Friday Feature – Lauren of Bumbly’s : Ohio Handmade Soaps and More

Friday Features are all about meeting the talented artists and creators of hand crafted goods to share their stories and bring to light the value and beauty found in handmade.

Today’s feature is all about Lauren from Bumbly’s on Etsy!

Tell me about yourself and your shop.
My name is Lauren and believe in a true do-it-yourself philosophy. I love canning my own applesauce and pumpkin butter and other yummy things and I also sew, crochet, sculpt, love to take photographs, and a million other things. I am the owner of a little Etsy shop called Bumbly’s.  I am based in Northeast Ohio and I make bath and body products.

How did you start? And how much experience do you have so far?

My son was born premature and has suffered from so many skin problems. He seemed to be sensitive to everything! I started making my own laundry detergent first (thank you Pinterest!) and from there started making my own balms and salves to moisturize and heal his skin. It was so hard to find products at a decent price for him in stores. I opened my own shop on Etsy about two and a half months ago with the goal of making affordable bath and body products free from all of the harsh ingredients found in commercial products. But my goal has a twist, I want to show that it is still possible to have fun with it! I make up silly names for scents. I use molds shaped like motorcycles and hockey pucks and popsicles..and well..I just have fun with it! The response has been just amazing. I see my little shop growing into a full-time business rather quickly.

what the puck soap

What the Puck? Soap

What do you do when you need a little bit if inspiration?

I am constantly thinking about what I can make next. I gain inspiration from my customers, my children, my friends and family, and neighbors. My oldest daughter is amazing and keeps a little notebook full of ideas for Bumbly’s, which has been a great source of inspiration. I once stopped a lady in the grocery store because the scent she was wearing was so awesome that I knew I just had to make a soap like it! (and I did)

What does handmade mean to you?

Handmade means freedom to me. Freedom to choose how I work and spend my time. Freedom to stay home with my children, even as a single mom. Freedom to create and be myself every single day.

Milk and Honeycomb Soap

Milk and Honeycomb Soap

Do you also offer custom made items? Is it something you like to do?

At this time I do not offer custom items. But may in the future.

What plans do you have for the future of your business?

Oh I have so many! First, I am going to start doing local craft shows/events. I just had my very first event! Second, I am going to start looking for wholesale accounts to stock my products in local shops. Third, and always, I will use my business to raise funds for things I believe in. My middle child has Autistic Spectrum Disorder and I have already raised money for local foundations through the sale of special items in my shop.

Chivalry is NOT Dead Soap

Chivalry is NOT Dead Soap

Any advice for others looking to sell their handmade items?  Mistakes you’ve made that can be avoided?

Build your business through 100% reinvestment of profits until it reaches a point where you are steadily making an income from it and also able to resupply your materials. I started Bumbly’s with $20. I have reinvested every bit of money back into the shop for the past two months and am nearly to the point where I will be able to draw a regular paycheck from it. And that is the best feeling in the world!

 

Many thanks to Lauren and be sure to check out the rest of her shop!

Stay tuned for more Friday Features, crafty tutorials, and other joyous posts!  If you’d like to stay up-to-date on happenings here at Homegrownjoy, follow this blog, like us on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.  Thank you!

Stocking Up and Crafting Like a Mad Woman

One week and two days from now I’ll be attending my very first craft show EVER.
Each year, in the quaint little town of Birmingham, Ohio, over 100 sellers, vendors, and crafters gather to share their wares at the Country Harvest of Antiques and Crafts.  I attended this show for years as a buyer–and by years I mean since I was in a stroller.  Yes, really!  My grandmother’s birthday is near the same time, so all the girls of the family go and spend the day together browsing and shopping.  The show has good strong memories for me, so I’m super excited to be a part of it this year.

