Thursday, January 28, 2010

Giveaway Winner...

I am SO sorry I forgot to do this until now!!! Ooops!!

The winner for the Japenese Knot Bag is:
Lucky Number 15! Lulu I'll be emailing you ASAP to get you your bag :)

Congrats!! Thanks to all who entered!

Truth Hurts...

I want to apologize right now for the length this will likely be. I'd also like to state up front I do not allow annoymous comments on my blog, so if you have to say something I suggest you be brave enough to say it with your own name as I always do on blogs.

A little backstory...

Several weeks ago a familar seller on Artfire was in the forums AGAIN asking for help. This does not bother me. As admin on several teams I am used to helping people out and offerring advice when they ask for it. Sometimes they like it, sometimes they don't. I aim to never be mean or hateful but if you ask for feedback you better be able to hande it.

So this seller, who I'll not name because she has been dragged through the mud enough, has had multiple issues with learning the in's and out's of selling online. I am by NO means an expert at this, but I am familiar enough with forums. Of course I've said MANY a thing I regret online and probably will again.

I should also say I am not friends with this seller per say but I have nothing against her. She's a nice person who just needed some guidance which she asked for from MANY people. the thread this seller was in was getting ugly. I usually avoided all threads this seller was in for some reasons you'll see soon enough. But it was getting nasty. So I commented that everyone should go in their own corners and take a break and this seller should also step back. (This seller has said she is disabled.) I suggested the seller take a break, reread and THINK before she continues to post in the forums. (She has a history of flying off the handle and yelling, crying, and getting upset in the forums.)

Apparently, I might as well have hacked off the arms of an infant and sacrificed them to Allah because I got raped for that comment.

By who? The lovely Pussdaddy of course. And YUP I will link to her blog because she's just the kind of person who will read this and go, "Well if you can write about me you link to me." So HERE YA GO:

I don't feel like drudging through her numerous posts of insanity, but essentially I was told that telling this seller to THINK is the same as throwing a paraplegic in the water and telling them to swim.

Here is why that is the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

*I am a mother first and foremost. I would never tell a disabled person anything I thought was harmful to them. Not only am I mother but I have an autistic son so I KNOW how it feels to have a child that is not 'Normal'. I know the looks, the ridicule, the angst.
*I am also a former teacher, primarily of special education early childhood students. To say I would torment a disabled person is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen.
*Telling someone who reports to be disabled to "THINK" is NOT hateful. Saying that is an example of WHAT Is wrong with our society. Why can no one be held accountable for anything? Why is everything someone elses fault? She is's not THAT big of a deal. This seller has run her online shop just fine for over a year and the disability thing only seems to get in the way when she wants it to. I'm not saying this to be ugly to her. She can type in forums, albeit with typos--but most of us do that! She can create beautiful handmade items, she can package them, ship them and handle all of that (at least I am assuming she can handle all this because she's run the shop for a year). SO WHY is it horrible to tell her to PROOFREAD and THINK before she posts?

Do you know how many times a day I tell my son with sensory processing disorder to USE HIS BRAIN? A LOT. Because for him, simple decisions are not easy. But that is NOT an excuse! I will not allow him to use his delay to get off easy on things and not use common sense in day to day life. If you think this makes me a bad mother then so be it. My main job is to raise self sufficient boys who are happy, not cowtow to idiots on the web.

So I will not beat that dead horse. I am not concerned about what Pussdaddy thinks of me. But I felt like not speaking up on my own blog is ignoring a horrifying situation that is growing by the minute.

I have commented on a few of PD's blog posts if you wish to go look, I cannot recall which ones but I always commented with my own screenname, mamaslittlemonkeys.

Moving on....

Let's clear a few things up:

*I do not like Pussdaddy. In fact I find what she does ALL day long to be a deplorable use of a human mind. I find her language, cursing, slander, and hateful tones FAR more dangerous than anything she CLAIMS people have done.
*That being said, I am at heart a libertarian. That means I believe in PD's right to blog about what she wants within the scope of the law. I do not think she should get to SLANDER people but it is very hard to prove that when it's done. I do give her a smidge of respect for speaking her mind, however twisted it may be. Part of being a GROWN UP is allowing others to have their opinions. It does not mean I think PD is right on 99% of what she posts (much of which I have no idea what the hell she's talking about because I'm not privy to the situation) but I will absolutely agree she has a right to speak her mind. She has also on a rare occasion admitted she was wrong and that takes guts. I also respect that she gave ME respect for posting on her blog in my real name. That is where my respect ends.
*I do however think if Pussdaddy is all she thinks she's cracked up to be, she'd be more open about who she really is. But in reality, I'm sure she's fearful of the backlash she would receive.

