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allora handmade blog: September 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Knitty Bitties! {giveaway} CLOSED

I am so excited to host my very first giveaway here!  Meet Andrea of Knitty Bitties:

Tell us a little bit about you
Hello! I'm Andrea, the peddle pusher behind Knitty Bitties. I'm first a wife and mama. My one and only (Ethan) headed off to first grade this year leaving me with a bit more time on my hands. I've been sewing, sewing, sewing to keep my heart from missing him too much. When I'm not sewing, I love to shop, bake, run, knit and read. I LOVE iced tea (especially Starbucks black iced tea) and rarely go a day without eating peanut butter.
How did Knitty Bitties come about?
After sewing an apron for my bestie three years ago, I fell in love with sewing (again) and it stuck ... like 3-4 hours a day stuck!! After creating gifts for family and friends and receiving lots of, 'you should sell these' I decided to give it a try on this little site called, Etsy :). I was silly enough to think I would mostly be knitting, but soon realized I'd have to get mechanical arm implants for that to ever work, so sewing it was.

How did you learn to sew?
I'd say I'm self taught ... but I do have plenty of memories of my mom sewing and I know she took the time to show me the basics. All in all, I've learned by trial and error and practice, practice, practice.

What is your favorite thing in your shop right now?
I'd have to say the 'gathered and ruffled' products like the iPad/Kindle covers as well as the clutches ... and maybe soon pillow covers (wink, wink).
Do you ever get to sew for yourself? What would you sew if you had all the time in the world?
Ahhh, I do sew for myself, but not nearly enough. If I had all the time in the world I would sew quilts. Big, small, table toppers or wall hangings, I've got the quilting bug.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I'd love to be as happy as I am right now. Fulfilled and loved and hoping that shines through wherever I'm at in life.

How has Knitty Bitties changed you or helped you?
Good question. I think having a business has caused me to be much more organized with my time management. I try to procrastinate less, nap less, make lists and get more done. It has helped give me an outlet for my creativity, from sewing to graphic designing. And it's allowed me to socially connect with wonderful people.

If you could be any animal what would it be?
An indoor cat ... they really have a great life :).

Your favorite place on the planet?
Aside from my home, which I love ... I'd have to say Maui is a pretty close second. However I haven't traveled much, so this could change ;).
Who is your crafting/handmade hero?
I admire so many people in the craft/handmade industry, so it's hard to pick one as a 'hero'. I will say that Amy Butler and Heather Bailey both changed the way I viewed fabric and sewing and I love the way they have contributed to the resurgence of young(er) women sewing and creating.

What is your proudest moment?
Cliché maybe, but becoming a mom is pretty hard to beat.

See? Isn't she great? Andrea is kindly offering up a $15 gift certificate toward any item in her shop. 

To be entered to win:
Mandatory: Visit Knitty Bitties and let us know your favorite item in her shop.
Please leave your email address on your comment so I have a way to get a hold of you.

Additional entries:
Please leave a separate comment for each extra entry you do.

Follow Allora Handmade(over there on the right).
Follow Knitty Bitties
Follow Allora Handmade and Knitty Bitties on Twitter tweet about this giveaway.
For example: I'm so excited about the @knittybitties giveaway on @allorahandmade.

I also have a Facebook page and would love to connect with you there! ;)

I will pick a winner and announce it on Friday, October 1st.

*** Knitty Bitties has some amazing handmade holiday promotions going on in the next few months. Don't miss out! *****

COMMENTS NOW CLOSED! Thank you for entering!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

it's only fair.

