Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Exciting News & Special Announcements!

I have some exciting news to share:  we're moving!  After 18+ months of searching for a new home, we finally found one, and are very close to sealing the deal.  Hooray!!  We will be closing on (and moving into) our new home in approximately 30 days, which puts us right smack in the middle of holiday season.  Yikes!  Since this will be such a crazy time of year to move, I've decided to do a couple of things.  First off, I'm going to be having a sale:

Now through November 29th, everything in both of my shops, The Clever Kitty and The Curly Kitty, will be 30% off!

It's a win-win...you get a great deal, and I have less stuff to pack for our move.  Plus, prices will automatically be marked down via Etsy on Sale, so there's no need for a coupon code to receive the discount.  Super easy!

Secondly, I've decided that after the sale is over, I am going to be closing both of my Etsy shops for the remainder of the year.  It was a tough decision, being that it's one of the busiest times of year for me, but I think it's for the best.  I need to spend the month of December focusing on my family and moving into our new home.  Once we get settled in, I will be back, and with a new and improved studio space to boot!  In the meantime, if you want to read more about house stuff, I started a little blog this summer to document our journey which can be found here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Mermaid and Starfish

with my little starfish & mermaid on halloween
I know that Halloween is long gone by now, but I just realized I never followed up on my post about making costumes for my daughters.  Despite my early start, I was still finishing up last minute details the day before Halloween.  Always happens, doesn't it?

Anyhow, I was pretty happy with how the mermaid costume turned out, and Little G loved it!  And with her being a mermaid, I thought a starfish would be an adorable costume for Baby B.  I didn't have a pattern for that one, but thought it would be pretty simple, so I just winged it.  So I picked up some bubble velour, which has this nice bumpy texture...perfect for a starfish costume!  Then I basically just traced one of her sleepers to get the size and overall shape right, made it look more like a star, added a pointy hood, and voila - starfish!  I was going to make an opening for her hands to come out, but she didn't seem to mind them being stuck inside, so I left the sleeves closed at the ends.  Which ended up working out great as they kept her hands warm, and she happily chewed on her points all night.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Team Spirit

red and blue KU baby shoes in the works
Though I'm not much of a sports fan, I know that many, many people are.  And those that are most likely have a team that they consider to be their team.  Sports fans will watch every game, rooting for their team, dressing in their team's colors.  And when they have babies, well, they dress their babies in their team's colors too.

I've had several custom orders for felted baby shoes for sports fans lately.  Above is a pair for a KU fan that I'm currently working on.  I've also had orders for a couple of other teams:

black and gold for Mizzou

crimson and cream for the Oklahoma Sooners

I also have an order for the Iowa Hawkeyes in the works, which should look very similar to the Mizzou ones above, as their colors are also black and gold.  I've been having fun making these little felted shoes for babies of sports fans.  It's kind of like a little challenge for me to get just the right colors.  And they make such a nice baby shower gift for those families that are really into team sports.  Go Team!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New websites!

For several months now, I have been contemplating redoing my website for The Clever Kitty.  I have also been contemplating trying a new host through which I could more easily create and maintain my site.  So I've been playing around with Weebly, and I must say, I'm really liking it.  They have lots of simple templates to choose from, and I love that you can pretty easily customize them to fit your needs and your design sense.  You just need to know a little bit of CSS and/or HTML, which I have kind of picked up over the years just by fiddling around with it.  Obviously I don't know enough to actually code my own site from scratch (otherwise I would!), but I can usually figure out how to tweak little things here and there.

Since Weebly looked like it was going to better fit my needs, I decided to just go for it.  So my website is officially moved!  Of course, it's still kind of  a work in progress, but I'm excited about the change, so I wanted to go ahead and share.  And I was having so much fun redoing my Clever Kitty website, I decided to make one for The Curly Kitty too.  Yay!

Click on the icons below to check out my new sites, then be sure to come back and let me know what you think! 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Theme Thursday: Chocolate + Plum

Plum Truffle Vintage Button Brooch by Callooh Callay

Labor Day has come and gone, so I guess Fall is officially here.  Well, technically not for a couple more weeks, but it always feels like Autumn after Labor Day to me.  One of my favorite color combinations for Fall this year is chocolate brown and plum.  So rich and decadent, and simply gorgeous together!  So this week's Thursday Theme is "Chocolate Covered Plum".  Enjoy!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Witch, Fairy, Cat, or Mermaid?

