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Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Finds: Ready for a Spring Picnic!

1. Picnic Blanket by Sewn Natural
2. Hand-Crocheted Apple Cozy by Unravel Me
3. 1964 Travelor's Suitcase Metal Lunchbox from Little Coco Lala
4. A Date in the Park photo by Claudia Kay Photo
5. Sunday Picnic Dress by Michelle Tan
6. Cedar Kid's Picnic Table by Simple Rustic
7. Lunch/Small Market Bag by lenekonoir
8. DIY Pattern: Felt Picnic Lunch Basket, Quilt and Food by Sweetie Pie's Bakery
9. Lunch Box Love Notes by Noel's Creations

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Questioning Authenticity...and why I am okay without it...

All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players
-William Shakespeare

If you have read this blog for the last week or two, you will notice that I am having a bit of an identity crisis. I have been reading around the "blogosphere" about how to "find myself" and how to live authentically in order to get through this stage. And I have been sucked into all the steps and methods one takes to truly find out how to do just that... Wouldn't life be so much easier if I wasn't fighting to live within someone else's rules for my life? I would easily breeze through my life because I was being real. I would dress totally cool because that is who I really am. I would be confident and happy...I just needed to figure out who I really am.

I journaled...I brain stormed...I prayed and meditated...waiting for my authentic self to reveal itself...

And nothing happened. The same girl that didn't want to work out was still coming up with excuses to not go out and run (I was so sure that my authentic self would be a skinny running girl!) The same girl that is not quite sure how to balance being a little bit of a rebel with my fashion choices (and having a million excuses for not going for it) with my thinking I should be a proper ironed khacki-pants and sweater set military wife. The same girl that wants to be more "crunchy" but can't give up her Frappuccinos and mall-lovin'. Still there...and no authentic self revealing itself...sigh...

Then I remembered something my mom used to tell me:

"Fake it until you make it."

But that isn't very authentic! Maybe not...but I realized that if I waited until I truly loved doing housework or going for a jog...well, it just wouldn't get done. Sure, my authentic self does not feel blessed cleaning. My authentic self would much rather read a book than anything else. But my overly-authentic butt needs to work out. So, I put on the "costume" of running and do it anyway. Sometimes I don't feel like cleaning the floors, but I am going to ACT like I am someone who does and do it anyway. Sometimes I let myself fall into the trap of not working on my business because "it isn't real, anyway..." but I get out of my pajamas and act like it is paying the bills. I am faking it until I make it, baby...

So, my challenge to myself is to accept that fact that I don't really know who I am. And I am going to be learn to be okay with that. And, to be honest, do I really want to confine myself to always being defined by labels- even if they are ones that I feel to be "authentic" now? What if I choose to eat meat in the future? What if I want to start wearing (and ironing) khacki pants and sweater sets? I recognize that who I am, what I like and what I do has changed so much through the last 30 years, it would be silly for me to define who I am now. I want to be free to be change who I am. And I definitly want to be free to challenge myself to be better than I actually am.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Getting your husband interested in educational craft projects...

Upcycle a Victoria's Secret catalogue into a color-matching collage!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How-To Tuesday: Printable Etsy Labels

I have been looking at several options for more professional labeling for my napkins, particularly for selling in person at a local consignment store or at upcoming craft shows. I looked at how other mass-marketed napkin sets were packaged and found out several things: 1-most of them used more packaging than I felt comfortable with (too much waste!) and 2-many of the options would be outside of my budget. I enjoy do-it-yourself projects but since I have no expertise in graphic design, I did want them to turn out like a 3rd grade science project! Then I saw these customizable wedding products and they seemed like a perfect alternative to use!

Tools needed:

blank customizable wedding stationary


cutting utensil


Step 1: Check out your local craft store (and remember to check Marshalls, TJ Maxx and other chain discount stores!) I found this package on clearance at Micheals and several more packages on clearance at Marshall's for $0.99, so they were all a good deal! Things to look for: choose a shape/size that will work for your product and make sure that the "how-to" directions on the back include an online template (if not, the products are just for writing on them by hand!)

