Thursday, February 14, 2008

a reminder

Just a reminder, and in case you didn't catch it at the bottom of my last post, I've changed to a Typepad blog. You can now find me at I'm sorry this causes you a little bit of work, but be sure to change your subscriptions, your links, your bookmarks, etc. There's a new post over there today, so come say hi! and Happy Valentines Day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

an accomplishment and an announcement

So, I did it - I finally finished the second, larger version of this bag that I have had cut out for at least two weeks! Nothing like a funk and a cold to slow you down. Today the sun was bright and shiny and it was making me feel bright and shiny, so I hope the funk is gone and I know the cold is gone because I can breath with my mouth closed for the first time in four days.

So, the's quite large - perfect for packing all sorts of fun stuff. I was thinking diaper bag when I made this, so I lined the entire bottom with pockets and added a cell phone and small pocket to the top half. I think I'll leave the small pocket out on the final version - it was just a little too much pocket and didn't really fit.

I also quilted the top part of this, but it took forever and it was really hard to make it all straight (maybe I was just trying to go too fast), and I'm not sure it really added that much to the bag (except for a lot more thread!), so I think that won't be part of the final version either.

I did decide that this one was good enough for giving away and now it's all packed with fun baby goods and ready to give to Peter's speech therapist who is having her first at the end of the month. Today is Peter's last session with her until May - I hope he transitions well to the substitute.

And my announcement (oh, wait, I just realized what you all must be thinking - no, no it's not that) - it's a new blog!! I've moved over to Typepad. So, take a minute, stop by, and change your reader subscription to! I will probably just post one more announcement here in a day or two (for those who didn't make it to the end of this post) and other than that, I'll be completely on Typepad now. Hope to see you there!

Monday, February 11, 2008

checking in...

Hello everyone! I just wanted to check in today and let you know that I'm still here. The boys and I all got hit pretty hard with a cold/cough around Wednesday of last week and we're starting to feel better now. Ryan and his super human immune system were just fine. Once when I had strep throat I was accidentally brushing my teeth with his toothbrush and he didn't get strep! I can't even remember the last time he stayed home sick - he is amazingly healthy!

I know I'm committing a major faux paux for a craft blog by not posting any pics, but we're really just getting back on our feet here and I thought a blog post would be enough of an accomplishment for today! I was just starting to fight the funk last week and then the sickness brought it all back. But, the sun is shining today and my spirits are up, so I'm looking forward to a productive week! Tomorrow, I'll reveal my big change that I've hinted at and I did finally finish that second purse that I've been talking about forever!

Hope you are all having a great Monday!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

fighting the funk...

Thanks for all of your encouragement on my last post. I've decided I'm not going down without a fight. The mid-winter and post-birthday blues (I'm always OK with winter until my birthday is over and then I think it's just time for it to be spring - so at least I get one extra month of relative satisfaction with winter.) will not get me! And here is my plan of attack:

1) Drive north to visit Missy for the afternoon.
status: Accomplished yesterday - the sun was shining on the way up and the kids laughed and played and then cried when it was time to go home. Fun for all! Thanks for having us Missy!

2) Start an all new project - one that I've been thinking about and had supplies for for months.
status: Getting there. I've left it out on my sewing room floor and it makes me smile every time I walk by. Any guesses about what it is?

3) Finish some sunshine-y yellow vintage banners for the shop.
status: Banners are finished, the sun came out today so pictures are taken, will list in the next day or two.
4) Just work through whatever is holding me back on the second trial of this bag and do it.
status: I got a great start last night. I actually almost finished the bag. This will no longer be the bane of my existence!Link

5) New mystery project in the works.
status: to be revealed later this week or early next week. Go to my shop for a preview.

