Recent Posts

Thursday, December 30, 2010

New year's resolutions - mom style

It's the time for resolutions - of which I've vowed not to make any more! They just never seem to work out and I wind up feeling more like a failure than anything. So instead I try to re-shift my focus during the New Year - this year I am focusing on finding the balance between myself and being a mom. My kids are 6 and 4 now, and I'm still struggling with this!

I thought I would share part of an article I tore from a Parents magazine (January 2005), which has been hanging on my refrigerator ever since (and, boy, is it tattered!). It helps keep me centered and focused in the midst of real life.

8 Resolutions Every Mom Should Make
  1. I will embrace the fact that I'm not perfect
  2. I will get down on the floor and play with my child every day
  3. I will take care of my body
  4. I will learn to love chaos
  5. I will make the family dinner a priority
  6. I will focus a little more on my marriage
  7. I will make time for my friends
  8. I will remind myself daily that time with my children is precious
The article goes into a bit more depth on each of these, but you get the point. Here are a couple of other take-aways from the article:
"Children don't need you to be perfect. What they really need are lots of hugs and kisses, and a happy mommy."
"Remember that the essence of parenting isn't in the milestones, but in the every day moments."

Enjoy the New Year's celebration, and be sure that in 2011 you focus on making YOURSELF happy, so that you can make your FAMILY happy too :)

If you have any great tips or suggestions you'd like to share on how to balance work/life and mom/self please share!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tutorial: Make a reusable gift bag

Pin It

Reusable gift bags have become a new tradition in our family. We have some adorable prints and we can re-use them year after year. I was initially worried that the kids would be disappointed opening a bag, rather than ripping off paper, but they don't seem to notice the difference (ages 6 and 3 1/2).  If you can sew a straight line, you can make these! Give it a try!

I don't make them fancy: there are raw edges inside that fray and the hole that the ribbon comes out is not finished. You can make the look more professional by double rolling the hems (turning them under so there is no raw edge) or by using a serger. 

Start by getting some inexpensive holiday fabric (make sure its thick enough you can't see through it easily). 1 yard will yield 2-4 bags, depending on what size you want them to be.

1. Cut the fabric into a rectangle (so that when its folded, it is the end size you would like). Plan to have the fold on one SIDE of the bag.

2. Fold the long edge (what will be the top of the bag) over about 4" towards the wrong side of the fabric. Sew along the inside edge.

3. Sew another seam about 1" away from your initial seam (making a casing for the ribbon)
4. Fold the rectangle (right sides together) to make the bag shape, with the folded 4" hem along the top.
5. Sew around the 2 sides of the bag, making sure to sew up to the ribbon casing, backstitch and cut the thread. Then start again on the the other side of the casing and continuing around the sides. 

6. When you reach the first corner, stop the needle while its IN the fabric, lift the presser foot, and turn the fabric so you make a nice sharp 90 degree turn.
7. (OPTIONAL) When making a larger bag, I like to add bottom gussets. This allows more room for the item to sit in the bag and makes a cleaner presentation. It is completely optional though!
     7a. To make the gusset, pull the bottom corner away from itself by using both hands, and pinch it so it is folded back on itself.
     7b. Press it flat, and then sew a seam perpendicular to the original bottom seam. 

     7c. Trim away the excess

     7d. Repeat on the other bottom corner, trying to match the distance of your seam to your first one.    
     7e. You wind up with the bottom of the bag looking like this when turned right side out:

8. Turn the bag right side out, and hook a saftey pin to the end of your ribbon, and start to feed it through one of the ribbon casing openings. 

9. Push the safety pin along, scrunching up the fabric around it, then pulling it through more as you go. When you get out the other side, remove the safety pin and tie your two ribbon ends together to prevent them from pulling back through at some point. Then, pull the ribbon through the hole so that it is accessible from the outside of the bag.

