Thursday, August 22, 2013

Managing Your Mommy Time - Part 2

At the beginning of the month, I gave y'all the first installment of Managing Your Mommy Time.  Since then I have thought of a few more ways that I have been able to save time and I would LOVE to share them with you.

Managing the Map
I am a super visual person.  Whenever I leave the house, I see a map in my head.  My brain had a GPS in it before GPS was created. :)  That being said, I have a hard time just lazily driving around.  I plan my errands around the "map."  When looking at the errands that need to be run AND the appointments that are made that week, or sometimes the next week, I will plan when I go somewhere.  For example, if I know I have an appointment on Thursday near the bank, than I will wait until Thursday to go to the bank.  Or if I need to go to Ikea, which for us is over an hour away, I will plan my trip around a lunch date I will have with a colleague.  But usually, we have more than 1 errand that needs to be run, so I plan out my errands in a circle or straight line.  And of course I will make a list of places I will go, which ones come first on my way from point A to point B.  One thing to take into consideration is the amount of time each stop will take.  If you know that the post office will only take 10 minutes then going on the way to your appointment might work, but the grocery store usually takes longer than that.  Add that to the list after your appointment.  My grocery store is in my neighborhood so I would end up adding it to the end of the list.

Get a Babysitter
I highly recommend hiring a babysitter.  I do almost all of my business on Thursdays, and have a business meeting for my other business.  So I need a babysitter.  Instead of only hiring her to come just for the time my meeting is, I tack on a few more hours so that I can run around town getting all of those little things done.  This not only helps me have a little bit of alone time but also allows me to have the desire to run into those stores that I absolutely hate taking kiddos to.   If you don't want to hire a babysitter, utilize your spouse or grandparents.  Pick 1 or 2 nights a month that you want to get out and do things for your business OR 1 or 2 nights that you might want alone time in order to get projects done.  Never feel bad for leaving your kiddos for a couple of hours so that you can accomplish tasks.  I guarantee that 2 - 4 hours a week is much better than 40 hours a week in daycare.  Being a work at home mom is hard but finding time for your business is essential. 

Keep a Notebook
As women we come up with brilliant ideas but often times we will end up forgetting them!  This makes me so frustrated.  I am sure I could have been a millionaire by now if I had written down some of those great ideas that came to me, right before a child interrupted my thoughts.  This is why I write things down.  I used to keep a mini notebook for these ideas but recently I upgraded to using my phone.  Within my notes section on my phone, I can organize my lists/ideas within folders.  I have a Business, Personal, and Church folder and within those folders are many different lists.  When I think of something new, I either add it to an existing list or I make a new one.   Then whenever I need inspiration or a reminder, I know just where to find it. 

I hope you like this part 2.  As I come up with more ideas, and make a list of them, I will add more parts.  I really hope they do help you find new ways to find time for all that is important in your life. Now I am off to meet the teacher night!  Woohoo!
Much love!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

my Nemesis!!

noun: nemesis; plural noun: nemeses
  1. 1.
    the inescapable agent of someone's or something's downfall
Have you ever had a project that you felt was out to get you? Well I have!!!
How did you combat the "underwhelming" feelings that you had toward it? Did you give up and walk away? Or did you keep coming back and finally complete it, and have that satisfaction that you did it?  For me, I keep coming back to a certain project, but never really fully completing it!
This is what's known as a wristlet bag. 
Super cute, right? They are perfect for someone to carry their stuff in and fits right on your wrist (hence the name wristlet)!  But............for some reason, these are trying to be the death of me! 
Sometimes you just need a little motivation to get something completed and mine is knowing that they will finally be done and in the shop! :)
Here is a sneak peek of all the other colors in the wristlet line, soon to be in the Wishes and Dreams shop.
till next time.........Penny :)



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

about me {MamaBowers}

I thought maybe it was time to start talking about who's behind the blog! My name is Shannon, and I am one third of the Garaging Mavens. My personal (very neglected) blog is over at Life with These 3 Kids. I haven't posted on there in ages, but I love having that record of those blogging years!

A little about my family. My husband, Keith, and I have been married for 11.5 years now, we met my first year of college and have been best friends since. We've been through 3 colleges, many moves, multiple job changes, the birth of 3 babies, buying our first home, and settling here in Texas away from family. Though we have made many friends that are as close as family can be without the same blood running through our veins. 
The five of us 1.5 years ago, Keith and I look pretty much the same, maybe just add a little more fluff. Ha!
I have been sewing since middle school. I took as many home ec classes as I was allowed to take all through high school and even a few in college. I had to put my sewing machine away for quite a few years while we moved around a lot, and started having babies. During that time I was able to expand into paper crafting and just generally learning how to be creative and really make something from nothing. I love the creative process. I love seeing something I like, and figuring out how I can make it more "me" and for less money!

