Thursday, January 27, 2011

We Won a Gift Certificate from Camillam!

About 2 weeks ago, I was the lucky winner of a $25 gift certificate from Camillam on Etsy. Cami makes the most adorable bears and other irresistible animals. A few years ago, I had ordered my girls custom bears, doll blankets, and purses from her. They still love them just as much as the day the got them. And they still in fabulous shape...made amazingly well!

I had "liked" Cami's page on Facebook, Bears and More, answered a poll that she was having, and won. We were so excited. You see, there seems to be something in the water lately. All of my friends have been having babies left and right. During a 1 week period, I had 5 friends on Facebook that gave birth.

So this gift certificate couldn't have come at a better time. I was dearly in need of baby gifts. What did I get you ask? Two burp cloths for mommy and bunny for the big sister. She shipped the very next day and the items were just as well-made and adorable as the other items I had purchased from her. I will always recommend Camillam to those in need of cute baby and children's gifts. For I know they will never be disappointed.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tooting Our Own Horn

Yes, we're going to take a moment to toot our own horn.

We received our very first order in our online boutique Two Seaside Babes today! Considering we've only been promoting our site for 10 days, were extremely pleased with that. We thought it would definitely take months to get to this point.

1T - 2T Buckle Beanie - Raspberry Pink

We have yet to load all of our products. Currently we only have 16 categories listed...we have another 10 to go. It's a long process...re-sizing every single photo, descriptions, photo descriptions, in/out links, sizes, colors, styles, wholesale costs. Whew! It's a LOT of work! We think it's worth every second though.

We are really stoked with how it's looking so far. We love the ease of shopping on the site...so much easier than our Etsy shop. We love the colors. The layout. The direct contact we get to have with out fans and customers...we've received oodles of emails today alone!

We foresee amazingly big, beautiful, and better things for Two Seaside Babes the next few months.

OK...thanks for letting us toot our own horn. We're done now ;-)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Photos from Child Essence Photography

Today, Two Seaside Babes received oodles of absolutely adorable photos from Child Essence Photography. The photos were exactly the style that we are looking for in our boutique...minimal use of props, casual/every day outfits, natural lighting, high saturation of colors, and an uber cute model.

We sent Macie and her mom (the uber cute model) our Soft and Fluffy Baby Blanket - Ivory Cream; our newest Striped Flapper Beanie - Lavender, White, and Pink with Chocolate Brown Flower; Flapper Beanie - Lavender; and Flapper Beanie - Cream.

The photos we got in return were more than we could have asked for. Many thanks to Alexi for her fabulous photos!

3 to 6 Month Cotton Flapper Beanie - Lavender with White Daisy Flower
$19 and

3 to 6 Month Cotton Flapper Beanie - Cream with Pink Daisy Flower

$19

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hostility Towards White Walls

I HATE white walls. Hate is such a horrible term. But it so aptly applies to my animosity towards white walls. This is my 7th home since I moved out of my parents at 18. I actually wasn't allowed to paint the first 5. I stretched with that last one and ended up getting my security deposit taken from me when the landlord found out I painted his walls bright, cheery yellow. Whoopsie.

So when I finally moved in here, these stark white walls were screaming, "paint me! Paint Me! PAINT ME!" And the only way to shut them up was to cover them in paint. Ahhh...it's so wonderful how a room finally feels "lived in" once you slap a coat of paint on the walls.

I read somewhere that your choice of color when painting your home is an indicator of your personality, sort of like how your favorite color supposedly does the same. True? I don't know. You tell me.


Our living room. It's bright. It's blue. VERY blue. I love it! Blue is supposedly serene and tranquil, the color of peace and contentment. Perhaps, since it also serves as my "work" room, this is quite true. I enjoy crocheting, and hardly consider it work. However, the living room also serves as the main play area for the girls. Serene and tranquil when the monkeys are awake and swinging from the curtain (yes, I totally scold someone at least once a day for doing it)? I don't really think so.



The dining room. Yes, again, it's blue. But I decided to go with a "beach" theme here...light blue, sand, and white. I think it pops very nicely with the 300+ pieces of cobalt blue glass that I collect. Brown is supposedly the color of stability and reliability. I don't really know how this applied to this room in the least.

The front entrance. A deep purplish/brown. Yes, I love purple...it's my favorite color! Purple is often associated with royalty and riches. Which is the furthest thing from the truth when this is the first room you enter the home in. Royalty? Riches? I'd paint my whole house purple if it brought me this!


Guess who else loves purple? Yeppers, that would be my youngest. And since she couldn't pick a shade...she went with 6 of them. This is my favorite room in the entire house. So fun, bright, and cheerful. Yes, I hand-painted those bugs and flowers on the white strip.



