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randomosity: February 2010

Sunday, February 28, 2010

List Adventure

Got this from Gizmola, who got it from Living in the Gray. The ones I've completed are in bold, the ones I'd like to complete are in italics

1. Started your own blog

2. Slept under the stars


3. Played in a band

4. Visited Hawaii

5. Watched a meteor shower

6. Given more than you can afford to charity (It's just money, it comes back.)

7. Been to Disneyland

8. Climbed a mountain

9. Held a praying mantis

10. Sang a solo Unfortunately..

11. Bungee jumped

12. Visited Paris

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea


14. Taught yourself an art from scratch

15. Adopted a child

16. Had food poisoning

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty

18. Grown your own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train

21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitch hiked

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill

24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb

26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Run a Marathon

28. Ridden in a gondola

29. Seen a total eclipse

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run

32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person


34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

35. Seen an Amish community - in Kentucky.

36. Taught yourself a new language

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied -is it ever enough?

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David

41. Sung karaoke

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant

44. Visited Africa

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight - San Diego

46. Been inside an ambulance

47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling

52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud

54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business

58. Taken a martial arts class - I'm a green belt.

59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies

62. Gone whale watching

63. Got flowers for no reason

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
- as often as possible

65. Gone sky diving

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp


67. Bounced a check - In my defense, I was 17.. lol

68. Flown in a helicopter

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten Caviar

72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades


75. Been fired from a job

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London

77. Broken a bone - only fingers and toes

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book


81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car - this one's overrated.. *sigh*

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper - they did a story on me when I lived in a homeless shelter

85. Read the entire Bible

86. Visited the White House
- just outside of it.

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating -- no thank you!!

88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someone’s life
- saved a little boy last year in the swimming pool

90. Sat on a jury

91. Met someone famous - Hanson!!! :) In my defense, I was 15.

92. Joined a book club

93. Lost a loved one

94. Had a baby
(times four)

95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake

97. Been involved in a law suit - does divorce count?

98. Owned a cell phone

99. Been stung by a bee

So, I guess I've done a lot so far.. I'm not quite 25 years old yet. But I have a lot that I haven't done. Some things on that list I'd like to do (like visiting random places), and others I have no interest in doing (getting stung by a bee!). Overall, I think my life is right where I want it to be. I hope my business keeps flourishing, I hope I keep making new friends from my blog, and I hope my kids and wifey are happy and healthy for the rest of their days. What more could a woman ask for?

How many have you done?

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Cool Etsy Finds and other Noteworthy Blogs

Before I forget, and get into rambling about my Etsy finds, please check out Michelle's project.

This book is a collaboration of many artists who will through a single page translate the message of love. This is a “living' project. The more people that contribute the better it will be. As pages get sent in , you can watch as the book takes form.
Watch it grow at Your Art Is Love.

As a contributing artist, you become part of the story. You will be love's messenger.


My neighbor, Dana, is joining me on my no poo adventure. :) I'm also trying to talk her into doing a "Touring Tuesdays" with me... we have the SAME apartment so it would be really cool!! Stop by her page and talk her into it. ;)

And if you haven't started yet, you should be following Journey Through Japan. Lots of awesome pictures of Japan... and good descriptions of them along the way.

...

First up, this little set of colorful fabric coasters really caught my eye. Of course you could make your own fabric coasters.. but just look at these. Do you see how much sewing was involved? And if you know me at all, I. Do. Not. Sew.


Visit Projects by Jane to see more of her unique designs.

Next up, Digital Seams...



Though I make handmade soaps as well, these are just too darling to skip over.

Last but not least, these hand sawed plexi-glass flower earrings are the bomb!



Head on over to La Cravate Du Chien to see more of their creations!

Do you have any favorite Etsy shops? Besides mine, of course. :)

114 words

Speed test

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10001: Winning Ebay Auctions

This is a continuing series, based off of the book 10,0001 Ways to Live Large On a Small Budget. (This is not an affiliate link - I always tell you when I post those -just links to the book. I don't recommend buying it... check it out at your local library and save some money.)

Ebay Sniping

This is a referral link. To go there without me getting credit for it, visit bidnip.com. If they ask for an email address to the person who referred you, please use sadielankford@ymail.com -- I get 5 free snipes for every person who signs up. You can use your affiliate link and do the same.

Love ebay? Hate bidding wars? Me, too!! Sometimes I get into it, and end up spending too much! That's where sniping comes in.

I had never heard of sniping until I read this book. Basically, you can do this manually or you can do it through bidnip.com at less than 50 cents a pop (you only pay if you win). To snipe manually, first of all you DO NOT BID YET!! You scope out the item you want, and wait for the auction to get down to a minute or so left. Keep refreshing the page, to keep track of how many seconds is left on the auction. When it gets down to about 5 seconds (most places suggest 3, but you have to be FAST to wait that long - ebay has to confirm your bid), put in your max bid. Most of the time, the person who was bidding on it didn't expect this - didn't have a very high bid because there was no competition - and won't have time to re-bid.

The above option is great if you have the time, patience and skill for it. For everyone else, there is bidnip.com. You get 5 free credits just for signing up. You don't have to give them any credit card, paypal, or banking information - you just enter your email address and go from there. Like I said, you get 5 free credits just for signing up!!

There is a bar on the left hand side of the page at your sniping page. You just put the auction ID # in, and they will snipe it for you! You put your max bid, and they will watch the auction, wait until there are only 3 seconds left, and place the bid!

Most of the time, you will save 25-30% by using this method to buy on ebay.

Let me know how much you usually save sniping! Or, if you're new to it like I am, how much you saved because of bidnip (or doing it manually)!

