Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Creative Homefires: Elegant Monograms

Creative HomeFires is a series which highlights the value that creativity offers to family members of a deployed spouse/significant other.  We offer stories of the creative life and the beautiful benefits experienced during some of the most difficult seasons.

  This Feature is written by Heather Strickland,  
Here's her Story:

Girl's keepsake baby bib
        Shortly after graduating OIS my husband was stationed at the National Naval Medical Center in Maryland. Being married less than a year and never being away from home I was excited and a little anxious about our new adventure. We moved in August, and the day before Thanksgiving he found out he was being deployed to Afghanistan.  Well, you can imagine how I felt, newly married and already the Navy is taking my husband away, and I have no family or friends here.

Cosmetic Bag
        I found a job to pass the time, and it kept me busy while my husband was gone for 15 months.  But, I needed something else to keep my mind off what was going on on the other side of the world. One day I went to the store for some scrapbooking supplies to work on our wedding scrapbook.  Well, let’s just say I never made it.  I took a test drive on an embroidery machine and fell in love with it. Over the course of a year monogrammed pillows, handkerchiefs, and blankets filled care packages sent to him. Two of his favorite items that I made are an embroidered pillow with a key with the inscription “You hold the key to my heart”, and a log cabin quilt.  

Venice Lace Bridal Handkerchief
If you would like to submit a story for this series please contact us ("Contact" tab at the top of the blog) for consideration. 


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nice Girl Notes hosts "The Cute Sale" Homefront-style! April 1st 8pm-11pm

Get Ready… Get Set… Shop!
A few days ago our fearless leader, Lilac Ave, asked me to write up a post about this upcoming promotion. I believe I told her “Hell No, writing blog posts isn’t my thing.” Well, I started to feel a little guilty and then today while drowning my sorrows in a Mocha Frappacino all the words came to me.
The fabulous and funny Roo of Nice Girl Notes (http://www.nicegirlnotes.com/) has agreed to hold a special sale ...on her Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/NiceGirlNotes) page featuring Homefront Team members! From 8pm through 11pm, she will post items that have been reduced in price and the first person to jump up and down and yell MEEEEEE will get to buy it. You will have to give Roo your email address that is associated with your PayPal account and then the individual shop owner will send you an invoice. Once you pay, your goodies will be on their way.
What will be offered? More like what won’t be offered! Candles, jewelry, kid’s items, hair accessories, soap (summer is coming, better buy extra of that!), paper goods, and plenty more. I think it is safe to say that everything will be priced under $25!

So what do you need to do to get in on this fan-freaking-tastic sale?

1. 1. Have a Facebook account! Now this doesn’t mean you have to connect with your mother, your cousin, your third grade teacher or that boy you held hands with at church camp 30 years ago. But in order to shop, you have to have an account. Trust me, it will be worth it!

2. Show up on the Nice Girl Notes Facebook page on April 1. Actually, it is a good idea to show up early so you know the times she will be posting the sale items. I suggest March 31. You don’t have to spend the night camped out like a Rolling Stones concert but you do need to know what times the main event will take place.
3. Have a PayPal account. Again, totally worth it and can close it after you give us all your money.
4. A sense of humor, some patience and a ton of enthusiasm for shopping handmade. I encourage you to think of it not as supporting the troops but instead supporting a dream. Each of us started our business with a dream (mine is to fully support my addiction to pedicures and Starbucks!) and someday you will be able to say you bought from us when…
Although the sale is at www.Facebook.com/NiceGirlNotes, here are the shops participating, so you can see what types of things will be in store!

