A trunk show with lovely Lemon Kissed at a super cute shop!

You know when you meet someone and you think they are the coolest?  Well, when I met Shauna, of Lemon Kissed, I thought she was the coolest.  She is spunky and cute and talented, and bonus points, she has really cute kids.  And it turns out that she makes darn cute jewelry and lives not too far from me.  Shauna was one of the vendors at our super cute brick and mortar shop, The Crafty Fox.  Once we closed the shop up I knew that I was destined to do something fun with her.  And here we are.  Putting together a joint effort of cuteness!  At a cute shop no less.  So if you’re in the Portland/Hillsboro area on Sunday, May 3 (that’s exactly 1 week before Mother’s Day- get your mama something nice this year!) you should absolutely, positively come see what delightful treats we have for you that you won’t see anywhere else!

Join us at our Spring-tastic Trunk Show on Sunday, May 3, 2015 from 1-3 pm at B Designs in downtown Hillsboro!

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Take a look at some of Lemon Kissed‘s cuteness!  I just want to eat them up!  Oh, and did I mention that she has a JEWELRY CLUB?!  Uh huh.  Get on that.

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My Best Advice

You know when people say things like, “It will all change once you get married” or “Wait till you have kids” or “Things will be different when they’re older” or “Running your own business is almost impossible”?  Well I used to hate shit like that.  And I still do.  But it’s unavoidable.  People have life experiences that you don’t have and they want to share.  It’s hard to get real, true, honest sharing into casual conversation.  We’re not used to examining our lives at regular intervals and processing the stock of our lives and then shortening the results down into snippet sized chunks of useful information to share with people.  The lady at the bank probably isn’t going to give you core-gripping, tear-inducing advice that will serve you for the rest of your life and stay with you till your dying day.  She might.  But probably not.  Even your closest friends and family might not give you that kind of advice, but they’ll want to.  They’ll try to impart their deepest wisdom on you and what will come out might be gunk.  You might get some really amazing pieces of advice mixed in with an awful lot of gunk.  I hope that I can give you some good advice.  But I’m no expert.

When I got married everyone wanted to tell me how things would be different.  It didn’t matter that we had seen 10 whole years of relationship intensity.  People felt they had to share their advice.  They told us that we’d stop caring about how we look and that we’d get bored of each other, and that the romance would disappear, that they knew a couple who had been together for ten years and then got married and instantly got a divorce, blah blah blah.  And were things different once we got married?  Yeah, they were.  But Eric and I didn’t suddenly become different people.  We didn’t get bored of each other and 18 years into our relationship we’re still not sick of being together.  Have we had hideous fights?  Hell yeah.  And have we been hurtful to each other?  Yes, we’ve been there.  And have we seen the ugliest sides of each other?  Yeah, man.  We’ve been to some dark places.  And we still like each other.  We still rock it as a team.  We are still each other’s biggest fan and best support system.

As soon as we got married people wanted to know when we were going to have kids.  Before the answer was even out of my mouth I was getting advice about kids.  People really wanted me to know that things would change when we had a baby (thank you for that insightful advice, by the way).  They wanted me to know that I would stop caring about how I look (just in case I already didn’t care now that I was married), and how much work it would be, and how much energy kids suck out of you, and how much harder everything is when you have kids, and how you can’t travel, and on, and on, AND ON.  Here’s where I got kind of stuck.  Because I was totally certain about my relationship with Eric when we got married.  It wasn’t hard to say, “yeah, whatever” to people’s advice.  But with a kid, everyone who had kids kind of had a one up on me.  I really had zero experience with babies.  Or even friends with babies.  So I knew it would be tough, but I had no idea whether or not I’d actually be wearing yoga pants for the rest of my life.

In case you’re wondering, I’m wearing my usual work from home getup today:  Jeans, a floral sweater with elbow patches, a pink scarf, and slippers.  I’m wearing makeup and my hair is decently cute.  I’m wearing a pair of my bird earrings.  Even though no one but me will see.  Because that’s the kind of mom I am.  That’s the kind of person I am.    I knew, early on in my pregnancy, that I didn’t want to be all of the things that people told me being a mom would be.  But I was afraid.  I was afraid that the minivan would suddenly become the most appealing method of transportation and that without noticing, I’d stop caring what I saw in the mirror, that I’d have no hobbies other than what directly involved my kids.  What no one told me about being a mom was that I would still be me.  No one told me that it was going to be a difficult and complicated ballet of getting shit done, but at the end of the day I would still be fucking awesome and so would my kid.