Step 2: Go to the company's website and pull up the template that goes with the product you purchased. Change to whatever design/font, etc. you want. (The product I purchased was supposed to be for a menu!)

Step 3: print your design and then remove from perforation if applicable.

Step 4: Using either a rotary cutter or a X-acto knife, cut small incision the width of your ribbon. I used a ruler to measure half an inch from each side.

Step 5: Thread ribbon through incisions on label and tie onto product.

I hope to eventually have professional labels made with recycled paper, but for the time being, these inexpensive options have really made my napkins look a lot more professional!


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Friday Finds-We are family!

As an extension of thinking about my identity as a mother, my mind ran to thoughts of what family meant to me, my identity as a member of an adoptive family and of my pending certification as a foster parent who wishes to adopt...In celebration of all the branches of my family tree, present and future, I wanted to share some of my favorite handmade goodies for families-adoptive or otherwise! Enjoy!

1. Eventually necklace with Pearl by therhouse
2. Egg family with dog by Asher Jasper
3. Customizable Pear Tree wall art by khamm75
4. Young Family-babywearing set of six by Earth Slings
5. Customized S. Korean Paperweight by Dos Besitos
6. Adoption Definition Tee by therhouse
7. Chosen long-sleeved tee by LKD Kids
8. Love Makes a Family Open Edition Print by Barking Bird Art
9. "There has always been a special branch on our family tree just for you" print by kilsook

(PS. This next week should be our final home study and our complete package should be sent to the state foster care licensing board by the end of the month. But we have had our patience challenged with delay after delay...All in the right timing, right? Prayers, good vibes, similar frustrations shared all welcome!)

Identity Crisis and other Olympic thoughts...

(AP photo/Mark Baker)

Meet Samuel Contesti. He is French. He is an Italian citizen and skates for their Olympic team. He is wearing Jed Clampett-style denim overalls and a flannel plaid shirt. And is skating to a blues song. It seems to me that Mr. Contesti may have a bit of an identity crisis...

and I totally relate...

Apparently, the phenomenon of athletes taking the citizenship of another country is nothing new. In the world of figure skating alone, Yuko Kavaguti changed not only her citizinship but her name so that she would be "more Russian." But I wonder as athletes who have changed the country that they represent stand on the medal stand, is the triumph as sweet as it is for someone who has had their national identity in place since birth? And as someone who never had a "mothering" identity in them from birth, how do I deal with my feelings of insecurity now that I am walking among the gold-medal mothers of the world?

Please don't hear something I am not saying. I believe full-time motherhood is a very worthy career. I always have. I just always had a desire to have another job title (preferably Broadway star or international mystery solver, thankyouverymuch!) I don't recall playing with dolls as a kid and any "playing house" consisted of me heading off to a music tour and leaving my pretend husband at home to clean. But after six years as a local mystery solver and the stress of juggling that job, motherhood, and military deployments, I was happy that the opportunity to "retire" had presented itself. I still have dreams about what I will be "when I grow up." I have more goals for my future. However, I want to make sure that my current position gets the credit and pause it deserves on my life journey.

Samuel Contesti may not have dreamed about being an Italian when he grew up. But I imagine that from the moment he first laced up his ice skates, he began dreaming of being a real, authentic skater. When he achieved that goal, he probably then began dreaming of winning a gold medal. He followed his dream, even if that meant challenging his national identity. His identity was found in what he put his efforts into. And, although I may have never dreamed that I would be a stay-at-home mother, living life to its fullest has always been my end goal. I will continue to follow those dreams, even if it means challenging my identity. And I pray that my identity would always be known by what I put my efforts into!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

