Friday, February 27, 2009

Spring Teaser

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Lots of new designs in fun spring colors coming soon!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ruche and a Special Project

I love Anthopologie just as much as the next gal, but with a target market of a combined income of $200K and an average cardigan costing a c-note, well, it's not exactly a place for every day shopping. {Wouldn't it end up covered in mac&cheese and pb&j anyway?} In contrast, I recently stumbled upon this fantastic little online boutique, called Ruche, where I was impressed with not only the selection, but the prices as well. Plus, I think it's great to support a female entrepeneur and also purchase something that won't be worn by your stylish, yet national-conglomerate-clothed counterpart. In fact, I found the little brown shoes below too good to pass up.


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When the CPSIA threated to put my shop out of business, my plan B was to make items for women. In fact, I bought fabrics and materials that inspired me, but ended up sitting in a bin along with lots of other materials purchased on ingenious whimsy. When my shoes arrived, they called for some unusual accompaniment. Also, for the first time in months, I am almost caught up and to a place where I am not buried under 40 orders. Thus, feeling lighter and inspired, a vintage-y, asymmetrical little jacket popped into my mind. Here are my initial sketch and swatch ideas.

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Who knows if I'll ever really get around to it, BUT I think those little burst of passion are what help me not lose myself in the sea of motherhood. I try not to be too negative, but I've been feeling discouraged with Aidan as of late. Just today, Aidan came home hitting his head with both hands in a repetitive sort of way. I asked him where he learned this, and he told me the name of a little boy in his PPCD class. *sigh* Still apprehensive about what to do there. Aidan wants to stay home all the time and screams (truly, screams) if we take him out of the house too much. A great comfort to me amidst this struggle has been discovering myself and who I am. When I was in college I wanted to get my Ph D. While I still think more schooling might be in my future, I think art and design is where I am most myself. Heck, I'd rather read a home fashion magazine over Pascal, Voltaire, or Aristotle any day of the week and twice on Sunday. I guess I'm saying that Mia Joie has helped me discover my natural strengths. Anyway, I'm rambling now... but I'm curious if motherhood has brought you closer or further from your you-est you, if that makes any sense.

Well, if my combination of lack of sleep, copious amounts of coffee, and self-actualization is a bit too much for you, at the very least enjoy the lovely designs of Ruche. If you talk to Mai (the owner), tell her I said hi!

*Note*
I'm sorry, but spell check does weird things to my pictures, so try to see past my typos :) Also, Ariana, I have not forgotten about you! I am hoping to crank out all my skirt and apron orders tomorrow. Also, I know, I said I would be posting another give away and went back to add it in and already had a comment (which I loved and will respond to soon, once I fix Mia stinky-pants.) Freebie--coming soon... swear!
Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cracks Me Up

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In the spirit of the comments on the Honesty Tag, I had to snap a picture as I was nearly in stitches while Mia was bending over in her low-rise baby jeans. Yes, they make low-rise, distressed, whisker-washed, and even skinny jeans for babies. As you can see, this crack-flashing phenomenon is really an ubiquitous problem!
Friday, February 20, 2009

Welcome Baby Boy

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My friend Amy had her little baby. Remember, I had my "foul proof" way to determine the sex? I made a little pink and green dress because I was sure she was having a girl. Apparently my method is not so foul-proof, as she welcomed a baby boy into the world two weeks ago. Amy and I were talking while she was still pregnant and thought it might be fun to take a couple newborn shots. So, when I went to visit him, we took some pictures.

It was harder to take pictures inside than I expected. I really don't know anything about exposure, which is critical for a great photo. I'd like to read a book about it in all my free time. (Catch the facetious tone?) Still, I might be able to squeeze in a couple pages here and there. So, here are the pictures. -->

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so sleepy.... until they grow, then they have more energy than imaginable....
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I really liked the ones of Amy holding him, but she said they were "just okay." Editing changed this image a lot... I faded out all the colors except for his bright blue eyes. I like this picture. I think Ethan looks handsome, and I like the way Amy is looking at him.
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I didn't realize how much I really need to learn about my new camera until I started taking pictures inside rather than outside. The camera would go, "click, click, click."

