Wednesday, March 30, 2016

They're here!

They're here!
My monsters are finally done!


I worked until I had the pattern the way I liked it, and my newest additions to the shop - Ooof and Devilooof are complete.  They also come with certificates of adoption, which I think adds a little fun, too.  I love how they turned out, and I think you will, too. 
Love the pattern and want to try making one for yourself?  It's all crochet in the round, so it's not too difficult to make.  Email or fb message me if you want to give it a try and I'll give you the pattern for my Ooof. 
Click on the link right here to check them out ~ My monsters!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Yes that's right. You can find Essentially Melanie in a store!

That's right folks.  You can now find all natural products from Essentially Melanie in a store.



My table at Bowman's Home and Garden


This feels pretty awesome.  I know it won't make me a millionaire, but it is a wonderful start!  They want to sell my afghans in the fall, so I am excited to learn lots of new, original blanket patterns and have them ready.

  Better get to work. 



Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Happy Dance!

This.  Is.  ME.
 
I just checked the tracking number on the package I am expecting to arrive any day now with my lip balm safety seals and my soap supplies.  Yes Canada.  I have an uncanny ability to order things from other countries that take forever to get here (just ask my husband about the tub seat I ordered for my son that was from Jerusalem~ it took WEEKS to get here, and arrived in a beat up box covered in a trash bag!  LOL!).
 But today is the day says the UPS site!  I may just do this dance when the UPS person stops by...Then my package being delivered will make both of our days.

Don't you just love the UPS guy?!?!?
It's like Christmas morning!

Don't get me wrong, I do love shopping.  After all, I am a girl.  But there is just something about getting a package delivered to your doorstep that you have been waiting on with anticipation!  It's one of the reasons I love Amazon.  It is also one of the reasons I love my monthly packages from Young Living's Essential Rewards program. Getting a package is just glorious...

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Not a brain surgeon.

When my bathroom is clean and spotless, no one will notice.  But if it was dirty everyone would notice.  When my kids have clean clothes in their dressers, they won't notice.  But if my laundry basket is overflowing with dirty clothes, it will certainly get noticed.  Sigh. 

I was reminded of something very important this morning, and I wanted to share it with you. 
My home work matters.  Our work matters.

In the mundane task of making breakfast this morning, I can do it 2 ways.  I can make my little boys their breakfast and tell them to keep it moving because they need to finish getting ready for school and they still need to feed the rabbits.  Or I can try to be a blessing to them, make them breakfast with a smile on my face, maybe a little I love you note written on their napkins, and remind them that they are important and loved. 

Later, when I am continuing to work on the little flower headbands that I am making for my online shops, I could choose to just try and get a bunch of them done while my 2 year old is occupying himself for a little while.  Or I can take my time and make them to the best of my ability, possibly only getting a couple finished, and remember that maybe it is being worn by a little girl who wanted to feel pretty that morning and wanted someone to notice her beautiful new headband with the big flower that her mommy bought for her.  

I am not a brain surgeon, and I will not be saving a life or impacting the rest of someone's life if I don't make breakfast with a smile or do my best when I make a headband.  But what I do does matter to those around me.

Our home work matters. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Soap!

Packaging up the soaps


So years ago my awesomely crafty sister in law gave all her sister in laws and sisters wonderful handmade soaps for a gift at Christmas, and has done so almost annually since.  I didn't know when she gave us that first soap how she made them or how long it took to do it.  I honestly didn't even know that people made their own homemade soaps!  But I thought it smelled amazing and was a really neat gift.  They were so cute with their country look and wrapping that I couldn't bring myself to actually use them, so I kept them as a part of my bathroom d├ęcor. 