And yes, the other 3 walls are blue. Here other favorite color. But not subtle like me. She likes bright. Bold. Electric Blue!



One of my favorite paint colors ever. I had this in my last house too. I don't remember the name, but I can pick this shade out everytime I go the paint section at Lowes. Something about Mark Twain. Green is calming. The color of fresh beginnings and new life.


OK...maybe not ALL shades of green are calming. **ahem** Case in point...

And last, but certainly not least, my oldest daughter's room. The brightest one in the house. The one that makes me cringe thinking about what buyers (we're selling our home) are thinking evertime they see THIS room. I'm not painting over it. If someone can't see past the colors, then they're obviously not the kind of people that would like any color that I personally picked out for the wall.

So she picked out the very same colors that match her comforter. That wall took an eternity to paint. Stripes and textured walls...not good bedfellows.



I'm curious...what color walls do you have in your home? What do you think those colors say about you?

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Sounds of Silence

Most people don't know it (including my parents), but I suffered from insomnia for probably a decade. I would lay awake for hours each night, tossing and turning, never able to fully fall asleep. My cure for it? The Army...well, Basic Training to be more exact. I was cured of my insomnia within a week.

I still have problems sleeping. I need background noise. A fan or noisy air purifier is most likely my security blanket. I turn the furnace fan on to sleep at night. It drives some crazy...when I sleep at my parents, I pull their colossal air purifier down the stairs and turn it on full-blast, sighing in bliss at its jet engine roar. I've passed this need of background noise down to my own children...the each sleep with a noisy air purifier in their room.

So last night, as I was having a sleepover with the girls, I'm laying in bed (of course in utter silence) cursing at myself for not bringing an air purifier. And I'm going more bonkers at the minutes pass having to listen to their whispers and giggles, instead of them falling asleep. And I'm about to go off the deep end listing to my beau silently breathe. It's driving me crazy.

I'm crazy, yes I know.

So I get up around midnight and finally plug in his fan. I don't care that it's in the negatives outside right now. Or that the fan is going to make the house freezing. I turn it on full blast and bask in the sound that will soon lull me to sleep. But before I fall asleep, I start thinking of how silence means something so different to me than it does most people. Silence to most, I would assume, would mean solitude. Calmness. A chance to finally relax, unwind, and let your mind wander.

My mind wanders to places I don't want it to go when I'm surrounded by silence. Maybe it's a touch of my PTSD, but silence reminds me of Afghanistan. It was only silent right before a mortar or rocket attack. Silence was never good in combat. When UH60's and Chinooks were taking off and landing, things were safe. That deep whoo whoo whoo of the rotor blades was my security blanket.

Now, as a mother, silence means that my girls are in trouble. They're doing something they're not supposed to, getting into something they shouldn't, or making a mess they have no intention of cleaning up. When they swing from the rafters like monkeys spoon-fed crack for breakfast, I'm actually less stressed than when things are quiet. When things are quiet, I have to drop everything I'm doing to go find them...usually hiding in one of their rooms, surrounded by literally every single toy in the house. Or sitting in front of the heat vent farthest away from where I am, shoving light bright pegs into it. Or emptying an entire dispenser of soap in the bathroom sink just to clean their hands.

I could go on and on. Silence in this house means someone is most likely getting a serious time-out. My point? Silence is NOT always golden.

"That buzzing-noise means something. If there's a buzzing noise, somebody's making a buzzing-noise, and the only reason for making a buzzing-noise that I know of is because you're a bee...And the only reason for being a bee that I know of it making honey...And the only reason for making honey is so as I can eat it." So he began to climb the tree."

~ Winnie the Pooh

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Our Workroom


Yes, that's our "workroom". It's not for work nearly as much as it is a collection point for all of our supplies, shipping materials, and of course, our stash. The room has a super odd layout. It used to be the carport and was converted into an inside room. Smack dab in the middle of this wall is a door going into the main part of the house. Directly across from this, on the other wall, is an equally annoying door leading to the bedroom. So not much usable wall space when it's eaten up by doors. It makes creating a usable working space...well...not so usable.

But it works for storing everything. Which is something we dearly needed.

Originally, we had everything in totes. Which proved to be a massive failure. We would have to dig all of the way to the bottom in the hopes of finding what we were looking for. We'd end up buying too much of one color yarn and always running out of another. So we got the bookshelves...and it's working wonderfully so far! We have all of our yarn in one easy-to-access place and can easily see what we're running low on. And of course it's quite colorful and pretty just to look at!

The top blue totes have additional yarns that are on tubes and do not stack well on the shelves. We also have a tote filled with buckles. And another that holds granny squares that we work on when we have a few moments of time. When it gets filled, we trim them and whip stitch it all together for our Granny Square Crazy Quilts.