10. Voila! Hand out your gift in ECO-STYLE and be proud of yourself!

  • You can also just put a straight 1" hem at the top of your bag and feed the ribbon through. I like to add the extra fabric at the top so that when you cinch the bag closed it has a fluffy top, like this: 

  • You can also make a bag so that the ribbon comes out both sides of the bag. To do this, plan to fold your fabric so the fold is at the bottom of the bag instead. Make two 4" hems on the ends of your rectangle, fold in half so they come together and feed the ribbon through each side separately.

  • I like using grosgrain ribbon because you can singe the ends with a lighter (carefully!) and it will melt them so they don't fray. Don't hold the lighter there too long or the ends will turn black. 
  • My next venture is to figure out some sort of semi-permanent tag design so that each year I don't have to make up new hang tags.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Freeze a meal ahead

Not sure what to have for dinner...again? Try this trick: When you ARE cooking, just double everything. Eat one meal that night, and freeze another for a day when you have no energy, are too busy, and just plain done cooking.
You can put certain things in freezer ziploc bags (soup, meat with a marinade, "dump" recipes, etc.). I have purchased aluminum pans with those foil lined cardboard lids and use those (but had to buy quite a few to get a good price). But you can also freeze them in a baking dish, without monopolizing all of your bakeware!

  1. Assemble your meal in the dish you would normally bake in (shown here are lasagna rolls). 
  2. Cover tightly with foil.
  3. Freeze in the coldest part of the freezer 1-2 days (it is best to let the food cool a bit first before freezing if there were things that were cooked before assembling. Do this in the refrigerator for food safety)
  4. Remove from the freezer and let sit on the counter an hour or so. You can also dip the dish in a sink of warm water for 5-10 minutes. This will loosen the edges.
  5. Use a butter knife to slip along one edge to loosen even more. Believe it or not, the whole thing will pop right out! (If you can't get the knife in, even just the tip of the knife will release the food from the pan). You can also turn it upside down and whack it on the counter (CAREFULLY so you don't break your dish!).
  6. Place your frozen block of delicious goodness into a freezer bag. 
  7. When it's time to eat your meal, remove from freezer bag and put BACK into the original dish. Let thaw in refrigerator 1-2 days and bake as normal! 

Some dishes you can bake from frozen and they work very well. Make sure you are using freezer-to-oven save bakeware!! Some you can put frozen into a crock pot and they'll do all the work for you while you're otherwise occupied! Some things don't freeze well, like: sour cream and cream based soups.

I've gotten into this habit of double-cooking, and really reaping the rewards on those super-busy days. Here's a cookbook that has many of our favorite freezer friendly meals. Give them a try and save yourself some time! Or, give one to a friend who needs a little help :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Handmade felt ornaments

This year I ventured out and made some ornaments. My husband's great-grandmother had crocheted ice skates with paper clips for the blade, which we hang on the tree every year. I thought, "there must be some sort of pattern out there for a sewn version of this project", and alas, I found it! (It also has a pattern for darling little mittens.).

They were really quite simple to make. I have a TON of felt scraps from my diaper soakers, and I added jingle bells and a year tag to them. I chose to hand sew them using a blanket stitch on the mittens. I had never done this before, and found a great tutorial. I love learning new things! I used a straight stitch on the skates. Now, if I weren't making THIRTEEN of them, it would have been a much less daunting task. :)

These are going out to family and friends this year, but perhaps...just year I can start this project early enough to make some to stock in the shop. I can't decide which I like better....the pair of skates or the furry mitten. Hmmm... I guess I'll keep one of each for us this year!

You can also make these with eco-felt (made from recycled pop bottles), or any fabric you have around the house (maybe old sweaters, sweatshirts, or even socks?). I'd love to hear if you try it!

Monday, December 6, 2010

My Christmas Card Tradition

It's one of my most favorite things to do for the holidays - create and send out Christmas cards. It's a tradition I just can't seem to stop - even in the name of "green". My husband tells me we should send out an e-card. I have a couple of friends who tease me when they receive theirs, saying "WHAT? These are made of PAPER?".

