This Page

has been moved to new address

allora handmade blog

Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
allora handmade blog: February 2011

Monday, February 28, 2011

bring it on indie biz 3.0

are you participating in  indie biz 3.0 ? i can't wait for class to start tomorrow!!

saturday morning gussy asked me if we had to have a notebook of some sort. i didn't remember seeing anything about that, so when i opened up and saw this fabulous creation that Leigh-Ann had made...

i wanted to cry.

it was beautiful.
it was custom.
it had heart.
and i knew i couldn't do it.

{heart beating faster}

i don't like to think i am competitive, but with an assignment like this, i was sure to go into meltdown/compare-myself-for-no-reason mode. 

but, you see, i don't have time for that.
nor do i have the energy for that.

at first i was intent on making it the most fabulous notebook ever known to man.
it was going to be bright and happy and rosy and just plain awesome.
i had dreams of papercrafting the weekend away and "showing up" to my first day of class with my gleaming new notebook in hand and ready to say "oh, this little thing? it's just something i whipped up..."

why are we like this?
why do we make ourselves crazy?
am i alone in the crazy?

LUCKILY, the crazy only lasted long enough for me to realize i just can't.
i have a family to care for.
i have a business to run.
i have my sanity to attend to.

and a silly notebook is not worth all of that.

i get the purpose of the assignment. i know the intention was to make something that is "me" that will make me want to go back to it, and keep me inspired, etc. etc. BUT, if i wasn't able to do all that without shipping myself off to the looney bin? POINTLESS.

so, right there in office depot, i made the choice to pass on my portion of crazy for the day.

i bought a notebook that was already cute without my interference.

i gave up my dreams of painting anything on the cover and finding the perfect pretty papers.
i went with what i had.

some bright paper that did just fine.
some fun stickers that served their purpose.

and while it is not the masterpiece i had dreamed of, it still makes me really happy.
especially since i didn't have to have a meltdown to get there.

did i pass the first test indie biz?

what do you to cut out the crazy?
AND are you participating in indie biz? let me know! i'd love to connect!

post signature

Sunday, February 27, 2011

guest post {aPearantly Sew}

Hello again Allora Handmade readers! I’m Alison from the blog and shop aPearantly Sew.  Jess has so kindly invited me to guest post again.
I live in North Carolina, and all last week we had incredibly warm weather. I took my boys to the park every day and we ran and played and soaked up the warmth and sunshine. That taste of warm weather has me longing for spring. Here are a few items that make me think of spring, and inspire me to use vibrant, happy colors in my own designs.

I think the Golden Yellow Spring Lovebirds from Vintage Green Limited would be the perfect accessory for my home. Aren't they cute?! 

I have been eyeing this Fabric Knot necklace in Spring Poppy by Josiah’s Nest. I wear a lot of neutral colors, and I think this would add the perfect pop of color to an outfit.

Vintage Dress print by Pure & Noble. I would love to have the actual dress, but the print would do just fine!

I discovered The Paisley Mill when shopping for Christmas gifts and it instantly became one of my favorite shops. My current favorite item…the Sophie earrings.

Andrea, from Knitty Bitties, posted a link to Nest Pretty Things in a blog post recently. I was immediately smitten with the Madeleine necklace. I think the colors are absolutely perfect. PERFECT!

I recently had the privilege of meeting April of  Funky Vintage Kitchen in person, and I can tell you that she is just as adorable as her shop. My must have for spring? Blossom studs in light blue.

I have gotten to know Laura from Along for the Ride through blogging and Twitter. She has an adorable shop, and hers is the first place I started noticing the spring colors. I love this Peony hairpin in Lilac.

Sarah, of the shop Yes, Teacher, makes really fantastic cards. I have ordered several from her, and I love them so much I almost don’t want to get rid of them. But it would be silly to keep them, right? :) This Happy Birthday card using an Amy Butler print is my current favorite.

