Go For Launch

plaid skirt etsy shopIf you’ll recall this post from the beginning of the month, my number one goal was to do something that scares me. Well, guys, I launched an Etsy shop, and yes it is scary. Friends have encouraged me to do this for years, but I just couldn’t bring myself to invest the time or the startup capital to give it a go. I didn’t feel creative enough. I didn’t feel like my handmade things were good enough to share with people beyond my family and close friends. I felt like I didn’t have enough ideas. Plus, I was scared that it would be a huge failure, so I just kept talking myself out of it. Fortunately, over this past year I’ve really started to feel more creative, inspired, and driven to be a better maker. DB has been hugely encouraging and supportive, even helping me choose colors and QC design ideas. I’m so lucky to have here cheering me on (and pushing me, I really need the pushing).

And so friends, here’s the start. The Plaid Skirt Etsy shop. We’re starting off with a collection of women’s hats. I love these things so much that it will be hard to part with them! They’re made with a super soft, chunky wool & alpaca blend yarn that has been lovely to work with. Plus, I think you’ll really dig the color palette, perfect for winter!

I’ll be adding more products over the coming weeks including holiday ornaments, home textiles, and perhaps some other knit accessories. I hope you’ll check it out, like what you see, and spread the word. Stay tuned to the blog for upcoming shop updates and specials. Thank you so much for your support.

Almost There

cake, apple cake, fall

Apple Butter Spice Cake with Cream Cheese frosting. Somewhat similar to last year’s cupcakes.

It’s hard to believe that in less than a week the Bear will be 2. Having kids does make the world spin a little faster…ok, a lot faster. He’s so fun right now though, I wish we could slow things down just a little bit. The twos really aren’t that terrible as most would have you believe. I’m pretty sure the people who say that have never had close dealings with a three year old. Having two older nephews has really informed my experience with my own son. Even though he’s en entirely different person, and the feelings are so different because he’s mine, I’m glad that I was able experience a facsimile of child rearing before diving in on my own. From experience I can say that three when the personality and sass really shine through. We’re ready, though. We’re ready for the Bear to continue to grow and learn and refuse to eat vegetables. We’re ready for him to teach us things while we teach him numbers and letters, shapes and colors, and manners and patience.

My dad and stepmom stopped by for a quick visit this past weekend so we had a celebration where I successfully made my first meatloaf. We also enjoyed some apple cake and Bear received several Eric Carle books and some other presents. I think my favorite was the little baseball glove since now he runs around with it shouting, “I got it! I got it!”

Mama, I don't know about this cake, but the frosting is awesome

Mama, I don’t know about this cake, but the frosting is awesome

Books!

Books!

Is this heaven? Do I need a haircut?

Is this heaven? Do I need a haircut?

How does this work?

How does this work?

I GOT IT!

I GOT IT!

Story time with Pop

Story time with Pop

Splurge

P1010685One of my goals this year is to buy more American made clothing. This is actually something I’ve been doing for a while not, but I’d like to go beyond just basics from American Apparel, and I also want to incorporate the whole family in this endeavor. After all, we spend most of our time defending this country and it’s important to us to invest in it as well.P1010701

America once thrived in textile production and clothing manufacture. Of course, this was before the days of labor laws and safe working conditions. Remember a few months back when there was news of factory fires in Southeast Asia? That sort of thing happened here too. It’s unfortunate, but in our quest to have all the latest and greatest, we often forget that our clothes are often made by people who are slightly elevated above slavery (if at all). My point is this, while often more expensive, American manufactured clothing is made by people who are being paid a fair wage and there is more transparency as to the sourcing and production of garments leading to a better connection and understanding of where our clothes come from. There’s a huge movement to do this with our food, why not our clothing as well? P1010706

I love clothes, and I used to have a closet bursting full of fast fashion from retailers like H&M and Target. Then, a few years back, I cleared out all the junk and opted for a smaller wardrobe of higher quality that I could keep and enjoy for years. I’m not saying I don’t shop at these retailers from time to time, but I find myself doing it less and less, opting instead to work more creativity into a smaller collection. I realize that to buy completely American is impractical for more Americans, especially for those of us on small incomes and with small children who outgrow their clothing faster than you can say “Elmo’s World”. It’s really handy to go to Old Navy and stock up on $10 shirts and pants. After all, we live in a global economy, but I think it’s time we demand more transparency and quality in the things we wear, as well as fairness and safety for the people who make them. Buying American can be a big and important part of that.P1010709

This coat was made by Poppy Von Frolich in San Francisco, and it incorporates pretty much everything I am a sucker for like buffalo plaid and deer motifs. I actually have a similar coat that is unlined with bracelet sleeves, making it great for fall but impractical for winter. I had my eye on this one after I saw it on Pinterest, and decided it would be a great present to myself. I love the fabric (it’s Italian wool), the swing fit, and the details. A slightly peter pan-style collar, the swing style, and the overall quality and fit . I received absolutely phenomenal customer service from Trudy, It’s refreshing to have a connection to the person who made your garment, and to know how much pride they poured into their work. She will definitely be my go-to gal next time I’m looking for a coat that will last me forever and I can feel proud to wear.

P1010702

Happy Valentine’s Day

P1010596In truth, before I was married I can remember one really fun date I went on for Valentine’s day, and then plenty of other years drinking obnoxiously with 30 of my closest friends. Those drinking days were great, but I’m glad I have DB now and that we can be happy and in love everyday and not just today.

This is a song he wrote me in the brief window between when we started dating and when we got married. A time that feels like it happened a lifetime ago, but really, it’s only been two years. What an adventure!

I think I’ve Created a Monster…

Ok, not really. It all started when I gave someone the idea to give my husband a winemaking kit for Christmas. It was something we’d been talking about as a natural extension of our beer brewing, so it seemed the appropriate gift. Of course being intellectual types, upon receipt of this gift it became obvious that we needed some sort of instructional book to guide us in our new endeavor, so I sleuthed  around Amazon and discovered this, and since the price was good (and we had a gift card), I also found this. Well, I don’t think it took my husband 10 minutes to fall in love with Strong Waters, and with good reason. There are recipes for exotic sounding spirited beverages that we had never heard of. Any they are easy and inexpensive to produce, especially after a good friend gifted us some one gallon fermenters. So here on the left you have two versions of Zythos which sounds like an epic, mythological Greek monster. My husband was so inspired by his creation that he has started his own blog where he will share with you in detail his thoughts, processes, and musings on home brewing, spirit making, and  speculations on my reactions to it all. I am glad that I could inspire him to such heights.

Snuggled and Warm

This blanket is acrylic, which as a yarn snob I avoid at all costs, but my grandmother crocheted it for me as a Christmas present when I was a freshman in college, and I have held onto it for 10 years now. Blue and gold were my school colors at the time, and became my school colors again when I attended graduate school. Now it’s colors are significant to my line of work. It’s as if the blanket had some sort of way of knowing my future and making sure that its colors always had a place in my life.

It has followed me around for 10 years, kept me warm in my car and in my bed, and now resides on the back of a couch in our first home where it has found a best friend in Snuggle Bear. It matches nothing in the room, but we plan on keeping it there for a while. And thank goodness it’s acrylic so we can wash it and enjoy it for years to come.

Favorite Place

This is our first Christmas together, our first tree, and our first humble ornaments cobbled together in the weeks since Thanksgiving our of leftover fleece, felt, and fabric scraps. Most of all, this is the first Christmas for the best gift we ever got, and he loves playing under the tree.