Friday, May 30, 2008

Etsy Love

I hope you have discovered etsy. It is a wonderful website full of handcrafted, handmade neatness!
I found a few things worthy of sharing here:

I am crazy about a play on words - these are "whittle" people!

How about this great tote? We used this fabric in our spring/summer collection. You could use this as a diaper tote to match a Sweet Funky Vintage outfit for your little one, or you could order a Maggie skirt from Sweet Funky Vintage made in this fabric!

I couldn't include etsy love without including Sarah Jane Studios. Her art prints are so beautiful. I just sigh when I look at them!

I have been a long time admirer of these adorable things. So precious.

I am thinking of doing O and G's new room in a bird theme, so I have my eye on this pillow!

Okay, enough etsy love. Maybe next time I will do esty weird... A fun way to search etsy is to click on time machine on the left hand menu, and you can scroll through tumbnail images of some of the different items that have just been listed. I have seen some bizarro things. But, as they say, to each his own...

Busy, busy!

We are busy, busy here at SFV! Of course we are moms, so the MAY crazies got us just like everyone else....graduations, picnics, parties, oh my! I leave for the beach tomorrow and Missy is moving across the country next week....we'll both try and share our adventures!
On the business front, we are working on a new website design, new fall designs and finishing up our spring and summer party orders. Stay tuned for a fun summer mini collection around the beginning of July! Oh, and don't forget the giveaway at EVERYTHING PINK!
Here at home, I am doing lots of projects inside and out. My patio is FINALLY done (for those of you who read my former blog) let me share some pics!




Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A giveaway!

Oooh, a reward for all you faithful blog readers! Go to EVERYTHING PINK and visit Kristi

She will give you the scoop on our fabulous giveaway! Hey, and sign up for our mailing list and get a coupon to use on your first order, too! Good luck!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Yummy mail!

I received a couple of fun packages in the mail last week. The first one was something that I ordered, some prints from Sarah Jane Studios on etsy. I have admired her prints for awhile, but she recently put some on sale that she was discontinuing, so I ordered. And, I was not disappointed! I will be hanging these in the girl's playroom. They are so pretty!

The other package I received in the mail was a wristlet that I had won in a blog contest over at artsy crafty babe's blog. It is really cute! She also included one of the button pins that you can see in the header of her blog! So sweet!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What a great day!

Do you ever have a day that turns out to be a really great day? Maybe you had no reason to think it wouldn't be a good day, but were pleasantly surprised that a good day became a great day? That was my day today.

It started when I picked up a copy of Washington Parent magazine on my way out of Whole Foods one day a couple of months ago. We don't live in the city, so most of the stuff that I read about in the magazine doesn't really appeal to me, because the stores, events or restaurants aren't all that convenient to me, but I enjoy flipping through the pages anyway. So, as I was flipping through it, an advertisement caught my eye. It was an advertisement for a stage production (for children) of Goodnight Moon. Well, both Georgia and Olivia are crazy about the book. Georgia "read" it to me three times a day for about a 6 month period (she memorized it and recited it to me as if she was actually reading). And, now it has been Olivia's absolute favorite book for the past 6 months, and is holding strong. We are on our third copy of the book. The first copy was pretty well worn from Georgia's many readings, and Olivia's tearing books phase. The second copy seccumed to the tearing books phase too, and our third and current copy, is pretty dog-eared. She even sleeps with the book in her bed with her! So, when I saw the ad, I thought, we should take the girls to see this. I tore out the page, and taped it up in the kitchen. It stayed there for weeks before I finally went online and Chris and I bought the tickets and made the plans to go as a family. I knew that there was no way I was going to try taking all 3 girls by myself. We get asked to leave the library, for crying out loud! Could you just imagine paying the money for tickets to the play and then having to leave??!! The play was being performed at the Adventure Theatre. I had never heard of it, so I went online, got the address and plugged it into the GPS. It was about 45 minutes from us. No problem - no traffic, no delays, and we managed to get there right on time. I had no idea where the Adventure Theatre was or what it would be like. It was so cool! It is Glen Echo, Maryland, in the middle of an old amusement park (the Glen Echo Amusement Park) that has been restored and renovated and converted into a community park with really cool art galleries and classrooms and neat stuff. The park is managed by the National Park Service. Many of the original amusement park things are still there - the ballroom, the bumper cars, the carousel, an old trolley car, and a lot of the buildings are being currently used for the community art programs and things like that. And, as the park service, likes to do, there are big signs everywhere with great old photographs and snippets about the history of things. I loved reading all about the history! It made me want to come home and read more about it! More about that in a minute...

Okay, so we got there, and got our tickets at the will call window and went in. The theatre was an intimate setting - very kid friendly. The play lasted about an hour, and the kids were completely fascinated, and relatively still for an entire hour. AN ENTIRE HOUR, people. That, is just short of a miracle! Let me remind you, these kids are 5 1/2, 2 1/2, and 16 months!!!!

