Monday, November 28, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up: Thanksgiving & [Stocking Stuffer] SALE!

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I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and were able to make it through your Monday after the long weekend!  

  Every year I get more excited to make Thanksgiving Dinner.  This year, after following my own Holiday Planning Guide, I am happy to say that I am super pleased with how well I pulled it off!  My photography skills, however, not so much.

  I wore my Dear Damsel apron (which I made with some adorable Michael Miller Fabric a while ago and couldn't bear to sell!), and my 90 inches of pearls from a Premier Jewelry Party I attended a few weeks ago.  I was armed with my coffee, hugged by one of my Cafe Wraps, and a planned out time-schedule for cooking... not to mention I prepped a few items the night before, which made things easier.

  Pretty much everything we ate this year, aside from the Dressing, Gravy, and Mashed Potatoes, Cranberry Jelly (with its can ridges) (and pie, which my Mom brought), was from the November Southern Living Magazine.  Yeah, have I mentioned how much I love Southern Living?  If I haven't, which I'm sure I have... I do.. I love it... L-O-V-E, Love!  I may have grown up in the North, but I'm all about some southern cooking and my little chicks are a pair of GRITS, so I may as well help them along, right? Right!

Cajun Fried Turkey

Homemade Gravy in my Nan's China :-)

Happy that finally I was able to have a yeast dough recipe work for me!
And I  will never again make Green Bean Casserole with condensed soup!
  I had everything hot on the table within 10 minutes of our planned time to eat... WOOT!
We enjoyed ourselves, though my hubs had to work for Black Friday... the girls and I stayed home, which is traditional for us... no crowds for me thanks.

On Saturday I went to the Christmas Carol Craft Show at the Farmer's Market... I didn't take a single decent photo of my holiday towels, but if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you saw some sneak peeks... Here is one terrible iPhone photo:
I sold all but two of my towels and am so completely grateful to all of the customers who supported my Small Business on Small Business Saturday!

* * *
If you 'Like' SoChick! on Facebook (What? You don't? Well, you should! *wink*) you may have noticed that I added an album with Fabric Winter 2011... these are all of the miscellaneous fabrics I have left over from this year.  If you see something you'd like used for one of my items... don't hesitate to email me ( about a custom order.  ***Any Custom order placed now will not ship until after Christmas, but, if there is a fabric you'd really like used in a Handbag or Accessory (as long as I have enough of it for a given item)... you should get it before it's gone!

Last but not least...  
  This week is the last week to order from SoChick TheShop before I close through Christmas and the New Year!  SoChick TheShop will be closed from Dec 6th through the end of January so that I may update & restock inventory... Be ready for fresh items, fabrics and designs in 2012!
  I have added some items that will make perfect Stocking Stuffers and are 'just right' for the Holiday Season... I will add more Ruffled Scarves this week, in new colors, so be on the lookout for those as well!  
  No more Items will be added to the shop after this week and it will close for the Holidays on Dec 6th!!  Head on over to SoChick TheShop now to take advantage of some reduced pricing as well as an additional 20% off your purchase now through Dec 5th (at 11:59pmEST)... Use Code STKNGSTFR20 at checkout to save!!

* * *
P.S. Did you see that I made Scatter Girl of the Month?!? I DID! Check it out HERE... I am So super honored!  XxOo and Thank you!

XxOo~ Melissa

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

SoChick's Small Biz Guide [Shop Small on Small Business Saturday]

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This Saturday, Nov 26th, marks the Second Annual Small Business Saturday!!  This weekend is considered one of the busiest shopping times of the year.... I mean, if Black Friday, Cyber Monday and whatever else didn't give that away. *wink*

Small Business Owners are a BIG part of our economy!  Small Businesses don't only come in a bricks and mortar shop, the Small Business you shop on SBS can be a handmade shop online, a home based business and your local farmer's/handmade market.

Why shop Small? 