ETA: I realize a lot of you already knew about sniping -- I knew about it but didn't know what it was called. And some of you may say, "Why pay someone to do this for me, when I can do it myself"... it's simple really. I don't have the time to be on ebay much. When I'm online, I'm also multitasking and taking care of the kiddos. Also, I work online. If I allow myself to get sucked into ebay, I won't ever get anything done. Plus, I haven't paid for my snipes -- I had free credits to start and have only used those. For example, the last auction I won was for a Cricut Cartridge. I used to bid up to $30 on them because they're $60 in stores. I bid up to $20 on the last one, and I got it for $18.50 plus free shipping. Even if I would've had to pay a quarter to save $12.00, I gladly would have. :)

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ways to Live Large On a Small Budget: Series - Post #1

I just finished the book 10,0001 Ways to Live Large On a Small Budget, by the writers of Wise Bread. I looked for it on Amazon, just to provide a link for everyone. It says there are used copies of this book from $7.49. I, however, recommend just checking it out from your local library. Even though it's a great book, I wouldn't spend the money on it - but I'm a cheapskate when it comes to books. :)

This book includes many hints, tips, tricks, and ideas on saving money and living on a small budget. Overall, I'd give the book 4 out of 5 stars. I love the layout - it's very simple, colorful, and easy to navigate through the different topics.

I am starting a series where I will go over my favorite parts in the book. How to Throw an Inexpensive Kids' Birthday Party is my first topic. Mostly because Grace is turning 5 next Sunday, and I'm pretty darn good at planning inexpensive kids' parties. I do have to admit, though, that this year we are having Gracie's party at The Little Gym. It cost $200, and on top of that I have to buy cake, presents, and make her outfit. BUT, at this time we are super busy and I just didn't want to plan a party. Woah, that makes me sound like a spoiled child lol. Sorry, sometimes I have those days. :)

Some of these ideas are from the book, others are from various internet sites, and the rest are from me.

Having a party at home can be the most frugal option for any party. If you're like me, though, and live in a cracker-jack-box-sized-apartment, that isn't an option - unless your guests are Oompa Loompas. Getting your house in shape for guests is often difficult, especially when the kids are constantly running behind you undoing what you just did.

Other free or inexpensive options include reserving space at a local park (that cost us $20 last year), the clubhouse in your neighborhood, or even at your church/synagogue/place of worship. The book raves about reserving a baseball field at a nearby park only costing them $10 -- this price can vary greatly in your area, so check into it before you set this idea in stone.

A skating party can be inexpensive (we once rented the rink for 2 hours for $50), as can swimming parties (I'm too paranoid for those), or even bowling alley parties (the cost of these varies greatly, but generally speaking it's best to have one during the day on a weekday).

With goodie bags, don't go overboard. You can easily go to the Dollar Tree (union workers here are boycotting, so I haven't been there in a while..*sigh*), Dollar General (they're getting pricey!), or another Dollar Store, to get last minute items for treat bags. However, if you plan it all out ahead of time, you can order from Oriental Trading and fill goodie bags with lots of cool stuff for under $1.

When thinking of what foods to serve, remember that kids probably won't eat much if they're busy having fun. Hot dogs are super cheap - you can do hot dogs chopped up and served on tooth picks (I'm sure there's a fancy name for those), beanie weenies, cheese cubes (that can get expensive but if you buy a block of cheese and cut it up yourself, you'll do fine). Pizzas are only $5 each at Little Ceasar's. We bought 5 of those and had MORE than enough, because the kids were busy playing at the park. Make your own cake, skip the ice cream if you want to. Big bowls of chips also go over well and are fairly inexpensive.

It all boils down to having fun. Your guests will have as much fun as you want them to have. Take the time out to plan the party, and your guests will notice. While the kids probably won't appreciate your attention to detail, their parents surely will. Be flexible, and don't expect everything to be perfect. After all, kids are involved...

Other helpful articles when planning a birthday party:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Future posts will include:

Tips for Cutting Out Cable TV Without Missing Your Favorite Shows
Sneaky Ways to Win Ebay Auctions and Save a Fortune
Ways to Pay Less Money for a College Degree
Ways to Homeschool for Less
Ways to Simplify Your Budget
The FDCPA and Your Rights (credit card collections information)
How to Answer the Most Common Interview Questions (jobs)
How to Become a Mystery Shopper
Cash Saving Resources (such as couponmountain.com)

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Date Night!

Tonight we are going on a date, so I'm not really blogging. I have LOTS of ideas for tomorrow's blog. I made a few cards with the kids (with the Cricut), and was thinking about sharing those. We made a super cute Easter card! :)

What are your favorite blogs? I have a few, I'm going to feature some next week, but I wanted to check out some new ones. I love any blog that has to do with crafts or family! Pass your favorites along, and if I choose to feature one of your favorites, I'll show you some linky love as well.

Stop by my friend's blog... I just ordered $100 worth of BeautiControl products for only $50!!! The promotion ends tomorrow.

Also closing soon -- my weight loss giveaway -- no entries will be accepted past Sunday February 28th. If you're a blogger that's trying to lose weight, you should enter! What do you have to lose?? Besides all that weight! ;)

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Creativity keeps me up at night



So, I've been woooooo-saaaahhhing today, and now I'm fine. :) However, Rachel came home early from work so I could get a break (and go to sleep early), and here I am crafting my booty off. *Sigh* Oh well. Tomorrow is another day, right?

I made a list of things I needed/wanted to get done, and I marked quite a few things off my list. Since throwing the schedule out the window, quite honestly, I've been a little stressed. The kids are doing better without one, and nap time has been a breeze, so I'm not about to bring a schedule back at this point but I'm the schedule type. You know, the one who makes a list for her lists?? Yep, that's me. I love having every little detail written out. I hate when things change. I've learned to adapt, but I always just make a new list. So, lately, I've been fretting a bit. I'm learning to chill.. it will just take time.

I need to go to sleep, but first I wanted to share with you a little upcycled project I just completed. Jenelle is always losing her bookmarks, giving them away, etc and is always asking for me to make her more. I used to spend a LOT of time making a bookmark for her, laminating it and whatnot, but now I know better. I was staring at these paint chip cards and was like a-ha! They're the perfect size and shape for bookmarks!!

