Monday, December 22, 2008

the thrill of the countdown

this weekend the clouds rolled in, bringing with them gradually cooling air. today the world is bright, sunny, crisp - and almost 40 degrees colder than it was 3 days ago. a welcome change for the new season.

the cooler, overcast weather made for the perfect backdrop for lots of cozy last-minute holiday preparations. this weekend we enjoyed...

~ a family holiday evening downtown, armed with travel mugs of spiked apple cider, wandering the streets and enjoying the holiday sights and sounds

~ deliciously crusty homemade bread, made with the assistance of this amazing book

~ the final farmers market of the year, at which we picked up our final csa box of the season

~ creating two handmade ornaments for my little one's first christmas - a tradition i am adopting from my godmother, who made me a handmade ornament every year for the first 18 years of my life (see inspiration here)

~ attending an ugly sweater party. alan was in charge of finding the sweaters and this one he picked up for me - but i think it looked much better on him, don't you agree? we especially love the detail on the sleeve

~ finishing the holiday baking...this year i made spiced vanilla cookies, mini pumpkin loaves, and good old recipe-off-the-bag chocolate/peanut butter chip cookies

~ a treat for our lazy sunday morning: cinnamon rolls, made with the same dough as the previously mentioned deliciously crusty homemade bread

~ a treat for our lazy sunday evening: stew made by hubby using all the veggies he could fit in from previously mentioned csa box

gifts are wrapped, holiday greetings are sent, laundry is...well...guess that's the excitement that today holds.

safe travels and happy holidays to all!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

the stocking is hung...

blue, sunny skies...80 degree wide open, letting in the warm breeze...

sounds lovely, right? and is lovely, no doubt about it. just not exactly the type of weather that gets one into the holiday spirit.

regardless, i'm still excited about christmas, and have been enjoying the slowing down of orders so i can ramp up the holiday preparations. first thing checked off my to-do list: a stocking for my babe's first christmas. my desire? to make something without having to buy any new supplies, but rather using what i've already got in my big rubbermaid craft box. my requirement? to be able to make it all by hand, seeing as i don't currently own a sewing machine.

here is the result - and i must give credit where credit's due - i got the inspiration here. next up: baby's first ornament! then it's on to the kitchen...



Monday, December 15, 2008

save handmade toys

we have all been warned about buying plastic toys, especially those made in china, and the importance of choosing wooden toys that are made with non-toxic paint, for some time now. it is encouraging that so many companies have responded with safer alternatives and there have been new safety standards placed upon toy and clothing manufacturers. unfortunately, it seems that now the careless actions of many mass-producing companies are possibly going to ruin it for the rest of us. the "rest of us" meaning anyone who makes, uses, or supports independent, handmade, and small toy manufacturers.

i have recently learned that congress has passed the consumer products safety improvement act, which will go into effect in two months. this is good news for the regulation of large toy manufacturers, but,with the way the law is currently written, it is possible that we could see the end of independent and small-business toy crafters.

as a mom who prefers to buy locally made, handmade, natural items for my daughter; a former montessori teacher who knows that these also what comprise the materials used in montessori classrooms; and as a crafter myself...this is scary. there needs to be modifications made to this law so that independent and small toy makers are not put at risk.

if you'd like to help prevent this from happening, go here to find out more about what you can do. you can also learn more on etsy, where many of these small toy manufacturers sell their products, and at the handmade toy alliance website. it only takes a few minutes to take action on something that can make a world of difference to our children.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

just 3 days left...

hi everyone, hope y'all had a wonderful weekend. i just wanted to make a little announcement that this wednesday, december 17 will be the last day to place an oliver.handmade order if you need to recieve it in time for the holidays. i will continue to take orders after wednesday, but due to holiday traveling insanity, they will not be sent out until the week of january 5.

i truly love creating and personalizing and packaging these little creations for you. thank you so much for your support - each day i feel closer to making this little dream of mine become a reality.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

holidays in my home

there's nothing cozier than a home decorated for the holidays. even a ridiculously tiny one. such as ours.

we have very limited space for extraneous things such as decorations, but my resourceful mama helped me find a few simple, economic ways to adorn my my home with some sweet holiday decor...

here, an oversized pinecone is placed into a square glass vase and filled in with cranberries. in the background you can glimpse the corner of one of olivia's christmas gifts, a trade that i did on etsy with this shop. we got the giraffe in the fruit loops pattern and it's just adorable.

this is our front door wreath, just a simple wreath bought from a discount store and adorned with holly and berries.

above our windows. i have no idea what exactly this garland is but my mom brought it from home and i love the whiteness, the rusticness, and the simpleness.

we recieved eucalyptus in our csa box many weeks ago and it's held up remarkably well as living room decor. now spray-painted with red and gold, it continues to live on, taking on a new festive flair.

and finally, our tree. although it is painful to both my hubby and i to have an artificial tree, the combination of limited funds, limited space, and limited time here over the actual holiday made us decide that this was best choice for this year. at least this is a cute little tree, and we have it up on a bench, which is pretty much perfect when you have an increasingly curious 8-month-old. we chose a few special ornaments, strung a few lights, and there you have it.

