Thursday, July 31, 2008


First, a reminder that today is your last day to make a purchase from my shop and be entered into the "free bag" contest. And with that, wanted to let you know that I'll be removing several bags from my shop tomorrow to take with me to the scrapbooking retreat I'm going to this weekend. Apparently about half of the women going aren't big scrapbookers like the other 6 of us are so I'm hoping they'll prefer to spend their time drooling over my bags and giving me their money.

So, if there's something you've been watching, tonight's your chance:)

And while I'm thinking about it, I'll mention that I'm considering renting a beach house near where I live sometime this winter and organizing a scrapbooking weekend. Something in Cayucos or Morro Bay so I'm far enough away from home to not be surprised by the children. Roughly $200 for a two night stay with meals, scrapping space, and some goodies included. Send me an email ( or leave a comment here if you think you might be interested so I can send you more details later. Jenni, Jen P, Shawn, Heather, and better be interested.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Suck. I believe my right eye might just fall out of my head, it hurts so bad. I've done coffee, water, excedrin, ice, heat, hot bath, nap (really just resting my eyes, I can't ever turn off my thoughts long enough to relax and nap). I've even managed to turn down Bella's volume for the last hour or so but that hasn't helped.

So, no new listing this afternoon but if I can shake the pain, I'm hoping to sew tonight.

And, I gave in and ordered some Pop Garden fabric from Jona at Fabritopia. I decided to make Bella a "first day at her new preschool outfit" and thought Pop Garden was the perfect collection. Of course, I bought 4 yards and will only use a small fraction of that on the princess so hopefully you'll all get a little break from the Garden Party bags next week and I can move on to a Pop Garden obsession.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A new favorite

I know, I've been gone for a few days. Tater's 2nd birthday was last Thursday and we had lots of family in town for her party this weekend. So, I'm finally back to sewing and blogging for just a few days until I take Friday-Sunday off again this weekend to go on my first ever scrapbooking retreat!

This is absolutely my new favorite bag. This is the prettiest green ever and I really love the appliqued circle with the coordinating buttons. Cording straps give it another touch of uniqueness.

And I'm trying something new with my pics but I don't know if it's going to work out. I've always taken my pictures outside to take advantage of the natural lighting but I really do like the look of a clean, white background. Plus, I am determined to get one of my bags on Etsy's front page Treasury and I've noticed most of the bags there are usually on white backgrounds. I think my bags are just as good, and sometimes better, than Treasury bags I've seen so I'm going to make sure I'm showcased there someday. In fact, I think the fabulous bag above totally deserves to be on the front page and seen by every Etsyer in the world:)

Are you tired of seeing Garden Party bags? I just ordered a bunch of Pop Garden and Bijoux and I'm kicking myself. I had planned to order from Jona at Fabritopia but ran across a 10% off coupon on Heather Bailey's blog and since Jona didn't have it in stock at the time, and Heather designed it and all plus called it an "Early Bird Sale", I thought it would ship from her sooner. Not so. Freakin Jona got it in stock two days later and my order from Heather Bailey won't ship until 8/14. I guess the "early bird" reference was for her new shopping site. What in the hell am I supposed to work with in the meantime?! I do have some custom orders to finish but I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that Jona gets Farmer's Market in soon or I may find myself uninspired and more irritated than I am now.

As the month comes to a close, I'll give you one more reminder about July's promo. Every purchase qualifies you for a chance to win a free bag. So get to shopping!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wallet Watchin' Wednesday

My tip for this week is to look into your local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Good value and good food through purchasing a share in your local farm.

Basically, you buy produce directly from your local farmers and in many cases, it's either organic or pesticide free. Programs vary, with participants paying for an annual, quarterly, monthly, or weekly share. I'm lucky that mine is weekly so it's very easy to work into our budget and I'm not required to participate every week so I don't have to pay for a week that we won't use because we're out of town, etc.

I started participating in my local CSA last year and couldn't believe how much I got for only $14 a week. A HUGE box, about 30"x24"x18" packed full of pesticide-free produce. My hubs is big on supporting local commerce so buying from a farmer just down the hill from us is a bonus too.
You may also find that your CSA offers some fun family activities. During the summer, we can pick our own berries and in the fall, the kids can go scratch their names into a pumpkin skin and then find their pumpkin in the patch when Halloween rolls around.

Looking for a creative Christmas gift for a friend or family member? I think purchasing a weekly or monthly share on their behalf would be really unique and useful. Hopefully they'll get hooked and will continue to support their local farmers (can you tell my Grandpa was a farmer?) while doing something really healthy for their family.

