Well, it is official… Bubblegum Sass will be joining the long list of talented artisans & designers at the Make It! show in Edmonton this November!! Whoot, whoot! Major happy dance in the sewing room yesterday when I received the news. And this morning, the enormity of the whole thing is becoming a bit more real. I will have to be away for 5 days (I’ve never even spent one night away from Sam yet…) and the show itself is a FULL FOUR days of selling. Two of those days the show is open for 11 hours! But I didn’t let any of that stop me from applying. I know that I can pull this off, with plenty of help from my biggest fans, my family. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pumped to have this opportunity! The space for the show is amazing, the vendors are always inspiring, and the packed aisles of enthusiastic shoppers is incredible! The energy of the entire show is simply put, phenomenal!
What’s the next step in preparation? Sitting down and figuring out just how much stock I need to make (and hopefully sell) to make this show a success in my own eyes. This is likely to be the one and only show I attend this year, so from here on out, I’ll be designing & sewing like a mad woman to make stock. Oh and I need to come up with a new booth design, since the products I’ll be focusing haven’t been sold at any past shows (*insert heart pounding just a bit faster*). Deep breathes, lots of coffee and a hubby who is willing to spend lots of time with his son… Make It! here I come!!!
We recently made an interesting discovery out at our family cabin. A furry, cute, four-legged, discovery. A family of foxes has taken residence up in a den right under the deck of the cabin. My father saw the first signs of it, freshly dug holes under the deck and around the garden and lots of droppings all over the deck and boardwalk. So my dad set up the game camera right near one of the holes and there they were, a family of foxes.
We’ve captured lots of good footage (over 2000 images) of the four whelps playing and the mom & dad bringing tasty treats to the den. We hope to keep the game camera set-up, if the curious critters will leave it alone. Hubby & I went out to the cabin on the weekend and found the game camera in the grass, abandoned by the little critters after they pulled it off the log it was strapped to and had some good play time (one can only guess the antics that pursued). Here are some pics from the last few days, while the camera was still functioning (*warning* there are images of prey that the foxes have hunted):
Mama fox and whelp with food
Mama fox with her prize rabbit
Curious fox checking out the game camera
Posted in Family, Living
Tagged cabin, family, foxes, game camera, life, litter, nature, photography, spring, whelps, wildlife
We’ve had plenty of rainy days the past couple of weeks. That, combined with not spending a lot of our days at home due to the renos, has meant needing to create some new activities for Sam. This rainy day activity comes straight out of my own childhood. I used to spend hours, creating with play dough!
When I was a kid, we bought some name brand play dough on occasion, but my mom also used to make homemade batches of dough. There are lots of tutorials & recipes out there for making your own play dough. I decided to try the one from Modern Parents Messy Kids. The thing that appealed to me, was the use of jello packets for colour. Not only does the play dough come out quite vibrant, but it also has a fruity smell! Fun stuff!
I’ve tried making up two separate batches and the recipe works out pretty good. I did find that I had to add quite a bit more flour to the dough once it cooled & I started to knead it into shape. It recommends that you keep the dough refrigerated between uses and I sort of ignored that, but on days when the house warms up, the dough gets almost too sticky to use. So now I’ve started keeping it in the fridge.
We made up batches of lime and raspberry. Sam got really into it the first day, squishing the dough, making piles, and ripping off pieces. I cut up some straws for him to stick into the dough and gave him a couple of plastic cookie cutters to use. The cookie cutters were mostly ignored, but he did enjoy the straws. We made aliens together and managed to kill off a good 20-30 minutes.
Looking forward to some more days of play dough making (lots of colour/flavour options on the horizon) and squishy fun. Think I need to start collecting some more “tools” (pipe cleaners, textured rollers, potato ricer, plastic knife, etc.)
You know one good thing about kitchen renos? You end up with lots (and lots) of boxes. And if your kitchen is from Ikea, the boxes are all big flat boxes, perfect for building cardboard forts! After a few days of putting up with mom & dad being sick and crashed on the couch, little Sammy was pretty bored and needed something new & fun to enjoy. He was the one that gave me the idea, actually, as he pulled boxes out of the kitchen and started leaning them on each other.
And so, with tape gun & marker & box cutter in hand, I set to work. Just a simple fort with two walls. Makes it easy for a clumsy toddler to get in and out of. I cut some little windows and cubby holes for Sam to stuff blocks through. Sam was right there by my side, helping with each step. We weren’t going for beautiful, just fun.
Sam thought it was great as is. Perfect for playing peek-a-boo. Then I handed him a felt marker… and then a booklet of stickers, and rolls of colourful electrical tape. Not sure who had more fun, Sammy or me? Purple was definitely his fav colour of the day.
Sadly, not all the felt marker stayed on the box… some of it ended up on his clothes and face. Lets just say it was a bit of mom fail not to double check that the markers were washable (they weren’t). The stuff on his face came off after a few washings. No biggie. It was worth watching his imagination run wild for a little bit. I will be picking up washable markers the next time we’re at the store though.
The month of May and the 30 x 30 Nature Challenge wasn’t just a time of discovery for Sam. I got to experience a lot too and most of it acted as a good reminder to enjoy the small things. Sitting down at Sam’s level to play outside made me see all the small things that, as adults, we often go right past: rotting bits of pine cone, the smell of bark that has fallen from a log, moss growing in between boards on a patio, just how pretty some pebbles are. I was also reminded that it’s okay to get wet & dirty sometimes. It’s definitely not the end of the world.