So, grab some leftover ribbon (1/4 to 3/8 would work best, but you can use bigger), some paint chips, and a hole punch. That's seriously all you need! Optional materials include a corner rounder punch, some glue or mod podge, and some other fancy punches.. but again, totally optional!



Round the corners of the paint chip cards (you can use any size/shape, these are just the ones I had on hand). Punch a hole in the top. String ribbon through (tie a knot any way you'd like, I just tied the ribbon in a loop with a knot on the top).

You can add other punch-outs, and then mod podge over them.. or you can just leave them plain. They're awesome either way.



Another idea.. use your Cricut to write out whatever (a saying, poem, your child's name), and mod podge them on. I know I say this a lot, but the possibilities are endless! I'd love to see what you come up with!

Be sure to head over to our business blog to check out the new mohawk hats we added to our line!

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Exhausted.

I'm worn out. I feel like I'm running in 1,000 different directions and nothing is getting accomplished.

I know that, in reality, I'm accomplishing things. However, I'm not seeing it.

I went to the mall yesterday and saw that we sold 7 things - that's an accomplishment! But does it make me happy? Eh, maybe for a minute or two... then I realize crap, that means I need to make 7 things to replace those that sold.

I don't know. I'm just frustrated, and worn out right now. I have over 100 boxes of Girl Scout cookies that need to be delivered.. kids that want to play.. lunch that needs to be fixed.. flyers to be made.. I have a donation basket that I just finished putting together that needs to go out the door.. inventory to update.. a living room and kitchen to clean.. a big box of stuff that I need to ship to Sweden.. YouTube videos to make (I only have ONE on my new channel)... some bows for a giveaway that still need to be shipped.. mohawk hats need to be added to the website (waiting for pictures.. people are so damn unreliable).. and I have a million designs running around in my head that I just need the time to sort through.

I guess that's what it boils down to. Time. I need more hours in a day.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The "no cry nap method", and our schedule going out the window

So, two big changes have been made in our household this week. The first one was me throwing our schedule out the window. (Not literally, and I don't condone litterring, by the way) This is a BIG deal to us. I had a large poster with our day mapped out in 15 minute increments. I am a schedule freak. I seriously have a schedule for my schedules LOL. So, case in point, this was huge! But it is a good thing so far. We are still following somewhat of a schedule that I have in my head, but the girls don't notice it so they feel a little more "free", if that makes any sense??

I had to come to the realization that not everyone loves schedules like I do. It's great for them to know what to expect, but controlling every part of every day doesn't work for some. We are going to try it out this way for a little while. So far, so good.

The second BIG change?? No crying at nap/bedtime!! Our middle daughter, Gracelynn, likes to be GREAT all the time until nap time and bed time. She then transforms into this evil little creature that cries, screams, and throws a fit... just because. I mean, she will say "Mommy, I'm tired".. and we are like SCORE!! because we think she's going to go to bed. Wrong. This child does NOT like to sleep. She has never liked to sleep. The rest of us... we love sleep. Maybe it's a middle child thing? Hmmm.

The way I got them to stop crying was .. well.. bribery. *Sigh* I admit it, I'm bribing my kids to do what they should be doing in the first place. But, before you start throwing things at me, hear me out. I'm bribing them without actually bribing them!! Awesome, right???

Before, with the schedule, they expected fun things every day because the schedule said so. They started to take fun things for granted: movie time, arts and crafts time, coloring time, etc. However, with no schedule, they don't really know what to expect... so when I said "Girls, listen... I'm really excited about this so pay attention. We are going to do a CRAFT PROJECT after nap time!!" Insert their excited gasps here. "Yes! Really.. a cool, awesome, spectacular art project! I can't wait!" By this time, they're sitting on the edge of their seats.. just begging for more. "So, this is what we need to do. We need to take a nice nap. By nice nap, I mean no crying, no fussing, no whining. Just lay down, chill out.. grab a baby.. and go to sleep. Just for a little bit. We'll make it a short nap, okay? How does that sound?" They, of course, went nuts for the idea.

SCORE!!!

So, for two days in a row now (which is a record for us, by the way), we have had ZERO crying at nap time!

Now, it's time to start the routine for bed time. I'll keep ya posted. ;)

In other news, my weight loss blogging contest will be closed to entries on 2/28/10 (that's Sunday!), so please email me your story (sadielankford(at)ymail(dot)com) if you'd like to be considered for one of my prize packages!!

Oh, and P.S.: Visit My friend's BeautiControl page for a great deal. She is offering $100 worth of products for $50!! Valid through this Saturday (2-27-10) only. Plus $3 shipping and .08% sales tax. Check it out today!

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Touring Tuesdays: Kitchen

TreeHugginMomma was right when she guessed that Rachel's favorite room is the kitchen.

Our apartment is roughly 800 square feet. It is not spotless.. it is not a museum.. but it is lived in. If you want to see something specific, let me know. I've never seen anyone do a Touring Tuesday except this person (don't get me started), so I'm not really sure what all it entails. I just liked the idea and ran with it. :)

Our kitchen table and chairs...



Sink, fryer, microwave...



The art hanging above the sink was purchased at Target. It's a combination of my two favorite things in the world: license plates, and a peace sign. (On a side note, if you'd ever like to do a swap and send me license plates, count me in!)

We don't use the fryer very often, but there is nowhere else to put it so that is where it stays. :)

This is our my collection of boxes over the cabinets. They could stand to be a little more organized, but who has time? :) The boxes are for mailing giveaways and such, I'm trying to be as green as possible in that area.



Last, but not least, our stove... and yes, there is a Little Caesar's pizza box inside. I was trying to use it for something, but gave up because it was kind of greasy.



See? I told you it wasn't too interesting lol. We have lots of cabinet space for the size of our kitchen, I think. One cabinet is cups.. one is plates/bowls.. one is for spices (we have a lot of those).. two for food, and then the bottom cabinet is for pots/pans (as well as under the stove).. and the cabinet under the sink is for cleaning supplies. Four small drawers to the right of the stove are filled with various craft items... it's not an addiction, I promise... :)

I'm trying to talk my neighbor into doing a Touring Tuesday as well, because our apartments are identical as far as floor plans go. I think it would be really cool to see them both, don't you? Stop by her blog and let her know you want to stalk see her apartment, too!!

