Saturday, October 8, 2011

Sanity Calls...

I said at the beginning that I would blog as long as time and sanity permit.  Sanity is not permitting currently and it will not permit in the forseeable future.  So, here I am hanging up my hat for a while.... I'll be back eventually.

Keepin' it Sane!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Did you forget?

Last week, I featured Barb from Quilted Hugs Bibs and she offered to give one of you her very pretty Hand Appliqued Autumn Leaf Bib... We are extending the date for entering this giveaway until September 28th at Midnight PST.  Click here for the lowdown on how to enter.  Don't forget to tell your friends.  ;)

Keep on Spreadin' the Love!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Featured Artist: The Crazy Elephant

Please give Michelle from the Crazy Elephant a warm welcome!  She is one of my EtsyKids Team friends and she has some really cute things to offer that promise to lessen your carbon footprint!

On Etsy

Boo Boo Pack
What do you make and what was/is the inspiration for your shop? I focus on items that help your family to be more evironmentally friendly. I started with making items for myself and my son and it led 
to selling to people all over the world!

What is your favorite item you have ever made?  What inspired you to make it? The reusable pantiliners I made for myself. I loved them so much that I decided to make some to sell. I thought they would be a great way to use up my flannel scraps and they turned into one of my 
best selling items.

Are you trained as an artist?  If yes, what degree(s) or certificates do you hold and where did you earn it/them? If no, how did you learn to make the items you offer in your shop? My husband and I went to school for animation and when our son was born we turned our artistic creativity toward more practical activities.

In what other areas of your life (or interests that you have) do you see your creativity shining through?  We use our art based skills to create educational materials for our little homeschool and signing graphics for our church and business.

Where can we find you?

Keep on Sharin' the Love!

Burp Cloth

Monday, September 19, 2011

Live: Hang on!

Image Source: Love in Bloom Boutique on Etsy
On Friday, I got a call letting me know that my daughter has been accepted to one of the two charter schools we were interested in.  I am elated and sad at the same time since we loved her old school, but now she gets to go tuition free!!   I LOVE her new teacher!! She is really on the ball and I am excited to see how Princess Peach will grow as a person this year. But this change really throws a wrench into my blogging life since it means she has to be at school a 1/2 hour earlier.  All the coffee in the world won't help me if I have to get up any earlier without any extra sleep since I have never been, I am not now, nor will I ever be a morning person.

Keepin' it Real!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bloom: Since we Rely on Power...

Last week, we had a power outage... A big power outage covering parts of Arizona, California and even Mexico.  It was a good thing we had plenty of icepacks and squirt guns since it was over 90 degrees in our house and I do NOT do well with heat.  We turned on the lantern, gathered around the piano and stayed up later because of the heat. My dh was smart enough to hook up a fan and a light in our boys room to the battery of one of our cars so they could fall asleep the way they always do.

I found this great post by Bill Farrell that I thought I'd share with you that connects the idea of how we rely on electricity with our need for God's power and contrasts the ways people view those who rely on electricity (all of us) with those who rely on God too (some of us).  I think it makes for an interesting read.

As for us, we were better prepared than some, but we did find that there are a couple of things we would like to add to our supplies namely a quiet generator and fuel, more extra water, some extra cash to have on hand, and extra batteries. Beyond preparing for the physical needs that occur in any emergency situation,  it's also important to prepare for times when our life hits crisis mode.  God isn't going to walk away from us, but in order to see His power shining through our lives, we need to stay connected to Him every day through the basics of faith.  Reading, studying and memorizing, His love letter to us, the Bible, talking with Him in prayer {all the time} and spending time with people of similar faith are all ways to do this. I guess the question becomes, "Since we rely on power, how well is each of us connected to the one who gives us power to make it through each day?"
Image Source: Ara133Photography on Etsy

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Craft: Making Changes Here AND Shadow Art II... {It's completely different!}

You ARE in the right place, I just changed the template and design of Live Love Craft Bloom!  I hope you like the changes as much as I do! I will continue to change things around here a little at a time, so please pardon the dust and enjoy!                       

This week at preschool we wrote our child's name in white crayon on white paper and watched our children's amazement as their name appeared out of nowhere when they watercolored their papers.  So, I was messing around with this at home trying to approximate a different resist technique that I did as a kindergartener, but we didn't get there... {I think I figured out what I am missing though, and will bring it to you in another post on a different day.}  Anyway, I made an abstract-ish design on white paper using colorful crayons instead of white and painted the whole paper with black water color.  That is what you see in the first picture below.  Princess Peach thinks it looks like a sidewalk chalk drawing on asphalt... I'm undecided.  But I wanted to do more and the kids were still drawing so I turned my paper over after it dried and used several different colors of dark marker to doodle-on the graphic design on the back because the markers are old and need to be replaced.  I would have preferred just black, but oh well! Then Princess Peach says to me, "Mommy, what does it look like in the window...?" To which I replied, "Let's find out!"  So we did.. and it's a hit with the whole family!