And another sort of bargain to share...

I'm giving away a zippered pouch to Gretchen who left a comment on my "fascinating" post that made me laugh out loud. Finally, someone who knows even less about sewing than I do:)

"Oooo, those are gorgeous!! I never knew they could sew buttons on, but I've really only used one like twice in my life. Is there a way to make it sew a straight line by itself, because I can't even do that!" - Gretchen

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tweet, tweet

A couple of little Garden Party birdie bags. I guess I need to find a different applique design since we've already established that some of you are anti-birdie. Cough, cough, Shana, cough.

Still totally in love with this Garden Party line and I'm considering making myself a top out of the fabric if I can find a pattern that's easy, flattering, and guaranteed not to turn my beautiful fabric into a trash can worthy project.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


I've mentioned before that I don't really know how to sew. I just have learned to make some great bags. If you've doubted me, you'll be convinced at my lack of ability when I tell you that I just learned that my sewing machine can sew on a button for me. Fascinating! I think this is something most machines can do but it was news to me...and apparently, not news to Crafty Papa. Here was our conversation this morning:

me: Steve! Did you know my sewing machine can stitch on a button for me?! Not a buttonhole (which I just learned to do a few weeks ago), a real button! Stitches it right on!

Steve: Yeah.

me: (Pointing at the button on this bag and shaking it in his face) No, I don't think you understand, it actually stitches the button right on for you. Like, you set the button on, and then it stitches. This button right here, do you see it? My machine stitched it on. Are you looking? Do you see it?

Steve: Yeah. I think I knew that.

me: Oh. Ok.

I guess this is what I should expect from a man whose mother is an expert seamstress, but still, disappointing.

Anyway, here is the fabulous bag with the machine stitched button. I LOVE it! Love the fabric, love the shape, love the button. Buy it now, it's stunning in person! And, don't forget that you'll be entered to win this month's free bag give away:)

I'm working on another Garden Party purse featuring an adorable dotted birdie applique. But, I gave up sewing this afternoon to watch "Becoming Jane" (wonderful, by the way) instead so I'll have to get motivated to finish the birdie bag later tonight.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Retro Apron

I got a custom order for an apron using the same fabrics that Tonya used on the apron she made for me. I'm happy with how it turned out and am debating making a few to sell in my shop but I think the price might be too high. I would need to sell them for $30-35. Would you buy one?

Oh, and I cut my head off in the pics because I was without shower, hair, or makeup and looked particularly gross.

Do you see my huge tomato plants in the background? And the gnomes laying on the ground behind me, trying to look up my apron?

Friday, July 18, 2008

New additions

Just added this bag to my shop made with some of the fabric I bought from Japan.

It's earthy and neutral, perfect for those of you who prefer something more boring...I mean, subdued. And of course, it features my new addiction, the zipper.

I've also added some new items to my sale section. Be sure to check it out and remember my "best offer" deal I posted about a few days ago. I've already had a few people take advantage of it:)

I'm hoping to get some sewing in this weekend in between taking Bella to a princess birthday party, prepping for Tate's Elmo birthday bash next weekend, hitting the local summer concert series, and bitching and moaning to Crafty Papa about my stuffy head. So, make sure to vote in the poll over to the right so I can be sure to create items you can't resist buying. And I believe I set up the poll so you can vote for more than one option.

Books are both spoken for

Sorry, I'm not responding through email to everyone so you'll just have to get your heart broken via blog. I think I'm getting a cold, took some Sudafed this morning. Bad idea. Not functioning properly.

Friday Favorites

It is Friday, correct? This week has flown by and I keep thinking it's only Wednesday.

This week's Friday Favorites is a special edition. The girls' Christmas gift from us is going to be a new bedroom. We were already planning on moving them to bunk beds at the end of the year so we figured it was a good time to update their room a little and get rid of some of the "baby stuff".

The plan is that each girl will have a big bag on Christmas morning filled with new decor for their room. We'll leave the walls the sunny yellow color they are now but change pretty much everything else. These are my favorites for their room re-do.

Here's what I'm thinking about getting from Ikea...

Then, I've also become obsessed with these vinyl wall decals after my old high school friend, Natalie, posted about them on her blog. These are my favorites from Etsy...

Fairy Princess

And I also love these family decals. I think I'm going to get one for our fam for Christmas.

Family 1
Family 2

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wallet Watchin' Wednesday

I know, it's Thursday now. I meant to type this last night but I got to the last hundred pages of the book I was reading and couldn't stop. I get really emotionally invested in a good book and can't walk away from it toward the end. If you're looking for a good book to read right now, I definitely recommend Certain Girls.

