HOLIDAY SHOPPING NEWS ~

I am getting excited about my tour about town tomorrow, seeking out all of my favorite local businesses to support on Small Business Saturday!  I support small year round, but I do understand how exciting it can be for a small business to have a banging start to the holiday season, so I am going to do my best to hit up all of my favorites.  Speaking of hitting up your favorites (wink-wink!) I would like to share our own small business specials and events coming up.  Josh and I both are offering a sale in our Etsy shops through Cyber Monday for 10% off $100 purchase, 15% off $200 purchase, and 20% off $300 purchase!  That’s a pretty big sale for us, so if you wanted to do any holiday shopping with us, it will not get better than this!  UNLESS you are within driving distance and would like to come shop with us in person this upcoming weekend, December 5th and 6th.  We will be at our annual Big Oaks Winter Sale out on the lovely 300+ acre farm of our friend Carey and Brant Slay from 10am-5pm both days, and you can get directions if you plug this address into Google Maps:  10747 UNION PLEASANT GROVE OMAHA, GA 31821  In addition to all of our work, Carey will be selling all of her wonderful wood fired pottery.  We will have a friendly, open buffet of snacks and tea to eat while you browse, chat, and take a break from the holiday chaos under the mighty boughs of the Big Oak trees.  We offer great in-person discounts and will have a variety of items from all four of the Etsy shops on display.  I love to “clean house” at the end of the year to make room for new products, so a lot of things will be greatly discounted.  This is a great opportunity to shop small and get lots of beautifully made gifts for your friends and family.  These pictures from last year’s show speak for themselves and we hope to see you there!  If you would like to see links to all of our Etsy shops in one place and start shopping early, click here.

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Crickets and Daydreams…

SO, the crickets are chirping in my head this week.  The busy, buzzy hmm of Halloween business is over and this should be the week to get the creative juices flowing again!  It *should* be, but as I said, the crickets are chirping up there and I don’t really know where to start.  I have some projects to make for Goodwin’s Custom Crafts, baby bedding, nursing pillow covers, but I am waiting for the fabric I ordered to arrive so they can be made.  I am caught up with most other things (SHH – Like saying Macbeth in the theater!) and I should be excitedly plotting my next quilt or set of projects, designing new fabric, or creating some cute Christmas il_fullxfull.614197662_cf9kbanners for my Etsy shops and making the absolute most out of these few days of relative creative freedom between the busy seasons.  Instead, I am sitting here, staring at my to-do list, contemplating a nap.  I always do this…go through a lull between the seasons.  I could be chasing that creative high and pushing through to get some new things listed, or getting ready for our big holiday show, but really, I just want to rest…To take a moment with my rock collection, stare out the window and daydream, watch some mindless TV and fold laundry, or wallow in bed with the kids.  The pressure to “Act fast or this moment will pass!” is there, yelling in the back of my head for me to pull it together and seize the day!  But the more tempting, subtle little message rolling around in my head is to walk away and enjoy the slow moment.  Let it wash over me and give into it.  The creativity will come back.  It always does!  But not if you are pushing and forcing it and being a brute with yourself.  So today, I surrender.  I give in to the laziest version of myself, and will wait quietly for the ideas, passion, drive, desire to create to come back to me.  We will reunite again.  Perhaps after some daydreaming.

Is there anybody home?…

Hey everyone!!  I woke up one day from this weeks-long whirlwind of last-minute trips IMG_9414to the beach, hurried runs to the splash pad, dive tricks off the diving board, to wake up and realize that I haven’t checked in on the website for WAY too long.  Apologies!  The kids are back to school, though, so trips to the pool are fewer and farther between now, and impromptu trips to the splash pad, practically over.  At least until we can function as a family with the basics covered…Basics as in going to sleep before midnight, and waking up before the first bell rings.  We LOVE and CHERISH our freedom and lack of schedule in the summer and take every opportunity to break free of the molds whenever we can.  We are a pretty united group in our belief and practice in that philosophy.  But yes. I am here, back at home, and so excited to reconnect.  I don’t even really know where to start, so I thought I would just share IMG_9205some pictures from the last couple weeks of our summer…Especially since that is where my Mind still seems to be lodged, stubborn as ever, death gripping the wooden beach pier supports, saying “NOOOO!!!!  I am not going anywhere!”  Maybe by sharing it, I will see it finally as a thing of the past and be able to move on and accept that school has in fact begun, and it’s time to level up!  Keep in mind that everywhere I go, I take a million pictures, so just sharing a few is going to be a real challenge for me, and I have already decided that this is going to be more like an end of summer “album” that I am sharing.  As I look through all the pictures, I am reminded of how I felt at the beach, the skate rink, drawing, and a hundred times over the summerIMG_9130 with the kids.  Doing things together as a family, having those yearly traditions…or however often they occur, serve as a point of reference for just how much we have all changed and grown.  The kids are changing at warp speed these days.  This summer felt like a summer of growth for all of them.  Not so much inches on the wall, but emotional growth.  My youngest son actually did something silly a few weeks ago, and even though it was just the two of us, he said that he  IMG_0349felt so embarrassed to be acting silly.  THAT was just a crazy moment.  If you knew my youngest son, you would realize what an out-of-character thing for him to say, and yet it happens to us all a little bit over time…Until the day comes when you can decide to not care if you are being silly and embarrassing, but you are in the moment and having fun and that is so much more important.  I hope it doesn’t take my children as long to learn as it took me.  So thank you for allowing me to relive a little bit of our summer magic and to put it in its beautiful place and move on with a fresh start for this school year.  And for those of you who could care less about the last couple weeks of our summer and are only here for the crafty stuff, fear not!! These adventures with my family work as fuel to my fire and have definitely provided some much-needed fresh inspiration, so keep an eye out for some new crafty blog posts to come soon.  Much love!