So now that I’m really starting this count down to baby #2 (we’re due in July), I realized that I’ve had this same fear building, unspoken, in the back of my mind.  As I nest like crazy while also rebranding my business and prioritizing morning snuggles and navigating tantrums and menu planning, and still managing to accomplish craploads every day, I’ve actually been feeling super low.  Super complainy.  Despite the fact that I am doing massive amounts of awesomeness every single day, I’ve been feeling less than.  I’ve been feeling underwhelmed with my own efforts.  Really what I’ve been feeling is fear.  Fear that  . . .?  Fear that I’ll be a different person, that my world will implode, that I won’t be able to cope with a second kid.  Fear that I’m spending time, energy, and money on a business that will actually just collapse the moment this child comes out of my body.  And then I look back at my history of being me and I feel like I can actually take a deep breath and realize out loud that I am still me.  I will still be me when this baby comes.  I will still be me with two kids.  I will still get shit done, I will be awesome at my job, and I will take this business to a whole new crazy ass level.  When I think about where I was when I had baby #1 and where I am now, I can honestly say that I am way, way cooler.  I am way, way more badass.

So no, Polly, you will not implode.  I am positive that it will be difficult in ways that I cannot fathom right now.  I am positive that I will cry and I will complain and I will say bad words and I will feel like it will never be better again.  But it will.  So I’m saving my future self the trouble of giving in to “advice”.  I’m saying to you, Polly, that you fucking rock it.  It will be a difficult and complicated ballet of getting shit done, but at the end of the day you will still be fucking awesome and so will your kids.

If I have any advice to give to other people out in the world, reading this, about going away to college, about starting a new business, about changing careers, about getting married, about having a baby, about having another baby, about whatever big giant thing you’re approaching right now, my friends, it is this:

Complicated Awesome

 

 

Little Birds Everywhere!

Spring is in the air and I am loving watching tiny birds flutter outside my window every day.  I just knew that I had to celebrate their cuteness Polly Danger style.  And so I bring you a cute collection of bird treats!  Chubby Bird Hair Clip Sets and Chubby Bird Earrings are now in the shop.  Tweet!

These cuties come in a variety of my absolute favorite shades:  Coral, aqua, mustard, hot pink, and gray.  So. Darn. Cute.

 

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My $2 Foamcore Play Kitchen

I love when I feel justified in hoarding supplies.  Nothing feels like walking into the basement and grabbing that wacky doodad that I’ve been saving for years, and bringing it back up the stairs to finally fulfill its purpose.  Ah.  And this, my friends, is how I was able to build my toddler a play kitchen for 2 bucks in the spur of the moment.  From start to finish this project took me about 3 hours, and I only said about 2 curse words the whole time (more from my lack of hardware organization than because I was actually frustrated by the project).

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I will start by saying that I looOoooove play kitchens.  You can head over to my Baby and Toddler Spaces Pinterest board and you’ll see what I’m talking about.  I’ve attempted a few play kitchens in the past, but really, if I’m honest with myself I don’t gel with power tools.  High five to women who can actually use their jigsaws to accurately cut a sink hole (or get their husbands to do it for them), but I am just not there.  Me?  My strengths are using a box cutter and a drill.  Enter foamcore, pine shelves, a hand saw, and a hot glue gun.

Here’s basically what I used:

  • Pine shelf from Fred Meyer (similar to the Ikea Gorm unit), with legs shortened to about 18″ tall
  • Wood cabinet door that was laying around (for the back “wall”)
  • Removeable wallpaper from Target that I picked up at Goodwill a few weeks ago (score!)
  • 2 Foamcore sheets from the dollar store (here’s where I spent my whopping $2 on this project)
  • Black contact paper for the stove (dollar store purchase, but I already had it stashed)
  • Self cover buttons in orange
  • Wooden wheel beads, washers, elastic, and paper clips to make the turnable knobs
  • Odds and ends and bits and bobs
  • Hot glue gun
  • Lots of Command Strips

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For the “oven” I just used a wooden paper tray and some mini muffin tins.  I secured it to the shelf with Command strips- I love those things so much.  The curtains you see were just fabric scraps that I roughly hemmed and staple-gunned directly to the shelf.

