Monday, October 26, 2009

Fix Your Facebook!

This is copied from a facebook post in my status updates!

To restore old Facebook look. Look to the left menu on the home tab and click on MORE. Then drag STATUS UPDATES to the top. After dragging to top, click on it. That becomes your default and it is like before. Pass it on.

That's it!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A New Venture

I met a lovely woman, the mother of one of my kid's schoolmates. She is a seamstress, like me, but she makes costumes for LARP, ren faires and CSA. She commissioned me to create some belt pouches to take with her this weekend to a LARP event. I gave her the outside rectangles to embroider, and WOW! The possibilities! They all use my typical recycled leather. I am excited because these use the heavier leather I am not able to make shoes from. They can be custom ordered in several colors, choices of images, or plain. Enjoy!

This butterfly mask she gave my daughter as a gift. See, I told you she was a lovely woman! These pouches can be direct ordered through me. Jo Jo is sporting a mask I had already, bought 20+ yrs ago, I may remake this one in leather. I will be working on a line of animal masks once the busy Christmas season is over.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Little Etsy Love!

I love my customers. I do! No, REALLY. Not just because they buy shoes from me. But because I get to hear from them after they get their shoes. Their reactions give me more satisfaction than getting paid.
Sometimes they send pictures, which makes me feel like they value what I do so much more, to take the time to come bad, leave feedback AND take a picture during their busy lives.
Here's some of the feedback that gives me such joy:

"As I held these little shoes in my hand I could just imagine sliding them softly onto little feet. As a mom of four I would have loved to have these when my children were little! Soft yet protective of little feet. A perfect shoe for little feet!"
"Totally AWESOME!!! so well made, cute and comfortable fit, great styling, my daughter just LOVES them!! they have growing room without being bulky, they are soft inside and out, and just what I hoped for!! thanks so much for offering such wonderful moccasins at an affordable price!! fast turnaround, fast shipping, well packaged, great communication, just everything perfect! thanks so much!!"
"Oh my goodness, I LOVE THESE BOOTS! They are the cutest, most well-made, most comfortable boots! My 2-year-old, who hates wearing shoes, won't take them off. I can't say enough positive things about your work. I will be back for more the *second* she outgrows these. Thank you so much!"

This is what makes a place like Etsy so wonderful to sell on. Without the feedback, I'm just another anonymous seller, and they're just anonymous customers. I've developed friendships with my customers, gotten to see their children, and have used their ideas to make KaBoogie shoes an even better product.

So thank you so much for every kind word, it makes doing what I love SO worthwhile!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Update on consignment issue

I've been finally contacted by the owner of the shop I sent my shoes to. It seems she left the return of the consignors merchandise to another, who may or may not have been thorough in returning said merchandise.

Without going into detailed personal information, she apologized for the inconvenience, and said the box had never been delivered, and is probably sitting at her post office, since their mailbox does not accommodate large packages, and they never got a delivery notice. I told her it's on her to go to her P.O. and find my shoes. I will also call and ask why they have not been returned. I'll not accept either one putting the issue off on the other. But for now, I am placing my happy thoughts on the matter until I can resolve it.

The store is closed, and many of the other consignors have gotten their merchandise back. Great, lol.

The lessons here are plenty. Many are mine to learn. But store owners, hear me now. COMMUNICATE with your vendors. Do not ignore your responsibilities because you're in a mess personally. We can sympathize, and understand personal trouble. What we cannot abide by is ignoring us because someone else was supposed to handle it. It's your store, your responsibility.

I'll update as I find out where the heck my shoes are.

Is This What You Get for Trusting?

I am so disgusted. I am so hurt. And now I'm getting mightily angry.

Back in August I was contacted by a Lisa Belcher from SeaGreen Treasures in Myrtle Beach. She asked me if I wanted to consign in her recycled gift shop. I googled her, saw her biz page as a real estate agent in Myrtle Beach, saw her lovely website, and had a lovely phone conversation with her. I loved her business model and the fact that she gave art classes, even free ones to kids who brought in recycled materials to use in class. Heck, she even posted pics of my shoes on her front page!

