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allora handmade blog: January 2011

Monday, January 31, 2011

it's always been inside of you, now it's time to let it through!

i haven't unpacked my bags yet.

i spy with my little eye: knitty bitties AND gussy sews

maybe it's because i'm lazy.
maybe it's because unpacking means it's over.
maybe it's because i am not yet ready to unpack all the yummy goodness that has filled up my heart and mind over the last 6 days.

yes, that last one is definitely true.

my heart is so full. my head is a little jumbled, and i am in desperate need to write it all down and get it all out.
but where do i start?

i am enough.
that statement alone can and will change my life.
i am loved.
and i am worthy of that love.
i have so much to offer the world.
why do i shy away from that?
i can make a difference.
and i WILL make a difference.
i have a voice.
as i use it i will feel empowered and be able to empower others.
i choose happiness.
it is my choice, not something that happens to me.
my story matters because i matter.
i share myself, not a fabricated version of myself.
i am willing to feel a full spectrum of emotions.
i will not push out feelings i am afraid of.
i will share my gifts with those around me.
it is the least i can do with all i've been given.

kelly, lori, lindsey, me, april, ruthanne (image from lisa leonard)

i feel so blessed to have spent the last week with truly incredible women. i feel stronger and lighter all at the same time. i feel like my best friends are now strung all across the country, and i feel hope for amazing things that will come out of women who know who they are and are unafraid. classes on SEO and viral marketing will never change me as a person or make a significant impact on my life, but the friendships, the connections, the awakenings and personal growth will. i am a better woman than i was last monday, and i am so grateful.

p.s. a winner for the group giveaway: congrats to karina!! we'll be in touch soon. and thank you to all of the shops that participated!
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Friday, January 28, 2011

{sponsored giveaway!} knitty bitties

lucky #77, Stacey-  you win!
have you met andrea?
me neither.
BUT, i feel like we are long lost buds.
except that she is a sewing GENIUS, and me, not so much. that's why she's good to have around!
recently i requested a custom item. and andrea didn't skip a beat. wanna see?

every time I get my hands on some knitty bitties, i am amazed at the precision and attention to detail. the girl is just good!
and she has such a great eye for color. go ahead, hop on over to knitty bitties and see what i'm talking about. {i'll wait.}
you back?
ok, good. because today Andrea is giving away a $25 shop credit!!
you could get this:

or this: 

or a couple of these:

to be entered to win, please visit knitty bitties and leave some love here for andrea. to get an extra entry, spread the love on facebook or twitter and leave an additional comment. the giveaway will end tuesday, and the winner will be announced on wednesday.

thanks andrea!

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

hey y'all!

the weekend has barely even begun, and i am already overwhelmed in the best possible way! i am so grateful for the friendly faces and encouraging words, late nights with old friends and connections with new pals. blissdom you've been good to me so far. here's to 3 more days!! (photo by angryjulie)

p.s. did you see my little cameo over on what i wore wednesday yesterday? so fun!

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

guest post: on my heart

Hi. My name is Alison, from the blog and shop aPearantly Sew. First, I want to say a big thank you to Jess for allowing me to guest blog today. This is my first guest post ever, and I have to tell you, I had a hard time deciding what to write about. I asked my husband the other evening, “what in the world am I gonna write this post about?!”. His response, “just write about whatever is on your heart”.
As a wife and mother, this is what’s always on my heart…