Friday, February 1, 2008


Ned woke up with this crazy hair yesterday and I thought it was a good representation of how I've been feeling for the last two weeks or so - funky. And not funky crazy, but funky like in a funk funky. I've hardly done any crafting or sewing at all in the past two weeks. I've had that bag cut out for a week and a half that I keep promising to show, but I haven't sewn a stitch on it. I have done lots of cleaning (notice the sewing room floor in the picture above is vacuumed.) and sorting and organizing. But, I'm still feeling a little off and it doesn't seem to be just a passing feeling. I've got a lot of ideas about why I'm feeling this way - being 31 (I know it's not that old, but it sure is feeling like it lately), it's the middle of winter and way too cold (Peter keeps saying, "I too cold, I too cold," when we are outside.), and I'm feeling the need for a little more direction and focus in my life, but I'm not sure where I want to go. Oh, I know this is all very vague and I'm probably being confusing more than anything, but I just needed to get this off my chest. Maybe if I just admit it, I'll be able to work through it and move on. Hmmm...I feel a new crafting project coming on - something to help me get out of this funk!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Verdict on Etsy Showcases

Warning: Technical Etsy stuff ahead- feel free to skip this post if you aren't interested. But some of you requested an update on this topic, so here it is.

Remember this post a couple of weeks ago where I asked if any of you had purchased an Etsy showcase? Well, no one had, so I decided to purchase one as an experiment. So, I went to the Showcase section on the My Etsy page (this is the one you can only get to after you have logged in and you are looking at a list of what you have for sale and there is a left sidebar with different options - showcase is one of them) and purchased a showcase spot for Monday January 28 in the Gift Guides section. I chose the Gift Guides section because this section is consistently sold out, so I figured it was a more desirable location. This cost me $7 and got me a picture of my choosing in the right sidebar section of the Gift Guides page for that entire day. I chose to show the purse pictured above because it has been one that has consistently received the most views.

So, at midnight on January 28th, this purse had 366 views and 13 hearts. This morning at 8 am it had 400 views and 13 hearts. This was the only way that people could have linked to my shop from the Gift Guides showcase, so at most 34 people looked at my shop because of this showcase. I did have three people heart my shop on January 28th, but I also added this banner to the shop yesterday, so I'm not sure if they even came from the Gift Guide.

So, for $7, I got 34 to look at my purse and I'm not even sure how many of them went on to look at my shop. That's a little more than 20 cents per view. I usually get at least 20 views in the first day on a new item and that listing only costs 20 cents. I think I would have been better off spending my money on 35 listings, which would have resulted in at least 700 views of my items.

So, there you have it - my take on Etsy showcases. I probably won't ever purchase one again. Maybe a main showcase or holiday showcase would do more good, but those cost $15. I'm not sure I'd risk it. I'd still be interested to hear from anyone who has had a positive experience with a showcase - maybe I did something wrong. My shop wasn't nearly as stocked as I wanted it to be, mainly because I have been lazy and in a funk the last week or two, but also because I sold four purses on the 27th. But, I'm not sure it would have helped as I only had 34 views on that purse that day anyway...who knows? I just know it would take a lot of convincing for me to purchase a showcase again.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

they say it's your birthday

What a great birthday weekend I've had, thanks to friends and family who have made it so! Friday's massage was fabulous and then Friday night my friends here threw me a such great party with laughing, great food, and games! Thank you, Thank you! We forgot the group shot, but here I am blowing out the candles on the cake (chocolate with chocolate frosting - perfect!).

I borrowed an idea from my friend Phoebe and made a mix CD (is this what we call mix tapes now?) of songs that I love and have meaning to my years. I shared a copy with all of my gal pals at the party and we listened to it too - fun! And now that I've got you all intrigued, here are the songs, starting with the song that I was named after.

Jessica - The Allman Brothers Band
It's a Hard Life Wherever You Go - Nanci Griffith
Clocks - Coldplay
Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole

I Will Remember You - Sarah McLachlan
Galileo - Indigo Girls
Jerusalem - Peter Breinholt & the Big Parade
Ciega, Sordomuda - Shakira

Vivir Si Aire - ManĂ¡

Maybe I'm Amazed - Loma Mar Quartet

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da - The Beatles

Pinch Me - Barenaked Ladies

Sweetly Sleeps - Peter Breinholt & the Big Parade

Landslide (w/Nancy Hanson) - Peter Breinholt & the Big Parade

I Feel It All -
Once In a Very Blue Moon - Nanci Griffith

In Your Eyes - Peter Gabriel

Birthday - The Beatles

Last night was babysitting co-op night, so we dropped off the boys and went out for Greek food. Mmmm....delicious gyros, hummus and pita, spanakopita, dolmas, etc. It was our first time going there and I think we'll definitely be going back. I love finding a new restaurant.

