Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Straw cases are here!


You guys, I am SO excited about these straw cases. I have been dreaming them up for a long time and after numerous requests over the summer, I decided to carve out some time and draft the pattern. I am so pleased to say that they are now listed in my Etsy shop for the holiday season. The best part? They are available in fifteen different colors. Yes! They are available as the case alone or with two 9" handmade stainless steel straws. What a fun way to work towards a zero waste lifestyle.


Let's just take a second to talk about these stainless steel straws too. A local MA woman and her team hand make these straws. They are AMAZING. They make cold drinks extra crisp and cold. I say this to everyone, but I don't think you can fully comprehend what I mean until you actually try them out for yourself! Not only do I love supporting another small business, but I love using and sharing a quality product.

As a thank you for your support, go ahead and use this code STRAW2018 for 15% off all straw cases from now until the end of November.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Now let's take a peek!









Thursday, November 1, 2018

October 2018 Favorites

October is easily one of my favorite months of the year. So I'm very excited to share my favorite items from this past month. Here we go!

1. Little Women - Rifle Paper Co. edition: We took a trip to Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, MA this month to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary (we got married at Fruitlands!). I always make a point to pick up a little keepsake when we make the trip out there. The week we visited was the same week that Emma Watson was in town filming Little Women (eek!) so of course this made the perfect souvenir! And on top of all that, the cover is designed by Rifle Paper!


2. Halloween sewing: After about 8 different costume ideas, Amaia finally decided on being Dani Dennison from Hocus Pocus. I sewed together a skirt, shirt, and hat along with a crocheted scarf. All in all it took about one weekend to make, but it was SO fun to put together.


3. Fall zippers & fabric: I've shared these prints on Instagram quite a bit, but I absolutely love these new fall colors. I normally work with much lighter and brighter prints, so I am loving this new change in my work. Be sure to check out my Instagram account for more inspiration.




4. Patagonia sweatshirt: This organic cotton sweatshirt is everything. Seriously. I've been in the market for a Patagonia jacket for ages, but I spotted this one on a recent trip to Maine and it was the perfect fit. It is a bit pricey, but completely worth the investment. I swear I've been wearing it every day since. Perfect for fall weather!

photo credit: patagonia.com 

5. Reusable produce bags: Our town recently banned all single-use plastic bags at stores. They do still offer plastic produce bags, but I've recommitted to using my reusable produce bags every time I shop.  I'm not perfect, but I try to keep them with my larger reusable shopping bags for an easy reminder.  Go ahead and sew up some for yourself or grab some from my Etsy shop!


6. Rohm portable noise machine: Growing up I always needed some sort of white noise to help me sleep. That usually came in the form of a fan. That is until now, when I recently discovered this sound machine. The kids and I sleep so much better when this machine is running. It's portable too so I can attach it to the stroller when we head out on our morning walks. The best part, it helps cover up the humming noise of my sewing machine! Because I do most of my sewing during nap time, having a noise machine run while I'm working has been a tremendous help.
photo credit: marpac.com

7. Hot & cold pack: A few years ago a made hot & cold packs for everyone in my family. In fact, I even contemplated making an Etsy shop selling them! They are my go to remedy for just about everything: headache, sinus problems, muscle pain, cramps, etc. I fill them with rice, whole flax seed, and dried lavender. It always does the trick! And in colder months, I love to heat it up and throw under the covers to keep nice and warm while sleeping!

8. IKEA Variera bins & ziplock bags for sorting projects: Holiday season can get quite hectic for makers. So I shopped around my house and created a new organization system for my on-going projects. These simple ikea bins allow me to sort things into ready to cut, ready to sew, and ready to trim piles. I also use old zip-lock bags for storing my work safely. With two little kids running around, this step is super important. I don't love using plastic bags (see above) but I've been reusing these bags for the past four years, and they have many years of use ahead of them! I've had the bins on hand for a few years as well, so it was nice to have a no-spend organization solution.  
photo credit: ikea.com

As always, none of this is sponsored. Just sharing my honest opinion of items I love using in my sewing and mom life & routines. Thanks for following along! 