My children. My family. My loves. I didn’t always plan on being a stay at home mom. When my husband and I got married I was in Nursing school, and that was my plan. But then these two little boys came into our lives and my priorities shifted. I longed to be with them, to experience their childhood, to see their first steps, to hear their first words. They were my heart. I would like to say that becoming a stay at home was easy, that every day was bliss. But, for me, it was a very difficult transition. I felt lonely, isolated, frumpy, tired…you get the picture. Many of you have been there (at least I hope you have and that I’m not alone). But over time, we developed a routine. We got out more. We joined a playgroup, and through it formed the best of friendships and gained a support system. But I have to be honest, I still felt like a part of “me” was missing, was gone. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in your children and taking care of the home that you let yourself slip away. I was desperate for a creative outlet, a place where I could express…me. I guess that’s how my blog and shop ultimately came to be. My mom taught my good friend Melissa and I to sew. Well, she taught us how to hem curtains. But we were both hooked! I borrowed my mother’s sewing machine and practiced and practiced and practiced. I love sewing. I love creating beautiful things that are a reflection of who I am. I love having an outlet to be creative, an outlet that in the end, allows me to be a better wife and mother. I love this journey that I am on. Don’t get me wrong, we still have rough days. Lots of them. But this is life.
There is a line from a Sandra McCracken song that so perfectly sums up how I feel about life…
“It’s not what we expected. It’s not what we had planned. But maybe it is better than we can understand…”

So, new friends of mine, here’s to having a life that’s better than anything you could have ever planned.

thank you Alison!!
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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

guest post: cultivating time with my girls

welcome to krystina from lollipops! 

being a homeschooling, blogging, crafty mama of a toddler and two tweenagers makes it hard to find time to enjoy something together that has nothing to do with schooling or parenting. 

so on Sunday afternoon while the baby (Mr. Boy) napped my girls and i headed to the craft room newly named "the creative arcade" by my readers. we decided to hang out together and make some cards. we mostly giggled and got very silly and had a bit of chocolate :) we actually made a few cards and the girls taught me a thing or two. they constantly impress me. it's amazing what they create when i let go of all the micro managing.

the reason i chose to make cards with them was to create a way for us to write to each other. little notes of love and encouragement go a long way -you'd be amazed. it's fun getting a little surprise in your mailbox from your kids. and they just beam every time they receive one! i also notice a huge improvement on their day to day behavior when they've been encouraged. it's a win/win! 

maybe this is something my girls will continue into the ancient practice of writing snail mail ;)

visit lollipops cards for ideas, tutorials, photography, and everyday life with 3 and the surfer guy. 

thanks for your sweet ideas krystina!  
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Monday, January 24, 2011

{sponsored group giveaway!} and a winner!! (comments now closed)

guess what today is!?!
it's giveaway day!
today's giveaway will be from 6 different sponsor shops, and the lucky winner takes all!
so let's get started!

Flawed Perfection Jewelry 
Giveaway itemThe winner will be able to spend this $25 credit to get a sophisticated and fun gemstone and sterling silver piece of jewelry from Flawed Perfection Jewelry! or get 15% off with discount code ALLORA

Slightly Askew 
Giveaway itemSilver Lined Snakeskin Cuff in Cranberry. Or get 15% off with discount code ALLORA

Songs Kate Sang
Giveaway item: $25 gift certificate to the shop! 

Sandy A la Mode 
Giveaway item: lacey - mustard yellow felt bow with lace detail AND mini bow hairpin - grey bow with mustard center on brass hairpin. Or get 10% off with discount code ALLORA

The Pleated Polka Dot
Giveaway item: $20 shop credit!! 

Little Bird Creations
Giveaway item: Pretty Flower Coffee Cuff Sleeve & Pretty Flower Tissue Cozy. Pretty Flower coffee cuff and tissue cozy are made using eco-felt and are hand embroidered and sewn by Little Bird Creations. Or get 15% off with discount code ALLORA

to be entered to win, please visit each shop and leave some comment love here.
for extra entries:
1. tweet about this giveaway
2. follow my blog
3. follow me on twitter
4. follow each shop on twitter

comment for each! 
the giveaway will close on sunday night and a winner will be announced on monday.

p.s. don't think for one minute i forgot about the winner for the aPearantly sews giveaway!
congratulations to:


thanks Alison! and thanks to all the shop owners from today's giveaway!

p.p.s. did you see the fancy schmancy new blog design? do you love it as much as i do? thank you sharon!

