Thursday, June 23, 2011

Looking for a way to make $$ with your blog?

I don't know about you guys, but blogging is one of the highlights of my week. I love sharing my tutorials and projects with you guys, as well as keeping up with all the things you're doing out there too.

So, when SocialSpark contacted me about doing some advertising for them on my blog, how could I resist? A little extra cash here and there for doing something I already love? WIN/WIN situation for me.

This week, SocialSpark has opened their contributor network up to ALL BLOGGERS! That's right, now you can sign up to earn money for your blog content too. Now, obviously I'm not paying our mortgage with these ads, but it's always nice to have a little extra coming in. More trips to the fabric store, I say!

The best part about SocialSpark is that YOU get to choose your advertisers, and you always have the option to decline if you're too busy, not interested, or if the advertiser doesn't meet the specific demographic of your blog. Pretty cool, huh?

If you're interested in signing up for this awesome opportunity, CLICK HERE to get started now!


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What I Pinned {Wednesday}

Good morning all! I hope you're having a great week so far! It is Wednesday again and I am here to share some of my favorite pins with you!

*new to Pinterest? Go here for more info!*

This week I'm sharing recipes! So here's to some links that will really get your tummy growling!

{Zucchini "Fries"... but not fried!}

{Chicken Enchilada Soup}

{Bloomin' Onion Cheese Bread}

{Capri Sun Fruit Pops}

And for the big girls and boys out there...
{Strawberry Peach Sangria}

YUM!! Of course I have tons more recipes and food ideas pinned HERE, and you are totally welcome to take a look and find your faves! Also, if you haven't sent me your pinterest address, send it on! I would love to see what you're pinning too. :) 


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday & Linky Party - Easy Gathered Dress

***Sorry about the linky party issue... it is now resolved, so feel free to link up!!***

Good morning bloggy buds! I am coming to you this morning with a brand spankin' new tutorial! Yay! While I was on hiatus, and in preparation for Baby A's first birthday, I tried my hand at making clothing. Yes... an actual, wearable garment! {Are you getting the sense that I was pretty dang proud of myself? I was. Am. haha!} Check it out...
Baby A's 1st Birthday Dress

This was pretty easy overall, just a little time consuming with all the gathering. Luckily, there's a little something that makes the whole ruched top easier... elastic thread! It looks like this, and can be found with all the notions at your local fabric shop/Hobby Lobby.

Otherwise, all you need are these things:

2, 21" square pieces of fabric (this fits my 1 year old larely)
elastic thread
regular thread
fabric scraps or foldover elastic for straps (optional)

Now, before you get started you'll have to wind your bobbin. Yes, by hand. :) Elastic thread is tricky and won't work with your machine's bobbin winder. So wind your bobbin, not too tight, but not too loose either. Don't worry, it doesn't have to be perfect, mine sure wasn't! haha!

First, take your fabric squares and hem 2 opposite sides 1/2" each. This will make your ruffle-y top look better, and of course give you a nice hemline at the bottom of the dress.

Next, we'll be ruffling each square separately. You want to bring your stitch length out as far as it will go  on your running stitch setting to help your fabric ruffle on it's own. Sew 12 lines, 1/2" apart, starting 1/2" from the hem of the fabric. Be sure to sew with the patterned side of the fabric UP, so you will only see the elastic thread from the back side.

You can see here I was about 6 rows in and the fabric is already pretty scrunched up. My lines aren't all that straight, but in the end, it doesn't really matter since it's all scrunched up anyway. So sew 12 rows on each square of hemmed fabric.

Then, put your 2 squares together print side in and pin together leaving a 1/2" allowance for your seams. Sew along each edge in a straight line all the way to the bottom. Trim any loose threads or excess fabric, turn right side out and you're done!! Easy peasy!!

To finish it off, I added some fold over elastic to the inside of the front panel to make it a little halter dress. That part is totally optional, but my kiddo would just pull it down without the straps, haha!

I also whipped up a little matching headband for her to wear using the same brown fold over elastic as I used for the straps. I just made a little white felt flower and hot glued it right on there. Also easy peasy. :)

Now it's time to show off what you've been working on! Add your links below, just please remember to link directly to the post you're showcasing and go visit some of the other links too! If you'd like, grab yourself a button so others know where to find you!