And then today, I woke up and it really hit me that I am into my thirties (31 this year). It was a little depressing, but I got over it tonight with a nice banana split and seeing Peter and Ned's excitement to eat ice cream. Peter even told me, "Happy Birthday!" and of course, had to help me blow out the candles.Please excuse my piles of clutter - I've been a little too good to myself this previous week in preparation for my birthday.

Thank you Ryan, Mandy, Kelli, and everyone who has sent their birthday wishes in person and by phone and mail! It was a lovely birthday!

Thursday, January 24, 2008


We are trying to find a house to rent. Ryan's job here is temporary so we don't want to buy, but we keep hoping that we'll find something in our price range with a yard (right now we are in a townhome with a patio which is definitely a step up from our student life, but the boys and I would really benefit from a yard.) We've been looking at places for about a month now, but everything seems to have something that's just not right. Last night we went to look at a place and everything was looking great until we realized it had electric heat and a wood stove. It's been below zero in the mornings here for the past few days, so electric heat is definitely not an option and the wood stove just isn't something I want to deal with right now - not safe for the kids, messy, and much more work than just programming my thermometer! So, I came home frustrated again. And it's starting to get to the point where it's more trouble than it's worth. Maybe we should just stay here. So, instead of thinking about a new place, I decided to do a little virtual shopping today to sooth my soul.

First on the list, a new bed, one with some character and funk (it's the Noresund from Ikea):Second, new bedding - maybe something like this (photo from Domino Magazine):

And what we really need around here is some storage. Does anyone else fantasize about fantastic shelving like I do? It is so fun to dream...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

of hooks and plans

I crocheted for the first time again in a really long time on Sunday night. Just me, my hook, and the Jane Austen Masterpiece Theater Series on PBS - it was lovely. I'm making another one of these. This one is for my Mom and is her Mother's Day present. No, I am not that on the ball - this is her Mother's Day present from last year. Luckily, I have a patient and understanding mother who has no problem with this at all. In fact, maybe I'll have it done for her birthday in two weeks. It could be very likely, as there are two more of the Jane Austen shows before then. We'll see.

Speaking of birthdays, I'm putting the finishing touches on my plans for a great birthday weekend. The beauty of having a birthday on Sunday is that the celebration easily lasts all weekend and sometime into the next week. I've got definite plans starting on Friday morning with a massage appointment. I can't wait!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A few Etsy Topics

Just a few things about Etsy today that I have figured out in the last week or so. Maybe you already know about these things, but I thought I would share just in case.

Have you every wanted one of these fab logos on your blog? I finally found out where people are getting them in the forums this morning.

Also while wandering the forums last week, I found out about this super useful tool, Heart-o-Matic, that will show you a listing of all your items with the number of people who have hearted them. No more clicking on each item individually to see how many hearts it has - such a time saver! Just enter your username or Etsy ID and you are on your way.

And, I wanted to ask my fellow Etsy sellers if you have ever bought a showcase? If so, what did you think about what it did for your shop - was it worth it? If so, what kind of a showcase was it? It's something I've been considering, but I'm not sure if it would really pay off. Maybe just consistent daily listings are more useful which is something I would do anyway.

Thanks for all your warm wishes about the cold weather - it is making it more bearable! I'm a little behind on the second edition of the new purse, but I do appreciate your advise. It's unanimous - more pockets are better, so there will be more pockets!

