Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Quilting Daydreams

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I'm a closet quilter. Maybe that's not the right term, since it's not like I hide my quilting from the world... It's mostly that I don't do much of it... But daydream about doing it often. There are quite a few things that I would like to one day quilt. So much inspires me that I even started a Pinterest board for it, here.

There are quite a few places where I become inspired, but mostly am in awe of the talent and skill that I find. Here are a few blogs, books, and folks, who inspire me to want to quilt more...

Crazy Quilty Girl- Lisa is a hoot, one of my 'Tweeps' on Twitter and a kick-butt longarm quilter!
TULA pink- She's a rad fabric designer and I love her book Quilts from the House of Tula Pink

Diary of a Quilter - You have to check out the Ombre Quilts in this post! LOVE THEM!  I enjoy Amy's posts and recently started following her on Pinterest.
Fresh Lemons Quilts- Bright, modern quilting... I heart it... so much inspiration.
Stitchery Dickory Dock- Amy is the instructor of the Free Craftsy BOM that I'm doing, but also an awesome sewist, check out her fabulous work!

Here are some of my quilty accomplishments:
Baby quilt
Start of lap quilt- I have actually finished this quilt top, but I still need to quilt it, yikes!
Craftsy BOMs
Quilted Pouch for my 9yr old's b-day

My Attempt at Free Motion Quilting (on the pouch) for a Swap with a twitter friend:

Do you quilt? Do you enjoy something that you wish you had more time for or find yourself daydreaming about?

Leave a comment, I'd love to know!

XxOo~ Melissa

Friday, May 25, 2012

Family Time {Memorial Day Weekend}

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I am taking this weekend off to spend time with my family...

There is still a pattern sale (18 to go, to kick-off that giveaway) and a healthy giveaway going on that i'd love for you to check out: Here and Here.

I hope you all have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend.  Take a moment to remember the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that we could have such weekends with our loved ones.  Freedom isn't free.

XxOo~ Melissa

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Guest Post: Advocare {with} Avery & A Giveaway

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Good Morning!  So, yesterday I was talking about how I'm trying to stay active and make smart choices as far as eating and cooking for my family.  I also mentioned that I drink Spark, an energy drink by Advocare, to help me cut back on coffee drinking in the afternoon.  

Today I have my friend Avery here to tell you about Advocare and two of the products that I use... and she's going to share some with a lucky reader, too!  

Keep reading...

* * *

Hello SoChick fans,

My name is Avery Quinn and I'm here to share AdvoCare with yall! I'm just going to share a few of my favorite products, a few comments from happy customers and wrap up with a give away!
AdvoCare is a premier health and wellness company offering world-class energy, weight-loss, nutrition, and sports performance products along with a rewarding business opportunity.

I want to introduce you to a few great products AdvoCare has to offer for weight loss,keeping the weight off and working out!

{Photo by Laura Oldfather Photography}
Spark is a sugar free energy drink that is full of vitamins and minerals. It's available in many flavors, jitter free and no crash. My husband and I use this daily!
{Photography by www.leahsaree.com}
Next is Catalyst, this product is a must-have if you're trying to trim down, or keep fat away! Catalyst peels fat off of muscle while protecting your lean muscle mass. Also helps endurance during work outs! I take this daily (especially before a run!)

These are some staples for myself thanks to AdvoCare & some of the best sellers. Here's what some happy customers have to say:

"Spark Energy was the only thing that kept me going my first trimester of pregnancy. My husband was away and I had two toddlers to take care of, and all I wanted to do was sleep.. until I ordered me some spark, of course! "

"The Carb stuff (CarbEase plus) I got really took away that "bloaty woman feeling". I always felt as if I was bloated and carrying around extra weight. .... Not anymore! 

"Catalyst is a winner for me!! Helps boost energy and with my runs"

"Spark was the only thing that kept me non jittery yet awake during our cross country move from North Carolina to California, especially having to run our two large dogs at the hotels after driving 13 hours a day!"

& that's just a few! 
{Photography by www.leahsaree.com}
Thank you for letting me take a minute to share some great products with yall. There is something for everyone so feel free to contact me and we can find something that fits your needs!

Stay Healthy!
Avery Quinn

* * *

Avery is a super sweet and inspiring gal, she recently did the Run For The Warriors Half Marathon and finished with an awesome time! Go girl!!

She is also very kindly giving away two packages of Spark Energy for a lucky reader to try!

Giveaway Details

Visit Avery's Site and leave a comment here telling me what product you'd most likely use.

