Thursday, March 31, 2011

New Friends and a Giveaway

Have I mentioned to you all that I am an introvert? Because, oh boy, I am an Introvert. I like break out in hives thinking about meeting or talking to new people. I hate that about myself but it's one of those things you just have to deal with and move on.

Have you noticed that the blog and handmade world is more of a community than anything. That people come together and make great friendships before even meeting? This works out great for me. I get to stay in my comfort zone. By the way comfort zones suck. They keep us in little shells and don't allow us to grow.

Luckily for me there are bloggers like Kimmie at Sugar and Dots who decide to invite friends from twitter into her home. Ripped me right out of my comfort zone and forced me to meet new people in real life.Now when Kimmie invited me to her craft night, I knew that I would have fun but that I would just be a little uncomfortable. I was only half right. I was not uncomfortable at all. I felt like I had known all of the girls for years as we chatted over cupcakes.


We did eventually get around to crafting. It took us a while to migrate because we were having way to much fun. But Kimmie taught us to make some adorable frayed blooms.



When a few of the girls realized what time it was we said our goodbyes and Kimmie sent us home with these goodies.

Which brings me to this...Have you heard of LemiShine? No, neither had I. But let me just tell you, the stuff is amazing and I am hooked. Our generous hostess even gave us a little extra to giveaway so I'm offering you the chance to win a little bundle of LemiShine. You will be entering to win a reusable LemiShine bag and a couple of LemiShine samples. To top it off, I am going to include a coupon for 25% off in my shop.

To enter go over and "like" LemiShine on Facebook, follow them on twitter and/or follow any of my new friends from my crafty night. Come back here and comment for each thing you do.

Here's a list of the girls and links to their blogs.
Kimmie @ Sugar and Dots
Nicole @ Olive Blue
Andrea @ Four Flights Of Fancy
Jennifer @ Crazy is my Superpower
Alissa @ Rags to Stitches
Kara @ Eli's Lids
Mandy @ Life in the Fashion Lane

Giveaway will close on Monday at 9am

What WE Wore Wednesday

Things have been crazy lately as I prepare for Creative Estates and the Handmade Market next week. Because I have been so consumed, I have pretty much lived in Yoga pants and tanks. A look I am not ready to share with you all.

Today I decided that it was time to take a break and have some fun with the kiddos. We went to Target and got some nail polish for Rhi and I. Then we went and played in the kiddie pool at my moms. I decided to take some shots before leaving so that I would have a What I Wore Wednesday post for ya. Rhi thought that sounded fun too. Sorry about the poor lighting.
Dress- Gap, got it like 3 years ago
Crop Sweater- Styles4Less, even a longer time ago...
Shoes- Payless
Headband- Allora Handmade

Oh gosh, I love her!
Shirt- Target
Skirt- A little shop in Grantspass Oregon
Headband- Rock-A-Bow


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wake up call

Life happens, I hear the saying all the time. There is so much truth in those words. It is so easy to get distracted or busy. This week I have been reminded of how precious my life is. How God has healed me and protected me.

Now it's not that I have forgotten the miracles He has performed in my life. Because I haven't, not for one second. My life and my children's lives are all miracles. I remember that daily and I am so grateful. What I have forgotten is to live like my life is a miracle.

What on earth does that even mean?

Friends, God has saved me, transformed me and healed me! He is an amazing God. My life is so precious and important to Him, that He continuously stops and makes sure that I am okay. When I am not, He fixes it.

How often do I stop to make sure that He is okay with the way I am living? I do my nightly devotions with hubby, I go to church and bible study and I try to pray often. Is that enough? To many, it is more than enough. I know that I was called to do more than that.

My life is a testimony. I need to live my life like I am the miracle that He provided. If that doesn't make sense to you, that's okay, it doesn't make much sense to me either.

I do know that I will be praying and diving into His word more. I will be working hard on better representing Him and who He is. I also want to share my story with you. I have quite a lengthy testimony because, well, God has done so much in my life.

In the months to follow I want to share a few stories and truths from my own life. I would also love to hear from you all and maybe even share some of your stories and testimonies. I don't want to make a series out of this because I do not want any post to be rushed but spirit lead.

