Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Well, we're on our way to New Jersey to spend Christmas with Doug's family. We are all very excited and looking forward to a much needed time of talk, laughter, and relaxation. My holiday handbag orders are all done, the presents are packed (not wrapped though, I'm not that organized!), and our luggage is stuffed full. We're probably bringing along a lot of unnecessary items since I had two little helpers today, and I'm sure I'll find a few surprises as I unzip compartments. :-)

As we head off, I wanted to take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday. My hope is that you get to spend time with loved ones, eat lots of sweet and yummy foods, and create special memories.

Celebrate the season~

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Camille had her first dance recital several nights ago. I seriously think I was more nervous than she was. Let me take you back in time for a minute. . .

See, I bombed as a parent months ago when Camille went on the stage for her very first time in vacation bible school. She had sung the songs all week ~ everywhere we went, the music followed us. She had every word memorized and was so excited to sing it on the stage for the parents. But when the moment came, she froze. I saw the lip tremble and knew it was all over. Sure enough, crying and screaming soon followed. Instead of being compassionate and understanding, I found myself frustrated and mad. Mad because I knew she could do this, mad because I knew she only had one opportunity to sing the songs with her group and she was missing it, mad because I knew she would be disappointed, and mad because I had wanted to videotape it for Doug since he couldn't be there. Well, I'm constantly learning as I'm going along this parenting journey. Now I know differently, now I know what could possibly happen, and now I know that it is not the end of the world. I have to remind myself to look at the situation through a four-year-old's eyes.

So, roll forward to this past week. I was biting my nails waiting for Camille's group to go on the stage. I heard the beginning of "Silent Night" and found myself afraid to look. But I did anyway, and Camille was fine. Totally fine. She did the entire dance and every step, trying to keep her toes just right and her arms in the correct position. I couldn't be more proud of her, not because she knew all the steps, but because she gave it her all and conquered her fear.

The first thing she said to me afterwards was, "I want to do it again. Can I go on the stage again?"
She is the absolute best~

Monday, December 1, 2008

New Find

I recently found a local, independent yarn shop just down the road from our house. You'd think I was a kid in a candy store. The funny thing is that it took me almost three years to make this great discovery, and it happened by noticing a small ad in the local newspaper.

This yarn shop is on a woman's sheep farm and is called "The Fold". Not only does she spin & dye her own wool and teach classes, but she had bins and shelves stacked from floor to ceiling with yarn of all kinds. Bright, luxurious, soft, pillowy and so much more. I was in there for an hour until Doug and the kids had enough. I soon realized this was definitely a place I need to visit on my own when I can peruse at my own pace without being tugged on.

Here's one of the wool yarns I bought. It's so soft and almost spongy-like with varies of thickness. It was one of my most favorite yarns to work with and has beautiful muted colors throughout. This scarf is for sale in my Etsy shop, and I hope to add others when I have time (hopefully after the holiday rush).
Happy December 1st!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Many Blessings

I tried to reflect throughout the day of all that I am thankful for this Thanksgiving and my list was like conversation whiplash ~ ever hear of that expression? My first thought was flavored coffee (probably because I was drinking it at the time). I don't think I could get through my mornings without it!!! Then I thought of my family, friends, and customers that have been so supportive of my business and my wonderful husband (who do you think helps me with all those grommets and rivets?). But then I felt pretty shallow because it's not all about me or my work. It's so much more. And that's when my thoughts went to the other extreme.

Our family is so blessed to be happy and healthy. We have food plenty, a warm shelter, love, and freedom ~ the basics which we take for granted everyday. I believe Thanksgiving is a reminder that we need to appreciate one another and all the blessings that often get overlooked when doing life everyday.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and get to enjoy special time with your family and friends!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Yay, I did it!

I'm so happy that I made my first hat, and Camille loves it. She's worn it every day proudly (even when she's inside). I let her pick out the yarn and of course, it had to have some pink in it. And it fits perfectly.

Here's a picture of Camille with her new hat and Jonas with his latest love ~ "glubs" (as he calls them). He wears them as much as he can, even to sleep at night. We've had to sneak in his room later on and peel them off. He wasn't a happy camper either when we wouldn't let him wear them while eating. You gotta draw the line somewhere!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Unexpected Sign

While driving down a country road by our house the other day, a small announcement board outside of a church caught my attention and has stuck with me.

"Trust your talents, not your doubts."

Sometimes it's the smallest things within our day that speak the loudest.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thinking Christmas Already

I know this sounds kooky, but we already broke out some of our Holiday music this past weekend. The kids were so excited and it felt great to actually listen to the music without being rushed & consumed with the normal holiday craziness. My husband got me hooked on Martina McBride's "White Christmas" cd many, many years ago (while we were still dating!), and I still love it to this day. My kids are hooked now too. It's classic and uncluttered, and her voice is so rich and velvety. Our favorite is "O Holy Night" ~ she can belt it out like no one else.