In recent years I have been trying to eliminate chemicals in my home in an attempt to help keep my family healthier, though I am by no means a "crunchy/granola mama."  So I decided to break down and actually use these adorable soap bars that I knew had much less unreadable chemicals in them.  I loved them!  But only getting one at Christmas time every year meant that I didn't have enough to use for very long (and still wanted a couple of bars for decorations - they are so darn cute!).  I then looked into making cold process soap myself.  I mean, I was already making my own liquid laundry soap and dishwasher detergent, I figured it couldn't be that big a deal. 
Whoa (read that as Keanu Reeves!)
A little more in depth than I was looking for.
Um...  No.  I was not going to make soap right now.  Using lye and needing eye protection?!?  Waiting 6 weeks for it to be ready?!?  Not for me.  I will just have to wait till next Christmas to get more from my sister in law that I was in awe of at the moment for taking on such a daunting task, or order some from Etsy.

Well it's now a few years later.  I am helping to run an essential oil of the month club, where each month we send out a top secret oil, a recipe card, and most if not all the things needed to make the recipe (let me know if you are interested in joining in the fun in our spOILed club!).  For March it is actually 2 awesome oils, and the recipe was for melt and pour soap using Rosemary oil.  I.  Love.  It.  I love researching the soap recipes to make, getting the supplies ready, making the actual soaps, everything!  I think it is so neat to make my own soaps, and my kids just love to use them.  I want to do more.  I want to make more.  I want to try my hand at packaging it and selling my very own soaps, so I'm selling mini soaps in my Etsy and Scott's Marketplace shops and putting them out for sale at Bowman's Home and Garden Store.  And now I am ready to make the cold process soap!

So I ordered all the ingredients and supplies I will need to make my first batch of goat's milk soap.  My package should arrive in the mail any day now.  I will show you pics from my first batch and let you know how it goes! 



Thursday, March 17, 2016

You just jumped in with both feet... now what?

I am so new to all of this, that sometimes the amount of learning I have to do is overwhelming.  Especially when you have to run your house, take care of all your kids, and actually research, make, package, and sell your products while doing it. 

You know the feeling, you just jumped in with both feet, and now you had better figure out how to do it!
Learning about SEOs, boosting your site and page, how to optimize hashtags and label and keywords, trying to use both graphics online and then learning you need a completely different way for print material (God bless my friend Leigh for coming to my graphic design rescue this week!), how to word the titles on your products to get the most views, what time should you post your blog, how you should pitch your business to others effectively, etc.

WHEW! 

But learning new things is also something I thoroughly enjoy, too.  I like new.  I like change.  I like different.  I like finding out how to do things I've never done before.  And when I feel particularly challenged, I've found some awesome people out there that though they gain nothing by it, are willing to help you when you ask. 

Don't be afraid to try something new and jump in with both feet.  Do a little learning yourself.  You never know what you will fall in love with or be totally amazing at if you don't give it go!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A no go...

Another day of trial and error, as we discover more recipes that we don't like.  Yes my whole family is getting involved in this one, as we are trying and perfecting a new shop idea to make the perfect "Melanie's Mash and Mush Soap."  We are still working on it to get it just right, and as you can see we are having a lot of fun working with it!


It is so awesome that my kids love getting involved in my business.  They get excited to help, and it is really helpful for me to get their point of view for some of the products I am making that are geared toward kids.  Working together on these projects is just another bonus to being your own boss, working your own hours, and being able to work out of home!



Monday, March 14, 2016

Grand Re-Opening!!

So after much internal debate, I decided to redo and re-open my Etsy Shop!  I like that Scott's Marketplace is new and small and ONLY for handcrafted items, but Etsy just has so much more feedback and features since it's been around for a while and has such a big online presence.  So now I decided to  have a store in both!

I am all fired up and have worked tirelessly to get it up and running (ok, that's a lie, I AM tired) over the weekend.  It was worth the work; I am really happy with how it turned out.  "If you build it they will come..."(did that date me?) 

Check out what I've got goin' on!  

www.etsy.com/shop/essentiallymelanie



Saturday, March 12, 2016

What I learned through mistakes...

I love learning new crochet projects to make!  I also love that each one I make teaches me at least one new lesson because something didn't come out as nice as I liked or it doesn't look right, or I made a mistake.  This makes for much better finished products and each one I make is closer to perfection!