Monday, June 20, 2011

Merchandise Monday Returns!! {with a giveaway!!}

As you all know I have been frantically working on my etsy shop, trying to get everything in order for the summer and adding lots of new items for sale! Since Merchandise Monday started out as a way to showcase etsy sellers and products, I thought I would just go ahead and show you what I've been working on... at least a little bit of what I've been working on anyway. :)

I've been churning out the "boy" styles like crazy! I've never been inspired to do much boy stuff before, but for some reason the ideas just keep flowing. I'm sure you guys know how scarce the cute boy stuff is anyway, so it's a good thing! Here's a couple of new designs I added this week:

{Navy and Red Sailboat for boys}
This one is inspired by all the summer fun cropping up everywhere, and by my very own water baby. What could be better than a simple sailboat on a navy tye dyed bodysuit for baby's summer wardrobe?

{Fancy Little Man}
...because every baby wants to be comfy while also looking classy, right? ;)

Of course there's never a shortage of girlie styles too... Here's a couple of the more feminine designs I added to the shop since re-opening:

{Retro Flower on Aqua!}
I am ALL OVER the teal/aqua/turquoise trend right now... though I had no idea it was a trend when I was designing this little beauty about 3 months ago. :) Aside from the color itself, I love this design because it reminds me of some really awesome retro-floral wallpaper!!

{Fancy Little Miss}
Much like the "Fancy Little Man," what girl goes out without her bling on? Exactly! Now, this one is kind of a work in progress. I'm loving it on some other colors (purple, teal) and playing with some rhinestone embellishments as well. Stay tuned on this one!

Of course, it's not just bodysuits I've been working on...

{Boutique Burpie Sets}

{Baby Shower Gift Packs}

Some with little birdies, some with elephants, but all pack on the charm for a fun and unique baby shower gift. Included is a matching bib, burp cloth and plush toy in designer fabric rolled together and tied with some jute, ready to gift! I've got about a dozen sets in a dozen different fabrics, so these will be popping up here and there for as long as they last. :)


Ok, so I'm sure you all are ready for me to get right to the good part: The Giveaway!

Well I've been cleaning, reorganizing, taking inventory, and all of that fun stuff and what did I come up with? A BUNCH of STUFF!! Since I don't have room to keep taking on more and more stuff, but I also can't seem to stay away from the fabric store, I decided I would offer you guys the opportunity to win some free stuff from my studio!

Here's my idea, and if you LIKE it, and would be INTERESTED in PARTICIPATING, let me know in the comments and I'll post a giveaway ASAP! :)

I have about 15 onesies that I need to get out of the way in my studio. They're either out of circulation, a different brand than I'm using now, or designs that I've discontinued. However, they're all new, never worn, and in various sizes from newborn to 12 months. There are some girls styles, some girls styles, but mostly gender neutral. I'm sure not everyone will love every single one, but I would like to give them away as a set... a Grab Bag Pack, if you will. Here's a sneak peek...

So what do you think? 15 onesies in a grab bag giveaway, or "get it together Rachael and do a real giveaway!"? Let me know what you think in the comments!! Ready? GO!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What I Pinned {Wednesday}

I'm kind of liking this new little tradition I've started here on Wednesdays, so I think I'm going to keep it up! In case I haven't mentioned it before {um, like, a MILLION times...} I'm addicted to Pinterest. Since I've been lax on my blogging and etsy and everything else while we've been working on the new house, I take at least a little comfort in playing Pinterest and lurking all over blogland, haha!

Lately, I've been collecting doors and entryways. I'm not sure that I could ever choose just one style for my front door, but I have LOTS of ideas!! Check it out...

{this door reminds me of Rapunzel's window in Tangled... so pretty and ornate}

{gorgeous green door for a garden entry}

{lovely aqua door with amazing red climbing vines}

{pretty in pink, and such lovely detail in the glasswork}

{rustic purple-y goodness}

{this is such a stunning visual... would love to have a tree door!!}

{sweet little hidden nook... to wonderland, perhaps?}

Of course, there are tons more in my little door collection, but if I put them on this post, you guys would be snoozing halfway through, haha! Feel free to check it out here, or check out my whole page HERE. If you're not already on Pinterest, let me know and I'll send you an invite! Also, be sure to leave me your Pinterest name/link so I can follow what you're pinning!

