Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tantalizing Thursday: A Slacker's What's New Wednesday

I've been on a roll the past few weeks, being able to keep up with the "demand" of my "What's New Wednesday" feature, but this week....Well this week I obviously dropped the ball.  In the midst of transformer woes, moving my sewing machine, finishing up some uniforms (which was more work than I thought it was going to be), I wasn't able to create what my plan was for this week's feature in time.  So I decided, after I finished my "beta" testing projects, I would go ahead and post them here today - it actually stems from the goal of mine to do an entire month of steady blog articles, which I'm on my way :)

Without further ado.......
Going Green Lunch Accessories - lunch bag, snack bags (with velcro), and sandwhich wrap perfect to throw in the wash when used instead of the heaping pile of trash on our Earth!  Theron and I took a "test drive" this beautiful afternoon with these new items, and he was thrilled to see some of the fun fabrics - his favorite were the rodeo frogs.  (Don't mind the lunch bag I said this was my test run, so I grabbed some fabric I wouldn't mind messing up!)

I've been dabbling with the idea of making a new shop that would specialize in lifestyle accessories.  The last two contests/giveaways I participated in I donated some fabric bins/baskets, and really enjoyed doing it.  And I have LOADS of fabric sitting around that isn't the right style and/or size for doll clothing, but would be perfect for people-sized stuff.  Hoping for a summer opening of the store, if I feel that it would be a lucrative oppurtunity (feel free to comment and let me know what you think!).

Also this week, I've been listing new earrings for Mallory Alisabeth every day, and planning in a few days to start listing notepads.  She had a pretty successful showing at our first "craft fair" (which was actually a rummage sale, but we thought we would try), so she is gearing up for some future oppurtunities to sell and a summer full of creating!

That's it for today...Ciao, Bellas!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday Meet-Ups

It's Monday Meet-Up time again with the Homefront Team!  This time, I came up with the questions and I can't wait to see everyone's answers :)  And if you're following along be sure to check out the Homefront Team's blog and post your blog link in the comments!

1) What is your most treasured possession?

My most treasured possession unfortunately is no longer in my possession, anymore, but it was my New Kids on the Block (before they were NKOTB, mind you) comforter.  I would never have a good night's sleep without it, from the ages of 9 to 19, seriously.  It met it's demise while I was in boot camp, my mom decided to go through my room and clean out what she deemed garbage.  I don't know WHAT made her believe my well-loved, seam-splitting comforter was trash, but let me tell you, it was a very sad day when I returned from boot camp without my Jon (oh yes, Jonathan was my favorite) to lull me to sleep.  Now I have other comforters, but they aren't quite the same...
2) What was the best gift that you gave to someone?
I could totally be crazy and tell you that the best gift I gave someone was the gift of laughter...which COULD be true because I aim to make ALL around me giddy as me.  Or I could lament about how I gave my children the gift of LIFE (I mean HELLO what could be better than that?!). 
But I think I will go with this: a year or two ago, a lady emailed me wanting to use a gift certificate she won in a contest of mine.  She wanted to know if she could use towards a purchase that she wanted to be sent to her friend's daughter.  All the gift certificate could afford was a skirt on the site (with like $3) leftover.  I asked her if she would like a shirt to go with it, to complete the outfit and to use all of the money on the GC, and she said she didn't want to trouble me making a shirt for the little amount.  Then she went on to explain to me about the little girl she was buying for - her parents had just gotten a divorce and she was living with her mom (the ladies' friend), who was barely able to make ends meet.  They had been living with friends for the past few months, couch hopping, but they had finally found an apartment they could afford to rent and moved in.  Not even a week later, the apartment complex had a huge fire (afterwards they found out it was due to poor electrical wiring), and EVERYTHING - even with what little they did have - that the mom and the little girl owned was literally up in flames.  So friends and family banded around and tried to help with what they could; the ladies' daughters were giving the little girl one of their American Girl Dolls so she could have a doll of her own and she wanted to give the little girl something special that was brand new for her birthday.  After hearing this story, I sent the little girl not only the skirt that the lady purchased, but a shirt, shoes, and hair clip and THEN a completey different jeans outfit.  It is a small reminder like this, that I'm doing this business not JUST to make money, but to help make girls all over the world a little happier and their dolls a little more fashionable.  (sorry that was a lengthy response)
3) If you are having a "crafter's block" and finding it hard to get your craft on, what helps you get out of that?
Most of the time for me to get out of a "crafter's block" I put my iPod on shuffle and let the music flow through me.  Other times, just watching some tv or reading a magazine and being able to see different things that people are wearing or using gives me inspiration.  I find myself constantly asking myself "Can I make that?" and then I try.  I will admit though, about 80% of the time I don't like the end results, but at least I can say I tried :)

And as always, for some GREAT handmade treasures made from USA military spouses across the world? Search "homefront team" at Etsy!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What's New Wednesday - Earrings Galore

After our trip to Florence, I just didn't have the mojo to bust my butt into gear and get some doll outfits done.  So this week's featured item is for Mallory's shop.  We haven't really listed any new stuff in her shop for the past few months, it's just been uber busy around here trying to keep up on everything.

