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I love autumn!

Hey there!  If you haven’t seen this on my last few posts, this  is cross-posted on my NEW website and blog! I’ll cross-post for a few more times but please visit me over there and subscribe to my new blog so you can continue to find me!

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What’s not to love? The cool weather, pumpkin pie and leaves changing color are all wonderful but what I also love are all the sweaters! Everywhere I go I see fabulous knitwear that makes my closet seem boring. Okay, my closet’s not too boring but I can’t stop coveting other people’s sweaters, hats and scarves. I sit in church and focus my attention on the backs of people’s sweaters. I have been known to follow shoppers a little too closely at the supermarket because I was trying to burn a stitch pattern into my eyeballs so I’d remember when I got home. It never works, by the way. I only remember that there was something that I loved. So far I’ve never been bold enough to snap a picture but one of these days I may just have to do that.

This is the season that causes my knitting lace tank topmojo to come out of hibernation and so here it is- my first finished project of the season. It’s the Essential Tank Top from the book Lace Style. A knitted tank top, you say? True, a tank top is not the most common item of clothing this time of year, but it’s an awesome layering piece and here you can see it in action on a cold, rainy, blustery Portland day. The merino/silk blend of the Knitpicks Gloss lace yarn is really pretty and warm, even in lace tank top form. This was my first time knitting a lace garment where size mattered and it was a little nerve-wracking. I didn’t really know if it would fit until it was all done and then I was convinced it was too big until I seamed it all up. Ahh, perfect. I love it and will wear it all season and I’ll keep wearing it when the weather gets warm.

lace tank top backI carried my camera around all day and went some pretty places but the wind and rain canceled any hope of a pretty photo shoot. Mike snapped these pics as we were grocery shopping when we were tired and windblown but hey, it wasn’t raining! I’m loading up more canning jars in the car. I have a whole basement of canned goods now and these are the latest addition to my food stockpile- A whole lot of quince products. I got quince practically free from a nice lady on Craig’s List and they just may be my new favorite fruit.

quince canning jars

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Why

This post is cross-posted on my NEW website and blog! I’ll cross-post for a little while but please visit me over there and subscribe to my new blog so you can continue to find me!

Why? Is that what you’re wondering? Why did I change my business name this summer and how did I settle on Sesame Seed Designs?

green fair isle deer hatWhen I first started selling things on Etsy, nearly 2 years ago, I was focusing on selling hats for babies. My hats are still a big part of what I sell but I’ve added new items such as the water bottle covers, coin purses and french press cozies. Suddenly having Mama in my business name didn’t fit my entire line of products.

I realized something was wrong when I became hesitant to tell people my business name because I felt it gave the wrong impression about my products. I didn’t want to be 3043483925_d6f7ae3b49_bidentified by just being someone’s mama and I didn’t want anyone to get the wrong idea that I only made things for kids.

I thought about my name for several months before I made a decision and found myself being gradually more uncomfortable with my name. I had already made hundreds of sales and had a fairly established following both on etsy and locally but I finally made the decision to change my name and, in a way, start over.

So why Sesame Seed Designs?

Practically:

  • It’s not product specific and allows me to grow my product lines without moving outside the scope of my name.
  • When I imagine it on tags on my products, I can imagine it on items for men, women and children and it works on them all.

Personally:

  • If you’ve read my previous blog posts, you know that I refer to my daughter as Sesame (the story is here) so it’s a bit of an homage to her. Like the story behind her Sesame nickname, the name Sesame Seed Designs is a reminder that big things all start small. I had no expectations when I first listed a few items on etsy but wholesale requests started coming in after only a few weeks and my sales have steadily increased in the last 2 years.

Dblue and pink bird pouchIt wasn’t as hard as I’d imagined to get buyers to find me at my new site and I’m really excited and happy to have a name that I love and that can grow with me! I had some fabulous people help me out- Erin from EdUB Graphic Designs created my fantastic new logo. She listened to what I wanted and quickly came up with a logo that I love! Mark and Jennie from Angelic Touch Designs did the work of converting my old website to this new easy-to-use, WordPress one. They did really fantastic work and were super pleasant to work with.