So, that leads me to my money saving tip for the day...visit your library. You may be thinking the library is just for nerds and old people but you'll be surprised to find it's not.

First, the can get free books. I like to start a new book as soon as I finish one so this does require some planning but I've learned to use the system's hold feature. I rarely do any searching at the library and instead do all of my homework at home so when I go in, I know exactly where I'm going and what to look for. And even if your library is small, they're networked with the other libraries in your county so they can transfer materials within a week or so. This book has been ordered from the manufacturer by my library and I've already put a hold on it. I like to read newer books and thought that I'd have to wait a year to get them. Nope. Certain Girls just came out a few months ago, I finally got around to putting a hold on it and had it within a few weeks.

Entertainment. A few things to talk about here. First, the library has a great selection of dvds. Did you know that? They're not the newest movies but because they're free, you'll find yourself watching movies you might not normally pick out and you may actually find a few you like. Another fun area is the kid's section. Ours is pretty tiny and sparse but they do have a puzzle table that can entertain the kids for a half hour or so and then there's also story time twice a week. And my newest form of library entertainment...looking at the ancient sewing books. Ok, not necessarily ancient but from the 1970-80's. I looked up some sewing books in the library's computer system and laughed out loud when I found them on the shelf. Plaid fabric, big peter pan collars, lace, etc. Good fun.

Air conditioning. We had a big heat wave here a month ago and our house was 94 degrees. I ditched the fam and hung out in the library and cooled off. I learned that tip from the old people:)

So, in the spirit of reading and free stuff, I have two books to give away to two different people. First two to email me get one (

The Year of Fog

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Most Beautiful Fabric Ever

If you've been going back and forth on whether to buy some of Anna Maria Horner's new Garden Party fabric, do it! I thought it was beautiful in the pics on the internet but in person, I find it to be gorgeous in a way that surpasses any other fabric I've ever seen. Seriously. I really love this line.

The colors are so rich and vibrant. I guarantee that if you buy this bag, you'll make an audible gasp when you pull it out of the mailing envelope. And in my opinion, totally a bargain for a beautiful and stylish one of a kind ZIPPERED bag at only $34!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Email me your You're the winner of the free zippered pouch from my Ebates give away last week!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Back in Action

I'm really trying to get back to a more consistent sewing schedule including sewing a few evenings per week. Partly because I could use the income, partly because it gives me a break from my constant chatterbox companions, and partly because it keeps my mind off of kettle corn (sort of - I'm actually planning on making a batch as soon as the little ladies go to sleep, I don't like to share).

Whipped up these two creations tonight. I think the purse is a little too small but I frequently get requests for smaller purses so hopefully it'll suit someone out there. I really have no concept anymore of just carrying your wallet, keys, and phone. And the little peasant top features one of my favorite color combos - chocolate, cream, and red. These tops have been selling quickly so if you likes it, you needs to buy it fast.

Hmmmmm...what do you think?

I finished the pattern this afternoon and I'm not sure how I feel about the bag yet. I think I'm having trouble getting over how different it is from my usual clean lines style of bags. And it's one difficult mama to photograph!

The pics are definitely deceiving, this is a super roomy bag. To give you an idea, before gathering, the outer piece measured 36 inches by 36 inches. Luckily, it's a quick project and comes together easily so the high cost of materials is off set by a decrease in time involved.

Trying to list it in my shop right now but as usual, Etsy's pathetic picture uploaders isn't cooperating. And make sure to check my shop again later tonight. I plan on whipping up a Garden Party bag and might just make a peasant top too:)

Fun Weekend

My weekend started off great when my UPS man, Jesse, surprised me with a box from J Caroline Creative. I wasn't expecting my fabric until Monday so I totally did a happy dance. I got ten different yards from Anna Maria Horner's new Garden Party line and it is absolutely gorgeous! The colors are more vivid and vibrant than anything else I've ever seen on fabric. Can't wait to play with this later today...

About an hour later, my friend, Jenni arrived with her family. You may have seen her comment on the blog before and she participated in the swap last month and made a fabulous bag for Shanna. Jenni and I met through our husbands 3 1/2 years ago and became friends right away. Ten minutes after meeting each other, it felt like we had known each other for years. She is without a doubt, one of the nicest, honest, most caring peo pleI know and it's just so easy to be around her.