I love how making simple things together leads to a sense of adventure in our home!!

Keepin' it Crafty!


P.S. What are you doodling up these days?? E-mail me and I may include it in a future post. {K}

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Featured Artisan: Quilted Hugs Bibs
     All of you have to meet Barb, the very kind woman behind Quilted Hugs Bibs!  She has made the outstanding leaf appliqued bib and pacifier clip shown below for one of you!  It's perfect for Thanksgiving or any autumn day!   This set is valued at $19.00, but the lucky winner pays only the minimal shipping charges as seen on the listing in her shop.  For a chance to win you must comment here with the name of your favorite item at Quilted Hugs Bibs AND like her Facebook Page by midnight PST on September 20th. Invite your friends to join us for this!! Now, on to the interview!
Giveaway Set
What do you make and what was/is the inspiration for your shop?  My shop features quilted bibs and accessories for infants & toddlers. They’re quilts that happen to be bibs...all items are individually quilted and finished with coordinating cotton backing/binding. When my granddaughter was born in 2009, I turned my love of quilting to making her quilts, soft toys and quilted bibs...I got a great response and after many “You should sell those!” I decided to do just that! I chose Etsy because many of our friends and family turn to Etsy when they’re looking for unique and creative here I am having a blast quilting & making bibs using all types of cool fabric!
Tell us how your creativity has woven itself into your life’s journey to make you what you are today. (What instances helped give you the confidence/motivation to pursue this as a career?)  I’ve been sewing since I was a girl (too many years ago to count!) and when the USA celebrated our Bicentennial in 1976, I was introduced to quilting...there was no going back to “regular” sewing after that! Quilts are now part of most of what I do.. they and the fabric to make them are everywhere in our house.
I started my quilting career by making quilts with traditional patterns, and then realized that hand appliqué and quilting were my favorites. I began teaching quilting during that’s wonderful watching a new quilter gain confidence and start creating pieces on their own...and I got my National Quilting Association Judges’ Certification shortly thereafter – it seemed like the kids and my husband were learning as much about quilts as I was – you should have seen them at shows, telling ME why a quilt won a ribbon! 
In the early 80’s the focus of my work changed to specializing in pictorial appliqué quilts, mainly with ice hockey and baseball themes in collaboration with my sports fan husband. That led us to meet many great people and having one of my quilts selected to be part of the permanent collection of the Hockey Hall of Fame & Museum in Toronto, Canada...that then led us to meeting a bunch of wonderful Canadian quilters.
I’m never far away from a quilt or quilt idea, always on the lookout for new fabric and techniques. My family has been an integral part of my creative journey whether critiquing a quilt-in-progress, accompanying my on a quilt shop tour or becoming a “quilt judge” when I was working through the certification.
In addition to working on making my Etsy shop a success, I’m working on a series of family pictorial many quilts, so little time!

Ready for Some Football!
What is your vision for the future of your business?  I come from an entrepreneurial family, so working for myself is in the blood including my landscape design business, so I’d like the future of my quilting business to become the major focus of my creative’s especially easy with a family to quilt for, a supportive husband and an adorable granddaughter to keep me on my toes! It’s been great to have my daughter-in-law close by and always eager to give helpful advice on Mom-preferred materials, hot styles and a sounding board for new ideas!

