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Posted by on Nov 9, 2013 in Arts, Birthday Parties, Birthdays, Carnival Party, Children, Christmas, Crafts, Creative, Etsy, felting, Friends, Gift Ideas, Giveaways, Handmade, Handmade Holiday, Happy Birthday Banner, Holiday Gift Ideas, holiday shopping, Holidays, Homemade, Party, Product Review, Reviews, Second Seed In Stitches, Shopping, Stay At Home Mom, Support Handmade | 0 comments

Second Seed In Stitches – Review and GIVEAWAY! *CLOSED*

Second Seed In Stitches – Review and GIVEAWAY! *CLOSED*

Becoming a handmade artisan is one of the neatest achievements I’ve made in my lifetime, probably because it has opened my life to other handmade artisans. Each show I attend, I meet an eclectic and superb batch of people who likely think outside the box and are generally lovely people all around.

Not too long ago, at a monthly Brainery Bazaar hosted by Rochester Brainery, I was showing my playable art alongside Nancy Topolski, owner and creator for Second Seed In Stitches. I was immediately blown away by Nancy’s colorful display – ranging from her oh-so-adorable “Foundlings” to the hand-knitted fingerless gloves and felted floral arrangements. I just knew we’d become friends.

We spent the entire day chatting, everything from schooling (and un-schooling) to how to succeed in the handmade craft business. You see, Nancy’s a pro. She’s been in the game for a while longer than myself. She is full of excellent advice and had a gentle approach in lending her ear to my newbie questions. I wanted to share Nancy and her work with the world, so I decided right here on The Whimsical Sweet would be a good place to start.

Banner by Second Seed In Stitches Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Banner by Second Seed In Stitches
Photo copyright Pamela M. Rayburn Photography 2013

Nancy created a one-of-a-kind birthday banner as part of The Big Carnival Bash. It was on display throughout the party, and it definitely added exactly what we were looking for. I don’t think the party would’ve been complete without the banner hanging proudly above the photo booth. I asked that she make one of her felted banners customized with red & white stripes and black lettering. She didn’t even have to ask any questions. She just got it. I love people that just get it.

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Banner by Second Seed In Stitches
Photography copyright Pamela M. Rayburn Photography 2013

Second Seed In Stitches is led by a strong and passionate woman who has a beautiful handle on her craft (or crafts, as the case may be). I have yet to see all of the varieties of art Nancy is capable of creating, but those I have seen, I have fallen in love with. Though she is no longer making the banners, her Foundlings are always available in her etsy shop & usually present at her shows. They are FANTASTIC! She gets down to creative business & repurposes/upcycles old wool sweaters into fantabulous, soft, furry creatures she calls Foundlings. Every child should have at least one, and grown-ups, two or more!

Nancy Topolski foundling

The good stuff? Second Seed In Stitches is giving away a super-fun, handcrafted felted “happy birthday” banner to one lucky reader! This fun & festive banner measures approximately 5 ft. with plenty of grosgrain ribbon for hanging.

Nancy Topolski banner

Everyone needs a family banner to celebrate birthdays year after year. It’s such a great addition to any celebration. We are looking forward to unpacking ours for each birthday for many years to come.

ENTER TO WIN!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

TERMS AND CONDITIONS: One (1) winner will receive one (1) ‘Happy Birthday’ banner from Second Seed In Stitches (a $50 value). Contest begins November 9, 2013 at 12:00am and ends November 16, 2013 at 12:00am. Winner will be announced Saturday, November 16, 2013 via sweet whimsy designs’ Facebook page. Prize must be claimed within one week of winner announcement. Prize will be shipped to any of the 48 contingent U.S. states within one week of winner announcement. Entries will be verified.

Full disclosure: Second Seed In Stitches is providing the winner with the prize of a felted birthday banner. I was not compensated in any other way to feature this artist. All opinions are my own It was completely my own doing, simply a collaboration, and I hope you never thought otherwise, even for a second :). I support local, handmade art and you should, too. :)

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Posted by on Oct 30, 2013 in Arts, Autumn, Birthday Parties, Birthdays, Busy B Boutique, Carnival Party, Children, Crafts, Crafts, Creative, DD Lish, DecoArt, DIY, Economical Activities, Family, Featured, Friends, Giveaways, Handmade, Handmade Holiday, Happy Birthday Banner, Holiday Gift Ideas, holiday shopping, Homemade, Memories, painting, Pamela Rayburn Photography, Party, Photography, Precious Peanut Shop, Product Review, Reviews, Save money, Second Seed In Stitches, Shopping, Support Handmade, Tiny Chaos, Work From Home, Working Mom | 1 comment

THE BIG CARNIVAL BASH!

THE BIG CARNIVAL BASH!

Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Our daughter recently turned the big FIVE years old. Since we haven’t really given her a big party (most birthdays have been celebrated with family), we decided to throw her a big carnival bash to celebrate her wonderful self. A carnival seemed fun, easy, and affordable. In reality, it was! My husband & I made most of the games with what we had around the house as well as some inexpensive shenanigans I found at craft stores and local shops. DecoArt sponsored some of the artwork which I used to create one of the games as well as the face paint pens (um, hello?! These were right up my alley!). It helped to have a handy hubby who cut wood & nailed things together for me ;). More on this coming soon…

Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

In my quest to support handmade shops, I decided to incorporate different things into the party from both local and distant artisans. This is my new mission on this blog: To support handmade artisans.

Enter beautiful, amazing, wonderful people.

First, I found a phenomenal local photographer who was not only willing to come capture the party in all it’s glory, but she did so in such a swift and lovely fashion that we will likely have her photograph our family for years to come. Pamela Rayburn Photography is owned and operated by Pamela Rayburn herself. She is so kind and such fun to work with! But more on her later *hint, hint*. Just look at these gorgeous captures! (Locals, you should do yourselves a favor & look into booking her for your holiday photos!)

There were so many people involved in pulling this off properly (which happened just by the skin of our teeth!). My husband, as supportive as he is, allows me to get a little lot carried away. The kids were cooperative and had a ball dressing for the part on the day of the party and even lended a hand with decorations and games. My sister, Deidre of DD Lish yumminess, baked one heck of a cake that tasted even better than it looked, if that’s possible. My mom “voluntarily” was coaxed into cooking fresh, homemade tacos for everyone to enjoy (we did our best to serve healthy foods). My dad & best friend were roped into coloring in the signage I created that morning. My brother-in-law donated some grass seed bags from his company Crosman Seed Corp.

Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Then there were the shop owners, artisans who donated their craft to put the icing on the cake!

Did you get a peek at the perfect dress & headband our little t was wearing? That was designed by me, and created in collaboration with Precious Peanut Shop. Julie was incredible to work with. But again, more on that later.

Dress and Headband by Precious Peanut Shop Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Dress and Headband by Precious Peanut Shop
Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

In case you haven’t picked up on my *hints*, these beautiful shops and artisans will be featured throughout the next several months as part of our Fall Frenzy: Festive Fall Features. Stay tuned!

Then there’s the bowtie on our son & hairbow on our youngest daughter. Would you get a load of this?! Tiny Chaos made this set of bows to add to the festivities. She is amazing.

Bow by Tiny Chaos Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Bow by Tiny Chaos
Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Bowtie by Tiny Chaos Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Bowtie by Tiny Chaos
Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

We whipped up a photo booth with help from Busy B Boutique‘s Bethany Crocker and Nancy Topolski from Second Seed in Stitches. Bethany made some really fun photo props while Nancy crafted the “happy birthday” banner. Fantastic work-woman-ship from both ladies!! I can say it’s been so fun working with Bethany as we’re good friends as well as craft lovers. She even painted a few faces at the party. Talented Mama :)!

Face Paint Pens by DecoArt Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Face Paint Pens by DecoArt
Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Photo props by Busy B Boutique Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Photo props by Busy B Boutique
Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Banner by Second Seed In Stitches Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Banner by Second Seed In Stitches
Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

I think those that attended would all agree that C&C Bouncers stole the show with their hoppity-hooping bounce house! Shari & Ted, owners of C&C, are working on opening a great place for fun in the Finger Lakes area so locals, get ready!

Bounce House courtesy of C&C Bouncers Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Bounce House courtesy of C&C Bouncers
Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

It was just SO MUCH FUN and rose beyond expectations of our little ones. They had smiles all day long, as did their friends and family. It is always so wonderful and almost dream-like to have so many loved ones all in one place celebrating alongside us! I think we’re locked into throwing a party like this for each of our children’s fifth birthdays, and we’re totally fine with that. We’ll have to do a little more ourselves next time, but live and learn, right?!

I’m looking forward to showcasing these wonderful shops and artisans, as I’m sure you will, too. Just wait to see what’s in store for you!!

From deep inside our hearts, THANK YOU to everyone who was a part of this awesome celebration. We all appreciate it so!!

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Posted by on Jul 31, 2013 in Children, Economical Activities, Family, Favorite Things, Fourth Of July, Friends, Healthy Lifestyle, Parenting, Stay At Home Mom, Summer, Weather | 1 comment

Why I Love Summer? Let Me Count The Ways

Why I Love Summer? Let Me Count The Ways

Summer could easily be my favorite season. Though we live in Upstate New York and enjoy the change of seasons each year, nothing quite beats the warm summer breeze, long days, and short nights.

