Thursday, January 26, 2012

Before and After

I can't resist a good before and after preview in any magazine or on-line. There is just something about seeing a room or object transformed that gets me hooked. Today I want to share my before and afters. In my Etsy shop, photography is everything. I never knew I would have to perfect sewing and then learn some photography skills at the same time. But let's face it, a good picture can sell anything....and a bad picture of a great item won't get it sold.

I recently contacted a local photographer, Lindsay with Eclectically for You Photography, who I had personally worked with to take my family photos to see if she would be interested in helping me out in my Etsy shop. She agreed (thankfully) and it is amazing how she transformed my blah pictures into wow pictures. Now let's hope these items sell themselves.


So those pictures are not bad. They have been on my Etsy shop for a while and I have been fairly happy with them. Now these....these are GREAT!


I am so in love with my new pictures. If you would like to find out more about Lindsay or Eclectically For You Photography you can check out her website or her facebook page.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I think it's time to announce the winner of Giveaway #1. Thank you to all that entered. I was hesitant to start a blog and I already have 24 followers in just one week. I have also explored more blogs from those who have visited and I have found some great ones. I used this random # generator to come up with a winner and we have......

Congrats to person #8 which is "Mike and Shan". I will track them down and send their key fob immediately! Thanks everyone! Stay tuned for more giveaways in the near future.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Caillou Quilt

I do not intend to use this blog just to promote my sewing creations but I can't pass up an opportunity to talk about special projects I am working on. I just finished a custom quilt order and I would love to share that with you.

A few weeks ago I was in the Etsy forums (where I spend a little too much time) and there was a post from a woman seeking a blanket with Caillou on it. For those who may not know, Caillou is a cartoon on PBS aimed at young children and preschoolers. My own children love it. I love a custom project so I immediately Googled for Caillou fabric. My thought was to get the fabric, back it with something super soft and create a simple blanket for the customer. Well, apparently, they don't make fabric with Caillou on it. Who knew?

Plan "B". I have an embroidery machine so I searched for Caillou embroidery designs and found a grouping of them for a very reasonable price. I contacted the woman in the forum and explained to her that I did not see any fabric but I did find the embroidery designs and let her know that if she was interested in a custom made item, I would love to talk with her about it.

After talking back and fourth, she decided that a custom quilt would be perfect for her daughter and she wanted ME to make it. I was thrilled. I started my Etsy shop to primarily sell my quilts and they have somehow taken a back burner to my other items. I was hungry for a new quilt project and this was just the kind of thing I was wanting to make.

I sent her pictures through out the processes and we ended up chatting quite regularly about the quilt. I loved being able to show her the process and talk about different ideas with her.

Here is the initial quilt block with some fabrics held as samples.

Then the completed blocks. Each one took about an hour to complete.

Then the blocks with some pieced framing. I love the way the framing highlights the image.

Then finally the finished product! I backed it with a chenille type material for extra softness and I love the way that feels. The quilt is on it's way to it's new home and I hope she loves it as much as I loved making it for her!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Bang for a Buck

My first kids craft post is not going to be a novel idea. This is a more of a reminder to pay attention to great kids crafts while you are out and about. Saving them for a rainy day can turn any boring weekday into a creative, happy, peaceful house. In our family, the goal of any craft is to consume time. I am not going to lie to you. I have an ulterior motive for almost everything my kids do. I am not going to get out all the painting supplies and mess up my kids and my house for a craft that the kids are going to tear through in 5 minutes. Call me lazy, but I am the type of Mom who wants to get some good solid peaceful time out of a craft. My kids may be abnormal but if I get paints or crayons out and hand them a piece of paper, I get about 10 minutes of quiet. I also get lots of "I don't know what to make?", "Can you help me draw a... ", and "I need another piece of paper."

Recently I was at the fabric store (I seem to live there) and my kids immediately started begging in the $1 section. I did what I normally do and quickly said "no" until I looked up to see my kids holding these tiny wooden bird houses. I saw the possibilities for quiet craft time and instead allowed each of my girls to choose one. Suddenly, I was a nice Mommy and they proudly held their birdhouses through out the store. They didn't even paint the things yet and I was already getting positive behaviors out of my kiddos. Yippee!

