Just Like Family: Auntie Robin {Giveaway!} ***Giveaway Now Closed***

You may have noticed this awesome Etsy shop in my sponsor section for a month or so now, but have you had a chance to check out this fabulously creative shop?  If not, you really should, ’cause your missing out.

Specializing in skirts, quilts, and stroller blankets, Auntie Robin is a children’s boutique that treats every customer like family.  Everything is made with top of the line, 100% cotton fabric, the skirts are lined, and all seams are finished.  She even includes a pocket for a the child to put their “special items” they collect on their adventures.  Seriously…you don’t even want to know what I find in Greenleigh’s pockets, but they are her prized possessions and she loves them.

Each skirt is one of a kind and has it’s own personality.  And if you can’t find the perfect item in her inventory, she’s always happy to take a custom order, allowing you to select the perfect fabric and trim colors for your occasion.  At Auntie Robin, it’s the attention to detail that makes her items special.  These skirts are designed to last several years so the same child can wear them through several seasons, and when that child outgrows it, the skirt can be passed down to younger siblings or family members.  What starts out as a skirt becomes a family treasure, passed from child to child for each to love and enjoy.

Speaking of skirts having personality, how cool is this Snow White skirt?  It would be a great gift along with a copy of the book.

And this Strawberry Shortcake skirt is adorable and perfect for the strawberry lovers in my house (it comes in an outfit, complete with matching doll dress too!).  Speaking of strawberries, how is it that we go through 2 containers of strawberries in 1 week?  How many strawberries can two toddlers eat?How perfect is this skirt for spring?  So bright and floral, I just adore this one!


Could this cowgirl skirt be any cuter?  I think not.

And lets not forget her classically beautiful quilts:Each created with hours of hand stitching, making them the perfect, soft and warm place for your little one to snuggle up at the end of a long day at daycare or just hanging out at home.  Personally, I love this one:So, want to win a $35 credit to Auntie Robin?  Then today is your lucky day, because Robin has generously offered one lucky reader a $35 gift certificate!

The Rules:

Yes, unfortunately there must be rules…but they’re simple!  Just visit Auntie Robin and let me know your favorite item in her shop.  Come back here and leave me a comment letting me know what item it is.  That’s all it takes – you’re entered!  And remember, don’t worry if you don’t see  the size that you need.  Robin can whip up anything you want in the size and theme of your choice.  Each item is handmade and one of a kind – that’s the beauty of it!

Want an extra chance to win?  Make Auntie Robin one of your favorites on Etsy.  The come back and leave me a comment letting me know that you did.

Giveaway is open to the US and Canada only.  Each person is allowed one entry and one bonus entry.   Remember, you must complete the mandatory entry of visiting her store before you can do the extra entry of making her store one of your favorites.  Giveaway will be open until Saturday, March 31, 2012 at 11:59 EST.  Winner will be selected by using Random.org.  The winner will be contacted and have 48 hours to respond.

Good luck everyone!Thank you to everyone who entered this giveaway and a very special thank you to Robin for hosting!  The winner of the $35 Gift Certificate is Sarah with Comment #22!  Congratulations Sarah!  The winner has been contacted and has 48 hours to respond.  Stay tuned for more great giveaways coming up in the next couple weeks!

I Hate Tuesdays

I absolutely hate them.  Not because the weekend seems so far away, not because of the lack of good tv, and not because they tend to be one of my busier days at the office.  You see, Tuesday is the day that I set aside to impress one person – our cleaning lady.  Yes, I know, I should be happy to have someone that will come and clean my house so I don’t have to, but trying to impress her week after week is exhausting.

It all started about this time a year ago when Marilyn, our cleaning lady of 4 years decided to move to North Carolina with her family.  She was excited about her move and we were happy for her, but a little scared about what was going to happen to our house after she left.  Sure enough, things got scary.  Quick.  Like, really scary.  Embarrassingly scary.  We started getting recommendations from friends and trying new people, but were unhappy.  Some didn’t clean, others cancelled at the last minute, and one just didn’t show up at all, then yelled at us when we called to ask if we could reschedule (we were desperate and she came with a great recommendation).