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The stove was probably the most work.  The hot plates were easy.  Just traced and cut black contact paper (from the dollar store, already had stashed).  But the knobs were a little bit trickier to figure out. Once I figured it out, however, they were really simple to put together.  I wanted them to actually turn, and real hardware would have been too cumbersome for my foamcore.  So I improvised.

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I started out with an orange self-cover button and threaded a piece of elastic through the shank.  Next I used a triangle of contact paper to make the point on the wooden wheel.  I threaded the elastic through the wheel hole and added a washer.  I can’t remember why I did it, and maybe I didn’t need to, but I did.  Next I threaded the elastic through my stove foamcore (in which I had pre-made holes at even spaces).  I added another washer, to protect the foamcore hole, and then I tied the elastic in a knot over just 1 wire of a paperclip.  When that was all done, I snipped the elastic about 1/2″ from the knot and cover everything with clear shipping tape to keep it from wobbling loose.   I used a label maker to make the Hi Lo stickers, and hand drew the little dots directly onto the foamcore. Once the whole stove portion was in place I used double sided poster tape to adhere it to the countertop.  I did the same for the oven knobs.

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I had so much fun adding the little details.  The play food and utensils and pots and pans were things we already had, but I also made a little tea towel from a fabric scrap and used cup hooks under an Ikea shelf to hold the dowel (totally hot glued together).

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All in all I’d have to say not bad for starting with an ugly wood shelf and some foamcore!

Project Life Photo Album. Simplified. Cute. And CHEAP. Dollar Store Cheap.

Last week found me trying to decide what to do with all of the pictures of my baby boo that I finally got printed.  In my Pinterest quest for ideas I got swept up into this Project Life craze, which felt at once really appealing and really intimidating.  If you haven’t heard of Project Life before, it’s kind of like a cross between photo albums, scrapbooking, and journaling.  It aims to make memory keeping simple and personal.  Which is great.  And people do some A-MA-ZING things with it.  But I know myself.  I can’t handle pressure.  And all of those beautiful cards and accessories are just a whole lot of pressure.

Of the photos I shared last week, I was most inspired by the Pink Ronnie album, but I had a really hard time finding a book that I liked enough to permanently attach photos to.  So I decided to get simple.  Really, really simple.  My photos, my words, the end.  In the end I used a 4 x 6 dollar store photo album, some card stock, paper punches, and washi tape, and that was it.  I love the results.  I love that I felt no pressure, just enjoyment at looking at the pictures and putting words to them.  What’s great about the size of the album is that it’s small enough for my little guy to flip through and enjoy whenever he likes.  Big albums are great, but also they feel imposing to me and are a little bit too awkward for little hands to maneuver themselves.  And because my album is only 48 pages of photos, I was able to concentrate on one moment- our camping trip last summer.

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I really let the photos be the focus of this journal.  I removed the insert that came with the photo album and typed up a title for the album, then printed it onto card stock.  I used one of my favorite pictures from the trip for the cover page.  I printed up a few lined journal pages and cut them to size, some vertical and some horizontal, and I inserted them where it felt appropriate.  I have since learned however, that you can buy pre-printed journal pages on the Project Life website!  I stocked up immediately.  You can also buy blank, precut card stock in many awesome colors, if you tend more towards color.  There are tons of great accessories on the website that I may explore at a later time, like photo overlays and little envelopes.  So cute.

 

One of the things that I do really love about Project Life is that it allows you to personalize photos and capture stories and sentiments that go along with the pictures.  What I don’t love so much are the pre-printed quotes.  I feel a little bit weird about someone else picking my words for me.  I stamped out a few card stock shapes and in the spots that I really had words to share, I shared them.  In my own funky handwriting.

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I love when things come out Pinterest worthy, but really, this album is for me, and not for Pinterest (although, if you want to share this, by all means, do!)  So perfect type and immaculate handwriting were really not super important.  I did my best, but in the end real life is not Pinterest and photo albums are not a competition.

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I found a series of pictures where it looked like we were each earning brownie points for doing things for the first time.  So I made little awards for each photo.  Gaspar stoked a fire, Eric put up a tent, and Jojo the dog . . . well I’m not sure what he did exactly to deserve brownie points but he looked like he wanted some so I gave him the “Ummm” award.

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And I just loved this picture of me and our littlest camper.  There’s nothing more fun than a dog on the beach.

