Friday, December 21, 2012

It's The Holiday Season

In my day to day, I've had lots of different blog post ideas swimming around in my brain- but just not the time to sit down and put the fingers to the keys.  So I suppose I will do a bit of a recap and make a promise to be much more attentive to my little blog in the coming New Year. 

While it most definitely was not a conscience decision, I took a few weeks away from Etsy this holiday season.  I spent a lot of the early fall stocking up my store with lots of neat finds and I was becoming overwhelmed and at times, completely frazzled with the work load I put on myself.  With a 4.5 year old and a 16 month old at home, running a business is always interesting and I think it just caught up with me.  So while I have been consistently shipping orders throughout November and December, I just haven't spent much time listing or photographing, in part due to the fact that my regular photography area is now occupied by our beautiful Christmas tree.  I thought all this "time off" would make me anxious.

It hasn't. 

In fact, I realized something important about my life and how finding a balance between my family and my business needs to be my focus.  Last Friday (as I'm sure a lot of people did) I spent most of the day in tears.  The thought of losing my own child just does not process in my mind and my heart felt as though it broke a hundred times for those families.  And it didn't happen to me.  I cannot begin to imagine living each day in that nightmare.

So it seems for me, this just added to my growing feeling that I need to hug my children more and worry just a bit less about my shop.  And so I have, I've hugged my children even more than I already do.  For me it's important to be grateful on a daily basis, but that sense of gratitude has been magnified over and over in the last several months.  I think we've all had a taste of that.  My business is incredibly important to me, but I'm learning that I don't need to sacrifice my life for the quality of my work.  My work will still be the best that I can give, just in slightly smaller doses that are more easily managed.

On a brighter note, I've also spent the last several weeks getting in touch with my long dormant crafty side.  I used to really enjoy the regular DIY project but having kids seemed to eliminate any interest I had in using up any free time I had.  But as my children are growing and bit more independent in their play time, I had some moments to work on a few Christmas gifts for friends and family this year.  It was nice.

My first inspiration came from Pinterest- a concept from Design Sponge for a faux terrarium Christmas ornament.  Here's how mine turned out:

I spent loads of hours surfing around Etsy (as I'm sure a lot of you do) and found that the water-less snow globe/winter scenes in a jar really spoke to me.  I'm still working on these and hope to put a few in my shop at some point, even if they are a bit late for the season. 

I gave this one to my next door neighbor

Not the best photograph as pictures involving glass/reflection are not usually my friend.

Big J gave her preschool teachers some butterfly ornaments for Christmas and she was so excited to give them something she made herself.  I was a pretty proud mamma.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!  I'm looking forward to all the possibilities of 2013.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Better Than Black Friday

It has been years since I've had turkey, probably 2/3 of my life and to be honest- a lot of the holiday meal is in the meat.  So each year it is unknown as to whether or not I have a super tasty Thanksgiving (or Christmas or Easter, you get where I'm going with this), not that I'm complaining because it's never a bad meal and there is always pumpkin pie.  But this year was a win-win with a huge variety of the most yummy sides (my gram-in-law even made me some strict vegetarian stuffing, bless her heart) and as we managed a meal with both sides of the family, I had not one, but two helpings of spinach casserole.  Yum yum.

Miss J and I made some sugar cookies with an autumnal/Thanksgiving feel.  Fun fun.

Ours was a very low key and enjoyable holiday.  The kids had fun, despite the fact that they both seem to have colds.  And the company was lovely, it's this reason that the holiday season is my favorite time of year, getting everyone I love together in one place.  I'm thankful for so many things this year.  My husband, kids and fam, good friends, the roof over our heads, the fact that we still have a roof after this year's hurricane, our health and happiness.  I'm fortunate to be home with my two little ones and running my own business, it's the perfect job for me.  It's been a good year.

Onto the mayhem that is post Turkey Day.  No Black Friday for me.  I've never really been a fan and I'd much prefer to spend my time shopping on the computer (and Etsy of course), than brave the crowds "IRL."  And if you are like me, then you're in luck.  I'm offering a blog exclusive coupon code, running this weekend only.  Enter 2012BLACKFRI at checkout for 15% off your order.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Gifts for Your Guy

I'm back!

It's been a very hectic and stressful couple of weeks but I'm gradually falling back into the regular routine since the hurricane, which thankfully we survived unscathed (more about that in a later post).  But it definitely threw our normal routine out the window.

Anyway, this week I hope to post a series of gift ideas for various members of your family.  Today's is for your vintage loving guy.  And Etsy is vintage gift overload.

My mother always says they don't make them like they used to and I think that in this case, truer words were never spoken.  While the design of a staple gun probably hasn't changed much, when was the last time you found one in such industrially beautiful packaging?  I am completely in love with its metal case and I'm not ashamed to say so.

Back when it was still brewed in PA.  Wouldn't this look great in your gentleman friend's bar?  Or any friend's bar, for that matter.

Aren't the worn and weathered suitcases so wonderful?  They hold such mystery, a story of a past life you'll never know.  I think this one has a very masculine air, which I quite enjoy.  And it doubles as a piece of storage/furniture when you aren't on the road.