In May, a good friend got us on “the list” with her cleaning lady.  She was highly recommended and had a crammed schedule, but we were on the list.  It was love – for me at least.  She hadn’t even given me a quote, but I didn’t care.  This was going to work.  I quickly scheduled our walk through appointment to get a quote, but in reality, I didn’t care what number she said, I was pretty sure we were going to pay it.

On the morning of our walk through, the girls had a playdate, so I took them and excused myself a little early so I could run home and tidy up a bit.  I should have tidied up before I left, but I was still struggling on how to get both kids out the door in the morning, let alone have time to clean.  So imagine my surprise when our new cleaning lady greeted me at my door, 30 minutes early for our meeting.  After internally freaking out a bit, I opened the door to let her and her son in the house.

The look on her face said it all.  I had that fear like I was going to be dumped right before prom.  I scrambled to make excuses as to why it was that messy on this particular day, because it was “never that bad”.  Oh, but it was.  All the time.  As we ended the tour, I vaguely remember saying something to the effect of, “well, with the baby being so little I just don’t have the time…I mean, I try but…” to which her son responded, “Yeah, I guess it’s hard for you, but…”  He never ended that sentence.  Instead he just looked around my home with a look of terror in his eyes, like “Lady, I’m considering calling the health department or submitting your house to that show Hoarders”.

And so it began, my quest to impress my cleaning lady.  Week after week, I pre-clean for her, afraid that she might dump me because as bad as things were when she first came to our house and Hazeline was a little baby, it’s way worse now that I’m at work.  I get home each night, spend as much time as I can with the girls, struggle to stay on schedule, and I’m exhausted by 8:30pm.  I have just enough energy to load the dishwasher and maybe put some laundry in the machine, because we just can’t go without clean bottles and fresh clothes.  Trust me, I’ve tried.  It can’t be done.  We need those two things.

But Tuesday?  That’s the day I push myself to make my house presentable – the laundry is folded and put away, the toys are pushed in the general direction of the toy room, and I clean out the fridge.  All so my cleaning lady won’t dump me.  So I don’t come home to a note that says, “I just can’t take it anymore, find someone else.”  I fear that day.

Please tell me I’m not the only one that goes through this crazy ritual.

 

Crafty: Picture Frame Hair Bow Holder

Over the holidays, my sister gave Greenleigh a ton of hair bows.  After all, Greenleigh loves to accessorize.  But other than throwing them in one of her drawers, I had no place to keep them.  I then went on the search to purchase a hair bow holder, only to find out that they can be ridiculously expensive.  Seriously, who pays $37.50 for a hair bow holder?  Oh, and said hair bow holder (as cute as it may be) only holds 10 hair bows max.  Not for me.  No thanks.  But taking such a firm stand and drawing my line in the sand, only left me without a place to leave Greenleigh’s hair bows.

I then started to stalk Pinterest.  The best one that I could find, used a picture frame and several spare sheets of sheet metal.  Um, I don’t have any spare sheet metal in my house, but I started to think that they were on to something with the picture frame idea.  I continued to research, finding ones that I liked and ones that I didn’t, trying to figure out how to make mine.  With no instructions, I pretty much winged it on this one and ended up with this:Yep, that’s 12 hair bows on there, and room for several more.  I rarely love how my projects come out, but this is an exception.  Such an easy project and it cost virtually nothing.  I used left over ribbon from my Valentine’s Ribbon Wreath, purchased a frame with a 50% off coupon, selected fabric that was on clearance, and found some quilt batting for $1.97!  Whole project might have cost $9?  Maybe not even that.  And with the supplies I purchased, I could probably make 5 more of these (well, I’d have to purchase more frames, but you get the idea).

