Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy Holidays!

I have been reading all these lovely holiday posts on other people's blogs. I had grand aspirations of a Christmas post... maybe even one on holiday baking. Hearkening back to my personal chef days, I thought about sharing one of my favorite dessert recipes and even bought ingredients for vanilla bean crème caramel--that are sitting the fridge unassembled. I also thought I would take cute photos of the kids on Christmas with nice bokeh of the twinkling holidays lights. Maybe even dress them up and take pictures of them all stylish by the tree. Aidan, however, refused to hold still. Mia is generally a much more complacent model, so I made her an organic herringbone dress... but I rushed and made a few errors... and she ended up looking more like a medieval peasant. Determined to make something for my girl, I quick made her a little cream hat... which she threw in the mud as soon as we got outside for pictures. Thus, my holiday photos were officially sabotaged.

Instead, I have been working on a new project, as noted in the pictures. It's a different direction and one I haven't gone with my business before.

In fact, the first person to guess it correctly in the comments below wins the little burgundy shoes in the picture. I'll give you one hint: no labels.

Having given up on Christmas pictures, I let my kiddos just be kids and followed them around with my camera instead. Here they are, enjoying their gift from my aunt and uncle.

Aidan thought he was the cat's meow behind the driver's seat of the mustang....

Mia is actually a better driver than Aidan, and when I asked her where she was going, she said, "Oh! Shopping!"

I have been working on a grand to-do list that makes my head spin. It's in the other room right now. It's almost as though I feel it watching me every time I walk by. So much to do. However, I am *by golly!* taking time to do some fun creative projects. And, just as I said, I will be offering some of them here either for sale or as a giveaway, starting with those little shoes. But you have to guess correctly..... ;)
Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dirt and Feathers

This is a random picture. I took it over a month ago, after Mia cried the same refrain the entire 15 minute drive home: "Mommy, I want to drive the car." So, when we finally got home--one very long quarter of an hour later--I plopped her in the front seat. She was so happy I had to snap a picture.

So, all the orders are in the mail. All domestic orders have been shipped and will arrive in time for Christmas. Thank you for such a busy and exciting holiday season, and for making my first run of manufactured product such a success! I would like to tell you that right now I am happy as a clam, singing Christmas carols and baking cookies with my kids... spending the evening creating from the heart in my tidy studio. Hardly. It should be a moment of triumph for me. Unfortunately, that's not how I feel at the moment. I seem to have simply gravitated from one hefty to-do list to another. So, now instead of packaging orders in a frenzy, I am Christmas shopping in kind. I was pulling out the drive way with a little too much haste, when Aidan reprimanded, "Mommy, take it easy!" Of course, this make me laugh. He closed his eyes, pursed his lips, and put his hands to his temples and said in his best big boy voice, "Mommy, I'm serious. Your driving is giving me a headache." I'm a safe driver--I promise!

The biggest burden at the moment is my house. I need your prayers. Or tips. Or both. While I have been working, the children have been wreaking havoc. Mia has figured out that she is capable of pushing chairs to the counter and suddenly everything is within her reach. Despite my best efforts to hide them, she seems to find all the holiday chocolate and cookies. I can't tell you how many times I have heard, "You go away, Mommy!" only to peek around the corner and find her either sticky with peppermint or smeared in chocolate. While I was in the shower this morning, Mia found my huge bag of colored feathers; now my house is littered with plumes of blues and reds, pinks and greens. Every time I walk through a room, the colored feathers take flight in a swirl of air. I know--it sounds funny. But right now it doesn't feel funny. It feels exhausting.

One day last year when I was feeling particularly blue, my aunt bought me an orange tree. I potted it in a huge, footed terracotta urn out on our back porch. Well, my darling boy {and I do mean that tongue-and-cheek} dumped out the entire pot. Now, my orange tree is wilting and what must be about 10 pounds of dirt is all over the outdoor rug and the white painted wood porch floor. I don't even know where to begin: the dirt or the feathers.

