Strawberry Swing

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August 3 we were so lucky to participate in our best show to date.  We had heard about this show from other crafters, but we didn’t expect it to be as amazing as it was.

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The whole time we were there we kept wanting to look around at everyone’s booths.  It was hard to stay planted at ours, but we had to because we were so busy!  Everyone had such unique, handmade items.  

The first few hours were hard since it rained while we were setting up and we haven’t invested in tent sides (yet) so the water just drenched our tables and tubs.  Luckily, Neil’s dad and stepmom helped us with Juliet so we could work.  

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Once the rain stopped, the day went so well.  My mom brought Tommy after the rain stopped so he could, well, jump off this porch he is sitting on and run around the area.  We had a steady stream of shoppers and were able to do what we love best: talk babies.  

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There really isn’t anything more fun to talk.  Sometimes I’ll be toting the kids around and people will come up out of nowhere to talk kids with me.  How old are they?  What are their names?  How far apart are they?  Babies really bring out the best in people.  How can you not just smile when you see one?  (Assuming they aren’t screaming.)

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So we have found our favorite types of shows.  Handmade.  Local-love that is was right in the middle of Kansas City.  People like us that make something out of their own ideas.  This is our niche.  We are so happy to have found it.  (Now to find more shows!)

Special shout out of thanks to my sister for coming at the beginning AND end of the day to help us set up and tear down.  We are learning how to speed a little faster through both of these.  

Photo Challenge

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It isn’t a secret that my photography skills are lacking.  I have always loved pictures.  Love looking through them, taking them, smiling and laughing over them, etc.  Growing up my mom didn’t take many.  She still doesn’t, but she always wants me to “send {her} that one”.  Taking pictures, however….not my strong suit.  I want to get better!

20 week challenge

So I made a decision to do a 20 day photo challenge that I found on Pinterest.  (This will not be my first Pinterest inspired challenge.)  I loved the idea to work on getting better.  The challenge would of course be a time suck (turns out I had no idea how much) and require me to post something every day.

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11 days in, I’m loving it.  Obviously, some days needed an extra picture.  I have been going back and forth between two different photography apps in order to teach myself how to edit pics and add text.  It’s a whole new world.

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The first one I used is called Over.  I was lucky enough to snag it awhile ago at Starbucks for their weekly free download.  (LOVE Starbucks)  It is super easy to use and allows you to do a lot of editing that a normal person would want to do.  Now I can edit a pictures pretty quickly.

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However, then I got trailed down a road into “Obaby”.  This is another app from the creators of over that pretty much lets you do a lot more creative things that are baby oriented.  Perfect things for Little Bug.  I think it cost $4.99, but I would recommend it for anyone who has a baby or is pregnant.  I actually think it would be a great gift if you know the person would use it.  A great way to add monthly text onto your growing baby bump or monthly text to document your newborn’s growth.  I just love it.

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The other app I used is called PicLab HD.  This was another freebie from Starbucks (see the theme) that I was lucky enough to snag.  I have no problem paying for an app that I will use, but it’s hard to know before I start playing around in them.  The benefit of this app is that I am able to rotate my text.  I haven’t figured out how to do this on Over.  I assume I can, but I’m not sure.  It seems like a small benefit, but I have had some creations where my text HAD to be rotated in order to look good.

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It’s been a really fun 11 days so far.  I have learned a lot of necessary editing that Little Bug needs.  And I’ve gotten more familiar with Instagram and hashtags as well.

We would love for you to share some of your pictures with us.  Pick a day or two and join in!  If you share you photo, you have a chance to win $15 in Little Bug credit.  (And if you can’t make it this round, there will be more.)  Here’s to always working on making yourself better!

Summer

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Our family LOVES summer. (I know, who doesn’t?)  We are teacher schedule people, so it seriously feels like the same feeling you had when you were a kid.  All of a sudden school is out, and summer is here.

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Since I’ve been staying home for the last year, I didn’t have quite the rush I would normally get at Memorial Day.  Neil has an extended contract since he is a counselor.  Our “family summer” started in the middle of June.  He gets 6 weeks off so I have nothing to complain about there.

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Now that my parents have a lake house at Table Rock, we try to get down there as much as possible.  It isn’t easy with the kids.  Sometimes it feels like too much work just to pack.  As much as we try to have a 2nd set of everything down at the lake, it is hard to leave the house without feeling like we could just as well live out of our car.