On Sunday night my husband and I actually got to have a nice dinner out by ourselves (our first in months). It was so nice to reconnect and talk without being interrupted. After our dinner, we went to Borders and just perused the endless shelves of books and magazines. I could literally spend hours in a book store. Anyway, you know you're a true parent when you're out on a date night and you buy something for your kids. I walked out of the store with a "Highlights High Five" magazine for Camille as she loves doing workbooks and activities. There is a fantastic idea in the magazine for Holiday ornaments. So cute and so easy so I wanted to share it. It's a great craft to make with your kids, nieces/nephews, or grandkids and give as gifts.

Scented Ornaments

1/4 cup cinnamon
4 tbsp applesauce

Flatten dough until it's approx. 1/4" thick. Cut dough into shapes with cookie cutters. Put on a paper plate and poke a hole in the top of each shape (use a pencil). The ornaments take about a week to dry on the plate and then are ready to string and hang. They're supposed to smell amazing.

Friday, November 14, 2008

New Zippered Pouches

I've been busy the past couple of weeks preparing for several home trunk shows and making lots of these zippered pouches. They make great holiday gifts and are even better when stuffed with a gift card from a favorite store.

There's the Puckered Pouch which features slight puckering on the front and back. The strap on both pouches is detachable by nickel hardware and is secured with a nickel rivet. It makes these pouches very versatile. You can use them as a clutch for a night out (holiday party, wedding), zipper pouch in your handbag, or wristlet depending on your need.

The Organized Pouch keeps everything in its place and easy to find with two separate zippered sections. The front panel is great for keeping receipts, money, or whatever you prefer that needs to be easily accessible.

I'll be posting both pouches in my Etsy shop this week after my home trunk show this weekend.

I'll leave you with this. . . what does it mean when you overhear your 4-yr old daughter singing this nursery rhyme to your 2-yr old:

"This little piggy went to Wal-Mart,

This little piggy stayed home,
This little piggy had roast beef,
This little piggy had none, and
This litty piggy cried wee, wee, wee, all the way home."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

This and That

The one thing I dread about the start of cooler weather is the onset of flus and viruses. So I guess it's pretty normal that one of us catch something already, and of course, it was me. I've been down with some kind of stomach bug the past couple of days. Monday was so bad that my husband had to stay home to help with the kids. That's only happened two other times in four years so you know this bug is ugly. I'm finally feeling better and have some energy today. Too bad the weather doesn't feel the same (sigh). It's rainy, cold and dreary here. I really miss the sun.

While sick, I realized how much I deprive myself of relaxation time. I can't tell you how great it was to lay around, watch my favorite show, and just be in slow motion. I think my body needed this awful bug (I know it sounds weird) to remind me that I need to slow down, savor more moments along the way, and sometimes be still. I'm learning and I'm a work in progress so hopefully I'll remember this tidbit along the way.

On another note, we went to see Madagascar 2 as a family this weekend. We were all looking forward to it and loved the first version. This would be Jonas' first movie theater trip, and Camille was already craving the popcorn. We had a great time, but it probably wasn't the greatest movie for young kids (guess I should have paid more attention to the ratings & reviews). There were quite a lot of violent scenes with the little old lady (you know what I'm talking about if you saw the first film), to the point where it was dragged out a bit too much. There were guns and "stupid" was thrown around quite a bit. I struggle with all of this because I want to protect my children from these types of things as long as possible. I'd like them to see the beauty, good, and innocence in everyday moments before being exposed to all the awful stuff in our world. Some may call me "naive" or "goody-goody", but I think it's worth a try.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Toasty Roasty

When I was crocheting several weeks ago, Camille asked if I could crochet something for her. I thought, why not a scarf? She loved the idea and so I set to work. She picked out the leftover yarn from my stash and was super excited. Well, then she waited and waited and waited for the cold weather just so she could wear it. And it finally came today ~ cold, damp, and gloomy. Nothing to celebrate, but for her it was reason enough. Now I just have to make a matching hat. . .it will be a first for me so it should be interesting. I'll let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It's Breakfast Time

I've forever vowed not to cave in to those big name brand cereal makers. You know what I'm talking about. . .the ones that advertise like crazy to appeal to your little ones and are full of sugar and artificial ingredients. I also knew that once my kids tried one of those cereals, that's all they would want for breakfast. It seems that every kid's motto is "the sweeter, the better". Don't get me wrong, I definitely have a sweet tooth. I have to be honest, we do sometimes indulge in cinnamon rolls. But, I try to come up with other ideas for breakfast. We usually have pancakes, waffles, muffins, and lately my kids have really gotten into oatmeal. I found this great recipe for baked oatmeal and I tweaked it to fit our tastes. We've really taken to it and thought I'd pass it along. Hope you enjoy it!

