Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Friday, March 21, 2008

One Cozy Nest

Hi everyone! Believe it or not, yesterday was the first day of Spring...you probably already knew that, but it sure crept up on me! My husband reminded me by asking me if I wanted to go to Rita's for waterice, which they give away for free on the first day of Spring. It was in the mid 40s, so it didn't feel like Spring. However, the flowering trees and shrubs in my neighborhood are blooming already, just in time for Easter. My family isn't huge on Easter but my sister is having us over to her house for a casual brunch. It's Cooper's first Easter, so I got him a basket, some paper grass, and some of those plastic eggs. What I'll put in there I have no idea, but I just had to do something for his first, you know? Maybe I'll get some treats for myself and stick them in there. Haha! Tonight, my sister's family is coming over to dye Easter eggs, which we make sure we do every year.

Onto another subject. I've been thinking for quite some time about changing my "brand" name from mandy b. bags to something else that will reflect the fact that I make more than just bags. I'm getting a bit bored with making handbags for the time being. I still enjoy it, but since I started making them in 2000, there are so many other girls doing the same or similar thing. Granted, a smaller number of them are using vintage and recycled fabrics, but still, it's a lot of competition. You log on to Etsy or Ebay or just do a google search and there are a gazillion handmade handbags. With that said, I'm leaning more towards making things that I love. Things that I want to have in my own home, things I wish I could afford but know I can make myself, things that I am attracted to in magazines, flea markets, and antique stores. Take, for example, these vintage fabric buntings that I just made....or the pillows I posted about a couple of days ago. These came from the heart and I want my name to reflect the feeling I get when making things like these. So with a lot of thought and internet searching (to make sure my new name wasn't already being used), I've come up with One Cozy Nest. I registered the name with Etsy and also went and registered the domain name onecozynest.com. In the coming months, I am going to try to consolidate my Etsy shops (mandybbags and mandybbaby) into the One Cozy Nest shop and then re-work my mandybbags.com website. So, you'll be seeing new categories for home, kitchen and bath, and hopefully they'll fill up with goodies. We'll see where this takes us!

Happy Easter to everyone!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Eco-Tip Wednesday ~ Pets Can Be Green Too!

Don't forget your pet when it comes to living a more green lifestyle. Check out these great eco-friendly Reversible Dog Coats and Pet Beds by Etsy seller anniessweatshop. She uses fleece fabric that's made from recycled plastic. Or design your own pet tags! Etsy seller julep115 uses recycled aluminum to create personalized jewelry for your furry ones. Spot got the "itchies"? Well, try this organic alternative to flea spray made by Etsy seller sandycreeksoap. It's made with tea tree oil and citronella. That reminds me of my college roommate and I trying to say "free flea spray" 10 times in a row. Try it and it might just make you giggle!

My Latest Project...

I've been sick with some kind of 48 hour bug the past two days, but luckily that has passed and I'm feeling great now! Here are some pictures of my latest project. I wanted to add some pizzaz to the big red couch in my living room, so with the artistic help of my sister, I made these great pillows. They're all made from natural-toned canvas. Each has a fabric backing of red & white striped fabric with an opening in the middle to insert pillow forms. One has a hand-painted letter "B" for my last name, of course, the other has just a "No. 3"...no real significance there, just that my sister painted it. The House Pillow, I designed myself, and I'm going to have my sister paint a number on it for me next time I see her. It has four windows that I made into photo frames by using clear plastic. I used the frames to display some old black & whites of my great grandmother, grandparents, and other relatives when they were young. The roof is red and white striped and the sky is baby blue with white polka dots to simulate clouds. The big red door is felt and has a tiny little vintage button as a door knob. Don't you love the awning over the door? That's so no one gets rained on while looking for their keys. I stitched the detail onto the shutters, door, and awning, which gives the pillow a kind of folk artsy feel. Anyway, I'm real proud of these so I wanted to show them off. Thanks for looking!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Scavenger Hunt for GREEN Prizes!

