Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Feature: Bellissima Jewelers


For this feature, we will take a peek inside the world of Lynda of Bellissima Jewelers.

 Tell us about yourself.
I am a stay at home, homeschooling mother of 6 awesome children ages 3-12 years old.

Tell us about your shop. What do you sell?
Bellissima Jewelers offers great quality, up-to-date, stylish jewelry for all woman! We have a lifelong love for natural beauty and translate that into our selections. I hand select every component of our jewelry which includes natural stones, Swarovski Crystal, sterling silver, Bali Silver, countess styles of beads, leathers and other natural elements. I reject plastic materials, imitations and stretchy string - we only craft genuine, quality bracelets, earrings and necklaces that our customers can enjoy for a lifetime.

When did you start creating? Why?
I believe I was born creating. It is simply something I have done since I was a small child. The bold, rich colors and endless variety of gem stones provides me with endless ways to express my creativity. I enjoy making something that people will be proud to wear.

 How do you balance your business with your family?
As a homeschooling mother of six children having balance is the only way I can succeed at life. I have the love and support of my like minded husband, so we work as a team to keep things running as smoothly as possible. We share responsibilities so we both have balance and gratification in all the aspects of our lives.

What has been the most difficult aspect of being a Mommy with a Small Business?
Staying organized and keeping all of the pieces moving forward. Giving my children the attention they need and deserve while spending time on building the shop and the business.

What has been the most rewarding?
Seeing both my family and my jewelry business grow and flourish.

Do you have any tips for other moms with a small/home business?
Only produce and sell what you love. If you are organic and an environmentalist, do not compromise on that in your work for money, it will show up in your end product. Believe in what you do and do it with integrity!

You can find Lynda and her gorgeous jewelry at the following sites:


Use this coupon code for 10% off in her Etsy shop: MSB10

Thanks! As always, questions and comments are welcome either here or directed to our featured shop!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Stovetop Kettlecorn

One of my favorite summer fair treats is kettlecorn. I have a bit of a sweet tooth, so I would take that deliciously sweet, but lightly salty taste over regular popcorn any day! I used to only get it once or twice a year, but now that I make my own, it is one of our weekly snacks. Even when I make a double batch, it never lasts very long!


1/4 cup oil (veggi or canola)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup popcorn
1/2 tsp salt


Heat the oil in a large two handled pot at a medium-borderline high temperature. My stove goes from 1-10, so I pop the corn at just below 7. Be careful not to get too high, or the sugar will burn before the corn pops.

I usually throw a couple kernels in with the oil. When they pop, I know the oil is hot enough.

Pour in the remaining kernels, salt and sugar. Replace the cover and give the pan a good shake. Keep the lid secure by placing your thumbs  (on a hotpad) over the cover like this:

Keep shaking the pan at intervals. You want to evenly coat the kernels, but you also want to keep them moving so the sugar doesn't burn.

When the pops slow down to a few seconds between pops, it is ready! Remove from heat and pour into a large bowl immediately. Let it cool for five minutes and then give the bowl a good shake to break up the giant popcorn ball.


This post was brought to you by: Amanda Doster

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Feature: Gooba Gear

 This week we are visiting the shop of Jaime Walsh of Gooba Gear. (Don't you love the name?)

Tell us about yourself:
I'm a mommy to a wonderful little 3 year old girl nicknamed "Gooba" who has become the second love of my life along with my fabulous and supportive husband of 8 years. In addition to making items for my shop and helping my husband with his restaurant, I also teach elementary music full time.

Tell us about your shop. What do you sell?
I started making hair bows and skirts for my little girl and found that sewing was a wonderful way for my to reduce stress and be creative at the same time. I started making more items than she could wear, so I decided to open up a shop! I have since expanded to dresses and purses and everything else in between for little girls and their moms!

When did you start creating?

I have been creating and crafting as long as I can remember. I started crafting for my etsy store in the summer of 2012.