Baked Oatmeal (serves four)

1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
2 apples chopped in bite-size pieces

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Spread evenly in a greased 9 x 11 pan. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Serve warm with milk poured over it or put in your favorite yogurt.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Growing Up

My little guy is in the perfect stage right now, so full of energy and wonder. Always questioning what's going on around him and experiencing lots of moments with new understanding. Two is my most favorite age because he's learning to piece words together to make phrases and sentences. Sometimes he gets a confused look from us or a huge belly laugh because he'll say something so cute and off-the-wall. And he'll look so innocent while doing so believing that he's truly said it correctly and we're just plain crazy.

Whenever I'm not in eyesight, I'll hear a loud bellow, "Mommy, where you are?". And if Jonas doesn't like something, he won't hold back one bit. You'll get the "yucky" face and a muttered "I not like that". I try to remind myself to write all the "Jonasism's" down in a notebook or his baby book, because I know one day I'll forget all but a few. I hope he keeps more coming for now because I still want to soak them up for a time.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

New Stuff on the Way

I have found that one of the most challenging parts of designing handbags is the search for supplies. I can't tell you how many hours I've spent researching and sampling to find just the right interfacing, the best magnetic snaps, and even thread. Sourcing materials is definitely time consuming and sometimes you have to try many, many, many different brands until you find that "perfect" item.

Well, I'm on the search again. . .this time for new nickel hardware. I have some ideas and designs that I've been dying to introduce, but the search for o-rings, adjustable strap slides, and such has been on-going for the last month. I think I've finally found a great source for all these items and am now anxiously awaiting their arrival in the mail. I also found a great shop on Etsy for purchasing small zippers. I love supporting other Etsy shops whenever I can so this worked out great. I have a stash of zippers being delivered just in time to make zipper pouches for the Holidays. These make wonderful gifts and are even more special when stuffed with a fun gift card for your family/friends.

I'm still on the lookout though for metal teeth zippers. One of my new handbag designs will include a zipper closure, but I can't start selling this until I find a supplier. So my search once again starts (sigh).

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Happy Halloween. . .

from the great, BIG pumpkin and the little kitty.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


One of my bags was included in this great treasury on Etsy and I just had to share it. I'm honored that my bag was chosen and love the warm, spicy feel of these handcrafted items. Doesn't it make you feel all warm and cozy inside???

Friday, October 17, 2008

Words of Wisdom

While at the dentist this morning for my second root canal visit (which, by the way, didn't go very well), some wall art caught my attention. It was a list of life's instructions, rules and advice we should follow. The list was really long, but there were two sentences that completely resonated with me and stuck in my head.

"Don't confuse comfort with happiness."


"Don't confuse wealth with success."

Very simple expressions, but very impactful. I don't know about you, but I'm always measuring my business success by how many bags I sell and how many orders are generated in my Etsy shop. I've realized I need to redefine my interpretation of "success". It should be defined as how far I've come with my handbags and accessories. It's the time, effort, and creativity I've poured into my ideas and building my business. It's the positive and uplifting feedback I've received. It's the relationships I've built with customers and friends.

And I never settle for "as is" or remain comfortable in my position. I'm always trying to improve designs, find more cost-effective methods for doing things, and searching for that oh-so-perfect fabric. But most of all it's being continually grateful that I get to do what I love everyday (and be my own boss at the same time!!).

Hope you have a wonderful Autumn weekend!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hit With a 2 x 4

Thursday was a hectic day in our house, or at least I thought it was. I had to go to the dentist for my first visit of three for a root canal after having a massive toothache for two days. I forgot the snack for my daughter's preschool class (my turn on the calendar). Then my husband informs me that there is something wrong with his pick-up truck that requires immediate repairs. All I could think was more money, more headaches and more worries. Then a customer purchased a bag through my Etsy shop and changed my whole outlook.

At the bottom of her order, she listed a link to a blog: I was very curious and didn't understand the reasoning since there wasn't a note with the link. I clicked on it and my jaw dropped to the floor as I started reading. It's a blog written by a man who's wife suffered a major life/health trauma while pregnant and delivering her second child. I don't understand all of her medical condition or exactly how it came about other than it started as a bacterial infection and grew from there. She has endured the loss of both of her legs, her eyesight, and much more damage to her physical body. Fortunately, it sounds like her spirit has remained true.

Her story is one of huge faith, perseverance and strength. This woman, Carol, is remarkable and admirable. If you get a moment, I highly suggest you check out their family's blog. It will remind you of what's important and maybe hit you on the side of the head with a 2x4 like it did me.

I'm so very glad my customer decided to share this story with me. It turns out she is a friend of this family's. I think you will be amazed at how many people have stepped forward to help them through this difficult time.

P.S. Have a box of tissues nearby while reading.

Monday, October 6, 2008

My Work Space

One of the things I love about our home is our finished basement. It was a huge buying point for us because we knew we'd have two little ones with lots of stuff and out-of-state family coming to visit on a regular basis. At that time I never dreamed I'd have my own sewing studio or a space of my own down there too. I can't imagine life without it now.

