Monday, December 28, 2009

Fantastic Fried Eggs - A Felt Food Tutorial

Growing up, I couldn't stand the taste of eggs. My folks made me eat them and I tried to drown out the eggy taste with everything from melted cheese to ketchup – to no avail. Even as an adult, I can't seem to get past my childhood aversion to the egg.

A felt fried egg, however, is something that I can easily love.

I whipped up this delicious looking little egg last night and put the finishing touches on this morning while my daughter ate breakfast. She eagerly watched me stitch it together while she ate her cereal and couldn't wait to take it into her new play kitchen (her favorite Christmas present, courtesy of my parents) as soon as I was finished.

Want to make your own? It's easy:
  1. Draw the egg white and yolk shapes onto a sheet of paper or tissue paper to create your pattern.
  2. Cut out your pattern pieces then place them on your felt.
  3. Cut two egg white pieces from white felt and one yolk piece from yellow felt.
  4. Blanket stitch your yolk onto one of the egg white pieces using yellow embroidery thread. Feel free to add a bit of stuffing underneath your yolk before you finish stitching it in place if you want it to be puffy.
  5. Place the other egg white piece below the piece you just add the yolk to, then blanket stitch together using white embroidery thread.
  6. Done! Time to start cooking!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tiny Diapers

Yesterday, I whipped up two sweet little diapers for Miss C.'s baby doll using a pattern I found on the blog, Skip to My Lou, after a quick Google search. I was looking for something that looked easy to whip up and that was designed for a 15" doll.

Turns out, this pattern was a perfect fit. Each flannel diaper (the striped one is lined with a soft yellow minky) took less than 20 minutes to make, start to finish. I couldn't help top-stitching each one, even though the pattern didn't call for it, so I probably would have finished even sooner if I hadn't added a step.


Miss C. was so excited about her Mama-made gift that she spent a good portion of the day dressing and undressing her baby doll, changing diapers, and organizing her diaper bag.

Watching her play mama, I love to tell her that she's a good mama to her baby. She always smiles and says, "No!" Then she bursts into giggles when I pretend to look shocked and say, "No?! Oh, that's too bad!" This, of course, is followed by even more giggles and a request for "More!"


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Recycled Gift Box Mailer

What do you do when you're out of bubble mailers? Make one!

I just finished whipping up this sunny little mailer for a Little Peanut order. All I needed was one half of a department store gift box (if you're anything like me, you've got a million of these things lying around your house) and a little packing tape.

Fold your box at the middle, apply packing tape to seal the edges and in a few minutes you've got yourself a recycled mailer ready to hit the post office. Woot!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Diapee Bag

With only a few weeks until my due date, I suddenly realized that I needed to pack my labor and delivery bag. Of course, my sweet little daughter had recently commandeered my cosmetics bag for use as a "diapee bag" for her baby doll so I needed to somehow cleverly switch it out for a new doll-sized diaper bag. Tears were to be avoided at all costs!

After digging through my scrap baskets, I came upon a lovely chocolate brown corduroy and a coordinating Heidi Grace floral cotton print that I had used recently for a purse sold in my agent jane shop. A few hours later and I had whipped up this adorable little diaper bag and wipes case for my sweetie pie.

She discovered it on my craft table the next morning and was in love! She carries it around everywhere she goes and couldn't wait to show it off to her grandparents. (And... whew!... she forgot all about my cosmetics bag so I'm all packed up and ready to give birth.)

I know it's kind of cheesy, but my heart goes pitter patter and I feel all squishy inside whenever I see her playing with it. She's only 2 years old, but I'm just so touched by how much she loves this little bag I made just for her.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

From Scrap to Skirt

I love leftover fabric. I have baskets full of scraps that I just know I'll use someday.

Riiiiiiight. Most of those lonely scraps have a long wait ahead of them.

Every once in a while, though, inspiration strikes and I know just how to use a leftover piece of fabric. Just last week I took a few scraps of the lovely chocolate brown corduroy I used to make some bloom bags for agent jane and transformed them into a cute little A-line skirt for my toddler.

