Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Savannah's Sunshine Shop has a NEW HOME!!

Why hello there my lovely friends! We've moved our blog to the new website. Be sure to check it out, comment, follow, and keep in touch!

Our new site is:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

And then it was mid-September...

Yep, its been a while since I've posted but I promise I have some really good excuses...kind of...

Do you ever have those days or weeks (or maybe months) that are just off? I'm talking about those little chunks of time that just wear you out...its the little interval of time that, when its finally over, you realize just how stressful and exhausting it had been. Yep...that was our summer. I'm not quite sure how to explain it, but one minute we were at a picnic at Erik's friend's house on July 4th and the next minute it was August 31st and we were finally heading on a much needed vacation from reality, from stress, from everything!

So where did our July and August go??

To make a long story short, my lovely hubby came down with a case of Shingles. It started as just a really bad, intense headache that lasted for a week...and then after more signs started to appear (like small bumps on his forehead and around his eye), it was finally diagnosed as shingles. The poor guy was out of work for over a week after he was finally diagnosed and he was exhausted and in pain for while when he went back. Its so hard to see someone you love in so much pain and not be able to do a thing.

Erik finally started to feel better but for some reason my immune system decided we weren't ready to enjoy the summer yet...I ended up with a bad cold (and due to the sick day I used and our lack of cable- this cold led to my new obsession with Downton Abbey...thank you Hulu!). One last little snag...As soon as I was feeling better, Erik had a bit of a shingles relapse. Luckily, he was feeling almost 100% by the time we left for Maui.

Needless to say...we were ready for a break from everything. We needed to relax, take a breath, enjoy some sun, enjoy each other's company, and just turn off everything. We were fortunate to be able to get away...and finally (!!!) things are getting back to normal. We are healthy, happy, and less stressed...and for a couple days, a little tan- which is a little rare in our neck of the woods...

I definitely did NOT intend to make this a whiny story about how rough our summer was up to the day we landed in Hawaii...I just feel that I owe an explanation for my silence...Here I am, trying to build my little shop, tell my story, share my craft, and create this Sunshine Shop world, chat with my friends and family and fans on my Facebook Fan Page...

and then...*crickets chirping*

I apologize my friends. I'm still here. Savannah's Sunshine Shop is still up and running and will have a new look (and new website!!) soon. So please hang in there with me...and STAY TUNED!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Patriotic Project

A special project for my lovely Aunt Terry...more pillows! She requested a patriotic color palette to go with her quilt, and she wanted one round, one square, and one rectangle pillow.

I wanted Terry to be able to get a lot of use out of these so the square and rectangle are reversible. I had originally planned to do the same with the round pillow but once I started cutting it out I decided it needed a little something extra...and this is where the idea for the pieced together, raw edged, wrapped, knotted, fabric fringe came into play!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Photo Friday: Colorful Finds

I couldn't walk by these without taking a few photos!

A bright green building with bright leafy plants...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Handmade Business Obstacle #1:Wanting to please EVERYONE!

I know if you are reading this, you probably know me...whether your a family member, friend, old classmate...and many of you who know me well, know that I love when people love me and I fret when people don't. For some reason I've had this crazy idea that my life mission to make everyone happy. I aim to please...and this desire to be liked and make people smile started early on in my life. There are stories of my dad  pushing me through the store in a grocery cart while he worked. As he finished ordering or pricing or whatever the task was, I became the unofficial customer greeter- I made sure to say hi to everyone that walked by. Maybe it goes back to my mom's "kill'em with kindness" method. Sugar-coat it, add sprinkles, and poor on the'll make anyone come around. Trust me, I've been perfecting this technique for years...make that decades!

By day, I'm customer service for a high end fabric showroom...I get paid to make people happy (and if they have an issue with an order- that can be waayyyyyy harder to do than it sounds!). By night, I work on building my Sunshine Shop brand by working on a new design for my blog, a new logo, new products...I dream up and plan out new items to add to my shop and work on current projects...I try to stop in and say hi to my Facebook fans, post fun photos, blogs, status updates....and why?!? So people like my brand!

