Featured Artisan - Sam of My Beautiful Girl

  My Beautiful Girl was born shortly after my oldest daughter. After months of searching for the perfect wetbag, I finally decided to make my own. I had been a quilter for many years and I had always enjoyed sewing, so it just came very organically. With a bit of technical guidance from my Mom, I was off and running. Three and a half years later my business has grown and changed with the market and I now offer a large selection of products including wetbags, wipes, clothing, wool interlock, eco-friendly kitchen products and so much more!

My 4 children:

My Muse:

Babywearing at the Zoo:

The Love of my Life with our newest addition:

Team Hyena::  How do you fit sewing time into your days?
MBG:  I treat my business like a regular job with extra perks! I get all the kids ready in the mornings and then head to work in my studio downstairs. The older kids are at school, toddler is playing in the family room attached to my studio and baby is in my studio with me.

Team Hyena:  What does a typical day look like?
MBG:   Get up at 6:30 am, kids to school at 8, work until 11:30 or so, fix lunch and run errands, work a couple hours in the afternoon, pick up kids, do homework, etc, dinner at 5:30 or so, clean up, bath time starts around 7:30, everyone in bed by 8 and then I work or watch a couple hours of tv before bed at 10 or so.

Team Hyena:  What led you to working at home (wahm-ing)?
MBG:  I started wahming because I wanted a product that I couldn't find available so I made one and I was hooked.

Team Hyena:  You make lots of different types of items ... what is your favorite thing to make?
MBG: I have self-proclaimed crafting ADD so it changes almost daily. I enjoy making OBV yoga pants, but if you would have asked me that at the end of my last coop, they were the last thing I wanted to make. I really enjoy making everything, that's why I am kind of all over the place. :-) 

Team Hyena:  What is your favorite fabric to work with?
MBG:  Quality knits! I much prefer sewing knit clothing than any other and working with lush thick interlock is just heaven! 

Team Hyena:  What do you love best about being a WAHM? What would you change if you could?
MBG:   I love being able to be with my kids. I can drop everything and go to the science fair or rock the baby all day and I don't have to explain myself to anyone.   If I could change anything, it would be the fact that I am a workaholic. I work more hours now than when I worked outside the home. 

Now ... it's giveaway time!
My Beautiful Girl will give away one FREE Squishy. What is a Squishy? Luscious Organic Bamboo Velour to comfort and soothe your little one. Sized at approximately 17"x17" and perfect for your child to hold, snuggle, chew on and even as an impromptu blanket.

Value $12, Open to anyone

  How to enter: 
* Visit My Beautiful Girl on etsy and leave a blog comment telling us your favorite item

Additional entries:
* Follow the team blog and leave a separate comment telling us you are a follower
* Fan the team on facebook and leave a separate comment telling us you did so
* Fan My Beautiful Girl on facebook and leave a separate comment telling us you did so 

Please make sure to leave each comment in a separate post, and be sure to give us a way to get in touch with you in case you win! Winner will be picked using random.org on Monday, June 7th - good luck! 

* Winner =   Ľubaša - congratulations!

Funny Friday!

This cartoon is more for the yarn and fiber lovers out there, taken from http://www.the-panopticon.blogspot.com/ .


Enjoy!  This cartoon was submitted by Shannon of Gillyweeds

Featured Artisan - Judith of Jujube Baby

Jujube Baby provides a variety of goodies for your little one and family. In 2006, we began with cloth diapers and have since expanded our product line to include items for the whole family. The items range from crayon rolls to key fobs, plus hand-dyed yarn. I enjoy creating things that are functional and aesthetically pleasing.

In April of 2008, we introduced a line of shirts to raise autism awareness. Cool shirts with a purpose, they look cute while educating and advocating. More designs will be available soon.

What led you to become a wahm?
When my son was an infant I made cloth diapers for him because of the eco-friendliness of it and how nice it was on my pocketbook. Then, I began getting requests from friends and started making them for the local health food store. Many friends and customers suggested that I open a shop online, which began in 2006.

