Saturday, 23 June 2012

It's Big!




Look closely at the new banner above and what do you notice? It's big and it's coming soon! I know I can never keep a secret but I do have to try so I'll only let you guess for now. Hmmmm, what do you think? Need another clue?


Have a great weekend everyone!

No, seriously. I'm not telling yet! ;)


Thursday, 24 May 2012

Can You Balance a Family and a Business



Come on, you didn't really expect an easy answer did you? We all know a super woman who can drop her kids off at school on time and impeccably dressed too I may add, with a perfectly packed lunch for each, homework complete with bonus work and a plate of cupcakes for the class, home made of course and what looks to be professionally decorated. Well that woman isn't me!

I'll admit, I used to try to be that mom. Volunteering for every charity I was asked to participate in. Homemade everything. I worked towards a perfectly decorated home. I made costumes, found the perfect gifts, my girls were always well dressed, neat and tidy. I made dinner every night with extras for my husbands lunch. I did daily crafts and participated in the education of my girls like I was a teacher. And then I started my business.



I can't say my priorities have changed because my family has always and always will come first, but I started to consider my needs too. I know a lot of you will think I'm selfish. I do to some times. But I was a professional before my girls and they got to an age where having mom hang off their every movement just wasn't necessary anymore.

I like to think I've done a pretty good job as a mom. My girls (usually) play really nice together, they can entertain themselves now for longer periods of time. I can be working away at something and hear peels of belly laughs coming from one of the bedrooms and know they are doing fine.

Business is good right now but homemade meals are not as often as they used to be. I actually find myself at the grocery store looking for ready made salads and quick meal options. My oldest had a birthday 2 months ago and I didn't even make the cake! (Gasp) But the world isn't over and nobody cared.



We do appreciate our time together a little more now. We don't take it for granted. When we talk about of favourite parts of the day or what happened at school, it may just be over a table of Chinese food, and that's OK. I've decided that's OK! I still make my family a priority and I'm now teaching my girls to go for what they want! Find their passion and make it happen. These too are valuable life lessons. I'm very lucky to have an incredibly supportive husband. He may not get many hot lunches for work anymore but he appreciates my happiness. Was I happy before? Absolutely!!! But I'm just as happy now, and I have something that is for me.

So, can you balance a family and a business? Not every day and not with the same results I had before the business, but I do better than I expected most days. I've learnt to let go of some of the things that aren't as important to me as they used to be. I'm learning to not only be at peace with my decision but to love it! I embrace it and I look forward to doing it all with the love and support of my family.


Friday, 18 May 2012

Here's to a new year!



I think from the beginning I knew I would make it here but I never thought it would happen with such a big bang!! Today is the 1st year anniversary of my 2 Sisters Handcrafted shop opening. Wow! What can happen in a year is amazing!


My first piece listed:


The long story of how it all began I'll save for another time. Today I'm going to allow myself to celebrate what I've accomplished. I'm not much of a self promoter. That doesn't come naturally to me, but I can say I am very proud of  all my efforts! It sounds like something I would say to my girls. I hope they can one day look back at what I've done and think they are proud of me too.

My intention was to find an identity for myself outside of "mom." I admit I had gotten lost in that role. Everything I do, I do for my girls, my family. I don't want to change that, but I had hoped to get back a little bit of the girl I used to be. It's only been a year but what I've learnt so far is I can't go back to being that person. I like who I have become, and I find it easier to focus on what is important.



My recent piece gifted to Khloey Kardashian:


So, I will continue working hard, making my family proud. I'll push myself to try new things. I'll go forward with an attitude of "I can." Who knew I would be making pieces for celebrities and official award show swag bags. If I can do that, I can do anything. And I'm looking forward to it. ;)


New branding for a new year!

Friday, 16 March 2012

A Gift To Sarah Jessica Parker


Sarah Jessica Parker has been a fashion icon ever since her role as Carrie Bradshaw in the popular HBO show Sex in the City. So when I was selected by The Artisan Group to have one of my handcrafted jewelry pieces sent in a swag bag for her I was ecstatic to say the least. (Silently squealing and jumping up and down, so as not to wake the kids from nap time.) My oldest thought I was loosing it.

Wouldn't you be excited for this opportunity? Well I assumed every one would be happy for this chance but I actually encountered some less than positive responses. "Why gift someone who obviously can afford to buy it?" And "If I could give away my pieces, I would not give them to a celebrity. I would give them to a charity." These are just 2 of many ney wishers out there.