it's only fair that since I recommended a pair of jeans a little on the pricey side (though TOTALLY worth every penny) that I pass on another recommendation that is definitely budget friendly.
i mean, who doesn't want that?
ever heard of downeast basics?
if so, can i get an amen?
if not, get ready to flip out of cuteness-at-an-amazing-price-ness.
i mean, just look at Lindsey (from the Pleated Poppy)! she is about ready to faint in disbelief because I just told her how much my skirt cost (not really, but she could have!) don't worry, i totally would have caught her. (i got your back, linds.)
anyhow, as i was saying, cute. cute. cute. cheap. cheap. cheap. (not to be confused with cheaply made.)
i am lucky enough to have 3 downeast basics shops within 5 or 10 miles of me. let's just say it's a little dangerous. this is my go to shop when i am in need of something adorable that is young and fresh, but appropriate for my 30 (ahem) year-old-self. I mean, is there anything worse than a 30 year old who still dresses like they are 15? 
no. (just in case you hesitated. there is nothing worse. nothing.)
back to the outfit. 
for TCC, i picked out this beauty of a skirt (in gray of course):

it is so comfy, and the best part? POCKETS. for reals. i looove to wear skirts, but am always hunting for a pocket to put my phone, keys, random goldfish crackers, etc. in and finally, a cute skirt delivers. 2nd best part? (maybe it's a tie for first) POLKA DOTS. i love me some polka dots! mmmhmm.

and the sweater? (in green!) perfect for the fall (well, it's still 90 degrees here, but it WILL be perfect for the fall.)

don't you love the ruffles? yuummmm... ruffles.

and of course, pair it with one of their wonder tees (which i have in every color and wear almost every day) and a modern pearl necklace (gray was my first choice, but i sold it right off my neck that day) and you are set!

a tip? like down east basics on facebook, follow them on twitter, and subscribe to their emails (or pick one of the 3) and you will be in on all the sales and promos. and they ALWAYS have sweet sales. Like this dress (also seen at TCC) i picked up for $15. 

i know, you can't really see it, but it's awesome. promise. (my sister's gray dress is downeast as well. belt is allora though.)

so, friends. again, take my word for it.  WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!


Saturday, September 25, 2010

reposted: the evolution of love {happy bday to my firstborn}

itty bitty owen... where has the time gone?!

it started as a child. feelings of comfort, safety, security. knowing that even if you were naughty they would still love you. the endless sacrifices to make sure that you were happy and healthy. you knew you depended on them for your sustenance and happiness. and you loved them for all that they did for you.

as you got older you thought love had something to do with boys. the grade school crush that was all about giddy laughter and "is he looking at me?" chit chat to girlfriends. junior high wasn't much better ... the same crushes on boys you didn't even know but stalked through the halls because they were soooo cute. notes to your friends folded up into little arrows and triangles spilling your guts about your young obsession. even in high school you were more in love with the idea of being in love than with any one person, and even when you really thought you knew what love was because you were oh so mature, love was selfish and fading.

you later learned that love had so much meaning in the form of friendship. girlfriends that were more like sisters, a sister (and brother) who were more like friends, roommates that knew you better than you knew yourself and loved you anyway. you were finally able to really be friends with boys without confusing love and friendship and you learned to put others before yourself.

and then you leave the country to love and serve people in a culture so different from your own. you teach them about god's love and you learn to love them in spite of all of the differences between you as you start to see beyond to who they really are. you leave part of your heart there with them when you return home.

you hope you are ready for the love of a lifetime, and after years of failed love and heartache you finally find true love. you fall hard and fast even though you are scared to death. you open your heart slowly and cautiously and take your time so as not to be hurt yet again. and then you marry your best friend knowing that you will love him forever and ever and you give away your heart to him. you think you finally know what love really is. you think that you will never love so hard and so deep ever again. each day you love him more and you wonder how there is enough room in that heart of yours to keep feeling more each day. you have good days and bad days together. you laugh and you cry together. you dream of the future together and you really love.

and then you find out he's on his way after years of waiting. you rub your little belly hoping he knows how excited you are to meet him and that even though you have never seen him you already love him so much it hurts. you get emotional just thinking about all the joy he will bring to your life and you feel the day can't come soon enough that you will finally hold him in your arms. and then it comes.

you love him instantly and are so overwhelmed by it. you love his itty bitty cry and his teeny tiny face and you love everything that he is and all that he brings to you. you love that he is a product of your love for your husband and you love that he is a gift to your family. and each day you can't believe it could be possible, but somehow you love him more and more. your heart can't possibly hold any more, yet it continues to stretch and grow. you didn't know it was possible to have your heart outside of your body, but every little thing he does shows you that he is your heart and that his happiness and his safety and his security is the most important thing in the world to you. you love that he depends on you for everything, that you are his source of nourishment and care and learning. you love that your sacrifices may go unnoticed for a while, but that one day he will grow up and have his own and only then will he know the extent of the love that you feel for him.

