Friday Fiver: HustleMama!

HEY-000 it’s time again for Friday Fiver!  Are you guys getting as excited for these things as we are?  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but everything we’ve featured so far has been kinda awesome.  So awesome you might think we’re specifically seeking these products out because we want them for ourselves…ahem.  Today is no different because we have a brand spanking new product from the Hustle Mama shop – Sandwich Wraps!! IMG_1600FRIDAYFIVEr

Shannon is the owner, operator, and chief hustlin’ mama over at Hustle Mama Handmade, purveyor of all things cute, practical, and reusable!  I personally own her reusable lunch bags and Mason jar tumbler (and so do my kids’ teachers – they make great gifts!) so I can attest to their greatness.

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Her new reusable sandwich wraps are the perfect size for wrapping up a sandwich, but they also double as a placemat for less than sanitary situations (i.e.: everywhere).  With a bpa-free food-safe liner, a cute outer fabric, and a strip of velcro to keep everything wrapped up tight, they’re the perfect design for convenience and eco-friendliness.

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Shannon has 4 different fabrics to choose from for the Friday Fiver special, and just because she’s such a super lady, she’s also offering free shipping for anything over $5.  So add on another wrap or set of snack bags and you’ll get a great deal AND get everything you need for back to school lunches.image

Grab your $5 sandwich wrap today only!

Fine print: Expires at 6 am Eastern on Saturday, 7/26, giving the whole wide world a 24 hour shot at grabbing the deal!

Me + 3 kids and a 3,000+ mile ROAD TRIP!

We’re more than halfway through the summer! Before any more of it slips away I thought I’d share the bravest/craziest idea I’ve ever had. I took the 3 girls on a 3,000+ mile road trip! By myself! Best idea ever, right? Well….crafterhours road trip map

…not entirely all by myself. On the longest sections of the trip – from DC to Boston and later from Cape Cod back to DC – we were joined by friend Katie and godson Liam. I had trouble sleeping for weeks before the trip worrying about all of the things that could go wrong (puke! car problem!) and while several things did go wrong (puke! – but not the contagious kind, and car problem! – but I was literally across the street from a shop that fixed it in a little more than an hour), none of them were catastrophic. Along the way I heard choruses of “you’re so brave” and I always replied that I was either brave or crazy, and we’d decide which when we got home in one piece or in many pieces. (Warning: All of the photos in this post are phone pics. Solo travel with 3 kids –> bare necessities.)

crafterhours and liamWe made 8 overnight stops over the course of almost 2 weeks. We weren’t in any one location more than two nights and everywhere we stopped we stayed with friends. Friends who were happy to see us and understand what kids are really like. This was key – not just for budget but for helping hands who’d hold a baby or keep eyes on the big kids if I needed a moment. The two night max is important – with all of the noise and chaos 3 kids bring, even though they’re relatively well-behaved kids, two nights is as long as I felt comfortable asking anyone to house us. That’s the length of the honeymoon phase for little visitors.

On any trip these days I think about who I know in bloggy world on my way from place to place. After all, they’re my co-workers that I don’t get to see in person often enough. This trip included 3 fun bloggy friend stops beginning in Virginia where we saw Stacey and her boys! We’ve been real-life (and pre-blog) friends since we each only had one child, and it was amazing to see all six of them together now. Peas and carrots, I tell ya. They played so well.crafterhours at ohboy

The 5yo and I had a little cheesy fun in Stacey’s studio while she made a quick swim lesson run. Also I’m waiting to hear whether Stacey figures out what’s missing. Ha! I’m kidding! (Maybe.)

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Later in the road trip, on our way from the Boston area to York, ME we met Abby of Abby Glassenberg Design! I’ve gotten used to the strangeness of meeting someone I’ve “known” online in-person, but it’s a bit nerve-wracking to bring 3 children with and hope that there’s no fluke catastrophe. I figured since Abby has 3 girls of her own, it was as safe a bet as any. Given the potential for complete distraction – I think we had a relatively thoughtful conversation! She’s just as kind and genuine as I expected. crafterhours abby glassenberg

After an overnight in PA we got to meet Hayley of Welcome to the Mouse House!. Our Plan A was a playground meetup but it was about a bajillion degrees and 105% humidity that day. No go. Fortunately she lives near one of the nicer Chuck E Cheese locations I’ve ever seen and the kids were so happy running around that again there was some time to have a real conversation. In-between ticket munching and such. Friend Katie was with us again at this point (thanks for the photo, Katie!) and was impressed by my bloggy mom network – I do kinda know someone everywhere we go! Thank goodness for Plan B – I would’ve been so sad to have missed meeting Hayley and her two mice!