What is your favorite item you have ever made? What inspired you to make it?  I think my favorite item would have to be making the quilt titled “Welcome to the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field”...there was a big controversy in Wrigleyville, Chicago when it was decided to put lights into the baseball field – prior to that, the residents of that neighborhood prided themselves in playing baseball “the way it’s supposed to be – on natural grass during the day”. So when the lights finally went in, my husband and I started talking about how this was the end of an era...what better way to celebrate the tradition than to make a quilt commemorating the original field. The quilt is hand appliquéd and quilted showing the field and surrounding buildings (no lights in sight)...all baseball fans know about the ivy covered brick wall behind the warning track in the outfield, so the quilt features a pieced “brick” border with appliquéd ivy.
A couple of years after I finished the quilt, we were at a baseball card show with Ernie Banks (“Mr. Cub”) and Willie McCovey (San Francisco Giants) as guests...instead of getting a baseball card signed, we asked that Mr. Banks be in a photo of us with the quilt. When he saw it, Mr. Banks called down the hallway “Hey, McCovey, this is what real Cubs fans do!” was a day we’ll never forget.
Are you trained as an artist? If yes, what degree(s) or certificates do you hold and where did you earn it/them? If no, how did you learn to make the items you offer in your shop?  In a word, “no”...I’m lucky to have a good sense of color and design (that you really can’t be taught, I don’t think) so that has helped me tremendously in my quilting. My background in sewing translated easily into quilting and I took my cue from the old saying...”How do you get to Carnegie Hall?...Practice, practice, practice!” Making time for me to practice quilting techniques and buying a good sewing machine has made it easier to develop my style. Having good tools is so important because working with inferior equipment will sap the creativity right out of you!
I belong to an online quilt group (Quilt with Us sponsored by Connecting Threads) and one of the discussions was about learning paper piecing (sewing fabric onto a paper foundation to increase accuracy and make quilt & block assembly easier). One of the projects was a quilted bib with a paper pieced center medallion and the light went on in my brain. I made several bibs for my granddaughter and the rest, as they say, is history!
Dress for Success
In what other areas of your life (or interests that you have) do you see your creativity shining through? (gardening, music, performing arts, writing, creative ‘foreign’ language expression etc.)  I’ve always loved crafts (they took a back seat to quilting early on), so that’s been fun. My creativity is also poured into the landscape designs I create – not that much different from quilting I’ve take bits and pieces, then put them together to improve your client’s living space.
What is one thing you will be going out of your way to learn more about in the coming year to benefit your business?  It may not be strictly creative, but I’m going to learn to use my Etsy website to promote my business...there are a lot of bib makers out there, so I have to separate myself from the crowd. My husband says that me and computers are dangerous together – I know just enough to make me think I’m a geek that almost always gets me into trouble!
There’s a lot to web design and I need to learn more about it!
What steps are you taking to ensure your products follow applicable child safety laws?  I’m very careful not to use components that would be dangerous...I use a NO PVC plastic liner to make my bibs waterproof and the pacifier clips I use are certified lead free. All the bibs are made from 100% high quality cotton fabrics (prewashed to remove any excess dye & sizing) and I stay away from metallics and/or glitter since we all know that kids put everything in their mouths and I’m not sure how safe that would be.

I don’t have a brick & mortar store or a blog…yet…so please visit my shop or FB page!

Keep on Sharin’ the Love!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Live: How we cope when Daddy is out of town...

Once in a while, my dh has to go out of town for business.  As it is, life with three young kids can be pretty unpredictable, but when Daddy goes away, it can be downright ugly at times.  My kids tend to be at their worst when Daddy is away.  They love him a lot {a very good thing} and sometimes let me have it {don't listen, argue, etc...} because they are just mad that he's gone {also a good thing}.  Ok so you are now wondering why letting me have it is a good thing?  So glad you asked... It's because they feel so safe with me that they can show me their worst and they know they will still be loved and they must love him an awful lot to be that disturbed by his absence.  They also know that when they misbehave as all kids do at times, they will run into a boundary, or limit over which they dare not cross out of love for us.

To minimize misbehavior while Daddy is away here are some things we do...
...before he goes:

 - Make a couple of meals ahead so that when Daddy is gone, I don't have quite so much work to do
 - Make sure we have enough food on hand so I don't have to go to the store more than once if possible {some trips are longer and this isn't possible always...}
 - Do as much laundry as we need for the week then forget about it
 - Clean the bathrooms because it won't get done while he's gone...
 - Do something fun as a family the weekend before Daddy leaves {hike, beach, zoo, you name it}
 - Daddy writes thank you cards to our kids before he goes away and when they have good behavior all day,        they get to open one.  Sometimes he even adds a sticker or two to sweeten the deal.

...while he's gone:

 - Stay busy out of the house for at least 3 hours on most days
 - Plan extra time for cuddling and reading books together
 - Make a paper chain together and take turns cutting off a link at the end of each day
 - I go to sleep earlier so I can be a decent mom from 6pm until the kids go to bed... {My mom brain is usually fried by 6 and in deep need of a recharge by sleep.}
 - We try to at least let them hear his voice once a day even if it's a voicemail, sometimes we can video conference.
 - Relax the rules a little bit, but not too much to give the kids enough of a boundary and enough room to learn to cope with major {temporary} life changes.

If your family has a mom or dad who goes out of town from time to time and you have different strategies for dealing with it, let us know.  That way we can learn from each other... ;o)

Keepin' it Real!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Friday Fun! On Saturday {!}

Wow! Having the power off for so long really interrupts things...  Here is our weekly installment of Friday fun.  Thanks to all the curators who included me in their lovely collections!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bloom: Words of Affirmation...

Last night, I went to the first night meeting for the Parent Participation Preschool that Mario and Luigi go to.  True to form, our {wonderful} teacher started off with a challenging icebreaker.  You see, at the end of every class, we sing the following words to the tune of Are You Sleeping?

I am special, I am special
If you look, you will see
Someone very special, someone very special, 
Yes that's me, yes that's you

I am capable, I am capable
If you look, you will see
Someone very capable, someone very capable
Yes that's me, yes that's you

I am lovable, I am lovable
If you look, you will see
Someone very lovable, someone very lovable
Yes that's me, yes that's you

I will be honest, the first day we sang this in her class {with the hand motions, yep they are the obvious ones you are thinking of}, I admit that I thought it was a little hokey, but as time went on and parenting got harder {having a 3 year old, a 1 year old and being pregnant in a class designed so you take your kids through the centers with me and them going in different directions ALL the time} I grew to cling to those words and we sang them to each other and we began pointing to each other during the 'yes that's you' part of the song.  I went through many challenges that year that far outstretch my kids being at a challenging and energy zapping age, which I won't get into here, and there were days that I wanted to pull my hair out and just give up.  I felt so much like I had become only a mother and had nearly completely lost my identity and ability {and time} to express the essence of who I am deep down inside due to the confines of trying to be the best mom I could be and absolutely not having much of a clue about what that really meant.