http://www.lilliannelee.etsy.com/
http://www.simplyleilani.etsy.com/
http://www.holdsit.etsy.com/
http://www.wellofcreations.etsy.com/
http://www.quitecrafty.etsy.com/
http://www.badcatjewelry.etsy.com/
http://www.jewelrykaleidoscope.etsy.com/
http://www.nikid.etsy.com/
http://www.kristynskreations.etsy.com/
http://www.homemadezen.etsy.com/
http://www.cuttergurlcreations.etsy.com/
http://www.plushoodles.etsy.com/
http://www.sabtisdesigns.etsy.com/
http://www.ourhidingplace.etsy.com/
http://www.reynared.etsy.com/
http://www.oliverwaveoriginals.etsy.com/
http://www.okiroo.etsy.com/
http://www.thenaturesthread.etsy.com/
http://www.tvitale.etsy.com/
http://www.lilacave.etsy.com/
http://www.twoseasidebabes.etsy.com/
http://www.astonesthrow.etsy.com/
http://www.bananabearboutique.etsy.com/
http://www.2littlefriends.etsy.com/
http://www.herhero.etsy.com/
http://www.msmichalek.etsy.com/


This fabulous write up was written by Kim Allen
You can also become a fan on Facebook.

AND, To read about the incredible Roo, that is hosting this event, I highly suggest going to http://www.nicegirlnotes.com/
Here is her post on our event!

Monday, March 28, 2011

HF Community: BLOG Meetups

Homefront Team wants to offer an offer an opportunity for you to meet one another via your personal blogs.

This idea was presented by Diane of Sweet European Dreams


So here is how we will do this:

Go ahead and put the link to your blog in the comments and we will all go around and get to know one another and become subscribers to each other blogs (if you so choose).  Please make sure that if you leave a link, you are planning on making the effort to visit other participant's blogs.  We will keep the link open for 48 hours (until Wednesday's post) and then we will close the comments.  That way no one feels slighted if they add their link later because more than likely they will not get the same visits as others.

OK have fun and LET'S LINK! 

Robin Norgren, Blog Coordinator

Friday, March 25, 2011

Story Behind the (Shop) Name: Camelot's Treasures


Welcome Guinevere of Camelot's Treasures

Here is the story behind her shop name:

    I hate cliche's.  I really do.  However, ever since I was a little girl any imaginary land I made up was named Camelot.  Blame it on my mom, and her obsession with the 1967 movie Camelot starring Richard Harris and Vanessa Redgrave (she still insists if she had a second daughter her name would have been Vanessa).  She's the one that betrothed the name Guinevere to me at my birth.  Try spelling that name in kindergarten!

     After many years of getting used to the name, and shortening it to a more casual "Guin" I've realized that my name is a bit of an asset.  For instance, it's a great conversation starter.  I've learned that I NEED to stay away from Arthur's and Lance's for fear of relationship disaster.  It's a bit whimsy, mystery, and romance with a lot of historical elegance.  And me, being the opportunist that I am, absorb all the marketing ideology out of it that I can.

    Hence the name: Camelot's Treasures.  Little (and even some big) girls love stories of princesses, castles and knights in shining armor.  Camelot has all of that, and it possibly could have been a real place (to this day, there is no proof whether or not Camelot was simply a myth or a legend).  Although, I don't make too many medieval or historical outfits, I feel that my doll clothing and accessories inspire young girl's imaginations by being an outlet for their own fabulous stories of their own whimsical worlds.

    In Camelot, everyone's opinion was valued and listened to, and that's also how I like to run my business.  I appreciate hearing what my customers are asking and telling me; feedback is the best indicator of how well you are doing.  Many businesses big and little could definitely take a step back and utilize the roundtable idea, to become more successful in all aspects of their business.

    But mostly, I chose Camelot's Treasures because I liked it.  Yes, I admit it, it's cliche.  And sometimes I even envision myself as one of Camelot's treasures....
Thank you Guin! If you would like your story to be featured here, please contact us via the contact tab at the top of the blog.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Creative Homefires: Crafts by Christina

Creative HomeFires is a series which highlights the value that creativity offers to family members of a deployed spouse/significant other.  We offer stories of the creative life and the beautiful benefits experienced during some of the most difficult seasons.
Let me introduce
Christina Jacobson
of
Here's her story:

       In college I majored in Electronic Media, but little did I know that while most of the work I would do in this particular field would be on a volunteer basis.  I found a hobby which would turn into a money making venture while pregnant with my second child.  We had started cloth diapering our older son when he was six months old, and after PCS’ing to Ft. Campbell, we discovered that my husband would be deploying when I was 15 weeks pregnant with our second child.  
  
