Sunday, February 27, 2011

CLOSED-Handmade Feature/Giveaway: Hug-a-Tree Crafts

We'd like to share with you a sweet little etsy shop called Hug-a-Tree Crafts.  It's a lovely collection of handmade toys and hats/booties.  We love owner/designer Toni's creativity and sense of whimsy in all the handmade, crocheted items in her shop.

Let's get to know more about Toni:

Toni, owner/designer Hug-a-Tree Crafts
What does your life outside of Etsy/blogging look like?
I am a bit of a Jack-of-all-Trades so my life is pretty full of random things. My day job is teaching anthropology classes at several local community colleges in Los Angeles and San Bernadino. I am an actor. Lastly, I am a textile artist who has way too many projects in progress at one time. The entire living room of my apartment is my studio and you’ll find crochet projects, embroidery projects, quilting projects, painting projects, and whatever other brilliant idea I’ve recently had in various stages of completion littering the my recent forte into making mini sculptures out of floral wire by forming the object’s frame out of pipe cleaners and wire wrapping it until you can no longer see the frame. This came about when I took a set design class and had to build a mini model play set. I ended up with a wire-wrapped man wearing a crocheted wig on a set of a Moliere play...random :). Fortunately I’m an organization nut so it isn’t a complete mess. More like controlled chaos. Because that isn’t enough, I also take classes part time at The Art Institute of California in digital film...if I can learn to do something myself rather then having someone else do it I figure, why not. Being an actor, why not learn how to film and edit so I can do my own reel and maybe make some short films with friends rather then paying to have someone else do it, right?? Plus, I just like understanding how all the different parts of something work. I have a lot of energy and I pick things up pretty quickly so it is a struggle to keep myself occupied and engaged, hence, I do a lot of different things. When I am not working or in class or sitting on my couch crocheting I like to be out and about. I spend a lot of time meandering around LA walking, window shopping, eating, and hanging with friends. I always have my camera and love shooting the most random of things around the city. In the summer when the water is relatively warm you’ll find me at the beach, in a kayak, or on a paddle board. I don’t surf, though I’d love to try but I have this huge irrational fear about becoming fish food...kayaking in the open water is dodgy enough. I am also a voracious reader and have a small library of about a 1,000 or so books. I have run out of space for new books and finally broke down and bought an e-reader (I LOVE it!!). Lastly, I love making bread. From scratch. With a wooden spoon and a big glass bowl that belonged to my Grandma and is older then I am. If you ever feel like giving bread making a go, Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads is my absolute all-time favorite book.

Describe yourself (or ask someone else to do it!) in three words.
Exuberant. Thoughtful. Honest (direct, frank, to-the point...I tend to speak my mind and say exactly what I think so you always know where you stand with me. I do try not to say anything mean or hurtful but I am honest to a fault, I think.)

Fall piece you can’t live without: I have two things I can’t live without as soon as October rolls around and the weather starts getting cold. My Uggs and my thigh-length down parka. I realize that I live in Southern California and we are blessed with beautiful weather. However, it gets seriously cold (by our standards) in the fall and winter. It may be 80 degrees at noon but come 7 pm and it has dropped to the low 50s. I am petite and thin and freeze at pretty much any temperature below 70 degrees. I get mocked endlessly by friends, co-workers, classmates, and random people on the street for wearing my parka but you know what, I am warm and toasty. It is a lot easier to have one jacket to pull on over my tee shirt and jeans when the temperature drops then to have to layer a bunch of things on to get the same warmth. I LOVE my parka.

