Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Overwhelming Cuteness (Wordless Wednesday)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Most Expensive Handmade Card Ever!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I Want It - Housewares

I haven't done a "want it" post in a while and this morning the lure of a lazy, leisurely Etsy browse was just too much to resist.

I'm really feeling housewares right now, possibly due to the stuck-inside weather and impending holiday entertaining. Here are a few of my favorite finds:


PopWall


DishfulsOfDoodles


JaneJoss


MaryLittfin


OliveandRuby


DimmalimmHome

Monday, December 7, 2009

Healthy Tacos in Five Minutes Flat


I know - this sort of a random post for a mostly crafty blog. But I do like to blog about work-at-home mom stuff now and then, and what's more important to work-at-home moms than healthy meals that don't require hours in the kitchen?

I've been meaning to share this recipe for a while now because a) it's entirely of my own creation, and b) it's really really good. These tacos have become a weekly staple at our house. And for die-hard Mexican food fans like my husband and me, that's really saying something.

This recipe really couldn't be easier. All you need is five minutes, taco shells, some cheese and a few things you probably already have around the house. Or, at least, things we always have around the house.

Five-minute Chicken Tacos

1 t. vegetable oil
1 can chunk white chicken, drained
1 can black beans, drained
1 cup (or to taste) chunky salsa
Taco shells
Taco toppings - shredded lettuce, guacamole, tomato, shredded cheese, sour cream or whatever your family likes

Warm taco shells according to package directions. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add chicken. Add beans. Add salsa. Combine, shredding the chicken with a fork or spatula. Cook until excess liquid has been absorbed and mixture begins to bubble (about 5 minutes). Serve chicken mixture in taco shells with shredded lettuce, cheese or other toppings.

Serve with a fruit salad or one of those microwave Spanish rice-in-a-bag thingies (yes, they work) and you're good to go! The chicken mixture is also equally delicious served in soft tacos or, if you're feeling really fancy, in enchiladas.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Great Gift Ideas for Her

Check out the LJ Design & Photo blog today for some great gift ideas for the ladies in your life - all handmade by fellow Etsy moms!


While you're at it, take a peak at the LJ Design & Photo shop on Etsy for some more gift ideas of the photographic variety. I'm a proud owner of these two:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Check Us Out at The Creative JAR!


Many thanks to The Creative Jar for including our Thank You mini cards in today's Thanksgiving post. Happy Thanksgiving, all!

http://www.thecreativejar.com/2009/11/full-of-thanks.html

Monday, November 23, 2009

Artisan Feature - elpy [Handcrafted]


This week's featured artisan is Rebecca of elpy [Handcrafted]. A twitter buddy and fellow blogger, Rebecca stocks her Etsy shop with an eclectic blend of unique jewelry and super cute housewares.

Tell me a little about yourself and what you do
I'm Rebecca, a child of the 90's and new college student (after a long break). My family and I live in Connecticut. I make jewelry - some knotted, some beaded, some chainmaille, some a mix of the three - and small woodburned housewares. Magnets and coasters, with ornaments and wall art coming soon.

What 3 words best describe your work?

Hmm, this is a little tricky. I'll go with colorful, shapely, and natural.

What inspires you?
Words, letters and numbers. Shapes, colors and patterns. Kind of elementary things, the bits and pieces that make up the world around us. I like to incorporate them, mimic what I see, when I can.

What drives you to create what you do?

I've been a crafty entrepreneur at some level or other since I was in third grade. It's who I am...I'm starting to accept that. Seeing a void of an item type or technique makes me want to learn how to fill it.


What makes your work unique?

Me! hehe. Ok, more seriously, I like to reinvent things, tweak techniques and try to create the unexpected.

What role does your work play in your life? What role would you like it to play?
It's currently a full-time hobby. It is my outlet and I've met tons of super-talented and friendly artists and designers as well. I'm inspired and humbled by them daily. Can't believe I'm part of such a community. I would like for it to be a full-time job, to make my living making things maybe teaching sometimes, too. I definitely have an inborn entrepreneurial spirit. Working for myself suits me.


How do you see your work and/or your business evolving in the next five years?

My ideal would be to have a brick and mortar shop of my own, selling my items and those of some of the artists I love. It's something lacking in my area. That's probably farther down the road than 5 years.

So I'd like get my work in some shops. I'd like to firm up my product line, decide for sure which of the ideas I've had for a while I'll actually add to my brand. I want to always be learning, trying to get better.