I am so side tracked here. The long in the short of it is this. I WILL be living more for Jesus now than ever because I recognize that He has done so much not only for me but in me.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I {Heart} Mondays #5

Seriously, this week I could go broke. I stumbled upon a few handmade lovelies that are killing me with their cuteness. I'm not even gonna ask you to forward these to my hubby like I usually do. I'm sending it all by myself.

First off are these XL scrabble pieces. I know, we are nerds, but me and the hubby LOVE scrabble. It's the game we play together. I always win...
So these pieces are perfect for us. I am thinking up on the mantel with a giant picture above.

This is my fav! This verse is so important to me and my family. You can read about God's promise here. On top of my sentimental attachment, is this not super cute?

I can soooo picture Rhiannon in this dress and I am totally crushin on it. She told me she wants it too. What, you think I'm lying? This is the little girl who shopped for clothes and then insisted on a new pair of shoes.

Don't forget to click on the images to check out these items and their shops.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Baby Shower Fun

This past Saturday my friend Tess and I threw a baby shower for our friend Stefani. It turned out so super cute. Towards the end of last week I told Tess "I am beginning to hate owls!" but the shower ended up to be soooo worth the annoyance of the poor little birds. Took some photos to share with you all. We wanted simple but cute and I think we pulled it off. If nothing else, Stefani was happy and that is what is most important, right?


First up, the food. Simple, Simple, Simple! Store bought. I know what your thinking, don't you love to cook and bake? Yes, I do...but there was a lot of stuff to do. So we went to Costco and bought some sandwiches, wraps, salad, chips and cookies. Put it out and wa-la!

Is this not the cutest drink table you have ever seen? Tess makes a mean Cherry limeaid, so she whipped that up and we cutsied up the table with some margarita glasses filled with extra cherries and limes. Added some pitchers of water and iced tea and it was perfection.

I love how the banner turned out. Don't you? Super cute and again simple.


What table is complete without a centerpiece? Tess and I painted some basic pots in the colors of the shower (which are the nursery colors). Then she added babies name to one and I made up some owl pillows for the baby and her big sisters room. The idea behind these were owls in nests, not sure they look quite like that but they looked adorable on the tables.

Last but not least, the party favors. We made up some of Julie's (JoysHope) mason jar cupcakes. Put our own little twist on them, chocolate cupcakes w/ chocolate frosting, caramel sauce and toffee bits. Attached a napkin and fork so they could take it all home with them. Unfortunately they were all gone, so we can't tell you how good they really were :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday-Park Day

A picture says a thousand words. So with these two photos let me tell you how cute and fun my kids were at the park this past week.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mommy Fail


At the beginning of this year I told my husband "Now that I am home, I don't care how big or small the holiday, I will make it fun for the kids." By this statement I meant: decorations, crafts, games, food and fun! Then I got busy.

As you could tell by my MIA post last week, I have been super busy. I co-hosted a baby shower on Saturday (come back Thursday for that), I am making the same friend quilts for her 2 girls, I am doing a handmade booth at Creative Estates in like 3 weeks and I am going to have a booth at The Queen Bee Market in May. Have I mentioned all of this before?

Anyway, although all of this is fun and exciting, I got distracted. At around noon on March 17th, I looked at my phones calendar only to realize, "Oh cuss! It is St. Patty's Day" (Yes, I say cuss instead of cussing, I'm cool like that). Luckily, I had to go to Wal-mart to pick up a few things for the shower coming up, so I grabbed a few things for the unexpected holiday.

That evening we had Breakfast for dinner, Green Pancakes and Bacon. For dessert we were going to make Shamrock Shakes but since I got started late baby boy was asleep and I have the worlds loudest blender so we have Mint Cookie Crunch Ice Cream sundaes. Rhi was thrilled with all of the green food and icecream at bed time but I know the truth.... Complete Mommy Fail!

Monday, March 21, 2011

I {Heart} Mondays #4

I am getting super excited for the upcoming Conference I am going to and for the Handmade Market so I thought I would share a few things I love that are made by some of the vendors that will be there.

