Tuesday, March 31, 2009


We're back to our "normal" (I use that term very loosely because there is no normal around here.) routine around here. Spring Break is done, Hubby is back from his fishing trip, extra kids went home....It always feels good to get back to life. Not that I'm complaining at all about last week. It actually went better than I thought it would. My only complaint is that the weather was pretty cruddy. Cold and cloudy. Just plain ish.

Today I spent the day cleaning out corners, washing floors and clothes. Nothing able mabel related (well, except for cleaning up my workspace.). I wasn't in the mood. I think I needed a good day of cleaning.

Our three year old decided that he doesn't want to be potty trained anymore. So much for thinking he was so easy to train. No "punishment" has worked so far. Creative thinking is required now. On Sunday, I brought him to Target and had him pick out some candy. The deal is that every time he doesn't go in the toilet, everyone except him gets candy. Today was day #1 of this idea. He's had two "accidents" so far today. I've calmly cleaned him up and then made a big deal of handing out the candy to everyone else. He was pretty upset. This is one of our most stubborned kids so far. He tests the limits big time but if we stay firm, he'll do what we want him to and then he's super good. I think he just needs his boundaries set. We'll see if the candy deal backfires. It seems a bit cruel but I'm at my wits end with it that I'm willing to try anything. (I'm not sure why I felt the need to tell you that, but...)

Supper is calling! Later!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Keeping little hands busy

Starting on Wednesday until this evening, I watched my friend's kids. She went out of town and he had to work. It was a houseful! It went pretty well though. I figured today would be rough going and I wasn't wrong. By mid-afternoon I knew I had to come up with something to keep the kids occupied until supper.

Step #1: Tell them that as soon as they get the main floor cleaned up, we'll do something super duper exciting and fun. They fell for it hook, line and sinker and scurried around like squirrels!! (tricky aren't I?)

Step #2: Pull out my paper scraps. Let each kid choose 3 papers and cut them into little rectangles. (I did the cutting. I won't let them near the cutter!)

Step #3: Rummage around in my drawer of rub ons and stickers. Toss down onto the table the ones I haven't touched in a long time.

Step #4: Break out a few stamps and ink pads.

Step #5: Watch their eyes grow wide and twinkle with excitement.

Step #6: Threaten that if I hear one word of fighting, the project comes to a screeching halt! Everyone has to share nicely! (This is a necessary step for my kids. Everyone seems to want the same thing at the same time. Maybe someday we can get rid of this step.)

Step #7: Let them loose on the supplies while I make a mad dash for the mop bucket, rubber gloves and rag. (Less chance of little feet walking across the wet floor if they're all busy at the table!)

Step #8: Once the floor is dry and their done decorating, cut apart the back cardboard of a paper pad to fit each rectangle.

Step #9: Tear off pieces of packaging tape and do a some "poor man's" laminating. Tape over the front of the design and wrapping it around to the back. (This not only adheres it onto the cardboard, it also seals all the stickers and ink on there.)

Step #10: Glue a magnet on the back of each one. (I found the magnets in the craft section of Walmart.)

Step #11: Use the bribe of supper to get them to clean up their mess. That and the fact they get to keep the leftover rub ons and stickers. (Groan...I know I'll probably regret that one. Have I told you that I hate stickers?? At least I come by that honestly...I take after my father.)

Step #12: Enjoy their creativeness hanging on my fridge!!

(These are some of the ones my kids did. The visiting kids took theirs home.)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I'm just too lazy

to dig into some pouches at this time of the night (I'm getting in the habit of blogging at night, aren't I?). The kids are all sleeping so it's nice and quiet around here. I was going to pull out the fabric for the pouches after I got them in bed, but now I really don't feel like it.

I've been working on able mabel stuff almost the whole day. (I paused for a few moments to make meals. I accidentally mistook my thumb for a slab of butter and grated it with the cheese grater. I was making biscuits for supper and JB taught me the cool trick of grating the cold butter instead of cutting it into small pieces with a knife. Now you know why my typing is slightly hobbled.) I got step #2 done on the coasters, sealed some light switch covers, put together some magnets and got 6 blankets done (the lovie size). Do you blame me for being lazy about doing more?!?

