Thursday, October 30, 2008

Stencil it!

My friend Jessica came over tonight to show me how she turned a photograph into a larger than life stencil. She had done one of a cute couple of friends all kissy face, and is planning to spray paint them onto a background that includes lettering and random designs. I don't have many pictures of me and my husband together (usually because we're the ones with the camera at this stage of life!), but I have plenty of my kids. I've never gotten around to doing the cool silhouettes of them as babies, but this is just slightly cooler on the crafty scale. Here's what we did tonight.

We started with this picture, taken of Molly this summer at a birthday party - I just love her little scrunched up face!

In Picasa, because I'm lazy and haven't had time to really learn GIMP, we turned it black and white, then used the "sharpen" tools for a little more contrast and then turned up both the highlights and the shadows until her features stood out. I saved this image as a new file so I didn't lose my cute original.

My camera is set to take high resolution (which makes uploading them to the photoshop take FOREVER, but my prints usually turn out great, so it's a worthwhile trade off) and large, if I were just to print them out they are like 16x20 inches or something ridiculous like that, so I try to remember to scale them down for emailing, but I often forget and then clog up someone's email (sorry about that, too!) But it works out perfect for this! In Publisher, I opened a blank document and inserted the whacked out picture, which did not fit on the one little page that Publisher gave me. I set the printing to print actual size as a poster, then printed using "draft" mode, because I knew it was going to use a bunch of ink, and I had messed with the image enough to give me enough contrast to trace the major parts I wanted. Anyway, we got 4 regular sheets out and then taped them together.

Next, we looked for options since we were working without the sun on our side. Ordinarily, I might have hung this up on my bedroom closet doors (great big mirrors) like I do when tracing off patterns like Ottobre, but Jessica had brought posterboard, and the photo wasn't visible through the posterboard when it was held against a wall or a window or the mirror. So we ended up tracing the photo over a lamp. This worked amazingly well, but I probably won't be allowed to do it if hubby is here next time! We just traced very simply over Molly's features.

With an x-acto knife we cut away the lines that had been drawn in the tracing. Jessica's photos that she had turned into a stencil had people with darker features, but I figured with Molly's baby features and little curls we only needed to trim smaller sections out to emphasize her features. At some point early on Jessica told me, "Just cut out the line you drew," and at that point it made a lot of sense and went very quickly.

For some people, this may be easier to do if you turn the tracing upside down. I learned about myself that if I can turn whatever it is upside down, at least in my head, then I quit worrying so much about what it actually is and can draw it because I'm just focusing on the simple lines of whatever it is. So turning the stencil upside down sped things up for me because I wasn't worrying so much about all those cute little curls or the little pucker of her chin, and I could just cut away the lines.

Here is what it looks like with just a few of my lines cut away:

You can see my tablecloth through the stencil as we were cutting (there was a box top we were using to hold the posterboard away from the tabletop, but at the very end we found out the using a scrapbooking cutting mat worked really well).

Now Molly's all cut out! Jessica is holding her up against the wall (yes, my living room walls are red - my favorite!)

The parts that were cut out were all removed (and were all tasted by Miss Molly herself as they floated to the floor) and those will be the areas covered by paint when I figure out what to paint her onto. Not the walls, at least not in this house since it will possibly be going on the market soon. Maybe a big canvas covered with something else or just a wash of soft colors. I can see a whole series of these as a family gallery grouped together for a really dramatic presentation.

And again - another perspective just with a different contrast (sitting up on the couch) . Thanks again, Jessica, for showing me how!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Krylon Paint on sale at Hobby Lobby

Hey, I just had to share this. At Hobby Lobby this week there is an internet coupon for Krylon Spray Paint. The FUSION is what I recommend for painting the pole of the Hobby Horse if you are making one from my pattern. I just thought I'd mention it because you can get that paint for 30% less with this coupon until this Saturday.

By the way, the FUSION is non-toxic when dry - I know that makes a big difference when we are talking about paint and children's toys!