Back to the icebreaker...
She asked what made our 4 year olds special, capable and lovable and we all easily spouted off the characteristics our children possess but the second time around the room, she asked us to answer what made each of us special, capable and lovable {two out of three}.  It strikes me now that it looked like everyone had at least a little trouble with this one. But me, being who I am, I answered that I am special because I do what ever it takes to get things that really need to be done, done and that I have many irons in the fire at ALL times. {That's all I could think of!?!? Really??}  I froze up on thinking of one of the other two so our {WONDERFUL} teacher helped by saying that I am a very good empathetic friend. {Phew!} But it got me thinking... I am special and lovable because I am a passionate person who experiences the full range of emotions and I have a hard time not showing it especially when I'm feeling uneasy about something.  I take life seriously and take people seriously too because I find them significant, maybe due to my often feeling insignificant myself.  I am learning to love life more and more, I am loyal and I love to make other people feel special too... though I don't always show it because of the limitations of my memory, feelings of guilt or other things that get in the way.  I'm working on it though. I am capable too.  EVERYONE tells me how great my kids are and how well behaved they are too.  I must have had some influence there, since I'm with them so much and really do work hard with them. I started my own little business that doesn't look like much by the sales numbers on Etsy, but it's doing ok for only being able to do it after the kids are in bed most days.  I have a loyal wholesale account that generates a modest seasonal income and I have sold several things to my friends and moms I know from school and other classes my kids take... and a couple of those orders have been big and several customers have become repeat customers too!  In addition to all of this, my husband and I are happily married and I'm helping out with Sunday school at church and I'm on the Deaf interpreting team there too. {Did I mention that I can still get by pretty well in Spanish too, so I'm darn near trilingual.}  So after knowing all of that, why couldn't I think of anything to say?!?  If I wasn't special, capable or lovable, would I be able to write any of that? NO!  

So, what makes you special, capable and lovable?  Sorry if I make you cry.  It's a good exercise. Don't forget when times are rough or you feel like no one is listening, that you really are special, capable and lovable! It's just one of those things that is helping me to Bloom!

Keep on Bloomin'!

P.S. If you are in San Diego, and you know of anyone here who needs parenting help {or just didn't get into the preschool they wanted, or they are a stay at home mom or dad and weren't really looking for a class but you can tell they need something...}, for their own personal development their 2-3 year old or 4-5 year old, send me a message ASAP{!} and I'll let you know how you can help them get into the cheapest, and REALLY the best quality preschool program available in the county...  I could seriously go on and on about this teacher and her classes and I probably will in later posts.  She has openings in both of her AWESOME classes.   


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Craft: Sneak Peek

Here's a peek at a tiny bit of what is on the cusp of being added to Love in Bloom Boutique...

Keepin' you on your toes!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Featured Artisan: Bebby Jumpers!

I am excited to introduce you to Bebby X of Bebby Jumpers, another fabulous member of the EtsyKids Team!  She is generously offering you a coupon to use in her store: BEBBYBLOG10  It will be valid until midnight PST on September 20th.  She is always willing to customize colors too!
On Etsy!
Here's what she had to say...
           I design and handknit quality woolly items for children and  babies. I love woolly babies. I have always knitted for my family and  friends which I find very relaxing. My sister's little boy who lives in  Australia, said "Bebbyjumpers" when he was 2 years old as they were  opening a parcel of jumpers which I had knitted and sent to them. I am his Auntie  Bebby. I thought it was a good name to call my shop.
           I do not consider this my career. I do however  enjoy knitting as a hobby and get great pleasure knowing someone else  likes what I produce enough to want to buy and own it, to wear themselves, or to give away as a gift.
          I hope to continue with my Etsy shop and become better known,  as I have only been open since February 2011, with a number of happy  customers on line and locally.
          My favourite knits are the arans that I have designed and  produce in the bright colours for children, which all have traditional  touches and modern features. I shall in time use natural fibres as well  as the acrylic yarns that I have used so far, and all my designs are available as custom orders in any suitable yarn you request.
          I was inspired to create this design when a friend of mine was  telling me about her Aunt Pearl who used to  "knit shapeless creations  for the family and always dropped stitches and made a few but nothing  like these that you knit" which made me laugh. So I have designed this  which I affectionately call the Aunt Pearl Collection, and those who are  familiar with Aran can see I have also dropped stitches and made a few,  and everything resembles pearly stuff.
In a recent local Horticultural Show I won 1st prize with this similar aran using the same design although I have altered the neckline to include an opening at the shoulder which is fastened with buttons.
I also won several other prizes (and the cup!!) with my knits and preserves (jams and chutneys) which is another favourite pastime of mine.
          I am not trained in any artistic skills but my mum taught me  the basic skills of knitting as a little girl, and I taught myself to cable and all  the other intricate stitches that I enjoy. I think it is important to keep crafts alive and to present them in an          attractive way.

