Following the dream...running a business as a stay at home mom, navigating the fashion industry, sharing resources, promoting like minded people and businesses

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My blog has moved!

Brand New Blog with lots of exciting things in store for 2011.  Please go here to start following me.  :)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A handmade Christmas, heartfelt memories

I was so excited to close up shop 4 days before Christmas this year and make presents for my family.  Finally I would have time for those side projects that swim in my head while I am working on orders. 

My list was short and sweet:
A bathrobe for my daughter Marlise, with pockets of course.
A Hot pink faux fur and black and white damask blanket for my sister Alicia

But once I finished these I added in 2 dolls for Alicia and Marlise and 2 faux fur bone chew toys for Sam and Chloe who would be joining us for the holidays.  Sam is my parent's golden lab and Chloe is my brother's Maltese.

I have never enjoyed gift giving so much!  Here are a few pics to share the love with you!

Straight for the pockets.  Now that she's two the first question I get every time she gets dressed is "does it have pockets".  If it doesn't have pockets she invents them.
Alicia's blanket turned out so nice I almost wanted to keep it.  I guess I can make my own though. ;) Look at that smile!  She loved it!
That's Marlise and a sneak peek at Sunshine, kangacoo's first doll.

Marlise and Chloe.  Marlise got a kiss for the bone chew toy.  I don't mind letting her take the credit.  I'm not big on dog kisses.
Sam loved her bone too!  She pranced around the living room with it in her mouth shaking her head around like a ferocious beast, far from the sweet girl she is but we enjoyed the show.

Making presents this year was such an enjoyable memory for me and knowing my gifts will be cherished for a lifetime makes my heart sing.   

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Holiday Traditions: Swedish Christmas

I am sure you have a tradition that you celebrate every year, one that warms your heart for months to come, one that really kicks off the holiday season for you.  For me that tradition in Santa Lucia, a Swedish Christmas celebration. 

I was the first Santa Lucia in my family; being the oldest granddaughter in my family gave me the privilege.  I was dressed in a white gown and red sash and a wreath with lit candles (yes lit and I was only about 6 lol) was placed on my head.  I then paraded around the living room full of my family and extended family serving them cookies to the Santa Lucia song.

I wish I had a picture to insert of me here but instead here is a picture of my niece who was Santa Lucia this year along with my great aunt who organizes this every year with my grandmother. 

Over the years we have added the other children to the procession. 
Little Star boys...this is my nephew Evan.

And light girls...this is my niece Lia

This year my little Marlise got to be a light girl for the first time.  In a few years she will get to be Santa Lucia.  Here she is:

This is such a special tradition for my family and we have such a good time eating and laughing and spending time together.  I feel so fortunate to come from a family with strong traditions.  Thank you Grandma and Auntie Margaret!

Here is the history of Santa Lucia, sad but true. 
St. Lucia is an Italian saint who has been "adopted" by the Swedes. (She gave her dowry to the poor. Her fiancee denounced her for this. She was blinded and burned. The flames didn't touch her so she was stabbed in the heart. The red sash represents the wound. It is said that she appeared during a famine in Sweden in the middle ages carrying food to the farmers across Lake Vännern.)

She is associated with the idea of light. In the middle ages, December 13 fell on the shortest day of the year. (In Sweden, the sun is not up very long in winter. In some places it doesn't come up at all.) This holiday celebrates the fact that the days will now get longer.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Turkey takes round one...

I am one of those people that has to have the holiday perfect down to the finest detail including handmade place cards with different thankful quotes inside each one.  It had been years since I had hosted a major holiday and I was thrilled!  It all started off so perfect.  The house was clean and decorated, the turkey was roasting, sides were prepped and our 24 guests had just arrived with hugs and thankful hearts. 

Quickly quiet, clean and Hallmark went to loud, messy and chaos.  But that's what makes a holiday a holiday.  The women filed into the kitchen with wine in one hand and cooking utensils in the other and the men filed outside with the kids or plopped on the couch to catch the game. 

Everything was going to plan until that turkey had to act up.  It was time for a basting but the stubborn bird had not produced any juice in 3 hours!  Had I not thawed it enough?  Was the oven not working?  The temp was not even 130 yet!  My sister in law calmed me and told me to just give it time.  We added some broth to the bottom of the pan and turned up the oven.  Next check in an hour. 

The hour passed quickly as we munched on egg rolls and made some sides.  Then we called in the men to pull out the bird.  But that bird had plans of it's own and did a swan dive breast first out of the pan and into the back of the oven.  In a panic my brother in law and husband tried to get the bird out of the back of the oven and back into the pan.  During the process my husband burned his thumb to a crisp and the meat thermometer broke on the floor.

The turkey was salvaged but the house was starting to quickly fill with smoke.  As my sister in law sopped the juice from the bottom of the hot oven I ran around opening every door and window in the house.  My guest politely smiled like nothing was wrong but even through the thick smoke I could see the underlying look of sympathy in their eyes.  One guest actually left.  My sister in law tried to calm me again and offered a glass of wine and my other sister in law commented that she shouldn't give me wine because it would make me "more emotional".  The straw that broke the camel's back as they say.  My eyes welled up, my lip quivered, my sister in law offered a hug and Niagara falls came forth.