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

September 2018 Favorites


Another month has flown by! September marked a very exciting month for our family as little Alexander turned the big one year old! It's crazy how time flies with kids. When people say the days are slow but the years are FAST, they are completely right.

Family apple picking trip 2018!

Last month brought us on a family trip to the White Mountains in New Hampshire, lots of weekend fall activities, and the beginning of ballet class for Amaia. It was a fun yet relaxing month also filled with lots of sewing and market prep. In maker world, crazy season starts about mid-October until Christmas time, so I'm trying to squeeze in as much work as I can these days. 

September was fun, so I'm excited to share my favorites:

1. Portsmouth Fabric Company: We took a quick family trip to one of my absolute favorite fabric & quilt shops in Portsmouth, NH. If you are in the local area this shop is an absolute MUST. They have an amazing selection and there is something magical about the creaky old wooden floors that just make me smile. 

Rainy day in Portsmouth, NH. 

2. Fall fabrics: A recent trip to West Elm (just to browse!) has me absolutely in love with this fall color palette. I was so inspired by their fall look that I've been searching for these colors. Give me all the burnt orange, teal, and blush prints! 

Fall fabric from Portsmouth Fabric Co. 

3. New rotary blades: Over the summer I stocked up on spare sewing machine needles. So last month I invested in new rotary blades. Personally, I always keep the two items on hand. And yes, splurging on Olfa or Fiskars does make a difference! If your fabric edges are looking rough, it's definitely time to replace your blade. 

Photo credit: olfa.com

4. Reusable straw case: Eeek! I'm SO excited about this. I've been thinking about making a case for my reusable straws for ages. With two kiddos in the mix it isn't always easy to carve out the time for pattern drafting. After numerous requests over the summer, I knew now was the time. I'm planning on releasing it for sale online by the end of October, so be on the look out for details. Plus I'll be bringing a limited batch with me to my markets. Yay!

Straw cases will be up for grabs at the end of October!

5. Mane Message shop & YouTube channel: Over the past few months I've really gotten into watching YouTube. We cancelled cable, so when I'm looking for something to watch I've been turing to fun vlogs on YouTube. Olivia runs a handmade hair accessory shop and also makes videos about business and lifestyle. I love watching her shop and story grow through her channel. 

Photo credit: @manemessage on Instagram

6. A Little Bazaar kick-off: September marked the kick-off of A Little Bazaar Market Season at Mill No. 5 in Lowell, MA! I've been a vendor at A Little Bazaar for several years now and it's definitely one of my all time favorite markets. The venue itself is amazing but the unique and dedicated vendors make it worth the trip. Check it out if you're local. I'll be vending there myself on November 10th, 2018. 

Photo credit: alittlebazaar.market

7. @hilary.rachael on Instagram: I stumbled upon Hilary's wonderful Instagram account and I seriously can't get enough. She is all about wellness and learning to live a slow lifestyle. Something I definiltey need in my life right now. I love reading her tips for slowing down and taking care of yourself. Even better, she is all about community and loves to help and share her knowledge with others.
Photo credit: @hilary.rachael on Instagram

That's all for September! We're already a week into October and I've already got some fun ideas. Thanks for following along! Share what you're loving in the comments below! 

Friday, September 21, 2018

Fabric Haul

Today I thought it might be fun to share a recent fabric haul! If I'm not sewing, I'm either sorting through my fabric stash or dreaming of adding new prints to my stash. I absolutely love matching up colors and textures. There is just something about fabric that makes me happy.

Let's jump right in! For starters, I decided to restock this gorgeous blue palette that I've been working with all summer. If you follow me on Instagram, you already know I'm obsessed. I originally picked these up in person at the Portsmouth Fabric Co. in New Hampshire, but this time around I did a quick online order. They remind me of classic seaside New England. Especially with those adorable whales!


Next up I tried out some new fall inspired colors. I don't know about you, but I'm dying for some cool crisp fall weather. It has been a hot and humid summer in our area, and I'm ready for the leaves to change, the air to cool off, and some fun fall activities.  I'm hoping to combine these with cotton muslin to make some new reusable produce bags. I've had this idea in the works for a LONG time, so I'm glad I finally found the perfect prints. Perhaps a few zipper bags too!