I was able to dust off the sewing machine about 4 years ago. I started my own etsy shop and filled it with baby things. This helped me to find joy in all of the babies that were surrounding me while I was unable to become pregnant with a third. Funnily enough just when the business started taking off, I became pregnant! Through the fatigue that comes with pregnancy my store fell neglected, and though I kept on making things for friends and family I never had the chance to reopen my little corner of the internet.

current shot of my loves this spring. Natalie (9), Wyatt (2), Brady (7)
Needless to say when the idea started flowing between me and my friends to open a shop and start making a name for our products and ourselves, I jumped at the opportunity to start sewing with a purpose again. I love to sew, and seeing things that I have put time and love into find their way into others homes brings me such joy. I dabble in many different crafts, but baby goods (blankies, burp cloths, bibs, etc) are my first love. I love to see people ditch the pastels in favor of cute and modern colors and patterns. Cute and functional is the best kind of craft!

I'm always looking for new ideas. My favorite is when a friend comes to me and says, "can you make this?" I'll always do my best to figure it out to the best of my ability. I hope to be able to continue learning new skills and putting them to work for the Garaging Mavens!

Monday, August 19, 2013

made it monday

Lots of fun items headed to our shop this week. Some weeks we get in the groove and can really crank out fun items, some weeks are more slow. You will see this week we were able to make a bunch of fun new holiday and seasonal items, as well as restocking some old favorites!
Adorable Halloween themed hoops! 4" skull hoops {$8}, 3" spider hoop {$6}

Autumn hoops! 8.5" Give thanks {$15}, 6.5" autumn wreath {$10}
Sweet Christmas hoops, 4' ornament hoop {$8}, 12" Merry Christmas {$20}
12" Happy Halloween {$20}
4" hand embroidered, Oh, Dear! {$17}
snap closure, chenille backed, star bib {$8}

chevron and floral burp set {$12} LOVE this color combo!
Sweet silhouette extra large swaddle blankie. This one has a small stain from a crafting mishap with paint so it is discounted! {$22}

Stain is hardly noticeable unless you are looking for it! It doesn't detract from the cuteness of the blanket in the slightest, but you get a steal of a deal!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Got Paper?

I have a love for paper. Let's be real, I love anything I can craft with but I do love paper! However, I'm never really sure what to do with it. Going to the craft store you can find these beautiful packs of paper that all correspond together. The vibrant colors or embossed paper (sigh), the possibilities are endless! This being said, I have a ton of paper that sometimes goes unnoticed.  In the last year, I found this great idea that came from a friend of mine. You take decorative cardstock paper, cut it into strips and put it on twine.  I love playing with the ends and either using scissors to create an inverted triangle or even using one of those decorative trim punches.

In realizing that my paper stack was seriously becoming large, I decided to pass the fun onto all of you. Each paper banner is made with thick cardstock in many decorative varieties such as girl or boy theme, halloween or fall and I even made one for your barbecue!  It's something so simple but can add some fun flair to your decor.  

Here's some fun examples of the halloween, fall, and Christmas banners.  Each of these were strung on brown twine and are approximately 3 feet long. 

The top row can be used for your kitchen or a little boys room.  I love the top right, it's made with multi-colored chevron and airplane paper.  The middle is perfect for your kitchen, party or even your living room.  This one is the longest at 5 feet long.  The last 2 will be perfect for your little girls room!  All of these are strung on different colored bakers twine.

This is one of the Shorties.  The Shorties are about 2 ft long and feature many of the versions of paper as the larger banners.

I was busy this week making over 30 paper banners!  They were super fun to make and range in price from $3 to $6.50, depending on length.  I hope yall enjoy them as much as I do!

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Great Jenkins Craft Week

The invitation, courtesy of my sister-in-law Heidi, using the app abeautifulmess!

Recently the women in my extended family did a craft week, and it was so much fun!!  Several things go into planning such a big event and so we started planning about 4 months in advance.
In pulling off such a large undertaking, there are several areas that have to be discussed and agreed upon in order to pull it off, and I thought it would be fun to list it all, so you can benefit from our trials and successes!

  1. Teacher vs. Student - its important to first establish if you will be having an expert come in to teach a craft/skill or if someone in your group of attendees will be the teacher.
    • We decided that each one of us (there were 4 ladies) would be a teacher for one day and a student for the other days.
  2. What will be taught? - next would be to decide what you want to learn about or in our case what we wanted to teach. Here is an example of how we broke it out.
      • Day 1 - Screen Printing
      • Day 2 - Card Making
      • Day 3 - Gingerbread (Christmas in July) Project
      • Day 4 - Metal Stamping
    • Each one of us decided that we wanted to do something that we have never done before on the day we were teaching, so this also required us to learn the skill prior to our class (that was fun!!)
  3. Gather your supplies - in our case, each one of us took responsibility for the day that we were teaching, including all supplies that went into the craft.  If that doesn't work for you, you could provide a "class list" for each day, of items that each person would need to bring with them.  But be forewarned, if you choose to have people bring items, you run the risk of either having your attendance low because its a hassle, or the wrong item is brought to class.  Either way you do it, just make sure you get the buy in from the group so that all goes well. If money is an issue, you could also get your list of costs of supplies and then collect a craft fee from everyone.
  4. Plan the dates - its important for a good turnout for your craft week to make sure that the dates and times work for everyone! And trust me, this was the one and only challenging thing that we came across when planning ours! In our case, because we have some out of towners and ladies with children, we planned our dates first, so that travel and childcare and such could be considered.
    • We ended up making our event an entire week, starting with Monday and ending on Friday, but we took Wednesday off.
  5. Location, location, location - this is an important one! If you are a crafter, you know that crafting requires space, so when planning your craft week, figuring out where you will host it and set it up is crucial! For us, we decided that if it was our day to teach, then we would also have it at our house, except for the out of towners of course, but we worked that out by letting the out-of-towner use our house to teach when necessary.
  6. Snacks and Drinks - very important!! Crafting takes energy and snacks are always welcome, and all that talking and laughing makes a girl quite parched! Its important to establish the who, what and when on the snacks and drinks.  For us, whoever was hosting was also providing drinks and snacks and that worked out great! But you could also have people bring them!
  7. Be Flexible - with every good plan, there is always something that happens that throws a wrench in things, and you need to relax and be flexible and remember that this is for fun and to learn new skills. 
  8. Get Busy and have FUN!! - get to learning and crafting!!