One Word Wednesday


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Directions

Why are we so full of restraint? Why do we not give in all directions? Is it fear of losing ourselves? Until we do lose ourselves there is no hope of finding ourselves.-Henry Miller (American author and artist, 1891-1980)

When I started this blog, I wasn't exactly clear on my intent. I knew what type of blogs I enjoy visiting. I knew what type I clicked off of in a hurry. But since my plans for opening my Etsy store were on the horizon, I felt that the blog should lean towards a green/crafty/motherhoood-type blog. All of the "professional-crafter" sites talk about all the things you should do and I have attempted to follow that path in a way that shared what I enjoyed and felt passionately about. I shared crafts I liked, green tips that I have found helpful and tooted the horn of the handmade marketplace on Etsy. I have steared clear of too much talk or venting about my current roles in life. I have steared clear of being too personal. I have steared clear of any talk of religion or politics. I felt like I was following the template well! But I haven't been able to shake the feeling that something was missing...

I have taken some time to look back at the blogs that led me into the world of blogging and did what I do best...over think! I over-thought about the templates and rules of the crafty blogging world. I over-thought about safety risks about certain blogging practices. I over-throught about making people happy and over-thought about ticking people off. I over-thought about all things I would love to say but am too scared of saying... I over-thought about cheesy quotes that told me not to be scared. I wrote lists in my head and lost sleep...over a blog...

Now, don't get me wrong. The blogging world is a mighty powerful place. The social media world has revolutionized roles of women. The social media revolution has given people the ability to have a voice and financially support themself through their endeavors. I get that. It is serious business and very important to some that may even be reading this. But, I realized this- a) I am not there yet and b) if/when I do, I want to do it my way. Not based on a safe template. And, most certainly, not without my voice.

So, I will still share about the things I am passionate about. I will still share my favorite handmade artists. I will still share what I am learning about living more sustainably and taking care of the world that we live in. I will still share about fun, frugal things you can make. I am passionate about these things. But I am also a woman that struggles with issues in my day-to-day life. I am an over-thinker with a degree in sociology that wants to share my rediculously deep thoughts on mundane subjects. I am a mother that struggles with finding a balance between the roles that I have in my life. Maybe I may challenge someone (hopefully!). Maybe I will tick you off. I don't know but I am looking forward to moving in this new direction!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Motivation Monday-Continuing the Love

“Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.” — C.S. Lewis

What is better than to start the week off than a look at continuing the high that comes out of Valentine's Day (other than just eating more chocolate!) than to take a good look at some great relationship advice out there...Grab that remaining chocolate and enjoy!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow comes to camp...

The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?...J.B. Priestley

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Finds-Celebrate the Boy Edition

1. Backpack by Eeniemeenie

2. Let's Go Baby Quilt by moon spirit studios

3. Custom Super hero capes by Babypop

4. Wooden tractor by barzillawood

5. Space Shuttle Rocket Wall Decal by House Hold Words

6. Buckle Beanie by Two Seaside Babes

7. Tow Truck Applique Tee by Monster Bug Blankets

8. Fly by Day Bib Clip/Minky Bib Square by Fray Baby Bibs and More

9. Woodland Camo Stuffed Turtle by Camillam

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Things that go...Fabulous Boy Fabrics!

Fabric designers are finally starting to figure out that crafty mama's are itching to buy up cute boy are some of my favorite wheelin' and dealin' ones to use for the little man on the go!

From the same line...

Dig it!

Fly by Day

I am beyond excited about Birch Fabric's new 100% organic line-Circa 50 byMonaluna...I have been searching high and low for organic fabrics that are cute and perfect for the kiddos-vintage van's and retro rockets? What could be cooler? (Watch Fabric Worm's site for the big sale debut!)
I love the Mid-Centry Modern furniture!

... but the vintage vehicles will be perfect for the little guys!

Need help putting together fabrics for crafty projects? Check out Fabric Worm's website and Etsy store for great fabric yardage bundles!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Accesorize that boy!