Yet another door. This is an outside wall...what used to be the front of the carport. Ignore the hideous door...it's being replaced (sometime when it's not monkey butt cold outside). But yes, just another problem that keeps from providing a good layout. If that wasn't already bad enough, there are also 2 giant 5' tall windows framing each side of the door. So it's completely useless space. Great light, but unusable wall space. But, we manage.

This is what we commonly refer to as the catch-all area. It has all of our hair accessory goodies...head bands, hair clips, ribbons, hot glue, jewels, and barrettes. We also have our buttons for our Textured Scarflettes, our postal scale, and sewing machine (not that we ever have the time to use it anymore).


Yes, that's door #4 there! While this door has finally been replaced, it has yet to be trimmed out. As if we really needed one more thing to add to our freakishly long to-do list? And yes, 2 more giant windows. Total...that's 4 doors and windows. Feng shui does not exist in this room.

This is our shipping center. We took our old computer armoire and converted it into a storage place for our envelopes, boxes, shipping labels, business cards, hang tags, tape, customs forms, and every other part of shipping that drives us absolutely bonkers. Yes, we are hoarders of USPS Priority shipping boxes. We never seem to have enough. And we're running low at the moment.



The inside of the shipping armoire. Yes, that's hundreds of envelopes you see there. And yes, we have to buy those in bulk. You know you're a full-time business when your shipping supplies try to eagerly out-do your work supplies.

Not really sure why we don't refer to this as the catch-all area. Here is our totes filled with some of our inventory. The majority of it is scattered throughout our real "work area"...ahem...the living room. Yeah, they're not looking so pristine anymore. Guess that's what happens when you do 24 shows a year and try and shove everything into a Durango like child trying to shove a dozen cookies in their mouth.

And more totes...filled with other crafting supplies that we don't have time to do anymore...scrap booking, painting, beading. And even more totes. Filled with yarn scraps. We refuse to throw anything out. We reduce, reuse, recycle. And can make something out of anything. So we make blankets, rugs, and pillows with those scraps.

So that's our "workroom" in a nutshell. Pretty nutty, I know. Of course now we're curious about what everyone else's work room looks like. Just post a link to your photos in the comments below. We hope that your room has a wee bit more fung shui than ours.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Monkey Business

We were thrilled yesterday to finally see our monkey blanket patterns for sale on Annie's Attic! We know that we are going to be super elated when we finally see printed pamphlets with our patterns on the store shelves! Within the next month or two, you too should be able to start seeing them.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Our Own Website!



We've finally done it...we got our own website! We struggled with making this leap for a long time now. Host after host proved to not provide us with what we needed in our online boutique. We eventually stumbled on one and are super pleased with what they have given us so far. We purchased a basic template from a graphic design company as the basic templates that we were given with our merchant were...well, basic.



We LOVE the ease of setting up our cart and inputting our products. While we're struggling with the photos (the merchant however does have a great photo editing site), we adore all of the other features. For those products that have many different attributes (sizes, colors), we can offer shopping through those features. Some people like to shop by size. Others by color. Take your pick...we offer both.



We particularly love this page. We love the lemongrass green of the Buckle Beanie with our template. Here, you can see how we set up our product pages...3 decent sized photos to see our product well (we try to show our hats in a few sizes, so the customer can "see" what it might look like on each age).


Now you can order a specific color from just 1 listing! Unlike on Etsy, where we had to create 1 listing for each size in every color that we offered, now our customers can choose to shop either by color or size for those products that we offer numerous choices for. We offer our Buckle Beanies in 5 sizes and 30 colors...that's A LOT of listings to search through on Etsy. We like to keep things simple and we hope that these new product checkouts will allow us to keep that simplicity.

Or perhaps you know what size you want...but not sure of the color. You can shop that way too!

What else does our site offer? An About Us page...yes, you can finally "meet" Two Seaside Babes! We have our current show schedule on our site, along with a page dedicated to all of our features, and a guestbook where you can personally add your comments about our products and services. Best of all...we offer a Gift Registry! If you're expecting a baby, shopping for a birthday, or perhaps Christmas, you can keep all of our products in one easy to remember place! We love, Love, LOVE this!

Of course, we have an easy to navigate cart...we accept Paypal, money orders, cashier's check AND credit cards now! And you can also track your order too.

We hope that you love what our new online boutique has to offer. We hope that it will allow your browsing and shopping experience with Two Seaside Babes to be just that much more enjoyable. Stay tuned as we still have to upload all of our products to our site. And yes...we'll be introducing new ones very soon!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Two Seaside Babes on Facebook

Why Fan Two Seaside Babes on Facebook?

~ Get sneak peeks of brand new products
~ Be introduced to sales and discounts before they hit our Etsy shop
~ Be automatically included in our giveaways for FREE products and gift certificates
~ Find out where we can be located locally
~ See photos of our products being used/worn by our customers
~ Get immediate feedback of our products


Two Seaside Babes on Facebook

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Two Seaside Babes on Twitter

What is Twitter?