Our basement has an office, family room, bedroom, bathroom and, of course, my studio which is enclosed with beautiful french doors. My husband even built me an "L-shaped" desk to accommodate all of my materials and equipment. I absolutely love it. I started with my home Janome sewing machine and gradually stepped up to my Seiko industrial machine. I use both all the time. I've even been sewing some bags with leather now and hope to introduce them to my shop at some point.

I keep all my fabric sorted in bins which is great because I "try" to sort each bin by color. This doesn't always happen so I can see right through the bin as to what is in there. This picture was taken several weeks ago so the bins are actually packed full right now and I'm running out of room.

Thought I would share where I work most days (or should I say nights). It's always inspiring to see where others "do what they do". My space is nothing fancy or elaborate, but it's just perfect for me and allows me to be creative.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Pumpkin Decorating

We went apple and pumpkin picking earlier in the week and finally decided to color our pumpkins today. We figured we'd save the carving for a super big pumpkin as we get closer to Halloween. They had so much fun just using their markers. As you can see, Jonas is wearing half the color on his arms but hey, that's what it's all about.

When it came time for me to take their picture, I discovered how truly different my kids are. It goes far beyond their eye colors. While Camille is prim and proper, politely saying "cheese" for the camera, Jonas is trying to figure out which funny face is the best and saying "salami" or "sausage". I gave up trying to get them both to cooperate. What better picture than one that reflects their true personalities.

Monday, September 29, 2008

I'm Still Here

I promise I'm still here and sewing away like a crazy lady. I'm sure some of you are wondering why my Etsy shop hasn't had many new items. Well, I've been working on some custom orders and hope to finish them shortly. I should have some new bags listed starting on Tuesday night. I have great new fabric (again!!) that I'm very excited about ~ a couple new shades of corduroy, a modern bird print and a floral corduroy with a retro feel. Here's a view of the floral pattern.
Be sure to check my shop throughout the week. You won't be disappointed!!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Saying Goodbye

When we bought our house about 2 1/2 years ago, we were looking for something to accomodate our growing family as I was pregnant with our second, and we wanted to be closer to my husband's work to shorten his commute. We fell in love with our new community and the "small town feel" it exuded. We just knew it was right. But we got so much more than this.

I always hear stories about that "annoying" neighbor ~ the ones that stop by unexpectedly, that don't take care of their home, or pick quarrels over trivial issues. I wish I could empathize, but we've been blessed to have a great family live across the street from us. We were so excited when we first found out our neighbors were around our age and had children similar in age as well. It was an instant "click" for everyone. And in the last 2 1/2 years, we've developed some great friendships. Now they're leaving us (sob, sob).

I really can't cry too hard as they are only moving about 25 minutes away. But we'll miss the great conversations and laughter, the after-dinner hanging out, the "just walk out your door and chat for a spell". It has been great sharing "motherhood" with Kari and having someone that understands about my daily life. We've watched our children grow and blossom together. She's the first one I'd call when one of our children had a mysterious rash. :-) I know I can count on her for honest advice and encouraging words. And Kari has always been one of my biggest supporters as I've grown my business. A true friend.

So as they move on Friday, we will miss them terribly. We know we'll still see them and our friendships will stay strong. But why does change have to be so hard?

Kari, Matt, Matthew, Madison and Luke ~ We wish you the best in your new home and lots of treasured moments along the way.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Baby on the Brain

For some odd reason, I seem to have baby on the brain lately. And no, I don't personally have a bun in the oven, but it seems like I know a lot of people that do. Even more, I seem to notice tons of pregnant women everywhere I go. There are so many great baby items nowadays, nothing like when I was pregnant just two short years ago. Now everything is so fresh and modern, I just love it. I came across this fantastic shop on Etsy this past week called "Quilt Baby" and had to share it. Their handmade infant items have great design and are hip and bold. There are plush blankets (they look so great in the pictures I even want one for myself), changing mats, original artwork, and funky mobiles.

You can check out the rest of their shop at

Happy Shopping~

Friday, September 19, 2008

Shop Updates

This has been a great week for Camille Star. My new Gathered Bag was featured on the front page of Etsy and recognized on the following blog: Thank you!!!

The Gathered Bag is one of my very first designs that has remained a true favorite. I've made some changes to the size & straps, added nickel rivets, and included grommets with a wraparound tie. This style is feminine and practical. It has soft folds and angles and is super roomy.

I've also "super sized" the Stacked Tote so it can better hold a laptop or carry infant essentials. It can now serve so many different purposes. I've also discovered this great outdoor fabric which is soil & stain repellant. It's a bit of a courser material and holds up so well. Not to mention the floral pattern ~ the colors are gorgeous with robins egg blue, maize corn, sage, ivory, and mocha. The inside has a soft robins egg blue suede.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pumpkin Muffins

I love to bake, and my children love it as well. They think it's great measuring and dumping the ingredients, mixing the batter, and licking the spoon of course! So we're always making some kind of goody and this week was no different. I was really in the mood for something pumpkin. The change of seasons always puts me in the mood for pumpkins and apples.