Friday, January 21, 2011

you're welcome.

i took it upon myself to draft this little letter up for you.
feel free to print it off and distribute it as you wish. 
you're welcome.
**order before february 8th to receive in time for valentine's day!
p.s. did you change your bookmarks to
p.p.s did you see the new look at what do you think?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

that's what she said! {and a BIIIIIIIIGGGG winner!)

 if you'll join me over on twitter, each week i will be asking a question and posting your answers here. 

this week,  i loaded up my ipod to FINALLY head back to the gym.  that got me thinking:

what is your go-to happy song? "

it's amazing how much you can learn about someone in that little question! love it!

kbberger Katie Berger 
Oh my goodness! Probably anything by The Fray.

PeggyAnn_Design Hannah 
 "Valerie" - the glee version. it makes me dance all over the place!

BringingUpBurns Erin Burns 
 currently = Pink's Raise Your Glass, Ke$ha's Your Love Is My Drug, KatyPerry's CA Gurls (it reminds me of @hausofgirls)

meganluvsjewels Megan Reynolds 
 Don't Stop Believin' (Or anything upbeat from Glee :)

homewiththeboys Erin M. 
 "You've Got a Home" from @christawells!

CreativeKristi Kristi 
 #TWSS My go to happy song is "sittin on the dock of the bay" by otis redding (don't know if that's the actual title)

sandyalamode Sandy Chang 
 Usher - DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love is my go-to happy sing and dance-along song!! :) #TWSS

jinao Jina Olbinski 
 Say Hey by Michael Franti. I can't help but chair dance when it comes on...

pepperglenn Sarah C. Taylor 
Vanilla Twilight by Owl City
kodibevelle Kodi BeVelle 
 Curbside Prophet by Jason Mraz

ohsweetjoy Kim Davis 
 pennies from heaven by louis prima :)

taradaramadeit taradara 
Firework by Katy Perry 

born2boop Betty Neale 
Any Beatles song #TWSS

alilbitoflovely ABeautifulMess 
"Electric Twist" by @afinefrenzy

anewhistory Alissa Smith 
My go to happy song is "Undignified" by David Crowder Band. Kind of silly I know. (:

tiffharper143 TiffanyHarper 
 Mindy Gledhill "California" love that song. Happiness always follows. #TWSS

gooseandtrisser Rachel Anne 
 No one by Alicia Keys - reminds me of my wedding day when I sang it to my husband as a surprise!

angiyt Angela T 
 I've Got A Pocket Full of Sunshine & Fat Bottomed Girls!

afdjewelry Heather Giustino 
 don't laugh, but my go-to happy song (since FOREVER!) is George Michael's/Wham's "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go" My fave!!

CarolynAnnRyan Carolyn Ann Ryan 
 My go-to happy songs include Heartbeats (Melinda Ortner) & Bottle of Sunshine

30daysblog Mique Provost 

I ADORE music.It all makes me happy.But especially Be OK by Ingrid Michaelson.No choice but 2 be happy while listening 2 it!

AngryJulie Julie 
 My go to happy song..."Party in the USA" by Miley. It reminds me of #Blissdom last year. Silly but true.

susanbsnippy Susan Barker 
 In the Summertime -- Mungo Jerry 1970

redbuddesigns Redbud Designs 
 take it from me by the weepies! really, anything by the weepies...

MelissaPitz Melissa Pitz
The Gambler by Fun. Such a good song!

Mandipidy Mandy 
Part of Your World from Little Mermaid ... it's made me happy for 21 years now :] #TWSS

jennilynncar Jenni Carlisle 
I'm loving this song at the moment: This version is perfection.

mandiegirl MandieSegura 
 Lately I'm loving "I'm Yours" from Jason Mraz. :)

CreatedbyCole SimplyCreatedbyCole 
 hard choice for me! LUV music, anything @therealtobymac or @adiecamp #TWSS

 what is my go-to happy song? its defs "MYYYY SHARONA!!!!" :)

BringingUpBurns Erin Burns 
@AngryJulie it's ok. I admitted to @allorahandmade that Ke$ha makes me happy. Anyone with a $ in their name is serious cause for cringing!

findcaro Caro 
 Jump by the Pointer Sisters! Try to NOT dance. You can't.

