Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday Wishes!

I hope each one of you has a wonderful Holiday season!

My Etsy shop will be closed until January 3rd as we celebrate the Holiday together with family.

Looking forward to an exciting new year filled with new possibilities!

Sending warm wishes from our family to yours~

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Azure Bliss

I just listed a new bag in my Etsy shop. Could this combination of blues and greens be any more serene and beautiful? And it's one of a kind!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks

This is such a wonderful post on giving thanks during this season that I had to share it with everyone. Made me rethink quite a bit how I view normal everyday events. Click here to read more.

Hope you enjoy it too. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.


Monday, November 22, 2010

More Dagmar on the Way!

For those of you that have contacted me about the Colorblocked bag in Dagmar, rest assured, I've just ordered more of this gorgeous floral print.

It was a tough one to find too as this fabric is no longer being printed, but I was able to snatch up several more yards.

So be on the lookout for more of this popular bag in my Etsy shop!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Holiday Gifts

I realize my last post was about Halloween and now I'm writing about Christmas, but I came across some great handmade holiday gift ideas and couldn't wait to share them with you.

Please check out this post here at Simple Organic for more details.

And for those of you that like to sew, check out Sew Mama Sew's blog here. There are great handmade gifts you can create for teachers, students, pets, etc.

Hope your Holiday season is off to a great start!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween

Hope you all have a fun Halloween!!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

New Bag

I've finally posted a new bag in my shop. I love the design, the colors, and the feel of the fabric. It's absolutely beautiful!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Shop Update

Just a quick update. . .

We have out-of-state family visiting this week. So, you'll notice my Etsy shop is very bare. Don't worry, great things are on the way!!! I have several new fabrics that I'll be adding very soon.

Thanks for being patient! Hope you're having gorgeous weather like we have here in Chicago~

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Loves of Autumn

Today is the first official day of Autumn. Not quite sure if we're feeling it yet as we had our air conditioning on today! But I know cooler weather is just around the corner and I wanted to start my favorite season off with a list.

A list of my Autumn "loves". So, here goes:

~Cup of steaming green tea with honey
~Rustling of leaves high up in the trees as they sway in the wind
~Soft, cozy sweaters that envelope you in their warmth
~Visting family farms for apple and pumpkin picking
~Apple cider donuts (yum)
~Cool, fresh air spilling in my windows and filling my home
~Homemade creamy tomato soup
~Decorated pumpkins
~Smell of apple cider and mulling spices
~Salty popcorn popped on the stove
~Deep, colorful sunsets
~Starry sky on a brisk night
~Leaves in bright vivid orange, red, and yellow
~Snuggling under the covers with a good book

Happy Autumn!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Sunday Afternoon

Crisp, juicy apples. A free ride from Dad with the best view in the place.

Diamonds sparkling in the water.

All the makings of a great Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

New Bag

I just posted a new Colorblocked bag in my Etsy shop. It's Deer Valley from Joel Dewberry - one of my favorite designers.

I have to be honest, I wasn't totally blown over by this fabric when it first came out last year. It wasn't until several weeks ago that I saw this pattern in a different light. It was as if I suddenly fell in love with it. Maybe it was the timing, the season among us, or maybe it was the colors. Who knows ~ but I adore it!

Hope you like it too~

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Blog Feature

One of my bags was featured in a great blog here, along with some great handmade finds. I'm so excited to be included! Check it out when you get a minute.


Monday, September 6, 2010


I've finally carved out some time to read the past couple of weeks - something I truly joy. I have to admit, I've been very slow in jumping on this bandwagon. But after hearing from several people that "Eat, Pray, Love" is a must-read, I snatched it up from my library.

I can't lie - I wasn't blown over by this book and disagreed with several ideas throughout it. However, I found some little nuggets spread throughout that made it very worthwhile. I had some "Ah ha" moments.

Such as her theories on pleasure and differentiating it from entertainment. I also gleamed useful insight from her approach to spirituality. While I didn't see eye-to-eye with some of her methods - I appreciated her simplicity and focus. Definitely something that I needed to hear and apply to my own life.

I realized the importance of recognizing when it's time to surrender and when it's time to take control. That's huge, for me.

I believe we can all relate in one form or another and we've all been through similar experiences in our lives so if I can tuck away some honest advice and words of wisdom for a rainy day, I'm all over that. And that's what this book gave me ~ a pocket full of insight.

I hope it doesn't take me as many years to see the movie as it did to read the book. I guess I'm a little behind the times and I'm alright with that. :)

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Personal Note

Happy Monday Everyone!

I've added a new bag to my Etsy shop. It's a beautiful print from Heather Bailey with all of nature's earthtone colors.

On another note, we're just trying to get in a routine here in our house. When you work from home, it can be very difficult to separate your business life from your personal life. They are so intertwined as I steal minutes throughout the day to do certain tasks, make phone calls with my 4-yr old in the background and try to get dinner going while prepping for the post office.

I almost can't keep the two lives separate - they are both a huge part of me and both occur in the same place. I've just started surrendering to this concept.