My white thread had an attitude problem today so I still have two blankets to rip apart. I was going to be efficient and rip them as I was nursing but after pulling out just two stitches, I realized it was not a good idea. I could envision the stitch pick slipping and stabbing my baby. It wouldn't be a pretty sight. Babies and sharp objects don't mix.

I think I'll roost on my rump, roam the Internet and pick apart these two blankets. Sounds a bit more relaxing at this moment!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Make up your mind!

I listed this blanket on Monday.

I started off with this as the lead off picture.

Then I retook them and changed my mind to this one. Bad lighting and all.

I retook again when she woke up. This is what I have now (but probably not last one).

Can you tell I'm experimenting with my baby blankets? I want to get "better" shots of the blanket but I'm having a lack of imagination problem. I've searched Etsy for ideas but hardly anyone uses models in their pictures. I've gotten such positive feedback when using one, so I'm going to keep using them. I still feel like I haven't gotten it "right" although I don't know exactly what I'm looking for...

Okay Mom! Time to stop...

Or I'll give you a knuckle sandwich!

Monday, March 23, 2009


not all necessarily able mabel related...
  • We've been really lazy around here since Saturday. I took some of the kids to the library and we checked out arm loads of books. All of us (hubby included) have been loafing around reading. It's an awesome thing to do every once in a while!
  • The kids are on Spring Break this week. Nothing exciting planned. I went thru their clothes today to see what they each need for summer. Great fun.
  • One of these Spring Break days is going to be all able mabel. I have one more custom order to work on and a pile of delightful fabric to dig into. I can't wait!!
  • Mothering can sometimes be a crappy job. We're working on training our three year old. He's pretty much got it down except he gets lazy about going #2 in the toilet. If he does go in the toilet, he'll wipe himself if I don't catch him fast enough. Not a pretty sight! I've already accidentally flushed down one pair of whitie tighties the toilet trying to rinse them out. (They're now floating blissfully along in the city's septic system. It was a total accident, promise!!) I've thrown a couple pairs away because I didn't want to deal with it. Why I felt the need to tell you that...I'm not sure.
  • We've decided to try out the rental market on our MN house. I put it on craigslist on Thursday (a total whim on my part) and received 2 replies within an hour of listing. We've gotten about 9 people interested in the place so far.
  • I'm a bit surprised at the gall of some of them. One lady told us that she wouldn't rent from us unless we put a deck off the dining room and took out the carpet on the stairs. Her list of "requirements" was actually quite long...I'll spare you the details. I told her thanks, but no thanks we'll find someone else. Whatever. No wonder she can't find the "perfect" house.
  • We had our first run in with the police and our kids this weekend. Our almost two year old took off down the sidewalk after her older brother, who was riding his bike. They were within eyesight of my husband, who was working in the garage. He went after her but before he got there some lady had stopped and was already on her phone with the cops. She chewed him out for not watching our kids closely enough. The cop showed up about 10 minutes later. He was super cool about the whole thing. I appreciate her concern but at least talk to us first instead of getting on the horn right away. This is the first (and hopefully last) time our daughter has left the yard. Sheesh...it's going to be a long summer.
  • I took up one of the dining room table this evening (a Monopoly game was going on at the other end) and worked on some light switch covers. It's been a while since I've done any of them. It's always nice to change things up a bit.
  • Should I go to bed or read a bit more...Who needs sleep anyway?!?!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Style? What's that?

You know when you look at a product and you can immediately tell who made it....
I'm feeling like able mabel doesn't really have that. Take for example the baby blankets I was working on today.

Three totally different, distinct styles. You have the trendy Amy Butler, the cutesy Bambi and then the wild, bright floral. Talk about all over the "map".