And finally, here are some pictures from our craft week..........
 Day 1 - Heidi taught screen printing


 Day 2 - Lindsay taught us Card Making using scrapbooking materials

Day 3 - Mom taught us to design/decorate wall art Gingerbread houses

Day 4 - I taught Metal Stamping and Epoxy

Bottom line................GO FOR IT! Planning and doing a craft week was work, I'm not going to lie, but we shared the responsibilities and shared in the fun!!!
till next time.............Penny :)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


I finally completed the idea/to do board! It is not what I originally envisioned, but that is sometimes what happens when created juices start flowing.

I got tired of waiting and searching for the perfect background, and I kept asking myself, should I do metal, should I do cork, should I do both? And then it came to about twine with little clothes pins! JACKPOT!! 
I love how it turned out and it really it accents the wall color so well!
till next time................Penny

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tuesday treasures

Today marks a special day in the Bowers' household. Today is our Texa-versary! We have lived in Texas for 8 years now, and I have grown to love it here. I still miss having family nearby; all of my family is on the west coast, and all of my husband's family leaves on the east coast! There are many things that scream "TEXAS!!" to me, and I love almost all of them! A few off the top of my head are BBQ, TexMex, (diet) Dr. Pepper,  bluebonnets, Rangers Baseball, swimming 8 months out of the year, and one of my all time favorite things: garage sales!

I am fully aware that there are garage sales in every state (or maybe most states...), but here in Texas is where I learned to embrace the treasure hunt that is "garaging". We've already talked about the fabulous thrift stores that are available in my area, but garage sales are a whole different ball game. They can be found almost year round, and as always some will be duds, some will be like a mini Walgreen's in someones garage, and some (the best ones) will be hosted by a sweet little old lady trying to make a buck off her house full of goods.

Those are where you find the treasures. Estate sales being the best of those. (Tangent. Estate sales are bittersweet. Something so heartbreaking about hunting through a house full of someone unknown persons things. Anyone else get those sad pangs when hunting estate sales? Just me? Ok, then.) Anywho, on any given weekend you can hop in the car, follow the neon signs, and start hunting.

I haven't been able to go in a long time, summer has been busy and hot, and it just hasn't been in the cards. There are few things more painful to a die hard thrifter than driving past a million garage sale signs and not being able to pull over! Ha! This weekend I put my foot down and said, we are going! So me and my oldest hit the road. Only to find that no one was having a sale! Murphy's law of course. After finding a few duds (you know what I'm talking about, very few items or mostly clothes) we stumbled upon an estate sale. Jackpot. We had a good time searching the house, commenting on the layout and rooms (one of our favorite things, my girl and I love different houses in all the different styles and shapes), and digging through piles of Christmas decorations to find the hidden gems.

We didn't find as many things this week as we have in the past, but each thing we found is special. (That's also a key in garaging, don't bring home more junk, or you'll just clutter up your house! I try to be very intentional in what I bring home.) Without further ado, this weeks finds.

A handful of wooden spools in some fantastic colors. {$2.50}

A huge jar chock full of brand new "everything" nails for my husband {$2.00} He loved it! And this was only one jar of maybe 50. Each filled with a different type of nail or screw that some man had carefully collected and organized.
 This last purchase just confirms that when you hunt you have to look everywhere! I was shuffling through a stack of frames propped in a closet and when I happened to look up I saw a plastic bin marked "hangers $1". My heart skipped a little because it was full of wooden hangers! I know these bad boys go for at least 5-6 bucks a piece and I can't justify spending that on a hanger. $1 is much more my price language! I ended up getting 12 of these clasp ones, and 2 regular wooden hangers for Keith's suits. I won't keep them all, but what a fun gift it will be to give a cute piece of art and a fun wooden hanger to hang it up. Best part? Easy to store!
These wooden hangers came in a variety of shapes and colors, all vintage and all wonderfully crafted. {$1 each!}

I've already put my favorite hanger to use. I loved the dark wood of this, and I can't wait to hang it up.
I can't wait for the next free Saturday when I can head out again! And when school starts up, I can be a true die hard and head out Friday mornings. I love garaging!