Thursday, November 26, 2009

101 Things To Do With Bubble Wrap - #2 Thanksgiving Decor

Yes, I’m still trying to burn through all the packing material I brought home from the stockroom a month ago. You’ll recall from my last post – assuming, of course that you avidly follow my blog and did indeed read my last post, that two of my Etsy Sisters, ReallyBadKitty and DRyan327 took all the bubble wrap. However, they left me with a HUGE bag of foam sheeting. So, what to do? What to do? I don’t know!

Well, a week ago, while I was successfully avoiding all the things I should have been doing by catching up on my blog reading, I ran across this little gem of a Thanksgiving project. Hand Turkeys! How stinkin’ cute are these?! The grandparents usually get some kind of something from the kiddos on every holiday (Hallmark holidays included.) I thought this was pretty darn perfect.

We made sets for ourselves and both sets of grandparents. I think they’re so cute, and we had a lot of fun making them. Of course, I did the sewing, but the kiddos stuffed them and glued the feathers on (with a tiny bit of direction from me.)

Now just what do these turkeys have to do with all that packing material, you’re asking? Well, guess what those perky little turkey fingers are stuffed with. G’head! Guess!! That’s right! Foam sheeting! We cut the foam sheets into little pieces, rolled them up and stuffed the fingers with them. It was the perfect stuffing material – faster and easier than batting. I even ran some floral wire through the sheeting so you can bend the fingers this way and that. We stuffed the bodies with those beanie baby beads so they’ve got good heavy bottoms. They sit very nicely on the mantle.

So, that used up a quarter of a sheet. Now what do I do with the other 100 sheets of foam I have? I’m still fishing for ideas!

Have a very happy and safe Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

101 Things To Do With Bubble Wrap - #1 Pawn it off on your Etsy friends

Actually, it’s the Etsy friends that got me into the bubble wrap mess to begin with. OK, ok, I can’t blame my inability to fill landfills w/packing material entirely on my Etsy friends. Hmmm…or can I? Last I checked, this was MY blog and I could do with it what I want. Yeah! So there ya have it!

It’s all ReallyBadKitty’s fault. With a shop name like “ReallyBadKitty”, could it be anyone’s fault but hers?!?!?

Sure, she makes pretty little bouquets... décor ...

...and cute hair clips out of buttons, but don’t let that fool you. She’s bad news!

And then there’s that Purple Toes Jewelry chick (aka: DRyan327) – she was a witting accomplice.

Those smoking rabbit earrings should’ve been a dead give away that this gal was nuthin’ but trouble. Poor bunnies!

And just look what she does to watches!!

Grandpa's pocket watch never saw this coming!

All joking aside, I met these talented ladies when I joined the North Dallas Etsy team earlier this year. They’re both jewels and I’ve had such a great time getting to know them and the other Team members. And yes, they took all the bubble wrap and will be using it to package up their wares. So when you buy stuff from their shops, you’re not just getting a great handmade treasure – you’re helping save the planet one bubble at a time. How much better can you feel about buying something?!

So the bubble wrap’s gone, but I’ve still got a ton of foam sheeting. I’m still looking for ideas on what to do with that. I have to admit, I really like Haptree’s suggestion of turning a room in the house into a padded cell. Goodness knows I could use a room like that!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bear Hugs: Tree Of Life Designs

It's early. The house is silent except for the rain on the roof. I'm all cozy with my coffee and I've got a little time on my hands. I feel like passing out some bear hugs this morning.

Today I’m featuring Michelle, aka TreeOfLifeDesigns. Last summer, Michelle bought a sample of my Muddah Buddah belly butter as a surprise for a pregnant friend. It was sent anonymously. It was fun to be involved in the conspiracy. Michelle lives in Denver and makes jewelry. Her pieces are beautiful, and her photography (not to mention her collection of ceramics that she uses as props) is awesome. So, meet Michelle….

I love hearing the stories behind shop names, tell me about yours.

