Monday, June 30, 2008

Whimsical Stationery and Artwork by Le Papier Designs

Good Monday to you! It's the beginning of the work week, and the end of a month. Hard to believe we're half way through 2008, isn't it?

I had mentioned in a previous post, that we would be doing things a little differently here on The Downtown Boutique. We no longer have "Tots on Tuesdays", but we will still be featuring some fabulous artists and crafters and giving away some wonderful gifts. We will be doing reviews on products, and even giving some of them away!

So today, we will be featuring Vana of Le Papier Designs. At Le Papier Designs, you will find one of a kind customized + handmade stationery and invitations, as well as fresh and whimsical artwork.

Vana started "drawing" when she was 3-4 and according to her parents there was something in those early drawings that helped set the stage for the type of work she does now. Vana says she actually "mastered" it in high school during her preparation to be accepted to the architecture school.

Vana loves to cook and has just started to learn how to knit (but this is far from a talent-more like a hobby). Living in Europe for most of her life helped her become fluent in Italian, French, Greek and of course Albanian.

The reason Vana started selling on Etsy is because she wanted to find a creative outlet to relieve herself from the stress of a busy day (which she is sure is the same reason why a lot of others started selling on Etsy) and pick up on her creative side. Vana says, "I love being a mom and working part time from home has been such a huge blessing. But at times I found myself doing the same things over and over again and had developed a routine....Selling on Etsy has kept my creativity going. I would say if you do something out of love and passion you will succeed no matter what. Plus I think I might be a bit too determined. There are so many creative people selling on Etsy which have inspired me a lot. And the positive feedback from the client is always a nice bust of confidence and helps me to keep doing what I do."

Typically, about 95% of Vana's orders request custom prints. "And this is the part I love the most. I know it makes a huge difference and sets me apart from other sellers who might offer children silhouette artwork but not the option to customize the silhouettes."

Since becoming a mom, Vana has kept working on her profession part time from home. At times she misses being part of the office life, but says it helps to stop by every week for a couple of hours. On the other side, the blessing of being home with your child to watch him grow is truly priceless and she wouldn't trade it for anything.

Vana loves going on walks with her family in the late afternoon. It's the best thing and helps them catch up before the end of the day. Playing at the park with her 3 year old is fun as well. If she wants to take a moment for herself, she likes going to the local coffee shop, sipping coffee and reading something or finishing up a pencil rendering.

I asked Vana, if she could take a month's vacation anywhere in the world, where would it be, and why? This is what she said: "There is no place like home....and I don't mean home here in the US but the home I grew up in Southern Albania. My parents live by the most pristine beaches. Every year we spend 2-3 weeks with them. For a change I would love to visit Southern France (the French Riviera) and Northern Italy as part of my vacation. It would have to be by the beach though as the best vacation for me has to have the beach in it."

Vana, thank you so much for taking the time to "chat" with me, and to give our readers a little glimpse of your life and your business.

Le Papier Designs is giving away a fun, Personalized Silhouette Print for a boy or girl. This is an 8x10 print, and Vana will personalize either the boy print or the girl print, just for you.

To win this print, please go to Le Papier Designs and take a look around. Then come back and leave a comment about which of her products is your favorite. (My favorites? Click HERE. And HERE.)

Deadline to enter is Sunday, July 6th. We will draw a winner on Monday, July 7th. Please be sure to only leave one comment and please leave a valid email address.

If you mention this giveaway in your blog, please send me the link to your blog, and you will receive an additional entry.

Don't forget, if you own an Etsy shop, you can enter to win one of two EtsyMini Advertising Spots here on The Downtown Boutique.

Also, you can enter to win a gorgeous piece of jewelry, valued at up to $25, from Moondog Cottage.

Take care!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

It's In The Bag

I was looking through Etsy today for a great bag. I wanted to get a bag that could work as a diaper bag, but could also look like a purse or a great tote. I could only afford up to $45, so I limited my search to $0-$45.

Here's what I purchased from Janine King Designs (On sale for $29.99, down from $59!!!):

Here are some other cute bags (from other sellers) I found while searching (click on each photo to link to the listing):

Gypsy Rose Handbags

By the way, if you go and purchase a Gypsy Rose handbag, please let them know that Angie, from The Downtown Boutique sent you. If 5 people purchase from my referral, I could get a FREE handbag!!!


