Archive | April, 2012

Playing Catch Up!

29 Apr

Hello There!

Hey everyone 🙂

Sadly there is not much change from the past few days around here except for the fact that it’s clean!! I’ve been spending the past few days getting this place back up to par as well as working on the studio to clean it up and get it ready for some massive crafting. I’ve also been working on inventory, listings, pictures and such. My etsy page is getting a huge makeover! I know I’ve been talking about it for a while but thank goodness I actually found the time to get it done 😉

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the new listings that are coming – but there are MUCH MUCH more already made waiting to be posted!

Lots of things to look forward too! Plus on the list of things to make are:

Pincushions

Pillows

Pacifier Clips

Bibs (I’m going to take another stab at them 😉 haha)

Keychains

Appliqued Onesies

Sewing Machine Cover

Apron

Fabric Containers

and much more. 

Looks like I need to get a little busy huh? I hope you all are looking forward to it as much as I am! I’m so happy to be dedicating more time to my etsy shop as well as my blog. It’s been a rough couple of months balancing time, money, and family but there’s never a perfect time to start living out your dreams. Thankfully I have such a supporting family to understand this desire I have and their efforts in pushing me to succeed at it.

Thanks for stopping by!

Love Always,

J

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My football baby!

26 Apr

This little family of ours is torn between two football teams. I am a huge Steelers fan and Brian is all about the Redskins.

Emma gets the joy of sharing between us switching between cute Steelers and Redskins tees.

Today I put aside my differences and put her in a Redskins tee to root for her daddy’s team draft day!

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My Wake Up Call

25 Apr

Hello There.

How’s everyone doing this week? It’s been a pretty uneventful week around here so far. Sure I’ve gotten some errands and chores done but nothing extra-ordinary! As you can probably see by now I haven’t written since Sunday because I haven’t really had anything exciting to share. Well thanks to a wonderful blogger – I now feel like sharing something about me that might just be something you share to!

Today is the awful, horrible, no good topic of Procrastination! Is it sad that I even procrastinated in writing this post? After reading about another procrastinators hints to fixing (thank you baexpat) I decided to share my own experiences.

He suggests making a to-do list. If you’ve read this blog at all you know that I have a love/hate relationship with lists. They always start out working like a charm! I love being able to mark something off my list, maybe it’s just me but scribbling out a line of words that really irritates you is like icing on the cake for me!

After a few days when I realize that the things that I didn’t get to on my first list got transferred to my second list, then again to my third list, fourth list and when I suddenly see that even when I cross off what I’ve done on my first list – it reappears again the next on my second list all over again. I want to cry.  Not only is my list getting longer and more stressful – I’m doing the same darn things each day because it doesn’t matter how much laundry, dishes, picking up toys, vacuuming, cleaning counters, taking out the trash you do – gosh darn it they appear out thin air the next day!

So here’s where I start to ditch the list because it’s easier to accomplish things other than daily chores when they aren’t staring at you on paper. Laundry will get ignored for a day only to let me accomplish cutting coupons. I rinse the dishes and decide to run the dishwasher tomorrow instead so I have more time to catch up on that project I haven’t touched that I’ve been dying to finish!

But wait!! Thanks to baexpat I just realize something that I didn’t know before..

“The point is that your brain will continue to juggle – and thus stress – about any piece of data that does not have a permanent home. Your brain will not let go of something until it knows that the task will be carried out.” – baexpat

So even if the dishes aren’t done and the laundry is sitting there – my brain is trying to remind myself that it needs to be done and not to forget about paying that bill as soon as my paycheck gets deposited. Which then leads to less sleep, more anxiety, and more procrastination because I’m so tired and stressed I can’t get anything done today.

FAIL.

Is there a common ground? Will I ever find a way to get things done around here without feeling overwhelmed or stressed out? For the past few days I’ve been banging my head trying to find a solution to this now oh so epic problem.