What is your favorite type of item to make?
My favorite thing to do is create coordinating sets. There are a few items that I really like to make and if I have to pick just one, it would have to be the knit needle rolls with a handmade button. I enjoy making buttons inspired by the fabric. Usually, I make a few buttons that coordinate and then decide which one fits the overall look of the roll that I am going for. The buttons can lend themselves to be very settle and blend in with the fabric, or they can yield more contrast and be striking.

What is the most rewarding aspect of being a WAHM? What is the most challenging?
The most rewarding aspect of being a WAHM has to be the flexibility of my schedule. It allows me the opportunity to spend more time with my son and attend to his needs. It really delights me when he creates his own item along side me as I am working on mine.

The toughest part has to be paying attention to balance. In addition to this business, I have another job of working part time for an accounting firm. Even though I work both jobs from home, finding the happy medium between my family and work is a continual challenge.

Where do you get your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from many different places. It can range from a photograph, or seeing something in nature, to one of my son's current interests, and even to an emotion. How that inspiration plays out depends on the medium that is used. I may play with a few mediums before I feel that the final item fits the idea.

What's your wildest dream for your business?
I think it would be wonderful if the shift went from being more end result of an item to an artistic rendering of an idea.

Now for the giveaway!

One randomly chosen winner will receive a 4.5oz skein of Cestari Superfine yarn in our new Garden Gothic colorway. This skein is valued at $26.

The giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents.

How to Enter:
Mandatory entry:

♥ Visit Jujube Baby and leave a comment here on what this skein of yarn  inspires you to make.

Additional entries:

♥ Tweet this giveaway and leave a comment saying you did so
♥ Blog this giveaway and leave the link in the comments
♥ Follow the team blog and leave a comment saying you are a follower (if you already are, leave a comment saying that!)
♥ Fan the
Team on Facebook and leave a comment saying you did (if you are already a fan, leave a comment telling us!)
♥ Follow Jujube Baby on twitter and leave a comment saying you did (if you are already following, leave a comment telling us!)

The best of luck!

Winner is Kady L!

Wordless Wednesday

Friday Funny

It's $50 after all..

Morris and his wife Esther went to the state fair every year,

And every year Morris would say,

'Esther, I'd like to ride in that helicopter.'

Esther always replied,

'I know Morris, but that helicopter ride is fifty dollars,

And fifty dollars is fifty dollars'

One year Esther and Morris went to the fair, and Morris said,

'Esther, I'm 85 years old.

If I don't ride that helicopter, I might never get another chance.'

To this, Esther replied,

'Morris that helicopter ride is fifty dollars, and fifty dollars is fifty dollars.'

The pilot overheard the couple and said,

'Folks I'll make you a deal. I'll take the both of you for a ride. If you can stay quiet for the entire ride and don't say a word I won't charge you a penny!

But if you say one word it's fifty dollars.'

Morris and Esther agreed and up they went.

The pilot did all kinds of fancy maneuvers, but not a word was heard.

He did his daredevil tricks over and over again,

But still not a word.

When they landed, the pilot turned to Morris and said,

'By golly, I did everything I could to get you to yell out, but you didn't.

I'm impressed!'

Morris replied,

'Well, to tell you the truth,

I almost said something when Esther fell out,

But you know,

fifty dollars is fifty dollars!'

Wordless Wednesday

brought to you by Shanna of Sweet Slings

Tutorial Tuesday ~ Simple Glass Magnets

I redid my workspace recently, and realized I needed some magnets for my inspiration board. And of course since it was a crafty space, I decided I needed some crafty and cute magnets and why not figure out how to make them myself, so the color scheme would be exactly what I wanted.

This is a quick craft, taking maybe 15 minutes from start to finish, depending how many magnets you're making and what supplies you have onhand. Here's what you'll need:

- Scrapbook paper or similar
- Scissors (or a large hole punch)
- Adhesive
- Magnets
- Clear glass cabochons or flattened marbles
    All supplies are easy to find at a craft store and probably even at local big box general merchandise stores. In this case I used adhesive made for glass and beads, but have also used Mod Podge and other clear adhesives -- so long as your adhesive dries somewhat quickly and completely clear, it should work. These are for my own personal use for gifting and using myself, but not up to selling standards. They should obviously be kept away from small children who are still likely to put things into their mouth, and magnets should be checked occasionally to make sure they're still firmly attached.