But let me tell you why I just can't stop. It's one of the "non-green" things I cherish.
  • It's the one time of year I go through my list of friends, family, and acquaintances and as I'm writing their envelope, I spend a dedicated moment thinking of them.
  • It's the one time of year where I look forward to going to the mailbox. Something personal from someone I know and love is exciting...and different in this fast moving, electronic world.
  • It's the one time of year where I send out a family photo. I hope that people keep it on their wall. I know I do! I take all the photos I receive and make a collage that stays on the fridge year-round. Then I put them in a scrapbook when the next year's come around. I have a scrapbook filled with our friends and family's photos and it's fun to see how everyone changes. You can't do that with an email greeting.
  • I love to create the card itself. I used to hand-make them, and now that I have a family, I make them through a photo service like Shutterfly. They are easy, and cute! (I also love picking the perfect picture. Although, my husband would argue this creates a lot of undue stress in my life!) "non-green" are Christmas cards? I considered doing a carbon neutral offset donation to cover my "habit", but I couldn't find any hard numbers to tell me how horribly non-eco friendly I was being. (Here's an interesting article on the subject).
  • There's the paper. Many companies offer recycled paper products now. However, my theory is that I'm sending a glossy photo, and really...a photo is something you could keep a long time.
  • There's the postage. My theory is that the mail truck is already coming to your house, may as well bring my envelope of cheer :)
  • There are arguments that e-mail is not totally carbon neutral either - it takes electricity to run your computer.

    I (at least) am making other efforts to reduce my footprint in other areas. Around the holidays specifically, using reusable cloth bags instead of wrapping paper (like the one on the left).

    There are lots of very cute electronic greetings out there. Maybe they are right for you. But for me, I hold on to a little piece of "old fashioned". What are your thoughts?

    - Happy Holidays!

    Tuesday, November 30, 2010

    12 days of Clothmas!

    Keep your eyes peeled for a giveaway sponsored by Winkydinks on The Cloth Diaper Addiction blog. They are hosting 12 days of giveaways!! (And, just perhaps....Winkydinks might be on day 1...hint hint...)

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    Black Friday discount code!

    Use the code BLACKFRI15 at either my Hyena Cart or Etsy shops and enjoy 15% off of your order (before shipping).

    This code will only be valid on purchases on 11/26/10, and you will only get the discount if the code is used on the order (i.e. I will not refund the amount).
    I'm hopping up and down now that Etsy has rolled out coupon codes!! Yay!

    Enjoy your Thanksgiving with family and friends, and we'll "see" you on Friday!

    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    Scentsy: a great gift idea!

    I was introduced to Scentsy from my friend, Emily, who has become a Scentsy consultant after being won over by the product herself. I can see how it happens! I'm now hooked as well. These are great products, and they make great gifts (hint hint) for those "hard to buy for" people who have everything!

    Basically, they are wickless "candles", and melt scented wax over a light bulb. They also double as a night light! Learn how they work here. My current favorite scents are Cinnamint, Sunkissed Citrus, and Christmas Cottage.

    Here's what I love about them:
    1. I don't have to worry about my house burning down
    2. I don't have to use harsh chemical room fresheners
    3. The scent permeates the whole room
    4. The scents are easily changed out depending on my mood
    5. I like how they look!

    So, needless to say, I have 3 warmers in my house (2 of them are the plug-in version, which is great for small spaces because they don't take up counter room, and I can keep them away from the kidlets), and I think I might need one more. The Scentsy folks do tend to change the scent line periodically, so if you find something you love, you may want to stock up! If you are near a consultant, they have little samples of each scent that you can smell before ordering. Or, you can contact Emily and she'll be able to help describe them! You also don't need to have a "party" to get the product, you can just order directly!

    Friday, November 19, 2010

    Winner of longies announced!

