Thursday, September 30, 2010

When handing your baby to a veiled woman...

I know that I've mentioned that we live in a diverse neighborhood in Detroit, MI.
But did I mention that this is a common sight on our streets?

Sometimes I feel like we are living in a different country already!
I really love the diversity of this neighborhood, though, and am thrilled that Little Bug gets to grow up immersed in it.

I have made a few friends with Muslim women and have been surprised at how much I seem to have in common with them.

And in case you're wondering...
No, they don't feel oppressed by wearing the veil.
Many of them CHOOSE to wear it and appreciate the modesty it provides for them.

It is interesting, though, to watch the reactions of those who encounter these women on the streets - especially children.
Kids have a way of voicing comments that adults think but would never say out loud.

For example...
There are four kids who like to play outside of our house (the kids represent THREE different countries - one of them being Yemen).
When the little Muslim boy's mother came out to fetch him for dinner one night (veiled, of course), the Polish boy exclaimed,
"What a monster!"

It saddened my heart to hear that and I just had to correct him to let him know that this "monster" was a human being with feelings just like him.

I have to admit that Little Bug has had his share of inappropriate reactions towards these "veiled women".
I was at a neighborhood function when a veiled woman sitting next to me asked to hold Little Bug. 
He usually does great with strangers (as long as I'm in eye sight) so I handed him over.
Little Bug then proceeded to give the most blood-curdling scream I had ever heard from his mouth.
I was so embarrassed!

I can't wait to help explain to him someday that there is a REAL person underneath that veil.
A REAL person who needs to be loved and cared for.
A REAL person who needs to feel God's love from us.

Until then... I'm just waiting for the day that Little Bug tries to play peek-a-boo with one of them!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Picaboo Photo Book

I finally finished our photo book for this past year.
It only took over 300 pictures to complete... 

I used Picaboo to process them.  It's my second time using the company.
They have great sales - which is pretty much essential since I just ordered a 100 page book.
I was able to make it in before the deadline for Buy One get One Free (it ended at midnight), and I had snagged two Groupon coupons for Picaboo.

Have you heard of Groupon?
I was able to get $200 worth of products at Picaboo and only paid $50!
Pretty sweet deal, right?

If you're interested in making photo books, you should also check out PhotoBookGirl.
She lists great coupons and deals on photo books AND has this great photo book wizard to help you decide which company will get you what you want for the best price!

Speaking of "Picaboo" (isn't that a sweet name for a photo book company?)...
Here is a card Little Bug sent his Grandparent's for Grandparent's Day a few weeks ago...
It could suit for any occasion, though - 
and his Grandparents absolutely adored it!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Fabric has Arrived!!!

Two exciting packages arrived at our house today!

The rest of the designer fabric we've been waiting for!

Now when you click on "Fabric" at the top of the page, you won't see the dreaded "Coming Soon" sign over ANY fabric!
It's all available and waiting for you to design your own bag!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Meet Emily!

Emily was the bag that started the entire business!
She was first created to help carry around all the "stuff" my newborn son would require.

Here she is... the FIRST Better Life Bag:

I posted a picture of this creation on Facebook and soon was getting requests to make more (and get paid)!

So, the Emily was born.

She is a multi-tasking momma who looks put together and stylish from the outside.

 She loves to be organized and comes accessorized with FIVE pockets.

You can add additional pockets for $5 each.
Here are how some customers have done that:
Extra inside elastic pockets

Small inside pockets for chapstick, cell phone, etc...

Outside flat pockets underneath the flap
You also get to choose between flat side pockets and elastic side pockets for no extra charge!

Her customizable flap gives her multiple personalities.

Add fabric flowers for an additional fee, but an adorable touch!
Large flowers - $3.25 each
Small flowers - $2.50 each
This customer chose 3 large fabric flowers.
 And lately, Emily has reinvented herself as a convertible backpack for the busy mom who needs both her hands free.
This diaper bag converts from a regular shoulder strap to a backpack.
Basically, the Emily is totally customizable to fit all your needs as a momma!

Visit my shop by clicking on the red "Shop" button at the top of the page
and design away!!

Contact me with any questions or customizable ideas for your bag!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Scrap Happy Saturday #1!

Welcome to the FIRST edition of Scrap Happy Saturday!

I'm so excited to see all the projects you do with YOUR scraps, so I can use up some more of mine, too!

