Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A small break

able mabel has been taking a little break lately. We've pushed so hard, worked so long, 5 or 6 days a week, that it feels really good to take a week or so "off". Granted, I've still tried to list something new everyday, take pictures when the weather is nice and blog when I have something to say. But, I haven't created anything new for a couple weeks now.

JB came over yesterday and together we got the basement "studio" somewhat organized. I then went outside to take pictures and she started in on some new signs. The one drawback of taking time off is that it takes a bit to get back into it. She's walking over here right now to have another shot at it. I will again, get behind the lens and try to take some pictures...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A long overdue feature

It's been months since I asked discobelly if I could feature them on my blog. (pardon the pun of the title!) I think I found this shop using the Pounce feature on Etsy. (Pounce is a fun section the shows items that have just been sold. You can "pounce" on other items in the shop.)

I love that you can find maternity shirts in this shop that you wouldn't find in the stores. They are all long length, always a plus for me! Their prints and designs are so fun and unique!

If you are planning on shopping with them now, you'll have to be patient. They are moving to a new shop, so they only have a few items listed. Have no fear!!! They will list more as soon as they are settled!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

It's dreary

and rainy today. Not a very great weather day. On the bright side, we need the rain so I can't complain. I'm having a hard time getting motivated to do anything day. I wish I had a good book to read... I have to keep reminding myself that at least I got a workout done today. That's always a plus!

Here is a cherry card that will make anyone smile! Her name is Cassidy and she can be found in our mother's Etsy store.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Meet Al

He is one of our new listings. Isn't he fun?

The best thing about him is that he'll only bite apples!

note to not try to list a new item, upload new pictures to another item and blog all at the same time. The computer is s-o s-l-o-w!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

New challenges

This morning dawned bright and sunny, the perfect weather for taking some pictures. I started snapping away until I got to this one...

How best to take pictures of a mirror? What to do about the reflection? Did I really want my toy strewn living room reflected? The sweet smiling face of my two year old? The lens of my camera?

I ran downstairs and grabbed a backdrop and draped it over the back of two chairs. I'm not super sure I like the result. I tried having it reflect up to the ceiling but ended up getting the can lights in it. Hmmm....guess I'll have to do some brainstorming on that one.

In other able mabel news....we sold another 2008 planner today. I was pleasantly surprised. Surprised because it's already April and pleased because I'm glad someone else isn't on the ball getting organized for the year (kind of like me! Of course, I'm assuming the customer who bought it is like that. I apologize if she isn't) I relisted it for all the rest of you out there looking to get organized! It's really a cool planner! I was hesitant to relist it because the pictures of it are so bad. Sister K is the one who designed it and she takes care of getting it printed and bound. I never get to touch a finished product in my hot little hands. The pictures I took of it were from the first one she made for someone. I snagged it and attempted to take pictures before it got sent out.

It's lunchtime and I'm hoping to get at least one thing listed while I eat my lunch...we'll see though.

Monday, April 21, 2008


We hit the big 5-0 this weekend! That would be 50 sales in our Etsy store! This sign was sale number 50. Hoping for many more!!

We've also hit our 4 month Etsy-anniversary, which means some of our listing are starting to expire. JB and I decided that we'll just let them expire since we have so much still to list.

We can just run the signs thru the planer and start over. We have so many quotes we'd still like to do... There is only one blanket so far that has expired. I think I'll just re-take the pictures and list it again.

We are part of this group on Etsy called the Fam Team. Stands for Fabulous Artistic Moms. A few of us pooled our money and started a website with the hopes of driving more traffic to our stores. We're also going to start placing ads on some popular blogs. The first ad will be placed shortly. I'm so curious if there will be a difference in our sales. It was so cheap, and requires little effort on able mabel's part. The more exposure the better!

Man, something must be in the air today. My kids, specifically my two year old, are so cranky! I've tried everything, except for dumping them back in bed, to make them happy. Reading books, playing with them, going outside...nothing is working! Finally tired of their crabbing, I locked myself in my laundry room and started in on the mountain of laundry that needs to be folded. (makes me sound like a horrible mother, but geesh, enough is enough, and they'd cry regardless...) I was talking to sister JH on the phone, apologizing for all the screeching going on. She asked if we were suppose to get a storm today. (Later this afternoon, one is suppose to roll thru) She thought that might have something to do with their moods. She's so smart!

