Thursday, December 30, 2010

It's Been a Wonderful Year! Now It's Time for a Break...Well, Sort of!


The year 2010 is quickly coming to a close. What a wonderful year it has been for me, my family, and my Etsy shop! I reached several milestones this year including my first Etsy anniversary and just recently I reached 200 sales! October through the early part of December were super busy times for my Etsy shop and I am truly grateful to all of my customers for their support this past year! My customers inspire and motivate me every day. Thank you!

I've also made some fantastic new friends along the way and I've been overwhelmed by the positive encouragement and support that I have received from followers of my blog and facebook fan page. It is this encouragement that keeps me moving forward especially on the days when I need that little extra boost of confidence.

So, as this amazing year closes, I look forward to the new year. I believe that 2011 will bring with it another fun and exciting chapter for Two Little Bluebirds. I cannot wait to see what unfolds! And don't worry I have lots of new ideas up my sleeve!

In the meantime, I'm going to take a little break....well, sort of. I'm enjoying some much needed time off from sewing. It's given me a chance to spend some extra quality time with my family and it has given me time to brainstorm new ideas. So, for the month of January and maybe even February, I won't be listing much of anything in my Etsy shop. I will use this time to bring my new ideas to life and to build up inventory.

If you should need anything at all do not hesitate to contact me. I will still be taking custom orders and requests. So, don't be shy!

And here's wishing you all a very happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Kissing Hand

Summer is slowly ending and although you wouldn't know it by the 90 degree heat that is lingering, there are telltale signs that summer is coming to a close. The pools and parks are nearly empty and the school busses have returned to the neighborhood. Any other year, my daughters and I would watch the kids head out to school or see them standing at the bus stop, but this year is different. This year my oldest daughter started kindergarten. It's been a bittersweet week....mostly for me. My daughter is doing great with the transition. On the second day of class as I was dropping her off outside of her classroom she briefly turned around and said "Bye Mom". I had to coax her into giving me a goodbye hug before she disappeared into the classroom. By the second day, I dropped her off outside of the school building and watched my little girl walk in all on her little, yet so big.

I'll admit that having her at school has afforded me some added quiet at home, but I still have a 2 year-old to keep me company on errands and while doing life's daily activities. Little sister loves to help mom out and I think that she has enjoyed having all of the toys to herself! But, today I looked at my youngest daughter and for a second I was taken back three years to the time when my oldest was two and followed me all around the house. And, in that moment I thought about how quickly time goes. That in a blink of an eye, my daughter has turned from a baby that never wanted to leave my side into a 5 year-old that is embracing her new adventures out into the world. I admit it's a bit hard letting go. So, there you have the bitter part, but the sweet part is how proud I am of her and all of the progress that she has made. She's an amazing kid with an phenomenal spirit and I am honored to be her mom.

Today she came home with a picture that she had colored of a little hand with a pink heart in the middle of it. On the sheet it said "Ask me to tell you about The Kissing Hand". When I asked my daughter about this a smile grew across her face and she began to tell the story of a little raccoon who was beginning school. His mother kissed his hand before he left and the little raccoon could feel the kiss travel up his arm to his heart. All day long the little raccoon could feel his mother's love just by touching his hand to his face. Hearing my sweet little daughter tell this story brought tears to my eyes. I kissed her hand, gave her a hug and off she went to play.

It's not easy letting go, but I know that she feels my love all day long and there is no doubt that I feel hers. So, I kiss my baby's hand, give her her backpack and lunch box, and send her out into the world. I know she'll be for me I'm still keeping the tissues handy!

Here's hoping you feel the love of someone special in your life all day long!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

New and Improved Pirate Set!


I've finally had a chance to update an old favorite in my shop. For several months now I have been working to add a treasure map to my Pirate Hat and Playset. Well, I'm happy to say that it's finally finished and is now a part of this fun set for little pirates. Arrrrh!

So now the set comes with a felt pirate hat, an eye patch, a red felt treasure bag, five gold coins, AND a treasure map!