So today it was just me and Jonas as Camille was in preschool. He was so excited that he got to do all the baking and didn't have to share with his sister, and I love having special time with just him. He often gets jipped (is that a word?) as he's the youngest.

I found this recipe on the internet and adjusted it a little bit. It's very simple and only takes minutes. The muffins were so moist and yummy. The scent of ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon filled my house all day. It was wonderful.

I wanted to share the recipe for anyone else that has a pumpkin craving. It makes 12 muffins so you'll have plenty to share.

Pumpkin Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
15 oz. can of pumpkin
1/3 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F. Put liners in muffin cups or grease.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.

Mix pumpkin, oil, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, and 1 1/4 cups sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Then pour flour mixture in and combine.

Stir together topping ingredients in a separate bowl.

Pour batter into muffin cups and sprinkle with topping. Bake approximately 20-25 minutes (mine only took 20).

Cool for five minutes and remove from pan to rack.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Wall Art Worth Millions

My 4-yr old daughter, Camille, is huge into coloring and drawing. She's just recently discovered that she can now draw lots of things. She's been making sailboats using shapes, tracing bowls and cups, and making all kinds of scenes. She drew this for me the other day. It's our family (including our 6-legged dog Harley down at the bottom) and we're all happy under the beautiful rainbow (exactly how she put it). She said she made it especially for my sewing room. So now I get to look at this great picture everyday. . .I absolutely love it!!!

Her drawing reminds me of two things: how blessed I am and how uncomplicated life should be. To be a kid again, and to think so simply and innocently would be the best. There's no stresses, no money, no sadness, no hunger, no hate whatsoever in her picture. It's love, family, security, and beauty all in one and it's from a 4-yr old's heart.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

New Finds

I went shopping the other day and came across some gorgeous fabric I just couldn't pass up. I love discovering special "finds" that you don't see everywhere else. And you can't go wrong with browns and blacks. My fabric stash just keeps growing and growing. . .
This one is a suiting fabric so it's great for Fall/Winter and is extra tough. There are black flocked flowers on a grey background. I love the flowers ~ they appear to be freehanded and floating.

Brown and turquoise make such a great color combination. These petals are huge and seem to be dancing on the warm chocolate background.

I also have several new shades of corduroy ~ smoky grey and dusty lilac. Check out my shop for new bags being posted this week.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Handmade Christmas

I know Christmas isn't for several for months, but it's already on my mind. I really don't look forward to the shopping, trying (key word here) to find the perfect gift, and then spending so much money. I realized early on that this is going to be a somewhat "tight" Christmas for us this year and others in our extended family due to career changes, family additions, and the increase in gas & groceries. So my sister, mom and I have decided to make this a "Handmade Christmas".

Each of us loves to make things and can use our talents in different areas. For example, my sister is awesome at scrapbooking and papercrafting, my mom is a great sewer and crafter, and I love working with fabric and crocheting. I'm so excited about gift giving this year and already have lots of ideas in my head for what I'm going to make (sshhh. . .it's a secret though. I can't share them in case they read my blog).

I'm also making a lot of handmade gifts for my kids, nieces/nephews, and godchildren. I know my daughter will love a handmade blanket for her bed (anything pink, purple, or with princesses!). I've also spotted some great fabric hair accessories on Etsy that I can't wait to get for her. And what kid wouldn't love a handmade pillow with their favorite characters on it. They can snuggle with it while laying down and watching a movie.

I truly believe the gifts will be so much more meaningful. In addition, I'll be supporting other handmade artists on Etsy which is a wonderful thing.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Warm & Cozy

I never have idle hands, and I can't sit still. My husband is forever frustrated with me that I don't just sit more, relax and watch t.v. with him. I could do it, but unless it's a show/movie I'm completely into, I feel like I'm wasting time and my mind starts thinking of the other 25 things I could be doing. So I learned how to crochet many years ago, and I absolutely love it. I feel like I'm still accomplishing something while sitting and relaxing. The best of both worlds. Now it's not so bad watching a show I'm not completely absorbed in because my mind is focusing on the task at hand.

Whenever Autumn approaches, I get the urge to start crocheting. It's almost like my fingers crave it. This year is no different. I've already started a scarf and can't wait to make more. I love chunky, textured scarves and this one is my new favorite. It's a very simple pattern that I made myself (nothing complicated, nothing frou-frou), just warm, cozy wool. As I get time and make more, I hope to add some to my shop.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Fresh Beginnings

School bells are ringing, nights are getting crisp & cool, and Fall is just around the bend. To celebrate fresh beginnings and warm apple cider donuts (yay, my favorite), all CrossOver Bags are on sale through September 2nd, 2008. Please mention "Fall" in the message section of your order, and I'll refund you $5.00 through your Paypal account. Now you'll have funds to get your own yummy donuts!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Yummy Discovery

I'm always looking through the different categories on Etsy to see all the great handmade stuff that's out there, and I happened across the yummiest shop ever the other day.