So when my family is adjusting to a new schedule, my work feels the impact as well. It doesn't help that Camille is in her third week of school now and Jonas still doesn't start for another week. I call this the "inbetween stage". In other words, "semi-controlled chaos". Imagine if you throw a sick child into the mix already too. Yah, that was us last week.

We also had some bad news recently that our 14 yr old dog, Harley, has an aggresive form of leukemia. This is especially hard on me since Harley has faithfully been by my side since my single days, in my very own first apartment. He has been a steadfast piece of my life throughout many changes, a piece that has been easily taken for granted. He is such a good, loving dog that I'm struggling with this news.

So, I thought I would share what's going on in my personal life so you can see what "the person" behind Camille Star is living right now. Hey, who else can write a post that includes family news along with a picture of a new bag??! Thanks for listening and understanding.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New School Year

Camille headed off to first grade today! It's kind of funny how all of a sudden your child can seem so much older, more mature. Like it just happened over night, right!

Her day went really well ~ she got to see friends she missed all Summer, ride the bus for the first time, and get her very own locker. The locker was the bestest surprise (according to her!).

And yes, I've earned the right to be that "dorky mom" that takes the school bus picture. I know I'll only be able to get away with it for so long.
Here's to a new year!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Blog I Love

I recently came across this blog here and instantly became inspired. This woman designs furniture based on stuff you'd find at Pottery Barn and other retailers. She then builds each piece herself and encourages you to do the same by providing you with detailed instructions and a list of supplies to purchase.

She makes it sound so easy that I'm convinced I might be able to make this storage bed (with a little help from my husband, of course). :-)

You can browse her designs by piece, room, estimated cost, and skill level. And she shares her expertise and know-how for free. You can't beat that!

Oh, and there's also pictures from people everywhere that have built her items. So you can see the finished products and get even more inspired.

It's so great to see someone that has found her passion and loves to share it with others.

Hope you enjoy it!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Learning Experience

My kids have been learning a lot about money this Summer so I thought it would be fun to collect the different quarters from each state. Not only would it be like a great treasure hunt, it would help them become familiar with the name of each state and its spelling.

Only I didn't want to do it with a traditional folder that holds the quarters in specific slots (of course I've got to make things difficult!). I wanted the kids to actually see the United States map and where each state is compared to us, each state's size and match up its spelling. Visuals just seem so much easier, especially to a young child.

So I had been on the search for a great technique to teach all of this and thought a placemat or piece of fabric that actually displayed our map with each state spelled out would work out great. Now where to find this!

One of my great friends finally found this United States placemat for us at Walmart. And it's worked out great!
Now the kids get so excited whenever we get quarters and try to figure out which state it is and then try to locate it on the placemat. We just put some double-sided tape on the quarter and that's it.

It's been a great learning tool and I can't wait to see it all finished. Just thought I'd share something that's been working for us!

Have a wonderful weekend~

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

New Fabric

School seems to be just around the corner. Camille starts first grade in two weeks. Only two weeks!!!! Can you sense my sudden panic? This also means Autumn is close by.

What a great way to bring in the new season - new fabrics!

I've ordered several black-based fabrics that I'm really excited about. They should be in my hands in 4-6 days. You have to wait to see them, but trust me, they are fantastic!

I love Echino prints and here's a new one that I'll be making a bag with this week. Isn't it fun and fresh?

I've also received two new Joel Dewberry fabrics. The one below is already for sale in my shop.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fun with Tie Dye

Camille turned six this month, and she had a couple of friends over to celebrate. It was very laid back and casual. The girls mostly played but we also made tie dye pillow cases. It was our first experience with tie dye and I was surprised at how easy it was. It probably helped that it was a beautiful day and we were able to do the project outside.

We used this kit here but bought it at Joann's. They always have 40 or 50% off coupons so it's very inexpensive.

We let the dye set in overnight so the colors would absorb as much as possible, then just stuck the pillow cases in the washer & dryer the next morning.

The kids were so excited about their new pillow cases! And I even made one for myself!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Free Amy Butler Patterns

This is for all you sewers and crafters out there. Click here to download tons of free patterns from Amy Butler.

I especially love the hourglass pillow and duvet cover. And how about this love and peace wall art???? This would be so cute in a girl's room using her name.
Hope this gets your creative wheel turning!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

New Bags

I just posted two new bags in my Etsy shop.
I love this blue bird fabric ~ the design, the layout, the colors. I guess I'm a blue and brown nature kind of girl!

And the bag below used up the last of my Lacework fabric from Amy Butler. I had made a baby blanket and burp cloths for a friend and had just enough left to make this bag. It's one-of-a-kind so grab it now if you want it!

Hope you're having a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


It's very hard to say goodbye to your favorite jammies.

The ones that you've snuggled and cuddled in.

The ones that have kept you warm and comfy for the past two years and fit just right.

Not to mention that they're fun and funky with bright polka dots.

So, what do you do when they don't fit "just right" anymore??? Camille couldn't handle getting rid of them so I suggested we repurpose them.

I was able to cut out some pieces that were still in good shape along with the elastic waistband that had the cutest teal ribbon tie. I combined them with some of my fabric scraps and ta-da!!

Camille now has a new travel pillow! What's best is that it holds a part of her past, a piece of comfort for her, and it was made with love from her Mom.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Time To Celebrate!

