Friday, October 30, 2009

The Great Pumpkin

Today we drove out to Woodland to pick up a side of pork from my cousin.  Several weeks back we got a side of beef and split it with friends, leaving about 1/2 side for ourselves.  The meat is delicious.  So good in fact, that when I went out and had steak at a nice restaurant, the meat tasted bland.  There's a lot to say for cattle raised in healthy conditions with healthy food.  My husband and daughter decided we're having some for breakfast. I'm looking forward to waking up to the smell of bacon sizzling in the kitchen tomorrow.  Yum!

Tomorrow we're going to carve up our little collection of pumpkins.  My daughter picked out some pumpkin decorations that are like Mr. Potato Head parts.  You just poke a hole in the pumpkin and slide the decorations in.  I'm mostly looking forward to roasting the seeds for an afternoon snack.  My mom is coming over at some point, and we plan on going to the Trunk or Treat event across the street at the school.  After that we'll curl up on the couch for our yearly tradition - Ghost Hunters Live.

Happy Halloween to all of you out there, and stay safe!

For your viewing pleasure, some pictures from before our little pumpkin joined our lives:

Somehow we managed to get this beast into our mid-sized sedan.

Pardon the random mess.  Just for reference, that honker is 
about the size of my 6'2" husband if he curled up in a ball.

 That's our little guy, Hawkeye with his partner in crime peeking out the window. 

 Check out how big it is compared to the dog!  He's about 18 lbs. 
Still no clue how much the pumpkin weighed, but it took two of us and a dolly to move it!

Holiday Shopping Guide - Eco Chic Hand Knits

 Eco Chic Hand Knits was recently featured on the front page of Etsy!  Barbara's beautiful hand knit bowls and facial scrubbies would make the perfect gift, especially for those hard to shop for friends.  All of the yarn used in her products is 100% cotton, and environmentally friendly.  In fact, even her packaging, business cards, and thank you cards are made from recycled materials. 

How did you get started crafting?
I have always loved crafting ever since I can remember. Some of my earliest memories were that I would always sleep over my aunts house and each time we would do a different craft (actually the same at my grandmothers as well). In my family on our birthdays we always got to choose one store we wanted to go to...mine was ALWAYS the craft store. I loved the fact that I could create things myself. I've tried many different crafts over the years and still love finding new ones! I started knitting about 6 years ago now, teach myself from a book and some help from the internet. Soon after that I learned crocheting as well (again from a book/internet) and I've really enjoyed them the most, although I still do other crafts frequently.

Why did you decide on Eco Chic Hand Knits for your business?

In my store I only use 100% organic cotton yarn. I have been trying to adopt a greener way of life and when I started my store I knew I really wanted to stick to that philosophy as well. In addition to the organic yarn (I am also looking into a wonderful yarn that's made recycled cotton) all of my packaging material, business and thank you cards are made from recycled materials hence the Eco part of the name. As far as chic I think my items are, do you? And even though at the moment all of my items are crocheted, I have a lot of other products that I want to add as well some of which will be hand knit and I thought hand knits sounded better then hand crochets.

Do you have a muse?
I would say my muse is just that I create my items based on things that I need to use and want and also focus on replacing things that can be thrown away with those that can be reused. After I get some more bowls on my site I plan to start making some coster sets (rather then using a napkin under your drink) as well as some washcloths (replacing paper towels) and face scrubbies (replacing cotton balls/tissues/etc.) just to start with. I feel as though I cant crochet/knit fast enough for all of my ideas right now.

Do you take custom orders?
I am very enthusiastic to welcome any and all custom orders or special requests. There are many different color combinations that I can create with the organic yarns I use (currently 14 different colors which can be seen in the chart in the welcome section of my store), and it is almost impossible for me to create listings for all of them. I also love hearing ideas that customers have for other products, etc. These are the people I am aiming to please and I think its very important to listen to their voices.

What does a typical day look like for you?
I usually wake up a couple of times during the night because I'm not a good sleeper and check my IPhone each time to see if I have any new sales or convos. I am still very new to Etsy and I would say I stalk my store a little bit haha. When I actually wake up for the day I check my store on the computer (even if I had checked it an hour ago while still in bed). I work as a secretary with my mom for my parent's family owned business so I get up and get dressed and head off to work. My laptop comes with me and I actually get to check out my store and the forums a little while I'm at work. I always try to get back to customers as soon as I can. 

