already): My 4 year old had tears at the ready at every little thing.  He didn't like the cup I put his milk in, he couldn't accept that a dvd had to go in its case at one spot versus the one he wanted to put it in, his brother touched his blanket, we didn't have the breakfast he wanted, etc.  He is not sick, probably just got up too early or woke up emotional.  As frustrated as it made me, I realized patience and discussion was the best route. The moodiness has resolved on its own, and now we have our normal goofy 4 yr old back.

Oiling the machine.  We have the running to-do list in our heads.  Ours is most obvious when trying to leave the house.  My husband is always asking  "Okay, what else do we need to do?".  Even though it's the same list everytime, with some minor changes, I guess it's like a cheat sheet.  Our tasks for them are like little drops of oil to  keep them moving and efficient, while we complete our tasks. 

Performing routine maintainance.  Clothes get washed and put away, dishes get cleaned, food is always available, and meals are cooked and served.  We keep the house running smoothly, and most times, the other members forget or do not realize how much gets done. 

Most importantly, we are the glue, used to hold everyone together, make quick fixes, and bond to each other. 

I'm sure I could take this to a deeper level, but a certain 2 yr old is playing with my hair and trying to mess with the computer...

For me, I'm honored to have this responsibility.  At times, it does get frustrating and  overwhelming.  But, I am so blessed to have a husband is understanding and supportive.  He has no problem stepping in when I need it.  My husband and kids motivate me every day to be better. 

Every household has its own dynamics.  What do you compare yourself to? 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Finds!

It's Friday!  As if you didn't already know.  So, I decided to switch it up a bit- I have been doing "Finished Fridays" posts but have realized that I'm really not going to have something completed every Friday.  And when I do complete something, I am not going to want to wait until Friday to share.  Plus, reading about me all of the time must get boring.  So, I decided to do either Friday Finds or Feature Fridays. 

Friday Finds will be things that I have found around Etsy, Pinterest, or wherever that I think are just amazing, awesome, etc.  Feature Fridays will be one shop on Etsy, business, or blog.  So, if you have one of those and would like to be featured, send me an email at mastarkey81@yahoo.com.

So here are a few of my favorite things:


White Apricot Tea by teaman on Etsy

 
 
 
That tea looks delicious, doesn't it?!  I have the Christmas blend from Teaman and love it.  He included another type of tea in my order-I love freebies!  He has a ton of different types of tea and coffee.  The teas are in tea bags or loose and are available as sampler sets.  Clicking on the picture above should take you to the listing for the white apricot tea and from there you can browse his selection.
 
 
 

 
Pineapple Flowers tee from Flytrap


I have this shirt from Flytrap on Etsy and LOVE it!  The material is so comfortable and I love that the flower design has a little story behind their creation.  They have a great selection of various t-shirts for men, women, and children, scarves, dresses, and more.  This is one of the shops that I go back to constantly just to browse and plan on ordering much more as soon as I can.  
Soap by TracyeGurleyBathBody

Another wonderful shop I have found on Etsy.  TraceyGurleyBathBody has some wonderful products, designs and creates all of her labels, and has serviced some of the stars!  I have her Gardenia lotion and Lavender & Linen Lotion.  The texture is thick and moisturizes wonderfully without being oily and the scent is strong and delicious without being overbearing. 

Ugh, now I want to go shopping for me!  So, these are just some of the amazing products that come from amazing shops that are run by some amazing people.  Christmas is coming up fast so you may want to start browsing...

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

WIP Wednesday!

This week is going by wonderfully, and I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to stay home with my children.  This life of staying home with them feels so much more fulfilling.  Don't get me wrong, we  still have some bad moments and some "what were you thinking?!" moments, but overall, I am very happy with my decision to stay home.  Hopefully, our finances will be happy too; guess we'll see.

The weather has started to cool down here; which is probably helping with my inner joy.  The kiddos and I have been playing outside more; that is definitely good for all of us!  I would love to get some weeding done but our yard is garden spider central this year and I just haven't felt like dealing with  them.  We've also seen more snakes this year.  Well, maybe about the same as last year but this year they have been closer to the house.  I do not do snakes.  I'm terrified of them.  I've taken huge steps this year-I have gone to the serpentarium twice.  Once was at feeding time.  I still can't go into the little boxed in area of snakes at the pet store.  I can go near the glass at zoos and serpentariums, but not pet stores.  I think I feel like their tanks are less secure.  I will not go in to my brother-in-law's house for that same reason.  I believe he has 8 snakes?!  No thanks.  Anyway...

