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Deborah Nolan



Interior Decor Grrl, CEO of Sugar Lamb and DIY MavenShares Projects, Tips and Stories from the Homefront



Updated: 2017-09-13T08:10:02.121-05:00

 



Resurrection

2009-03-05T10:41:16.182-05:00

Well, it's been way too long since I have been on here. I have spent the last 1 1/2 years on hiatus from Sugar Lamb. Mainly due to being burned out, being discouraged (more on this later) and being a full time mom to two sweet little girls. About a year ago, my husband lost his job so it was back to work for me. I currently now work for a cell phone company answering questions about bills all day. Yeah for me, but at least it is a steady paycheck. My husband did find another job but it really took a hit on us.

Now, I am trying to resurrect my business. It's been a very long time since I have done anything, and I am trying to reinvent my company as well. It's hard starting over though. My previous business garnered a lot of great press, but I ended up being charged with trademark infringement and in conjunction with this, a cease and desist order. It literally crushed me and ruined my business. I had to come up a new company name get rid of any inventory with my old logo, basically burn my stash of labels, marketing into, business cards etc... After I switched names I lost all of my old press which I worked so hard to get. So I just stopped everything. I gave up but nonetheless that is what I did.

So flash forward to today. As I mentioned I am working full time, 2nd shift to be exact. I'm training for the swimming portion of a triathalon and running my kids to school, and trying desparatly not to feel overwhelmed. I need to be creative, it's built into who I am and I also want a business too. I once read you can have everything, just not all at once. From my experience with my last company, it is so true. Even though my business was doing well, my family needed more of my attention. So that is why I have decided to redirect my efforts into patterns. This will allow me to still be creative and will give me more time with my family which at the end of the day is more important.

In order to maintain my balance between work and family, I will be blogging once a week and will be offering a free project/pattern once a month. My patterns will be on my etsy shop - www.sugarlambpatterns.etsy.com

So stay tuned for some great ideas and innovative patterns.

Rock On!

Deborah Nolan



Knitting 101

2008-12-13T21:27:44.053-05:00

I just finished my first real knitting project in about 5 years. Yikes! I know. made a pair of darling little mittens out a yummy pink yarn. Here's some pictures.
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The cute one modeling them is my daughter. I joined a knitting group in my little town and last night was my week to host. Now I am starting my new project - another pair of mittens. I have started a matching hat to go with the pink mittens about 6 times. No seriously, it has been about 1/2 dozen times. I didn't count correctly. On top of that, either my cats would drag it all over the house, I would loose count or made mistakes so I would just start over. Last night, one of the women showed me how to increase the correct way, so maybe I will attempt the hat one more time.
(image) Speaking of knitting - Vickie Howell - is airing a brand new podcast. You should totally check it out (I know I am). It airs weekly and features different guests.

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Rock on!

Oh, I am working on my brand new top secret product. I just made the pattern today. So I should have a finished product by next week.



First Day of School

2007-10-10T19:22:18.717-05:00

Today was my daughter's first day of preschool. I know, why did she start so late. Well, we signed her up in June, but the school never gave the list to YMCA. So, I called the day before school only to find out that she was not on the list. To make a long story short, I complained to a lot of people with some pull. In the end, they ended up opening up a new session and split up the initial class. So back to today. She only went for 2 1/2 hours (typical for 3 year olds). But when we were about to leave I got all teary eyed. I always envisioned this day as being a sob fest - maybe that 's the meladramatic part of me - but it was ok. Of course, she ran off as soon as we got in the room and made herself right at home. I had to beg for a kiss goodbye.

I picked her up at 2:15 and I got my very own ziti painted necklace that I adore. She loved the class and is looking forward to going again.

I'm so proud of my little honey bunny.

-Rock On!

Deborah



New Company Name

2007-10-07T13:22:12.076-05:00

Hey Out there!

Just a little tidbit of info - well, alright some HUGE info. Baby Starlet is now officially Sugar Lamb. We are still just as fabulous as before but we have a fabulous new name to boot.

Check back soon to see our new logo. New website coming soon! www.sugarlamb.com

Rock On,

Deborah



Revenge of the Business Plan

2007-09-21T10:44:09.231-05:00

I finished my initial business plan about a year ago, and decided to revisit it. I had very high expectations for my little company but needless to say, I didn't even come close to hitting my mark. Part of it was unrealistic sales goals, and a low budget for advertising. I tried a number of advertising ways when I first launched from google adwords to submissions to mom focused shopping blogs - did not get any sales. I have however gotten a bunch recently due to an editorial in a magazine. This is by far the best way to get your name out. It's hard as hell to get into one - unless you are paying for advertising in the magazine - but the payoff is huge.

