Happy (late) Love Day!

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We celebrated Valentine’s Day together.  How lucky we are when it falls on a Saturday!  We weren’t able to get a babysitter so we opted for the earliest possible dinner time in order to avoid annoying romantic couples that were able to get a babysitter.

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And we found that we weren’t alone in trudging our kids along with us.  Many others had our same idea and kept their little ones with them for 4:00pm dinner.  By the grace of God, they were both very well behaved and received several compliments from nearby diners and waiters.

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Honestly, we almost didn’t go out to dinner since we couldn’t get a babysitter.  We didn’t want to be “that couple” that ruined someone else’s date with our munchkins.  We aren’t so blinded by love to think that our kids will make everyone as googly eyed as us over them.

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On the way home we reflected on how silly it would have been to have stayed home.  Aren’t they as deserving as we are to celebrate a day of love with us?  Our own little perfections of how amazing love is?  Tommy was so excited for Valentine’s Day.  He loves holidays so much right now.  What kid doesn’t?

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And thank goodness they were behaved.  Happy (late) Valentine’s Day!  May (mostly) every day be a reason to celebrate the love that surrounds us.  (I’d be loving these pictures more if they hadn’t dimmed the lights in the restaurant so early.  Seriously, it was 4:00; normally those lights don’t dim until at least 6:00!)

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.

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.

Valentine’s Day Pics

I just had to post these pics of my little ones.  Juliet is wearing a Little Bug original.  Tommy is wearing an irresistible Old Navy onesie.

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Why, yes, I did make that headband to match her shirt.  =)  Image

I kind of forgot to get Tommy’s shirt done.  I was so focused on his birthday and his Elmo shirt that I forgot to make one for him.  So the day before Valentine’s Day, I ran to Old Navy for their sale and picked up the Dr. Love shirt.  It worked out well though.  He will not be forgotten for St. Patrick’s Day.  I actually already finished his shirt so it wouldn’t happen again.  (Is my guilt showing through yet?  Haha)

 

We hope your Valentine’s Day was filled with love and laughter.  When Tommy woke up, I told him it was Valentine’s Day.  He got really excited and said, “Birthday cake, balloons!”  So I called Neil and told him to bring a balloon home for Tommy.  It was (of course) a hit!