Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday Favorites`

Land's End Open Top Canvas Tote Bag with custom artwork. This is what we gave our moms for mother's day and of course, I bought one for myself too. It's a really nice, quality bag and I think the artwork adds a really special touch. Bella drew stick figures of herself and Matea and Tater added some dots and squiggles. And I think they were a very reasonable price, just under $30 each, including shipping. Maybe a good idea for graduation gifts too.

Gap Long and Lean Jeans. Best jeans ever. Please let the record reflect two things. 1. I NEVER spend this much on clothing. I had my economic stimulus shopping spree money and Crafty Papa's urging to buy them. He keeps pointing out how much money I wasted on cheaper jeans I didn't really like when I could have purchased these years ago. 2. My butt looks way better in these jeans than the model below. I tried for several minutes to get a good picture but the results were terrible. Who knew doing a self-ass-portrait was so difficult?

Sandi Henderson's new fabric line, Farmers Market. Love all of the bright colors and fun patterns. I've instructed Jona to buy the full line for her shop and if she knows what's good for her, she'll follow my orders.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Real Thing

This bag features actual Japanese fabric, not Japanese-inspired fabric which you see everywhere these days. Came straight from Tokyo to my doorstep and cost a small fortune. So, the bag is obviously a little more expensive than my other bags of similar size but the fabric is really unique so I think it's totally worth it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Monday, May 26, 2008

A dress fit for a princess

I've had this super fun Alexander Henry print for several months now and finally got around to making something with it today. I have tons of family sewing projects I want to work on and I figure now is a good time since things are a little slower in my store anyway.

I'm really happy with how the dress turned out and for once, Princess Bella was pleased with my work as well. Notice in the side shot how I actually remembered to match up the stripes. I rarely remember things like that. I bought enough fabric to make one for Matea too so I'll be working on that tonight.

We've had a nice quiet weekend, spending lots of time together as a family. I didn't do much bag making but did list two new ones in my shop a few hours ago. And I think I've decided to go back to my regular sewing schedule rather than the super crazy pace I've been at the last few months. Being creative and coming up with one of a kind items 25 hours per week is just too hard for me and I don't like the stress of missing out on time with the fam. So look for me to be listing less frequently but hopefully that means I'll be more inspired and have more new ideas so the items will be even better.

On a side note, Bella has minor surgery tomorrow morning to remove a "thing" on the corner of her mouth. It's not a big deal except that she has to be completely put under with general anesthetic for about 20 minutes. If I know me, I'll be a nervous wreck. It's my baby. Anyway, think good thoughts for us tomorrow.

Friday, May 23, 2008

I don't know if I can make it through the weekend

Both my laptop battery and charger are dead. I got a new battery yesterday but it's useless without the charger which won't be here until next week. We still have the desktop but you have to walk a full 25 steps to get to it and you don't get to sit in the recliner while typing so it sort of takes the fun out of the internet. I don't know if I'll be able to pull myself together for "Friday Favorites" today but you guys should still do it. Oh, and I don't have any of my links on this computer so I can't check out my regular blogs...Jona, Tonya, Marie, Shanna, Kristi, Jenni, Portabello Pixie Sandi...don't post anything interesting until Wednesday.

Before I go, can someone tell me why sales are so slow for me the last 1-2 weeks? I thought I had listed some really fabulous bags. I mean, I thought for sure the black and turquoise one would go over night. And this one I listed yesterday features a fabulous brooch.

Maybe I have too much in my shop? Maybe I should take a little break?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I've been tagged.

I was tagged by Jen from So here's what I need to do:

1. Link your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog .

7 Facts

1. I'm very much a creature of habit. I do everything the same exact way every day. In the morning: Get out of bed, open kitchen blinds, make coffee, drink coffee while surfing the web and neglecting the children. Shower: Always wash hair first, then face, body scrub, shave, rinse. Grocery shopping: Start in produce, end in bread. Even with my sewing, I do everything the same way, every time. For instance, when turning a strap inside out, I must be sitting. If I happen to be standing, it feels completely unnatural and I have to go sit.

2. I frequently stand with one leg bent, foot resting on the opposite knee. I mostly do this while prepping food, etc. in the kitchen. I look like a flamingo and it bugs the crap out of Bella and Matea.

3. I'm a HUGE fan of "The Office". I own seasons 1-3 on dvd and watch them while I sew. I log a lot of sewing time so that means I've seen every episode at least 30 times and I'm not exaggerating. And I frequently quote the show in conversation with Crafty Papa. Yesterday I said to him, "Well, maybe next time you'll estimate me, Jan!" and it was totally relevant to the conversation. And it made Crafty Papa laugh which isn't an easy achievement.