I digress... I have signed up for a free business training course offered through a local bank and inconjunction with the Women's Business Center. I have high hopes that someone can help resurrect my business plan. I have also found a free online course too that will walk you through writing your business that's easy to understand. (Through SBA.) When I first did my business plan - I just put together numbers that made sense at the time - overhead costs as well as an advertising budget. This was all well and good, but it is useless if you don't revisit your plan on a regular basis. Later tonight I will start fleshing out my new plan with concrete numbers, research as well as goals for my business. It's a little daunting but it needs to be done. I can see Baby Starlet becoming a huge success with multiple spin off companies offering products from diaper bags to maternity as well as line of hip baby and kids clothes.

On an inspirational note, while watching the Emmy's this past Sunday, I heard Jamie Pressley's acceptance speech and loved the quote "the little engine that could". I can completely relate to this as I am as indie as it gets; a one woman show with two little kids to take care of at the same time. I know a lot of indie businesses may be in the same boat as me, but it's nice to give myself a pat on the back once in awhile. There is nothing wrong with a little pride, right? So watch out world, here I come with my ultra fabulous company complete with great business operational ideas to innovative products.

Well keep on pushing all you little engines that could.

BTW - even if you are small, it's always smart to have a plan for your company.

Rock On!

Deborah



Another typical day on the homefront

2007-09-17T20:22:02.366-05:00

I love being a mom. Today was one of those days where I really treasured every minute. This morning I worked on my third of sixteen panels (curtains) for my porch. Currently we don't have anything up and the winters around here are brutal - so I have stepped up my efforts to at least start them before the first snow fall. Anyway, I worked while my girls played, hung the curtain and made mac and cheese which all three of us ate for lunch I know it comes from a box but damn does it hit the spot on a cool day.

After lunch I put my toddler down for her nap and took a walk to the library with my 3 year old. (My husband works from home so I did not leave her home by herself.) We picked out some new books, rented a video and then crossed the street for some playground fun. Some of the other moms gave me that "what the hell are you wearing look" but f*** em. I have been getting looks like that since high school so it really doesn't faze (spelling doesn't look right) me anymore. If you must know I wore/currently wearing jeans with a brown long sleeved thermal shirt layer under a summer dress. Anyway, I thought it was cute. Then it was back home to finish an order for an Eiffel tower onesie which btw has been a huge seller for me these past couple of days. I also packed up an order for one of Star Moses baskets to be shipped out to Colorado.

Once my toddler woke up so it was drinks (dirty dirty minds) milk and snacks for the girls and then a trip to the Post Office. Since my boxes for my Moses baskets are HUGE, I decided to put the box on the stroller and let the girls walk. It looked a little silly - all right -a lot silly but it was such a nice day. We all held hands and crossed the streets together - *heart melting just thinking about it* and made our way to the PO. We were about 2/3 of the way there when we meet up with our neighbors whose son helped us the rest of the way. I put my toddler in the basket under the stroller - although initially confused about the situation - she really enjoyed the ride.

Then a be boppity ride home and then some gardening outside. My youngest stayed near us the whole time - she typically wants to head for the hills on some detailed plan of escape - or atleast that's what I think. Then it was a video for the girls while I made dinner. For those of you who know me - know that I don't usually cook. It's not that I hate cooking - I do enjoy it - I just hate having to put together a meal every night. Thankfully, my sweet hubby takes care of this. In exchange I clean the house and bathrooms - which he is thankful I take care of. So it all works out.

After dinner, we all went to the park and ran around a bunch and then the girls had their bath. Lately my toddler has been hating bath time. I mean really HATING bath time. To the point where she refuses to sit down and clings to my husband to get her out. Now, we just dump a hole box full of toys in the tub and she is happy as a clam. So much so that she SCREAMS when we take her out. Damed if do, damned it you don't. Anyway she is asleep now along with my 3 year old and I am sitting in the dark on my curtainless porch so that the entire neighborhood can't see that my shirt needs to tucked in bit.

As I said I love being a mom. A friend of mine once told me this quote "The days are long but the years are short" and it is so true. I am looking forward to watching my girls grow up, but not too fast though. I need them to stay little for just a bit longer (well maybe a lot).

As always Rock on!

Sincerely,

*a teary eyed* Deborah



Babes in Business

2007-09-11T19:56:50.131-05:00

So,
I just finished writing up my press release and mission statement for the networking group I started – Babes in Business. Inspired by Jennifer Perkins’ Babes in Business Bonanza in Austin, TX, I wanted to help create a similar group in Central New York. The group meets monthly and will feature a different speaker everymonth taking about her experiences as a business owner. Anyway, I am very excited and have gotten some help from two fabulous women – Thanks Jodi and Laura. The next meeting will be September 27th (still figuring out a location) but it will be the last Thursday of every month. Our goal is to build a community of women who can act as mentors, friends, and provide support in the ever uncertain area of starting your own business. This group is open to any woman looking to start up her business, works for a business, or owns her own business.
Anyway, I’m super excited about it. I know I already said that but it is going to be great.
We are also putting together a myspace page. I’ll let you know when it’s up so you can add Babes in Business as a friend.

More to come soon!
Here’s a big HELL YEAH to all you fabulous babes rockin your own businesses.
-Deborah



New Collections!