-Awesome Customer Service: Small Business owners are really good about remembering and connecting with their customers... we want you to be happy, we care about what you think and we want your return business (and that of your friends and family!).

-Quality Products: Because Small Businesses are keeping a massive inventory, they want to be sure that what they do have is of the best quality.  After all, we like our customers and know they only want the best (see above).

-Sense of Community: Whether shopping locally or online, you are still a part of a community when you shop small.  You have an appreciation for quality work/locally grown products and can absolutely relate with others who feel the same!  

For Small Business Saturday I will be at the New Bern Farmer's Market for the "Christmas Carol Craft Show" from 8am- 4pm in Downtown, New Bern... If you are local, I'd love to see you!

If you're not in the area, or even planning to stay in for the weekend, you can still shop Small Businesses online, it's true!  

Here is the First Annual SoChick Small Biz Guide for Small Business Saturday...  Enjoy!!

--> Super cute handmade outfits and accessories for your little gal or guy! (New Bern, NC)
thumbprint designs 

--> "Upcycled artwork for your home." Handmade in Louisiana

--> Free Shipping on All orders, plus save 20% with Code: NOVEMBERHOLLA at checkout!

-->Signs and gifts handcrafted at Eventually Cottage in Upstate, NY!

Check out these talented gals and remember to Shop Small on Saturday, Nov. 26th!

XxOo~ Melissa

Monday, November 21, 2011

Give SoChick! for Christmas [& Small Business Saturday, Can I Promote You?]

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Today is the last day to order the made-to-order SoChick Sling and Dahlia Tote bags... but there is still plenty of time to order any of the smaller ready-to-ship accessories at SoChick!The Shop!!

Here are some of my Favorite Items... Notice that they are all $20 or less (!)

~The Perfectly Pleated Pouch

~Organic Cotton Ruffle Scarf

~SoChick Wristlet

I'm sure you can find some stocking stuffers for the Everyday Chick on your shopping list! Pssst~ It's perfectly acceptable to gift yourself some SoChick!, too!

* * *
Saturday, November 26th is Small Business Saturday.  This is the day after Black Friday Madness, where you are encouraged to get out and support your local small businesses by shopping small.

Read more about Small Business Saturday Here.

Here is what SoChick! will be up to: 

I will be attending the New Bern Farmer's Market, which will be open for extended hours (8am-4pm) for their Christmas Carol Craft Sale.  I will have a table there and would love for you stop by to see me and the other local artists if you are in the area!

Here is what I want to do for you, if you're a Small Business Owner:

I'd love to share your Shop/Small Business with my readers, Tweeps, and Facebook Followers, to encourage them to shop Small for SBS!  I'm putting together a Small Business Guide that I will post Wed and it will remain up through the Holiday till Saturday Evening.

What you can do to participate.. it's easy... e-mail me with your 200x200 Shop Button, that's it!

Your button should link directly to your Shop/Small Business; be sure to get it to me by 8pm EST, Tuesday Nov. 22nd (that's tomorrow evening)!

I will list the guide on Wed. Nov 23rd with the Buttons and promote via all my Social Media outlets (Twitter, Facebook, Blogs)  I'm happy for you to share the direct link to that  post as well!
I think this will be an Awesome way to share Small Businesses and connect readers to other Small Businesses and Shops they may not know about!  You may find a small business in your area, too!

Have a great Monday!!

XxOo~ Melissa

Friday, November 18, 2011

Insta-Friday [My week in Photos]

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I think it's quite obvious that I don't have a lot of blog posts scheduled and ready-to-go.  Sometimes I do, and that's great, most times I don't.  

So, for today, since I'm busy trying to sew a million and one things (before switching over to embroidery on my machine so that I can embroider a million and two things) I thought I'd try out an Insta-Friday Post.

Insta-Friday is hosted by Life Rearranged, a blog worth checking out.  Basically I'm sharing my week in instagram photos... which I tend to take a lot of... enjoy!

