Featured Item of the DAY!

DSC_0119

 

The featured item of the day is the gruesome, terrifying, no-just-kidding, he’s really sweet, Tiger mask!  Handmade, hand cut, machine stitched and embellished using only high quality, durable, and machine washable eco felt.  I love eco felt because it is made from post consumer plastic bottles, right there in the USA!  Score and score.  I am getting back into my groove this year, post Halloween, post-Christmas, post New Year, post getting back into a routine, so I thought I would cut myself a little slack and share a simple, fun product just to make you smile this beautiful Friday afternoon.  IMG_3004These are also available in pure merino wool felt if you have a little more $$ to spend.  The wool felt version is not machine washable, but is so super nice and naturally flame retardant.  It’s great play either way.  Find them, the tails, and the handmade tiger fleece vests to round off the adventure in my shop, The Tree House Kid!  Have fun and be safe this weekend!  Cheers from all of us at Goodwin’s Custom Crafts!

The Harrowing Halloween Truth…

 

Let me start by saying that it’s been a GREAT Halloween season.  This year was a little different because my Mom was coming over a couple of times a week to help me snip threads, cut out designs, and wrangle the little ones while I pushed through the workload, not to mention this is the first season that Josh has also been working from home and available to be my back-up.  All in all, I am coming out on top of the game this year.  That is not always the case, trust me.  IMG_4462The harrowing Halloween truth is that this time of year, the volume of business which I am simultaneously SO grateful for and slightly terrified of, nearly ruins me.  No matter how prepared I am, no matter how many extra capes, crowns, and masks I have put back throughout the year, it always has a way of sneaking up on me.  I go from having fewer and fewer little moments to relax to all of a sudden, I realize I haven’t signed a kid’s school folder for weeks, haven’t been in the kitchen for days, (I have only cooked about one homemade meal a week for the last couple months, which is horrible for me because I LOVE to cook and it is so cathartic to me!), and have nearly given up running and biking altogether…All the little things that make me feel grounded and centered and pulled together, in other words, get forsaken during this season.  And while I have gotten so much better about taking care of myself and maintaining good familial relationships during this phase, there have been years (this is my fifth Halloween on Etsy as a costume designer) that I have felt like a vessel for all the work that passed through my hands and nothing more when it was over.  IMG_4110Literally nothing left inside me.  Hollow, empty, sad, tired, and so in need of a break and some down time that I didn’t even realize it anymore.  You all know the feeling.  One day of needing a break goes unfulfilled on top of another and another and before long you are wondering why did I want to work from home again?…If you don’t know the feeling, I will only say that it is soul wrenching and quite hard to recover from.  Add to that stress the fact that I LOVE this time of year for what it affords my family, and am usually eager to reopen the shop after Halloween because I am able to save money, fund Christmas, birthdays, and extracurricular sport activities, and get on top of things going into the new year with the revenue earned this time of year, (No time to crawl under a rock and nurse your wounds, I can tell you that!!) and one busy season easily flows right into the other.  And speaking of wounds, there have been plenty.  There was the one year I dropped my spring-loaded thread trimming scissors and in trying to catch them, I stabbed myself (deeply!) in the leg, the countless callouses on my not-so-dainty hands which I have given up ever getting rid of, the aches in my hips and back from sitting in a chair at the sewing machine for hours and hours every day, the broken needles popping off and ricochetting off my face….The concept of pouring your blood, sweat, and tears doesn’t just remain some distant cliché, but a promise here during Halloween and then again for Christmas business.  All is not dark in this tale though!  Of course I wouldn’t be in my fifth year if that was all there was to the story.  That is but a small part that I usually keep to myself and those closest around me.  This year, I am coming out on top, though!  With Mom and Josh’s help, it has felt like a different year.  Not to mention, unsurprisingly, the longer I do this, the easier it seems to get!