    Thank you to everyone for your participation in my Anniversary giveaway!

    Congratulations to comment #8 - Isha! You win a pair of black longies with your choice of heart or star applique on the ankle. I'll work with you on the details when you respond (within 48 hours)!

    Isha said... 8 Found out about this giveaway from the Etsy Cloth Diaper Team Facebook page. Congrats on 2 successful years on Etsy!

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    Anniversary Giveaway - Fleece Longies! (CLOSED)

     In celebration of my 2 year Etsy anniversary - I'm offering one winner a pair of my fleece longies (your choice of size and inseam). This pair will be solid black, with your choice of any color star or heart applique on one ankle (or plain). You may also choose to have the waist be the same color as the applique.

    My longies are a single layer (daytime use), and function as a diaper cover and clothing in one! They also work great over pocket diapers or AIOs for a little extra protection - plus they are sized for cloth diapers so they are roomier through the hips, with a higher rise than regular pants. You can find sizing information here.You can find them to purchase at my Hyena Cart store, or my Etsy shop!
    Always available for customs, and quick turnaround times!! Does your little one have chunky thighs? I can tailor them so they aren't too tight!

    Giveaway is now closed!
    I'm going to make this a simple contest!
    To enter: leave a comment here letting me know how you came to find this giveaway (if you can remember!).
    I'll choose a numbered comment using on Friday November 19th, 9pm PST and post the winner here as well as direct email. The winner has 48 hours to respond or I'll choose a new winner. Please be sure your profile has contact info or you leave your email address in your comment. Open to all countries.

    Monday, November 8, 2010

    Winkydinks celebrates 2 years!

    This month, I'm celebrating having my Etsy shop open for 2 years! I can't believe it's been that long, and am so thankful to my wonderful customers for helping me to keep up my momentum.

    In celebration, I have a few things planned:
    • Free shipping both on Etsy and Hyena Cart stores! Use code "freeship2yr" on HC in the discount code field. On Etsy, put the code in your checkout notes, and I will refund you the amount after you check out (sorry, no discount codes there yet!) Available now through 11/19/10. (Remember I can always combine your orders between shops if you contact me first.) 
    • Blog giveaway planned here for this weekend 
    •  3 clearance priced fabrics available - you choose the size! Available for a limited time, starting 11/10/10 on Hyena Cart. 

    Thank you for your support over these years! While neither of my boys are in cloth anymore, I still am enjoying keeping in tune with the CD world through my shop. (And now my sister is expecting, so I'm able to continue my "addiction" via her baby!)

    Friday, October 22, 2010

    Easy corn on the cob

    We got some delicious locally grown corn on the cob from our organic produce delivery company (Klesick Family Farms), and I thought I'd share how easy it is to prepare! My mom used to boil corn, which definitely works....but we've found that grilling it is a SUPER easy way to prepare it, and brings out a lot of flavor. PLUS, it comes in it's own handy packaging - no need for aluminum foil on the grill! Even on a cold fall or winter day, this is a great way to prepare it:

    1. Soak corn (with husks on, but silk tips trimmed off) for 10-15 minutes.
    2. Place them on a pre-heated grill on Medium heat
     3. Turn every 5-10 minutes, making sure that each side gets a turn near the flame/coals.
    4. The corn should be cooked after about 30 minutes. The pre-soaking method steams it at the same time as it grills.
    5. Carefully (with hot mitts) shuck the corn, and enjoy! 

    Do you have a favorite corn on the cob recipe?? 

    Tuesday, September 28, 2010


    I had a customer request a pumpkin applique, and while I hadn't done one before, I figured, why not? Sometimes the best ideas come from custom orders! :) I plan to make up some of these for the shop as well. Happy Fall!!!

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    the latest in fashion....

    I wonder if this will be it? A fleece bangle bracelet secured with a safety pin - courtesy of my 3 year old son "helping" me to sew..."A bracelet just for me?" How can I not wear this all day?