2007-09-10T20:08:53.088-05:00

Hey,
I just wanted to post some more info regarding my new collections. As I mentioned yesterday, they are crazy cute and I'm totally in love with them.

Here's the descriptions:

Ava
Only the best for your baby! Gorgeous red and black cherry blossom brocade is paired with a rich earth tone leopard print to create the ultimate in Far East luxury.

Kensington
The regal elegance of the Kensington collection comes from the paring of tasteful equestrian print with sophisticated black and white hounds tooth check. Perfect for your little crowned jewel.

Elise
A must-have for your little diva! Fashionistas of all ages will love the fabulous Parisian and trendy prink and black leopard prints of this sassy number.

Cousteau
Your little skipper will drift off in comfort in this nautical-inspired basket. Delicate blue and white marine print is matched with coordinating stripes as fresh as the ocean air.

Cody
Get your little cowboy or cowgirl ready to saddle up for some down-home comfort! A rustic cowboy pattern is partnered with a black and white cow print for a basket with just the right amount of western flair.

My new fabulous blankets are backed in the cream chenille-yummy and soft-and my burp cloths all feature my sassy star applique.

Coming soon...bouncy chair covers.

Rock on with ya bad selves,

-Deborah



Back in full force!

2007-09-09T16:00:48.158-05:00

Ok. I know. It's been like forever since I blogged. Summer was crazy. Well not quite Three Weddings and a Funeral but it was Two Baby Showers and a Wedding. Anyway, I am happy to say I'm back. I have also been working like mad trying to get my house finished. I moved in almost 2 years ago and the interior paint was probably 30 years old. Is that possible? Anyway I have painted my kitchen, pantry, downstairs bathroom and dining room. I also made curtains for the bathroom and kitchen/pantry area. Sooo, I have been a little busy.

Now that it's September and Baby Starlet is officially One. Hurraayy! I have new designs currently being photographed. Just to wet your palate a bit - some of the fabrics include: a rich jockey/horse print, line drawn schooner print, fabulous Paris design, pink leopard (uber cute) and a houndstooth check to name a few. I have to say I LOVE LOVE LOVE my new collections. I switched up the names a bit and changed basket styles. It's a new company - they ship out fast and their baskets are just BEAUTIFUL. Great craftsmanship and better quality.

I also changed up my clutch a tad. The overall look is the same but I added an interior rubber sheeting layer, used thicker vinyl for the exterior, and added a ribbon design feature to the new two interior pocket design. I'm crazy in love with them. They feel much more substantial and can tackle the poopiest diapers with style and grace.

So, sorry I haven't written - no I didn't fall off the planet (though it felt like in terms of Baby Starlet), but I'm back. Fabulous new lines, better quality fabrics and unique design and construction.

Stay tuned for more.

Oh, I'm thinking about doing the Baby Celebration event out in LA in April. If anyone has gone as a guest or vendor - I would love to hear your thoughts.

Rock On!

Deborah



Happy Birthday to Me!

2008-12-13T21:27:52.774-05:00

Yesterday was my 32 birthday. I can't say that I feel 32 or that I been on this earth that long - but there it is. I'm 32. I definately feel more confident in myself both professionally as well as personally. I know who I am and where I want to go with my life.

So, this weekend my hubby and I went horseback riding up near my parents house.
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It was super fun but somewhat scary. My horse's name was Bones and he was a tall hungry horse. He stopped every 20 feet to grab some leaves off the nearby trees. At one point I lost my reins because he reached down so low. Our guide had to come rescue it for me. Thanks Eric! The ride was great except for all of the mud. I had fallen on a horse a long time ago in a mud patch - so I was pretty nervous about falling again. I didn't but I did get bucked a couple times. I can't say that I wasn't about to pee my pants in fear - but being the only woman on the trail - I stepped it up some. I held on and didn't fall off. Our guide told me now I just need to ride a bull. I'll pass, thank you, but I do have a ton of respect for those bull riders now.

The day before, I celebrated my birthday with my sweet little family. My sweet hubby made me a cake - his first ever btw - and it was quite good. It was a tiny bit lop sided but beautiful nonetheless.

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And here it is after...

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Clearly it was good. After cake I got to watch a movie starring my two girls and one of our cats - Elmore - the other one is way too camera shy. The movie was about two sisters - of course - one princess and one fairy god sister - who were sent on a quest to make cake. Kudos to my husband for pulling this off. There was one scene where my oldest was holding two raw eggs and banged them together. Scot -my hubby- spit out his iced coffee due to laughing so hard. This was also the first time he had seen it. It was so sweet and really well done.

To my sweet family - thanks for making my birthday so memorable.

As always,

Rock On! - Deborah



Overdue Post

2007-07-11T16:31:17.613-05:00

I'm such a sack as of late - that is with my blog. I have been busy with summer, baby showers and trips to the water park. Right now I am cranking out a big order for a Florida shop. I will be sending it out on Friday *fingers crossed*. I ran out of 0-3 onesies, so I just got back from Wal-mart and it appears they have run out as well. So, I will have to run out to the Utica Wal-mart tomorrow. I did bring my girls and they both got to ride on Dumbo - so that was fun.

