Monday Mayhem - Dragon Knits

Finally!! We've been busy here ... not so much business-wise, but family sickness-wise! Things are getting back to normal and Litha (Summer Solstice) couldn't be a better day to jump back in!  Summer is in full swing here in Texas and we're working hard at keeping cool!

Here's a cool shop called Dragon Knits for you all to check out!
Etsy shop

Do you need some sweet summer jewelry?  Or how about a super yummy knit beach bag?  Dragon Knits is definitely the shop to shop.  Our conversation happened a couple of weeks ago in the midst of my sick kiddo, so I'm happy to finally be sharing this great find!

Meet Emily, wife, step-mom and creator extraordinaire!

My products include knitted items (mostly accessories like scarves, hats, and gloves) and jewelry. I hope to be adding a line of sewn items just as soon as I beat my sewing machine into submission. I love the items that I create, but I try not to get attached. I love sending them off to their new homes.

I have a wonderful husband and an equally wonderful step-daughter who is turning 9 next weekend. My husband is very supportive of my creative efforts...he gives the appropriate ohs and ahs whenever I create something new. :) My step-daughter actually gets to be the subject for my experiments in a lot of cases. Whenever I'm making something new, I make it in her size first, so she ends up with lots of loot. :)

When I grow up, I want to be a professional creator-of-things. I would love Dragon Knits to grow into a stable business that would replace my income as a teacher.

In tough times, I rely on my friends and family along with my fierce stubborn nature. :)

What does "Dirty Girl" mean to me? Hmmmm. I think being a Dirty Girl means doing what needs to be done, but in your own way. You may have to go to work, cook dinner, and read bedtime stories just like every other woman in the world, but leave your own, special mark on all that you do.

I'm particularly fond of my "pearl" jewelry. It reminds me of an era when things were simple and elegant. :)

Thank you so much Emily for your patience and your rockin' shop!  Readers, stop by and check out all of the cool things Emily's created!

Monday Mayhem - TerreMum

What a week!  Not very surprising since Mercury just came out of retrograde, but is still moving slowly.  If you know what I'm talking about, I don't have to explain!!

Today's featured shop should pep everyone up, though!  I met this lovely proprietor on Twitter, shortly after I joined Twitter with my shop.  She is one of the few who has a conversation along with posting about her shop and someone who I look forward to chatting with!  She is a busy wife and mom of two little girls, yet still finds the time to create fantastic products that help her customers live a greener life.  Kudos to you, Jennie!

You can find her in several places.

Etsy shops: TerreMum, MumsCloset
Twitter: @TerreMum
Blog: TerreMum (A must see blog!  She has amazing, crafty features throughout the week!)

I asked her to tell me about her business and products, her family life, balancing it all and making it work.

  I create eco friendly products for families seeking a greener way of life! Some of my items include cloth napkins, reusable snack and sandwich bags, reusable java jackets, kitchen towels, market tote bags, and a few other odds and ends. I have always been a bit of a "tree hugger" and even more so once I became a mom! Haha!! I thought seriously for about heading into an environmental field, but found I was much happier in the art field. So when my art started to involve the world of sewing more and more, I decided to create things that wouldn't harm the earth. I use all natural fabrics and non-toxic inks and most of my products help a person to stop relying on disposable items that pile up in a landfill somewhere.

I always knew I wanted to own my own business, it just took me a while to get here! When I started out on Etsy, I began as more of a shop for eco friendly clothing than housewares. Late last fall I decided to focus on just the housewares end of things and things have been looking up since then. I loved making the clothes, but I found that I would get too attached to them! I also like that housewares end of things allows me to use more of my inks, because screenprinting is a love of mine!

My business is relatively new so I'm still working on learning how to balance being a mom, wife, and business owner. It is really hard not to let either work or family time take over the other. Right now I'm trying to stick to just working during naptime and bedtime so that I can enjoy my girls before they head off to kindergarten!

When I need something to soothe me I usually turn to a good cup of coffee, some good music, and sewing!! I really love sewing! I am so lucky that I get to do it as my job!

What puts me in a tailspin... Hmmm... Well, my life is pretty unpredictable right now which is the probably the main thing that gets me. My husband's work schedule varies from day to day and then you add in a 3yr old and a 2yr old and things can get pretty hectic! I know in a few years when the girls are in school things, I will be able to focus on my business a little more then and have actual business hours ~gasp!!