4. I cycle through extreme motivation and absolute laziness very quickly throughout the day. For instance, right now I'm being totally lazy, drinking my coffee and blogging while in the recliner with heat on my troublesome back. In about five minutes, I'll get up and blow through the house like a tornado making beds, doing dishes, prepping breakfast, cleaning counters, etc. in about a 10 minute time frame.

5. I'm known as "the healthy mom" at school and among my friends which is pretty funny since I was raised on a diet of pizza and diet pepsi (my mom is so going to be pissed if she reads this but it's true). I'm not exaggerating at all when I say I had never had broccoli or asparagus until about three years ago. Never. Now I'm growing my own broccoli and asparagus is one of my favorite veggies. I still love me some diet pepsi but we eat a lot of whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies, organic, grow our own herbs and veggies, eliminated chemical cleaners and make our own instead, eat hormone free dairy, poultry, meat, etc. We rarely eat things from a can or box and never as the main part of meal. I am regularly horrified by the crap the other moms bring for school snack (except for Lena who is fairly healthy too - except that she does let her kids drink soda - but she knows I would never judge her - actually I totally do judge her about the soda and lots of other stuff - Lena, lets discuss this on our weekend retreat:) )

6. I'm a pretty open and honest person. Maybe you've noticed? There aren't really any topics that are off limits for me. I think it's good to talk about things and good to have friends who you can be yourself with. Shanna, Keels and Lena can verify that I seem to be missing my self-censoring valve. Honestly though, I'd much rather have a friendship where you walk away thinking, "Did she really just tell me about _____?!" than "Man, I wish we could talk about something other than the weather". I think hiding your experiences and feelings just takes too much effort and if you're offended by my sharing, maybe we shouldn't be friends. See, I was just open and honest and shared my feelings right there.

7. I have known my husband since I was 9 and he was 10 years old. I still have moments where I look at him and wonder how in the hell we ended up married. I think we have a really good marriage and have no doubt that we'll grow old together (if he doesn't get annoyed with me and kill me before then) but I just can't process how we got here. We were complete opposites growing up and I had absolutely no interest in him ever. We rarely even spoke. I broke up with a long term boyfriend on a Tuesday, went out with Crafty Papa on Saturday and we've been together since. Actually, 13 years this month. It's funny, I would have laughed my ass off if someone told me I'd end up married to Steve Gonzalez and be a very domestic stay at home mom. But now I couldn't imagine life any other way.

So, here's who I'm tagging:

1. Tonya
2. Marie
3. Jona
4. Jenni O.
5. Lori
6. Shanna
7. Lena (go ahead, update your blog)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Baby Steps

I don't know what's going on with my back. Just when I think it's starting to feel better, the pain flares up again. So needless to say, I'm really limiting my time in the sewing chair. The doctor was happy to prescribe heavy duty pain killers but to be honest, I'd rather deal with the pain than all of the side effects from medicine. So hopefully, I'll be back to my regular schedule soon.

I've been feeling pretty uninspired lately, I think partly because our house is still in construction chaos and partly because it's been a while since I bought new fabric. Even though I have a ton of fabric in my closet, I don't have a coordinate for everything and some of the pieces are too small for the style of bag I have in mind for the particular fabric. I'm thinking about putting together some scrap packs later this week and listing them in my Etsy shop so if you're a crafter/seamstress, watch for those.

I went to my local quilt shop this morning (and got recognized from the magazine article-thanks Jenny!) and picked up a few new fabrics that I think gave me just the inspiration I needed. I'm so pleased with the result, I can't wait until tomorrow morning to list it so I'm off to add it to the shop now.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Go hug your husband. Right now.

When we moved into our current neighborhood, almost four years ago, we couldn't believe how nice some of our neighbors were. We had never lived in a neighborhood where people actually said "welcome" and introduced themselves. Four years later, we've made some great friends.

We went for a walk this morning, stopped across the street to visit our neighbors, Dave and Sharon, and return some foil they let us borrow last night. Three hours later, Dave was gone. The details don't really matter in terms of this post except that he died very suddenly and no one expected it. I'm still waiting for Sharon to walk up my porch steps and tell me it was all a misunderstanding and he's fine. It's been a hard day, thinking about how different the neighborhood will be without Dave here to keep us up to date on all of the gossip, showing up at my door with sweet treats and yard sale finds for my girls, and just being the kind of neighbor everyone wants to have. He was a good neighbor, a good friend, and a good man.