How do you balance your business with your family?
It's not easy! I do most of my crafting and sewing during naps on the weekend or after little Gooba goes to bed. Needless to say - that's not a whole lot of time, but I cherish every minute of it!

What has been the most difficult aspect of being a mommy with a small business?
Mostly the time factor. It is a difficult balance between taking time for myself and spending time with my little girl.

What has been the most rewarding?
The most rewarding aspect has been getting compliments on my items and watching my little girl show off my clothes to others. I love hearing her little voice say "My mommy made it!"

My tip for other mommies is to have fun with your small business and not to lose sight of the importance of family.

Like what you saw? You can find Jaime and Gooba at the following sites:


 Thanks for joining us! Questions or comments can be left here or directed to our featured shop. Stay tuned for next weeks feature!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Simple No Sew Hair Scrunchies

Simple No Sew Hair Scrunchies

These simple little hair accessories are easy and fun to make as well as wallet friendly! They work really well as a fun craft for sleepovers, birthday parties, or Girl Scout troops and are sure to delight your little dancers, fairies, and princesses!

You will need:


Your preferred type of hair elastic (I like the ouch-free variety)
Ribbon, fabric, or yarn cut into 4-5” lengths (Here I am using two colors of satin ribbon)

Fray Check (optional)

15-30 minutes depending on finger dexterity

Step 1: Fold ribbon piece in half and push it through the hair elastic.

Step 2: Reach your fingers through the loop made by the ribbon and grasp the loose ends

Step 3: Pull the loose end of the ribbon through the loop

Step 4: Position the loose ends of the ribbon toward the outside of the hair elastic and pull tight. The loop with hug the hair elastic. (Note, by now you are saying, “Why don’t I just tie the ribbons onto the elastic?” Two reasons: first the pressure exerted directly on the elastic can cause it to snap, second the seam made by this method is smoother, which means your little ones’ hair won’t get tangled up in it as easily)

Step 5: Making sure the loop is very tight around the elastic tie a knot with the loose ends of the ribbon. 

Step 6: Tie a second (you can even do a third if you wish) knot. The knot bundle should be bulky enough to keep the loop from sliding back up the ribbon. 

Repeat steps until the elastic is covered. For this two toned version I alternated between a sparkly sheer blue and a satiny spring green.

Your finished product should look something like this.

With endless color and material options, these versatile little baubles can be made to match any costume or outfit. You can also attach beads, shells, flowers, jewelry charms or feathers to dress them up a bit. I would suggest that if you wish to glue stitch something like a flower onto it you sew through or glue onto the ribbon. Any piercing or heating of the elastic will weaken it which means you won’t get to enjoy your creation as long. Have fun, take chances, and be creative!!

Sonia Horowitz

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday Feature: ReDreamJean

Our Friday Feature this week is Trish of ReDreamJean.

Tell us about yourself.
I'm a stay at home mom to 2 beautiful children and the wife of a wonderful man. We are farmers, living on the farm were I was raised. My husband is also a small business owner. I am grateful to God that my husband is supportive of me staying home with and homeschooling our children. It is such a blessing to be married to a man who shares my beliefs and values. I couldn't do it without his believing in me! I believe that, even when I couldn't see it, God was always guiding my path. I'm so glad that I made Jesus the Lord of my life as a child.

Tell us about your shop. What do you sell?
In my shop, ReDreamJean, I sell mostly upcycled jean skirts and some scarves. To make a skirt, I start with a pair of jeans, rip or cut the inseam apart, and sew in a triangular insert. I like to zig-zag and hand fringe all raw edges. It gives the skirts a nice finish. I really enjoy this because each skirt is a unique and creative work. The possibilities are endless! Another cool thing that I sell is upcycled sweater scarves. And right now, I'm knitting a eyelash yarn fashion scarf.