In order to find the treasure your little one will have to wind through palm trees, green hills, an alligator pit (Yikes!), and steep mountains! But that's no problem because little pirates are BRAVE!
One of my favorite features of the map is that it's designed to be rolled up. I added a red ribbon to secure it while your little pirate travels to far off lands in search of treasure!

I want to thank Amy with Amy Jos Creations for giving me the inspiration and motivation to create this treasure map. I also need to thank my wonderful husband and daughter who designed the graphics on the map! Without my 5 year-old there would be no alligator pit! Boy are kids creative! ;)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Frolicking with Fairies


For the past two weeks I have been frolicking with fairies....and cupcakes and flowers. These fun crowns were created for two special little girls.

Every custom order presents me with new and exciting challenges. These crowns were no exception! Sometimes the fairies refused to cooperate and were a bit fussy about how they wanted to be created. I can't tell you how many times I had to re-cut their arms and heads to get them just right. Picky fairies! :)

But in the end, the greatest challenge with this crown was in its final construction. Each piece had to be attached to the crown in just the right order so that the crown came together with a clean and professional look. I don't know if I've ever held my breath so much while making a crown! But in the end it all came together beautifully. Careful planning definitely payed off!

No fairy is complete without a magic wand. I decided that these fairies needed sparkly wands! They are all set to grant lots of wishes!

In order for the girls to be able to tell their crowns apart, I added their first initials to the inside of the crowns.

Two adorable crowns ready for fun and mischievous play! It's going to be hard to see these cuties go, but I know they are headed to a good home! Enjoy little ones....enjoy!

Handmade Pick--Little Lion Designs


It has been awhile since I last featured another crafter/artist, and this time I've chosen a very special shop not just for the beauty of the art, but also for the beauty of the story behind the art. Stephanie with Little Lion Designs creates the most amazing repurposed fabric and textile art. When I first came across her shop she won me over with the fact that she's concerned about the carbon footprint she is leaving on the Earth. She uses scraps of fabric from thrift stores and quilters, makes her own starch, and uses child safe glue. When I hear that someone is trying to keep things out of the landfill and use environmentally friendly products in their art/craft I do a little happy dance! Then I took a look at her shop. I was blown away! See for yourself.

But just looking at her art wasn't enough for me. I had to read her profile too. This is where the story behind her art moved me so deeply that I knew I had to feature her work here. You see, Stephanie lost her infant daughter, just 34 days old, to Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. As a parent, there is nothing more heartbreaking than reading about the loss of a child. Oftentimes I can't bring myself to read these types of stories because they are so deeply saddening, but this one time I couldn't stop myself from reading on. That's when I came across this very special blog post by Stephanie. It is a tribute to her daughter, Kaia on the one year anniversary of her death--her first angelversary as Stephanie called it. It is truly the most beautiful and touching thing I have read in a very long time.

Stephanie's story is one of a mother who loved and lost and then never stopped loving. And as we all know as mothers, our love for our children is boundless. It was through the death of her daughter that Stephanie was inspired to create again. And her work speaks volumes about the beautiful inspirational spirit behind it. I couldn't make it through Stephanie's tribute without tears streaming down my face and I couldn't keep my eyes dry for hours afterwards. And although I felt deep sadness for Stephanie's loss, I also felt a sense of peace and admiration for the human spirit. Even in the face of tremendous loss peace, beauty, and love can still grow.

I hope that you will take the time to visit Stephanie's Etsy shop and facebook fan page. She is an amazing artist and a true inspiration! Thank you Stephanie for sharing your story.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Memorable Year

(The very first crown I sold on Etsy)

So, my official first Etsy Anniversary has come and gone. This past year has been amazing, fun, and exhausting all rolled up into one. If you had asked me 15 years ago what I would be doing today, I most certainly would have never guessed that I would be making felt crowns! But, I'm here and I'm so very grateful for it. Really crafting has been a part of my life since I was a small girl. I remember sitting down with a big box of craft supplies and fabric scraps and just creating whatever my heart told me to create. Later, I became fascinated with embroidery, and in high school I focused on drawing and painting. I took a long break from doing anything crafty through college and during my early career as a Physical Therapist and later a stay-at-home mom. It was such a long break that I nearly forgot how good it feels to be creative. So, when I really think about it the journey to this day has been in the works all along. I know that not everybody believes in fate or destiny, but I can't help feeling that all along I was meant to be right where I am.