1. The weather
This is a given. Who doesn’t like eighty-to-ninety degree temps and cool, seventy-degree nights? Oh yeah, and a TON of SUN!! Bask in that vitamin D, soak up that sun! It’s so good for us & we need it more than we know.

2. Family at the lake
In our family, we are fortunate enough to have a beautiful, therapeutic lake home on one of the Finger Lakes in New York State. My dear grandfather purchased this cottage decades ago as a place of relaxation and tranquility. It has served it’s purpose and then some, bringing decades of fun and joy to everyone who enters. Clearly an entire blog post can be dedicated to it in itself.

3. Afternoon naps
Sometimes we don’t make it out of the house in the winter months. It just takes too long to bundle three kids in coats and mittens and hats and boots. The summertime brings easy days and playful hours, which, in Mommyland, equals a little R&R for us! They tire themselves out and all that vitamin D? It eats their energy right into a nap! I love my children to pieces, but I look forward with pure enjoyment to the one-to-two hours all three kids nap almost each day.

4. Weddings
Everyone likes to get married during nice weather, and we love to come party at your nice weathered nuptials! This summer alone, we have four weddings to attend. Fun, fun, fun!

5. Playdates
Outings and hikes, picnics and playgrounds, festivals and farms. How much fun can we cram into ninety warm days?! It’s “Go, Go, Go!” at the Sweets in the summer, and we are loving every minute! We’ve seen lots of friends and family, and we just can’t get enough!

I think I’ll stop at five today, but not because I’m at a loss for more great reasons why I love summer. It’s because I have to go! So much to do and see!

What are some of your favorite things to do and see in the summer? Do tell :).

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Posted by on Jul 14, 2013 in Bradley Friends, Children, Choices, Creative, Family, Favorite Things, Friends, Healthy Lifestyle, Inspirational Quotes, Life, Memories, Motherhood, Motivational Posts, Motivational Quotes, Natural Parenting, Parenting, Passion, Philosophy, Quote Of The Day, Random Thought Of The Day, Stay At Home Mom, Summer, sweet whimsy designs, Thought of The Day, Work From Home, Working Mom | 1 comment

My Thoughts, Exactly: 07.14.13

My Thoughts, Exactly: 07.14.13

I love life.

Yesterday at Rochester Brainery Bazaar, I found my second third fourth fifth? calling.

Craft shows.

I’ve always enjoyed attending shows but now I enjoy being an artisan at shows. I enjoy meeting other like-minded people doing creative and interesting things.

Throughout my life, I have sought like-minded people doing creative and interesting things.

In childhood, they became my dearest and oldest friends. In the teen years, they became my most fun, partying friends. In the college years, they became philosophical and thought-provoking friends.

Into adulthood, I have met friends that I wouldn’t have thought would be creative and interesting back in the younger days.

Motherhood brings new creativity and interest. I’ve made natural child-birthing friends, holistic friends, “crunchy” friends, and non-vaccinating friends. I’ve grown fond of lovely friends who, not in a million years, would have crossed paths in the decades before.

Now I enter new friendships. Homeschooling friends and craft show friends. T-Ball friends and neighborhood friends. Creators and artisans, movers and shakers.

I cherish these friends and look forward to the new relationships. Onward and upward!

Hold tight your relationships. Cherish your friends. It is interesting to look at your list of friends (be it a literal list, as on Facebook, or a cerebral list) and see the friends you’ve made over the years, how truly different they all are. It should be that way. That’s the good stuff.

I hope to pass these relationships to my own children, so they can grow and flourish holding the hands of not only us, as family, but their new friends.

The greatest gift is love.

It is only fitting that I end with one of my favorite quotes:

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”
-Nat King Cole

(*preferably sung Moulin Rouge-style.)

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Posted by on Jun 2, 2013 in Bradley Friends, Busy B Boutique, Crafts, Creative, Etsy, Friends, Gift Ideas, Giveaways, Handmade, Home Decor, Homemade, painting, Product Review, Reviews, Save money, Stay At Home Mom, Subway Art, Summer, sweet whimsy designs, Work From Home, Working Mom | 4 comments

Subway Art Block – Review and GIVEAWAY! *CLOSED*

Subway Art Block – Review and GIVEAWAY! *CLOSED*

It’s time to start this month off with a BANG! The Whimsical Sweet is pairing with some pretty neat local artisans/crafters to bring you a month of handmade goodness to include reviews and giveaways!

First up:

Busy B Boutique

I have some great friends.

Crafty friends. Smart friends.

It’s great when you get to meet someone who has the whole package, and my friend Bethany at Busy B Boutique has just that!

Busy B Boutique is a one-Mama show. Bethany runs her crafty business from home while she cares for her two little blonde beauties and supports her Army-strong hubby, all while they work and live life to the fullest. They’re busy, alright! Not quite sure how she finds the time to create everything she sells in her shop.