Pussdaddy is a wimp. Plain and simple. She spends her time ranting about "about all sorts of unimportant, mundane crap that probably isn't any of my damn business, but is put out there for public perusal by people as stupid or maybe even stupider than myself." (per her profile)

That sentence right there speaks for itself. Anyone who pushes themselves into everyone else's business obviously has too much time on their hands and nothing creative to do.

I do want to take a moment to go on record about myself with some things:

1. I have never voted anyone down in the Artfire forums. I don't plan to.
2. I said from the get go, that the new forums were a horrifying mistake and it would go horribly wrong. I am not active in the maven's anymore so I was not involved in planning the forums. If I had been I would have said this is a horrible idea. 
3. I am not friends with everyone PD has blogged about but I am a few.
4. I am not part of some AF forums clique. Where that idea came from is beyond me. I am only "tight" with a few people on a variety of venues.
5. Being on Pussdaddys blog has not done a thing wrong for my business because anyone with half a brain can take one look at her vile blog and see that anything she says is likely half truths and opinion.
6. I am not scared of Pussdaddy, her blog or any of the multiple personalities who are such great PD fans that they post anonymously. If anything ever got said about me that was a valid threat, I would handle it as the law allowed.
7. Being pussdaddied does not have a thing to do with who I am as a person. Anyone who knows me knows I am a decent person, has worked with a variety of charities, and am a Christian person. I sleep well at nite.

8. I have never been muted anywhere ever.

While her blog is a waste of space on the are a lot of things in life. There are a lot of things in life I can't do a damn thing about. And you know what, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter.

I set out at first to write about this because I went through the stages of being "Pussdaddied".
1. Anger
2. Denial
3. Anger again
4. Bargaining
5. Anger again when she posts more untruths about you.
6. Anger again when she railroads other innocent people into the ground.
7. Peace when you realize that the furry little thing doesn't deserve your time.

I am now at the peace stage. I am not pleased that some of my friends have been talked about on her blog, mostly in ways that she knows NOTHING about. The names and words she uses alone are horrifying but again, her legal right to do so. And there is really nothing I can do about it. If at any point I am slandered against where the law can be involved, I might persue it. But I don't think that will happen. I think deep down Pussdaddy respects that I had the nerve to argue with her non-anonymously and she needs us for fodder. She cannot think of things to say WITHOUT bashing people, so how can she blog if she pushes us so far that she's legally bound NOT to talk about people? That would not serve her purpose...whatever that is.

The thing is this, it's all really sad. My sons autism was even dragged around in blog comments because I stood up for myself. The SAME PEOPLE who said I was tormenting a disabled girl then proceeded to wish my son is abused like that so I can see. How does that make ANY SENSE? IF you were TRULY doing what you were doing for the greater good, why would you wish my child any harm?

Also, if the person you are supposed to be helping by blogging all this ASKS YOU TO STOP and you continue to do so, how can you claim were trying to help? At that point it becomes what it is--Pussdaddy looking for attention and drama.

Her blog is what it is, a horrifying Train Wreck that lacks the class of other snarky blogs. She is a wanna be, has been, sad woman. I do not feel anger...I feel sadness for her.

I have already said my apologies to anyone who may have been hurt by anything I did, whether intentional or not.

What bothers me more is this, that I wasted so much time WORRYING about all this when there are 50k people dead in Haiti, an economy on the brink of collapse, constitutional rights being taken away every day, and no cure for the 100's of deadly diseases in our world. WHY did I bother even THINKING about a ridiculous blog with a few hundred followers? I could have spent that time creatively, or packaging up supplies for Haiti, or working on my son's therapy.

That is why, as much as I love the friends who are being abused by Pussdaddy, I will try to stay out of things. I will support you no doubt, as you have supported me, but I will not even look at her blog anymore. It's not worth the time or brain cells. And also, if you are a fan of Pussdaddy I've probably already deleted you off any social networking sites we may share.