Taking pieces of felt and bits of thread and turning them into something beautiful and fun brings me joy and inner peace. There is no greater feeling than creating with my hands and then stepping back to look at a finished crown....always in amazement. It's a moment when a smile spreads across my face and I let out a little sigh. I think to myself, "I created that and it will soon bring joy to someone else". "How cool is that!" And it's not just anyone it's bringing joy's bringing joy to the most amazing creatures on Earth--kids.

So why do I stay up until the wee hours of the morning? Why to I push myself to create the very best product I can? It's because I love what I do, I have the very best customers on Earth, and all along I have been destined to be right where I am.

It's been an incredible year. I've learned more than I ever thought possible, I've made more friends than I ever imagined, and I've grown my love for all things handmade twofold (maybe threefold!). I have to thank my husband and daughters for their amazing support and encouragement. They are my source of inspiration....along with my color and design consultants! Thank you also to all of my fans, friends, and supporters. You keep me going and spur me to continue creating.

Here's to a great first year! I hope to bring you many more fantastic crowns and products for kids during my next year on Etsy!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Etsyversary Celebration!


This month, I celebrate my first Etsy anniversary! It's been an amazing year and I want to celebrate with all of my fans and supporters. So, I'll be hosting a fantastic giveaway! Here's what you can win.

1 person will win a $5 gift code to my Etsy shop.

1 person will win a set of 4 felt cookies (you choose between chocolate chunk or rainbow sprinkles)

And for the grand lucky person will win a Purple Bloom Felt Flower Crown just like this one!

I can't think of a better way to celebrate then by giving away a crown based on my very first design!

Want to know how to win? Here are the rules.

    You will receive 1 entry just for commenting below and telling me which of my crowns is your favorite. Please leave your name and email address so that I can contact you if you win.

    Want to earn extra entries? Here's how!
    1 entry for becoming a facebook fan/liker
    1 entry for becoming a follower of this blog
    1 entry for every tweet with a link to this blog giveaway (limit 1 per day please)
    1 entry for posting a link to this giveaway on your blog or facebook page.
    1 entry for every friend that you refer who becomes a fan of my facebook page.
    1 more entry if your referral makes a purchase from my Etsy shop.

Please leave 1 comment for each entry. If you were referred by a friend please let me know who referred you. Be sure to post links to your facebook page posts, blog posts, and tweets with each corresponding entry. The giveaway begins today and ends on July 4th. I will draw the winners on July 5th.

Thanks so much for entering and good luck!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

When it Rains it Pours!


Well, I had a miserable morning, but the sun is coming out and things are looking up. We had a major rain storm last night that knocked out our power...which means our sump pump couldn't get rid of the water from our basement. Needless to say our basement flooded. Everything on the floor was soaked including all of the things that I had intended to use to entertain my kids on a 14 hour car ride at the end of the week. Weeks of planning and organizing went into the trash this morning. I always like to surprise my kids with new activity books, coloring books, toys and games on these long car rides. It was nauseating to throw away brand new fact it led to a complete emotional unraveling for me. I can only imagine how people feel who have lost everything...all of there most special possessions and memories. Or worse yet a loved one during a disaster.

Really everything can be replaced. I won't be able to surprise my girls like I had hoped, but it could have been so much worse. I have learned some valuable lessons and I won't repeat those mistakes again. The wonderful Evi with Aedan Seppe sounded the alarm bells today and several of you have been so kind in offering to help in any way that you can. I am truly humbled by this out-pouring and grateful that so many of you care so much. It comes as no surprise though because I have seen so many acts of kindness from my fellow link love crafter and artists. You are an amazing group and I am truly grateful. I lost a lot of stuff today, but I gained so much more...thank you are the rainbow after the storm.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Passing Along a Little Sunshine!