I asked Amy, "You know what that sounds means?"

"No, what?" she asks.

"That I don't know what I'm doing." *sigh*

For a lot of effort, I got a handful of usuable pictures. Close-ups are always sweet.
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I think this little hat is adorable, but this picture usually solicits comments from men like, "Poor boy."
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Remember the pink dress? Obviously, they had no use for it, so we swapped it out for a tie and shoes for baby boy. The matching dress is for his two-year-old sister's birthday.

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It was fun to play around, though because I took play time during the day, I ended up losing sleep at night. It's the way a handmade business is, at least for me. It's morning, noon, and night and I am still behind. I'm working on balance, though.
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Anyway, I enjoy photography, as it's part and parcel to selling my items; so the more I learn, the better I can market Mia Joie, which is where my primary interests lie, oh, and pics of my kiddos of course. I'd love to work on a spring line, but it's been really difficult with Aidan lately. I thought, since he was going to school five days a week, I would get more done. However, it's really been the opposite. Now that Aidan gets up around 6-ish (as opposed to 8-ish, previously) I can no longer maintain my schedule of sewing until 2 am. I can live off of 6 hours regularly, but not 4 hours. I can do that once or twice a week, but not night after night. When I try to work during the day, I have Mia who is increasingly mobile. She has taken to grabbing snacks out of the garabage can. (I'll catch her coming around the corner of the kitchen, licking the inside of an empty yogurt container covered in coffee grinds. *ick*) While I was consoling Aidan yesterday, she found my cup of coffee on the table and spilled it on my fabric and on all my packaging materials I just printed and cut out. It's the kind of thing that makes me want to run down the street screaming and pulling my hair out. Anyway, I'll come up with a better routine soon and hopefully some lovely new items for spring. I also have some more baby boy pictures that I might get around to editing, and I have some other items I'll be giving away to the first person to leave a comment. Stay tuned :)
Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Isn't She a Doll?

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Sort of funny, my photogher friend, Tasha, sent me this picture on Flickr saying how adorable this little peanut was in a picture by Sarah Lane Studios. She didn't even realize she was wearing *ahem* Mia Joie shoes. But, truly, sweet baby B is not only adorable, but also world renown! Her mom is an amazing customer and one of the most wonderful people I have ever met. We talk of coming together for a dinner in Nappa some day--let's hope! This baby girl's entire family is beautiful, and you can view their lovely pictures here. The shoes she is wearing are the Jade.

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She is wearing a matching Laila headband in purple around her waist.
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Thanks so much for lettting me share these pictures, Angelica! I love your short hair!
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Monday, February 16, 2009

Photo Filters and an Honesty Tag

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I love photography and really who doesn't enjoy looking at a well-taken photograph. Not saying mine are, but I'm trying. So, I have one picture of Mia with several different filters. The first picture is SOOC (straight out of the camera). I use Photoshop CS3 to edit all my pictures; however, in a previous photo-editing post I had links to some free editing programs. At some point soon, I will blog about the type of camera I am using (there was a recent change.) It's comical that I might blog about it because I really know *almost* nothing about photography equipment, but maybe that's why I should. It's almost dizzing trying to find the right type of camera. In the end, I lucked out due to my photog friend.
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I'm still working on exposure when I take my pictures, and this isn't the most perfect picture of Mia, but I enjoy photo-editing most with profile pictures. So, I took the SOOC picture (above) and did some very minor changes, I smoothed out Mia's skin only a little and sharpened her face a little bit, mostly her eyes. In photoshop this is called an "un-sharp" mask. I'm not going to go into the step-by-step details; however, if you would like them, let me know. Anyway, after a bit of smoothing and sharpening, I ran filters.
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This first filter is a color pop. There are a lot of free photoshop actions, but I use Nicole Van's. Color Pops can get really red, though. The more I use a color pop, the more I realize I still need to go in and adjust the color balance, so it's not too red nor yellow.
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This one is Pinoeer Woman's 70's filter. Vintagey. I like it. Photobucket