      I had started scoping out diapers for the new baby, as well as some for our older son, since we would have two in diapers when the baby was born.  Along the way, someone suggested that I make the diapers instead of buying them.  I was astonished and intrigued by the idea.  I did some research into what I would need, pulled out my sewing machine and began to check my local fabric store for supplies.  I discovered that my local fabric store had very little for what I would need, aside from fleece, terry cloth, and elastic.  So I began placing online orders for supplies.


       The time at the fabric store wasn’t wasted though.  I began looking at patterns, and buying fabric to make clothing for my older son.  I made him a winter coat, and some pants, and a shirt.  They all turned out rather nice, and I was very happy with my work.
 No one warned us how hard the beginning of a deployment can be financially.  So, in order to get some extra money, I decided to try selling some of my wares.  I was new to the on-line selling world and so it took a little learning, but I began selling handmade coats.  Along the way, I came across a bolt of ACU fabric, and bought some.  I’d been looking for it for some time, and was very excited to finally be able to buy some.

     After I had my younger son, I went to stay with my parents in California.  I bought the last of the ACU fabric I could find in the stores then, and made a dress with it.  Up until this time, I’d only made diapers for my older son with it.  In the on-line mall, called a Congo, one of the other store owners suggest that I make military apparel my specialty.  She was an Army wife as well, and while it seemed like an okay idea, I like creating all sorts of things, not just military themed items.


 About a month later, I got a request to make something in military fabric, then another request within the month.  I started to think that the other store owner was right, and began making more items with the camo fabric.  Before I knew it, Crafts by Christina became synonymous with military apparel, especially diapering items, for children.  I’ve now made numerous welcome home, R&R, and newborn coming home outfits, as well as sets just for fun.

   I’ve also expanded to key fob wristlets, bags, soft soled shoes, and headbands.  I’m always on the lookout for something new to make, but also love the custom orders that I get, and making special outfits to welcome home a parent, or welcome a new baby home.



Thank you so much Christina for sharing your story!  If you are interested in sharing your story with us, Contact us via the "Contact" Tab at the top of the blog.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Military Life...From a Spouse's Perspective - Sara Rubendall

The Military Brat Team and the Homefront Team are combining efforts to share our experiences with the military lifestyle so that others can fully understand the sense of community, sacrifices, benefits, and expectations we all share as members of a truly unique group of people. Each month we will feature a story shared by a Military Brat Team member, and a story shared by a Homefront Team member.

  This Feature is written by Sara Rubendall of  
Sara Rubendall Design Studio.  Here's her story:

Military Life….
From a spouse’s perspective
This photo is of us when I was modeling as Barbie like forever ago 
     I never in a million years thought I would be a Navy wife. Never. I met my husband when we were in college and shortly after we started dating he told me he had joined the Navy. I was absolutely devastated. The word Navy to me meant that I would never see him. I was a hot mess when he left for bootcamp and I cried until there were no more tears to cry. I thought at the time that nothing good would come of this, but boy was I wrong.
      We got married when he took leave from A-school in December of 2004. I was still unsure of this whole Navy thing because we were still apart and I dreamed of the time when we could finally be together. In April I rode a bus down to St. Mary's Georgia where my husband was stationed on his first boat. I was in heaven.  I am from a small town in Illinois and to say I hadn't been much of anywhere was an understatement. Now here I was in Georgia where I never thought I would be. Heck, this was the first time I had even seen the ocean! The Navy was turning out to be not so bad after all!

I won "first kiss"
     After I survived my first deployment we were transferred to Washington and I was pretty excited. We packed up our stuff and got driving. Once we got to Washington my mouth hung wide open. Never had I seen a mountain either. It was amazing and absolutely beautiful.