The set was amazing! If you can imagine the pages of Goodnight Moon coming to life right before your eyes - there it was. The room was green, and everything was there, the red balloon, the light, the telephone, the mittens, the kittens, the socks, the clocks, the pictures on the wall, even the mouse! And it was at floor level, and the seating was on risers above, so the kids looked down on the stage, and we were only two rows from the back, and we felt so close, that is how intimate the theatre is.

There were 5 actors and they were terrific! They brought all the characters to life, and there were songs and dancing and the play completly held the attention of my girls'! Even the baby couldn't help but clapping at the music and the fun of it all!
After the play was over, we went outside to get a better look at the carousel that we hurried past to get to the play on time. The tickets were only $1, so Chris took Georgia and Olivia for a ride around. The carousel was gorgeous and the kids loved it! But, really, what's not to love about a carousel?
It was built in the 1920s and was sooo cool!

Here are the girls waiting their turn in line.

The happy riders - You cannot see Georgia, but she is on the other side of Chris.

A closer look at one of the horses.

More detail of the carousel.

Since I am always taking the pictures, I am rarely in any of them. The carousel gave me a fun way to include a picture of me!

Here is the pipe organ that the music was coming from.

Here are some pictures of the buildings from the old amusement park. From the history I have read, both at the park, and since I have been home, the park and some buildings have been there since the late 1800s.
The oldest structure still there is a stone tower from a building that dates back to the 1890s, when it was the National Chautauqua Assembly, which taught the sciences, arts, languages, and literature.

picture from the website - around 1891.
I was so busy taking pictures of the carousel, I didn't get a picture of the stone tower :( - but it was really cool - you should have seen it!!! ;)
You can just see the edge of it here, next to this art deco building I photographed.

The history of the park is that Glen Echo used to be a trolley park accessible by the street car system; the park was designed to be the last stop on the cars so people could go there after work. The original park had several attractions, including bumper cars, shooting galleries, and an expansive rollercoaster. The park also had a large pool, the Crystal Pool, the remains of which can still be seen today, and a shooting gallery, which was stopped in WWII because of ammunition shortages.
Here is the building that was once the shooting gallery and arcade building, which now houses a puppet theatre and the adventure theatre.

Here is the bumper car building:

The remains of the pool today:

The sign near where the Crystal Pool was said that it accomodated 3,000 swimmers - can you imagine?! There is a great playground right there now. Olivia and Sophia really enjoyed it!

The history of this park was so very neat. It was fun to discover this really cool place that we had never been before.
What a great day it was! We had such good, quality, family time, and found such a neat place and learned a little about the history of the park too!
If you aren't completely bored about reading about the park, I found another website with some great old photos of the park in the amusement park's heydey on this website.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Tired, But INSPIRED!!! - Part Two

More from our Chicago trip...

Remember, Liz types in Green and Missy types in Pink.

Well, After shopping all day on Friday, we started to panic about putting the finishing touches on our presentation to the editors of Country Living magazine. One of the most important parts of our trip to the Country Living Magazine's Womens Entrepreneur event, was that we were selected to pitch our product to the editors of Country Living. We were excited and very nervous about out pitch. We were only allotted a few minutes to do our presentation and then the editors would take a minute to ask us questions. We knew roughly what we wanted to say, but hadn't worked out the presentation itself or the timing of it.
So, with only about 12 hours left before our presentation time, we had work to do!!
We practiced and practiced!

and practiced, and practiced, and practiced....til we were punchy and incoherent!

The Hotel Monaco was really beautifully decorated, and our room was really nice. One of the neat features of the hotel is that they would loan you a pet for your stay - a goldfish. So, naturally, we HAD to take advantage of that service!! But, only after I determined that I was not going to be responsible for feeding and taking care of it - I didn't need goldfish homicide on my conscience!
We named the fish Wanda, of course. And, we pitched our product to Wanda over and over again!!

Wanda was a fabulous listener, hardly ever critical, and very orange

More pictures of our beautiful room:
Now you know one of the reasons it is my favorite Chicago hotel. Wouldn't you love to live in a bedroom like this?

The first event of the day on Saturday was our pitch your product time slot, then the actual conference would begin. I was so nervous, I could hardly stand it. I was literally sweating!I was feeling a bit queasy, and the walk through the morning drunks didn't help much. Missy forgot to mention it was St. Paddy's Day and the crowds were gathering to watch the dyeing of the river. We pranced through the drunks and lost tourists with our darling little mannequin!
But, I had a new outfit to wear, and we were totally prepared, and it went well! We met some really neat people in our waiting room, and got some really positive comments from our fellow presenters as well as some of the Country Living ladies that we met. It was a very positive experience. I feel like, no matter the outcome, the experience was incredible. We learned alot and met some really great people.
I feel like I have to mention one lady in particular, Sharon Singleton. She owns Singlelicious. She was a hoot! I couldn't find a website for her, but here is a youtube clip from her appearance on Oprah last year.