Aisle to Aloha. Is this painting not adorable? Aaaannd it's not even my favorite. I have two favs, neither of which are in the shop right now. Keep checkin back for Sew Cute and Click Click. I think hubby and I need them hanging in our office.Josiah's Nest. I seriously love this fabric knot necklace. I think that I need it in a few different colors or maybe with a matching fabric wrapped cuff bracelet.


Flawed Perfection Jewelry- I'm seriously in love with this Exotic Cluster Necklace. How could you not be? Gorgeous.

Also, OliveBlue and SheyB. There are soooo many things in these shops that I am crushin' on. I can't put them all on here. I think Blogger might overheat or something. Look back through the weeks and see some of their items. Or go straight to their shops. I die!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

MIA

Hey friends-
I wanted to post something up here just so you don't think I have been kidnapped. I am in fact alive and well. Just crazy busy! I am throwing a baby shower this Sat. and then I am preparing for Creative Estates and Queen Bee (ya you heard that right, I will be a vendor at Queen Bee).

Of course, I am doing this all while making products to ship out and of course taking care of my lovely children. My head is about to explode. I will be back and at blogging next week. See ya then!

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Center

This last month or so I have been praying for God to bless my business. Rock-A-Bow is the main reason I am able to stay home with my babies; so it's success is a huge cry of my heart. I pray that God would just take it to the next level. I know without Him, I will go no where and do nothing.

Throughout this time of constant prayer, God has laid things in my lap and shown me sure signs of what He wants. First it was this blog over at No. 17 Cherry Tree Lane, then it was this product and hubbies statement that I kept God in the center and was blessed for it. Lastly, it was the words in my head saying "Make your business glorify me and I will bless it".

So many times we forget where we come from and what brought us to where we are. Rock-A-Bow was founded with the desire to bring a smile to a little ones face. To make a little girl want to twirl, to make her feel beautiful. God made that happen. I have been reminded of that so many times lately. Mostly, just seeing the joy of a little one putting on a tutu or playing with their artfolio. My products are doing what they were made to do but am I?

God has given me the ability to sew and to create. As a Christian I am to spread His love and His name. Why have these two "jobs" not collided? Jesus is the center of my life, so it just makes sense that He should be the center of my business.

Now since my products are not items that revolve around God or Christianity, how do I keep Him in the center? Well, it's good you asked because I want to share with you.

Every day, I will start by praying over the work I am about to do. I will pray again over every product I make and the person who purchased it and the person who will own it. I will pray that it brings them joy, that it brings that smile I mentioned. That somehow that item would brighten days to come. I will simply pray for the person.

Prayer, it is a powerful thing. It opens doors, it brings joy, it heals and it saves. HE saves!

I will not stop at praying over my products. I will be praying for my customers, friends on social networks and in the handmade community and for you.

His name will be spoken on my blog often. My business will be run honestly and how I feel He would want it run.

God told me to glorify Him.

I want to make my Daddy proud.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Confessions of a Shopaholic: Momma's got a Weakness

Now as much as I love to shop for myself and for clothing, I am able to fight the urge. For my little ones, the urge often wins the battle. I have a hard time walking through the children's section and not buying some cute clothes for my kids. I will admit Rhiannon is the most tempting to shop for. I mean she is a girl and a cute one at that, so those little skirts and dresses just call my name.

How do I fight this urge? Well lately, I have been making stuff for her. It is still an addiction I know. The fabric doesn't buy itself BUT it is a whole lot cheaper. So I highly recommend picking up some fabric and making some cuteness for your little ones.

For those of you who do not sew, no worries I have some direction for you as well. Target! You heard me right, that horrible tempting place they call a store. Although, it is an evil temptress, Target has some great sales. Their clearance section is to die for and they always have racks loaded full of $4 pieces. Are they as cute as the $14.99 shirt on the rack next to it? No but it is enough to fight the urge of buying a fortune worth of clothing.

Another suggestion, Old Navy's Clearance. These clothes are just as cute as the new stuff on the racks surrounding but are simply out of season. If you are lucky like me, you live in Southern California, where the seasons don't matter and you can purchase anything at anytime of the year and get some use of it.