I can openly and honestly admit it...I am a people pleaser. I have made some improvement- not everyone needs to like me...just almost everyone....just kidding (kinda of). I have grown though. I don't take things as personally as I used to. I'm learning that I can't take things too personally...especially if I want to have a successful handmade business. The truth is, some people will like my stuff and some will not...and much to my own surprise- I'm ok with that.

Here's an example- I had my first official 'unlike' on my Savannah's Sunshine Shop fan page...for a split second, I was a little hurt but then I remembered, it takes all kinds of people to make this big old world go 'round and not all of them are going to love colorful scarves, handwoven rag rugs, funky potholders, etc. I'm sure I've 'unliked' a page or two just because I forgot what it was! No matter what the reason, I really surprised myself by how quickly I brushed it off...Who knows who it was and really who cares...I'm ok with it!

There are so many styles, tastes, opinions out there that there is no possible way I can please everyone. I'm giving it up- at least when it comes to my Sunshine Shop. I'm never going to please everyone and I won't become successful trying. From what I've read- finding the perfect niche market is key. It almost feels like a weight off my shoulders...I'm here to follow my own creative eye and makes things that fit my personal design asthetic- and with that I'll be able to build an honest brand.

And you know what they say...if you build it, they will come.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Photo Friday: The Perfect Poppies

So if you assume that because I grew up in Kansas, I'm familiar with the movie The Wizard of're wrong. I'm not just familiar with it...I'm pretty sure I could put on a fairly accurate one woman reenactment of the movie. Oh, and if you want to throw in my two sisters, we could absolutely quote the whole movie (songs included!).

Its been a really long time since I've seen the movie. Well, except the time Erik and I looked up 'Wizard of Oz Dark Side of the Moon' on youtube just to check out the urban legend for ourselves...but that doesn't really count, right? No matter how long its been, there are little things that remind me of this classic. Like the time we were out on a walk with Austin and without realizing it (until an older gentleman walking in the opposite direction pointed out), I was wearing my red tennis shoes, my Kansas hoodie, and walking my scruffy dog. Or whenever I hear any cover of Somewhere Over the know the song I've mentioned a few times that I like?

And then there's poppies...I will never be able to walk by poppies without hearing The Wicked Witch of West..."Poppies...poppies...poppies will put them to sleep..". You know the scene...

No matter what your association with the flower, you can't deny it's beauty- the crepe paper-like petals and the vibrant color. I've never noticed them as much as I have this spring though...maybe I'm under their spell?!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Photo Friday: Skagit Valley Tulips

April showers bring April flowers? I know that's not how the saying goes...but April is the Tulip Festival! It was a rainy drive up to the fields but completely worth it...

Monday, May 20, 2013

Brunch Date!

I remember our first night up here...our first night in the city. Our mattress was on the floor, boxes and Rubbermaid bins stacked up around us, and outside our window...our 'night light'. We could see the very top of the Needle from our bedroom window and we fell asleep to it softly glowing in the distance.

Over the years, it has became more than just a local landmark to us...not only did it help light the apartment for those middle-of-the-night sleepy stumbles to the bathroom- it also represented a brand new life, a new beginning, the journey we were starting on our own...just the two of us (ok, technically three of us, counting our pup, Austin).

After almost five years and with the help of a gift card (thanks Leslye & Don!), we finally made it to the top! We had the biggest brunch or my lives...lets just say my appetizer was a Belgian waffle.

Facing South- The skyline and Mt Rainier
Facing East- The Cascades in the distance

I may have been a little too photo happy...

We spent our two+ hours in the restaurant pointing out every building, landmark, mountain, neighborhood we knew. We pointed out the streets, the highways, the hills we've driven down and the streets we've walked along.

We could even see our old apartment was crazy to think how many nights we spent staring at the Needle in awe...

And there we were, remembering that first night...staring right back at the place where this whole adventure started.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Trying to find hope in humanity...