At the same time, I’m scared witless.  For a few reasons:

  1. I’ve never done a craft show before, so every detail needs to be considered from inventory levels to display set up to transport all the way down to putting price tags on everything and remembering food to snack on
  2. It’s an outdoor show, so there’s things like the weather to think about–oh and a tent!
  3. Speaking of tents, the one I have is only about half the size of the space I reserved, so I’m not sure if that will look too odd
  4. My tent (12×12) is actually bigger than my living room, making an indoor mock set up an interesting adventure
  5. It’s a two day show, so gauging how much product inventory I still need to make is a mystery

After all the worrying questions run through my mind (What if it rains?  What if I run out of stuff?  What if I don’t have enough change?), I remember something–no matter what, it will be great.  Despite all the details I need to remember and all the things that could go wrong, there are so many more wonderful things to get excited about:

  1. My grandmother will be helping me man the booth, and a day with her always makes for good memories
  2. I’m getting my name out there and meeting customers face-to-face
  3. I get to meet other vendors and (hopefully) make some new friends
  4. I get to enjoy the invigorating atmosphere of all the hustle and bustle of a thriving craft show
  5. There’s fresh kettle corn!
  6. With any luck I can do a bit of Christmas shopping myself and pick up some locally handmade goodies

See, that’s 6 good and awesome things to look forward to and only 5 worrisome things.  If you’re getting ready for a craft show and are just as nervous, try to remember that it’s supposed to be fun!  Find things that you’ll look forward to, and if nothing else happens you got your name and your product out there.

I fully realize I’m new to this whole thing. I’m inevitably going to forget something, make mistakes, and think of all the things I should have done–but learning from these experiences allows a business to grow.  Finding out which products customer really love, or the best way to display items, or which promotions are effective is all invaluable knowledge, so use it!

If you’re in the area and want to stop by the show, please come visit!

Address

Birmingham Methodist Church
15018 South St.
Wakeman, Ohio 44889

Hours

Sunday: 11:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Saturday: 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM

Admission

Admission: 4.00
Children (under 10): FREE

Events Dates:

10/6/2012 – 10/7/2012

Of course I’ll keep everyone updated on how it goes in a few weeks.  In the meantime I’m stocking up my inventory and crafting like crazy, hence why I’m still awake at 3am.  Tomorrow, on to more knitting!

Tuesday Tutorial – How To Tie a Pretty Ribbon Bow

Ah, another week, another great lesson on how to do stuff!

If you haven’t heard already, I have MY VERY FIRST craft show coming up in less than 2 weeks and I’ve been crafting like crazy!  There is so much to think about when selling in person vs. selling online, but those details are worthy of a separate post.  In preparation for the show I’ve been making Christmas ornaments–specifically crochet stars and pine cones.  The pine cones (in my opinion) looked a little plain, so I wanted to add some pizzazz.  What better way than with a cute little ribbon?

So today we focus on bow making!  My whole life I’ve wanted to learn how to make pretty bows out of ribbon that lay flat and look nice (mine are always a little crooked and not nice looking), and today I learned how.

How to Tie a Bow

From Ellinee Journal

How to tie a bow

Easy as pie!  I do say my little pine cones are now worthy of any tree, garland, or door they want to hang from.

Crochet Pine Cone Ornaments

Set of 2 Crochet Pine Cone Ornaments

Monday Munchies – Tortellini and White Bean Soup

The weather is definitely turning colder here.  We pulled the blankets out of the closet, grabbed our sweaters for outside, and started wearing socks to keep our toes warm!  This time of year nothing warms you up quite like a cozy bowl of soup, and this is a great hearty soup that is a meal all its own.  I use the tortellini the recipe calls for only when I splurge at the grocery store, otherwise I like shell pasta or farafelle (bow tie).  I also add some fresh spinach if I have it on hand for added green.  That’s one of the wonderful things about soup–you can customize it to whatever you have around!

Stay warm!

Tortellini and White Bean Soup

Ingredients

Tortellini and White Bean Soup Recipe

Photo courtesy of AllYou.com

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 ribs celery, sliced
  • 1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 8-oz. package fresh cheese or meat tortellini
  • 1 15-oz. can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt, optional
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan

 

Preparation

  1. 1. Warm oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add celery, tomatoes and oregano and cook, stirring occasionally, until celery begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, 2 minutes longer
  2. Stir in broth and bring soup to a boil. Carefully add tortellini and beans and cook, stirring occasionally, until soup is heated through and tortellini are tender, about 7 minutes.      Season with salt, if desired. Divide soup among 4 bowls, sprinkle each with 1 Tbsp. Parmesan and serve immediately.