A couple days passed at home and we finally got a snow day. We got out the paints and our birdhouses and got ready to be creative. I thought for sure this activity would last 15 minutes at most, especially for my 2 year old. Boy was I wrong! They set to work and all was quiet- not for 5, 10, or 15 minutes but for 30 minutes! Even the two year old was busy painting away. We had a lesson in the beginning of the project about using manners and asking for items to be passed to you and wouldn't you know it worked! Here they sat, painting away, with an occasional "Would you please pass the...". I was in Mommy heaven.

When they finished their bird houses, I handed them a piece of card-stock and asked them to create something else with the left over paints. I was shocked again when the quiet painting continued. Mission accomplished! For $3 total, I got almost an hour of happy, quiet, polite, creative kids. We also had lots of wonderful art to show Daddy when he got home (brownie points for Mommy!). The best part, the houses are now filled with birdseed outside our kitchen door. The kids love watching to see if they are popular with the local birds while they eat their lunch.

My lesson learned, some simple wooden houses, or any of those cheep wooden things found in the dollar isle at the craft store, can make for some happy kids and one relaxed Mama. So don't forget to pick up a few to have on hand for your next "snow day". You never know when you may need to use them!

Friday, January 13, 2012

My Crochet Love

I want to share with you all a new Etsy shop I recently came across. I was searching for some fingerless gloves with a flap to convert them into a mitten. I love the look of fingerless gloves and how they give me the dexterity to mess with my keys, etc. but my fingers were getting cold. So, off to Etsy I went in search of the perfect convertible mittens. I found some great ones but they were around $40 a pair. Seriously? I am not paying that much to keep my hands warm. Off to search some more...then I found them! I stumbled upon Makin' It Mama. The mittens were perfect. A lovely dark purple, a flap that buttoned on the back, and the thumb stayed covered at all times. But the best part was the price at only $18. Now let me tell you, I received these the other day and they are fantastic. The color is even better in person and they have a great thick feeling. Most importantly, they do their job. My hands stay nice and warm.

But I just couldn't stop there. While I was shopping for my mittens, my girls looked over my shoulder and saw the hats. All different animals, in different colors, for only $12-$18. Love it! Check out this giraffe! Is that not adorable? Okay, my family does NOT need any more hats. With three daughters we have accumulated enough hats to supply an army but I could not resist. We searched the pages and loved them all. I agreed to purchase one for my youngest daughter knowing that they could probably all share it. We finally settled on a monkey. Again, it was a perfect fit and very well made. I think it fits with my little monkey girl. What do you think?
Thank you Makin' It Mama for keeping us warm this winter! Congrats on a great product. I'll be back for more hats, I'm sure.

*Any product review on this blog will be items I purchased and actually tried. I will never do a review in exchange for free products.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Our 1st Giveaway!

What is a great way to start a blog? Well you should give stuff away!!! I picked out one of my favorite key fobs and I will be giving it away to one of my readers on Thursday January 19th.

To enter, all you have to do is follow this blog and leave a comment below. I look forward to Thursday and I hope you will too!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Taking the plunge!

Well I have been fighting the urge to start a blog for some time now and finally I figured there was no time like the present. To me it seems a little self absorbed to think that others will want to read my ramblings. So, I suppose I shouldn't ramble.

Let's have some introductions. My name is Sarah and I am a wife and mother to three beautiful little girls. I work part time in the evenings as a social worker and in my free moments, I also run an Etsy shop where I sell all things sewn (specializing in quilts). Here is a quick look at my Etsy shop,

I intend to use this blog to highlight some of my favorite things. I will be posting crafting ideas for both adults and kiddos as well as showing off some of my creations. I will also be hosting some giveaways from some of my favorite Etsy sellers. I also intend to give a shout out to some of the wonderful Etsy sellers I have come across. When we find a great product out there, we should shout it to the world! And finally I will post about my crazy life as a Mom. We all have those wacky mommy moments so why not share them with the world...well...whoever happens to read this at least.