Pool time!! We have been going every day after school for a cool down / pick me up. (Thank goodness for pools that stay open through September in Georgia!)

Pool time!! We have been going every day after school for a cool down / pick me up. (Thank goodness for pools that stay open through September in Georgia!)

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Meeting friends at the coffee shop for some games and a mid-day pick me up after school registration. Two games at once…Very talented indeed.

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Need I say more? Naked toes in the grass and cut-off shorts on a tree swing? It’s like we fell out of an old book.

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How the little ones chose to spend their last breakfast of summer…Watching cartoons in the playroom and eating banana nut muffins in their pajamas. It’s such a sweet contrast to our busy, hectic school mornings rushing through a routine…That was why I wanted to get a picture I guess…

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One last hurrah of summer with a day spent on the lake. Nothing like great friends, tube rides, and splashing in the lake to refresh your perspective and remind you of how much there is to be grateful for.

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Did I say splashing? I meant floating.

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Remember the part about perspective and being grateful? Well this was what I was talking about.

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We read The Little Prince before going to see it at the Springer Theater Opera House this summer. That was probably our fanciest family outing this summer and always a wise investment.

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Bonding with bismuth at Moonstone Wellness. The kids were treated to a trip to the shop so they could pick out a new stone or two for their collection.

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I like to treat myself to new sandals once in a blue moon. Lucky for me, we had a Blue Moon in June!!

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See! Look! It’s the Blue Moon. We went outside with our telescopes (we have one Orion scope and a small travel scope that is more kid-safe and user friendly) and were able to snap this picture with the phone. I wish I had thought to grab my pro camera, but I just wasn’t thinking about it at the time.

The kids with their scopes, and me, as ever, ruining their night vision.

The kids with their scopes, and me, as ever, ruining their night vision.

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We also recharged our stones under the light of the Blue Moon!

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Shenanigans at the skating rink…Not really sure what is going on here, but it looks like they were enjoying it!

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(In my best Southern voice…) Ain’t no summer complete without red velvet cake!! This was actually a part of our Blue Moon gazing party as well. This was THE ugliest cake I’ve ever made. I had to piece the layers together because they all fell apart. OH WELL! It still tasted good. BTW, I never use red in my red velvet cake, so it’s more like brown velvet cake. Even better!

While we are on food, I'm just going to leave this here. Garden fresh silver queen!

While we are on food, I’m just going to leave this here. Garden fresh silver queen!

And I'll leave this here too, while I'm on a roll. Because I didn't can enough this summer and who doesn't love peach jam???

And I’ll leave this here too, while I’m on a roll. Because I didn’t can enough this summer and who doesn’t love peach jam???

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Beach combing with my Mom and the kids….Ahh. Sigh no more, and farewell to a wonderful, peaceful, soulful summer.

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Three generations of Carmack ladies. Tybee Island, 2015.

So yeah…That was pretty much the last couple weeks of our summer.  It was a dizzying whirlwind but it was wonderful and I will cherish every moment.  Now lets get back to the now, and this beautiful stack of blankets that are waiting for my attention today, and hoping that the kids are having a great day in school.  See you again soon!

