Fridays are for Favorites

fridays are for favorites

Today’s post is dedicated to my most favorite thing that happened this week – I won the Handmade Winter e-book giveaway from the Creative Mamas Collective through Maker Mama!

Photo from Creative Mamas Collective

Photo from Creative Mamas Collective

This e-book is 92 pages of awesome. There are ideas for books for all ages, drink and food recipes, party ideas and crafting tutorials. Not only that, but the book also includes a few prompts for starting meaningful traditions with your family during the holiday season and continuing through the year.

So, for books….

Photo from Harper Collins Childrens

Photo from Harper Collins Childrens

They not only offer ideas for books like Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, that we all know and love. But they also offer book ideas for some books that I have never heard of before – like Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson – that look incredibly awesome and I can’t wait to get for my little one. When you click on the Harper Collins link or the photo above, you can choose to buy from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and you can also click on the Indie Bound link that allows you to search for indie bookstores in your area. Score!

Photo from Rajovilla

Photo from Rajovilla

There are also recipes for making wonderfully delicious authentic Warm Masala Chai like the drink pictured above from Rajovilla. I remember when I had my first chai, and I immediately fell in love with the spice and how warm it made me feel. It’s perfect for after dinner when you want something warm to drink but you’re not about staying up all night. It never occurred to me that I could make my own chai and now I’m on the hunt for of all of the ingredients – and the strainer!

There are several other dessert recipes, including Gingerbread Crinkle Snowflake Cookies from Simple as That and Gingerbread Ice Cream from Things for Boys. Wait, hold the phone. Gingerbread Ice Cream?! I think I might be in love.

Photo from My Life at Playtime

Photo from My Life at Playtime

Have you ever heard of a Favorite Things Party? I had not until I saw the idea from Deborah at My Life at Playtime in the e-book. There is a set dollar limit (she uses $10 but that’s really up to you) per item, and each person brings three of their favorite items. Everyone writes their names on three pieces of scrap paper and puts them in the hat. You then pick names and each person passes out one gift to the person who picked their name. You can make each party themed, too. There is more information in the book and you can read about Deborah’s experience by clicking on the link or photo above.

You can learn how to make awesome crafts, like leather and chain jewelry from Small and Friendly, chalkboard imagination blocks from Classic Play and Polymer Clay Vases and Placeholders from Hideous! Dreadful! Stinky! too! And for you crafty ladies you know your way around a sewing machine, there are PLENTY of sewing tutorials, too!

Finding new tutorials and ideas are amazing. But more than that, I love getting these collaborative books because I find bloggers and makers that I have never seen anything from before, or maybe someone that I have come across but never actually saw their stuff. It also reminds me of bloggers that I have followed for a while and sparks something new.

I learned about the Creative Mamas Collective during my usual stalking of Maker Mama. If I counted correctly, there are 21 collaborators in this book, and over 50 DIY ideas. The book is $15 and it’s my understanding that you get it immediately after your purchase. Could be the perfect gift for a crafty someone in your life, or you could use the ideas for last-minute handmade gifts and party ideas! Join the Creative Mamas Collective by following them on Pinterest and following and posting #creativemamas on Facebook and Instagram.

What are your favorite things that happened this week? Any new finds you want to share? Post in the comments and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google+ with the hashtag #fridayfavorites. Find more of my favorite inspiration on Pinterest! Now, back to gift making and wrapping!

Yo Momma Monday: Cody from Lu & Ed

db687036449611e397fd22000ae912c9_8

Meet Cody, a work-at-home mama in her mid-twenties from Kansas City, MO, who runs an eco-friendly monster toy line called Lu & Ed. Before starting her own business, Cody was the head of marketing in a retail store, and before that, she was in line to become a store manager at a local restaurant. Not looking back, Cody says that making mon-stors “is the best job I have ever had!”

She came up with the idea of Mon-stors when she moved from South Carolina to Missouri with her son and lived in the basement of her fiance’s mom’s house. With little room to move around, Cody thought of a storage solution where her son could literally feed toys to a stuffed monster.