I have always had a strange love for trees and the tree symbol. I had a tree embossed on my wedding invites. In doing research about the “Tree of Life”, I found that it is a symbol that crosses many, many cultures and is found in art all over the world throughout history. The tree, to me, symbolizes the need to reach for the sky while at the same time keeping yourself firmly planted to the ground.

How'd you start doing what you do?

I moved to Denver form the east coast where I grew up, and was lucky enough to land a job and a little mom-and-pop-jewelry store. I have always been somewhat creative, and LOVE jewelry, so it did not surprise me (or any of my friends and family) that I ended up working where I did. Over the 9 years I worked there, the owners taught me almost everything I know about making jewelry.

Your Tara earrings are my current favorite in your shop. I love the asymmetry and the length. What's your favorite item right now, and why?

It is so hard to pick a favorite! But I love the Blythe earrings. I always love the green and blue combination, and the stones in these earrings are really yummy. They also are a great length and dangle really nicely on the ear; I love the way they move when you wear them.

Tell me about your most memorable Etsy moment.

Recently, someone ordered a necklace from me…to wear on her wedding day! What a compliment!

Do you have any secrets of success to share?

The support of my girlfriends throughout my jewelry career has been such a tremendous help to me. Not only did they tell me that I was doing great work, but as they wear my jewelry out and about, they are constantly asked about the pieces and get to tell other people about my work. They give me great feedback about particular designs….when they all respond well to a piece, I know it will be a popular design!

What's your favorite "Tip"? (Doesn't have to be shop-related, it can be life-related, a cleaning tip, etc.)

“Do what you love, the rest will come”(–Walt Whitman, I think?)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I have a part time job at Pottery Barn. One of my favorite things to do there is work in the stock room. It's quiet in the stock room, and fairly orderly -- nothing like my day to day life as a stay-at-home-mom. In the stock room, I'm in control. I get to decide what box gets opened and where the contents get put. I get to line everything up all perfectly straight. Oooooo...I just love perfectly straight.

One of the things I don't love about working in the stock room is the realization that big retail = big trash. Seriously, the amount of trash that is generated is scary. The cardboard gets recycled, so that’s OK. But everything else...all the bubble wrap, the foam blankets, the styrofoam, all the packing material goes straight into the landfills. And I’m talking MOUNTAINS of packing material. It’s bad…really bad.

I’m a firm believer that everything ought to be used at least twice, so I’m always trying to find something to do with all this packaging. I’m forever bringing home huge sheets of styrofoam and bags of bubble wrap. It makes The Man more than just a little crazy, but the kids usually love it. Last week I came home with two big bags of bubble wrap and foam blanketing. Now I’m trying to figure out what to do with it all. Ladybug was more than happy to help me out. 

After using the bags as lounge chairs for a while, we emptied them and made a nice big moutain to play in. It was great for jumping on, hiding in, crawling through and kicking all over the place.

Of course, we popped plenty of it -- with our fingers, our feet...our bottoms (hee, hee, hee.)  We also practiced our scissor skills by cutting some of it up.  Cutting the foamy blankets was so much fun, Ladybug decided to see if it was just as much fun to cut up her skirt.  Fun for her.  For me, not so much.  Oh and learn. 

So we've lounged on it, played in it, popped it and cut it, but now what?  I just don't think it's trash yet.  I'm keeping some of it for packaging up my Etsy products, but I'd have to be making hundreds of sales a week to go through this stuff.  And while that would be nice, I don't think it's going to happen any time soon.  So I'm looking for ideas.  What would you do with all this stuff???

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bear Hugs: Aunt Cindy's Attic

Time for another installment of Bear Hugs.  (Bear Hugs is my Etsy customer appreciation feature.  It's trying to become a regular feature, but hey, I'm not a regular kinda gal.)

I became acquainted with AuntCindysAttic on Twitter, and she’s the one responsible for the brilliant idea of customizing the labels on my Monster Repellant. I really owe her a debt of gratitude (and probably some royalties.) She's full of great ideas -- like turning your favorite T-shirts into keepsake quilts. She's also fun to tweet with. So, without further ado, meet Aunt Cindy!