Both good points but lets talk about those opinions for a minute. Do you notice celebrities and there fashion? Do you read the paper or magazines, watch TV and surf the net?  If you had a product you were hoping to promote would you not love for someone so visible to endorse it for you? If you have products to sell do you not have an advertising budget? 




Even though I have been given the opportunity to gift a celebrity, I will determine what piece I send to Sarah Jessica Parker. I consider this as part of my advertising budget. Let's say the piece I send to her has a value of $100, that's less that what it would cost to place a small add in my local paper. Placing my add will not guarantee me any sales, just like sending this gift won't either. But imagine if Sarah actually wore my piece and was photographed, what sort of response do you think that would bring? Would that be worth $100? How about if she liked it and told some friends about my shop? I may even get a thank you note for the gift signed by her. At the very least I  can use this gifting opportunity to market my shop. This all seems like a small price to pay for all the positive that could come from offering a celebrity a gift.

Maybe I should gift to charity instead, was another comment. What that person might like to know is that I do gift to charities, they just never asked. In the last year alone I have gifted items to the Local Woman and Children's Shelter, The Big Brothers and Sisters Organization of my town, the Achimota Centre for Autism as well as donations to the Toronto Sick Kids Hospital, a charity very near to my heart! In fact I am currently in works with the Toronto Sick Kids Hospital to be able to gift a portion of the proceeds from all of my sales to them. This however requires a lot of legal talk and organization so although it's in the works, I can't proceed until they agree.




This work from home mom is excited for this opportunity and is especially happy to be gifting another proud mom. I love that she enjoys spending time with her 3 kids and and does regular things like take them to the park and walk her son to school. She is also a supporter of UNICEF, a worthy charity that helps children around the world. So for now, I'm going to carry on with my feelings of being on cloud nine and choose to ignore the negative comments. At least I will now that I've said my piece! ;)

To see the completed Sarah Jessica Parker swag gift piece, visit my shop at http://www.2sistershandcrafted.etsy.com  I will post a similar version available to be purchased by March 22, 2012.

If you would like to help me support these worthy causes, you can find them here:
The Toronto Sick Kids Hospital - http://www.sickkidsfoundation.com/home/
Woman and Children's Shelter of Barrie - http://barrieshelter.com/
Big Brothers and Sisters of Barrie - http://www.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca/barrie/en/Home/AboutUs/history.aspx
Achimota Centre for Children With Autism - http://www.achimota.ca/
UNICEF - http://www.unicef.org/

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

What Is Etsy And Why You Should Shop There

Brooke's Little Stitches
http://www.etsy.com/shop/brookeslittlestitch?ref=seller_info

Almost every time I mention that I have an Etsy shop, I see a completely blank look on people faces and I know they have never ever heard of it. Etsy is an American run website so I know it might be a different story if I lived in the States, but since I live in Canada, I feel I need to spread the word.

Etsy is a community of sellers who have handcrafted there product or they sell vintage. I know this can bring up images of aunt Ruby's crochet dish cloths of Grandmas prize pickles and yes there is some of that but it is SO much more! Some of these artists are fashion designers, designers of wedding accessories like unique table number cards and centre pieces. There's shops that make handcrafted invitations or cupcake banners or beautiful packaging and gift giving ideas that have been discovered by Martha Stewart herself! Handcrafted jewelry has been featured in In Style magazine and children's products get highlighted in Parenting magazines. I even had one of my gift giving items featured in Stylish Home magazine. Etsy is a place for up-and-comers so to stay in the loop, you need to check it out.

Ever since I discovered Etsy 2 years ago I have been getting much more creative at gift giving and all of my family and friends have appreciated it. Here are just a few of the examples of what I have found.

Ainsley, and I don't know why, asked for a moose hat for her birthday??! But I knew where to go to find one, Etsy. This shop owner was selling the pattern but was willing to make the pattern for me and sell me a completed hat. It was SO cute I got one for Taya too!

Here's some stocking stuffers I found:
Bird memory game
http://www.etsy.com/listing/70904567/natural-wood-toy-match-me-birds-big-kid

I got the bigger kids yo-yo's. They have butterflies and robots and lots to choose from.
http://www.etsy.com/listing/77873821/spider-ant-wooden-yo-yo

I got one of each colour. One for each of my girls and one for my niece! We used them in Disney and they are the perfect overnight bag! The girls love that they have their names embroidered on them!!
http://www.etsy.com/shop/monkeyseeboutique?ref=seller_info

I just love the rubber stamps from this shop! I don't even want to tell you how many I have. My best friend sends a lot of packages and so I got her one with a big gerber daisy on it to stamp on her mail as they are her favourite thing. It's become her signature flower.
http://www.etsy.com/listing/53775483/small-bird-rubber-stamp

I have a few pieces from Piss Potery. The items in her shop are all incredible and I could take one of each! I use this dish to place my jewelry when I take it off.
http://www.etsy.com/listing/93608580/ceramic-heart-for-ring-catcher-or
Although I haven't purchased this yet, I would really like to.
http://www.etsy.com/listing/65327809/aqua-short-sleeves-sweater


So, if you haven't yet looked at Etsy to see what it's all about, I hope I gave you some inspiration to take a look. Trust me, you'll be hooked in no time and so impressed with the variety of items available.