     In my experience as a Navy wife I will say that I have gotten to see and do some pretty cool things. How many people can say that they have been on a submarine? I am so lucky to have had these experiences and I thank the Navy for every last one of them :)

Blog                
Thanks Sara! If you would like to submit a story for this series please contact us ("Contact" tab at the top of the blog) for consideration.

Robin Norgren, Blog Coordinator

Friday, March 18, 2011

Story behind The (Shop) Name: 5280 Yarns


Welcome Winnie of 5280 Yarns

Here is the story behind her shop name:

    During my first deployment to Iraq, I was inspired to take up crocheting as a hobby by several of my friends and fellow soldiers who had learned to knit. For us, it became a relaxing activity to help wind down from the stresses of non-stop operations that working in a combat zone entails. Whether I was alone in my room, or hanging out with the other girls, crocheting was something I always had to keep myself busy and avoid dwelling on the fact that we were far from home. 

         Upon my return to the United States, I put crocheting on hold, but as another deployment loomed ahead, I was delighted to find a set of knitting needles in a care package my good friend sent. My passion for yarn was re-ignited, as I spent many hours reading knitting instruction books and looking at patterns. I decided to open my Etsy shop, 5280yarns, because I love knitting and crocheting, and wanted to share it with others. It also motivates and challenges me to start a new project or put my own twist on a pattern that I have found. 


         The name of my shop comes from the fact that I was stationed in Colorado, which is famous for Denver's elevation of 5280 feet. Although I am originally from another state, I fell in love with the beautiful mountains of Colorado and am proud to be living and creating here, so I wanted to incorporate Colorado into my shop's name.


Thank you Winnie for sharing your story! If you are interested in being featured, please contact us via the Contact tab at the top of the blog.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Creative Homefires: Katy Did Krafts

Creative HomeFires is a series which highlights the value that creativity offers to family members of a deployed spouse/significant other.  We offer stories of the creative life and the beautiful benefits experienced during some of the most difficult seasons.

Allow me to introduce Kimberly Jones of Katy Did Krafts
Here's her Story:
       I’ve been in the Air Force 13 years and I’m married to a service member. I find myself having to deal with my own deployments as well as my husband's.
      During a recent deployment to Iraq I took along some yarn to pass the time. When I had time off I would go to the Green Bean (coffee shop), get a cup of coffee and sit outside and crochet. It helped make me less homesick. When I’m home alone and my husband is away I like to curl up on the couch and crochet to help myself get through the long days without him.

            I am a very creative person by nature and I enjoy sewing and crocheting. As you all know deployments can be very stressful. I use my creative hobbies to help with all the stressful times. I find them to be excellent distractions from everyday life. They help me clear my mind and refresh my thoughts.

Thankfully everyone is home and safe right now so we can relax and enjoy until the next time.
Thanks Kimberly for sharing your story! If you would like to submit to this space, please contact us via the CONTACT tab at the top of the blog.

Robin Norgren, Blog Coordinator

Monday, March 14, 2011

HF Community: Monday Meetups

The 2nd and 4th (sometimes 5th) Monday of every month, watch this space for a few questions that you can take, post and answer on your blogs and THEN LINK BACK HERE so that we all can come around and visit.

This adventure is OPEN TO EVERYONE!  You DO NOT have to be a part of the Homefront Team.  We just ask that when you leave your link here, you TRULY have a post that pertains to the set of questions.

OK so....

This Week's Questions come from 
1. What song is your personal anthem? If you don't have an anthem a favorite song will do.
2. What is your favorite ride at an amusement park?
3. What was your favorite restaurant at any of your past/present duty stations?
4. Where is your favorite place to go for supplies?

Sarah is ALSO  a painter; WHAT A TALENT!
  Here are Sarah's answers:
1. "I'm Just a Girl" by No Doubt
2. I LOVE wooden roller coasters, especially if they are located on a pier that juts out into the ocean.
3. I'm at my first duty station in Alabama. The restaurant-pickens are slim so my favorite place to eat is my own kitchen.
4. My mom is a potter. I get my handmade clay buttons from her. It's awesome. For most other things I go to etsy.

