Tuesday, June 10, 2014

LIFE | The Ocean

Last week Gabe and I loaded up the car and took an impromptu trip to the beach.  We met some friends, stayed in a cottage on the sand, skipped nap to play in the ocean, and had an all around wonderful time.  I know we were only 2 weeks into this deployment, but I think Gabe and I were both needing a change of scenery.  I don't know what it is about the beach that's so refreshing, but I think we both came home in a better mood and and with a better outlook for the next few months.

I had told Gabe about our beach trip a few days in advance (MISTAKE- do not tell a toddler anything in advance!) and he was upset anytime we went somewhere in the car that didn't end at the ocean.  I don't think he anticipated how long the drive to the ocean would be, but he was a little road warrior.  As we got into San Diego, he looked out the window and said, "I see California!"  Even though he spent the first 18 months of his life living very close the beach, he never really enjoyed it and I knew he didn't remember it, so I was anxious to see what he would think of the ocean when it wasn't just something we read about in books.  His sea life books are some of his favorites, so I think he was well prepared.  Good news, he LOVED it and was upset anytime we weren't able to be right at the water.

It was such a relaxing couple of days.  We hung out at our cottage, cooked out with our friends, played in the waves, and went on a run along the beach.  

Scenes from our run.

Playtime at the beach.

Bye, Ocean.  Until next time...

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

OBSESSION | Pineapples

Every once in a while I get fixated on something and I can't get enough of it.  This summer, it's pineapples.  They seem to be everywhere and I want them all!  I want to eat them, I want to wear them, I want to accessorize with them!  It's been a few years since I've been to Hawaii and am hoping to make a trip this summer.  I think that's why the pineapples are calling my name!

Here are a few of my favorites!

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7

1// Sadly, the pineapple print it sold out, but the other summer prints are super cute!
2// Also available as a tank in store!  (I may own both versions...  I couldn't resist!)

Monday, May 26, 2014

WEAR | Girls Night Out

I completely forget to share this dress with y'all and I love it so much!  I wore this for girl's night out a few weeks ago.

It paired paired perfectly with my distressed denim jacket for a cool desert night.

A few pattern notes for anyone looking to stitch this up...  I had originally planned to make this dress with the skirt in this fabric and the top in navy polka dots.  When the fabric arrived the knits were different, not the same weight or stretch, so I was nervous about pairing them together.  So I was actually about to squeeze this dress and the navy polka dot version (see below) out of just a yard and half each!  For reference, I made the extra small.  I also had to cut the armhole strips just a bit longer (maybe 2 inches) than called for to get them to fit in the floral version.  I would definitely recommend the Heather Ross knit for someone working with knits for the first time.  It's a good weight and doesn't have too much stretch.  The polka dots are a lighter weight and a lot stretchier.

Dress:: Out and About Dress // Floral Fabric:: Heather Ross //Polka Dot Fabric:: Riley Blake

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

LIFE | Making Lemonade

I wore this lemon dress to brunch on Sunday and was really hoping to get some cute family photos.  Unfortunately, a 2 year old + a sugar rush + 100 degrees doesn't = amazing photos.  We did the best we could.

I felt like this dress was especially appropriate for our last Sunday brunch at our favorite spot.  Starting this week, my focus is going to be turning lemons into lemonade.  Deployments are always hard and never fun, but I've learned to make the best of them and embrace them for what they are.  Less laundry, less cooking, less cleaning.  A summer filled with exploring a new city, getting to know new friends better, and soaking up the sun in the pool.  Travel to visit family and hopefully seeing some friends at the beach. I've found that if I have a few goals and things to look forward to, I'm happier and the time seems to go by faster.  In the past I've used to deployments to do things like learn how to sew and become a runner!  Just think, if it wasn't for deployments, DFD may not exist!  I'm looking forward to starting Barre classes (3 cheers for childcare!!!) later this week and having a little more time for personal sewing projects.  I would love to learn to make macarons (quite a goal considering I'm not a baker at all!), and I need to get this boy potty trained!  I'm also looking forward to starting my wine, cheese, and crackers diet.  I know it sounds crazy, but I usually lose weight when I stick with those 3 things for dinner.  :)  Give me a lemon, I'll find a way to turn it into lemonade!

Some macaron inspiration from brunch!  Yum!

We'll call this a BEFORE potty training picture.  But really, he's just too darn cute not to share!  :)

Some of my recent, ahem, investments.  I've got plans for a Sugar Pop Top, a Saltspring Dress, a Tank Dress, a Poolside Tote, a Washi Dress, and more!  Any favorite patterns I should add to my list???


{I'm so thankful for all the thoughts and prayers that I received since sharing this bit of our life with you all.  I cannot tell you how much it means to have complete strangers thinking of my little family.  I share this part of our life, not for the support, but because it is the life I'm living and I couldn't be more proud to be a military spouse.  The fact that I am part of a community that wraps me up and says thank you is more than I can ask for.  Thank YOU!}

Thursday, May 15, 2014

SHOP | Lessons Learned

I've been thinking lately about lessons learned over the last almost 4 years of running DFD.  Gosh, I've learned so much.  About myself and about what kind of business I want to have.  Whether you've been in the handmade business for a while or are just starting out, I think these are good tips and reminders.

