Special Post: Mother's Day Crafting with Shizz



So its the day before Mother's Day, and did you get anything for Grandma?  No?

Well, here I am to save your day :)

This super easy craft is cute, quick (30 minutes tops) and definitely something any grandmother/mother/aunt/sister/friend would love!



Supplies:
small flower pot
hole punch
craft knife
scissors
colored cardstock
green pipecleaners
small block of floral foam
self-healing cutting mat

1 more supply item:
Toddler for tracing :)

Cut our your hand template.
I labeled mine with his age, because I plan on using it again in the near future.

Pick out your colors of cardstock, trace out the number of hand "flowers" you want.

Using your craft knife on your self-healing mat, cut out your flowers.  Make sure to cut ever so slightly inside your traced line, so that you don't have a line that shows up on the flowers.

Next (not pictured) punch holes in the bottom of your flowers, about 1/4 inch from the bottom of the flower.
Then, fold a pipecleaner in half.  Insert the folded end through the hole in the flower, and fold down the tip about 1/2 inch and pinch flat.  This allows your flower to stand straight, and not flop over.

Now twist the ends of your pipecleaner together to make it more sturdy.

Using a bread knife (don't worry Mizzle, I used the cheap one), cut a small cube of flower foam that will squish down in your flower pot.

Then, using scissors to first poke holes in the foam, insert your flower stems and arrange to your liking.
I added a little bit of brown shredded paper "dirt" in the bottom, which also helped to make the flowers stand better.
Now give it to Grandma!

This is a super easy craft that can be used for almost any holiday.  Birthdays, Easter, Mother's Day, Teacher Appreciation (use a handprint from each child in the class), Grandparent's Day, etc.

Enjoy, Happy Crafting!






Special Post: Giveaways Galore!

November 1st, 2011 marks such an amazing day for us here at Sweet Stella's.

1. Year. In. Business.

As a HUGE thank-you to all of you awesome customers, moms, kiddos and fellow artists, I'm going to be hosting a whack of giveaways during the month of November.

Right now, you can enter to win two handpainted custom ornaments over at Peanut's Tale.

Next week, right here, you'll be able to enter to win a MyMemories digital scrapbooking Software package!

The week after...a Tina Dean Designs basket full of Sweet Stella's holiday goodies!

Then over on Baby Shmizz, you'll be able to win a Holiday Stationary package, and check out the new papered and personalized ornaments for 2012!

Lastly, a chance to win a $25 Sweet Stella's Gift Certificate on The Mommyhood Chronicles! Pretty awesome!


So, as you can see...lots of things to win, in a variety of ways, and all because i am just so thankful to have made it one full year, and still be going strong.

Thank you all, SO much!

Thankful Thursday: Two Treasuries

Wow!

I could hear drops of rain hitting the deck when I woke up this morning, then about five minutes later...the sun came out to say hello. As if that wasn't reason enough to be thankful today, I logged onto Etsy and found that my work was included in TWO treasuries overnight.

How awesome!






Click on the photos to see them larger, and on Etsy! They are truly great collections, full of warmth and lovely inspiration!

Special Post: Bellaroma Boutique

I have a secret obsession that I'd like to share with you all...a secret that will make you feel gloriously amazing, confident and wonderful...and smell divine.



About a month ago, I contacted Diana, the owner of Bellaroma {Natural Skincare Boutique} and fellow Artisan Group member about my skincare woes.

Since having my son (1 year ago) my skin has been on a roller coaster ride it seems. One day it's oily, the next it's itchy...then on another day it's totally fine and blemish free...only to be plagued with acne two days later.

Postpartum hormones have absolutely wrecked havoc on my skin, not to mention the wrinkles, lack of moisture, dark circles, bags and everything else that comes with being a first time mom.

So, off to Diana I went with my problem, and boy did she ever solve it! She recommended her lovely Yogurt & E Creamy Cleanser and Pomegranate Whipped Facial Creme.