and then you realize why God lets us have children. you feel just a tiny portion of what He continually feels for us and you know that He is teaching you how to become like He is. you know that He only wants the best for you and that He would do anything for your happiness, your safety, and your security. you know that you depend on Him for your life and your breath and that His sacrifice has made all things possible. and He loves that you are finally getting a glimpse of what He feels for you.

originally posted here january, 2008

never a dull moment with my owey-o.

happy birthday, my beautiful boy. thank you for three of the best years of my life. i love you more each day.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

what i needed today

henry has a new friend
i had planned on posting more about TCC today (sort of like stretching out your birthday for as long as possible- then maybe it won't end...) but instead i just thought i'd send you over here to read the words i REALLY needed today.
when my house is a mess and my mom is coming to town in a few hours.
when i wonder why i ever bother to get my boys dressed since immediately after they run outside and find a baby pool full of rain water and decide to go swimming. in their clothes.
when i doubt myself and my abilities to pull off everything i have committed to.
when i haven't showered and it's almost noon.
yeah. days like today, i really need another supermom to help me realize that it's ok.
thanks canela!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

the one where i go on and on about my skinny jeans

me with the adorable julia of j-jewels
i'm not usually one to care {that} much about what i'm wearing.
i'm not usually one to rave about clothes.
but seriously, (SERIOUSLY!) if you are in the market for a new pair of jeans that will knock your socks off
(that's right! knock 'em right off! do i sound like billy mays?)
your search is over.
ever heard of miraclebody?
i'd heard of their swimsuits, and the miracles those babies can perform. but jeans? miracle body jeans?
you had me at "look 10 lbs. lighter in 10 seconds"
um, yes please! where do i sign?!
my sister and i were each given a pair of jeans to review while we were at TCC.
i might just sleep in them now.
and order them in every style.
i have a strange body shape. grateful that God gave me a body, but sometimes i think he had a sense of humor when he made mine. 
most pants just plain old don't fit. in fact, when i went to place my order for my "miracle" i was pretty skeptical about these fitting either.
you could say i lacked faith.
but oh, dear me do they fit.

showing off my jeans AND fabulous calendar with the much ado about you girls. more on that later.
if you have a little bit of a middle (or have ever been pregnant, let's just leave it at that)
you have to check these out. 
they are soooo comfortable and yet somehow are not pajamas or sweats!
didn't even know that was possible.
the rise is high enough to suck it all in and make you feel confident, but not so high or tight that you feel claustrophobic or like you are wearing mom jeans.

please tell me you don't have mom jeans.

so, just trust me on this. YOU NEED THEM.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

the one where i go on and on about that one conference i went to.

leigh standley, curly girl design

ok, i know you don't want to hear every last detail about a conference i went to and i know you don't want to hear how lucky i am that somehow we pulled it off to be able to go, etc. etc.
i know you don't want to hear me gush about the amazing girls i met or how cool it was to meet the pioneer woman or how awesome it was to sell out of bracelets AND necklaces and have people begging for more. (though that was pretty awesome.)
but guess what? i'm gonna gush. just a little bit. and i might just break it into a few posts. i have that much to say.
i have to.
it's part of my nature. talking a lot, that is.
(a part that i can not deny.)
plus, i feel like a good portion of you readers were part of the reason i was able to go. and don't i owe you that much to tell you all about it?
{part one}the market:
i spent most of my time in the handmade market at the creative connection. since there was no centralized checkout (like we have at the queen bee market, ahem.) someone had to be at the booth at all times.

it was a huge challenge trying to figure out how to build a booth that showcased my products, but could fit in a suitcase. it wasn't perfect, but it looked pretty good for what we had to work with. thank you husband for the pvc pipe puzzle that somehow turned into a sign holder thing. phew.

the banner was definitely my favorite part. and yes, my friends - i traced and cut out the felt lettering BY HAND. i'm old school like that. and slightly stupid. that's beside the point. it looked sweet.