Here's my project from this week.

Banners are SO popular now-a-days and I wanted to start with a really simple project to use up LOTS of scraps.  You can make your banner has long or as short as you'd like!

Here's how to make a banner that will make it through the windy fall weather!

1. Pick out the scraps that you are going to use.
I wanted mine to fit on the outside of my door, so I only chose 6 fabrics.
2. Make a banner template in any shape you want!  I chose a traditional triangle pendant, but I've also made a rectangle banner that looks great, too.
To make my template sturdy and symmetrical, I folded CARD STOCK in half and drew half of my triangle.

This is what it looks like after I cut along the bold line.
3. Lay your banner template on top of your fabric scraps and cut LOOSELY around each one.

4. After you have cut loosely around each pendant, iron the pieces onto a thin, stiff interfacing piece.
This will help to weight the banner down so it doesn't flap so easily in the wind.
If you are planning on using your banner indoors, you can skip this step.
It might be easier to cut rectangles (if you can) like the brown polka dot fabric instead of loosely cutting around each pendant first and then trying to iron onto the interfacing.
5.  Pin your pendant template onto your scrap and cut around it with pinking shears.
This will help to keep the banner from fraying.

Now is a good time to lay out your pieces in the order you'd like them.
6.  Iron the top of each pendant back about 1".

7. Use the pinking shears to cut off the excess tabs on each side.

8. Using twine (or string of any kind), line your first pendant up.
Be sure to leave a good amount of twine to use to hang your banner up with.

9. Sew back and forth over the twine on each side of the banner to keep it in place.

10. Line the next pendant up next to the first and sew it again.
Repeat with each pendant and then trim your thread.

11. Hang up your banner and enjoy the nice fall touch it adds to your porch!

Remember that we purposely are living in a blighted neighborhood with vacant homes scattered through our town.  Yes, sometimes we think we're crazy, too!  You can read why we decided to do this here, but I wanted to share a cool story that happened the other day.
We had our windows open and my husband was sitting close by.  Two people walked by our house, stopped in front, and said,
"That house used to look like crap!  I wonder what they did..."
The second person said,
"I think they weeded and put out some flowers.  Looks nice."

Just goes to show what 30 minutes and $10 can do for the overall appearance of a neighborhood.

Now, link up a blog post of what you have done with YOUR scraps!  Can't wait to see them!
The link party will be open until 11:59pm next Friday and then we'll start over again!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Applique Away!

We've been having some internet difficulties this week - hence the lack of posts.
I think it might finally be fixed, though!

In the mean time, I've been planning a really fun Saturday Blog Event called:

Scrap Happy Saturday!

It starts THIS Saturday and I want YOU to participate in it!
So, come back in 2 days to see what it's all about!

For now, I wanted to share a really fun contest my friend, Heidi is sponsoring.
It's called "Applique Away!"

Click on the button to the right to see how to enter and what all the great prizes will be!

Here's a sneak peak at what I entered in the contest.
(I can't show you the whole picture because it also contributes to the first Scrap Happy Saturday)

See you on Saturday!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

My Handy Husband AND New(er) Kitchen!

So, this week has been SO BUSY as we have been frantically finishing some house projects before my parents came to visit!
Anyone else feel like you have to brush up on your home/life before your parents come?!

Our kitchen has been the sore spot of our home.
It has pinkish tiled walls that are falling off in random places...
Black PLASTIC baseboards that are glued to the wall...
and Peeling paint on the walls and ceiling...

BUT there are some things I LOVE about it!
It is HUGE...
The stove is GAS...
and there is so much potential!

I'd like to introduce you to the newest addition to our kitchen:
(Please ignore the trash that needs to be taken out, the kid's tie laying on the ground, and all the tupperware that was pulled out of the cupboard... wonder who did that?!)

The kitchen has mucho space and I had been looking all over Craiglist for an affordable island with places to sit.
Lucky me, I found one in RED - my favorite kitchen color - for $100!
Paired with $50 stools from Walmart, 
$6 table runner and towels from IKEA,
$5 flowers from the local Saturday market,
and a $25 pendant lamp from Home Depot.

This is turning into my dream kitchen.

And I couldn't have done it without my hubby!

He is SO handy and installed this beauty in less than 45 minutes!

She adds so much character to the room!

I can't wait to cover that wall tile with bead board and slap some paint around the top of the kitchen!!
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