Now that I have revealed the ugly truth about this time of year, I will reveal something else too. IMG_4323 The counter story to this one.  The uplifting, gratifying, happy version.  The version where I get a picture from a customer, whose child has just tried on their costumes for the first time and they are glowing!  Or the review from a Mom who said her kid doesn’t want to take their costume off, or wanted to sleep in it every night!  The endless inspiration I get from customers is such a source of renewal and rejuvenation.  They come to me asking for what they think will be the craziest idea, but to me is a challenge that is like a bright light bursting through the clouds.  In my house we talk about “The Bucket”…That internal source of joy and happiness that can be filled or emptied by certain experiences.  My Dad always called it “The Internal Well” and it became a metaphor for self-care and guide for who to let into your life.  Does someone help fill your bucket, or drain it?  And the same goes for experiences.  I will make the distinction here that all my customers, all my orders, all my success fills my well.  Fills it so high!  The only draining part is the longevity of the process…The 16 hour days and aches and pains that go along with it.  I love ALL my customers so much and am so grateful to them all.  Having said that, I now say that there is a special place in my life for these custom order requests.  They fill the well in double measure and fuel so much of the creativity I draw on throughout the year.  It really is a blessing to have people come to me, to entrust their kids’ visions, dreams, and fantasies with me to make them a reality.  I changed The Tree House Kid slogan this year after having this thought to:  “THE TREE HOUSE KID, Turning Fantasies into Realities Since 2011!”  I know it’s a fitting one because I’ve looked at it for months and haven’t gotten tired of it yet, and I think it helps define TTHK pretty perfectly.  As a tribute to the end of Halloween Season 2015, coming out on top and in better and better shape every year, and to all my customers, big and small, old and young, custom and not custom alike, I share these with you now.  Enjoy your Haunting and Long Live ALL The Tree House Kids~~~

IMG_4424 IMG_4422 IMG_4407
IMG_4324
IMG_4262 IMG_4182 IMG_4110 IMG_4098 IMG_4035 IMG_4009 IMG_3998 IMG_3968
IMG_3645 IMG_3354 IMG_3261 IMG_3248 IMG_2979IMG_4577icm_fullxfull.70075047_1nwijwcr955wws8wgk04icm_fullxfull.70075049_mjk0ex5g95ww8gsok4s4

Today’s Featured Item – Dragon Knight Adventure Gear by The Tree House Kid

IMG_4859Today’s featured item is a mighty costume, not for the faint hearted!  Made for one who braves life and limb in pursuit of the mighty beasts of this world who wreak havoc on innocent villagers and peasants, defenseless stuffed animals and little brothers everywhere!  Forged in the depths of my tiny sewing room…I mean, the magical cave at the end of Goodwin’s Glen, these fantastic Ecofelt body armor pieces will surely give your little ones the strength to do the most epic battling of their wee little lives!  Their great big lives!  Their magnificent, beast defying lives!  Kids are at the heart of nearly everything I do.  They have inspired me since I was a kid…sounds weird, I know, but what I mean is that I was the 13-year-old who LOVED playing dress up with my 5-year-old little sister.  The one who volunteered to be the helper at the church nursery where my Dad was a choir director when I was a kid, just to be able to play with them all and be sure everybody had a friend.  IMG_4891The one who dreamed of having my own children when I was barely a freshman in college.  I always loved the little kids, the picked on kids, the friendless kids.  Actually, take that sentence and apply it to all people.  The little people, the picked on people, the friendless people.  I like them because they are usually the kindest and bravest people you’ll meet.  There is a quote that I read once that reminds me of these people, ” A shallow river makes noise.  A deep river says nothing.”  But every now and then we the littles rise up and feel brave and proud and make some noise!  Mythical and monstrous in our own right!  Mightier than we ever dreamed, and braver than we ever knew possible.  IMG_4792Seriously, though.  I love my costume business and as things are starting to shift into high gear for The Tree House Kid, I just wanted to share some of the inspiration with you.  Inside us all is a tiny person in need of a great big voice!  Give kids a voice early enough, teach them to always use it justly, and what marvelous things could happen!  I have heard from so many customers of mine who have told me their kids want to sleep in their costumes, or never take them off, or love them dearly.  Hearing things like this from customers all over this world are a gift I could never have imagined getting back in return for what I do.  I don’t know why I followed my thoughts down the path I did tonight with the whole “I love kids and always have” thing.  I am not even entirely sure it has anything to do with The Tree House Kid and ALL the adventure gear I make there, but I just couldn’t erase the sentence once it was out.  It’s all too true.  Too raw.  (Not to mention I am 100% sure that it is in fact very related…I mean, hello?!)  And a good friend who knows blogging told me that you really can’t be honest enough.  So there you have it.  Goodnight and now back to my magical sewing cave room.