Think of it like this...Twitter is a social networking site that allows user to share and discover what is happening right now. By using 140 characters or less, a user can "micro blog" about what is significant to them or in their lives. This sending and reading of messages, or tweets, can be followed publicly or privately. A users tweets can range from pointless babble to conversational, pass-along value, self-promotion, spam, and news.

As a small business owner, I find this an extremely useful tool to network and connect with those that might be interested in our products. We can easily define and refine our brand, market, quickly release information, increase our sales, and spy (yes, we are snoops...there's no shame in it).

Why Follow Two Seaside Babes on Twitter?

~ Easily follow our most current listings (either through a new listing or a relisted sold item)
~ Find out about our current sales, discounts, and giveaways
~ Find us locally at our shows
~ We build lasting relationships with followers. We promote those that do the same with us. Own your own business? Let us (and our 11,000+ followers help promote you too!). Just @TwoSeasideBabes anytime!
~ We are FABULOUSLY interesting. We are not all about business.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Two Seaside Babes January Newsletter

Thank You

Ever wonder who it is that you're buying from? Well, that's us above...Two Seaside Babes. Customers and fans ask me all of the time where the name "Two Seaside Babes" came from. When I was pregnant, my midwife would refer to my girls (clearly I have two) as babes, since fetus was obviously so impersonal. It's something that has pretty well stuck. Since then, I often use it as a term of endearment...my girls, beau, friends, family, customers, and fans. Indeed, if you are reading this, you are a babe. As for the "Seaside", I had been studying Aquatic Biology when I opened our shop and had an immense love of the Pacific Northwest at the time. So that's in a nutshell...the story behind the name Two Seaside Babes.

As for the story behind our shop Two Seaside Babes...I learned to crochet when I was 9 years old. I had to give up on that craft while I was in the Army...deployments to Kosovo and Afghanistan proved to not provide me with enough time to create. I left the Army while pregnant with my first daughter, and after a horribly long and bitter divorce I found myself in the predicament that a lot of newly-divorced, not-a-penny-to-their-name, stay-at-home-moms find themselves...with a severely large employment gap that does not look good on any resume. Couple that with an economic recession and it becomes the birth of Two Seaside Babes. Our business rose from need instead of want.

I opened our shop originally in May of 2008 (selling jewelry if you believe it!), on a whim, as creative outlet. Months later, after hundreds upon hundreds of applications for any job, and not receiving one phone call back, I picked up a hook, some yarn, created my own patterns and began selling my hats in our shop. Thousands of hats (and scarves, blankets, clippies, and other crocheted goodies) later and we find ourselves a thriving family business...just the three of us. When I say "we", I mostly mean me. Yes, my two rambunctious daughters are my "helpers", but I use that term quite loosely.

We would like to take this time to thank all of our customers and fans that have helped us to get where we are today. It has taken 32 months of travel on this very long, and often difficult, winding road. If it was not for all of the amazingly kind, supportive, and loyal customers and fans that we've had, Two Seaside Babes would certainly have found those steps just that much harder to make. We sincerely appreciate your business, kind words, and most of all support.

If you are reading this, you are indeed one of those amazing customers or fans that we hold so dear to our hearts. We that you for your past purchase(s) and support and hope that you continue to love what Two Seaside Babes has to offer.

To show our appreciation, we will be mailing out newsletters full of our latest products, current show schedules, and upcoming sales. You'll get sneak peeks of future products, be introduced to sales and discounts well in advance of our on line and local customers, and be the first to find out about giveaways for free products and gift certificates. Simply take a moment to sign up via the newsletter tab at the top of this page.

We at Two Seaside Babes wish you and your families a safe, prosperous, and plentiful new year.

What's New This Month:


50% Off CLEARANCE Half Off Section


Yes, that's right. Check out our CLEARANCE Half Off section here for 50% off all items. We are doing our end-of-year clearance on items that were slow to sell or we plan on discontinuing. Be sure to get them while they last (and at these half-off prices), because once they are gone, they will be gone for good! Stay tuned over the next week, for we still have approximately 6 dozen more items to add to this section!

Buy any big girl hat and receive the MATCHING doll hat for HALF OFF (contact us prior to purchase to receive discount)!

These hand crocheted hats fit 18" dress-up, play dolls including American Girl, Our Generation, Madame Alexander, Best Friends Club, and others. Each is crocheted in 100% cotton. Hand wash in cold water. Do not heavily scrub. Do not wring dry. Lay flat to dry. These hats can be made in other colors and larger sizes (larger sizes of our "matching" Newsboys include our signature buckle). Be sure to check out our matching big girl sizes too!