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WEIGHT LOSS Blogger Prize Package Giveaway

Eat This! 365 Reasons to Stop Dieting - Mary McHugh

No, this is not what I'll be giving out to my weight loss blog winners... but it's a cute book and I thought it was worth mentioning. I will most likely be quoting this book often.

#3 - Marilyn Monroe was a size 12.

When did 1 become the new "in" size? What ever happened to being healthy? That's what I want... I want to be healthy. For me, that means losing about 50lbs. I'm currently lacking the motivation to lose that weight (my gym membership resumes March 1st, talk to me then), so I'm living vicariously through other blogs for now.

Are you a blogger that is trying to lose weight? I'm offering 3 lucky bloggers a surprise PRIZE PACKAGE for reaching their weight loss goals. Wait, not even for reaching their goals.. for reaching their milestone! That means, if you have 50lbs to lose, I'll send you a motivational prize pack once you've lost 25lbs!!

#14 - They say TV adds 10 pounds, so just by not being on TV, you lose 10 pounds!

Please email me (sadielankford(at)ymail(dot)com) your weight loss story. Even if you haven't started yet, as long as you are going to blog about it... you can enter!! That is the only requirement - that you are trying to lose weight, and you're blogging about it. I guess that makes 2 requirements. Whatever lol.

I have TWO more spots for weight loss bloggers - you will also be linked on my side bar for the duration of your weight loss. That means not only will I be linking you while you are working towards your halfway point (and your prize package), I will continue to link you until your journey is complete!! Can you really beat that??

Last day to enter is February 28th. At midnight (CST), I will stop accepting entries. I will choose two bloggers on February 29th and announce them on my blog that day.

I will blog about you and your weight loss journey often, so be sure you're comfortable with that before you email me. (sadielankford(at)ymail(dot)com)

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Monday, February 22, 2010

WINNER! And some important info..

I have chosen a winner for our latest giveaway. I will no longer be posting giveaways from nelliebugs.com on this blog. They will be located at the link below.

You need to be following nelliebugs.blogspot.com in order to be eligible for any future giveaways.

Tomorrow will be the first edition of Touring Tuesdays. Can you guess which room I picked first? Well, I'll give you a hint: I let Rachel pick, and it's her FAVORITE room.. when she is happy, she cleans it.. when she's stressed, she cleans it.. which room is it?


Patchwork scarves $14.99

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Monday's Mail Madness

Monday is always crazy as far as mail goes! I don't go to the post office on Saturday (unless I have a tutu order that needs to be mailed), so I have Saturday and Sunday to get LOTS of stuff together (swaps, giveaways, coupon packages, etc) and then Monday I mail everything off.

Today, I'm mailing off two of my coupon swaps, about 6 packages of business cards (doing a swap with some other women on Etsy), 6 soaps, two tutus



a patchwork scarf, and a random selection of coupons to a friend.

Whew. This trip is going to be fun, fun, fun!

I have been doing well with being more "green" when mailing things. If I had a sewing machine, I'd probably ditch tape all together (on the envelopes, at least).. but I don't, so I am still using tape. However, I've been using all recycled bags, boxes, etc to mail things out in. I have done this for my personal things, have not done it for the business stuff yet. Recycled packaging doesn't always look the best, so I've been afraid to try it with the business. Opinions???

I will post again later. Off to the post office...

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Father/Daughter Dance -- Pictures



Well, as many of you know, our girls don't really have a dad. Unfortunately, they don't even have any uncles (except those that live in another state).. or any grandpas (except one that lives 6+ hours away). So, basically, no strong male influences in their lives. That makes me sad for them, but I can't just go find a random guy on the street and expect him to be friends with us and our kids.

Anyway, the reason I wrote that is because Jenelle wanted to go to the Father/Daughter dance on Friday. We had decided, as a family, that we would not partake. Reason being, she didn't have anybody (male) that could take her. Well, we were at Girl Scouts last week and one of the moms suggested that Rachel bring her. She said she has seen a mom or two in the past at these dances. How exciting, I thought! :)



I rushed home and asked Rachel if she wanted to take Jenelle to the dance. She almost jumped up and down in response! :) This was on Tuesday. So, we rushed around all week finding a dress for Jenelle (found one at Once Upon A Child for $6.50), a tie for Rachel ($16 .. I about died when I found out she spent that much on a flippin' TIE lol), and shoes for Jenelle ($20 at Payless.. we don't usually spend that much on shoes but it was last minute and we couldn't find any her size at Goodwill).

See the $16 tie...


They had such a great time! :) They were both glowing all week, just waiting for the dance. When Friday night rolled around, they couldn't stop wiggling (yes, Rachel included). They were so antsy! But they looked sharp. :)



I put Jenelle's hair in curlers (Thanks for the curlers, Dana), and of course her sisters wanted to be included so I did theirs as well. Jenelle and Rachel went off to the dance, and we stayed home and had our own dance. It was relaxing.. and so fun. We laughed all night. :)





Rachel looked so sharp, and Jenelle looked absolutely darling. :) Yes, I let my 8 year old wear make-up just this once.



Anyway, they had a great time.. I'm glad they went. A few of the dads gave weird looks but were cool after a little while. One little girl gave Jenelle a hard time and said "This is a FATHER daughter dance.. EVERYONE has a FATHER". Well, it only took about two seconds for Rachel to set her straight. :) She is nicer than I am. She just told the little girl that some dads aren't as good as others. I would've given her a lecture on human rights hahaha.

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Woops!

I just realized it's 10:52 and I have not blogged today. I have, however, made 4 tutus.. some soaps.. helped Jenelle with her Rosa Parks project.. and enjoyed a shopping trip to Hancock Fabrics with my mom.

I also blogged here, and took some pictures of my new patchwork scarves.