When did you start creating? Why?
I never enjoyed sewing much, but I made some skirts for my daughter in the last year or two. They turned out well, so I made some more and tried to sell on Ebay. I don't know what flipped the switch, but now I'm borderline obsessive. I really enjoy creating unique, comfortable clothing. I also believe that wholesome fashions are needed in our society. I've been wanting to start a small business for several years, but none of my ideas ever clicked. This one has really sparked my imagination and i hope it works out.

How do you balance your business with your family?
Every day, I take some time to play with my kids. I have to remind myself that my first job is to be a wife and mother. Kids grow up so fast and I want to make good memories with them. I've found that when my oldest is really annoying me and demanding attention, it's better to just lay aside my work for a little while and take some time to play a game or read a story. When my husband is home, I try to stay off of Etsy and turn off the sewing machine. A good way to put it in perspective is to ask myself "What will be the most important in 20 years? finishing a project or showing my family that i value them above all else?" I have to admit though that I'm not very organized and it's an everyday challenge to achieve balance.

What has been the most difficult aspect of being a Mommy with a Small Business?
I suppose the most difficult things are organization, bookkeeping (I'm terrible at it!) and pricing my items competitively while still making a profit.

What has been the most rewarding?
The rewarding part is that I enjoy what I'm doing. it's a creative outlet for me. It's also rewarding when people complement my designs.

You can find more of Trish's creations at:

Questions and comments are always appreciated. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Toddler Pizza Party!

One of my fondest memories of being a kid was helping my mom and grandmothers in the kitchen.  Being from a large Italian and Polish family, food was always at the center of all of our family gatherings.  With the recent passing of both of my wonderful grandmothers I wanted to do a post about how I have started to share the tradition of cooking together with my daughter.  One of our favorite things to make together is homemade pizza.  Even though she's only 3 - we have been making food together in the kitchen since she was old enough to stand up on the chair next to the counter.  It's never to early to start cooking together!

Gooba and I use the Emeril's Basic Pizza Dough Recipe for our basic dough.  The recipe is for one pizza - but we usually double it.

1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)1 (1/4-ounce) envelope active dry yeast1 teaspoon honey2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour1 teaspoon saltYellow cornmeal, for sprinkling the baking sheet

Directions:In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast, honey, and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, stirring to combine. Let sit until the mixture is foamy, about 5 minutes.  For this part I measure the ingredients and let little Gooba pour them into the bowl.

Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour and the salt, mixing by hand until it is all incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Continue adding the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, working the dough after each addition, until the dough is smooth but still slightly sticky.  I usually work the dough and let Gooba add the flour 1/4 cup at a time - which helps so you don't get your sticky hands in the flour. You might not need all of the flour. 

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth but still slightly tacky, 3 to 5 minutes.  For this part I usually give little Gooba her own dough ball to work with.  She has her own knife and rolling pin that she loves to use.  One of her favorite parts is kneading and punching the dough.

Oil a large mixing bowl with remaining olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place, free from drafts until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Once the dough has risen it's time to make the pizza!  Now for Gooba's ultimate favorite part... rolling out the dough!  Again here I give little Gooba her own dough ball to work with while I roll out the first pizza.  

Once I roll the pizza and form the crust I pour the sauce onto the pizza.  Then I let Gooba spread the sauce over the pizza with a spatula.  Then it's time for the CHEESE!  Sprinkle, sprinkle, sprinkle.  We usually add sausage and peppers to ours after the cheese - but the fun part is making any topping you want!

Then it's time to bake your pizza at 425 degrees in the oven until the cheese is bubbly, melty, and delicious!  Then it's time for my favorite part - eating the pizza!  So there you have it!  A messy, delicious, and fun way to spend time with your little ones!

This post was brought to you by Gooba Gear and The Gooba Diaries.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Feature: Kusi Peru


Tell us about yourself.
Hi, my name is Kusi which means Joy in Quechua, the indigenous language of Peru. I am half Quechua and half North American. Growing up in Peru with a rich Quechua heritage I have always had a love for traditional Andean textiles and designs. I am now married to a wonderful man and am a mother to a beautiful two year old boy. As a family, we love Jesus and desire that others know Him. We live in Peru and work with the indigenous peoples of the Andes and Amazon jungle of Peru and we strive to share God's love with them.