Here's the direct link to the coupon.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What is a babymoon, you say?

babymoon - (n.) The brief but happy period of time when a family welcomes a new baby to their world.

I know, it's not what wikipedia says, but traditionally, the babymoon is the time AFTER the baby is born, like the honeymoon is the short trip AFTER the wedding, see?

So it's the time for the new family to get adjust to their new lives together, to get to know the baby who has recently show his or her sweet face, and for mom to get her land legs back (if you've ever given birth you know what I'm talking about there!)

Sometimes I get weird looks when I tell my shop name, so I just wanted to put this out there to clarify for everyone what I mean.

The funny thing is, since I have so many kids, I've gotten to have lots of babymoons! I am so thankful that I have a great family who helps out during the babymoon and super friends who go over and above to help with the kids who aren't always completely thrilled by the grittier aspects of the babymoon!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Top Ten Reasons to wear your baby in a sling

1. Easy to feed your baby discreetly in public while wearing a sling. Even if baby is pulling up all your clothes, the tail of the sling can be used as a cover up, and you don't get that hiding-under-a-blanket feeling.

2. Carried babies are happier. Of course mom's arms get tired, so a baby sling keeps baby happy because he is carried, and mom's aching arms get a break because they are free!

3. When you are carrying your baby all the time you are essentially exercising MORE without doing more, simply because you have an extra 20 pounds or so strapped to you!

4. Baby slings hide the smears and drips of food that you (or your baby) got on your favorite shirt!

5. Baby slings hide the little baby fat tummy pooch that many new moms end up with!

6. Babies LIKE being held and they can see more up high with you than down in a stroller or cart.

7. If your baby is in a sling, he is less likely to be touching all the icky stuff on the floor or on the cart handles when shopping.

8. Babywearing keeps your baby close to you so that you get to know him better.

9. Babyslings are more economical than the gadgets available at the discount stores. In fact, many sling sellers are happy to tell you how to make one yourself from readily available materials, even if you don't sew!

10. Babywearing just looks cool and is FUN!

*wink wink - new babyslings are now in the shop! Thanks for taking a peek!*

Monday, August 11, 2008

Facebook and high heels (not related randomness!)

I've had a rash of new friends on facebook - it's like a blast from the past and has been really fun to see what old friends have been up to. We recently went to my husband's 20-year high school reunion, which was fun, but I only knew a couple of people (actually only ONE other than my husband!) so it was more a people watching event more than anything. That, and I wore heels one night and I haven't worn them in 10 years, so I had a hard time walking (I really did walk around in the store before buying them - don't know what my problem was!) I'm just really out of practice with heels. They don't lend themselves well to chasing after kids and carrying a little chunk of baby!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Blog feature!

Hey, this is cool - I just found out that my tutu overalls were featured on the coolcraftymom blog! How fun! Makes me feel both cool and crafty!

By the way, these can be made in any size, too! I love to upcycle overalls, especially the ones whose knees have seen better days, but I can also make them in new overalls as well.

Thanks for taking a little peek! XOXO!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Finally a shop update!

Well, having a teething baby doesn't lend itself to getting a blog updated!

I put a bunch of new baby bibs up at my etsy shop and some new baby slings, then they sold before I could even say anything about them. Good problem, I suppose!

Anyway, I managed to update tonight with some new listings and more new listings while the teething one dozed on my lap - yay to both!

Hopefully my new items won't last long in my etsy shop!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Revolution Money Exchange

I just signed up with RME to try it to see how it does with my etsy. Join by clicking through from here and you can get a $25 bonus and I get a $10 referral bonus! Only until May 15, so hurry!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Amber beads

I heard about these amber bead necklaces that are used for helping teething babies from a friend at a recent La Leche League meeting. I've got a teething one right now and the drool is killing me. Supposedly the amber sap resin released tiny amounts of a something that helps with pain. So teething babies are supposed to feel better and not so grumpy. So I found these amber necklaces on from etsy seller InspiredbyFinn and ordered one and it came not even a whole 2 days later.
My baby wore it for two days and seemed to be doing better, so I did some more research on these beads and other things they were used for and thought I might let my son who gets an allergy headache just about everyday try it out. He says that he doesn't get a headache while wearing it, so I ordered a couple more so I could let the baby have hers back and have a spare in case someone misplaced theirs. They will all be here tomorrow so everyone can have their necklace back and get to feeling better at the same time!