Hope you had a wonderful and safe Fourth of July! I don't know about you, but we were very much reminded of how blessed we are to have our freedom because of the brave ~ something we take for granted way too much. When it comes down to it, that's what this special holiday is all about. The message just sometimes gets lost amidst all the barbeques, fests, drinking, and socializing.

Our kids asked a lot of questions this year, but Jonas was way more interested in how fireworks are made more than anything else. Hoping next year he'll be pondering the signifigance of the holiday more, but what can you expect from an inquisitive four year-old that's got a mechanic's mind like his Dad's. :)

My sister and I got to spend a great morning together rummaging through a local flea market. I found some great vintage tableclothes that I couldn't pass up. Once I figure out how I'm going to repurpose them, I'll post pictures of my projects.

Then we made our Fourth of July cake. It definitely was a team effort: I made it, Doug baked it, and the kids decorated it. Gotta love it! The finishing touch was the sparkler candles!

We finished our night with a great display of fireworks. They really were beautiful. But what seemed most beautiful to me was all the people, all so very different and all in varying stages of life, brought together in community to celebrate.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

New Fabric

I just got a new fabric and am very excited about it. I love it! It's called "origami" and features a gorgeous floral patchwork . It has a bold tropical feel to it on a lime background. Fun and fresh for Summer!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New Stuff

You might have noticed my Etsy shop is looking pretty bare. I've noticed it too and am feeling the push to fill it up! If only there were more hours in the day.

I'll be adding a couple of Stacked bags this week ~ the original version. I felt the urge to go back to the basics, before the extra strap and zipper pocket. Back to it's original design, and I remembered how much I love this simpler version. I'm hoping you do too! The first bags posted will feature the brown/blue bird print and the sunglow geometric print.

I'm also hoping to stock up on new fabrics soon so keep checking back. You just might find your new favorite bag!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Little Inspiration for Monday

"The grand essentials of happiness are:
~ something to do
~ something to love
~ something to hope for"

by Alexander Chalmers

Monday, June 7, 2010

No More Training Wheels at This House

We now have another "Official Bike Rider" over at our house! Jonas has given up his training wheels and now rides his bike. Don't you just love the shin guards? He says it's okay if he falls because they'll protect him. If only life were that easy, right?

This milestone has been very bittersweet for me. While I was super excited for him and the confidence he has gained over the last week, it's been hard to acknowledge that both of our kids are no longer babies, no longer toddlers for that matter. They are growing up right before my eyes. We always kid with them that we are going to shrink them down. But inside, I sometimes truly wish I could do just that and hold onto these moments a little bit longer. I don't want them to pass so quickly, so soon to be forgotten.
Now we've moved onto family bike rides and creating this new moment together. This has become our family ritual after dinner. The kids love it and can't wait to see which direction we're headed to. And in my head I'm thinking, "Can't we just stop time and not go in any direction? I vote for that."

Friday, June 4, 2010

Summer is Here!

Summer officially began at our house about 9 days ago. That's when the kiddos finished school and our routine went out the window. I was enjoying it for the first couple of days. Now I understand why some parents sign their kids up for a gazillion activities during the Summer!

But we decided long ago that our approach would be different. I used to feel a spirit of jealousy and competitiveness when other moms would tell me of all the activities their kids were participating in. "We're in soccer, t-ball, swimming, dance, and gymnastics." I used to think we were depriving our kids of learning new skills. But then I realized that we aren't in this "parenting and family" thing to see how many skills our kids can learn. And not to mention all the driving around to/from practices and the stress and overload put on the kids. We're in this "parenting and family" thing to teach love and character. To us, these are lifelong skills that are so much more important.

So our Summer is not filled with tons of scheduled activities. I believe our kids need to learn to entertain themselves through imaginative play. They need to have friends over to learn social skills, and they need to just have fun. Yes, I do have days when I'm lacking in the patience department and wish a camp would suddenly show up at my door and whisk the kids away for an hour or two. But I have to stop looking at the short-term and remember the long-term.

To fill our days so far we've been:

~ garage saleing (is this a word?). The kids love it and go prepared with their own zipper pouch of money. They're learning the different coins (dime, nickel, etc.) and their worth. They're learning to interact with others and the process of paying for your items.

~ running through the sprinkler and swimming.

~ gardening. The kids have loved planting our vegetables, watering them and watching them grow. We're enjoying our strawberries right now.

~ reading. We're joining our library's book club this week as well. This is great because they offer all kinds of weekly prizes for meeting your reading goal.

~ crafting. The kids are really into making cards for people. We use everything from ribbon to paint to candy on them.

~ playing at different parks. We have tons and tons of parks all within a half hour of us. I'm trying to pick a new park for us every week. It's free, fun and even better when we pack a picnic lunch!

~ bike riding. More on this to come in my next post!!!

I would love to hear other people's ideas for creative Summer activities. Please leave me a comment with your suggestions.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Special Holiday

Just wanted to take a minute and wish everyone a great Memorial Day. I hope you get a chance to spend time with loved ones over this special holiday.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

10 years later. . .

