Sunday, September 25, 2011

I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.

Y'all, I am freaking out. October is gonna be crazy. Downright nuts. We have 3 birthdays in this house, my in-laws are moving here from California and staying with us until they find a place (pray for all of us please, there is a good chance someone is going to lose their mind, but we are prepared so that is a good thing), my brother in law and his girlfriend are coming to visit from CA, we are having a family birthday party here on the 22nd and all of my husbands cousins that live in NC and IL are coming....(take a breath here) AND I have my three very first ever craft shows. Holy moly.

Do you see now why I am a little panicked? I am excited about all of it though. It was my idea for my in laws to move here. Last holiday season without any family (it was our first Christmas after my mom died too) was not that much fun. I also think it's super important for my kids to have their grandparents around. For them to be on the other side of the country was hard. For them, for us, for everyone. I figured we loved it here so much and they were ready for a change, so it all made sense. I am also looking forward to my brother in law visiting. I love sharing our new town with visitors. I doubt he will embrace the 'country' as much as we have but I think he will like it. I am super looking forward to the family party. I l.o.v.e to have a party. I can't wait to start planning the food and all that jazz.

Before I start planning any parties I have to get through the first craft show. We have been working like crazy around here. Crafting, knitting, painting, mod podging, dancing-oh wait we just dance all the time...anyway, it's been crazy here. Let me show you some of the fruit of our labor.

 I am really happy with these. Especially the little ones. They are tooth fairy boxes. Love products that help a parent out like that. No need to worry about waking your little sleeping toothless angel by trying to lift their head to get to that tooth under the pillow...child places the tooth in the box...'fairy' comes in, grabs the tooth, leaves some loot (and if you are one of those creative over achievers you can write a sweet note from the tooth fairy). Isn't that perfect?

This is a bigger box. I don't know what someone would use it for....I mean I can't come up with all the answers for goodness sakes.

Oh wait, I have an answer for this one! You use this one at your wedding instead of a guest book. It is filled with 4x6 cards that your guests can write a special message to you on and then drop it in the box.

A new sign. Just sold my other sign with this saying so I thought I should make another. New papers this time.
Another sign. Love these colors and the message. Good for young girls.
This is my other new product. Coasters made from ceramic tiles. Great little hostess gift.

 These are my newest clipboards. I am making a bunch more this week. I just love these (is that super tacky to say that I just love something that I made myself? if it is I apologize for being tacky, but I love 'em)

Before I show you what my girls are making let me show you a little something I made to keep my business cards in. I saw the tutorial on a blog and then I pinned it to Pinterest the project on the blog is for a bigger bowl but I saw all the parts today at A.C. Moore and thought I would try a smaller version. I started with these.

You might not be able to tell from the picture, but these parts are all kind of miniature. The base is a 4" square. I got all three parts for $3.90. Not too shabby.

This is what it looked like after I glued it all together. Now that I am holding it you can kind of see the size better.

Here is the finished product. Isn't it just the cutest thing? It would make a really cute candy dish. (btw that was my daughter Gianna's idea, not mine)

Okay so onto my creative kids. Last year Gianna made some duct tape hair bows and sold them at her school for a fundraiser. They were a hit. We sold them at a dance and I think we sold 42 of them in an hour. She was so excited. So now she and her two best friends here in SC are going into a little business together and making them to sell at the craft shows with me. How cute are they?

Now Allison's story is a little different. This past summer the kid started knitting beanies. For her babies. Her babies that she is planning on having when she is all grown up and ready to be a mom, we are not trying to get on the MTV show 'Teen Mom' she just is a planner. She has her wedding planned, her kids named, her plans drawn up for her dream house and most importantly her education planned. She is the opposite of her mother for sure. I am STILL trying to plan my future and my future is here! Anyway, after realizing that she was all caught up with beanies for her own six kids (yes, that child wants SIX kids, and no we are not Mormon or Catholic, she's just an ambitious little girl) she decided that she wanted to keep on knitting. So much like Forrest Gump would attack a new venture this kid hasn't stopped knitting in 3 months. We have beanies coming out of our ears. So she has decided to sell them. (whew, I didn't want her to think she should have a baby for every beanie she made)

Super cute, right? I have a few favorites but they are all pretty cute.

These are some of my faves. How about that camo one? These southerners are gonna eat that one up!

OK y'all it was a long post and now I am exhausted. Plus it's Sunday night at 9pm and Big Rich Texas is on and it is a big guilty pleasure of mine. So I gotta go!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sixteen til 16

For those of you who don't know, I have two daughters. One is going to be 11 next month, and the other is going to be 16. Sweet 16. It's a big one. It's important. It's one that you remember forever. Before I tell you what we are doing let me tell you a little about my girls.