Monday, April 21, 2008


I should have checked earlier, but I spend my etsy time either listing stuff (or editing my typos!) or searching the forums from pearls of wisdom from other etsy sellers.

So I thought I might sweep up a bit (many of my favorites have apparently expired as evidenced by empty boxes where listings once were) and check my feedback real quick. I am so glad I did because it just made me so happy to see that the people I have done business with are pleased with my work. Here's just a few of the really sweet things they have said:
  • Absolutely stunning! The fabric is beautiful the stitches are strong and well done. The Instructions are easy to follow. I love it thank you so much!!
  • super fast shipping and is so adorable
  • The necklaces are SOOO-O BEAUTIFUL! They are above and beyond my expections! Thank you so much for such beautiful products and excellent service!
  • Wow! Got a super impressive package from this seller today! As well as the cute clippies I bought, I got a pretty matching bonus item, nice decorated thank you business card, all in a gift box, safely packaged up in a plastic bag inside a bubble envelope! Who could ask for more! Babymoon was already on my favorites list and is staying there! Thank you!!!
  • Amazing! Just as ordered. Thanks so much.
Anyway, it just makes me all gushy! Now I'm off to make more wonderful things for you!! Thanks for the lovely feedback!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Make your own baby sling Fast and Easy

I love to make and sell baby slings. It seems that all babies are happier if they are carried, but sometimes mama's arms get tired (amazing how heavy those tiny babies get!) Most of the time, though, I prefer to tell people how to make their own if they sew because they are so incredibly simple. Plus, if I tell you how to do it then I don't have to spend extra time sewing, packing, printing wearing instructions, and shipping them off.

Here for you today I am sharing how I make a baby sling. Granted, there are lots of other tutorials out there for making baby slings, but I'm not any good at following directions, so here is the way I do it.

1. Hem the long sides of a piece of fabric that is 42-45 inches wide by 2 and 1/2 yards using a narrow hem. The fabric I like best for slings is a slightly stretchy woven cotton poplin.

2. Hem one of the short sides.

3. Fold the unhemmed short side with pleating it across the width so that it ends up about 4 to 6 inches wide. Replace your needle with a size 14 or 16 sharp needle. Baste the pleating down. Serge across the end to neaten it up if you want.

4. Stuff that end into two welded stainless steel rings (get them at Lowes in the hardware aisle for $0.79 each, fold over and sew down with three lines of stitching. Go slow because there is a LOT of fabric under the needles here. You may consider wearing safety glasses. (Actually, my sewing machine manual recommends that I wear safety glasses anyway). Make sure everything is all smooth so that you don't sew extra tucks on the right side of the fabric.

So there you are. Put it on (there are some great sling wearing instructions here, as well as different ways to make other baby carriers) and then you're done!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

New Pattern!

I get so many comments on my hobby horses that I wrote a pattern up. I mean, to ship one of these guys in any kind of timely manner is about $20, and I know that you probably could spend that somewhere else besides the post office! So I wrote up a pattern that I listed in my etsy shop, so that you can make your own! Now don't get worried - it is really pretty simple, and I include step by step photographs so that you can see exactly how to put it all together. You can make your own hobby horse for about $15 in materials (or less if you put one together from what you already have on hand!). This pattern is 20 pages, with 36 color photos, and will come to you via a PDF file in an email attachment. You will love it! Your kids will love that you made them their own horse. I made a bunch of these for a Lone Ranger party we had, had a stick horse race, then the guests all took one home! What a great party favor! You can make it from really nice fabrics, then you don't have to touch all the acrylic stuff that the manufactured ones are made of. Or maybe I'm the only one who gets grossed out by the texture of fake fur! Anyway, you can get your own copy here and print it out and have your own hobby horse in about 1 hour and not even have to wait for the mailman!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Fun in the forums

Sometimes when you can't sleep and you've read all the other crafty blogs and the baby doesn't want to sleep and no one else is awake to listen to all the fun things you did all day, there's always someone in the etsy forums!