My husband and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary this week. We've had a lot of family medical stuff going on that has really taken its toll. Now that everyone is doing well and healthy, we couldn't have picked a better time to celebrate. A time for us to reflect and share a special moment together.

So we headed to Door County, Wisconsin for two days. Our first weekend away from our kids (a big thanks to Grammy and Pop Pop). Our first real getaway in six years. We were so ready!

It was beautiful, and our timing couldn't have been more perfect. While we weren't there at the peak season for cherries or apples, we avoided all the crowds and simply enjoyed the peace. We took a 9-mile hike through one of their State Parks, ate at a fish boil (a super touristy thing), stayed in a gorgeous cottage right on Lake Michigan, and did lots of sight-seeing. It felt like we were dating all over again.

Can't wait to see what's in store for the next ten years!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Yummy Snacks

I love food. Don't we all???? But I tend to get stuck in a rut, especially when things are really busy. Then I find we keep eating the same stuff all the time.

So I'm constantly on the lookout for new healthy snacks for us to enjoy. I came across two new recipes that I can't wait to try.

This one is for roasted garbanzo beans. Hummus is one of my favorite foods so I'm hoping this is yummy too!

And this recipe is for homemade granola. Sounds super easy (right up my alley!). We go through a ton of yogurt and granola at our house so I'm excited to make this. I just bought the oatmeal and am gonna give it a whirl tonight.

Happy Cooking!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Our little guy has just turned "4"!!! He had a wonderful birthday on Tuesday. Of course, I made a special cake just for him. For those of you that don't know, I make a homemade cake for each of my kid's birthdays every year. Last year was Spiderman, check it out here. It's a tradition that I started with their first birthdays and hope to continue for many more years. They have so much fun picking out their "theme" for the cake and can't wait to see it finished. I like to include them in the process too - it's just too hard to keep it a surprise when they're home with me.

This year, Jonas picked a monster truck. Did I mention that he picked this out about two months ago and has dilligently reminded me of it every week since? So I attempted a monster truck cake. If I could get scored based on love and effort, I think I truly deserve an "A+". Just remember to keep that in mind - it's the thought that matters most, not the end product. And maybe a "B" for creativity - I thought the donuts worked out great as wheels!

The bumpers, on the other hand, didn't quite look right. Oh well!
It could definitely be better, but I think that my four-year old loved his special cake, designed just for him! (Please don't pay attention to all the clutter on the kitchen counter - we were in the middle of our party!)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Waiting. . .and Waiting. . .and More Waiting

I try to be proactive in my personal life and in my business. I've found that this usually saves me a headache and lost time. So when I saw my bolt of truffle brown canvas getting low, I ordered more right away. Four weeks ago to be exact. And now I'm completely out and my new shipment still hasn't come in. So much for being proactive!!!

After several checks, I've been told that it should now be in mid-week. I'm not holding my breath! Just wanted to give you all an update in case you've been wondering why I haven't listed many new bags.

On a good note, this down-time has allowed me to organize my studio and make my set-up a little more efficient. I've also been cutting and prepping bags so that I can start cranking them out once the fabric comes in.

Thank you for being so patient - I really appreciate it!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Do You Know Where Your Food Comes From?

We like to think we're pretty healthy - we eat lots of veggies, fruits, brown rice, chicken, etc. We try to stay away from processed foods but it's definitely hard to do (I say this as we're having packaged pudding for a snack!). We try to buy organic when possible. I also try to cook and bake a lot of our foods from scratch. So you'd think we knew a thing or two about healthy eating and how our foods are made. Boy, were we wrong!

We watched "Food, Inc." this past Wednesday on the PBS channel and learned more than we ever bargained for. It should be mandatory for every individual to watch this documentary. For those of you that have never heard of it, this movie shows where our food comes from, how farms are operated, how a huge portion of our food is "manufactured" in factories, and how politics plays a huge role in what's available in our supermarkets. I was appalled to find out what's put in 70% of the hamburgers for sale in our supermarkets!

I really believe that it is easy to put masks over our eyes and ignore it all when we don't have to see the pictures and view the processes. But let me tell you, once you've seen it, it will significantly change the way you view your food.

I cannot recommend this documentary enough. In honor of Earth Day, PBS is offering viewing of this movie here through April 29th. Take a peek when you get a moment.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Scooter Fabric

For those of you that love the red and yellow scooter print that has been for sale in my shop, you might just fall in love with it in the black tone colorway too (I know I have)!
I've just ordered several yards and can't wait to make a Colorblocked bag and Stacked tote with it. It's just so fun and cute!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Where Have I Been?

I've been here, just consumed with our garage sale this past week. Whew, it's now done and I am so glad to have gotten rid of lots of stuff! I can't believe how much we had laying around the house that we just didn't need or use - hiding in linen closets, stacked in our storage closets, and right in plain sight in our kitchen. Clutter drives me crazy (even though you can't always tell this if you step in my house at any given time)!

We also finally decided to get rid of our baby stuff - swing, changing table, even the little itty-bitty sleepers. It was hard for me but I knew that if we didn't do it soon it would eventually be very outdated. It's amazing how quickly they change models and upgrade baby stuff - just within 4-6 years our stuff already looked dated.

The kids even participated and went through their rooms in search of items to sell. They did pretty well (I helped a little too while they were each at school!).