It's time to get back to what is family, my creating, and helping others when I can. My friend had her memorial service for her 2 year old this past Saturday. That child lived his life in and out of the hospitals, surgeries, and more. He lived in pain I cannot even imagine. To think that I wasted one brain cell on Pussdaddy when I could have spent that time praying for that little boys family is something I cannot take back.

To those who are continually tormented by Pussdaddy, I feel your pain, I do. But do NOT let it get to you! No matter what you say, what you do, someone will always be around to twist it into what they want. As long as you do what is right in YOUR heart and mind, you can rest easy knowing you did the right thing.

If you want a boost, a hug, anything, I am here for you! But I am putting this to rest, buried where it should be, in a chapter of my life I don't want to go back to. Pussdaddy will likely blog this. I know that. I only ask she has the nerve to actually copy the whole thing and not chicken peck out the parts she wants. Because honestly, if anyone can read this and still think I was ever trying to hurt someone, then they are not anyone I want to know.

If you decide to comment, that is entirely up to you. Do not feel you have to. If you do so and you disagree with what I said, that is also fine to but I will delete comments with nasty language, insults or hateful talk.

I do not want the comments to become a bashing of Pussdaddy either...that does not serve MY purpose of moving on and being at peace with everything. So I will also delete those comments also. Any hateful comments to ANYONE will be deleted because I will not allow that on my blog

If this has taught us anything it's that Pussdaddy does show us we need to take responsibility for our actions, words and be very careful what we say. Even if we THINK we didn't say anything wrong, you might have hurt someone.

So Pussdaddy..that's that. I apologize if anything I said in THIS post hurts your feelings, but you know as well as I do that if you can dish it out , you can take it.

And that folks is a wrap!


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Artisans, Football and a Little Dare...

Earlier this week I posted a little 'taunt' on Artfire forums concerning last weeks Saints/Vikings football game. There was some friendly trash talking (as is customary in football) and MDavisDesigns took me up on a friendly wager....since she was pulling for the Vikings, if the Saint's won she'd change her avatar to a Saints avi, and if the Vikings won, I'd change mine to a Vikings pic!

Thankfully for me, the Saints won!! (BLACK AND GOLD SUPERBOWL!!!) Marian at MDavisDesigns has graciously changed her avatar to the adorable Drew Brees.

Since Marian was such a good sport about my Bayou Boys putting a hurting on ol' Favre, I thought I'd share one of her beautiful pieces!

There are some beautiful pieces in this shop and I encourage you to check them all out, maybe you'll find something beautiful to where while you watch the Saint's spank the Colts on Superbowl Sunday!


Sunday, January 24, 2010



43 years in the league....a HORRIBLE team for years...years of fans wearing paper bags on their heads...and can you believe it? The New Orleans Saints are going to the SUPERBOWL!! I am so proud of the team, New Orleans, and Louisiana!!!


Friday, January 22, 2010

There Once Was an Indie Radio Station....

Named Blockhead Radio. This radio station was built by two people, Rod and Annette. This radio station had the greatest of ideas....a place for people to hear great indie music and artisans to join together as a community. Here's my side of the story.

I had a part of BHR for roughly 5 months. I was "hired" to be Public Relations for BHR on the condition I'd be paid 30% of the advertising revenue. BHR had fantastic potential and I liked the people immensely. I met some fabulous people and artisans. I learned a tremendous amount of things about online life, handmade art and running a business.

I also learned not to trust too much.

Things went swimmingly for awhile. Then Rod (Blockhead Rod) began to get fishy. He was UBER controlling about the way the station was run, basically vetoing any idea anyone had other than himself. Cancelling shows, backing out on promises, and changing his mind constantly. I put in roughly 20-30 hours per week for 5 mos for BHR.


Things started to change after a few months and I began to wonder about Rod and Annette's actual intentions. We constantly kept hearing that not enough money was coming in, yet we were selling ads right and left. I have no doubt that radio equipment costs money but I don't think it cost THAT much. For example, a Skype phone number (which is what we used for the most part) cost 30 bucks a year. Everything else can be run with fairly inexpensive audio equipment on your computer.

Good shows got cancelled for no apparent reasons other than Rod wanted it that way. Good show hosts got told off for no good reason. I spent many hours on the phone with Rod and I thought I had a good read on him. I was wrong. In time I began to get bad vibes but I loved the artisans I'd met and I had invested so much time and money in BHR I felt like I needed to see it through. I also ended up on the air for a short time on my own show that I was quickly removed in yet another of Rod's changes.