When Robert and I lived in Michigan, I was always using my creative energy on our house. We refinished all the wide plank pine floors. I laid a rustic, Tuscan mosaic in the kitchen. I was always reviving some forsaken vintage piece... reupholstering an old chair, rewiring a chandelier, or filling an old vase with fresh flowers. That house smelled of candles and herbs and baking. This one smells predominantly of hot dogs and macaroni and cheese.

So, I am in need of a little inspiration. Tell me, what are the things that you do to your home to make it special? If you have children, have you achieved balance between keeping your home tidy and yet still letting kids be kids? Thanks in advance for offering your bit of perspective. And my next post will be more cheery and holiday-ish. Promise.
Friday, December 18, 2009

Website -- Under Construction

Mia Joie is named after my daughter: Mia is Italian for “mine,” Joie {pronouced zhwä} is from the French expression joie de vivre, "the joy/zest of life." Mia Joie began with fabric booties and grew into shoes for children: white fur boots with recycled rubber soles, organic toddler peep toes, and trendy toddler tall boots. My items are predominantly handmade by me and my small staff, though I offer a small selection of manufactured items that will be expanding in the near future.

My business is small, but growing quickly. I am currently so bogged down in hiring new staff, creating new product samples, and working on the website, that I only ofter items sporadically either on Etsy or a paypal link on my blog. I do hope to have my website go live within the next month and a steady inventory available in the not too distant future.

Thank you for your patience as I grow a business around the needs of two small children.

warm regards,
owner of mia joie

updated: January 25, 2010
Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hansel and Gretel Boots

At long last, the Hansel and Gretel boots are here. This design was created late one night over a year ago after reading the children the classic bedtime story. I never intended for these to be my first manufactured product, but I had overwhelming interest from one international customer and ended up taking them into production.

They are made of white faux fur with tan suede straps. The boots are lined with organic fleece, have a tan outsole made out of recycled rubber, and have velcro closure. Each pair comes in an organic cotton labeled fabric bag.

The shoes are available in size 1-7. The Hansel boots have straps, while the Gretel boots feature adjustable laces.

Size........ Age(months).......Outer Sole of shoe, in Inches
..1................0-3................... 4"
..2................3-6................... 4.5"
Sizes relative to age serves as a guide only. Whenever possible, I recommend measuring to ensure proper fit.

Have your child stand on a piece of paper {wearing socks or tights, however he/she would wear the shoes} and mark the toe and heel. Measure the distance, then add 1/4" - 1/2" depending on how much growing room is desired.

Please keep in mind that these shoes have soft soles. This makes them light-weight and comfortable for your little one. The rubber soles are thin, flexible, and waterproof, not heavy and stiff. They are durable enough to handle all outdoor surfaces, but are not recommended for heavy playground use.

Mia Joie is an eco-friendly and boutique line of products with limited availability. The price is $32.50. All domestic boot orders will ship on or before December 18 and arrive in 2-3 days. International customers, please contact me for shipment details and pricing.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!
Saturday, December 12, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dad!

This is a picture of my parents taken six months before I was born. Don't you love the afro? Today is my dad's birthday--53. Happy Birthday, Dad!

I love this photo because it reminds me of how young and passionate {and sort of crazy} my parents were. I think it was a year before this photo was taken, my dad was going to college in California. He hitch-hiked from Northern California to Southern Florida to see my mom. He was shot at, almost run over, and hit on {by a priest} during the course of his journey. It's an interesting story.

My dad is generous, spiritual, silly, and impulsive. He is a prayer warrior. He is a to-do list maker and a believer in possibility. When I was in grade school, I remember he told me that I was especially smart and especially strong and I could do anything I wanted to. Because I was 7, I believed him. In fact, it's a part of me now that I am especially thankful for. There are many decisions I wouldn't have risked if those words from my dad weren't embedded in me. So, now I tell my children that they are handsome/beautiful, smart, and strong... and that they can achieve amazing things in life and that God created them for a special purpose.

Thanks, Dad, for your strength, faith, and silliness. Happy Birthday!
Friday, December 11, 2009

They're Here!

Additional details will follow....
Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Raelynn Boots

Available here in a Paypal link at 9 pm CST tonight. Size 3-8, $38.