Busy B’s online boutique is eclectic and fun for everyone! She offers handmade items such as these whimsical mugs:

"Mustache Mugs"

Mustache Mugs

You’ll find some oh-so-hip stationery in the shop as well:

"Chevron Monogrammed Stationery"

Chevron Monogrammed Stationery

The shop really took off when she introduced home decor subway art blocks:

Patriotic Subway Art

Patriotic Subway Art

Busy B Grammy Subway Art

Personalized Rooster Block

Busy B Summer Subway art

Summer Time Subway Art

My personal favorite? Personalized pieces, like the Baby Subway Art:

Baby Subway Art

Baby Subway Art

When you place an order with Busy B Boutique, get ready to enjoy your creation soon – turnover time is short and she’ll get that art to you in no time! Busy B is willing to work with you to create whatever your heart desires, be it a personalized block (you choose the colors and size!) or that special set of mugs you’ve been eyeing to share the morning cup with your loved one. If you’re not sure what to choose, Bethany will work with you to design a custom listing just for you!

What will this shop give to me?

Home Decor Subway Art

Home Decor Subway Art

Busy B Boutique is giving away her Home Decor Subway Block to one lucky winner! Moving into a new home or know someone who is? This block makes a fantastic housewarming gift. It also adds a little reminder of the important things in life:

Dream big! Create! Make Memories!

I like the sound of that, don’t you?!

Please enter to win this giveaway here.

I probably shouldn’t mention that Busy B is creating a little piece of subway art for sweet whimsy designs’ tent! Oops! Did I just leak a little secret?? 😉

Full disclosure: I have not been compensated in any way to write this post or feature Busy B Boutique in this post. It was completely my own doing, simply a collaboration, and I hope you never thought otherwise, even for a second :).

TERMS AND CONDITIONS: One lucky winner will receive one (1) “Home Decor Subway Art Block” from Busy B Boutique. Contest begins June 3, 2013 at 12:00am and ends June 10, 2013 at 12:00am. Winner will be announced Monday, June 10, 2013. Prize will be shipped to any of the 48 contingent U.S. states within one week of winner announcement. Entries will be verified. See shop listing for details.

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Posted by on Feb 2, 2013 in Children, Crafts, Creative, Economical Activities, Family, Friends, Homeschool, Kids Activities, Library, Motherhood, Music, Natural Parenting, Parenting, Party, Save money, Stay At Home Mom, Weather, Winter | 3 comments

Save It For A Rainy Day

Save It For A Rainy Day

Sometimes life brings us rainy days…or snowy ones. We feel the walls caving in on us and we must get out of the house!

Let’s face it – there are also days we never leave the house. And there are days we can’t afford to leave the house, or shouldn’t, anyway.

I have come up with ways I never thought possible to entertain the kids. Especially on rainy and snowy days, we always find things to do.

Here’s a brief list:

•Go to the library.
This isn’t the most imaginative idea in the world. It’s probably close to your home, it’s usually spacious, and it’s FREE. Most children love books, and there are usually other story times and activities scheduled daily to keep your little one entertained.

•Have a dance party in your living room.
Every family must do this, if you haven’t already! Put on your favorite music – it will become theirs, too. Loosen up & get silly! We do the robot, the funky chicken, the shopping cart, among other classics, as well as make up our own – the bear, the giraffe, the roller coaster. Your kids will love you forever.

•Do a new craft.
Something you’ve never done before. Maybe something you are too intimidated to try, or too anal to clean! Sometimes it’s time to break out the paint, play dough, glue, & glitter and not worry about the mess. The mind it creates surpasses the mess it creates, by far. Again, your kids will love you for it! Check whimsicalsweet on Pinterest if you’re really at a loss for ideas.

•Make a fort.
Bust out the blankets and pillows & get creative with this free activity! We often make obstacle courses and mazes out of blankets, pillows, ottomans and sofas, too. Get imaginative & create a scene. You can be in a forest or an aquarium, a zoo or a jungle. Pretend play goes a long way and is good for brain growth and for the soul. 🙂

•Get crazy in the craft store.
As sort of a reward for being nice and patient while we shop for my art & craft supplies, I’ll drop by the foam play things aisle and let the kids play for a while. So far, nothing has broken (*knock on wood*), and their imaginations can run wild in someone else’s space for once! Michael’s, JoAnn’s, AC Moore, Hobby Lobby – they all have an aisle with foam hats, swords, shields, magic wands, crowns, etc. that you can “borrow” and test right there in the store. Just be sure to put everything back where it was and ask your children to do the same. And if anything gets worn or broken, buy it. Both are good lessons for them to learn.

What are some of the things you like to do or used to do with your children on rainy days? What activities are free or easy on the wallet?

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