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'!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Craft: As promised... New mini bows added to my shop!

Here are some of the new mini bows I just listed in my shop.  {More are on their way soon!} The colors are customizable, so if you love little bows... These are for you!

Keep it crafty!
Two Mini Spiked Pinwheel Bows
Two mini spiked boutique bows

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Featured Artisan: Kelly Brannan of The Adorned Abode

Fellow Sahm of Etsy teammate Kelly Brannan from the Adorned Abode stepped into my {online} office the other day for a chat about what she does.  She is so sweet to offer you a coupon for 10% off your entire purchase at The Adorned Abode valid today through August 31st.  The code is LOVEINBLOOM.  Here's what she had to say:

Woodland Jewelry Box
What do you make and what was/is the inspiration for your shop?  I make decoupaged wooden recipe boxes and divider cards, trinket boxes and lightswitch plates. My main inspiration is my children; after making most of the décor for my daughter’s “big girl” bedroom, and some for my son’s nursery, I decided to start making and selling items. And beautiful paper is another inspiration; just walking into a scrap booking store gets my creativity flowing, imagining all the things I can make.  

Tell us how your creativity has woven itself into your life’s journey to make you what you are today.
I’ve always enjoyed doing “crafty” things, just for myself and our home. Last year I went to a painting studio where they show you step by step how to do your own painting, and I so enjoyed it and found it so fulfilling that I just had to keep making things. I’ve always been a little creative, but doing the paintings really “woke up” a sleeping creativity that I didn’t even realize was there. Compliments from others on my creations gave me the confidence to try my hand at an Etsy shop. And part of it was just a risk, a “why not give it a shot” type of thing.

What is your vision for the future of your business?  I feel my shop has been pretty successful so far, considering I’ve only had it open for half a year at this point. My vision would be for that to continue and grow, and to add some new items to my inventory as I’m able to. I would also like to start advertising, though I haven’t worked that out just yet, and I’d love to try a craft fair as well. So far, I haven’t been able to get enough in-stock inventory built up to do that, but that would be my hope for the future.

Owl Switchplate
Tell us about your typical day.  I have a 2 year old son and an almost-4 year old daughter, so my typical day starts with coffee (a few cups!), and the regular day to day things regarding caring for my kids and home. I usually work on orders, or new items, at a few different times throughout the day, just whenever I can fit it in. And of course, lot of play time with the kiddos. J And then once they are in bed at night, I work some more, often into the wee hours!

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’m definitely not trained as an artist, though I would love to be! The only training I’ve had is the painting classes I’ve taken, if you count that. And of course, I don’t offer hand painted items in my shop, other than painting a box at times. Actually, I don’t consider myself an artist at all, though I do think I have some artistic ability, which I really didn’t acknowledge until the past year. I have an Associates Degree, and a Paralegal Certificate, and worked as a Paralegal until I was pregnant with my son and came home full time. As for how I learned to make my items, some of it was intuitive, and the rest I learned from research on the internet and trial and error.

Recipe Cards {and Box}... for Mom!
In what other areas of your life (or interests that you have) do you see your creativity shining through?  I do love to write, and have always dreamed of writing novels (maybe I’ll try that someday after all!). I’m not a gardener at all, and have no musical skills…well, I love to sing, but I think most people would prefer not to listen to me, lol!
I think my creativity shines through mostly with my kids. I love to do age-appropriate crafts with them, and look forward to all the fun crafts we can make together as they get older. I definitely try to encourage their own creativity and imaginations!
What is one thing you will be going out of your way to learn more about in the coming year to benefit your business?  Book keeping, for one! I must learn a more organized system for keeping up with sales and expenses. And as I mentioned, I’m thinking about trying advertising, so I need to look more into that.

You can find Kelly in these wonderful places for now, but we hope she'll keep us posted if she starts up a blog later too. {wink!}

Monday, August 8, 2011

Healthy Foods: Cheeseburger Salad

Ok, I know some of you out there will be like, "Cheese isn't healthy and hamburgers are greasy," but bear with me on this one because this is low sugar and well... You know by now... "It's not the fat people."  LOL! This is more of a method than a recipe because you can switch it up to include ingredients from your favorite burgers for a change, but this is what my kids love. If it's too hot, you can do it on the grill too {summer perk!}

Make your hamburgers into patties and add salt and pepper to taste and cook them until they are the degree of done-ness that you prefer and turn off the burner. Put your cheese of choice on top and add a lid. It will melt on it's own while you make the salad.

Meanwhile, wash, dry and chop your lettuce and add it to your salad bowl with chopped veggies and dill pickles. I added red bell peppers, cucumber, tomatoes and dill pickles. It would also be yummy with avocado, canned beans that have been rinsed very well, left over cubed salted potatoes, a little green onion or chives etc...