Baffin Bags

The Kat Sak

Sew Gracious

You can't tell that I like blues and greens can you? So, if you're ever wondering what to get me for my birthday, which is in a little over a month, now you know! :-)


Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday Features No. 18 -- Featuring Moondog Cottage

Happy Friday! I hope everyone is doing well, and ready for the weekend. Hubby is out getting baby food, batteries for our computer mouse, and Velveeta cheese at Target, so I still have a little time before he gets home and we order Chinese. Once Chinese is ordered, and we've settled in to our movie and family night, there will be no more time to get online to do my Friday Feature!

Today, we are featuring on of The Downtown Boutique's sponsors, Sheri, from Moondog Cottage. If you haven't seen Sheri's wares, you MUST take a look, because she has some gorgeous heirloom quality pieces! If you have loved ones that you want to remember in a really special way, she can create gorgeous pieces of jewelry, featuring photos of those loved ones.

Here's more about Sheri and Moondog Cottage:

TDB: What got you to start creating your beautiful keepsake pieces?
Sheri: Years ago I went to a small town's craft show and a lady had these little pins made with pictures encased in glass. I've always loved Halloween and bought one with a Jack-O-Lantern in it. For years I tried to figure out where she got the little "frame" and how she made this tiny glass picture pin. Finally about a year ago I saw another charm similar to my beloved Jack-O-Lantern pin and realized it wasn't a small frame, it was two pieces of glass that had been hand soldered together! Once I knew what it was I was determined to learn how to do it myself. I went to a local Stained Glass shop and took some lessons on soldering and once I had that mastered, took some lessons at another shop on the basics of jewelry making so I could combine the two for unique jewelry pieces.

TDB: What other sorts of crafting do you enjoy?
Sheri: I've always loved doing anything creative. I guess I get that from my mother. She's extremely creative and makes furniture, wreaths, and all types of craft items and has her own business, Tole Mountain. Besides making jewelry I really enjoy photography and interior decorating also. I've also dabbled in writing and have had some greeting cards published and a story in Chicken Soup To Inspire a Woman's Soul.

TDB: If you could learn some new skill, what would it be?
Sheri: Wow, that's a hard one. I'm always thinking if I had more TIME I would love to learn so many things... One thing I've regretted is that I never learned how to play a musical instrument. I would love to know how to play the piano!

TDB: Where do you sell your jewelry besides your website?
Sheri: Right now I mainly just sell from my website. I have had great PR in my area though with local newspapers writing articles about me, so some local clients have actually came to meet with me to discuss designing jewelry from their old photos. I've had clients from Florida to California. It's been so much fun getting to know my clients and making new friends along the way!

TDB: What is your best advice to someone who is just starting their own online business, selling their own creations?
Sheri: I think it's so important to not get down if things don't take off right away. You have to hang in there and realize it's a slow process. You also have to look at different ways to get your name out there and different ways to sell. Even though I have been mainly selling from my website, I am going to also get on Etsy and look into local shows. I think you have to look at your business from all angles and try many ways to sell and to get recognition.

TDB: Where do you get your inspiration for your pieces?
Sheri: Most of the time I just get out all of my beads and crystals and jewelry findings and see what comes together. I may decide I want to use a certain type of beads and so I will carry them around my other crystals etc. and see what pops out to me that will look good with them. I rarely have something definate in mind when I start. I just see where my jewelry pieces take me and go with the flow. Sometimes it comes together smoothly and sometimes I'll take something apart a few times until I feel it's "right". It's so wonderful when a piece is done and you think "wow, this looks beautiful!"

TDB: How did you come up with your business name, Moondog Cottage?
Sheri: As I said, I like to write. I wrote a children's story called Moondog several years ago for my mother. It was about her beloved dog Princess. I always liked the name. As for Cottage, I'm very much a Cottage Industry business, working from home, so the two went together! I get lots of comments on the name. People love it. One thing I've definately learned is that you need to name your business so people really remember it. You want your name to stick out in a sea of business names!