I love hearing the stories behind shop names, tell me about yours.

Aunt Cindy's Attic is the name of my quilt shop – the one I plan to open when I win an obscene amount of money in the lottery I didn't have kids when I thought up the name, but had recently been around my niece & nephews and I liked the sound of "Aunt Cindy". I figured I could use the name for my Etsy shop until I win those millions.

How'd you start doing what you do?

A few years ago, I gave my niece a doll bed for Christmas…or her 3rd birthday -- she was born December 21st, so it's tough to remember which one it was. I painted an unfinished bed, crocheted a little afghan, and thought it needed a quilt. I had recently inherited my grandmother-in-law's sewing machine and some of her quilting tools. I thought, "Thousands of grandmas do this, how hard can it be?" I checked out some books on quilting from the library and got started. I finished the little quilt and, amazingly, had some hair left. I didn't touch fabric for another 6 months. I took a machine quilting class right before we relocated. After the moved, I was unemployed for a year. I had no children at the time. I checked out more library books, was invited to join the quilt guild by one of the quilting librarians & the rest is history. This year I'm guild president. LOL!

What's your favorite item in your shop right now, and why?

This one is so hard! I love my reversible purses because I designed them. I love the Nuzzle Me blankets because they're soooo soft. I also love my sock babies. I had one that my grandma made when I was little. I LOVED it & figured other little ones would love them, too! I'm really liking the t-shirt quilts right now, too. I like that people trust me with their memories. At first I didn't think I'd like them (they seemed boring). I love fitting the pieces together to get something that my customers love. I'm not a pattern person anyway, so this is great for me!

Tell me about your most memorable Etsy moment.

I loved selling hairbows to a mom in Norway. I loved it more when she ordered a second time. It was really cool.

Do you have any secrets of success to share?

Take time off when you need to take a break. We all need those sometimes.

What's your favorite "Tip"? (Doesn't have to be shop-related, it can be life-related, a cleaning tip, etc.)

If you're changing a baby boy's diaper, tear off a small square from the corner of your wipe BEFORE opening the dirty diaper. Place it strategically to prevent any "diaper fountains".

BTW, Aunt Cindy, I'm still trying to find that stack of my son's t-shirts I want to send you. I must have one of these quilts!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Number 12's a Winner (and a special offer)

Ok, I've fallen behind again. This seems to be a recurring theme for me these days. It's those end-of-summer "vacations" which aren't really vacations at all. We take two every year: one to the West Coast to visit family & friends, one to the East Coast for the same purpose. Don't get me wrong! I love these trips -- I miss my friends and family -- but they're grueling! We never spend more than two nights in the same place. So much time in the car running here, there, everywhere. Ugh! And schlepping all that luggage! And the toll it takes on the kiddos. It takes quite a while to recover from trips like that. But I'm back. The suitcases are empty and back in storage. The laundry's done and put away. Sleep schedules have returned to normal. And now I'm playing catch-up at my desk.

So, how 'bout that give away from last month?! The winner is #12, and was chosen by means of

Aik is a student in Malaysia and loves the piano. She has a blog were she features a lot of sheet music...downloadable sheet music. So, for you pianists out there, check it out: She recently passed her piano exam, so if you stop by be sure to say congratulations. She has another blog,, where she holds give aways, writes book reviews and muses on life in general. She's currently giving away a signed copy of Lee Moylan’s "Once Upon a Nightmare" - which sounds really scary. Perfect for this Halloween season.

OK, now for the special offer part. To make up for my tardiness in announcing the winner, I'm going to extend a special offer on my pendants: 1/2 off to anyone who entered the give away; and 1/2 off to the first 12 non-participants who make a purchase. I've been working like a fool getting pictures of my newest pendants, so hopefully there will be lots of new stuff in the shop in the upcoming days.  Pendants come packaged pretty and ready to give.