Most recent fashion-related purchase:  I love love love clothes and shoes and jewelry. I just bought this great kimono style sweater at Anthropologie (my all-time favorite shop...its been my go-to store since I was 17.). I had seen it over the holidays but could not justify purchasing it. I went in this week to see about something else and found it on the sale rack for 50% off...who can say no to that ;)

Do you craft/make anything else outside of what’s in your shop?
I do make a lot of different things that don’t end up in the shop. I do hand embroidery and I’ve turned those projects into mini art quilts and pillows. I sew and crochet bags/purses. I’ve made tons of baby blankets, hats, booties, sweaters, and buntings that I’ve given as gifts over the years or stowed away for myself one day. There are unique dolls and animals that are one of a kind because I just don’t have the time to make another one or I have too many new ideas in my head to move on to rather then doing another of what I just finished. Those generally go to friends, family, or I keep it for my “pattern” since all of the dolls and animals come out of my head and are worked out while being made. I always say I’m going to write the pattern down as I go but I never do. Some come out so cute that I just can’t part with them because I know I’ll never get another to come out the same. I still kick myself for selling a monkey that was so perfect and that I’ve never made again. Some dolls are just so time consuming to make that it would be a ridiculous cost to sell. I made a doll with a diaper bag and quilt and baby bed for a friend’s daughter. It is wonderful but the bed alone took three months to complete. It was big enough that a newborn infant could have slept in it comfortably. It was all hand crocheted and I’d love to do another but there is only so much time and so many ideas in my head. I do oil paintings but I don’t sell those in the shop. Needless to say, what is in the shop is a very small window into my crafting activities.

Any pet peeves?
My biggest pet peeve is having my time wasted. I am a little OCD about efficiency. Probably because there are so many things I want to do and not nearly enough hours in the day in which to do them all, I hate people wasting my time. Phone trees should be exterminated. Not only do they waste my time but not being able to talk to a real person is completely maddening. I live in LA, traffic sucks and we have horrible horrible drivers almost anywhere you one uses turn signals, people think it is perfectly acceptable to make a right hand turn from the left lane without any type of indication that they’ll be cutting you off in the process, and stop signs seem to be an optional thing for too many people. It drives me mad.

Bad habits? Honestly, I am pretty comfortable with who I am and how I live my life. That definitely wasn’t always the case but at this point in my life there isn’t anything I really beat myself up for doing or saying or thinking, etc. When I was in my 20s I was a horrible procrastinator and would put off doing the things that I didn’t want to do until the last possible moment. Now, I’ll still put things off but I do get them done with sufficient time that I am not rushing myself and am able to put forth the effort needed for the quality of work I desire. Subsequently, I don’t think I can really call myself a procrastinator anymore. I can be stubborn and hard-headed. I also tend to make things more difficult then they maybe need to be. Again though, this doesn’t bother me. Keeps life interesting. I’m pretty sure that at times it may drive those near and dear whom I love to pieces a bit mad though.

Desert-island food? I am a junk food junkie. I eat pretty healthy at home. When I go out to eat it is usually junk - burger, fries, pizza, etc. My current favorite thing is a chili-cheese dog (w/o onions), fries, and a chocolate coke from Johnny Rockets. I have to have it at least once a month. Also, I have to have a chai tea latte in the morning or the world may end if ya know what I mean.

Three bands/singers you can’t get enough of: Currently I am diggin’ the song Pumped up Kicks by Foster the People but I haven’t heard much else by them. Three of my favorite bands are Mumford & Sons, The Eels, and Local Natives.

Another blog you follow regularly:

What made you decide to start a shop? I taught myself to crochet when I was about nineteen. At first I made blankets and hats and scarves. Then my friends started getting married and having babies and I started making baby hats and booties and blankets. Then I discovered amigurumi and started making dolls. I made them for friends and I made them because I couldn’t stop. After awhile I had piles of them that I didn’t know what to do with. Then I found etsy and it seemed like the perfect outlet because I can’t stop crocheting to save my life. Then I started quilting and embroidering and again, one only needs so much but when you can’t stop you have to find something else to do with the stuff or someone else to take it home with them. Especially with the dolls. They are made to be played with and loved, not sit on my shelf...even if they do look cute there. I still make a lot for my friends though. I really enjoy making things with a specific person in mind, tailoring the item to their taste and personality.

Significance of your shop name?
When I first started with etsy the name of the shop was trehugger78. It came from the initials in my name and the fact that a friend had been teasing me about being a tree hugger. When I decided to open a new shop as an actual business with all the fun-filled paperwork that came with it I decided I needed a new name but I still wanted it to be something along the same lines. I try to use natural products as much as possible and I try to be environmentally conscious and I wanted something that reflected that. I played around with a bunch of different ideas and somehow ended up with Hug-a-Tree Crafts. Mostly because I had this mental picture of a design for the shop of a child hugging a tree as the shop logo. It just seemed to suit, though I never did get around to finding the time to do the illustration I’d originally had in my head...someday.

