Wednesday, July 31, 2013


After my craft show the other day, I've been thinking a lot about what success means.  I’d classify myself as an unrealistic optimist.  I get so excited about things and have these crazy expectations that are, for the most part, unattainable.  Does this mean I’m setting myself up for disappointment or am I just reaching for the stars like we've been taught to do since we were little?

Success is defined as “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose”.  So if I have an “aim” to go to the movies, and I go see the latest romcom, does that mean that I was successful?  I guess that it’s technically correct, but it’s not quite the grandiose idea I have of success.  I mean success.  You know, that ever elusive spark that only catches fire in the perfect conditions. 

Devon, from The Mermaid Chronicles, posted the following line a while back: “I don't want to be famously successful like I thought I did, I just want to reach my creative potential.”  I love how she put this thought.  I think we all have a little piece of us that wants to be “famously successful”.  You see the blaze of the fire for a few people and secretly want that for yourself.  I know I do.  I’d love it if everyone who came by my craft fair booth had to have what I was selling and bought me out.  In previous craft fairs, that was how I defined success—if I sold out of everything and if everyone loved my wares.  Realistic?  No way.  The world is full of so many different personalities with diverging wants and needs.  In fact, the whole reason I started making my own headbands and necklaces was because I couldn’t find the colors/style I wanted in stores.  So for me to think that everyone will implicitly want what I’ve made is already setting myself up for my expectations to be dashed.  

This last craft fair, though, I had Devon’s words ringing in my ear.  I wasn't exactly pleased that I didn't sell as much as I thought I would, but I also didn't spiral into a state of despair like I’m prone to do either.  Instead of thinking about the overall numbers, this time I focused on the sales I did have.  I reminded myself that there were other super talented people there selling their stuff, and not everyone had my same style (nor should they).  I had a couple of times when people came to my booth and got so excited about my necklaces that they bought one and wore it right away.  That was a great feeling.  I was putting myself out there, and something I made was valued by someone else and going out into the world.  When I thought about it that way, I thought that sounded pretty successful.  Maybe not the way I had originally planned, but that’s ok.

It’s ok to be a perpetual optimist and strive for the impossible, as long as I know that on the way back from that high I still accomplished something by simply trying.  It’s hard for me not to compare myself to others, though.  I know I shouldn't,  but in this overly hyped social media world, it’s so easy to get caught up comparing the number of blog readers/Twitter followers/etc. I have to what others have and think that once I hit that number I’ll be successful.  It’s just a mirage, though, because if I did reach that goal, I would want to get to the next level and the cycle would just continue.  I have to figure out what is successful for me, which may not be viewed as successful by everyone else. 

To create, to dream, to live this wonderful adventure is my aim.  I don’t need to put a minimum value on each of these things to be able to reach the pedestal I've put my old friend “success” on.  It’s time to pull success” down to my level so that I can walk hand in hand with it.  Maybe I won’t always reach the level of success I want, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't keep striving for what I deem the impossible.  Six months ago I would have never thought I would be writing a blog or even doing another craft fair.  It’s been a great experience, though.  You can’t even begin to know how much I appreciate the fact that you’re reading this and all of your sweet comments.  We all trip and stumble along the way, but to get up and keep going, to carry on the journey, that’s what it’s all about.  

Monday, July 29, 2013


First off, I want to say a big 'Thank You' to everyone for your sweet words of encouragement from my last post.  I really appreciated those comments.  They gave me that last boost of energy to finish everything.  Sorry it's been so quiet over here, but I'm happy to say that all the craziness is over for a little bit.  Yesterday I packed up all my wares I’d been feverishly working on the past few weeks and laid them out for strangers to peruse.  Craft fairs are really like the grown-up version of a lemonade stand, except now I have more of a vested interest since to make what I’m selling I put in a lot more time and effort and succumb to countless hot glue gun burns.  Maybe it would have been easier (and cheaper) to just throw some crystal light lemonade packets into water and call it a day.
At any rate, I was excited to be at the Strawberry Swing Indie Craft Fair.  Throwing “Indie” into the title is really what peaked my interest initially.  This wasn't your grandma’s craft fair.  Instead of quilts, there were vendors selling old suitcases that had been turned into speakers and vacuum cleaners that were now lamps.  Who couldn't use a vacuum lamp?  Kill two birds with one stone, right?
The weather had been one of my biggest concerns, since it’s usually 100 degrees with high humidity here at the end of July, but it was beautiful out.  Mid-70s, and the rain held off until long after we had gone home.  This was my first time sharing a tent with another vendor.  It worked out so well, probably since my friend Nicole is so awesome and an experienced craft show expert.  She is a master sewer and makes the coolest pouches, luggage tags, and more.  Check her out on Etsy
I really couldn't have done it without my parents and Wade, though.  Wade put up with all my nervous (crazy) antics before the show, and my mom was there to help finish the packaging and last minute details the day before and then stayed with me throughout the whole craft fair.  She’s the best craft fair buddy.  Last but not least, my dad printed off all my amazing packaging cards after a handful of revisions and helped set everything up the day of.  What would I do without them?  