Once I posted photos online, I got dozens of requests and soon after, dropped my day job to pursue it full time!

Cody is not only a mama to her son, she is also a mama to seven rescue pets and has another job recording sales for an author. Being a mom has made her more motivated because she has more flexibility as an independent business owner than she would in the workforce, and she is setting a good example for her son to pursue his dreams.

Photo from Lu & Ed

Photo from Lu & Ed

“My son loves what I do and I love that it enables me to stay home with him, that I can be here for him all the time. I am so thankful for everyone who supports my indie business and allows me this opportunity.”

Although it’s hard for Cody to pinpoint her favorite thing about running her own business, she did say that the scariest thing is straightening out her taxes and licenses.

“You always want to make sure you cross your T’s and dot your I’s and it can be scary filing taxes for your first time or applying for a new license when you relocate. There are so many great resources out there now for handmade businesses to help them get their affairs in order, and for that I am thankful!”

Right now, she is a one-mama shop and works in the extra bedroom in the back of her house. Cody says that she is casually looking for an intern to help out with sewing during her busy times – before big events and during the holiday season – but in the meantime, her son has turned out to be quite the helper.

Photo from Lu & Ed

Photo from Lu & Ed

“On take your child to work day last year he worked in the studio with me all day and made two stuffed monsters, and had so much fun doing so! He also loves to make jewelry, sculpt, paint, make soap and draw. ♥”

She describes her workspace as “messy, colorful, fun, full of inspiring quotes, monsters and a huge over flowing closet of fabric.” Speaking of fabric, Cody uses all eco-friendly materials to make Mon-stors and assures that there is absolutely no waste going into landfills. She uses large cuts of fabric to make Mon-stors, then from that, she cuts use the remnants to make small Mon-stors, totes, stuffed monsters, gadget Mon-stors and other productsWhatever is left from that is used for stuffing or to make dog beds that she donates to animal shelters.

“They are all little steps that make a big impact in the environment.”

Cody has always been eco-aware but admits that she didn’t know the impact buying new fabric had on the environment until she took a part-time job at a fabric store to help cover the costs of some dental work she needed. After she witnessed all the waste firsthand, she decided that she could no longer support big-box fabric stores.

Photo from Lu & Ed

Photo from Lu & Ed

“Fabric arrives in a big, plastic wrapped box. The box and plastic wrap are thrown in the trash (not recycled), then each bolt is wrapped in plastic wrap, which is then throw away. All uneven edges are trimmed and just thrown away, as are tiny remnants & the cardboard sleeves the fabric is wrapped around.”

She started buying fabric at thrift stores and after a few months, people were offering her old fabric, sheets, clothing and blankets that they were no longer using. Wanting to do more, she searched for more eco-friendly ways to run her business. She started flipping food boxes inside out and once her family and friends heard she was doing this, they started giving her their old boxes.

“I haven’t had to buy or pick up a box from the post office in over two years! I also found Eco Enclose, a company that makes biodegradable tape from renewable resources, Fabric Recycles, a fabric and crafting notion thrift store where I can buy thread spools second hand at a fraction of the cost (and pollution of production) of new thread, and Moo‘s amazing recycled, biodegradable business cards!”

Cody has witnessed her eco-efforts sparking a revolution among artisans within her community. Business owners are realizing that being eco-friendly in your supplies and packaging actually results in major savings for your business, and more and more people are coming to her for advice on how to make their businesses more sustainable.

Cody's car after a thrifting haul

Cody’s car after a thrifting haul. Photo from Lu & Ed

“Several people I know have stopped purchasing boxes and bubble mailers and started recycling packaging or making their own mailers from reclaimed materials to reduce landfill waste and environmental pollution. I think that it is creating a bit of a ripple effect – as more people close to me make small changes, people close to them will as well, and so on. ♥ If we all make small changes they will have a huge impact on the Earth!”