A Simple Rhino Tale

It started as a simple craft done at the kitchen table.  The kids had been given this gingerbread man cutout that was laminated so they could bring it home and trace it, play with it, make more gingerbread men…You get the idea.  But this made them want to make other shapes that they then traced and colored, like the gingerbread man.  There came from this simple day of play, a collection of rhinos.  Large and small, bright and bold, with fierce horns, and bowed heads.  Some even had two heads…one on each side!  (Just to represent the monstrous side of things!!)  They were so precious.  The kids cut them out, colored them, and turned them into puppets with popsicle sticks.  Like many things born in this way, they were all too soon forgotten, having fallen under the table, or stuck behind a chair, and they were no longer interested in playing with them.  That is when my inspiration struck!  IMG_5970

You see, I had been experimenting with fabric design, and playing around with my own doodles for a couple of weeks, trying to get the hang of the graphic nature of online fabric design.  In a moment of brilliance, I saw these sweet, disregarded rhinos for what they were…Complete and total inspiration!   My kids might have been finished with them, but I was only getting started.  I deconstructed the popsicle stick version, and layed them out on a white surface to photograph, and the rest is history.  I now have a collection of ten or so fabric designs, all featuring the rhino stick puppet cut outs.  I love them.  When I look at them, I am instantly happy, rejuvenated, and transported back to that magical day.  I know it was a magical day because I have tried over and over to recreate the experience with no luck whatsoever.  They can tell I am onto them now, and like the tap-dancing, singing frog, they just sit there and ribbit at me when I suggest in my most cheerful voice, “Who wants to make some stick puppets with a new animal today!?”  I IMG_3911know it will come back around one day, but for now, I am utterly smitten and happy with our little rhino collection.
Each time an item sells with the fabric they helped design, I tell them about it, and give them a little cash for their piggy banks.  It has become a source of pride and joy for them to see their drawings made into something lasting and tangible.

Then one day a few months ago, I receive this letter through Etsy:

“Hey there,
I am a Zookeeper with the Toronto Zoo and I am organizing a fundraiser through our AAZK committee to help raise money for Rhino Conservation! Last year we were able to raise over $17,000!
We are currently looking for any Rhino related items that companies/ organizations would be willing to donate as auction items for our event! All funds go directly towards the facilities that support Rhino Conservation!
If you would consider donating a Rhino blanket I also have an official letter I could send you along with more information need be!
We REALLY appreciate every little donation and will definitely advertise what companies donated items for our auction in hopes that it would also help you get more business!
I hope to hear from you soon and am happy to answer any questions you may have!
Thank you!”IMG_9886

I thought that was so awesome.  Awesome in so many ways…the conservation of rhinos?  CHECK!  The pleasure of meaningful donations? CHECK!  Getting our family business all the way out to Toronto? CHECK!  And my favorite one of all…Talking to my daughter about the significance of this project?  Check.  I let her read the letter and asked her what she thought.  She does have a sense of ownership over these blankets and quilts with her drawings on them, and if I was to give one away, I wanted to know how she felt about that.  It meant I wouldn’t get paid for it, which would mean she wouldn’t get any dollars for her piggy bank either.  Did she even hesitate for one, single second?!  Of course she didn’t.  She thought it was amazing and awesome too.  We looked into the organization together and IMG_1513did some rhino research, and we became even more aware of the issue than we already were.  When I shipped the blanket off to Toronto, I made sure she knew it was on the way, and we celebrated the moment together.

I guess the moral of the story here is this…You never know where an idea will take you.  You never know what small thing will one day become a very big and important thing.  You never know when a laminated gingerbread man made from blue construction paper and sent home in your child’s school folder will change the way you do business.  You just never know, and isn’t that amazing!  Now I see rhinos everywhere.  Mostly they are sad stories about poaching, or declining populations, but I hear them.  I am aware of them, and I donate to the cause as I am able because it feels like the right thing to do…and the kids think so too!

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Happy New Year!

Etsy runs this special blog series called “Quit Your Day Job” where they feature a shop who has “made it big” in the world of Etsy, and taken the leap to quit their full time day jobs to be full time makers and sellers.  WELL, Etsy hasn’t featured us in their blog, we are taking it upon ourselves to feature our own selves!!  The New Year brings a lot of exciting new changes for the Goodwins, which you might suspect at this time, means that Josh Goodwin of Goodwin’s Custom Crafts has quit his day job of ten years to be a maker and a seller full time by my side!  Well, not literally by my side, as his shop is outside and mine is inside, but you get the idea.  We are really excited, and honestly, a little nervous too about this new leap, but it just felt like the right time to give it a try.  We are young and full of energy, the kids are all really supportive and crave family time, and we have this amazing global network of shoppers who LOVE high quality, hand made stuff!  How blessed and greatful we are to be able to make this announcement.  But most of all, humbled.  Humbled by the support of our family and friends, by our fans and loyal customers, by the shear magnitude of this leap of faith in our craft.  Wish us luck, and cheers to 2015!!!   1502365_785485781477224_77523337_o