One lesson learned, that tasks in the yard CAN get done eventually with Sam’s “help”, you just need to be patient & remember how completely NEW everything is to him. He needs the chance to really explore each thing you do (like sanding an old bench or planting flowers).
One thing I really want to keep in mind over the coming summer months, is just how enjoyable it is to go outside in the evening after Sam has gone to bed. It’s a great way to wind down and take a deep breath, especially after long days.
Here are some of the things that I took notice of while we spent our time outside:
Lots of tiny details…
New flower and veggie beds planted…
Apple blossoms falling like snow
I’m a little behind with this post, seeing as it is already into June. Hubby and I were hit with colds over the weekend, which left us crashed on the couch. We’re both on the road to recovery now and trying to catch up with everything.
I previously shared my intent to participate in the 30 x 30 Nature Challenge. And so, for the month of May, Sam and I tried to get outside each day & delve into nature for at least 30 minutes. We did pretty darn good considering the chaos of our day to day routine (we’re now entering week 5 of the kitchen renos). I missed getting outside 3 or 4 days and Sam missed just one (a particularly wet & busy day). The best part though, is that, in general, we spent more like 45min-2hours outside each day. Especially when we were staying at the cabin, where it felt like we lived outside.
It was a fun challenge and a good way to remember to get out of the house, change the scenery of the day, do some discovering with Sam, and enjoy getting dirty. It made me feel a bit more energized (although that tends to happen at this time of year anyway) and did relax me a bit. I can’t claim some dramatic change though. And really, that’s not why I took on the challenge. Being out in nature has always been an important part of my own upbringing and something that I want to ensure Sam experiences too.
And so let me share, some of the things that Sam discovered during the month of May: earth worms, lady bugs, moss, and pine cone bits discarded by squirrels. He discovered the joy of drinking water from the garden hose, using big boy tools like rakes and wheel barrows. He also discovered that pebbles sink in water, while pine cones & driftwood float. There were probably so many more small discoveries going on with my little boy that I didn’t take notice of. May was definitely a month of learning & new experiences!
Yarn scraps left for the birds
It has been FOREVER since I last did a post about some of the milestones and achievements Bubblegum Sass has reached! In fact, I think it’s been almost two years since I last stopped to take stock. Waaaay over due! I know how important it is to take a moment and reflect on the things I’ve done with the business. When you don’t have a boss or supervisor to give you praise for a job well done, it’s up to you to provide that little pat on the back every once and a while! Plus, these posts act as a great way to see how things are going with your own business. Definitely give it a try, even if it’s just to reflect on what you have achieved with your personal life. Here are some of the highlights for Bubblegum Sass:
In the Etsy Shop
- Reached 61 sales
- Reached over 100 items for sale
- 228 shop admirers (people who have favored the shop)
- 873 listing favorites (people who “heart” an individual item)
- 282 followers (folks who keep track of the shop in their news feed)
- Had my first order from the UK
- Had my first order from Australia
- Still participating (when I can) in the Alberta Etsy team
- Been featured in well over 100 treasuries
- Spread the love, and created close to 200 treasuries
- Offered my first big sale in the shop (Spring Cleaning)
- Paid for Etsy Search Ads for one month (I’ll report on that a bit more another time)
- Started photographing all the product on a white background
- Started modeling some of the product, for a bit more variety
- 126 people “like” my page
- Trying to share more of the creative process and my personality with followers
- Posting regular updates, blog links, new product listings, and photos
Out and About
- Traveled to Edmonton to see fellow teamies at the spring Make It!
- Participated in this year’s spring meet-up with Alberta Team members
- Become the official handmade sponsor of the Make It Happen! documentary
- Interviewed by Neil Mangan for the Make It Happen! documentary
- Submitted my application for the Make It! show in November (will find out in June, if I’ve been accepted)
- Received my nifty mobile credit card reader from Square (all set for future craft shows… no more “cash only”)
- Have an exciting new collaboration coming up with Red Bloom Photography
- Will have a line of product available for sale at Treehouse Boutique in Ontario
In the Sewing Room
- Developed a new line of upcycled accessories for women
- Took a hard look at my product line and decided to stop production on certain items
- Trying to determine which items I will focus on making going forward
- Brainstorming craft show display ideas for new product
Sometimes I don’t feel so great about what I’ve done or haven’t done with my business. After all, this is already the third year of Bubblegum Sass and I thought things would be progressing further (aka more steady online sales, more regular craft shows). But then I remind myself of what else I packed into those three years. Not things that fit into easy stats or numbers. Life changing events that will forever impact where I go from here: a brother laid to rest, our first child born, my mother’s battle with cancer. Somewhere in there, we bought farmland and started planning for an even BIGGER change. Many times, Bubblegum Sass sat to the side, while I fought through these things. The challenge that remains and which I am feeling more ready to face, is ensuring that from now, Bubblegum Sass keeps pace with the rest of our life.
So now looking back over all these random numbers and accomplishments, I can honestly say that I feel quite satisfied. I can’t change the past or hold onto regrets, but I’m excited about tackling the future. Ready, steady, go!