Friday, July 16, 2010

Following the Yellow Brick Road

So, I've neglected writing for a bit just trying to get my business head organized. I've been very busy getting a new line of bags done & can't wait to share them with you. My new line will be in my Etsy shop. So far, one is listed.

On another business note, I've been shopping boutiques to carry my line of baskets and bags. What in the world was I thinking when I went out today in over 100 degree heat, bags & baskets in tow, walking through historic Fredericksburg and popping into shops? Nothing like trying to sell yourself and your product when you're sweating like a pig. Oh, and I know some people say women "glow". I don't. I sweat. So there I am, talking to owners, with sweat running down the side of my neck. Great first impression.

On the bright side, my new evening clutches impressed a manager enough to take my card and brochure to give to the owner. She couldn't believe it was completely handmade, handstitched, etc. AND had videotape throughout. I also made contact with an owner who wants to carry my baskets once her shop is finished with their move. I'm not going to get ahead of myself, but it's given my confidence a wonderful boost.

Now, I was told no, politely, by a shop, but I figure rejection goes with the territory. There are plenty of people out there who'll say a quick no and not actually get what you do. No problem. I'll move on to the ones who do and follow my own yellow brick road.

Onward & upward!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lessons in American History

So, I haven't posted in a little bit cause we've been so busy taking the time to play tourist at some of the most amazing historical sites in our area here in Northern Virginia. The area is so rich in history from both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and we didn't have to travel far to see some of it (which is great as we could come home and sleep in our own beds every night).

Being the goof that I am, I forgot the camera when we went to see Chatham and the Fredericksburg Battlefield. Duh. Nonetheless, we did see Chatham, which is only one of three homes in the country where Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln all visited. I wish that we could have seen the inside of the smokehouse, laundry house, etc., but they were closed off to the public. The house was in such a strategic area, overlooking Fredericksburg, and we were able to see where the Union forces had engineered one of their pontoon bridges to cross the river into Fredericksburg.

We took the tour at Fredericksburg Battlefield where the infamous Sunken Road is. They've meticulously crafted the stone wall to look like it did back in the day, but there's still a piece of the original wall there for all to see (but not to touch). Unbelievably, Union General Burnside sent seven (7) waves of troops against the Confederates behind the wall... with NO cover. They were slaughtered. I've got to do a shout-out to our tour guide, Preston, who was great! He believed that this battle was really Lee's greatest victory, although Lee thought that Chancellorsville was his greatest.

So, the next day, we motor over to Chancellorsville. If you're from this area, or have lived here for a while, you start to see some familiar family names crop up as you travel through battlefields and historic sites and recognize how certain towns and cities got their names. Chancellorsville is where Stonewall Jackson got shot by his own troops upon his return from scouting ahead. He didn't die from the wound, but they did have to amputate an arm. He actually died from pneumonia, and there is question as to whether he was sick prior to being shot. Here's a memorial stone that was placed in this honor way back when, and the monument.

Confederate Earthworks
It continued to amaze me how we have almost lost (and have lost some) of our historical sites due to urban sprawl.

Instead of going to The Wilderness the following day and keeping with the timeline, we decided to go to Manassas. What were we thinking?! It was over 100 degrees! But we went and took the tour regarding 1st Manassas (or Bull Run). This was the first battle of the Civil War. You know, the one that they thought would take a few hours and the war would be over? The one where people packed picnic baskets and came out from DC and surrounding areas to watch the "show". It was too hot to go on the tour of 2nd Manassas, so we wimped out and watched to movie they had on the whole thing in the air conditioned visitor's center.
I'll end our historical tour here for now. There's obviously so much more to tell, but I could go on and on.
I did, however, get two dishcloths per trip crocheted while in the car. :o)

Thursday, June 17, 2010


So, this is the last week of school, and there's been so much to do with the kiddos. The awards ceremonies, programs, etc. It's hard enough to realize yet another school year has gone by, and my oldest is going into middle school. I know, I know, there are so many who've gone before him, and I'm one of many mommies who've gone through this. It's almost the same feeling I had when I weaned them from nursing (but that's a whole other story).

Anyhoo, I've been working on a few things in my in-between moments. I've listed a few crocheted earrings, soap holders and washcloths/dishcloths. I still have a plarn bag to make for my 91 year old grandmother in Denmark. I'm looking forward to that because she's the one who taught me how to crochet.

Still having fun listening to the kiddos. The other day on the way to school, the little dude tells us that one of the little girls in his class had turned around, and he saw her undies! I wish I'd had a camera for the look on his face. Hand over mouth, then says: "I wanted to throw up!" What do you say after that?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My Dilemma

So, here I go! I finally decided to get a studio banner that reflects the professional look that I want. I went to libertydoll (aka Marissa) on Artfire. She's busy as all get out (like I'd like to be), very nice to work with, and pretty dang creative.

Now, here's my dilemma. She came up with TWO ideas for my banner (& avatar). Now, I can't decide and need some help, so I'm putting it to a vote. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Choice 1:

Choice 2:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Featured Studio ArtFire Fire Stalkers -- AJSweetSoap

AJSweetSoap is an amazing place. Just wandering through pages of decadent soaps is a treat in itself. How she does this, I don't know, but you definitely have to see it to believe it.

My main thought as I looked through the studio was -- OMG! I can just see my sugar hungry kids trying to eat the soap! Actually, it'd be pretty doggone funny... I guess I am a mean mom (see older post). But seriously, LOOK and tell me I'm wrong... I dare you!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


So, I took a little break from writing, and am happy to report that the beach/pool/shopping bag made of Wal-mart bags has been completed and can be viewed at my Artfire studio. Yippee!