So Little G and I have been talking about what she wants to be for Halloween this year.  She has been having trouble deciding, so I suggested we go to Jo-Ann's to look at costume patterns.  I was feeling brave this morning, so I decided to take both kids along.  As we were scanning the aisles of pumpkins, ghosts, and all things Halloween, and "Let it Snow" was playing in the background...wait, what??  Can't we at least get through Halloween before we are bombarded with Christmas?  Yeesh!  Way too soon for that, but I digress...

Anyhow, so fortunately Baby B napped nearly the whole time, which made it much easier for Little G and me to look through the costume pattern books.  And of course, on every other page she exclaimed, "I want to be that one!"  After flipping through the books, we narrowed it down to a few options:  witch, fairy, cat, or mermaid.  In the end, she decided on the mermaid.  So we picked up this pattern:

I think she's hoping that I will also be a mermaid along with her, but I'm not so sure...after all, I wouldn't make nearly as cute of a mermaid as she will!

Since Baby B was still napping, I thought it would be wise to go ahead and pick up the fabrics for the costume too.  I like to involve Little G in the process as much as possible, so I let her help pick out fabrics.  However, if I left it completely up to her, it would likely end up every color of the rainbow and looking more like a clown than a mermaid, so I tried to guide her a little bit, and gave her a limit of three colors.  So we're going with green for the skirt/tail and fins, a sparkly cream/gold for the bodice, and a shimmery pink for the overlay and ruffles around the arms.

I'm not sure when I'll actually get started, but I'm glad to have the shopping part out of the way early. I know it's just now September, but Halloween is not really all that far off, and I don't want to be scrambling to get something together at the last minute.  Hopefully since I already have the supplies, I will actually get a head start this year.  We'll see how well that works out.  :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Theme Thursday: Stormy Weather

Seems like we've been getting a lot of thunderstorms here in Maine lately.  Depending on the severity of the storm, they can either be soothing (a gentle rain with low, rumbling thunder) or intense (pouring rain with loud crashes of thunder and splashes of lightning).  Looks like the latter is in our forecast for the weekend as we have a hurricane on the way.  Yikes!

So I made this treasury, inspired by our Stormy Weather:

Stay safe this weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Inspiration + Hoarding Craft Supplies = New Items!

When inspiration strikes and I have a new idea for a project, I often find it difficult to focus on anything else.  It doesn't seem to matter how many other things are on my to-do list that should take priority over starting something new...that new idea is all I can think about!  So over time I have learned to just accept that fact and allow myself to dive right into new projects, even if I have 20 other things waiting to be finished.

This weekend, I had one of those "ah-ha!" inspiration moments: 

When I make my felt barrettes and hair elastics, I end up with the lots of little scraps of felt.  Being the craft supply hoarder that I am, I've been hanging on to these little bits of felt thinking that surely one day I'll think of some use for them.  Well, I'm happy to say that day has arrived!  As I was staring at my bag full of these little scraps of felt, I finally got that idea that I had been waiting for.  So, I give you the Confetti Felt Necklace:

Here's a close up so you can see the detail better:

And of course I had to make some earrings to match:

I love how these came out, and I'm already excitedly thinking about other color combinations to try.  Maybe a firey orange, red and yellow for fall, or maybe more subtle earth tones, orange and black for Halloween, red and lime green or red and white for Christmas...the possibilities are endless! 

A fun new item to make, and a way to use up little scraps (which means zero waste of felt!)...this is definitely a win-win.  Plus it helps me justify all those other craft supplies I've been hanging on to.  Given enough time, I'm sure that someday I will have an idea for how to use them up!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Back to work...

So my maternity leave recently ended, and I have returned to work part time, which means that baby is now in daycare 3 days a week.  Little g was so excited to have her baby sister join her.  Though they aren't in the same room, they do get to see each other on occasion throughout the day.  The first day baby b was there, she went around excitedly telling everyone, "My baby is here today!".  Awww, such a proud big sister...so endearing!  These are the little moments that melt my heart and that I will forever cherish.