    Step 1
    I start out by going through my scrapbook papers and cutting out small circles or ovals of designs I'd like on my magnets. A hole punch for the size of cabochon you have would come in very handy, but I'm low tech and just cut things out by hand and guesstimate the size. After doing a few you get a feel for the sizing.

    Step 2
    Next it's time for assembly! I dab some adhesive onto the back/flat side of the cabochon and press the paper onto it (design side onto the adhesive so it show through the top of the glass). Squish it into place, make sure any air bubbles get smoothed away, and adjust to center as needed.

    Step 3
    Then dab a little adhesive onto the paper and place the magnet onto the back. Press to make sure it's on securely, then turn over and press again to make sure everything is sandwiched together firmly and positioned well.

    Step 4
    Give the adhesive a few hours to dry according to the package directions, and then if you have any areas where the paper sticks out a bit, you can shave those off (I just use my fingernails) or press them down around the edges if you'd like.

    Viola! Cute as can be, matches my decor perfectly, and is a simple thing to put together for myself or a quick gift with a nice little metal tin to hold them.

    Submitted by Lori, Alfabette Zoope

    Featured Artisan - Amy Sue of Zany Zebra Designs

    Zany Zebra Designs has been your source for extraordinary cloth diapering products and essential cloth diapering information since 2005. We specialize in appliquéd diapers and diaper covers as well as trim fitteds in trendy fabrics. In 2009 we proudly introduced Women’s Dundies: panties so comfortable you'll forget you're wearing them, and soon will unveil a line of children’s tee-shirts appliquéd with our exclusive designs.

    Women's Dundies are made of cotton/lycra knit that is ultra-soft yet retains it' shape so you won't every suffer from"droopy drawers."

    One of my favorite sets: a fitted diaper from the trendy Busy Bots fabric with a coordinating robot appliquéd diaper cover.

    More appliquéd diapers. I can never decide which part of the appliqué process I enjoy most: designing the appliqué, choosing fabric, or doing the stitching that makes the colors "pop."

    This is my favorite appliquéd prefold diaper. The appliqué was inspired by a photo of a fellow WAHM cuddling her infant daughter.

    EHCST:  What are your inspirations for your designs?
    ZZD: I get my inspiration from many different places. Often a customer will send in a photo of something she'd like made into an applique design. Other times I'll find a photo that speaks to me; like the photo of Jennifer with her daughter. Most of the time I'm not even looking for a design but something will catch my eye and I can't rest until I've made an appliqué of it. 

    EHCST:  Do you have any one design in particular that is your favorite? If so, which one?
    ZZD:  My designs are like my children - I love them all for different reasons but really can't pick one favorite. As I'm working I always think about the mamas and children that I'm sewing for, and that makes each design special to me. I've done designs based on drawings done by an older sibling for a younger one, photos of a family pets, symbols and items that were important to family members, etc... and I remember all of those stories as I page through my design book. So in that way, each design is my favorite. 

    EHCST:  what does a typical day look like for you?  
    ZZD:  I've been a licensed family child care provider for 15+ years so a typical weekday consists of getting myself and my children up and ready for work/school before spending the day with the daycare children. After daycare there are usually sports, music, or other extracurricular activities. On Tuesday nights I direct handbell choir and on Saturday mornings I direct middle school band. I sew after the kids go to bed Mondays through Thursdays, but Friday through Sunday nights are reserved for spending time with my hubby.  

    EHCST:  Do you find balancing a regular job and wahm-ing difficult?  
    ZZD:  Yes, it's definitely difficult to find a balance! I often see myself as one of those plate spinners in the circus but I can never keep all my "plates" spinning at the same time; one or another is always threatening to topple until I focus more attention on it again. 

    EHCST:   What's the best piece of advice you have to offer someone new to being a wahm? 
    ZZD:  The best piece of advice that I have for new WAHMs is to find something that you love to do and keep doing it as long as it's fun. If you no longer love it and it stops being fun it's time to re-evaluate.