So as you can see I've been preoccupied with many other things the past two weeks - my dad's surgery (which went extremely well and all of his cancer was removed), garage sale, one kid down and out with the stomach flu, Easter, and spring break. I'm glad things are starting to settle down and I can now put my full attention on restocking my Etsy shop. Thanks for being so patient and understanding.

I'm off to sew right now!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Shop Update

I just posted a Colorblocked bag featuring a scooter print from Echino (famous Japanese designer for those that aren't infatuated with fabric like me). Check it out!
I've also designed a new bag - it should be making its debut later this month! But I'll share a little bit with you for now - it's a smaller hip bag, zipper closure with front zipper pocket, adjustable strap and super cute. Lightweight and great for Summer!
I've been carrying one around for the past several weeks to test it out. I always do this with a new design to make sure the bag functions as I intended and holds up to lots of wear and tear. Plus, it's lots of fun for me! I guess that's one of the perks of designing handbags. :)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Well, we've got an "Official Bike Rider Over Here" now! This is a favorite expression we use in our house often. Like when I first started making homemade bread and we were sitting at the table eating, Camille pointed at me and belted out "Official Bread Maker Over Here". You get the point.

So Camille has mastered bike riding! I have to admit, I was getting worried that she might be in college and still not know this skill. She just wasn't interested and was petrified of falling. We started her off on a really small toddler bike so she would be closer to the ground and could easily put her feet down. We also took her to a parking lot that had a ton of space and a decline to it (thanks to the advice from a friend!), and it worked! Once she started going, we couldn't stop her. It's all she wants to do now and it's great to see her self-confidence get a lift.

I guess the next milestone will be shoe tying. Maybe that will be a job for Dad to teach. :)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Latest Book

As some of you know, I challenged myself to read a minimum of two books per month for 2010. It's my way of feeding my brain, challenging myself and enjoying one of my favorite hobbies. I'm a true bookworm at heart.

I wanted to share a great book I read during March - "The Great Eight: How to be Happy" by Scott Hamilton. You might recognize the name since Scott is a famous Olympic ice skater with tons of medals and honors.

This was one of the most inspirational books I have read. It amazed me that someone who has had such a tumultuous, difficult journey at times could be so full of joy and gratefulness. He has chosen life and happiness over fear and bitterness. We have all experienced or will experience trials and valleys since life is not perfect, and it can be extremely hard to walk through those seasons of life trying to find the good and positive. My dad was recently diagnosed with cancer and is having surgery this week. I know how hard it is to put these words into practice and write them on your heart. I discovered this book at just the right time, definitely not a coincidence.

If you are looking for a book that could lift your spirit and help you appreciate your gift of life, this is definitely a must read. I realize how easy it is to fall in our own traps - traps of pity parties, jealousy, placing importance on non-important things (speaking from my own life). I've discovered that it's not good for me to dwell on why or how come, but instead how will this change me for the better and how can I give to others?

I never want to push a book or my beliefs on anyone, only share what works for me in hopes it might work for someone else too. Happy reading!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Our Waffle Maker Bit the Dust

Happy Easter Everyone!

Hope you are rejoicing in this special day with friends and family.

Our Easter morning started early at 6:30am (yawn). The kids had a blast finding all of the hidden eggs and tearing their Easter baskets apart. Then came time for our family's favorite breakfast ~ homemade waffles and sooce. I know you're probably wondering what the heck sooce is. It's a sauce we put over the waffles, a simple syrup you make on the stovetop. My mom's family is from Belgium and this recipe has been passed down from the generations above. A tried and true tradition that holds lots of memories from my own childhood. Enough said about sooce!

Upon turning on our waffle maker this morning, we heard a couple of crackles and then a foul smoke started pouring out from the bottom. When the sparks starting flying, we knew it was time to unplug the thing. It was very sad as this waffle maker has been a huge part of our family breakfasts for the past ten years. We received it as a wedding present and it's been a staple in our home.

How ironic that the thing blew up one month before we celebrate our 10-year wedding anniversary. But it just reinforces that "things" don't last forever and they don't make the memories. We make the memories.

So we ended up having paffles (our attempt at turning this into a positive fun experience!). Doug used the waffle mix and made them into pancakes on the stove. The kids still loved them and gobbled them up.

I guess our search for a new waffle maker will start soon!

Saturday, March 27, 2010


I've found some really beautiful fabric that I cannot wait to make a bag with.
The colors include soft shades of blue and a hint of mint green on an espresso background.

I just love it!!

On another note, I've had some inquiries for Colorblocked bags with black-toned fabrics. I'm on the lookout and hope to acquire some new fabrics soon. To be honest, I haven't seen any that I really like and most new Spring patterns/designs don't have a lot of black in them. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Stacked Bag

I first have to say that Camille Star Handbags would never be what it is without my wonderful husband. He is a huge help to me and does all the grunt work behind-the-scenes. Grommets, rivets, and zippers - need I say more!

One night while I was sewing and he was hammering, he said, "You know that bag over there. You should really put a pocket on the front of that bag. Everywhere I look, people have a little pocket in the front of their purses now. Put it right between those carrying straps."