Additional entries:
~"Like" AdvocareImpact on Facebook HERE
"Like" SoChick Handbags on Facebook HERE
Leave a comment for each.

Giveaway ends May 29 at 11:59pmEST;  I'll randomly draw a winner on May 30th.

Good luck and I hope you have a safe Memorial Day weekend!
XxOo~ Melissa

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Fitness Journal {Eating Healthy}

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I'm sitting here hoping it doesn't rain this morning so that I can go for a run.  A few weeks ago I picked up a gently used jogging stroller (for a great deal... $40!) and I've really stepped up my game since then.  I log my runs with the Log Your Run App (free) on my iPhone and I'll tell ya, its SO much easier to run when I can take my littlest Chick with me.

I'm not gonna lie, getting used to pushing my three-and-a-half year old in a jogging stroller, after never having used one, is a workout in itself... but completely doable. Bonus is extra calories burned and she gets park time after two miles! 

This week I added some strength training exercises from SELF magazine and am feeling them after the first two sessions.

The most difficult part of upping my regular exercise is making sure I take in enough calories and make smart eating decisions. SELF does have some great recipes and plans on their site, though their recipes are geared for a single person... not a family of four; after I do the math, it gets expensive.  Luckily, my family eats pretty healthfully anyway; the biggest factor is making sure I get the extra calories I need and don't blow it by waiting so long to eat that I'm ravished.  I need to remember, Veggies, fruits, veggies, veggies... because I can eat endless amounts of those... right?

I'm doing my best to slow down on sugar, too... and coffee... GASP!  I know, it's crazy.  A big helper has been the Spark Energy Drink by Advocare.  It helps with the afternoon coffee craving by giving me energy without the overdose-caffeine jitters.  It has a ton of vitamins; some days it helps me through my morning workout, too.

Do you work out regularly?  What are some of your favorite healthy snacks or meals? I'd love for you to share links or recipes!  I'll let you know if I try them!

Hoping to get some sewing in today... wish me luck!

XxOo~ Melissa

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Busy Times Ahead {Gymnastics, a Birthday, Fabric, Shopping}

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I really need to get back into the blogging groove...

My biggest little chick is turning 9 years old tomorrow (May 18th).  We have a busy weekend planned with the school's spring fest, her Gymnastics showcase, and Shopping at "The Big Mall" for her birthday... whew!

I can not believe it's been 9 years since our chick-a-dee came into our lives, five and a half weeks before her due date, our little 4lb 14 oz burrito.  Always the little one, always big on personality... Seriously, the tears well up when I think about it... ugh, she's in double digits next year... holy crap!

From our trip to the UGA Gym Dogs meet (Vs. NCState) in March
Um, ya don't go to Athens without eating at the Varsity.

I am so overwhelmingly proud of my little girl.  She is an excellent student, a Girl Scout and a gymnast... her most recent accomplishment is being invited to join the Compulsory team at her gym.  I'm becoming a Gymnastics Mom.  At her request. Because she loves it. So, the 12.5hr/week practice starts on Memorial Day. A new adventure on the road of life.

To celebrate, I'm giving away a free Fat Quarter with every Fabric purchase of $25 or more, May 18th - May 20th.  All US orders over $10 ship via USPS Priority for $5, always!

Simply leave a "Note to Seller" at checkout telling me which fabric you'd like a FQ of, and I'll include it in your qualifying purchase.

Also, don't forget about this Sewing Pattern Sale/GiveAway opportunity which is going on through Memorial Day... only 20 Patterns to go!  Will I meet my goal of 25 sold by Memorial Day? Will you help me?

Have a super wonderful weekend!

P.S.- In between birthday festivities, you can find me catching up on Spring Quilt Market via twitter... you can follow along, too, with hash tag #quiltmarket... woot!
XxOo~ Melissa

Monday, May 14, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up {Flowers, Fabric, & Mother's Day}

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Good Morning!  Monday morning means time for another Weekend Wrap-Up post... these posts are my way of sharing life behind the biz with you... though now that I'm back at the Farmer's Market regularly, I guess a little bit of biz will sometimes be thrown in the mix. 

On Friday I planted some flowers in a hanging basket on the front porch.  I love the color combo and that Vinca Vine (the green plant on the right) came from another in my back yard that decided to grow extras! Yay for extras!

A blooming yard means I get to bring pretty flowers inside, too.  Here, I put a fresh hydrangea bloom in a glass jar with some Stella D'Oro Daylily cuttings... love! 