Now isn't that yummy?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Something Sweet

I just finished this sweet little Baby Care Set for a baby shower I'll be attending on Saturday. There's something so sweet and nostalgic about this Michael Miller print that made it absolutely irresistible!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tee-Tee

My little miss loves to dress up her baby doll. A good portion of our day is spent sorting through outfits, putting on clothes and taking them off so she can give her baby a "bath".

I just finished making a "tee-tee" (Miss C.'s word for t-shirt) for her baby doll. Being the helpful girl that she is, she helped me choose a fabric from my scrap bin. Then, she took out each pin and put it back into the pin box after I cut out each piece. Later, when she was sleeping, I snuck over to my sewing machine to put it together.

I can see a very large wardrobe in this doll's future.

Will she demand her own closet? Maybe. I draw the line at a shoe rack.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Teeny Tiny Baby Sling

Miss C. loves anything associated with the new baby. She coos over the tiny clothes, pulls out the baby toys and likes to play with the new cloth diapers and wipes in our stash.

My handmade pouch sling is no exception. She recently found it tucked away in a drawer and couldn't resist trying it on once I showed her what it's used for. She pulls it out at least once a day, and asks to put it on and fill it up with her babies. Then she makes me put it on. Or Daddy. Or Grandma. Or whoever happens to be handy. The baby isn't even here yet and that sling is already working overtime!

After searching through my fabric stash, I found a couple of fabrics that would make the perfect doll-sized pouch sling for my little miss. The outside is a cute little princess print, while the inside is a sparkly star print.

I whipped it out during her nap time using a pattern I had adapted a while back from the pouch sling I made for myself before she was born. I couldn't wait to surprise her with it as soon as she woke up – and she loved it!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Vintage Comic Books

I've been thinking about a box quite often. Not just any box, but a big one sitting in the back of my daughter's closet. One filled with goodies from my childhood up through high school.

I finally opened the box today.

Inside, I found old prom dresses, cards from my high school graduation (some from people I don't even remember), softball trophies, grammar school yearbooks and the scrapbooks my mom put together for me as a way to preserve my childhood works of art.

Most of it has little to no value to anyone but me. I tossed out the cards and trophies, and set aside a few of the dresses for donation. The most precious items, such as my scrapbooks, have been saved in a much smaller box.

Then my eyes fell on my old comic book collection. Most were purchased with my older brother at a local comic book shop when we were kids living in Southern California. But there are a few vintage comic books that I picked up at a flea market when I was a little girl. And they've been sitting in plastic sleeves in a box ever since.

I was about to add them all to the donation pile, but couldn't help but wonder if they're worth anything. Both the Simple Kate comic and the Bullwinkle comic aren't in top condition, but perhaps there aren't too many of them left out there. My copy of Rocky and His Fiendish Friends in Hollywood is actually in pretty good condition.

A quick search on the internet revealed several online comic book auction houses. I've already sent off one inquiry and plan to send out a few more.

Who knows? Maybe I'll make some money off of something I probably paid $2 for over 20 years ago.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Soft Bums

Cloth Diaper Addicts (CDAs, for short) will tell you it's not just about the diapers. We love the pretty covers, the fun accessories and – of course – those soft cloth wipes.

If you're a CDA like me – one who has some skills at the sewing machine – then cloth diapering your babe is double the fun. Last time around, I sewed all of my daughter's diaper wraps, which I've saved for this baby.

This time, since we decided against paying for a diaper service, I get to make an entire stash of cloth wipes for my little baby's bum. My first shipment of unbleached prefolds arrived on Monday (Thanks, Mom!), which has had me itching to do work on my diaper set-up.

For past few months, I've been eyeballing a stack of flannel receiving blankets that I rarely used when Miss C. was a babe. They were really too small to be useful as blankets... really! But cut up in 8x8 squares... yes, they'll be perfect as wipes!