This St. Patrick's Day, join in the fun with the Eco Etsy Team by going on a GREEN treasure hunt for GREEN prizes!

When: Sunday, March 16th 12:00pm EST to 12:00am EST (or earlier if all the prizes have been found).

Where: Etsy

How to Play: St. Patty's Day Scavenger Hunt

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Family & Creativity

Good morning...actually, it's just after noon but it still feels like morning. I'm still in my PJs. We had a sleep over with my two nephews last night and their mom just picked them up. We had fun dressing up with Mr. Potato Head pieces. Cooper is down for a nap so I logged on for a quick blog entry.

I've been in a super creative mood lately and there are just so many ideas flying through my brain. I want to make so many things and there is just so little time in a day! I decided to re-organize a portion of my workspace recently, which has helped to spark some inspiration. There's something about seeing my ribbon all in a row that makes me feel good. I moved my cork board from it's old spot and hung it right over my ironing board so I'd be more likely to hang things from it. It's now my "inspriation board". Then I hung a favorite print of my sister's next to it. On the other side, closest to my cutting table, I hung a cool wrought iron planter box decoration I picked up at JoAnn Fabrics. It works well to hold my baby food and mason jars full of push pins, cutting tools, and various other things. Then, my favorite part of the re-org was hanging an old white shelf that I got at a yard sale YEARS ago. I wanted to hang it in a baby's room but when Coop came around, it didn't go with the theme really. I screwed two old curtain rod brackets to the bottom shelf so that I could hang all of my ribbon. They used to be in a shoe box all crowded and cramped and unorganized. Now they are in plain sight and I will be able to use them more easily. Lastly, I hung my thread spool holders on the wall instead of them taking up space on the table. Now I have more room to spread projects out while I'm sewing. That, my friends is my workspace upgrade. Ta-daaaaa!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Eco-Tip Wednesday ~ Composting

Think for a minute about how much food waste you throw in the trash or grind up in your garbage disposal each week. That "trash" could become treasure in two short months. If you start now, you'll have nutrient-rich fertilizing soil for your potted plants come spring. Not to mention, you'll be reducing your footprint on the environment. You don't need a complicated or expensive bin to get started. All you need is a small spot in the corner of your yard or behind your shed and a pitch fork for ease of turning your pile. Kids will love to help with dumping scraps onto the pile, I know I did when I was younger. For quick and easy instructions on how to start your own compost pile, visit E-How's tutorial. Here's a little guide that includes a chart telling you what can and can't be composted. Who knew dryer lint and hair could help make your garden grow?

I bought an inexpensive but decorative scrap pail to sit on my counter next to my sink. It has a lid with holes in it for aeration and a carbon filter to prevent the stinkies. I put coffee grounds & filters, egg shells, and all my veggie and fruit waste in there. When it's full, I take it outside and dump it. I happen to have a bin that rotates on an axel to make for easy pile turning, but like I said above, you don't need this. My sister composts and she just has a pile next to her shed that she hid with a nice, rustic piece of wood picket fence.

Image from: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/

"You've Got Sales!"

I've been pretty successful these past couple of weeks so I wanted to share it with you all! It looks like my Artist's Pouches are a hit! My sister bought one...yes she said she's going to pay for it even though I told her not to. Kim from Running on Ink ordered five more to give to her artist friends as gifts. Thanks Kim! On the mandy b. baby front, I sold two of my adorable Kimono & Handbag Sets, another Custom Onesie with the phrase "Does This Cloth Diaper Make My Butt Look Fat?", and a Custom baby blanket. I'm going to make Cooper some of those onesies in a couple different colors. I also came up with a new phrase for my onesies: "My Mom's A Tree Hugger". That one will definitely be made for Cooper, for sure! Oh, and for some reason, that's my new thing...I keep saying "for sure." My husband seems to think it's from watching The Wire. One of the main characters, who "got got" at the end of the season, said it all the time. Apparently, I want to be a gangsta corner boy from East Baltimore....FO SHO!!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Where I Work