Have a wonderful day everyone! And try not to freeze!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tuesday Topics

I'm not sure why, but yesterday and today have really felt like the Monday and Tuesday after Christmas vacation to me. Maybe I was being too nice to myself right after Christmas and things have finally caught up with me now. I don't know, but I sure have felt busy - bills to pay (like 10 of them - how did that happen?), today we had 4 appointments and pre-school plus all of the regular things like cooking dinner and cleaning up little messes and such. And last night I picked up my exercise routine again after a too long holiday break. Busy is good, right?

And what have crafty things have been keeping me busy? First, I wanted to show you the latest addition to my shop - this fun Valentine's Day banner. Anybody need some hugs and kisses? This should do the trick with it's XOXO message.

I've also had a few questions about my new bag. First, does the top fold over? Yes, it does. I got the idea from another bag I saw online and I thought it was a great thing - not just for looks, but for function too. I have lots of people ask me if I can add zippers to my bags for security reasons (and I can, if you're interested), but I thought this fold over top accomplishes the same thing without the zipper.

Second, a request to see the inside of the bag. Here it is - pockets on both sides. The final version might have more pockets - what do you think? Are more pockets better or is there a point where they are just more pockets?
I've been using this bag for a couple of days now and I really like it just how it is, so I'm thinking I might actually offer two versions - one just like this one, but with longer straps and one that is a little wider and has a plethora of pockets inside that could be used as a business bag (like for carrying files and such to and from work) or a diaper bag. I have several friends who are having babies this year and I'd love to give them a bag like this, maybe with a matching changing pad. I'll be experimenting with it in the next few days - I'll let you know how it turns out.

And in the meantime, I'll be bundled up trying not to freeze - six years in California (we've only been here for a year) was not good for my winter time cold resistance. I'm such a wimp now! Or maybe I just have forgotten that when you go out you need a little more than just a coat in a place with a real winter.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Mama's Got A Brand New Bag

First of all, I want to thank you all for your words of support and praise for Peter. I struggle with deciding how much personal info to share on this blog and sometimes I just choose not to talk about Peter because this is such a big part of who he is right now and a big part of what we do in our everyday lives (like me correcting him every time he doesn't respond yes/no to a yes/no question, like driving to speech and occupational therapy and pre-school and making sure he has playtime with other kids and such). I'm glad I shared - I certainly feel your support and appreciate it!
So, here it is, the new bag. Just try not to look at how much I need to vacuum my sewing room floor. This was the only room that is getting enough light for pictures today. It's been so dreary for the past few days. And if I had taken the time to clean it before taking pictures, the light would have been gone. Anyway, back to the bag - overall, I'm pleased with how it turned out. I wanted something a little more tote looking, but still with enough detail and uniqueness to look like more than just a tote. I think I might make this a little bigger by widening it a few inches. Right now, it's about the same size as my bell bag. One of my aims in creating a few new bags for the shop was to offer a wider range of sizes - some larger, some smaller. This one was supposed to be the larger, so it really needs a couple more inches in width. I also want to make the straps just a little bit longer. These just barely fit over my shoulder and they definitely need a little more room there. The bag is still totally usable though and it's definitely going to be mine! Hooray - a new bag for me!
Other than size and strap length, I'm very pleased with it - it has a lot of structure (I love that it sits up on its own - thanks to some stiff interfacing) and I like the shape. It was fun to put together. The quilted straps were a little tedious, but I love how they turned out, so they were definitely worth it. I'm hoping to have a couple in the shop by the end of the next week. And thank you to Sandi for the fabric - isn't it fabulous? It should be in stores soon.

Have a fun weekend everyone!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Speaking Up

I don't think I've ever mentioned this before on the blog although I know many of you know that Peter is fairly delayed in his speech. He's been going to speech therapy for about a year now, attends pre-school in a language enriched classroom, and we just started occupational therapy for some sensory issues that are definitely related to the speech delay. I'm always amazed at the progress that Peter makes while we are on break. During the two week break from pre-school and speech, Peter finally started doing so many things that we've been working on for such a long time. Things like saying, "Yes." We've been working on that one for about six months. He usually just repeats the last couple words of the question that you asked him if he wants to reply in the affirmative. He also started saying, "I'm coming" and using more I + verb combinations. On his first day back at pre-school he asked one of his teachers, "What's this for?" and as we were pulling into the garage yesterday he said, "Where's daddy?" So, he's finally asking questions too! Hooray for Peter! It's so fun to hear him speaking up! And it's all just in time - I got a note last Sunday at church requesting that Peter say the prayer in the children's group next Sunday. It should be interesting.