First there is Gianna. She is my younger girl. She has a heart of gold and is as sweet and sensitive as they come. She loves her family (especially her big sister) more than anything. Over the years she has struggled with finding her niche. Trying to figure out where she belonged. We moved to VA from CA last year and it seemed to get a little better for her. Then we moved her to SC and this girl has thrived like never before. She has more friends than she has ever had. She is happier than she has ever been. As a matter of fact on 3 different occasions in the last month or so she has said to me 'mom, this is the best night of my life'. She's just happy. As a mom I really couldn't ask for more. It's all I have ever wanted for this girl. She has been through a lot in her 10 years and she deserves to be happy.

My sweet little Gianna. There are no words to describe how full my heart is when I see how well she is adjusting here. I just couldn't be happier.

Next, we have Allison. Allison had a great life in California. She was Captain of her cheer team (second year in a row), she had the same two best friends since pre-school, she had a boyfriend that she adored, she was homecoming princess, she had tons of friends. It was a good life for a teenage girl.
Allison in all her California glory. She was so lucky to have such great friends.
As difficult as it was for Allison to leave CA, and let me tell you she cried the entire plane trip across country. She adjusted well. She immediately made friends, she was able to try out for the cheer team when we got there so that made it really easy. The girls in VA embraced her and took her in as if she had been there all along. I was so grateful. You just never know with teenage girls what is going to happen so I was apprensive. But we soon got to know these girls and just love them. It was a much easier transition than I anticipated.

Allison and all of her wonderful friends that embraced the 'new girl' and were so good to her.

Now as well as Allison adjusted (and even Gianna for that matter) to VA we all knew it wasn't the place for us. We knew that we wouldn't stay for long. When my husband got a job offer in SC and we came and checked it out we all decided that we wanted to move. It wasn't something Chris just decided or I did, it was all of us. We really felt like we would fit in better in SC. We knew instantly that we were going to feel like we were home there (here). So once again we packed up and moved. It was easier this time, but saying goodbye to Allison's friends was the hardest part.

So now we have been in South Carolina for 4 1/2 months. The summer was wonderful. We had so many of our friends from CA visit, including BOTH of Allison's best friends. It was so awesome to have them here. They each came without their parents and just had a blast. I have known both these girls since they were 3 years old and they are like family to us. Both of their moms are two of my closest friends and it really is an awesome relationship we all have.

She was so lucky to have her two best friends come stay with us this if I could just convince their parents that they should come live with us it would be all good!

Well summer came to an end and all of our company left. School started and Allison has not made any friends. NONE. My girl who has friends in two states across the country, who has never met a stranger. She has yet to make a friend here. It is killing me. It is breaking my heart. Her spirit has been broken and it is just awful. She got in the car yesterday and said to me 'mama, (she's embracing her country) it's OK, I have gotten used to being a loner'. Ugh. Doesn't that just break your heart? So now here we are getting closer and closer to her birthday. I have always thought we would have a big party for her sweet 16. Something I just took for granted. I knew she would have tons of friends and a guest list wouldn't be a problem. Clearly it is. So last week she told me that their were 18 days to her birthday. (I know that this post is long but bare with me, I am getting to the point). For whatever reason when she said that, I thought 'let's do a countdown'. I knew that I wanted to do something for her every day for the 16 days before her birthday. I also knew that I had to keep the cost to a minimum. We are operating on a tight budget here so as much as I would like to give her a new piece of Juicy Couture every day for 16 days or even just a gift a day I knew that wasn't feasible. So I decided I would do something small, but significant. I wish I was that organized person that sat down and mapped out the next 16 days. But I am not, I am more of a fly by the seat of your pants kind of girl. I prefer to wing it. So the first day I made her favorite dinner. The second day I did her laundry for her. By the way, I haven't mentioned that this kid has a job, does all of her own laundry, cleans her room and bathroom (including washing her own sheets once a week) AND maintains a 3.9 to 4.0 GPA. So for me to do her laundry for her on Sunday was a big help because she had to work. Yesterday was the 3rd day and I wrote her a letter and left it on her bed. She told me later that it made her cry. Today I am making her cupcakes. I am still not sure what I will do for the rest of the days. I do know that this Saturday I will take her to get her hair cut and a have a little pampering. I will just figure the rest out as we go. All I know is that come hell or high water my girl is going to have a sweet 16. Friends or no friends she deserves the best birthday ever. I would give anything to fly her friends from CA and VA out here and have a great big country party in a barn for her but I can't, so instead we will make this work. I will keep y'all posted on how it goes!
Oh and we have a winner from our last giveaway!! it is
Kara Contreras!!
Congrats Kara, I will be sending your clipboard out this week!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Where it all goes down...and a few other things.