Where can we find you on the web?
Blog: http://not-rachel.blogspot.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/notrachel
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/the_lp_flickr
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/pages/elpy-Handcrafted/20893912192

Friday, November 13, 2009

Artisan Feature - Andrea Baker


This week's featured artisan is Andrea Baker. One of my first Etsy friends and a fellow work-at-home mama, Andrea creates ingenious little handsewn creations, from business card cozies to adorable little clutches.

Tell me a little about yourself and what you do.

I am a mom of two beautiful girls. I truly enjoy taking my creativity and crafting it into something that can be held. Crafting for me is also a great way to unwind and relax.

What 3 words best describe your work?

Classy, Functional and Affordable


What inspires you?
The colors around me, nature, my children, my husband, really anything and everything is inspiring.

What drives you to create what you do?
Creating give me a way to make something that can be held and potentially passed down from generation to generation.


What makes your work unique?
My work is unique because each piece is something that I’ve envisioned and there for has a bit of me in it.

What role does your work play in your life? What role would you like it to play?
Work plays a major role in my life. It gives me an opportunity to express myself and to also teach my children a way to express themselves as well.

How do you see your work and/or your business evolving in the next five years?
I would love to have my work be shown in magazines and perhaps be available in gift shops. In five years I’d love to move my current studio into a room all its own.

Where can we find you on the web?
Handmade by Andrea Baker http://www.andreabaker.etsy.com
Blog This Mom’s Life {Andrea Baker} – http://andreabakerdesigns.com
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/AndreaBaker
Plurk – http://www.plurk.com/AndreaBaker


Are you an artist or craftsperson? Would you like to be featured here? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment here with a link to your shop, and I'll be in touch about future opportunities.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Holiday Cards Are Here!


It's that time again! I know it's early, but you want to be ahead of the game, right? Our fun vintage-inspired holiday designs have finally made it back into the Retrocrafted lineup. Any and all of these designs can be personalized with your very own inside message. And if you order in November, I'll refund your shipping fee when you enter the promotional code "BLOG BUDDY" in your Notes to Seller at Checkout. Here's a peek at what's in the store:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Genius!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Artisan Feature - able mabel

This week's featured artisan is Leann of able mabel. I've been a big fan since I began selling on Etsy. Leann's shop is filled with wonderfully creative, highly functional items for home and baby.

Tell me a little about yourself and what you do?
I am a stay at home mom who uses able mabel as a means of escape from the "real world". I love the "out" that creating gives me. It makes everyday life more managable.

What 3 words best describe your work?
Fresh, Fun, Functional


What inspires you?
This question is always one of the easiest to answer. My inspiration comes from everywhere! A piece of fabric or paper, nature, color schemes seen in stores, magazines, et.

What drives you to create what you do?
I suppose it would be the need to use a different part of my brain. The creative side.


What makes your work unique?
I try to find fun, interesting pattern to use in my work and make most of it one of a kinds.

What role does your work play in your life? What role would you like it to play?

My work is my "me" time. I sneak it in whenever I can. I think it's perfect just the way it is.


How do you see your work and/or your business evolving in the next five years?

I'd be perfectly content if it stayed about the same. Granted, I'd love to sell more, but who wouldn't? :)

Where can we find you on the web?
Etsy: http://ablemabel.etsy.com
Artfire: http://ablemabel.artfire.com
Blog: http://mabelisable.blogspot.com

Are you an artist or craftsperson? Would you like to be featured here? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment here with a link to your shop, and I'll be in touch about future opportunities.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Rave - Super Cute Wristlet


On this dreary Thursday morning, I thought I'd brighten things up with a quick rave about one of my most recent Etsy purchases, this adorable little keyring/wristlet thingie by FancyFerris. It's the perfect size for my keys, credit cards, business cards and cash; and the wrist strap is comfy and the perfect length. The ingenious elastic sides make this the perfect expandable wallet. It's not quite wide enough for my iPhone, but it doesn't matter. It's still the only thing I need to take with me for a quick trip to the store. And it was a life-saver at the State Fair a few weeks ago.

