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In 2017 I decided it was time to bring the guest blog back while also seeking guest blogging opportunities for myself too! I connected with Fiona from Shomsa Creations in one of the small business & blogging Facebook groups we are both a part of. What I learned after talking with her is that this was her first time writing a blog!! That's super exciting to me because blogging is such a fun way to connect with you all & to have another creative outlet!
So let's hear it for Fiona & see her story behind this awesome DIY decorative pillow cushion!
DIY Decorative Pillow Cushion
After having two children in a space of 14 months (yes I have been busy) I decided to start my business making clothes and products for children inspired by Africa.
Now anyone who knows me knows I love color! The brighter the better in my eyes! This makes perfect sense because I am of African descent and we sure do love our vibrant colors and bold patterns.
My husband on the other hand is the male equivalent of ‘plain Jane’ if he had it his way, our home would only have colors like cream and brown. So I thought I would “introduce” color to our home by making beautiful cushion covers using African print fabric- the perfect accent to any room. My kids love their 50 cushions in their room- mainly for jumping on or throwing around.
There are so many ways you can make decorative throw cushions but I’m going to share with you 5 easy, straight forward steps to making your own cushions. You don’t need to know how to sew or have a sewing machine!
What you need:
It’s so simple it’s addictive. Trust me I know! Why not make some red ones to make your house a home of lurrrrve this February. Like my page www.facebook.com/shomsacreations and tag me with your finished cushions I would love to see what you make.
“Mommy, can you make a doll for me?”
It was an innocent request by my daughter when she was about five years old. I had been quilting her whole life and she thought that if I could make a quilt, I could surely make a doll. I knew nothing about making dolls, and little about making clothes for them. This was my daughter, though, and I had to try. How hard could it be, right?
Harder than I thought. Those early dolls had floppy necks and interesting proportions, but my daughter loved them because I made them. Still, I wanted to make a “good” doll, so I kept trying. It was still all about my daughter, and a point of personal achievement for me. I needed these dolls to reflect my pretty, brown, little girl. I sought out interesting yarns for the hair and learned how to dye my own fabric to create the skin tones I wanted.
Selling the dolls and creating a business around them did not cross my mind.
Selling them did cross the minds of my husband and my mother, however. After a few gentle (and not-so-gentle) nudges from them, I agreed to be a vendor at a women’s convention that my mother and several other relatives would be attending in 2010. I took about 30 dolls and some of my quilts, fully expecting that maybe a few people would visit my booth, and maybe one or two people would buy something, and then I’d go home and find some new consulting gig.
It did not turn out that way. I was shocked by the positive reactions of the women to my dolls. Women who had no interest in dolls stopped to chat. I heard so many beautiful stories of favorite childhood dolls and the loving mothers or grandmothers who made them. A tiny, white-haired lady just hugged me. I sold all but two of the dolls I brought. That is when I knew I had hit on something.
Jacq’s Dollhouse had been born!
Now, almost 4 years later, I still create handmade cloth dolls, but now I am working on a new project – children’s books. I have written three short stories about a little girl named Ruby, based on my grandmother, who is growing up in late-1920s Texas. I plan to illustrate the books with my own small art quilts. There is also a doll that will accompany the books. Can I get it all done in 2014? Come along with me and find out!
To check out Jacq's Dollhouse, visit her here:
I had my daughter 8 years ago and she was a calm, happy baby.
I would watch those newborn shows with babies who were crying within the first few days (or first few hours) and I would think it was so strange. My daughter would fuss, but would never get into an all out crying fit.
Now, before you totally hate me, I’ll fast forward to 23 months later.
It was August of 2007 and my son was born. And wow – was he BORN! I would change his diaper, he would scream. I would change his clothes, he would scream. Nothing would happen (that I was aware of anyway, I guess something was happening to him), and he would scream! The nurses would come into the room to make sure everything was okay with
him. He would also scream when put in his car seat, which prompted my nurse to give me a big hug the day I was leaving the hospital and encourage me to call someone if I needed someone to talk to.
It didn’t get any better when we got home.
When he was awake, he was often cranky, if he slept, it was not for long. He’d be up multiple times during the night. I never knew when he’d be up, and for how long he would be up for. In fact, while getting ready to write this, I found a night waking log when he was 6 months old. He was up 9 times during one of the nights I was logging for, the longest stretch of sleep he had was 3 hours and 30 minutes.