After work I come home (sometimes I run to the store before this if I need some more yarn) and get started making my bowls. My store has only been open about a month so far and I'm really working hard at getting my inventory up and creating/listing bowls in all of the colors I have to offer so that people can actually see them photographed and not just as a color chip. My boyfriend usually comes home soon after and gives me that look like ahhh more bowls!!! I think he gets a little jealous at times but he has actually been really supportive and puts up very well with the non stop Etying and crocheting. I usually do this as well as promote on the forums and return convos until I can't stay awake anymore and wake up the next morning to do it all again. Of course there are exceptions, I go out and spend time with friends and family, grab dinner and drinks, etc. but most days this is what I do.

Where would you like to go with your business?
I would LOVE to have a steady stream of orders and customers to keep me very busy, and to keep expanding my product line as mentioned and think of even more products in the future.

What is one strange or funny thing you'd like to share with us?
Hmm...this is tough. I think this is quite funny. The very first set of these bowls that I made was for my mother as a birthday present in the beginning of September. I had made her the large and small size nesting bowls but never the medium. I ran out of time before her birthday (I also made her 3 batches of cookies from scratch that took much longer then I thought), but needless to say is now almost November and I've sold a bunch of sets to customers and she still hasn't gotten that bowl haha. I'm hoping to find some time between now and Christmas ; )

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Holiday Shopping Guide - Three of Four Clothing

Three of Four Clothing is a hip, fun clothing shop ran by Alice and Stian.   Originating from Australia and Norway, they now live and work in Kristiansand, Norway.  Both Alice and Stian have degrees in graphic design, and found their calling after taking a screen printing course at Simon O’Halloran Design.  Fans of t-shirts like myself will love Three of Four's witty and fun designs. 

How did you get started crafting?
While we were at university, studying Graphic Design, we did a one day screen printing course. After just the one day we were hooked and had a dream to, one day, start designing and printing our own t-shirts. It took us a few years to make it any more than a dream, but in May this year we decided to make the jump and we ordered all the equipment we needed from Sweden. We said good bye to our spare bedroom and hello to a life filled with ink in the shower and evenings spent ironing to heat treat t-shirts. But we love it and we've never looked back!

Why did you decide on Three of Four Clothing for your business?
Three of Four Clothing, has no particular story behind it. It's not a clever name, implying something subliminal or hard to grasp. We just really liked it. We spent weeks trying to think of a name for our company ended up with hundreds of possibilities. In the end we narrowed it down to about 10 and then posted the list on facebook and asked our friends for feedback on which ones they loved and which they hated. Three of Four was the run away

Do you have a muse?
I'm not sure we have one particular muse. We spend our whole lives surrounded by designer and artists through books, internet, galleries and the people we work with so I think we just draw inspiration from all of that. That being said, we have to take into consideration the fact that we are two designers, with very different takes on things. Such as music for instance. Late at night, you can hear anything from Lily Allen to Slayer bleeding through the sound system, depending on who is printing shirts at the time. :)

Do you take custom orders?
Yes we do, we have done a variety of custom orders for private people from around the world. We have also done a lot of large custom jobs for business here in Norway. At this stage custom jobs make up the majority of our income in screen printing.

What does a typical day look like for you?
I work from home as a freelance graphic designer while Stian works full time as a Graphic Designer at a digital printer. So there really is no typical day. If I have no freelance work on I'll get up a 8 am and usually spend the morning wandering the internet and hanging out on Etsy while I expose the screens for the days printing. Then, after lunch I'll print and heat-treat t-shirts and make any trips to the post office that need to be done. If I have freelance work to do then Three of Four becomes our evening job and we work flat out from 5pm until about 11pm. Weekends are spent doing anything we haven't had a chance to do during the week such as photographing t-shirts and coming up with new designs. The custom print jobs that we get are usually very quick turn around jobs so once they come in sleeping and eating takes a backseat. Hmmm, come to think of it, sleeping is pretty much 2nd priority every day... ;o)

Where would you like to go with your business?Ultimately we would like to be able to move our business out of our spare bedroom and be able to employ me full time. We would love to sell more of our designs printed on all different kinds of clothing. We plan to always take on custom jobs and to make small run custom printing avaliable to people at a reasonable price.

What is one strange or funny thing you'd like to share with us?
If t-shirts had feelings, we would probably be shipping out a lot of low self esteem garments. :) Swearing loud and violently is absolutely necessary at times, when being a screen printer. Thats more of a scientific fact, than a funny story, but... It really has to be said. And we still love it!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Holiday Shopping Guide - ItzFitz

I remember being a kid and just like Jen from Itz Fitz, I never could find any 'personalized' goodies with my name on them.  I would pour through all the cups, pencils, stickers, and bicycle license plates when I'd go shopping with my mom.  If I did manage to find something, it was most likely a cheap plastic license plate that would last about a week.  That is what is so great about Itz Fitz.  Her personalized nameplates and wholesome toys are perfect for any youngster, and the young at heart.