 

Friday Feature – Huggie of Huggie’s Hodgepodge

Friday Features are all about meeting the talented artists and creators of hand crafted goods to share their stories and bring to light the value and beauty found in handmade.

Today’s feature is all about Huggie from Huggie’s Hodgepodge on Etsy!

Tell me about yourself and your shop.

My name is Heather, but I normally go by Huggie. When people hear my nickname (“Huggie”) or my shop name (Huggie’s Hodgepodge), they normally immediately associate it with the diapers. lol! Actually, the name came about when I was about 19. I learned that so much in the world can be solved with just a hug. I’ve helped a lot of people just by listening, empathizing, and offering a sincere embrace. When is the last time you hugged a stranger? It’s an experience that can be truly inspirational! Watch this video and tell me you don’t agree. 😉

www.youtube.com/watch?v=vr3x_RRJdd4

How did you start, and why did you choose your craft? How much experience do you have so far?

I named my shop Huggie’s Hodgepodge for a couple of different reasons. One, because a LOT of people know me as Huggie, so when they look for me at craft shows, I’m easy to spot with my big banner. Also, I love so many different forms of art, it’s hard for me to focus on one craft. I started out on etsy selling hemp jewelry, and then moved to crocheted accessories. I also like to paint, sew, draw, knit, work with paper mache, and so much more!

In my shop now, I primarily sell book page roses. These are roses made from pages from vintage novels, sheet music, graphic novels, dictionary pages, and more. There are a lot of paper flowers on etsy and pinterest, but I truly believe that mine are one of a kind. Each rose is completely different, hand rolled, and sealed to ensure it’s longevity. Though they look frail, they are actually very thick and sturdy due to using two sheets of paper per rose, and sealing them thoroughly. Once each rose is completely, it is secured to a variety of settings. I can attach them to bobby pins, brooches, alligator clips, magnets, headbands, and more.

Creating these roses was completely accidental. I had found a book that one of my children had destroyed (colored in, ripped pages out.. arraaagh!), and I wanted to make something pretty with it so it wouldn’t go to waste. I found a tutorial for making simple paper flowers, then I spent months working and reworking til I found my own very specific method. They sold so well at my day job (I work in a book store) that I decided to list them in my shop.

Vintage Sheet Music Paper Rose Pendant

Vintage Sheet Music Paper Rose Pendant

What influences your work from your life or city? (or anything else that influences you)

It seems that I am finding inspiration for new items everywhere I look. As I mentioned before, I work in a book store, which means that I am constantly surrounded by book nerds like myself.  It started out with just book pages, but then was inspired by a local musician to try sheet music. Then, as I was flipping through a graphic novel, I was in awe of the bright, vibrant colors being used and thought “That would make a Beautiful flower!” I am also a college student, and have found that so many people are interested in displaying their appreciation for the literary arts, but with little means of doing so tastefully. I feel good that I am helping these people show off what inspires THEM as well as helping the environment by re-purposing used books that are otherwise useless after having pages ripped out or otherwise being destroyed.

What do you do when you need a little bit if inspiration?

When I have trouble finding inspiration, I just quit trying. I usually pick up a quick, easy, thoughtless project. This helps clear my mind, and then suddenly ideas are rushing through me about how to turn whatever I am making into something completely unique. For instance, I started knitting a cowl the other night, because it is something I can do without even thinking about it. Then I noticed that the color beautifull complimented a rose I had made just the other day from a Fantastic Four graphic novel. Now, I am beginning my new fall line of crocheted and knitted accessories, that include detachable book page roses. The roses can be worn either on the textile piece or in your hair! I am so excited, I can’t wait to get them listed.

What is your best achievement?

My best achievement(s), though not related to my shop, are my children. I have three beautiful little boys, ages 1, 3, and 5 years. They see what I do, they see me create. I feel like this has opened so many doors for them, and even at this very young age, they know that they can grow up to be and do anything that they want, and that I’ll support them 100%. They know that the main goal in life isn’t about money, but doing what truly makes you happy, and sharing your gifts, whatever they may be, with the world. They are some amazing little men, and I can’t wait to see how they turn out. 🙂

What does handmade mean to you?