          I am inspired to create my designs from conversations I have with people, and nature around me. Also the colours and  textures of the fibres tell me what I need to knit with the yarn. I have a fondness for button collections and often see buttons which I know "just the right garment" to knit and re-home those unwanted buttons!! I have a headful of designs waiting to be knit and not enough time.
          I want to learn more about promoting myself on Etsy which  includes learning more computer skills and better photography skills. Some of my "snaphots" do not do my work justice and the colours are not true.

You can find BebbyJumpers in the following places: 
Keep on Sharing the Love!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Live: Muscle Spasms, Stink... and so does Nausea!

I am back!  Possibly on a limited basis due to this pesky muscle which has calmed down some, but is still not 100% back to normal and due to the nausea I am feeling right this minute.  

We went to a birthday party last night for one of Princess Peach's friends, and I got a note from her very sweet mama this morning saying that unbeknownst to her, the birthday girl had a tummy ache that night and woke up this morning with a fever and you guessed it... vomiting!  It happens to all of us at one time or another and I am hoping that I am just tired and I'll be fine in the morning, but we'll see.  Tomorrow's post is already done, so I'll be here at least that far this week.  

Keepin' it Real!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Neck injury...

I am unhappy to report that I will be suspending posts this week due to a muscle spasm in my neck and back.  The muscle relaxant I'm taking to help is working somewhat, but I am nauseated and exhausted after doing my last post.  I will use the time to recover and should be back next Monday...

Keep it injury free!

Healthy Food Series: How to Prepare an Artichoke...

When I was a kid, my grandparents owned a trucking company in Northern California mostly hauling fruits and vegetables to market. One of the perks was that when loads were over weight, my grandparents were often the recipients of free, fresh produce which they shared with family and friends. This is how we got most of our artichokes. The rest came from the awesome farmer's market under the freeway in Sacramento. Once only available in the spring, artichokes are now showing up in stores in the not quite summer, not quite fall in between time we find ourselves in right now.

Aside from being yummy and just plain fun to eat, the humble medium sized Artichoke also boasts over 10 grams of fiber, only 1 gram of sugar and is loaded with minerals making it a healthy veggie and a great choice to complete almost any simple dinner. Here's the how to:

Wash your artichoke and cut off the top and the stem with a sharp knife.  (Serrated works a little easier, but mine was not clean at the time, so I muscled through this part with a chefs knife).  Peel off the tough bottom 2 rows of leaves off and squeeze some lemon juice on the places you cut and also on the end of the stem.

Peel the stem with a small paring knife and cut off the other end too.  This is a yummy part of the artichoke, so don't throw it out ...  :)  Be sure to rub lemon juice all over the stem too, or it will turn a gross brown color.
Put your artichokes upside down in a steamer with some water in the bottom. (My steamer is really small, so I put it in the bottom of the big pot upside down.)  Cover and steam for 20-45 minutes.  (Don't forget to add the stems.)

You can check to see if they are done by stabbing the bottom (where the stem was) with a fork.  Artichokes will be tender when they are done cooking.

Now that your artichokes are ready to eat, peel off a leaf at a time  dip it in your choice of mayo, melted butter or other sauce you like and scrape the edible part off with your teeth like this:

When you get to the middle the leaves are super tender and can be picked off in one clump and eaten in one or two bites... Just be careful not to take too big a bite because you may get some sharp tips in it from the very middle.

You will be left with a hairy looking artichoke heart.  So take a butter knife and gently scrape the hairs {choke} off  of the artichoke heart wiping your blade in between cuts on the side of your used leaf bowl.   Be careful not to cut too much of the heart off when doing this, because the heart is the best part.

Dip and enjoy the heart!

Keep it healthy, yummy and fun!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Friday Fun: Holy Smokes Treasuries...{!}

Last week, I had 5 treasury features and that was a record for me... but this week has nearly doubled that.  So hang on to your hat and check out the following 9 awesome treasuries Love in Bloom Boutique was featured in this week.  Thank you so much BlushBashfulStudio, KeikiKoa, diazeirosjg, GrowinLikeAWeed, CelinaMurph, TheCuddleCorner, FourLittleApples, BebbyJumpers, and BeanBugCrafts!

Getting into gorgeous treasuries like these is an honor in itself, but to be featured in the top row is even more special, so extra special thanks to BlushBashfulStudio and TheCuddleCorner!

Keep it Exciting!