Now, that leads me to little more of a helpful suggestion that will actually help you to save money and not just spend it. Buy out of season. Buy a size or two larger and get the discounted clothing. You will save money and have an uber cute wardrobe waiting for your little to wear in a few months!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Confessions of a Shopaholic: My Fear of Coupons


Alright folks, at the risk of sounding snooty, I have a huge confession to make. I HATE coupons. I will on occasion use one coupon and one coupon only. Anymore than that and I drive myself crazy.

It's not that I don't think they will help. In fact, I know they will. It's not even that I am too busy to clip them, I would love to sit down and plan out my shopping trip according to the coupons that I so diligently searched out. The real reason? I'm just to prideful. I am scared to death what the people behind me are thinking. I am also afraid of making them angry as I take forever to check out because of my coupons.

Now, this does not mean I think anything bad about those of you that use coupons. Well, I kinda do, I am super jealous of you all. I want so badly to take my scissors to the paper and save me some money. I just can't pull myself to do it.

Why on earth do I care so much about what others think? Who cares if they think I am poor? I mean I kind of am. Ha! And who cares if they think it is annoying that I take an hour to check out? There are other lines they can get in. So friends, that there is a true confession of a shopaholic. Pray for me. Help me to get over myself! I want to use some coupons!!!!!

I sat down the other day and went through some online coupon sites. Do you know what I discovered? I could have saved $21.50 on my groceries by simple checking a few coupons and hitting print and I still didn't do it. Horrible right? I'm not sure how much cheaper my groceries would have been because I did purchase store brand items and not the ones I saw on the site but still!

So that is my ultimate confession. I am a coupon hating, people fearing wimp. Judge me all you want!

Confessions of a Shopaholic: Discount Stores


Since we have started this whole journey to a debt free life, Discount stores have become my best friend. Stores like Ross, TJ Maxx and Walmart offer some pretty quality items at super low prices. However, I have realized that you are not always getting a deal. Today, I want to give you some of the pros and cons of some of my fav stores.

Ross
Pros:
Name brand clothing for men at super low prices (Hubby gets Lucky jeans for $17)
Home Decor is beautiful and inexpensive
Name Brand bedding
Cookware is super cheap, they even carry name brands for a little more.
Teen clothing, such as skate clothes.

Cons:
Always a mess!
Women and Children clothing is usually cheaply made or off brands.
You have to search high and low to see what you are looking for.
Did I mention that it is usually a mess?

TJ Maxx
Pros:
Name Brand Womens clothing
Nicer and more quality home items
Department store feel
Cleaner atmosphere than most discount shops

Cons:
A little more expensive than other discount stores
Items changed out a little more often


Walmart
Pros:
CHEAP
Groceries
Items for the home
Baby food, diapers ect. lowest prices around
Carry lots of name brands

Cons:
Clothing is low quality
Many off brands are cheaply made
People tend to be a little more rude and sometimes scary...in my area not in all Walmarts

Monday, March 7, 2011

I {Heart} Mondays #3

Sorry, todays post is a little last minute. Things have been crazy around here but I could not leave you without some treasures, so here ya go:

First up, don't make fun of me. My daughter's name? Yes, she is named after a song. So...I simply adore this Glass pendant necklace!

Next, an adorable hand-stamped journal. I've been lovin' the hand stamped items lately.


Lastly, I am totally crushin' on this little clutch.
*Don't forget, click the image to see where to buy these beauties!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Confessions of a Shopaholic: Upfashioning


Have you ever noticed how well basic t-shirts are made? How about how inexpensive they are? Yes, two of the requirements that I have mentioned while describing what to put into your quality wardrobe. The problem? Well a basic t-shirt just isn't cute. However, with a simple up-fashion it can be. Today I am going to walk you through a little tutorial to make that simple, basic shirt into something you would really want hanging in your closet.

For the shirt I am going to teach you to make today, I used a $6 t-shirt out of Target's clearance section and some tshirt material I had on hand. You should always use two t-shirts to make the same thing.