    What's one of the best/silliest/worst gifts your toddlers have given you on their own accord?

    Monday, September 13, 2010

    What is Hyena Cart?

    I realize many of my customers and fans are more familiar with Etsy than Hyena Cart.
    I thought I'd take a minute to post about this other site, so you can familiarize yourself with it (#1, so you can be ready for the Deal-a-Day stuff coming soon...and #2, so you can find some great items from other sellers of fine handmade, child related items)

    The easiest way is to point you to their shopper's FAQ.

    As a seller, I like that they have a different fee structure than other places. The listings are easy to post, AND I am able to configure choices. For me, this is the easiest way to offer custom items -  This lets the customer pick size (with adjustments for price), color, trim, etc. as drop down choices. Many diapering families look to Hyena Cart for the latest and greatest in WAHM wares. I'm happy to be part of that group!

    You can find me on Hyena Cart here:

    Happy shopping, "Hyenas" (that's what you're called over there)!

    Sunday, September 12, 2010

    Winkydinks is doing a Deal a Day!

    (note, I have changed some of this information after it was originally posted. Specifically with regard to how the items will be listed).

    You may know I'm crazed with the "deal a day" sites (BabyHalfOff, ScrapbookSteals, HippoBargains, etc.)...and I thought it would be fun to host my own DEALS! I've been busy making up some special stock just for this event and will have previews up on Hyena Cart so you'll know what's coming. (Ok, this is a little different than the daily surprise steals, but I wanted to give everyone a chance!). Items are very limited at these prices (remember, I'm a small work-from-home shop!)
    • There will only be 2-3 items each day, and each deal will last 24 hours only.
    • All "deal a day" items will be on Hyena Cart
      • They will be BUY IT NOW style items, which means if you click "buy", it's can't delete it from your cart. This makes it so nobody else can buy it while you're checking out. This is a little different than my standard items. (edited 9/13)
      • Because of the type of listings for these, you are required to have an account to make a purchase (set one up before the item you want is stocked!). (edited 9/13)
      • If you order other items THE SAME DAY, but not in the same transaction, I will still combine shipping. 
      • All items are first quality, offered at an extreme discount 
      • Items will be shown in "preview" mode, showing the day/time they will become available for purchase. You can add them to your "spots" or favorites though! 
    • I will stock items at different times, giving people in different parts of the country and with different schedules a chance (i.e. they won't all be at 9am PDT)
    • Please refrain from purchasing more than one deal - let's share the luck! 
    • I'll post reminders on Facebook the day of the deal (and when previews are up)! 
    I plan to get previews up this week! 
    What do you think? Are you ready for some STALKING??? :)  

    (If you're new to Hyena Cart, don't be afraid! It just takes a name and an email address to register!)

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010

    wordless wednesday - starting school!

    Friday, September 3, 2010

    Friday Favorite - Traci Bixby Illustration

    It's been awhile since I've posted a Friday Favorite - but here's a sweet one: Traci Bixby Illustration! I know Traci from my "pre-kid" life, and she's opened up an Etsy shop, so I had to check it out. I ordered some of these note cards, and I LOVE them! (So much in fact that I hate to give them away).

    I also ordered this little magnet for my friend's daughter, who I think resembles this fairy so much. She loved it! Very high quality, well packaged for shipping, and oh so adorable!

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010


    My grandparents had several hummingbird feeders, and I remember as a child watching them with awe. They were always there, and grandma was always re-filling the "juice". After my grandfather passed away, I got one of those feeders, and I've been trying my best to bring the hummers to our house! We live in a new development, and so there aren't many trees (though we're working on landscaping our yard, especially with hummingbird attracting plants). I was getting's been a couple of months.

    But, this week....we have a regular visitor! (the pictures are a little blurry, taken through our kitchen window, and then zoomed in). I went with a different style feeder (easier to clean, and with a perch around the edge), and it finally worked! We've been enjoying watching this little guy land, eat, and then return. I never knew they actually sat still, but read that they actually use so much energy hovering that the prefer to eat while perched.