Tired of the little girls getting all the cute accessories? Does your little man grow out of everything in rocket speed and ruin what you do get him equally fast? Never fear-this super thrifty, easy-peasy, upcycled knit scarf will add a little personalization to your little guy's wardrobe! I live in a pretty mild coastal area so this scarf blocks out the wind without being too hot like the commerical fleece options!

1. Gather cotton knit pieces...I will be making two different scarfs with these pieces. A larger t-shirt (this is an older boy's size small green tee) will make one scarf larger enough for a toddler...I used two prints for the other scarf.

2. If using pants, cut the two legs apart on the crotch (is there a better word for that?) seam.

3. Using scissors, fully open the pants legs and cut off the elastic so the fabric lays flat.

4. Cut each piece in your desired width. (I used an 8 inch width...)

Cut all your pieces to your desired width...

5. choose which way you want to put together your pieces. (I ended up going with the first layout)

6. Cut off the finished ends for the pieces that will go on the "inside" of the scarf. Leave the finished ends intact for the outer pieces.

If you are using a shirt, cut open the shirt on the sides and cut pieces either vertically or horizontally (if there is a design that you want to capture on the scarf.) If you cut horizontally (which I did to keep the design intact on the shirt, you will have to cut off a piece of the hem to sew on so that you have a finished hem.)

7. Sew all of the pieces together

If you have a design or print, make sure you place the two "right" sides together...

Sew on a label if you feel so inclined...

And, you're done!


(and for those that don't sew, stay tuned for some of my favorite boy things to buy! All handmade, of course!)

Handmade Olympics!

I am looking forward to the Winter Olympics but I am almost as excited about checking all the handmade goodness going on at all the blog nominees for the Handmade Olympics over at the Rikrak Studio... Check them all out but my vote is on fellow Navy wife and Homefront Team member, Pins + Paper!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Let's hear it for the boys!

Mom's, dad's, grandparents and other fans of little boys know three things:
  1. There are far more things in commercial store and in the handmade marketplace for little girls.
  2. If you are a DIY kind of person, the selection of boy fabrics and other craft supplies (patterns, yarn, etc.) sometimes leave much to be desired in design or supply.
  3. When you do find cute boy things, buy it, give it, snatch it up and share it with others!

This week at Camp Cupcake, I will... Dana of Made and Rae of Made by Rae are BOTH celebrating all things fabulous for the little men in our lives all. month. long. I am ecstatic! I will be participating in celebrating the boy as well here (this is an all boy camp at the moment!) and look forward to sharing some of my favorite boy things all week long.

What I am loving this moment...

Learn how to make your own patterns and how to use freezer paper stenciling or just print or copy a design you like, cut, trace on fabric/knit/fleece to boy-bling up some custom tees and pants!

Rally all those loose little cars into this on-the-go car caddy by Homemade by Jill...(I am SO making this!)

Upcycle daddy's old t-shirt into this super cute 90 minute shirt
I have my own little tutorial in the works to share with you one of my favorite little upcycled, boy-friendly (super easy...I promise!) projects and will continue to share all of my boy discoveries. I have also concentrated my efforts this weekend and have stocked the store with some great boy goodies in the store!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Favorites

Valentine's Day is around the corner! You have made your handmade cards and are wondering what sweet things to get for the loves in your life? Make sure you don't forget a little something for you!

1. Fruit Punch Mod Square Soy Candle by Lilac Ave

2. Newborn/Preemie Cotton Flapper Beenie by Two Sea Side Babe's

3. Pink Leopard Memory Board/Bow Holder by Memories to You

4. Baby or Child Heart Applique Shirt by Monster Bug Blankets

5. Wild Pink Half Apron by Jen Haruff

6. Caramel/Belgian Chocolate Apple with Valentine's Sprinkles by Nicole's Handmade Treats

Some of these items have upcoming deadlines for Valentine's delivery! (One of these is coming to my house!)