The other day was one of those days for me, so late late late at night some of the etsy sellers were running contests in the promotions section of the forums, where you had to be a certain number "poster" on their topic. I think there were only 4 or 5 people actually watching the same topic I was, so we were just jabbering on until the appointed post got closer and closer. Then bam, there it was, and I happened to post on the winning number!

Anyway, this was the prize, from Lori of Heartworks by Lori. It's so pretty! I have no idea how people make these things, but I love it!
Thanks again, Lori!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

What you really need to know

I got tagged by Jenny this morning to reveal seven random and personal things about myself and then pass it on to others.

Ok, I've never done one of these - now you all get to see how lame I really am!

1. My love for Stash Earl Grey tea is only second to a Starbucks mocha. I pretty much can't live without a cup of tea in the morning, morning being loosely defined as the period of time before hubby comes home from work. Everything is better after a cup of Earl Grey.

2. My wedding band has a garnet in it, not a diamond. We picked garnets because they are a symbol of love, faith, and constancy, as well as a reminder of the blood of Christ that paid for my sin. And I had a diamond once, long ago, and they really aren't forever, no matter what De Beers says.

3. I think Sandra Boynton is the funniest person ever. And then Jerry Seinfeld.

4. I freak out often about chemicals/pesticides/chlorinated water/non-organic food/refined sugar. But then eat out at Taco Cabana no matter what and at every opportunity. I'm pretty inconsistent like that.

5. I thought last summer that I needed reading glasses so I went out and bought two cute pairs. When my hubby sat down at my computer he saw that the screen was going out and making everything fuzzy. So it wasn't my eyes at all! Good thing I didn't spend too much on the reading glasses. But they are so cute I'm saving them for a future time when I might need them.

6. I have read all of War and Peace. But not Moby Dick.

7. I love to take the elevator all the way up and find a window to look out. In our tiny town the pediatrician's office is on the 5th floor of the professional building. The only other taller building is the adjacent hospital, which I avoid at all costs! But with kids, we often visit our pediatrician for something or other, so I love to look out. Yeah, I don't get out much.

Ok, so now I'm going to tag Texas Tesla, Lisa, and Bl Soaps. Thanks for playing!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

I want to sell this rock (homeschool economics project)

...that's what Jeremiah said to me the other day.

me: Hmmm, let's see. Not sure many people need a rock.

him: But it's so pretty, and look I washed it and it kind of sparkles.

me: Yes, it does sparkle a little bit. i could put it on ebay for you.

him: Yeah, and then we could sell it for one hundred dollars!

me: You think so?

him: No wait - you could sell it on Etsy!

me: well, the listing fees are cheaper...but it has to be handmade to go on Etsy. You could do something to it to sell it there.

him: can I paint it? Or I could put some glitter on it. And feathers. Do people buy stuff with feathers on it?

me: some do. Want me to research it for you?

him: Yeah - see if anyone will buy a rock.

me: maybe you could offer it customized. Like you sell it and they tell you what to put on it and then you can send it to them.

him: really? I get to pick?

me: no, you get to tell them what you're good at and then they pick what they want you to do to it.

him: Oh. Well can I sell it?

me: sure. Let me put out some feelers first and see what the market for custom-ordered rocks looks like, ok?

So here I am, putting out feelers for the custom-decorated rock market. And trying for the mom-of-the-moment award.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


I just joined indierepublic. I need to spend a little bit of time to see how it all works and make myself a pretty page, but it looks fun! Are you on indierepublic? Add me as a friend because I haven't read far enough how to add you!