**Credit where credit is due:  The cheeky little ducks introducing this post are compliments of Dan over at WoodandPixels.  Check out his Etsy shop.  He's got some amazing photography on display. 

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Just Call Me Punkin Head

Seriously, I had no idea the back of my head looked so much like a pumpkin.  Thanks to my son, I do now!
In our family, the tradition is to carve our Jack-O-Lantern on Halloween afternoon.  Now some of you who know me may think this tradition was born out of procrastination, but I assure you it wasn't.  You see, October in Texas is an unpredictable weather month.  It can be in the 50s, like it was day-before-yesterday, or it can be in the 70s, like it is today.  If you carve your pumpkin too early, you may just end up with a slug-infested, rotting, stinking mess on your front step by the time Halloween rolls around.  Granted, it does make for one scary looking Jack-O-Lantern, but it's really just disgusting.  Hence, the Halloween day pumpkin carving tradition.

I love pumpkins.  Pumpkin seeds, pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup...yummm!  Do you know how good for you pumpkins are?  They're loaded with all kinds of great stuff:  iron and all the B vitamins for lots of extra energy; vitamin E and all its antioxidant power; zinc which is so healing.  Really, you should eat more pumpkin.  It's also great for skin.  So don't let your pumpkin bits and pieces go to waste.  Here are a couple of quick recipes for you.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:
  • Rinse and dry your pumpkin seeds.
  • Spread 'em out on a greased cookie sheet
  • Sprinkle w/salt (I prefer kosher salt), or cajun seasoning (if you like a bit of a kick)
  • Bake in the over at 250 degrees for 15-20 minutes (giving the pan a shake about half way through)
  • Cool and munch away
Pumpkin Facial Mask:
This is a perfect way to use the scraps left over from pumpkin carving because you don't need very much for this recipe.  (You can also do this w/canned pumpkin.)
  • First, prepare the pumpkin puree by microwaving the small pieces until they're tender when you poke them w/a fork (probably 1-2 minutes)
  • Mash cooked pumpkin w/fork or in the food processor until smooth
  • 2 Tbs pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp cream (heavy cream for dry skin, substitute 1/4 tsp cider vinegar for oily skin)
  • Mix it all up
  • Smooth on to face and neck
  • Rest for 10-15 minutes
  • Rinse off.   Ta-DA!  Your skin will feel as soft as a baby's bottom.
Have a happy & safe Halloween!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Powered by Joy

If someone asked me to describe myself one of the words I'd use is "positive". I try to look on the bright side. I believe in the power of positive thinking. I believe in Karma. I believe that good ultimately triumphs over evil. Etc., etc., etc. That's not to say that things don't bug me. Oh, things bug me. They can bug me a lot. And I can be really bitter. Oh lawdy, can I carry a grudge! Just ask The Man. But still...I try to be positive most of the time. OK, some of the time. Every now and then? You're not going for this?

I have to admit, since giving birth to Ladybug I haven't been my old chipper self. Well, I've been the OLD part, just not the chipper part. The fact is that I'm tired. I try not to beat myself up about it too much. I mean c'mon! I'm...well, I'm old! Like, in my 40s old.  I know, I know, 40s the new 30, but I've given birth TWICE since I turned 40.  I'm entitled to be a little tired. Especially since I'm still trying to live my life like I'm in my 30s.

Lately I've begun to think that I'm using this "old mom" thing as a crutch. It seems I've gotten out of the habit of recognizing the amazing things that happen right in front of me every day. Well, I'm doing something about it. Ho-hum...sounds a tad cliché, you say? Well, one of the best parts about being in my 40s is that I don't really care what people think about me anymore. (Now if that's not reason for celebration, what is?!) So stop on by my brand-spankin' new blog. Acknowledge a little joy with me.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I'm Sick

"I Got A Code Id My Dose"

Ugh! I felt if coming on a couple of days ago, and really, I’ve tried to do the right thing. I’ve been taking it easy, trying to get to bed at a decent hour, eating right, etc. Too little, too late, I guess. Oh well.