Last but not least, I picked up two Rifle Paper Co. prints I've been eyeing for quite some time. This gorgeous butterfly canvas is from the new English Garden line. Think of all the zipper pouches I can make! It isn't pictured here, but I also picked up a yard of the Rosa in Peach fabric from the Les Fleurs line. This one is super hard to find these days, so I tend to grab it when I see it!


This year I've been more intentional about sewing from my current stash rather than buying new fabric. And as a self-confessed fabric hoarder, it's hard for me to do this! I just love browsing fabric shops both in person and online. I always say that sewing and fabric shopping are two separate hobbies in and of themselves. If you sew and love fabric, you definitely know what I mean. When I do make a purchase, I'm trying to be more mindful. Instead of just picking up what looks pretty in the moment, I only buy what I need and will use right away. Sure I still have a few impulsive buys here and there, but for the most part I've drastically cut down what I buy.

And speaking of fabric shopping, the prints I bought for this haul were from FabricBubb.com and Fabric.com. This post is not sponsored, just sharing my honest opinions and purchases

What is your favorite print from this haul? Leave your comment below!

Alyssa





Thursday, September 20, 2018

Upcoming Markets 2018

Local friends! Come visit me at a local market this fall & winter. I'll be setting up shop at several locations over the next few months. I'll be updating this post with dates and locations frequently as I confirm things, so please check back here often.

Upcoming Markets:

Saturday, November 10th, Mill No. 5, 250 Jackson Street, Lowell, MA

Saturday, December 1st, Mill No. 5, 250 Jackson Street, Lowell, MA

Saturday, December 15th, Mill No. 5, 250 Jackson Street, Lowell, MA



Monday, September 10, 2018

August 2018 Favorites

As a part of a new series, I'm sharing my favorite things (both sewing & non-sewing items) each month. I get tons of questions on social media about the fabrics, tools, and supplies I use in my shop, so I thought it would be fun to do a monthly round-up of everything I currently love! My life isn't 100% sewing, so I'll be throwing in some extras too, like a new book I can't put down, what I'm sipping on while I work, or a new YouTube channel I can't get enough of. And of course, my favorite sewing supplies, tools, fabrics, shops, tutorials, patterns, and more. Fun, right?! 

Let's jump right in! Here are my favorites from last month (in no particular order!).

1. Olfa frosted non-slip acrylic ruler: This thing is AMAZING. I've been using the same cutting ruler for 13 years. Yes, that's right 13 years. The markings were rubbing off, it was constantly slipping out of place, and eventually one day my daughter snapped it in half. And it's a good thing she did, because it forced me to order a new one. I hated, loathed, despised cutting fabric for years. And now I know why. I just needed a new ruler!! This Olfa frosted, non-slip ruler certainly does the trick. It is just the right size (6x24), it stays in place, and the numbers are super easy to read. Dare I even say that I like to cut fabric now?!

Photo credit: Olfa.com


2. Fabric Bubb: Fabric Bubb is one of my go-to online fabric retailers. Not only do I love supporting a small business, but Kristina's customer service, bundle selections, and quick shipping makes her shop on the top of my list. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for one of her sales when she generally offers 20% off.

Photo credit: Fabric Bubb (http://www.fabricbubb.com)


3. High quality thread: Confession time. I've only ever used Coats & Clark thread for sewing. It honestly never even crossed my mind to use a higher quality product. My mom always used Coats & Clark, so I always used Coats & Clark. It's funny how that goes! This past month several people on social media were talking about using Gutermann or Aurifil thread. So I went ahead and picked up a spool of Gutermann at my local Joann Fabrics to see what all the hype was about! I wasn't overly wooed, but I could definitely feel the difference in quality. It seemed to be a bit thicker and stronger which will lead to better quality products. I typically only sew with natural colored thread, so I'm excited to stock up on some spools for my fall & winter sewing.

 Photo credit: Fabric.com 


4. New needles & rotary blades: This summer I got in the habit of keeping extra needles and rotary blades on hand, because yes, your needle will snap when you're sewing under a deadline. Right, isn't that how it always goes? I love being able to just grab a new needle or blade and carry on working. Because lugging two kids with me to the nearest Joann is not ideal. You won't regret having a stash!