I'm big on "compartmentalizing" my handbag. Instead of a junk-drawer situation, my bag contains three handmade zipper pouches - one for snacks (I'm a mom after all); one for emergency stuff like eye drops, kleenex, lip balm and hand sanitizer; and another for the gym. Yes, it's a big bag. Here's one of my faves from AbbaDabba Bags:


Some of my other go-to sewing geniuses include My Beautiful Girl and Pyong Bricole.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Parking FAIL



Sheesh. Where's this kid when you need him?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Yummy Marshmallow Pops You Can Make at Home!


Looking for some sweet, family-friendly fun for Halloween? These ingenious marshmallow pops are the perfect "mommy and me" kitchen activity. Check out The Mama Dramalogues for the how-to!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Artisan Feature - bijouxbead


This week's featured artisan is Darlene of bijouxbead. A fellow mom, Twitter buddy and incredibly talented Canadian jewelry artist, Darlene creates stunning beaded necklaces. I experienced the beauty of Darlene's work firsthand last Christmas and was truly amazed at the intricacy and precision of her work. Many thanks to Darlene for participating in this interview!

Tell me a little bit about you and what you do.
I am a jewelry artist from Toronto Canada. My work is represented by several galleries, and I have a small shop on Etsy.

What 3 phrases best describe your work?
Distinctive Wearable Art

What inspires you?
Canada and its inimitability

What drives you to create what you do?
The charitable work that I am able to do through Bijouxbead is the #1 reason I enjoy creating.

What makes your work unique?
My work is highly detailed and very distinctive. The entire necklace collection is multi-stranded and one of a kind featuring glass metal and stone, the bracelet collection features semi precious stone and handmade silver clasps, and the earrings are designed to compliment the bracelet collection.


What role does your work play in your life? What role would you like it to play?
Achieving balance is my ultimate goal, isn’t it everyone’s?

How do you see your work and/or your business evolving in the next five years?
I am not sure where this business will take me; I have been very fortunate up until now, and I’m still on a huge learning curve.

Where can we find you on the web?
http://www.bijouxbead.com

Are you an artist or craftsperson? Would you like to be featured here? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment here with a link to your shop, and I'll be in touch about future opportunities.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Great Gift Idea: Sundae in a Bag!


Some particularly lovely friends of mine took me to brunch for my birthday recently. One such lovely friend gave me a particularly ingenious gift. I don't know about you, but I'm always looking for creative gifts for friends that don't require me to know the recipient's clothing size or which books she's already read.

This gift is quick to put together, relatively inexpensive and positively oozing with charm. A fun (but cheaper) take on the ever-popular gift basket concept, this clever gift is basically a sundae in a bag. Here's what you need:

1. Cute gift bag
2. Cute bowl(s) - one for each member of the family
3. Big bottle of chocolate syrup
4. Fancy sprinkles
5. Little jar of maraschino cherries

VoilĂ ! In a pinch, you can grab everything at Target on the way to the party. If you're feeling crafty and have some time, use enamel paints to personalize the ice cream dish for an extra-special touch. Who wouldn't be delighted?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wordless (kinda) Wed. - Eye of the Tiger

Here's a little Wednesday present from my 4-yr-old. Make sure your volume's on.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Artisan Feature - NeverEver


This week's featured artisan is Emma of NeverEver. A costume maker by day, Emma creates adorable children's clothing and toys for sale in her Etsy shop.

Tell me a little bit about you and what you do.
My name is Emma, and I live in Sydney, Australia. I am a costume maker for 3 days of the week and for the rest I run my baby and children's label, NeverEver.

What 3 phrases best describe your work?
Cute, handmade, fun!

What inspires you?
Different things every day. Gorgeous children on the street, vintage children's books, lovely fabrics, seeing a beautiful garden or an artwork, going to bookshops and craft stores. Even browsing Etsy gets me inspired to get up and do something!

What drives you to create what you do?
I like seeing children wearing cute, well made, and thoughtful clothing. I really dislike all the branding that children's clothing gets slapped on it, and I like to see natural fibres and clever fastenings.

What makes your work unique?
My use of applique as a decorative technique makes my bibs and onesies quite particular, but I think it is my choice of fabrics that really makes my work stand out. I love a fun print and bright colours. Also, the retro feel to my patterns make my items a little different to your usual.


What role does your work play in your life? What role would you like it to play?
My work takes up a LOT of my life! I find that I have to make sure that I schedule time out to watch a movie or do a jigsaw puzzle, or else I would happily keep sewing and working online! I would love it if I could work regular hours and be able to switch off at night, but I often find myself working until late into the evening!