SOLD OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! in 4 minutes. Wow--that was quick! Much faster than Etsy.
Monday, December 7, 2009

Red Boots and the Perfect Teacher Gift

It's that time of year where everyone gets a gift: co-workers, bosses, mailmen, teachers--all of them. The world of virtual shopping is a saving grace for moms like me that would rather have a non-medicated root canal than shop the holiday rush with two kiddos in tow. So, to help lighten your shopping load, I highly recommend buying your teacher gifts from my friend, Kelly. She makes adorable and affordable little apple stationery sets that are personalized with the recipient's name. In addition, they come in super cute bags that might look a bit familiar ;) You can check out additional details here.

Though you can't tell in her picture below, Kelly and I are both red heads--crazy, creative, night-owl red heads. It's not uncommon for us to both be up at 2 am texting each other, snickering over our fashion tastes or poor sleeping habits. Kelly is viviacious and unabashed. She is the kinda girl who looks amazing in a cocktail dress held up by duct tape and just might wear boots with the tops cut off with pinking shears. I love you and your crazy ways, Kelly--don't ever change.

I was also able to finally photograph the red velvet boots. They are lined with organic cotton and have a satin poppy.

They pull on and have black rubber soles. I recommend them for walking babies.


As promised, I will list some tall boots tonight. However, the last time I listed items on Etsy it was too inefficient and frustrating on my end. Etsy isn't made for items that get snapped up and sell out. Since my website is not completed, I am going to start listing items in my blog. I will be listing each style of boots on a separate day. Tonight I will be listing the red boots ONLY, size 3-8 for $38 each. They will be listed here IN THIS POST at 9 pm CST in a paypal link.

The reason I am listing only the red boots is because I haven't sold a high volume off a paypal button. I want to make sure it will work without glitches before I offer hundreds of the white furry boots that way. Also, just to clarify, the BOGO {buy one, get one 50% off} special applies only to these boots. As soon as I know the Paypal link can handle lots of people shopping at once, I will post the white boots with the sale.

I know--it's confusing. I'm confused. Or maybe it's just that my sanity is hanging on by a thread over the current screaming of my kiddos. If a Paypal link makes you uncomfortable, don't worry! I will have my website up soon, and you can wait to make a purchase then. However, I know that it's Christmas and some people are anxious, so I am doing the best I can given the circumstances. Please feel free to ask all sorts of questions in the comments in this post, and I will answer. And don't forget about those cute apple cards!

See {some of} you at 9 pm CST tonight.
Sunday, December 6, 2009

Happy Birthday, Robert!

"Love, like truth and beauty, is concrete. Love is active, effective, a matter of being reciprocal and mutually beneficial.

Love creates righteousness, or justice, here on earth. Loving involves struggle, resistance, risk. The most compelling relationships demand hard work, patience, and a willingness to endure tensions and anxiety in creating mutually empowering bonds.

For this reason loving involves commitment. Love does not just happen. We are not love machines, puppets on the strings of a deity called 'love.' Love is a choice -- not simply, or necessarily, a rational choice, but rather a willingness to be present to another without pretense or guile. Love is a conversion to humanity -- a willingness to participate with another in the healing of a broken world and broken lives. Love is the choice to experience life as a member partner in the dance of life." ~C. Heyward*

Thank you, Robert, for being a wonderful father and an excellent provider, but most of all for your steadfast commitment to an always growing and better us. I love you!

P.S. Thank you, too, for being minimally begrudging in letting me take your photo. You wear your 30's well, baby! ;)

*note: I have some major theological disagreements with Heyward, but I think her excerpted summation of a committed loving relationship is spot on.
Friday, December 4, 2009

Tall Boots

I think this post would be more appropriate titled "Flaky" for two reasons. One of those is because it dumped thick, heavy snow flakes on us here in Houston today. Now, you Northern folks are probably thinking, what's the big deal? But it snows so seldom here in Houston that when it does, it is in fact a very big deal: schools close, businesses shut down early, and everyone murmurs a very solemn "be safe" to those brave enough to drive in it. I'm not kidding! That's how it is!