 

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I had tons of fun with my humble materials.  On the day that we went to the beach there were tons of kites in the sky and Gaspar was really loving them.  I took tons of pictures, but none of the kites came out very well in the photos.  So I added them in later with bits of wash tape and embroidery floss.  I love, love, love the effect.

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Over all I am just so in love with this simple photo album.  I can’t wait to make more of them.  I think that for the sake of consistency I will just stick to cream colored card stock, rounded corners, simple journal pages, and black text.  So if anyone else out there is crushing on Project Life, or has started and album but felt overwhelmed, I’d definitely suggest testing out your own simple dollar store version!

 

 

Stress Free Project Life

Soooo Many Pictures.

Like most moms, I take every opportunity to photograph my munchkin.  I post pictures and favorite quotes to my personal Facebook page almost daily.  But you know what?  That isn’t exactly the best way to capture my precious child’s life.  And I know that.  I aim to do better.  I’ve never been a scrapbooker, and I am terrible about getting pictures printed.  But one of my biggest goals this year is to be better at capturing these fleeting moments.  I want a record of all of the most beautiful little details that make up my days with the people I love.  So I’ve just ordered about a bazillion prints, and I’m starting to think about how best to organize and contain them.

I love the idea of combining words with photos.  I love texture.  I love paper.  I don’t love pressure.  And to me scrapbooking, and even “Project Life” type scrapbooking, is just loads and loads of pressure.  The reality for me is that if it’s not casual, relaxed, and spontaneous, I simply will not do it. I will stare at my materials and go blank.  I also don’t totally love purchasing a bunch of stuff that someone else has designed and is supposed to represent my own personal feelings.  Too weird.

Here are a few bits of inspiration to get me, and maybe you, going on a path to more regular journaling.

I like this idea because honestly I am not the world’s greatest photographer, and yes, sometimes I print pictures without spending ages editing and adding cool filters.  So I like the idea of chopping the less cute pictures up and doing something fun with them that still tells a story.

I’ve always had a crush on Smashbooks.  I like the layering and details.  I like DIY Smashbooks even better.  I’m feeling like I have enough paper in my stash to put together something fun and quirky.

And isn’t everything cuter when it’s mini?  I feel like mini photo journals would be a great way to document specific events, like a camping trip or birthday party.  These are just way too stinking cute.

This super cute mini scrapbook is made up of the inserts for a Project Life book.  Super cute and has lots of texture and prompts.

And this might be my favorite idea of them all.  Because really what matters most are the photos and the stories.  I love, love, love how simple and low pressure this journal is.  Ronnie uses one page for groups of photos and the other for a standout photo or a story.

How are you all with journaling/scrapbooking/memory keeping?  Do you have favorite ways to keep on top of recording life?  Please share!

Bows are in the shop!

What a lovely Wednesday morning it is!  My living room is flooded with sunshine and life feels good.  I have just posted a couple of my favorite new bow treats in the shop.  I’ve got so many more cuties coming, but for today you can now purchase Chubby Bow Hair Clips and Chubby Bow Bookmarks!  I also noticed that I’d been having some weeiird shipping issues, and those have all been fixed.  And now I’m off to work on some teeny tiny felt bow earrings!

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New Year, New News, New Stuff

Well here we are again, a brand new year and a fresh start.  My last blog post was definitely a false start to what I had hoped would be a fresh beginning for the blog.  But right before the holidays is definitely not the time to throw oneself into blogging!  Well, you live and you learn.  Now that Christmas and New Years have passed, and my holiday messes are (mostly) put away, I really am ready for that fresh new start.

Behind the scenes lots of fun and exciting things are happening, and also some less fun things like moving junk to the basement and cleaning out files- woohoo!  But let’s talk about the fun things, shall we?  Like the fact that I’ve got a whole new line of adorable products for you cute-lovers!  During the holidays I tested out some oh-so-cute new products and I’m really, really excited to put those in the shop for you all.  Cute stuff, like, oh, I don’t know, Big Bow Bookmarks!!  I can’t tell you how much fun it is to pick up a book and see a chubby bow looking up at me.  It cheers my soul every time!  Soo, those will be in the shop soon.  And a whole lot of other bow-inspired treats.  But I don’t want to give away too much just yet.  Just expect cuteness.  And a lot of it.