Of course, I don't really have enough blankets to make all of the wipes I'll need but I do have a ton of flannel in my stash. Most of it is in the form of odd-shaped scraps left over from other projects, but I do have a few long lengths that I haven't found uses for yet. Plus there are those tricky licensed fabrics that I can't use in my shop. As it turns out, I have plenty of fabric to make my wipes. Yes!

After a little late-night research, I discovered that cloth diaper wipes are actually incredibly easy to make. All you need to do is cut your flannel into 8x8 inch squares (I've also made some 4x8 inch rectangles from fabric scraps for smaller wipes). Place two pieces together with the right sides out, then serge around the edges.

If you're like me and don't have a serger, you can use your regular sewing machine. Simply use your overlock setting to stitch around the edges. I went over mine twice with the overlock stitch and didn't have any fraying after a few washes.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Pretty Blooms

I just finished working on a custom order for one of my agent jane customers.

I'm so excited about this Undercover Mama Bag. I came up with the idea for the blooms on the front of the bag a while back and this was my first opportunity to test out the design. The blooms and stems were hand stitched onto the bag with embroidery thread.

The bag itself is a diaper bag in disguise, which will come in handy for my mama-to-be customer. I hope she loves it as much as I do!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Early Nesting

I wasn't expecting to begin nesting just yet. I'm nowhere near my third trimester – the time when most women start to feel an incredible urge to finish projects, clean the house and go crazy organizing everything – but I'm already feeling compelled to bring some old projects to a close.

Case in point: Miss C.'s baby book has been collecting dust in my craft room for almost two years now. I had never been satisfied with any of the ready-made books on the market, so I put one together before she was born.

Thinking I could outsmart myself (I'm a die-hard procrastinator), I bought gender neutral paper and assembled the entire book before the baby arrived. I even took the guesswork out of what would go inside by planning each page and placing the headlines on the pages. All I had to do was assemble a few photos and type up my memories sometime within the first year after she was born.

Yeah. That didn't exactly happen.

With only a few months left before the new baby arrives, I know it's now or never. The photos I ordered last week came in over the weekend and I no longer have any excuses. 

Miss C. is napping, so I snuck in some time to add the photos to the book. Looking at those early pictures makes me wistful and excited... because I know those days will be here again. The Baba will arrive and we'll be doing it all over again. 

Monday, May 18, 2009

Itty Bitty Boxers

Today was Day 1 of our potty training adventure.

This weekend, I whipped up a couple of pairs of flannel training pants for Miss C.'s doll. I think they look like itty bitty boxers - too cute! My daughter is absolutely in love with this doll that my mother-in-law lent to us to help with our potty training adventure. As it turns out, it was her childhood doll and she used it when potty training her own boys. It's at least 55 years old.

The plan was to follow the potty training in one day method, which got its start in 1974 with the book, Toilet Training In Less Than a Day, by Nathan H. Azrin, Ph.D. and Richard M. Foxx, Ph.D. I actually have a first edition copy in my possession, having borrowing it from my in-laws who used it on their own kids when they were toddlers. 

So far, Miss C. had three successful trips to the potty. We didn't exactly meet the goals set forward by the book, but then again, I never had my heart set on getting her trained in one day. All-in-all, I'm very content with the progress she's made so far. I'll just have to wait and see what tomorrow brings.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Play Dough Play Date

Yesterday's post got me thinking. Wouldn't it be fun to host a Play Dough Play Date?

Invite four or five of your mama friends and their little ones over for a group play date. Email your the the Play Dough recipe to your friends ahead of time and ask each one to make a single batch using a different flavor of Kool-Aid.

On the day of the play date, everyone brings their Play Dough over to your place. Split up each batch into small containers so that everyone gets to take home some of each color. Give the kids some of the handmade dough to play with, and enjoy an afternoon with your friends!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Dough Dough

The first words out of my daughter's mouth this morning were, "Dough dough!"

Last night, I told her we were going to make Play Dough. She had no idea what I was talking about, since she'd never laid eyes on one of the colorful balls of dough, but she was incredibly excited. 