Spending time with Sharon off and on today has made me realize how suddenly life can change. My heart hurts for her. She's such a good person and a wonderful wife, I'm sick to my stomach tonight after seeing her in so much pain today. I don't know what the next few days, weeks, and months will bring for our close-knit neighborhood, but I do know that I love my husband more tonight than I did this morning.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Spring (almost Summer) Cleaning

Be sure to check out the items in my "Sale" category. I just added a bunch of new stuff at rock bottom prices!

It's gonna be one slow weekend

Listing wise, I mean. My back is still really hurting and it's just too painful to sit long enough to sew anything. I made this funky owl bag this morning and am now lying in the recliner with heat on my back while cursing all of you in my head.

On a happier note, most of the home repairs from the tree damage are finally complete. Monday will bring clean up and tying up loose ends and then hopefully, we can go back to a normal life.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday Favorites

I've made an executive decision. My friends will tell you I'm really good at making executive decisions, even when there really isn't one to be made. Anyway, I'm officially declaring Fridays to be "Friday Favorites" blogging day. Every Friday, I'll post some of my new favorite things and all ten of you who read this blog should do the same on your blog. As a mom and crafter, I love hearing about new products, techniques, etc. that other moms/crafters have come across. I would really like it if a few other bloggers would participate in sharing your favorites and if some of your favorites happen to be products from other Etsyers, even better!

My first fave is this new skirt I got from Kohl's. I'm usually not a skirt person, partly because I'm tall and have trouble finding skirts that are long enough. Also, a lot of skirts just feel too formal for my mommy life but this one is like wearing a tshirt so I feel really comfortable in it. I got a bright green tshirt to match it and really like how it all looks together.

Next is my new "Mom" pillow from fellow Etsy seller, Marie (bellamariedesigns). It's really well made and looks so cute sitting on my big comfy chair in my craft room. I have another pillow with Bella's name on the way and think it will be the perfect finishing touch for her bed.

And lastly, my new, absolutely adorable wood family painted by Lena. I saw this listing on Etsy but the seller wasn't listing them anymore. Asked Lena if she'd be interested in a trade and lucky me, she agreed. She spent way more time on them than I wanted her too and I think I said the word "obsessed" to her one more than one occasion. But I couldn't be happier with how they turned out. They're so cute and personal and I think they're even better than the original listing that inspired us. And you have to admit, I look pretty damn good in wood form:)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Happy Shopping

We interrupt this sewing schedule...

with an injured back. I guess I hurt my back somehow and I'm unable to sit at my sewing table, or really anywhere for that matter. I went to the doctor this morning because I thought it was a kidney infection and I was up until 2:00 this morning in pain. Anyway, he's not positive what is going on but thinks it's an injured back versus something internal so I guess that's good news. I'm hoping I'll see some improvement tomorrow and can get back to work. Wait, now that I think about it, the ceiling in my craft room is being painted on Friday and I have to pack up a few things and push everything toward the walls so I don't know how productive tomorrow will be. I guess you'll have to stay tuned to find out.

Hmmm, maybe I'll have some kind of sale tomorrow so I can ship stuff to you rather than find a protective place to store it on Friday. Yes, that's a good idea. Check back tomorrow or later tonight for details. And I still have a few more items left over from this weekend's event that I need to get in the shop including some really cute baby gifts and a few oil cloth market totes.

Next issue...freakin shipping costs went up again. I did a little research last week and the USPS website was strangely vague about what would happen with priority mail rates. They confirmed rates would change but indicated it would be in the shipper's favor. Not so much. I had quite a bit of shipping to do this morning and every package was more expensive. So, now I'm considering these tyvek envelopes rather than boxes.

I would continue to put the bag inside of a heavy duty plastic ziploc inside of the tyvek envelope. What do you think? Keep shipping costs down and use the envelopes or continue to use the boxes and raise my rates? Voice your opinion in the poll to the right.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Boring, but enough to excite me

So, I've told you all before that I can't sew. Yes, I can make bags but I don't really know how to sew. I secretly started practicing shirring a few weeks ago thinking that I would come here and surprise you all with a fabulous shirring project. Not so much.