Wow Sheri! It really seems like you are living a full and content life! I would love to read your stories sometime. Thank you for sharing such wonderful things about you.


For today's giveaway, Sheri has offered up anything from her shop, up to $25. So, go and take a look at her website, Moondog Cottage, and then come back here and tell us what you just love.

One comment per person please, and be sure to leave a valid email address, so that we can get ahold of you if you win.

Deadline to enter is Thursday, July 3rd at Midnight PST.


Don't forget to enter to win an EtsyMini advertising spot, right here on The Downtown Boutique! Deadline to enter is Friday July 11th at Midnight PST.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Two Free EtsyMini Ad Spots to be Given Away!

Yes, that's right, we will be giving away TWO FREE EtsyMini Ad Spots here on The Downtown Boutique. Where do they go, you ask? They will be placed just under the banner ads on the left hand side of the blog.

Why is this a big deal, you ask? Because if you own an Etsy shop, this is a great way to showcase up to SIX items from your shop! You get to choose which six items will be showcased too!

Yes, this is only for people who own an Etsy shop. discrimination intended. I normally sell EtsyMini ad space, and I wanted to give it a little boost by giving two spots away.

Enter to win, by leaving a comment and letting me know how to find YOUR Etsy shop! Deadline to enter is Friday, July 11th at Midnight PST. We will draw a winner on Saturday, July 12th.

No shops with vulgar, obscene, profane, or otherwise offensive items please. We are a family friendly blog. Thank you.

Drumroll Please..........

.....................and the winners of the 100th Post Great Big Giveaway are:

Jessilyn gets first choice of four of the 10 prizes.
Terri Fisher gets second choice out of the remaining 6 prizes.
Cpullum gets the remaining 3 prizes.


Thank you all for entering, and for the wonderful comments!

Thank you to our sponsors for the FANTASTIC giveaways!!!

Jenni B Originals

Cupcake Courier
Moondog Cottage
Glory Gifts
Jamie Noel
Cookie Dough
The Downtown Boutique
A Bushel and a Peck
Wyred on Wire
Upcoming Posts:
Friday Feature--Featuring Moondog Cottage
Le Papier Designs Feature
A Review for Cute & Sweet
Gas Card Giveaway
Special Surprise Giveaway
Scrapbooking Contest
What You're Working On

Have a wonderful day!


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Lower Advertising Rates on The Downtown Boutique!

Happy Wednesday! We are happy to announce that we are lowering our advertising rates for The Downtown Boutique! We will start today, and if you are already advertising with us, you should have already gotten a convo from me. If not, I apologize.

Our new advertising rates:

#1: 125x125 banner ad: $7 per month (previously $10 per month). 3 months for $20

#2: 125x250 banner ad: $10 per month (previously $18 per month). 3 months for $27.00.

#3: Etsy Mini Ad Space: $10 per month (previously $20 per month). 3 months for $27.00.
(This space is great because you can showcase up to six of your products, and you can choose which of your products from your Etsy shop, that you want to showcase!)

If you have any questions, please email me.


Wordless Wednesday Featuring Le Papier Designs

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Winner and a Vignette

I know, it's not Friday. So, I'm a little behind on getting to things. Anybody relate? I didn't have a Friday Feature last Friday because I had no one on the calendar for it. I'd love to start filling the calendar again with some more great crafters and artists to feature. If you know of someone you'd love to see featured (including yourself), just drop me a line. I would love your help in filling up the calendar. Please keep in mind, jewelry artists are featured on the last Friday of each month. June is booked, but we're open from there!

Congratulations to "dolls123", who won the $15 Gift Certificate from Kim, over at Folk Art From The Heart. Thanks Kim, for the great interview and giveaway! Thanks to those of you who commented to enter to win.

Well, life is changing. I'm closing my Ambrosia Delights Etsy shop, I'm taking the month of July off from custom orders from the Rio Oso Designs Etsy shop, and I'm spending time with family!