If you are like me you probably love getting a peek into other people's creative spaces, whether it be a scrapbook room, sewing room, photography studio, whatever it is I love to see how they organize their stuff and how much they have (it makes me feel better when I see other people have tons of stuff they never use like I do). As a matter of fact one of my favorite features in scrapbook magazines is when they do a pictorial on peoples craft spaces. So having said all that I thought I would give y'all a little look at my space. We call it a scrapbook room, but really I never ever work on my books anymore. For several years before we left California I was scrapbooking for other people for a living. I loved it, but it totally burned me out (wow, I totally sound California tonight don't I?, shoot I gotta get my drawl back). What I do now in my 'scrapbook room' is make stuff for my etsy store and to sell at craft fairs (I have 3 scheduled for October so I am hustling right now to get stuff done).

notice I have all the necessities close at hand-Starbucks, pretzel rods AND HGTV on the television.

Two signs I was working on last week for a customer.

Here are most of my signs that I have made so far and are all listed on etsy right now.

If you look close you can tell the papers are all color coordinated...not me, my daughter Allison. She ENJOYS organizing.

A gratuitous picture of a photo of my girls. :)

So there it is. My space. It's not what you see in magazines, but it works. I love it in there. I have had that furniture and configuration for about 6 years now in four houses in three states, it's been moved alot.

So in this space I have mostly been working on my signs but the other day I started making a new product. I found them on clearance at Wal Mart (you know how us southerners LOVE the Wal Marts. (the plural is on purpose in case ya didn't know)
They are monogrammed clipboards. I am making them for the craft fairs I am doing. I don't think I am going to sell them on etsy. My plan is to have them in a basket with an empty space for the customers monogram of choice and then to add it after they purchase it. I will be carrying mod podge with me so it shouldn't be too difficult. What do you think? Hey! I know, leave a comment here and tell me what you think of them and which one is your favorite and I will draw a name and the winner will get the clipboard of their choice. Looky there a giveaway totally off the cuff and outta the blue.

This one is my sample, already monogrammed.

and here is the rest of them and kind of how they will be displayed, only it will be a cuter, bigger basket.

Okay, so the other thing I have to tell you about is how cool this little town is that we live in. Holy smokes I just love it. Today my husband came home and was telling me about a little event that was going on near our Main St. where people were selling their livestock and showing off their tractors. For reals. How unbelievably cute is that. I mean these folks are just awesome. So of course the first thing I thought was 'shoot, I gotta share this on my blog!' So we took a ride down there in the pick up truck (wait, I think we were in my 4 Runner, but pick up truck sounds so much more country so we are just gonna go with it). Well unfortunately for us they were starting to pack up. But y'all that didn't stop me. I got out and just started taking pictures of all of the livestock and people as fast as I could. Here is a collage that I want to share with you.

Alright people, lets start with the picture in the top left corner and work our way around clockwise from there. First, ya got a bull. A friendly bull that was about 3 inches from me. I was thinking he wasn't going to come at me since I wasn't wearing red...I was right. He was super mellow. He probably could tell I belonged there so he left me alone. Next, we have some big ole' engine thing. I believe it hooked up to an old saw back in the day (at least that is what my husband says and he owned like 150 million saws before we moved from California so I am thinking he knows). Next, we have the really cute "handmade" sign telling me that if I wanted to pick up a little dinner tonight I could get a whole chicken for $5.00. Now that is a deal. Only deal was I would have had to do the duties of making sure he wasn't breathing any longer. So I passed. In the center that cute girl was real happy that I wanted to take her picture. She's cute and she had just shown her horse. Down in the right hand corner is a close up of Henrietta. For reals. She has a name. You wanna know how I know? Well that fella in the picture next to her holding her is her owner and he told me. He also told me "Henrietta is real grumpy today, she had to ride over here in that cat crate, with Magenta" So I said "oh, does she not like Magenta?" (Incidentally Magenta is another rooster/chicken/turkey/bird I can't tell what they are for God's sake, I have only been a farmer for four months) and he said (and I quote) "oh no ma'am, they are best friends, she's just grumpy on account of all the people poking at her all day in that cage". Well y'all that kid was so cute and friendly I almost asked if I could take him home. Up above Colt (I named him that cause he's a country kid and it just sounded right) is another rooster/chicken/turkey/bird who won a blue ribbon and then next to that is some real nice chalk art that Gianna was real impressed with. They had a contest and there was chalk art all down the walk way.