Anyway, a local Houston TV show requested my Audrey blanket, burp cloths and Star Moses basket for an upcoming segment on trendy baby items. The host, Lara Bell, said it was the cutest things she has ever seen.

Sorry this is so short, but atleast I posted something, right?

Oh, one more thing, check out my review of the Audrey Star Moses basket on Boston Mamas. There is a 15% discount code for those of you who need a last minute baby shower gift or a treat for your little star.

Gotta run!

Rock on!

-Deborah



Busy with work

2007-06-19T09:30:34.285-05:00

So last week I got the best email in my inbox - a well to do baby magazine has requested some of my Sophia line for possible inclusion in an upcoming editorial piece. YEAH! I know it is not definate, but I am optimistic. I sent my the Luxe Moses basket along with two onesies and a burp cloth set - a new design. Now if only I can find my camera charger, I will put the pictures on my site.

I also sent out my Audrey Star Moses basket to a Boston based mama site for consideration for review. They have already reviewed my site - now they just need to review my basket for quality I'm sure.

In the midst of all this, I am setting up some new advertising gigs and my fabulous web designer Abby - gogogetman.com - is working on a print ad for me. I'm super excited to see what she can come up with.

Anyway, the family is back from grocery shopping so I gotta run.


Rock On!

-Deborah



Cake, diapers and duct tape.

2008-12-13T21:27:54.709-05:00

Delicious, sweet confections - namely birthday cake - is what my dreams are made of as of late. Mainly because of my daughter's birthday cake - a scrumptious, over the top sweet, buttercream masterpiece which was purchased at Walmart. She hand picked herself and my husband made sure it was buttercream - I HATE whipped icing. It makes me sick. Anyway, after eating a piece after her party - then dipping into it slice by slice between runs to the kitchn, I finally finished off the day with this beauty,
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Needless to say, I was bit sick after this piece. I'm sure I ate about 1/8 of the cake (it was a 1/4 sheet cake) and I'm definately feeling it when I put on my clothes. I'll have to cut back for the next few days - and the two brisk walks I took with the girls should also help. I just can't resist birthday cake.

On a different note, my little one is suffering from a pretty bad diaper rash. I have been putting cloth diapers on her to help "air" her out. Unfortunately I do not have any safety pins so I resorted to duct tape. Hey now, it sticks to anything and apparently can hold a diaper on.

Here's a shot of my cutie with her crazy diaper.
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Sweet dreams and oh yeah Rock On!



Week in Review

2008-12-13T21:27:56.413-05:00

Yesterday was my Natalie's 3rd Birthday. Crazy! I can remember holding her and singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star when she was just a few days old. Now she is almost potty trained - HURRAH!- and is a little spit fire. She is super smart and very eloquent for a little kid. The other day she asked me what movie I wanted to watch and said "Your choices are Veggie Tales and Bop-a-Lots." Quite good for a three year old.

This week I also got a nice surprise in the mail - my ad in the ReadyMaker Digest.
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Very Cool.

I also finished up one of my Audrey Star Moses baskets
Here's a close up of my star applique and then a shot of the finished product.
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Today I dreamed of perfectly coiffed hair, the perfect red lipstick, a darling dress with puff sleeves and some dang cute Mary Janes - but alas this is what I wore. I'm a mom...(right now I'm really into dresses worn over pants).
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Still cute, I'll guess it'll have to do.

Oh, I also finished my sister-in-laws baby shower gift - a custom Moses basket tricked out in sweet cream and rose fabric and soft cream chenille. I also made some darling burp cloths and onesies out the scraps to match. Here's the finished product. So CUTE I can't stand it! Her baby's name is going to Annabelle Rose - so the fabric combination is perfect for her.
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I really enjoyed making this and I'm thinking of making one-offs to sell on ETSY so stay tuned for some even more fabulous baby gear.



Revamped Child's Step Stool

2008-12-13T21:27:57.292-05:00

I know I was going to post finishing off your duvet but truth be told, I haven't finished my daughter's yet. So I am going to post this super cheap and easy project.

So I found this in the trash while visiting one of my friends.
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Blue and cork - yuck!

So off I went to my local hardware store and bought some Black spray paint -Krylon- perfect for plastic.

Then it was spray time. I blasted it then blasted some more.

So here it is now.
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Next, I made a pattern out of some kraft paper by laying the paper on top of the stool and following the little lip around the cork top. I traced it and cut it out of this Fabulous fabric - I just happened to have it lying around and the best part I actually got it for free. (image)

Next, I fired up my glue gun to attach the fabric to the top of the stool. Finally, I added some black gimp - don't laugh - that's a real term. It's trim that's braided, well kind of.

Anyway, I attached the gimp to the edges of the stool to finish it off. C'est Magnifique.
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Ten Years - Has it been that long?