My mom is FINALLY coming out for a visit! I've been married and living in CA for four years now, and she has not been able to come out to visit because she is a foster parent, and doesn't want the kids to have to go to hospice. And we haven't been able to go back there in 2-1/2 years because of finances. So I haven't seen my mom for 2-1/2 years! But now she is excited to see her new grandson (to-be), so she will be flying out here with my adopted little sister. Mom hasn't been on an airplane since 1985! Things have certainly changed a bit since then.

We're SOOO excited about them coming out! We're going to take them to see the Golden Gate Bridge, the Monterey Aquarium, the Jelly Belly Factory, and hopefully the train museum in Old Town Sacramento (love it up there!!!). I will do my best to keep up with posting and letting you see new shops featured, during that time.

Here's something fun that I think we'll try making while they're out here. These sponge toys would be fun to take to the pool, the beach, or the lake. Your kids could even have a water fight in the backyard with them! I found them on "Make and Takes", where there is a great tutorial on how to make them.

So, not only are my mom and sister coming out, but my dad is coming out later in the month to go camping with us, and with hubby's family. My best friend from church, and her family are coming too. I'm SO excited that my dad is coming! He's gone through a bad past few months, and I'm glad that he will be able to come out for a few days and just relax, and meet his new grandson. My parents ARE still married, but my dad couldn't come at the same time as my mom because of his work schedule. Regardless, I'm THRILLED!!!

Ok, want to see some pics of our little family, with the new addition? You can check out our family blog, "As For Me and My House". There are LOADS of photos of our sweet Sir C and his new little brother, Sir E. For safety reasons, I must not reveal their names. I hope you understand.

Alrighty, last but not least, here is something that I Stumbled Upon today. I thought you might like this sweet little necklace I found, called "Vignette Swallows and Parasols". You can purchase it at Paraphernalia. These are handmade in the UK.

I hope that you'll keep reading the blog this summer. I have some wonderful giveaways and reviews coming up. If you would like to send me a product to review, just email me, and I will let you know the details. If you're interested in advertising, just contact us, and we'll fill you in there too. We're DROPPING our advertising rates! SO those of you who currently advertise with us will get extra time!

I gotta run. The guys are all at our 14 year old's jujitsu class, and I have worship team practice. Can't be late!

Have a great day!


Sunday, June 22, 2008

We're Closing Shop!

No, we're not shutting down the blog. But, we are closing one of our shops on Etsy...Ambrosia Delights. With a new 19 month old in our home, our lives have gotten a little more busy, so we need to simplify. We will still be keeping our Rio Oso Designs shop, and we will still do the blog.

We need to make room in our little guy's closet, so we need to sell the things from our shop. We have gotten SOOO many wonderful gifts for him, that there is no room to put everything. We are getting rid of jewelry, clothing, and baby items.

We are offering 10% off on everything in our shop until our official close date of August 1st. EVERYTHING IS ALREADY MARKED DOWN, so you don't have to do anything but buy, buy, buy!!! :-)

We are also offering FREE shipping within the USA, on any purchases over $50.

Come on over and check us out at Ambrosia Delights.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wordless Wednesday Featuring C Berry Baby

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

We've Hit Our 100th Post!!!!!

This giveaway is now closed.
Please raise your hand if you are raising a toddler and a teen and are exhausted!!! (This is me raising my hand...!) Who knew it would be so challenging and fun and exhausting and fun and frustrating and fun? Hubby and I sure love our boys, but we haven't been on a date since April, if even then! I know it's only a matter of our friends getting finger-printed so that they can watch the little guy, but we need some us time really SOON!

Ok, on to something different and possibly cool and maybe fun and a little apologetic and definitely long. We are celebrating 100 posts here on The Downtown Boutique!!!!!! YAY!!!!! Thank you to all of you who have visited our blog over the past 6 months.

My apologies to my 100th post giveaway sponsors. I originally said I'd do this post over the weekend, then I changed it to yesterday, but alas, it did not get done, so I am working diligently at it today (in between refereeing, feeding babies, doing dishes, refereeing, putting babies down for naps, putting myself down for a nap---NOT happening probably!, refereeing.....).