She says that her eco-conscious efforts are also creating a ripple effect with her son. They pick up litter together all the time, often talk about sustainability and she takes him on all of her thrift store adventures. “My son is a total green-freak,” she says.

“He will grab a robe and say “Wow, this would be a great monster!” We buy all of our clothing, dishes, and home goods like lamps and decor from thrift stores, and my son is aware of the ecological impact factory produced goods creates on the world. My son has a hawk eye for organic products at the grocery store, too. Haha! I hope he will maintain his love for nature and making good choices through adulthood.”

Cody started Team Lu & Ed at the beginning of this year to collaborate with other artists and fulfill customer demands for products she doesn’t offer. It slowly grew into a charitable endeavor, with up to 50% from the sale of each product going to charity. Recently, she partnered with The Mollie Shop to sell super cute bows, and half of the profit will be donated to Drumm Farm Center for Children.

Cody's collaboration with The Mollie Shop. Her first donation was $148. Photo from Lu & Ed

Cody’s collaboration with The Mollie Shop. Her first donation was $148. Photo from Lu & Ed

“It has been a huge success and I have loved helping emerging artists become discovered through our collaborations, and I love bring art & toys together to create change in my local community!”

She says that her favorite thing about what she does is “how happy my products make children. It just makes my heart so happy to see photos of children lovingly playing with their monsters.” She is adding a few new lines to her shop and is working on a few new collaborations. Cody hopes that her green business will continue to inspire her community.

“I am hoping that my eco-mission will inspire other handmade business owners make more conscious decisions about where they source their supplies, and inspire consumers to make slower purchases, really thinking about the product, how it makes them feel and the impact it has on the Earth before buying. ♥”

You can find out more about Cody, Lu & Ed and her mission by visiting her website and connecting with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. If you would like to participate in Yo Momma Monday, please post in the comments and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #yomommamonday. You can find more awesome mama inspiration on my Pinterest!

Weekly Wishes #3

Image belongs to the Nectar Collective

Image belongs to the Nectar Collective

This is the third week I have been blogging about my Weekly Wishes – an awesome link-up started by Melyssa of The Nectar Collective – and I have to say, it has been a huge motivator. I’m holding myself accountable for my goals and challenges, and I’m figuring out why I didn’t do what I had planned to do. And it always boils down to do this…life really does get in the way. It might seem like the biggest and most widely-used cop out in the world, but it is true! Sometimes, you really don’t have enough hours in the day, and that rang true last week.

Last week’s wishes:

Business: Get together with Heather to go over her Press Release (very exciting stuff!

Creative: Restore the three-tiered basket I recently purchased at the Lodi Street Faire and finish my chalkboard tray to use as a prop for my photos.

Fitness: 15 minute workout along with a 15 minute yoga session in every day

Home: Switch out the garden – work on moving all of the old stuff out, cleaning up the garden area, and starting planting new veggies

I did get my business wishes completed last week. I got the Press Release from Heather so I can start promoting her work more, and I found a bunch of new author communities for her to join. She’s going to look through all of them and pick one for now. She’s also looking at independent bookstores in San Diego where she can do a reading and sign some books – so I’m excited to see what happens there! We also have some Book Reviews I need to check on and share!

As for my creative wish – I got the tray done, finally! And as it turns out, it works perfect as a prop for my photos! I used to take a photo of a recipe I’m working on, and it added a really nice touch. I need to find a rust removal solution for my three-tiered basket, so if you know of any – please let me know!

DSC02617

I was not able to get much of an exercise routine in last week, so I’m going to try it again this week! My daughter is starting to get more of a sleeping schedule down, so I should be able to fit something in during her naps.

And, my garden. I’ve decided to hold off on working on it until I get some new plants in. Then I can take a day to just clean it out and put new stuff in. I need to look up what plants will do the best in this season and go from there. I’ve started making salsa and hot sauce with the peppers from my garden, and that is a big motivator to keep it going!