I contacted a mom about a review/giveaway that is coming up soon (I will keep you posted).

Rachel and I discussed my hair today. I have been "no poo" for about a month now. I love it, she loves it. I've received more compliments on my hair sans poo than I have ever received in my life! It is softer, shinier, and easier to manage. What we also discussed is dreads. She has wanted them for a while, and is actually growing her hair out so she can have them. I haven't really considered them in the past, but I've been thinking about them a lot lately. She wants them because they look cool. I want them because they're more natural. :) I'm a total hippy at heart -- I'd love to be living my dream out, traveling in an RV across the country.. home schooling the girls (unschooling, even!).. just living my life. I would love it! But, $$$$$$$$$ makes the world go 'round and when you don't have much of it, you're pretty much stuck.

Rach doesn't think living in an RV would be the best idea. We already live in an 800 square foot apartment (5 of us), and the girls aren't going to stop growing any time soon. However, I hate the public school system (hate it).. and I want the girls to see the world (or at least the states). I never got that chance when I was little.

Anyone know a way one could afford to travel across the US in an RV? I'd love some ideas. :)

The other day, I discovered this blog. I won't say much about it right now, but I did get an idea from her. She has a "Touring Tuesday" where she shows a room of her apartment (I believe it's 450 sq ft). For the most part, it seems people are just griping at her about how she has things set up, but it seems like they are logical complaints. I'm kind of afraid to open myself up that much already, but I figure if I'm going to make this a personal blog.. why not dive in head first?? I don't have anything to hide. My house isn't spotless all of the time, but it's not gross either. Plus, Rachel is a TOTAL neat freak so it would never be messy for more than a few hours (she does work, ya know).

So, I leave you with this. What do you think? Should I start a "Touring Day"? Or should I just do a tour in one post? Or should I not do it at all? Let me know what you think!

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Make your own Easter soaps



You can actually make any type of soaps with this tutorial, but I made Easter Egg soaps and they're awesome! :) These are a great alternative to buying soap made with chemicals in a factory.

You will need:

glycerin soap (5lb bag at Hobby Lobby was $15 but I had a 40% off coupon)

microwavable container (I used an old mayo jar.)

egg mold (I used one of those trays you put deviled eggs in)

Optional:

soap dyes (do NOT, I repeat DO NOT, use food coloring)
essential oils (use sparingly)

The directions are on the back of the glycerin soap bag, but basically you take a few chunks and melt it at 30 second intervals until it's liquid. Remove from the microwave, and add your essential oils (just a few drops!!) and soap dye (again, a few drops does the trick - especially with these, as I wanted them to look "pastel"). Stir with a skewer or other wooden/metal object (do not use plastic).

When making regular soaps, you can also add oatmeal. If you add oatmeal to your Easter Egg soaps, they will look dumb. Trust me on this one.



On the topic of oatmeal soaps, you want to make sure the oatmeal is at the TOP of the soaps (which means pour it in after you pour just a little bit of soap in the mold.) If the oatmeal is at the bottom, it will get soggy and gross when it's sitting on the sink or in the shower.



Anyway, you mix the oils and dye in with the soap, and pour it into the egg molds. Let sit for about an hour at room tempature. Turn over, and pop the soaps out of the molds. You can wrap them in ribbon, add some stickers, or put them in a basket with some fake grass.



Aren't they adorable? (Notice the clear looking one at the top? It's the oatmeal egg. Gross)



I'd like to see what everyone comes up with. Please link back to my page and let me know what yours look like! I think these could be really cute in a little Easter basket. You could do all pastel colors, or layer a few colors.. I mean, the possibilities are endless, really!

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First "real" post, an introduction

Well, I guess that title is a bit misleading. I haven't been fake or anything, I've just tried to focus on the tutu business moreso than my personal life when writing this blog. That, of course, is changing now. :) I will warn you, I am very opinionated. If you can't handle that, I do apologize in advance! You should follow this blog instead -- I do giveaways and reviews, and it's pretty much all business, with just a little bit of sass. ;)

I should introduce myself! Most of you know me already, but this will be a good post for others to look back on when they find me. First of all, I'm a typo FREAK so if you EVER see a typo in one of my blogs, PLEASE tell me!!

Me in 1987:



Me in 2009:



I'm 24 years old (I will be 25 on 4/9, send me something special lol). My partner's name is Rachel - we have been together for a little over a year. We have also lived together for a little over a year. In true U-Haul fashion, we did in fact move in together after dating for less than a month. (For the record, I didn't do that with anyone else prior to her - I had kids and never trusted anyone enough.) We met at work - it was love at first sight.

Rachel:



Us:



We have three little girls. Jenelle is 8, Gracelynn will be 5 on 3/7, and Sapphire is 3. Seeing as we are lesbians, she obviously didn't impregnate me and I didn't impregnate her - I'm biologically their mother. I was married previously, and was terribly unhappy... not much to say on that subject really. :) Rachel is their "other mother" (that's the name they came up with for her), and more of a "father" than theirs ever was.

Jenelle:


Gracelynn:


Sapphire (the day we moved in, excuse the mess):



I read an article online back in October of 2009 about making your own tutus. They were called "no-sew" tutus, and seemed fairly easy to make. I kept reading, and watching, and figured out how to do them. My first few attempts looked pathetic, honestly (so if you're trying to make them, don't give up).

First tutu I ever made:



However, I soon perfected the tutu-making and people started asking where they could buy them.

Tutus now:



I've always liked working online, so I figured I'd make a webpage and sell the tutus there. I had no idea it would turn into such a big thing, but I love it!! It still isn't HUGE to where I'm getting orders every day yet, but I'm working on that. :)



My first customers were photographers. I placed an ad on craigslist asking amateur photographers if they wanted their photography noticed -- I offered tutus in exchange for their photos.