Two of my opposing traits are that I can be super focused and yet totally unorganized! When I'm sewing, I can be so focused that I don't notice time, hunger, phones...! Unfortunately, if you were to see my studio, you would wonder how I got any sewing done!! It is a mess that I have be working on getting organized so that I can be more creative and efficient!


There ya have it.  A woman doing it all and loving it!  A simple click on the links or the images will take you straight to TerreMum.  Read her blog, shop at her store, and BE GREEN!

Monday Mayhem - Uniquely E Jewelry

I hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day!  My day started with breakfast in bed and finished with my first cold process soap batch ... not bad!

I've had the chance to get to know today's shop owner, Uniquely E Jewelry, a little bit on Twitter.  Her jewelry is really cool and fresh; the best part (besides how great her pieces actually look) is that she has a good range in prices.  Everyone can find something that fits both budget and cool factor!

 COOL Peyote beaded bracelet - $28

Dirty Girls: Tell us about you, your shop and what keeps you inspired to make such fun pieces.

Uniquely E Jewelry: I’m the face behind Uniquely E Jewelry and I am loving every minute of this business. I’ve been making jewelry since I was a kid using whatever elements I could find, thankfully I’ve grown out of macaroni beads and into Swarovski crystal! I’ve had an Etsy shop open for 2 years but only recently started dedicating serious attention to it. Everything is growing and developing and I’m so excited to see growth where I have put significant effort.

I’m frequently inspired by the most random things around me. My husband laughs at my paper napkins, receipts, and scratch paper doodles all over the floor of the car. When inspiration strikes I make hideous chicken scribbles on paper to keep the idea from slipping into oblivion- sometimes I can make out my own scribbles and make something out of it….. :)

DG: I'm really focused right now on trying to create while balancing the idea of encouraging creativity in my son with actually getting something done.  How do you do it?

UEJ: He gets a huge kick out of sitting at my desk with me while I make jewelry. I usually have him setup with some sort of coloring, paper craft, play-doh, or other activity otherwise he wants to help…..and it’s not really helpful. But I love sharing my workspace with him and sitting close enough to smell his sweet little sweaty boy smell. Hearing him giggle at something he makes is a sound no one can help but smile at.

Having a 3 year old is hysterical and filled with wonderful moments, but it absolutely presents challenges for me to run a small business. I struggle with walking away from my desk sometimes and have been trying to better schedule my “jewelry time” for moments when my little guy is sleeping or occupied with daddy. I never want to go to sleep at night and question whether or not my little guy knows his mommy loves him more than her Etsy business.

I’m not a “scheduled” person so this has been a huge growing experience for me. Learning to be more efficient and effective in my time management has taught me a lot!

DG: Being a mom has such funny moments.  I'm talking those moments that just make you stop and laugh, despite it all.  What's made you stop and laugh with your little one lately?

UEJ: We’ve been working on potty training for the last few years, oh wait I mean weeks (sometimes it feels like years!) and there was one particular day where everything that could go wrong did! I was working on packaging up an order when my little guy went running into the bathroom so I let him have a moment to himself when I hear him say, “Eeeewww gisgusting (I love kid-talk)”….. I went running in there and he had not quite made “it” into the potty chair, he had attempted to get himself cleaned up and ended up stepping in his pull-up and then tracking “you know what” all over the bathroom floor trying to get toilet paper and wipes out…. It was a disgusting moment but his adorable green eyes were huge and he was trying so hard to be helpful.

We’ve had a number of potty moments followed by “oops I let the dog out the front door and he’s chasing the mail man” moments. In the end it keeps me grounded and reminds me that the time I have with him home with me is short and I need to nurture that!

DG: What empowers you?

UEJ: Being a mom absolutely gives me the greatest confidence. I know, with every fiber of my being, that my son adores me. When he looks at me with those big beautiful eyes and says “Me wuv you mommy” I know I can conquer the world for him.

DG:  Do you have a definition for a Dirty Girl?

Beaded Cranberry Relish Bracelet - $17
UEJ: I sure do!