I'm still working on black and whites. I'm not that good at them right now. For this one, I adjusted the hue. (If you're in photoshop, go to Image --> Adjustments --> Hue/Saturation. Then take the saturation all the way down. I actually do this as a layer mask, but for you non-photoshoppers, I'll spare you any more technicalities.) Then I adjusted the hue to a soft brownish color. Sort of a sepia look.
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A sunshine filter. Again, Pioneer Woman. I'm in love with this filter. I envision using this on pictures of baby girls wearing sweet little dresses and walking through flowers. Hmm, spring project? ;)
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These are some little key-hole shoes for Mia. The keyhole needs to be bigger. I made these b/c the girl has practically no shoes. Sad but true.
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================================================================
TAGGED
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I was tagged by Hana of Sew Inspiring for the Honest Scrap Tag. The rules for this award:1) Choose a minimum of 7 blogs that you find brilliant in content or design.2) Show the 7 winners names and links on your blog, and leave a comment informing them that they were prized with “Honest Scrap.” 3) List at least 10 honest things about yourself.
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7 BLOGS that I find brilliant
Jenise of Nisers
Jenny of SugarPlumb
Jen of Windy Ridge (who's been puking her guts out, don't feel like you have to play)
Tasha of Homeshade (who is prob. chuckling reading my amature photog tips)
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10 Honest Things About Myself
1.) I believe that God is always speaking, though these days I'm so busy it's hard to have ears to hear. In the story of Elijah, God's voice came in a gentle whisper and Elijah turned up his cloak. I just hope I can hear above the screaming (literal and figurative).
2.) I love coffee. Seriously. Love.
3.) I also love to decorate, but can't seem to find the time since I started Mia Joie. The wall of my fireplace is half painted and covered with a smattering of paint samples at the moment.
4.) I'm 30 years old, and I still shop in the junior department. This morning, as I pulled on my faded jeans with factory-made hole below the knee, I pondered if maybe I'm getting too old for this.
5.) My house is always a mess right now. This really bothers me. I pray over my house, that it will be a place of peace and comfort to my family, but honestly I just can't keep up. Did you see the frosty post... or the painting post... or the one where Aidan flooded the bathroom.... Do I really need to go on?
6.) I like high heels. It's not uncommon for me to wear wedge heels to a play date or my pointy-toe boots grocery shopping.
7.) I am constantly unrealistic in how much I put on my to-do list and how much I think I can get done in one day.
8.) I don't need a lot of sleep. Even when I go to bed in the wee hours of the morning, I often lie there awake while my mind races with ideas.
9.) My husband is a wine buyer by trade. He can ramble on about grape varietals, terroir, and single appelations for hours. Even though I sort of glaze over if he talks about it too long, I do find his superfluous wine jargon sexy.
10.) I believe God has a purpose in Mia Joie.
Oh my gosh, this tag took forever. Off to sew...
Sunday, February 15, 2009

Aidan: An Update

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This is my handsome boy. As some of you know, the school board recently wanted to label Aidan autistic. You can read the post about that story here. Aidan has been attending his new PPCD school 5 days a week from 8 to noon. At first he was doing so well at his school; he seemed happy. If he heard a bus pass by, he'd ask me, "Can I take the bus to school?" However, after only a week, his teacher became sick with pneumonia, and the other children have been acting out in her absence. One of his teachers told me there have been "incidents" with the other children; they have been screaming, I guess, though despite my efforts, I still don't have all the details. In the interim of his teachers absence, Aidan has started screaming in ways he never has before. He has always been prone to tantrums, but now he has started screaming so loud and in such a way to garnish the attention of anyone in fair proximity. It's awful.