I pulled out my phone and logged into my Awesome Note App – my favorite place to organize information since I always have my phone on me. Even though baexpat suggested not sorting your to do list in different groups – I feel like there’s no other way to do it when you are living three different lives like I am 😛

So I set up my folders in order of importance as well as make notes to do in order of the way I’d like to get things done. There’s a trick to why I do this that I’ll explain a bit. Back to my folders – I set them up like this:

Daily List – these are the items that repeat themselves each day like laundry, dishes, cooking, etc.

Etsy – this is my business, orders, listings, bills, etc.

Blog – this is self-explanatory 😉 These are things I want to do for you guys!

NOVC – this is a group of crafters that I’m the founder of that I try to keep active in our local area.

To Do List – this is a list of things that aren’t repeating that I want to accomplish. They may not all need to be done right away but I’d like to get them accomplished eventually.

Shopping – Things I need to pick up. This may sound ridiculous but I always think of something I need to buy at the worst possible time to write things down (in the shower – don’t make fun it’s my thinking time).

Working a part-time job that gives me only two days a week to get extra things done or concentrate on my business makes it hard to get the extra to do list things done each day so really there is no point in even opening that list of things Monday, Wednesday, or Friday because they are not happening!!

Also goes true for Etsy. I really only have Tuesdays and the weekend to work on anything for Etsy so you can forget me opening that list of things any other day.

Second favorite thing about Awesome Note and my Daily List – since it repeats each day all I do is mark it completed when I finish, then remove the check mark before I go to bed and TADA it’s now ready for the next day of rinse and repeat 🙂

So back to my reasoning for having multiple sections of to do lists – there’s no point in stressing about things that you can’t physically accomplish unless you have the time to do it so here is my attempt to making a procrastinator get with the program and get things done. Obviously this won’t work with everyone but feel free to take your own spin on it!

Thanks for stopping by!

Love Always,

J

What are some tips you use to fight procrastination and get things done?

Check, Check, Check – The Sound of Accomplishment.

22 Apr

Hello There!

Another successful weekend here at the Otey residence! My sister was in town for the weekend to do some serious crafting and shopping and I cannot explain how much fun it is to share projects with her. She is not the full-blown craftaholic that I am but she does enjoy a good project now and then.

Yesterday we spent the morning shopping and buying supplies to try out a few new crafts. We got wine bottles from a local wine shop here (that we’ll be doing a post later about), Hillsborough Vineyards, and some wine corks. My sister had ordered some battery-powered light strands and a cricut cartridge. I bought some vinyl to cut using the cricut. My Dad had the fun part of the shopping – he bought some drill bits to cut holes into the wine bottles.

Then we went to town! We cleaned out the wine bottles and soaked them to take of the labels. Then peeled off wine labels (thanks to my Mom) and set them out to dry.

My Dad then drilled holes in the wine bottles to put the lights in them. This was a tricky process since you couldn’t get the drill bit hot. If it got to hot then the drill bit would bend and the glass would shatter. Luckily my Dad came up with a brilliant way to keep this from happening so we only shattered one bottle!

 

While he was working on that I was designing the cricut vinyl labels to cut and peel on some wine bottles. The vinyl that I purchased was to make it look like the glass was etched and I think it worked out perfectly! I am still going to be etching some glasses because it’s a lot of fun but this is a much faster, easier, friendly way to do it.

My sister went to town with the corks breaking them, cutting them, and ripping them apart to make a collaged letter. I’ll have to show you a picture of that one later when she finishes but I think it’s going to turn out pretty darn awesome! With some of the extra corks I’m hoping to make a cork wreath.