CreatedbyCole SimplyCreatedbyCole 
 @adiecamps' "where could I go"#TWSS

all images found on

didn't get to play along? what is your go-to happy song?

speaking of twitter, i hit 1,000+ followers this weekend thanks to you! as promised, one lucky winner will get $100 credit to allora handmade. aggh! i was stressing over the winner - you all have helped so much and i felt so bad having to choose. so, i made my husband. i asked him to pick a #, and guess whose number came up? 


i feel bad that everyone can't win, but i felt better knowing that celeste works so hard to bring awesome giveaways to so many people- karma, i suppose!
congrats celeste!
to the rest of you, thank you so much for helping me reach this goal! you are amazing! just for that, how about 10% off? through friday... use the code 1000 to get 10% off your order!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

{sponsored giveaway!} aPearantly sew

i hope you're ready for another great giveaway this week! 
i'd love to introduce you to sweet alison from aPearantly sew...
well, i say that, though we've never actually met! but that will soon change since alison will also be at blissdom next week!  seems we have a lot in common- same age, both moms of 2 boys (who are also almost the same age), both love handmade. however, we just discovered that i am about 9 inches shorter than alison. ha! now there is one thing we do NOT have in common!
alison's shop, aPearantly sew started as an outlet for a creative stay at home mom who fell in love with sewing. i love that her shop is so full of fresh color and interesting patterns.

if you know me, you could guess i'd have my eye on these: 

man, i'm so predictable. i promise one day i will have a new favorite color. maybe. ok, maybe promise is a strong word.
lucky for you, alison is offering up this beauty today: 

Turquoise Dots Wristlet Clutch

This adorable clutch is perfect for a night on the town! Turquoise polka dots on a cream colored background. Natural lining.
Measures approx. 7.5" (w) on top, 10" (w) on bottom x 8.5" (h)

sooo cute, right?
to be entered to win, please visit aPearantly sew and leave some love here for alison. to get an extra entry, spread the love on facebook or twitter and leave an additional comment. the giveaway will end sunday, and the winner will be announced on monday.
thanks alison!

Monday, January 17, 2011

to jeg or not to jeg? that is the question {and a winner!}

inspired by a twitter conversation yesterday, i must ask.
are you brave enough for "the jeggings?"
i know, i was terrified at first.
true story: a year ago a much younger, cooler friend of mine told me i should really try out skinny jeans. i laughed at her and asked if she'd seen my mid-section lately. i was certain i would look like a rolled sausage in skinny jeans. but i decided to at least try them out, and i was completely surprised by the result!

a year later (and no, i have not lost 20 lbs since then) i own more skinnies than anything else!

but... jeggings?

i mean, let's get real here. the name? well, it's a little revolting.
brings to mind "skort" of the 90's. or "ligers".
can any good come from hybridized words?

and really? conan o'brien didn't do jeggings any favors

sorry if i've ruined your appetite for the day. had to be done.

even april tried to convince me at the queen bee market that jeggings were amazing.
i wasn't buying it.
over christmas, my anthropologie shopping, always-looks-amazing sister in law was wearing super cute skinnies. when i asked her where they were from, she told me anthro (no suprise). but then she said "i love jeggings! they're so comfy!" and i was shocked.


well, you all know what happened. i blew my entire gift card that hubs gave me for christmas on a pair jeggings because when i tried them on, they were magic.

like yoga pants, but somehow completely fashionable!
it's a miracle!

aaaand... the spendy ones were perfect because they have a higher rise to cover my not-a-baby- bump. who could ask for anything more?!? (p.s. you can find a great pair at target too, so no worries!)

someday i may look back on this trend and ask "what was i thinking?!?" but for now... comfy pants!!

what say you?
are you a *jegger?
making my "so they're a little tight" face
i am.

*term "jegger" totally made up by me. feel free to spread it like wildfire. it's all kinds of awesome.

don't forget about the winner of the funky vintage kitchen giveaway!


congrats sarah! and thank you to fellow jegger, april!