I’ve been awake since 2:30 this morning. I tried watching a little TV, but that’s always a mistake for me. TV does nothing but wake me up. By 3:45 I couldn’t take it anymore so I decided to get up.

It’s now 5:00. What I should be doing is researching some great homeopathic way to make myself better. Instead, I’m blogging and trolling Etsy.

Basically, I feel like I’ve got a bunch of these guys stuffed in my head.

Pet Pathogens by SublimeDzign

And an army of these guys in my throat.

Pet Pathogens by SublimeDzign

All I can say is thank goodness this little dude hasn’t taken up residence in my body.*
Surfing Giardia Germ by FrecklesUnleashed

But if he had, I could always call this bad ass to take care of him.**

Mac the Biker Bacillus Germ by FrecklesUnleashed

All I know is that I’m definitely going to need one of these today.

Flackie Monster Tissue Holder by SwieDebie

Hmmm…I wonder if there’s rush delivery available on this item.

Quinceanera Surgical Mask by CheapChampagne
OK, I'm going back to bed!

*Gardia - think Montezuma's revenge
**Bacillus - the good kind of germ found in stuff like yogurt

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Wake Me When It's Over

Wedding anniversary
Husband’s Birthday
Son’s Birthday
Clean up aftermath of anniversary, Husband’s birthday, Son’s birthday
Write Thank You notes

Obligatory vacation “Home”
Clean up aftermath of Obligatory vacation “Home”
Halloween costumes
Clean up mess from making Halloween costumes

Start extended “holiday hours” at retail job
Freshen up spare room for house guests
Thanksgiving dinner
Black Friday
Decorate for holidays

Make 50# of English Toffee
Package and ship 50# of English Toffee
Daughter’s Birthday
Write Thank You notes
Father’s Birthday
Finish Christmas Shopping
Package and ship Christmas gifts
15th annual Holiday Brunch

I'll be napping on the sofa. Somebody wake me when it’s over.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Penny For Your Thoughts -- UPDATED

I started this blog as a means of relaying information about the natural products I make for my Teddy Started It Etsy shop, and to encourage others to seek wellness and remedies from Mother Nature’s pharmacy rather than from the local drug store. I stray from that goal periodically. But hey! It’s my blog and I can do with it what I will. Well, today’s one of those days that I’m in the mood to stray. So I’m taking a busman’s holiday.

Today I’m wearing my FlutterbyGirly hat. FlutterbyGirly is my other Etsy shop. It’s my creative outlet. The shop is primarily populated with my Penny Pendants. I love making them and I love wearing a different one almost every day. I’m working on some new inventory, sprucing up the photography of my existing inventory, and promoting the shop. The holidays are coming and I think these little pretties make great gifts. Each one comes ready to give in a tiny gift-tin. I need to sell some so I can justify making some more!

I’ve set a lofty goal of selling 100 pendants before the end of the year. (YIKES!! OK, it’s real now…I’ve gone and made my goal public. Breath girl, breath.) I’m hoping you all will help me with that goal. Hence, the give away.

Here are the specifics:

To enter all you have to do is leave a comment here with your favorite pendant.

Now for the extra credit:

* 1 extra entry - mention this give away in your blog (leave a comment w/a link please)

* 1 extra entry - tweet about this contest or an item in the shop -- with links, of course (include @teddystartedit so I can find your tweets)

* 5 extra entries - purchase something from the shop - leave me a comment telling me what you purchased. This includes custom orders as well. I'll set up a reserved listing for you and then we'll work out the details of the project privately.

Keep checking the shop. I’ve got dozens of pendants that I’ll be listing in the next few days, so the inventory will be growing and growing.

This contest is open to everyone regardless of location. I will pick the winner using a random number generator. It closes at midnight EST on September 30th.