Then in my smoke filled kitchen next to my undercooked turkey the true holiday moment emerged.  My family and friends formed a procession line of hugs and kind words that the holiday is about being together not about the food.  I accepted the white lies, wiped away my tears, and had that other glass of wine.

In the end dinner turned out great.  The turkey may have taken round one but the joke was on him at the dinner table.  We all sat at the table and passed food, gave toasts and shared our quotes on the hand made place cards.  We listened to the kids tell what they were thankful for.  The Hallmark beginning of the evening had come full circle to wrap up the night. 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Charity, who gives?

It's that time of year again.  The time of year where pleas for donations meet you at every store front, fill up your email inbox, and ooze from your front step mailbox.  In this time of tight purse strings should you give and does it really make a difference?  A touchy question I know but one that should be talked about.

I will admit I have always been a minimal giver to a few foundations.  Never more than $20-$100 at a time but I have chosen ones that I continually give to.  I see it like a like a savings account, if I keep plunking away at it I may have something big to enjoy later.  It takes faith though.  With so many people giving towards so many causes will "a cure" ever really be found?

I have always given to breast cancer research.  I have participated in 3 60 mile Susan G Koman Walks and raised over $2000 each time.  I was inspired to do this by my grandmother who survived breast cancer in her thirties.  She recently just survived it again called me this week just a few days after her second mastectomy to say that the procedure this time was so much less intrusive, that the pain was so much less, and that the technology used to detect it was able to catch it soon enough for her not to have to go through radiation or chemo.  She said she felt the walks I did helped to contribute to this.  My eyes teared and my heart swelled.  Not because I felt I could really take credit for this but because I knew that if we all keep giving together we can make a big difference in people's lives.

So please continue to give in faith.  Give to whatever charity means the most to you. 

In honor of breast cancer awareness month I urge you to give to breast cancer research.  If you donate to Images for a Cure this month (only two days left) you can get a free photoshoot.  Perfect for those holiday cards!  If you are in so cal book with Nicole from If not you can book with a participating photographer in your area. Check the details here:
Tis the season to give.  XOXO Katie

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Cereal Fairy

Today I had the opportunity to revisit the corporate world and my old Boss and while it was great to say hello it really reminded me of how I am living the dream now.  My dream.  While I am not making as much money as I used to (yet), and I certainly don't have an office to leave my work at, I am doing it all my way.  I am exercising my creative outlets and I am staying home to raise my daughter; two luxuries I don't take for granted.

Things look pretty different in my new life.  I went from suits and high rises to sweats and suburbs.  Breaktime consists of well...NEVER.  And while I run a business I keep tabs on a toddler with one eye.  Multitasking to the max doesn't always work out.  For example, last month I was trying to get some fabric cut while Marlise played in the tupperware cupboard.  I was 10 feet away and could hear her but had my back turned.  Then a loud noise that could only be...
I turned around to hide my smile and composed myself.  Then I faced her with my sternest mommy face and said, "you clean this up before I come back or you are in trouble!"  Back to finish cutting; I had to clean the floors anyway.  A few minutes later I am done and back in the kitchen to check on her progress.  I walk in and gasp, "What are you doing?!?!"  "Eating blueberries, Mommy." she replied with a smile.
A day at the office could never trump this.  Living the dream!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Grand Opening of Fabulous Baby/Momma Boutique!!!

Is this not what we all have been waiting for?  A boutique with fashionable momma clothes and boutique baby items all in one place?  Getting all you need and only unbuckling and bukling in the baby one time?  What a dream!!!!!!

Not to mention it is owned by one of the most amazing women I have met!  Mother of eight and always a smile on her face!  Susan Swafford

I am so excited to announce the Grand Opening of Baby Vie!  Baby Vie Grand Opening Party on Friday Sept. 10, 2010 from 3:00-5:00!  Come enjoy Batter's Up cupcakes, face painting, balloons, Alex's Lemonade Stand, champagne, raffles and new to the line up, a Cake specially made for us by Tiffany Vargas' aunt Mary! Don't miss the fun!

Baby Vie Baby and Maternity Boutique (in Civil Disobedience Btq.) in 4S Commons

10550 Craftsman Way #184
San Diego, CA 92127

kangacoo products will be coming soon to Baby Vie!

More info about the store and grand opening:

As many of you know, Baby Vie opened in 4S Ranch on September 1, 2010! We've partnered with Civil Disobedience Btq., a boutique featuring women's clothing and accessories, to offer women of all ages and stages a fun and fashionable shopping experience. We've both added dozens of new fall styles in babies, toddlers, women's and maternity clothing and accessories.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month! In honor of our good friend TIffany Vargas and all the other children battling this devastating disease, Baby Vie is donating a portion of our profits in September to Alex's Lemonade Stand, a foundation dedicated to raising money to fight childhood cancer.

Please join us for our GRAND OPENING *Family Happy Hour* on September 10th featuring balloons, face painting, Batter's Up cupcakes, a special cake made by TIffany's aunt Mary, champagne, raffles, special discounts, and an Alex's Lemonade Stand...100% of ALL proceeds from the lemonade stand will go to fight childhood cancer through ALSF.

With Peace, Love and Appreciation,

Susan Kramer-Swafford, Baby VIe Owner