I have never, ever ever been this happy with my skin...or my skincare products. First and foremost, the Yogurt & E Creamy Cleaner is so light that you barely feel like you're washing your face with more than just water. It feels fresh and squeaky clean afterward, and not dry like most other cleansers that I've tried. It is seriously lovely, and wonderfully divine...and what a great feeling to have nice firm, tight skin!



I follow up my little routine with the Pomegranate Whipped Facial Creme and let me just say one word: YUM! Oh my gosh! From the moment that I opened the jar, I knew that my skin was in for a really amazingly luxurious treat. From talking to Diana, I knew that a little dab was all that I would need, and massaging it into my skin was like...a heavenly experience. Instantly, my skin was tighter and I had to double take in the mirror...but those new-mom-dark-circles were fading right before my eyes!



I woke up feeling refreshed and wonderful...as if my skin care woes had disappeared overnight. Looking in the mirror, I knew that it wasn't a dream, but in fact they had disappeared. My skin is lovely, soft, blemish free and silky smooth. The wrinkles are fading, as are the dark circles and bags from under my eyes {perhaps because the routine of cleansing and moisturizing before bed with Bellaroma put my mind to ease and allowed me to sleep better?}

My wish list for Bellaroma is growing everyday! Knowing that my face feels and looks so amazing now, I can't help but lust after the Hawaiian Brown Sugar Body Polish, the Cucumber Peel Toning Butter {hello Post-Partum body changes!} and the Grapeseed Lavender Bella Bar. OH! And have you seen her brand new product, the Potted Honey Lip Butter? To. Die. For!

And as if it can get any better than feeling confident in your own skin, Diana is positively a dream to work with! She responds to requests right away, and her customer service is amazing. She truly cares about your concerns and worries, and seeks to put them to rest with her wonderful products, encouraging words and warm attitude.

I highly highly recommend that you check out her shop, and contact her if you have any questions about how she can help you look and feel your best! She truly is amazing, and her products are luxuriously wonderful!

Thankful Thursday: Crib Teething Bumpers

Do you have a teething baby? Does he or she like to chew on their crib, leaving nasty marks like these?



Then you, my dear reader, would likely be just as thankful as I am for this lovely creation



It's a Crib Teething Bumper that I got off of Etsy, and that I am incredibly thankful for! Given that Owen's bed converts to a double bed, and likely will be the bed that he (insert tear here) moves out of the house with, I'd like for it to stay in beautiful condition.

Thankfully, we have the crib bumper and no more damage will ensue!



It is absolutely beautifully quilted. You can feel the warmth and love that went into making the product!



You can get one here!! Gail is fabulous to work with!

Thanks, Gail!

Thankful Thursday: Jenni From The Blog

I'm taking a moment on this dreary day, while my son is still napping, after I've finished up a cake banner....to reflect.

Today, I am so incredibly thankful for Jenni from Jenni From The Blog.

You see, I met this great and amazing woman when I was pregnant with my son. It seemed that we had alot in common, namely our Monster babies and our love for party planning.

After having our babies (my first and her second) we stayed in touch through blogging, facebook and twitter. She has been incredibly supportive to Sweet Stella's, and even ordered her amazing party favours and custom items for her daughter's 1st birthday party from me.



Since advertising over on Jenni From the Blog, some really awesome parties have come my way, including one that I've just finished up the last item for and will be shipping out tomorrow!



So, Jenni, I am very thankful to call you a friend. Thank you so much for being so incredibly supportive of Sweet Stella's, and this mama's attempt to make-it with her craftiness!

Thankful Thursday: Kristal and Denise

Last night, The Artisan Group held its very first Twitter Party. It was a HUGE success and the conversation lasted a full half an hour after the party wrap up time! #artisangroup was even a trending topic only minutes into the party!



Big congratulations to the winners from the party last night, which will be formally announced on the brand shiny new Artisan Group blog!