Now they're all distracted (the two year old is polishing off a bowl of dry Oatmeal Squares, the baby is back in bed, the three year old is playing house and the five year old is at JB's "helping" her rake her yard), so I better fold that laundry like a madman before they all come howling back to me!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

It's up!

A few months back, I asked sister K to design a calender that I could hang on my wall. I wanted each month to be on it's own sheet so I could see all 12 at a glance. I've had it for a while and finally got it hung on my office wall.

It's really pretty against my plain wall. Adding an instant splash of color. When my two year old woke up from his nap, he came into the office and said "Cute" in his little sing-songy voice. As you can see, I haven't really filled it all in yet. That is still on my to-do list.

This week, I have hardly touched able mabel. I've blogged almost everyday (except yesterday), took only a few pictures, listed a couple items and shipped out an order. That's it! I've had so much catch up to do around the house. It feels awesome to get some of that stuff done.

That will all change today. JB is coming over after lunch (fresh off a little getaway with her hubby) and we'll start to tackle another Sing it Loud. This is a custom order, placed by the woman who bought the original "sing it loud". She wants it 2'x3'. "Sing it loud" has been our best selling artwork to date. Between Etsy and Dunn Brothers, we've sold quite a few. This is our second custom order for it. We do have a few smaller ones hanging around. One is currently listed in our shop and the other two are still patiently waiting to be photographed and listed.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Isn't she cute?

For some reason I'm partial to this one. I just think this little lady standing on her soap box, ironing clothes is so sweet.

JB finds old storybooks at Goodwill and uses them to make some of her light switch covers. I love the fact that no two are alike and the illustrations are so classic.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Now what?

The March 15th sales is done. The Spring Festival is done. It has felt like for so many months we've had some sort of goal or deadline to get stuff done for. We currently have nothing in the near future looming.

In some ways it's a relief but on the other hand, it's hard to know what to focus on, which direction to go. I couldn't help feeling a little "lost" yesterday.

This morning I woke up with a game plan. It's finally a gorgeous sunny day, so I'm pulling out the camera. I'll click away as long as the kids let me. Then I'll work on house stuff; laundry, cleaning, baking, etc.

My breakfast done so I better get moving! Have fun!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Yikes Stripes!

Here are the completed ones with fabric and no ribbon...
and the ones with fabric and ribbon...
I think they turned out fine. My eyes go straight for the flaws, like usual, but I think the average joe probably wouldn't notice. Unless, or course, you inspected really closely.
So, do you think I like stripes?

I've been talking about

doing these for a long time but I'm just now finally getting around to doing them. Memo board!

This is what my dining room table looked like yesterday afternoon.

We found these huge frames at Goodwill for dirt cheap back in September or October. One was enormous and the other two a tad bit smaller. We affectionally called the big one Big Bertha. She's still leaning against the wall in the basement.

The two "smaller" ones have now been turned into memo boards. All three had these hideous brown frames with an equally nasty picture inside. The frames each received a new coat of paint. Pink for one and the blue you see in the picture.

I had never made a memo board before. Silly me, I decided to practice on one of these big frames. (note to self: when trying something new, start small, then go big) It was a total experiment. I didn't have any written instructions to follow. Typical me, I just winged it. I didn't really like how the first one turned out but JB convinced me to put it into Saturday's Spring Festival anyway.

The second one I tried was a much smaller frame. Again, found at Goodwill and painted, this time white. It turned out much better. The first two are bulletin board style (the cork is hidden behind fabric), no ribbon involved.

Yesterday I started on the last two. The other big frame, in blue, and a smaller one. The pink and green combo you see in the picture went into the smaller frame. Ole Blue got blue and orange ribbon.

I have to seal the paint on those two and then put the backing on all four today. I'll try to snap a picture of all four when they're done.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

All by myself!

ummm...with a little bit of help.

We had a customer who wanted a custom sign. It's the second custom sign she has ordered from us. I'm not sure what language the quote is in, but it roughly translates to "for good year", or something like that.

We didn't have any raw wood in the dimensions she wanted. My husband was busy every night last week and JB's husband works out of town three days a week. On Friday she asked him if he could cut, router and sand a piece of wood for us. His response "Why don't you do it?" I told her that I would wonder over and make my attempt. Her husband was in the garage working on some cabinets when I got there. I gotta admit, I was a bit nervous because I hadn't touched a woodworking machine since 7th grade shop class.