I worked all week on a shipment of shoes and boots to sell in her shop.

I emailed and convoed her on etsy to tell her the shoes were coming, bla bla bla. Heard nothing back, but stupidly, since I was enamored with this lovely business concept, I sent the shoes. This was on August 26. After I returned from the post office, I got this convo. Mind you, I called her 4 times that week, and she even called my house once, and did not leave a message:

by kiwibeach
profile shop contact
I've had some significant personal issues arise and am going to focus on my off-site recycled art classes (my original passion) vs. the retail store. Therefore, I will be returning all consignment merchandise to their respective designers through this week. Please do not send us any additional shipments.I apologize for any inconvenience and/or hardship this imposes and I regret that my I will unable to successfully carry out my business plan. Thanks in advance for your understanding!26 August 2009 3:31pm EDT

ALL she had to do was write "return to sender" on the box and drop it at the P.O.

Ok, so I can understand people have a crisis, and their plans change. But NO contact since, and no merchandise returned. I have contacted a few of the other sellers on her site, and am hearing similar stories, no contact, and no merch returned. If there was a sincere emergency, or crisis, should she not have had someone communicate with us?

I am out 10 pairs of shoes and boots. I am trying to trust in the better nature of my fellow humans.

My box was delivered on August 29th. It is now September 20th. It took 3 days for my merch to get there. I believe my next move is the Myrtle Beach Police, the state attorney general, and perhaps the real estate organization she is associated with. If anyone has personal experience with this woman, I'd love an email. I hate to call her out, but she is leaving me no choice.

Anyone in the Myrtle Beach area want to pay her a visit and get my shoes back? lol! I'll give you a free pair of boogie shoes!

And to Lisa Belcher of Seagreen Treasures...whatever your problems are, this is so wrong. I will inform Etsy of your practices. You need to communicate with your vendors, NOW. I truly hope you are not ill, nor experiencing some horrific trauma. But barring that, GIVE ME MY SHOES BACK. It's called stealing.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Recycled Leather Mask Tutorial

I bought this funky mask, made from some synthetic leathery product, about 20 years ago. I've used it as a mad cow ("moo, dammit") with white tee & pants with spots tacked on, or with street clothes on lazy Halloweens when I had to have something. It occurred to me, since it's trashed, to make another, and that there are limitless possibilities of design here. So I've recreated it. You can use any design you can google, get inspiration from, or come up with on your own. You are free to copy mine, just not for sale, of course.

Please let me know if these instructions are confusing, this is my first tutorial!

I'd say this is an intermediate job, leather sewing experience helps because of it's stretchiness, or heck, even use a mini glue gun for the smallest beads possible. I worked on this over 2 days. Read through all instructions first! This is a grown up mask, but for a kid you can trace a kid's size plastic mask!

**I highly recommend a teflon presser foot when sewing leather, which STICKS to metal ones. If you have paper tape that may help by taping the bottom of your metal presser foot. TEST it first. Also, a size 11 or 14 machine needle is fine for garment weight leather, a leather needle makes too large a hole, leather does not forgive holes, it's best to sew once, twice if you can hit the same holes the second time. I've developed a knack for being able to use the same holes.

All seams are exposed., except where the snout meets the face. It's stuffed slightly to give it stiffness. I used llama roving, you can use cotton balls, synthetic batting, geez, even scrap rag strips. Whatever you can stuff inside, you won't be machine washing it if you use leather.

Which brings me to materials. I used scraps of garment weight leather from skirts, jackets. I imagine even fabric would be fine, it's a mask, not a ball gown (you can pre-seam the edges to prevent fraying). The original mask used felt as horns, ear trim and whiskers. Some ideas...moleskin, vinyl, mix and match. Faux suede, denim, even recycled plastic wrappers, think outside the box! Anything you can sew or glue. Make a trash mask!

