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Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Easiest Way to Gather Fabric

No, really.  This is the easiest way to do it.  I love ruffles, but I have always hated having to sit there and pull on the gathering thread to create the ruffles at just the right length.  This method requires very little adjusting to make perfect ruffles! 

Start by setting your stitch length as long as it will go.  Mine goes up to "4."

Next, set your upper thread tension as high as it will go.  My regular setting is "3", but when I gather fabric, I set it to "9."
This is the trick to really get your fabric to make great ruffles.  Using your thumb, create a gentle pressure on the spool of thread while you're sewing your gathering stitch.  Lighter fabrics will need barely any pressure, heavier fabrics will need more.   

Voila!  Beautiful, perfect gathers, ready for pinning!  You may have to adjust the gathers slightly depending on the length of the fabric you are pinning the ruffle to, but starting out with gathers like this makes it SO much easier!

Good: The traditional way of gathering.  Set your stitch length as high as it will go.  

Better: Set your stitch length and your upper thread tension as high as they will go.

Best: Set your stitch length and upper thread tension at the highest settings and apply pressure to the spool of thread with your thumb.

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Formula Vs. Breastfeeding

Picture from "Accustomed Chaos"

I breastfed Princess for a year.  I had to supplement with formula because she just wasn't getting enough otherwise, but still...a year is an accomplishment.  It was hard, especially for the first few months.  And the next few.  And a few more after that.  First, she couldn't figure out how to latch on, then she went on a nursing strike.  It was rough, but I was determined to make it work.

Then I had Little Man.  Breastfeeding experts will tell you that a baby will never reject it's own mother.  They're wrong.  Little Man violently, angrily, loudly rejected me.  He frustrated an experienced lactation consultant and numerous nurses at the hospital.  I assumed he'd figure it out eventually and stuck it out for three months before a nasty bout of mastitis shut the factory down.  After starting him on formula, my scrawny, screaming baby became a chubby happy baby (actually he still screamed when he was tired, but, not surprisingly, being fed enough did keep him happier the rest of the time).  All told, the experience was a total nightmare that kept me from truly bonding with Little Man for a while.

So what do I do this time around?  The thought of breastfeeding again makes me actually sick to my stomach.  I know I might regret it later if I don't at least give it a shot with this baby, but I really, really, really don't want to breastfeed again.

Everyone keeps telling me that I need to at least give it a try.  Maybe I'll try it for a week or two, but honestly, even if it's going well, I don't want to breastfeed.  Period.  I feel so guilty because I know the health benefits, but I also don't think it's very healthy for the baby if the mommy is absolutely miserable.   

What do you think?

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thrifty Thursday-How To Save Big Bucks on Printer Ink

After my first printer died, I put off buying a new one for about 3 years.  Because printer ink is just so stinkin' expensive.  I finally caved and bought a new printer because I had patterns and shipping slips I needed to print off, but I still mourned the price of ink.  And then I found this on Pinterest:

How to save big bucks on printer ink

Can I get an amen, sister?!?!

Jessie from Vanderbilt Wife lets the rest of us in on the secret to saving a ton of money on printer ink.  Click on the link to her blog to be amazed.

Thank you, Jessie.  My wallet is so happy.  

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Princess and I had a photo shoot yesterday for some new outfits for my boutique.  Here are a few of my favorite shots.

What a sweet smile!

Love her crazy grin :)

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Teaming Up!

I love the way pettiskirts look under dresses and skirts, or worn by themselves and I like to use them for my product photos to show the fullness of the product.  However, the wholesale pettiskirts I tested were too short, not full enough, poorly made, etc.  So, I started looking for someone who handmade pettiskirts to partner with.  I looked into quite a few boutiques, before finally emailing one to ask if she would be interested.  Within a short time she emailed me back with a "yes!"  I was excited, but before I could finalize anything, I had to see the actual product.  I placed an order for a basic white pettiskirt and waited.  Within 2 weeks, the package arrived at my doorstep.  I was impressed to say the least.  The pettiskirt was full, twirly, very well-made, and everything I'd been looking for!

With no further ado, I'd like to introduce you to Cotton Candy Chic

The requests from my customers for pettiskirts to go with the dresses and skirts they've ordered will be referred to Cotton Candy Chic from now on.

 All of Carla's pettiskirts feature adjustable waistbands which ensure a perfect fit no matter what.  That also means that they will fit your child longer.

 The pettiskirts come in pretty much every solid color imaginable plus many combinations of colors and prints.  Like me, Carla loves custom orders which means that you can get a pettiskirt to match pretty much anything.

You can find Cotton Candy Chic on Etsy and on Facebook.