I made dill pickle viniagrette (equal parts pickle juice and extra virgin olive oil), tossed the salad and put it in individual bowls topped with a cheeseburger patty and served it with a glass of milk. My kids LOVE this one the way it is, {no sugary ketchup needed} but you could do salsa for dressing, or ranch, or if your kids like garliky cooked mushrooms and their liquid, that would be a good dressing. Use your imagination!

Keep it yummy!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Fun: More Treasury Featues!

Hooray, I was featured in two treasuries again this week! Thanks to WhirlyBirds and Loren of Fruits of the Bloom!!

I also made two treasuries this week:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bloom: A full night's sleep is SO helpful!

Image Source: NaomiLingerie
I have been up late working on some designs for the pumpkin patch and dairy, working on the blog, filling orders, making treasuries and generally not paying much attention to my need for sleep.  It caught up with me yesterday when I accidentally gave Mario, Luigi's medicine {they are on different antibiotics for the same thing}.  I felt like one horrible mama!!  So I called my mom, who is a Registered Nurse to make sure it was going to be okay, and after reviewing the dosing with me she told us to watch for an allergic reaction but that he should be fine. {Phew!}  There was no allergy and my wonderful husband promptly took up the reigns and advised me to get some sleep.  So there I was in my bed sleeping at 6:30 last night and... I slept a full 12 hours in perfect peace and  I didn't need any coffee in order to function this morning.  Therefore, whatever I don't finish before 10:30 isn't going to get done from now on... It's just the way it has to be.

Keep it well-rested and sane!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Craft: Shadow Art

My wonderful daughter asked me for some paper the other day while the boys were playing nicely in the livingroom.  So, I gave it to her and she started cutting shapes out of blue and pink paper and glued it onto white paper with a glue stick.  Blue on one side, pink on the other.  Noticing what she was doing I asked her, "What do you think it will look like if we put it up on the window?"  "Let's try it and see," she says.  So we did and here is the result.
Pink side against the glass...
Blue side against the glass...

I love the organic shapes she cut out, but you could do this with any recognizable shape or random paper cuts work too for a more abstract approach.

To cut the shapes, she cut oval-ish shapes out then folded them in various directions and cut on the crease (like when you make snowflakes).

Some things we noticed about this project:
It looks different depending on which side is next to the glass, or even different still if it's on the table.

Overlapping shapes from one side to the other has a nice effect.
We both love it!

I'd love to see your work if you try this with your kids (or just by yourself).

Keep it crafty!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Featured Artist: Heidi of Little Tadpole Designs

Say hello to the very sweet Heidi, owner of Little Tadpole Designs and fellow team member on both SAHM of Etsy, EtsyKids and Christian Artists Street Team (CAST) teams. She is offering you, my wonderful readers, 10% off any purchase from her shop when you use the coupon code BLOGLUV10.  This offer expires next Monday night, so you only have one week to get in on it. 

Custom Binky Leash
What do you make and what was/is the inspiration for your shop?  My creations revolve mainly around babies and preschoolers right now… because that’s what my children are!  I have a 28 month old and an 8 month old and they are most definitely the inspiration behind all that I do.  Soon after my son was born, I made my first Cuddle Blankie and binky clip for him… and things just “took off” from there, pulling me along with it!  It is very exciting to me to look at a need my children have, and come up with a unique design for satisfying it that is adorable, functional, offers something “different” than the conventional, and is of high quality.  In addition to the blankies and soother clips, I make mitten clips, Snap Belts for preschoolers, fun infant-sized and pretty flower hair clippies, and one-of-a-kind crocheted dolls & toys.  I’ve already got a few NEW things “in the works” that I will be adding to my shop in the very near future.  I love variety… of materials, designs, ideas.  It’s what makes it fun!

Tell us how your creativity has woven itself into your life’s journey to make you what you are today.  It seems that I’ve never really been “cut out” for the daily 9 to 5… but I never imagined that I’d be able to use my creative talents in the way the I am now able to thanks to Etsy.  It was always my husband and my plan that I would be a stay-at-home mom and I don’t miss “going to work” in the least!  I love making “stuff” though and I guess I do need some outlet for my creative energies that doesn’t involve the kiddos.  I still feel that my shop is really my hobby even though I spend a lot more time at it than I originally imagined.  Perhaps that is the difference when it comes to doing something you really love to do… it doesn’t seem like “work”!  That’s the way it is with being a mom, and with my little business (most of the time at least!). 
       Before we had children, we had our dog and cats and my first small business venture was pet-related and it was a very good endeavor that I was proud to pour my time and energy into until we moved to a new home.  That experience was what got my feet wet and really showed me that having the freedom to create my own job was the way I wanted to go.

Cuddle Blankie "Circles"
What is your vision for the future of your business?  I have pretty modest goals.  I’d like to be able to balance things so that when I’m inspired with a new design I will have the funds to buy what I need and continue the creative process without having to dip into our family budget.  Because I don’t have any other income, it really feels good being able to have my shop support itself.  Pretty much every sale goes directly back into getting what I need to make more items and I’m happy with that.  Of course, I wouldn’t mind having just a teensy bit of extra for myself… after all, I also love to SHOP on Etsy!!