Ok, remember to list the link to your blog in the comments

Sarah's links:
Have questions? Send them to us for consideration via the "Contact" Tab at the top of the blog?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

HF Tutorial: Tom Ka Gai (Spicy/Sweet Chicken & Lemongrass Soup)

This week's tutorial comes from Leah Butler of Reyna Red Jewelry




    I love spicy food – especially Asian cooking.  One of my favorites is Tom Ka Gai – which is a coconut milk based Thai soup made with chicken and lemongrass.  This is an amazing soup to make all year round, but I really like it in the Winter months, when it’s cold outside and snow’s on the ground.  The spicy/sweet flavor will warm you up!  The recipe I use for a base is from one of my favorite cookbooks – Thai & South –East Asian Cooking and Far Eastern Classics.  I’ve tweaked it over the years, so some of the ingredients I use are not in the original recipe.  Remember – cooking is about experimenting with flavors.  Have fun!

What you’ll need:

1 stock pot
Colander that fits into the stock pot
Meat tenderizer
Cutting board
Chopping knife


Ingredients:

4 lemon grass stalks, roots trimmed
2 cans of coconut milk (14 fl. Oz each)
2 cups of chicken stock
1 inch piece of Thai ginger, peeled and thinly sliced (galangal)
1 tsp. black pepper
10 lime leaves, torn
11 oz chicken breasts, thinly sliced
1 cup button mushrooms
1 can baby corn, drained and quartered lengthwise
4 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp fish sauce (nam pla)
1 can bamboo shoots, drained and sliced thin

Optional:
Chopped fresh chilis (depending on how hot you want your soup!), green onions, and fresh cilantro to garnish.


 Step 1:  Chop ingredients and prepare

Cut off the lower 2 inches from lemongrass stalks and chop finely.  Bruise the remaining stalks with a meat tenderizer (4-6 strokes each) and set aside.  Quarter baby corn, mushrooms, slice bamboo shoots and Thai ginger; set aside.  Thinly slice chicken into strips.

 
Step 2:  Making the soup stock

Add coconut milk and chicken broth to stock pot and bring to a boil.  Place the colander into the stock pot (should be submerged into the stock), and then add all the lemongrass, the Thai ginger, the pepper and half the torn lime leaves.  Lower the heat and simmer on low for 10 minutes.


 
Step 3:  Finishing the soup

Remove the colander to strain the lemongrass, Thai ginger, and lime leaves from the stock.  Set into sink.  Add the chicken, corn, bamboo shoots and mushrooms to the stock and simmer an additional 5-7 minutes on medium, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked.  Stir in the lime juice and fish sauce, as well as the remaining lime leaves.


 
Serve hot – garnish with chopped chilies, cilantro and green onions as desired.  Accompany with jasmine rice for traditional meal.

Serves 4-6 people.  Freezes like a dream for up to 6 weeks.

Enjoy!



Thank you Leah for sharing this recipe.  If you would like to be featured in this place, please contact us via the CONTACT tab at the top of the blog.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Shop Diagnostics: Mad House Mind Works

Shop Diagnostics is a series where we share tips coming from creative entrepreneurs who can run shops in light of adjustments brought on by military life YET APPLICABLE to all those interested in improving their shop's presence online and worldwide.

This is PART 3 of a three-part Series written by Lauren of Mad House Mind Works:


  Selling at Your Local Exchange
      Expanding your customer base by selling in your local military exchange is not hard to do and brings great rewards in the form of a new cash influx and new friends! It is relatively easy to get started.  The first step is to talk to your local exchange manager. Make sure that you have a business license and tax number before taking this step. They will ask you that, right off the bat. Next, you will need to fill out a contract which designates the days you sell, your prices, and your inventory. 


      Keep in mind that you will be competing with wholesale vendors and other crafters so you will need a large inventory with different price points to do well. Once your contract has been approved, you will be assigned your space and schedule, which will hopefully be fairly close to the days you wanted. Weekends and pay days are usually very busy and have the most vendors while the weekdays are typically less crowded. Your local exchange will most likely  have vendor rules that you will want to follow to ensure good cooperation and a great sales environment for your customers. Good Luck and Good Sales!



