One of my favorite color combinations right now is magenta and marigold. This striking contrast of two very bold colors reminds me of a warm glowing sunset. As a flower lover, this exquisite photograph of magenta phalaenopsis orchids and orange tulips by Judy Stalus really caught my eye. You can find this and many other beautiful floral photographs in her Etsy shop.
For more magenta and marigold finds from other talented Etsians, check out my treasury below!
It's been awhile since I did a birth flower post, hasn't it? Let's get back to it with September's birth flower, the Aster. This classic Autumn flower got its name from the Greek word for "star", referring to the shape of the flower head. In ancient times, it was believed that the burning of aster leaves would drive away evil snakes. However, in floriography, the aster is a symbol of love, or daintiness. Here's a collection of dainty asters I know you will love!
Autumn is certainly in the air up here in Maine, which I am very glad for, as it is by far my favorite season. And I thought the colors in this variegated wool were very fitting for this time of year, so I am calling this new color "Autumn Harvest". More new colors to come soon!
Usually this time of year in Maine it starts getting cooler, and begins to feel like fall. Not this year! This week has been one of the hottest of the summer, with temperatures in the 90's. To say that I don't particularly like the heat is an understatement - I loathe it. After all, I wouldn't live in Maine if I didn't prefer cold weather to hot. Nevertheless, there are some things about summer I do enjoy. The bright and colorful flowers blooming, the butterflies and bees, the fresh locally grown produce...these are the things I love about summer. So this week, I thought I would share some of the things I do like about the warmer months of the year, with one last splash of summer.
As I am stocking up my Etsy shop for fall, I will be introducing some new colors for all of my felted wool products. One of the new colors will be this great variegated purple/burgundy/rust/green, perfect for Autumn. I haven't really worked with variegated yarns much, so it's interesting to see how the colors end up once they are knit. I'm especially eager to see what these will look like felted! I'm planning to do some felting tomorrow, including a pair of these variegated mary janes, along with poppy red and chocolate brown, and also a pair of high tops in a variegated green/brown/tan. So be on the lookout for these in my Etsy shop either later this week, or early next week.
Another new color I am introducing is this:
I had a difficult time trying to come up with a name for this color, so I turned to my fans on Facebook to get some input. I got a lot of great suggestions, including persimmon, cinnabar, paprika, and pomegranate. In the end, I decided to go with cinnabar for two reasons: 1) after searching google images, cinnabar seemed the closest to the actual color, and 2) it makes me think of cinnamon, which I love! So you can now get these little cinnabar flora janes in my Etsy shop. Hooray!
I love making treasuries. So when a fellow Etsy Maine Team member, Ida of Adroit Jewelers, started organizing weekly treasury partners groups, I was happy to jump on board. Each week we make 2 or more treasuries featuring items from the other people in our group. Super fun!
Now that I'm back in the swing of creating treasuries, I thought I would bring back my Theme Thursday and share a fresh new treasury that I've made each week. Prepare to be inspired by the amazing work of many talented Etsians!
This week's theme is earthy. Enjoy!
click on the image below to view the treasury on Etsy:
I've been super busy lately working on a couple of wholesale orders. The first was for some of my felted baby shoes for a new baby boutique in Spain, Bily Bily Baby. This ended up being kind of a rush order, as she is opening this September, and wanted to have the shoes for her opening. So I ended up pulling a lot of them from my Etsy shop to get them to her in time. I'll be working on restocking in the next couple of weeks, but in the meantime, if you don't see what you're looking for, I am more than happy to take custom orders. Click below to order from my Etsy shop:
The next order is for a bunch of my felted flower rings and hair elastics. They will be going to Green Planet Parties in Canada. She is in the process of adding some new product lines, and will be re-launching her site soon. So I will be taking advantage of my newly acquired day to myself this week to work on rings and hair elastics. Sure will be nice to have time set aside to work on things like this...maybe I'll actually be able to start going to bed before midnight on occasion again!
Interested in placing a wholesale order? Please contact me for more info.