Sunday we went wine tasting at Hillsborough Vineyards and I have to say I was quite impressed! It is a gorgeous vineyard if you are ever in the area this would be a fun stop to do a quick wine tasting and check out the gorgeous mountain views. This is coming from someone who doesn’t like wine!!! I did actually try their wines and I found two that I wouldn’t mind drinking and one that I would drink but wouldn’t be a first choice. Three wines from a girl who usually gags when she drinks wine is a winner 😛

We also hopped over to the Blue Ridge Hospice Thrift Shop – I cannot even explain how much I am in love with this thrift shop, plus knowing that all the proceeds go to the hospice just rocks my world! My dad and I went on a basket frenzy and bought a bunch of baskets to use for my upcoming craft show as gift sets and displays and they were such a great price! I think I’m stocked with baskets for the year 😉

Tonight we are attempting a different way to remove the wine labels. We originally soaked them in hot water and scrubbed the label off, then used goo-be-gone stuff to get off the extra sticky residue. This time we are attempting to let them soak in water and ammonia and hoping that they  just peel right off without any scrubbing! My mom was happy to hear she might not have to scrub anymore 🙂

I’m also trying to decide what to do with this big letter we got while we were out shopping. I have so many ideas – I just can’t decide what to choose. I could wrap it in yarn, cover it with corks, spray paint it, cover it in buttons, wrap it with burlap.. I just don’t know what to do.

What do you think I should do?

Thanks for stopping by!

Love Always,

J

Creating A Following!

18 Apr

Today I’m going to talk about my blogging experience and what I have realized what works for me and doesn’t work for me when it comes to followers. It has been slightly over a year now that I have been blogging and I am getting close to having 200 followers! I have also had a lot of good and bad change within that year. Here’s a list of things to get you started!

1. Pictures are worth a thousand words! Most people write blogs because they love writing. Their spelling is impeccable, they are always grammatically correct, and have the uncanny ability to keep your eyes glued to their page until they are finished amazing you with their words. Other’s like me, well we use pictures! I lack many of the skills written above and I am a very visual person so instead of WOWing you with words, I like to wow you with my pictures!

2. Don’t be afraid to be YOU! This was a tough one for me to learn. When I first started this blog my husband and I wanted to keep  who we were pretty private. We didn’t want any pictures of our faces and especially Emma’s. Heck we didn’t even tell you our names for a while! Instead we used codes like E for Emma (E and I went to the park today!).

After re-reading some of my posts I just rolled my eyes. How was a new reader supposed to know what the heck an E was let alone that it was my daughter!? Then our names just started rolling out. After that I said to heck with it all and posted pictures of us. When I started out all my readers were family and friends so there was no point in hiding who we were. After I started getting a little more of a following I realized that I didn’t want to hide who we were. I was darn proud of our family and then the pictures just started coming. Honestly – it’s so much more fun letting you see a picture of Emma riding her first bike then saying, “Hey guess what! Emma rode her first bike today!

3. Are you writing this blog for you or the Readers? Here is another tough one. Some days I am writing posts because I can’t wait to show YOU what I’ve been working on and I can’t wait to hear what you think about it. Other days I am writing a post because I need to get something off my chest or I just need to ramble to someone besides the people I usually annoy 😉

It’s okay to be writing for you and or the readers but the most important thing you need to know is that if you aren’t interested in what you are writing about – your readers won’t be either.

4. Stick with it or change it up? I have heard many different opinions from bloggers that if you want consistent followers that you need your blog topics to be consistent and stay focused on what it is that makes readers keep coming back. Here’s where I beg to differ. As much as I love reading blogs that are about certain things (thrifty finds, organizing, home renovating) I like the occasional post about the writer themselves, their family, daily activities, and things that may have nothing to do with their usual topic!

I also believe that no one is an energizer bunny and writing the same thing on a daily basis can make the things you love the most get REALLY old REALLY fast! Mixing it up is okay – who knows, maybe you’ll get a follower that would have never searched for you before but since you wrote an off-topic post they found you and love you!