Bangerang Bake Shop (aka Fat Daddy's Bake Shop) has the original Cupcake In a Jar. They look so scrumptious, I'd take a bite through my computer screen if I could. You gotta check out their cupcakes. They use all natural ingredients, even organic when available, and no preservatives or artificial anything. And to top it all off, they're right here in Chicago.

I'm already planning several orders for upcoming birthdays. We have a lot of relatives out-of-state that I know would love one of these Cupcakes in a Jar. Who wouldn't want to get mail like this??? Now just to decide which flavor ~ naked lemon lime, captain carrot cake or banana butterscotch.

Can you tell I have the hugest sweet tooth??

Saturday, August 16, 2008


This first bag of my Fall collection has been introduced to my Etsy shop. . . Meet Stacked!

The Stacked Bag has been a long time coming. I've been envisioning it for quite awhile, but I wasn't exactly sure how the strap was going to work. Of course it had to include grommets, right?! I started experimenting with grommets about a year ago and just loved all the different ways they could be incorporated into a design and how simply they could alter the look of a bag. So now they have become a signature part of Camille Star and define my style. So after just two attempts, I created this design and knew it was a keeper. The straps are attached in the bottom seam and wrap up, around and back down each side of the bag. They are also reinforced along the top with nickel rivets. I immediately made one for myself and can honestly say it is a workhorse.

I pictured the Stacked Bag being carried on a crisp Autumn night snugly tucked under your arm, all your goodies within reach and secure. The wind picks up, leaves rustle beneath your feet, the scent of mulberry and spice fills the air. You reach inside your bag and pull out your knitted hat & lightweight scarf, just enough warmth to keep you toasty roasty. (Sometimes my mind wanders a little too much!)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

All for the Smoothie!

Sometimes at the end of the day I'll think about what I've eaten, and I can honestly say it wasn't a lot of fruit. I don't know what my problem is. When I was pregnant with both of my children, fruit was a staple in my diet. I could sit and eat half a watermelon and still crave more. I love fruit, and I serve it to my kids throughout the day, but for some reason I personally don't eat enough of it. I always tend to lean towards carbs when I have them in the house. Even growing up, I had the nickname of "starch queen" because I could eat meals of just potatoes and bread. I always wondered who would choose a steak over warm, buttery mashed potatoes. I know, I'm a little strange.

So to solve my fruit dilemna, I started making smoothies. And can I tell you, they are the best ever (my kids think so too). We have a great time coming up with different combinations (it's usually whatever's available in the fridge/freezer), they throw all the stuff in the smoothie maker (or you can use a blender), take turns pushing the button, and then we all sit together and enjoy our drinks.

This was our smoothie recipe today:

1 individual container of blueberry yogurt (the good stuff without the high fructose corn syrup, yuck)
frozen strawberries and blueberries
1 ripe banana
some ice
little bit of water (or you can use any flavor juice)

It turned out great and I felt somewhat healthy for getting my dose of fruit in for the day. You can check out for lots of recipes. You might get hooked like me.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Get Me Out of This House!!!!

It has been one of those weeks. First my son had the ever-so-famous hand, foot, and mouth virus and then my daughter caught it. While his symptoms were minimal, hers were at the other end of the spectrum. To put it mildly, she couldn't chew all week long because of the sores in her mouth and on her tongue. Not to mention that her legs, feet and hands were covered in tiny blisters as well. So we stayed inside all week. Did I mention it was all week?????? I was ready to pull my hair out by Friday night. So when we knew she was "in the clear", we bolted out of the house and made our first trip to the zoo this Summer. We decided to go to Milwaukee Zoo since it's a much nicer drive than heading into the city and none of us had ever been there before. It was great, but I think my husband and I were more into the animals than our kids were. They were most excited on the train ride that went around the perimeter of the zoo. Go figure!

Of course, I had to carry my newest style of bag with me. It was great at holding the diapers, snacks, camera, and other essentials. This bag has a unique strap technique that wraps around the bag and gathers ever so slightly. You're wondering, what does that mean???? Well, you can see it in my new Fall collection coming to my Etsy store very soon.

Now we're back home and ready for the week ahead. Hopefully we'll all stay healthy!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Revamped Supply Tote

The new Supply Tote is finally here. It's practical, modern, and keeps you super organized. The straps have undergone a minor transformation that makes a huge impact. They are now woven through a single grommet each and attached with nickel rivets. I love the look of nickel hardware and am so happy with the turnout. I've been using my Supply Tote like crazy the past couple of weeks, and I couldn't be more pleased with its durability, style, and lots & lots of pockets. And if all of this isn't enough, the price is now just $56. It's a steal.