Favorite item in your shop right now?
That is always hard for pick a favorite, especially since my favorites don’t always make it into the shop. I have a whole box of baby blankets and sweaters and toys that I’ve made for myself stored away for “some day.” Also, it takes so much time that what is in the shop is several years worth of work and I go through phases where I do a lot of one thing at a time cuz I am just so into it. The last few years I’ve made a lot of dolls and while I have a few new ones stored in my head as ideas I needed a bit of a break from making them. I really love the blanket sets. It has been a long time since I’ve made baby hats and booties and blankets and I’m having a lot of fun with it. The goal was to use up the stock pile of synthetic yarn that I had before moving on to other things and when I got to the bottom and was almost done I ended up going to the store and picking up more because I’m having so much fun with the blanket and hat sets. I think though, my favorite at this moment, is Nate the Super Cheeky Monkey. He was inspired by my best friend’s little boy and I just love the cape.

Toni is giving one of our readers the chance to win an adorable set that includes a hat, booties and matching rattle.  *the winner will have the option to make it more "girlie" by having Toni add a flower on the hat and buttons on the booties : )

Here's how to enter:

Mandatory Entry- 
1. Follow our blog! Once you become a follower, just leave a comment below, telling what your favorite item from Hug-A-Tree Crafts is.  If you’re already following the blog and our twitter—simply leave a comment, telling us what your favorite item from 

Additional Entries-
2. Follow Miskabelly (@miskabelly) on twitter…and again, just a quick comment to let us know you did (with your twitter user name) and share what your favorite item from 
3. Once we tweet about the giveaway, you can re-tweet to gain an extra entry!
4. HEART  Miskabellon Etsy (leave us a comment to let us know!)
5.  HEART 
on Etsy (leave us a comment again!)

This contest will run through next Sunday, March 6th and the winner will be chosen by a random number generator.  

Good luck!
Manda & Jayme

Poly Ollie Winner!

Thanks to all who entered the giveaway from Poly Ollie!  Such a great etsy shop--be sure to check it out HERE if you haven't yet. : )

The lucky winner of the reversible terry bib is....

True Random Number Generator  13Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Liza767 said... 

Black and White Houndstooth and Zebra

GFC follow back

Congrats Liza!  We'll email you shortly with details on how to claim your prize.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Happy Friday!

Hey guys!
Just a couple additional photos from Aurora's first--her doting aunt and uncle were a little camera crazy and I just wanted to share of a couple of my personal favorites!  Andrew and I are seriously head over heels for our niece.  Confession: when I went into labor with Lyla we were partially excited because it meant that we'd get to see Aurora soon (Amanda was coming from Virginia and obviously bringing her along)!  Yes, yes, we were obviously more excited to see our own little girl.  But Aurora is a very close second in our hearts!

The hat and bracelets I got for her mommy!
Already a into fashion...

Kisses from Uncle Andy! that I'm done creepin' on my niece... Don't forget to enter our giveaway from Poly Ollie by midnight tonite!  AND if you like reading about our babies (and us!) will you click the brown box on top of the right column and vote for us?  Please and thank you!

Have a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Aurora Jaymes Turns 1!

I have been meaning to share this post forever, but how do I sort through 200 photos and choose just a few?  I procrastinated until finally, tonight I have a little time on my hands. WARNING:  image heavy post, but not nearly heavy as it could have been!

Aurora has been having little birthday celebrations here and there. I love celebrating my sweet girl! Our main celebration took place in Pennsylvania with my family--my dad's birthday and my own birthday are within days of Aurora's, so it was one huge party weekend. (Read as:  food coma)

The weekend, in photos:
Aunt Jayme and Lyla
Gorgeous felt birthday sign made by Jayme for Aurora and I! Excited to make it a birthday tradition at our house.