Over the past few days, I have learned the following from my kiddos:
  • There is such a thing as "short-sleeved" pants. Otherwise known to the rest of the English-speaking world as "shorts".

  • I am a "mean mommy". I take this as a compliment. I make them brush their teeth.

  • I tell my kids - "Wait til you have kids!" This is eerily familiar... Oh wait, my parents used to tell me that!

  • I learned that I'm a "police mom". Apparently, that means I catch people, i.e., children, when they don't do what they're supposed to do.

I also had been trying to figure out what to make out of our old vhs tapes. I finally had the lightbulb go off over my head, and decided to try my hand at making belts. The first attempt, eh, not so much. Too squeaky. My second attempt - great! I mixed yarn and the vhs tape. It created a sturdier belt than just plain yarn and added a very cool shine from the vhs tape. It's in my studio, and I plan to make more in different sizes.

I've also found out that I absolutely suck at taking pictures. Even my 11-year old can take a clear picture. Mine come out fuzzy. It's not like I drink that much coffee. Maybe I'm just a spazzoid. I'm making the hubby man take my product pictures from now on.

I guess I'm done rambling for now.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bags Bags Everywhere?

So, I'm crocheting the bag made out of primarily Wal-mart bags that I mentioned in a previous post. Unbelievably, I run out of blue & white bags. Nothing is like the feeling of running out of materials near the end of a project. Ugh! You would think that with all the plastic bags floating around my house, I would never run out... Now, I need to either buy crap at Wal-mart, or dive through the recyclables at the grocery store. Ok, so going to Wal-mart wouldn't be a horrible thing. I need to pick up Lunchables and milk anyway.

Then, I start crocheting a bag out of Giant bags - same thing happens! Double ugh! Now I have two projects sitting unfinished until I can "dumpster" dive into recycle bins.

I'm on the wrong side of "bag mania". I have hundreds of bags, and I run out? How is this possible? How is this possible? How is this possible? But I digress...
On the bright side, I am so excited about the bags so far! They are a couple of my best ones -- I'm loving how they are looking! I hope everyone else does, too.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The "X" Mom

So, as we're driving home after picking the boys up from school, the conversation ventured into the land of superheroes. My 7 year old says: "Mom is a superhero." And so it starts...

11 year old: "Mom's not a superhero."
7 year old: "Uh huh! Mom can see through walls!"
11 year old: "No, she can't!"
7 year old: "She's got x-ray vision."
Daddy: "Yeah, she's got eyes in the back of her head."
7 year old: "NO, she's got x-ray vision! I was trying to sneak a snack, and she was in her room, and she caught me. And, darn, I almost got that snack!"

It's so nice to be in the company of Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash and Captain Underpants, but the closest thing I have to being a superhero is a poor excuse for the Lasso of Truth (a long piece of plarn) and a studded belt from 1985. And, frankly, I couldn't even pass for Iron Man's mate, unless holding an actual iron counted.

I suppose if I had to choose a name or superhero persona I'd call myself "Tide" -- not because I can control the ocean, but because I use so damn much detergent.

It'll be sad when the little guy figures out that I don't really have superhero powers, but for the time being, I'll use it to my advantage.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Action Hero

So, yesterday I'm sitting at the computer tooling around on the Artfire forums and looking at some studios before my guests arrive. My husband is looking for a plastic bag to put something in and gets frustrated because he apparently cannot find one bag to use in a houseful of plastic bags. He starts mumbling something, and I hear him say something about Wal-mart bags.

Cut to slow motion scene in an action film:

The heroine (that would be me) screams at the offender while lunging to protect precious cargo - NOOOOOOO, NOT THOSE BAGS!

Disaster averted! He was reaching for the stash that I'm making a new beach bag out of (yes, I ended the sentence in a preposition). A bag that is half done and every blue & white bag in the house will be needed to finish it. He huffs away as I chase him to the pantry to show him the bags he can use -- sheesh! Frankly, he says that the last time he saw me move that fast a mouse was involved.

And so is life in my house. There are mommy's "good" bags, and the "ok to use" bags.

As the little shrimp in Finding Nemo said -- "True story."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Crochet Injury?

So, here I am, writing my first blog post, and I'm on the injured list. Don't laugh, but I'm actually suffering from a crochet injury (confirmed by the doc)! Whoda thunk it? While trying to supply a number of plarn (plastic yarn) baskets to my strategic business partner - Truly Life - I crocheted a basket too tight and wound up on the bench for a couple of weeks recuperating. Fortunately, it's gotten better slowly (with the help of Tylenol with Codeine and my handy dandy heating pad). I've now had ample time to think of new designs and make quite a bit of plarn for those new designs.

Here are some things I've learned about making plarn:

1. People save their bags for you. A LOT of bags. Recently, my brother gave me three huge garbage bags full of grocery bags. I keep wondering if I'll ever get through them all.

2. Your house becomes Bag Central. No matter how much I sweep or clean, I keep finding little pieces of plastic bag on the floor.

3. You become a "bag lady". My local Giant grocery store loves what I do with their bags and will let me rummage through their recyclables. You should see the looks on the faces of their other customers. Fortunately, I do not embarrass easily.

4. The kids thought it was really cool to help... at first. Then the glamour wore off, and they're content to watch me fold, cut, put together and roll into a ball -- if they pay any attention at all.

5. It's really annoying to the hubby when I make plarn while we're watching tv in bed. It can be noisy. Fortunately, he's now been "plarn trained" and all I have to do is throw the end to him, and he'll start rolling it into ball. He's become quite good at it, too.

6. If you're not paying attention, you can wind up with a ball of plarn as big as a basketball.

Oh, there goes another piece of plastic scurrying across the floor! Gotta run for now.
Blogging tips