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I was so excited to get some new 4th of July designs.  I love getting my kids dressed up.  It’s nice that there are many more patriotic holidays out there for you to double dip your outfits.

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We hope everyone has a relaxing (ha), rejuvenating summer.  Most of all, we hope you get time to snuggle your bugs close and laugh until your face hurts.

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Whale Collection

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We created a large amount of whale onesies for Adel Quilting and Dry Goods.  There were so many that we have deemed them a “collection”.  They are sitting in the shop now, just waiting to be picked up by YOU!  Here are all the different patterns that were created.

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Just let us know if you want any of these recreated for your own little bug.  Of course, for our Iowans out there, just swing by Adel Quilting and Dry Goods for instant gratification!

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Come see us at Adel Quilting and Dry Goods!

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When you become a business, you start thinking about what your dreams are for yourself.  How big do you want to take this?  I’m old enough to realize that dreams change often.  The idea of Little Bug in the beginning was much smaller than what I am dreaming of now.  It’s exciting to think that maybe it will get even bigger than I’m imagining.

Ideally, at the moment, I don’t want my business to get so big that it takes away from the personalization.  When you purchase something from our business, you purchase something I made.  With my hands and love, most likely made while my babies are sleeping.  I don’t want to get too big to leave that feeling.

One big step in the right direction for our business is to be available for purchase at local shops.  We are in the learning stages of how to do this with everyones best interests in mind.  Recently, my very, very, very good friend, Willow, showed her mom the whale designs I made for her adorable twins that you may remember from an earlier post.  (Instead of saying best friend here, I went with 3 verys.  It almost drives home the point more, right?)  Here’s a photo memory:

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Her mom owns a quilt shop in Adel, Iowa called Adel Quilting and Dry Goods.  It is such a cute shop.  A true crafter’s dream.  Not only does she stock a lot of fabric, she also has a lot of little projects around for people like me that need to see examples and a blueprint before starting something of my own.  Honestly, I could spend most of my day in there.  Unfortunately, Tommy and Juliet couldn’t.

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Adel Quilting is the first shop carrying our designs!  You can get them now if you happened to be in Adel.  Or tomorrow if you can’t make it today.  Here are some photos of our drop off.  I cannot contain my excitement about having my designs in a local shop.  It is the next step for our little business with where we want to be in the future.  Our dreams are becoming reality.

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Stay tuned for our whale collection post so you can see ALL the cute whales that I pumped out for the shop.

Spring!

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It’s here!  We couldn’t be more excited.  All of a sudden we are able to go outside and shed the jackets.  We had a beautiful Saturday in April down at Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri.  My sister, Teresa, set up her massage booth next to our Little Bug booth.  It was fun working together.  Plus I was able to steal 5 massage minutes from her.  (My sling is called the Maya sling.  It is amazing; I get asked about it all the time. I LOVE it.  Yes, Juliet is sleeping in there.  Can you see her super cute shape?)

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Our kids are both outdoor lovers like their parents.  It’s amazing how your mood can lift when you get some fresh air and sunshine.  Tommy is hard to photograph at this age.  He doesn’t stop moving.  Do they offer camera classes called “How to Photograph Toddlers”?  They are both wearing the same egg design, just different fabric choices.

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With the warmer weather comes new Little Bug designs and short sleeves!  Yippee!  We are always working on new seasonal apparel.  The first designs we rolled out have to do with our Royals.  Nothing says summer like baseball.  We can’t wait to take Tommy to his first game.

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We also recently made some custom onesies for babies in our life.  This is what we love to do the most!

Look for more designs being added to our Etsy store!

Instagram…we have arrived

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We know we are a little late to the Instagram craze.  Not sure how we missed this social media outlet.  We love pictures.  We love keeping up with friends.  We love looking at friends’ pictures.  How did we miss this?!?

So excited to have our own Little Bug account now!  Make sure to follow us if you are on Instagram as well.  Little Bug

And if you aren’t, you should join us newbies.

The story behind…our blankets

Oh baby blankets, how you get us every time.  You are oh-so-cuddly and soft.

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Before having kids, we never understood how soft a blanket can be.  We also never understood the need for multiple types of blankets.

Sure we have our “couch blankets” and “bedroom blankets” (aka comforters), but we never knew the need for a baby blanket at home, another to travel with, another for stroller trips, another for the floor, and a back up for when those are dirty.  How many blankets do we have?  No clue.  A lot.