Dirty Girl: A girl who’s not afraid to get her hands dirty, whether they’re being immersed in cool clay on a potter’s wheel or up to her elbows in toddler training underwear….life’s too short to keep your hands clean- so dig in. :)

A big thank you to Uniquely E Jewelry for taking the time to answer all of these fun questions with some fun answers!  Follower her on Twitter and stop by her shop, Uniquely E Jewelry.  I think you will love it!

Why make soap? Why buy it?

I've been asked, as I'm sure many soapmakers have, why should I spend $4 or more on a bar of soap?  It's the same thing as the soap I can buy at the store, right?

The answer is a resounding NO!  It isn't the same, not at all!  I'll get in to the chemical differences in a moment, but first, let's talk about the money.  For the sake of ease, let's say you can buy a bar of soap at your grocery store for $1.  Who handles that bar of soap from start to finish?  At the very least, it starts at some type of manufacturing plant.  From there it will be delivered to the grocery store's main warehouse.  It will then be delivered to the actual store you shop at.  Now, it is fairly likely that there are more stops in the process, but let's just talk about those three.  They sure don't do all of that for free!  So, from that $1, the manufacturer takes out a portion for overhead and the employees who work the equipment, work in the warehouse, load the delivery trucks and oversee the employees, .  A portion will be taken out for the truck driver (or whatever delivery method is used).  Another portion will go to the grocery store's overhead, delivery method and store employees.  Am I leaving anything out?  Probably.  But, you get the point.  That $1 you pay goes to cover an awful lot.  What is left over for ingredients?  Not much. 

When you buy your soap from a soapmaker directly, you are cutting all of that out.  I will go out on a limb and say that most handmade soapmaker's pay themselves a tiny portion of what they make.  In fact, I've talked to several who had very high sales in 2009 and actually lost money.  So, the vast majority of what you pay goes into high quality ingredients.

Now for the chemistry.  According to Staci Marquez of the eBook, SoapMaking 123: Commercial soaps contain harmful chemicals, artificial colors, and perfumes. For example, the yellow coloring in a bar of Dial soap is known to cause allergies, tumors, lymphoma, and damage chromosomes. Plus, many name-brand soaps (Dove, Dial, Irish Spring, Lever 2000) are made of animal fat. Zest and Ivory also test their products on animals.

Scary stuff, right?  Have you ever seen a bar of store-bought soap sitting on the side of your sink or bathtub shelf dry and brittle?  What on earth is it doing to your skin?  Store-bought soap typically is made in such a way that the naturally forming glycerin is completely removed, leaving behind what is basically detergent, packaged in a box and set on a shelf in the soap aisle.

Many soapmakers start making soap for their families and then as the obsession takes over combined with a high demand from family and friends, the selling begins.  Through internet research, I have found very few of these crafters who are making a living by soaping.  It can be hard work that takes a lot of research, practice and testing, but many believe in what they are providing. 

And, at the end of the day, it's FUN!  And, the final product feels good, smells good and leaves your skin feeling amazing!  So, find yourself a soapmaker (even if it isn't me!) and give a good bar of homemade soap a chance.  My guess is that you'll see right away what the difference is and your skin will thank you!

Monday Mayhem

Welcome to the first Dirty Girl feature - Monday Mayhem!  This week's theme is business owning mamas.  I know first hand just how hard it can be to address the practical side of business much less actually create a product when you have a little one running around!  But, maybe I'd do better if I were wearing pearls ...

Have you heard about or do you know women who always wear pearls?  I mean, always.  I always picture that to describe wealthy women.  Well, Jeanette of Pearlies 4 Girlies is putting a new, funky spin on that idea!  She creates jewelry than can be worn all the time on any Girlie!

I had a chance to ask her a few questions, so, keep on reading to find out about this cool shop run by a cool mum!

In my shop Pearlies 4 Girlies I sell beautiful freshwater pearl jewelry for girls of all ages. I have a children’s range and an adult range--> Little Girlies and Grown-Up Girlies. I am currently working on a range that hopefully will appeal to teenage girls.  My main goal is to create pearl jewelry that can be worn every day, on every occasion, whether it is the school run, or your best friend’s wedding, a visit to the playground or your best friend’s birthday party.

My children’s range is very colorful and cheerful. I believe that children’s minds are stimulated by color and therefore they should be surrounded by it as much as they can. My own girlies absolutely adore their Pearlies 4 Girlies bracelets, they like the fact that they tinkle, that they have ribbons and that they can put the wrap bracelets on all by themselves!