5. Respond! It’s important to acknowledge when someone leaves a comment on your blog or emails you about it. I’ve made so many blogger friends that I fell in love with their blog because I had a connection with them that was stronger than just seeing their page. They contacted me to let me know they felt the same way, loved my idea, or just appreciated a post I wrote. It’s amazing what a little comment can do so as well as responding to the comments you get, don’t hesitate to comment on other blogs! Get connected and make new friends!

 

I hope some of these things help you out while you are blogging and make an impact on your following!

Thanks again to all those followers who have been here through my process of becoming the blogger that I am and to celebrate that. When I reach 200 followers I will be giving out random giveaways to my followers!

Thanks for stopping by!

Love Always,

J

Pinning It and I’m Not Talking About Pinterest!

17 Apr

Hey everyone! It’s still the beginning of the work week here and I’ve been attempting to make a few samples of my newest creation! If you missed it – I made a super cool new pin cushion. The traditional one was driving me nuts rolling all over the place so I made this flat square one with more surface room on the top for more pins! Check it out:

I was so darn happy with it that I decided to make a couple more to take with me to the craft show. I dug through all my scraps and separated them into piles (which took me ages since I have so many darn scraps!) and decided which ones I thought would be the best for these little cushions. It didn’t take me long once I got on a roll of cutting – these are the next eight pin cushions I’ll be making this week:

It was hard to just choose eight but I had to limit myself because I tend to get carried away with cutting and prepping. If you haven’t noticed I have boxes and boxes and boxes of pre-cut material just waiting to be sewn into certain things:

Every one of those buckets you see has either pre-cut fabric or thread and ribbon. On top of the desk in the black and red boxes are burp cloth pieces as well as activity blanket pieces. If I had to guess there are probably around 100+ burp cloths and 80 some activity blankets. At the bottom you can see the only fabric that I haven’t cut is piled ready to be cut 🙂 I have an addiction.

So before I cut any more scraps – I am going to make those eight pin cushions! Haha.

Thanks for stopping by!

Love Always,

J

Itty Bitty Chair Redo Part Two!

16 Apr

It’s finally finished!! Hooray! Except for the fact that it has to dry over night until we can play with it… it’s done! We went from this:

To this:

 

I am so excited with the new desk 😀 Emma is a too small for it right now so the next step is deciding if we are going to keep it or not… it’s such a tough decision!


Maybe just maybe if I can find a cute spot to put it in without it being in the way – Brian won’t notice it’s here if we keep it 😉

What do you think I should do? Keep it or sell it?

Thanks for stopping by!

Love Always,

J

Another Busy Day!

15 Apr

Wow! This weekend was crazy busy – but oh so much fun 🙂 We started off this morning watching Brian wash his car. There’s nothing more relaxing than sitting around watching someone else do work! Haha. Especially work that you will never be required to do 😉

Emma wasn’t having as much fun watching I was so after a while she hopped on her bike and tried to give it a spin. This is the first year we’ve gotten it out and she sits on it perfectly, knows to put her feet on the petals, get’s the motion in which the petals move, but has yet to figure out the whole pushing to make it move part. We’ve got all summer to learn 😉


After that we packed it up and decided to run a few errands. Brian and I went to our local sporting goods and bought a few things for the upcoming softball games with his company. We went in for a list of things for him and came out with an awesome new bat for me! Oh and yes the list of things for him 😉

After crushing it at the batting cages I was daydreaming of a new bat but online research told me it wasn’t happening. When we walked into the store I slowly gravitated over to the bats just to have a look and I was shocked to find out that they were 150 dollars cheaper than online!!!?? WHAT!!!??? For that price – I couldn’t resist.

Then finally after nap time I got some time to work on the itty bitty desk makeover! I didn’t get to finish everything so there will be a part two to see tomorrow but I couldn’t resist showing you what I’ve done so far!

I cut out batting and fabric to cover the seat and make it padded. My favorite part about staple gunning fabric to a seat is the fact that you can just rip it out later and change the fabric to fit the style you want it to be!

