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!
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