Someone once told JB and I that able mabel does have a certain style. We were both left scratching our heads over that comment because we don't see it. (unless we missed the meaning behind her comment)

Does our shop "flow", do the products "compliment" each other? Obviously we haven't worried about it. We don't limit ourselves to any one product, theme, color, deisgner, etc. We make what we like and if the rest of the world likes it, that's awesome!

Is a lack of style a good thing or bad thing? Not sure...all I know is we're having fun doing what we're doing and that's what counts! It's a great escape from everyday life. We're not trying to build a brand or a huge empire. We're just living life a day at a time and thankfully neither of us have to rely on able mabel to pay the bills.

(I probably didn't make any sense, but then again, do I ever?!) :)

Thinking Spring

I just changed the colors to something a little more springy....We'll see how long I keep it that way...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I've got a head cold

coming on and it's draining me of all my energy. I only feel like sitting on my rump and staring out the window, but in the interest of all those in this house with me, I'm forcing myself to do the bare minimum. Let's hope this passes soon!

I need to figure out a way to get a little more organized. I feel like I have so many loose ends to tie up around this place. I could use a big bulletin board divided up into sections. (custom orders in the works, custom orders to be completed, supplies to purchase, etc.) Maybe I should head to the thrift store and see what I can find.

Does anyone have any ideas of how I can organize my workspace on the cheap? It's not very big and we're still renting so banging up the walls isn't an option. I really don't like all the clutter but I don't have a good place to "hide" it. My beautiful soon-to-be-two year old is the worst digger ever. The more I can keep out of her reach, the better.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Guess what?

A salesperson did show up on my doorstep yesterday afternoon! The good ole Kirby Guy! I could hardly understand him as he had a tongue ring. He looked pretty decent otherwise. No, I did not let him in. Yes, my house was clean by that point. Why do they show up at supper time though? I know the answer, it's just lame. If I would have let him in, do you think he would have cleaned my carpet while we slurped on our spaghetti? I should have tried it.

I need to get a "no soliciting" sign for my front door. I'm a bit hesitant to do that though because this is how these people make their living. Maybe I'm just too nice. I've never bought anything from a door to door salesperson, so I'm not that nice.

Today I got some of the stuff done that I've been putting off. Cleaned out my e-mail inbox, left some feedback (I had five, seriously five, pages of feedback waiting for me! Most of it was from this weekend so I didn't leave it yet. I like to wait until my customers get their items before I leave it.), cleaned up my work area. I still have the daunting task of cleaning out my convos. I also have a few more poppy signs to finish up. I have 4 of them packaged up and ready to ship. As soon as my kids get home from school, I'll do a post office run.

Our son turns three today. He was born at 17:17 on the 17th. I still think the nurses fudged the time he was born but I wasn't about to argue with a needle-wielding nurse. I just groaned and let them write it down. A happy nurse is a good nurse! (especially one in charge of my comfort level!) I'm better sign off to start his requested supper. Pizza and pop! Easy enough. (I'm going to sneak some fruit and veggies onto their plates. Shhhh, don't tell!)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Please, please, please

don't let anyone show up unannounced on my door step this afternoon! Honestly, my house is a pig sty! Mondays are usually my cleaning up day, getting back on track after a busy weekend. We had something going on every day/night this weekend. I got a little bit done this morning but not much.

We went on our first hike of the season yesterday. It was 5 miles from our house and easy enough for all our kids to do it. My baby screamed the.entire.time. except for about 10 minutes. Good thing there wasn't anyone else on the trail. I was convinced she'd fall asleep in the front pack, it was nap time afterall. But no, she had to prove me wrong. It was still better than sitting at home on such a gorgeous day! She has to learn how to like hiking because I'm not sitting home all summer!

After such a busy able mabel weekend, my work area is a mess and my inbox is full. I'm still working on poppy pictures (4 down, at least 2 to go) and I have another order for a blanket to do. I'm not complaining one bit about how busy it is. I think my husband is finally about to "jump onboard" with me here as he's been seeing the piles of packages to bring to the post office. He's always kind of looked at it as a "tolerable-thingy" that keeps his wife happy and the house a mess! ;) He doesn't really mind, I think he sometimes feels jipped because he doesn't always have time to do his hobbies. I tell him it's one of the perks of being a stay at home mom! (I really do clean my house every week. But with so many bodies around here, it's hard to keep it clean!)

