Thursday, December 12, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My Relaxation Case (or Imperfection is Perfection!)

I debated on what to title this post, or to even write it at all! So it has two names, My Relaxation Case, and Imperfection is Perfection. Both are entirely fitting. :)

So last month instead of closing MotherMoonPads, I took a giant leap of faith, found funding, and went full blast into it. I opened to custom orders, re-opened my HyenaCart, and am working on a website at this very moment!

I used to do custom orders a long time ago. I mostly did surprise print customs, and I routinely sewed up more pads each month than I thought was humanly possible. I spent 12-14 hours a day cutting, sewing, packaging. One day, I woke up and saw my children were getting bigger, and I was missing out on LIFE. I stopped accepting custom orders that very day, and didn't look back until my business was on the verge of closing.

I knew I had a decision to make. Put my youngest child in daycare, after school care for my middle child, and use my BA in Accounting to "go back to work" (I use that term incredibly lightly, because being a small business owner who does everything from designing her products, physically creating them, marketing them and then shipping them, this IS work!). After a lot of soul searching, my husband got a little frustrated and finally just told me to make a decision. Stop thinking with my mind, think with my heart, and COMMIT to my decision.

Here I am today. I'm trying to roll with the momentum while refusing to slip back into my old habits of sewing every waking minute of the day. I've set a reasonable time frame for turnaround on custom orders (5-14 days), and set times for sewing (7 AM to 3 PM). I'm feeling pretty darned good about this, but I can't lie. At 3 PM when I turn off my machines, my hands get antsy and I need to DO SOMETHING! There has been lots of crafting with the little ones, but they head to bed at 7 PM. What to do then??

I used to be a knitter. I used to be a spinner. There was a time when I spent my nights knitting and spinning. I miss that woman who would snuggle up on the couch with her family and just chill.

My Christmas present to myself is my relaxation case. I sold my Addis, and invested in a set of KnitPicks Harmony needles (controversial among knitters, but I'm very happy with the decision!). I've long drooled over Graces Cases on Etsy, but the possibility of dropping $99 on a knitting needle case just wasn't there (in my dreams it is though, haha~). So I set out to sew my own.

Remember, Imperfection is Perfection! I'm a great cloth pad maker (not to toot my own horn or anything, lol~), but a fantastic seamstress I am NOT. There is a reason why my products are very specific.

Instead of ripping out the seams for the 8th time (yes, literally), I decided to accept that it's a tiny bit wonky. The decorative stitching around the edges wasn't the stitch I thought I chose, and when it is zipped, the zipper is a teeny tiny bit off. But it's done, and I'm accepting that it's extremely awesome in its own way!

The case all zippered up.

The left side holds my Nook, the right has pockets for my circulars.

The inside holds more circulars (I may have quite a few :err:)

The last pages hold my straights, interchangeable set, and misc. tools (cable needles, stitch markers etc).

I'm so ridiculously excited. I've been able to see this knitting needle case in my mind for years, I've just never been able to put it into reality. While the making of this case was not without a few tears (and glasses of wine, and ripping the seams out oh-eleventy billion times!), it's DONE!

Bring on Christmas!

~Denelle is a Mompreneuer who lives in Oregon with her husband, 3 children, and 1 crazy fluffball of a dog. You may find her store at https://www.etsy.com/shop/MotherMoonPads

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

My Promise to YOU, and Learning How to Dream Big.

A few weeks ago, my teenage daughter asked me what my dreams in life were. My answer stunned her. I told her I do not allow myself to dream. To dream means disappointment when the dreams do not come true. My life hasn't been a very "dreamy" life. It has been more about surviving than thriving.

I'm at a point in my life where I am 31, happily married, have 3 children, a house, a dog, and a minivan. It's time for me to start dreaming. It's time for me to start chasing my dreams.

My confession to you today is that I haven't been trying lately. I didn't see any future for MotherMoonPads. Every month is a struggle. I have a resume written up, and I have been researching available jobs that would help me utilize my BA in Accounting. In short, I had a closing plan.

I had given up.

I had given up not because I WANTED to give up, but because I was running out of resources. I didn't see any other options besides to "cut my losses" and move on. I was using up all of my fabric, and that was it. My final day open was to be Black Friday 2013.