We planted some seeds: various beans, lettuce, carrots, and some herbs.  The lettuce has sprouted but I can't ever seem to get it to grow past this first stage.  Most of the beans have sprouted.  No carrots, but they take longer I think.  No herbs, but it's probably too cold for them.  I WILL learn how to successfully garden!  Planning on taking the boys to the farmer's market today.  Last year they had some delicious apples, so I am kind of hoping to see them again this year.  I would love to find an orchard nearby to take them to, but I think the closest is still a few hours away.



Switching gears...

WIP WEDNESDAY

I have found that having various projects in the works can be nice to switch things up, but can also start to frazzle me. 

I am hoping to get my orange yarn in today to finish the orange kitchen towel with the black stripe shown in last week's post.

I've also started crocheting a blanket but need the orange yarn (and black) that should come in the mail today.  I made this blanket for my cousin.  At first I was a little bothered by the size-it is more of a lap blanket than full afghan.  But, I think it will be a good lap blanket or I could always add more to it.  We'll see.  I was really happy with how the colors popped against the black.  I don't have much done so you'll have to wait to see as it progresses. 



I've got my fall table runner together and have started quilting it.  I finished the first set of diagonal lines and have started doing the other set.  SO far, no bubbles.  The material seems to be a little puffier than I would like.  But, after the start I had with it on Friday, I'm not complaining!  It seems I have to learn the same lessons over and over.  1) Don't try to start something if you are already frustrated and not able to focus completely.  2) Read up on necessary steps before jumping in.  I was irritated Friday so decided starting to quilt the table runner would be a good idea.  NOT.  My 2yr old woke up during the process but I continued on in my quest, even though I knew better.  I couldn't install the walking foot (not focused because it was actually easy) and when I ran my project through to do the first and second diagonal lines, the backing shifted drastically.  Well, that put me over the edge.  I thought the walking foot was supposed to keep that in line!?  After I calmed down, I did some research and found that the walking foot does not work miracles.  I learned about taping the back down and pinning galore.  It made a hug difference!  Now this table runner isn't perfect but so far I'm happy with how it is looking.  I'm using YLI quilting thread and so far I like it but don't have anything to compare it to.  I think fussy cutting the leaves distorted my squares a little (all operator error).  I think having a clear template would be much easier, will have to put that on my list.  So, what do you think?
 
Finally, my last WIP for today is a Halloween table runner.  I started cutting squares out last night but think I may make it a little longer:
 

Alright, time to try and squeeze in some school work before the munchkins wake up.  Have a blessed day!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Motivated Mondays!

Here it is, another Monday has come around.  Have you found your motivation for the week?  I think I have; let's see if it sticks around all week. 

I am motivated to be a more intentional teacher/mom.  Although, I still feel like the boys and I are settling into our new lifestyle, I feel like I need to be even more on top of things.  I had tv pretty limited but noticed it crept back into our daily routine more as the week went on.  It was so convenient to let them watch one thing so I could get something done.  Not this week.  They weren't watching junk and were learning from what they saw, but still.  I don't think having a strict schedule: we will do this at this time, for this long kind of thing will work.  But, I think I definitely need to devote more of my day to them, and devote the free time that pops up to my other need-to-dos and want-to-dos.

I am motivated to focus on being more time efficient and not waste time on the smaller things such as checking stats on here and etsy as much.  If I can, I'll wait until the end of the day.  (This one may be a hard one for me)

Last night I organized my sewing room (dining room).  Well, it's not perfect but it's a whole heck of a lot better.  I cleaned off the table so now I have more room to lay projects out.  I tried to organize my fabrics, but I don't know if I'll ever find a system that makes me 100% happy.  There is now a clear bin that holds my queued fabrics and projects.  I think I am the most excited about that part.  And, I removed my scrapbooking stuff to make more room.  In reality, it just means I am moving all that stuff to clutter up our bedroom.  We have NO extra storage space in this house.