We bought her a little set of dough tools yesterday, and she couldn't wait to use them on her "dough dough". She had them all ready to go next to her bed in a little green bucket.

I've never made Play Dough before, but a dear friend of mine had sent me a recipe called "Sweet Smelling Play Dough" that she said her kids adore. I liked the idea of making my own dough, especially since my daughter is still young enough to consider eating it, so I thought I'd give it a try.

So while the little miss ate her breakfast, I whipped up a batch of grape-scented purple Play Dough. It was incredibly easy to make with minimal clean-up. The best part, of course, is that my little one loved it. I think she set a playtime record, spending a remarkable 30 minutes playing quietly in her high chair with her purple dough.

Making your own Play Dough is so much fun. I hope you give this recipe a try. And don't worry, the purple color didn't come off on our hands!

Sweet Smelling Play Dough

Ingredients:
2 cups water
1 Kool-Aid drink mix packet
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
4 tsp. cream of tartar

Mix together the water, drink mix and oil. In a pot, mix together flour, salt and cream of tartar. Slowly add the liquid to the pot. Stir to combine.

Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture looks like mashed potatoes. Remove the dough from the pot and allow to cool. When cool, knead the dough until smooth.

Dough lasts a long time when stored in covered container or zip-top bag.

Mix together 2 cups of water

Sunday, May 10, 2009

When It Feels Right

My mom and grandma taught me how to make bread. 

Not the kind in the bread machine. We were too stubborn and old-fashioned to buy one. Besides, you can't add love to that kind of bread. Love is a rather temperamental baking ingredient; it tends to break down when you add it mechanically. It must be kneaded in by hand for full flavor.

I remember asking over and over, "But how do you know when to stop kneading?" 

The answer was always the same: "When it feels right."

And you know, mom and grandma knew what they were talking about. After some practice, I finally figured out how bread dough should feel when it's ready for proofing: soft and elastic, without stickiness. 

It's been at least 20 years since I was given those early lessons and I still enjoy the simple act of making bread. Twice a week, I make bread for my family's lunchtime sandwiches.

My daughter loves to help me make bread, lending a hand with measuring and pouring. Sometimes, she even leans in to help knead. She's almost 2 years old, so we have a long way to go before she asks how to know when the bread is ready.

I can't wait share my mom's and grandma's wise words: "When it feels right."

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bedside Reading

I love being an attachment parent. In the last two years, breast feeding, baby wearing (I can't wait to start wearing the new baby!) and gentle disciple have become a part of who I am – although I still have to work very hard at striving to be my best mother-self, especially when it comes to discipline. 

My daughter was not a great sleeper as a baby, and it took a long time for me to come to enjoy bedtime. In the last few months, though, I've found that gently parenting her to sleep each day for naps and bed time has become a routine I look forward to each day.

Being a toddler, my little miss is big on her routine. First she picks out a few stories to read, which of course sometimes means she grabs virtually every book off the shelf. Then we snuggle in her big girl bed together, with me propped up against some pillows and my little girl tucked in under the covers with her favorite dolls and stuffed animals beside her. We read a few stories, then if it's night time I brush all her doll's teeth, brush her teeth, give her a kiss and tell her I love her. 

After that, I pick up my own book – and a flashlight if it's dark – and transport myself to another time, a different local and into someone else's life. Most days I read until she falls asleep, then I quietly slip out of her room. But sometimes, the book is just too exciting to put down right away so I settle in for an hour or two, reading while my little one slumbers beside me.

I was thinking about this yesterday, when I realized that there used to be a time I would long for this type of luxury, but never took the time in the evening to crack open a book. I was always too busy with other things after work.

Being an a stay-at-home mom has changed things. I definitely don't have time to read while my daughter is awake, but I do spend more time reading while she is asleep than I ever did before. I've become an avid reader, having managed in the last year or so to pour through many of my favorite author's novels and explore new ones. 

Yesterday, I finished reading Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte. I happened to spot it last week while searching for something new in the quiet aisles of my local library. I had seen the movie many years ago but had never read the book, so I thought I'd give it a try.