I hope these items inspire you as much as they inspire me! Thank you so much for having me. 

thanks Alison!!
post signature


Friday, February 25, 2011

shop updates!

it's friday! time for a shop update... woot! woot!
so excited to introduce the first of my spring colors!!!
the sun had started peeking out the last few days and giving me just enough hope that spring is right around the corner. and then, this morning? SNOW. baahhh!! i'm so anxious for spring, but winter is sure to hang around a while longer.
 in the mean time, how about some fresh spring flowers?

i am so in love with this romantically bubbly and bright shade of coral! funkier than a pastel and more understated than neon, this orange-y melon-y pink is both powerful and feminine. would be beautiful paired with a softer peach or off white for a more subtle look or with bright turquoise, yellows, greens or reds if you're feeling adventurous.
OR, you could mix patterns and prints and do a little something like this:

thank you polyvore! this outfit makes me so happy... yellow stripes? I DIE. pretty florals? yes please! lace? uh huh. and the perfect coral pop! LOVE. too bad there's not a tool on the internet that lets you create outfits and then magically transports them to your closet in your size in an instant. THAT would be cool. (what? a girl can dream!)

in the shop now! go get yourself something coral to help beat those winter blues...

p.s. the following products are available in coral starting today: modern pearl necklace, mini modern pearl necklace, large 3 musketeers headband, rosy earrings, and rosette bracelets

post signature

Labels: ,

Thursday, February 24, 2011

{Guest Post} lollipops

finding inspiration
as an entrepreneurial crafter and blogger i have to keep a good flow of good ideas coming.

sometimes this flow can dry up like a desert and i find myself completely lost for words, ideas, designs, and photo ops.
when this happens i have discovered there is usually an underlying issue: stress, life's tragedies (sadness), and/or exhaustion.
i mainly run into exhaustion and am finding that taking a day or two off a week helps me to find balance.
what to do if you are having a desert-like experience:
1. get out of the house, take a walk or visit thrift shops and antique shops and bring your camera. shoot anything you fancy. take a note book with you and just write anything that comes to mind. sometimes writing that one word breaks down a brainstorming barrier and becomes an entirely new creation!

2. sometimes you need to take a complete break - tell yourself you are going to go out or do something that has nothing to do with creating or work; "me" time. WALK AWAY from your studio and computer. take a hot bath, watch a movie, NO work thoughts for a few hours or days. suddenly something may pop into your head - this happens to me on long drives and unfortunately in the shower - both places where i can't write things down, but i picture them in my head play them out and as soon as i can WRITE THEM DOWN :)

3. take one item that you like - you find this item inspires you or you just happen to LOVE it. and use it as a spring board for your creations. for instance i found this old birdcage and from it several things were born. 1. i "fixed up" the birdcage to make it a pretty thing for my studio *LOVE*. 2. i created pretty birdcage cards from a spark of inspiration from the birdcage. 3. i now have something to hang my cards on for boutiques and shows 4. it gave me the idea of how to do my "booth" for the Queen Bee Market this may. 5. i used the birdcage redo as a tutorial on my blog 6. it made me realize i can spray paint other junk and make it pretty too. 7. it gave me a way to communicate inspiration to you!
maybe your spring board is a type of flower, or a font, or color, or a pair of tights. the possibilities are endless.

just remember not to copy with intent to sell or blog. copying for own home use and not taking the credit for it is fine. though copying will not allow you to grow, or learn to be creative. you have it in you to be inspired. taking someone else's ideas are not only damaging to you, they are damaging and hurtful to the very community you want to be a part of.

mostly i have too much inspiration and good ideas won't stop and i just don't have time for everything! this too can be frustrating. i don't want to sleep. crafting, creating and innovating are everything to me. folding laundry, cooking, cleaning - seem like huge time wasters to me. i become a person in a hurry everywhere i go just so i can get back to "lollipops". so finding the right balance here is key.

i hope i have given you a gift today, to be inspired and to know how to find inspiration...
it's waiting for you just around the corner :)
what's inspiring you this week?
shop . blog . twitter . facebook


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

{Guest Post} with Funky Vintage Kitchen

help me welcome April from Funky Vintage Kitchen:

on things of fashion....{because when I asked Twitter what I should guest blog about...that is what they said}
I am always complimented on my fashion sense. People say that they want to borrow my closet. I don't think it's that great, but I appreciate the compliments. Trust me, I covet other peoples' closets too. I know I like cute clothes, but I am not a fashion forward thinking person. There are many out there way more savvy with fashion sense than me. {Like yours truly, Miss Jessica!} But what I have figured out, is what looks best on me and what I am most confident wearing. I also do love clothes, style, color and texture. And, I love shopping. I also love the way a great outfit makes me feel. I tend to cautiously watch the new trends and embrace the ones that I know will work on my figure. Here are my top 10 case your interested!