Visit Indiepublic

Monday, March 3, 2008

Featured Etsy seller Word4worddesign

I just got this in the mail today from Etsy seller Word4worddesign. It is amazing! She has more in her store, different words, and even does custom orders. I think a set of these would be fantastic for bridesmaids, or daughters, or anyone really! It's simply gorgeous! Thanks again, Claire!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Crafting? Who has time for crafting?

Sometimes having a wide range of hobbies is a bad thing. I walk into my sewing room, and realize that in order to sew I have to put up the bead box and the glue gun for the hair clippies I was making, and then I have to move around the overflowing basket of felt that the kids can cut and sew with. At some point in there the wiggle eyes fall out of their package again and I have to put them all back in before doing anything else, then I have to go get a ziploc from the kitchen to put them in. If I come out of the sewing room, one of the six children needs something to eat or something to drink or something to do ("Can I have just 10 more minutes on the computer to finish this game?"). Then I need to find a sling so I can go back to the sewing room and feed the baby at the same time. Back in the sewing room I find a few orphan pattern pieces and remember that I said I'd organize a sewing room, so I head back to the computer, promising the small internet junkie child of mine that I'll just be a minute, and yes, he can have 2 extra minutes on the timer, send out the email and resist the temptation to receive any new messages right now. After the orphan pattern pieces are put into the basket designated for other orphan pattern pieces I find the chinese coin pendants we were looking at while we studied 18th century Chinese history and remember that the boys want cool necklaces out of them, so the bead box comes back up to the sewing table and a suitable cord is found for them, but no matching cord crimps to match the pendant or the necklace clasps, so a mental note is make to visit the giganto hobby store in the next week or so to get something to match, and the bead box is put back up. Then the cotton yarn that the toddler undid last year is moved out of the way, because now is not the time to rewind it into balls because it would have to be untangled first. So instead the 15 pieces of fabric from the last several sewing projects are either put back onto the shelf or into the scrap bag for the lady who quilts.

Can I sew yet? No, the baby needs a new diaper and the toddler is awake from her nap. And someone needs to cook supper. Wasn't the 21st century supposed to have those cool instant food pills or some kind of Star Trek gadget that did the cooking for you? Maybe I need one of those before I need a new sewing machine or set of crochet hooks or wire crimpers or more stencil templates or red paint or scrapbook paper! One day if I get it all organized in there I can get something completed during a naptime!

I suppose I could just let the toddler loose with a spoon of nutella - that would keep at least one person busy for 10 minutes or so....

Monday, February 25, 2008

New by babymoon

Hooray! I finally got my pattern pretty enough for sale on etsy for my Ruffle Back Skirt! There are instructions in this pattern to make a skirt for ANY size! The emphasis on the pattern is for little girls, although some of you may be brave, daring, cute or whatever enough to wear ruffles down your backside. I prefer to live vicariously through my daughters! I've had several people let me know that they have made it for babies all the way through early teenagers, and they have all loved it! Check it out and let me know what you think!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pretty stuff for moms

My opinion is that anybody offended by breastfeeding is staring too hard. ~David Allen

I'm telling you, this stuff you find on Etsy is amazing. I found this pendant from etsy seller suchprettycolors. She has many many other pendants, and a whole series of breastfeeding pendants.

Wouldn't this be a great gift for mother's day or for any new mom you know? Pretty, and pretty cool!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Gratuitous chubby baby pictures

Molly (our baby #6!) at 3.5 months.
Just a little chunk of love!

Extra links on my blog

In trying to understand how the google ads work, as well as attempting to drive traffic here as well as etsyward, I went ahead and added the google ads. If they get too weird I'll remove the service from adsense, but on other blogs they don't seem to obtrusive. This first one just looks like a plea for hurricane relief, (still?), but I'm ok with that. Apparently I'm not yet a "catch" to be eligible for blogging services like payperpost. Maybe in a few weeks!