    My youngest son has named him "chocolate hero" :)

    I also have this feeder from Glorious Glass Garden on Etsy, which they hover around but haven't visited - I need to fill it with something other than water.

    Next on my list is to get another little one, like this. Let's get some more birdies to our bare backyard!

    Sunday, August 22, 2010

    Lovely fall treasury

    Check out this lovely fall themed treasury, created by a fellow EcoEtsy team member. It features my latest listing, a recycled lambswool diaper cover. I'm tickled to have been included with these beauties, thank you LindaEve!

    Click image above to explore the treasury items in Etsy!

    Monday, August 16, 2010

    Diaper Drive for Cloth Diaper Foundation

    Are you done with part of your stash and not sure what to do with it? Check out the current diaper drive going on at the Cloth Diaper Foundation - they are looking to collect enough donations to keep afloat and be able to offer diapers to people who need them. You can help!


    The Cloth Diaper Foundation is a great organization that Winkydinks is proud to support!

    Wednesday, August 11, 2010

    The Review Stew giveaway winning item

    Congratulations to Susan who won her choice of Eco-Fleece soaker from The Review Stew (This is a size small in charcoal)! Thanks for playing, and enjoy! To get your own Eco-Fleece soaker (made from 89% recycled pop bottles), visit my Etsy or Hyena Cart shops.
    Posted by Picasa

    Tuesday, August 3, 2010

    Tank top gift bags - super easy!

    Looking for an interesting way to wrap a birthday gift? Or need a few extra reusable bags to stash in the glove box? Find an old tank top, and in a few minutes your problem is solved! With just a few stitches from a sewing machine, you can do it!

    1. Turn the tank top inside out
     2. Sew a straight stitch along the bottom of the shirt (however long you want the bag to be)

    3. Fluff open the bag at the seam you just made, adjust the fabric so the new seam is in the middle of the fabric, and sew a perpendicular line to your new seam. This creates a gusset (square bottom). You can omit this step for a flat bag.

    4. Trim the excess fabric

    5. Turn the bag right side out. Voila! You did it!

    You can tie the "handles" together, or use a fancy ribbon. Maybe decorate with fabric paint, or even an iron on transfer for a one of a kind gift!

    Monday, July 26, 2010

    Half off deals!

    Have you seen these sites? They're the new "cool thing"! Each site offers a different deal of the day. They are only there ONE day, and they tend to sell out quickly (sometimes in minutes). If you love stalking for diapers, watch out, this can get addicting too! So far I've been happy with my [far too many] purchases! You do need to read the fine print, but they are all first quality items, and GREAT deals -- even some cloth diaper items.

    And not kid related, but MOM related

    One of the best ways to keep tabs on the offers is to follow them on Facebook or get daily emails.
    Have any of you made purchases from these? Do you know of any others? I'd love to hear your stories!

    Friday, July 9, 2010

    Friday Favorite - RsLangArtPottery & Butter keepers!

    I received an email awhile back regarding butter and margarine...while it turned out to be an inaccurate email forward, it did get me thinking.  On my "green" list of things to do is to try to eat more natural foods. I decided for me, a tablespoon of butter every now and again is going to be better for me than something filled with chemicals. But I HATE trying to spread cold butter!!! 

    My mother-in-law introduced me to the concept of butter bells - a way to keep fresh butter room temperature, without spoiling. After searching the commercial brands, I wondered if anyone made them on Etsy. Lo and behold, I found some! The one I settled on was from RS Lang Art Pottery - it holds much more than most of the others I found, and I liked the styles and colors.

    This is the one I got - it matches our granite counter tops very well! I am VERY happy with my purchase! It fits well in my hands, keeps the butter soft and fresh, SUPER fast shipping, and great communication.
    Related Posts with Thumbnails