We only get to see each other a few times a year and I was really sad when she left yesterday. I surprised myself and got a little choked up in the car when they drove away! It was just really nice to have a friend to go fabric shopping and talk crafts with. We also have grand plans to open our own young and hip fabric store. We're going to have a little playroom in the back for our kids and customers' kids so they can spend hours shopping and spending money in our shop while their kids have a blast. We'll have awesome coffee, good music, and lots of fun projects displayed. The only thing we have to work out is how to get her family to move here and getting the tens of thousands of dollars we need to start up but those are just minor details.

Before Jenni left yesterday, we went to The Cotton Ball in Morro Bay. I was really drawn to a bag they had on display and ended up buying the pattern. I normally don't sew from a pattern but thought I could learn some new skills from this pattern. I started working on view B last night using a pink and brown Amy Butler print and hope to get it finished later this afternoon.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Still on my zipper kick

Love how this one turned out. Popular color combo of black and turquoise and I think a versatile style, size, and pattern that could work well for casual or career. I'm still way too excited about zippers and really do think they give my bags some added value. Apparently though, not too many customers think so since I'm still not seeing the traffic in my shop that I used to. Damn this crappy economy!

On a related note, my friend Lena came over today and I did some wheeling and dealing that convinced her to buy two bags instead of one. I got to thinking about Ebay's "best offer" option and wished Etsy had something similar. So, I'm making my own "best offer" option just for my blog readers. Only valid on items in my sale section and accepted or not accepted at my discretion. So, check out my sale items, convo me an offer, and I'll respond with a simple yes or no. Don't worry about offending me with a low ball offer. I'm the queen of bargains and coupons so I know everyone wants a good deal. Just don't expect me to give the stuff away:)

Ok, see that paragraph up there ^. I was just reading it to Crafty Papa for his feedback and he freakin fell asleep! It's only like 8 sentences. How did that even give him enough time to doze off?! And who could be bored enough by a potentially awesome bargain to actually fall asleep?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Wallet Watchin' Wednesday

Ebates. I'm sure a lot of you reading this are already Ebates members but this can serve as a good reminder to actually go through Ebates when doing your online shopping.

Basically, Ebates is an online discount program via money back and other discounts. When you sign up, you can enter your Paypal info. and then once each quarter Ebates deposits your cash back earnings into your Paypal account. You don't have to do anything at all expect go through Ebates to get to your shopping site instead of going directly to the site (basically, just an extra few clicks of the mouse). The list of participating businesses is looooong so I'm sure you can find several that you use on a regular basis for clothing, picture printing, gift giving, books, and more.

I've earned over $90 since I joined about two years. Yeah, $90 over two years isn't a huge amount but it is a week's worth of groceries for my family, or several Christmas gifts, a back to school wardrobe for Bella, etc.

If you haven't signed up and would like to, we can both earn $10 if you sign up here. And I'll send a zippered pouch to the first person to sign up under me.

And speaking of freebies, did you see my July promotion over there ------------>?

Lets pretend

that Etsy's ridiculous picture uploader ever works today. Then you'll find this fabulous new zippered bag in my shop. Are you feeling the zipper theme? I hope so because it's going to go on for a while.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I'm brilliant. Really, I am.

I'm pretty sure I'm the first person ever to figure out zippers all on her own. This is a very complicated (not really) art (not really) and I deserve some kind of award for attempting to master it without any coaching (really, an award). I set out to make a zippered pouch this afternoon and in 15 minutes, I was finished! And, totally unusual for me, my first stab is actually cute and functioning!

It measures about 7" wide by 6" tall. I think the perfect size for a few pieces of makeup, fem hygiene products, money, business cards, candy, small bottles of liquor...whatever you want to keep contained and protected in your unorganized and crumb filled purse.

Also made these two fabulous items that I'll list in the shop tomorrow morning. We're heading out to the drive in right now to see "Wall-E" and eat homemade kettle corn. Oh yeah, I made my own kettle corn. Wish I wouldn't have discovered how easy it for two reasons. 1) I'm confident I will make it every day now and will weigh 400 pounds by Christmas (Wait! I just had a thought! I'm going to add homemade kettle corn to my list of Christmas goodies for our neighbors and friends). And 2) Now I've decided I want to have my own gourmet kettle corn cafe. Last week I was planning to open a paint your own pottery shop. The week before that it was a gourmet doughnut and coffee shop with a child friendly atmosphere. But back to the kettle corn cafe...I would have all different flavors like maple syrup, cinnamon sugar, margaritas, vanilla bean, chocolate covered. Ok, off to eat some now.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Friday Favorites

Hydrangeas. Hands down, my favorite flower. I want to get married again (to Crafty Papa) just to see a sea of hydrangeas on all of the tables (I had pink and purple roses at my wedding, pretty, but not hydrangeas). I have a few hydrangea plants in my yard in various shades of pink, purple, and blue and I'm trying to find a good spot for some white ones. A few weeks ago, when we had the huge heat wave here, all of my exposed hydrangea blooms burned to a crisp. I almost shed a tear or two. I cut these from my yard yesterday...