Let the fun begin!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bear Hugs: WireDreamsDesigns

A while back I was talking about starting a Customer Appreciation Feature…well, here’s my first installment. Meet WireDreamsDesign. She bought a bottle of my Bzzz Off! insect repellent back in July and she was the first to respond to my solicitation for participants in this feature. So, she gets to go first.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm originally from Texas but now live in Florida with my husband of 10 years and my son who is 2 1/2. I more than make up for the fact that my husband has no real hobbies because I frequently take over half our dining room table to work and have two shelves of nothing but yarn. I’m slowly working on taking over the garage with my kiln and a workspace set up to do lampwork glass beads.

I read in your profile that you’ve always been a rock/mineral collector. What was your 1st exposure to wire wrapping and did you instantly connect this art form to your hobby?

I was first exposed to wire work while looking for something Celtic for a friend. While searching, I came across a site that did wire wrapped jewelry. I bought two ear cuffs and a beautiful moonstone pendant. I was intrigued after that and started looking for references and supplies on how to do it.

I like how your love of one thing led to the love of something new. Do you make pieces out of favorite rocks/minerals from your personal collection? And if so, does your heart break a little each time you sell one?

My personal collection is comprised mainly of specimen-type pieces that are too large to make jewelry out of. Even if I could make jewelry out of them they are stones I picked because I was drawn to them, I couldn't sell them. I do tend to lean toward my favorite type of stones when picking out pieces for jewelry, like labradorite. It is my absolute favorite to work with. I will admit I have had a few pendants that I was a bit sad to see go because I really loved how they turned out.

I like many of the items in your shop, but right now I’d say “Down by the Sea” is my favorite – probably because it's the end of summer and I’m an East Coast girl living in land-locked Dallas. What is your favorite item in your shop at the moment and why?

Currently [the] larimar pendant [pictured at the beginning of this post] is my favorite. Larimar is another favorite stone of mine just because of the different shades of blue it can have. The bright blue color in this stone is absolutely amazing. {Sorry folks, this one sold before I got this post up, but check this one out. It’s beautiful and available…at the moment.}

You have a pretty successful Etsy shop. What secrets of your success would you like to share?

I have no secrets. Maybe it's just luck or people looking for something different when searching on Etsy. I do no real outside advertising other than a main showcase on Etsy here and there of which I have had sales from or people that have seen something then and came back later to buy.

What’s been your best moment since you started selling your wares?

A best moment is hard there are so many. I guess for me it's when you get a repeat customer. To know someone likes your work so much they want to add another piece to their collection. I haven't had anything really catastrophic happen since I've started.

Share something about yourself that most people (at least in your public life) don’t know or some other interesting tidbit/funny story/etc.

I was totally a geek in high school. Every Friday night was spent playing Dungeon & Dragons or a card game called Magic the Gathering. I also collected comic books (and still do) and I would love to go to Comic Con in San Diego one day.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Big Goodby Project (part 2): Photo Albums the Hard Way -or- "I Can Do That!"

OK, the kids and I made those fabulous Goodbye Bags for our friends that were moving back to Germany (The Big Goodbye Project). Now we just had to fill them full of great stuff. Dallas to Frankfurt is a long flight for anyone, but it’s especially long when your 3 years old…or 5 years old…or the mother of a 3 year old & a 5 year old. So I wanted to fill the kids’ bags with fun stuff to do on the plane. Here’s what went inside each bag:

Bandana: What could be more Texan than a bandana? OK, cowboy hats and boots – the kids already had them; an armadillo – taking live animals out of the country can be such a hassle; a gun – NOT on the TSA approved list of carry on items (party poopers).

Postcard kit: note cards, pre-addressed envelopes, colored paper, TSA-approved kid scissors (yes, you can take scissors on a plane now as long as they’re the right kind), and glue sticks. The idea was to cut the colored paper and pages out of magazines, glue them onto the note cards and mail them to us when they got to their destination. My kids will play with scissors forever. Sure, it makes a bit of a papery mess, but it’s easy to clean up. And let’s face it, if it keeps a kid occupied on a plane, who cares if there are a few paper scraps on the floor, right?!