Nothing about that plan felt right. MotherMoonPads is not just a business, it is ME. It is such a huge part of my life, and has been my "baby" for 5 years now. When the conversations about dreaming took place, it really made me take a deep look at what I wanted my life to be like. I realized that I desperately wanted to renew my business. I wanted a fresh chance to build it to be exactly what I needed it to be. My only question was "How?"

How do you take something and mold it into exactly what you need it to be when you don't have the resources to do just that?

You take a BIG GIANT LEAP OF FAITH and find funding. This funding will allow you to invest in your business as you have never been able to in the past. It will be nothing short of terrifying. It will be nothing short of exhilarating. You will second guess yourself the entire way through it. After it is done, if you are like me, you will feel this renewed sense of encouragement.

I feel more encouraged at this point in my business than I have in as long as I can possibly remember. I have this FANTASTIC opportunity in front of me. I am genuinely excited about my business, and where I now have the ability to take it.

With this opportunity, I have a clear and defined business plan. It has forced me to take a bold look at my own life, and define exactly what I want out of it. It is allowing me to DREAM BIG.

This funding will allow me to invest in fabric, which will allow me to offer a more streamlined buying process. I will always offer in stock, ready to ship sets, but you will also be able to purchase EXACTLY what you want, from choosing your print, length, and absorbency. This will also allow me to provide better service to the wonderful retailers that I have. I am very, very excited about this process.

A few days ago, I showed you my Closet of Dreams. The very first thing has gone into my Closet of Dreams. It is my Mission Statement, my promise to you and my promise to myself.

My Promise to You:

MotherMoonPads exists to help women with their menstrual cycles and postpartum lochia through the use of reusable cloth menstrual pads.

I will offer three different fabrics to fit the needs of girls and women:

• Minky, a super soft and stain resistant fabric

• Organic Cotton woven Prints

• Non-organic cotton woven prints

The addition of a hidden PUL layer underneath the soaker will be an option for all custom orders.

I will offer a variety of streamlined prints, which will allow you to order the same pads today or months from now.

MotherMoonPads serves women worldwide. I will continue to ship all in stock orders within 2 business days, and I will strive to ship all custom orders within 5 business days.

MotherMoonPads will always remain 100% hand made, sewn by myself in my studio in Oregon.

My Promise to Myself:

I will DREAM BIG. I will strive to thrive, not just survive.

I will set clear boundaries between work and family time, and stick to my work schedule.

I will unapologetically stay authentic and true to myself.

This plaque now hangs in my Closet of Dreams, and I look forward to showing you what else belongs in there in the future. ♥

~Denelle is a Mompreneuer who lives in Oregon with her husband, 3 children, and 1 crazy fluffball of a dog. You may find her store at https://www.etsy.com/shop/MotherMoonPads

November's Days For Girls Donation

October was a crazy, crazy month. Lots of downs, and a few ups. I ended October at 81% of my goal. 2 steps forward, 2 steps back in life, right? ♥

I always find it so grounding to sew for Days For Girls. There are so many things that we take for granted in life, like having access to menstrual supplies each month.

Days for Girls is an organization that is 100% volunteer run and supports girls in developing countries by providing them with menstrual supplies and education. I LOVE LOVE LOVE! Days for Girls! I dedicate 1 day per month to sewing for them.

This month I decided to clear off my flannel shelf. I normally purchase a bolt of flannel to make liners with, but this flannel was just staring at me not being used. So I set out to do the best with it that I could. I had to combine a few fabrics (coordinating prints!), and I think they turned out lovely. There are 53 liners total. Each girl receives a kit with 8 liners in it, which means this will help complete 6.6 kits. Next month I will return to using a full bolt at a time. :)

Do you want to get involved? Days for Girls has a website: http://www.daysforgirls.org/#!home/mainPage and an awesome Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/119849218069687/ Here is their "FAQ" Frequently Asked Questions page as well: http://www.daysforgirls.org/#!faq/c1eah

I'd also like to give a very special THANK YOU to a huge supporter of mine, B.M.K. She donates shipping from my house to the Days for Girls headquarters every month for me, and I am super duper thankful! ♥

~Denelle is a Mompreneuer who lives in Oregon with her husband, 3 children, and 1 crazy fluffball of a dog. You may find her store at https://www.etsy.com/shop/MotherMoonPads

Friday, November 1, 2013

A closet of dreams, and the story of how we ended up in Oregon.