 Here are some new Yellow/White Chevron Wristlets that I made up.  I love the Grey Velvet Accent, don't you?!  There are still a few left in The Shop.

 Here's how Jack Bauer greets me first thing in the morning, with the 'Puss  in Boots' eyes... because he thinks he's starving... all 18lbs of him. (P.S. that white speck in the middle of the photo is my iPhone camera, i've had the thing three months and this is what happens *sigh* probably need to go to AT&T and ask "What the deal?")

 From-the-box Chocolate fudge Brownies, with icing thankyouverymuch.  Seriously sinful, seriously delicious!

 Super gloomy-yet-warm-and-humid day. 'Nuff said

Affordable Gwen Steffani at Target?! YES!! It's for the kids, but that make's it easier to justify spending...right?!?!

 This was my Nan's jewelry chest.  I only have a few pieces in it because I've not taken out what was there to begin with... I want to refinish this piece but need to research where to start so I don't ruin it... I'd like for one of my girls to have it one day.

Finally... here I am with my new hair cut trim, yay! *happy dance* So glad to have found a new stylist (since mine moved away in March... yes, it's been that long since anyone has touched my hair)
life rearranged
Hope your weekend is fabulous!! Ours is going to be a busy one!

XxOo~ Melissa

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

This Is Not A Test, Or Is It? [Procrastination Never Wins]

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I am being tested, I know it.

I'm struggling to find motivation, there are things that need to be done around my house and I just can't find the motivation to do them... I'm feeling overwhelmed.

The weather today is not helping:

Then comes the guilt for putting things off and procrastinating, if only I could take a break, but wait... by putting off some tasks haven't I already 'taken a break'? Funny, it doesn't feel that way... more guilt.

My to-do lists are getting longer and time is getting shorter... so many things to-do... seriously.  The thing is, these "to-do's" aren't just the standard commitments for business, school, girl scouts, & family, it's also 'extra curriculurs' that I want to do for the holidays with my kids, crafts and decorating, etc.  I know I need to make these a priority.

On top of my lists are things out of my control... mainly stuff to do with my house.  It seems the closer we get to finishing up on repairs from the fire, the more that happens non-fire related.  For example: The other night while the girls were in the shower I noticed some water dripping behind the faucet.  Now there is a water spot on my living room ceiling, which we just painted.  Why is it that in the 5 years we have lived in this house, that has never happened till now?  Really.

I need to remember this Pin from my Just Sayin' Board:

And now I need to get back to do-ing.

How do you stay motivated when you are feeling overwhelmed?

XxOo~ Melissa

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Boxie Pouch Tutorial

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I shared this tutorial on Andrea's Bubblewrapp'd blog last week and I thought it would be nice to share it here as well, in case you missed it:

I was talking with Amber (@Goodnightmoon6) one day about sewing, of course, and we got to talking Boxie pouches... and whether or not you could see the 'Guts' aka exposed seam allowances in our designs.  That's where "No Guts" came from... and really, the reason why I started making my Boxie's like this in the first place was because I didn't like seeing the exposed seam allowances that I found in other tutorials.  Not that having exposed seam allowances, or bias trimmed seam allowances, is wrong, it's just a personal preference... and maybe a little bit of an OCD desire on my part for neat and tidy-ness.

So here ya go, enjoy!

Feel free to adjust the measurements and play around with all the different sizes and types of Boxies, this is merely my way of sharing the basics with you.

I'm also completely happy for you to share this tutorial, and even sell the Boxies you make from this tutorial, but please be sure to give me credit for my hard work, and need for tidy Boxie pouches!

XxOo~ Melissa

Monday, November 14, 2011

Running For... [My New Year's Commitment]

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I listed this New Year's Commitment on my Holiday Planning/To-Do List last week.  Now it's time for me to tell you all about it!  