i have plans for one little handmade decor project, but i have yet to find the time to squeeze it in...perhaps tomorrow...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

lessons from a babe


a pile of colorful holiday books, courtesy the local library...

i brought these books home so that we could have a few new stories to read, but didn't expect to be so entertained by the fascination with which olivia explored them. a baby's first encounter with library books...the pockets, the little cards, the shiny outer covering. this turned into an entire afternoon's activity. we did eventually read one story, after it seemed she was satisfied with her inspection. a reminder to me of all the little things we adults don't even notice anymore as we are rushing to get to the destination. babies can teach us so much about slowing down. appreciating the little details. taking your time. enjoying the journey.


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Monday, December 8, 2008

one last oliver.handmade update...for now

i promise this is the last post for awhile about oliver.handmade and tomorrow i'll get back to some other subject matter...such as the simple, cozy holiday decor that my mama helped me with in our little house or some of the decorating, gifting, and baking projects that i hope to tackle this week.

but just one little announcement to make...oliver.handmade onesies and tshirts can now be found at poe studio. if you live around charleston or happen to pay a visit to our fine city, you must stop by this adorable shop and check out the handcrafted children's clothes, non-toxic toys and irresistible shoes. so irresistible are the shoes, in fact, that it looks like santa (a.k.a. grandma "gigi") will be leaving a pair for olivia under the tree this year...

and on another note, have you ever realized what a difficult word "irresistible" is to spell?

holiday sale!


the december days are quickly sliding by, which means the christmas holiday is inching closer and closer! now that i'm finished with my shows, i have switched gears and am trying to focus on what each of my loved ones will recieve this year. my hubby and i have vowed to buy handmade and/or locally made for each other, which is great and all, but i'm having trouble figuring out what to get. no last minute trips to williams-sonoma for a cookbook or the gap for the trusty ol' button down shirt this year! any ideas?

for you, i am offering a SALE in my shop! all holiday onesies and bibs have been marked down, including several that are ready-to-ship, as well as a few other selections from the "early" days. come and get 'em while they're hot!
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Sunday, December 7, 2008

budding entrepreneurs?





barbara and i had a lot of fun at our combined booth at the daniel island holiday festival yesterday. we were very happy with the way our set-up looked and decided that we are one day going to open a shop full of our handmade goodies, hopefully recruiting some of our other crafty pals. so stay tuned.

the funny thing about this show was that although it was significantly bigger and longer than the other show i did earlier this week, i actually sold a little less. i think there is something to doing smaller shows that can be more successful. at the bigger show, although we didn't really have any competition as far as our actual product, there were so many more vendors that even if people like your product and intend to come back and buy, they may a) spend their money elsewhere; b) forget about you by the time they get the whole way around; or c) just basically get wiped out by the whole overstimulating affair before they make it back to you. but the plus side is that a lot of folks took our business cards, and other vendors shared that they often recieve good business a few months down the line this way. also according to some other vendors, this year is very slow due to the stellar state of our economy. lots of browsers and not as many buyers.

but all in all, the shows were great fun and a great experience. now i'll be glad to fulfill my little etsy orders and concentrate on other things, like making my babe some special first christmas keepsakes!

enjoy your sunday.
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Thursday, December 4, 2008

simple, meaningful jewelry

when i first discovered this wide world of blogging, one of the first blogs that i was drawn to was this one. lisa leonard shares her beautiful photographs and sweet stories about her children, including one special needs son. in addition, she makes and sells jewelry, such as the necklace that you see here. you can personalize the jewelry to make a one-of-a-kind, special keepsake.

simple mom is having a giveaway this week where you can enter to win your very own lisa leonard original, as well as some other other meaningful jewels!



well, my first show was a lot of fun and i am very pleased with the amount that i sold. it was also a wonderful experience to meet the other artists and talk with customers and browsers. i think that i could really get into this avenue of business, and would like to find out more about selling in a farmer's market.

now i am preparing for my second, and larger, show on saturday, so must get back to sewing.
have a great day!


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Tuesday, December 2, 2008


i have been busily preparing for my very first venture into the world of craft shows (artisan market? art show? i haven't decided which term i like best yet). i am excited and anxious to see how it goes! every free moment in the past month or so has been spent either sewing or preparing in some other way (making postcards and flyers...painting my sign...spreading the word...tagging and ironing...procrastinating on facebook). i have sixty onesies and tshirts to take with me, plus some bibs and holiday cards. i'll be happy even if i only sell a few (although i'd be happier if i sold a bunch!) i see this as an experience, to spread my name, to learn what works and what doesn't.

if you're in the charleston area, stop by and see me at lowcountry local first's holiday bazaar today! in addition to the artisans selling their wares, there will be food from local restaurants and musical entertainment. is there a better way to support local artisans and the local economy while scoring some cool gifts?