I'm done slurping up my leftover Salmon Chowder and listing this sign so now I really need to get some cleaning done. Guess my workout takes the back seat today....can't expect to get everything done in one day!

Happy Day to all!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

It was a wild day!

Yesterday after I returned home from my errands, I check my e-mail to find I had 8 new messages. I was assuming it was just family members commenting on our family blog. Imagine my suprise when it was 6 orders waiting for me! Holy Cow! I was in shock and positively giddy!

I quickly racked my brain to see if I could think of why I'd be getting a rash of sales all of a sudden...

Every weekend Etsy sends out an e-mail to all their newsletter readers notifying them of any sellers who are having a sale that weekend. In the e-mail they post pictures from a few different sellers with direct links to their shop as well as a link to the forum thread where sellers post what their sales are for that weekend. (how's that for a nice long run-on sentence!)
I've posted on the thread for a few weekends but nothing ever came of it. When I saw the thread pop up on Monday, I posted thinking "What the heck, it can't hurt. 20% off your order." (if you want in on this sale, just enter Love Spring into the message to seller box when checking out. It's only good for today though, so hurry up!) Easy enough.

I opened the email from Etsy, which was also in my inbox, to find that able mabel was the first shop pictured! Unbelieveable! They choose the Poppy Sign as their "item of choice".

That was the first thing that sold from the shop yesterday. I also 4 more requests for one similar.

I went into a bit of a panic thinking about all the cool stuff I still had to photograph and list! But I was having friends over for lunch, so I calmed myself down (I mean, there were still about 100 items for sale!) and answered e-mails, sent out revised invoices and responded to convos instead. Visiting my friends kept my mind off it (well, kind of) for the afternoon.

After they went home, I then remembered that able mabel is also being featured on ThirtyHandmadeDays blog. (If you want in on the sign giveaway, head on over there!) I sat down this morning and figured out that of the orders I got yesterday, 8 came from the blog and 6 from the e-mail.

Wow! It was absolutely thrilling!! I had a perma-cheese on my face all night!

Friday, March 13, 2009


It has happened to me twice now. When I've uploaded new, better pictures to a listing and then renewed the listing, the item has sold with in a week or so. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not.This clock sold within hours of renewing with brighter, more clear pictures.

This smock sold this morning/last night. After I retook pictures of this smock, it was featured in a treasury and a website for moms in Montreal.

I suppose I could play devil's advocate with myself and say that it didn't happen with this sign or a few others....but those other two above give me motivation to keep trying to get better pictures. I've always known that good pictures are vital to selling online but sometimes I really don't feel like retaking them. What can I say, I'm lazy! Sometimes it's discouraging to try and try and still not get a good picture. Oh well...no one said life was "easy"! (If that's my biggest issue in life, I've got it made in the shade!) ;)
There will be no able mabel time for me today. I have some friends coming over for lunch! It's so fun to take a break from "real life" and spend time with friends!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I got the

coasters done today. Or at least they're put together. I still have to finish sealing and waterproofing them. I'd take a picture and show you but I'm sure you all are tired of pictures.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sometimes you just have to step away...

This morning I did my morning routine and while my kids were playing outside I decided to dig into these coasters. I had about a half hour until lunchtime.
I have these four little stacks ready to go. The pieces are all cut out, I just need to find backgrounds for them. Easy Peasy. I have a definite vision for these sets. I know exactly what I was going to do with them. I have one more stack that I'm not totally sure what to do with. For some odd reason, that stack was the first one I picked up to work on. Not a very wise choice on my part. You'd think I'd know by now that if I don't have a plan, things usually turn out crummy. But no, I'm a slow learner at times.