1. I used to shop for the sake of shopping. Now I shop very intentionally. I would rather a small collection of clothing that I feel great in than a closet full of clothing that is just so-so. I always say the item I am purchasing {whether clothes or home accessories} must make my tummy tingle!

2. Just because it is on sale or cheap doesn't mean you have to buy it. It will only fill your closet with ill-fitting, 'so-so', items. I would rather shop in stores that I know will fit my budget and buy an item based on fit, color and quality rather than price. Plus if you add up what you spent on all the 'so-so' sale items you could probably have purchased a few quality pieces.

3. When I find an item that is a great fit, compliments my body shape {I'm a pear}, and I absolutely LOVE it, I almost always buy two of that item. Either two different color schemes or two of the exact same items. Chances are if it fits and looks great, I'm going to wear the heck out of it and wish I had another one in case something happens to it or just to rotate in my closet. But I don't do this with every item. Most common 'two-fer' items for me....sweaters, jeans and running shoes.

4. I tend to pay more money for jeans and shoes. I have found that these are items that I wear the same of daily. The same jeans for three days, the same comfortable shoes/boots most days, so quality outweighs cheap. I once bought a pair of J. Crew ballet flats that were just over $100. I almost died buying them, but the first time I slipped them on I knew they were NOT going to give me a single blister. I am still wearing those flats....4 years later! They are silver and go with almost everything. And instead of owning ballet flats in every color, I only own a few quality pair. Summer sandals....never pay too much money for....chances are with bare feet and water activities, they are only going to last that summer.

5. On trendier pieces I usually shop the Brass Plum section of Nordstrom or Forever 21. A few more of my all-time favorite stores.....Anthropologie, Target, Marshalls and TBD sale racks at Nordstrom. If we had a Nordstrom Rack close by, I think I'd be scouring their racks often. And Marshalls over Ross any day of the week! I am not a store snob. Some of my favorite heels have been purchased at Payless Shoe Source.

6. I watch items online, especially at Anthropologie, for when they go on sale. I have learned that online purchases are always risky, so I make sure the store has a great return policy. Again, you can't go wrong with Nordstrom, Anthro or Zappos. I know that A-line tops and skirts look best on my figure, but not worn at the same time! So when shopping online, I always keep my body shape in mind not how it looks on the model. And, if it doesn't fit great when I receive it, I package it right back up so that I am not tempted to keep it 'just because'.

7. Wearing the RIGHT size clothing always makes you look thinner than wearing a size that is too small. Who cares what number is on the tag. Cut if off once home if it bothers you!

8. I like to accessorize with one great piece, maybe two. Like a great ring, or a single statement necklace. When I go for two I usually pair up a pair of earrings with a ring. I wish I could layer my accessories, but I'm just not confident in doing so and my feeling is....confidence is everything in style. I'd love to take a class or lesson on accessorizing or just go shopping with someone who is amazing at doing it. But tip number 8 is wear it confidently!

9. Fashion sense spills over into my home decor. Before purchasing it, I must have a place for it, it must be the right color and must make my tummy tingle. Staying true to who you are makes you most pleased always with your purchases!

10. Save money for a girls weekend shopping trip and then pair up with someone who is willing to promise to be honest with you about what looks good and what doesn't! Get over your modesty issues that weekend and share a large dressing room. It is the best way to shop for clothing!
Here are a few of my favorite pieces right now....that already are or soon to be 'two-fers'!
1. Jolt Jeggings from Nordstroms.
{Only $39 and fit more like jeans than leggings.}
2. Pink Studio Geneva Ballet Flats.
{These were just marked down....I'm getting another pair in a different color.
These are so darling and so unique.}
3. Trouve Cardigan Sweater from Nordstroms.
{I have this in that it is marked down I'm buying it in brown.}
4. Yellow Peasant Blouse from Anthropologie.
{I purchased this with a gift card and am waiting patiently for it to be marked
down to purchase it in white also.}
I'd like to thank Jess for stressing me out with the guest post. Just kidding, no really it did. But not kidding about thanking Jess for this opportunity. You have a fabulous blog and you are pretty fabulous yourself!

