Crunch Time

I’m going to be tied up the rest of this week getting ready for my craft show, so the house won’t get cleaned, the family will be eating a lot of sandwiches for dinner, and I will not be posting anything new until next week.  If you’re a local, and you’re around on Sunday, Oct. 5th, please stop by & say hi- I’ll be at the Jenkintown Library from 12-4.  I’m also going to wait until next week to update the shop, in anticipation of a complete sell-out (HA!! HA!!), but here are a few bags that I’ve been working on (better photos to come):

 

 

 

 

 

I’m also working on some baby gift sets & kids’ stuff, so stay tuned… Have a great week, everyone!

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The Dog Did It– I Swear!!

I’ve mentioned before that we have a particularly flatulent dog.  Not only is she flatulent, but she is on a steady diet of kibble and her own feces (sorry, but it’s true).  As I’m sure you can imagine, when she lets loose, the smell is so rank and foul, it could probably kill a colony of bees.  Well, at the very least smoke them out, but… I doubt you’d want anything to do with the honey at that point.

Anyway, onto my story.  I was not present at the time, but Max recently made friends with a little boy his age that lives up the street while on a walk with Wyatt & Bill.  The little boy was out front playing with his older brothers, and, according to Bill, they started all chasing each other & from that point on, it was kismet.  Eventually, the boys’ mom came home from work, and she & Bill had a nice chat while the boys popped in & out of the house.  I got to hear all about his new friends when they all came home that night.

The other evening, two of the three boys rode by our house on their bikes while we were outside landscaping. Bill invited them over to play, they said no thanks, but waved hi to Max & Wyatt & kept riding.  I went in the house & a few minutes later Bill called me downstairs because the boys decided to come back to play after all, and they brought their little brother.  Their mom also popped over to say hi & presumably meet me. 

After the introductions, new neighbor friend & I settled into a conversation in the kitchen while the boys played out back.  We talked about the school district, parenting, the typical stuff.  She was nice & petted Luna (the dog) when she came for some attention.  Satisfied she got what she wanted, Luna moved into the family room to settle in for the evening.

Do you see where this is going?  We continued our conversation when it hit….. undeniable.  The stench…. unavoidable.  Suddenly my new neighbor friend and I found ourselves engulfed in a miasmal cloud of putrescence.  We had just been crop dusted by the dog.  There was no way to ignore it, I had to address the issue before someone passed out. It was just the two of us standing there, Luna wasn’t even anywhere near us anymore.  I knew the truth, but would she?  I WANTED. TO. DIE!!

“I’m so sorry, ” I said, “our dog has the nastiest gas… it’s embarrassing”.

 

Do you know what she then said??

 

“Oh, sure,”  with a ‘knowing’ smile and patting her belly, ” a little bit of pregnancy gas, hmmm?”

 

I think we’re going to be fast friends. 😉

Size Matters

This is the conversation at the Lowe’s Home Garden Center checkout last night:

 

Checkout girl:   “Wow…. did you load all this stuff in the cart yourself?”

 

Me:   “Yeah… I know, I’m stupid”.

 

Checkout girl:  “Oh, well we’ll get someone to walk out with you & load it in your car”.

 

Me:   “That’s ok, my husband’s out there.  We… can’t control our children”.

 

Checkout girl:   “How far along are you?”

 

Me:   “25 weeks”.

 

Checkout girl:   “WOW!  That’s as big as I got my WHOLE PREGNANCY!”

 

Me:  “…”.

Ah, Fall…

I had this post sitting in my drafts folder yesterday, I guess it would’ve made more sense to publish it then, being it was the first day of Autumn, & all….

Anyway, what is it about this time of the year that re-energizes me?  When everything is supposedly dying, I’m feeling renewed.  When I was little, it was all about summer… I guess having no school had something to do with it, but nowadays, I’m all about fall.  Maybe now it’s more about getting the kidlets back to school that energizes me!  🙂

 

Despite the big ol’ belly, I’m finally feeling up to getting more work done around the house, we’re actually getting to some much needed landscaping done in the front yard, and I am overflowing with crafty ideas for both my upcoming shows, the shop, Halloween, and my own personal gift-giving.  The boys are also bouncing off the walls with new found energy, but it’s all good. 