Winners are:

Q1 Tiffany Ard - ArtbyAfton – 8x10 print
Q2 Barbie Spruill - Little Free Radical – Giftcard to Etsy shop $15
Q3 Cheryl Morreale - Sweet Stella’s – stationary box with custom notestack
Q4 Ashley Harris - BeezKneez – stationary set
Q5 Miranda Bouck - AJSweet Soap – popcorn and gelato soaps
Q6 Summer Ison - AWE Shop – silver spiral earrings
Q7 Staci Salazar - Honeyprint - $20gift card
Q8 Katherine Kennerly - BeezKneez – stationary set
B1 Ashley Harris - FancyDesigns - choice of stationary
B2 Charline Williams - Sweet Stella's - hand painted journal
B3 S. Dulaney - BeezKnees - stationary set

Today, I wanted to send out a very special thank you to my co-hosts last night, Kristal from Atutudes and Denise from AJSweetSoaps.

Last night during the party, what you didn't see was me frantically trying to post and reply to everyone's questions while Kristal collected all of the correct trivia answers and Denise interacted with participants and kept the conversation going.

What you didn't see was the moment at Question6 when TweetDeck told me that I was over my status update limit and had been placed in Twitter jail, essentially. You didn't see the direct messages frantically sent to Denise and Kristal for their support, but you did see them come to the rescue to keep the party going!

What you didn't see was the excitement being shared between the members of The Artisan Group with all of your involvement, and that we can't wait to do it all over again once this years Nominees are announced! Stay Tuned!

Thankful Thursday: Twitter

I was himming and hawing last night while trying to get comfortable in bed and trying fruitlessly to fall asleep about what I would post today for Thankful Thursday.

It just dawned on my right now...3:14pm EST...that I am very thankful for Twitter.

Without Twitter, and following people like Kristal from @atutudes, I wouldn't have known or linked with with The Artisan Group.

Without Twitter, I wouldn't have been asked by Metro News to send them a press release, and that article would never have happened.

Without Twitter, I wouldn't be able to chat with the mom's that I love so much and who have been such a huge support of my role as a mom and MOMpreneur, on a daily basis.

Without Twitter, I woudln't be able to reach out and connect with hundreds if not thousands of people, participate in TweetUp's, host a Tweetup for The Artisan Group, or link up with charities that are looking for product donations.

So, thank you Twitter! Social media is amazing...don't fight it! Hop on into the conversations!

Thankful Thursday: Picnik

I know that it's still Wednesday, but I'm really hopeful that the weather will cooperate tomorrow and I'll be able to get out on our favourite trail for a nice 10km walk in the morning, followed by a lengthy banner-creation session when Mr. O has a nap in the afternoon *fingers crossed*

Recently, I've been incredibly thankful for Picnik.com

I don't necessarily use to to edit product photos or things like that, but I do use it to design lovely things like...Photo collages for promotional listings, silent auction donations and charity events







New business cards for the Emmy's







front








back


I really enjoy the soften feature, where I upload my logo and soften the entire picture, then write on the top on it in black font for a custom listing






The versatility of the program is outstanding. In addition to the soften feature, you can put your pictures into black and white, sepia, tone up or down certain colours, concentrate on one colour or another...the possibilities are endless!

For a MOMpreneur who needs to keep overhead down, it's a great program and has really simplified graphic design for me! And...keeping processes simple is something I am incredibly thankful for!

Thankful Thursday: My Dad

Well...Thursday is almost over, but it's never to late to pay tribute and be thankful.


Last night, I was working on some hanging decor (new product!! To be revealed soon!) for my son's birthday and I looked up at this


















I have a picture of my Dad, the only one of us dancing together at my God Mom's wedding back in late 80's, a favour tag from my wedding that read All You Need Is Love (they were tied to homemade chocolate chip cookies, using my Dad's recipe) and a heart from a donation I made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.