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Our business originated with the idea of making blankets, because we used them all of the time.  We couldn’t believe how many we went through and how necessary they were for our 1st bundle of joy.  I started out making smaller items as I was learning to sew, working my way up to larger items like blankets.

We talked about what our favorite aspects of baby blankets were.

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#1 soft and cozy:  We use a lot of minky fabric.  It is the softest we can find and comes in so many colors.

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#2 size variations:  Have you ever grabbed a too large blanket and tried to cover your baby with it in the stroller?  We have.  The blanket is falling all over the place.  Most likely into large puddles that then doom the blanket to join the growing laundry pile.  We also love having blankets all over our house that are a little bit bigger and cover even the adults up.  So we make those too.

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#3  different blankets for different situations:  We have 3 main blankets.  Our stroller blanket is perfect for taking along on an outing.  They are great to cover up in the car or cover up in a stroller.  Our main blankets are about a square yard and great for covering toddlers up.  Our floor blanket is ideal for playdates and tummy time.  They aren’t as cuddly as the other two blankets since their main purpose is to allow movement to encourage rolling over/crawling, and they act as a barrier between baby and the dirty floor that isn’t allowed to touch a newborn.  (Any other germaphobs out there?)

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#4  personalization:  I have mentioned in an earlier blog that I LOVE having my kids names on things.  We can embroider on the blankets for a special touch.  This really means a lot to parents and will turn your gift into a lifelong keepsake that will be passed down through generations.

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Tommy currently has a favorite blanket that Neil’s stepmom made him for Christmas.  He calls it his “Libby blanket”.  It’s the cutest thing ever.  Especially because he can’t say the “L” sound yet, so it sounds like, “Mama, where’s my Yibby blanket?  I need my Yibby blanket.”

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Jessi is always looking for new fabric to make blankets stand out.  We love creating custom blankets based on your theme requests.  The possibilities are really endless.

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Most of all, we love putting babies on the blankets themselves.  We love providing warmth to something so small and precious.  A blanket is one of life’s luxuries on a chilly day.  They are also a small piece of comfort when you need a sense of security.  No matter how old you are.

Of course, we need to put a disclaimer in here that you should NEVER put a blanket on top of a baby when you aren’t supervising them.  Here is a great reading resource to check out:

Safe Sleeping

 Healthy Child Care

St. Pat’s pics

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Juliet always looks a little unsure when Tommy is posing next to her.  Some day I am just going to film all the work it takes to get him to lay next to her, not move (too much), and smile.  It is hilarious.  At least I will think so one day.

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We meant to post these much earlier.  Whoops.  In all honesty, I’m happy I am posting them before March is up.  Isn’t the month of March dedicated to clovers and green?  Well, let the weather in on that, St. Patrick.

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These were our two main designs for St. Patrick’s Day.  I went back and forth about stitching around the clovers.  When I did the stitch on Juliet’s shirt it turned out a little…novice.  They were a sewing learning experiment and will be altered a bit for next year.  I will also be one year farther along with my sewing.

 

 

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I have a large amount of green fabric to change them around a bit, but I just love the clovers.  

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We are so lucky to have such cute babies model our designs.  These two belong to Jessi’s best friend, Willow.  Just ultra squeezable.  Do you love how they have matching leg poses?  Because we do.  

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We hope you enjoyed your green holiday as much as we did.  Babies just make everything more fun.  Now onto Easter!

 

The story of…our beginning

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Here is the full story of how Little Bug came to be.

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Let’s start with this guy.  Because he started it all.  These pics are a little old, but they are heartbreakers for me.

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When I got pregnant, I was teaching 5th grade full time.  Neil had JUST gotten a job for the next school year as a high school counselor.  (We are all about education.)  I was a part of a perfect team; I worked for a great school district that was able to afford a lot and support their teachers a lot.  I didn’t mind staying late and getting there early. Not too early, but earlier than most.  Things were good.

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We found out we were having a boy (via surprise cupcake filling) and decided on his name as soon as we found out.  Thomas Sterling.  Thomas after my dad and Sterling after my Grandad.  Most people (including us) call him Tommy.  Once we leaked (quickly) that the name had been decided on, the embroidered gifts started flowing in.  And I loved it.  I loved seeing his name in print.  I loved seeing it in stitches.  I loved the feeling of carrying a little person who already had things that were his.  Just his.  Not to be shared with future siblings.  (This isn’t really true since I just looked over at Juliet with her TSC initialed burp cloth.  It won’t be a fight for who wants it later though.)