When you become a mom, you are faced with many choices. For many, one of the most difficult is whether or not you will work outside the home. Sometimes the circumstances in your life decide this choice for you. When my daughter was born, I did not have the option of staying home with her full time; my husband was in school, and I had to return to work so we could pay our bills. Sometimes I look back and wish I could have had more time with her in those early months, but when I see how happy she is at daycare, it makes me happy. And when it comes time to start kindergarten, I am confident she will have no trouble adjusting, and will be excited to go.
Being happy in life is all about finding balance. Doubly so when you are a mom. Things have been very hectic this summer, and I'm realizing that my balancing act needs some work. Between my full-time job and being a mom, not to mention my entrepreneurial adventures, it has been increasingly difficult to squeeze everything in. My stress levels have been rising, and I don't want to be that mom that is always stressed out and overwhelmed. There's a saying - if mom's not happy, no one's happy - and it is so true! I know that the days when I'm feeling particularly stressed are the days when my daughter is also cranky. Negativity breeds negativity. So what can I do to remedy this situation?
My biggest obstacle in life right now is time. And while I would love to quit my full time job and have my daughter go to preschool/daycare part time (so I could both have more time with her and time to focus on Modern Handmade Child and The Clever Kitty), that's simply not an option right now. However, working full time and trying to keep up with these things while caring for my daughter in the evenings and weekends isn't really working either. I know that trying to squeeze everything in it takes away from the quality of time I have with her. And that makes me sad. So for me, for the time being, I've decided that the best thing I can do for myself and my family is to spend one day a week at home (by myself!) to work on my stuff, so that when I do have time with my daughter in the evenings and on the weekends, I can have quality time with her, as I won't be trying to cram all this other stuff in too.
We can try all we want to be that supermom, but when it comes down to it, all we can really do is do the best we can with what we have at any given time. And what's best for one mom may not be the best for another mom. Each mom is unique, and we all must decide for ourselves what is best for us and our children. Sometimes, because of certain circumstances in our lives, the choice we'd most like to make simply isn't possible. In which case we are forced to choose the next best thing. But you know what? Sometimes what we think is the next best thing, actually turns out to be the best thing. ♥
As you've likely noticed, I've been taking a bit of a break from my Etsy shops. It was a tough decision for me to temporarily close them, but I'm glad I did, as it has given me a chance to focus on creating, and not worry about all of the other tasks associated with running a shop. So what have I been creating? Paintings! I hadn't painted in years, but suddenly felt inspired to take it back up again. Fortunately I still had some acrylic paints and brushes packed away, and after a quick trip to the craft store to get some canvases, I was ready to dive in. Also fortunately, my daughter loves to paint too, so we have been spending quite a bit of time every day painting together, which has been wonderful. Here's a little glimpse at some of the paintings I have been working on:
I have been thoroughly enjoying painting again, and can't for the life of me figure out why I ever stopped! I haven't yet decided for sure when I will reopen my Etsy shops, but I will keep you posted. In the meantime, I'm planning to keep painting, and hopefully give silk painting a try again soon too!
Being an artist myself, I find it so exciting to watch my daughter's drawing skills develop. Over the past year, her drawings have evolved from just scribbles, to somewhat identifiable shapes, to quite detailed depictions of people and objects in her life. For example, this portrait she recently drew of my husband:
While he does have more than two hairs on his head, I was pretty impressed with the fact that she included eyebrows and even his goatee! Overall, I thought that was a pretty spectacular drawing until she drew this:
When I asked her what she had drawn, she replied, "A stroller with toes and hands and hair."
Just a quick note to let you know that I'm still here and I haven't forgotten you. I know I haven't been around much this spring, and please believe me when I say it's not because I didn't want to be. I've just had a lot going on, and haven't had time to update you as frequently as I would like. Hopefully that will change this summer.