Aurora loves her new piano (and book...and pillow pet)

End of the day on her real birthday: expression as we all sang to her!

Beautiful Bunting courtesy of Stell and Livi

Felt birthday hat from Stell and Livi

The best year far.

The pretty birthday girl in her hat!

She was enamored with the balloons.

Lyla managed to sleep through the excitement.

Moms & Babes.

Me, Q, and Aurora

Yo Gabba Gabba DVD! Color wonder marker set! A soccer ball!

cardigan-vintage, dress-Gymboree, heart tights-Walmart, sneakers-Converse (thrifted)

She really tried to blow out the candle!
Hamming it up for the camera.

Her first taste of cake (mostly icing!)

She didn't want it to end.  (Neither did Mama!)

I knew I wanted a personalized felt party hat to commemorate Aurora's special day, but Teresa of Etsy shop Stell and Livi offered to throw in something extra and made the beautiful bunting in the photo, personalized with Aurora's name (which will now hang in her room, once I fix it up this spring...more photos of that process to come!). Teresa does beautiful work and comes highly recommended for special birthday decorations that last.  Thank you, Teresa, for adding a special touch to the day!
I loved being with my family all weekend, getting to see my beautiful niece, celebrating our health and happiness and togetherness.  Pardon me if I get a little sappy, but I feel so blessed. Aurora changed my life, and this first year with her has been incredible. I look forward to the many, many more.  She grows, changes, and learns new things everyday, and she's the sweetest, smartest, spunkiest little thing.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Mama Uniform

I read a lot of blogs.  Mostly fashion (outfit posts/street style/etc.) and mama/baby blogs.  Recently I've noticed the two kinda blending together--lots of mamas out there showing off their style!  I must admit, since having Lyla I have been the least 'in style' that I've ever been.  I don't get out much which means I don't have a reason to look 'stylish' --though I do put on makeup, fix my hair and put on figure-flattering clothes for my husband.  Eh, that sounded weird.  I mean, I don't just bum around in baggy sweats.... putting on some nice-fitting jeans is easy and makes me feel like I at least sort of look good!  Another challenge to getting dressed each day:  easy access for breast feeding.  That means something low cut or that has buttons up the front!  Here's a look at my 'mama uniform'.

HAT- if I'm going on in public and haven't had a chance to shower (hey, that's what happens when you have a baby!).  Also keeps me warm since I am easily-chilled, even indoors.

BUTTON UP BLOUSE- easy access for breast feeding!  This one's vintage.

CARDIGAN- again, warmth is key for me! And pullover sweaters aren't really doable for ease in nursing a baby on the fly.

JEANS- yes, boring.  I love all the cute dresses/skirts and tights that my fav bloggers wear...but realistically jeans are just easier (and warmer!).

FLAT BOOTS- it will not stop snowing here in Pennsylvania!  So boots are a must and the flat variety work well for not falling on my face when I'm toting around a baby.

Also note:  hairbands on wrists (I permanently have them affixed there) and vintage braided belt (to make me feel like I accessorized when necklaces are out of the question)

Lyla's just wearing some good old stretchy pants and a onesie.  With that face who's even looking at her outfit anyway? ; )

I did actually venture out to Target today.  Lyla cried most of the trip.  I bought some Starburst jelly beans that turned out to be stale and yucky flavors (I don't recommend the tropical mix!).  So yeah, FAIL on all accounts.  But hey, the sun was out and it was nice to feel like part of mankind again!  Minus all the crazies that flock to you when you're carting around a cute little baby....

I finally captured a smile on camera!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Two Months.

February 19th was the official "2 month" mark for Lyla (since she was born on the 19th of December...but she's actually closer to 9 weeks if you count each Sunday since the Sunday she was born.  Confused?  Yeah, me too).  I want to say "Wow...I just can't believe she's already two months old" but really I can.  I already can't even really remember what our lives were like before she was here. Kind of.  
Lyla finally has started to smile--open mouthed gummy grins that melt my heart!  She is quite the strong-willed little baby.  She has the lungs of an opera singer (=LOUD crier) and the energy of a marathon runner (=can kick around for hours and hours without sleep) .  But I could stare at her forever.  And snuggle her all day long.  She is the sweetest girl and we love her endlessly!