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Neil commonly tells me when I tell him I like something, “I can make that.”  It is a running joke with us.  Most of the things I don’t doubt he can.  However, who has the time to make all the woodworking projects that I notice and want in the house.  When the hand sewn items started being opened at showers and friend’s houses, he looked at me and said, “Do you think you could make this?”

Ummm.  No.  First of all because I didn’t have a sewing machine and I was pretty sure hand stitching was a thing of my middle school home economics past.  And once again the time factor.  Second of all because I had never even used a sewing machine.  It felt like this foreign object that I didn’t know the language to.

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I went back to work for only one month before summer.  During that month I realized how much my life had changed.  I didn’t want to stay at the school once the kids left.  I wanted my baby.  Each night I spent about 2 hours with my son before bedtime.  They were frantic hours of getting dinner ready and preparing him for the next day.  After bedtime I was up grading papers.  The house was a train wreck, and it was never even that clean normally.  I felt anxious and guilty and unaccomplished.  All feelings that stress me out to no end.

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Something had to change.  I started rethinking the sewing idea.  Maybe I could learn to sew.  I would have to buy a machine, but wouldn’t that be a good thing to have anyway?  Maybe I could even start a little sewing business to make the items I loved receiving.

With Neil’s support, I bought a machine that also did embroidery.  We started dreaming up ideas together and talking about what this could become if we worked at it.  I spent the summer learning to sew and making different items for my friends that were having babies.  I got help from friends and friends of friends.  My sister’s future mother-in-law spent a Saturday watching my baby and helping me learn the basics of the machine.  A friend from high school became a helpful ear and business guide.  Suddenly, I was in the sewing world.  It wasn’t foreign anymore, and I actually started getting excited about fabric store visits instead of feeling overwhelmed and out of my comfort zone.

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I went back to teaching the next year, knowing it would be my last for a little while.  I love teaching.  I love 5th graders.  But it wasn’t fair to anyone to stay when I was so sad about leaving my son.  For the record, if my district allowed job sharing, I would have jumped at the chance.  But they don’t.  I tried.

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During the year, we were happy to find out that we would be expecting our second baby.  All of a sudden my leave length grew in size.  Neil and I talked about really jumping in head first with Little Bug.  By this point, our good friend, Amy, had created our logo, and we were looking into business legalities.

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We entered some craft fairs over the summer.  People were ooooing and awing over my projects.  Not just my mom.  (Who is our biggest fan.  Sorry, that spot has already been filled.)  It felt amazing to make something that someone wanted to give as a gift.  Or keep for their own gift.  I found a new passion.  Neil loves coming up with new ideas and meeting all those babies that come by our booth.

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Once Juliet was added into the mix in October 2013, we were happy to have gotten all our business ducks in a row.  Things get a little crazy with two kids under two.  For one thing, goodbye nice, long afternoon nap.  It has been so fun embroidering little things for her (poor second child didn’t get nearly the load that the first did) and learning how to do new, girly things.

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We didn’t decide on Juliet’s name, officially, until she was born.  We knew she would be a girl-via surprise cupcake filling again.  I didn’t even make one thing with her name on it until she was here.  Juliet Terese is named after my sister, Teresa.  It also helps that Neil’s mom is named Julia.  I think he got some inspiration for her name from that.  I’ll go ahead and admit in here that I was obsessed with Romeo and Juliet when I was 15.  Like, really obsessed.  So obsessed I just may have named my daughter after it.

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So now we are a family of 4 with  a real business.  We are small business owners!  I never would have guessed 5 years ago that I would have bought a sewing machine, and now we are the owners of a business that sews things for others.  Life is crazy and turns unexpectedly.

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Being a mom helps me know what I like and what I don’t.  Everything I make starts with a like/need from my own two kids.  I use the fabrics and styles that we like as parents.  More girl things are being added into the mix since I now have one.  The older Tommy and Juliet get, the more things I will be adding to our shop.  And that feels extremely satisfying.

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Practical, personal, well made, and eye catching are our goals.  We want to be a name you are excited to tell someone else about.  We want to be one of your own favorite things.