As I'm sitting down to type my first blog post in over a month, I'm realizing that the past month has been kind of a blur. But I thought it important to come post again for a couple of reasons. First, I've spent many a late night working on the summer issue of Modern Handmade Child, and I'm thrilled to announce that after a few technical glitches on Saturday, we published on Sunday! It's filled with lots of fun activities, fashion trends for summer, some easy recipes for cool treats, and much, much more. I'm also super excited to say that my husband contributed a song for this issue, so be sure to check that out - you can download it for free on our website and find the lyrics are on page 73 of the magazine:
Now that the summer issue is all wrapped up, it's time to get busy on the Summer Shopping Guide on the EtsyKids website. I'm hoping to get all of the great new summer stuff up by the end of next week, so stay tuned for that.
Things are also starting to pick up at the florist (there's usually a bit of a lull after Valentine's Day). This week and next are two of the busiest weeks of the year with Mother's Day, proms, and the start of the wedding season. Which brings me to the other reason for this post. I will be putting my Etsy shops in vacation mode for the next two weeks, until hopefully the chaos of my day job and finishing up the EtsyKids shopping guide dies down. I plan to reopen sometime the week of May 17th, and hope to list some new stuff shortly after.
I'm not usually one to keep my hair long, as I often find it a bother to deal with. Plus having a toddler who likes to yank on it all the time is, well, just plain annoying. So growing my hair out has been a challenge, and I have been eagerly awaiting the day when it would finally be long enough to cut and donate. Well, I'm excited to say that the day finally arrived!
I was planning to make an appointment for a haircut here in Portland, but hadn't had a chance to yet. So when I was recently visiting family in Kansas City, my mom booked me for a haircut with the stylist I used to go to when I lived there. Perfect!
Since I was planning such a drastic change, I thought it would be a good idea to have my daughter come along to see it. She kept entertained by taking some pictures:
Now on to the cut! This is me before:
Here we go....
My hair is now 10" shorter, and feels about 10 pounds lighter too!
Now I just have to mail it off to donate it. Hooray!
A big thanks to Joe at Lulu's for a fabulous cut! You rock, Joe!! :D
What a whirlwind month this has been! I keep waiting for my life to calm down, and it only seems to be getting more and more hectic. I've been super busy with a couple of side projects, and haven't had much time to devote to my crafting or my blogging the past few weeks. The first was a special mini-issue of Modern Handmade Child celebrating motherhood:
I love this issue, and I'm sure you will too. Be sure to see my article on page 21 about the Etsy Baby Shower.
The other big thing I've been working on is EtsyKids. When I recently returned to work at the florist shop full time, it quickly became increasingly difficult to keep up with everything that I have been doing. The EtsyKids Team has grown so much over the years, and I feel like it's time to get organized, and get lots of help from our amazingly talented team members. So we did a team survey, and I have been sifting through hundreds of thoughtful responses from our members. It's a super important task, and also an incredibly time-consuming one. But the end result (finding a bunch of enthusiastic people to help out with various team related tasks) will definitely be worth it. I guess it's like they sometimes say, things will get worse before they get better. Or in this situation, busier before they get calmer. But when that day finally comes, I will appreciate it even more.
Recently little g has become the queen of euphemisms. It all started when she threw something she wasn't supposed to, and I told her not to throw it. Her reply? "I didn't throw it, I just passed it." From there we moved on to, "I'm not hitting, I'm just patting" and "I'm not biting it, I'm just holding it with my teeth." I know laughing at this behavior will only encourage it, so I do my best to hold back the giggles when she says these things. But today I just couldn't keep from bursting into laughter with the newest euphemism. I was laying on the sofa when she climbed up and sat on my belly and started bouncing. When I told her not to bounce on me, she said, "I'm not bouncing, I'm just sitting up and down."
At the florist shop where I work, we have decided to expand our online presence. I think this is a great step for us to take, and am very excited about helping out with it. So now in addition to arranging flowers, I now get to blog about them, and post about them on our new page on facebook. How fun is that? So if you've been enjoying my "Florist Friday" posts, be sure to follow our new blog and become a fan of our page on facebook!
I'm not sure what happened to February. I know it's a short month, but really! I think perhaps I crammed to much into it, because I feel like the entire month was a big chaotic blur. So March is my month to get back on track. One thing I need to do to get back on track is make good on my promise to myself to set aside time each week for creating.