First, I had to catch my breath! I've now officially turned my husband into a purse watcher too! Second, I thought, "Why didn't I think of that?"

Sometimes when you're so saturated in your work and exposed to it constantly, I feel like your creativity and inspiration can burn out. You almost have to remove yourself from your projects or look at them through another's eyes (like my husbands!).

So, I created a new Stacked bag with a front zippered pocket. The perfect sized compartment for storing your phone, keys, baby pacifier, you name it.
I've introduced the first one to my Etsy shop and hope to add more this upcoming week.
Happy Spring Everyone!

Friday, March 12, 2010

New Fabric

I love, love, love this new fabric!!! Not sure if it's the combo of creamy leche, white and black or the modern chrysanthemum pattern, but it's absolutely beautiful.
I'll be adding this Colorblocked bag to my Etsy shop shortly.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Nuggets of Wisdom

I started my Spring cleaning this week. Let me tell you, it was long overdue!

While cleaning my bedroom I discovered a stash of my favorite quotes, sayings and expressions that I've collected over the years. Whenever something speaks to me or resonates with my own life, I either write it down or rip it out. I've found great nuggets of wisdom from magazines, desktop calendars, anywhere, and everywhere.

So from time to time, I'll share some of them with you. Hopefully they'll speak to you right where you need it. Who can't use some uplifting and encouraging words?


Oh, the comfort - the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person,
Having neither to weigh thoughts,
Nor measure words - but pouring them
All right out - just as they are -
Chaff and grain together -
Certain that a faithful hand will
Take and sift them -
Keep what is worth keeping -
And with the breath of kindness
Blow the rest away.

by Dina Maria Mulock Craik

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sneak Peek

I've started ordering some new fabrics for Spring, and I'm really excited about them. Here's a sneak peak of one of them that will be posted in my shop by tomorrow.

I love the yellow gold tone and the individual cranberry bird.

Stay tuned to my Etsy shop as I add new bags this week!

Happy Monday~

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Easter Gifts

I realize Easter isn't until the beginning of April, but I like to start planning now for Easter baskets. I promise I'm not obsessive compulsive and I'm not that well organized. There's a couple of reasons for this.

1. I've found myself unprepared way too many times in the past and have actually learned from this mistake. I've discovered that when you have children (especially under the age of five), unexpected things do happen so you don't always get to do what you want when you want. I guess it's that whole act of "self-sacrifice" when you have children.

2. If I wait until the last minute all of the good stuff is gone and I'm stuck with buying junk that happens to be at the store I'm at during that moment. You know what I mean. The junk that falls apart within it's first couple of uses. The junk that they really could care less about.

3. If I plan in advance, my creativity tends to be at it's best. I have more time to think about my children's actual likes and interests - what makes them tick, what makes them excited. There's actual thought put behind each gift.

So here's what I've gotten so far:

~window chalk. This is in the Crayola aisle usually and is in the form of a roll-on stick. My kids love to paint on our patio glass doors and decorate all of our windows for each Holiday. I know these will keep them entertained while encouraging their artsy spirit.

~gum. My kids LOVE gum, which is kind of funny because my husband and I never chew it. They think it's the greatest so each kid will get their own pack of gum.

~Highlights magazine. My kids can't get enough of this magazine. We have a subscription (thanks to Grammy), but you can get a single issue at Borders. I'm a Borders reward member (which is free) so I get 30% coupons in my email once a week. They have even come out with a puzzle & hidden pictures edition that is really neat that I plan to use my coupon on. My kids like to do these in the car or at restaurants.

~books thanks to Scholastic. My kids always bring home Scholastic book orders and there's always several books listed for $1-$3 (plus there's no shipping).

~character & holiday socks. I've found lots of cute ones in the Target dollar spot section.

~art/craft supplies from Michaels. They always have 40% coupons so stock up on pipe cleaners, markers, glittery stuff, etc.

~and candy, of course!

Please leave me a comment if you have any other suggestions.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Some Winter Fun!

You might have noticed I haven't been around much updating my blog or adding new bags to my Etsy shop. I've been playing hooky!

We had some family visiting us from the East coast this past week. So we spent lots of time eating, hanging out, eating, playing outside, and well, eating! But seriously, we had lots of fun and enjoyed sledding one day. The sun actually came out while the ground was snow covered so the weather couldn't have been better.
The kids had a blast. I was a little sad as Camille no longer wants one of us to sled with her. She sleds at school a lot and considers herself a pro now. In fact, she made it quite clear that we were "holding her back". It's so subtle how kids slowly let go of your hand until a specific moment confirms it.

Yikes, I wonder what's next?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My Latest Find

I love crocheting and have tremendous respect for people that are able to use this craft in a modern and intricate way. I found this great Etsy shop, namolio, that does just that. She also uses linen (one of my favorite fabrics) in her fresh, natural designs.

Now, I know I can make a pincushion for myself, but hers are just so beautiful. Mine wouldn't even compare.

If you know anyone with a sewing passion, you must get one of these as a gift. You will be much loved!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

February Reading

Those of you that check in here on a regular basis, know that one of my goals for 2010 is to consistently feed my love of reading. I want to read a minimum of two books per month. I've already met my goal for this month and couldn't have picked a better selection.