I admit, there have been times when I've read a "classic" only to be disappointed. Not this time. Jane Eyre is truly a page-turner. There were so many unexpected twists (which I will not share with you, to avoid ruining the story) that by the end I simply couldn't put the book down. I had to know how Jane and Mr. Rochester's love would survive and bloom.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Goodie Basket Giveaway!

Etsy's Mothering Street team is hosting our first-ever Spring Fling Giveaway. The first basket of goodies tailored to mamas and kids has already been given away to one very lucky winner, but there's still time to enter to win the second basket!

This gift basket is geared toward mamas and babies, with natural parenting in mind. You'll find all kinds of nifty goodies including: a nursing necklace, nursing pads, a play silk, foot soaks, a beautiful baby sling, a set of eco-friendly reusable nose wipes from my shop, plus a whole lot more! If you're a new mama or a mama-to-be, you'll definitely want to enter before April 30!

There are several ways to enter the drawing:
  • Every dollar spent in a participating shop (including mine!) earns you one ticket toward the drawing. All you have to do is leave a note during your purchase or send a convo afterward saying that you'd like to be entered in the drawing. Check out our team blog for a list of participating shops.
  • Leave a comment on our team blog, letting us know you'd like to be entered in the drawing. Be sure to include your Etsy shop name, email address or blog address so we know how to get in touch with you if you are the lucky winner. Your comment will earn you one ticket (only one comment entry per person).
  • Blog about us! Be sure to leave a comment on our team blog with a link to your blog so we can read all of the fabulous things you wrote! Blogging earns you two tickets – and there's no limit on how many times you can blog about us to earn tickets!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pink Lemonade

Today's flavor was pink lemonade. And since my daughter is still to young to be running around with a Dum Dum lollipop in her mouth, I ate it. While she was napping of course.

Thursdays are special in our house. It's garbage day, my daughter's favorite day of the week. She listens all morning for the sound of the truck as it approaches our street and can't wait to rush outside to watch Mr. Chris or Mr. Jay take away this week's garbage and green waste (or recycling, depending on the week).

Last week, Mr. Chris told us that there are a couple of little boys on his route that jump up and down and shriek with delight when he comes around the corner. One little boy's mother asked him last week, "How does it feel to be a rock star?"

It's true. Those guys are practically celebrities to small children. They come cruising up in their big trucks, extending the truck's arm to pick up the can, then hopping out to say "hi" and hand out lollipops.

My Little Miss is all grins and excited wiggles until we get outside. Then she puts on her shy face while I spend a few minutes chatting with Mr. Chris or Mr. Jay about the weather, their teenage daughters or the upcoming weekend. Sometimes she'll share a tiny smile or a wave goodbye. 

They tell me she makes their day. They've certainly made hers.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Baba

There's someone new in my life that I'd like you to meet: my little Baba.

These last few weeks have been crazy. I've spent a few days on bed rest, the stomach flu has slowly been making the rounds in my house and I've been left with little energy.

But with the end of my first trimester drawing near, I can feel my energy increasing each day. I want to write. I want to create. And I'm having fun being pregnant again. 

Tomorrow I'll be 12 weeks along and I'm beginning to show a little bit. Last time, it took over 20 weeks for my belly to start expanding. I really love how my belly looks when I'm pregnant and I'm so excited that I get to look pregnant sooner this time around. And the best part - no morning sickness this time around! 

My little girl is getting excited about The Baba (we came up with the name "The Baba" after she first started to say "baby". It came out "baba" for several weeks before evolving to the current "beebee".) She likes to talk about the doctor showing us the beebee and points to Mama's tummy where the beebee lives.

This October, she'll become a big sister. I can't wait!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Eeek!

Oh... my... goodness...

My agent jane Double Agent Knitting Clutch was on Etsy's front page today!  I just happened to spot it while logging in!

Must... breathe...

I got nearly 300 views and a bunch of hearts out of it! :) Woot!


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Lost Art

There was a time not that long ago when e-mail, Facebook and blogs simply didn't exist. No one had cell phones and long distance calls were expensive. So we wrote letters.