How did you get started crafting?
I don't remember ever not crafting! I've always loved doing any kind of art from when I was young..

Why did you decide on Itz Fitz! for your business?
I finally made use of my last name! And its a bit of a play on words I suppose.. I feel what I make is a fit for everyone!

Do you have a muse?
Not especially.. I just love to craft and create!

Do you take custom orders?
Oh yes, most of my items are personalized and for the most part are always custom!

What does a typical day look like for you?
I try to stay as organized as I can, but for the most part its a flurry of activity! From keeping up with emails, handling paperwork, starting/finishing projects.. in no particular order!

Where would you like to go with your business?
I would love for this so grow so much I will wonder how I will be able to handle it all! And then I will!

What is one strange or funny thing you'd like to share with us?
I have a very consistent tendency to knock over any drink near me.. and not just mine!  No matter how out of the way the drink seems to be, I find it ! So needless to say, when doing any crafting or anything else important I don't even think of having a drink around!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Symptoms of Withdrawals

After several attempts by Dell to get my new laptop working correctly, they conceded and asked me to send my laptop back.  We packaged the computer up today, and it will be 5-10 days before I get my baby back.  No more helpful laptop sitting on the kitchen counter with a recipe on the screen while I cook. No more watching a show on Hulu while I take a bath.  No more snuggling in bed and playing WOW. 

For now I'm trying to set my things up on my husband's computer.  I might finally finish 'Interview with a Vampire'.  For some reason I keep passing out after I've read about ten pages.  My guess that it is a sign that I need more sleep rather than the book being that boring.  In fact, it is actually pretty interesting but because it is written as a vampire that is a few hundred years old would speak, it takes a little longer to process.  Maybe I'll actually catch up on that sleep.  We'll see. ;)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Holiday Shopping Guide - SquishyBee

Looking for an gift for a new or expectant mom?  Have a little one in your life?  You have to check out the adorable onesies and gift sets from SquishyBee!

SquishyBee is a darling shop ran by a crafty mom of three children. The artist has a BFA from Pennsylvania College of Art & Design.  Her hobbies include painting, charcoal drawing, sewing, and photography.

How did you get started crafting?
I have always been artistic...It's in the blood! Ever since I was in elementary school I knew I wanted to be an artist and eventually went to college and graduated with a BFA!

Why did you decide on SquishyBee for your business name?
I LOVE making unique children's items! I have 4 of my own and think things you can find for little ones are so neat and there are always new little people coming into this never gets old!

Do you take custom orders?
Of course! Custom orders are welcome, just ask!!


What does a typical day look like for you?
Crazy!!!! 3 at home and 1 at school so I'm pretty much movin' all day. By night I like to take about an hour or so to work on something new or brainstorm what I will try next!

Where would you like to go with your business?
I would love to see my business take off enough that I can create new things with out having to worry about where I'll keep it all!!

What is one strange or funny thing you'd like to share with us?
The name for my store was inspired by the nickname my husband calls one of my girls....don't ask because I really don't know! Squishy Bee she has always been... Everyone calls her Squish for short.  :)

Isn't SquishyBee's momma gorgeous? She's incredibly creative and talented, too!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Holiday Shopping Guide - Ruffled

To kick off the holiday shopping season, I am featuring another Etsy artisan, Jeanne of  Jeanne makes gorgeous coin purses and clutches.  She is the youngest of eight children, and learned to sew  from her mom.  Jeanne is also learning how to do upholstery.  Her clutches and coin purses would make great gifts for the favorite lady in your life. (Or yourself!)


How did you get started crafting?
I have liked making things since I was very young. I used to bug all of my parents, brothers, and sisters to drive me to the craft store so I could buy beads, clay, rhinestones, etc. Every one of my sister's boyfriends can admit that they have been convinced to drive me to the store. I even entered a few craft fairs when I was 12 with my Christmas ornaments.

Why did you decide on Ruffled as your business name? 

I love bows, ruffles, and ribbon and wanted to capture that in the store name. I like to use ruffles in the clutches so it has worked out very well.

Do you have a muse? 

Some of my favorite clutches have come from ideas from my friends. My most popular clutch, the damask clutch, was a request from one of my good friends. We were at a restaurant with damask wallpaper. She asked me to make her a clutch in damask and voila- my damask with the pink ribbon was made.