While the transition from relaxing-being-at-home-with-baby days to getting-both-girls-and-myself-ready-and-out-the-door-rushing-to-work days has been a challenge, we are finally starting to get a routine down.  And working part time creates a nice balance between mom-time and work-time.  But it has made it difficult to squeeze in time for crafting.  And of course, I have more ideas than ever right now!  I guess I'll just keep jotting them down with hopes that someday I'll get to each and every one of them.  It may take me 30 years, but I bet I'll do it.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Getting in the Mood for Autumn

I love Autumn. And although I do enjoy Summer, I must confess that by this time of year, I've usually had enough of the hot weather and start getting in the mood for Autumn. Fortunately for me, I get a little taste of all things Fall throughout the Summer while working on Modern Handmade Child. If you're ready to take a little peek into Fall, be sure to check out our Autumn issue, which was just published this week:

I've also been working on some new Fall and Halloween inspired designs in felt hair elastics. Fun! Here's a little sneak peek at what's to come in my Etsy shop this season:

red apple felt hair elastic

acorn felt hair elastic

yellow birch leaf felt hair elastic

pumpkin felt hair elastic

ghost felt hair elastic

So be on the lookout for those soon. And if you have any other designs you'd like to see, please don't hesitate to ask...I love custom orders! :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Happy Birthday, little g!

My, my, what a summer it has been! While a bit hectic at times, it has certainly been fun. I must say, I have thoroughly been enjoying my maternity leave, and am a bit sad that it will be ending soon. Time has just been flying by.

We just celebrated little g's 4th birthday. Wow! How did she get to be 4 already?? We hosted our first birthday party with some of her friends from preschool this year, and it was so much fun! I let her help in the planning and creating things for the party, which she really enjoyed. Being summer, I suggested a flower/garden theme, and she loved the idea.

The first thing we did was make the invitations. She finger-painted flowers on the front of the cards, and used a crayon to color stems and grass. Well, some of them had grass...others were left with just a stem, because, as she said, "they were in the snow". It was interesting watching her make these invitations. I could definitely see myself in her as she was creating, wanting to make sure each one was just right.

I thought it would be fun to make some giant tissue paper flowers for the party. I was thinking we would just have them for decorations, but little g had a great idea for them: stick them in the yard to make a flower garden, and all her friends could "pick" them. What a fun idea!

I also wanted to have a couple of games for the kids to play, so I made these cute little ladybug bean bags:

LinkThey were fun and easy to make. (You can hop on over to the MHC blog today for a tutorial to make your own ladybug bean bags.) After playing a couple of games with the ladybugs and picking flowers, it was time for lunch, and of course, cake!

All in all, it was a lot of fun, and I'm sure it was the first of many more birthday parties to come. Happy Birthday, little g!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Becoming a Mother Again

When I wrote the letter from the editor for the Summer issue of Modern Handmade Child, I thought I had a few more weeks of my pregnancy left. As I sat there, with an aching back and swollen feet, feeling fatigued and overwhelmed, I thought to myself, ‘I’m not sure I could do this again’.

Pregnancy can take such a toll on a woman. In some ways, second (and I’m sure subsequent) pregnancies can be easier, as you've been through it before. In other ways, they can be a lot more challenging since you already have another little one(s) to tend to. But all of the difficulties are soon forgotten when you are holding your newborn in your arms. Little did I know that I would be doing just that sooner than I had thought.

We had all of the essentials ready: car seat installed, check. Bassinet set up, check. Stocked up on diapers and wipes, check. Clothes all washed and neatly folded, check.

Physically and emotionally, I was definitely ready. But mentally, I hadn’t quite prepared for the eventuality that the baby could come at any moment. So when my water broke three weeks before the due date, I was in a bit of shock. Many thoughts went racing through my mind...'it can’t be time already’...'do we have everything readyfor baby?’...'she wasn’t supposed to come for three more weeks’. But it didn’t make one bit of difference if I was ready for her arrival or not – she was on her way.

Once I got past the initial shock, the only thing I could do was to accept the reality that I was in fact in labor, and take action. We quickly finished packing our bag for the hospital, and dropped my daughter off at a friend’s house for the night. We arrived at the hospital, and just 2 short hours later, I was holding my baby in my arms.