I am so flattered and grateful to say that this blog was nominated for the Sunshine Award by two lovely ladies with fantastic blogs. Thank you to both Goody Goody Tutus and Anticipation Cards for this honor! Unfortunately it has taken me awhile to pass this award onto others, but I have finally found a free moment to honor other great blogs.

The Sunshine Award is awarded to bloggers whose positivity and creativity inspire others in the blog world.

So here are the rules for the Sunshine Award:

1. Place the logo within your blog or post
2. Pass the award on to 12 other bloggers
3. Link the nominees within the post
4. Let the nominees know they have won by commenting on their blog
5. Share the love by linking back to the person from whom you received the award

And the nominees are......

Be sure to check out all of these great blogs!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Handmade Pick--WhimsyPics


This weeks Handmade Pick is by WhimsyPics. Melissa makes unique scrapbook albums, paper crafts, cards, gift cards, ACEO's and even altered art! Everything that she creates is delightful and beautiful! I couldn't find anything in her shop that I didn't like. It's all wonderful! The ACEO pictured above is so sweet! It makes me long for summer!

Here are some examples of her cards. Look how gorgeous this swirling gold tree is!

I love these sweet and whimsical gift tags. Perfect for Easter or dressing up any package.

Here are some more examples of the beautiful cards Melissa creates. I love the three dimensional qualities and the fantastic color choices of her work.

Here is an empty Altoids tin that has been altered into a shabby chic box. What a great way to hold all of your tiniest treasures. I think I am drawn to this piece in particular. Hmmm....maybe it's the bird and the crown???

I hope that you will check out Melissa's Etsy shop to see all of her beautiful creations!
You can also follower her on facebook and on her blog

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What I Don't Want to Be When I Grow Up!


So, my daughter's preschool year is coming to a close. It's been quite an experience for the both of us and I've learned one really important lesson. When I grow up I DO NOT want to be a teacher!My daughter participates in a cooperative preschool with 3 other girls her age. All of the moms take turns teaching the class every week. Now, understand that we only hold class one day a week, so I'm responsible for teaching only one class a month. Believe me I didn't need any more experience in the classroom to realize that teaching is not for me! Yes, it does take a heck of a lot of time to develop lesson plans. You'd think that preschool would be easy right? I mean it's not like I'm teaching quantum physics or anything! But, in retrospect, developing the lesson plans wasn't even close to the toughest part. Teaching is like running yourself through the wringer 100 times a day. I'd come home after each class completely exhausted! And of course the kids weren't interested in half of the stuff that I had planned to do each day. It's hard work keeping four rambunctious 5 year-olds focused on the tasks at hand. They are wiggly little balls of energy. Imagine having 26 wiggly balls of energy to deal with! Oh, my gosh I'm getting cold sweats just thinking about it! I realize that I do not have infinite patience by any stretch of the imagination!

I know without a doubt that teachers are born not made. They are blessed with a gift and a special spirit. They work day in, and day out under paid and under appreciated. They put up with stuff and deal with situations that most of us don't want to touch with a 10 foot pole! I now have had the opportunity to see teaching from both sides of the coin. My dad has been teaching for over 40 years. I've heard his stories and I've seen how hard he works each day to educate our kids. I've wondered for years why he keeps teaching after all of these years, but I get it now. It's his calling. It's what he was meant to do, and he's good at it. Now, I know not all teachers are created equal. I had a few crummy teachers growing up. My 7th grade English teacher comes to mind. That woman did nothing but give me ulcers! But as we all know, you can't let a few bad apples spoil the whole bunch! There are so many awesome teachers out there and I think it's about time that we give them the credit they deserve!

So, today I tip my hat to wait I bow down to you and praise you for the tireless work you do! Thank you for not strangling our kids, because believe me I nearly did. Okay, not really, but I think you get my point! If your kids have a great teacher let them know how much you appreciate the work that they do. After all, it is teacher appreciation week. And believe me I have an appreciation for teachers unlike most others! There's no doubt in my mind, I DO NOT want to be a teacher when I grow up, but thank you to those that do!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Jungle Fun!