Here's a photo Peter took of our Christmas tree last month. He loves to take pictures - usually we get a big shot of his thumb or the carpet, but this one actually turned out looking pretty cool.
And for a crafty/sewing update: I did manage to make a new bag design this past weekend. It still needs a bit of tweaking, but I'll show you the one I made anyway, as soon as I take a picture. I'm a lucky girl and was able to make it out of Sandi's new fabric. She needs to take a picture of it for the Michael Miller website, so as soon as I get it back (which I think will be today), I 'll share.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


I know this about a week later than everyone else's resolutions post, but my number one resolution is not to sabotage my goals with perfectionism. So here I am, sharing a few of my goals for this year. Like I said, I usually don't make New Year's resolutions, but this year I'm feeling especially inspired to make a fresh start.

1. Make a family budget and keep track of expenses.
I did this for the first three months of last year, so I think there is a fairly good chance of accomplishing this one.

2. Turn negative thoughts about others and myself into positive thoughts.

3. Run a half marathon in late summer/early fall.
I haven't chosen which one I will do, but I have checked into a few. I want to commit now so I will keep up with a training program and hopefully feel a whole lot better physically as I go through the process.

There are a few more, including some we have made as a family, but I think these three are definitely my top priority and now that I've written them down and you all know about them too, hopefully I'll be more likely to achieve them. Feel free to ask me how I'm doing with them from time to time and best of everything to all of you with your New Year's resolutions!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Back in the Saddle

The monkeys I made for the boys - they sat right next to the stockings on Christmas morning. From this pattern.

I'm back - trying to resurface from the haze and craze of the holidays! I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year and are getting back into the swing of things. Things got a little crazy for me right around the time of my last post. My shop did a whole lot better than I thought it would during the holiday season and it definitely kept me BUSY! And by the time things slowed down in the shop, I had to turn all my focus to the handmade gifts that I'd been putting off. And in between all that sewing and making, somehow I managed to fit in viewing Charlie Brown's Christmas and the old school How the Grinch Stole Christmas with the kids, a little bit of baking, a couple of parties, practicing the piano so I could accompany a church choir number, and a bit of deep cleaning in the kitchen (the oven, underneath the oven, behind all the appliances, that sort of thing). Am I making you dizzy just reading about it? It was a bit dizzying, but fun.

On Christmas Day afternoon, we took the drive down to see our family and spend a relaxing week doing practically nothing but hanging around, taking naps (I had two in one day last Saturday), playing with the kids, and enjoying visits from family. Ryan and I even managed our first night away from the kids (to this fun resort)! Thanks Mom! The kids did great and this is definitely something we will have to do more often.

I'm still finalizing my resolutions for 2008. Usually, I don't make New Year's resolutions. My general philosophy is that if a goal is worth accomplishing, it's worth doing anytime of the year. But, this year my desire for some change and the New Year are coinciding, so I'm making some New Year's resolutions. It's been fun reading about some of yours and I hope I'll be brave enough to share some of mine in the next day or two.

I've got some new sewing projects in mind too - a new purse design or two for the shop and some banners for Valentine's Day. Remember all of this - it's time to use it now. It's also my birthday month and I'm trying to figure out how to celebrate - I sort of missed a nice celebration of the big 3-0 last year (we had just moved here after three months of unemployment, we didn't have friends yet, and I was not feeling much like celebrating), so this year I'm going to pretend it's the big 3-0 even though I'll really be 31 (did I really just admit that?) and celebrate accordingly. Suggestions, anyone?

I hope you're all enjoying the New Year and that you'll all start reading my blog again! I really am back;)!