Here is a close up of the seat! The secret to keeping the shape of the heart while padding it was to pull the fabric tight in the middle of the top of the heart and stapling it there first. Then spread out the fabric and pull around the rest of it. Tomorrow you’ll see the final touches of the desk! I’m painting chalkboard paint on the top of the desk for some extra fun 😀

Don’t forget to leave a comment telling us what you think! We love to hear what you have to say!

Thanks for stopping by!

Love Always,

J

Itty Bitty Desk Redo <3 Part One

14 Apr

Wow what a crazy Saturday it has been for me! One of the things I have been doing in order to improve myself is working out at the gym twice a week. Now that I’ve successfully done the schedule for a little less than a month now I am starting to think about also working out on Saturday mornings – but in a different way. The gym I go to offers free classes and I’m thinking about doing a Zumba-like class. Today I stopped by the gym to check it out to see if it would be something I’d like and I also gave my Dad a tour. This gym is starting to seriously become a family affair 😉

After the gym today I headed to Home Depot with my dad to pick up a few things and start our process of purchasing the things we want to make Emma’s desk. If you are wondering what I’m talking about you can check this post – Play Space Makeover and Play Space Step One Complete! Today we bought the hinges we are looking for and checked out the options for the shelving board. I think we’ll be headed to Lowe’s to see their options and get the rest of the pieces for the desk! So we’ll be starting on that soon 😀

Then I hit the batting cages today! Brian’s work has a softball team that plays against other offices and they are always trying to find girls to play so since I’m a female and I know a little about it softball 😉 I’ve decided to get my practice on! I started slow and worked my way up with the speed and got tired of waiting for my turn so I switched over to the baseball batting cages and ROCKED it! Apparently I’m better at baseball than softball! That was quite a shocker lol!

After that workout and feeling gross I figured I might as well get down and dirty with some crafts while I was already dressed for the occasion. I got out all the supplies and set up camp in the backyard to work on this itty bitty desk I found while thrift to shopping!

Here’s the gorgeous little chair I started with!

I sanded it down real quick with just a light touch to get the shiny cover off of it so it would hold the paint.

I did one coat of white paint which was not enough! I let it dry for about 20 minutes and did another layer.

And TADA! Here is the finished second coat of white just sitting out to dry 😀

This isn’t the finished redo yet though! I have more things in mind to finish off this cute little desk. I’ll be cutting out padding and some fabric to cover the little seat and paint the top of the desk with chalkboard paint for some serious fun! After this dries overnight I’ll be working on the second part tomorrow so you’ll get to see the grande finale soon.

This isn’t the desk we were making for Emma but we’ll see when it’s finished! I was planning on selling it but if we love it we might just have to keep it! ❤ If you want to see what else we found at the thrift store the day I found the desk check out this post – The Perfect Finds!

What did you do today?

Thanks for stopping by!

Love Always,

J

Scrap-tastic!

13 Apr

I finally got the chance to hide out in my studio for an hour and have been daydreaming of things I can make out of my scraps. The bag that holds the large amount of scraps I own is busting out the seams and since I love all the fabric I have in there I refuse to let it go to waste! I decided for my first scrap project I was going to make a simple square wide pin cushion. I inherited a traditional small pin cushion like this:

It works WONDERS for the projects that I have been doing but once I started making an assembly line of products to sew I realized really quickly that it was way to tiny to hold the amount of needles this chick uses 😉

So I decided to go with something more practical. Something with more surface around the top and less round to prevent the rolling that my old one does when I accidentally hit it in the process of throwing things! (Really just scrambling to find missing pieces lol)

Check it out:

Of course I chose polka-dots – gotta love them!

I’m so darn proud of my new pin cushion! Not to mention it’s going to hold triple the amount of pins my original one does 😀 You have no idea how much that excites me! Hooray for scraps – hooray for new sewing accessories 😀

What do you like to make with your fabric scraps?

Thanks for stopping by!

Love Always,

J

 

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