Other than making tutus, we also like to do all types of crafts. I recently taught my 8 year old how to loom-knit and she fell in love! It is the first craft I've let her do solo, and she is addicted. :) She doesn't have much time to do it, with school and such (that's another story in itself), but she did complete her first scarf last month. She is making her sister one for her birthday as well. I recently got a Cricut, so we have started papercrafting also! The little ones can help with that, and they really enjoy it.

As far as my philosophy and views on things.. I've been asked a lot of questions lately about religion, politics, going green, and more. My views on some things change from day to day - others I am firm in and have not changed my mind in 24 years. :) I generally shy away from discussing such "deep" topics with people, because they seem to get offended easily, but for introduction purposes I will state my beliefs on a few things.

Religion: I am 10000% against organized religion. I believe in God, we pray every day (and before every meal), we talk about God a lot, but we do not (will not) attend church.

Politics: I really hate politics..

Going green: I'd love to be a traveling tutu selling hippie.. I'd love to dred my hair and drive an RV across country that runs on vegetable oil. However, finances prevent us from doing that right now.. so until then, I do send all of my bows, giveaways, etc out in recycled materials. Sometimes I use a cereal box that is cut up, other times I use wrapping paper or magazine pages for envelopes. I always try to use recyclables, though.

Schooling: I home schooled Jenelle up until this year. I loved it, she loved it, but Rachel wasn't really too keen on it. We agreed to try public school this year, and Jenelle is.. well, she's surviving. Kids are mean, teachers can be also, and it's just frustrating to have her come home crying at least once a week because of it. However, it's the real world, and for this year she has to deal with it. I'm hoping within the next two years we can start home schooling again - though I'm not sure it will happen, seeing as Grace is starting kindergarten next year.

Okay, so I think that's enough of an intro. I included everything I've been asked recently as well as a bit more.

If you'd like to know more, just ask a question in that box to the right! That's my FAQ box and I answer all questions right away. You can click on it to see all my previous answers.

*UPDATED MARCH 2011* Just wanted to post some new pictures of us! :) Also a new update on Jenelle in school.. she is doing great! Grace is, too!

Gracelynn, Sapphire, Jenelle, and then Rachel. :) No pics of me as of yet. I am working on losing weight and will do a 'big reveal' towards the end of 2011.




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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Serious makeover

Just giving a little heads up... I'm seriously making over my blog. The business portion of the blog (new products, some giveaways, casting calls for models, etc) will be moving HERE. The personal portion of the blog (craft ideas, pictures of my kids, plus I am adding a LOT) will stay HERE, on this page. :)

I hope you can be patient with me during this transition! I will still host giveaways here but they will be for OTHER people's products. I hope to start doing reviews as well. If you are interested in submitting your product for a review, send me a message (sadielankford(at)ymail(dot)com). If there is a craft project or a DIY video you'd like to see, please send me a message. My blog will e much more interesting with feedback and input from YOU.

Don't forget.. I'm still searching for two lucky bloggers that are trying to lose weight. They will win a prize package. I will talk about it here AND on my business page so don't worry about losing the info.. I won't let ya! :)

Scroll down a few posts for the boutique bow giveaway. It ends 2/21. In the future, giveaways like this one will be done HERE.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Some giveaways *I* won, and a recap on what YOU can win.

I am the luckiest person, ever!! :) I won not only one.. not two, but THREE of the OWOH giveaways I entered!! How awesome is that?!?

Out of 275 entries, I was the winner over at Julie's blog!! This is what I won:



I entered probably 200 of the giveaways, and this was one of the top 5 that stood out the most! I'm SO glad I won it! Check her blog out -- the way she took pictures of her cutting all the entries out, shuffling them in a DRYER (lol), and choosing one.. well, it was really cool! And then to see my name on a little piece of paper?! Too neat.

Next, I got an email from Kelly saying this: Your prize consists of one of the ATC/Collage packs on my blog Artsy Visions and 2 digital collage sheets from Collagevisions..



I was so excited! Know why? Because I have been wanting to get into ATCs and collages for swaps but haven't done it. This was just the push I needed. As for the collage sheets, they can be found on her etsy shop: HERE. I actually printed one out, cut it all up, and glued it (in true collage fashion, I think) to a journal that I just mailed out (to the United Kingdom!) for a swap.

And last, but certainly not least, I won Marie's giveaway as well! Out of 422 bloggers, I was one of four winners. The first winner, to be exact. :) hehe. Check out her blog to see what I won. I chose the Rivier.

Just a little recap, there are a few giveaways that I have going on right now. You can visit our giveaway page to keep up with which ones are going on at what times. Currently, we have a Facebook giveaway -- "Beautiful Things Happen When a Woman Trusts God", by Sheila Walsh -- just leave a comment on the wall post I have up talking about the book and you will be entered.

We are also doing a giveaway right here on our blog. Just leave a comment on this entry for your chance to win.




There are also other ways to get EXTRA entries, so check those out by clicking here.

I'm also still waiting for two lucky bloggers to email me their weight loss story. Are you a blogger? Are you trying to lose weight? Would you like some motivation from ME to get to that first milestone?? I have already chosen one blogger to receive a prize package once she reaches 25 pounds lost.

Prize packages can include, but are not limited to, patchwork scarves, soaps, body scrubs, workout DVDs, motivational CDs, and much, much more!! If you or someone you know is a blogger that is trying to lose weight, PLEASE email me your/their story (with their permission of course)!! What do you have to lose??? Besides all that weight...

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Introducing... BOUTIQUE BOWS!! (And a giveaway!)



I just added the cutest bows ever to the website, so be sure to check them out! They are only $4.99 and there are a few designed to match some of the tutus we make. :)



Our Crisscross Allie Clips were featured on one of the best blogs ever today. Please check out Hairstyles for Girls.



Before I forget, the cute little blonde in my photos is not my daughter. She is our newest model, and belongs to Dana. If you're a mom, or a craft lover (especially knitting), following Dana's blog should be on your To-Do list.

Now, to the good stuff.. We are giving away your choice of one of our new bows!!