They started one way but I wasn't liking the direction they were going. I put them down and made lunch for everyone. I got my kids down for naps, hubby back out the door to work and started in on them again. I was feeling like things were going from bad to worse.
This is as far as I got before I decided to throw the towel in. Blech! Something is missing and I'm not sure what. I'll just let them "stare" at me for a days/weeks and something will come. It always does. I was feeling like I was "forcing" it to happen and it just wasn't working. It's wasn't a waste of time...it was "research and development", except nothing got developed. (hee hee)

I looked over at my stack other coasters-to-be and had an inner debate with myself...coasters or exercise...My whole family benefits when Mom exercises so exercise it was. (You see, I exercise not only for the physical benefit, but also for the mental benefit. There's nothing like a good workout to uplift the mood and get a "fresh" prospective on life.) The coasters can wait. It's not like the shop is empty! ;) I'll maybe give them another shot either this evening or tomorrow.

Here's what I got done on Saturday afternoon....

The top two are pouches, the bottom two are baby blankets. I only had a little bit of sewing time, but it was better than nothing! The name of the game is sneaking in "play" time whenever I can, and enjoying every minute of it!
Now my baby is up from her nap and is cooing away. I think I'll go smooch her for a while. She's gotten ticklish and lets out a squeal of delight everytime she gets kissed. Life is good!

Monday, March 9, 2009

I have a problem...

I was cleaning out my workspace today and found that I have way more "raw" fabric than I have finished product. You know what that means...I'm doing some serious sewing this week! Yay!!!

This afternoon I started getting a few sets of coasters ready to go. I've been meaning to get back to my paper crafts but my workspace was a complete disaster! It feels great to get it organized and it's amazing how much more inspired I feel when I can actually see my desk.

I'll be sure to post pictures of the finished product!

Friday, March 6, 2009

I've been wanting to take some

playful pictures of our smocks for some time now. My imagination just wasn't working, I was having a hard time trying to decide how to do it. Today I decided to give it a shot. My goal was to get some pictures that weren't "forced" or posed. I wanted totally fun, makes-you-smile sort of shots.

First up: The original picture from the listing.

Pretty blah and "stiff".

First up. Hmmm...cute, but still not right. Still pretty stiff.
"How about we tell jokes! I'll go first." So we started in on the chicken crossing the road jokes. I still wasn't getting much playfulness out of her.
Okay, let's try jumping. Whee! So fun!
But her pants kept falling down. Put that thinking cap back on.

I know! Start twirling! Now we're talking! We were on to something then. She kept twirling and I kept snapping, not saying a word to her. She was laughing and giggling and we ended up with some fun shots.Just what I was looking for. You'd never know she was spinning in circles because most of the pictures don't show a lot of movement. While I love that look, the point of taking these pictures was to show the smock, not the sweet little girl.

Don't worry, we stopped before she got too dizzy! To see more from this shoot, click on here to view the listing.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My sewing machine

and I were humming along together this afternoon. It felt so good to sit down and sew for most of the afternoon. I was about to stick the first pin into the fabric when my baby started screeching from the bedroom. Oh great, now what. She was suppose to be napping. How do they always know when you just get started on something? She only needed to be "topped off" (a mini feeding) and she was good to go for a couple hours. Whew!

Here's a sneak peek at some of what I got done.
The first three are burp cloths, the bottom three are little lovies. Talk about a variety of colors and patterns! The bottom four fabrics were ones that I had picked up months, maybe even a year ago from Oriental Fabrics. So fun! Two of them scream baby while the other two could really be anything. So sweet to have a productive afternoon!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Oh what a morning!

This morning was going to be an able mabel morning, as stated last night. I sent the kids out to play, got the dishes done and escaped to my little work area. I was just finishing up with my first sign of the day when the doorbell rang. I was going to ignore it but decided I better not, so I answered it.

