Have you seen these perpetual wooden block calendars? These are my favorite "I want that!" desktop accessory.
Available all year long inside Queenvanna Creations, the calendars are handmade by owner Vanessa and her husband. They live in northern Connecticut with their two little girls.
Each set includes six parts - the base, three month blocks (4 months per block), and two date blocks. Wooden pieces are meticulously crafted by her husband, then patterned paper is attached by hand. Calendar measures approximately 3" tall and 5.5" wide and is now available in French, Spanish, German, Portugese too.
She jokes, "I do not smoke and I do not have pets. If I had pets, I would not allow them to smoke either." I love her sense of humor!
Read more about this crafty gal on her business blog at http://queenvanna.wordpress.com/.
See more of Vanessa's calendar designs, clothespins, wall clocks and MORE inside her shop at http://www.queenvannacreations.etsy.com/.
Happy New Year!
Hope you had a fabulous Christmas with your family yesterday. For us, the fun continues into next week visiting MORE friends and family.
If you are dragging your kids all over town too, I wish you safe travels and happy kids along the way.
My sister shared this easy and fun recipe with me today (perfect to keep the kids busy even for a moment):
Easy Chocolate-Covered Pretzels
1 bag of square or regular pretzels
2 bags of Hershey's kisses and/or hugs (white chocolate)
1 bag of M&M's or mini M&M's or sprinkles (optional)
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees
- On a foil-lined cookie sheet, spread out the pretzels in a single layer (good job for the kids)
- Now top each pretzel with one Hershey's kiss
- Pop in the oven for 4 minutes (so the chocolate kiss will melt)
- Top each pretzel with M&M's or sprinkles to decorate (optional)
- Slide into the fridge so chocolate will harden
- Roll up the foil and your kitchen is still clean!
I'll be back with some new mom-owned businesses to share with you next week.
Okay I just spent the last 30 minutes clicking and scrolling around the web to find you the perfect recipe for Chocolate Peppermint Bark.
It takes me so long because I want to make sure I am sending you to a safe site with no annoying pop-up ads or really really long page loading times. I'm looking out for you, girls!
There are many ways to make peppermint bark, but I'm a fan of the 2-layer chocolate AND white chocolate peppermint candy cane bark. A bite of this treat tells my mouth that yes, indeed it is Christmastime!
I found a great recipe that fits the bill at Alpha Mom on Melissa's "Buzz Off" for Easy Chocolate Peppermint Bark. Hooray!
This recipe was posted last Christmas, but the photos are great. This one is my favorite:
I can totally see my 4-year-old getting into this project.
Happy candy-cane-crushing to you!
P.S. - The recipe is from a mom's blog as part of Alpha Mom. This is a neat site that I had never seen before with lots of great blogs on many topics.
After my last dreary post about safety regulations and my days filled with sewing and cutting and ironing and packing and sewing and squeeze in two sweet girls in there too...I needed something light and fun!
Thanks to the talents of my photographer Julie of www.lot116.com, Tot Trends Weekly picked one of her photos for the cover of this week's magazine, Make It Personal. And it just happens to feature my Christmas Initial Apron on her cute-cute-cute daughter, PJ.
I think there is a teeny tiny link to Polka Dot Market at the bottom of one of the pages, but I am not IN the magazine. Maybe next time! I just love that photo, so it makes me happy just to see it.
What are you doing to keep your busy days "light" and "fun" this week before the holidays?
Gingerbread houses? Cookies? Paper ornaments and garlands made from macaroni and fruit loops?
Have a great day, Moms!
There are some major changes to the product safety laws that have been passed that small manufacturing businesses (that's us!) need to be aware.
I am not a legal expert and governmental laws and bills really confuse me. Thankfully, there are some AMAZING bloggers out there who are helping make sense of these major changes.
Kathleen of Fashion Incubator has started National Bankruptcy Day, an informational site about the CPSIA laws and how it will affect all businesses on February 10, 2009.
There is also a new CPSIA group on Ning to discuss the changes and requirements.
Some of the requirements include product safety testing and safety compliance forms included with every order you ship.
A wealth of information may be found on the Fashion Incubator blog including the original post.
Two things you can do right now that only take five minutes (I did!):
Even if you buy your products from a supplier then add a monogram or paint, this law affects all of us.