For example my Foximilian project...  With my first fox (and first ever amigurumi) I learned that I liked making it (important!), I can finally trust myself to follow a written pattern and adapt it to my own specifications without relying on a youtube video to teach me how, and that you truly need to count your stitches well for it to turn out how you want it.  With my second fox, I learned that you can't just change the hook to make your project a little bigger, it just doesn't turn out the way you were hoping for.  I also figured out a better way to make the elusive "magic ring" and a much nicer looking way to sew all the pieces together when you are done crocheting.  My next fox (already started) is going to be really amazing, and my kids are enjoying the ones that aren't to my liking yet!

I am just so excited about amigurumi projects, they are so much fun, don't take too long, and there are a million different projects that you can adapt to make them your own style.  I will share my patterns when I get them all just right! 

And I found my next project in amigurumi...  MONSTERS!!!   

Friday, March 11, 2016

Foximilian!

I think I love him. 

He turned out adorable, and even though I absolutely hated trying to stitch with the tiny little hook and the black yarn (I could NOT see the stitches!), I am going to continue to make him.  I started another one last night using a bigger hook, so he will also be a little bigger.  Hoping using the larger hook will help me see the stitches better, and that he will still come out just as cute! 

Providing both are the case, you will be able to see Foximilian in my store soon! Though my kids have claimed the original...



Thursday, March 10, 2016

My first store presence!

Oh.  My.  Word.

Maybe a small step, but a step that made me infinitely happy. 

I have my first store presence!  I am an excited consignment vendor at a local store, Bowman's!  I am going to have a few items for sale in their store, possibly more in the future (we even talked about crochet items, too). 
Now I do realize that I won't make a living from selling my lip balms and soaps at Bowman's.  But it is a first step, something that has given me confidence to approach other locally owned shops in my area, confidence in my product (she tried my lip balm and loved it), and confidence in myself. 

Ok, time to get to work!

Example of my lip balm display

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The day feels full of promise...

Don't you just love days like these?

I woke up at 4:45am, just like usual. 

But it doesn't feel like a usual day.  I like it.  The sun is shining, it's going to be 75 degrees, and the day feels full of promise.  Perfection.

Some days when I have a million and one things to do and my head is so full of to do lists that it feels overwhelming and I have to remember to breathe and take time to not just do mom things but to be a mom.  But not today.  Even though I have so much I want to accomplish and I am sure I will still go to bed late tonight with things left undone I am excited for the day.  And excited for all my new projects!

And I have big plans to push my little boy on the swing, too.


How about you?




Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Try Something New for Tuesday!

So I am trying something new.  I like the idea of making something completely different than I have made before, and I think this is absolutely adorable!  But I DON'T like using this tiny little crochet hook with black thread...  It's making me blind!  So next one I am going to try with a bigger hook, and it will be a larger fox.  Thinking of adding some of these to my shop when I get the hang of it!  :)


What does the fox say?

Monday, March 7, 2016

Just a little space I can zen out in...


Sometimes I have too many projects and things going on at the same time.  You too?
Total chaos (and I'm adding a blog to the mix). 

It's ok though, with 5 kids you get kinda used to the chaos.  I think maybe that's why I fell in love with crochet - it brings a little peace to my chaos.  And with 4 out of 5 of my kids being boys, doing something relaxing is just what I need.  A simple and pretty little blanket doesn't require much in depth thought, just some muscle memory and time.  It's a hobby that doesn't take up much space to do, a little spot on the couch left just for me to sit is all I require.  A little space I can zen out in while the chaos swirls around me, at least until my 2 year old discovers that I've gotten out my yarn...

Maybe this is you.  Well, maybe not exactly you, but maybe you need a peaceful hobby too.  I can't help you with the chaos, but I sure can try to help you with some fun hobbies that don't require a lot of money, space, and commitment.  Just some relaxing fun; a little zen in your day. 

This is my goal.  To share my eclectic loves with you, and have a little fun doing it.