Here's my old mask, has seen better days.

You will need: face color; horn, ear trim, nostril and whisker color; eye band color. I used cream, red and black leather. If you are picky like me, have the matching thread on hand. 14" elastic will hold the mask on your face...

I roughly sketched the outside shape of the face and snout. (You can make a pattern by measuring your face from ear to ear, then close to the top of your forehead down to about the bottom of your mouth.) Then I cut the face and snout separately. I retraced the snout and made a mark at the point where the face and snout meet on each side. I added an additional width of about 1/4" on the top half of the snout on the sides (not on the top of the snout) above those marks (you'll see a point where the pattern juts out at the top half, this will be the point where you sew one snout piece to the top half of each face piece.

I drew & cut two vertical 1/4" V's for darts at the top, to give the snout some "pop-out" dimension. See picture below. You can see where the top half of the snout is wider than the space it fits in.

I then traced the horns and ears, adding an additional 1/4" at the ends where they meet the face, so you can tuck them into the two face pieces (you will cut 2 of all pieces, 4 for the ears and snout).

Don't forget **trace the 2 "whiskers" and the additional trim pieces at the bottom 1/3rd of the ears for the second ear color**.

Out of the first color, cut 2 face pieces (flip to draw the second one on these, trust me, both sides are rarely the same). Don't cut the eye holes out yet!!

2 snout pieces (flip as well)

4 ear pieces (draw 2, flip, draw 2)

Out of the second color, cut 4 horns; draw 2, flip draw 2. I used the original mask to guide in freehand drawing them, on the back of the leather, you can make your mistakes drawing before you cut. Be careful when you draw on the whiskers, the back will show. Cut inside the line.

Cut 2 whiskers, (draw, flip, draw).

Cut 2 trim pieces for the ears (draw, flip, draw).

Cut two nostrils, I free hand drew them on the leather.

I traced the eye holes from the original mask, made the holes slightly bigger, or for your purposes, measure your face from outside one eye to the outside of the other. Then I freehand drew the rest. This will be a trial and error, you could use your sunglasses laid over the ovals you draw to make sure the holes will fit your eyes. Once you cut this pattern part you can lay it over your eyes to fit. Better to screw it up on paper first, so don't hesitate to do it twice. I redesigned the flairs slightly, this is the creative part.

I always have a hard time drawing on black leather, I used a white colored pencil, you can use a fabric pencil, gel pen, whatever you find makes a sharp line.

Cutting this ended up being easiest with embroidery scissors, the knife made it drag.

Remember, it's your mask, leather in out leather out, make it your own!

Here's all the pieces cut and laid out how they will look. I actually sewed the whiskers suede side out, because they droop and flip over, so on the finished mask the leather shows.

I sewed the eye piece on first. I ALWAYS glue stick or spray mount (LIGHTLY) the leather on leather when I sew it, it's slippy and you can't pin it. I keep a medium-large box handy for spraying in. 1/16" seam allowance is fine on leather or non fraying material.

Sew the nostrils on one piece of the snout. It's upside down in the pic, so look before you sew! the wide part of the nostril is on top. Fold the leather at the darts you cut, right sides in. Seam close, 1/16th" is fine for leather or any non fraying material.
Sew two horn pieces to two back pieces, seams out, right sides out.

Sew a TRIM to each front of TWO ear pieces, then sew a front ear piece to each back piece, right sides out.

Stuff the horns and ears lightly and tack them shut with a long stitch.

Now it gets a bit tricky. I stopped and took the night off lol.

Line up the front snout piece (with the nostrils) right sides together, at the bottom of the face and the point where you made the snout wider. Leather is both hard because it is slippy, so go slow, and easy because you can stretch and manipulate it as it goes through.