Countless artisans invested time and money in listening and participating in BHR. Ads were bought, they promoted BHR for free all over the place. They all got screwed.

I want to say now I deeply apologize to EVERYONE I got to be involved in BHR. I'm sorry if I dragged you in, although I'm grateful we met :)

I was 'let go' around the summer because I was apparently not needed any more. Did I ever get paid for my time? Nope. I knew then Rod was an a*hole for sure because in our conversation in which I was fired, I said, "Well, you're welcome for my work." and Rod replied, "HAh You're Welcome." As if I should have bowed down and kissed his feet for allowing me to be on BHR?? I spent roughly 200 dollars in ads, donations and more to help BHR. I was SUPPOSED to get paid for my work and NEVER DID and he said I needed to THANK HIM?

Oh but no.

I disappeared for awhile, not going into chat, but I missed my friends so I stayed around a little quieter. Then 48forLarry came.

It sounded like a great cause, this man, who we all supposedly "Knew" was dying and hundreds of artisans banded together to come up with an auction for Larry where artisans donated items to be auctioned off and donated money. Things went fine until the end of the auction for me. My brother, who'd recently started an Artfire shop came in and offered to set up a site free of charge to continue to help bring money in for Larry. Even after I talked with both Larry AND Rod about who  my brother was, they continued to accuse him of trying to steal money from Larry and acted like they didn't know who he was. EVEN after I talked to Larry and told him who he was...they then commenced to slaughter him in Artfire forums. I know suspect that because Rod and Annette were part of a scam around this 48forLarry thing, they were doing illegal things with the money and that is why they freaked out about my brother creating the website (on his own dime!).

That was the final straw. (And Yes my brother still has all the emails from Rod and Huck where they trashed and were evil to him.) You don't try to destroy my friends and family without me getting mad.

I defended my brother in forums and at his request, stopped talking about it. He asked me to let it go, so I did. I also cut off all contact with Rod and Annette other than an occassional chat in plurk. I missed my other friends who still used BHR chat but I just could not go back in there. Not many knew what all had happened and I kept it quiet.

Then I started to realize how many other people got screwed by BHR. Items that were donated never got sent because Larry was supposedly to ill to send invoices and addresses. Ads were not put up on the BHR site. Suddenly the whole family was having to leave their home and travel the country in an RV? And they were selling ad space on the RV to artisans??? I wanted so bad to warn people about this but I kept my mouth shut. I'm sorry I did. Now those people are out money because of course there is NO RV and Rod and Annette have cut and run.

No one has seen hide nor hair of them (though Rod has logged into his Facebook account in the last 10 days.) and lots of worthy artisans are out money!

Because Rod is a genius he never changed the Artfire account so I logged in the BHR artfire account to do some digging. Sure enough, they sold roughly 2151.00 worth of ads on Artfire ALONE. That doesn't even count paypal invoices and Etsy sales! 2151.00. So I should have received about 645 bucks of that income and so should have the other artisans who were supposed to get paid.

Artisans have bought items from Huck that never got received, people bid on items for the Larry auction and never received them (not through the fault of the artisans who donated, but due to Larry never sending the addy's to who the items should go to.)

I don't think things started out for Rod and Huck as a scam but I think they started to see the money rolling in and decided to go for it. I've heard of some other bad situations that have occurred with BHR and artisans and its not my place to share that info. I will say, if you got screwed by BHR, and want to share, please do so.

Despite all this, I do not regret my time on BHR. I learned a TON of things and I met some FABULOUS people! There are nasty people all over the web, and in the handmade world, but thanks to BHR I met some of the best people in the world! I will always be thankful for that!

Perhaps one day when the time is right, we can again have a crafty type show on BlogTalkRadio to again share our handmade lives.

The BHR domain was bought by someone else and is still related to music but not owned by Rod or Huck. (Anyone can check this by going to and looking at the url

So while I and many others got burned by BHR, Rod and Annette Grambel (not sure if I spelled that right?) I am very happy to have had the experience because I learned alot and learned to stand up for what I believe in---

the TRUTH.

SO, Rod, Annette, Larry, if ya'll are out there and BRAVE Enough to come out and speak for yourselves, BRING IT. But put your riot gear on first.