1. It's ok to say no.  This one is hard, especially when you're starting out, but I've learned that if I'm not excited about something or if it just doesn't feel right, it's ok to turn work down.  Another opportunity will come along.  When I'm presented with something new, I try to take some time to think about whether or not it's really a good fit for me and my business.  And if it's not, I'm ok saying no.  Along those same lines, if you're currently offering something that you don't enjoy or aren't excited about, stop selling it!  When I started DFD, I offered pillowcase dresses for little girls.  But you know what?  I hated making them!  They sold well, but I dreaded getting an order for them and always waited until the last minute to make them.  I decided that there were lots of other people out there that did enjoy making them so I would let them do it!  I've never looked back!

2. Keep your business to yourself.  I'm always shocked when someone asks me how much money I make.  And believe me, it has happened more than I would expect.  I don't know if people feel like it's ok to ask me that question because I'm self-employed or if they just don't have good manners, but I doubt they are asking their friends who are teachers or doctors or engineers or in any other profession how much they make.  I always feel like a deer caught in the headlines when it happens.  I get that people are curious, but just like I would never share how much my husband makes (and he's the breadwinner!), it's none of their business how much I make.  After being caught in a few awkward moments, I've decided that the best answer is "enough to make it worthwhile."  If they persist, give them a taste of their own medicine.  :)

3. Don't air your dirty laundry.  We all need to vent sometimes.  I get that.  Just be careful where you do it.  Believe me, "high maintenance" customers can drive me crazy, but I try to never complain about that on Facebook or Instagram, even on my personal accounts to "friends".  Your friends are your customers, too, so don't think that just because you're sharing how annoying your customer is on your personal account doesn't mean that customers aren't seeing that and questioning your professionalism.  I have a couple of close friends that I trust that I can go to when I'm at my wits end with a customer issue so that everyone one Facebook doesn't know.

4. Take a breath.  Whether it be with a new request or a customer service issue, it's ok to not reply immediately.  This is one that I struggle with.  If I find out from a customer that they're not happy for whatever reason or that I've made a mistake, it makes me feel sick to my stomach and I want to remedy it immediately.  I've learned that taking a couple of hours before replying is usually the best thing to do.  The first idea that I have isn't always the best and it's good to take a step back and look a the situation with a little less emotion.  Also see #1.  Take a little time to think about whether or not a project or collaboration or customer request is really right for you before saying yes or no.  If you want to reply immediately like I do, it's also ok to acknowledge the complaint or request and let them know that you're going to give it some thought and get back to them shortly.

5. Take time for yourself.  What is it that you're doing?  Why did you start your business?  Probably because you found a hobby that you loved.  I love sewing and creating, but I sometimes go MONTHS without making anything for myself or my family.  But you know, when I do take the time, even if it means staying up late one night, I'm always so glad that I did.  I've been taking time to sew more clothing for myself lately, and I love it!  Not only does it help keep me excited about sewing and the orders that I need to process, but it's been a great source of inspiration for my work as well!  I've started budgeting in a little time for myself into my shop production time and I'm so glad that I have!

As I read back over these, I think that most of these tips not only apply to handmade business owners, but to life in general.  Do you struggle with any of these?  What tips would you add?

Monday, May 5, 2014

WEAR | Cinco de Mayo

It's no secret that I love a themed outfit.  Anchors on a boat.  Zebras to the zoo.  Mexican embroidered dress for Cinco de Mayo.

This dress from Eshakti will now be known as my Cinco de Mayo dress.  I love that Eshakti allows you to totally customize your order, so it will fit you perfectly and be exactly what you have in mind.  Change the sleeve, the neckline, the length.  I followed the item measurements when ordering this and only made a change to the length to be more flattering on all 5'2" of me.  The measurements were spot on, it fits like a glove.  And I love that the embroidered flowers go all around the back of the neckline.

And pockets.  Oh, I love a dress with pockets.

And the full skirt.  I had a girlfriend tell me recently that her 4 year old daughter will only wear clothes that "make her want to dance."  I'd say this dress definitely falls into that category.  And really, shouldn't your clothes make you want to dance or whatever it is you love to do???

Let's celebrate Cinco de Mayo (a day late) with a little discount!  You can save 10% with coupon code DFDBES.  Plus, they're currently offering "buy 2, get 1 free"!  It may be all the Mad Men I've been watching lately, but I'm loving these vintage inspired styles!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  (Or Cinco de Seis as I'm a day late in posting this!)

{Disclosure: I was provide an item from Eshakti for review, but all opinions are my own.}

Thursday, May 1, 2014

SEW | Sugar Pop Top

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may remember me asking you to vote for your favorite fabric.

You guys overwhemingly chose Option 1, so that's what I went with.  Although, I have to admit, I was secretly rooting for Option 2.  

Well, now for the reveal!  I was doing some pattern testing for Sew Carolines' newest pattern, the Sugar Pop Top!  It was kind of like being in on a fun secret since I got to see the pattern early!  It was easy to sew and I think it's adorable!  Definitely something that I could make during nap time!

I love the detail of the peter pan collar and ruffled sleeve.  The pattern also comes with a cap sleeve option that I think I'll try next!

I hope I have the opportunity to do more pattern testing in the future.  It was a nice to change of pace to HAVE to make something for myself!

Check out more Sugar Pop Tops on Instagram at #sugarpoptop!