While I was working full time and going to school, the house would get very cluttered very quickly.  Since I have started staying home, I have been trying to clean out/organize one little area a day.  I plan on continuing that because itis the little things that make the difference.  Now, our house is not dirty, relatively speaking with 2 young boys.  It is just cluttered.  Like I said, we have NO extra storage space. 

So, there is my motivated Monday pep talk.  What are you motivated to do this week? 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Finished Fridays!

Happy Friday!  Well, I don't have any finished pieces to show off for you-apparently yesterday was "no nap Thursday" and I was the last to know.  So, I didn't get to finish any of my projects.  At least I got some school work done. 

One of our activities yesterday involved ice and food coloring and was about color mixing.  I found it on education.com   I've been getting most of my ideas from there lately.  They have it categorized by age; I try to find activities that have a bigger opportunity to learn from and of course are interesting to my boys.  You put the ice cubes on safe to dye surface (I put ours in ceramic dishes).  Then you use medicine droppers to suck up colored water and squirt it onto the ice cube.  The idea is that as the ice melts, the colored water would mix.  The learning outcomes would be that they learn about ice melting (properties of water) as well as color mixing.  The medicine droppers would target their fine motor skills and they get to be creative in what colors they choose. 


They added food coloring to bowls of water for the primary colors
 
Now, the picture on the website of the colored ice looked really cool.  However, when we did it, the dyed water just ran right off the cubes and into the dish.  It was really hot yesterday and our house can be a little hot box so the ice was melting really quickly.  Plus, I think the ceramic dish made them slide all over which probably didn't help.  That being said, we still had a lot of fun with it and we made colored ice cubes to play with today.  I'll probably just let them pick which cubes to put together in different bowls...or see what they want to do with it. 
 
Some of the neat designs they made


Here's my 2 yr old, H.  He is still in destruct and destroy mode but he still enjoyed this activity.  Partly because he loves ice and the medicine droppers are a favorite toy at bathtime.  He is still working on mastering how to draw in water so this was good practice for him.

This is my 4yr old, C.  He noticed there were numbers on it and started counting them off as he dispensed the water.  That was an unexpected and much appreciated learning moment.  I also showed him how he could draw in two different colors and mix them while in the dropper.



Looking back at this week, I did not accomplish as much as I thought I would, but I think that's life.  I am hoping to make paper fish cutout, attach them to paperclips, and draw numbers and or letters on them.  Then, they can go fishing for words.  We'll see how that one goes!  And I may let them make cereal necklaces so they can practice making patterns. 
 
 
No plans for the weekend, will have to see what hubby has in mind.  Project-wise who knows?!  I have dishcloths and washcloths I want to do/finish.  There's the fall table runner that I am avoiding slightly, I want to crochet a baby blanket and a fall colored blanket...What are you hoping to accomplish?
 
 
Oh, and if you live in North Carolina, specifically near the triangle area, NCTriangle Team on Etsy usually posts a "Handmade Happenings" blog on Fridays with local events.
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday!

Happy Hump Day!  Although, yesterday definitely seemed like a Monday so I'm a little thrown off! 

My kids and I (well mostly me) decided to do our first theme on oceans and sea life.  I got a few things from our local partnership and was pretty excited.  It did not go as planned.  I pictured a calm, learning experience where we played with the toys and I taught them all kinds of new things about the ocean as well as seamlessly incorporated math, early literacy, social studies, etc.  Instead, the boys were fighting over stuff (go figure) with the little one (H) destroying things and the older one (C) tattling.  C was using pieces of a gear set to make a gun, I'm sorry it was not a gun but it was still going to shoot something at the bad guys , to paraphrase C.  I was pretty frustrated and feeling like I was going to fail them.  But, after thinking about it I realized a couple of things: 1) It's going to take time for them to get used to doing more of these types of structured activities as home, and 2) While there is a set of Core Standards in NC for Preschools, it's not quite as vital I jam pack his growing brain.  It's still more about expanding his horizons and experiences.  So basically, I just need to keep doing what I've always done but on an all day level.  I need to make sure he has plenty of enriching things to do, create, and play with and make sure I keep my focus on him.   I'm not trying to brag, but I'm almost positive he could go to kindergarten this year and be fine.  While that takes pressure off me, I can't help but feel a little worried that I won't be as good as a preschool teacher.