I know what you're thinking... Whoa advance planning! But kind of, sort of, not really... here's the deal:

I've been so busy that I keep making excuses as to why I'm not working out regularly.  A few weeks ago I thought that I could really use some kind of motivation for working out, you know, since being healthy, fit, and in shape aren't motivators *wink*.  Then, one day after work, my hubs comes home and says:

  "Let's run a Marathon." {cricket, cricket}

Okay, hunny, let's not get carried away with ourselves... how 'bout a half-marathon?  Another week went by and I knew that if we really were going to run a half-marathon that we needed to plan and prepare.  It's easy to say you're going to do something, but with something as big as running a 13.1 mile race (though we wouldn't be racing) planning and prep is everything.

Enter: My New Year's Commitment

First thing I did was hit up Google for schedules of Half-Marathons in our area along with training plans.  I found the Flying Pirate Half Marathon which is April 15, 2012.  I figure that's enough time for us to prepare since most training plans are 12-14weeks and I'm starting early... right? Right.

I went out and bought new running sneaks

And, I downloaded this free iPhone app called LogYourRun:

This app is pretty awesome b/c it uses my phone's pedometer along with GPS to track my pace, time, and route; I can save my info and track my progress.  It also allows me to build a playlist, or select an existing one, within the app... way cool.  Then, I can tweet or facebook my info, so if you follow me on Twitter (which you should *wink* @TheSoChickChick) that's what those little updates are!

Of course just entering a race isn't enough motivation for me... so to up the ante and raise the stakes, I presented my husband with a challenge:

   When we  complete our first half-marathon (not win, since we are not racing, this is merely a personal challenge for us and we're first-timers) we will treat ourselves to a Viva Las Vegas weekend! 

I know you are loving my intentional puns in the previous sentence, right?!  This half-marathon may be a way to justify a trip to Vegas more than Vegas being the reward, but either way works for me!

I will update periodically with a blog post about our progress, but you can also track my progress via my Tweets!

I'm super excited about this challenge... what a great way to get fit together!

How do you set goals and reward yourself for fitness?  It doesn't have to be something as extreme as running a half-marathon, but I'd like to hear your thoughts.

Also, are you a runner with a toddler?  How do you manage fitting in a workout when your home with the little one during the day?  My youngest is 3 next week (Eeek!) and she is my biggest challenge as far as fitting in a run during the day... I'm dyin' to hear how other running Mom's do it!

XxOo~ Melissa

*P.S.- My opinions on the "Log Your Run" iPhone App are my own; I am not affiliated with them, I just really like the app!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Inspiration Workshop [Dining Room Inspiration]

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Linking with Gussy Sews for Inspiration Workshop today...
  The Prompt is Dining Room

I was going to post a bunch of Thanksgiving Inspired Dining Rooms that have been decked out for the holiday, but then I started to think... I'm just ready to have my dining room back!

Here is some inspiration for my Dining Room, via Pinterest, of course:

  My dining room is smaller than this one; it's attached to the kitchen, separated by the breakfast bar and in it's own dark little nook.  It's a defined room, but has no windows.  We have painted the kitchen/dining area Montpelier Madison White, one of Valspar's Historical Colors, to brighten the space, and it looks great with the bright white trim.  

I love the use of the mirrors on the back wall in this Dining Room photo; I think something like this will help to brighten our space.  I also like the shelves to the left, but am hesitant to put more holes in my walls... I'd really like to display some pieces from my grandmother's China... but we'll see how that pans out.

We are hoping to have the entire downstairs of our house compltely done in time for Thanksgiving.... fingers crossed!!

I can't wait to see your Dining Room Inspiration!  Be sure to link up with Gussy!

Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop!

XxOo~ Melissa

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

This Chick's Holiday Planning Guide {& Personal To-Do List}

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I've been so slack in blogging and doing anything online lately.  I'm feeling sort-of lame about it... sorry.  

As any small business owner knows, the Holiday Season = Busy Season... and if you're a Handmade Business Owner who participates in Holiday Craft Shows, Holiday Festivals and Markets... then Handmade Holiday Season = Super Busy Season.