2008-12-13T21:27:59.715-05:00

Since having kids, time really does seem to fly by. Just this past weekend was my 10 year college reunion at Simmons College. I got to see my best friend Natalie – my daughter is named after her – for the first time in almost 3 years . The last time was when my first child was 6 weeks old. Now she is three. The weekend started off somewhat crazy. Natalie had her last of three recitals and both sets of grandparents were able to come. She and I danced on stage together, but half way through she decided she wanted to do it herself. I still accompanied her, but stayed back so she could be center stage which she completely ate up. I know she loves performing –maybe she’ll follow in both her momma and daddy’s footsteps and join the drama club in high school.After the performance, we went home packed and were out the door the following morning by 8am. Not too shabby considering we entertained until 10:30pm and then managed to get everyone packed and out the door. This always seems like a small feat. For those of you who have kids – I’m sure you understand.So with my hubby and two kids in tow, we hit the open road and made it to Boston just after 12pm. I coincidentally met up with my b/f/f as soon as we got there. There were hugs and crying and more hugs with the girls. Natalie, who is a doctor in the navy, could not get over how big they have gotten and how beautiful they were.So then is was off to get settled and then we met up with Dr. Natalie and her friend Donna at the MFA. It was a little tricky with two toddlers and much to my surprise we didn’t get kicked out. My Natalie decided to use her outside voice and sweet Olivia decided she wanted out of the stroller. We almost touched a number of furniture pieces, but luckily I used my supermom reflexes and intervened just in time.Both Natalie and I opted out of going to the class event. $45 for wine (I really don’t drink) and some scallops wrapped in bacon – pass. I just really wanted to go dancing and spend time with her. So after a nice dinner at Chili’s (it’s kid/mess friendly) we left our apocalyptic table and went back to the dorm room where we were staying and got ready to go out. I had brought a pair of gold pumps but man did my feet hurt from walking all day – so I opted to wear my leopard flats with a pair of cute shorts and a black skull embossed tank. We ended up going down to Landsdowne Street (our old stomping grounds). I told one of the bouncers that we were in town for a 10 year college reunion so we hadn’t been here for a thousand years. I guess it was just my insecurity of my age showing through. I was half expecting 18 year olds swarming the clubs – this really wasn’t the case. I guess coupled with the fact that it was pretty early by clubbing standards – 10:30pm and the fact that most schools were out for the summer – there really wasn’t that many people out. After passing on the Quarter – a male strip club- and few piano bars – lamo – we decided to go Avalon. It ended up being a perfect choice. Ideally we would have found a club that featured 80’s music but this was just as good. At one point the DJ mixed the Jackson’s ABC with the Humpty Song –bad ass. After one amarato sour and a bottle of water – now that’s not nice to laugh – I already told you I wasn’t much a drinker; we decided to leave at 12:15am. This coincided with the cage dancers appearance – which was both mesmerizing and a bit disturbing.So for a recap on the night – hit on by both 18 year olds (weird and creepy) and 45 year olds (gross me out) we went back to our plastic covered mattresses and passed out for the night. The next day[...]



Mom's Favorite Stuff-Newsletter Giveaway

2007-05-30T16:17:15.884-05:00

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Need a gift for an upcoming baby shower or want to pamper your little one then stop by Mom's Favorite Stuff.com and sign up for their newsletter. You might win a fabulous gift from Baby Starlet; a matching changing pad clutch and burp cloth set from the Taylor collection. Be sure to stop by Baby Starlet- my sale is ending on May 31st so get shopping!

Craft On!



Duvet Cover - Part Deux - The Ruffle and Piping

2007-05-30T10:51:58.456-05:00

So now that you have the front of the duvet cover all stitched up, it's time to add some embellishments. I decided to make my life a little difficult by opting to add a not only piping but a ruffle as well. When you add both, it makes sewing along the piping a challenge cause there is so much more fabric.

Cut out your piping - 1 1/2" strips and enough to go around all four sides. To attach the pieces together, lay the strips on top of eachother with right sides facing up and the ends overlapping. Cut the overlap section on a diagonal throw out the excess and now pin these two sections together by matching up the diagonal cuts. The two pieces will be at approximately a 90 degree angle. Sew them down and iron flat. Once all of the pieces are attached and ironed, attach your piping. Lay the piping inside the strip and match up the sides. Using your zipper foot, sew down as close to the actual bump or piping as you can get.

Pin piping to the outside edge of duvet and pin. At the corners, clip fabric about 1/2" from the corner and lay out the fabric to create a 90 degree turn. This will give you nice looking corners. Now sew down again as close to the piping as possible and overlap the pieces at the end. Cut out a 1" section of the actual piping piece from the end and fold back the fabric to create a finished edge. Place the beginning section in this pocket and pin down ensuring all edges are matching up.

For the ruffle, measure around three sides (two sides and bottom edge) and determine how full you want your ruffle to be. You don't want the ruffle at the top because it will be annoying up against your face. My ruffle is probably pushing 3 + the fullness or really really gathered. 1 1/2 - 2 times will usually do the trick. Now take your measurement and multiply by the number of fullness you would like. Divide this number by 54" if you are using home decor fabric and you will get the number of pieces to cut.