You've got a LOT of artisans mad at you. As they should be.

I just have faith that karma goes around and they will get theirs.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Spotlight on COFFEE!

Coffee anyone?

I loooooooove coffee.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Fabric Therapy....

Ahhhh. Troubles? What troubles?? It's been a long week due to some not-worthy-of-discussing-because-it's-so-stupid online troubles and I have had quite fun easing my mind with fabric therapy. I began this year with Operation Simplify and have been enjoying it. I've put Fleur De Ink on an extended vacation, and have resigned from Handmade News. It is nothing personal to HMN, I actually loved writing for HMN, but something has to give!! Eli has begun to demand more attention. We're on a waiting list for a new autism pilot program that will involve more therapy and he's already getting better by leaps and bounds. (I swear he said "Who Dat" today, but it might have been wishful thinking...Black and Gold, baby, Black and Gold.)

But I digress, so my family has always been the most important thing in my life and my little handmade shops are just something I do for me. But I will always gladly toss it all if my kids need it. So by closing up Fleur De Ink, quitting HMN and dropping my Artfire Shop (side note, big sale going on!) down to basic, I can devote more time to my boys. I want to do things that are fun for me. I've got no patience or time for things/people that stress me out--so OUT they go! (Not that HMN was stressful, I loved doing it..but deadlines are still deadlines! Perhaps one day I can return as I was so graciously told I could!)

So what did I do this week for fun since I had my creativity sapped from me for a short time? I had some fabric therapy of COURSE! In the forms of Michael Miller and Riley Blake. Nom nom nom. Fabric.
I have to impatiently wait for it to come in, but still...mmmm fabric.

Michael Miller finds!

And some Riley Blake:

Mmm that makes everything all better.

AND I found a bakery locally that sells gluten free king cake. That's right life, BRING IT ON. I shall have cake.

Friday, January 15, 2010

My Faves: Red

Some lovely things in RED...
I could go on and on with these, I could make one a day practically! Hmmmm...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tutorial--Basic Melt and Pour Soap

In keeping with trying to keep free tutorials and how-to's on this blog, here is my attempt at a tutorial on Melt and Pour soap.

Please keep in mind, everyone probably makes soap just a little different, this is how I do it!

Gather Supplies: (I'll provide a few links at the end for supplies)
Melt and Pour Soap Base 
Body Safe Colorant (NOT food coloring)
Fragrance Oils 
Rubbing Alcohol in a small spray bottle
Latex Gloves
Wax Paper/Protective Surface
Pipettes for Fragrance Oils (or other dropper)
Glass Heat Safe Measuring Cup
Candy thermometer

1. Cut your soap base into small chunks and put in the measuring glass cup, such as Pyrex. I generally make a ton of soap at once, so I just fill it up and go for it... measure, schmeasure.

This is a mix of white opaque soap base and goat's milk.

2. Gather your colorants. For this soap we're making a one color soap, so I don't need to use my more costly non bleeding colorants. When making layered soap you need non bleeding colorants (I prefer them from When making solid soap you can just use the less expensive soap colorants from hobby stores and soap making supply sites. 

3. Gather your fragrance oil and pipette (dropper). For this one we're using a lavender from Peak's Candle Company. I like Peak's because they are phthalate free.

4. Melt your soap in the pyrex container for 30 seconds at a time. (based on a FULL 2 cup container...heat for less time if melting less soap). ALWAYS err on the side of caution and melt for shorter time periods. If you heat the soap too long you'll cause speckling of the color in the soap. Ask me how I know this.
Stir the melted soap with a spoon or stirrer of some kind. A few unmelted tiny chunks are fine, they will melt as you slowly stir. Generally M&P soap should not be heated more than 140 degrees and you can test this with your candy thermometer.

Some bubbles are fine in the melted soap, we will spritz them away later.

5. Add your fragrance oil with your dropper or pipette. Always add your fragrance first because some FO's discolor the soap, particularly vanilla's. Peak suggests for soap: "we recommend 3-4% fragrance oil by weight. 2% is equivalent to about 1/3 of an ounce per pound. And 3% is about half an ounce per pound".  I generally go by my nose, until it just about 'sniffs right'. Generally you can trust your nose. 

6. Add your colors. Since I was out of regular (bleeding) purple, and I did not want to use my more costly non bleeding purple in a solid soap, I simply mixed together red and blue until I got a purple I wanted!

