Kindergarten? What?



Today I'm feeling a little strange...I'm supposed to take all my forms and documents and health records to my oldest daughter's elementary school (ack!) to sign her up for kindergarten this fall.
Really?

Time does fly. You were right, I get it now!

My goal for the day - finish work early so I can take them to the playground after preschool.

It's enjoy-today day!

Hope you are having beautiful weather where you live too....

Polka Dot Fabric Banners on SALE



Amy of Giggleberry Creations is my favorite Polka Dot Mom from Australia! She sent me a note about this HUGE free shipping sale going on now through April 26th. Her new designer-fabric bunting banners are fabulous and you will have such a hard time choosing just one (or two). See her full selection of handmade fabric birthday banners inside her Etsy shop.

Amy writes, "I'm a stay at home mum with a 15 month old, and a 8 year old - both girls! And my new arrival: A 1 month old boy! I love to get the creative juicess flowing with my sewing machine, but I only have so many nieces and nephews to make things for so - lucky you - get the chance to have a hand made one of a kind Giggleberry Creation!"

Her fabric bunting banners each have nine flags. Each flag is approx 9" (at longest point) by approx 7.5" (at widest point). The ribbon reaches approx 2.5m long, including approx 16 inches of ribbon at each end for hanging. All the flags are double sided so can be hung across a room.



Giggleberry's fabric flag banners are a great and easy way to add character to your little one's nursery, bedroom, cubby house or birthday party. How about matching them to your existing decor? or using them to make your market stall stand out from the rest? - The possibilities are endless....

Remember, free shipping sale ends April 26th.

Send your shop's upcoming sales and announcements to us too: polkadotmom@gmail.com.

Polka Dot Ponytail Streamers on Sale



Little Bow Peep Tails is having a big clearance sale on some of her most popular ponytail ribbon streamers! Only $4.95 each - grab a few for those hot summer days ahead. My 5-year-old daughter LOVES her ponytail streamers from Little Bow Peep Tails.

Owned by Carol, a mom in business in Raleigh, Little Bow Peep Tails is FILLED with the cutest hand-sewn boutique hair bows. She has ribbon bow sandals for moms, girls and teens too!

See you over at http://www.littlebowpeeptails.com/!

Make Outdoor Pillows with Martha



I love this idea:

Make-your-own outdoor pillowcases using vinyl tablecloths!

I have seen so many cute patterns on vinyl tablecloths lately. You can pick them up at Target, Home Goods or Kohl's on sale and brighten up your deck or porch for very little money.

Here is the tutorial from MarthaStewart.com:


"Those inexpensive vinyl tablecloths are good for more than just picnics -- they make great material for pillows that are easy to clean."
  • "To make one, cut two squares in desired dimensions from a patterned tablecloth, adding 1/2 inch to each side.
  • Right sides facing, stitch pieces together with a 1/2-inch seam allowance.
  • Leave one side open for batting or pillow insert.
  • Turn right side out, then stuff (if using batting pull it into small pieces).
  • Stitch opening closed."

(First Published: August 2005)

Reflection


Original painting by The Old Post Road

Thank you Trish for sharing your beautiful paintings with me.

Mommy Track'd Free Home & Business Downloads


One of my favorite sites, Mommy Track'd, is offering some of their most popular downloads for FREE this week. Be sure to save them all to print at your convenience. Here are a few of the printables to help working moms ("Tools for the Tired and Time-Starved"):
Be sure to sign-up for the free weekly newsletter here: http://www.mommytrackd.com/.
It will keep you laughing - I love their light-hearted take on motherhood!

More FUN Dishtowel and Placemat Crafts



Julie over at Joy's Hope turned this cute placemat into a PILLOW!

No way. You won't believe this. Genious. Pure genious!

See her amazing photos and instructions for this great "Placemat Pillow Project".

Then, she used dishtowels to create SKIRTS!

You will love this entire post. It really makes you see dishtowels and placemats in a new way - now I will finally have use for the dozens of "I had to have it" cute placemats. Pillows for my girls' bedroom, here we come!

Thank you, Julie!

Have a great day, Moms.

Integrity in Your Craft Business


Photo Courtesy Reason4Smile

The quote above is right on: "If it is not right, do not do it. If it is not true, do not say it".

In reading these articles this morning, I learned there are MANY things I can do to improve the integrity of my business:

Like, being on time. Answering phone calls and e-mails promptly. UNDER-promising and OVER-delivering. I think it all goes back to showing respect for others (and their time and talents) and being honest with your customers, vendors, suppliers, readers, friends, family, etc.

This weekend I was reading some new-to-me blogs. I stumbled upon a free tutorial for one of my custom bag designs. It was the bag that I designed especially for the Cora Paige playground benefit. The blog owner is a craft business owner too. She posted something like , "I saw this on Etsy selling for a high price and knew I could make it myself for less than $5!" Wow.

Did she happen to give credit to the original designer of this idea? No.

Did she let her readers know that 100% of the purchase price (all of it) was donated to the Cora Paige benefit? No.

The ironic part? Her business is participaing in a benefit sale for charity this week. So I asked her how she would feel if someone stole her for-charity product idea, made it at home, took step-by-step photos, then posted it on their blog as a free tutorial.

By stealing my design and posting a free tutorial, I will sell fewer bags for charity. Less money will be donated because of her lack of integrity.

This is the first time I have ever contacted a person for copying my designs. It is not the first time this has happened, I think this was just the final straw!

We must all strive to have integrity in our businesses. Speak up for yourself too. It is so important.

P.S. - I will never look at a free tutorial in the same way. Where did this idea come from? How would the original designer feel about this? Make sure that the idea was freely given.