I would not be a bit surprised if we see her on the Food Network someday!
There is nothing I can add, Singlelicious really had to be experienced in person to be believed!
Here is a picture of one of our dresses that we took with us:

It is our Phoebe dress in Ginger Blossom fabrics. I feel like the presentation went well, and we were surprised to learn later that Nancy Soriano, editor of Country Living, was sitting in our presentation. I am glad I didn't know she was there at the time, I might have completely freaked out!
I second that, thank goodness we didn't know!

The Country Living Event was officially titled, "Country Living’s Women Entrepreneurs: A Celebration of Creativity Event". It was sold out and there were about 600 attendees. The speakers were so incredible. I joke to my friends that to those of us in the clothing and design and crafting industries, they are like rock stars!
The first speaker of the day was Anna Griffin.

One of the things in our goodie bags was a damask clipboard and pad from Anna. She was interviewed by the editor of Country Living magazine, Nancy Soriano.

Some things Anna Griffin said that I wrote down...
- Find inspiration everywhere - in everything visual.
- Make sure you get out of bed in the morning with eagerness to do what you love.
Change is good - you can always count on it - don't be fearful.
- YES AND - are her favorite words. Look for opportunities, ask for them, and say yes.
She also shared some business-specific advice and information that I found interesting, but don't want to bore those of you who aren't interested in business.

I found this picture online of the seminar and you can see us in the second row!!

The next session was a panel discussion and the panelists were: Heather Bailey (one of my all-time favorite fabric designers), Beth Ferriera (of etsy), Lena West (total computer guru), and Anna Fox and Donna King (of the totally fab catalog, Room Service Home). The moderator of the panel was Susan Mernit (technology guru who was blogging before blogging was cool! Also happens to be the sister of Nancy Soriano).

What can I say about these fabulous ladies?! Wow. I wrote down so much good information, advice and inspiration!
Good stuff from Heather Bailey:
-Take your time. Learn how to use your tools and take the time to fix things.
- Blogging enables customers to see your product in a personal way.
- Get involved. Go see what others are saying, promote their blogs.
- Be genuine. Represent yourself as you are and people will take interest in that.

Good stuff from Beth Ferriera taught us all about etsy. Very cool site. If you haven't exprienced etsy yet, you are missing out!

Good stuff from Lena West:
- Know what you want! Know exactly what you need. Write it all down. How much, if any, do you want to do on your own?
- Hire people to work for you and stick to what you do best.
- Be consistent
- Send love to other's blogs, so they will send love to yours
- Go ugly early. Don't worry about what your website looks like, just get it out the door! Get yourself out there!

Good stuff from Anna Fox and Donna King:
- Utilize your best assetts.
- Manage your customer's expectations. Anticipate and deliver what they want.
- Know what you want the end result to be. Keep the faith.
- Encourage your customers to share your site with their friends.

The keynote speaker was Tamara Monosoff. She is the author of two books: The Mom Inventors Handbook

and Secrets of Millionaire Moms

The title of her talk was, "Unleash your Dream with Boldness and Creativity". I am currently reading a book that she recommended by William Ury, The Power of a Positive No. The premise is that you can only say yes when you can truly say no. It is hard to explain, but the book makes it make sense.
Some good stuff from Tamara's talk:
- Leap and the net will appear. Take Action. To leap and take risks is to act. When we finally take the leap, what is unpredictable and unexpected is the network of you teachers and mentors who are your net.
- Overcoming Doubts - Fear is real... fear of failure, financial loss, disappointing family and friends and success itself. Acknowledge and address your fear. Gain knowledge. Build support (brain trust). Plan.
- Read everything, go to conferences.
- Pull together a support network of friends, family, organizations. Recruit people with special skills and whose opinions you trust, and knowledge that can help you.
- Plan. It can help save you time and money. The plan doesn't have to be complex, but create it from two perspectives - emotional and practical.
- What changes do you want to create in your life? Describe in writing how you see your business. Define: What am I building and why? Short and long term goals? Why, where and how would people buy my product? What is the work to be done?
- Is this business plan supporting my ultimate life dream?
- We need to believe in ourselves if we ever expect to achieve the life we want.
- Don't keep your dreams to yourself - speak about them with conviction and take the steps necessary to make them come true.
- Look to others who inspire you.