While you're there, you may want to have a look at my shop too. http://www.etsy.com/shop/2sistershandcrafted?ref=si_shop

Let me know what you think of Etsy and if you've found any new favourites!

Friday, 24 February 2012

Crafts for Bigger Kids

Well, I don't know if you know this about me but I have 2 girls of my own, ages 7 and 4 and I also provide childcare for 2 other children ages 8 and 3. Finding things to do to keep everyone busy is sometimes a struggle because of the age difference. I actually find it quite easy to find fun stuff for the little ones but sometimes have a harder time occupying the bigger kids.

If you read my last post you will have learnt about my new addiction, Pinterest. Not only is it fun but I have found so many great craft ideas for the kids to do when they get home from school and finally even some for the big kids too. Today I'm sharing some of my favourites. I'll give you direct links to tutorials and show you some of the finished product from our craft time.

1. Who doesn't love to colour? Even big kids can enjoy colouring again with these more elaborate designs.

http://www.craftjr.com/dragon-paper-craft/
Here's one that my 7yr old completed. All the kids made them and used them as puppets and had dragon races. It was a fun way to celebrate Chinese New Year!
http://www.art-is-fun.com/image-files/free-mandala-designs-to-print.gif

2. Bring out the little chemists. How about some homemade lip gloss or solid perfume?


Cool-Aide Lip Gloss
http://www.meetthedubiens.com/2011/01/make-your-own-lip-gloss.html
A great site for many kids crafts and bento lunch box ideas!!

Here's our finished cool-aide lip gloss. We didn't print the free printable labels but they still look so cute. We used medicine containers purchased from Walmart in the pharmacy section. Even Our one boy made these to give to mom for Valentines. P.S. they taste good too  :)

Home made solid perfume

http://www.craftpassion.com/2010/09/recycle-pencil-holder-tutorial.html

3. Fun with string.
http://familyfun.go.com/crafts/sticky-hands-warm-hearts-973682/

http://www.craftpassion.com/2010/09/recycle-pencil-holder-tutorial.html


Really, if you look through the sites where these projects came from, you'll find so many fun and creative things to do with your bigger little kids. Some of them will be new and exciting. Others will be oldies but goodies. But really, with so much great content out there these days , it's easy to find something to do. Even on yucky days like today!
Brrrrrrrrrrrr!


So, get searching. Get creative. Get messy and have some fun with your kids!!
See more creative and fun projects by following my craft and DIY boards on Pinterest here: http://pinterest.com/2SistersJewelry/

Have a great weekend!
Colleen ;)

That's TWO girls in my case! <3

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

My new addiction

I have to admit I'm not a very social person. I'm usually pretty shy around new people and don't really have the ability to charm everyone I meet like my husband does. So social networking is something I'm still working hard to get good at. That is until I found Pinterest.

Pinterest is an on line pin board. A place to visually post things you enjoy, things you might like to try like crafts with the kids or DIY for the home. I'm a visual person so for me, Pinterest is sooooo much fun. I love to share great finds. I'm the type of person who will tell you I got a pair of shoes for $7 and how you can get some too when you complement them, instead of letting you think I spent a fortune. On Pinterest I can show you all my finds and I can browse through yours too.

Pinterest doesn't have to get personal or deep in feelings and conversations. It's simple, fun and somewhat addictive. OK, who am I kidding? If I had nothing else to do I would probably spend many hours a day there.

For anyone who follows my facebook page you would have see some of my favourite finds that I post there from Pinterest. But if you haven't given it a try yet, come have a look at some of my "pins" and see if you can't help yourself from finding your own new addiction.

Come visit me at Pinterst here: http://pinterest.com/2SistersJewelry/

Here's a peek at my "Have Fun With Your Kids" pin board
http://pinterest.com/2SistersJewelry/have-fun-with-your-kids/
This craft was fun to do with the kids after school. They especially loved drawing with their new crayons when done. ;)