How do you see your work and/or your business evolving in the next five years?
Ideally, I would like NeverEver to be stocked in some more stores around the world, so this would mean giving up my part-time job and focussing all my energy on creating new designs and finding great fabrics and trims. I would love to be successful enough to have my own studio that is seperate from my sunroom at home!

Where can we find you on the web?
Etsy http://neverever.etsy.com
Blog http://nevereveremma.blogspot.com
Twitter http://twitter.com/nevereveremma
Facebook Fan Page http://www.facebook.com/pages/NeverEver/37460701577?ref=mf
MadeIt (an Australian site) http://madeit.com.au/neverever

Are you an artist or craftsperson? Would you like to be featured here? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment here with a link to your shop, and I'll be in touch about future opportunities.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Five Things I Love About My Big Kid


Thanks for your patience during my long and unannounced hiatus. Normally I do a "Dear Kid" post every weekend recapping the week's events in a letter to my daughter. Since I've been away for over a month, consider this post both an explanation of my absence and my usual love letter to the girlie girl.

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably know that my husband and I have been trying for a second baby for about two years. The first year, we just didn't have any luck and, frankly, weren't too terribly concerned about it. Life was good, we were busy, our toddler was a handful... we figured things would work themselves out later. Starting about a year ago, though, things got a little more complicated. I miscarried first in September, at about six weeks, and then again in November, at about seven weeks. We started getting worried and sought medical intervention, but there wasn't anything obviously wrong with me. "Keep trying," said our doctors. So we did. In March, I miscarried again at six weeks.

When I got pregnant for a fourth time in August, something felt different. I told myself, "This is it." I was in great shape, had been training for a half-marathon, had been eating well, felt emotionally healthy again... and our early lab work confirmed that all was well. Unlike previous pregnancies where hormone levels had been questionable or symptoms mild, this time I immediately began to look and feel (very) pregnant. But at eight weeks, we went in for an ultrasound and, although there was a perfect little teeny-tiny-almost-person right in front of our eyes, they couldn't find a heartbeat. I was devastated.

I did what you do in these situations. Cried, yelled, withdrew... and then eventually, quite recently, emerged from my cocoon and started coping. Because, really, what choice do you have?

As a side note, despite what you may think (after all, I'm a blogger and Twitter addict), it's an odd feeling to be so open about such a personal issue. It just doesn't come naturally. I'm perfectly happy to share with you my struggles as a mom, my shortcomings as a wife and/or friend, my inability to dance or odd fashion choices... But tell you I'm sad? It's not something I do. So why be so public about such a private thing? Because I'm trying to teach myself that it's OK to feel things - right there out in the open where somebody else might see. And that asking people for and allowing people to help, whether it's emotional support or babysitting or dinner or WHATEVER, is normal and expected in this situation. There's no reason to be a superhero. So... there. I've said it. I'm sad. I'm OK, but I'm sad. Not because I'm weak or needy or crazy, but because something sad happened to me. Now - on to the good stuff.

There is nothing like trying and failing at having a baby to make you appreciate the one you already have. She's not a baby anymore, though, as she'll be the first to tell you. She just turned four and, dare I say, though she's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination (wouldn't life be boring if she were?), she's a pretty cool kid. Over the last few weeks, in between lamenting my circumstance and feeling like a pathetic invalid, I found myself celebrating my "big kid" in ways that seemed new and unfamiliar. So I wanted to take just a moment to share with you five things I dearly love about my big girl.

1. She makes me laugh. Hysterically. Even when she's being awful, she's funny. And the fact that she gets so much pleasure out of making us laugh makes it even more satisfying. My husband and I believe in laughter as a way of life. We're loud, we love to top each other, and we have the most ridiculous senses of humor. Until now, our daughter has largely been left out of the loop. But lately she can hold her own, bringing her own brand of wit to the table, and we're absolutely eating it up. That's our girl!

2. She makes me stop and smell the roses. Not because I want to, but because she's SLOW. And now that she's too big for a stroller, there's no getting around the limitations of her short legs and ever-wandering gaze. Because she's slow and all over the place, she forces me into a more relaxed pace. And since I've pretty much been in a hurry since the day I was born, that's a pretty odd feeling. A good one.