I'm only 30 years old, but I remember this time with great fondness. I was 10 years old when I first discovered my love of writing. My family had just moved up to Northern California from my childhood home in San Bernardino, CA. Shortly before the move my mother had planted the seed. She mentioned that I could stay in touch with my girlfriends through letters and helped me amass an entire collection of pretty stationary specifically for the purpose of composing letters to friends and family members. 

Each day I'd run to our old fashioned rural mailbox, two long braids trailing down my back, with the great hope of receiving a letter from a faraway friend. Most days I wouldn't find anything addressed to me, but once a week or so I'd find a pretty pink or purple envelope tucked in amongst my parents' bills and junk mail. 

Perhaps it was a simple girlhood thrill of receiving something addressed to me in the mail. Maybe it had something to do with my secret girlhood dream of having a pen pal who, over a lifetime of letters, would become my best and truest friend. I suppose it doesn't matter why I loved it so much. Some things just are.

Twenty years have passed and I still love receiving notes addressed to me in the mail. I've managed to save virtually every letter I've received from friends and family over the years, and they're all tucked neatly away in a box under my bed. Maybe someday I'll pull them out and reread them. The short ones from my girlhood friends. The long ones from my parents when I was away at college. The ones my grandfather and I wrote to each other the summer before he died a few years ago (he saved each of my letters and I now have them stowed safely in my box).

These days, I've joined the masses and switched primarily to e-mail, but sometimes I wonder if something has been lost. You transfer a part of yourself onto the page when you handwrite a letter. The long or short loops in your handwriting are as much a part of the story as the words you have written. The time you take selecting the right paper, writing out your thoughts and tucking everything into an envelope is a true mark of love and friendship.

Monday, March 16, 2009

First Sale

It took just over a month, but I did it. 

I made my first agent jane sale last night! I'm so excited to ship my Undercover Mama Bag out to my wonderful customer. I hope she loves it as much as I do.

Now my little shop looks so lonely with only one item inside. I've been working on a knitting needle case to add to my shop and I'm so close to finishing it. The only hitch is that I don't have any knitting needles laying around for photo props. 

Hmmm... I guess I'll have to take up knitting this week.

Or maybe I'll just call my mom and ask to borrow some of her needles. 

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Love

My dear friend called me today with the news that she had welcomed her baby boy into the world last night. I don't know that anything in the world can compare with meeting your new baby for the first time. Those tiny eyes gaze into your own, and your heart suddenly swells with more love that you ever believed it could possibly contain.

I can't wait to meet him. I just know he's perfect.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

CPSIA - Calling All Activists!

The stay is in place but the fight isn't over.

Etsian bytheway recently had a great idea: let's all work together on a single CPSIA Assignment each week. We'll concentrate our efforts to gain maximum impact, and hopefully gain some traction in the fight to amend the CPSIA

So what's the first assignment? 

To come up with a month's worth of assignments. What are the top four things we should be working on in the next four weeks (one per week)? Who should we be contacting en masse? What's critical right now?

Send me your ideas by writing a comment on this post. Once we get enough ideas, we'll post a new assignment each week in the CPSIA section of the Etsy forums where we can update each other on our progress.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wedded Bliss

It's been almost two years since I last pulled my beautiful wedding dress out of its muslin-wrapped box to air it out. The seamstress I hired, Diana Ackerman, owner of The Threadbender, to clean and preserve it told me I should do it every year, but last year I found myself a little busy with a new baby in the house.

Opening that lovely gray box and setting aside the tissues to reveal my gown was, as always, an emotional experience. And to have my daughter there beside me (well, behind the baby gate a few feet away) to see it for the first time was a wonderful experience.

I'll carefully pack it away in its archival box tomorrow, but until then I'll think of our vows, first dance, toasts and new beginning every time I pass through my bedroom. And I'll have those memories to carry me through the year until I air it out once again.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sunshine

My little corner of the world has been gray and rainy all week. 