Navigating Etsy and Getting to Know the Sellers

One of the fun things about Etsy is the ease in connecting with other buyers and sellers. When you want to know more about the handmade product you are purchasing, check out the seller's profile. and shop home page. If you want to shop from someone in your local area you can click the shop local tool on the Etsy home page, just keep in mind that you may have to pay local state sales tax in addition to shipping! But it's a fun way to find other sellers local to you or nearby.

Just want to see what the sellers and buyers are yakking about today? Head over to the Etsy forums where you can listen in on the conversations of the sellers, eavesdrop on what the buyers are looking for, and interact with Etsy admin. It's better than wandering around the mall just staring at people! Many of the sellers run special sales for people in the forums, mentioning a secret code that you can convo them with for a little something extra. In the US, the forums are busiest in the evenings and Saturday and Sunday nights. If you are really feeling chatty try the chat rooms, where buyers and sellers discuss everything under the sun as well as peek inside each other's shops and see what goodies are on the plate.

What, you just have a quick question for the seller of the item you are thinking about? Contact the seller with a "convo" by clicking contact under the seller's shop avatar. Etsy will send this message to the seller's regular email address so that you get a quick answer. Don't worry about bugging them - the beauty of handmade is that there are REAL people behind each of the shops who have time to answer your questions and make sure you are happy!

Still confused by Etsy? Look in the FAQ's for real answers to any other questions you might have, or just convo me! If I don't know the answer, I'll do my best to find it for you!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Please pass the biscuits

Fresh hot biscuits, so tender they don't even need butter (well, it's already in there!). I found THE perfect biscuit recipe yesterday when I turned to my handy, most-loved, and most convenient cookbook of late, the internet!

We're not eating shortening anymore, thanks to this book, which we checked out from our local library and which my children have now memorized. The good thing about that book is that we don't have to go to that place with the meals-that-don't-really-make-you-happy anymore. But it puts a cramp on some of our favorite meals, like Chicken Fried Steak (which we now cook in sunflower oil, but we still don't have it too often) or more importantly, biscuits. I can't eat the things in the can. Well, I might be able to if there wasn't anything else. But I've always made a decent biscuit, but have for the last several years been bothered by the necessity of shortening (aka, hydrogenated vegetable oil) in any recipe that comes out decently.

Well, on the internet I found a terrific blog called Homesick Texan, where the perfect biscuit recipe is posted. It's actually one of the most popular posts on her blog, and after making it last night I can see why. Butter is used instead of the shortening, adding more flavor than the shortening would and keeping us away from the nasty trans-fats. We didn't "beat" ours, like she does, because the baking powder does its job making them rise just fine, but on a particularly stressful day we might beat them just to get some tension out.

Now, just don't tell me what's in Cracker Barrel's biscuits. These are better, anyway. What, you like the ones in a can? Alright, try these anyway. It'll change your mind for sure.

Umm, there's no picture because we ate them all. Yeah, they were good!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Horsing around

It's been all horses here - or rather hey-hee's as the one-who-is-not-yet-two calls them. Horses for the birthday girls this week, horses for a pattern I'm finalizing, horses in the yard for pictures, horses, a certain horsey shirt that gets worn the very minute it's out of the laundry.... You get the idea.

Well, to celebrate all of that, a certain horse was added to my etsy shop this weekend. Take a peek at him and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Promoting Etsy

I still need to upload some things to pretty up this blog, like the Buy Handmade Button and my etsy mini. I'm too tired tonight, but I needed to give my blog a little hug just to let it know I still cared. Reminding myself to do it soon!

Sunday, February 3, 2008


Catching an open spot in the Treasury is a thrill! Many people pick their treasuries by color or texture, or by other themes. I don't have an obsession with guitars, it was just on my mind the other night. I just get these songs in my head and can't get them out. If I ever get another one it might be about blackbirds or the pies they get baked in.

You can click here to actually see the treasury and comment on it at etsy, but only until Monday night sometime.

Raison d'etre

This blog is to feature my babymoon boutique store at etsy and to promote the other etsy sellers I meet and interact with. I will show you some great treasures I find at etsy and introduce some lovely people I think you will be pleased to purchase handcrafted items from.