The last segment of the day was the panel led by the 2008 Women Entrepreneurs of the Year. It was fantastic and there were lots of nuggets of good information!
There were some really fabulous women included in this group of honorees. I tried to find a picture of them online all together at the conference, but I wasn't able to.
You can read all about them on the Country Living website though.
Some comments I wrote down (sadly, didn't note who said what, though):
- A team is powerful!
- Show up on your list of things to do.
- Start where you want to end
- Be the company you aspire to be the day you open the doors!
- Pay for marketing materials.
- Fake it until you can make it.
- Pea Soup Recipe for Success:
*Planning and Preparation
*Patience and Persistance
*Passion and Purpose
also surround your self with positive people and pat yourself on the back!
- No is your vitamin.
- Go to tradeshows and get to know those in your industry.

Like I said, there was lots of other good information too - mostly business related as opposed to the more motivation type info that I shared in this post. It was so inspiring and really moved me to realize what kinds of things I needed to do right away to work towards my dream of making Sweet Funky Vintage a success. I would highly recommend this conference to others who are thinking about turning their passion into a profession, even if it is going to be some time in the future.
I don't want to forget, I have to mention the nicest gals we met a the conference and went out to dinner with - Paula Prass and her daughter Jennifer, as well as their friend,SO fun to meet them. Thanks for the dinner invite, girls. We are waiting for that fabric! Anita. Such a nice group of ladies - and super talented. We love Paula Prass Designs and Mimi's Collection so much, we have started carrying a few of their canvas wall art items and infant door hangers. So beautiful!
Here is a picture of them that I shamelessly stole (sorry girls - have to show how cute you are!) from Paula's blog:

I want to be sure I credit everyone show correctly, so here goes - From left to right - Bari J. Ackerman of BariJ, Anita Hopper of Refind Originals, Paula Prass of Paula Prass Designs, Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree Quilts, Heather Bailey, one of my most favorite fabric designers and a great blogger, and Jennifer of Mimi's Collection. We are so delighted that Paula has announced on her blog that she has signed a contract to design fabrics for Michael Miller Fabrics. What fabulous news! We cannot wait to see what she has in store!
I don't have any more pictures from the weekend. We ate breakfast on Sunday at the Corner Bakery, where Liz has gotten me completely addicted to their cinnamon raisin toasty bread thingees. I have even driven into DC to get them since I have been home!!! Then we headed to the airport, where we discovered at the airline counters that both of us had suitcases that were overweight. This was before the airlines adopted the rediculous restriction of only 1 bag per person. So, basically, what they told us was that we could check 2 bags each weighing 50 lbs. But our single bags were over the bag limit by like 6 pounds. So, I ended up forking over $17 for a flimsy airline duffle bag and threw 6 pounds worth of crap (I mean valuable stuff...) into it. But, alls well that ends well, right?!
It was a very fabulous experience!!!

Happy Mother's Day

We are offering a Mother's Day promotion at Sweet Funky Vintage, just for Moms!

Favorite Things...

I love discovering some new product or something that is really fabulous, don't you? So, I thought I would share some things I have run across recently that I think are really great.
I picked up some new makeup the other day that I think is really great. First, you have to understand, I am not a big makeup fan. My makeup philosophy is if it cannot be done in 15 minutes, it pretty much isn't happening. So, I like natural, and easy, and quick.
I found this blush that I think rocks!

It is by smashbox. Here is the little snippet from their website:
Experience instant chemistry as your complexion is transformed from so-so to oh-so-glowing! The first intuitive blush, this clear gel reacts with your personal skin chemistry to turn cheeks the color you blush naturally, in just seconds! O-GLOW works on every skin tone, from the lightest to the darkest, to give everyone a customized flush of color. When applied, your skin's moisture activates the innovative formula producing a rosy blush that lasts all day.

So, just like they said, it is a clear gel and you smooth it on your cheeks and it turns pink. And, you only have to use the tiniest bit. So, this stuff will last me forever! love it!

I also bought their lipgloss too. It pretty much works the same way, it is a clear gel, that turns to a really pretty pink, very glossy lip gloss.

I bought the two items together, and saved money buying them that way as opposed to separately.

Have you discovered these?

My kids love these! Crayola Window Markers. My girls park themselves in front of the sliding glass doors and color on the glass and have the best time! They can doodle all day. The marker dries pretty quickly, and once it dries, it cannot be wiped off on their hands or clothes, but a little windex and a paper towel will take it right off when you are ready to retire their artwork and have clean glass again!

Love this book! I checked it out from the library the other day to be sure that I would really like it, and just went out and bought it because I can see myself using this cookbook alot!
Martha Stewart's Cookies

Other new purchases recently...

Microplane grater/zester - fabulous!

Also bought the box grater - my old one was hard to use and broke. No more crappy grater for me!

New shoes...

Leopard print pump

I tried these on at JCrew yesterday, but the line for the checkout was a mile long, so I decided to wait and order from the comfort of my own home...