Changing my name to something that really fits me feels really good and I only wish I had done it sooner! I don’t push my etsy products on you lovely blog readers very often so I’ll get back to my crafty ways next time.

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I’m back . . .

. . . and do I have a lot to share.

First, this post is cross-posted on my NEW website and blog!  I’ll cross-post for a little while but please visit me over there and subscribe to my new blog so you can continue to find me!

I certainly didn’t intend to have such a long blogging hiatus but it happened anyway. It started with my summer from hell. Soon after the lovely birthday party, summer camp started. Lots went wrong- mostly database issues resulting in registration issues and unhappy parents mad at me- but also 3 staff members quitting in the 1st 2 weeks of camp for a variety of (mostly) understandable reasons and it all made me want to go home and not come back.

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Oh, it wasn’t all bad. In the end almost 1000 kids had a great time and my cool-on-the-outside-freaking-out-on-the-inside demeanor served me well and resulted in what everyone said was the best summer of camp ever. Yay me. In the midst of that, I had no energy left to write and once I stopped it was hard to start back up. I’ve probably written 25 posts in my head but that does you no good.

DSC06932Since I left you, my garden grew and grew and we canned a whole lot of delicious produce. We planted giant sunflowers and now have so many seeds!

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Buffy, Oolong and Wynonna grew up and started laying delicious eggs. One hen tried to fake us out by laying 14 eggs in a secret spot before we found them! Then last month, sadly and suddenly, Wynonna died mysteriously, and seemingly peacefully, overnight. So we got 2 new hens- Matcha (an Americauna) and Brown Betty (a Welsummer) but they’re not laying yet and I don’t have any pictures of them yet. Now Oolong is molting so she’s not laying either so we’re down to one laying hen. For now.

camping mosaic

After camp was over we took an fun, relaxing camping trip to Paradise Creek in the Gifford Pinchot Forest in Washington. We relaxed and explored, ate smores, hiked on a path to nowhere and admired the pretty colors of the volcanic rocks that were all along the creek.

I’ve only really been knitting in the past couple of weeks but I have plenty of projects that will show up here in the next few weeks. The same goes for spinning.

I renamed my business and moved everything over to a brand new shop and website. The story of why will come soon. I love my new name and logo and am gearing up for the busy shopping season.

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That’s the quick and dirty lowdown. I’ve got to start small. It feels good to get some words out there and I’ll be a little more detailed in my next posts.

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News Flash

I’ve survived the toddler birthday extravaganza, complete with another cake and more celebrating on June 2, her actual birthday.  The summer camp I direct starts in a week and a half and I’ve been busy getting ready for it.  I finally had a weekend to relax last weekend and it was so nice!
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With the sunny weather, and little bit of rain, we’ve had, our garden has really taken off!  I love watching the plants grow and Sesame loves to pretend to kill slugs with her shovel and to inspect the “babies” as she calls the plants.  This morning she even pulled up a chair and just sat and watched the garden for a while.

DSC06141So far we’ve eaten broccoli from the garden and will have fava beans and snap peas soon.  We’re also growing lettuce, garlic, leeks, a million onions, kale, spinach, kohlrabi, 3 types of tomatoes, purple string beans, 2 types of shelling beans, japanese eggplants, jalapeno peppers, gypsy peppers, carrots, 2 types of potatos, basil and a few other herbs.  Whew, that’s a lot!  I’m really excited about having so much fresh produce right in my backyard!  We also have raspberry, strawberry and blueberry plants.  We’ve been enjoying the strawberries for about a week now and I just ate my first ripe blueberry this morning.  Delicious!

bird press coverI’m getting ready for some fun craft shows and art fairs this summer and have been working on a new product.  I have this french press cover listed in my shop and several more will be for sale soon.  Mike and I tested it out and it definitely keeps coffee warm longer and it adds some style to a french press.