I’m so looking forward to going pumpkin picking, baking some seasonal yummies, and taking the boys on hayrides.  And Halloween is quickly becoming one of my favorite holidays.  I sort of made up this family rule last year that they boys can always be whatever they want (within reason) for Halloween, as long as it’s something that we ( aka, I ) can make.  Last year, Max wanted to be a dinosaur, and Wyatt, by default, was a goblin:

 

This year, Max asked to be a robot.  At this point, I have no idea where to start with this.  I’d like to avoid the typical cardboard box idea, but I’m open to using all kinds of materials.  Any ideas?  For the moment, I’m keeping Wyatt’s costume under wraps. 

And as far as seasonal harvest goes, we were lucky enough to get a half of one week’s share of a CSA last week, and among other things, went home with some yellow beets.  Last night, I finally got around to making them, and despite an EXTREMELY hesitant family, they were a big hit ( well, not with Wyatt, but if it’s not coated in sugar or spaghetti, he generally won’t eat it anyway).  Max actually cleaned his plate.  I even sauteed the beet greens with some onions & garlic, and I think they were even more delicious than the roasted beets.  There was only enough of the greens for me & Bill, but I think Max was ok with that 🙂 .  It was a nice change of pace from our usual broccoli, cauliflower, peas, and carrot repertoire.  If you’re interested, I used this recipe.

My Own Little Soapbox

So I went to Babies R Us yesterday, and couldn’t help but notice all of the cute little outfits and various baby items.  To be honest, as someone who creates custom baby items, it was somewhat discouraging.  How is the single artist to compete with the mass-production of the chain stores?  I’m the first to admit, there’s some really cute stuff out there.  But have you ever thought about where it comes from, or how many other people have bought the same thing?  Do you care? 

True, reading the labels from most of the clothing in our closets, they were manufactured outside the US, in countries where the cost of living is considerably less than here.  I’m not saying I have a major problem with this.  As a necessity, a lot of the shirts I use in my own small line come from places like Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam, not to mention my supplies too.   I would love to use an American manufacturer, but the fact of the matter is, being such a small operation, I need to cut my own costs as much as possible, and there’s a lot of expense and work involved finding domestic options (still looking, though!).  But I do think that people have lost touch with the work that actually goes into making a garment (or a toy, piece of furniture, etc.) because of the immense import business and global trading.  I have had people… family members even… scoff at my prices for a handmade item, insinuating that it’s not worth it.  I’ve even had someone tell me that the problem they have with artists is that they over-value their own work.  “No,”  I replied, “You’re just used to paying Chinese wages.”  Just like the mom-and-pop stores of yesteryear, the artists and crafters of this world and country are forced to compete with big business on a daily basis, and sadly, many are forced to give up their dream because it’s just too difficult to keep up.

I guess I feel some responsibility, not for myself, but for all of the artists/crafters out there, to champion the cause for buying handmade.  Especially now, as fall and holiday shopping season is right around the corner,  websites like Etsy, I Shop Indie, and  Poppytalk Handmade have made it infinitely easier to find unique items for yourself and everyone on your gift list.  Here are a few of my own personal reasons for buying handmade, in no particular order: 