One day, after school, he screamed for a solid half hour. After his favorite lunch and lots of cuddling, he confided to me: "Mommy, the other children scream at school." I asked him how he felt, and he said, "scared." So, while Robert and I previously felt assured he was in the right place, we are now speculating once again.

To add to that confusion, we had a child psychologist come speak to my MOPS (Mother of PreSchooolers) group a week back. After she spoke, I told her the story of Aidan because I had some questions about discipline. When I mentioned the name of the school that accessed Aidan, she rolled her eyes and said they were notorious for mislabeling kids with disabilities. In fact, when I spoke to the school during the evaluation process, I asked them if Aidan could receive language services without being labeled disabled and they said no. The psychologist told me that was a bold-faced lie, what more it's actually illegal for the school to label him autistic without a psychiatric evaluation. I didn't go into this in too much detail in my blog post, but Aidan's evaluation was very slanted. It described him as licking things inappropriately, twirling in circles, and banging his head. These are things he never does. Apparently the school gets more funding if they have more children labeled disabled, so I've been told *by three different sources now* that they push for those labels to get more money.

This is very disheartening. We know that Aidan has some issues and needs some extra help, but now we feel like we can't trust the schools evaluation and need to seek out a psychiatric evaluation. We knew this is probably something we needed to do anyway, it just means lots of time and money spent in the city.
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Aidan still attends his usual preschool two days a week in the afternoon. He has a buddy, Jack, that he pals around with and talks about a lot at home. His teachers told me that they asked the children one particular class who his/her best friend was. When I picked up Aidan after school, his teacher asked me if I wanted to know who Aidan said was his best friend. I told her I'd put my money on Jack, but she said, no, that Aidan said his "best friend ever" was Mommy. *sweet*
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This picture and the one above were taken at a local botanical garden.Photobucket
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Just some random flower pictures from our walk through the gardens....
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Finally, thank you so much to everyone who shared your funny and crazy mom stories. They made me laugh and also wonder how in the world I would choo se. In the end, I just couldn't decide, so I used random.org to pic a winner. Thus, the winner is......

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Sarasophia! Sara, please contact me via email to let me know the address to send your headband. Brooke, yours is a sad story! Contact me if you are interested in a special bald-headed baby discount. Also, I was rummaging through some supplies and found a couple items I will be giving away randomly. (No crazy story required.) Stay tuned.
Friday, February 6, 2009

Closed... sort of

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Friday was just one of those days. Both kiddos got up at 5:30 am. Aidan was already at school, and Mia and I were getting ready to go to MOPS (Mothers of PreSchoolers.) Mia was wearing a little pink dress I made with a matching pink headband and her little fuzzy boots. I had the quiche I was bringing in one hand and was about to scoop up Mia with the other to head out the door. That was when my little Mia tripped. She was crying, but I didn't think too much of it (she trips often), until I noticed the blood on the quiche... streaming from her mouth and all down the front of her little pink dress. My poor baby split her lip. Her lip was barely even swollen an hour later, but the blood from her tumble went every where... and ruined all my efforts (dress, quiche, puntuality!)

Fast forward to 4 o'clock with both kiddos home and slightly cranky from getting up so early. Mia only took one hour nap all day. She was clearly tired but screamed bloody murder when I tried to put her down in the afternoon. Anyway, my lovely sis-in-law brought me a frosty just to be nice. Aidan and I has shared some and then left it at the kitchen table. A few minutes later, I head Aidan saying, with the same guteral inflection I use when trouble's brewing: "Aaaaggghh. Mia!" I called back to him, "What's going on in there?" His reply, "Mommy, Mia made a really big mess with the milkshake."