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

How to Create a Pin on Pinterest

I might be slightly addicted to Pinterest.  Maybe.  It's a great way to get inspiration for just about anything, but it also can be a great business tool.  I get a lot of traffic from Pinterest on my blog and my website.  But, Pinterest doesn't pin things from Facebook.  Which is a good thing for privacy reasons, but it means that I can't pin anything from my Facebook blog or boutique pages.    

From "Art Made with Heart"

There is a way to put your own photos on Pinterest though!  Start by clicking on the "Add" button at the top of your Pinterest screen.

 This (see below) will pop up on your screen and give you three options.  Select "Upload a Pin"

 Upload a picture from your computer and pick what board you'd like it to go on.  Then fill in your description.

 Your new pin will come up and show that it was "uploaded by user".  That would be you!  The problem is that there's no link to the pin for people to click on.  Click on "Edit" to fix this!

 Under the description, you'll see a blank space for the link.  Copy and paste the website you want the pin to be linked to into that space and select "Save Pin". 

 When your pin opens back up, check out the spot for the link.  It should tell the user what website the pin will take them to if they choose to follow the link.  Go ahead and test it so you can see how smart you are.

Done!  Give yourself a pat on the back!

Or, if you to pin something from Facebook instead of having to save the picture to your computer, right click on the picture on Facebook and select "open link in new tab."  Pin the picture from the new tab and then edit the link as shown above to direct people to the original picture on Facebook.  So easy!

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Monday, June 18, 2012

How to Schedule a Post on a Facebook Page

Someone told me how to do this and apparently, it's a well-kept secret on Facebook.  Naturally, I had to share it with all of you!

If you have a Facebook business page, you can schedule your statuses to post at a time you select.  Which is really handy if you're not going to be around the computer for a while or if you have something that needs to be posted at a certain time.  

Start by writing your post as usual.  Before you hit "post" look for the little clock symbol below your post.

 Click on the clock and fill in the information for the time you want your status to be posted.

Click on "Schedule" and you're done!

To see the posts you have scheduled, go up to your Administration Panel and click on "Edit page."   Select "Use Activity Log" from the drop down menu.

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Saturday, June 16, 2012

27 Weeks

How Far along: 27 weeks

Baby's Size:  Baby weighs almost 2 pounds and is about 14 1/2 inches long from head to toe.

Sleep:  Not sleeping well at all anymore.  I'm uncomfortable at night and I tend to wake up several times with at least one of those times being to go to the bathroom. 

Best Moment This Week: Passing my glucose test with flying colors!

Miss Anything?: Being able to move and bend easily. 

Movement?: Yes.  This baby isn't as active as Little Man was before he was born, but the kicks still can hurt!

Food Cravings:  An omelet from Perkins, Pizza Hut breadsticks, and mini donuts. 

Things That Make Me Queasy: Just normal stuff right now.

Gender: Boy!

Labor Signs: Having some Braxton-Hicks contractions, mostly when I'm really active.  Nothing painful at all, just tightening in the abdomen.

Symptoms: Heartburn (although nowhere near as severe as I had with Little Man which leads me to believe I'm having another baldy, lol), hip pain, fatigue, etc.  This past week and a half have definitely hit "third trimester" status with the way I've been feeling!

Inny or Outy: Flat!  Kinda makes me think of this song:

Mood Most Of The Time: Better than last month!

Looking Forward To: Hopefully finding a dresser for the baby soon so I can bring the baby clothes home from my sister's!

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Freebie Friday Winner

There weren't any entries for the purple checkered pillowcase dress freebie which means that technically there wasn't a winner.   :(

However, there was one comment on the post and so, I decided that, if she wants it, the dress is hers!

MKLackey from the Discipline and Discipleship blog, shoot me an email at annaliesbabyboutique@yahoo.com if you're interested and I'll pop the dress in the mail for you :) 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Freebie Friday!

I'm starting a new feature on my blog called "Freebie Friday."  I won't be doing it every single week, but I'm going to aim for at least one a month.

Without further ado....here's today's freebie!

This purple checkered pillowcase dress from Annalie's Baby Boutique has lavender ribbon ties and fits approx. 18 months as a dress-5T as a shirt.  These dresses are great for summer or for layering in winter.  The ribbon is secured in the casing so you won't have to rethread the ribbon ties everytime you wash the dress (one of my pet peeves with pillowcase dresses!)

To win this freebie, leave one comment for each entry (you can earn up to 5 entries).  On Saturday, June 16th at 2 pm, the winner will be selected using random.org.

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All entries will be verified so be honest!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pinterest Deliciousness! Edition 2

Here are three new recipes from my Pinterest Food board that I tried this week!