Photo credit: Joann.com


5. New sewing labels: I used to order my sewing labels through Etsy, but after a decline in quality and a very slow turnaround time, I decided to make my own. It is SO easy to do. There is definitely a learning curve, but once I figured out the heat, pressure, and time settings, it has become second nature. All of this to say that I just ordered a wider twill to create new fold-over labels. I'm planning on posting a tutorial in the near future to show my process. 

Photo credit: www.etsy.com


6. Ikea rolling cart: I think every sewing studio under the sun has this cart. I've had it for several years now, but I just recently started using the top shelf on a daily basis as a staging area for projects I'm actively sewing. I love having my stack of cut fabrics right at table level to grab and sew. 

Photo credit: Ikea.com


7. New house plants: Lately I've been adding a few new house plant friends to my studio space. Adding some green to my work space makes me feel calm and happy. Plus they look pretty too! And I didn't even spend a dime on the plants. One was inherited from a coworker and one was a clipping propagated from another plant in our kitchen.  



8. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins: I know this book is a couple of years old, but I cannot put it down. If you love a good thriller, this one is for you! I also should say that this is my second attempt at reading this book. Not because it is hard to get into, but because I've had a serious case of mom brain for the past four years. 



9. Erin Condren planner: On the advice of one of my favorite YouTubers, Blair Lamb, I decided to go ahead and order an Erin Condren notebook to use as a planner. I'm a huge fan of lists and I find that a traditional planner doesn't have enough space for me. So the notebook allows me to write out my weekly and daily tasks with an infinite amount of space. I've struggled a lot with anxiety this year, and writing things down on paper makes me feel so much better. Even when I'm feeling stressed with a million tasks to do, my planner helps me keep my thoughts straight and establish a plan of attack.



Well there you go! My August 2018 sewing & and non-sewing favorites. And just so you know, none of this is sponsored. I'm just sharing my honest opinion of products that I genuinely love and want to share. Let me know in the comments something you were loving in August!

Alyssa 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Life Update: August 2018


Friends! 2018 has certainly gotten away from me. I had such grand plans for Amaia Papaya, but then life with two young kids happened. I went back to my day job in January and my husband picked up a second job around the same time. That meant my sewing & blogging time was cut back to nearly nothing. But I am still here, still committed to making things happen. Why? Because this is what I love. Sewing, creating, writing, and sharing my journey.


My son's first birthday is coming up fast, and as a gift to myself (because let's be honest, we need to celebrate mom for getting through the 1st year!) I'm committing to carving out time for sewing writing, reading again (it's been several YEARS since I've picked up and completed a book), and making self-care/health a priority. It's not that I've stopped sewing during the past 8 months. It's just that it has felt hectic, forced and quite honestly I should have been sleeping instead. Fast forward to today, my husband is no longer working two jobs and our family schedule seems a bit back to normal.



So here we are, September is upon us and we're shifting into fall. Holiday season in the maker world is absolute craziness. I've laid out my goals for the next six months. Small attainable check-marks that make me feel focused and not so hectic. If I reach these goals, great. If I don't, life will move on.

When I originally sat down to write this blog post, I intended to do a fabric haul. But instead all of this just came out. I guess I needed to provide a little update on where life stands before I jump back into things. 2018 has been an amazing year so far. Stressful? Yes. Chaotic? Yes. But also a darn good year in so many other ways. My husband was finally granted permanent residency here in the US, we reached so many milestones with Alexander, Amaia turned 4 and is blossoming into such an amazing young lady, we spent almost two weeks on vacation in Florida, and now we are looking forward to so many more adventures this fall. I really feel like I'm turning a new leaf with a newly found sense of focus and direction. 


And oh yes, that fabric haul is still coming. Because fabric is everything around here. I promised myself I wouldn't go overboard buying new prints this year and focus on sewing from my current stash. But I was in need of a restock on some staple prints and naturally I strayed a bit.

Thanks for sticking around this year. It means the world. Fingers crossed, my plan is to post bi-weekly. Stay tuned for more to come! Leave a comment and let me know what you've been up to this year!







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