Tell us about your typical day.  My day usually starts with getting my son breakfast and then seeing what is happening online while he eats.  Often I even have the freedom of both hands as my daughter is getting more and more able to entertain herself too!  Later in the day, during little miss’s naptime, I follow up on anything that I started in the morning.  My husband is always wonderful about being a helping hand with the little ones in the evenings so I can run to the post office or put an order together for mailing.  Then, after the youngsters are in bed, I can do some creating!  It’s really just a matter of fitting it in here and there where I can.  Some days I get lots done… some days not so much.  It’s a juggling act really!

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 have to give most credit to my mom.  She taught me the basics of sewing and crochet when I was a little girl.  Most of it I used sparingly until after I got married and even then I kept it pretty basic.  I actually just picked up a crochet hook for the first time in years only a few months ago!  I’m no good at all at reading and following patterns… so I just try things that I think should work and usually they do!  Most of my family is pretty creative and isn’t afraid to try working with new materials or different styles of activities… and that helps to push me to experiment.  

Crocheted Shanice Doll
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 love to paint.  I haven’t picked up a brush and palette for many years but I really want to get back to it.  Something else I really enjoy is building things.  I’m slowly building up the variety of tools I own and very much want to try making wood art (also known as Intarsia) like my Grandfather does.  I’d also like to try my hand at some simple furniture making.  I don’t really have any time to develop new skills right now because the kids are so young and my focus is on them… but as they grow up I hope we can learn some of these things together.

What is one thing you will be going out of your way to learn more about in the coming year to benefit your business?  There are so many things!   J  I really feel that there are so many thing that I don’t even know that I don’t know, ya know?  Really though, I’d like to continue working on my photography and internet skills.  I’ve gotten a lot of help from fellow Etsians but I know there is a LOT more that I can learn and play around with to have my shop be represented the very best that it can be. 

What steps are you taking to ensure your products follow applicable child safety laws?  Because I’m in Canada, we have similar but not exactly the same requirements that crafters of children’s items are faced with in the States with regards to labeling and testing finished products.  However, I believe strongly in the intent of the child safety laws on both sides of the border and because the items I make are first and foremost made for my own children, this is something I consider in every design.  I have checked with the companies that I buy from to ensure that the materials I am using either have been tested according to current Canadian & US standards and have the documentation to back that up, or are already exempt according to the legislation.  This satisfies the intent of the laws and I always make sure that if an item has small parts or may present a safety concern it comes with a caution to that effect.   I’m sure everyone will agree that children are too precious to take risks with and their safety should always be considered first.

Be sure to check her out in the following places on the web:

Keep it inspirational,

Monday, August 1, 2011

Feature Post on Screaming Sardine today... It's me!!

Hooray!  I am featured on the Screaming Sardine today!!  Check it out for a chance to win a $10 to spend to spend at my shop.  Give-away ends August 8th 11:59 PM Central Time.

Screaming Sardine

Also, check out the post below for today's installment of the Healthy Food Series.  It's a tasty recipe you'll enjoy.

Keep it joyful!

Healthy Food Series: Kids Love Pasta Salad

About a year ago, I was going through a hard time in the kitchen where it didn't matter what I made, or how good it was, someone in the house complained about it. So, I made up this recipe in my efforts to get out of my cooking "slump". This is one of my all time favorite summer dishes to make because it is quick and easy, is loaded with a ton of great veggies, is hearty enough for my husband to eat it as a meal with a glass of milk, and everyone in my family likes it... a lot! My four year old has told me on more than one occasion, "This is my favorite food, better than pizza." Anyway, I hope you like it!

Keep it healthy!


1/2 package high-fiber whole wheat noodles any medium sized shape
2 cups frozen peas
1/2 a red, orange or yellow bell pepper
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
(add more veggies that your kids like)
4 oz feta cheese well crumbled
20 (or so)kalamata olives chopped
chopped walnuts

1/2 tsp each dried basil and oregano
pinch of garlic granules (or powder)
2 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
5 Tbsp Olive oil*
plenty of salt and pepper to taste

Cook noodles according to package directions, drain and put back in the cooking pot. Meanwhile make the vinaigrette and set aside until the noodles are done then pour over noodles. Add the peas and mix until the noodles cool off a bit. Then chop and add the rest of your veggies, olives and cheese. You can serve it right away, but it does taste better after the flavors have a chance to meld for an hour or so in the fridge. Taste to check for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. Dish it up and top with nuts right before serving. Complete your protiens with a glass of milk and enjoy. :) YUM!

*{I know this sounds like a lot of oil, but the salad needs it to keep the vinegar from destroying the pasta and it really doesn't taste greasy, I promise... and I could go on with the fat isn't bad thing, but you all watched Dr. Lustig's video... right?} ;)
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