I get alot of my inspiration from my Dad, who (very) unfortunately passed away in 2005 from a sudden and massive heart attack. Not a day goes by that I don't miss him, and not a day goes by that I don't think I hear his voice, feel a breeze by my shoulder, or see my son looking far past me and smile...I think at my Dad.


So today, Thanks Dad! Thank you for being there, watching over me while I work and dance like a fool in my studio. Thank you for brushing past me and whispering "I'm proud of you" when I need it most!

Thankful Thursday: MomNation

Good morning everyone!

I'm a little bit more on the ball this week...sort of. I definitely woke up thinking that it was Friday and got very excited for the weekend. Then, I realized that it is actually Thursday, and didn't want to miss my chance to participate in Thankful Thursday!

Today, I am thankful for





I was flitting around on Twitter last night while making the final parts of Jenni's order, and stumbled across Mom Nation, and Jen Banks.


Mom Nation is a growing movement of real women, sharing real stories about what is it really like to be a mom and woman. Truly, and inspiring network of women!


After looking through the website, I realized that there was a party going on over on Twitter. So, back to Twitter I went and I participated. Not only were the questions really awesome and made me sit down and think about my life as a mom, but I also won a prize!!


Then, as the answers were rolling in, it was announced that Mom Nation was trending on Twitter! It was amazing to be involved in a trending topic, and to connect with other moms, read their answers to the questions and have a little bit of quiet time to reflect.


Link up with Mom Nation and join the trend! You can also find Mom Nation on facebook!

Thankful Thursday: Rocking Chairs

After not a whole lot of sleep on Tuesday night, as my husband was away for the night and I am a bit of a worry wart when home alone in this big house, nothing could have been more comforting than this



My son and I had a good snuggle in the afternoon, while listening to Rockabye Baby Beatles (something I will be eternally thankful for). My eyes were closed, and I was definitely nodding off when I felt a warm little something nuzzle into my ribs. I looked down and saw the most peaceful angel drifting off to dreamland and snuggling into the warmth of his Mom.


Perfection.




Thankful Thursday: Playdates

Yesterday, Monster and I took a much needed break from...well...everything! We had a great big Valentine's playdate with some of our little friends and for that, I am extremely thankful.


I was lovely to sit around with other fantastic moms and talk about labour and delivery, the thought of having second children, going back to work, milestones and body image issues.


It was amazing.


These moms, a few of whom are MOMpreneurs, are so inspiring to me. We talked baby food, breastfeeding issues, formula differences...you name it! In 3 hours, moms can talk about alot.


So, to my lovely Mommas group...thank you SO much for the playdate yesterday. I appreciate you all so incredibly much!


Thankful Thursday: Embellishments

We're at that lovely time of the week when we're almost done and the weekend is right around the corner!

Today, I'm thankful for embellishments.

Buttons

Brads

Paper Punchers

Die Cuts

They all add a little sparkle to an otherwise simple product.

Take our Sweet Treat Bags for example.


Sure, I could have just tied them with ribbon, but what fun would that have been? I could have sewn on a button to the bag, but I decided to go with layered paper cut with a paper punch.

I find that it makes the bags a little bit more unique. I can use any cardstock or paper under the sun, and any punch that I can get my hands on. I can switch up the papers, and still keep them coordinated for the colours of the client's event.

I'm all about customization, and adding sparkle to make each item unique and wonderful. Embellishments do just that!


Thankful Thursday: Slowly but Surely

Slowly but surely we're getting back into the swing of things.

Today's topic...cold remedies for babies and parents!

I am very thankful for our humidifier, which has helped our son feel a tonne better and also for the following products







Both have helped our son get through his cold. It's terrible that there's nothing really you can do when your baby gets sick...snuggles, movies, cartoons, family naps. The humidifier, along with the Vapour-Plugin and Vicks Baby Rub (on his chest and bottoms of his feet, at every diaper change and after a pre-bedtime warm bath) has really helped. He's still pretty snotty, but he's at least not as miserable as he was at the beginning of the week.