You can make your ruffle either really wide or narrow - that's up to you. I made mine 2 1/2" so I had to cut out 6" strips to accomodate this. I figured this out my taking my desired finished width measurement, muliplied by two and added 1".

Cut out all of your pieces and attach the ruffle pieces the same way as the piping pieces. See above.

Iron open your seams and iron your ruffle in half. At the two end pieces, turn the fabric right side in and sew a straight line - turn right side out and iron. This will finish the ruffle edges.

Using your zig-zag stitch and a spool of heavy tread, attach your gathering stitch. To do this, just lay down the heavy thread under the sewing foot and zig-zag back and forth across it. This will make gathering it much easier and if the string does break, it is not the end of the world.

TIP: If your string breaks, take a sewing needle and tread the broken end onto it. Now, push the needle under the zig-zag stitch back to where it broke and pull the thread to gather. Wrap this piece around a pin figure 8 style to make sure it is secure.

Since your duvet is not square - make marks at the half way point on the ruffle and match up to the bottom middle of the duvet front. Gather and pin as you. Try and make it uniform as possible.

Finally sew down the ruffle taking out the pins before your reach them. You don't want to break your sewing needle.

Next time - how to attach the back and make the buttoned opening to insert the comforter.



Duvet Cover Part I

2007-05-23T21:01:14.201-05:00

.Yesterday I made the front side of my daughter’s duvet cover (she’s almost 3).I know she's probably going to stain it, but I got all of this sweet fabric for basically nothing ($2/yard) as a barter for a sewing job I did for a fabric store. Damn straight I’m gonna use it. I’m sure she will let me know when she grows tired of it (hopefully for at least 8 years). Now for the measurements of the actual top – I searched online for down blankets to get a ball park range of how big to make it. Ideally, you will want to make it exact otherwise the blanket won’t reach the edges and you will have “cold” spots or it will be too small and the blanket will bunch up around the edges and then you’ll have “hot” spots.So pick a blanket you think you will buy – better yet buy it, and add 2” to the length and 2” the width. You could go only 1” to each side – but my seams always end up being wider after I attach the piping and ruffle.Segue to my design – a contrasting piping with a 2 ½” ruffle. More on this in my next post.Now for a twin the dimensions I got were 62” x 87”. Obviously this is wider than most –strike that-all home décor fabrics. You will need to piece together two equal lengths (I cut mine to 89”) and match up any patterns. To do this, cut out the first piece and then line it up matching the patterns and pin down. This is where you will cut the top of the second piece. To get a straight line, make a slit in the side of the fabric and tease out one of the horizontal threads and gently pull it. Keep pulling it and gathering it. The thread will usually break. Pull the fabric flat again and you will see a line where the thread used to be. Cut along this line until it disappears. Start again by finding a new thread to pull in this cut line and pull again. Repeat to the end.Line up the bottom edge of the fabric making sure that both pieces are the same length. You can also check it by matching up the pattern. Make a small cut for the bottom of the second piece and pull thread again. Don’t go all the way across though. You only need to pull it 64”-54” / 2 = 5 + ½ for seam allowance”. At the end of the 5 ½ ” mark, make a cut vertically and pull the thread again. PULL THE LEVER – I mean PULL THE THREAD. Fabrics have repeated patterns in their design - hence the repeat in the fabric. To figure out what this repeat is, measure from one pattern to the exact same pattern running vertically on the fabric and repeat it horizontally. This repeat also does not run completely horizontally. I found this out the hard way. I tried attaching the same piece to other side of the fabric and it didn’t match up. Sh*t. My bad. I always dive into projects head first. It’s ok though because I will be using the non-matched side up against the wall. No one will see it.Now that you have two pieces with matching patterns bust out your stitch “witchery” aka fusible tape and iron down one side of the fabric. Iron down one side of the fabric and make sure the selvage aka non printed side of the fabric is not showing. Line up this newly ironed edge with the second piece of fabric to create a seamless seam (sorry that is a bit redundant but you get the point). Place the stitch “witchery” between both pieces and iron down. Do the entire length. Now, “open up” the ironed piece and sew along this crease. The straighter you are the better. Cut the excess off the seam and use your overlock machine to make sure it doesn’t fray in the wash. I have washed my duvet cover (my mom made it for me) a h[...]



Dunh Duhn DUHN! - Sales calls

2007-05-21T17:49:42.431-05:00

This week I am going to be focusing my efforts on drumming up some new business – I will be calling stores in the NYC area to set up sales calls. I hate making these calls. I always feel like an annoying telemarketer.

Deborah: Hi, is the owner available.

Store Associate: Yes, may I ask who is calling?

Deborah: My name is Deborah Nolan and I’m calling from Baby
Starlet – I make handmade baby Moses baskets and accessories

(You can say it cause I know – absolutely terrible)

Sales Associate: One moment please.