Before I show you another photo of another ugly room in my house, I should tell you the background of how I came to own a 1979 double wide mobile home that was seemingly untouched by any owners since it was created.

For 30 years, I lived in Wisconsin. I was born and raised there. I got married there, had my children there. I bought my first house when I was 20 years old. We lived there for 10 years before we lost it to foreclosure (very long, not so happy story). For many reasons, we decided to leave Wisconsin after we lost our house. My husband and I talked about moving far away for many years, but many things kept us tied to our home state. We talked about Nashville, we talked about Texas, California, the East Coast etc. Ultimately, we decided on the Portland area. My husband is big into bicycles, and with Portland's reputation it seemed to be the right choice for us. We bought a house in Camas, WA just outside of PDX. We agreed to purchase that house sight unseen, but my father was able to check it out for us first so I felt comfortable with that.

4 days before we were scheduled to leave our home of 10 years, our house purchase fell through. We were left scrambling for where we would take our family. We had limited money, poor credit, and our income was nothing but MotherMoonPads (if you've ever tried to rent with that history... well you know just how impossible it can be). It didn't seem to make sense to waste $80 an application fee in an attempt to get into an apartment in the PDX area, so we explored mobile homes in our meager price range. We also looked a brick homes in Memphis, but quickly scratched that off of the list. (Side note, did you know you can get homes for as little as $4,000 there??).

We searched Craigslist for about 24 hours straight before narrowing our search down to two different homes. One was an old mobile in the middle of nowhere Texas that came with a full acre of land and was butted up against a river. The other was a mobile in a park in a place I had never heard of before, Medford, Oregon. The Texas home was crossed off the list because it was just too rural, so Medford, Oregon it was!

We bought this home sight unseen. We knew absolutely no one in the area. We had no one to check it out for us, so we trusted the seller's photos and description. We agreed to purchase the home, and just a few days later set off on a journey to drive across the country to see our new home for the very first time.

I'm sure this will come as a surprise to no one, but DON'T BUY A HOUSE SIGHT UNSEEN. Just don't do it. There is so much that can't be seen in photographs.

I went into shock the first time we saw our house. I knew it was a 1979 mobile home. I had seen photographs of it. Nothing could have prepared me for the amount of work that needed to be done to it.

Yet there was no other option.

We had drive 2,100 miles, we had sold all of our possessions except for what fit into our 2 vehicles. We had blindly jumped into this and were committed.

We immediately started rehabbing the house the day that we arrived. The carpet had to go immediately. The bathrooms needed to be redone (I'll spare you details!). It has been a very long process, but we are making the best out of this and turning this house into our home.

And so begins the story of my closet of dreams. Our entire house is wood paneling (1979, remember? haha!). After the flooring issue was figured out, I set out to paint just about every room in the house. For whatever reason, 2 were skipped. First was my laundry room that I just updated 2 weekends ago. Second was this tiny closet in our living room. It is so odd shaped, it is seemingly useless. I added shelves to it though, and set out to paint it. Of course I dumped a gallon of paint on the floor. I was so disgusted with myself, I left it (in my defense, the vinyl had to come out because it was one of the few places in the house that did not have updated flooring yet, so I figured I would let the paint dry and then rip the vinyl up instead of trying to figure out how to clean up a gallon of paint). Needless to say, I ignored that closet for over a year.

Something big happened this week. Something so tremendously amazing that gives myself a fresh start with MotherMoonPads. I need some storage space, and so my untouched closet has become my closet of dreams.

Friday morning I set out to pull up the vinyl, and my wonderful husband replaced the flooring and then gave it the first coat of paint. I finished it off with the second coat of paint, and by covering the shelves.

It is empty now, but this closet holds many dreams. I cannot wait for you to share in this process of discovering those dreams with me!