Do you take custom orders? 

Yes! Many of my clutches have been bridesmaid clutches custom made to match the dresses. I love to see other people's ideas and it is fun to make what they imagine.

What does a typical day look like for you? 

I work full time at an office so I don't get to start sewing until pretty late at night which means I often stay up late. I have to laugh when I am cutting interface at 1 a.m.

Where would you like to go with your business? 

I just started working with a store to carry the clutches! I would love to have a few stores carry the clutches.

What is one strange or funny thing you'd like to share with us?

I am lucky enough to have 7 older brothers and sisters. I grew up wearing lots of clothes that my Mom made me- I hope one day that I am talented as she is.

Check out Jeanne's shop at!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

You're a little bit steampunk, I'm a little bit neo Victorian...

After falling in love with the steampunk culture at a recent festival, I had to have a try at making mini top hats.  These darling top hats are worn by steampunk and diesel punk fans, burlesque dancers, gothic lolitas, and those that do larp and cos-play.  They are even great for a fancy day at the horse races. 

This little hat is 5.5 inches from front to back, and is felt covered in chocolate brown fabric.  The hat is accented with a gorgeous feather fan and a sequined flower.  The lucky buyer has their choice of loops for bobby pins, wig clips, or hair combs sewn in. 

Are you ready to shop?

I'm pleased to announce our first Christmas shopping guide.  The air is getting cooler, the trees are turning red, and I'm getting the itch to do some holiday shopping.  Our first installment will be Friday, and we will feature 2-3 awesome shops a week.  Learn more about the sellers, see some of their favorite items, do some shopping, and share feedback with the sellers if you'd like.

**Features are unpaid and I don't receive free samples for doing features. I just love their stores and want to share with the world!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Gorgeous Flowers, Gorgeous Model

After selling out of my first back of sequin flowers, I finally got restocked and was able to get some pictures on a model.  This gorgeous model happens to be my cousin Jacqui.  She's about six weeks younger than me, and we were like peas in a pod growing up.  Imagine my excitement when our grade school teacher sat us together.  Luckily the Jack and Jill nicknames faded as we got taller.  Jacqui is a massage therapist by trade, and a good massage therapist is a girl's best friend.  Forget the diamonds honey, give me a massage! 

Doesn't she look great with the sequin flowers in her hair?  I have white, lilac, lime, red, light yellow, and shocking pink in stock just in time for holiday shopping.  These stunning flowers are perfect for adding a little glamor to any outfit.  Have on jeans and a tank top? Add a flower clip and you've got a fun, bohemian look.  Dressing up for a night on the town?  Adding a flower clip adds romance and moxy.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Holiday Shopping Guide - Part 1

Awhile back I found Exodus3535 on Etsy.  I love the feel of handmade washcloths, so I bought a beautiful set of dishcloths and towels.  I loved the set so much that I went back for another.  I feel a little bad washing dishes with the cloths, so mostly they get used to wash my face or bathe my daughter.  The towels are great in the kitchen.  If you haven't tried a handmade towel or dishcloth, you don't know what you're missing!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The elusive Leah Bun Bun

We've had Leah Bun Bun since this past July. I had been wanting to get a rabbit and missed my old 4H days. In the end, we decided to get a Mini Rex from a 4H breeder that was switching to Flemish Giants. Emma decided the bunny needed to be named Bun Bun, and I liked the original name, Leah. So, Leah Bun Bun it is.

Leah is a ball of spunk. She loves when we let her out at night for some exercise. She spends most of her time sniffing and hopping up on the furniture only to hop back off and move onto something else. Sometimes she likes to take a nibble off a toy, a shoe, etc. Today I found her sopping wet in the backyard checking out the changes in the garden. This weekend was the first time I got her to sit still for a millisecond to get a couple pictures. So, enjoy the first pictures of the elusive Leah Bun Bun, and excuse the pile of toys.  Leah was running around while we were also running around and cleaning.

The thunder rolls...

What a day.  I had to venture out to take my little one to preschool, and was not looking forward to the treacherous drive.  It felt like a gang of kids was jumping on my car when I would stop for a light.  I almost got swept off the road every time a big truck would pass us.  I was so glad to get home and get my jammies on a little later in the day. 