I actually started about 1/2" above the point where the two pieces meet. This is so I can put the whiskers in later without wrestling the pieces to the ground in a WWF style smack down. About where the tip of my finger is in the pic above. Sew slowwwwwly around the snout, you have to constantly readjust by lifting the presser foot and turning slightly. Have faith, it'll be round when you're done.

Now, slide a whisker in one side, with right sides of whisker and snout together like the pic above. I cheated and put a TEENY line of superglue at the very end of the whiskers, held in place and let it dry on each side. Finish the seams of the snout. When you sew leather or vinyl, you can stretch one side to make it line up. If you have an overlap at the end, fudge it, really, it's a mask and it won't show, mine didn't line up perfectly when it was done, I ended up trimming the mask where it met the snout. *shrugs*

Now do the other side of the snout, and then repeat for the back face and snout piece. You won't have to worry about the whiskers so go from end to end, looking forward constantly to make sure the other end will line up.

Ok, here's where you get to put the front to the back.

Mark the point where you want the ears to go (mark top and bottom of the ear) on the very edge of the back face piece so your ears will be even (keep referring to the pic for position). I am pretty advanced, so I don't use points of reference like on patterns, but always keep my eyes forward to see if I'm going to line up later.

NOW is the time to cut your elastic, wrap a piece around the back of your head to the front of your ears, stretch some, and cut. You will slide one end behind each ear piece as you sew the pieces together, about halfway down the height of the ear. Or you can superglue the elastic to the BACK face piece about 1/4" in, on the first side, right in (I did this).

Start at the corner where the snout meets the face. DON'T sew the bottom half of the snout shut yet. When you get near your ear mark slide one ear in about 1/4". You CAN cheat and superglue the ears onto the front of the mask. You can do this with the horns too! I did.

When you get to the other ear, you can slide the other end of the elastic behind that ear (about halfway down the ear as well).

Stuff a piece of roving up top above the eyes after you get around the top to make stuffing easier later.

Sew around the eye holes after you sew the top half, before you stuff the rest of the face.

Once you've sewn from snout to snout, you can stuff the rest of the mask, not too much. I put very little between the eyes. Sew it shut!

NOW cut the eye holes. Make a starter hole with a knife or rotary cutter. Then carefully trim around using the eye piece as a guide.

This pic shows both masks, As you can see, my method is kind of fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants. For an experienced seamstress, not an unusual method. Had I had more time and knowledge of PDF I would have provided a pattern, my apologies!

If any of my instructions are unclear PLEASE email me at and I'll be happy to walk you through it. This is my first real tutorial so I hope it's clear and well layed out. Thanks for reading, would love to see any that are done!

Have a ball!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Big Day

I know, I know. A zillion moms have sent their kids off to their first day of school, new lunch box in hand, big boys and girls off and away from home for the first time. In first grade or kindergarten. It's just weird when the kid having their first day is 15. or 12, or 10, or 7. Since I've never done that scene, I get to do it now times 4. I told the high school teacher I felt like a big dork because I'm almost teary watching a kid who looks like a grown up sitting at his work table and I'm jealous because she gets to spend the day with him and I don't.

I remember when a (former) friend, who was sending her 5 year old off to kindergarten, was all weepy and told me so in an email. I wrote back that I felt for her, but I was keeping mine home so I could enjoy the time with him and educate him myself. She wrote back asking me why I was so "disenfranchised" with the idea of institutional schooling. Well, stupid me took the obvious bait and sent the laundry list of reasons why I was going to homeschool.

Bad idea. I got back a scathing condemnation of why secluding my kids was bad for them (if she only knew how full our social calendar was!). She said I should go live in a commune, that I thought I was smarter than teachers and everyone else on the planet (well, ya, lol! KIDDING) After my indignation passed, I laughed and realized that nothing I could say to her would make her understand the joy of seeing your child develop his or her intellect with your guidance and care.