    And now, drumroll please ... onto the giveaway!

    Giveaway, open to residents of the USA or Canada:

    Zany Zebra Designs is offering this luscious bamboo (viscose) fitted diaper! This diaper is a size small and will fit babies from about 10-20 pounds. The outer velour is hand-dyed in shades of blue while the inner is undyed velour. The snap-in soaker is velour-topped fleece, and features our exclusive stitching as a special surprise for you. Retail value: $22.00

    Mandatory entry:
    * Visit Zany Zebra Designs and post a comment to the blog telling us your favorite item

    Additional entries: 
    * Follow the team blog and leave a comment saying you are a follower
    * Fan/like the team on facebook and leave a comment saying you did so
    * Fan/like Zany Zebra Designs on facebook and leave a comment saying you did so

    Please be sure to give us a way to get in touch with you should you win! The contest is open until Monday, May 17th.  A winner will be randomly drawn and posted around 10 am est 5/17.

    ** Congrats comment #17 - Justine!

    May Giveaway - Summer Fun!

    Are your kiddos ready for summer? Team Hyena can help - with our May giveaway full of summer fun!

    What kinds of summer fun do we have?

    ◘ From My Beautiful Girl:  A fun pair of striped boxers works perfectly for boys or girls. The hidden elastic waist keeps kids comfy. Size 5 (retail value $7.50)

    ◘ From Earth*School: Under the Sea curriculum unit (retail value $10)

    ◘ From Joyful Earth: fun, reusable sandwich bag for the eco-conscious kid on the go this summer.  The perfect replacement for plastic baggies! Our sandwich bags are both eco friendly and food safe. Simply shake out the crumbs and reuse. If your bag becomes soiled, pop it in the washing machine for a more thorough cleaning. Each bag features a fun cotton print fabric on the outside with an uncoated nylon inner. Use your Joyful Earth Sandwich bag for sandwiches or dry snack foods like crackers, or trail mix. (retail value $8)

    ◘ From Alfabette Zoope: a youth-sized bucket hat, batiked with a peace sign and then lwi-dyed in a palette of gender-neutral warm and muted browns -- perfect for sunny days to keep the sun out of the eyes or add a little extra flair to an outfit. (retail value $16)

    ◘ From Big Bad Voodoo Mama: 35"x35" 100% habatoi silk hand dyed with professional grade textile dyes. Hand wash and hang to dry.  (retail value $10)

    ◘ From Relic Soap Company: 2 cold-processed artisan soaps made from pure vegetable oils. Eco-friendly and family-friendly. Raspberries and Cream and Bug Be Gone (retail value $12)

    So that's over $70 of summer fun! How do you win?  Just enter in any/all of the following ways and one winner will be drawn at random on Friday, May 14th!

    Mandatory entry:
    * Post a comment answering the following question: What summer fun are your kids most looking forward to?

    Additional entries:
    * Search the team tag on etsy (team hyena) and leave a comment with your favorite item
    * Fan the team on facebook and post saying you did so (Already a fan? Post telling us!)
    * Follow the blog and post saying you did so (Already following? Post telling us!)

    ** Congrats to comment #28 - john/sb

    Funny Friday: Check your child's homework

    Dear Mrs. Turley, 

          I wish to clarify that I am not now, nor have I ever been, an exotic dancer.  I work at the Denver Home Depot and I told Meghan how hectic it was last week before the blizzard hit. I told her we sold out every single shovel we had.  Then I found one more in the back room, and several people were fighting over who would get it.  Sarah's picture does NOT show me dancing around a pole.  It's supposed to depict me selling the last snow shovel we had at Home Depot.  From now on I will remember to check her homework more thoroughly before she turns it in. 
                                        Mrs. Lauri Brown

    Tuesday Tutorial - Pineapple

    I first posted this on Give Peas A Chance in 2008. The weather is getting warmer and pineapples are going to arrive at the market ready for you to enjoy! Here's how we cut them up around here.

    Let's get going...