I have one Supply Tote for sale in my Etsy shop right now and hope to add several more this week. Keep checking back!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Home sweet home. . . we're back from our vacation in New Jersey. The kids had a blast spending time with their cousins, Grammy, and Pop-Pop. They went swimming, went to Vacation Bible School, ate lots & lots of ice cream, caught lightning bugs, and just enjoyed being kids. We were able to squeeze in a trip to the ocean which was great. My son was deathly afraid of the waves, while my daughter just couldn't get close enough. So one stayed on the sand and the other was like a little mermaid.

We also celebrated my daughter's 4th birthday while on vacation, and I made my traditional birthday cake for her. Please keep in mind, it's the thought that counts. I do think I deserve an "A" for effort if anything!! She's all about princesses right now so she got her very own castle cake. And to top it all off, it was just the right shade of pink for a little girl.

It's great to be back home and back into our routine. While we did have tons of fun, we also had lack of sleep, one day of the stomach virus, and numerous meltdowns. Nothing's ever perfect and kids will be kids~ two things I need to constantly remind myself.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Sneak Peek

Every Summer we head to New Jersey to visit Grammy & Pop-Pop and the rest of my husband's family. This year, our trip falls between July 11th-21st. Our kids are extremely excited (they still don't realize we'll be in the car for over 14 hours though!!). My daughter will be turning four so we will also be celebrating her birthday. It will be a fun time for all and a great memory for the kids to treasure. I have to admit I have mixed emotions about the trip. As much as I'm looking forward to relaxation and visiting with everyone, I'm going to miss my business. I really love what I do, and I feel like I'm leaving in the middle of a high moment. I've got some great new fabrics I can't wait to work with and some designs floating around in my head. So, before I leave on my trip, I wanted to leave you all with a sneak peek of just two of my new fabrics. There's a third currently available in my shop so check it out as well. I forgot to mention that I'll be visiting two awesome fabric shops in New Jersey so I plan to come back with lots of goodies and more new items in my shop.

See you soon!!!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Wristlet Winner

And the winner is. . . . Amberlii from BowWowBeds!!!!

I'm so excited to give Amberlii this wristlet because she is a customer of Camille Star Handbags and is a wonderful, kind person I've come to know through Etsy. She has an awesome site where she creates unique dog bed & crate covers of all sizes. Please take a moment to check out her shop if you haven't already done so.

Thanks to everyone that participated in my Wristlet Giveaway. I loved hearing from you and reading your messages.

Happy Fourth of July weekend!!!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wristlet Giveaway

Woo hoo hoo hoo!!! I've started posting the new wristlet in my Etsy store at and want to celebrate with a giveaway. How fun!!! Here's how it works. . .

Please send me an email message to with your name and let me know your favorite item from my shop and what you like about that specific item. Then you will automatically be entered in my wristlet giveaway. I will randomly pick one winner on July 4th to receive a wristlet with free shipping. Only one entry per person!

Much thanks~

Sunday, June 22, 2008


It's finally here. . . the new wristlet!!!

I am so excited about this new design ~ it's a little bit of funky and a little bit of daring while remaining simple and functional. How could that be? Wellllllll, I'll share a sneak peek here on my blog. I hope to list several in my Etsy store this week. I'll also be posting my wristlet giveaway at that time so be on the lookout!!!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

My Thoughts on Fathers Day

Today didn’t start off so great. I was feeling burnt out or in one of my “funks” as you could call it. We were headed off to church this morning, and I’ll be honest, I just didn’t feel like going. If I could have come up with a really good excuse, I probably would have used it. And then I would have been very upset with myself, because what I experienced this morning is exactly what I needed at exactly the right moment.

The service was about honoring Dads (as expected since it was Fathers Day and all). I didn’t think it would be worthwhile or pertinent. Boy, was I wrong! It was a touching, reflective, and inspiring message. I’m not moved to tears very often, and today I was a sobbing mess sitting next to my husband.

I was reminded of so many things today. . .how important our roles are as parents, how quickly children grow up, and how impressionable they are. Most importantly, I also was reminded how great of a job my husband is doing every day at raising our two children and how often I neglect to share this with him. He has such a huge impact in our children’s lives just by how simply he lives his own. When I think of him, I think of love, kindness, and giving. As I’m writing this at home, he is at the park with our two kids on Father’s Day. Need I say more!

So here at the end of the day, I’m feeling very selfish for my funk this morning and my unappreciative spirit. Even though most consider today a “greeting card holiday”, I’m viewing it as a “moment” throughout the year to remember why my husband is such a great Dad and all the wonderful ways he shows his love for me & our children. To be truthful, I shouldn’t have to wait until “Fathers Day” to acknowledge this.

A big “THANKS” to all the Dads out there. We really do appreciate all you do!!!!!!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Gem Wristlet

I've been sewing & sewing like crazy lately & trying to stock my Etsy store with my new line. So far I've introduced the Rubie bag and the Supply Tote. But there's more in the works. . .