First things first. I will no longer be doing a "Tots on Tuesdays" feature. I have tried to get a co-author for it, and have been a tad unsuccessful. No worries! We will still have our Friday Features, with a giveaway each Friday. We will still have our Wordless Wednesday, where my co-author Sydnei will be featuring an EtsyMini each Wednesday. And we have now begun to get some "corporate" sponsorship, who have agreed to give away some GREAT gifts! If you are a "corporation" and would like to sponsor an awesome giveaway, please let us know, because we would love to give you a month of free advertising in exchange!!

Our giveaways will be random, and not always on Mondays, so be sure to watch for them. You might even want to subscribe to our blogfeed so that you can be tuned in when we give something away. No hints in the title either! Ha ha ha ha ha (that's my semi-maniacal laugh).

We will also be doing some product reviews, where people send me their product, and I review it here on the blog. I may or may not decide to give it away, so be sure to check out the blog each day! If you have a product that you would like us to review, please email us and let us know.

Alrighty then, we have TEN things to give away to celebrate our 100th post. We will be giving away four items to our grand prize winner, three items to our second winner, and two items to our third winner. The cool part is that the grand prize winner gets to CHOOSE their four prizes!!!! Then the second gets to choose, and the third gets the "leftovers"...but I'm sure you'll love them all!!! How awesome is that???!!! Are you ready? Here we go!!!

In no particular order, here are the prizes:

1. Walk in The Park Duck Pull Toy from Cookie Dough.
(We actually have one of her giraffes, so I can attest to just how cute they are! We were her first customer, having bought the giraffe for our new little guy we are adopting.)

2. Paris Journal from A Bushel and a Peck.

3. Set of Three Mini Faux Cupcakes from Jenni B. Originals, who was a guest on the Martha Stewart show, earlier in the year.

4. A Link Listing Ad Spot for one month, here on The Downtown Boutique.
(You can find it on the right hand side of the blog, under "Go Shopping".)

5. Topaz Colored Earrings from Wyred on Wire.

6. A Pair of "French Country/Shabby Chic" Pillows from Glory Gifts.

7. "Vintage Lion Tamer" Earrings from Jamie Noel.

8. Any item up to $25 from Moondog Cottage.
Here's an example of what you can find at Moondog Cottage:

9. A 125x125 Ad Spot for one month on The Downtown Boutique Blog.
(Your shop must comply with the policies of The Downtown Boutique.)

10. And last but certainly not least, a Cupcake Courier from! These Cupcake Couriers mean no more smooshed cupcakes going to the bake sale, the PTA meeting (do they still have those?), the church potluck, or the kid's classroom! Your Cupcake Courier will hold up to thirty-six cupcakes.
(They're actually sending me two of these for myself! I will be able to use one and give one to someone I love. Look for a review further down the line.)

So there you have it! I would love for you to visit each of these shops, and if you really like them, please be sure to let them know you found them on The Downtown Boutique!


1. Please leave a comment telling me where you are visiting from (no specific towns please, for your own safety, unless it's like LA or NY), and how you found The Downtown Boutique. ONLY ONE COMMENT PER PERSON PLEASE. Please make sure we have a VALID email address for you. If I have to go searching for you, I will just go and search for another winner.


2. For an additional entry, please refer someone to The Downtown Boutique, and make sure that they mention that you referred them, when they leave their comment. If there are three comments from "jenny", please make sure they know which "jenny". If you refer several people, you will receive more entries. Refer 1-10 people, get one extra entry. Refer 11-20 people, get two extra entries. Refer more than 20 people, and you can be my new best friend. Either that or my new co-author! Just kidding (well, not about the co-author thing!). Seriously though, if you refer more than 20 people, you will get three extra entries.

Deadline to enter is Wednesday, June 25th at Midnight PST, so you have a little over a week.

Have fun! Oh! And I'd love to hear what you love (or hate) about The Downtown Boutique.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday Features No. 17 -- Featuring "Folk Art From The Heart"

It's finally Friday! I remember when I was single and childless, that phrase always meant it was time to put on my boots and jeans, and head down to the local country/western nightclub and dance until the place closed down. Then after that, we would all go do the local Village Inn or IHOP and have "breakfast", which was typically a plate of french fries or french toast for me. Dont' ask me why, but I could enjoy a plate of french toast any time of the night or day. Funny, hubby and I were just talking about that today. He doesn't like "breakfast" for dinner, but will eat burritos any time of the night or day.