    First off, get a good knife, even if you will never use it for pineapple, get a good knife. Everyone should have one. These are the ones we have, I recommend them!
    Anyway, get a nice ripe pineapple. Cut off the top green stuff and the bottom base.

    Slice off the skin, leave as much flesh as you can. Flesh that sounds odd, let's say fruit from now on ok?

    Now put the fruit on it's side and with the knife at an angle near some of the eyes cut a slit far enough down to pass the eye, I don't know if they are called eyes, but there you go.

    Place the knife on the other side of the angle you just cut. Cut into that side at an angle to remove the eyes.

    Keep going, the funny thing about it is you always end up with a spiral...

    like this...

    Now stand it up and slice off fruit around the core. Don't throw out the core, my girls love me to put corn picks on them so they can eat around it like corn on the cob.

    Now just cut the fruit into whatever size pieces you want.
    Great eaten plain, in smoothies, in lemonade, in fruit salads... my favorite is with salt and cayenne powder.

    Featured Artisan - Shanna of Sweet Slings

    Sweet Slings, llc was officially born in August of 2005 although Shanna has been babywearing and making her own personal slings since 2003. Sweet Slings specialize in Ring Slings, Mei Tai Carriers, and interchangeable accessories for both. In 2008 they launched a very unique style of hanging wetbag in a variety of sizes to suit your entire cloth friendly home.

    The Team Hyena interview:

    How long have you been sewing? When I was a little girl I used to sit on my Mom's lap while she sewed dresses for me. We were quite un-wealthy but she had an antique black and gold Singer with the thigh press. I even remember the tiny little local shop called "The Remnant Shop" we used to frequent together. And it was my Mother who gave me my own machine when we had our first child in 2003.

    Do you have any other crafty hobbies/interests?I enjoy way too many crafts and hobbies, lol! I've taken up knitting since we moved to Montana nearly three years ago. Luckily I'm one of those fortunate people who can knit in the vehicle and since we live at least 2+ hours from anywhere you want to go, I get plenty of knitting time in. Sadly, I'm still a very slow knitter. Our family really enjoys camping and riding ORVs in the mountains of Montana and Wyoming. My wonderful husband has installed some modifications to our "toyhauler" (fifth wheel with a garage) so I can run my sewing machine and serger off the batteries and I love setting up shop after the toys are out. Strangely enough I can say I've sewn in some breathtaking settings! My favorite place to camp is in the Bighorn Mountains is northern Wyoming. We've seen moose (cows, calves, and even a bull!) every single visit for the last two years!

    My "Camp Shop"

    My view

    Babywearing on vacation

    How do you fit sewing time into your days?
    Not very well, lol! Sewing with small children is a challenge in and of itself. They're very "helpful" which isn't always very helpful, so I do most of my work after bedtime and early in the mornings.

    What does a typical day look like? 
    A typical day for me starts about 6:00 AM. I have a few minutes to wrap up work from the night before, then the little ones begin to awake. Take the big kiddo to school at 8:00am, home to get the littles dressed and fed, and some morning wake up time to answer emails and online attention. There's usually a tea party to attend and some monster truck races to watch. Littles are fed at 11:30 because I'm lucky enough to have my husband home for lunch every day at noon, which I thoroughly enjoy. DD has preschool three days a week from 12:30-3:00. While the baby naps and Mommy packs up the days packages. Pick up DD at 3:00, DS at 3:20 and hit the post office before 4:00. These days after school life is getting busier and busier. DD has dance class in a neighboring town (30 min. drive) and DS has baseball practice three times a week (wow! but he loves it.) Dinner by 6:30 with family playtime before and after. Bathes for boys M-W-F, girl on the off days. Heads on pillows by 8:00 and they can quietly read (or read to Mom, Dad, or siblings) until 8:30. I snuggle each kiddo for a few minutes each night and it's my favorite part of the day! We talk about whatever is on their minds and it's always interesting! News with the hubby, some online followup, and then it's time to hit the machines for an hour or two. And that's a day in the life of me.