To me, handmade is so much more than just assembling a few items to make a finished product. It’s pouring your heart and soul into something, bringing life into a work of art, no matter how large or small. When it is then purchased or given away, an actual piece of the artist is going to live with someone else, hopefully inspiring more works of art. To me, creating handmade pieces is just another ring in the circle of life.

Do you also offer custom made items? Is it something you like to do?

I do accept custom orders, and I actually look quite forward to them. Sometimes that inquiry or request is exactly the inspiration as well as a challenge. Not only that, but it makes the piece more meaningful to the buyer, as it is created uniquely for them. 75% of my business revolves around custom orders. Many people have a special attachment to a specific novel or graphic novel, and would like to display that.

Custom for Shelly - XL Graphic Novel Rose Bobby Pin

Custom XL Graphic Novel Rose Bobby Pin

What plans do you have for the future of you business?

My long term goal is to open a brick and mortar shop (also called Huggie’s Hodgepodge) which will be a venue for other artists to sell their creations in their own booths. So many people have something beautiful to share with the world, but no venue. Each booth will be unique, just like several tiny boutiques under one roof. For those who enjoy crafting, but lack the skills, classes will also be available as well as other resources.

 Any advice for others looking to sell their handmade items?

For those who are interested in selling their handmade products, I just have to say QUIT thinking about it, and just do it! Don’t doubt yourself. For every piece of artistry out there, there is a buyer. Also, don’t create what you think people will buy. Create what you WANT to create, what is part of you. This is what makes your product unique, and what makes people appreciate your work. It took me a long time to figure that out. 🙂

Many thanks to Huggie and be sure to check out the rest of her shop!

Stay tuned for more Friday Features, crafty tutorials, and other joyous posts!  If you’d like to stay up-to-date on happenings here at Homegrownjoy, follow this blog, like us on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.  Thank you!

Turn Only to Nature to Find Inspiration

Today I walked to the mail box.

 

This probably seems like nothing to most people, but let’s consider what that means.

1. I’m well enough to get off the couch and look presentable enough to leave my house.

2. I live in an apartment and the mailbox is a good jaunt down the parking lot, so it’s not a super short trip.

3. I got to walk Lola, who has been pent up for a few days.

4. I got to go outside, and breathe fresh air, and see the leaves changing colors and falling.

 

I must say, I find nature truly wonderful.  Of all the interests and loves I’ve had in my life (which has included collecting small objects, various diets, playing sports and instruments that I no longer do), nature is one of the constants. Hence why I find it awe-inspiring and fantastical and amazing.  It’s always there, unrelenting, day after day, season after season.  Every year the leaves change color–deep autumn reds and golden yellows and bright oranges–and every year new life springs forth!  Tender green leaves on every branch of the trees that had bare arms for many cold months.  They endured, they survived, and they bring new life and hope to the world every spring.

 

Think about how powerful and humbling nature is.  Everything man creates can be torn apart, worn down, disintegrated by nature over time.  It’s mind-blowing (to me anyway) to think that the same forces that grow the blades of green grass on our lawns can produce chaotic storms and hurricanes and tornadoes that rip through towns.  But nature gives me the inspiration, motivation, and drive to be true to myself and keep persevering.  Keep pursuing the dream to do what I love, all the while connecting with people and nature and all the good things on this earth.

 

Some people think I’m too optimistic–that I see the world through rose-colored glasses and am naive even.  I say I am not naive to the horrors that are out there, but simply choose to see the good in the world and trust in the good of other people.  After all, we’re all trying to get through this thing called life the best we can.  I’d rather be happy while I take my journey than expect disaster at every turn.  Every once in a while I know there will be storms in my life, just as there are storms in nature, but we must make it through and survive.  There are always warm sunny days ahead that will bring new hope, even if you can’t see them yet from the dead of winter.

 

 

 

Combo Special! Monday Munchies and Tuesday Tutorials

Quite unfortunately I’ve been sick the past few days–the hacking up a lung, head feels like it’s going to explode, gross and achy kind of sick.  While I am still deftly armed with a stack of tissues and trashcan near at hand, I’m ready to get back into the swing of things (though before too long I’ll probably be back on the couch where I’ve lived for two days).