There is something so magical about holding your baby for the first time. It’s a feeling that is incomparable to anything else in this world, and something that cannot easily be explained to those who have not experienced it. It is especially amazing if you have had a previous birth experience where you were not able to do so, such as I had with my first (she was immediately whisked off to the NICU due to breathing issues, and I was not able to hold her until day 2). So when my second daughter was born healthy and strong, I relished in the fact that I was able to hold her. In fact, I hardly put her down the entire time we were in the hospital!

I’m finding that I’m much more at ease becoming a mother the second time around. Although I’m just a few days postpartum, I already feel like I’m settling into motherhood again, and enjoying our new family of four. I feel calm, relaxed, and confident. As I hold my sweet baby girl, I gaze into her tiny eyes, which are filled with so much curiosity and wonder, and those thoughts about not being able to do this again disolve into ‘I definitely think I could do this again’. So will there be more babies in my future? That remains to be seen. For now, I will cherish this time as a mom to two beautiful girls.

Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Lots of changes going on around here. It's hard to believe that in just a few weeks, our little bundle of joy will be here. So exciting!! We were hoping to move to a bigger house before baby's arrival, but unfortunately that did not happen. So we've been busy moving things around, trying to make room for our new addition to the family. One plus is I got to move my workspace into a new room, which sort of forced me to reorganize everything as I set it up in the new room. It's nice to have a fresh start. Here's a peek at me (with my 32-week baby belly!) in my new workspace:

So in addition to preparing for the baby and reorganizing my workspace, I've been super busy with Modern Handmade Child. I've been working hard on the Summer issue, which should be coming out around May 1st. This will be the first issue that I've put together on my own (I previously had a co-editor, but she stepped down), so it has been a bit challenging, but exciting at the same time. So be on the lookout for that in a couple of weeks! If you want to know a bit more about what I do with MHC, you can check out my interview that I did last week.

And lastly, somewhat of a bittersweet change. About 4 1/2 years ago, I started the EtsyKids Team and have been the team leader ever since. After carefully considering everything that I am currently doing, I have decided that it is time to let this one go. It was a difficult decision to make, but I knew that I simply couldn't keep up with everything on my plate with a little one on the way. So I have officially stepped down from being the EtsyKids Team Leader. I'll still be somewhat involved with the team, but at this time I want to focus my attention to my family, MHC, and my Etsy shops. That's certainly plenty to keep me busy!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Theme Thursday: Welcoming in Spring

with the Helping the Hectic Team!

I recently joined a new Etsy Team for those of us who work and/or go to school in addition to running our Etsy shops. So far, I'm loving it! It's kind of refreshing to be part of a network of individuals who are leading as crazy and hectic of a life as me. Being that we're all in the same, or similar, situations, it's a wonderful place to get support. So I thought I'd show my support to the team by curating a treasury of my teammates from Helping the Hectic:

Such a talented group of artists/crafters! Not to mention the talent of balancing their art/craft with a busy schedule! Way to go, everyone!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Wholesale order: check! New items in my shop: check!

I've been busily working on a wholesale order the past couple weeks, and I'm happy to say that it is now done and on its way to Canada. Hooray! Here's a look at what I sent:

10 pink and lavender polka dot felted Easter egg rings

10 sets of hand sewn pink and yellow felt Easter egg hair elastics

10 sets of hand sewn yellow chick felt hair elastics

I love seeing big batches of items like this. Makes me feel like I really accomplished something! Here's one last pic of the hair elastics all packaged up and ready to go:

Now that the wholesale order is done, I can start adding some of these lovelies to my Etsy shop. Yay! I've already added one set of the chick hair elastics and one set of the egg hair elastics. More to come soon!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New Items for Spring and Easter!

After a weekend of more snow, sleet, and rain, it's nice to finally see the sun again today. I realize that being in Maine, it's not likely to really be Spring for awhile yet...after all, we do still have several feet of snow on the ground! But to see the sun shining and hear the birds chirping really puts me in the mood for all things Spring.