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Other fun things going on over here include growing a person in my belly!  Yep!  We’re adding a number 4 to our family!!  It’s pretty exciting news, but to be really honest, it’s also kind of scary for a person who barely feels like they’re just barely getting back into the swing of things, crafty wise.  My goal for the year is to create some kind of system so that I don’t completely lose my mind when this next little person arrives in late June or early July.  I’m always so impressed by moms who blog, but I also know that the reality is usually waay more complicated than those beautiful pictures and highly edited words will convey.  Wish me luck on my journey!

How are you all finding the new year?  Store ads are full of organizational-stuff sales, but I’m wondering if I’m the only one who still has Christmas decorations up and stacks of half-finished projects still laying around.

 

An Indoor Forest! DIY Tree Tutorial for Small World Play

At one time I had 2 criteria for making things:  

1. It must be useful
2. It must be cute.

Well now that I have a very smart, very cool kid, “useful” has a whole new meaning.  Last week what I needed, and I mean  NEEDED, was trees.  Of the small sort.  Diorama sized.  I’ve tried and failed at making great trees on several occasions, but this time I really meant business.  So I came up with a pretty hearty, long lasting solution for anyone out there who just must have trees for their diorama or fairy cottage or toddler small world play.  I did this tutorial during nap time, so my blurry, discolored, step by step pictures are missing a step or two, but hopefully the directions are pretty straight forward and you’ll figure out what to do.  These trees stand up straight, let me tell you.  They’re super versatile and inexpensive to make.  And guess what.  My little person loves them!

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Materials:

  • Fake foliage (the smaller the leaves the better)
  • Cardboard (got mine from a diaper box)
  • Round wooden wheels (small tree cookies with holes drilled into them would also work really well).
  • Green, brown, or sand-colored felt, depending on your “scene”
  • A glue gun.
  • Wire snippers.  They will make your life easier.  Get some at the dollar store if you don’t have any.

How To Trees 1

Step 1.

Cut your cardboard into about 5″ squares.  Hot glue your wooden disks onto the center of the cardboard, preferably on the side that has the picture/words on it.  Do not cut your felt yet.

Step 2. 

Make hot glue strands in a radiating pattern from the center out, and make sure to get glue on the top of the disk.  Do about half of the cardboard square at a time. Place the felt over the cardboard, and use both hands to apply it good and wrinkly.  This is what will make the tree’s roots.  I promise that it makes for a much more natural looking set up in the end.  Do the other half.

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Step 3.

Turn the cardboard over and cut the felt in an organic pattern, well away from the edge of the cardboard.  (I tried a few trees where I actually cut the cardboard in a wavy form and it was more trouble than it was worth, plus it made the trees a bit more wobbly).

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Step 4.

Using an awl, or exact, or sharp scissors, poke a hole in the top of the wood disk.  Snip off a tree sized bunch of leaves from your fake foliage.  Stick the tip of the hot glue un into the hole and fill about half way.  Insert the foliage into the disk and hold upright until the glue sets.  Voila!  That’s it.  You just made a tree!  There are so many ways to customize this.

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Where Polly went and what Polly did and Oh How I Missed You!

You know that you’ve found the right career path when you take a 2 year break from your job and the only thing you want to do during that 2 years is get back on your original path.  Being a mom has been a beautiful, wonderful challenge.  I’m sure that some moms find it easier than I did to be crafty while caring for an infant, but for me, my crafty life pretty much skidded to a halt when our little one came along.  Every project was a struggle, plus I had the bonus fun of being in the middle of a really intense construction project that displaced all of my furniture.  It took a while to bounce back from the double shock of shifting focus to the needs of a baby and living amongst boxes and a chaos of furniture.

 

And clearly I got to a point where I just couldn’t juggle writing this blog with living my life.  So I took a break. What did I do during that break?  Ohh, not much, just opened up a brick and mortar shop, taught a bunch of crafty classes, made a bunch of friends, and watched my infant turn into an amazing toddler who talked almost as much and as clearly as I do by his 2nd birthday.   I have had a heck of a year, folks.  I’m sure that I will one day share all the details of how and why I opened my shop, and how and why I ultimately decided to close it up after a year, but for now I just want to say AHHHH,  it feels so good to be back in my studio and back at this blog once again.  I’ve missed it more than words can say. And I’ve got a tutorial coming for you.  Cos I’m jumping right back in where I left off.

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