Owner: Hi, this is the owner. How may I help you?

Deborah: I make handmade Moses baskets and accessories and would love to stop by to see if my products would be a good fit for your store.
(It’s general – but this is what I used when I sold my maternity line –The Funky Mama- and it worked. If it ain’t broke as they say.)

Owner: Can you tell me a little more etc. Or we already bought for the *fill in the next season here* and are not looking to add any more product lines at this time.

(Like I said, I hate doing this. There is nothing like a little rejection. Even worse- you leave your name, number etc and no one calls you back. Did I mention that I hate making these calls?)

So, I have to do this - research tonight/tomorrow and set up sales calls for June sometime.

In addition to this I also need to get some more press for myself. I have sponsored some giveaways (didn't get any sales) - sent in samples to mom oriented blogs - didn't get any sales. *ARRGHH*. I don't even want to think about all the time I put into making those Moses baskets *Dora is on right now for my girls so this is easy*.

Anyway, I'm having a hard time saying focused. I love starting up projects - so it's hard to say on task. What the f*k. I don't know what I'm doing half the time - but as my blog states - this is a Dream of mine-so I am going to make it work if it makes my crazy. I am doing the JPMA tradeshow next April - and I know that my products are going to do well. Moses baskets are pretty stagnant in terms of their design, so mine will definately stand out.

Well Dora is over and my oldest is attempting to climb up on a table to get another movie hold on

"Natalie get down!"

Right, well it's off to the bathroom for baths and bed. My husband is not home yet, so giving two girls a bath by myself should be interesting. Oh f*k it. I'll just do the old wipe down with a wet wash cloth.

Rock On!
Deborah



Mama's got a brand new chair (of sorts)

2007-05-17T16:42:32.605-05:00

Today, while I was out an about enjoying the day with my one year old, I stopped into one of the many Antique shops in my super cute town. It's owned by this sweet man named Sigmund or Siggy for short. Oh, he also had a great German accent *I think* and was very helpful. The shop was pretty full-they usually are-so I parked my baby at the front of the shop while I checked it out. She just ate her Scooters (Honey-nut Cheerios knock-off) and drank her apple juice. Thank God for small favors. My oldest was especially trying today, so a little unexpected retail therapy was nice. I found a couple of chairs, some beautiful gold frames and a white vintage plant cart. I expressed my interest in a few of the pieces - and without prompting-he lowered the price by $10 - ROCK. I really wanted the adorable vintage tiered plant cart - but maybe next month if it's still there.

There was also a really fab chair. It was covered in this plastic almost sticky *gross* fabric, but now that I can slipcover furniture *small pat on my back* I could trick it out in some great fabric. Eventually, I am going to make over my guest room - right across the hall from my room - into a walk in closet/dressing room. I want to do a leopard rug - crystal sconces - and maybe recover this chair in a black tuxedo fabric with some hip red accents. This won't happen until I move my business out of the dungeon, aka the basement, and into a new building. I'm hoping that this will happen next summer, but we'll see.

Sooo...*reel it back in Deborah* I ended up buying this pretty French Provincial armless chair for my vanity. I have been using a stool that was my Mom's. She just covered it in some fabric to make it look a little better. The stool will go my studio so I don't have to play musical chairs everytime I change sewing machines. I will be repainting the legs and slipcovering the seat. The current fabric is a *it's alright for awhile* quasi cream velvet.

Here's a picture.
(image)
I have not redecorated my bedroom yet. Right now it's a nasty yellow with a white semi-gloss ceiling. I'm thinking of a soft blue or green. My bedding is black and white Toile - so I want to build off this adding other black and white fabrics to the mix. I especially love Hounds Tooth Check. Maybe next year. My baby's room is the next on the list along with my half-finished kitched and my mostly finished dining room.

If you have kids - you know how hard it is to get things done. All I want to do at night is sit on the couch with my laptop and half watch TV. Oh and if there is some light ice cream involved (I'm lactose intolerant) even better.

I would love to see your projects or answer any questions you may have.

Rock on! - Deborah



Back to the Business

2007-05-15T14:48:29.552-05:00

This morning when I woke up, I was feeling not only a bit depressed but a little sick. I had my usual monthly slump and had to pull myself up by my boot straps and push forward. My husband took the girls grocery shopping and I sat in bed typing up my Dream Plan of sorts...what I want to accomplish, when and how. I read an article in Real Simple and was inspired. Following the advice of the columnist, I sat down and laid out on paper where I want to be if anything was possible. Of course, I set my sights pretty high; purchase my own manufacturing facility by my 33rd birthday (only 1 1/2 years from now) publish at least two books and possibly get my own show on the DIY Network.

Yesterday while checking out the web, I saw that Screen Door Entertainment has effectively and open casting call for new talent. So, I sent off an email describing my background and why I would make a great host. Not sure if I will ever hear from them, but it doesn't hurt to try. I figured if I did get the gig, then it would be yet another way for me to craft my heart out and get paid for it. Not a bad deal.