I'll add updates here as I can. Please take some time to read this information over the holidays (if not before).
We are all like Santa's elves this time of year...working at our machines, glueing, painting, assembling, packing and shipping all these gifts in time for Christmas. I know many of you are making crafts, decorations and handmade gifts for all of your friends and family too. It is a busy time!
As I sew my days (and nights) away, I am thinking of you. All the orders are IN at Polka Dot Market, now they just all need to go OUT!
I've even put my Etsy shop on "vacation mode". This is the first time I've closed shop, but there are only so many hours in the day and all these boxes need to be out by Monday. It is a great feature. You can close your shop with the click of a button (sign in, click "My Etsy", then scroll down and click "Vacation Mode").
The photo above of our girls was taken at Portrait Innovations. They are all decked out in polka dots! Pretty busy this time of year, but the store has a good system in place. We had lunch around the corner after our portraits, then stopped in and picked up our photos less than an hour later!
If any of you are still open and accepting orders for Christmas, please post a comment below so our readers may find you.
I'll be posting Christmas crafts and featuring your businesses as often as I can over the holidays.
Have a great day, my crafty elf-friends!
There is a big sale on personalized polka dot gifts going on now at Sweet Baby Creations!
Owned by Misty, an Air Force pilot's wife and mom of two, Sweet Baby Creations opened its online doors in 2004.
You'll find a HUGE selection of personalized gifts inside Misty's shop. There is something for everyone!
I love the polka dot travel coffee mugs. So much cuter than the free ones my husband brings home from trade shows (you know you use those too).
Misty's monogram name ribbon key chains are the perfect gift for teens, sisters, friends and the girls who work the nursery at church. Even teachers love these.
She does have a lot of things on sale right now for a limited time - order this week for Christmas delivery!
See you over at Sweet Baby Creations - you'll love her website design too. It is so cute!
Hello, boring blank wall in our living room (where the Christmas tree is). Do you want something on you to dress you up? Okay...what about this:
My Initial Wreath!
I think it is kind of leaning forward and needs a few adjustments, but it is a great improvement over NOTHING.
See the extra ribbon up on the stairs that I need to trim? Oops. Hey, it even covers the thermostat. Bonus!
I used one wire hanger and two wired garlands I found in the Christmas box from last year. One did the trick, but I kept wrapping with the second garland because I was on a roll!
I think the weight of two garlands is a bit much for my one little hanger. The tail of the "G" tends to droop without assistance and re-shifting from time to time. Using the giant cardboard letter like Thrifty Decor Chick may have solved this problem. And I think the garland I had on hand may not be the same type they used. For a first try, it was definitely an EASY project that everyone should try. Then revise your project and make another one for your neighbor!
Have a great rest of the weekend, Moms!
You know you want one!
This preppy initial wreath is featured on Pink and Polka Dot's blog...her instructions are to open a wire clothes hanger with pliers, shape it into your letter, wrap it all the way around with garland (hot glue gun at the ends?), then grab a yard of wide ribbon to hang your masterpiece.
Another wreath tutorial with a few more step-by-step photos:
Thrifty Decor Chick has typed up all the details to make-your-own Christmas initial wreath on her blog too. While you are there, see her tips for decorating our glass china cabinets for Christmas - this is so inspiring!
I know I have an old wire hanger and I know I have some old garland that is just waiting for a new life as a big letter on our front door. I'll let you know how it turns out. This weekend is Christmas decorating time, or it will never get done!
I'm back! After shipping thirty-five boxes in 2 days, I was able to throw my girls in the car with some clothes and their growing collection of bedtime stuffed animals and drive out to Gatlinburg, Tennessee for a mini-vacation. My husband was there for a convention and we turned his quiet and clean hotel room into a total disaster, but he loved having us there (right, honey?).
Our favorite spot was the Aquarium of the Smokies. We stayed there all day on Wednesday and had a ball. The cool underwater tunnel shown above has a slow-moving sidewalk and it is so relaxing. Soft music, water, fish swimming all around you...that is the best way to destress! We went through at least twice, or was it three times?
I have been working so much that it is rare for me to have a full day to play with my girls, so this was a rare treat. I think the only way for me to totally focus on them is to be OUT of the house, since my work is always here (in fact it is calling my name as I type right now).