Thank you Lauren for sharing! If you have any shop tips you would like to share, Contact us via the Contact tab at the top of the blog.

Robin Norgren, Blog Coordinator

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Creative HomeFires: Heather Mac Arts

Creative HomeFires is a series which highlights the value that creativity offers to family members of a deployed spouse/significant other.  We offer stories of the creative life and the beautiful benefits experienced during some of the most difficult seasons.

Let me introduce Heather Mac of Heather Mac Arts.  Here's her story:
Hi! I'm Heather Mac, a Floridian army wife who toughed out three years in Alaska and got three years in another place where it snows for my trouble. Ah, well. It may be way colder than I'm comfortable with, but sunsets over snow are beautiful! I have a husband, Chris, an almost-girlfriend, Fizzy, a huge family that's mostly in Florida, and no kids or pets (yet). :)





I love to crochet, and my round Knifty Knitters are a new toy that I haven't gotten tired of. I've made a zillion in the past couple of weeks, and before that was a scarf kick. 



Places to find Heather:


Thank you so much Heather for sharing your story! If you would like to submit a story for this series please contact us ("Contact" tab at the top of the blog) for consideration.   

Robin Norgren, Blog Coordinator

Monday, March 7, 2011

Military Life...from a Spouse's Perspective: Crystal Hartung

The Military Brat Team and the Homefront Team are combining efforts to share our experiences with the military lifestyle so that others can fully understand the sense of community, sacrifices, benefits, and expectations we all share as members of a truly unique group of people. Each month we will feature a story shared by a Military Brat Team member, and a story shared by a Homefront Team member.

  This Feature is written by Crystal Hartung, shop owner of Crystal's Treasures

Military Life….
From a spouse’s perspective

First off, I’m an AF Wife and proud!  My husband was in the military when we met, and we have been together for over 10 years.

One of the hardest things to do is say goodbye to your spouse never knowing if they are coming back, and having to see the heartbreak on your children’s faces as the spouse walks out the door.

I become a single parent each time my spouse deploys.  The kids in school and their sports practices, working a regular job, and crafting all take time.  Then there is the home life of cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, clothes and necessity shopping, etc.  Sometimes it’s so hard, but then you get to talk to your spouse by phone, or Skype, and it all just washes away.  Nothing I have to do can be harder than what my spouse does.


Our spouses work every day to give us our freedom, and for that, I thank each and every spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, etc.  One of the hardest jobs is to be a military wife, and we are STRONG!

Making jewelry for me has been a large outlet of energy for me.  I love it, and it’s not considered a job to me, but a vision of fun.  I love creating!



Thank you so much Crystal for sharing your story! If you would like to submit a story for this series please contact us ("Contact" tab at the top of the blog) for consideration. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

HF Tutorial: PEANUT BUTTER Chocolate Chip Cookies


     I found this recipe in the December issue of Southern Living magazine.  It looked to be very simple to make so I tore out the page and saved it for later use. Last month I was hungry for something sweet and easy to make and remembered this recipe that I saved. I must say it was very easy to make and scrumptious to eat! I do have a confession though I ate all the cookies within 2 days.  So if you are a person who does not have self-control like me, you may want to pass on this recipe or give half the cookies away to a friend or neighbor.  :)




The recipe claims to make 2 dozen but I did not get that many out of the dough. This recipe doubles nicely.

1 cup of creamy peanut butter
¾ cup sugar
1 large egg
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
  Parchment paper


  1. Preheat the oven 350°
  2. Combine peanut butter, sugar, egg, baking soda, & salt in a medium bowl and stir until well blended. Gently mix in chocolate morsels.
  3. Line baking sheets with parchment paper place rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart on them
  4. Bake at 350° for 12-14 minutes until lightly browned. Cool the baking sheets on a wire rack for 5-7 minutes the move cookies to a wire rack and continue to cool for 15 minutes. 