Start off by cutting two strips of your tshirt material or out of your second tshirt. The strips should measure about 48". You will want one to be about 2" wide and the other about an 1.5".


Next pin your 2" strip around the neck of the shirt. Start at one shoulder and work your way to the other. As you work your way around, tuck and pleat wherever you feel like it, pin your tucks in place. This is the step that is going to give you the pretty ruffle.
Once it is all pinned in place, cut off your excess fabric and sew into place. I sewed the length of the fabric down the center. You can handstitch this if you do not have a sewing machine.
Once the first strip is sewn on, repeat with the second. Just pin in right down the middle of the wider strip. Ruffle as you please, I did not match up the ruffling to the first strip. If you like, you can do that. You have complete freedom with your look while upfashioning.

Wa-la! Your shirt is complete. My shirt took me about 5 minutes and $6 dollars. You cannot beat it. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Confessions of a Shopaholic: All day grocery shopping


I know what you all are thinking, Grocery shopping doesn't count as shopping. I mean it is technically shopping but not like enjoyable shopaholic shopping. Let me just tell you ladies, when you love to cook or your lifelong dream is to win some kind of domestic diva award, grocery shopping is like the Olympics for a shopaholic who has had her clothing budget reduced to zero.

So yes, taming my grocery shopping habits has taken some work just like my clothing shopping did. It is easy to over spend on groceries, especially if you like to cook just like I do. So I am going to share with you how I get the maximum amount of groceries for the minimal amount of dinero. My trick? Make a day out of your grocery shopping. Now, if you don't have a full day because like me, you have more than one child to tote around, that's okay. Simply break it up.

Now by making a day of shopping, I do not mean wander around one store for 8 hours. What I do suggest, is going to more than one store. In fact, I go to 4. For me, the stores are Food4Less, Costco, Fresh and Easy and Albertson's. Depending on your location and what foods you prefer, your specific stores and how many of them you go to might change. Here, is what I get at each store and why.

Costco:
Now Costco is often mistaken as being inexpensive for everything but let me tell you, they are EXPENSIVE! That is, unless you are actually buying bulk. I go to Costco and buy my items that I will be using a lot of. I do not even come close to filling my cart. I only purchase items like Boneless chicken breasts and bread. Never buy their premade meals, way over priced. Also be careful of brands. If you always buy name brand, yes they will be cheaper for you. Any item that I buy name brand, I get at Costco. However, in my house it is mostly all store brand. Kirkland, Costco's store brand, is not cheaper than other stores brands. For this reason, our canned foods do not come from Costco.

Food4Less:
Most of our groceries come from Food4Less. The reason is simple. They are the cheapest place around. Canned foods, baby food, cheeses (except italian cheeses), sodas, you name it, it is probably going to be the least expensive. Be warned, if you go to the butcher area you may be a little grossed out by cow tongue and similar items, unless you speak spanish you will not understand the announcements and you may be approached to buy something out of a mans trunk in the parking lot but all in all, it is worth it.

Albertsons:
Now I am a little picky about my meat.The only place I have found that I always feel safe eating the meat but it is still reasonably priced, is Albertsons. The meat is always good and often on sale. Hunt out the sale items and base your meals off of that type of meat. Again, we typically buy store brand. Albertson's store brands will often offer "Family Packs". A large, price reduced, pack that will feed my family 4 times. Sooo I buy the reduced price pack, go home and separate. I have one of those little machines that seal bags but freezer bags work just fine.

Fresh and Easy:
We get most of our fruits and veggies at Fresh and Easy. They are a little cheaper at Food4Less but often look a little sketchy to me. At Fresh and Easy they are always fresh. Now to make it cost effective. Fresh and Easy ALWAYS has coupons. They send them in the mail and also have them at the front of the store. It is just one coupon so it's not a huge problem (we'll get into that more next week). Also there is a section of the store of clearance items. These are items that will go bad soon. The veggies there usually last a couple days, so get what you will be using soon from there and the rest from the normal produce aisle. As for fruits, the apples last weeks! So go ahead and stock up, straight from the clearance section.