The first book I read was Dave Ramsey's The Total Money Makeover. My husband and I were first inspired by this guy in November, 2008. Since then, his principles have completely changed our financial situation and outlook. We are debt free (except for our mortgage), have an emergency savings established, have investigated and gotten the appropriate insurance coverages, and are now saving for our next car so we can pay outright for it (no more payments & interest for us!).

We've done all this by establishing a bi-monthly budget (something we never did before and is actually VERY easy!) and now tell our money where it's going. We've learned to live within our means and have discovered that when doing so, you really don't have to do without because your priorities will have changed. I can't tell you what a blessing this has been!

I already knew most of the ideas/concepts in this book and have put them into practice, but it was great reinforcement and encouragement to continue down this path. There are tons of actual, real-life stories from everyday people like you and me that help put everything into perspective. Plus, I got some more great ideas regarding retirement planning. A definite must-read!

The other book I read was Kirk Cameron's Still Growing autobiography. I loved "Growing Pain's" when I was a kid so I couldn't wait to read this book. I have to admit I was even more interested in his family and spiritual life though. Him and his wife have six children (yikes!) and live such a devoted Christ-following lifestyle. For anyone that is currently going through a spiritual search or wants to be uplifted, this book is for you.

The first half talks about his childhood and life on the show. It seems to jump around a lot by subject which I found a pain to follow. I would have preferred chronological age order, but no biggee. His faith story is in the second half of the book along with insight into his marriage and daily life.

Kirk is a very bold person and stands strong for his beliefs. This is something I really admire and made the book so enjoyable for me. In our society, celebrities are put on pedestals and money/possessions define their status. If we were all honest, we would admit most of us follow in this suit as well (to different degrees). It's great to see a person that has broken out of that mold, holds true to his convictions and lives them out on a daily basis. Very inspiring!

Monday, February 15, 2010


I hope everyone had a great Valentines Day. Even if you didn't get a bouquet of roses, a heart shaped box of goodies, or a big stuffed animal, I'm sure your day was special. Maybe you got some encouraging words from a friend or family member, maybe your kids made you a special gift, or maybe you got some precious alone time. The little things count too.

We started the day with banana slices arranged in a heart, then chocolate covered strawberries, and finally some Valentines cookies. We had a sweet day, can't you tell? I made the cookies posted here, and we were not disappointed. They are easily my favorite.

The kids loved sprinkling the sugar on top. I love the way the swirled ones turned out. I can't wait to try these again and put them on a stick in a cookie bouquet.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Hot Chocolate

UPDATE: This hot chocolate is so yummy! We all devoured it within minutes (even without marshmallows!)

My kids have been on a huge hot chocolate kick lately. Not sure if it's because it's so cold or maybe they just want something sweet. I'm starting to think it's all about the marshmallows though!

I feel my job as a parent is to find recipes that are in the best interest of my family. Ones that have minimal artificial ingredients, not a lot of fat/calories, and don't take hours to prepare. I always feel guilty when using the prepackaged mixes (you know what I'm talking about, Swiss Miss). Have you ever looked at the list of ingredients? And the recipes that require actually using whole candy bars and heavy whipping cream just make me feel fat before even drinking them!

Well, I think my search has finally ended!! Click here on Budget Mommy's blog to check it out. We will be trying it out today and I'll give you an update later. The ingredient list is short, and I have everything in my pantry/fridge. Yay!

Monday, February 8, 2010


One of my favorite recipe blogs is "Our Best Bites". It's written by two friends that have amazing cooking skills. Their recipes are extremely easy to follow and use everyday ingredients.

The chicken taquitos is one of my family's favorites and so is this dessert.

Aren't these the stinkin' cutest Valentines cookies you've ever seen?

I've always wanted to learn how to make this type of icing but couldn't find an easy recipe. Look no further. This is it! We made these for Christmas and will now be making them for Valentines.

Can you tell I have a sweet tooth?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Valentines Fun

One of my very good friends gave us a gigantic stack of cardstock in a rainbow of colors. As soon as Camille saw it, I swear she started drooling. She's my crafty girl!

This morning, she burst that stack open and went to town. She traced and cut and was set on making a Valentines banner for her bedroom.


Her room really is purple (please forgive the poor lighting).

I helped with the yarn ties, but she did everything else. What do you think, future Martha or what??? :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Featured in Blog

The bag below was just featured in Dancing Jelly Bean's blog here. She wrote a post about her favorite geometric things from Etsy. Make sure you check it out. She has some great handmade items listed. You just may fall in love with something.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New Bag Posted!

I just posted a new Stacked bag in my Etsy shop. This is Amy Butler's Wallflower print in Sky Blue. As soon as I saw this fabric, I knew it needed a soft contrast.

It had to be dark denim. I believe denim never goes out of style when paired with the right outfit and fabrics. Denim is a staple in every girl's wardrobe. It's soft, it's comfortable, and it's everyday life.

So Spring, so flirty, and so gorgeous.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Great Gift Idea

I came across this fantastic photo project recently and loved it. Super creative and easy. While it was done for Christmas gifts, I thought this might be a great present for Valentines Day, birthday or even better, how about for yourself! Everyone loves family pictures. I've been looking for a creative way to display our vacation pictures at the ocean. Jackpot!