Here's a little taste of where I do my crafting. Gotta love IKEA! My cutting table is from JoAnn Fabrics & Crafts, the cubby shelves, lighting, curtains, and desk are from IKEA. I'm lucky enough to have an extra bedroom dedicated just to my sewing and crafting. If I had to share the basement with my husband I'd shoot myself. Down there, I'd have to compete with sports and rude comedy shows blaring constantly in the background. Not to mention stinky farts and whatnot! Having our own space allows each of us to do what we like without getting in each other's way...then we meet up for date night!

Latest Project

Hi everyone! My latest project is finally complete. I bought a bunch of colorful zippers the other day and made some little square pouches and long skinny pencil cases. I just listed them on Etsy so stop on by to have a look. I like to offer a variety of bag shapes at various price levels that anyone can afford. At $5 and $7.50, they're a steal!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Eco-Tip Wednesday ~ Brown Baggin' It is OUT!

Do you remember toting your lunch to school in a little brown paper bag with your name carefully written on it by your mom? Perhaps she was sweet enough to leave you a little love note on the napkin. These days, that little brown bag has been replaced with lunch boxes and soft sided coolers, which are definitely more eco friendly than using a throw away bag every day. However, the stuff that's INSIDE those lunch boxes is the topic of this week's Eco Tip Wednesday posting.

Plastic wrap, sandwich baggies, plastic utencils, and paper napkins probably go into your and your kids' lunches ever day and end up in the trash. Why not use cloth napkins like these from Etsy seller gnomeclothes? Instead of packing plastic forks and knives, send junior (or yourself) to school or work with a set of stainless steel ones from a junk shop that can be brought home to be washed over and over again?

That still doesn't resolve the issue of what to wrap your sandwich in. You can't have your turkey on rye floating around all willy nilly, now can you? Try wrap-n-mats, a reusable sandwich wrap made from a washable, waterproof fabric! OR for a complete eco-friendly mealtime ensemble, try these stylish lunch kits by Etsy seller glueandglitter!
Happy Green Baggin' It!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

My latest project...

Good evening all! It's almost time for "Date Night" for my husband and I, so I wanted to hurry up and post this entry about my latest project. I bought a huge spool of baker's twine the other day from Ebay seller, wesellcoffee. I didn't realize just how much is on one spool so I think I have about a lifetime's supply. Anyway, I wanted to use it to make my own hang tags for my handbags and other crafts that I sell on Etsy. I bought a circle punch at the craft store today and then dug through the recycling pile in the garage in search of something I could reuse. What I found was a JC Penney gift box that had a cool striped pattern! So I got to punching and stringing and prest-o change-0...handmade, eco-friendly hang tags for my eco-friendly handbags. Hey, that rhymed!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Clean, clean, clean!

I know it's not spring yet, but my house just underwent a Spring Cleaning yesterday. I decided to spoil myself and hire a cleaning service, which is a true luxury in my book. I know, I feel like a lazy bum because I'm a stay at home mom right now and technically HAVE the time to clean my house but who the heck WANTS to do that?? Besides I get a lot of back pain as a result of heavy cleaning so I'll just blame it on that! :) Anyway, they are located in South Jersey and are called Pure Clean. They use only natural cleaning products and no paper products. Yes, that's right...NO CHEMICALS or wasteful paper use! They are one of only two natural cleaning companies I could find in the region. My house is sparkling clean now and smells so good. They even left a little vase of flowers and some mints on my pillow. Call me a dork but I love the feeling of knowing there's no dust bunnies hiding under the bench in my hallway or on top of my ceiling fan blades. A clean house makes my soul feel clean, if that makes any sense! Again, dork, I know. They really are very affordable too. For my 4 bedroom, 2 and 1/2 bath home with kitchen, living room, family room, and dining room, the initial deep clean only cost me a little over $200.