More to come on that one later. ♥

Here are the photos of bringing my closet of dreams to life:

The "before" photo. Notice the ugly vinyl and the paint on the floor? No wonder I shut the door and ignored it for as long as I could *blush*

All ready for the new flooring! Getting the old floor up was more of a pain than I remembered.

The "After". With what I have planned for my closet of dreams, I wanted a fresh and clean backdrop. So white it was! Those who know me know that I am just NOT a "white on the walls" type of person, so to actually have a white "room" (no matter how small it is!) is pretty amazing for me.

I used green board from Home Depot to make the shelves for just $.51 (total!!). The only appropriate size green board they had was a rougher sawn wood though, so I covered them with some left over foam matting that I had, and then with a favorite fabric of mine. This is to protect what will go on those shelves (which I can't WAIT to show you!)

Stick around, great things are about to happen! ♥

~Denelle is a Mompreneuer who lives in Oregon with her husband, 3 children, and 1 crazy fluffball of a dog. You may find her store at https://www.etsy.com/shop/MotherMoonPads

Monday, October 28, 2013

How I turned an outdated framed photo into a cute hairbow holder.

Last month we were blessed with an amazing trade for my MotherMoonPads for another mama's handmade bows for my 3 year old daughter. She was so very excited to receive that package, and has been doing her hair for preschool every day since then! We didn't have any place to put them though, so I set out on a thrifty mission to make a bow holder! The total cost for this was a whopping $0.00! I used items that I found for free, or already had around the house.

The cast of characters:

One "ugly" old frame (if it doesn't have the glass that is OKAY!)

Fabric to cover the frame

Bias tape (or you can make your own with fabric, but I had some just laying around so I went with the easiest option!)

Hot glue gun

A garbage bag or other protective surface

Paint (I always keep my wall paint, so this particular can was not only used to paint my porch, put accents in my laundry room, I still have more to spare!)

Cue the ugly framed photo. This one was FREE, found on the last day of a community rummage sale.

Add one seriously adorable helper who has no idea what we are doing, but is excited to do any type of craft project with her mama ♥

Take the frame apart. Recycle the glass and the photo that came in it. Keep the cardboard or whatever backing it has! You will be using that part later.

Paint the frame. Don't throw away the garbage bag you used to protect your surface-you can still use it later!

Remember that cardboard backing I told you to keep? Get that out while the paint is drying. Grab your fabric and your hot glue gun.

Make sure it lays flat across the front. The back can be ugly as long as it is pulled taut-no one but you is going to know what it looks like back there!

Your front should look like this

From here, I took my bias tape and I put some decorative stitching down the middle. This is totally not necessary, but apparently I thought I had time to kill (you know how long decorative stitching takes? It takes forever and a day, haha!). It sure looks cute though.

Cut your bias tape so that it is longer than the front of the cardboard. You will hot glue it to the back.

From here, I added some reinforcement on the front, hot gluing down the bias tape in a few spots making sure that I left the openings big enough to put bows in. Some of my daughter's bows are bigger, and I was concerned that the tape wouldn't hold it as well as I wanted it to.

From here, reassemble the frame (make sure you wait for the paint to dry of course!)

Hang the bow holder, and hang the bows on!

By using found and reclaimed materials, I made this for free. My little one is so happy with it too! :)

Don't forget to Pin this to save it for later! : http://www.pinterest.com/pin/84090718016068184/

~Denelle is a Mompreneuer who lives in Oregon with her husband, 3 children, and 1 crazy fluffball of a dog. You may find her store at https://www.etsy.com/shop/MotherMoonPads

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Meal Planning-Week 1 of our new diet (Dairy, Corn, Gluten & yeast free)

As I talked about in this post, our family is transitioning to a dairy, corn, gluten, & yeast free diet. We are already soy free by choice (we avoid GMOs to the best of our ability and 93% of all US soy is genetically modified).

I just recently did some "Once a Month" cooking (or freezer meals), and as our income is very sporadic, I try to keep a well stocked pantry. Because of this, we will not be immediately cutting out all dairy, corn, gluten & yeast. Quite honestly, I can't afford to toss all of that food anyways. So we will be transitioning into our new diet, and "weaning" off of the dairy, corn, gluten, & yeast. This seems like a more reasonable choice for our family than immediately completely changing our diet. I've read about some people having adverse reactions (or "withdrawals" while implementing a Paleo diet, and as we will be bringing our children on this journey, I want to make sure it is as healthy of a transition for them as possible.