Paintboxes: WHAT?!? Yes, paint. Before our last trip, I picked up these great Crayola Watercolors. No fuss, no muss! No spilling, no dripping, easy clean up. Everything snaps into place so there aren't a bunch of little parts to keep track of and nothing's rolling off the tray table. My kids love them and so do I. You can get some really cool effects with them. Crayola's got a video demonstration on their website. I think I got them for $4 at Target.

Photo Albums: My intention was to find a small photo book for each of the kids and then fill it with pictures of them having fun with us. However, with the advent of scrapbooking, it seems the simple little photo album has gone the way of the typewriter. I couldn’t find anything cute and small. No problem! “I can do that!!” I’ll just whip one up…

or two… or three (mom needed one in her bag too.) What a ridiculous idea that was!!

Let’s get one thing straight, I’m no scrapbooker. I’ve tried, but I just don’t have it in me. I think the whole idea is just too overwhelming for me. I’m not a multi-day project kinda girl. If I know I can’t finish something in a day, I don’t even want to start. But oh Lawdy! Those scrapbooking aisles at the craft stores are like crack! I gotta have it, I gotta have it, I gotta have it!!

Of course, I couldn’t find a pre-made book that I liked that was small enough to fit into the kid’s bags. So, I decided to make the book covers too. (“I can do that!”) Not only did I spend hours and hours creating something way to fancy-schmancy for a kid, but I picked up a new hobby…bookbinding. Like I need another hobby!!!! I thought the husband was going to kill me – especially as I was sewing the bindings in the car on the way to our goodbye dinner. (Yes, I am that kind of ridiculous!) In the end, I think the books turned out very nicely. I’m sure they’re all torn up now, but they had the personal touch I was going for. It was definitely NOT the easiest way to put together a photo album. Gee...I think I'll make one for everybody for Christmas.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Big Goodbye Project: Something Even Cooler

Yes! I'm back! I know, I know...I've been gone for a while. What can I say? I've been busy. Vacation. Post vacation laundry. Tax holiday shopping. Back to school. Sick kitty. You know, all that "life" stuff that sometimes interferes with blogging. But the main thing that kept me away was the Big Goodbye Project.

Our good friends moved back to Germany last Friday. This makes us very sad. With a daughter Ladybug's age, a son Buddy-boy's age, interesting perspectives and conversation that revolved around more than sports and the latest movie...well, they were just perfect for us. Saying goodbye was something no one was looking forward too. So like any good handmade-junky, I threw myself into creating meaningful mementos for our friends. The brain damage involved in creating the perfect gift from scratch can really keep your mind off your troubles.

You may recall my fused-bag project from a couple of months ago -- if you don't, you can check it out here: Something Very Cool (June 28). I've been dying to try my hand at this again (fusing plastic shopping bags into a sewable "fabric"). I decided this would be the perfect way for the kids to create going away goody bags for their friends. Last time I tried the fused-bag thing, I used Sharpie markers to add color to white shopping bags. Since the idea of my kids playing with permanent markers gives me the vapors (which has to be pronounced VAY-puhs -- like a good southern woman would say it), I decided to try something else...acrylic paints.

So I got my supplies together, taped down a couple of Target bags and gathered the kiddos around the playroom table. Buddy-Boy painted surfers, sand & the boardwalk (still fresh in his mind from the previous week's trip to Santa Cruz). Ladybug? She's really all about the pink these days. Pink, pink, PINKALICIOUS!! (and if you have a girly and you haven't check out the book, you really ought to.) Me? Well, I just got all sentimental and patriotic (in a Texas kind of way.)

After the paint dried, I sandwiched 6 layers of shopping bags (the white backs of 4 target bags, the painted bag, and a clear produce bag) between two sheets of parchment paper and "fused" them together with an iron set to medium heat. It took about 10 minutes, working in 60 second intervals to get the bags completely fused together. I then ironed a layer of fusible interfacing to the back sides so the finished goody bags would be crisp, strong and have a nice interior. I added some coordinating trim and handles.