Like I said a shot in the dark, but damn it I'm talented-I've got skills and I'm cute to boot. Sounds like a perfect combo to me.

Today I'm cranking out all of the administrative work that goes along with advertising - faxing, creating banners and filling out forms. Boring but exciting. The culmination of the five places I will be advertising will be my biggest marketing plan to date. I hope (pray) that I get some sales. Advertising is expensive but I have to get my name out there somehow.

I would love to hear what works for other indie designers as far as advertising and marketing goes.

Craft On!



A Frog Puppet, ER and PVC

2007-05-13T14:25:48.933-05:00

This past week has been a bit crazy and scary. Well, it's always crazy for me between work and being a full-time mom, but not usually scary.Wednesday started off as usual; mad dash to take a shower, eat breakfast get the girls ready for the day. Then it was off to Wal-Mart for mulch and dirt and some pink tights (my daughter's first recital was on Thursday). After paying, I loaded up the car with my kin and organic matter and realized that the check-out woman forgot to give my pink tights. D*mn you Wal-mart! So it was back inside and then back to the car again and then off to library group. The group meets every Wednesday in 6 week sessions and there are stories, crafts, snacks and a short movie. It sounds like a lot, but it only lasts about an hour. The stories are always a challenge because the coordinator reads two-three books, which is a lot for 2-3 year olds. So, I spend the entire time yell-whispering at my oldest to sit down-and have to wrangle my one year on my lap. She likes to crawl around testing out all of the little girls' hair for pullability.Onwards - frog puppet. Today was frog puppet day. It was a cute project - they always are, but today was the first day I actually stopped myself from "fixing" my oldest's project. Being a crafty grrl, I love coming up with new designs - even if they happen by accident. So why am I altering my daughter's projects to resemble the sample? I move the eyes so they are in the correct spot - she wanted to use an eye as a nose. I know, frogs don't have noses - but her frog was going to have one. It was at this point where I put down the glue stick and say back and watched. The last part of the project was putting on dots (stickers) to decorate the frog. She used the dots and made not one but two noses. I'm proud of her d*mn it. Despite her mother's perfectionism streak - she crafted her puppet the way she wanted to. Rock on little Natalie.After the group we all went home for lunch and this is where the PVC comes in. The night before I was having heart palipations. Like a skipping beat in my chest. I was hoping they would go away that night but they did not. So after lunch I called my doctor and she instructed me to go the ER. My thoughts at this point were:1. I would need a heart transplant.2. I was going to die.3. Not being able to watch my girls grow up. (For me this was the scariest part.)I can't say that I'm afraid of death - because I not - but I afraid on missing out on things, mainly their lives. I have always wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember (or had the desire) so losing this aspect of my life would be heartbreaking. I want to be around for them. So I go and check in, a nurse takes my blood pressure - it's low - it always is - and then takes my heart rate. Boom! He caught it right at the end. A PVC. I didn't know what the hell he was talking about but he said he gets them all the time. This made me feel a little better. After he took my vitals - he hooked me up to a heart rate monitor for a while. Luckily for me I brought People magazine to read. I was seriously considering bringing my laptop to work - but my husband said that it might interfere with some of the equipment at the hospital so I reluctantly left it at home. Next came the EKG test - normal - and some bloodwork. Normal again. Finally the doctor came around. He was watching the monitor when my heart palipation happened and he confirmed that it was a PVC or Premature Ventricular C[...]



Repurposed Table Cloth

2007-05-10T09:56:26.261-05:00

I love Estate Sales and yard sales just as much as the next girl, but sometimes when you buy something - you don't realize that there's a huge stain right in the middle of it.

Don't fret... craft something.

I got this idea while looking at the huge makeup stain on my sheets while doing some laundry this morning. Cut out 14" squares dodging the stain and make some very cool vintage napkins for your home. I like to make a template to ensure straight edges and consistent sizing.

Just measure out 14" x 14" onto some craft paper, cut it out and away you go. Center the pattern over some interesting patterns, or to get more bang for your buck, just cut out as many pieces as you can.

It you lightly fold the pattern in half and then in half again - you will find the center. Put a pin at this mark and place the pattern over a design. Just lift up the pattern and place the pin in the center of the design and pin down.

Cut it out and either serge or zig-zag stitch around it or use your iron and fold down the edges 1/2" and then repeat. Topstitch and you're done!



I gotta go potty

2007-05-10T10:01:29.189-05:00

Well she did flip the tables on me after all. I don't know why I am so suprised. I found her standing at the gates with no bottoms on demanding to use the potty. I asked her if she pee'ed in her bed or on the floor and she said no. Of course. I scooped her up over the gates and let her go - and she actually went. I then scooped her up and put her back in her room. After taking the first step over the gate, I quickly learned she infact peed - I stepped in it. Yuck. After handling that situation, I learned she ripped even more pages out of my vintage Peter Pan and Pinocchio books. So now she has no books, a peed on floor and an aggravated mother.

I'm off to bury my frustations in some ice cream and a ton of sprinkles.