When I posted some peasant dresses last week, Jona mentioned that I should try shirring instead of casing. I didn't want to admit to her that I was still practicing a basic skill like shirring. Seriously, two months ago, I didn't even know elastic thread existed. So, I'm home alone with Matea tonight and after watching "Curious George" together and eating popcorn, I decided it was time to spend quality time with her in my craft room. I sat at my sewing table to whip up a little top for her and she sat at the computer and practiced her typing.

I was feeling good about my shirring, even more pleased that my project was moving along so quickly, when I heard a crash. I turned around to find my hot iron on the floor and Matea hanging like a monkey off of the freakin ironing board! I'm so thankful she wasn't burned and I definitely learned my lesson. I do believe I officially am out of the running now for Mother of the Year 2008.

Anyway, here's the kind of boring result of my first shirring/child neglect project. I'm pleased with it because a) I really do think it looks nice and not "homemade" b) I used clearance fabric so it probably cost around $2 and c) It only took about 20 minutes, including almost-burned-ironing-board-monkey-hanging reaction time.

Lastly, yes, I know she's almost two and she's hanging out with her paci. After some tense negotiation, it was made clear that she would only stand still for the pics if she had her paci and Elmo.

Two for Tuesday

Listing these now. Tate and I are alone for a few hours tonight which means I won't get to do my regular sewing. I think I'll spend my time shopping for new fabric online instead.

Listing Now

Both bold and funky. I can't help but think "fiesta" when I look at the red and yellow bag. For whatever reason, Crafty Papa really likes that bag. I'm working on another handbag right now with fun handles and will be listing it this afternoon. It's much more traditional and tame looking but still really beautiful with a bold red floral combined with neutral colored linen. Be sure to check back this afternoon for that one.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Baby Fair Wrap Up

Crafty Papa has forbidden me from working today but he can't keep me from blogging.

Yesterday's baby fair was a lot of fun and I think I can call it a success for me. After stressing all week and not being able to sleep on Friday night, I was very happy with how my booth looked. I think I had just the right amount of "stuff", not too full and not too empty. Bags sold really well and I got lots of positive feedback. I busted my ass on Friday making more burp cloths and onesies but those didn't do nearly as well as I expected.

I don't think some of these new moms know what they're in for. They kept saying, "Ooooo, this sock monkey onesie is so cute but I already have a ton of onesies." Yeah, your little poop and slobber machine will go through five onesies some days. You can never have to many.

Crafty Papa worked the booth with me all day and as helpful as he was, I don't know if I can take him again. First, he loooooooves pregnant ladies. Like, when he has a pregnant woman come into the shop, I have to hear all about it when he gets home from work. He had this stupid smile on his face all day. I think he was in heaven with all the beautiful, round bellies every where. Second, he ran into four gorgeous women that happen to be his customers. I'm starting to wonder whether he really works in an automotive repair shop. Seriously, this one model-beautiful woman with kind of reddish hair and a Cindy Crawford mole walked up to my booth and Crafty Papa said, "Hey, how's it going?" and she took off her glasses and said, "I know you from somewhere." I just kept looking back and forth between them thinking, "What in the hell is going on here?".

I'm going to spend the day scrapbooking, maybe sewing some stuff for the family, and just hanging out while Crafty Papa waits on me:) I'll be back to work tomorrow morning with a big shop inventory update.

Ooooo, and guess what I came across this morning while cleaning up under my sewing table? This quilt I started like six freakin years ago! I so want to finish it but I just don't know whether I can dedicate that much time to a project right now and I really can't remember how to make it. I have little baggies with all of the remaining pieces precut but I can't remember at all how to put them together.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Stop by and say hi

Don't forget that I'll be at the SLO Birth & Baby Fair tomorrow downtown in the Mission Plaza. I'll have lots of new items including some bags I haven't shared here yet.

Here's a special coupon for anyone local who might be reading this. Just click on the image and then print.

As an added bonus, Crafty Papa will be working with me tomorrow. He's pretty easy on the eyes so if you're not in the market for a new bag or some baby stuff, you could just come by and check him out.

I want to be Mrs. Halpert

This has absolutely nothing to do with sewing or my business. I want to marry Jim Halpert. Did you guys watch "The Office" last night? I love him more every week. I'm not kidding when I say that I totally forget about the fact that he's not a real person when I'm watching. When he kissed Pam last night and then grabbed her and kissed her again, I was ready to hand Steve divorce papers. I know there are several problems with my plan to marry him. First, I'm married and have children. I do love Crafty Papa and enjoy being with him and the girls so long term, it might be hard to leave them behind. Second, Jim is in love with Pam and I don't know how I could break that up. Lastly, he's not real-I think this is the biggest issue with my plan. Also, there are 10 million other women who want to marry him.