Here's a few photos the day before the craft fair when everything was a mess, and my mom was tying tags onto bags.  At least I gave her a pop for all her hard work.
Did I do as well as I thought I would?  No, but overall it was a pretty great day surrounded by fun and talented people.  I really appreciated my friends who stopped by to say hi and support me (check out my friend Jessica's blog about her sweet family).  Boy was I tired last night, though.  Wade and I went to Chipotle for dinner, and I couldn't even finish my burrito bowl!  GASP!  I’m one who normally finishes off a burrito bowl and the chips and guacamole in record time, but I guess I was too worn out to eat.  I came down from my craft fair high pretty quick and still feel brain dead today.  I better take it easy tonight and put off cleaning up everything.  That's what I should do...

How was your weekend?  Check back this week for some thoughts I have on what success means.  I didn't sell as much as I would have liked, but I have been thinking about a different way to view my results.  I’d write it today, but I don’t think I can put together much of a coherent thought.  I need some TV watching time in order to get back to normal.

Monday, July 22, 2013


Do you ever feel that there are just too many choices to make and you just can't make a decision?  I feel that way right now.  I'm doing the Strawberry Swing craft fair this weekend.  While I'm really looking forward to it, I'm also really frazzled trying to make all these last minute decisions.  I want to make a new sign for my booth, need to finish up my wares, am super nervous that the headband material I ordered won't get here in time/won't be what I thought, cannot decide on what to do for my packaging, etc.  Everything is coming together, but it's all these final decisions that are getting me stressed out.  

My favorite time before a craft fair is just dreaming up how I'll display everything and buying new fabric.  Then the reality of everything hits about a week beforehand.  I always wonder why I put myself through it, but then seem to pay the money to sign up for the next one.  I guess it's the thrill of my unrealistic expectations..what could happen.

Here's a glimpse at my super cluttered craft room.  It's a big, colorful mess!

Things might be a bit quiet over here for the next few days as I feverishly finish everything.  If you're in the Kansas City area on Sunday, be sure to stop by and say hi!

p.s.  Did you see my awesome new grab button on the side there?  The beautiful and talented Karla over at My Serendipitous Life created it for me.  She is super nice, and her blog has a ton of really cool beauty DIYs that you should check out.  And guess who sent me the grab code when I was so frustrated that I couldn't get it to work?  The pretty and amazing HTML coding genius Jenny over at Diary of a Dreamer.  She has great posts, so check her out, too.  Thank you both for all your help! You guys are awesome!

Friday, July 19, 2013


One of our favorite things to do on these summer nights is to take a bike ride around our neighborhood.  A few years ago, Wade surprised me with his and her cruiser bikes.  With their extra wide, cushioney seats and large wheels, we have been riding in comfort ever since.  They remind me of the beach cruisers we had when we took a family trip to Hilton Head a few years ago.  A little clunky and temperamental, but way more comfortable than the mountain bike I had before.         

I've been trying to figure out outfits that work well with bike riding.  I always see those pictures of girls looking so fashionable when riding a bike.  They're in these cute dresses, with their hair looking perfectly wind blown, and I just feel like a big sweaty mess in sports shorts and a gross old t-shirt.  I decided to try to up my game.  We biked to our favorite pizza place a few weeks ago, so I wore this outfit.  It was pretty comfortable, and my hair was up so it didn't look too bad once I took off my helmet.  Luckily it was a cool night, so I wasn't overly sweaty when we got there.  A little sweaty, but at least my shorts didn't have big sweat stains making it look like I peed my pants on our big adventure.  That was my biggest fear.  It ended up being a lot farther away than we thought, though, so we were trying to navigate our way home in the dark.  Not the safest thing to do.  Next time we'll shoot for the early bird special.
Outfit details: Top, shorts: Old Navy. Bracelet (yes, it looks like two tigers kissing): Charming Charlie.  Shoes: Converse. Headband: My Shop
What do you wear to ride a bike?  Any suggestions?

Thursday, July 18, 2013


We celebrated my mom's birthday over the weekend.  I wanted everyone to know it was her special day.  Those birthday badges you buy at Party America are cool, but the colors are never right, and they're too over the top.  So I decided to make my own birthday badge for her.  Key learnings?  You can never use too much hot glue.  Seriously, what did people do before hot glue?  It's become a staple in all my projects.  Why sew something when you can hot glue it?
How to make a (birthday) badge

Step 1:  Cut a piece of paper that's between 1 inch -1.5 inches thick.  I cut a strip from a piece of 12x12 scrapbook paper.  Any kind of paper should work well, though.  The key is not cutting too wide of a piece.  Wider piece=bigger badge, right?  That is what I initially thought until I tried a bigger piece and couldn't form it into a circular shape in step 4.  So stick with a narrower piece of paper.