How do you carve out time for your kids and your husband? Turn off the computer at 5:00 p.m.? No work on the weekends? I'd love any of your tips.
My girls had so much fun at the Aquarium (and dad treated them to Wacky Bear on Thursday), that though we can't run off and spend a bunch of money every weekend, finding free and fun things to do outside of the house is a definite MUST for us moms who work at home.
Thanks for understanding my mini-break - I hope you got a lot of holiday shopping done using all those great Cyber Monday coupons while I was away!
Here are the latest sales and deals I've heard of for today, Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day of the year!
Shop handmade with the best moms in business:
- The Jesse B Collection - free shipping and free travel tissue holder (code: FREESHIPJBC)
- Polka Dot Market - free wristlet key chain and 10% off (code: HoHoHo)
- Lilybella Boutique - Cyber Monday deals
- Sew Gracious Boutique Bags - big discounts on EVERYTHING!
- Little Bird Creations - 20% off, free shipping, buy 3 get 1 free
- The Palm Gifts - 15% off entire site, all day long (code: Holiday15)
- Sweet Papery - up to 30% off
- The Lily Pad - $1 monogram note cards
- Doodle Design Shop - site-wide, ready-to-ship sale
- E.A.D. Designs - free shipping on orders over $20
- Giggleberry Creations - 15% off
- Post a comment below with YOUR shop's Cyber Monday sale too!
(Many of these fine handmade boutiques have Christmas shopping deadlines fast approaching, so order today for the best deals.)
The original Dine n' Doodle in black dots and zebra print is the perfect holiday travel gift or stocking stuffer handmade by Rachel of Lil.b.Designs (free shipping offer now through Monday too):
I've collected some really cute polka dot handmade gifts here today for one reason. I have something to say. I have to tell you one very important thing:
Sara's Art created this beautiful painting print for Thanksgiving. It is perfect for your kitchen all-year-round though too!
Sara writes, "I'm a A Christian, wife to sweet husband Dave and mom to three crazy kids! I love to paint, and my house is filled with things that I have painted. Color makes me happy. God and His Word make me happy too. I love to put these two things together and hang God's precious words around my house. I hope that I can share some of this art with you. Come visit me at my blog: http://sara-mincy.blogspot.com/."
Happy Thanksgiving week! Are you running around searching for recipes, cleaning the house and shopping for groceries?
Here is something to inspire your decorating:
Visit Ally's Attic Crafts to view her handmade "Harvest" blocks set:
Hand-painted in autumn reds, golds, and greens, these blocks are distressed and stained for that rustic look. The largest block is 2.5" x 5.5" x 2" and the smallest is 3" x 3" x 2". With the set comes a cute prim pumpkin with moss, pip berries, and raffia to finish it off. This set would look fantastic as a centerpiece to your holiday table or on a mantel or sideboard.
If you start your Christmas decorating the day-after Thanksgiving, Ally has some GREAT Christmas block sets too.
Meet mom and business owner Heidi from Destin, Florida!
Her shop, Frill Seeker Gifts, is filled with the BEST personalized gifts for every occasion. You will not believe her selection and wide range of gift options. They do most of the personalization right in their shop and if you are in Destin, you can visit them anytime.
Owner Heidi LoCicero has always been passionate about all things personalized and polka dot, so when the opportunity presented itself, she opened an at-home biz. Quickly, she realized that her biz had outgrown her home and so she opened a retail store front and online boutique. Her company has been featured in Southern Lady Magazine, The Globe and The Daily News.
Based out of sunny, Destin, Florida on the Sandestin Gold and Beach Resort, Heidi is often inspired by life at the beach in many of the designs she creates. Her daughter, Peyton, 15, is also a "polka dot enthusist" who helps keep fresh ideas popping up in the shop.
She writes, "Our specialty is fast, personalized service."
I picked just a few of my favorite polka dot personalized gifts from Frill Seekers to share with you, but you must see this shop to believe her inventory of CUTE presents for everyone on your list.
Looking for personalized polka dot cups, koozies and coffee mugs?
Heidi has that!
How cute would this personalized polka dot trunk look in a bedroom or playroom? I love this!