Like my other items for sale, it’s made from a recycled wool sweater.  This one is actually a wool/angora blend so it has a little extra softness.  I tried some different methods of closing it and finally settled on these beaded ties.  They wrap around the buttons so it can be closed as snugly as you’d like.  It makes the cover a little adjustable so it’ll fit different brands that may be slightly different sizes.

bird press cover side

Etsy is having a “yart sale” today through Sunday.  It’s like a yard sale, but with art.  I have a whole section of specially discounted items and you can search for “yart” on etsy to see what other good deals are out there.

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Party Girl

Little Sesame turns 2 tomorrow and we had her party on Saturday.  It was a hot, sunny day but luckily our backyard had plenty of shade.

Here’s her birthday banner in action.

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There were plenty of friends for Mike and I to hang out with but little Sesame had some buddies to play with too.

child care gang

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There were cupcakes to be eaten.  They’re carrot-pineapple cupcakes with a little cream cheese frosting and since the birthday girl loves birds (or bees, as she calls them), I decorated them with bird’s nests made from kataifi (shredded phyllo dough) and little jelly bean eggs.   The frosting is colored with natural colorings- raspberry for pink, blueberry for lavender and turmeric for the yellow.  I made a ton of cupcakes and only had one left after everyone went home.  I want some more!

birds nest cupcakes

There were also a few presents to be opened.  Sesame loved all her things but her stuffed dolphin and Hello Kitty purse and wallet were definitely the biggest hits.

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birthday dressI actually made her pretty party dress!  It’s the first thing I’ve sewed using a real pattern and with things like gathers and buttonholes in a long time.  I got the pattern from that*darn*kat on Etsy and it was really easy to make.  I want one in my size!

It was a fun birthday party and I can’t believe my little girl is (almost) 2!

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Happy Birthday Banner
My kiddo is just about to turn 2!  It feels like time is flying by but then it also feels like little Sesame has been with us a lot longer than just 2 years.  I barely remember life before her sometimes!  We’re having a birthday bash this weekend and I whipped up this cute and colorful banner for her party.

birthday banner close upI cut the triangles out with the top edge along the fold of the fabric, so they’re double sided.  They’ll probably flip around when the wind blows them so I wanted them to be pretty on both sides.  I folded them with the wrong sides together and sewed along the edges using the rolled hem stitch on my serger.  (side note: My husband is awesome.  When I told him I was sewing the flags he said, “You’re not sewing, you’re overlocking.”) The letters are cut from white felt and I attached them with fabric glue.

birthday banner

I attached them all together by sewing a length of rick-rack along the top edge.  I can’t wait to hang them up for her party!

flower soakerNow that she’s nearly 2, Sesame is getting to be quite helpful around the house.  At least she thinks she’s helping.  Here she’s trying to wash the dishes.  She mostly just got water all over.  Notice where she’s standing- not on the platform of her learning tower, but on the rail.  The kid is fearless.

She’s wearing some shorts that I just finished knitting.  She wears a wool soaker (or woolly as we call them) at night so these will be nice for the summer.  They’re a short version of the Perfection Pants that I’ve knitted before.  I used one skein of Cascade 220 Quatro that I had left over from a cardigan I knitted.  I embroidered some flowers to make them a little cuter and added some extra stitches in the bind-off of the cuffs so it made a little ruffle. It just needs a drawstring.  They were falling off of her when I took this picture- her little bottom is not really so square shaped.

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flying bird coverI’ve been working on several custom orders lately and have been really enjoying them.  I like the challenge of making new designs but even more, I like taking customer’s ideas and turning them into something pretty!

blue tree cover

Sometimes it’s hard to find the time to do things for myself but I try to squeeze it in.  Sesame loves her Klean Kanteen water bottle and I finally made her a felted wool cover of her own.  I feel bad that I made so many covers for other kids before she finally got one but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

I’m also working on some new products for my shop and the festivals I’ll be doing this summer.  Coffee Sleeves For the latest news and updates on the things I’ve been working on, subscribe to my newsletter!  You’ll also get some exclusive discounts and offers and now, if you sign up by the end of the month, you’ll be eligible to win a cute, cozy coffee sleeve!  I’ll randomly choose one subscriber who’ll win a coffee sleeve of my choice.

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