Tell us about your shop. What do you sell?
My shop is for the girl who likes to have an accessory that will make them stand out. It's a little bohemian/tribal which I'm really into right now. I sell mostly bracelets and earrings. I eventually want to start expanding my products, also making things for children and men.

When did you start creating? Why?
I have been creating ever since I was a little girl. I noticed at an early age that I really enjoyed creating things and working with my hands. For this reason, after high school, I decided to spend some time in fashion school which allowed me to expand my creativeness. Its also in my blood. I was born into a family with very talented artists. My grandmother on my mothers side has always made beautiful oil and watercolor paintings. On my Quechua father's side, I have family that do beautiful colorful weavings, carvings and jewelry. Most of my creations are inspired by my Peruvian heritage. I use Peruvian textiles, stones and natural seeds from Peru.

How do you balance your business with your family?
It seems to balance well since its something I can do from home or anywhere. I travel around Peru a lot on short trips with my family since we are missionaries, and on these trips helps me to get inspired in the colors, textiles of Peru, etc. We pretty much try to be together at all times. There are times when my son and I cant travel and thats when I work on more products at home while alone with my son and have extra time to do so. We live in a spacious area so my son is able to run free and play outside while i can sit outside and work on maybe a macramé bracelet, etc. So I get to spend time with my son and also catch up on my products when at home.

What has been the most difficult aspect of being a Mommy with a Small Business?
There are some days where I just want to spend time cuddling my son, rest, play, etc, the day goes by and haven't gotten much done on my business.

What has been the most rewarding?
I enjoy making all kinds of things that are unique and colorful. I especially enjoy making them when I know that the money i get from selling them will go to helping others in need. I give a % of my earnings to different causes that I see a need in here in Peru. The rest of the money goes to helping support me and my family as missionaries. and I also really enjoy that I can be home with my son and also do what I like.

Do you have any tips for other moms with a small/home business?
Manage your time well, so that you can spend as much time possible with your family and also do what you like. No matter what anyone says, if you love making things, go for it. There will always be someone out there that will like what you make. As long as you enjoy it, do it.

Here is a coupon to use in Kusi's Etsy shop: 30% off - KUSI30PERCENTOFF

If you would like to follow Kusi's creations, you can find her at the following sites:
Twitter: @KusiSaune

Questions or comments may be added here on the blog, or you can contact Kusi through her shop. Thank you!

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Value of Mommy's Small Business

I am a fairly young mom, just venturing out into the world of starting my own business. My husband and I have been married for almost five years. We have a three and a half year old son who is quite possibly the most adorable little boy I've ever known. Really, I'm not biased at all!

Only a few sentences in and I'm already off topic. Sheesh!

The balancing act of trying to start a business and caring for my family has been difficult. There are weekends I spend most of my son's “awake time” at shows or hiding in the basement, frantically trying to get some work done. I've let household chores slide on more than one occasion. (After all, checking to make sure I don't have any new orders is far more important than cleaning the bathroom, right?) I've turned down countless games of Candyland and let my son watch more TV than I probably should have. Some days, I have to stop and ask myself exactly what am I trying to accomplish? Why is it worth it to take time aways from family to try and build a business?

After quite a bit of deliberation, here are my top three answers.

Financial Benefits

While not necessarily my primary reason, bringing in a little money has been a benefit of my small business (even more than just funding my hobby!).

Before we got married, my husband and I discussed my dream of being a stay at home mom. Sometimes it makes for a really tight budget, but he still supports that desire. I absolutely love spending the day with my little guy, but I also want to help. When you live paycheck to paycheck, sometimes that twenty dollar order is all that stands between our bills and an overdrawn account. Even if it is small, I am making a financial contribution to my family. I hope to grow the amount that I can contribute over time.