Eleven years later, I am still so happy to have had the privilege of sharing my children's education. And am still blessed to continue this with my youngest two. This year will be a challenge for all of us on different levels, and whether they decide to stay in their little school or come home is completely up to them. It's the joy of freedom in education that homeschoolers defend so vehemently.

On a lighter note, my lovely 12 year old decided to make little apple pies for her and her siblings for their lunch. They rocked! She has spent many an hour in the kitchen experimenting with food and learning SO much from it. I imagine this is something she will miss, so I will encourage her to continue it in her free time, since this school does not send homework home. Yay!

Monday, September 7, 2009


I was just shown this site by a lovely Etsy person and I went in and got lost! There are very cool art activities my kids went crazy playing with. Here's the first "level" I played around with, it's block printing. but the comic maker is a MUST!

From there, you click on the bottom of the page, it says "if you like this activity click here"... then you get a huge page full of incredible virtual art activities kids (and you!) can play around with. It's the "activity zone" You can even create your own Roy Lichtenstein painting, create and send a card to someone, I love this!

From her (Mari, the woman who sent me this link) blog... "I wandered over to this fun British non-profit called ArtisanCam which has an extensive array of online activities - including making a Kew Gardens poster. You can try your hand at designing jewelry, creating a comic, screenprinting an image, sewing a duvet cover, etc. etc.! All of them are online applications that are lots of creative fun for kids (and designers like me, I got stuck for some time actually). Only drawback is you can't always print your results. But there are online "galleries" to visit instead!"

Visit her AWESOME blog, she's a designer; toys, patterns, illustrations and more! plus her website, which is a gallery of her incredible design work, is a must see!

Such a talent, truly inspiring! Go play around on ArtisanCam, withuot without the kids! And don't forget to visit SmallForBig!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Maylee's Garden

I am always thrilled to help promote a great craftsperson, especially when I am so familiar with their product. But when a friendship blooms as I do business with someone, it makes it all the more enjoyable to get to know them even better, and let others know what a gem I found!
I met Libby Goldsmith through ArtFire and Etsy, now we're FaceBook friends and we often trade products, as the fit just works. I LOVE her laundry and body soaps and she loves my KaBoogie shoes!

How about you tell us a bit about yourself, how did you come to your craft?

Hi! My name is Libby, I have three children, two boys and a girl ages 16, 11, and 22 months...yes that is a long time between the last two LOL. My daughter was a home water birth and the most glorious experience of my life. It was as perfect as a birth can possibly be. The highlight of my life for sure. I live in Louisville Kentucky with my husband of 7 years who is originally from Malaysia. I used to work in the nursing field before I became disabled with Fibromyalgia and Arthritis. I met my husband at a nursing home I worked at. We been together ever since. I am a *( columnist in the Marketing Department for and I am the leader of the Bluegrass Etsy Street Team. (