So that is how a grocery shopaholic gets her quality groceries at quantity prices. Like how I tied in yesterday's post there?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Confessions of a Shopaholic: Quality vs. Quantity

Quality vs. Quantity, this has always been such an issue for me. I have such an problem putting down even $20 on one piece of clothing. I know, cheapo right? I have always seen it this way: I have $100 to spend if I get all items $10 or less that equals at least 10 items. Why on earth would I want to go and ruin something so wonderful by "splurging" on $20-$30 items?

Here is the problem with that mentality, typically speaking, you get what you pay for. For so long I have shopped at stores like Styles4Less. The clothes are super cute and trendy and cheap! Now by cheap I do not simply mean inexpensive (which they are), I mean down right cheap. Three or four washes and your $10 shirt is done. Your $15 jeans, that you have to buy 3 sizes larger than what you actually wear, just don't look the same after the first six or seven wears. So let's get real, are you really getting a deal? No, not at all. Buying a more expensive piece that will last you longer actually comes out to be less pricey in the long run. The reason? Well...you only have to buy it once.

So, how does this work if you are trying to build up your wardrobe? I mean the clothes aren't going to magically appear. Trust me, this quantity girl understands ya! We need to start small and work our way up. Take that same budget and start off with a few staple pieces. A cute pair of jeans, simple shirts and a black cardi. Then accessorize with what you already have at home. Then save and when you have enough to shop again buy a few more fun items. Items that you love of course, remember that last post?

Eventually you will have a wardrobe built up of all quality clothing. You can add to this as your heart and budget desire. A little black dress, a pair of shoes or whatever it is you must have!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Confessions of a Shopaholic: Developing a New Vocab



Aw that's cute.
Cute!
Isn't this cute?
Do you think this is cute?
Sooo cute!

It's all you hear when you walk through a clothing store or clothing departments. I know I used to say it all the time. It is after all, all that really mattered. However, on a budget, cute is not exactly the word you want to hear or be saying over and over again.

I have begun using a whole new vocabulary lately. It consists of just a few questions.
Do I NEED this?
Do I LOVE this?
Is it worth X amount to me?

Today I just want to walk through each of these questions or thoughts with you.

Do I NEED this?
Notice the question is not do I want this. Frankly, if I didn't want it, I wouldn't be looking at it. Do I really need it is the question. So what constitutes a need? The answer is simple, something that is a necessity, that you do not have. Now that does not mean that because I have clothing at home, I do not need a shirt. Ex. In January I got to buy a few outfits because I have lost lots of baby weight. Clothing became a need. Or in a couple of months I will be going to Creative Estates and because I am a full time mommy, my wardrobe is mommy clothes. Clothing for an event like Cupcakes and Cocktails? Non-existent! Necessity.
*Let me point out that a want does not always have to be denied. Budget for your wants or splurge items. My budget has a category titled blow money. I can spend it each month or store it up for a rainy day.

Do I LOVE this?
I cannot tell you how many times I have stood in a dressing room thinking, I guess it looks okay. I leave the store only to stand in that same outfit at home thinking "I hate this on me". If you don't love it in the store, you won't love it at home. Oh and in a month, I can guarantee you won't like it at all. Save yourself the hassle and the money you will be spending, to buy something to replace it, by not getting it unless you love it. This goes for anything not just clothing. I struggle with this. I settle for good deals all the time. So as my momma always told me, do as I say not as I do!

Is it worth X amount to me?
In our budget every dollar has a name. Whether it is written down or I need to talk to my husband about where we can take money from to spend elsewhere, I know where every penny goes and/or needs to go. When I shop I know what I have to spend. Let's use $50 as our number for today.
If I walk into a store and instantly fall in love with a top for $21, I have to ask myself "is it worth only having $29 left for everything else" or "is this shirt $21 worth of cute?"
Or let's say I have that same $50 but it is from my blow money. Is a $30 outfit worth only having $20 left for the remainder of the month to get my coffee, crafty things and whatever else I may want?

Shopping has become a whole lot more about numbers and a whole lot less about fun. This is good for me though. The less fun, the less money I spend, the faster I see my goal of a debt free life!

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