Right now my daughter is sleeping peacefully in her room, so I've been taking a few moments to simply relax in my craft room.

A few minutes ago I was gazing out the window, watching the rain fall, when I noticed the most unusual little rainbow. I just had to get a photo.

There's sunshine around every corner... if you know where to look.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Mint

Last night I dreamt about creamy mint chip ice cream. But alas, when I awoke the freezer was bare.

Tonight, I found plenty of calorie-free treats on Etsy and gathered them together for a very minty treasury

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sweet Little Things

Last night I stayed up late making a sweet little toddler-sized smock for my daughter to wear when she helps me around the kitchen. 

I didn't have a pattern, so I made one up. Of course, I don't have any real pattern paper on hand, so I rummaged through my box of gift bags and recycled gift tissue paper to find some tissue paper to use. I discovered a sheet of Hanna Andersson tissue that came with a gift my little one received from a dear friend. I love finding creative uses for gift tissue paper – especially when it's this cute.

Around a 12:45 a.m. I finally finished it and couldn't wait till morning to see if she'd like it. Turns out, it was a perfect fit. She ran around the house in it all morning, looking so cute. Of course, she couldn't wait to test it out in her tower

I can already see the light dusting of flour on the front of her smock as she helps me make bread, grinning ear to ear.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Something Hidden, Something Revealing

Sometimes when I'm browsing on Etsy I'm not really shopping. 

I like to look at what else is in the photograph and for a moment ignore the item for sale. Look at the props in the background. The surrounding landscape. 

And I tell myself that I'm catching a tiny glimpse into someone else's life. Or the life they dream about.

A window in the background, a strategically placed tea cup, a model on a rooftop can say a lot about a person.

Today, I found myself using some props from around the house for one of the photos used in my latest agent jane listing: Joe's O's. Reduced fat Cheez-Its. TLC crackers. 

What do they reveal about me? Nothing deep, I suppose. 

The Joe's O's... well that's pretty obvious, I guess. My daughter loves them. Could live off of them if I let her. The Cheez-Its... hubby loves them and goes through a couple of boxes a week. And the TLC crackers... another failed attempt to add diversity to my daughter's diet. She still loves her cheese, fruit, beans and rice.

I wonder if other people will look for clues about me in this picture. I can't imagine I'm the only one who looks in the background for something hidden, something revealing.

Market Intelligence

There was a time when bringing your own reusable bags to the grocery store meant two things:
  • The grocery clerk looked at you as though you just grew a second head when your response to the standard "Paper or plastic?" question was "No thanks, I brought my own."
  • You were forced to use ugly, mismatched tote bags your mom had been holding onto since the '80s.
Thankfully, those days (and hideous totes) are a distant memory. Most grocers now expect that many of their customers will bring their own bags. And reusable bags have undergone a style transformation, ranging from the practical canvas totes sold at your local grocery store to fun bags made out of old t-shirts. 

I was thinking about this other day when planning my next project for agent jane. Why not make a market tote that's both practical and chic? The result is this sunny – and very roomy – market tote.

Who wouldn't look smart with this bag on her shoulder? Grocery shopping (or a trip to the gym... or a day at the mall...) never looked so good!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tiny Trees

Every once in a while I stumble across a fabric that I simply can't live without. This little gem was hidden at the bottom of a rack at JoAnn's - I spotted it while searching for some fabrics to use on a custom order I was working on this weekend.

I can't get enough of the tiny trees on this fabric. It's adorable and a little bit retro, reminding me of something my mother might have used to sew a dress for me when I was a little girl.

All I have left is a small strip – enough to make something small like a Crayon Wallet. But I can't help imaging all of the possibilities – maybe I'll have to go back and pick up more to make a smock or skirt for my daughter.

I like to think that perhaps 30 years from now my daughter will spot something similar in a fabric store and, like me, it will remind her of the little handmade goodies her mama made just for her.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Dōmo arigatō, Mr. Roboto

Last night I had a little time on my hands. I didn't really feel like working, and the Treasury was about to open up on Etsy so I thought I'd try to snag a spot. 