Bloom: It looks like school will have to wait... {again!}

It looks like I won't get in either of the two classes I was going to take this fall.  :(  So I'm back to waiting for the spring semester and hoping enrollment goes better next time.  In the meantime, I'll continue learning as much as I can online and keep on interacting with members of the Deaf community to keep my skills up.

Image Source: MoonlightAura
This is a tough one for me because I so want to learn ASL and fill in those gaps I have from not being fully educated in it, but it seems like whenever I try to sign up for classes, they are full or won't work with our family schedule etc.

In the meantime, I'm praying for God's direction because I have felt for so long that this is the path He wants me to take and I'm trying to follow...

Trusting God {the one who holds our hearts in His hands}: It's just one of those {really big} things that's helping me to finally bloom...

Keep on Bloomin!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Craft: Fun with words two...

Ok, so I'm not planning to make a big long series out of this or anything, but I did remember one other thing my friends and I used to do to spice up our words... Here it is:

So all you do is write your words and then pick what two sides you want to highlight.  I chose to use the additional colors on only the top and right sides of the original writing.  I did a total of three colors, but two is great too.  I just did this quick and dirty, but if your writing is nicer than mine {and it probably is} it will look even better.  Much of the ink from my {mountains of} different colored Hello Kitty pens went into writing things like this.  Oh... the 80's!

Keep it crafty and remember your roots!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Featured Artisan: Joyfully Sewn


Please give a warm welcome to EtsyKids Team member Joyfully Sewn Designs to the blog.

What do you make and what was/is the inspiration for your shop?  Sewing is my specialty! I make mostly little girls' dresses, jumpers, skirts, and peasant blouses, but I also branch out into doing ladies skirts sometimes. Little girls are easier to fit into standard sizes though, so a lot of my ladies skirts are custom orders. :)

Pink and Brown Sundress
I learned to sew mainly from my Grandma. She passed on not only the skill of sewing to me, but also a love of sewing. I love to use my talents to bless others. I first began doing custom sewing for friends who had a hard time finding modest, feminine clothing for their daughters and themselves. I love creating pretty, cute, modest, and girly outfits! I'm always thrilled to see (or hear about) someone wearing (and ENJOYING) something I've created and sewn. :)

Tell us how your creativity has woven itself into your life’s journey to make you what you are today.   After I graduated from high school (I was home educated), I decided to make one of my little buddies a special outfit for Christmas. It was a rather challenging pattern, but I stuck with it and it turned out adorable. The little girls' mom very soon after, asked if I would be willing to sew some jumpers for her. I said yes, and from there, I received more and more requests from other busy mamas who didn't have time to sew. Little by little my confidence and skill level increased.  In the Fall of 2009 I finally decided to branch out and open an Etsy shop. I was rather scared to do it though! Would anyone actually buy my clothes? I knew the people here locally liked them, but would others? Was my quality good enough?  As people began actually buying from my shop, requesting custom items, and leaving feedback, my confidence increased even more. When others besides just friends commented on how well made my garments were, that helped me to realize that I could truthfully claim excellent quality for my work. I do my best with every item I make, and lots of time and love go into each one.

What is your vision for the future of your business?  My main goal for my shop is to help provide sweet, modest, feminine clothing for girls that lets them BE little girls instead of trying to make them look like miniature movie stars or something. I'd also love to be able to the place where I was getting steady sales instead of just a few here and there. :)
Chocolate Dots Jumper

Tell us about your typical day.  Much of a typical day for me is spent at the sewing machine. :) Usually I get up around 6:00, have my Quiet Time with the Lord, exercise, get ready for the day, and eat breakfast. Around 8:30, I spend some time on the computer checking my shops, my blog, and e-mails. Between 9:00 - 9:30, I head down to the sewing room and start in on whatever project I'm working on. I sew and listen to my favorite Classical Music station or audio books until lunch. After lunch I usually spend another 1 1/2 hours on the computer working on whatever I need to work on (blogging, e-mails, listing new items, etc.). Around 2:00, I head back to the sewing room for another 2 1/2 - 3 hours of sewing. Between 4:30 - 5:00 I'm found in the kitchen working on supper (I'm the main cook in our home :)). After supper, I usually spend a few minutes checking in a few places on the computer, and then it's back to sewing. :) Mom usually joins me around 7:30 to work on the ironing and we'll often watch a teaching video (or sometimes a fun movie) while we work. About 8:30, I'm ready to stop sewing! I then usually work on the computer some more until bed. :)

Are you trained as an artist?  If yes, what degree(s) or certificates do you hold and where did you earn it/them? If no, how did you learn to make the items you offer in your shop?  No, I've never had any official training as a seamstress or designer. Everything I know I've either learned from my Grandma, my best friend's mom (who gave me some sewing lessons when I was about 12), or I just picked up on my own. I've learned a lot by trial and error. :)

In what other areas of your life (or interests that you have) do you see your creativity shining through?
I really don't know how to answer this one. :) When I'm not sewing, my favorite things to do are cook, read, spend time with my family, and be with children. I love caring for and teaching children and I have always had a love for them. Maybe someday I'll have children of my own, but for now I just have to "borrow" them. :) Every Sunday I teach Scripture Memory to the children (ages 5-14) at church and I LOVE it!