Lemon Lush Bars from Smashed Peas and Carrots
I made these super easy Lemon Lush Bars for my women's Bible Study group at church and they were a hit!  There were enough left over that I may or may not have had one for breakfast the next morning.  The recipe can be found at the Smashed Peas and Carrots blog.

Polish Cabbage Noodles
 I made this dish for supper the other night and Alison is right.  It's even better the next day.  Which is good, because leftovers are a big deal in our house.  I prefer to eat leftovers for lunch rather than making a whole new meal and Hubby takes leftovers with him for meals at work.  I made mine with kielbasa (I always stock my freezer with kielbasa when it's on sale!) and minced garlic.  So good!  Next time, I will cut down on the butter as this recipe uses a whole stick, but I don't think it'll change the overall flavor too much if I do that.  The recipe can be found at the Under the Big Oak Tree blog. 

Kool Aid Rice Krispie Treats
Because rice krispies are gluten free, they're a popular snack for Princess.  She calls them her candy bars :)  I thought it might be fun to try different flavors and was working on a recipe using jello, but then I found this recipe that mixes in 1 packet of kool-aid and figured, why fix it if it isn't broken?  Also, I have a tendency to be lazy and let others do the work for me.  I used strawberry kool-aid for my bars and skipped the frosting drizzle as I thought it would make them messier for the kids to eat (lazy... or smart?)  They were the perfect combination of sweet and sour and both my kids loved them.  I sent these to the church picnic on Sunday and didn't get very many back.  The recipe can be found at the A Turtle's Life For Me blog. 

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Gracie's Gowns

I wrote about my friend, Jessica's boutique back in November.  In the time I've known her, it seems like she's always got a project going to benefit others (check out her auction that starts on 6-20-12 to help a special family in need).  Now, she's taken her desire to help others to a whole new level.

 In March, 2012, she started Gracie's Gowns to provide special hospital gowns to children with extended hospital stays.  It began as a small local project, but as she saw a need, she realized that she had to do more.  Working with her own materials and time and donated materials/funds, she now makes hospital gowns for teens, children, and infants across the country.   

This is not something that Jessica is doing for recognition or money.  She doesn't charge a cent for any of the hospital gowns, and she's not looking for praise.  She's simply seeing a need and filling it.

 As she's put more time into Gracie's Gowns, she has taken time away from her original business, Baby Bug Boutique.  She's now planning to focus on Gracie's Gowns and only work on Baby Bug Boutique as she has time.   

In just a few months, Jessica has taken a small project and turned it into something that people are really starting to notice.

The current sponsors of Gracie's Gowns are Nord's Country Store, B&C's Cupcakes, Kamsnaps, the Grace Oughton Cancer Foundation, and Fabric.com.  You can help too by going here

 To request a gown for your child or for a child you know, go here

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26 Weeks

Okay, so I know I've been slacking on the weekly pregnancy updates.  To be honest, at this point in the pregnancy, things don't change that much on a week by week basis so I feel like I'm repeating myself.  Besides, I feel like I should be including a picture with each post and trying to get a somewhat flattering picture of myself in the bathroom mirror without using the flash is...tricky.

I went to the doctor today for my 26 week checkup.  At the end of the appointment, she cheerfully said, "I'll see you in two weeks!"


That means I'm getting close to the end of this pregnancy.  As of this coming Sunday, I'll officially be in my third trimester.

The realization that I'm completely unprepared for a new baby hit me like a ton of dirty diapers.

I haven't even thought about picking up the baby clothes from my sister's house because we don't have a dresser for them.  I haven't brought home the cradle from my in-laws.  I haven't picked up all the baby gear I lent a friend last year (and didn't think I'd need back).  Hubby and I just started thinking about names and don't have any even vaguely serious contenders yet (he wants to name the baby "John Deere"). 

I've definitely popped!

So I've come to the conclusion that this baby is just to have to stay put a while longer.  Probably until we have a new house since there is nowhere to put another little person and all his gear at this place.  

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Sunday, June 10, 2012

How to Create a QR Code

Have you seen those little QR codes all over the place?  I see them in almost every ad, on products, on business cards, etc.  I'm in the dark ages and don't have a smart phone yet so they've always been a little mysterious to me, but I know a lot of people who will happily scan one of those little codes to get more information.

Guess what?  You can create your very own custom QR code for free!  If you have a website or blog you're looking to promote, a QR code is a great marketing device.  You can also make one that goes to a Facebook page, Youtube video, email address, or even a Paypal link that enables your customer to purchase a product using just the code!

Here's how you do it:

Go to www.qrstuff.com.  Type in your website URL or whatever other information you want to share, pick your color (If I had a smart phone, I'd scan a pretty pink QR code in a second!), and download.  The file can then be placed on a business card, on stickers, emailed, etc. 

Super easy and, oh, the possibilities!

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