***PLEASE POST A SEPARATE COMMENT FOR EACH ENTRY.***

***PLEASE leave a link so your entry can be verified (Link to FB post, twitter, etc. Links not required for some entries.)***


This giveaway ends on February 21st at 9PM Central Standard Time. The winner will be announced on February 22nd.

You have until February 21st @ 9PM EST to enter the giveaway. All giveaways are open to EVERYONE, even international contestants. Winner will be chosen by random.org and will be contacted by email after the giveaway close. The winner will then have 72 hours to claim their giveaway by email. If the winner does not claim their prize within their 72 hour period, a new winner will be chosen.

Mandatory 1st entry: Visit Nellie Bug's and pick which NEW bow is your favorite. Leave a comment here telling us about it.

EXTRA ENTRIES (Leave a separate comment for each!):

+1 Follow our blog (Click over there, to the right.)

+1 Leave us a guestbook entry telling us what your princess would use our tutus for (pictures, dress-up, etc)

+1 Tweet about this giveaway (One entry each day, comment each time you retweet)

+1 Post to another social networking site about our giveaway - you can do this DAILY for extra entries (Cafemom, Myspace, etc)

+2 Friend us on Facebook and leave a comment on our wall.

+1 Leave a comment on any non-giveaway post on our site. (Up to 3 entries)

+3 Link to us in the sidebar of your blog.

+3 Heart our Etsy shop

Okay, so I hope the rules are clear -- if you have any questions just email us! tutus(at)nelliebugs(dot)com.

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A book review: Sheila Walsh


"Beautiful Things Happen When a Woman Trusts God", by Sheila Walsh, did not enlighten, inspire, encourage, or challenge me, as I was hoping it would. While it was hard to even finish this book, I did receive it for free in exchange for my review, so I did read it cover to cover. Overall, this book gets 2 stars. I know that sounds a little harsh, but her message missed me - big time.

The entire book is about trust. It's about her personal struggle with depression, how she went from a successful 700 Club TV co-host to being in a mental hospital, and basically her recovery afterward. I am a Christian woman, but I did not relate to her book much (if at all). Maybe we are at different levels in our faith, I don't know. I'd hate to say "Don't read this book", because it might help someone... but I'm not recommending it.

One excerpt from the book I can relate to: "..can you harbor a private trust in God - is it possible to be a secret disciple?" I think this is an important question, and honestly the one part in the book I would have liked to delve deeper into. If this were a Bible Study book, I think it would've gotten 3 stars. This is the type of book you want to sit down and discuss with others. A lot is left up to question, to talk about. Reading it alone, you don't get to go any deeper and I feel that is where her message was lost.

I think Sheila Walsh tried, I really do. I also think Sheila Walsh needs to hire a better editor (Hey, Sheila, I edit! Email me! *wink*).

I'd love to hear your opinion of the book. Maybe it was a great book and I just really didn't see it. Open my eyes, please. I'd love nothing more than to realize the book is great and I did not waste two evenings reading cover to cover, hoping for it to get better.

I received compensation (the book) for doing this review for Thomas Nelson Publishing. The opinions are honest (obviously) and solely mine.

I am giving this book to one lucky (?) woman -- visit our Facebook page and leave a comment on the post to be entered. If you like Sheila Walsh's books and writing style, you will most likely love this book. I have been told it's her best book so far.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

I'm on a roll today - Lists of 100

Okay, so this is like my fourth entry for the day. Oh well. :) I stumbled upon THIS little gem, and could not resist. I love my list of 100 goals for 2010 and honestly it was hard to stop at 100! If I complete most of them I might add 50 more, who knows. But when I discovered this list, I was just like WOAH! Awesome!!!

The ones that are bold I would like to try.

100 Things to Write a List of 100 About
100 Things I’m Grateful For
100 Ways I Could Nurture Myself

100 Ways I Sabotage Myself
100 Things I’m Good At
100 Things I Like About Myself

100 Questions I Want Answers
100 Ways To Improve My Life
100 Things I’ve Accomplished In My Life
100 Things I’m Feeling Stressed About
100 Things I’d Do If I Had Time
100 Things I Need Or Want To Do
100 Things I Want To Accomplish In The Next X Months
100 Things To Do Before I Die
100 Things That Are Going Right

100 Things That Are Going Wrong -- I'd rather not focus on the negative!
100 Reasons I Want To Stay Married/Committed -- Definitely
100 Reasons I Don’t Want To Stay Married/Committed
100 Things I Want In A Partner/Relationship
100 Things I Have To Offer To A Partner/Relationship
100 Fears I Am Having Right Now
100 Things That Once Scared Me But Don’t Anymore
100 Reasons To Save Money
100 Things I Miss
100 Sacrifices I Have Made
100 Marketing Ideas For My Business - I'd like help with this one
100 Ways I Can Make Money
100 Ways To Make A Difference
100 Jobs/Careers I’d Like To Have
100 Fears About Being A Multimillionaire
100 Things I Believe In
100 Achievements (Qualities) I Am Proud Of
100 Things I Value In Life
100 Ways I Help Others
100 Things That Turn Me On
100 Things That Turn Me Off
100 Judgments I Make - Ouch, this one will be hard..
100 Things I Find Hard To Share
100 Things I’m Disappointed About
100 Things I’m Angry About
100 Things I’m Sad About
100 Things [Peoples, Places] I Love
100 Things To Do When I’m Depressed
100 Things To Do When I’m Alone
100 Rules I Have Broken
100 Skills I Have
100 Feelings I Am Having Right Now
100 Childhood Memories - This could be fun
100 Things My Parents Used To Say To Me
100 Ways In Which I’m Generous
100 Ways To Be More Productive - I'd like some help with this one, too!
100 Things I Hate
100 Things I Want
100 Places I’d Like To Visit - Complete with pictures... o0o0o!
100 Things I’d Like Someone To Tell Me
100 Things I’d Like To Hear
100 Things I’d Like To Tell My Child
100 Things I Want My Child To Know About Me
100 Reasons To Have A Baby
100 Reasons Not To Have A Baby - I'd like to make this one for teens.
100 Adjectives Describing Myself
100 Decisions Other Have Made For Me
100 Decisions I Made That Turned Out Well
100 Things I’d Do If I Had Six Months To Live - No way, too depressing!!
100 Expectations Other Have Of Me
100 Expectations I Have Of Myself
100 Judgments I Haven’t Released
100 Ways To Be More Creative - I'd LOVE your help with this one!
100 Things I Could Carry In My Pocket
100 Things I’d Save If My House Were On Fire
100 Things I Want To Tell My Mother [Father]
100 Things I’d Never Tell My Mother [Father]
100 Financial Fears
100 Excuses I Make For Myself
100 Things I Need/Want To Control
100 Fears I Have About Giving Up Control
100 Answered Prayers
100 People I’d Like To Meet
100 Reasons Why I Get Jealous
100 People I Admire
100 Tasks I’ve Been Procrastinating
100 Memories From My Past
100 Things That Nourish Me
100 Things I Haven’t Finished
100 Things I’m Glad I’ve Done
100 Things I’ll Never Do Again
100 Ways To Generate Income
100 Principles To Live By
100 People I Want To Forgive
100 People I Want To Forgive Me
100 Things To Forgive Myself For
100 Mistakes I Have Made
100 Lessons I Have Learned
100 Ways To Be Healthier
100 Things That Make Me Cry
100 Things That Make Me Laugh
100 Things I’d Delegate
100 Thing I Want For My Birthday
100 Possessions I’m Tired Of Owning
100 Responsibilities That I’d Like To Avoid