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I wondered before I set out on this adventure whether I’d find myself 1500 miles from home crying my eyes out about wanting to be safely at back here. Or whether there’d be some sort of medical (or mental) incident that would require days of quarantine in whatever hospital/hotel/asylum was nearest. Or maybe there would be some sort of auto breakdown that led to a scenario someday comprising a two-part special on Dateline. Nope. None of that.

What I thought was most amazing was how much better behaved the girls were on the trip than they are on the average day at home! I think there was only one legit time-out required. So much to see and do, people to meet, dogs and cats to play with everywhere we went. New excitement at every turn. For example, who knew that a cat on the other side of a door is just as fun or funner than a cat on the same side?

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There’s exactly one photo of the four of us from the whole trip, and I’m embracing the blur and general dishevelment- it fits the whirlwind feel of the whole thing.crafterhours 4 of us

By the time we got home I felt like supermom. Tired, but empowered. As much as I love my husband and wished he could come too, he’s tied to the job this summer. We made new friends, spent time with dear old friends, had our first lobstah rolls, ate way way waaaaay too much homemade ice cream and way way waaaaay too many doughnuts and had quality time with Katie and Liam.  And we drove 3500+ miles and all still love each other as much or more. In the end, I’ve decided that our road trip adventure was both brave AND crazy, but I’d go again in a second.

(Pretty sure THAT is crazy.)

The Pattern that CHANGED MY LIFE

(Pssst! Looking for Friday Fiver? It’s here! A small scheduling hiccup created two fun posts on one day. SCORE!)

Before I can tell you about the PATTERN THAT CHANGED MY LIFE I have to introduce the person who posed the question. I’ve followed Abby Glassenberg online for several years. She blogs about sewing and creative businesses – her own and the meaty bits of insight she collects from around the world. On a recent trip through New England I even got to meet her and tour her studio! Should you happen to take a studio tour with your three children in tow, Abby’s is the one you want — she designs stuffed animals and soft toys!  The girls who’re old enough to make words asked to take alllll of the studio samples home. I convinced them that because Abby designs sewing patterns, we can make them all ourselves using her patterns!

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a few smartphone snapshots from our Abby Glassenberg studio tour

Today I’m her guest as part of her “The Pattern That Changed My Life” series – and I’m so happy to be there.

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For each of us as a maker of anything there’s a moment – a turning point – where something clicks. When you know you need to try MORE MORE MORE. I talk about the PATTERN THAT CHANGED MY LIFE in today’s post on While She Naps, though for me it was not a pattern per se but a kit. And not one kit but two.

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With bonus baby photo. Because when you have a baby you can include in photos, you’ll be glad you did.

Head on over to the post!

Friday Fiver: NOODLEHEAD!

Every Friday feels special for a variety of Friday-centric reasons, but today’s Friday Fiver is an oooooold bloggy friend – Anna of Noodlehead! Today we’re featuring the Divided Basket PDF sewing pattern!

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Perfect as a baby gift or a baby things gathering spot or a travel crafting spot or a small toy bin or a place to keep your precious things – whatever variety of precious things you like to gather – THIS IS THE PLACE!

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All of Anna’s patterns are so well written and the results so universally fabulous that we’re not going to litter this page with case studies in gorgeousness. And the odds are great you’re already familiar with the Divided Basket. But should you like to discover the many examples of cuteness related to this particular pattern, THIS.

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Now. Get over there and grab it! And use code “fridayfiver” to discount the pattern to just $5 for Friday Fiver!

Fine print: Expires at 6 am Eastern on Saturday, 7/19, giving the whole wide world a 24 hour shot at grabbing the deal!

Friday Fiver: Caravan Shoppe!

Today’s Friday Fiver makes me squeeeeeeeeak with excitement! It’s the Fairy Tale collection of Olliblocks from Caravan Shoppe!

If you’re not yet familiar with Caravan Shoppe, it’s FULL of beautiful (BEAUTIFUL!) printables that you can download and print as many times as you’d like for use at home or as gifts for friends. There are more choices than you can digest in one sitting, so it’s one to bookmark as a go-to resource. Today we’re focused one particular morsel of colorful fun. Olliblocks sets are SO delicious – print the files and make blocks OR magnets OR matching cards OR use them as scrapbook or card embellishments OR do all of those things! SO many uses.

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You’ll want to grab the Fairy Tale Collection quickly because as with all of our Friday Fivers, it lasts just 24 hours and then the $5 deal is GONE! This set is normally $12 – so you’re getting such a good deal for something so fun and versatile. So good that you’d feel compelled to buy two except that you can already use this as many times as you’d like for your own family or to make gifts! They’re fantastic!

Run on over and grab them HERE!