Step 2:  Fold the strip of paper accordion style.  The folds should be about every 1/2 inch.

Step 3:  Glue the ends of the strip of folded paper together.  I used hot glue for this to make sure it stayed.  I found that overlapping a fold over a fold was the best way to glue the ends together.

Step 4:  Now here's the hard part.  You have to turn your piece of paper from Step 3 into a flat circle.  Just start pushing the ends down, towards each other to meet in the center.  I got really frustrated during this part, but finally was able to get it into a circular shape.  It won't look perfect, so have a cut out circle of paper handy, squeeze a ton of hot glue on it, and place it over the center of the circle.  That should hold everything together pretty well.  This circle will also be where you can write your message on the badge.  I chose to write "birthday girl", but the possibilities are endless.

Step 5:  Add some ribbon to the badge by gluing the top of the ribbon to the back of the badge.  I don't have a picture of it, but I hot glued another paper circle to the back of the badge to act as a flat piece to glue a pin back to be able to pin to the wearer's shirt.  You can add glitter or any other fun items to make the badge your own!

Monday, July 15, 2013


This past weekend we celebrated my mom's special day with a birthday extravaganza!
 I made my mom a badge to wear around so everyone would know it's her birthday.  Who knows?  Maybe it would get her some free cake.  tutorial coming soon.
Oh, what's that below?  A super awesome scratch off card to tell my mom where our first stop is?  Pretty cool, eh?  Find the easy tutorial here.  For some reason I tried using gold nail polish first.  I figured that it always chips off my nails, so how hard could it be to scratch off a card?  Pretty hard actually.  I think the key is covering the writing with the packing tape.  That way it's a slicker surface for the paint/soap combination to stick to.
If you have microscopes for eyes, you can make out that the card says "frozen cocktails at Snow & Company".  Snow and Company is a new place that opened up in the Crossroads District of Kansas City a few months ago.  I had heard good things, and I know my mom loves a good frozen drink, so that was our first stop.
We didn't know what to expect, but this place did not disappoint.  It's known for it's "artfully created frozen cocktails".  I'm a big frozen strawberry margarita girl, so I was excited to try the interesting flavor combinations.  Instead of committing to one flavor, you can get flights.  We decided to get the full flight, which means we got to try each flavor in a little 3oz glass.  They made sure to give us lots of straws so we could share each flavor and vote on our favorite.  We should have taken better notes when the waitress told us what each one was since there were a few that were the same whitish color.  My mom liked one of the elusive white ones, and I loved the Fashionista.  It tasted the most like a strawberry margarita:)
After imbibing in our delicious cocktails, it was time to let fate decide where we would have dinner, i.e. another scratch off card!
There were three options.  I put a funny one first, my top choice second, and another ok option last.  My mom knows me so well, though, and totally called it that she knew option B would be my top choice.  She ended up scratching off all the options, though, so we all could decide where to eat.  Option A was Hamburger Mary's.  They were having a cabaret show that night, so we decided to try there first.  All the tables were full, though, so it didn't work out.  My dad was surprisingly disappointed.  I know where we'll be going for his birthday in a few weeks:)

Option  B was Pizza Bella.  I thought this looked like a nice place, so we tried there next.  Both of these places were within walking distance, which worked out well.  When we got to Pizza Bella, though, it was a 30 minute wait (they don't take reservations).  It was also A LOT smaller than I expected, and all the tables were really close together.  I felt like I was failing.  Everyone was getting hungry (myself included), and I didn't know what to do to turn this night around.  Enter fate again.  Across the street there was another pizza place called The Art of Pizza.  I had overlooked it before, but now as we were all on the verge of freaking out in a hunger induced rage, I crossed the street and headed inside with zero expectations.  The inside was about what I had thought it would look like--really dark and cramped.  I asked if they had outdoor seating, though, and was pointed down a dimly lit hallway to a huge door that had a sign that said "push really hard".  My mom and I both pushed and were rewarded with our efforts with a garden oasis.  It was beautiful and there was no one else out there.  Score!  The pizza was fantastic and definitely reminded me of being in New York City again.  I chose to take all the credit for this find, but was just extremely lucky.
One of the best parts was that the owner came out and talked with us for a while.  We got to hear about how he used to travel all over the world as a photographer and then decided to open up various restaurants that culminated in this latest pizza place.  He also shared how is an avid gardener and even picked fresh herbs from his garden for us to smell.  Talk about customer service.
Across the street from the pizza place is the old TWA training center.  Do any of you remember TWA airlines?  They used to have a hub in Kansas City.  The building has been renovated by a design firm, but they put the TWA rocket on top of it to keep a link to the past.  I love that.  With so much changing all the time, it's nice to see elements of the past incorporated with the new.  It shows how everything is connected and never forgotten.
It was a great night celebrating the most important lady in my life.  While I try, I'll never be able to fully express to my mom how much I love her.  She is my rock and my most treasured confidant.  I don't know what I would do without her.  I love you so much, Mom!