So here is some eye candy and a sneak peek to some of this week's listing in Mallory Alisabeth:

We are super psyched about this week also; this Saturday will be our first "craft fair" since moving to Italy.  Hopefully the Naples military community will support our little endeavors!

And for some loyal followers, here's a snapshot from our trip to Florence.....

Ciao Bellas!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What's New Wednesday - European Vacation

A few years ago, I found this material that had a fun mesh look to it, without being tacky mesh.  I bought a yard of it, and brought it home, dreaming of outfits that I could make with it.  Unfortunately, I put it aside, and forgot about it.  The other day, I came across it again, and decided that I was finally going to put it to use.  Which then inspired me to go make another outfit that fit into a fun vacation-style ensemble - yes I too, will buy a new outfit JUST to go on vacation...

So here are today's new features:

These outfits will not be offered in the shop for at least another week.  They are both heading to Florence for a fun photo shoot - can't wait to see the pictures!  Of course you can always still check out Camelot's Treasures for other fun outfits for 18" dolls (including American Girl and BFC Ink Club)!

On a side note, today is my mom's birthday - Happy Birthday Ma!  However since I'm a million miles away from here, I unfortunately can not celebrate with her; this is a common occurrence since we are a military family.  But every year I try to make sure she gets something special, especially since my dad and brother's are exactly on the same page as I am.  This year I bartered with a friend of mine who is starting up a small business of her own.  What she came up with was COMPLETELY awesome, I bow down to her cake decorating greatness!  Here's the cake she made for my mom:

She even personalized it with the eye colors of my brother's and me (the big bunny is my mom, and the 4 smaller bunnies are my brothers).  How cute is this?!

So if you are in the Paducah area (West Kentucky for all you non locals) and in need of a awesome custom cake for any occasion be sure to check out Cathy's site at Cathy's Cakes!

Ciao Bellas!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Monday Meet-ups - a day late, but not a dollar short

So I don't know where I WAS yesterday, but I HAD to get on on this week's Monday's meet-ups.  Please forgive me for being a day late...better late than never!

Thanks to fellow Homefront Teamer Sarah from Florida Scarf for these week's questions!

1. Where is your favorite place to go for inspiration?
I guess it all depends on what form of inspiration I'm going for.  When I want to make a new outfit, the best place for me to go is anywhere where there are a lot of people - I love checking out the clothing that people are wearing and seeing what's "fashionable" and what's ... well not.  But if I need inspiration for writing a story (BTW, did you know that I like to write and working on my first novella?) I just go outside and soak up the sun FAR away from people.
2. What is your most embarrassing moment as an operator of a small business?
I think this experience was more dissappointing, but I was completely embarassed when someone sent me a convo telling me that the arm of a shirt completely fell off the shirt.  I, of course, remedied the situation apologizing profusely, but it does always make me wary of how well my items arrive at their destinations (although I'm confident that that was a one time fluke!).
3. What is one thing that you have to do everyday that you dislike?
Definitely waking up!  Well I suppose it's not really the waking up part, because there is something to be said when you wake up naturally, from a refreshing slumber.  But having to wake up before the sun does to get everyone ready for the day is a bit annoying.  But such is life as an adult...

Want to check out some GREAT handmade treasures made from USA military spouses across the world? Search "homefront team" at Etsy!

Mother's Day Giveaway with Homefront Team

Because there is NO such thing as TOO many giveaways, I have joined another one!  This time it's with Etsy Homefront Team for Mother's Day.  23 fellow homefronter's (a group of military spouses and loved ones) got together and donated $400 worth of awesome prizes to be awarded to ONE luck winner!

Anyone can participate (er, well except for me, which saddens me to no end!) and it's super easy to enter.  All you have to do is follow the Homefront Team blog and like them on Facebook (which I linked those for you here so you have NO excuses!); then you are entered!  Awesome right?!