If y'all are having a problem commenting on here you can go to facebook and like my page and leave a comment there to be entered to win.
Well I hope you enjoyed this little window into my southern world. I sure did enjoy sharing it with you. Remember to leave a comment here so you can be entered in the drawing to win one of my new monogrammed clipboards.
Have a great rest of your weekend and I will be drawing the name on Tuesday night.
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

It just keeps getting better

Today was a good day. I mean most days since I moved to South Carolina have been good days but today was just great! Let me tell you all about it.
Yesterday I was having a rough day, I was sitting in the car line waiting to pick up Gianna (which in case you haven't heard is where I spend most of my day, in car lines at the kids schools) and my friend Kristy emailed me with a link to a blog and in the subject line she wrote-in sc i think. I talk to Kristy almost every single day of my life and have for about 24 years she almost always knows what is happening in my day and how I am feeling, I hadn't yet talked to her yesterday when I got the email, as a matter of fact I believe I was dialing her number when the email came through on my phone. Anyway, to make a long story short she told me that this blogger named Heather had commented on her blog that day and Kristy noticed she was from SC, she said 'maybe you guys are neighbors and you don't even know it'. SC isn't a huge state, but it's still a pretty good size and I thought the chances of this girl living here in the same area weren't great but I also thought I should give it a shot. So I put all my insecurities and feelings of 'oh my gosh she is totally going to think I am a stalker' aside and emailed her. Well lo and behold she lives 10 minutes from me! As a matter of fact the neighborhood she lives in was one that we had looked at to live in. We started emailing back and forth and before you knew it we were making a date to have coffee!
Well shoot y'all, I was a nervous wreck. I had only been on one other blind date in my life and that was with an actual boy and it didn't turn out too well. I pulled up at Starbucks and saw her pulling up at the same time. I have to say she is a big younger than myself and just cute as can be. She just looks like one of those cute mom bloggers that we all follow and think 'man, this chick has it all together, she even wears cute accesories'. in California this might have intimidated me, but this girl she's a bonafide southerner, raised in Louisiana she ain't nothin but friendly. She is just a great girl. We talked and had a good time. I know myself and I can guarantee you I talked way too much, but Heather, she didn't seem to mind too much. She is real new to the area and is just getting used to everything so we had a lot in common. She makes cute things and sells them here. I am looking forward to getting to know this new friend and am totally hoping she calls for a second date.

After my coffee date I came home and tried to figure out what to make for dinner. As per usual I consulted my pinterest page. I have been making fried chicken tenders that are a real big hit with the fam. So instead of trying some new complicated recipe I decided to just go with those but then I wanted to make a really yummy looking dipping sauce to go with them. I had been eyeing it on Pinterest and had all the stuff to make it so I went for it.
 Apparently it's called 'comeback sauce' and it hails from Mississippi. The recipe is here and as we speak it is in my refrigerator.
Word on the southern street is that big mayo jar in the middle is the key to all good southern sauces. It even says so on the label, I mean not in those exact same words but something close to it. Oh wait, it says 'the secret of all great southern cooks'
Unfortunately I didn't take think of posting any pictures of my chicken as I was cooking tonight and I should post the recipe cause it's real good. Maybe I will make it again in a week or so, take pics and then post it.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Football season and Pinterest...gotta love 'em

Oh friends it's football season and I can't tell you happy that makes me. I am not one of those football lovin ladies but for some reason football season just always makes me happy. It means the weather is getting cooler, the leaves are about to change and fall is here. I love fall. So anyway, back to football...this past weekend we watched a whole lot of it. I mean shoot, we're southerners now and that is just what we do. We watch football, and we are passionate about it. Around these parts people 'specially love their college ball. I mean it makes the USC and UCLA fans in CA look like amateurs and if you are from California like I am you know what I am talking about. These people here (and when I say 'these people know full well I am now one of them) do. not. mess. around. with their college football. Okay so having said all that I decided on Saturday that I was going to be a big fan. Not of any particular team, I mean I guess Clemson will be my team, but I am just going to be a general all around fan. So I started practicing on Saturday. First I started with my daughter Allison, I said this to her (and believe me it sounded I really knew what I was talkin about) 'hey Allison, you catch that Michigan/Notre Dame game yesterday?' well that child looked at me like I had just said something crazy. She knows her mama and she certainly knows that her mama don't know one thing about football. So then, I hit her with 'man, it was close, Notre Dame came back with 2 seconds on the clock and it was INTENSE' as I stood there feelin all cocky and like a true southern woman my  husband says 'umm honey, Notre Dame lost'. Shoot. I thought I had it. Oh well, I ain't givin up. I am going to learn this game if it kills me.