I'd love to hear from you! What some of your fashion tricks/tips and favorite stores? Ready, set....GO!

P.S. I'm a total jegger, with the right top of course because I'm a pear!

thanks for sharing your fashion tips April.  you know i love jeggers. visit fvk for more fashion and all kinds of fun!

post signature


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

sponsored giveaway: aPearantly Sew

last month i introduced you to the fabulous alison from aPearantly sew.
she's still up to the same goodness as last time but check out my current favorite:

shoot. i did again. mustard yellow.
no apologies. i love it so.
this month alison is offering one $20 shop credit to give away.
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.

speaking of winners....
congrats to crown'd vic! you are the winner of the group giveaway!!
and congrats angie! you have won the vintage pearl giveaway!!
we'll be in touch soon...
post signature


Monday, February 21, 2011

oh, dear budget...

Thank you to TurboTax for sponsoring my writing about household finances.Learn more about how TurboTax can help you find every tax deduction you deserve. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

can i be really honest?
HAAAATE the budget.
i know, you're supposed to looooove the budget... it gives you freedom, etc. etc.
but, am i being clear enough? me? budget? no likey.
i usually operate under the "if there bank account balance doesn't say $0, we're in good shape" philosophy. ok, maybe not that extreme, but i have never been good about "telling" my money where to go in advance. I usually tell it where to go when i'm in the middle of target and it's true.
i really wanted this year to be different though.
i've had the best of intentions.
i even got quickbooks for christmas.
here's the problem. i don't speak $$$.
i make it. i spend it.
i am still so nervous about getting down and dirty with the family budget.
owen loooooves money.

with allora, it's always been pretty easy. i couldn't spend more than i had! i have always had a supplies and shipping budget and thanks to the help of my asSIStant (ooh, that was clever!) i now have a strict ad budget and a strict giveaway budget to keep things under control. it only makes sense to be smart when running a cash operation.
recently i opened a savings account for allora handmade, and while at the bank the woman helping me "wanted me to meet her boss." i knew this was keyword for "let's-upsell-the-sweet-little-business-owner-while-we-have-her-cornered." i got a little nervous, because while i am good at many things, i was a little less than confident that i knew everything there was to know about how i was handling my business. as the boss-man sat down to talk to me he asked a series of questions:

are you able to make any profit from this business?
are you able to save some at the end of the month?
are you able to pay your taxes without dipping into personal funds?
are you in need of a line of credit to pay for some of your expenses?

and he went on and on...
by the end, he was shocked. a business? that was profitable? that didn't require MAJOR investment and could operate cash-only and STILL be able to put some money away?
he left a little tongue-tied.
seems i knew more than i gave myself credit.
and while i don't know it all (read: SO much to learn), i have figured out a thing or two to make it work for me. (pat on the back.)
but i know i have a long way to go.

what works for you? are you a strict budgeter? what tips do you have for me? 

post signature

stop making plans

we are thick in the middle of finishing up law school applications today. i can't help but wonder... "where is this road going to take us?"
as hard as it is to sit back and enjoy the ride, i have learned so much over the last few years about letting go of control.
confession: i am a planner.
most of my life was pretty planned out through my mid-twenties. somewhere a long the way, things went way off course from where i thought i would be heading.
but, my plans were no where near this magnificent. kind of boring in fact. and if there is anything that the last few years have taught me, it is to stop making plans.
when i am so obsessed over the way my life is "supposed to be," i can not take time to enjoy where God is taking me and what He has in store.
if you would have asked me a year ago where i hope we end up for law school, there were 2 schools on my list: BYU and San Diego. period. i didn't want to hear of anything else. but as i have learned to let go, seek answers in prayer about where God might need the erickson family, and open my mind to the possibilities, i find myself trusting in Him and getting  really excited about opportunities all over the country. (and when i say all over, i mean all over: hawaii to kansas and everything in between.)
and i have faith that whatever His plan is, it is better than mine.