As with melting and fragrance, go slow on the colors, start with just a drop or two of your color. It's FAR easier to ADD MORE color than to take away! Also if you add too much color it can be too strong in the soap and cause the bubbles (lather) to be colored when they should be clear...therefore staining your tub, etc. Since most soap safe colorants do wash away, that's not really a horrible problem if the soap is for yourself, but not something you want to give away or sell! Less is more!

Isn't that pretty?

Slowly swirled together to create purple!

7. Now you have a purple, lavender scented goat's milk/opaque melted soap! See those bubbles? We'll just spritz them away with a shot or two of rubbing alcohol from your spray bottle.

Squirt, squirt.

8. Now we can pour our soap into the mold! Pour slowly so you get an even pour (this is good practice for when you're ready to do layered soaps!) and you don't get those annoying bubbles.

If you have any bubbles just give the soap a few more squirts of rubbing alcohol...and there you go!

9. Now you have a smooth, pretty, even soap. Let it set several hours, until it is completely hardened. Depending on the weight of your soap it may take longer to harden. Once completely hardened, turn the mold over on some wax paper or parchment paper, (a clean smooth surface) and gently unmold from the mold. The easiest way to get soap out of a mold is to get a little bit of air into the mold by pulling the mold away form the soap just a smidge, then slowly--PATIENTLY--- allowing the air to go all through the mold (you'll see it go over the soap as you're holding the mold upside down on to the wax paper). Then gently ease your soap out of the mold onto your paper, and cut into the shapes you need (if it's a slab or tray mold.) If the mold was a single cavity mold, then just unmold, and package as you wish! :)

Here's our lavender soap after I added some goat's milk cubed embeds to it! :)

Wrapped in organza bags and ready to go! :)

Helpful Links: (be sure to read Denise's Blog from there!) (they have a Yahoo group also) for bags and wraps

You can pretty much find anything you need to know on soaping from Google! There are also some great soaping books on the market. 

Happy Soaping!



If you're ever faced with someone who lies, cheats, steals or otherwise makes life ugly, just tell them what the fabulous Amos says...shoulda told me the truth sir...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Makings of a Craft Room

I am LOVING having my own sewing/craft room!! And the boys love sharing a room, so a win all around! I've gotten the room just about how I wanted it, so I thought I'd share. I know I love seeing others workspaces, so here's mine!

Mmmmm Fabric, lovely fabric....

Packaging/Inventory/Boring Business Stuff...oh and Hubs' 2 feet of space for his guitar and amp. I know, wife of the year award for me.

Bag O' Vinyl (for cricut)

Extra table for craft shows if need be, and in the room for workspace, papers, etc. Box of UFO's underneath the table.

Paper supplies, I swear its organized. Pretty serger thread..sooo pretty.

Actual Desk, again thread (I know things are all mixed up) but the rest if for cricut work.

Hiding under the desk is my serger in its box!

Ahhh, Mariah my sewing machine. I have decided her name is Mariah because she's a diva machine who likes to act up on occasion. Best part--sewing on my grandmother's old sewing desk! :)

Shelves I put up all by myself--no man required.

Last but not least---my first vinyl wall quote made on cricut.

So show me your space!!!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Spotlight: BUTTONS!

I seem to have an unhealthy obsession with fabric covered buttons...I really can't explain it...I love making them, looking for them, wearing them...seriously, I need rehab..


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Operation Simplify 2010--WEEK ONE

I'm one week into my Operation Simplify. So far so good!!
I've created a schedule for me to keep things in line. I've only deviated slightly due to weather or children's needs! It is very helpful having a specific time to work with Eli and it helps remind me NOT to goof off on the computer!

For my goal of cooking I've been working on slow cooker, crock pot recipes.
This week I've tried a few and here's what I think:

Baked Potato Soup:
I loved it!! I shared some with my best friend who'd just had a baby, and my niece who was in the hospital with her baby with pneumonia! My husband didn't really like it but he's a wuss and doesn't like soup. The kids didn't like it because, well, they are uber picky!