I received your laundry soap in a trade, and was so blown away by the incredible scent in my whole bathroom when I opened my washing machine! The basil and cloves is my favorite so far, how do you come up with these awesome combinations?
A lot of times, I open up the essential oil bottles, and put a couple of them together and sniff. If I like it it goes in the soap, if not I figure out what I can put with it to make it good...I get a lot of my custom blends this way.
What sets your product apart from your competition?
Good question! A few things that sets me apart is the amount of time I take with my soap, my line of "pure" soaps scented with essential oils, and the recipe I have formulated. My soapmaking process is the hot process method which means I cook all the lye out of the soap so a bar of soap I made this morning is ready to use tonight. My recipe has a lot of more expensive oils in it that have moisturizing properties. I also add unrefined shea butter to the soap as I am hand mixing in the scent. So the shea stays intact and is not damaged by heat, the scent is also not changed from the heat either. The way I make my soap it ends up being like play-doh. This is how I am able to get the cool spiral soap. I roll it up like a jelly roll! My laundry soap is very good stuff as you know. What sets me apart from the competition in this area is the amount of fragrances I have available in laundry soap.
How long have you been making soaps and sewing your lovely skirts?
I started sewing in 2005, and discovered I could make clothing REALLY well. When I saw how impressed my mother was with my skill, I thought I may be on to something here! I started selling my handmade clothes for plus size women on Ebay and then went to Etsy in 2006. I have had a lot of fun sewing for my friends and customers. I truly enjoy making plus size ladies feel beautiful because they ARE! I started making soap as a hobby in 2006, and after so many rave reviews from friends, opened up Maylee's Garden on Etsy in May 2008. I got into making soap at first for the thrill of playing with a caustic substance, and the desire to make a pure and safe bath soap for my family. After reading about all the chemicals in commercial bath soap I got a little scared. This site is a great reference to look up all stuff in your bath soap I wanted a safe alternative for us. I really never dreamed it would end up being a nice little business for me. I just wanted to save some money and avoid skin cancer! I feel blessed to have been making these products before Maylee was born. She has always used my good soap made with love. I always used the lavender essential oil scented soap on her for her bath. Put her right to sleep every time.
What are your major promotional avenues?
I love to promote through StumbleUpon a lot recently. I have seen a lot of success from my efforts there, and I continue to use it every day to help promote everything I do. I also twitter and facebook is fun too, I can be found on Plurk daily as well. I have also read up a lot on SEO. Its VERY important for sellers to know whats up with this and how it works. I think really hard about titles and tags or keywords, and the first few sentences of a listing description. This is what google picks up...if your selling on Artfire that is...not to slam Etsy but you guys know the deal with them and SEO LOL Do you feel they are effective? Yep! I have google analytics proving Stumbleupon is doing good as far as hits on my blog and my Marketing articles. I use the "stats" feature on Artfire to see that twitter and facebook is working. The SEO strategy is working well. I get most of my Artfire traffic from Google, that's what I want to see!
How similar to the soap making process is the process for making your laundry soap?
They are one and the same. The only difference is with the laundry soap I don't add shea butter to the soap and I don't scent it till it is ordered,That way the scent is stronger, and you will actually smell it in your laundry since its freshly prepared when I ship your order. 7. What websites do you sell on? Etsy and Artfire. I am loving my Artfire Studio. ALL my stock is listed on Artfire where my Etsy shop has mostly laundry soap listings as that is what sells the most over there.

What is the difference between "essential oils" and "fragrance oils"?
Great question and I am sooo glad you asked! Essential oils are the pure extracts from the plant itself, they are also quite pricey in regards to fragrance oils which are man made. One note about essential oils is any soap containing fragrance oils should be used with caution if your pregnant cause some oils could cause a miscarriage, same with herbs. Do your homework and find out which herbs and oils are a no-no in pregnancy and avoid those.For the rest of us they are safe and pure with no weird chemicals since they come from nature. Fragrance oils are made in a lab with scent chemicals. Some of these oils can contain "bad" things just like in commercial bath and body products. Lately there have been a lot of suppliers selling Pthalate free oils, and that is all I buy for my soaps. Pthalates are bad news so are parabens. There are neither of these in my soaps. However I do not know the full composition of the fragrance oils so I cant say they are 100% safe and pure and still be able to sleep well at night. In my opinion the health risk of a handmade soap with a fragrance oil is a LOT less than a commercial soap containing them. Some people also have allergies to the fragrance oils too. So that's something to consider before making your purchase from a handmade soap seller. I carry fragrance oil scented soaps because I love all the fun scents that you just cant get with essential oils. I use them on my baby as well. But each person is different. As a buyer you make the call on that issue. Should people with sensitive skin or other issues choose one over the other? If you have sensitive skin I would recommend trying an essential oil scented soap first. I have had family members with terribly sensitive skin use my fragrance oil scented soaps with NO problems at all. I always feel like sensitive skin is just sensitive to the massive amounts of harmful chemicals in commercial soaps. If it says its natural and its sitting on a shelf in your local big box store, trust me its NOT natural one bit! Read labels!
Explain why your soaps are safe for septic systems, and powdered laundry detergents aren't?
No surfactants, nothing weird in it to throw off the chemical balance a septic system requires to stay in working order. Soap is pretty natural, so it has no effect on local rivers and streams. The PH of soap is also fairly neutral and close to our skin's PH, so its easy on your skin and the environment too. Fish don't grow legs if they are exposed to soap (smiles). Commercial laundry soaps are generally Ok for septic systems, but not for the environment. There are so many different components to a commercial laundry soap, there are fabric brighteners, chemicals to break down dirt and oils, chemicals to make bubbles, plus a lot of laundry detergent is made from petrol and petrol is something that should'nt be dumped into rivers and streams. You don't want oil in your water supply for sure.
Do you sell in retail stores as well as online?
As of now, no. However this may change in the future!
Any advice for successful online selling?
Make your shop look professional, take awesome pictures of your products, write a good description for your item, study SEO and what it means for you, and choose your tags and keywords well. Promoting is a big part of it too. If your a new shop I would recommend spending an hour a day promoting yourself, getting active in Etsy or Artfire forums and just getting your name "out there" Once you are established and have a good customer base, you wont have to promote so hard. Maybe an hour a week will be good. Its hard work at first but it is so worth it when you can kick back and watch the sales roll in and spend more time on what really matters, crafting!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Two things...