post signature

Friday, February 18, 2011

shop updates!

happy friday!
time for a few shop updates.
1) did you know i have a new addition to my team?

oh, yeah. it's my sis.
don't know why we didn't think of this sooner!!!! but, as little allora handmade has grown, i have been needing a right hand man (woman) to help out with customer service, ads, etc. mique offered to help and i am so grateful! so, if you have a question or need to contact us ... be nice! chances are it's my amazing sis answering you! what a lifesaver...
2) you might notice the shop is looking a little emptier than normal. i am excited to announce that i am in the process to switch over all of my fabrics to kona cotton! i already have several colors in kona, but i finally made the jump to go all kona and i'm so excited. it is just yummmmy. but, with that comes a little transition period, so bare with me!
i've been drooling over this sample card for weeks, and i just can't wait to get everything in stock. be on the look out for some heart-pounding new spring colors too! oh, i can't wait to show you!!
POST EDIT: i am not getting ALL of those colors. just so you know. that would be crazy. I will have 14 colors in stock. ok. that's all. {you may proceeeeed.}

3) it's that time again: the queen bee market is back! we are now accepting applications for our spring show on may 6th and 7th! want to get excited about it? check out this beauty:

doesn't that make you wish it was may already? LOVE IT. (yes, my sis put it all together. she's amazing, i already told you that, right?) if you are interested in applying, please do! right here. our november show brought vendors from all over southern california, northern california, arizona, and nevada. don't be shy! san diego is REALLY nice in may ;)

4) did you get allora handmade for valentines day? don't forget to email a picture with your new items to be added to our customer love page... and i'll send you a discount code for 15% off your next purchase!

5) i have a winner to announce! HELLO!!
the winner for the amy peter's studio $50 gift certificate is....
(i will contact you shortly!)

and don't forget about the group giveaway and the vintage pearl giveaway that are still going on!

ok, i think that's all for now. have a happy friday and a GREAT 3 day weekend!

post signature


Thursday, February 17, 2011

my little ragamuffin

every few months we have to make the heartbreaking decision: to cut, or not to cut.
owen, my 3 year old has the most adorable curly brown hair. while we love the way it looks long and curly, sometimes he starts to look a little homeless and we feel bad about letting him walk around SO disheveled.
last week, it was that time again - and i think this is the shortest it's been since he was a baby.
what do you think?

makes me sad that most of his curls are gone, but he's still a handsome little devil, isn't he?
post signature

Labels: ,

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

sponsored giveaway: The Vintage Pearl

it’s time for another pretty giveaway!!  this time I get to show off my beautiful necklace from The Vintage Pearl.  it was so great to meet Erin and a few of her lovely ladies at blissdom and am happy to share the love here. first, check out my necklace:
i have loved my stamped jewelry with my boys names, but have been feeling the need for a little husband representation too! this vintage lovebirds necklace is perfect. i just love it! 

awwww.... j+c. so cute! here is just a little taste of what else you can find in the shop:
up for grabs for today’s sponsored giveaway:


to enter please leave some love for the Vintage Pearl in the comments (and please leave your email address too!)

to keep up to date with all things, The Vintage Pearl, bookmark these links:


you know the drill: for more entries, tweet, blog, facebook about this giveaway and leave a comment for each! giveaway will close on friday the 18th and a winner will be announced on monday the 21st.

post signature


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

February's Group Giveaway Day

It's that time again: Group Giveaway Day! yay!  today's giveaway will be from 6 different sponsor shops, and the lucky winner takes all!
Such a fun little necklace for any photo enthusiast!  An adorable sterling vintage camera is accompanied by a sterling charm hand stamped with "capture life
One person will win a Capture Life necklace.
Winner gets to "design their own" Little Bird I *heart* Photography Coffee Cuff!
(Winner chooses two colors from the Little Bird shop to create their own camera coffee cuff)
OR 15% off Little Bird purchase with code ALLORA.

Songs Kate Sang will be giving away one $25 shop credit!