  1. It’s socially responsible   Did you know that many moms are able to stay at home because of the revenue generated from their handmade wares?  Let’s face it, happy mommies = happy babies, and happy babies = a happy future generation.  Believe me, I’m not saying that moms who work outside the home or their children aren’t happy, but I personally was not.  It meant more than anything to find a way to stay at home with the little ones during these early years.  While most crafters I know aren’t breaking the bank from their talents (rarely do they end up making more than $10 an hour part-time;  most often MUCH less), it still allows the opportunity to feed a creative need.  I am exceedingly grateful to have the chance to do so.  Even if the artist is not a parent, you’re still supporting someone’s unique skill & talent, and sending a message of value for their gift and their own personal American Dream (or wherever they’re from!).   
  2. It’s environmentally responsible  While there is still waste involved in handmade items, the degree is much less than mass-production, and with the popularity “going green” many artists are focusing on finding creative ways to use or reuse what they already have, or what others are willing to put in a landfill.  It’s truly inspiring to see how some people are reinventing their own personal production process for the sake of the environment.
  3. It’s fun    Let’s face it, shopping is fun, and shopping on Etsy is like going treasure hunting.  There is more on that site than you could possibly imagine, and there is definitely something for everyone, no matter if their tastes run from the traditional/classic to the completely wack-a-doo.  And who doesn’t like the convenience of shopping at 1 o’clock in the morning if the mood strikes?
  4. It’s inexpensive   Ok, maybe not everything is inexpensive, but people do have to eat.  That being said, there are definitely some MAJOR steals to be had!  Even as an Etsy seller, I am often amazed at the seemingly low pricing on some items– are they undervaluing their work?  Is the item something that’s been in their shop forever & they just want to get rid of it?  Do they live in a part of the world/country where the cost of living is that much cheaper?  Am I missing something????  Whatever the reason, there are some beautiful items available that don’t have to put a crater in your wallet.   And with the cost of gas prices these days, it’s often cheaper to pay online shipping than to go to the store yourself to purchase something. 
  5. You’ll walk away with something high quality, unique, & possibly one of a kind   Have you ever recieved a handmade gift?  Whether the giver made it themselves or bought it from an artisan, you have to feel that much more special for having received it.  For me, it’s proof that the person giving it really considered me as an individual, not as an afterthought while they were waiting in line at Walmart.  On the same note, you can usually count on quality when it comes to a handmade item.  Most things have been carefully crafted on a singular basis, and had special attention paid to every detail.  Does anyone still own an item that was made for them as a child?  You value it so much more, and it’s usually made to last: something you can pass down to other siblings, children, or grandchildren.  And plus- isn’t it so refreshing to confidently KNOW you’re the only one who has that particular handbag, necklace, or baby gift?      

 This is by no means a complete list, and I don’t expect everyone to agree with me.  But as the fall/winter shopping season begins, why not check out some local craft events, websites, and even home shows?  It’s incredibly satisfying on so many levels.  *If* I can figure out how to put together a mosaic of some of my favorite items on Etsy, I’ll post that this weekend… In the meantime, have a look around, & if nothing else, have fun!

I just bit it…

It’s official- I’ve signed up for a craft show the first weekend of October.  I haven’t done a craft show in about seven or eight years.  It’s a small show, with just a table, no tent, but I’m still a little freaked out since there are so many details that you don’t normally need to worry about when selling stuff online.  What’s my display going to look like?  I dunno.  How am I going to package my things when I sell them?  I dunno.  What am I going to sell?  I dunno.  What other non-craft items will I need to bring?  I dunno.

Seriously, I do have ideas for a lot of these questions, but my head is still spinning.  I did make a few of these to sell, which will also be available in the shop later today (as long as I can get some better photos):

 

I’m a big supporter of imaginative play, and the boys love to wear these play crowns while pretending to be woodland princes and kings of the garden gnomes, etc.  Wyatt also “eats” the mushrooms, since I won’t let him eat the real ones in our backyard.  He still thinks they’re cupcakes.

I’ll have more details about the show in the coming weeks if anyone is local and would like to attend.  Wish me luck!

What Does This Look Like?

 

 

If you said a pile o’ poop, that’s what I thought, too.  As a matter of fact, every time it gets left out on the floor,  Bill & I shudder a little as we walk by, thinking somebody just left us a little surprise to clean up.  With two kids, two cats, and a dog, it’s not an uncommon occurrence ’round these parts.  What really got me the other day was Maxfield carrying it around as I was coming in the door.  The kid has a good imagination, and will play with stuff like hair clips and rubber bands, but I thought, “Oh, NO!  Things can NOT have gotten so boring that this child is actually playing with fecal matter!!”.

 

 

 

Here’s what it really is:

 

 

Sorry, Chewy.  You look like poop.

 

Have a great weekend everyone!