The first step was to cut the board to the right length. No sweat! Just pull the saw blade down. (quiz question #1: what type of saw was I using?) The next step wasn't quite so easy for me. I had to router the edges. I had a hard time getting the corners on the first try. I was pretty tentative with it. It took me a few tries but I got it. Well, he did touch it up a bit for me.

Then came the sanding. Piece of cake. Just run the sander over the edges and top. I guess if I would have gotten too gung-ho, I could have sanded my nice routered edge right off. Then JB's husband took over to add the hangers on the back. It's the kind that are "built into" the back. I don't even know what type of machine he used to do it. I watched closely just in case I would have to do that someday. The last step was to blow all the sawdust off with the air hose.

When I was done, I couldn't help but feel like Rosie the Riveter! I almost felt like flexing my muscles, but I restrained myself. (now I know why men feel the need to do that every once in a while.) I loved shop class and it felt awesome to use those powerful machines again. Think I'd be able to do it next time? We'll soon find out!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


I begin this dreary, cloudy day with my hip ornament (aka my baby) firmly attached. She has hit the lovely clingy stage with much gusto! Sigh!! I try not to get irritated and just snuggle her and kiss her sweet little cheeks because I know that pretty soon she'll want nothing to do with me! It just takes much longer to type one-handed. Thank goodness for naptime!!

Peas have got to be the most over-rated veggie out there! Not only do they taste bad, they're horrible to clean up. My kids like to eat them frozen, straight from the bag. No problem there, it's actually nice not to have to cook them. When my two year old son doesn't like something, he'll put it on the table (better than what he used to do, launch it as far as his chubby little arm could throw). Well, peas have a way of finding their way to the floor!

Have you ever tried to sweep or vacuum wet peas? If you can manage to get them all in a pile without squishing them, they leave a streak across the floor. Just when you think you have them in a pile, they decide to act out the song "On Top of Spaghetti" and as if on the count of three, they all take off in various directions. So I decided to let the peas dry out before I make any attempt to clean them up. This can be almost as frustrating with a two year old in the house, because there are so many peas on the floor. When you enter the dining room it goes like this...step, squish, squirt, step, squish, squirt. Not fun!! You know peas are bad when the baby, who will put everything that she finds on the floor in her mouth, wouldn't touch them.

The only good thing about them is that if you drop one you can say "Oops, I pea-ed on the floor!" (Sorry, that's my father's humor)

Moral of the story: Peas are going to be banned from this house until my two year old is old enough to leave what he doesn't like on his plate.

Today it's back at it for the Church sale. JB and her husband got a bunch of boards cut last night for hooks. We've wanted to make some boards with hooks on them but hooks can be so expensive, it's not always worth it. We both found some neat looking hooks on clearance at Target. Some were under $2! I think JB said we have about 13 boards to paint and dec out. We'll try to get those done this morning.

This afternoon, we'll switch gears and try get the rest of the hair accessories done. Tonight is project night and we'll try to get everything packaged up, if possible.

We/I just have a few memo boards to finish up and we'll be ready for the sale. In order to finish the memo boards I need to run to Walmart and hope they sell cork. If not, I'll have to hit Joann's, which is about 30 minutes away. Let's just hope Walmart carries it. It doesn't matter how the cork looks since it will be covered.

My baby decided to go play upstairs with the other kids. I better hurry and clean up before she (just as I type this, in she comes) needs me again! Oh well, the thought was nice anyway!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Ahhh!! A relaxing weekend!

My brother-in-law works at a local grocery store and belongs to it's Union. The Union has a resort up on the North Shore of Minnesota. He can rent it for dirt cheap. This past weekend we were able to go up there with him and my husband's parents. The cabin slept 8 and being that they are strict about that number, we only took three of our kids with us. We had a wonderful and relaxing time!

This week it's back to reality and hitting it hard for our church Spring Festival on Saturday. JB is working on getting her kids ready to come over to get started. Before we work on the church stuff, we have at least one custom order to get done. (I'll blog about that later!) I think we're going to go thru what we currently have listed on able mabel, take some off and donate it to the church sale. We have so much stuff listed and we have much funner (I know that probably isn't a word, but you know what I mean) stuff to use and make!! Plus we still have a lot of stuff to take pictures of and list! So, if there is something you've been eyeballing, you better get it now before it's too late!