The winner will have a $25 shop credit to pick out a colorful piece of sterling and gemstone jewelry! Cluster earrings, necklaces, and bracelets in plenty of colors to choose from :)
Winterberry Cottage is giving away their most popular print!  On this 8 x 10 Vintage Dictionary Page you will find a lovely set of Silverware.
Shop* Twitter 
Caroline G 

Caroline G is offering your choice in color for two ribbon spike headbands.  They come in red, yellow, baby blue and light pink.

Slightly Askew is giving away one genuine snakeskin bangle in black patent.
Blog* Shop* Twitter
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.

post signature


Monday, February 14, 2011

today my heart...

...still beats fast when my valentine comes close
...feels like it will explode when little boys smile to the edge of chubby cheeks
...sings when i hear brothers saying "you're my best friend!"
...swells with gratitude for loving family and friends in a giving mood!

how about a little surprise? each order placed today will receive a pair of red rosie earrings just as my way of saying happy valentine's day to you!

post signature

Friday, February 11, 2011

ok ladies, i'm giving you another shot:

that's right! gift certificates through paypal are now available in the shop! just look for (or tell your honey to look for) the button on the right hand side that says "click here to buy an allora handmade gift certificate." see?

be sure to hop back over on monday for some valentine's day love, allora style! XOXOXOXO

post signature

Labels: ,

Thursday, February 10, 2011

that's what she said!

in preparation for the queen bee market, my sister and i have been thinking a lot about what it means for each of us to have creativity in our lives and why the creative community is so amazing. so, for this week's "that's what she said," i asked the following on twitter:

"how do you feel about being creative/ part of a creative community?"

 Heidi Ashe 

@ makes me feel ALIVE!

 Laura Will 

@ It makes me feel thankful to know so many other creative kindred spirits : ) There's SO much talent out there!

@ it makes me feel at peace and energized at the same time. Like I'm creating another piece of myself. 

@ It makes me feel like I have a voice worth hearing. Finally. :)

 Arianne Segerman 
@ it's like trying to describe what it feels like to find your longer an island. found hearts and being understood.

 Sandy Chang 
@ i love this community! everyone is so helpful, supportive and sweet!! :)

 Courtney Toney 
@ blessed & supported.

 Crystal Stine 
@ being creative makes me feel warm & fuzzy :)

 Sarah B. 
@ It makes me feel connected, and inspired! And grateful to be part of such a supportive community!

 jacqui sharpe 
@ empowered. inspired. encouraged!

@ like totally groovy man { or you could just go with "empowered" }

@ Being creative & being part of the creative community makes me feel JOY & spurs me on to giving to others!

@ in one word: sane

 Alissa Smith 
@ Fulfilled. Joyful. Content. Blessed.

 Rachel O'Funky 
@ Being part of a creative community humbles me -- and helps inspire me to be greater!

 mandy s 
@ i have made so many fun friendships from the crafting/creative community. I've learned so much!! I'm so grateful!! :)

 Tracy Rogers 
@ "makes my heart happy & beat FAST" 

 Jill Meulenberg 
@ inspired!

@ energized, and never lonely! i found my people and they are crafty

@ Like I'm connecting with people that get me and inspire me and motivate me to be better at my craft.

@ "how does being creative/part of a creative community make you feel?" : fulfilled

 Megan Reynolds 
@ It makes me feel like I'm with people that "get" me :)

 connie norsworthy 
@ independent, inspired, empowered, involved.

 Krystina Montemurro 
more creative, loved, and utterly amazed! RT @: "how does being creative/being part of a creative community make you feel?"

 Megan Charland 
@ inspired!

 Amanda Roberts 
@ fulfilled. empowered. happy.

 Heather Boydstun 
@ Creativity makes me feel joyful.

 Scene of the Grime 
@ Makes me feel like me!

 Allison Moll 
@ being creative makes me feel content!

RT then sometimes its this! lol @: @ inspired, fulfilled, proud, honored

 lindsey cheney 
@ inspired, fulfilled, proud, honored

your answers make me so grateful to be part of such an amazingly supportive and POWERFUL community! this may be my favorite "that's what she said" ever! 

if you didn't get to play along, what about you? what does creativity and being part of a creative community mean to you?
post signature
all images found here

p.s. did you enter the amy peters studio giveaway?