(Note: Her copy was NOT lovingly sewn with our signature applique stitch, just ironed on.)

Make a Dishtowel Easter Apron Smock



Cathi Lawler, owner of Whimsical Wishes in Gersham, Oregon has graciously shared her instructions for making this cute Easter smock apron with dishtowels. Thanks, Cathi!

She writes, "these instructions are for a child about 2-4 years old. For a bigger one, use two dish towels instead of cutting one in half."

Materials:

  • One dish towel (2 for larger size, I got mine from the dollar bin at Target)
  • Ribbon (cut 4 pcs approx 14” long and 2 pcs approx 10” long)
  • Scraps of fabric for easter egg cutouts (I used 3 kinds of tutti fruiti fabric)
  • Felt for bunnies
  • Rick-rack trim (optional)
  • Yarn for bunny tail (I learned how to make yarn pom-poms)

Instructions:

  1. Cut dish towel in half (don’t cut if using two towels for larger size)
  2. Use hemmed edge as the top of smock and fold in a couple of inches on an angle, like a long triangle (to make the top not extend past the arms)
    Do this to both pieces.
  3. Sew down the angle and then trim excess with pinking shears. (Or if you don’t have pinking shears, you could fold over twice to enclose the edge)
  4. Next, cutout decorations like easter eggs, bunnies, etc. I used felt for the bunnies and tutti fruiti fabric for the eggs. (I went on the internet and got some coloring pages to trace for cut-outs)
  5. Use a hot glue gun or regular craft glue to attach the felt pieces. Iron fabric cutouts onto heat n bond adhesive type stuff and then remove paper backing and iron onto smock where you want them.
  6. Now sew rick-rack on bottom (the cut edge) of front piece. You can sew it on the back piece also, I just turned it up and zig-zagged it.
  7. Make a pompom with the yarn or you could hot glue on cotton balls
    (to attach the pompom, I left the yarn piece that I tied it together with, about 3 inches long, cut out a small circle of felt and cut two small slits in the circle, poked the yarn through the slits, one in each slit and tied a couple of knots. Now you have a base to hot glue the pompom on with.
  8. Measure ribbon to go over the shoulders and sew onto the front and back pieces. Side ribbons should be 14 inches or more to allow for side of smock to be open and still have length to tie a bow. Sew side ribbons at about waist or hip height.

"Ta da! You are done! This is could be made for other holidays too."

Instuctions by Cathi of Whimsical Wishes. All rights reserved

This is a great craft to make with your kids this week before you dye all those Easter eggs. Wouldn't these be cute for them to wear in the kitchen for photos? For boys, pick a red, blue or yellow dishtowel and primary or pastel ribbons. He will love it too. Especially the yarn pom-pom Easter bunny tail - I love that.

Thanks again, Cathi!



Organize Your Office With Oilcloth




Since we spend so many hours at our desks, why not make them really cute and organized? Karen at Lilybella has created two great oilcloth products to help and both are 20% off this week.

First, the set of four oilcloth/chalkcloth label tags above can be used as gift packaging tags or as adorable labels for jars, baskets, or any unique kind of organizing project you may have need for.

The sets are made using a combination of our popular, wipe-clean chalkcloth along with your choice of any of our popular oilcloth fabrics. Chalkcloth is a unique fabric you can write on just like a chalkboard that easily erases with a damp cloth so you can write on it over and over again. You may write with ordinary chalk or a Wet Wipe Marker. These markers are made with a water-based white ink pigment that writes like chalk and looks like chalk, but are smudge proof and your writing will not come off until you easily wipe it clean with a damp cloth.

The Gift Tag/Labels measure 2 1/2" x 4". They have two cute, coordinating eyelets to put your ribbon through for tying onto your packages, jars, baskets, etc.



I love this polka dot and gingham check oilcloth pocket board for organizing your inspirations, coupons, magazine clippings, gift cards, newsletters and more.
Each board has three pockets for you to use for things such as magazines, folders, tools, envelopes, craft supplies or your kid's tiny toys or artwork. The lightweight design measures 14" x 18" x 1/2" and includes hardware for hanging.

Another great feature is the cute chalkcloth strips on each pocket for labeling or just making a few notes. Chalkcloth is a unique fabric which writes like a chalkboard and erases with just a damp cloth.

You can design-your-own oilcloth pocket board by selecting up to 3 color patterns - how fun!
This 20% off sale at Lilybella ends April 8th.

Saying Yes Too Much


"Yes or No Double Necklace" by Coco's Greenhouse

Simple Mom posted one of those, "Oh, that's me!" articles today about saying, "Yes". As moms and business owners, I know we all say yes a little too much. At least I do.

One of the best pieces of business advice I've received is to "underpromise and overdeliver". But I can't do it. Why is this simple business principle so hard to implement? I constantly find myself OVERpromising and UNDERdelivering because I was not being realistic in the first place.

Sew and ship an entire birthday outfit by tomorrow? Yes!

Sew and ship 35 Easter bags by Wednesday? Yes!

Am I nuts? Yes!

Simple Mom breaks it down in today's article, "Why Do We Say Yes When We Really Mean No," that is now printed and hanging on my bulletin board. A "simple" reminder that I will see every time I write an e-mail or answer a phone call. Can I really say yes this time?

I hope you will take a moment to read...we are not super-moms, though we try to be.

Feeling a little blue and overwhelmed today...do you ever feel this way?

Looking forward to a little spring break week with my girls next week, though the sewing machine will still be rolling at full speed.

Have a SIMPLE day, Moms!