If you don't own a business, it surely doesn't mean you aren't busy this time of year... here is my {Non-Business} Holiday and Personal To-do List... because, let's face it... the Holiday Season comes with a lot of pressure and as I've said in past posts, it's best to be over prepared... And at Holiday Time, Being Prepared = Less Stress, and Less Stress = a More Enjoyable Holiday for all involved! *wink*

My Holiday Season is as Follows:
~Littlest Chickie's B-Day: Nov 22nd
~Christmas (With random work-related festivals, girl scout events and school events thrown in the mix)
~Planning for a New Year's Commitment (I know this is WAY advance planning, I'm just tacking it onto my list, because I need to factor it in, but I'll go into it in another post.)

The SoChick Chick's Holiday Guide {& To-Do List}:

~Clean and Unclutter Your Home:
     If you are expecting guests, and even if you aren't, a clean and tidy house is going to take loads of stress out of your day and holiday prep-time.  Start now by tackling a 'serious' spot once or twice a week. 
    Tackling big jobs now will make future tidying sessions quicker and easier, which are key-words when prepping for guests.  And let's face it, who really enjoys the mad-dash to clean the day before your guests come?! (Not this chick)
  How I'm Preparing: painting trim-work, having the carpet cleaned and installing beadboard wainscot in the kitchen, organizing and decluttering the closets in prep for seasonal wardrobe change and new Christmas toys/clothes for the kids.  I would also be very happy to have the gallery wall in our livingroom up... here's an inspiration photo:

Source: via Melissa on Pinterest\

~Gather Holiday Inspiration
  Want to make a wreath for fall AND Christmas?  How about those way cute Holiday cards and handmade gifts you've been pinning all year?  Want to give handmade gifts this year? NOW is the time to start getting all your ducks in a row, if you haven't already, by going through your Pinterest Pins and gathering your dog-eared magazines together.  Sit and sort through what you can realistically manage for this season.  Be sure to save anything that may take more time, for next year... when you will start planning sooner, right?! Right!  

My go-to mags for Holiday Inspiration!
~Plan The Menu(s):
  Okay, so I know the Christmas Better Homes & Gardens and Southern Living issues aren't out just yet (soon my darlings, soon), but you can still get your Thanksgiving Menu together and an idea of what you're doing for Christmas.
  I like to plan for day-of snacks and such, the Big Meal, dessert, and the next day or two worth of leftover meals...  Okay, I'll admit that I can eat plate after plate of Thanksgiving Dinner and Turkey Sandwiches, but add some spice to life and make something different with your left overs; you never know what may become a new family tradition!  Last year, I used leftover Christmas Ham to make Cuban sandwiches... it was so easy to put a pork roast in the crock-pot the morning after Christmas Day and spend the day relaxing and unwinding from the Christmas Festivities while spending time with family. I plan to do that again this year!)

~Make Lists & Gather Supplies/Ingredients:
I love lists! Seriously, how annoying is it to have a great plan for something only to head out to the store and not find what you need?!  Very!  Not to mention, people get a little crazy around the holidays (more on that in another post).  Once you've decided on the crafts, cards, decor, and food you want to use for the holidays, make lists of what you'll need and start gathering supplies and ingredients.

Since Thanksgiving is just a few short weeks away, you really should start now by picking up the things you know you'll need for the big day... and especially if you plan to bake, start stocking up on all of the things you know you'll need, even if your Christmas baking list isn't ready, you still have an idea of what you'll use the most.  Again, it's no fun to plan to make your Grandmother's Famous Cookies when you can't find walnuts at the store because you waited till the last minute!  As an added bonus, by making lists and gathering things over time, you are being easier on your wallet, and less likely to over-spend!