Educational Benefits

To be perfectly candid, after even an hour of watching shows meant for three year olds, my brain could also use a little mental challenge, and I am learning SO much! Organizing time/materials, financial planning, marketing, networking, analyzing data... The list goes on. My business venture has challenged me to think in new ways, develop new skills, balance my time and budget. All of these concepts are actually quite useful in home management as well.

Instructional Benefits

This is my favorite reason for why I do what I do. My son is learning from my experience. Children are so incredibly observant. Even when he is playing along side me, he is always watching. More important than learning my "trade" he is learning to imitate my ways of doing things. He is learning about the value of time, hard work, communication, responsibility, self-motivation, discipline, and direction. As he gets older, I am sure his understanding of even more complex topics will grow as well.

That's what being a parent is all about, isn't it? Being a role model and teaching our children to uphold our values no matter where life takes them? To me the legacy lies not in what I create, but the manner in which I create it. That is why I am a mom, and that is why I choose to have my “small” business.

This blog post was brought to you by:

Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday Feature: Giggle Poo

Welcome to our first ever, Friday Feature! Every Friday, we will be featuring a different Etsy shop. The idea is that you can get to know some of the amazing mom's who have a small business, see their creations, and pick up a few tips about how they make it all work. Enjoy!

Tell us about yourself.
I am a Stay at Home Mom to a wonderful 10 month old baby (who is growing up way too fast), a wonderful husband, a crazy cat, and starting my own small business.

Tell us about your shop. What do you sell?
Giggle Poo is a specialty retail shop focusing on the latest trends for stylish babies. While the company is still in its infancy (no pun intended) its lovies, baby blanket and baby leg warmers are already leading baby fashion trends across the United States and Canada. Baby Clothes are next on the agenda.

When did you start creating? Why?
My Grandmother taught me how to sew by hand and cross stitch when I was in elementary school and it was so much fun. As I grew older, I put sewing to the way side. Then I unexpectedly lost my job at 8 and half months pregnant. I was devastated! I never planned to be a stay at home Mom. I have a degree in International Business from a college in France, speak fluent French and have always been career oriented. After searching for a job to cover more than just day care costs (it’s expensive here!) and with unemployment soon running out, I think I surprised everyone when I bought my first showing machine and opened my Etsy shop. I honestly love it and am learning a lot about running my own business.

How do you balance your business with your family?
Ha! I am still working on this one. It has been a struggle at times. My shop took off faster than expected and my house is disaster! We used to have a cleaning company come to our house twice a month and it was the first thing to go when I lost my job. I REALLY miss them. I am learning to be more domesticated, but I think I have a long road ahead of me. My husband would like me to get there a little faster.

What has been the most difficult aspect of being a Mommy with a Small Business?
I have struggles with managing the house, baby, business and my husband at the same time. I’m not sure how life would be if I were still at my corporate job. My Little Dude likes to stay up late, still wakes several times a night and is exclusively breastfed. As my husband would say, I always take the more difficult route. What can I say, I like a good challenge. My husband flip flops on his support on my small business; it’s that whole domestication issue I have (I did vacuum today). LOL! To be fair, he has been an intricate tool in the success of my business and most of the time he truly does support my small business.

What has been the most rewarding?
Hands down, the most rewarding is spending all the precious time with my Little Dude watching him grow and learn. I wouldn’t trade this time with him for anything.

Do you have any tips for other moms with a small/home business?
Don’t give up! There will be slow times, learning experiences, and time management issues, but they will pass. Your customers will understand if your little one is sick or needs you a little more, just be honest with them. Your babies should always be your top priority. Oh and excellent customer service can go a long way.

You can keep up with Lori and her wonderful creations at the following sites:

Questions or comments are always welcome either here on the blog, or directed to our featured shop.

Thanks for stopping by!