So this week I started working on some new designs that I had in mind for my hand sewn felt flower hair clips. I have a long list of flowers I've been wanting to design, as well as several pages of sketches. So now it's time to fine-tune the designs, make the patterns, and try them out. At the top of my list were primroses. I love primroses...with their vibrant colors, they are such a cheerful sign of spring. And who couldn't use more cheer in their life? So here's a little cheer for you:
I'm quite pleased with how they turned out, and have already made a few, which I will be listing in my Etsy shop very soon!
...that bring the most joy to children. After countless hours spent making dolls swing on imaginary swings with my daughter, I decided it was time to bring this activity into reality. After all, if she was this happy with imaginary swings for her dolls, just think how happy she would be to have an actual swing to put them in!
I know that there are doll swings out there, as I have seen them in stores, but rather than go out and spend who knows how much money on a doll swing for a child that already has plentiful toys, I took a look around the house and thought about what we already have that I could use to make one. And when I explained to little g what I was doing, she exclaimed, "Oh! You're making me a swing?!?" in her sweet little voice.
I knew at that moment I had to find a way to make this work. My first idea was to take a doll stroller that she has, and some how attach it to a tension bar in a doorway. I knew we had some old tension rods in the basement, which I thought would be perfect. When the first one I found wasn't quite long enough to fit in our doorway, I looked around to see where else I could put it. I found the perfect spot for it, but it wasn't big enough for the stroller. Hmmm...could I make a swing out of something else for her teensy little dolls?
Of course! All you really need for a swing is something for the doll to sit in and string to attach it to the bar. So I fashioned a couple of swings out of the top of crayon box and a tea box that were headed for the recycling bin anyway. All I did was tie a string around each end of the boxes, then secure the string and cover the boxes with some pretty blue duct tape I had on hand. I tied the other ends of the strings to the tension rod and secured with some more tape. Voila! Two new doll swings, much to the delight of my daughter.
Still determined to turn the doll stroller into a swing, I went back to the basement to search for a longer tension rod. I found one, brought it up and measured it against the doorway. Perfect! Now all I needed was a way to hook the stroller to rod. Aha! Ribbon! I cut two lengths of ribbon, folded over one end on each, and stitched it down to create a loop for the rod to slide through. Then on the other end, I sewed on some velcro so that the ribbon could wrap around the handle of the stroller and attach. Now "Smaller Baby" can have a swing too. And Pingu and Evan and Bobo, and all her other friends.
Sometimes it pays to think outside the box, and use things in a new way. These swings have already provided hours of entertainment, and the best part is, they were completely free!
February is almost over, but there's still time to celebrate the birth flower for this month, the Iris. People have valued the Iris throughout history, with appearances in art as far back as ancient Egyptian times. With its showy flowers in a wide variety of colors, it's certainly fitting that "Iris" is the Greek word for "rainbow". The blues and purples are the most popular, and rightfully so with their striking color. In floriography, the Iris is said to mean faith, hope, wisdom, and valor. Here are some modern day interpretations of this exquisite flower:
I first learned of the Maine Women's Business Center at an Etsy Maine Team meeting last fall. One of my fellow members, Laurie Spugnardi, was telling us about the WBC, and how she had been meeting once a month with one of their business counselors, Gretchen Henn, to work on growing her business. At the time, I thought, "Aha! This is exactly what I need". Then the holidays happened, and I got busy, but it has always been in the back of my mind. I finally took the time to contact the WBC, and set up a meeting.
Yesterday, I had my first meeting with Gretchen Henn, and I can see already that this is going to be very helpful. If you are in Maine, and have a small business, I highly recommend taking advantage of this free service. Yep, it's free! In this day and age of the cost of everything skyrocketing, getting a service like this for free is simply unheard of. And there's no limit on how many times you can meet with your business counselor, either. I've already set up another meeting with her in March, and am very much looking forward to it!