You will need:

8×10 picture frame

Fabric

Quilt batting

Ribbon

Hot glue & Glue gun

SharpieStep 1 – Take the picture frame apart.  My frame came with a piece of cardboard in it, but if yours doesn’t, use the sharpie and trace the glass on your own piece of cardboard and cut it out.  Place the glass to the side, you won’t be needing it anymore.  The attorney in me wants to remind you to be careful of the sharp edges when disposing of the glass.

Step 2 – Open your quilt batting and unroll it.  Place your rectangular piece of cardboard on top of the batting and trace the rectangle in two separate places.  Cut the first rectangle out of the quilt batting, using the sharpie lines as your guide, cutting exactly on the lines.  For the second rectangle, leave an inch or two extra between your cut and the sharpie outline.  In other words, you want this rectangle to be a little bigger than your first one.

Step 3 – Take the first rectangle that you cut (the one that should be the exact same size as your cardboard) and attach it to the cardboard using 4 dabs of hot glue in the four corners of the cardboard.

Step 4 – Roughly, cut a piece a fabric in the shape of a rectangle.  You want this piece of fabric to be slightly bigger than your largest piece of quilt batting.  This cut does not need to be pretty or perfect, only bigger than the cardboard and the batting.  I promise, no one is going to see it.

Then, place the fabric you just cut, face down on your surface.  Place your large piece of quilt batting on top of it.  And on top, place your cardboard with the smaller piece of quilt batting attached, with the cardboard side up (your two pieces of quilt batting should be touching each other).

Step 5 – Take your hot glue gun, and run a line of glue down one of the long edges of your cardboard.  Quickly fold over the fabric over, on top of the glue, so the fabric is attached to the cardboard.Then do the same with the other long end, but pull tight this time, because you don’t want to have excess fabric hanging on the front.Step 6 – The corners had me stumped, but I figured the best way was to wrap them similar to a present, so that was what I did.  Don’t be afraid of the hot glue here.  You need it to stay secure and as flat as possible so it will fit back in your frame.  Hot glue away…
Then do the same to the other end, again pulling firmly so as not to have any extra fabric hanging on the front.Step 7 – Get a visual of how it will look in the frame and decide how many bows you want your frame to hold.  More bows = more vertical ribbons. I decided to use 4 pieces of ribbon to hold the maximum amount of bows.  The long ends of your frame are the top – run your ribbons from top to bottom and space them out the way you want them.  You are going to clip your hair bows on to these ribbons, so leave room between them.  I didn’t measure mine to have them perfectly equidistant, but I kinda wish my mom had been around…she’s great at that stuff.  Mine were roughly measured, and it worked out fine.

Once you find the perfect spacing, flip your fabric covered cardboard over and glue the ribbon ends to the back:Don’t pull to tight on this one, you want it to have a little give so you can clip your hair bows on.

Step 8 – Press your fabric covered cardboard piece through the frame opening, and put the picture frame backing (the one that came with the frame you purchased) back on to the frame. Mine was a snug fit, but it closed.Voila!  Hair Bow Holder!Don’t think it looks like a hair bow holder?  How about now?This might be my new favorite gift for everyone who has a little girl!

 

Lazy Weekend Mornings

Our weekends are busy, so it’s pretty rare that we get to lounge around in our jammies.  Lucky for us, we had a pretty quiet weekend so I was able to get some pictures of the girls hanging out in Greenleigh’s crib.  Greenleigh just loves when I bring Hazeline to visit her in the mornings.  And yes, you read that right, my nearly 3 year old is still in a crib and I plan to keep it that way until she wants a big girl bed.  Hasn’t happened yet, so she’s staying there. This picture actually started out pretty harmless, but when Greenleigh wouldn’t let go, Hazeline freaked out.  That look of fear is pretty constant for Hazeline when Greenleigh is around.We read some books…We ate some books…Hazeline is out of focus here, but check out that tantrum!I finally got a picture of her teeth (well, 2 of the 4 of them).

We had a great time playing with stuffed animals, reading, singing songs, and enjoying each others company.  I’m glad to have had this lazy morning and a few pictures from it.  Sometimes it’s nice to have nothing to do.

Eight Seconds of Fame