I checked my phone over my lunch and found out through facebook posts and twitter what had happened. My stomach dropped...not again. More innocent people harmed by a selfish, hateful act. I don't think I knew anyone running the Boston marathon today, maybe a friend of a friend on facebook, but it doesn't take a personal connection to feel the confusion, the hurt, and the anger resulting from today's events. 

I don't understand. My whole life has been about being kind to people, trusting people and believing that there is more good than evil out there. I truly believe that most people are good...but then something happens...a school shooting, a coffee shop shooting, a bombing and I feel completely naive. The Pollyanna world of rainbows, sunshine, and 'do-gooders' is trampled. I lose hope, I become afraid...not just for us but for future generations, our kids and their kids. What's going to happen to them? Are they going to be able to go out to a public event or place and feel safe? Will they be able to live without being afraid to walk out their front door?

To be honest- I was having kind of a crappy Monday...stressful, customer issues, not ready for the weekend to be over, short staffed...I really had a case of the Mondays when I woke up this morning. I knew Erik did too. He started working on a task at work that he absolutely dreads on top of feeling stressed and exhausted. We were both a little grumpy and a little tired. Everyone has those days...but after I saw the news on my lunch break, I knew I needed to snap out of it. My day and my 'problems' were NOTHING compared to those whose lives will forever be changed by the bombings today. My blah mood and stress from work was nothing...I realized that I needed to get over myself and be thankful for every last ounce of life I have.

How do you cope with something like this? How does a participant, or a friend or family member of one cope? How does the community cope? How do we as a nation cope? We have to find that lost faith and trust in humanity. I've noticed a trend (it's sad that there have been so many tragic events that there can be a trend to be noticed). The worst times bring out the best in people. Through the confusion and tears, people pull to together. They help each other, they donate money and time to help. We start to realize again...that people are good. 

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”      
-Fred Rogers

Along with rebuilding our trust, we cannot be afraid of walking out our doors. We can't be scared to go out to community events, to public areas, to museums, parks, landmarks...We have to keep going places, we have to continue coming together and celebrating our communities. 

If the fear keeps us inside and stops us from living life, then they win...whoever they may be.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Spicy hot right now!

If it isn't already too obvious- I'm a fabric lover...some may call me a hoarder but I prefer collector or connoisseur. I have a closet full of beautiful fabric. Among the many, many, MANY large scale linen prints, I have silks, velvets...even maybe a leather or two. Believe me, I've collected more than my fair share of fabrics. I am seriously concerned that someday my piles and piles will end up in the apartment below us...ok, maybe not...but that gives you an idea of how much fabric I actually have saved up over the last few years.

So what do you do with so much fabric, you ask? Well, besides a handful of hot pads, woven rugs, and bags, I've really enjoyed sewing pillows! As I've mentioned before, I'm a self taught sewer so I jump on anything that helps me improve. I've made monogram pillows for my sisters and my sis 'n law (who also added a few more pillows to her collection a couple Christmas' ago). I've whipped up a set for my Aunt. I've made a ba-zillion (ok...more like 15-20) different pillows for our living room and bedroom over the past few years. They are a simple way to spice up a room. Its always exciting to pull the bins out of the good 'ol craft closet and build a color palette. It helps remind me why I push myself every evening and makes me feel creative and alive! 

Most recently, my mother in law, Leslye, asked me to sew some pillows for her. She and her husband, Don, visited last November and we spent some time digging through the piles of pattern and color. 

She brought a few photos of pottery she has on display in her living room and away we went...pawing through the piles of fabrics and here is how everything came together....

Spicy, bold, summery colors...a mouthwatering salsa and guacamole color palette! (am I making you hungry?!) I love this classic but fresh combo. We mixed prints, velvet, dots, stripes, embroideries...a little bit of everything but it came together beautifully!

The pillows I've made in the past have had an envelope closure in the back so the pillow can easily slip in and out. I made Leslye's pillows two sided so she can mix and match until her heart is content!

Side 1 on the left and Side 2 on the left:

And of course a few a group shots for good measure:

And another satisfied customer...and sofa!

More projects to come soon!! :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Jumping off the high dive.