Saturday was spent at the New Bern Farmer's Market, I was so happy to bring these Fat Quarter cuts of the Amy Butler Soul Blossoms fabric that was listed in the SoChick Shop last week!  I was even more thrilled to find so many sewists who were happy to see, and buy, this pretty fabric... totally what makes me love what I do, seeing others who get just as excited over beautiful fabric!

I picked up these pretty earrings, from Twisted Wire, at the Market this weekend... I was fortunate to have a booth next to her and they were my Mother's Day gift to myself... that's okay, right? Of course it is!!

Mother's Day was spent eating pancakes in the morning, made by my hubby & enjoyed by all; gardening, relaxing at home, and ending with dinner at my Dad's place.  Dinner was delish, my lovely Stepmom pulled fresh veggies from the garden for us to enjoy and we finished it off with Strawberry Shortcake dessert... Yum!!!

(With my littlest Chickie while big sister was relaxing with Daddy.) 

Here is the square foot veggie garden we planted... still a few spots to fill with plants, but its looking good so far.  Yes, we used pink Twine to section it off. (From The Twinery, of course!!)

How was your weekend? Did you have pretty weather?  How did you celebrate Mother's Day?

Don't forget about the SoChick Sewing Pattern SALE & GiveAway that's going on... I'd love to reach my goal of 25 patterns sold by Memorial Day so I can give away a pretty bag making kit!  See all of the info, HERE.

Have a great Monday!

XxOo~ Melissa

Thursday, May 10, 2012

It's Fabric Time! {Shop's Open, a Sale and a GiveAway!}

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I am SO excited to tell you that the SoChick! Shop is up and running, with lots of pretty fabric!

When I started my little handbag business back in 2010, I knew that one day I wanted to sell the beautifully-fresh, and modern, premium quilting fabrics that got me hooked on bag making and sewing... I also knew that I wanted to one day put my designs into sewing patterns to encourage and show others that you can create beautiful, professional-looking items in your own home, with your own two hands... and sewing machine. *wink*

I happened upon Amy Butler's beautiful fabrics when I started my addiction in 2008.  Since her fabric, and fabrics similar to her's, are not available in my area, I took to ordering online.  Over time I learned what fabric I loved and couldn't be without.  While Wildflowers in Navy, from Amy's Daisy Chain collection, is my all-time favorite print, I knew when her Soul Blossoms Collection was released that I was hooked for serious

So, it's not really a surprise that, when the opportunity arose, I choose some of my favorite prints from Soul Blossoms to start my fabric shop journey.  I love the pinks and oranges, and the greens and aquas, found in these prints.  Plus, their versatility is where it's at... I believe Amy calls the colorways of Soul Blossoms a "Treasure box palette", because all of the colorways work so well together!

In my SoChick! Shop you will find fabric, fat quarter pairings and bag making kits (for my sewing patterns).  My Sewing Patterns are available in my Craftsy Pattern Shop, as PDF downloads... don't worry, I was sure to offer the link to my pattern shop under "Sewing Patterns":

There are several more fabric collections that I hope to add to the shop in the future, but this is where my fabric-loving-heart told me to start...  I hope you will love these fabrics as much as I do and see that you, "Everyday chicks", can create beautiful "Everyday Chic" items in your home, too!

Okay, okay, ready for this Sale/GiveAway?!

The Sale:
You may already know that my first Sewing Pattern: The SoChick! Market Tote is on Sale for $6... and if you don't know, now you know. *grin*.

Because I know you will love sewing this bag, and that you will come away from this pattern with new skills & inspiration, I am going to keep this pattern at the $6.00 Sale Price through Memorial Day!  A super great deal for a Sewing Pattern that you can download instantly, as a PDF file, has full-sized pattern pieces, full-color photos and extra tips & tricks to encourage your creativity!

You can purchase the SoChick! Market Tote Sewing Pattern HERE

The GiveAway:
I would love for you to help spread the word about my Sewing Patterns!  My goal is to sell 25 of my SoChick! Market Tote Sewing Pattern by Memorial Day... remember, it's on SALE.  Once this pattern's sales reach twenty-five, everyone who has purchased a pattern from 1-25, and beyond (though Memorial Day), will be entered into a random drawing to WIN a FREE SoChick! Market Tote Bag Making Kit.

My Bag Making Kits include all of the yardage, interlinings and hardware needed to complete the corresponding pattern.  The winner will have their pick from the Blush Blossom or Azure Kits.