Voila! Something even cooler!! Just wish I'd remembered (or had time) to take some good pictures of the finished products before I had to give them away. Or that I could just call my friend, go over to her place, drink a cup of her fantastic coffee and take pictures of the bags. Actually, what I really wish is that I'd never had a reason to make the them in the first place. I just hate saying goodbye.

Next up... The Big Goodbye Project: Photo Albums the Hard Way

Monday, August 10, 2009

"Bear Hugs"

That's it! Bear Hugs. The name of my new semi-regular customer appreciation feature. ("Semi" because you know I'm way too lame to commit to anything regular.) I like it. It works with the Teddy-thing, and it's got the word "hug" in it. Hug. The word just makes me smile a little. It gets right to the point. It's short and sweet -- unless of course you're talking to me after a couple of margaritas -- in which case I can easily turn "hug" into a 3-syllable word. (Yep, I'm fluent in Texan after a margy or two.)

"Bear Hugs" was TZel's suggestion. She chose the Love Birds pendant from my FlutterbyGirly shop as her prize. Her daughter loves chickadees, so she's going to give it to her as a gift. A quick email exchanged with TZel revealed many interests and passions: photography, healthy cooking, home schooling, ecology, and travel among them. But high on her list is juvenile diabetes. Her daughter has diabetes and is soon to receive her own Diabetes Alert Dog. Everyone knows dogs are fun and useful, but did you have any idea dogs could help individuals living with diabetes? I sure didn't! You can learn more about these amazing dogs here. Diabetes runs on my husband's side of the family, so I'm always interested in learning more on the subject. So thanks to TZel, I have a feature name and a new insight into managing diabetes.
I want to say thanks to everybody who responded. AlyGatr gets an honorable mention here for providing me with the "out" of not tying the feature to a specific day of the week. Now I can be my inconsistent best! (BTW, if you haven't checked out AlyGatr's blog, you really should -- it's always lots of fun.)I really appreciate all the suggestions and your willingness to do the brain damage for me. I'm seriously thinking about solving all of my bothersome little problems this way. I'll never have to think for myself again! As a matter of fact, let's start now: what should I make for dinner tomorrow night?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Etsy Oops!

OK, short post tonight. Not because I'm lame or anything -- because we've pretty much established that I can be very lame at times. But tonight, I just want to see if you're on your toes. So, tell me what's wrong with this package.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Thank You Thursdays!

OK, so it's not Thursday. Well...I suppose you might be reading this on Thursday, so maybe it's Thursday for you, but it's not for me. For me it's Blogday, which is Sunday -- or at least Sunday used to be blogday for me. I broke my streak last week and didn't get a post up. Since no one harassed me about it I'll assume it didn't ruin anyone's week. Thank goodness because that kind of pressure's just too much for me.

Anyway, back to Thursday. I've decided to add a regular Customer Appreciation feature to my blog and I'm thinking about doing it on Thursdays. I've had some really great customers since I started this Etsy thing, and it's time to share the love. So, starting next week I'll be introducing you to the great folks who've bought my stuff. Before I get started, I need a little help.

I really feel like I need a catchy name for my feature but I'm at a total loss. I don't know if it's the heat, the creative drain of keeping the kiddos happy during the summer, or what. I feel like I don't have a clever bone left in my body. So I'm going to let you all do the work for me. Great idea, eh?!? Here's the deal: YOU come up with the clever feature name for me...I'LL send you a little prize. I'll even let you pick your prize. You can have a pot of my Once Bitten after bite treatment or you can pick a penny pendant from my FlutterbyGirly etsy shop. It's a win/win!!

Now for the details. Leave a comment with your idea of a great customer appreciation feature name. Also leave your choice of prizes and a way to contact you. Easy, right?! As for the feature name, it can be anything that gets the point of appreciation across. It may or may not include the day of the week. I'm not married to Thursday either. I only selected it because it begins with TH - just like the word "Thanks". Get it? THursday...THanks.... (See what I mean about creative-drain?) I'm open to just about anything as long as I don't have to do the brain damage. My brain's damaged enough.