I also want to send a huge shout out to everyone who left such wonderfully supportive and kind words on my post Friday afternoon, The Most UNEBELIEVEABLE Month of my Life {True Story}. You guys are the best. You are the reason I keep coming back for more, and I couldn't do it without you! So thanks a million... your wonderful comments mean so much to me!

ALSO!! In case you haven't noticed... The Little Birdie Baby Shop on etsy is now re-opened for business!! :) I've been working on updating my listings, getting things organized, and taking photos of my new merchandise to list for sale. I'll be working on things for the next few days, and have TONS of new stuff to add, so be sure to go check it out when you get a chance. :)


Friday, June 10, 2011

The most UNBELIEVEABLE month of my life. {True Story}

I hate getting too personal on my blog. I know there is so much room for problems to arise when I open up myself, but I just have to share/vent with you all about the last month of insanity in my life. It's so unbelievable I don't even know how to write about it without it sounding like a bad mini-series plot. But I will do my best...

You already know we decided to move. It was one of those completely random things that just popped up, and was too, too awesome of an opportunity to pass on. That's where it all started. Because of the timing and various other factors, we had about 12 days to pack our entire house and get this done. Okay. No big deal, right? It was stressful and insane, and I had NO IDEA we had SO MUCH CRAP.

So the packing continues... all the while I'm trying to plan guest blogs, finish up my etsy shop orders, close down my shop and pack up all my "Little Birdie" paraphernalia. Somewhere in this period of 12 days, I find out about 18 of my already shipped out orders have just disappeared. {INSERT PANIC ATTACK}

I'm emailing buyers, I'm calling the post office, I'm calling Paypal, I'm doing anything I can think of while I UNPACK my shop and try to re-make all of these orders to be re-sent out. Before we move. I am beside myself... completely.

Come to find out, our mail person has been stealing/stashing/doing who-knows-what with the mail for weeks. WEEKS. I had no idea that ACTUALLY happened in real life. Thankfully, there were others in our route who had the same problems, enabling the USPS to identify the problem, arrest the mail carrier and launch an investigation in hopes of tracking down all the "lost" mail and pressing federal fraud charges against her. All of my U.S. orders go out via carrier pick up, so I knew then I was totally screwed. More emailing, more phone calls...

Finally I have to re-pack all the Little Birdie stuff, keeping aside all the unfinished business of the previous predicament so I can jump right in when we land at our new home.

At last we reach the weekend of the big move...

FRIDAY: We move. YAY! {but there was only a short celebration...} The cable company screwed up the internet installation. Then they mis-charged us for what we ordered. {insert phone battle} 3 days later, all is well.


SUNDAY: more rest {seriously, it was like I was in a walking coma... too much work/stress leading to the move and I just could not go anymore.}

MONDAY: Finished tying up all the loose ends from the USPS fiasco. Luckily my buyers are all incredibly understanding about it all, but I send them free gifts anyway for not kicking me to the curb. :) Whew. Then.. Oh crap, we're all supposed to go out of town tomorrow. {insert frantic packing} Of course, never mind the fact that we've never made a road trip, or any kind of long distance/long time trip for that matter with the baby. Let alone BY MYSELF for 8 hours with the baby AND the dog.

TUESDAY: Load up the car and leave, 7:30AM

Now the next several days were not so bad. Surprisingly, the drive wasn't horrible and the baby was mellow and cool as always. I should never doubt her awesomeness. Also, I got to hang with my totally awesome parents, they got some great quality time with Baby A, and I got some MUCH NEEDED R&R while Grampa and GiGi took the reins.

We head back home about a week later, another easy trip with an angel baby. Thank you, Lord.

Once we're home, the in-laws decide to bestow an incredible gift upon us. A brand new set of front-loading washer/dryers! Absolutely incredible! They're ordered and expected to arrive in under 2 weeks. We unload the old set that is seriously on it's last thread, and wait excitedly.

FRIDAY: Delivery guys arrive. With TWO washing machines and no dryer. More phone calls... no one knows what happened. Also, no one knows how to fix it.