it's always a guessing game on what will sell and what will flop. i usually sell more bobbies and headbands than anything, but at the creative connection it was all about necklaces and bracelets. it was so fun to sell to the conference participants and then see my work all over the place for the next 3 or 4 days.

these rosette bracelets were a hit. a few of the staff members from TCC bought them on the first night and wore them all week - great publicity for me! just wish i'd made more!

sitting at the booth for 4 days was a bit of a pain and it wasn't exactly high traffic, but i was lucky enough to have a booth right next to close friends and spend the long days laughing and bonding with them. more about them later.

here are their cute booths: lindsey from the pleated poppy-

maggie from gussy sews-

and a few other booths i loved:


i didn't take nearly as many pictures as i should have. there was so much to look at! but my favorite part about the market was the friends i made.
didn't that just get you excited for the queen bee market? just over 8 weeks away! (oh boy, lots to do, lots to do!)
to be continued...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

you guys, i'm so happy.

my little booth right next to my sister from another mister
do you ever have those moments in life where you feel so blessed?
where you don't know how it happened, but you are in the right place at the right time to change your life and your heart?
where the stars align and you feel so sure that God is looking out for you and knows every desire of your heart?
where just the right people come into your life and tell you just what you need to hear?
cute kami, sweet sis, me, and little gus gus
this weekend has been that for me.
i wish i could figure out how to write in words how much a few days away with my sister and the meeting of some new amazing friends (sisters as well, really) has lifted me up. but i just can't even begin. i'm just so grateful. those of you who helped me get here, thank you. you have no idea.
hopefully when i get home i'll be able to properly express how i'm feeling and help you understand just what i'm talking about, but just know i'm supremely happy right now. i miss my boys (hubs included) so much, but i'm glad to say mama is coming back a better woman.
AND, icing on the cake? Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman put pictures of my necklaces on her blog last night. serious.
holy moly.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

all my bags are packed

well, sorta.
turns out taking a booth on the road, or the plane for that matter, isn't as easy as it once sounded. i am so excited to hop on that plane (BY MYSELF... did i mention i'm flying sans kiddos?!?) tomorrow bright and early (actually more like dark and early) to head to the wonderful land of TCC.
i would love to find a minute here and there to blog about my adventures in Minnesota, but i'm not about to make any promises! so, miss me?
now, let's hope there is room for clothes in those 2 ginormous suitcases that are already stuffed to the gills full of, you know, a craft show.
anyone mind if i show up nekkid?
wish me luck!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

chantilly lace and a pretty face

i don't go shopping very often, but i was surprised to see lace EVERYWHERE when my mom took me on a little shopping trip in san diego. i know, where have i been? anyhow, now i've got lace on the brain:



if I remember right, miss emily sparks had something like this cuff at the last queen bee market!



and my latest creations, introducing the lacy cuff:
all made from vintage laces

yummy, yummy romance in a bracelet.

my personal fave

which i may or may not keep for myself. sorry.

lacy cuffs making their fancy debut at TCC!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

need new business cards?

how about a chance to win some from U-Printing, one of our awesome Queen Bee Market sponsors?
don't miss it!
how cute are my sister's?

Monday, September 6, 2010

in honor of labor day...

i am laboring the day away!
i am a busy little bee today because the countdown is on for the creative connection!
never heard of it?
well, where have you been?
my sis and i are so excited to be a part of this amazing conference centered around creative women entrepreneurs (with the likes of amy butler, heather bailey, and the pioneer woman... hello!!!) and also to participate in the handmade market. this will be the biggest market i've ever done, and i'm all nervous with excitement and anticipation. i'm introducing a few new products there, and bringing bazillions of the old standbys too.
plus, i get to meet gussy. in the flesh. yeoww!
want a sneak peek at what i've been up to?
i am over the moon about my new banner i made:
i know, i'm so predictable... my favorite color combo, of course!

a few new goodies:
yo yo's and pearls? be. still. my. heart.

and enough rosettes to make a girl weak in the knees:
introducing a few new colors (blush, eggplant, navy, etc!)

are you coming to TCC? will you come say hi to me?