Okay while I greatly appreciate her effort, this recipe needs major work. First of all, it needs WAY more spices. Creole seasoning, salts, peppers, SOMETHING. Seeing as the blogger is NOT southern, it is totally understandable that this was left out. :) Also when I did it her way and put the rice in, it ended up being a gumbo mush. Like rice/gumbo/risotto. So I'm going to try it again but make the rice separate and put the gumbo OVER the rice just like you're SUPPOSED to do with gumbo. There is no roux required but I might try to do one also. Overall the taste was good...just needed a kick.

Overall I'm digging using the crockpot--when I actually do remember to turn it on, it works great! :) Now to train the hubs to clean it up every night, how come kitchens aren't self cleaning!

How is your Operation Simplify going??


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

One Door Closes, Another Opens

Because this is my year of Operation Simplify, I have made the decision to put Fleur De Ink on an extended vacation. I'm hoping the powers that be at Etsy don't REALIZE it's an extended vacation (and I suspect they won't) because I want to keep the shop, in hopes that one day it can be reopened. But as of now, my other shops are keeping me busy enough and flower pens just aren't high on the priority list!

Why? Eli. That's why. My baby boy was bringing me a sock monkey jack in the box this morning and saying "Socky". (which means he wants me to push it down so he can make it pop up). But I was trying to send an email to a customer about flower pens.

Really? Flower pens are NEVER EVER more important than Socky with Eli. In fact just about NOTHING is more important than that.

Eli is my opening door. The chance to save him is there.

Eli has autism. Plain and simple. Yes, he's very high functioning and has great potential to be mainstreamed just fine one day. Yes, he's not even 2 yet (Jan 23!!) but it is there. Yes, he's done awesome being Gluten Free and I think one day we'll barely notice anything was wrong. But what if I don't capitalize on the improvements he's making now? What if I push "Socky" aside to do my work? That's not a risk I'm willing to take because my REAL work is being a mommy to two beautiful boys. And although Harrison is in school, he has his own unique needs and sensory issues that will likely escalate as he gets older.

So, I decided (several weeks ago) some things have to give. One being Fleur De Ink. I'll still gladly make them for friends, gifts, and myself, but there is no need to run a full shop around them. I continue to run Mama's Little Monkeys, Amelia Amos and Destash City because I do love doing it, and there is immense pleasure in having something that is ALL mine and NOT mommy related. And thus far, those shops are easily managed with the time I have.

Now I will not be updating, adding to, or what not to them as frequently as in the past. 3 Etsy shops, 2 Artfire shops and 2 Hyena Carts are a lot! Thankfully, they're all mostly full of ready to ship items, or easy to make items. Steamlining is my goal here this year!

And let's be honest, if I didn't get a free account with Artfire and have already paid for Destash City for 2010 I'd probably bail on Artfire. As much as I love the people, the sales just aren't there. But I plug away because I enjoy writing for Handmade News and I'll make the most of my time there best I can.

My teams are also important to me, but thankfully I have very understanding members and friends who are awesome at making the teams the best they can be! Most are also mommies and understand how life is! So remember to search "Cafemom Team" and "HandmadeLouisiana" on! :)

I create and sell handmade because I enjoy it but there is also a business side. If this does not make a profit for our family--in this much needed time, I'll pull the plug in a heartbeat and do what I have to do. So far, it's going good and I'm finding a nice steady rhythm of sales/fun/management. But if the cause was there, I'd turn it all in for my family in a heart beat....and just sew for me! :)

Besides, if things do get really bad, at least I'll have fabric to keep us warm and soap to keep us clean!!

So if you want any of my flowery prettiness, hop on over to Fleur De Ink because after Jan 8th, it's going on vacation for awhile!!

But you can always find me at my other shops--for now!


Monday, January 4, 2010

Spotlight on SOCK MONKEYS!

Ya'll know I love all things sock monkey!! Enjoy this little collection of some awesome sock monkeys!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Items and January Giveaway!

I'd like to introduce my newest item, Japanese Knot Bags. Many thanks to Merry from for the inspiration for this! If not for Merry's request, I'd not have learned how to make them!

So in honor of that, this month's giveaway is for 1 Japanese Knot bag in Robert Kaufman's Project Runway fabric. Knot bags are perfect for knitters because they hold your yarn and needles, and since you can slip it on one arm, you can knit while you hold your bag!

How do you win? 
Leave a comment (and some way for me to CONTACT you--blog, email, Etsy shop, etc.) on this blog. That's it. Leave a comment of some kind! Share a joke, a tip, something new you made, say hello, WHATEVER you want! :)



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