I think that's a pretty great deal, don't you: Buy the pattern on sale, get a chance to win a free kit?! 

As a bonus, if you or your friends purchase the SoChick! Market Tote Sewing Pattern, leave a comment on SoChick's Facebook page telling me that you bought it, and have your friends tag you if they bought it from your recommendation... I may be inclined to do something super nice for my top sewing pattern referrer.

This journey gets better and better, thank you for joining me!  My heart is SO freaking happy!!! XxOo.

*GiveAway Deets: The GiveAway will become active once Twenty Five (25) SoChick! Market Tote Patterns are sold in my Craftsy Shop.  Sales beyond the initial twenty five will be included in the giveaway; all sales will be numbered in the order received.

Sale and GiveAway will run through Memorial Day, ending at 3:00AM EST on May 29th (this gives the west-coast gals a chance to get in on it till midnight their time.. *wink*).  

I will enter the total number of sales into a Random number generator and announce the winner here on the blog no later than June 1st!  I will also contact the winner via their PayPal email address used to purchase the Sewing Pattern.  For everyone's protection, your email address will not be shared. 
XxOo~ Melissa

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My Life in Photos {Fabric, Sewing, Kids and Retail Therapy}

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Heyyy... so, it's been a while.
I'm here; working hard at being a Mommy, Wife, and indie business owner... it's quite the juggling act, I tell ya!  This week I am photographing pretty fabric so I can re-open the Shop and you can buy it up.  You will LOVE it, I'm sure!  I'll go into a post later this week about what you can expect from SoChick! Handbags ~ The Shop, the shop is in maintenance mode right now as I fill it with fabric fabulous-ness.  

For now, grab a cup of coffee and check out what I've been up to:

I love sending out pretty fabric packages and i'm looking forward to doing it much more often.

These Sunglasses Cases were sent as Swag for the Fairly Fabulous Crafting Slumber Party... I'm making more to add to the shop, using the new fabrics... yay!  I love these because they fit the big shades us Chicks like to wear *wink*; their soft structure allows them to form with any pair of sunglasses and the little magnetic tab keeps them secure... I LOVE THEM.

Some more Sunglasses Cases, at the Farmer's Market, featuring Art Gallery Fabrics. (Shown with the Mini-Tote I made a little while back.)

 I made some of these little zippy cases for the Farmer's Market, using some of the Soul Blossom fabric that'll be in the shop... great for pens/pencils, makeup brushes, travel, etc.

Pearls and a Tee with Jeans was the outfit when a spur-of-the-moment trip to the Apple store at the mall in Raleigh, NC was in order this past weekend. My husband's iPad crashed and I needed to have the camera fixed in my iPhone.  We were happy to have both fixed under warranty. Whew! (This means no more white dot in all of my iPhone photos!!!)

 What's a trip to the mall without some retail therapy?! I am SO happy to have walked past Lush Cosmetics... the lovely sales gal gave me a demo and I needed this cream, I love it!  Thanks to Reggie who packaged it in April of this year... his photo is on the side of the container. 

For Mother's Day, I've discounted my SoChick! Market Tote sewing pattern to $6.00 (from $9.50).  You can visit my Craftsy Pattern Shop to purchase the PDF download.  This pattern has full color photos, printable pattern pieces (which are easy to put together and shouldn't require resizing), and extra tips to encourage you to be creative.  I'm working on getting a button up over here on the blog to make Pattern shopping much easier. 

 Yesterday afternoon was spent in the doctor's office checking on my almost-9-year-old's ears, which were fine... she got a day off from school, but had to miss out on gymnastics practice and outside time with her friends... becuase if you are too "sick" to stay in school, you shouldn't be outside playing, right? Right!

Exciting news for my oldest Daughter, though: She has been invited to join the Compulsory Gymnastics Team at her gym... this means 12.5 hrs of practice weekly, and eventually competing in meets.  We are SO proud!!!!!!  Of course this means more juggling for me, but I'm glad to do it, she loves gymnastics... probably as much as I love fabric. Almost.

How do you juggle blogging/business/work/family?  Any tips?  Are you looking forward to shopping fabric from SoChick?  Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts!

XxOo~ Melissa

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sewing Pattern Sale {SoChick! Market Tote}

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For a limited time my SoChick! Market Tote Sewing Pattern is on SALE for $6.  Why? Because not only am I sure you will love making this Tote for yourself.. but Mother's Day is next weekend, and I'm sure you know a Momma that would love a pretty handmade Market Tote, too!

XxOo~ Melissa
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