It'll be a crazy week, that's for sure! My husband will be gone every evening this week and I'll be busy during the day, so I'm sure our house will look absolutely wonderful by Saturday! Better to be busy than bored!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Getting this all figured out!

or at least I think I am. I basically have two shops to juggle. Ours and our mothers. This includes all the photography, listing, selling, mailing, etc. The whole key is when to do it, how to juggle it and still keep my family happy.

I've started coming in the office as soon as I get my older girls off to school. If I have good pictures to use, I'll start listing in at least one of the shops. Today I was listing in both shops at once. It's easier that way since Etsy takes so long to upload the pictures. As I'm waiting for the pictures to upload, I'll edit the rest of the pictures or update my blog.

According to some tips I've read on Etsy, you're suppose to list at various times of the day. That way a wider variety of people will see your shop. While that all sounds great and all but in reality, it doesn't always work for me. I do try to list in the late afternoon somedays and a very ocassional evening but for the most part, it works best for my schedule to get it all done in the morning.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Lessons of the Day

Last Monday I had a bunch of errands to run. I decided to give one of our new totes a "test drive". I've been using it since then because I always forget to switch my stuff back over to my usual purse. Actually this one (it's the one pictured) is much more fun to use, so I think I'll just keep it.

So yesterday I had dentist appointment. The dentist commented on my purse. I, being a good "business-woman" (ha, ha, ha) told him all about able mabel and Etsy. As I left they asked if I had a business card. I did, thankfully! Who knows if they'd actually check out the store or better yet, buy something but one never knows!

Lesson #1: Always "wear" what you make, if possible.

Lesson #2: Always have business cards on hand.

As the dentist and his assistant were working in my mouth, I was thinking that their gloves smelled like Goodwill. I almost said something (me and my smart mouth) but he then pulled out his drill and I wisely kept my thoughts to myself.

Lesson #3: Always be nice to your dentist especially when a drill is involved.

After my dentist appointment I ran to SuperTarget. I always feel a little bit sheepish walking in there with that purse since that is where we bought the "fabric" from (it was actually a tapestry that I found on the clearance rack). I always wonder if someone is going to recgonize it.

Anyway after I had checked out, I turned around and there was this kid/guy I went to high school with. I had to chuckle because his cart was loaded down, he was carrying a bag and his two year old son (I'm guessing on the age of the son) was racing ahead. I could chuckle because I didn't have any of my kids with me and I could totally relate. I don't have a clue if he knew who I was, especially since I went to the community college my last two years of high school. I have a pretty good memory for recgonizing people (that doesn't really make sense but you get the picture), so I knew who he was right away. So, I'm trying to blend into the background (part of it was because my mouth/lip still felt huge and numb), walking a few paces behind him.

We walked out the door and he can't find his car. I was feeling bad at this point because I know the feeling. So I maneuver around him, my cart hits a pot hole, and my shin slams into the cart. Ouch! I was feeling more than slightly flustered and had to make my cart do a "wheelie" to get it out of the hole. (is that why the bright orange cone was there?)

Lesson #4: No matter how hard you try to blend in, you'll do something stupid that will have everyone staring at you.

A side note on the purse....We still have more fabric in that print, so if you'd like us to make you one, let me know. Also the pouch we had made with that fabric is relisted in our store. The person who "bought" it never actually paid for it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Really quick

before the supper madness starts. Although tonight's supper is fairly low key. I'm just warming up leftover roast, veggies and gravy in the oven. Good ole Sunday lunch remnants.

I've decided that I really need to build myself a light box. I've been taking hoards of pictures of the cards we made using the pictures of Mom's dolls. I just can't get a really great picture of them. I end up getting frustrated. If I have time tonight I'll try tackle it. Hopefully I'll get it right-side-up this time. Maybe Husband will help me out... Annie Howes put a little tutorial on her blog after I asked for some advice. Thanks Annie!

I was at JB's all day today working on blankets for our church Spring Festival. We managed to get 6 of them done. I started cutting out a bag and lining it with interfacing but my lovely little princess was fussing so bad, I had to stop what I was doing and attend to her needs.

Tonight JB is hosting project night for the Spring Festival. We're going to do some magnets, headbands, and bobbies.

Supper prep awaits!

pssttt...have you pulled any April Fool's jokes today? I did one on my husband but I should have let the suspense drag out longer before I fessed up to it being a joke! I hope JB can pull hers off tonight!!