Now, what has helped Mommy feel better?




We're not big medicators in our family, though I will take sinus medication to relieve the pain and pressure, and typically I've leaned toward natural remedies before OTC medication. I was terrified to use the Neti-Pot, but now that I have and have felt the instant relief, I can't imagine not having this the routine.

It's pretty gross, but it really relieves the pain and pressure associated with a sinus cold. Use as needed, up to four times a day, adjusting the saline solution to one that is comfortable to use. The trick is to breathe through your mouth and relax...let gravity take hold and try not to be too grossed out with the stream that will run out of one nostril and down your face. It really does work, and I would highly recommend it to a busy Mom or Dad who has a little one on their hands and can't afford to be sick for too long!

We'll be back into the full swing of things in a few days after a few more naps...many more movies and a few more snuggles.

Until then, have you entered the giveaway yet? It ends on MONDAY!


Thankful Thursday: ReOrganization

I know that some readers have long been waiting for this post, so here goes.
Today, I am thankful for...

...storage systems
...organization
...glass jars
...labelled bins
...faux leather marker holders
...a space to call my own


The complete Sweet Stella's set-up


Mailing central on the window bench...glass jars to be filled with buttons for upcoming projects

Even my waste-basket is coordinated

A little note on the side to remind me that my Dad is proud of me

Martha Stewart meets JetMax...perfection


A place for paint...
...papers and projects

I absolutely love having ribbons on display! They are so colourful!

Stamps...punches...pencils...paper!

I absolutely adore my new studio. It was a long time coming, and I finally feel like this is a space where I can be me. I can pour my all into projects, test out new products and techniques, and create some really beautiful items for you all.

I hope it inspires you to create a space for you, that you can breathe in!
While you're dreaming, don't forget to enter the giveaway!


Thankful Thursday: My Ladies

This morning, while pondering a new product, I knew exactly who to go to for advice.

My ladies.

When I was pregnant with my son, I frequented The Bump and quickly established amazing friendships with a group of women whom I am very happy to still be chatting away with today. All of our babies were due within a month or so of one another, and it made the journey...bearable. I had a difficult pregnancy, and they were there every step of the way, cheering me on.

That hasn't changed, and for that I am eternally thankful.

I posted my idea for the new product, which actually isn't new for me at all but is something that I've just been doing for the past 8 years and giving away as gifts to new mom's, and waited for the reactions. The ladies did not let me down.

Not only did they encourage me to do it, they helped affirm that my price is on point, that shipping is manageable as it is a large item, and were incredibly supportive.

So...Lisa, Emily, Andrea, Amanda, Holly, Jenna, Barbie, Jaffra, Ally, Patty, Christina, Kassi, Censie, Aubree, Crystal, , Megan P, Megan C, Janet, Theresa, Kristin, Cassie, Melissa, Shmizz...I thank you. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.


Thankful Thursday: Specialty Shops

Happy Thursday, everyone! We've almost made it to the end of the week, which is something to be thankful for in itself!

This week, I am extremely Thankful for....

Specialty Shops!

I know, I know...sounds weird, right? But when I get right down to my paper inventory and stamps, I cannot find nearly the same things at the big chain stores as I can at say...

All About Scrapbooks in Woodstock, ON

or

Scrapbook Memories in London, ON

or even...

Close To My Heart...which is definitely my preferred go-to place for ideas and amazing papers (doesn't hurt to have a great friend as a consultant either...another thing to be thankful for!)

I am thankful for their amazing selection of papers...unique, lovely...beautiful! Walking about rows and rows of paper, brads, embellishments and do-dad's is enough to make this girl go crazy with ideas!

I am thankful for the beautiful store that my mother-in-law and I went to today...

Paper Players in Dunedin, FLA

Absolutely amazing invitations, banners, favours and beautiful papers abound!

And did you know? It's National Papercrafting Month!

Sounds like a new product announcement is coming!! (stay tuned!)

What are you thankful for today?