Wow...It has been 20 days since my last post! I thought I was getting waaaaayy better at this. Where did February go? And while your trying to figure that one out...where did the last year go? Or the last FIVE for that matter?! I'm starting to realize that it's true...time does speed up the older we get.

As March begins and yet another birthday approaches, I've started to look inward again. I'm really seeing a pattern...I really do this every year. Where was I last year at this time? What was I doing? What have I done to better myself? my craft? my life? Am I happier? stronger? I know you ask these questions too...maybe it's year round, or January 1st, or (like me) around your birthday...but I sure, or at least I hope I'm not alone. Overall, I can honestly say, I am happier...especially compared to that creative dry spell I wrote about this time last year. We moved into a new place about a year ago, Erik and I have tried new things (like outdoorsy things!), and we have some fun and exciting plans for the future. It is a fun time in our lives and I'm looking forward to the next last year as a twenty-something. It has to be good, right?!

While looking back over this past year, I'm finding there is still one thing that I need to work on. It is the one hurdle that I just can't seem to muster up the courage to jump...I need to focus more energy on making this handmade business happen. It's something that I've dreamed about and chased around for years. I've sold  things through Etsy to family, friends, and a few people I don't know but I know it can be more. I know it can be something. I know I need to do this to feel complete. Yep, I mean in a Jerry McGuire "You complete me" sort of way. I need to catch up with this creative, blown up dream and grab onto it before it's out of reach.

But it's soooo intimidating.

I know there's something in your life too...that thing that you have always wanted to do, that thing you have always wanted to learn, that place you've always wanted to visit or move to, that career you've always envisioned or that non-profit you've always wanted to start. It's that thing that you know, deep deep deep in your heart, that would make your life whole, happy, complete. I'm not talking Roomba Vacuums or a healthy chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, people...I'm talking about your passion.

So now that I have you thinking about that passion of yours...are you following it? are you living it? If you are my personal HERO. But I'm sure most of you are like work hard during the day, you're tired at night, you have a laundry list (and laundry for that matter) of things to do in the evenings and on days off. If and when you have time to find and follow that distant dream, it feels so far away. Sometimes, so far away that you can't see it...maybe you forgot what it even looks like! It seems like a lot of effort, a lot of sacrifice, a lot of work to catch up to it and actually make it happen...and what if it doesn't work out? What if you fail?!

I've heard that 'C' students are most likely to become successful entrepreneurs because they are comfortable with taking risks. I always thought I was a risk taker...I take that back- I liked the idea of being a risk taker. I've tried to be that person...but eventually my stereotypical first born personality traits kick in. I need a plan, I need structure, I need to know that I will succeed, and most importantly, I need to know I will be the put it plainly- I was an 'A' student. I'm pretty sure there was a moment(s) in my middle school and high school career when I cried because I got a 'B', let alone a 'C'.

I guess, busy schedules, fear of failing and fear of the unknown aside...we have to just do it. It may take some time, it may take that last little bit of energy we have left in the evenings...but we have to just make it happen even if it's scary and intimidating. It might be easier for some of us than others but as my wonderful friend Betsy told me, "You survived the high dive even though it took you 45 minutes to jump off."

And with this...I leave you with a pep talk from Kid President.

To Be Continued.....

Friday, February 8, 2013

Friday, February 1, 2013

Photo Friday: Pet Project-Animals Up Close

An ode to our BFFs...our pets!




And you know this guy...the one and only Austin (my favorite model)




Friday, January 25, 2013

Photo Friday: Nature Up Close

I started Photo Friday with the intention of posting every Friday...but we all know how that has turned out! I've decided to change 'Photo Friday' to 'Whenever I have photos to post-Photo Friday'. This will take some of the pressure (from myself!) off of my shoulders and it will ensure that only quality photos will be posted for your viewing pleasure. Thanks to my husband Erik, and my in-laws Leslye and Don I have an awesome new camera to keep me going!

On a weekend trip to Portland to visit family, our pup Austin and I (along with the new camera!) did a little exploring in the backyard...