She loves baths.

She is a total daddy's girl.

She is finally outgrowing some of her newborn size clothes.

She likes to be fed at least every two hours...and look out if she doesn't get her 'milks'!

She is a CHAMP at  tummy time.

She loves going for walks.

She is definitely a "morning person."

We can't wait to watch her grow more and more (but not too fast little lady!).    


P.S.  Like our blog?  You can vote for us HERE daily!
P.S.S. Don't forget to enter the giveaway from Poly Ollie HERE!

Winner: Kira Kids Giveaway

Hey guys, thanks for entering to win a hipster onesie/tshirt from Kira Kids!
The winner is....

bukaeyes said... 

I follow on GFC as bukaeyes and I like the Organic Aloha Lei One-piece

Friday, February 18, 2011

CLOSED: Handmade Feature/Giveaway: Poly Ollie

This week we are featuring a pretty little etsy shop called Poly Ollie.  The shop features reversible terry bibs.  The owner/designer, Mary, chooses really lovely fabric combinations that will look great on your little one, while keeping them mess-free!

Let's get to know the face behind Poly Ollie, Mary:

What does your life outside of Etsy/blogging look like?  Right now, my life is Etsy/Poly Ollie and I love it!  Outside of Etsy, I live in the beautiful upstate of South Carolina with my husband of 3 years, Martin.  I am a stay at home wife and look forward to becoming a stay at home mom in the near future!  During the warmer months of the year, I spend much of my time tending to the 17 acres we live on and enjoy every minute of it! 

Describe yourself (or ask someone else to do it!) in three words.  Sincere, Passionate, Creative

Fall piece you can’t live without:  Pashminas!  I love how they add a little bit of elegance and style to most outfits. 

Most recent fashion-related purchase:  A pair of skinny jeans. 

Do you craft/make anything else outside of what’s in your shop?  I have many hobbies that drive my wonderfully supportive husband crazy!  I enjoy sewing, drawing, painting, photography, graphic design, gardening and much, much more!

Any pet peeves?  When things in my house become unorganized.  (I wish I could blame my husband for this, but it’s all me!!!)

Bad habits.  I’m obsessed with the remnant sections in fabric stores! 

Desert-island food?  Chocolate! 

Three bands/singers you can’t get enough of:  The Beatles, John Mayer, James Taylor

Another blog you follow regularly:  I have just been introduced to the world of blogging, so I hate to admit that I don’t follow any regularly, but aspire to create my own blog so I can share the process of my creations and what inspires me to create with others.

What made you decide to start a shop?  I began making bibs to give as baby shower gifts and never thought in a million years that I would attempt to sell them, but here I am doing just that and am so excited to share with others what I love to do!  My goal is to create practical items that are both stylish and functional.

Significance of your shop name?  My shop is named after our precious 10-year-old Boxer, Ollie. 

Favorite item in your shop right now?

Mary is giving one of our lucky readers a chance to win a Poly Ollie reversible terry bib!  So cute and they fit over the shoulders through the arms so they are pull proof!

This balloon bib would be adorable for your little birthday girl or boy--or reverse it to use as an everyday cover!

Here's how to enter:

Mandatory Entry- 
1. Follow our blog! Once you become a follower, just leave a comment below, telling what your favorite item from Poly Ollie is.  If you’re already following the blog and our twitter—simply leave a comment, telling us what your favorite item from Poly Ollie is!

Additional Entries-
2. Follow Miskabelly (@miskabelly) on twitter…and again, just a quick comment to let us know you did (with your twitter user name) and share what your favorite item from Poly Ollie is.
3. Once we tweet about the giveaway, you can re-tweet to gain an extra entry!
4. HEART  Miskabellon Etsy (leave us a comment to let us know!)
5.  HEART Poly Ollie on Etsy (leave us a comment again!)
6. "Like" Poly Ollie on facebook ( ) (leave us a comment!)

This contest will run through next Friday, February 25th and the winner will be chosen by a random number generator.  

Good luck!
Manda & Jayme