Moving on to MY school plans (currently taking education classes at a community college but hoping to get into a masters program for teaching)-I am completely intimidated about teaching.  I'm not sure why this huge chunk of anxiety came over me about my future abilities as a teacher.  Maybe it's the amount of school work I have to look forward to, maybe it's the thought of being responsible for so many young children's learning, maybe it's the intimidation factor of having excellent teachers in the family.  Whatever is causing it, I don't like it!  For now, I'm just going ot keep pushing through my school work and see where it takes me.

Phew, now to the purpose of the WIP Wedneday post!
Here is the orange and black crochet dishtowel that complements last week's WIP:
I ran out of yarn last night.  Just ordered some more-hopefully it's the right orange!  Thinking of starting a brown and multi-color one in the meantime because I am that impatient.
 
Here is my fall table runner that I eluded to the other day:

I've got about half of the rows sewn together.  I was going to try to sew it by hand but just don't feel confident in my capabilities when it goes beyond embroidery or cross stitch.  I have a green fabric that matches the red with the leaves for the backing but am not sure if it would be too drastic of a color change as the binding.  Guess we will see.
 
 
I will be linking up to Freshly Pieced's blog where Emily from Mommy's Nap Time is a guest blogger.  Be sure to check out what she's got in the works as well as other crafty bloggers!
 
 
I had a few nice Etsy suprises yesterday:  I sold my small gingerbread pillows:
 

I'm very excited and hope the buyer loves them as much as I do!
 
I was also featured in a treasury by a fellow teammate from the Quilts and Heirlooms Team on Etsy:
Hmm, well I don't know how to get the treasury to show up so please click here to check it out.  It's a really cute back to school theme!  And if anyone knows how to get the treasury to display, please help!
 
Well, hope everyone has a fantastic day and let me know what you are working on!
 


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Motivational Monday! Even though it's Tuesday



Hope everyone has a great holiday weekend!  We visited with my family-always a good time and I still get homesick after visits.  Well, today seems like a Monday-bumping my head on lights, dead battery in my camera, computer refusing to work properly, but it will be okay,

So, this week is my first week of doing "preschool" things with my kids.  I plan on going over to the Onslow County Partnership for Kids to see if I can pick up some learning materials to work a theme around.   If there is time. I would like to swing by the library and get some related books. 

Last semester, I had to make activity lesson plans for various age groups.  For my preschool plan, I made a button board.  I believe I found it on education.com (they have a lot of fun ideas).  It's a great way for kids to practice actually making shapes by wrapping yarn around the buttons, grouping by button characteristics (size, color, number of holes), and practice creativity by making their own pictures. 

All I had to do was cut out a piece of cardboard from a box, glue paper onto it, and use pop-up adhesives (used for scrapbooking) to stick the buttons on.  You could probably use a hot glue gun instead.  I wouldn't recommend traditional glue only because it may be hard to get the buttons raised up enough for the yarn.  Well, Friday, my kids found it and of course started fighting over it so I let me 4 yr old make his own.  He decided to group the buttons by color which bothered me because they are supposed to be random.  But, really, it works because he was practicing grouping while making it :)

So, here are the button boards.  They were good in the car too, except my 2 yr old needs supervision because he's still in destructive mode and tries to pull things apart.


Switching gears, I managed to get 2 kitchen dishcloths/washcloths done over the weekend.  I made an orange and a black one to go with the black kitchen towel.  I'm also working on an orange kitchen towel which I'll prob feature tomorrow.




A while back, I ordered a pack of scrap triangles from a shop on Etsy, Kelly's Sewing Basket.  They're mostly fall and Christmas themes and I've been trying to come up with ways to use them.  It's such a beautiful mix of fabrics!  Here are some of the things I've been thinking:

With these fabrics I'm thinking either one piece for a potholder or a set of 4 coasters. I'm leaning more towards the coaster sets. What do you think?


 
For this one, I'm thinking of making these into squares for a table runner.  picture quality is not too great, sorry!
 
These are some Halloween Fabrics I have...quilted table runner maybe?
 


So, the purpose of this post is to try to get motivated for the week.  I wanted to show you some of the projects I would like to get around to doing and am hoping this will help motivate me to get moving on them! 

What are your goals for this week?

Check back tomorrow for WIP Wednesday!