Camelot's Treasures donated a lovely rose fabric basket, perfect to hold anything your heart desires.  What I like to use them for?  Holding fat quarters, CDs (what few I may still have), or the T-man's Super Hero Squad guys (Iron Man is partial to roses, while Thor prefers puppies I am told...).
(bows not included)
So check out the blog post here (just in case you didn't ALREADY click on the previous log) and get entering!  And be sure to search "homefront team" on your next venture on Etsy for some super awesome handmade items by military families all over the world!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

And the winner is.....

The winner for the Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt is.......

Michelle Josephson

She won this awesome prize basket, filled with the following Etsy Maine Team handmade goodies:

1) Hand crocheted drawstring bag from Louisiana 1966
2) Two cards with familiar Maine prints from Handprinted
3) Three vintage postcards from Maine from Prospero's Bookshelf
4) Fabric Easter Basket/Storage Bin from Camelot's Treasures
5) Handcrafted ring from Slid Viscous Jewelry
6) Citrus Harmony Body Lotion from Eden Body
7) Crochet Flower Scrapbooking Stickers from The Makings of Shanna Tice
8) Handknitted beverage cozy from Knit by Valerie
9) Blueberry Necklace from Emily's Original Beads
10) Merlot Flower Earrings from Mallory Alisabeth
11) Copper Star Bookmark from Rough Magic Creations
12) Set of Floral Notecards from Mbrace Studios
13) Gift Certificate for a FREE necklace from Moon Dog Farm

Thank you to all that participated in this fun challenge - I hope it wasn't too hard for you!

And as a special bonus, I'm offering a special discount of 15% off any order in Camelot's Treasures and Mallory Alisabeth now until Easter!  Just type in "EASTERHUNT11" during checkout to recieve this discount.

Be sure to keep an eye out for the next fun giveaway; it's going to be just around the corner :)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

HINT Time! For the Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt!

Are you having a hard time solving the puzzle?  Well here's a hint:

You can see the answer when driving into Maine on Interstate 95!

Still stumped?

Be sure to submit all your answers and shared links by 11:59 pm (EST) TONIGHT (Saturday, April 9th) for your chance to win some wicked awesome prizes!

You can find more information about this contest at


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Meet Your Egg Hiders - Kristin and Kim

This easter egg hunt has really given me a chance to learn a little more about some of my fellow Etsy Maine Teamers.  I'm amazed by the stories they have to share, and by their talents more and more each day.  Today is no different with the two featured Easter Egg hunt participants here.

First up is Kristin from Burnt Meadow Beads
Bluette Fairy Flower Pin

 When describing having a look around Burnt Meadow Beads the first word that comes to mind is: FRESH.  From the soft colors, to the floral-inspired jewelry, the feeling of spring fills my senses.  I just want to lay out in the grass, soaking in sun rays, and  I love when things give me that sense, and I know you will too once you take a look around her shop. 
What is your fondest memory of Easter?
My best memory of Easter is going on Easter Egg hunts with my sister Elizabeth and searching high and low for eggs that were really hidden well! Sometimes they were planted in bird houses, under our porch, in a pocket of a dress hanging on the clothesline and one time even in the mailbox. I think my parents loved watching us run around trying to frantically gather the most eggs.
Tweet Tweet Earrings

Do you and/or your family have special Easter? A Spring tradition in my family is starting our indoor gardens. My father and I are both avid gardeners and enjoy swapping seeds, starting them indoors. My favorite is our deep discussions about "this years tomato season" or "how to get bigger pumpkins this year" often times over coffee when there is still inches of snow left to melt!

How do you celebrate Easter?
Now that I have a home of my own I enjoy doing a Easter basket for my husband Josh who loves chocolate! We have a yellow lab named Sam and I always get him something special too :D

Next up is Kim from Winter Solstice Dreams

Tooth Fairy Pillow Blue Puppy
 Sometimes your battery needs to be recharged; a long day can be from chasing after a toddler all day or dealing with toddler-esque co-worker.  No matter what it comes from, or even if it's just because, finding some soothing scented items to help bring rest and relaxation is only a click away at Winter Solstice Dreams.  You can find eye pillows, draft blockers, sachets, bookmarks, etc all featuring scents straight from the natural surroundings of Maine.

Tell us a little about yourself:
My name is Kim and I am mother to an adorable toddler named Veronica and wife to a very funny, High School chemistry teacher named Walter, I myself am a former English teacher who left the field to stay home with Veronica once she was born. Winter Solstice Dreams was born in the fall of 2009 when I decided to get back into creativity and crafting. I have always crafted in some way shape or form (even when I worked in Radio ) and decided to do what I love. I have been working with herbs and essential oils for over 15 years and wanted to share that love and knowledge with others; sachets and eye pillows were born.