Well, I had to just digress there for a moment. On to the business at hand. We have a winner for the $20 Gift Certificate from A Bushel and a Peck: Misty (if you read this, please contact me because your email isn't working). Congratulations Misty, and thanks to all of you who commented. Thank you Jeanne, for being willing to be featured and do a giveaway.

Speaking of giveaways, you might not know this, but tomorrow, I will be posting my 100th post! Can you belive it? I can't! Where has all the time gone? Because we want you to help us celebrate, we will be giving some really cool things away! Be sure to stay won't want to miss out.

Today we have a giveaway for you from our featured Etsy shop, Folk Art From The Heart. Kim has been crafting for quite awhile, and seems to have the same malady that I suffer from: Crafting ADD! She enjoys crafting in various different mediums...everything from oil paints to concrete. She discovered polymer clay 3 years ago, and has really done an amazing job with the things she creates.

Here's more about Kim:
TDB: Your polymer clay creations are so fun and whimsical, and very detailed. What got you started working with polymer clay?
Kim: I originally began my exploring my artistic side about 15 years ago when my girlfriend asked me to go to a tole painting class with her. That got me jumpstarted. Since then I’ve dabbled in watercolors, wood, ceramics, fabric and even concrete. Polymer Clay just seemed like a natural progression but from the moment I felt it in my hands, I knew this was the final medium for me. I do add many of the other mediums to my final designs, but Polymer Clay will always be my primary medium.
TDB: I can see why polymer clay is a favorite, and is your primary medium. You do an amazing job!

TDB: What has been the greatest challenge in your "career" as a crafter and how have you worked to overcome it?
Kim: Well, throughout my career, I have had children in my house, so trying to find a time and a place to work has always been a challenge. Now I have the second generation of children in my house and it is still a challenge, so I grab what time I can when I can and just hope for good long naps!
TDB: Wow! You get naps in? What a novel concept. I may have to try that!

TDB: Where do you get your inspiration for your creations?
Kim: I get my inspiration from other artists. I love Warren Kimball, Lisa Hilliker, and others of that genre, and I like to create pieces that I think would look right at home with the works of my favorite artists.

TDB: What is the most important thing you have learned about selling on Etsy?
Kim: Be patient! It takes a while for the folks at Etsy to become familiar with your work, so keep it in the forefront, by listing often. And spend time in the forums. Also join other Etsy Teams, being part of a larger group gives your pieces more exposure. Have good communication with your customers, and don’t expect too much too soon.
TDB: Very good advice! Promote, promote, promote, I say!! And get featured on The Downtown Boutique!

TDB: Do you have a favorite Etsy shop that you love to look in or shop in?
Kim: Yes! I love Pumpkinseeds Folk Art. Her pieces make me smile every time I look in her shop.
TDB: Oh, cool shop! I love her Pink Polka Dot Santa!

TDB: What is your favorite item to create?
Kim: Snowmen, definitely! They are the pieces I have the most fun with and they are the most challenging when it comes to clothing, colors and accessories, because I love details. And since every piece I make is one of a kind, it’s a challenge to come up with something new for each snowman.
TDB: I love snowmen, so I can totally relate! Your Night Lighter snowman is fantastic!

TDB: What do you do to relax?
Kim: I love to read. But my choices of reading material is somewhat limited because I don’t care for graphic detail, whether it’s romance or mystery. So I stick to writers like Sue Grafton and Janet Evanovich, and others of that ilk who write wonderful murder mysteries with lots of humor mixed in, but leave the graphic details up to the reader’s imagination.
TDB: I love to read too. I have since I was a little girl. I enjoyed mystery books as a kid, but only recently got into them as an adult. My favorite mystery author is Dee Henderson. She has some great series, especially the O'Malley Series.

Thanks for the great interview Kim! I loved hearing a little more about your life and your passions.


Kim's Giveaway: A $15 Gift Certificate to use in her shop, "Folk Art From The Heart".