~Schedule Your Time & Set Deadlines:
  Of course you'll schedule your time for the Big Meal, right? Like all of the magazines tell you to?  So you aren't running around like a crazy lady on The Big Day? Well, you should!  Aside from that, i'm also talking about the time it will take to do your crafts, make your gifts, when you should send your cards... etc.
  How I'm Preparing:
  [This week] Planning home decor crafts for thanksgiving and Christmas, already made & hung my Fall Wreath, making lists for handmade gifts and scheduling time to make them, deciding on what to do for Littlest Chickie's 3rd b-day.
  [Next Week] Deciding on Holiday Cards (and making or ordering them), starting crafts and handmade gifts
 [Week of Thanksgiving] Gathering like-items together at home, along with the Menu, double-checking schedule for cooking times, etc.
 [First week after Thanksgiving] Mailing Christmas Cards (I want to send them by Dec 1st this year!), Christmas decor crafts with the kids, pulling out and putting up Christmas Decorations and Tree
 [Dec 14th] My personal deadline for mailing handmade gifts, and Christmas shopping so I can spend the last weeks baking and prepping for Christmas Eve and Day! Yippie!

I know this sounds so structured, but it's meant more as a guideline to help keep the stress down so you can really enjoy your Holidays... and not to mention, posting this keeps me accountable! *wink*

How do you prepare for the Holidays? Do you make lists?  How do you keep up with all of the commitments of your "Holiday Season" while still enjoying it and having your family enjoy a happy, stress-free less-stressed, you?

* * *

I can't wait to share the plan for my New Year's Commitment in the next few days, I'll need some input and advice for sure, that's why I'm planning ahead!

See you soon!

XxOo~ Melissa

Monday, November 7, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up [A Trunk Show, A Photoshoot and A Fall Wreath]

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Whew!  What a super busy weekend it has been!  But, it was the good kind of fun-busy, where it didn't really feel like busy, and not nearly as exhausting as busy-busy.

Good thing I picked this up during the week:
Yes, Margaritaville Coffee, fo' sho!

The weekend kicked-off with SoChick's first ever Trunk Show/Home Party on Saturday.  A few weeks ago at the Mum Fest I had a sweet customer ask if I did home shows... of course my answer was "Not yet!", *wink*.  We chatted about it and scheduled the show.

For my first-ever home party type thing, the show went really well. My hostess was super wonderful and sweet, plus all of her guests were super great gals, too.  I was also happy to share the time with a lovely Scentsy rep (I may or may not have become addicted to Scentsy at this party) who really helped calm any anxiety I had about the event... whether she knew that or not!

This was a super fun way of getting to talk about my items and fabrics (which I loooove talking about!).  Between the Farmer's Market and everything else, I think adding regular home parties would overwhelm me, so I didn't schedule future shows, but I am open to the possibility... maybe doing them as a quarterly thing?  It's a great way to get feedback, which I love, too!

After the Trunk Show I came back to town to meet up with Keri, of K.Shaw Photography, for a product photo shoot, which was loads of fun, too!  I felt a little awkward not really knowing what to do, but Keri knows her stuff and our model, Sara, was great, so no worries.  I'm pretty excited to see the photos... eeeeep! <- That's me being uber excited... {f~y~i}

Saturday was a great start to the weekend!

Sunday didn't really start as planned, mostly because I had a brain-burp and totally forgot that "Fall Back" doesn't apply to toddlers.  I was really anticipating gaining an hour of sleep, but littlest chickie decided that since the sun was up, she should be, too... we had an early start, to say the least.... {double back to first photo, ha!}

The rest of the day went well, mostly hanging at home and tidying up.  Things have really come along since the fire and we are close to being finished with the house.  I will share photos once we are all done, maybe in a "home tour" post... because I enjoy reading them, so I imagine you might, too. In the meantime... here's a tease:

I'm trying my best to use things we already have, like these shelves, to get the look I want.

And finally, I made my Fall Wreath today!

I love it, don't you?

I used these free Printables from Pinterest:

They come out square so I used a wine-glass to trace my circle; then, cut out, punch with a hole puncher and string along some twine.  Add some ribbon and dollar store decor and  Viola!

Have a Happy Monday!! 

XxOo~ Melissa
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