Heidi has a big selection of personalized camp trunks and other travel goodies like clipboards and water bottles too.
See you over at Frill Seeker Gifts! You can read their blog too for new products and sale information.
I want to say, "Thanks!"
Thank you for all the e-mails in my inbox and comments here after my missing blog fiasco yesterday. That will make your blood pressure go up, and you all helped me to take a deep breath and stay calm (and to feel loved all at the same time)!
This week I was reading an article about the importance of hosting your own blog since Google owns all Blogger blogs and can take down at any time. And then it happened to me! I need to do more research this weekend on this topic - I'll pass along any news or articles for you to read too.
Back to saying thank you...
I found this beautiful polka dot altered scrapbook tin this morning inside BH Designs' shop. I was searching for a way to say thank you to you and to promote a crafty mom in business at the same time. My search box entries on Etsy always look something like this: "polka dot ______". I love that search box.
BH Designs is owned by Beth, a stay at home mom with three children. She created this altered tin by covering it with high quality papers and embellishments. Included are seven "days of the week" double-sided cards with plenty of room for jotting down daily prayers.
Beth writes, "I have always loved to create and embellish items as gifts. So after years of my family and friends telling me "you should sell your work" here I am. I was excited to hear about Etsy, and I am amazed and inspired by the many talented people here."
See all of the great "polka dot thank you gifts" being made by moms on Etsy.
Back tonight with more great features and new holiday gift ideas too over at http://www.polkadotchristmas.com/.
This was ME this morning when I typed http://www.polkadotmom.com/ into my web browser and was greeted with ERROR 404!
Where did my blog go?
Where are all the articles and photos and links and years and years of work?
Where is it?
After e-mailing with Google, they "re-enabled" my "access". Why was my access disabled? I have no idea. Maybe they thought my blog was spam because there are so many links going OUT to mom-owned businesses?
Maybe I need a few more links coming IN?
As I work to figure this out, know that I have stopped crying. For now.
To your business and an ERROR 404-free day for us all!
Have you visited the My Lil' Doodle Bugs blog? It is filled with lots of photos of beautiful children's artwork and custom paintings by owner Christiane Price. I love to pop on over to her blog to see what's new. (Her holiday gifts are now in stock!)
Christiane writes, "I am a wife to a wonderful and supportive husband named Jason and I am also a stay at home mother of two high energy toddler boys. Collin who is 4 and Elliott who is 2-1/2. I have always had an interest in arts my entire life. From painting, to sewing, jewelry making and scrapbooking --- I love it all!"
She says her two boys are her heart and soul, and the real reason she started doing children's designs. My Lil' Doodle Bugs opened this spring and specializes in custom children's artwork.
Every order is a custom and original piece that is created especially for you. Christiane can customize any artwork according to color, child's interest, or room decor. She loves helping her customers and clients take part in the design process and create something that is truly one of a kind for their friends or little ones.
When you visit her shop, you'll see custom artwork created for baby nurseries, kid's rooms and your home. Now in stock for the holidays, find children's personalized hand-painted placemats and beautiful ornaments too.
See you over at My Lil' Doodle Bugs!
Meet crafty gal, Lara! She is the owner of Sugar Sweet Baby and proud mommy to Logan and Callie.
Lara writes, "I have always been interested in fashion and making the necessities we need more enjoyable to look at. I believe that when you have a baby you do not have to compromise your style. I design products that are fun and stylish for Mom and Dad and visibly stimulating for your baby."
Her line of handmade Baby Wraps are gorgeous, stylish, and a absolute MUST for new parents. The wrap distributes your baby's weight so there is no back pain involved. You can do may different positions, such as the newborn hug hold, front carry, hip carry and more.
We all know that newborns especially love being so close to their parents which makes it easier to form that close bond.
Lara writes, "The wrap is also good for babies with gas and colic. A happier baby means they have more alert quiet time, letting them learn their surroundings better. I could list the benefits for hours! Not only is the baby happy, but so is Mom and Dad."
"I now tie the wrap on me before I leave to grocery shop, get to the store, put Callie in the wrap and Logan in the cart and off we go! It's much easier then a stroller or infant carseat. Not only do I make wraps, but I also make blankets that are soft and gorgeous, infant hair clips and more! Check out the site and don't forget to fill out your email address in the newsletter box. I do give-a-ways and special discounts. The Holidays are coming, so stock up with our specials!"