So you may remember from my post last week that I had felted some Easter eggs to be made into rings. Here's a peek at how they turned out:

I've also been working on some new hair elastic designs for Spring and Easter, like this sweet little bunny and chick:

and this fun Easter egg:

Today I've been focusing on working on a wholesale order, but be on the lookout for these new designs in my Etsy shop very soon!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Drawing Stars

One of the greatest things about being a parent is watching you children learn and grow. It can be especially exciting when you help them figure out how to do something on their own, even when it's something as simple as drawing stars. I recently had sort of an 'ah ha!' moment when trying to teach little g how to draw stars. She's gotten quite good at writing some letters, and it occurred to me that an 'A' is very similar to a star. So I suggested she make an 'A' with its arms sticking out, then connect one hand to the opposite foot, and the same with the other hand. Voila! Stars! :D

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Freshly Felted!

I've been so busy with other things lately that it seems like I haven't taken any time to focus on creating in ages. This afternoon I worked on some felting. It felt good to get back into it again (no pun intended). I had two pairs of baby shoes to felt for a custom order, so I thought I'd do a batch of flowers too. Here's a peek at a few of them:

Whenever I felt a big batch of flowers like this, I'm always eager to start making them into rings and hair accessories. But first they must dry!

Also in the batch of felting today were a couple of Easter eggs. One of my wholesale customers put in a special request for some felted Easter egg rings, so I've also been playing around with some ideas for those. Here's a sneak peek at my first attempt:

Of course, I'll have to wait for them to dry and see how they look as rings, but I think they came out pretty good for a first attempt. :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Fun with Pipe Cleaners

Due to the holiday, I spent the day at home with little g today. Whenever I have a day at home with her, I am always amazed at the entertainment value of the simplest things. For instance, pipe cleaners. We had a bunch left over from making her butterfly valentines, so today we used them to make some various things, the favorite of which was definitely caterpillars:

These caterpillars, or "callapitters" as she has been calling them, are so easy to make, and quite cute too. All we did was coil a pipe cleaner (or two for a striped effect) around a pencil, slide it off, and glue on some googly eyes. I knew that big package of assorted googly eyes I've been saving for years would come in handy some day!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Making Valentines

Working at a florist, I knew that as Valentine's Day got closer, I would certainly run out of both time and energy to make Valentines, so I made sure to get a head start this year. And with a week to go until the big day, I'm happy to say that the Valentines for my daughters preschool class have been done for awhile now. It's nice to be ahead of the game for once.

We had a lot of fun making these Valentines together. It was really interesting to watch her drawing the faces on the butterflies. Each one is certainly unique, and I was impressed by the amount of detail she included. While I had been thinking just a face, she decided to draw foreheads, faces, hair, hands, feet, and bellybuttons, among other details, explaining what she was drawing the whole time. For instance, this one she named 'Mr. Orange', and she said she was writing his name:

This one has germs:

Wow, really? Germs? Hmm...maybe that's why this one has its hands in its pockets:

And meanwhile, this one just has a mouthful of blueberries:

It was great to be able to take our time with the Valentines, instead of rushing to finish them on time. Since we had more of a leisurely pace while we were making these, I decided to put together a tutorial for Modern Handmade Child. You can see the full tutorial on the MHC blog today. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Lots of exciting things going on!

As I am sitting down to type of my first blog post since September, I'm thinking to myself, 'Wow, where did the time go?!?' I've been meaning to get back into blogging for quite some time now, but as I got busier and busier in the fall, it kept getting put on the back burner. But now the craziness of the holidays is past, and I'm starting to get settled back into my regular routine, so I thought I'd give it a go again. Plus I just have too many exciting things going on right now to not stop and take a moment to share them!

First and foremost, exciting news on the family front: I'm pregnant! Baby #2 will be arriving in late May, and we couldn't be more thrilled! It's hard to believe we're already only 4 months away from our new little bundle of joy. I can't wait!

Second, exciting news on the Modern Handmade Child front: we have freshened up our website and now have a blog! We have diligently been working behind the scenes on this project for quite some time now, so I am both excited and a bit relieved that it's finally up and running. Come by and check it out at www.modernhandmadechild.com.

And lastly, as I was looking at the calender the other day, I realized that my 5 year Etsy-versary is tomorrow. Wow!! It seems like just yesterday that I was setting up my shop, and now I'm at the 5 year mark. That's surely a milestone worth celebrating! And what better way to share my joy of 5 years of selling on Etsy than to have a sale! So, starting tomorrow, January 23rd, everything in both my shops (The Clever Kitty and The Curly Kitty) will be 25% off all week long. Hooray! Just enter the coupon code 5years at checkout. Enjoy!


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