My inspiration I find in everyday life, my garden, browsing the internet, watching tv with the kids, their paintings and other artworks. We live in the UK, but I am Dutch and going back home always gives me buckets full of ideas. Everything is so colorful there!

I am a stay @ home mum of 3 kids, 1 boy (Simon,7) and two girls (Emma, 4 and Anna-Rose, 2). The eldest keeps track of the money side of things. He always asks how much I sold and how much I made. The girls love modelling for me. It is a bit of a disaster when they try and help though (beads tend to roll everywhere...), so I do most of the crafting in the evening when they're in bed. That is the main challenge: sleep... time flies when you're having fun, and I always have fun making things.

I started with Pearlies 4 Girlies in October ‘09. I helped my neighbour out with a crafts fair and liked it so much that I decided to give it a go myself as well. I was really busy making jewelry for friends and acquaintances before Christmas, so wasn't very active on Etsy yet. Recently I have been posting new items on a daily basis, which I think is really important.

My kids who are my greatest inspiration are also my biggest obstacles. Although the girls love modeling the bracelets it does mean chasing after them when we’re done as they don’t want to give them back! And the number of times my outdoor photo studio was destroyed by a football....

Pearls at Pearlies 4 Girlies are not just for posh people. They are great for all ages and every occasion! I feel empowered by all the mums in my sons class! They all wear a Pearlies 4 Girlies bracelet!


Wow, three kids and still able to make jewelry and run Pearlies 4 Girlies successfully!  Inspiration!  The little girl bracelet is so adorable, it makes me wish people wouldn't look at me funny if my son wore it!  Have I mentioned she currently has FREE SHIPPING?!  So, for those of you in the US, don't worry that Jeanette lives in England!  

You can also find Jeanette on Facebook and Twitter.  Stop by and tell her Dirty Girls sent ya!

Would you like to be a part of a Monday Mayhem Feature?  Leave a comment with your shop, blog, or email address so I can contact you!

First Dirty Girl Feature ... INFO!

I really love looking at blog features, but have always been too intimidated to do one.  Intimidation be damned! 

So, my first Dirty Girl feature will be on Monday and will focus on Etsy shop owners or bloggers that are also moms!  Would you like to be featured?  Just leave a comment here with your shop/blog link and then I will send you a message if you're chosen.  I'll ask you to answer a couple of questions about blogging, crafting, running a shop and being a mom at the same time.

I was finally able to get my soap-in-a-parm-jar out.  Actually, my smart husband did it.  I'll be listing it today and it is gorgeous!  I love the circular shape and the deep green color.  The scent, a Neroli blend, is ridiculous!  I can't seem to get it off my mind, though, part of that is due to the scent wafting around constantly.  My hubs, who isn't a scent kind of person, really liked it ... that's saying a lot!

Back to the feature.  I am looking for name input.  It'll be on Mondays ... any suggestions?

Get clean!

And, moving again ... /sigh. Why oh why can I not settle in one spot? Must be the wandering nature I have!

Anyway, I am going to take advantage of this move to sort of redefine some things and define in clearer detail other things. This first month of being an Etsy shop owner has been far beyond my expectations in both good and bad ways. But, the most profound is that I am falling more in love with this creative venture by the day.

One common agreement among soapers is that a sign of soap love and addiction is seeing potential soap molds everywhere. I write this as I sit next to a super fragrant parmesan cheese container - empty of Parmesan cheese and full of a deep green soap ... now if I could just figure out how to get this lovely bit of cleansing out. Hmm ...

How Dirty Girls Get Clean ... a thought that has been bandied about in this household for the past few months. And, that idea has been growing in my mind for a bit ... How do dirty girls get clean? Is a "dirty girl" just implying a hard-core, grunge or steam punk chick who is out rallying for women's rights? Do those kinds of girls buy handmade soap? Of course! Isn't a decadent pampering one of the rights we want ... it is for me! But, is girl soap just supposed to be flowery and prettily packaged? Nope, at least this Dirty Girl doesn't think so!

We're all Dirty Girls at heart, aren't we? Somewhere, deep down, maybe? Well, I'm setting out on a mission to find a way to make soap that appeals to all levels of Dirty Girls.