 
So, today you get something special!  A combo of my weekly Monday Munchies and Tuesday Tutorials!  Yes, it totally has something to do with me being sick, but that is what’s happening in my life so that’s what you all get to share in (lucky you).

 

I’m sure you’ve all been sick before with the cold or the flu or something worse, and the last thing you want to do is go cook something in the kitchen.  I know I just want someone to bring me food all day long like room service, but sometimes that’s not always possible.  Sometimes you have to fend for yourself and find nourishment–healthy, quick food that will make you feel better, or at least won’t make you feel worse.  Need some ideas for the next time you (or a family member) comes down with something?  Look no further!

 

I found this super helpful list of 10 Easy, Nutritious Foods for When You’ve Contracted the Plague.

I give many thanks to the writer!  I’m really hoping I can taste food again today, in which case I’m making a large batch of mashed potatoes and enjoying every bite.  What are your favorite foods when your sick?  What makes you feel better and recover faster?  I want to know, so please share in the comments!  Thanks!

 

10. Heat-and-eat dinners. While I try to avoid microwave cookery as much as possible, there’s something to be said for a square meal prepared in four minutes. Weight Watchers, Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice, and Amy’s Foods tend to have better-for-you selections, and sales pop up frequently in my local supermarkets. Just be sure to check the sodium levels – one of these babies can plug you with enough salt to feed a herd of deer.

9. Mashed potatoes, rice, pasta, oatmeal or any easy-make starches. When you’re sick, tea and toast isn’t always the answer. Sometimes (like when you decide to go to work anyway), you need a few calories to keep you going. Stuff like spaghetti or potatoes are easily prepared, and can be as bland or mushy as you want, depending on your specific ailment (upset stomach, toothache, etc.).Warm Tea

8. Tea. Speaking of tea and toast – yeah, you knew this was coming. Still, the temporary healing powers of hot liquids should never be overlooked. For fun and variety, try adding ginger, lemon, or that glorious liquid gold, honey.

7. Smoothies. Do you have yogurt? How about fruit? And a little bit of sugar? Excellent. Pop those suckers in a blender and go to town. Inside of two minutes, you’ll have a healthy, delicious shake that with any luck, you’ll be able to taste. (Damn those headcolds!) There’re a slew of recipes online, and lots can be made with frozen fruit – a cheaper alternative to fresh produce come wintertime.

6. Eggs. Ahhh, the incredible, edible, cooked-in-60-seconds-dible egg. Easy on the wallet and infinitely adaptable, it’s the perfect comfort food when you’ve been confined to the house. For something a bit more filling, pair ‘em with English muffins, cheese, or …

5. Steamed, roasted, pureed, or fresh vegetables. “What? You want me to get out of bed, slosh downstairs, and steam/roast/puree a vegetable in my delicate state? You’re out of your diseased little mind.” Wait! Before you dismiss fresh produce, consider: ounce per ounce, they contain more vitamins, minerals, and immune-boosting elements than ANY OTHER FOOD. Many can be made palatable in under ten minutes, and even the ones that can’t (roasted squash, etc.) can generally be popped in an oven and left alone for an hour while you attend to your meds. To quote a Scottish lass I once met, “THAY-INK AH-BOOT EET.”

4. Simple sandwiches. There are few sick foods as soothing as the sandwiches you ate in elementary school. Whether you prefer PB&J, grilled cheese, ham and swiss, or hummus and vegetables, they’ll do wonders for your brain, and sate your stomach for time being.

PB&J Sandwich

Mmm, PB&J Sandwich

3. Fruit. Nutritious as all get out, cheaper than dirt, and no assembly required. ‘Nuff said.

2. Soup. If it’s hot and eaten with a spoon, odds are it’ll do your body good. And while chicken noodle soup is the end-all be-all (no arguments!), there are about a billion other varieties, homemade (extra credit) and canned (if necessary), that will substitute very nicely.

1. Takeout. Look, you’re sick. If you really want veggie dumplings, no one’s going to judge you. And this handy guide should provide a few good suggestions.