To Enter: Simply visit Kim's shop, then come back here and leave a comment about what you like in her shop. Only one entry per person please. Please leave a GOOD way to get ahold of you if you win. If we can't get ahold of you, we will choose a different winner.

Deadline to enter: Thursday, June 19th at Midnight PST.

Have a great weekend, and Happy Father's Day to all of you dads out there, including to my sweet and wonderful husband, my dad, my father-in-law, my brothers, and my brother-in-law.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wordless Wednesday Featuring Gifts Define

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A Couple of Things

Happy Saturday! Today has been a fairly relaxing day for me. My husband is away at the Men's Retreat for our church, so he wanted me to take it easy, since I have our 14 year old, and our 19 month old. Last night, I had a good friend and her grand-daughter over for Chinese food (SO good!!!), and a movie. She brought MUG root beer and Breyer's Vanilla Bean ice cream so that we could have root beer floats. We all hung out until 11:00, watching "Firehouse Dog". Well, all of us but the 19 month old, who went to bed a little earlier.

So, I wanted to share a couple of things today. First of all, with this post, we are now only 4 posts away from our 100th post!!! We are celebrating by having a fantastic giveaway and a party! We are looking for about 5-10 giveaway items. If you think you might be willing to give something away, please email me and I will give you the details. Oh yeah, if you choose to sponsor a giveaway item, you will get a month of free advertising on The Downtown Boutique with a Link Listing spot, found over on the right hand side, under the heading "Go Shopping". I need to know by no later than Thursday, June 12th.

Secondly, I wanted to share this great car organizer tutorial that I Stumbled Upon:

If you go to Mayfly, you can find the tutorial on how to make it. Cool, huh!!!
If you know of a great tutorial, let me know by commenting, and I will try to post it soon!

Have a great rest of your weekend!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Friday Feature No. 16 -- Featuring "A Bushel and a Peck"

Wow! It seems like last Friday was just yesterday! This week was our second full week with our little one. It's been an adventure. He is one of those kiddos who will run full tilt at ANYthing, and he has the energy of the other three of us put together! I am learning, that just like with a newborn, you have to rest when they're resting. I haven't done it yet, but I am learning.

Congratulations to "jessilyn", who is the winner of the Aralie Gardens Carved Rose Ring from Across the Pond. Thank you all for entering, and commenting.

Today, we are featuring one of my customers from my Rio Oso Designs Etsy shop....A Bushel and a Peck. Jeanne is the proprietess of A Bushel and a Peck, and is also a homeschooling mom with three children, ranging from 19 months to 8 years old.

Let's find out a little more about Jeanne:

TDB: What or who has been the greatest influence on your crafting?
Jeanne: My mom and grandmother have been the biggest influences on me creatively. My mom was always sewing and making things for our home. I believe this is why I don’t get intimidated very easily working on things. I am more likely to try something new because I was always encouraged to do so. I have also been influenced by my Grandma Jeanne. She passed away last spring. She was an amazing composer and pianist. Her home was filled with music, art, books and so many lovely things. I always thought of her life as being surrounded by beauty in so many aspects. I just love pretty things. I want what I make to be beautiful.
TDB: How did you find out about Etsy?
Jeanne: I found out about Etsy through one of my retailers. Kasey, at Lola B’s Boutique in St. Charles, Illinois really encouraged me to try Etsy. She kept bugging me about it till I opened my Etsy “doors” on February of this year.
TDB: As a homeschooling, babysitting wife and mom, I find it difficult to juggle the "crafting" and everything else. How do you find balance with all you do?
Jeanne: I admit that I stay pretty busy. It is hard to find a good balance sometimes. I also homeschool my children and love that I have the opportunity to do this. I know how blessed I am to have this time with them. With three children I really try to stick to running my business after the children go to bed. This has been more challenging as my business has grown and as I have added retailers. My husband, Kelly, has been so supportive and helpful that I wouldn’t want to even try to do all of this without him. I guess as things change and grow we are adjusting things to stay balanced.
TDB: If you could do one thing to change the way you live, what would it be?
Jeanne: Great question….I guess I would have to say to slow down more. I believe that I have really worked on this, but I want to get even better. I want to get better at saying “no” to the kitchen being cleaned and “yes” to the bike ride with the children. I will always have a kitchen to clean and someday my children won’t want to take a bike ride with me.
TDB: What is your favorite thing to make?
Jeanne: I enjoy making everything I sell, but I love making the journals. I have always loved different kinds of papers, notebooks, diaries, journals etc. It is something that a person daily or weekly interacts with. I like that it will be really used. I enjoy the thought of it getting worn and pages bent and hopefully saved because there are precious thoughts or lovely poems written across the pages.
TDB: Do you have a favorite Etsy shop to visit or buy from?
Jeanne: So hard to just pick one! I really love She has the most beautiful jewelry. I have bought several bracelets for myself and others. One of my good friends just bought me one of her necklaces for my birthday. It is absolutely gorgeous. It is truly a treasure to me. She is also so kind to work with and everything comes wrapped so lovely. This is very important to me also. I want the person receiving my item to feel like they are unwrapping a gift.