Patchouli and Lavender Pudgy Sachet
We live in rural, Western Maine on 4 acres of land. We continually strive to find ways to create, reuse, and become more and more self-reliant wherever and whenever we can. I absolutely love Maine and everything about Maine. I am a transplant but can't imagine living anywhere else in the world. Am very proud of this great state that I now call HOME.

What is your best memory from Easter?
When I was 6, I received my first REALLY big Easter basket, filled with peeps and other yummy treats. I remember waking up to it in my bedroom and being so happily surprised.
Do you and/or your family have special Easter?
We don't as of yet but plan on doing something really fun this year as little Veronica is just about two and would love an Easter egg hunt!
Do you actually eat the eggs you dye for Easter?
Yes, of course!
What do you get for Easter?
A card and some peeps but this year is going to be MUCH different!!! :)
How does the Easter Bunny bring all the baskets to everyone?
 OH I think he is really a good friend to Santa Claus. Santa gives him a list of names and addresses. It's a way to keep tabs on the good boys and girls. ;)

Have you found all the eggs and submitted your answer, yet? If not, what are you waiting for? Check out the blog for details if you need a reminder! And search "easteregghunt" on Etsy for an easy way of finding the eggs! Good Luck!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What's New Wednesday - BFC Ink Bandeau-Style

I don't know what it's like on your side of the world, but here in Italy, Spring has sprung!  It was just three short weeks ago, that we were all complaining about how cold and rainy it was, I realized as Mallory came home today lamenting about how hot it was outside.  So what better way to introduce some new outfits for the BFC Ink Dolls then with some spring-inspired fashions?

This week's new items are:

These fun Bandeau tops and dresses are perfect for the warm weather, but could also be layered over some fun tanks and t-shirts.  They were made using patterns from Liberty Jane Clothing, which were inspired by fashion trends in real people clothing!

You can find these and other fun fashionable clothing for BFC Ink and American Girl Doll clothes as always at Camelot's Treasures!

Oh and before I forget: Have you entered the Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt yet?  If not, what's stopping you?  Free gift basket full of handmade delights by Mainers is up for grabs - check out the blog for details!

Ciao Bellas!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Meet Your Egg-Hiders - Mollie and Joe

Etsy Maine Team has several shop owners that are family with other shop owners.  Of course, you know that Mallory and I both have shops.  Today's featured shop owners are a married couple, with shops of their very own!
First up is Mollie from Rough Magic Creations (always ladies first :D)

Amber Glass and Copper Earrings
 I love taking a minute and reading profiles of the etsy shop owners, and I'll admit I'm a bit dissappointed when there is really nothing to read.  However Rough Magic Creations offers some insight on the story behind the name and pieces.  Of course, seeing all the beautiful pieces of jewelry and other hand created treasures can also lend insight to the beauty within the artisan herself.

What enticed you to join in on this Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt?
Being a scavenger at heart, I couldn't resist this Easter Egg Hunt. I've always enjoyed including found objects in my creations, and the state of Maine is a treasure trove of Nature's gifts - pine cones, birch bark, seashells, beach stones - all of which manage to turn up here and there throughout my shop.

What is your fondest memory of Easter?
My best memories of Easter are from my childhood - white patent leather mary janes with a matching wee purse, white socks trimmed in pink, a dotted swiss dress, a straw bonnet covered with tiny velvet verbena blossoms. And of course that pretty Easter basket of white straw lined with bright green faux grass. I can still taste those yummy marshmallow eggs!

Next up is Joe from Prosperos Bookshelf

The Magic Curtain
 One of the most treasured gifts given to me was an old copy of plays written by Henrik Ibsen (my favorite playwright).  The book was old and tattered, the cover barely hanging on by a string, the pages yellowed from age; yet it held a magic for me.  Prosperos Bookshelf holds a similar magic, although the books are in much better condition than my beloved Ibsen.  And super cool additive, I've learned that Joe is descended from a voyager on the ship that inspired Shakespeare's play "The Tempest"!

Tell us a little about yourself:
As a teacher of American and Asian dramatic literature, I accumulated 2,000+ books and countless theatrical artifacts over the years. Now that I'm no longer teaching, I opened my shop as a way of finding good homes for all the books, puppets, masks, and playbills languishing on my shelves. Now postcards, photos and other vintage items from Maine have found their way into my shop, and I always enjoy sending them to new homes too.

What is your fondest Easter memory?
My best Easter memory is the morning my brother, my sister and I awoke before dawn and, with other spiffed up members of our Sunday School, piled into our minister's big 12-cylinder touring car (Packard?) for the ride to a park on Portland's then ritzy Eastern Promenade. There we held a service, while watching the sunrise over Casco Bay.

