Monday, April 27, 2009

April Team Challenge Submissions

Each month FEST challenges its members to create and post an item fitting a specific theme. April's theme was FUZZY. FESTers will vote for their favorite item and the winner will be featured here on the blog in the coming month. To cast your vote, check out each item and make note of the number next to your favorite one. Log into the Yahoo Group account (there's a link to it on the left margin), click on "Polls", and select the number that corresponds with your favorite entry. Good luck!


Sunday, April 26, 2009

ElleBelleonetsy Interview

Meet Stacey of
A Shop For Chic Mommies and Pampered Babies

Who are you?

I am a wife, mom, planner, dreamer, and maker of whatever inspires me at the moment. My husband and daughter are my support and inspiration in life and business. Elle Belle is my creative outlet, my guilty pleasure, and my sense of accomplishment

What do you create?

Baby stuff… mostly inspired by the things that have made being a Mommy easier for me. My product line has changed a bit over the years as my baby has grown into a pre-schooler, but I’m pregnant now, so there’ll probably be a resurgence of infant/baby items into my shop.

How did you get started?

I’ve always been “crafty”, but I didn’t start sewing/machine embroidery until after my daughter, Elle, was born and I started using baby items that I thought could be improved on… I don’t think I’ll ever look back. I really enjoy the “process” of sewing, I like figuring out patterns and seeing raw materials come together to make something I love brings me an incredible sense of accomplishment.

What is unique about your products?

My slings are my favorite product! I was completely addicted to my slings and honestly don’t know how Moms do it without them! The Elle Belle slings I make are different from the ones I bought and used when Elle was first born though. Although I love the convenience and comfort of carrying a baby in a sling, too many of the slings on the market are too much tie-dye, too much fabric, too much “home made”, not enough style & function. So, I make my slings with really wonderful designer fabrics and have a line of tattoo inspired embroidered designs.

I also use less fabric. It’s enough to safely carry the baby, but you don’t loose the baby in the pouch and it doesn’t feel like you have a blanket wrapped around yourself and hanging down to your ankles. You don’t see many pleated shoulder slings (mine were the only ones on Etsy for ages!) but not only does it add a crisp look to the sling and eliminate the bulk on your shoulder, it also helps spread the fabric out across your back which is the key to distributing baby’s weight. I think carrying my new little one in an Elle Belle sling is one of the things I’m looking forward to most about having an infant again!

Where in Florida do you live?

I’ve lived in St. Pete for the past 10 years and have loved every day of it!

What are some other sites to find out more about you?

I am in love with my blog ! It’s my little diary of all my creative endeavors. It’s such a fun way to connect with friends and other crafters! I get giddy when I get a new comment or my ticker climbs… it’s nice to know I’m not just out there talking to myself. You can also check out my site

What was you worst crafting disaster?

It all started with the sewing/embroidery machine I decided to buy. It was the nicest machine in the store. It had all the bells and whistles and the biggest price tag… I think I made it out of the parking lot before the buyers remorse kicked in. I hadn’t sewn a stitch on a machine that was less than 15 years old ever, I didn’t know the first thing about embroidery, I had no idea why this machine came with approximately 7 discs for my computer, I was totally in over my head!

A week after I got it, I took the machine to a craft show I was doing and tried to embroider baby bibs while the wind was blowing my supplies and everything else everywhere (I now refer to that experience as my encounter with “extreme embroidery”). There were also 3 times in a two week span that I lugged the machine back into Keep Me in Stitches because I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong, the last of which ended with me crying in the parking lot about how I made the wrong decision and my husband consoling me with “give it time Babe, you’ll learn to love it”.

After one particularly taxing afternoon of sewing I found myself in “conversation” with my machine. It went a little something like “Machine, I’ll make you a deal. I won’t stress over every single stitch, hovering over your embroidery arm watching each thread being placed, holding my breath as a decorative stitch sews at your automatically set speed if you’ll just not cause any major complications. Please don’t jam the thread up into a wadded mess under the metal plate, please don’t tell me the embroidery file is unrecognizable when I transfer it from my computer, and please don’t ever make that horrible grinding sound when the needle hits the bobbin case ever again”.

IT WORKED! Okay, maybe not the “conversation” part but definitely the “me not stressing out anymore” part. I learned that it’s a learning process. I figured out how to prevent those major complications and best of all deciding not to stress about it made it fun. That was 2 years ago, and although it was a rocky road at first, it wasn’t long before I bonded with my machine. Now we (my machine and I) spend time doing something I love and together we’re able to create things that are valuable for lots of reasons in addition to monetary ones.

My machine has been a catalyst for lots of new experiences in my life. It’s not only a tool that’s helped me expand my creative boundaries, the patience and determination I’ve learned along the way has helped me expand my mind!

Stacey's customers love her personalized embroidery. More than 500 people have favorited her shop. That's a lot of love!

Friday, April 24, 2009

March Team Challenge Winner BDoodles!

The FEST Team Challenge for March was to create a green item… could be the color green, could be eco friendly, it was up for interpretation. There were a ton of entries; it even came down to a 4 way tie breaker. I’m happy to congratulate the mother daughter team – B DOODLES! Their lovely reversible apron won it for them:

I’m not surprised their apron took the cake. All B Doodles aprons have a unique retro styling and are constructed of great fabrics that they pre-wash and line dry (Oh how I wish I had time to line dry my laundry… nothing beats that hung-in-the-sun smell!). Not only does B Doodles make fresh wearable “wows” to liven up the kitchen, they also have a great selection of bags and totes to choose from.

Stop by the B Doodles shop for one of their practical and stylish aprons or totes. If you don’t see exactly what you’re looking for, just let them know, they enjoy custom orders too!