Many, many, MANY phone calls later the problem is resolved and a new dryer on order to arrive in about 2 more weeks. Ugh. Luckily, we were able to coerce Best Buy into loaning us a dryer in the meantime, as we had already been without laundry for 2 weeks waiting on the first set, and there was NO WAY we were going to make it another 2 weeks. Let' just say this: Don't mess with a chick and her laundry.

At this point, I'm thinking: "Okay, I'm going to start moving towards reopening my shop." I start unpacking and working, and start writing some blogs again just to get back in the swing of things.

YESTERDAY: New dryer has made it to the warehouse in town and is ready for delivery. Oh wait, they ahve the wrong address somehow!! Operator lady tells me it will take 2 WEEKS to fix the paperwork and submit the address change. Seriously? Changing a delivery address takes 2 weeks? Come on!! {More phone calls...}

TODAY: Best Buy finally has their act together, and tells the delivery company to get theirs together too. Delivery scheduled for Tuesday. Almost a month later.

Plus, there were alot of "little" things that happened too...

Old washer leaked all over the laundry room. Ruined baseboards.
Old dryer goes on the fritz, shrinks all of hubby's work clothes.
Printer stopped working. No idea why.
Dog got fleas. Trip to vet. Treated house and yard.
Baby's first birthday. Mommy frantically trying to put together a nice party. (Success! Pics to come!)

Oh yeah, did I mention that we are also in the middle of a HUGE drought in Texas? We are. Like, big red signs about getting-arrested-if-you're-even-seen-lighting-a-match, huge. As much as it's an inconvenience, it's not a big deal in day-to-day life. It does, however, affect the weather. It's literally too hot to rain. Instead, we get huge thunder bumping clouds, crazy lightning, and the best part... rolling black outs. When it's 100+ degrees outside. For days. Not cool... in more than one way.

Needless to say, shop opening is postponed while we figure out a way to deal with the heat, and the sporadic cutting in and out of electricity and subsequently, internet access. I'm really, REALLY starting to get down on myself because things just keep coming at us. I'm feeling like I'm never going to get my shop opened back up, my blog is all but abandoned, and the most ego-damaging part: I'm seeing my readership decline. :( I worked hours and hours a day {day and night really} to make my blog an interesting place to visit, now I feel like I'm having to start over.

Clearly we've had some issues in the past 6 weeks. Things I could have NEVER in my wildest dreams foreseen, and yet I am still optimistic. I suppose I am offering up this post as an apology. An apology for not getting it together sooner. An apology for letting life knock me down at your expense. However, this is also a promise. I'm posting it here so I am accountable. The following is my pledge to you all:

I am seriously pulling my sh*t together this weekend and getting things back on track.

Simple as that. I refuse to let anything else get in the way of allowing me to get back to doing what I love: creating. It's going to be a process for sure, and I have lots of ideas of how to be better, so I hope the 213 of you that are left here will stick around to see it. I miss you all terribly... Thanks for sticking it out with me. :)

For now I will leave you with this...

The night we moved in, I dug out these elements specifically to help us get off on the right foot in our new home. Love, Happiness, and some good smellin' Scentsy. ;) It's amazing what a pretty and meaningful vignette can do for your outlook every day. Even my sweet-but-usually-oblivious-to-decor hubby took notice right away. I'll spare you the details but sweet kisses ensued as he told me how much he loved me and was so happy to be starting the next phase of our lives together in our new home.

Me too. :)


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What I found {Wednesday!}

Ok, so I am really enjoying sharing my little pins with you guys. Being plugged into such a fun creative outlet is allowing me to find sites and blogs I probably never would have found otherwise. There's always something new to keep things fresh!

I'm hoping some of you northerners are finally getting some sunshine, as we are in the full swing of summer down south! This week's pins are all about enjoying that summertime outdoor living...

{Click photos for links}

{beautiful lakeside dinner party setting... sigh}

{who could argue with an outdoor tub when it looks as relaxing as this??!}

{sweet tea and cobbler at dusk}

{amazing use of the surrounding elements to make this pool au natural!}

{fun summer movie nights on the back lawn...}

{precious fairy swing!}

{and who says grown ups get to have all the fun? cute tee pees would be a dream...}

Hope you all are enjoying your summer... 
wherever you are and whatever you're into!


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