Lara has also put together a fabulous How-To Wear Your Baby Wrap free tutorial.
I think her baby wraps (and her entire gift collection) make the most thoughtful gift for new moms. This is one baby gift that she will use everyday and remember forever as her favorite and most essential baby gift.
Receive 15% off your purchase of $20.00 or more when you use coupon code "PolkaDotMom" at check-out (coupon expires 12/1/08). Thanks, Lara!
Did you know?
- Veteran's Day always falls on November 11th, no exceptions.
- In 1918, World War I ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when an armistice was signed declaring the "war to end all wars" was finally over.
- The next year on November 11th, the U.S. called the day "Armistice Day" in memory of all the men and women who served in WWI.
- Congress changed the name to Veterans Day in 1954.
- Veterans Day is a legal holiday in the U.S. to honor all who have served in the nation's armed forces.
Take A Moment To Thank A Veteran
When you see someone in a uniform
Someone who serves us all,
Doing military duty,
Answering their country’s call,
Take a moment to thank them
For protecting what you hold dear;
Tell them you are proud of them;
Make it very clear.
Just tap them on the shoulder,
Give a smile, and say,
"Thanks for what you’re doing;
To keep us safe in the USA!"
By Joanna Fuchs (www.poemsource.com)
Meet Jamie, crafty bow-making mom of two and owner of Bows 2 Cute!
When her daughter, Brynnley was born she barely had ANY hair until she was nine months old. Jamie writes, "Headbands were always too small for her head and when she finally did have enough hair to put a bow in, I refused to pay $9.00 for one clip designed to stay in barely-there hair."
Jamie took one look at her own over-stuffed craft cabinets, grabbed the materials she needed and began making her own hair bows. Her specialty is "bows for fine, thin or barely-there hair!" Bows 2 Cute has been open for business over two years now.
She is one of those really busy, multi-tasking moms too. She teaches preschool special education full-time and has TWO websites "on the side", she says.
I don't know how she does it!
Jamie writes, "Most days I come home from work, make dinner and then work on bows for way longer than I should, but my goal for starting this business has always been to have great customer service as well as offer my bows at a more affordable price."
Bows start at only $2.50 at Bows 2 Cute. Thanks, Jamie for working so hard to make the CUTEST hair bows for our babies and girls!
This is one of my personal favorites - new baby and toddler beanies with polka dot ribbons and bows woven through them. These definitely fit into Jamie's "cute" theme! (Beanies available soon.)
See you over at Bows 2 Cute!
Find loads more inpiration here by Home Grown Hospitality. For some reason I just needed this today. May you find some inspiring words through her art to start your day too.
Thanks for sharing this artist, Julie!
Happy Halloween, Moms!
I just realized that I do not have a costume. Normally I don't wear a costume, but we have a "grown-ups only" Halloween party at our neighbor's house tomorrow night.
I am at a loss for what to wear. Can I be "Sleep-Deprived Mom" or "Drinks Too Much Diet Coke Mom"? Those may work, but I'm still trying to figure out how to pull that all together.
What about a 70's Prom Queen or Pageant Queen? It only requires an old dress that you KNOW you still have in your closet, some ugly shoes and teased up hair and maybe your daughter's plastic princess tiara? Wait, that means my old prom dress has to FIT. Bummer.
I am laughing out loud at this post on TastyBaby.com for Five Innovative Costumes for Mom. You have to read this. I really may try one of these costume ideas:
- Pregnant Mom - So funny! You get to carry a What To Expect When Your Expecting book, a bag of typical pregnancy snacks, a big shirt stuffed with a play ball and leggings. I can pull this one off for sure!
- Perfect Mom - Picture Martha Stewart. Perfectly pressed shirt, pastel sweater, pearls and your perfectly organized family calendar and notebook of your charity work.
- The New Infant Mom (hilarious!) - All you need is a spit-up rag on your shoulder, a breast pump in one hand, a GIANT diaper bag, a stroller and dark circles under your eyes.
- Soccer Mom - You can just picture it. Tasty Baby suggests carrying a six-pack of electrolyte juice with you.