Pinterest has been a big help for me to find recipes that will work for us. If you're on Pinterest, you can follow me here: http://www.pinterest.com/mothermoonpads/boards/ and you can directly reach my food board here: http://www.pinterest.com/mothermoonpads/our-food-journey-gluten-dairy-yeast-corn-free/

On a side note, while the recipes that I am using are marked "Paleo", I don't necessarily subscribe to all of the Paleo rules. Don't yell at me if you see me post about a meal with beans, quinoa, or some other "Paleo unapproved" food. ;) Our purpose in this is only to help my husband cut out the foods that he is "moderately to severely" intolerant of, based upon the food allergy testing results.

That being said, Sunday is grocery shopping & meal planning day! This week, it terrifies me. Our food budget is small and dependent on sales. My husband's hours at work were cut to only 3-4 days a week, starting November 1st. We will figure something out though. Things always happen to turn out exactly the way they are supposed to, even if it isn't exactly what I had planned for life. ♥

Supper Meal Planning:

Sunday: Steak rolls with carrots & onions on the inside. Quinoa as a side dish. My local Food 4 Less has 10 pound packages of meat for very reasonable prices, which brings the total cost to approx $5 for the entire meal for a family of 5!

Monday: Conventional Spaghetti & meat balls-I have enough noodles to make this dish just 1 more time. We will switch to using spaghetti squash in the future.

Tuesday: Taco soup. This is a freezer meal I created last week, but happily fits into our new diet. It includes a tomato and chick stock based broth, sausage, lentils, onions and carrots. It's a very hearty soup that we normally eat with a homemade bread, but we will be skipping the bread and just having the soup. Although I did find some gluten and corn free tortilla chips at a local store, I have to see if I can fit a bag into the budget to give those a try! I'm not super huge on substitutes (or food in general when I can't pronounce the ingredients!) but these looked pretty reasonable.

Wednesday: Honey Garlic Chicken Wings, roasted beets (yum!!) and a spinach salad

Thursday: Conventional burritos & salsa-still have quite a few of these in the freezer that need to be eaten up.

Friday: Pineapple bacon burgers & sweet potato fries

Saturday: Ahh Saturday. You were my "$1 tamales at the swap meet" day. I think I will miss that tradition greatly! Instead, we will have spinach salad with ham, boiled egg, and veggies. I have picked up some nice organic balsamic vinegars in the "scratch and dent" section of our local store called the Farmer's Market (which is a really awesome store-it is tiny and without all of the fluff of the grocery store but they carry a mixture of local (and not local, depending on item & season) foods year round. Plus it is open every day, for a total bonus!

I'm also trying to remind myself that we can take things that we love, like chicken soup (that I make from scratch anyways), and simply remove the noodles from it. Maybe I can up the amount of veggies in it instead. Same goes for chili!

Lunches will present another issue. All of my "go to" lunches are off limits now. Gluten free tortillas are extremely expensive, and way out of the budget so there will be no burritos until I can figure out how to make my own gluten free tortillas. I'm pretty much at a loss for lunches for my husband. Will be searching for more recipes this afternoon. Our children will continue to eat conventional lunch at school as it just isn't in the budget right now to pack lunches as well. :/

For breakfast, I have sourced an organic gluten free granola, and we are undecided whether we will be switching to almond milk or keeping small quantities of organic milk in the house for the children's breakfasts only. It's hard to break that dairy addiction, when I don't 100% believe in the alternatives! I also have egg muffins planned, and have found some recipes for sweet potato pancakes.

When I have more money to really go grocery shopping, I hope to put some of these meals in the freezer: 23 Easy Paleo Crock Pot Recipes. Until then, we work with what we have and give thanks for what we have. ♥

~Denelle is a Mompreneuer who lives in Oregon with her husband, 3 children, and 1 crazy fluffball of a dog. You may find her store at https://www.etsy.com/shop/MotherMoonPads