This was how I found her:
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I know, it seems funny. It is funny. But I cried my eyes out while I cleaned it up. I feel like I work from early in the morning until the wee hours of the night, and it still just isn't enough. My shop is behind, my house is a mess, the refrigerator is empty. I feel like I'm spinning my wheels and burning the candle at both ends only to come up short.

There is so much more to say... about some new information about Aidan, figuring out CPSIA, and managing Mia Joie. All this was running through my head right before the kids went to bed, while I was lying on the carpet in the playroom. In the midst of my serious pondering, Aidan came over and swept the hair away from my forehead and then rubbed baby lotion on my cheeks. "Don't worry, Mommy," he told me, "Everything will be okay." Somehow it seemed prophetic.

The blood did come out of Mia's dress. Here are some pictures I took over the weekend.
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The Bity Bloom Headband is available in my shop.

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Mia in the Gretel boots.
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Finally, you will notice that I deactivated almost every single pair of made-to-order shoes. I just need to catch up and regroup. More information on my plans to reopen will follow.

Party Dress

I made this dress a while ago for my pregnant friend Amy's two-year old for her birthday. I designed it to coordinate with the little dress I gave her at her shower. BUT, she just had a boy... so now I'm think I need to scrap both, and think of colors and fabrics that would coordinate with a boy and a girl. Any ideas?

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Can You Stand the Cuteness??

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This is little Micah. Isn't he a doll? A friend told me he looks like a mini Heath Ledger. I needed a boy model... I suppose I could have used Aidan, but I think it would be confusing, since I really make shoes for around 2 years and under. (Actually, I have been making boots quite a bit larger as of late--but that's fodder for another post.)
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So, I set up a photo shoot with Ally (Micah's mom), so I could get some pictures of some new boy designs I was working on. He was a charmer for the camera, as you can see. The biggest reason I wanted to schedule the shoot was for some fun BOY rainboots, but (you know me) I only got one boot made. Ally, if you'll spare him again, that might be for photo shoot number two. I also wanted to get pictures of the new vest I designed, since it really needs to be pictured on a model.
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So, here's little Micah, looking all snazzy in the Ryland Vest.
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The vest has little pockets trimed in faux leather.
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It also has a bit of cork fabric behind the label and a coconut button.

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This a closer view of Micah wearing the vest, Oxford blue tie (coming soon), and Peyton shoes in Oxford Blue.
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See how happy he is! This was the earlier part of the photo session.
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This one *lol* was near the end. He was a trooper/ Here he is reaching for mom. I have one of these little striped aqua ties in stock. The ties are a fixed knot with a bit of elastic to go around the neck. They would really only look appropriate with a shirt with a colar.
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Blue dots tie with vest and boots. This is available in a set.
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He, he....
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Mia was fascinated with Micah. Almost caught a smooch....
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This one is my Miakins... with her then clean little fuzzy vest from Uncle Ryan and Aunt Sunny. Alas, I think someone might have had a chocolate mint and spit it out after dinner (we were shooting right outside a restaurant on the water.) Anyway, Mia found it while I was snapping away... I turned around and her little hoodie, face, and hands were covered in brown mystery goo. Oh, my little kiddos and their knack for trouble!
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Thanks so much, Ally, for letting me steal Micah away for a little while. He is such a handsome little man!! I think the pictures turned out great, and I hope you enjoy them, too. I have them all burned to a CD, whenever you are ready for them.
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Also, I am selling the little blue Peyton shoes worn in the shoot, size 3.5, for only $5. (First come, first serve :) They have some minor imperfections, but they are still cute! Let me know if the Paypal button is acting weird again....
Finally, I want to send out a personal thank you to my blog readers. Many of you have sent me notes regarding my post about Aidan. I just wanted to tell you how very much I appreciate them. Even though we've been here in Houston for several years now, I really don't have many truly close friends. That is, I have lots of people I could call for lunch or a play date, but no one *nearby* I can share all my thoughts--good, bad, and ugly--with. So, thank you, so very much for your kind emails--I treasure every one.

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