I've been creating a new wristlet that I'm very excited about. It's different, modern, and practical all at the same time. And of course, it includes grommets!!! My own wristlet is super handy - I use it at the gym when I only want to bring my phone, keys, & essential cards. I also used it several weeks ago when my husband took me on a surprise dinner cruise on Lake Michigan for our anniversary. I was able to dance without having a purse on my shoulder. I have discovered how great it is to have a key item in your wardrobe that can be used for both formal and casual situations. So many uses (yada-yada-yada- I'm sure you get the point).

I hope to have several new wristlets listed in my Etsy store within the next week or so. I'll also be running a promotion to celebrate its arrival so keep checking back for details. You may just be the lucky winner of a new wristlet!


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Introducing Two New Members to the Camille Star Family. . . .

I just love creating handbags - all aspects of it. But I'll be the first to admit that at times, my love can turn into an ugly obsession if I'm not careful. I have to constantly remind myself of that expression "Everything in moderation". My thoughts tend to be consumed with handbags, and wherever I go, I'm not people watching, I'm handbag watching! So I'm not ashamed to admit that the Rubie Bag first entered my mind while sitting in my niece's sixth grade graduation ceremony. I couldn't wait to sketch it out and design my prototype. Then while working out on the elliptical machine several nights later, the unique strap technique fell into place in my thoughts. I just hope everyone loves it as much as I do. Check out my Etsy store for the Rubie Bag in other fabric choices.

Being a mom of a 2-yr old and 3-yr old, I'm always carrying around "extra" stuff besides my own essentials, now even more that we are out & about in the warm weather. So I wanted to create a tote that could hold everything without being hugenormous (one of my husband's favorite words). This way, your bag is not consuming you and dragging you down. Hence, the Supply Tote was founded. It works great in so many situations, regardless if you have kids. I envisioned this tote at festivals, picnics, pools, zoos (I'm sure you get the point). The pockets in the front are great for holding keys, cell phones, and sunglasses. Finally, a bag to get you through all those fun Summer events in style!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Our "Big Boy"

Our last couple of weeks have been consumed with our little one's 2nd birthday. He now calls himself "big boy" and the name fits. While I love this age and love to watch him learn new words and make new discoveries, he's also losing his baby face and entering toddlerism (is that a word??). Very bittersweet.

We recently celebrated his birthday with family and friends. Now I have to admit, I'm not a party planner or decorator, but I do love making a homemade cake for each of my two kids' birthdays. It's a special gift from me, and I hope it will be a treasured memory for them. Since my son Jonas is loving trains at the moment (& rocks, but how do you make a rock cake??) , it only seemed fitting to make him a special choo-choo train cake. It was lots of fun to decorate and even more fun to see him so excited about it. When it came time to sing "Happy Birthday", he was all smiles. And when Daddy told him to take a bite, he leaned over and literally took a huge bite right out of one of the train cars. It was priceless! I just had to share these pictures.

Now, life is settling down and we're getting ready for Summer. More celebrations just around the corner!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

New Home Accessories Line

I always have customers ask me if I design and sew home accessories or tell me how great some of my fabrics would look in their family rooms or bedrooms. So. . . . . . . I've decided to branch out and offer home accessories using all the great fabrics that are also available on my handbags. So versatile!!

Here are some of my new cushions that I've introduced on my Etsy site. They're super inviting, comfy & modern. They can be used on your bed, sofa, or even as floor seating when entertaining. So many uses!

There is more in the works as well. Keep checking back to see my new line of fabric wall art. A wonderful way to draw a room together and put a pop of color on your walls.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

It's Time to Give

I have had a tugging on my heart for quite some time now and have decided it's time to use my blessings to bless others that are less fortunate and in need. As most of you have read on my Etsy store announcements, I'm currently running a special to help raise funds for children that are in desperate need of food and clean water. $5.00 from the sale of each Camille Star bag is being donated to the "Run for Hungry Children" that is being held in the Chicagoland area on May 17th. While this might not seem like a lot, it is when you take a look at the numbers. . .

Approximately 6 million children die each year in other countries from hunger related causes. One child can be fed for approximately $1 a day. If I could raise just $30 through the sale of my handmade products, I could feed a child for a month. That is truly amazing. And we're already at $20 thanks to all my Etsy customers. I think this issue seems a little bit closer to home and a little more real since I have two children of my own. I cannot even imagine not having food to provide for them. . . hence the tugging on my heart.

Please visit the site if you are interested in participating in the 3k walk/5k run or would like to find out more information. There are touching stories and projects listed that detail where donations will be making the most impact.

Thanks much ~

Saturday, April 19, 2008


I've finally created my blog - yeah!!! I desired a space where I could communicate with my past, current, and future customers and friends. Now you can read all about my life as a handbag designer, preview new styles, and just see what's going on. I'm very excited about this!

People are always asking how I came up with the name "Camille Star" for my business so I wanted to share a picture of myself and my inspiration. . . my daughter Camille!

Thanks for stopping by and keep checking back!