So here it is! The completed Jungle Crown! I love how this crown turned out. I think that it's my new favorite crown! On the front of the crown is a lion.

On one side I added a cute monkey.

On the other side is a fun loving elephant.

And at the very back is a cute giraffe.

Here you can see all of the animals together. As you can tell, all of the animals are hanging out on green jungle leaves.

This is the first crown that I have created that has a wrap around design. Happy birthday little Aedan! Have a fun and "wild" first birthday!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Work in Progress--Jungle Crown


I thought I would share one of the projects I am currently working on. This crown has been really fun to create and it's for a special little boy who will be having a jungle themed first birthday party. How fun!
You can see I've included a giraffe and an elephant one side.

I've also included my favorite little monkey and a lion too.
The empty space on the far right is where the Velcro will be. So when the crown is all put together there will be fun jungle animals all around the birthday boy's head! Boy, do I love this job!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sharing My Passions


What does April 22nd mean to you? I'm looking at my calendar and yes, I have to take my daughter to ballet, clean the house, get some crowns made....and wait just a minute! It's Earth Day! I can say that long ago Earth Day didn't mean a whole lot to me, but lately it means so much more. Ever since my first daughter was born, I started thinking differently about the world around me. I wanted her to have the best in life-best food, best water, safest toys, cleanest environment to play in. The list went on and on. I began reading books and researching online and I realized that not only could I do things differently, but it really wasn't going to be as big of a change as I thought it would be. So, I'm going to use this year's Earth Day as a chance to start sharing some of my other passions with you. One of these passions, or obsessions as my husband would call it, is the environment. Don't worry, I'm not going to preach about global warming or bore you with statistics, but I would like to share useful information with you.

Did you know that you don't have to use all of those expensive cleaners in the store to get a clean house? Did you know that so much more than you ever imagined can be recycled or reused? My hope is that you will learn a little something along the way from these blog posts. I believe information is power. The more you know the better you can make decisions for yourself. I hope that you will find the information that follows in the coming weeks and months helpful in making your own decisions for yourself and your family. If you have tips to share please feel free to post here. I love your comments and I love learning something new!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Where's My Paycheck?


I'm writing this blog post as I finish cleaning our bathroom. My youngest daughter is napping and it's killing me that instead of cutting felt or sewing I am scrubbing grout and trying to unclog a stubborn sink drain. I know it's true that the bathroom has been neglected for some time now, but darn it I hate cleaning it! As I'm steam cleaning the tile in the shower I'm wondering to myself again... Why it is that I don't earn a pay check for this job called motherhood? How come I don't earn a bonus for getting up six times during a meal to get my kids something just so I can finally sit down to a cold meal? Where's the gold star on my report card for rocking a sleepless child back to sleep in the dark of night while everyone else is peacefully sleeping? Where is my "You make the prettiest piles of clean laundry" award? Where's my vacation time and sick pay? I keep looking for these things but they are no where to be found.

My sister has a saying that goes something like this "A mother's j0b is to keep her kids alive and to move stuff from one part of the house to another." I took the time to really think about this and darn it she's right! Of course I noticed she was right as I was taking toys back downstairs to the playroom and then gathering up a pile of clothes that belonged upstairs. I have a wise sister!

I often think that mothers who work outside of the home have it the toughest. I can't imagine how hard it is to juggle their time. It's funny though... I'm a La Leche League Leader who provides support and information to breastfeeding moms. I got a call once from a mom who was having some difficulty not only breastfeeding but juggling a busy life. She worked outside of the home and I expressed my admiration of her. She in turn told me that she thought that stay-at-home moms had it much harder. Funny how the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence!

I write all of this with a smile on my face because really I love what I am doing. I love being a wife to my husband and a mom to my kids. And really I wouldn't want to be doing anything else. So I'll continue to scrub grout and unclog sinks and eat cold meals. Even if I don't earn an actual paycheck for motherhood, I've found that the benefits are better than any job I've ever had!

So little kids around the world listen up! Give your mama a hug today! She works really hard and still manages to love you every minute of the day! Thank goodness for motherhood! back to my grout!