The ever popular Woolrich jacket in black and red- my husband was a fan but unfortunately it wasn't his size.  Whether you're married to a lumber jack (or he's just a fan of sporting the facial hair like mine), you can't go wrong with a good wool jacket. 

For the snappy dresser in your life.  Perfect for the regular bow tie wearer, or the start of a collection for the beginner.  My personal favorite is the striped.  Hands down. 

Both useful and beautiful to look at, this ruler combines my favorite aspects of vintage.  Utilitarian and aesthetic appeal.

Perfect for the man (or woman) who is on the road. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Shades of Autumn

For well over a year now, my husband (and various members of my in-law family) have been working on and off on our unfinished third floor attic.  Dry wall, molding, paint and a lot of take away pizza and hoagies went into that attic to become what it is today.  And with the birth of our son, things slowed down, as they seem to do.  So it felt a bit like a dream to see carpet laid down and the finishing touches applied to such a fresh space.  I want to scream from the rooftops, "I have an office now!!"

Well, not just an office (she says reluctantly) but a playroom/office/workshop for kids/me/my husband.  But there's room enough for everyone.  At the moment, only my desk, filing cabinet, printer and dress form are in place but by the end of the week, I hope to have a more permanent situation.  I'm so excited that I'm sure there will be pictures to follow.

In the shuffle of all our belongings from one floor to the next, I found myself stopping by my very necessary storage locker, where a lot of my excess inventory and retired baby clothes get tucked away.  And I found these gems.  Three simply gorgeous 1960s textured nylon ladies blouses, with all autumn appeal.  Granny smith apple green, cinnamon spice brown and pumpkin orange.  Beautiful and lovely. 

Love love love the collars on these tops.
Sooooo cute.

Oh!  And it's not too late for Halloween orders- feel free to contact me for express shipping times and prices!  As always, my daughter's costume choice is still up in the air.  Last I checked, she was going to be a princess/fairy/pirate/robot or something like that.  My son, at just 14 months is much less opinionated.  He's going to be a dinosaur (his costume was a birthday present).  I'm sure pictures of this will follow as well.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Today {Yesterday} is a Gift

Yesterday morning my daughter woke up at about 8:30.  (Yes, I'm one of those lucky parents who other parents often dislike immensely because my children {usually/sometimes/may} sleep til 8-9 AM.)  In my own defense, when my children are awake, they are typically running me in circles, they have high energy levels, but when they crash they are out cold.  But I digress.  She pads down the stairs in her footie jammies and comes into the kitchen where I’m answering email, sipping my coffee and preparing for the day.  She announces loudly that she needs to use the bathroom and so I shoo her into the powder room to do her business. 

And the following is a continuous stream of one sided conversation, which is pretty standard for my daughter, who has her mother's gift of the gab.  J- “Mommy, I need to go pee.  Will you help me with my jammies when I’m done, can we watch that show we watched yesterday, will you get me a drink, I really liked that show yesterday, what was it called, WAIT!  (She comes out into the kitchen with jammies dragging behind)  Mommy, there’s no toilet paper, will you start the roll, will you put it on the hanger, will you help me with my jammies.”  The endless stream of conversation stops short when she reaches the kitchen table.  “What’s that Mommy?  This is BEAU-TI-FUL!”  She points at a blue enamel flower pin I sold that morning.  “Is it a present?”  She then points at the wrapping paper on the table.  “It’s for a customer,” I reply.  J- “Oh, that’s so beautiful, I really like that.”  And off she went, immediately back to babbling about the toilet paper and the toilet paper hanger and the t.v. show and preschool and breakfast.  Today is a gift (or should I say yesterday), both in the literal and figurative senses.  Yesterday's gift was a good belly laugh at my daughter and her endless exuberance.

Other more literal gifts are coming, as the holiday season will soon be upon us.  To me, vintage is a perfect, one of a kind gift that can bring back memories, or can replace something long since lost or can remind the recipient of an inside joke.
On a less sentimental note, I gift wrap!  Yup, I'll be happy to gift wrap a purchase in any of my shops, just send me a message and we'll work out the details- I have a fairly large stock of vintage wrapping paper for all occasions.  It's sure to make any vintage lovers day!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Blog Neglect

It has been a busy few days and so my blog is sadly bare.  I blame it on my mommy gig, it's had me tied up for days (actually everyday), but then when you throw the occasional work-out-of-the-home day for Mom, it really spices things up.  This past week, I was out of the house not one, but two whole days for my side line job as an auction clerk.

I cannot express with words what a perfect fit clerking is for me.  It is a near second/third, rivaled only by motherhood and my online shops.  The rhythm of the auctioneer's call, the adrenaline rush of the bidding and the excitement of the unknown surprises.  Perfect fit.  It is just the right pace for me.

But when I come home, I'm never quite sure what I'll find.  Upon my return Wednesday night, I found my daughter had already gone to bed but my wild little son was bouncing about the room like a pinball.  He happily cried, "Daddy!" and ran to me with arms open wide.  Yes, he calls me Daddy.  And any mommy reading this surely understands my level of disappointment (like watching your ice cream slide right off the cone).  But he is in the midst of some serious Daddy Hero Worship so I tolerated the greeting.  Then after a hug he was on his way.  Fortunately he crashed in his crib just a few minutes later.  Apparently he was running on E. 