Pink Peasant Skirt
What is one thing you will be going out of your way to learn more about in the coming year to benefit your business?  I'm really considering making patterns for a few of my skirt designs. I've never done any kind of tutorial or e-book, so it will take some effort and learning, but I think it would be a good challenge.

You can find Joyfully Sewn Designs here:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Friday Fun! The Most Treasury Features in One Week for me so Far...

This week, I made a treasury...

... and was featured in these FIVE treasuries too! This is the highest number of treasury features I have ever had in one week!! Thank you so much BabaMoon, Crocheting4Baby, Lilu1012, CupcakeDream, and SweetCs for including me in your lovely treasuries!

Craft: Fun with words...

I was thinking about back to school time last night and I was reminded of a couple of things I used to do occasionally to have a little fun with writing in pretty ways.  The first way is good for practicing cursive and tracing and the second is good for practicing printing.  Both are beautiful and give the kids a chance to be creative with their name or any word, really.  So, before the doldrums of writing practice set in again, here's your chance to make it fun.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bloom: Love is...?

I had a chance to listen to Josh McDowell speak on what love is this past weekend.  The message he shared is one that is important for every parent, grandparent, pastor and Christian educator to hear and impart to the children in their care and can accurately be stated in three simple words.  Even if you think Jesus sucks, isn't God or are undecided, this video is important for a variety of reasons and I hope you will watch it and {hang in there until the end!}

If you haven't heard of Josh, let me tell you a little about him.  Josh was an agnostic who tried to disprove the existence of God, and through studying the Bible in depth he discovered that he couldn't do it.  He has authored over 100 books, {several of which have won awards} and spoken to thousands and thousands of students.  The best part is that he's the real deal; I firmly believe that man's family reveals much about the character of said man... I lived around the block from the McDowell family when I was in high school.  That family showed me love during the most troubling time in my life.  His wife Dottie, often took me to school when I was late for the bus. Katie, his oldest daughter brought me home many times.  Sean {and his now wife Stephanie} kept on sharing Christ with me at school, put up with my attitude, foul mouth and complete lack of tact {my lack of wisdom too!}, and brought me to bible studies where I first really understood who Jesus is, why He is important and what it means to follow Him. Sean also gave me one of Josh's first books, More Than a Carpenter, which answers the question, "Is Jesus Lord, a liar or a lunatic?"  In retrospect, I literally feel like I was this family's project... and oh, what joys have come from it!

Here's the video from Sunday night... I hope you will all use what you learn here for the good of our kids, our society and our world.

Josh McDowell - Aug 14, 2011 from Shadow Mountain Community Church on Vimeo

Here is a link to the book Josh is talking about at the end of the video about sex, love and the questions kids have that their parents are often not answering for them.  Scary stuff.

If the video challenged your thinking, or you are intrigued by what you heard, here are the links to Josh and Sean's ministries where you can get more information:

Jesus is THE single most important thing that is finally helping me to bloom.

Keep on Bloomin'!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Featured Artisan: The Adventurous Rabbit!

Hey there!  Meet one of my hometown girls, Jen Piper of the Adventurous Rabbit who is also one of my EASDC (Etsy Artisans of San Diego County) teammates.  Her shop has an eclectic mix of art and photography and while she doesn't necessarily specialize in children's goods, there are a couple of items that would be great for a kid's room... especially those hard to please tweens.  

But wait, there's more! Jen is offering you a very generous 20% off any purchase made in her shop from now until September 16th when you use the coupon code FEATUREDARTIST20

Etsy Shop

What do you make and what was/is the inspiration for your shop?  My shop is focused on art, specifically paintings and fine art photographs. I have always found art as a great way to de-stress.  I am currently in graduate school studying clinical psychology and thought starting an Etsy shop for my artwork would give me some much needed mental space from my studies and an outlet for creativity. 

Tell us how your creativity has woven itself into your life’s journey to make you what you are today. 
Nice Wave Sketch!
I am so much happier when I am creating.  For me painting is a form of meditation, focusing on the feeling of the brush moving along the canvas.  I was likely drawn to the field of psychology because the therapeutic process is one of creativity.  In the past, my art had always been for myself and for family as gifts.  I had many people admiring my photographs and paintings with some saying I should sell them.  A couple years ago a co-worker asked me to paint a mailbox (my first paid piece of art).  So, I finally decided to give selling a try.  Although my artwork is not what pays the bills I think it is an integral part of my self-care. 

What is your vision for the future of your business?  I’d really like to have more paintings available in my shop.  I have many that are unfinished because I have so little time with everything else I do and have a ton of ideas for new paintings.  Someday I would like to be at a point where I can have prints made of my work.