Go Tigers. I mean come on, how could you not be a fan when they even got a gnome!
My other newest obsession is Pinterest. Holy moly, are y'all pinners? It is the best idea ever, if you aren't familiar with it let me explain it best I know how sometimes when you are planning something, like a wedding or furnishing/decorating a house and you go through magazines and find pictures of things you like, tear them out and make a folder with all of them? Well it's just like that only online. For some reason, you have to be invited, which I totally don't understand but whatever so after you get your invitation you go on, create 'boards' or really categories and then you start searching for stuff, anything, decorating ideas, holiday ideas, parenting tips, all kinds of stuff. I have found so many good recipes it isn't even funny. If you are wanting to follow my boards you can find me here.
I tried a new recipe from there tonight and it wasn't so much of a hit, a little too sweet for me but the kids liked it. It was a crock pot/chicken taco recipe and brown sugar was involved and I think I might have used too much.

Well it's time for me to go look after the children...(not really, I am too lazy to go back upstairs right now so they are on their own).
Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Hey y'all

This is it. This is me digging down to my deep southern roots. Alright, I know I don't have any southern roots...but ever since I moved to South Carolina 4 months ago I like to pretend like I am a southerner. I am a total wannabe, a phony, a fake, an impostor...but that's OK, these people here are so friendly they don't seem to mind. There are even times when we are at a store or somewhere and I am confessing that I am really a California girl, born and raised...41 years on the west coast..yadda, yadda, yadda but then I will hit them with a 'shoot, I just love everything y'all do, I mean I ain't never lived somewhere so beautiful' and they just stand there looking at me like 'huh, wonder where that southern accent came from'.

This here blog is going to be where I come to use my best twang, talk about all things Carolina and share with you all the stories of our lives. Oh and maybe talk about my etsy business and any upcoming craft fairs I will be participating in. I hope you enjoy it.

One of the first things we learned when we moved here is that southerners take their food real serious. I mean like as serious as Italians take their food, and I happen to have some insight on that since I happen to be half Italian. Of course we want to fit in so as much as it pains us to try all this delicious, high caloric southern fare we are doing our best to eat our way through BBQ joint and restaurant at a time. Last week my husband and girls were out and about running errands while I was at home churning butter and taking care of the livestock...just kidding I ain't the Pioneer Woman or anything (although I wish I was, shoot that lady's got her own show on HGTV now) anyway I called my husband and asked him to pick up some lunch and bring it home. We had driven past this particular BBQ place hundreds of times and kept meaning to try it so I told him to pick up some food from there. Well friends I am here to tell you that one pork sandwich later and we were/are convinced we found the best barbecue in Greenville. It's a little place called Big Al's. It's just the cutest little building built to look like a barn. Well, here I will just show you-

I mean isn't it just darling? I have this picture because just two days after the first time we tried Big Al's I had to go back. I knew that I wanted to write about it so I went back with my camera in tow and took pictures of the place and introduced myself to the owners. Well shoot, wouldn't you know it, they are just about the nicest people you could ever want to meet. Their names are Pat and Al and they had so much pride in their place and so much love for what they do that it was just a pleasure to talk to them. I told them all about how much I love the south and how excited I was that we found them cause I plan on having them cook our Thanksgiving turkey for us (they smoke turkeys and hams for the holidays btw). I then got my pork sandwich and headed home. 

Barbecue isn't the only thing that we love about this place. We love how unbelievably beautiful it is. Everything is so green. I love how I can drive down the roads and everywhere I look there are horses and cows roaming around on farms. I mean for goodness sake who wouldn't love that. I have never in my life lived anywhere as beautiful as South Carolina.
Another thing I love is how super proud South Carolinians are of their state. Everywhere people are driving around with Palmetto tree stickers on the back of their cars (in case you didn't know the Palmetto tree is on the SC flag). The women wear shirts that declare 'Carolina Girl' real big across the back, I even have two of those shirts. Shoot I lived in California my entire life and never owned anything that told people I was a California girl. The only people who bought stuff that said anything about CA was the tourists. As locals we were entirely too cool to wear that kind of tourist ware. Here they wear it to show their pride and to make sure that everyone around knows this is where they belong. I wear mine because I want them to think I belong. I want to blend in with the rest of them. Don't get me wrong, I love California, it's my home.. it will ALWAYS be my home. It's where my family was and some of them still are. It's where all my friends are but I was so ready for a change and so in need of finding a new place to call home and well shoot I am pretty sure we found it. I look forward to sharing my journey with you here on this blog and I can't wait to share all things southern with y'all.