- Busy Mom on the Edge - All you need is your Blackberry, your power suit and "The Look"
Hope these get your creative gotta-get-my-costume-together ideas a-flowing!
P.S. - Thanks to all of the crafty moms who have written me this month for a feature spot. I am working as fast as I can to promote each of you - thanks for sticking with us!
Leigh Anne has posted her super-easy Halloween Night Taco Soup recipe over on her blog, Your Home Based Mom. She has lots of great recipes and home business articles over there too.
Just reading her recipe for this Taco Soup is making me hungry! (Is it lunch time yet?)
I found a few more easy and delicious soup recipes for your family too. We are planning a post-trick-or-treating gathering with our neighbors so the kids can cover the floor with candy and make candy trades like stock brokers.
I cannot decide which soup to make, but here is the short list:
- Spicy Chicken Chili from 4 Reluctant Entertainers (great blog)
- White Bean Chicken Chili from AllRecipes.com (my go-to site for recipes)
Obviously I have warm and hearty soups on the brain since I'm expecting to be very cold after trick-or-treating with my two little girls this Friday night.
Do you have a favorite Halloween night dinner or tradition? I'm trying my hardest to NOT call the pizza guy this year. I think this is Dominoe's BUSIEST night of the year (not kidding)!
I know we are all busy with our businesses, but let's "carve" (pumpkin joke) a little time on Friday to clean up the toys, hide the laundry piles in our bedroom and lock the doors, then make some soup for your neighbors to come over and enjoy after trick-or-treating.
That's my plan!
Welcome crafty mom in business, Melanie of Sweet Pickles Pottery!
She has new holiday ornaments, Santa cookie plates and personalized tea sets now available in her shop.
Melanie writes, "I think almost everything I paint ends up with polka dots somewhere by the time I am finished with it!" She paints ceramics in a variety of shapes and colors and sizes. All of her pieces area lead free & food safe.
Melanie is a work-at-home-mom of two and lives with her family in Louisiana. She paints and fires each piece herself in her home studio. She sells to boutiques in various and all of her pieces are available on Etsy, as well as on a popular tea party online website. She has been approved to join the new Lollishops as a vendor.
Her favorite piece in her shop? Her "Create-Your-Own Tea Set for a Princess".
Mention "Polka Dot Mom" in the comments box at check-out to receive 20% off in-stock merchandise or 10% off custom orders. Melanie will refund your discount via PayPal once your order is complete.
Thanks, Sweet Pickles!
Today's Monday Mom is a fabulous handbag designer!
Owner Jesse Mayer of the Jesse B Collection has brought back the Bermuda Bag (and so many other cute handbags) in a big and oh so fashionable way.
Jesse is a designer, business owner and work-at-home-mom. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two-year-old son.
The Jesse B Collection opened five years ago and she's still a one-woman show. She designs every product from start to finish including patterns, prototypes and some inventory. She has added local expert sewers to her staff as her cottage industry business has grown. Local craftsmen also make the wooden handles for her popular Bermuda Bags. Proud of her "Handmade in the U.S.A." quality, Jesse also designs and sews custom clutches for brides and bridal parties too.
Each item is sewn in very limited editions and available for immediate shipment.
Her newest product is her original DBOS (Diaper Bag Organizational System) that coordinates with her handy polka dot diaper bag, shown below:
The Jesse B. Diaper Bag Organizational System (DBOS) is her newest product that was inspired from necessity!
Jesse and her husband developed this new system of organizing baby's things when on the go. Their patent-pending set of seven clear bags with zippered tops allow you to see the contents quickly.
Each bag is labeled with a different colored "J.B. Baby" signature label stating the contents ("Toiletries", "Clothing", "Toys", "Diapers", "Feedings", "Dirties", and "Burps & Bibs"). Each includes a grosgrain ribbon zipper pull that matches the label.
This system serves as a simple way to remember to pack everything too. Great for dads since the bags can easily be tossed into a backpack or the "daddy diaper bag". Just running to the store? Then grab the "Diapers" bag and leave the rest behind!
Jesse would like to offer our readers FREE Priority Shipping at http://www.thejessebcollection.com/ as many times as they like until the end of December on orders over $20.00. Just enter code "POLKADOTMOM" at check-out. Thanks, Jesse!