This post was submitted by Heather Strickland of The Nature's Thread


USE COUPON CODE: "Spring 2011" TO RECEIVE 15% DISCOUNT ON THE ITEMS IN HER SHOP

Thank you Heather! If you are interested in submitting a tutorial to this blog, please contact us via the CONTACT tab at the top of the blog.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Story Behind the (Shop) Name: Ahoy Graphics


Kristen Hodges of Ahoy Graphics

Here's the story behind her shop name:

"Why a Design Shop went Nautical"

I chose the name Ahoy! Graphics for its double meaning. On one hand, the good ol’ sailor speak reflects my new lifestyle as a Navy wife. On the other hand, “Ahoy!” is my constant reminder that graphic design is essentially a visual conversation between two people. In my line of work, it's between a business and its customers—a great way to build connection with your buyers! The very definition of "ahoy" is to hail a ship, a boat or a person, or to attract attention.

I also keep it as my overall goal, because "Ahoy!" is more than a greeting, it's meant to get your sole attention—a key ingredient for good communication. Think about it, when you first meet a potential client, you don't say, "Hello!" without the intention of starting a conversation, right? Shouldn't your branding do the same? It's the welcome mat and greeting party to encourage potential customers to come take a look around.



Thank you Kristen! If you would like to be featured in this space, please contact us via the Contact tab at the top of the blog.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Creative Homefires: Reanna Lilly Design

Creative HomeFires is a series which highlights the value that creativity offers to family members of a deployed spouse/significant other.  We offer stories of the creative life and the beautiful benefits experienced during some of the most difficult seasons.

Let me introduce Jen Eskridge of Reanna Lilly Design.  Here's her story:
 
Hello, everyone, my name is Jen Eskridge and I am thrilled to share my motivation behind my Etsy shop.

I sew all sorts of items.  In fact, my background is in Apparel Design.  Armed with that, I set out sewing and designing.  I stitch with used military uniforms.  There are many ladies who also sew with uniforms.  All of our designs vary a bit, but we do all love what we do.  We make things from bags to baby items, and from garments to accessories. 

My Cube Purse design is what "put me on the map" for sewing.  I conducted most of my business as word-of-mouth through the spouses groups on various different military bases.  My husband was Active USAF for 11 years, until recently transitioning into the Active Guard Reserve.  While sewing on commission, I realized that there was no real way to stay ahead of the demand, efficiently.  I took my original designs and turned them into sewing patterns.  They offer instructions on how to make the item as well as how to "break down" a uniform for its new, re purposed end-use.  All the patterns include directions to make the item featuring the uniform, or stitch it up using only traditional cottons.


Most recently, one of my designs, The Home Front Sunggler Quilt was featured in McCall's Quick Quilts magazine.  Aside from bags and items being a great way to show your support for your loved one, a quilt made from a parent's uniform is a great way for the kids to feel close to the parent while they are separated.  The quilt is quick, and the pieces for construction are chunky rectangles.  Great for a beginner or seasoned quilter/sewist.  The pattern will release under my own company name, ReannaLily Designs, later this summer.  More uniform quilt designs are on the horizon, as I do think they are a very important way to feel just a little bit closer.

Just because uniform has a rip or stain, or was washed with a ball point pen in the pocket is no reason to cast it aside.  These uniforms represent our way of life and the life our loved ones have decided to lead.  I support my favorite military man 100%.  Now... if I can just get him to go TDY  so I can ransack his half of the closet...

Look for more patterns in upcoming issues of Quilter's World (April 2011) and 101 Patchwork Projects (Summer 2011).  I currently operate two shops, one for finished stitched samples at llyrric.etsy.com and the pattern shop at reannalilydesign.etsy.com

If you are looking to dabble in sewing and quilting, I also maintain a blog site that has 32 different sewing related tutorials as well as all sorts of sewing and quilting related posts.  http://www.reannaliliydesigns.blogspot.com

Thank you so much Jen for sharing your story! If you would like to submit a story for this series please contact us ("Contact" tab at the top of the blog) for consideration.