Click here for the link. And if you get a chance, check out some of her other papercrafting ideas, they are super cute.

Monday, January 25, 2010

And More Reading

So I'm finishing up my second book for the month, "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" by Jeff Hertzberg. I have to tell you, this is the best bread baking book (say that fast five times!) I've ever seen. The title is true to it's word.

I've always shied away from homebaked bread because of it's tedious and long process. But this book proved me wrong.

The idea is to mix a huge batch of dough on one day (quick & easy) and then you store it in your fridge for up to two weeks. Whenever you want a loaf of bread for dinner, take it out to rise for about 45 minutes and then just pop it in your oven for 30 minutes. What makes the process so easy is that you don't have to proof your dough, knead it, or any of that stuff. It's absolutely wonderful. I was also thinking this would work great for people that work outside the home - just make your dough over the weekend and then have fresh bread ready during the week.

The book suggests having a bread baking stone so your bottom crust will be crisp and crunchy. I just used a Pampered Chef stoneware dish and it turned out fine. You could even use a cookie sheet. I opted to brush some olive oil and salt on our bread as it was baking too. It was super yummy!

I'd include a picture but couldn't get one because that's how fast my family ate it up! But I have enough to make about four more loaves throughout this week. Anyone that truly knows me knows my childhood nickname was "starch queen". My family used to say I could live on potates and bread so I'm lovin' this!

Hope you give it a try too~

Monday, January 11, 2010


I love to read. I would so much rather read a good book than watch tv. And when I find a book I really like, I can't help but pass it on and share it with others.

One of my goals for 2010 is to read two books per month. This may not seem like a lot, but when you run your own business and stay at home with two children, reading seems to fall by the wayside too much. I've decided to make it more of a priority this year for so many reasons. It helps me to relax and rejuvenate. I love getting into the characters' minds (something you can't always do with a movie) and experiencing different places and experiences. And anything that helps improve my life management skills is a definite plus.

So, I've already finished my first book. It's titled, "29 Gifts, How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life" by Cami Walker. This is a non-fiction book and very easy read. I was done after three days!!

The book is about a woman in her early thirties that gets married. One month after their wedding day, she experiences some terrible symptoms and is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The book goes through her journey of diagnosis, then anger and self-pity to acceptance and growth.

Through it all, she decided to implement a healing process recommended by a friend. She had to give a gift away every day for 29 days. The premise is to get away from a self-centered world and focus your attention on what you have to offer others, how you can brighten others' days, and how rewarding it is to mindfully give a gift to another.

I got a lot of inspiration from this book. I didn't agree with all of her spiritual practices but still learned a lot. I highly recommend it if you're looking for something that makes you think differently, stretches you a little, and reminds you of what's most important in life.

The book costs about $13-19, depending on where you buy it. But I feel that the money is not wasted because it's the type of book that can be passed on repeatedly and read over again.

Happy Reading!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Fun in the Snow

We had a snow day yesterday with 6+ inches of snow. So while Camille and I made dinner, Doug and Jonas shoveled and played outside. I'm not sure which one had more fun!

We checked on them out the window and found this:

A human snowman!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Get Me Outta Here!

This happens to me every year, seems more so this year. I'm usually fine with Winter until mid-January rolls around and then I've had enough. I reached that point a little early this year. I'm done. finished. the end.

We've had a house of sickies here for the past three weeks - first it was Jonas with a flu bug for 7 days over Christmas, then it hit Camille just in time for New Years. And it stayed with her, so we went to the doctor yesterday and it's now bronchitis. As if that's not enough, we've had two huge snow days during this time (one of them is today) and freaky cold temperatures (below zero). I am officially done with sickness, with snow, with winter (can you tell I'm in whining mode right now?).

Where's the sunshine?? I need some to warm my bones, lighten my mood, and fill me up. And what do you do with a 3yr old and 5yr old everyday for three weeks? Help!!!

So if you notice I'm a little stir crazy, please just chalk it up to my seclusion. I know this will pass but I did need to vent.

So thanks for listening (or reading). I know many of you out there know exactly where I'm coming from and have been experiencing the same thing. You can empathize. And for those of you in sunny, warm climates, it's not fair!!! :-)

I'm really officially done complaining now. I promise. Pinky swear.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

Hope everyone is enjoying their New Year! I'm really excited about 2010 and what's in store for Camille Star Handbags. I have some new fabrics that I can't wait to create with. I'll have several new bags listed in my shop this weekend and more on the way. Here's a peek of the fabrics:

Cherry Wallflower from Amy Butler
This was one of my very first fabrics to use when starting my business. This fabric just started being reprinted and I was thrilled to get more. Kinda neat to see it come full circle.

Anna Griffin Darcy
I love the geometric design of this print and the contrast of the blue against white.

Anna Maria Horner Volumes in Rose
This fabric has been out for awhile but just caught my eye one day and inspiration hit.

And remember this one. This fabric stopped being printed awhile back and I was lucky enough to find some this past weekend. This is one of my very favorites.

Hope your 2010 is off to a great start!