    What made you decide that slings were what you wanted to sew?
    That's a great question! I got my first ring sling from our Bradley teacher before our first child was born. I lost it when he was only a few weeks old, so I got some pointers from some LLL friends and made my own. Interestingly, I assumed a pleated shoulder was the norm (this was in 2003, when I don't think anyone else was doing them). With just basic sewing skills, 40 inches of fabric and three inches of rings, it never occurred to me there might be another way. By baby #2 in 2005 I was used to the questions from the public, but the day I had three people within three hours stop me and ask where they could get one, was the day I decided to start Sweet Slings. It was very very natural to share the many benefits of babywearing with other parents, but my business really found me instead of the other way around.

    You make wetbags, too, right? 
    I do make hanging wetbags too. Again, they found me. We had recently relocated just before baby #3 arrived and were living in a small furnished apartment. We co-sleep, but I kept our pack and play in the living room for a changing table and to keep our cloth diapers in the bassinet part. Unfortunately there were no doors, door handles, rails or bars to hang a normal hanging bag from, so I designed what is our hanger style top, to slip over a department store hanger with a swivel top. 

    What makes your slings different from all the other similar ones out there?
    There are so many great slings and Mei Tais on the market today. My designs are based on my personal preferences and needs. My ring slings have a unique style of pleated shoulder that makes it easy to keep the fabric spread across your back. They're wide at 34" and have a long tail because I found it extremely handy for nursing and to shield little ones from the wind, rain, and sun.

    Our Mei Tais are bigger then most, mostly because I grow big babies, lol! They quickly outgrew the smaller body panels I made in the beginning, and frugal me doesn't want to spend big bucks on a bunch of different sized carriers. Our straps are some of the widest in the industry at 7" because a wider strap distributes weight more evenly. And I line all the straps with woven interfacing so they stay spread out well and don't crinkle up which can be horribly uncomfortable. Finally I pad the entire body panel and shoulder area with a lightweight batting. I wasn't a believer in padded shoulders until I made myself one, and I was sold on it immediately.

    What is your favorite item to make for customers?
     I don't think I have a favorite item per se, but I love doing "your fabric" customs because it allows me to work with a huge variety of fabrics I may not have chosen myself. I do love fabric!!!

    How did you get the idea to do the MT covers?
     I started making the Mei Tai covers in 2006 as a result of an inner battle between "the sewing self" that loved each carrier I made better then the last and "the frugal self" who didn't want to spend the money on a new carrier every time I wanted a change. I realized that while I just had the expense of the supplies, most Mothers had to pay large amounts of cash to purchase entirely new carriers every time they wanted a new print. And thus the Mei Tai cover was born. How much nicer to have 4+ different prints for the price of one new carrier.

    What's the thing you love best about your business? The thing you would change if you could?
    I love talking and teaching new parents about babywearing! Helping them hands on and face to face and hearing their exclamations about how great it feels and how amazing it is to have their baby so close yet have their hands free. Unfortunately I don't get to do nearly as much of this since we moved to a very rural area in Montana. But I am looking forward to launching our internet consultation feature via Skype, for those folks who don't have a babywearing group or instructor nearby.

    What would I change? The hours in a day! Can I please order up 8-10 more Smile I could surely fill them up quickly!

    And now ... the giveaway! 
    Would you like to win a gorgeous little something from Sweet Slings? Here is your chance!

    Sweet Slings is offering your choice  a diaper sized 17x22 Night Owls hanging wet bag or a ring sling in either pink or navy blue

    How to enter:
    ♥ Visit Sweet Slings and leave a comment here telling us your favorite item

    Additional entries:
    ♥ Become a follower of the team blog and leave a comment saying you did (if you already are a follower, let us know in a comment!)
    ♥ Fan the team on facebook and leave a comment saying you did (if you are already a fan, let us know in a comment!)
    ♥ Fan Sweet Slings on facebook and leave a comment saying you did so (if you are already a fan, let us know in a comment!)

    Please be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry, and be sure to give us some way to get in touch with you in case you are the winner! Good luck - contest ends Monday, May 10th at 10 am est

    ** Congrats to Katherine, comment #6! We will be contacting you shortly!