It is funny even now when I think about that time I can remember some feelings, like the feeling in the pit of my stomach when I would hear his pacifier fall out in the night. I would know that it would not be long before he was awake again. I can also remember not even wanting to go to sleep since I knew it would not be for long and it was so much harder to get back up once falling asleep.
I did buy some books about sleep training, but I was so tired, the thought of doing any training, when I knew I’d actually get less sleep in the short run, was not at all appealing. I tried a few things, but now I know I was not consistent with anything long enough to make a real change. I also tried some things people usually say do not work, but I figured I’d give them a try anyway. So I switched over to formula at night. That did not help, so then I added rice cereal to his bottles. That also did not work, and I was so frustrated one night I actually put so much cereal in that I clogged up the nipple of the bottle!
So, the sleeplessness continued . . .
When my son was a little over 3, a well known sleep specialist by the name of Kim West, aka The Sleep Lady ® opened her own program training sleep coaches. I had been working with children in a Montessori school, but was looking for a change, and I majored in Psychology in college, so I thought, “why not”?
At that point I decided to get my son’s sleeping under control (yes, that’s right – I waited over 3 years!). It was not nearly as bad as it had been – he’d wake from 1 – 3 times a night to be covered up and get a quick hug. But, in those 3 plus years, I had almost never had a complete night sleep. Luckily for me, he knew how to fall asleep on his own so we created a sticker chart which tracked a couple of key things I needed him to do, the most important being “Put yourself back to sleep at night”. We added a special reward at the end of the week – a matchbox car, and within a couple of weeks he was sleeping all night long!
It still took me awhile to be able to actually sleep all night without waking in the middle of the night wondering if he was okay, but eventually it all worked out and we were all sleeping, until I adopted a 7 week old puppy and that was the end of that for a few weeks. Fortunately though, sleep training a puppy is much easier than sleep training a child!
Now I am lucky enough to be able to work with other parents who are going through what I went through for so long. I love doing what I am doing, I work closely with the parents and create a plan that fits with their child and their philosophies, so not only am I helping them sleep, I am doing it while not compromising their values.
-By Micelle Winters
SleepWell Sleep Solutions
Here is where you can find Michelle:
I have had eczema since I was a child and have constantly struggled to find products that would work for my sensitive skin. Later in my teenage years a dermatologist told me that the best I could do was to keep moisturizing my skin because there is no cure and no one is sure of the cause. As a result I began researching the ingredients that would most benefit my skin type and the ones to avoid when buying skin products.
I live in the Northeast and the winter of 2010 was quite harsh. My skin became so dry, cracked and itchy I decided to take hands on approach to my skin care needs. I started researching how different body products were made by reading different blogs, watching lots of videos and checking out books out of my local library. I was amazed at all the things I could make but decided to focus on body butters and soaps.
I mostly use the cold processed method of soap making. In the basic process I mix vegetable oils and butters with a sodium hydroxide solution. The solution is most often made with water but I also use other liquids such as goat’s milk, vegetable purees and fruit purees. Clays, herbs and minerals are then added for their color and their beneficial properties to the skin. The last ingredients I usually add are plant extracts, vitamin e and the fragrance or essential oil.
I get inspired a lot by different types of foods, mainly baked goods. Many of my soaps also contain edible ingredients such as beer, oatmeal, dehydrated orange slices and honey. I am planning on making a margarita themed soap that will contain Dead Sea salt and lime essential oil.
I also choose ingredients based on the properties I want my soaps to have. An example is the oatmeal milk and honey soaps I formulated for gentle cleansing and moisturizing. They contain fine ground oatmeal for gentle exfoliation and soothing inflammation, honey and goat’s milk for moisturizing the skin and oils including coconut, olive, vitamin e and shea butter.
Many times people will suggest I try a fragrance they love or an ingredient I have never thought of before. Other times I get inspired when people will ask if I have soaps the can use because they have a nut allergy or a specific need that have not been met with commercial products. I am constantly inspired by the online soap making community. It amazes me how creative, supportive and generous the people in the soap making community are. There is a constant learning environment where everyone shares insights on how to make our products and industry better.
I can be found here on facebook!
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My name is Kristina and I'm the founder of Love Struck. Read about how Love Struck came to be, see how I make it happen or just read a random thought I just might have! Anything can happen at our blog & I wouldn't have it any other way! It's time to get Love Struck, and what better way to start than right here!