The boat section of I-5 was bogged down with a foot of water most of the day.  I saw on the news that the carports at our old apartments were smashed by trees, and several other trees fell on the property.  To be honest, I'm glad we moved when we did.  I noticed that the trees were diseased, and I am not surprised to hear of the damage.  I feel bad for those that lost trees, cars, and had their homes damaged today.  I pray for those that were seriously injured in the many car accidents today.  I hope that we don't see a lot of mudslides in the areas devastated by fire this summer. 

We had over 3" in the Arden/Arcade area, over 4" in Vacaville, and over 11 inches in the Santa Cruz mountains.  Holy cow!  I don't think we've seen so much rain since 1996 and 1997, when El Nino hit.  Hopefully things will lighten up overnight and the rain will slow to a drizzle.  Can I put in an order to Mother Nature for enough rain to fill the reservoirs but not enough to flood us?  No?  Darn.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Something new for Autumn

For those of us on the West coast, we're getting ready to experience our first storm of the season.  The NWS is estimating two inches of rain in our area, with up to seven inches in the Sierras!  Driving my daughter to preschool tomorrow on highway 99 and levy roads is going to be interesting.  I actually love this gloomy weather.  I'd move up to Oregon or Washington and soak in the rain if it weren't for my close family keeping me happily rooted here. 

So to celebrate all that is wonderful during the Autumn and Winter months, I have a new design in my store.  I sell my items in a children's boutique out in St. Louis, and they got a bit of a sneak preview.  These adorable crochet hats have ribbon woven through the bottom section of the hat.  I've added a clear toggle hidden inside the hat that allows you to adjust the hat for a secure fit, even in windy weather.  The tails of the ribbon are kept long to drape down in the back for a twist on the traditional look.  Each beanie has a gorgeous sequin flower sewn on for a touch of glitz and glamor.  The best part about these hats?  They fit toddlers through adults!  I'll be adding more colors this week, so make sure to check back

The winner is...

 Sorry that this is late!  We had a birthday celebration for both of my in-laws and my husband tonight, and it slipped my mind.  So...the winner is...

Drumroll please....

Michelle P!  Check your email for info on how to get your clip.

Thank you to everyone that joined in on the fun.  I am planning something special for November, so check back for another great giveaway.

Tonight's birthday cake - decoration courtesy my daughter.  Yum!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Custom Wall Art by Raspberrykidz

As I mentioned earlier, I won a chance to turn my daughter's drawing into something spectacular!  Raspberrykidz is digitally painting my daughters drawing, and I just got a proof.  Rachel is a wonderful artist with eye for how children see their world.  She is able to clean up the image and digitally paint while still holding true to the vision of your little artist.  My favorite part about her art is how she makes the images dimensional by popping out areas she would like to highlight. 

I have to say I'll be back for birthdays and holidays.  I highly recommend her shop for Christmas, birthday, Mothers day, Fathers day, gifts for teachers, and even grandparents! 

Here is our proof from Emma's artwork, along with the original.  Rachel turned this into Mommy and Emma ghosts.

Witchapalooza and giveaways!

We're getting ready to head out to Witchapalooza!  I'm pretty excited!  For those of you that don't know, I'm a giant geek and wish I could live in Harry Potter's world.  I picture myself a little like Molly Weasley with a bunch of crafty spells up my sleeve.  Self knitting sweaters?  No problem!  Self stirring pots?  No problem!

Make sure to enter our giveaway for a free spider clip.  You only have until tonight at midnight!  Click here to enter to win.

Guess what?  I won something!  I never win anything, so I'm pretty happy about this.  I won a custom art print over at Raspberrykidz on Etsy.  I submitted one of my daughter's pictures, and she's going to digitally paint it.  I can't wait to see the final product.  Make sure to check out her store - it'll make you smile like a little kid. 

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Added items to my Zazzle store

I've been adding new items as I can to my zazzle store.  I absolutely love Zazzle for their quality and fast delivery.  Check out my new prints that you can purchase as posters or gallery quality canvas prints.

Mommy, I'm a tiger! Grrr!

emmavamp, originally uploaded by luvsfordpower.

This is pretty much a daily happening in our house. Yesterday my little monkey snuck off and did this in a manner of minutes. If kids are being too quiet, they are almost always in trouble.

Why the stupid black boxes? Flickr and facebook don't allow any nudity, even for little kids. I don't have a problem with toddlers running around naked, but apparently it is bad for society to take picture of them.

Monday, October 5, 2009


We got the chance to go to our niece's soccer game yesterday morning. I couldn't have asked for a nicer day for a game.  The breeze was just right, the air was just a little crisp, and I got the chance to wear my new arm warmers.  I brought along my camera, and got a few shots to add to my Zazzle shop

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