If you haven't seen it on twitter, check out this KaBoogie shoe giveaway going on now!

AND...come read my guest post on where I bare my soul on juggling and surfing. While raising 6 kids, I decided to reveal my super secret mom type advice!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Winding Down

Jeepers crows, man, summer fell on top of the cold, ugly spring like a big, sweaty, drooling St. Bernard, and just as soon it'll be bounding off to smother someone else. Meanwhile, it seems like there's a mad rush to fit in our quota of amusements before their first year in school starts. Oh, yes, this is PROOF that homeschoolers definitely have it made. When they're talking about the "freedom" associated with it, this is one reason why!

If you have kids in a large age range, you know how hard it is to amuse them all in the same places. The little kids can amuse themselves almost anywhere, as long as there's water or sand. This place we went to, Breezy Picnic Water Slides, in Douglas, MA seems to suit all of our needs. Hubby took a well deserved day off, and since #1 son was at encampment and we didn't have to secure a friend for him to stomp around with, it was an easy day.

The entire park is fenced in. It's not a large park, so you can pretty much relax, there's only one gate out. Finding your wandering 5 yr old is short work, especially since they can find you just as easily. There's plenty of picnic tables, the large grassy area is mostly under the shade of many large shade trees, and you can actually see most of the park from your table. Super family fun.
Some complain that it's an over priced park. You be the judge. It's $17 for a water slide bracelet, $6 or 7 for a park pass (no slides). I priced up Water Country, and it's $33 or so to get in. So, if you're a parent dragging around a 2 year old who can only play in the short waterscapes, you still pay. Breezy Picnic has only 3 slides, but the wait isn't nearly as long as one of those large park tube rides. Just sayin...

What I like the most, is that it's an old timey-feeling park without the strip mined landscape, you can sit under a tree, the crowds are actually bearable, and though the price seems steep, compared to the 1 1/2 hr away-double-the-price alternative, it's doable. The one huge problem with this park. If you fall at the top of your first slide ride, and dislocate your shoulder, having to leave the park, don't even bother asking for a pass to get in another time. Not even if there's a hurricane. Not ever. They're completely inflexible!

I'm sure you're all wrapping up summer activities, rejoicing in the coming of school. I'm mixed about it. I want my kids to have this school experience they wanted. I want to spend more time with my two youngest, and I want to give my KaBoogie biz more focused attention. However, I think this adjustment period will be harder on me than on them! Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How Much is Too Much?