(That's 100 lists of 100, if you were curious.)

There's even a Lists of 100 blog and a Lists of 100 swap-bot group

I think I am already addicted to this lists of 100 thing! Tonight, I will start a list. Tomorrow, I will post it to my blog. :)

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New Blogs I'm Following - swap-bot

I am in a blogger swap on swap-bot and just wanted to let everyone know I'm following 10 new blogs. Check them out when you get a chance. :)

http://artinflight.blogspot.com/

http://knitahat.blogspot.com/ -- was already following

http://simonesbutterfly.blogspot.com/

This one is on wordpress, not blogger, but I found it very interesting: Lists of 100

http://confessionsofanover-workedmom.blogspot.com/

http://bluehairedmary.blogspot.com/ -- couldn't find the "follow" button, but still commented

http://batmamma.blogspot.com/ - some of it's in Swedish

http://arielbouvier.blogspot.com/ -- could not find "follow" button, but still commented

http://aninfiniteatopose.blogspot.com/ -- I think I'm really going to like this blog...

http://onewomenshaven.blogspot.com/

http://onewomenshaven.blogspot.com/ -- Already addicted to this one. :)

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My first award :)

Tina gave me a blog award -- thanks, Tina! I don't know that I have 15 favorite blogs to pass it on to, but I'll try.



Also, I'm working on a pretty big project that will hopefully be done by tomorrow. I will post pictures then! Hint: It involves chalkboard paint!

Blogs I heart, in no particular order:

The Muse Factory -- My favorite blog, & favorite blogger, ever. :)

Family Treasures -- My other absolute favorite blogger!! She blogs often, has a goals list that is fun to follow, and has a not-too-busy layout.

Chunky Dunk at Large -- Love the things she blogs about

The Floundering SAHM -- I love how honest she is.

Bye Bye Fat Pants -- I like her layout, her short blog posts, and I like how she doesn't give up even when she gains weight. (She is also one of my prize pack winners!!)

My Marriage Experiment -- Because I heart anyone who is open enough to share their marriage problems, and anyone who is strong enough to work on them rather than walking away.

Mommy of 1 and Counting -- This mom is awesome, she does tons of reviews/giveaways, and her little girl looked adorable in one of my tutus

Project Mommy, Wife, and More -- I like this blog because of the simple layout, and she blogs often.

The Traveling Fish -- Besides being cute, this girl is hilarious. :) I love reading her blog.

**Disclaimer: If I forgot to mention your blog, I'm sorry! I'm sick today and the kids aren't letting up at ALL. If I follow your blog, then you are someone I would give this award to. Feel free to take it for your blog!! Thank you for understanding!**

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OWOH Winners

So, the time has come to announce the winners for the OWOH giveaway!! :)

Drum roll please....

The winner of the tutu is Birgit



and

The winner of the hand made oatmeal soaps is Carapace!



CONGRATS! I sent an email to both winners this morning. (Please contact me by 2/18/2010 with your address to receive your prizes!)

Also, I am still looking for two lucky bloggers to win a prize pack for losing weight!! Check out this post for details and email me (tutus[AT]nelliebugs[DOT]com) your story to be considered. I have already chosen one lucky blogger!! When she reaches her first milestone of 25lbs, she will receive a prize package from none other than.. the lovely.. ME!! :) Prizes will be chosen from the website as well as from craft stores or my personal stash, just depending on the likes of the recipient. :)

So, again, please email me your story if you'd like to be one of my featured dieting bloggers!! I will be putting a link in my sidebar to each of the blogs, so that means more readers for you as well! :)

I might blog again later.. just been really busy lately! I think it's about time for another craft project/tutorial, what do you think?? Any ideas??

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Awesomeness! And giveaway winners!

The coloring contest on CafeMom came to an end yesterday, and I announced the winner on the radio last night! I had a surprise in store for the group, because they thought there would only be ONE winner.. but I actually picked THREE! :) Well, my girls each picked one.. they couldn't decide on just one. They're just like me lol. I always end up picking more than one winner, too. Softies.

I have also chosen the winners for the OWOH giveaway -- the winners will be announced on February 15th, so check back then to see if you're one of the lucky ones!

Awesomeness. Our stuff is now located inside the South County Mall in St. Louis!! The shop is on the bottom level, right next to Hot Topic - it's called Somethin' Special! There are lots of talented crafters that set up there -- if you're local, check us out!



We are going to be adding patchwork scarves to our website very soon, so keep checking back for those as well! We just added some Easter Allie Clips, too!

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