So, my more realistic plan is for the real life Jim and Pam, John and Jenna, to fall in love and get married. She's separated from her husband and I believe he's single again (did you know he was dating that wench, Karen in real life?). It wouldn't be as good as being Mrs. Halpert but it could be a good second place.

Thoughts on the season finale? I think Jim is definitely going to propose (to Pam, not me). Some people think she's going to hesitate and we won't get her answer until next season. But really, is there any doubt that she'll say yes? I've heard that some people thought she seemed weird when he was joking about an engagement a few weeks ago but I didn't see it. Then that whole art school thing came up last night but if he proposed and she said she wanted to go to art school, he loves her so much he'd pack up right away and go with her. Am I giving this too much thought? Should I be making my bed right now and reminding myself this is tv? Maybe I should be focusing on finding real life friends instead of a tv boyfriend.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

It's a dress. It's a top. It's super cute.

This is actually a size 12 month dress but I think it looks super cute as a top on Matea who wears a size 18-24 months. I just got this fabric in the mail from Jona's shop this morning and it ended up being a little brighter than I expected. I'm thinking too bright for a bag (for most people's taste anyway) but perfect for a fun and funky toddler dress.....errrr, top....both. I'm thinking of listing these at $22 for the event this weekend and listing them as 9-12 months dress/12-24 months top. Is that stupid?

Here's something stupid. As I've said before, I have no concept of patterns. So, I was checking out Tonya's blog this week and saw this gorgeous top she made in a size 14. I commented and said she definitely looks more like a size 6. Turns out she is a six. Um, I guess patterns run funky in sizing for whatever stupid reason and a size 6 is really a 14. I'm a size 10 so doing the math, I would need a size 156 in a pattern. Not gonna happen. Did I mention Tonya has seven kids and looks like that? Yeah, now I really feel stupid.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Is it Sunday yet?

I've been working at such a constant pace this week, I'm so ready for Saturday's baby event to be over so I can get back to my normal schedule. I've been moving my sewing machine into the kitchen every day and trying to work in the mornings in between playing. I know I haven't listed a whole lot this week, and I will be removing everything from my store tomorrow so if you've been watching an item, it might be gone tomorrow afternoon.

Here's this afternoon's listing...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Lots of progress

I moved my sewing machine out into the kitchen this morning so I could be productive while the girls play and attempt to kill each other - they cycle through these phases very quickly. Anyway, I'm listing the birdie bag in my shop now and the rest is for the baby event this weekend. The dresses are SO cute on. They're size 12 months but look adorable as tops so if they don't sell, I may keep them for Matea to wear with jeans or leggings.

For the dresses, I used Simplicity 5695 and I believe I am the last seamstress in the world to use this pattern. I've said before that I don't really know how to sew, I just know how to make bags. So, I've always been really scared of patterns and even felt a little anxiety about making my first bias tape casing for these dresses. Don't worry, I made it through ok.


Today is the last day to sign up for the "all things crafty" swap. Make sure to email me at so I have a current address for you. I'll be sending out additional information tonight or tomorrow.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Too good not to share

I went back and forth on whether to list this bag in my shop or save it for the event this weekend but I decided it was too good not to list for my loyal stalkers. I had the idea for this bag a few weeks ago but Crafty Papa totally gave me the ugly face when I described it to him. What does he know? He's in the automotive industry, not the fabulous one of a kind bag business. I think I'm going to have to fire him soon which may cause some issues around the house.

A gift idea

Still looking for the perfect mother's day gift for me? How about this website package from Quirky Bird?

How cute is that design? I love the simplicity of the design with the fun sorbet colors.

Anyway, my long term goal for Crafty Mama Creations is to have my own site outside of Etsy. Still list a little on Etsy to keep stirring up new business but I think to grow my business, I need to have my own gig too. My plan has been to stick with Etsy until the Tater is in kindergarten and then really kick things up a notch. Create my own little sweatshop at home with my children being my under paid, under age labor. But that's over three years away and I'm gettin' the itch to do something "big" now. So, I was thinking that one of you with three or more children would have a large enough Economic Stimulus Payment to buy me the above package for mother's day. I'll trade you a bag...ok, two bags. Also, make sure you buy me the addon package with the printables, blog template, etc. I mean, if you're going to buy me something nice, why not make it exactly what I want?