3. She's not me. And she's not Daddy. In fact, she's so fiercely "herself" that it's infuriating at times. But finally realizing that she's going to be a completely separate creature from me, who will be who she is largely despite what I do as her mom, has been a very liberating experience. We're still finding our way, as I suspect we will be... well, forever. But I'm so glad to have figured out that I'm "guiding" her, not "making" her.

4. She brings music to my life. This child sings from the moment she gets up in the morning until she falls asleep at night. Mostly theme songs, little riffs she makes up, songs from "Rock Band," just whatever is in her head. Because I spend so much time with her, her music has become the soundtrack to our lives. To anyone else, it's noise. To me, though, it's this comforting, sweet, reassuring background music that lets me know she's happy, she's safe, and that everything's as it should be.

5. She's an eternal optimist. Despite a tendency to be rather dramatic (which includes pouting, sulking and the occasional "I don't have to!"), she generally expects good things out of life. She wakes up every morning with a smile on her face and a plan for the day ("Mom! Today's the day of our big talent show!"). She has no reason to expect that her plans will be in any way derailed or that something might happen to make her cry. She's always looking forward - to her next day of preschool, to Christmas, to her next birthday, to the day she can finally "be a TV star!" There's something about being around that kind of optimism that makes you hopeful. Like there's no reason to expect anything but the best. In her own special way, she reminds me that there's no reason not to celebrate today and look forward with optimism toward tomorrow. And which of us couldn't use a little more of that in our lives?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Get to Know These Creative Bloggers

From time to time, you may notice a plug here for the Creative Bloggers blog ring. This great group of warm, supportive artisans and fellow creative types is all about paying it forward and promoting one another through blogging.

Every two weeks, two members of our group are selected for features. Although I usually like to devote a post to each of the featured bloggers, I'm running a bit behind this cycle. I do want to take a moment, though, to drop their links and tell you a little about what they do.


First is Michelle of Michabella Creations. I featured her darling sparrow earrings here in March. Michabella is the collaborative effort of two longtime friends. Together they create simple, pretty, nature-inspired jewelry incorporating Swarovski crystals, semi-precious gemstones, pearls, silver, brass, wood, and glass.

And in the "Great Mom Blogs" category, I'm pleased to introduce Brittany of The Greer 5. This sharp-witted mama will keep you laughing with her tales of motherhood and homemaking and rants on such hot topics as HOA nasty-grams and school pick-up car lines.

Please take a moment to check out these great gals and, if you wouldn't mind, leave some comment love. Good karma, you know.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, August 17, 2009

Artisan Feature - Memories for Life Scrapbooks


This week's featured artisan is Edi of Memories for Life Scrapbooks. A talented scrapbook artist, Edi creates gorgeous custom albums and adorable little notebooks to help the non-scrappers among us capture all of life's special occasions in style.

Tell me a little bit about you and what you do.
I live in a small town in Iowa with my boyfriend and our dog. I am currently laid off from my "day job" so I am thankful I have my scrapbooking to keep me busy :) I create albums of all kinds. I make mini albums as well as full-sized custom albums. Give me your photos and I'll do all the work :) Or order a premade album and add your own photos. I have something for everyone!

What 3 phrases best describe your work?
Custom, Memories, Keepsakes

What inspires you?
Magazines, other artists, the world around me! It's amazing where you can find inspiration. It's all around us...we just have to look :)

What drives you to create what you do?
Knowing that I'm helping people preserve their memories is all the drive I need :) It's a great feeling to create an album for someone knowing that it will be treasured for generations to come!

What makes your work unique?
I give people the ability to customize their albums any way they want. When it comes to paper...I can pretty much do anything they want :) This is why my Custom Name and Word Albums are so popular...people like that personal touch :)


What role does your work play in your life? What role would you like it to play?
Right now it plays a very large role. My business is still small, but being laid off...it is my full-time job. It would be wonderful to scrapbook for a living...maybe someday :)

How do you see your work and/or your business evolving in the next five years?
I just started selling my work at a local gift shop and hope to get more wholesale orders from local businesses. I also plan to do more craft shows. I do two per year now and would like to find bigger shows and do them more often. And I would love to add a new studio onto our house that I could sell from! Wow...big plans!

Where can we find you on the web?
My Etsy Store: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5556196
My Blog: http://memoriesforlifescrapbooks.blogspot.com/
And look for me on Facebook in the near future...Memories for Life Scrapbooks

Are you an artist or craftsperson? Would you like to be featured here? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment here with a link to your shop, and I'll be in touch about future opportunities.