What is your favorite item you have ever made?  What inspired you to make it?  My favorite painting is called “Sun is Shining” of an apple tree with a spider web, sun and clouds, and two black birds.  It’s one of the first large paintings I completed; it’s fun and a bit whimsical.  I have a photograph of the painting on my Facebook page.  A close second is a table I painted with a big tree with a heart in the middle and stars around it.  Unfortunately I didn’t have room for it any longer and it has a new owner.

Urban Hummingbird No. 2
Are you trained as an artist?  If yes, what degree(s) or certificates do you hold and where did you earn it/them? If no, how did you learn to make the items you offer in your shop? I consider myself primarily self-trained.  I have taken a variety of art classes since I was a kid and in college took a black and white photography class.  Mostly I’ve learned by trial and error.  I like to experiment with different techniques to find what works for me.  I’d like to think I have some natural talent as well.

In what other areas of your life (or interests that you have) do you see your creativity shining through?  I think my creativity is present in what I wear.  I like to layer unique items to create a look that is sophisticated and interesting.  I used to do a lot of creative writing, namely poetry, but have done less in recent years.  I think my view of the world around me can be creative and have kept my childhood imagination alive and well.

What is one thing you will be going out of your way to learn more about in the coming year to benefit your business?  I think one area I would like to learn more about is networking.  I am more of an introvert so networking is something I have to work a little harder at.

If you enjoyed this article, take a minute and visit Jen:                                                                                   
Facebook Page:

Keep on sharing the love,

Monday, August 15, 2011

Healthy Foods Series: Dessert!

So then, what do I do when I just must have something sweet?  Once in a while it happens, so here are my top 5 things I love to have for a health{ier} dessert.

#5  Make a healthier smoothie - 1 banana, 2 cups of yogurt, 1 cup of water, 2 cups of soft fruit and some fiber or flaxseed

#4 Make toast with whole wheat bread that has some fiber in it, and top with honey and butter or honey and peanut butter.

#3 Have a ramekin full of thawed frozen cherries or blueberries or fresh peaches or strawberries plain or with cream... no sugar needed, fiber included in the whole fruits.

#2 Make scones and serve with perfectly ripe fruit, a drizzle of warm honey and cream.  Scones: Mix 2 Cups of whole wheat flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 2Tbsp. sugar, and 1/2 tsp salt.  Cut in 1/2 cup of butter until it is the size of peas.  In a big measuring cup beat 1/2 cup of cream or milk with 1 egg and then add it to the flour mixture. Give it a quick stir, form a dough ball on your un-greased baking sheet, cut it into 6ths, spread them out and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  Serve it warm with lots of fruit and only a little cream and honey.

#1 Send my DH out for baklava!!!

Image Source: Norwegian Wood Bakery
I use honey sparingly, but try to use it whenever possible for my sweetener because it is natural, has no funny disgusting taste or after taste, has a low glycemic value which means it doesn't tank my blood sugar and it's just plain yummy.

What are your favorite low sugar or low glycemic desserts?

Keep it satisfying,

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I'm being featured!!

My rock star bows are being featured this week here:

Please stop by and vote for me... It would mean free advertising for me if I were to win...

Keep it super!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Friday Fun: More Awesome Treasury Features!!

Thanks so much to Symbolic Imports, Red Koala Arts and Indy and Cleo for these awesome features this week!  I think they are all quite beautiful.


Bloom: A day at the farm...

My kids and I had a great chance to catch up {and do business} with my good friend Brenda of the VanOmmering Dairy in Lakeside this week.  The kids all played and we chatted, planned the bows she wants me to make for her shop and had a great time!  {I'll post pictures later, but for now I'll just tell you they involve clay... Shh!}

It is so wonderful to have friends that truly rely on God to meet their needs, are willing to share what God is doing in their lives and have something about them that you can just tell they are genuinely in love with their Savior by what they do, not just what they say.  That's what Brenda is like. I know I am growing as a result of our friendship and I hope that you have at least one person you consistently share God's wonders with too.  It's just one of those things that is helping me to bloom.

One of the great things about being friends with someone who has a farm is that you get to spend time with animals you may not normally get to be close to.  Our kids were so cute petting her {two week old!} pygmy goat.  It is SO small!  I only wished my phone wouldn't have died or I would have pictures to show you.  :(

Inspired by our time at the farm, Princess Peach and I made up {...or remembered?} some kid-approved animal jokes on the way home...   They're cheesy, but I like 'em!

What does a cow say when she has visitors?  Please re-MOOve your shoes {ok this one was on a poster at Brenda's house}

What did the squished cow say? Please MOOve over

What  do cows do for fun? Go to the MOOvies

What do ducks eat for a snack? Cheese and QUACKERS

What did the duck say after he heard your joke?  You're a QUACK-up

Don't forget to laugh and keep on bloomin'!

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