My Ikea mixing bowls. Sorry, can't find them on their website. We ditched our pyrex mixing bowls and replaced them with these a few months ago. It was Crafty Papa's doing and I love these new bowls so much, I will award him 2 points. The big mama bowl is so big, you can fit a large child in it. Yes, that's my tall 4 1/2 year old:)

Vintage Chinese Pottery Shard Necklaces. I got one through a trade a few months ago for $138. It's gorgeous, substantial and really "makes" an outfit. I've since found a bunch of equally beautiful necklaces on Etsy that are much more affordable, I think because the beads used for the necklace aren't as expensive. Doesn't matter to me, I think these necklaces are all about the pottery pendant. I was supposed to use my allowance this month to buy myself one but I forgot and accidentally spent it on acrylic stamps. Some of my favorites are from Polished Two and Flourish Jewelry.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Wallet Watchin' Wednesday

So, a few months ago, my friend, Shanna suggested that I do a blog for my budgeting and green living tips. I don't think I have enough to say for a whole blog (I know, shocker) but I've decided to share a weekly tip on Wednesday. I'm definitely not an expert, but after struggling on one income for four and a half years now, I think I've learned a few budget-friendly things that might work for your family too. So here goes tip one...

Meal plan. Meal plan. Meal plan. Did I mention meal planning? Seriously, this is probably the biggest money saver in our house. Every Sunday, I sit down with my coupon folder and my weekly grocery store ad. I go through the ad and write down on my shopping list anything that is on sale that we use. Then, I look at the list, take stock of any meat or poultry in my freezer, and then turn the list into meals. I do have to supplement the list with a few items that aren't in my weekly mailer but once I get to the store, I can always find a brand that's on sale, it just wasn't advertised or maybe isn't a great savings. Before going shopping, I go over my list and pull out any coupons that go with my purchases.

When meal planning, I also schedule any dining out for the week and if something comes up and we eat out unplanned (rarely happens), I redo my meal plan and bump everything back a day.

The biggest keys to meal planning are:
1) Shop weekly to take full advantage of the sales.
2) Learn to eat according to what's on sale, not what you're in the mood for.
3) Convert to a "leftovers" family - I almost always make a meal big enough for two night's worth of dinners.
4) Steer clear of convenience foods. My kids do eat crackers, granola bars, etc. but the main part of their snack is usually some kind of fruit which when bought in season and on sale, is much cheaper than convenience box items.
5) Learn to use your freezer. When broccoli is on sale for a killer deal, I stock up and freeze. We have the best locally grown strawberries so I buy fresh and freeze for smoothies in the winter.

I remember back when I was working, my fellow manager told me a story about when she was a newly single mom standing in the checkout line with her preschooler. Her daughter looked at the lady in front of her who was buying grapes and she said, "Mmmmm, I love grapes but my mommy says we can't afford grapes today." When she first told me this story, I didn't have kids and we were more than comfortable on our two incomes. I thought the story was so sad. Now I have a completely different perspective. I have no problem telling Bella that we can't afford something and that if it's not on sale or doesn't fit into our budget, we don't buy it. I'm proud that when she plays grocery store with Matea, they use coupons and talk about sales. I think she's learning the importance of need versus want.

Anyway, our monthly grocery budget is $400 for four people. We eat out 3-4 times per month so this $400 needs to cover almost all dinners, all lunches and breakfasts, and snacks. When I make my list, I try to stay under $85 and allow myself to buy only two non list items once I get to the store.

So here's my meal plan and shopping list for this week. I spent $83.80 and saved $74.59 (47%).

Wed-Eating out for Papa's birthday
Thur-Turkey dogs with corn on the cob
Fri-Friend's house for holiday, taking cupcakes
Sat-Turkey Chili
Mon-Tri tip, rice pilaf, corn
Wed-Crockpot chicken, potatoes, veggies from freezer
Thurs-Leftover chicken sandwiches and salad, make homemade bread

Mangos (3)
Granola Bars (2)
Paper plates for party (2)
Turkey Dogs (3)
Tri tip
Diet Pepsi
Ground Turkey (2)
Kidney Beans (2)
Ranch Beans (2)
Tomato Sauce
Cooking Spray
Cake Mix (2)
Corn (4)
Bananas (12)