Have you found all the eggs and submitted your answer, yet? If not, what are you waiting for? Check out the blog for details if you need a reminder! And search "easteregghunt" on Etsy for an easy way of finding the eggs! Good Luck!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Meet Your Egg Hiders - Hooper and Valerie

Want to get to know the "egg hiders" a little better?  I did!  This great group of etsians volunteered to join me in my madness, and I wanted to share some information about them and their shops on my blog.  For the next few days, during the contest, I will feature one or two of them, so we can all get acquainted with this fine crafters and their shops!

First up is Hooper from Slidviscous Jewelry.

Warning Signs Sterling Silver Earrings

Whenever I see metal, shaped into cool designs, I find myself wishing that I could do that too - I mean REALLY?!  Superman abilities or not, bending metal is super awesome!  And that's what you can find in Slidviscous Jewelry.  Sterling Silver, Gold, and natural gems are used in creating the lovely jewelry finds in the shop. 
What is a fond memory of yours from Easter?
My parents always used to go crazy with the Easter Egg hunt. We used to live in rural Maine with a big yard and a lot of woods, which means a lot of good places to hide eggs, but I think that my parents took it a little too far. All the easy to find eggs, those hiding in the grass or in branches, were the first to go. Next, the harder to check places were scoured; under the deck, in the wood pile, or hiding behind rocks. Try as we might, my sister and I could never find them all, and we would always find eggs throughout the year, down in an old stump or squirrel hole, sitting there like tiny pastel time capsules. 

Next is Valerie from Knit By Valerie.

Be Mine Hat and Fingerless Gloves
 If you need some beautiful handknitted hats, scarves, and gloves, Knit By Valerie is a good place to look!  The vibrant colors and fun, detailed patterns leave me in awe - I wish I had half the patience of her to knit up such lovely items!  And on top of that, she donates 10% of her proceeds to several charitable organizations that help animals!
How do you celebrate Easter?
my workweek is saturday through tuesday (overnights, too), so i rarely get to celebrate easter anymore. however, as a house rabbit advocate, i encourage people to give stuffed and chocolate rabbits rather than the real thing. while i love rabbits, they are a lot of work to keep properly and a lot of "easter bunnies" end up at the shelter soon after the holiday is over. i know from experience--i volunteered in the rabbit room at my local shelter for 3 years. 

Have you found all the eggs and submitted your answer, yet?  If not, what are you waiting for?  Check out the blog for details if you need a reminder!  And search "easteregghunt" on Etsy for an easy way of finding the eggs!  Good Luck!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt Contest

Call me what you will (obsessed, pathetic, crazed...), but there are 2 things that I am completely enthralled with. Holidays and FREE things. And when these 2 things are combined, the amount of enthusiastic bliss that emanates through me is well, mind blowing. Oh yes.

Enter: the Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt.

Remember last month, when I held my St. Patrick's Day "Follow the Rainbow" contest? I had so much fun with that, I knew I wanted to do it again but on a bigger scale. So I proposed this idea to my fellow Etsy Maine Teamers, and recieved a great response. 14 people (of course not including Mallory and myself) volunteered to join in on the festivities, donating 12 special handmade items to be included in a prize basket for one special winner. And let me tell you how amazed I am by the creative spirit from these awesome etsians; I wish I could just wrap these
all up and keep them for myself.
Your mission, should you choose to select it is to FIND all of the hidden eggs in these participating shops:

Unscramble all of the letters to make a phrase that will answer this question:

What is Maine's unofficial state motto?
(we'll even give you a hint, there are 4 words)

THEN either send me a convo via Etsy (you know go here and click on contact) OR you can send an email directly to me at WITH your answer. If you are CORRECT, you will be entered into the drawing to WIN this fabulous prize basket!

Ok, so you want the details right? You want to get into this fabulous contest, so you too can check out the wonderful talents of these shops? Here they are:

1) The hunt begins on Sunday, April 3rd, at 12:00 am (EST) and ends on Saturday, April 9th, 11:59 pm (EST).
2) All participants that have a correct answer will be entered into the drawing on Sunday, April 10th, with a chance to win the prize basket.
3) Any answers that are left on this blog, will be deleted and automatically be disqualified from winning the basket whether the answer is wrong or right. (PLEASE keep your answer to yourself for all fairness sake!)
4) Prize basket will be mailed USPS priority mail the day after confirmation of mailing address from winner, in time to arrive before the Easter Bunny!

Want another way to enter the drawing? Share this contest on your Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, or any other networking site, then comment the link on this blog for another chance to win!

So, what are you waiting for? HOP to it!