Before I go any further let me clue you in on the state of my house...
  • I'm working on getting clothes washed so there are piles of clean clothes on the chairs, comforters draped over stools to finish drying, sorted mounds of dirty clothes spilling out of the laundry room.
  • My 20 month old spilled the last bits of the Frosted Flakes all over the floor.
  • Someone had cut a piece of paper into little confetti strips and left them to fly all over the house.
  • The boys had a race track going thru the livingroom.
  • When they were playing outside, the mud puddles were screaming their names so the front porch was littered with caked mud boots with bits of sticks and rocks clinging to the sides and bottoms.
  • A Duplo tower was being built next to the kitchen counter, being supported by stacks of whatever they could find to prop it up.
  • and on and on....it could have been classified as a Federal Disaster Area!!

I was ignoring the mess until lunchtime. I would then have them clean up their messes, feed them lunch, put them for naps and then vacuum and scrub the floor. (See why I was going to ignore the doorbell?!?!?)

I timidly stuck just my mug out the door to find two people standing there grinning from ear to ear at me. (I did a quick "survey" of myself to make sure I was all in one piece...shirt pulled down all the way, fly zipped, no Cherrios stuck in my teeth, etc.) They introduced themselves and then asked if they could come in and sit down. Sigh. I very slowly opened the door let them in but suggested they keep their shoes on. Why, oh why hadn't they come yesterday when my house was totally spotless? (I think they did, but I ignored the doorbell. I was in the middle of exercising.)

It was an Insurance agent and her trainee. They were selling some sort of supplemental medical insurance. I patiently let them say their piece (She did all the talking, he just stared at the chaos swirling around us.). It was fairly interesting and I may actually be interested in it, after I do some research on it. I wasn't going to sign on the dotted line today. No way. Homework first, signature (a big fat maybe) later.

At this point, I was thankful for a few things...

  • I was dressed in a relatively "put together" outfit.
  • My kids were being fairly well behaved (with a few minor interruptions like shushing the kids singing SHZ songs from the stairs, wiping the snot nose as it rushed by, etc).
  • I had wet down my bed-head this morning (it was really wild).
  • The dishes were done and the table was clean.
  • The kids were dressed and those that wear diapers had clean ones on, at least to start with.

After they were done with their schpeal, I shooed them out the door and went back to finish up my sign. My jaw dropped when I saw it. My "budding artist" decided it needed a little improvement! She had come to me, as I was attentively listening to these salespeople, balancing my baby "just so" as not to disturb the load in her pants, with marker all over her hands. It didn't even cross my mind that it would be my marker, I just assumed she found one of the kids' markers.

Laugh or cry, cry or laugh?! It's actually quite funny. At least I hadn't put a lot of time into it, it came together pretty quickly. I really like the rubons I had used though and I think I'll be able to salvage those. I don't know, this just may have to go into her baby book (oh wait! I haven't started one for her yet!)

I can only imagine the conversation those two salespeople had once they got into their car. I'm certain of one thing...they got their Tuesday morning entertainment!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Want to see JB's new baby's foot?

Talk about skis! He's waving them at us! He's about 6 weeks old and I'm sure he's just a little pumpkin! (I wouldn't know, I have only seen him in pictures. Sigh. The "side effects" of moving away from MN.) I'm pleased to see that he still has little chicken legs (I mean that in a nice way.). My baby is still fatter than hers! (For those of you that don't know our families, JB has these darling, dimply, rollie-pollie boys and I have these tiny, petite, skinny girls. Her baby will be catching up to mine and passing her quite quickly in the chubby department. Dolly needs as much of a head start as she can get!)

We got a request for two of the Scrappy Patchwork Blankets a few weeks back. Since JB had done the original one, I begged and pleaded with her to do two more. Since I wasn't around to take the pictures to list them, she had to do it. Didn't she do a great job??! Way to go JB! (She claims she semi computer challenged, but we all know better.) Okay, so sister H helped her out a bit on getting the picture uploaded and e-mailed to me, but we won't tell anyone!

Coming up tomorrow on my agenda....an able mabel day! (Who am I fooling?! Feels good to say it at least!) I think I just jinxed myself by saying that!