For me, it is a quiet exultation to see the ground covered in wintry white. I miss the seasons that demarcate the coming and going of each year. I miss the winter experience: pink cheeks, fireside glow, hot chocolate, cozy-tucked-inside feeling... all that. So, I sent the kiddos outside to experience it.

Mia must have her father's blood because she was indignant and immediately wanted back inside. Then, when her hands turned pink from warming after the chill, she was sputtering, "Hands! Hands! Hands!" as if they would come clean off. {Yes--she was outside without gloves for all of 10 minutes. We don't own any.}

Aidan loved it and was happy to roll around it in. {The snow was very, very wet.} He also had strong opinions that his jacket was unnecessary {ironic considering the birthday pictures} and given to his own volition, he would have been happy to play outside all afternoon in a t-shirt and crocs.

"About the woodlands I will go,
to see the cherry hung with snow."
~A.E. Housman

I love the snow! It was gorgeous! I don't know why I seem to always be making the same ridiculously solemn expression...

I was able to get just a few pictures of Mia in some new boots, the Raelyn. They are so cute, much cuter than they look in the pictures in fact...

I cut all the patterns extra wide; the boots tie in the back, so they can be worn snug with tights or looser to accommodate pants. I also accidentally cut a size 8 pattern, so I decided I will offer a small selection in that size as well.

The second reason this post should be titled flaky is because I know I am changing dates all the time. I said I would list some items Saturday morning, and I am not going to. One of those reasons is because the fuzzy boots are still held up in customs. I can't even accurately articulate how I feel about that. {It's not good.} Also, I have several additional styles of tall boots, but it was just too wet to shoot them. The snow was so thick that it came down in a mixture of flurries and rain, and everything was cold and sopping wet before I was able to get all the images I need.

This week has been much, much too stressful for me. Between the midnight conference calls, website content, and other business growth projects, I've been up until the wee hours every night. I have been falling asleep fully clothed with all the lights on, then waking up around 2 or 3 am, acquiescing my to-do list with a feeling of defeat. Robert is working a lot right now. It's the kid's birthdays. Robert's birthday is Sunday. The timing of everything just feels wrong. All wrong.

The furry boots were originally supposed to launch in August. August! G'ah! How did we get to December?! The good news is that you know I am an avid planner, so I have some ideas to avoid these kinds of delays in the future. Furthermore, I know exactly what I need to do to have better balance. {I'll tell you more later.}

The listing of the tall boots in a range of sizes and styles has been moved to Monday evening, 9 pm CST. If you want a sneak peak of the riding boots, click here. Thank you for your patience--and I mean than with utter sincerity. Have a lovely weekend!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Happy Birthday, Aidan!

"A child is a curly, dimpled lunatic." ~Emerson

I think he must have known my Aidan. Born with a one-sided dimple and a single-minded ferocity, Aidan has always wanted to live life his way: namely, the opposite of my way. I can't lie to you and tell you Aidan is an easy child. He is not. He is stubborn and unbelievably tenacious. So frequently, I grit my teeth throughout the day over some upset in which Aidan continually tests whether or not I will hold my ground.

And while the ins-and-outs of life with Aidan aren't always relaxing nor easy, I do admire his unwavered resolve. As a child, this demeanor is vexing, but as an adult, it's compelling. I look forward to seeing who he will become.

In light of how I just described him, it should come as no surprise that Aidan was considerably harder to photograph. I told him I wanted to take his birthday picture, so he insisted on wearing a bulky jacket with the hood over his face.

And when I asked him to hold still, he did this-->

I asked him to put his hands down and smile, and... well....

However, when I asked him to hold his sister's hand, he was happy to oblige.

And then smoosh her in a bear hug.

He loves his sister, has a brilliant mind when he feel like sharing it, and can be very affectionate on his own terms. Happy Birthday, to my fiery little boy! I love you!

Despite that Houston is know for its hurricanes, it seems a little light rain is all it takes for our internet to go down. My apologies for the delay, if you are waiting for a response from me, you should hear back by this evening.


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