When I returned from work yesterday, both my children didn't seem to notice I was even there.  They acknowledged me and went right back to the fun times they were having.  I suppose I should be grateful, as these are the signs of emotionally well adjusted children.  Right?  But I realized this weekend that both my kids are growing more self sufficient everyday.  And there are fewer and less frequent traumas and tantrums when I leave home without them.  It is sort of a relief and sort of a sadness.

I'm leaving with a sneak peek of things I love that are coming to the shop shortly.  But before I share, have you stopped by my new shops beautiesrecycled and vintagekidlets to say hello?  Please do, I'm lonely over there. 

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Yesterday my children took the mostly unheard of Simultaneous Extended Nap Time.  You'll notice the letters, S.E.N.T.  Yes, that's right, because it was heaven sent.  I'm sure for anyone at home with their kids, they feel pretty darn lucky to get a S.E.N.T. day now and again.  For me, I'm fairly sure the sensation is akin to winning the lottery.

No lie.

We attended the wedding (which was so lovely) of old friends on Sunday night, so my kids were with my mom, who is a true baby whisperer.  I'm not sure what she does or how she does it, but our 4 year old was long asleep in her bed and our toddler was happy as a clam when we returned around 9:30.  So I chalk up the rare S.E.N.T. to my mom wearing them out.  Or the other way around.  Hard to say.  No matter the reason, I am never one to look a gift horse in the mouth.  So yesterday afternoon turned into an unscheduled photography event.  Did I mention the nap lasted 3 hours?  Yep, both kids, passed out, three hours.  I didn't take a count but I know I have enough items photographed to keep me busy most of the week (longer if I'm honest).  Yay for small triumphs!

So I didn't sweat it when my son woke around 5 this morning- instead I went into his room to attempt to rock him back to sleep when I realized- he's freezing.  All this going on about how fall is coming to the beautiful state of PA and I forget that nights this week will be around 45* or so.  So I wrap the poor thing in a blanket and I wasn't rocking him for more than a moment and he was out again.  Mommy fail.

But it's not my fault.  I blame my seasonal confusion on these guys.  We are so fortunate that our garden is still producing, although the end is near.  I was out yesterday afternoon picking tomatoes and peppers and I guess I should bring in the rest this week since frost will come before we know it.  And I'm thinking I should put away the thin cotton summer jammies so the kids don't freeze.  Doh.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

My Autumnal Love(s)

Second to Christmas, autumn is my favorite time of year.  October is the month that my husband and I fell in love, 11 years ago.  Aw.  And for that it holds a fondness for us both.  I feel the thrumming of fall in my veins- I know that plants die and the trees lose their leaves, but I seem to feel more alive.  Some of my happiest autumn memories are of pumpkin patch trips, apple cider from the orchard nearby, sweaters and cold hands. 

And of course rummage sales.  Ah yes I love you, Rummage Sale, more than you could ever know.  For a few precious weekends in September and October, it's rummage sale and flea market season, of which there are several nearby that I go to each year.  It is definitely possible that I get more excited about these shopping trips than I ever was as a child opening gifts on Christmas Day.  

This weekend marked the first of the series that I go to.  The weather was dreary, slightly wet and and windy.  Not the cheeriest of days.  But without the immediate threat of rain, I drank my coffee quietly in the kitchen and headed off, excited to find something fun.  I managed to slip out without waking the husband or either of the kids (yay me!) and had a couple hours to myself to shop.  At this point in my life, a couple hours to myself feels odd.  The sensation of losing your keys, over and over- checking for little children and then remembering they are safe at home with Daddy.  Phew.

Today's finds were strictly jewelry.  Some great autumn colored costume jewelry necklaces, a couple sweater clips, a butterfly necklace and three enamel flower pins.  I'm torn about the pins, as I have a massive collection of my own that is busting at its seams.  There's a good chance that they will end up in the shop, ready to go be a part of someone else's collection.  We'll see.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Deep Breath & A New Blog

Beginning a blog has been something lurking on my mental To Do list for a long time, stuffed in the back of my mind where a nagging voice hangs out, constantly reminding me of all the things I've meant to do each day- and pointing out how little was actually accomplished.  After I had both my kids, the voice grew louder and I find I'm hard on myself rather than looking at all the little things I achieve in a day.

Today, for instance, I should probably view the fact that my children were fed a real breakfast and didn't wear their PJs all day as a check off that list.  Instead, I spent most of the afternoon downing on myself about the small number of photos taken, and fretting that my son decided to take a half hour nap, leaving me no time to list anything new in the shop. 

But then Jonas, who just turned a year last month, walks up to me with a goofy grin and hugs my arm with toddler strength and I remember it's worth it.

And so here I am, a budding new blogger, ready to share all the (hopefully) interesting tid bits about my shop, my life and most likely, quite a bit about my kids.  Fingers crossed, I will actually learn a bit about this blogging business and make it more my own.