Any mom to a 2 1/2 year old knows that it can be a difficult age. Toddlers in this stage are constantly flip-flopping between wanting to gain independence and clinging to you for dear life. Case in point: my daughter. She's going through this phase where she likes to pretend to be a baby. She will be saying "I'm a tiny little baby" and wanting me to rock her. Then not but two minutes later, she will be adamantly demanding "No! Do it by myself!" as I'm trying to help her with something. It's a continual struggle, and takes heaps of patience to wade through.
But each day she gains more independence, and now that she's started preschool, I can see already that she will be growing, changing, and learning new things at a rapid pace. Just this week she has learned to count to 10 on her fingers, and she seems to have picked up a new word: idea. Now everything is "Oh! I have an idea!" and "That would be a good idea!". Such a little grown-up! And adjusting to preschool was nothing to her...when I picked her up at the end of that first day, her teacher said it was like she had been there all along. Thank goodness I have such an adaptable child! Certainly makes it easier on mom. :)
The wedding show pics continue this week with orchids! Orchids are among my favorite flowers for weddings. Two of the most popular types of orchids we use are Dendrobiums and Cymbidiums. Dendrobiums most commonly come in shades of whites, pinks, purples, and greens, and Cymbidiums in whites, pinks, greens, and yellows.
Dendrobiums are perfect for cascading style bouquets, with their linear shape and delicate blossoms. This bouquet features three shades of Dendrobiums - deep purple, white, and a variegated purple and white. The orchids are paired with classic white mini calla lilies and loops of variegated lily grass, creating a simple yet elegant look.
A boutonniere of a single white mini calla lily wrapped in variegated lily grass makes a perfect companion to the bouquet:
Cymbidium orchids come in both large and mini varieties. The larger ones make a fantastic focal point to more stylized bouquets. This crescent bouquet features three large Cymbidium blossoms in vibrant lime green with a touch of deep red in the centers. The orchids rest against a contrasting bed of black magic roses and green hypericum berries. Forming the arch of the crescent are exquisite green/burgundy Anthuriums on the left, and burgundy calla lilies on the right.
The smaller Cymbidiums are great for boutonnieres. In this boutonniere, a single green mini Cymbidium is coupled with a deep red rose bud and accented with green hypericum berries and plumosa fern. The stems are then wrapped with a rose petal and gold wire.
Wow, what a busy week! I finally feel like I had a chance to catch my breath (and catch up on my sleep!), so now I'm ready toget back into the swing of things. One of the things that has been keeping me extra busy the past couple of weeks is the Spring Shopping Guide for the EtsyKids website. I'm happy to say that I finished it up this week, and in the process, found some great new spring items for kids! Here's a few of my personal favorites from our Spring Shopping Guide:
This week is complete chaos - not only Valentine's Day is one of the busiest times of the year for florists, but I'm also trying to finish up the Spring Edition of the A to Z Shopping Guide for the EtsyKids website, as well as get my daughter ready to start preschool next week. Yikes! So needless to say, I won't be blogging much this week.
Time for more wedding show pics! The vibrant colors of the bouquets in last week's post were hot, hot, hot! This week we'll cool down with some soothing shades of blues and purples.
Looking for that "something blue" for your spring wedding? This bouquet would be perfect! In this hand-tied bouquet, white peonies and tulips are nestled into a bed of blue hydrangea, and are accented with elegant pearl and rhinestone pins. The entire bouquet is collared with sprays of pearls dangling down, and it is wrapped with pale blue satin and silver wire accents.
A nice coordinating boutonniere for this bouquet would be a single white rose tucked into a chic little silver holder with accents of the same pearl sprays that were used around the bouquet.
If blue is not your cup of tea, then perhaps this fresh combination of purple and green will be more to your liking. This bouquet features a cluster of purple anemones surrounded by Picasso calla lilies, which are then surrounded by mini green hydrangeas. This picture doesn't quite do the Picasso calla lilies justice...in person they are very striking. The stems are wrapped with purple satin ribbon, which is held in place by lavender pearl pins with green hypericum berries.
Matching boutonniere of a single Picasso calla lily, accented with green hypericum berries and a galax leaf, and wrapped with purple satin ribbon.
Up next week: cascading orchids and calla lilies, and a funky crescent bouquet!