Today, Jeanne is giving away a $20 Gift Certificate to be used towards anything in her shop. All you have to do to be entered to win is, check out A Bushel and a Peck, find something that you just ADORE, then come back here and comment about it. Only one comment per person please. Please make sure we have a valid way to get ahold of you if you are chosen.

Deadline to enter is Thursday, June 12th at Midnight PST.

Don't forget to enter to win one of BlueZoo Boutique's "Monkey Tails" Pacifier Clips!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Win This Ladies' Pearl Bracelet from Pampering Beki

I think I am going to go and enter this giveaway from Pampering Beki. You can win this pearl bracelet and Beki will fit it to the size you want. I host so many giveaways on this blog that I would like to win, and I can't enter them! So I figured, it's my turn to enter and win.

Follow me over to the Pampering Beki blog to find out how to enter.

Wordless Wednesday Featuring MayaBella

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tots on Tuesday No. 15 -- Featuring BlueZoo Boutique

It's Tuesday again, and we are ready for a new featured shop AND a new giveaway! Today we are featuring Laurie of BlueZoo Boutique.

BlueZoo Boutique is a website that is chock full of some really cool and FUN products for babies, toddlers, kids, and moms! Laurie has everything from tutus to Monkey Toes to Minky Blankies, and much much more!

"BlueZoo Boutique offers fresh, funky and affordable items for babies, toddlers and moms. Most of our items are handmade by very talented stay-at-home-moms, which makes our products special and unique. We make it our mission to find the most unique, yet affordable items. Whether you are looking for that must-have for your little one or a perfect baby shower gift, BlueZoo Boutique has it! We are your one-stop shop for mom, baby and toddler!"

Here's a little about Laurie:
I am a SAHM mom to my 2-year old son and expecting #2. Prior to having my son I worked as an Executive Assistant, but my dream has always been to own a boutique. My passion is designing and making very unique items for moms and children. I have always considered myself a crafty person, but never made it into a career until I had my son. I love being able to make things for my customers and putting a smile on their faces. I am so lucky that I can do something I love and stay home with my son!


So now for the giveaway: Laurie is giving away one of her ultra-cute Monkey Tails, also known as Paci-Clips. The winner gets to choose which Monkey Tail they want and what personalization they want.

Monkey Tails are stylish, yet functional pacifier clips for your little one. If you are tired of picking up your little one’s pacifier off the germ infested floor and then frantically searching through the diaper bag for another one then you must own a Monkey Tail! Monkey Tails are not only functional, but are also made with high quality ribbon and are personalized with your child’s name or cute phrase. Once your little one has retired the pacifier then you can graduate your Monkey Tail to attach toys, teethers, blankies, mesh feeders, sippy cups and so much more. Every mom should own a Monkey Tail for their little monkey!

To Enter, please check out Laurie's website, BlueZoo Boutique, and then come back here and let us know which of her products is your favorite. You can even let us know which Monkey Tail you would choose if you won! Only one comment per person please. If you would like to earn an extra entry, please blog about this giveaway, and then be sure to let me know where you blogged about it in your comment! Deadline to enter is Monday, June 9th at Midnight PST.

Don't forget to enter to win the Aralie Gardens Carved Rose Ring from Across the Pond!