Turns out it was my lucky night.

Not only did I snag a spot in the Treasury, but I also had an excuse to browse a gazillion robot listings in my quest to pay homage to the sci-fi icon. As always, my fellow Etsians pulled through with some incredible finds.

My "Mr. Roboto" treasury will only last a couple of days... so I'm also posting a screenshot for posterity. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Modeling

I had my first modeling gig today. 

I thought modeling would be so glamorous. You know, someone to do my hair and makeup, tables adorned with strawberries and champagne, hip music playing in the background...

Instead, I did my own hair and makeup, the snack table held a plastic cup filled with Joe's O's (Trader Joe's answer to Cheerios) and I had Sesame Street's greatest hits playing in the background for my daughter.

A few photographs later and it's official: I've become the spokesmodel for agent jane

How glamorous!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Case File 012245: agent jane Opens for Business

Calling all undercover mamas - agent jane is open for business! 

My first purse, the Undercover Mama Bag, is designed with moms-on-the-go in mind. This compact diaper bag has room for everything you'll need for an afternoon of errands with your little one: four pockets to hold diapers, wipes, snack and a sippy cup or bottle. And once you've filled the pockets there's room left over for your wallet, keys and sunglasses.

There's something so liberating about ditching that bulky diaper bag in favor of something so stylish. When you carry a bag this chic, no will ever detect the baby gear concealed inside!

Looking for more? I'll be adding even more bags and totes in the weeks to come. I can't wait!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Little Peanut Launches Big Sale

I'm excited to announce that I've placed more than half of the items in my shop on sale. Discounts range from 25% to 50% off, with many items featuring deep discounts!

Why the big sale?

Just over a month ago, when I hit my shop's six-month anniversary, I starting thinking about streamlining my focus a bit. I love every single item I've made but it's time to narrow my focus a bit to the goodies that my customers seem to love most. 

In the meantime, there are lots of fun little goodies on sale right now just waiting for a good home! 

Stop on by and take peek inside my shop. I'd love to help you make your little one happy!


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sanctuary

After a week of craft show prep, my craft room was begging for mercy. Papers were strewn everywhere, the carpet was covered with thread trimmings and fabric could be found draped over nearly every surface. 

It was time for a major clean-up. 

I tackled the biggest problem first: the Pack 'N Play had to go. My daughter always hated it so we never really used it for anything other than blocking her access to the DVDs (it also made a messy catch-all for my craft stuff). 

After that, hubby and I hauled in my favorite red chair and moss-green ottoman to create a little reading nook in the corner, while still keeping the DVDs out of reach. I cleaned out my craft baskets, put everything away, and took a step back to admire my handiwork.

There it was: my own private sanctuary. I can craft, read and write in my little space. And hubby can bring his laptop in and hang out when I'm busy working.

I feel brilliant. Content. Relaxed.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Ladybugs

Every afternoon my daughter and I wait outside for her daddy to come home from work. She loves to explore the front yard. Most days, she picks up rocks to put in the big bucket she carries around or walks a few doors down to give the fire hydrant a hug.

This week, we discovered that a tiny flock of ladybugs has taken up residence in our lawn. The first time I spotted one, I let it crawl on my finger to show my daughter. But instead of the delighted smile I was expecting, she backed away terrified saying, "No, no, no!" 

That night, though, she kept pointing to my hand until I said, "Yes, the ladybug was crawling on mommy's hand!" She smiled, saying, "Yeah!" I used my fingers to show her how the ladybug crawled on my hand and a new sign was born.

So, each day we've ventured out to the lawn to look for ladybugs. And each day she's lost a little bit of her fear, stepping a bit closer to look at them crawl around in the grass.

Today, she picked up a leaf that had a ladybug on it. Of course, the ladybug started to crawl up her arm. I was so proud of her for not getting upset! The ladybug got most of the way up her arm before she started to worry.

Every time we talk about the ladybugs now, she gets excited and does her ladybug sign. What a wonderful world she lives in. Every day something new and exciting is waiting right around the corner.