This week’s wishes:

Business: Start working on my logo and graphic design work for Baby Burrito Collective. I’m going to work on the website as well, but I at least want to get my branding done before I do more work on the site. My goal is to eventually learn web design and build my own website, but I’m taking it all step by step. I’ve learned what trouble I face if I try to do it all at once, so I’m trying more and more to take my time with everything. I’m going to keep a Pinterest board with all of the colors, fonts and designs I want for my site.

Creative: Start working on the three-tiered basket. I need to soak it in some rust removal solution and then I will paint it a lovely color and hang it in the pantry. I didn’t know how much I would love repurposing and upcycling old stuff to make it the way I love it, but it gives me such a rush! I also need to work on the chalk/cork board I have been wanting to fix. I have the frame, just need to make board now.

the baskets are holding the cheese grater

the baskets are holding the cheese grater

Fitness: Get a routine. I did so good for the last couple weeks, and now the weight is creepily finding it’s way back. I just need to get a routine that works for me instead of worrying about doing it for a certain amount of time, and just doing it every day. Even if it needs to be something quick, it’s better than nothing, right?

Home: Get all of my peppers and basil out of the garden before the frost hits and start canning like mad. I’m hoping to get a pressure canner, which will help a lot. I’m thinking of canning apple butter, hot sauce and pesto as part of my Christmas gifts I’m giving away. I always love getting that stuff, and I would love to do it for my family!

What are your weekly wishes? Write about them and link up to the Nectar Collective. You can also share them in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Here’s to having another lovely and productive week!

 

Fridays are for Favorites

fridays are for favorites

I’ve always been one to be a little late to jump on the bandwagon. And my newest obsession is no different. ARROWS! Oh, I love them so much. When I searched for them on Pinterest, I realized that again…I was late. It seems like everyone on the interwebs is also loving this neat design. Whether they’re on jewelry, clothing, skin, or a digital design, arrows are everywhere right now. And while I might be late to this party, I’m totally staying for a while. Here are some of my favorite arrow things…

il_570xN.477932634_kvy2

Image belongs to Shh! Maker Design

Arrows & Stars seamless pattern from Shh! Maker Design – Ah, seamless patterns. I can’t wait until I finally feel comfortable making something like that. Amanda Shoemaker, who owns this Etsy store, has loads of cute designs for good prices. These 12 seamless patterns are going for $7 right now. And you can use them for both digital and print. I also liked her vintage flower designs so I’ll be checking out that shop more.

il_570xN.461839997_2imh

Photo belongs to Ivie Baby

Fitted crib sheet from Ivie Baby – As a new mom on a budget (and I mean, a big budget), it made me gasp a little to see that these sheets were $55. But then I thought about it, and they’re made by hand. Can’t say the same for the sheets I got from Babies R Us. And we wash our sheets plenty, so we have yet to return to the store to get any more. So, if they are well-maintained, they could last a while. And they’re so very cute! There’s a lot of other cute baby stuff in her store, and all of it is gender-neutral. Even boppy covers!

ARROWhello_1024x1024

Image belongs to hello apparel

Arrows t-shirt by hello apparel: I’ve seen that “hello” logo around a lot lately, but I never knew what it was about. So when I saw this shirt on Pinterest, I followed the link to see if I could learn more. Turns out, hello is an independent outlets for artists to make and sell their merch while on tour, without signing any crazy contracts. Pretty cool, eh? This specific shirt has the “fit, feel and durability of a vintage shirt, in a brand new version.”

il_570xN.362622999_pr4a

Image belongs to Frosted Willow

Arrow bangle bracelet from Frosted Willow – As someone who has always dreamed of making jewelry (even though I hardly ever wear it), I look up to anyone who can do it. Katrin, who owns this shop, said that the bracelet is themed after Hunger Games, and even though I’ve never seen Hunger Games, I’m still really attracted to the bracelet. She makes everything by hand and custom orders are available.

Do you have any favorite arrow themed stuff that you want to share? Post in the comments or share on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the the hashtag #arrowsisarose and follow more of my arrow inspiration on Pinterest!