Etsy, Artfire, 1000 Markets, SilkFair, IndiePublic....I'm getting dizzy. Twitter, Facebook, Flickr...all the places (plus SO many more) we can sell or promote our craft. Do we help ourselves by using as many of them as we can or does this hurt, taking away from time best utilized elsewhere?

I'd love to hear of your most efficient combinations of promotional sites, social networking sites, and sales venues. So far I think I am doing too much promoting in too many places, having to maintain pages on so many sites that I forget to update some of them! What's your winning combo? Where do you best spend your precious time promoting? I'd love to know!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New at KaBoogie

I've been cranking out boogie shoes for my next show, it's the Milford Oyster Festival in Milford, CT on August 15th. If anyone from the area is looking for a fun art festival/cultural festival to go to, this one's been around for over 30 years. Come visit KaBoogie and have some fun!

These are some of the items I've been working on during all the rainy days we've been having. Seems like summer has finally come to CT, so I hope to see some of my CT etsy friends!

This first pair isn't listed yet, but will be in my etsy shop soon...

Friday, July 31, 2009

Doctor Mom

I kept my 5 year old home from VBS the other day, her cough didn't sound so good, and I didn't want to be "the bad mom" for sending her off to infect the planet. I brought out my arsenal of natural remedies for "whatever" infects them, boosting all 6 kid's immune systems with my collection of:
colloidal silver
vitamin C in a 500 mg chewable (this would be taken up to 3-4000 mg when sick)
elderberry/zinc lozenges
vitamin D (helps reduce congestion)

The 5 yr old had what was shaping up to be a nasty chest cold, and the 7 yr old was starting to cough. At the first signs, All 6 kids get the regiment. Several times daily. I don't have a set dosage pattern, it comes with experience I guess. And no, their skin won't turn blue from a few days of silver ingestion.

I've been treating illness this way for about 14 years, no matter the illness. In the unlikely even of an ear ache (we've never had a bacterial ear infection, but a few ear aches) They get the "garlic torpedo". This is some crushed garlic infused into warm olive oil and twisted into a cotton "torpedo" that gets stuffed into their ear and held with a hot wet compress. This is just in case it IS bacterial, as garlic will kill just about anything! I've only had to resort to Motrin and/or steroid drops once (in 14 yrs, mind you), for a particularly lengthy ear ache that doc assured me was not deserving of antibiotics, which I would probably not use anyway. I have given anti-biotics once, to two kids with asymptomatic undiagnosed strep that was causing tics in my 10 yr old. The young doc at the walk in clinic insisted they didn't have it, and my old country doc did. Guess who was right?

They tend to get two yearly illnesses; either a tummy bug or a cold. I expect this, it's normal. Their immune systems are set up for this. I don't give Motrin for fevers, instead I put them in a tub as hot as they can tolerate, to draw out the fever and let it do it's work. I am a firm believer in not suppressing minor illness (note the disclaimer, you wouldn't do it this way for chronic problems, and PLEASE see your doc when in doubt).

With the threat of H1N1 looming on the horizon, I think homeschooling is such a blessing. With my oldest 4 going to a small school this year (28 students), they will have an easier time coping with any outbreaks, and I will pull them out if it gets ugly, this regimen should serve me just as well. Certainly has so far! At the threat of illness, one needs to limit severely, all dairy and sugars. The dairy increases mucous production, and the sugar feeds the beast.

By the way, my 5 year old? after 4 days, her cough is practically non-existent. The immune system is an incredible machine, I try to work WITH it, not against it. Any special remedies you can't live without? Love to hear them!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Incredible Artisan, Part II

I thought I'd give a few more images of Ron Lussier's stained glass work.
The first is another shot of the large screen, with wisteria and the little boat. The other was a large single piece of rainbow glass, the most beautiful piece of glass I'd ever seen! He painstakingly cut it into pieces and leaded it, while preserving the flow of color, so it still looked like one piece of glass. Incredible! The middle piece is his studio sign, it's one piece, hanging on the back of his barn door....a shot of his workplace (above) also.