Monday, August 20, 2012


Some of you may know that my lovely hubby and I recently celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary.  I also had my 36th birthday the same day.  I really should have rethought that one.  To celebrate we traveled to southern California to visit some good friends of ours who also watched our kids for us so we could have a couple days to ourselves.  I really was a great trip and I was sad to leave.   Here are some of the highlights. 

We broke in our new (used) van.  It was so nice to have room for a long trip.  The kids all traveled really well especially sammy who was perfectly content to watch movies and suck on his sucker. 

Just look at all that room!  They could barely reach to hold hands which means less fighting!
I love the drive to California.  

One of the days we had without kids Ben took me to the Getty Center.  This is a view of LA from the top of one of the Centers buildings.  On a fun note it was super windy that day and there were soooo many girls with very short flouncy skirts on.  I saw more panties that day than I have in my whole life.  My hubby however missed out because he found a quiet corner and snoozed most of the time we were there. 

Saw this on on our way to dinner one evening.  Umm creepy much?

We walked the Promenade (outdoor shopping center)  in Santa Monica our first night away from kids.  It was so relaxing and there were tons of street musicians.  So fun.  Here is a lovely view of the beach just to the north of the pier. 

We ate tons of very yummy food.  

After our alone time we headed back to Hemet and hung out with our friends and their kids.  We drove up to Oak Glen together for some berry picking. 

Of course you cant have a trip to California without hittin the beach. I hate the beach. Sharks live nearby.  My kids however love it and have absolutely no fear.  They caught sand crabs by the dozen and some waves as well.  

It was good to get away for a while and relax.  Now back to our regularly scheduled programming. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

It's hard to believe that July is over already.  It went so stinking fast and now I'm having to think about school supplies and uniforms.  Well before I start having a panic attack about sending my oldest off to school for the first time in years lets take a look back at the last few weeks. :) 

Bumble Monsters made an appearance.  I love these guys.  They were a  crazy science experiment gone awry. Unfit for their original purpose of world domination (they are too 
cute and sweet for that) they have been released from the laboratory and are now looking for loving homes.

Got a custom order for my biggest monster yet!  This gal was huge, and I mean that in the nicest way possible.  My kids want everything I make and Hannah had a little fit when I told her for the fourth or fifth time that this wasn't for her.  I guess I need to make another one. 

Oh and then there was this little monster. He was a custom monster and I love love love that my customer had me add a tie.  I drew a picture for my coloring pages of a monster with a tie and she loved it and had me add it to the plush.  I think it turned out pretty cute. 

I did get a little down time here and there even if it was just running to the grocery store by myself or taking the kids out for a little ice cream treat.  I love love love this picture of Sammy and his Daddy.  We got Sam an ice-cream cone but once he got a look at daddy's huge shake he just had to have it and handed over his cone. :)  

We got our first basket of goodies from Bountiful Baskets last week.  It was full of yummy fresh fruit and veggies along with five loaves of the most amazing organic 9 grain bread.  I couldn't wait to dig in so I made us a meal made almost entirely from the basket.  Not pictured is the Rosemary Chicken and potatoes I made.  Yummy.  

We are getting ready to take a little vacation for a little family time and freedom before school starts again and we have to resume some sort of normal schedule like going to bed before 1am, or getting dressed before noon if at all. :)   My poor kids wont know what to do once I pack the pool away and they have to wear normal clothes and do math again. :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Settling down

Last month was by far the busiest month I have ever had for Heart Felt Design.  It was nuts. Even with the shop closed down for a week I had over 40 orders come through not including a few from facebook and a large order I was finishing for Mondo Media. For the first time ever I felt a bit overwhelmed, I fell behind, and actually had a small panic moment at one point.   I am finally able to breathe and sleep a little easier, as I just sent out my very last June order! 

We have one more long month before school begins for the littles and I am planning to enjoy every minute of it.  I have decided not to homeschool this year and am sending the kids to the next best thing for us, a local charter school.  Some of them seem really excited but my oldest is begging to stay home. I will miss having them at home with me but the thought of having another month like the last one on top of homeschooling kind of stresses me out.  We will see how it goes.  Until then I am going to soak up as many snuggles, laughs, hugs and kisses along with the inevitable stickiness that comes with having small children.   

I know I am not alone in the struggle to balance work with family.  I am very thankful that my job is one that I can set down and walk away from when my kids need me, which, with four kids, seems to happen every other minute.   Even though the last month was crazy busy I was still able to join the kids in a bit of fun and sun.  Here's a little glimpse into our crazy life.

The kids swam every single day.  My wonderful husband got the kids a new pool this year.  The last one we had was about a foot deep.  My 12 year old was embarrassed to get in the thing.  Thankfully it got a tear in it and needed to be replaced. 

My daughter Hannah has lived in her swimsuit all summer.  She is in the pool from 10-5 with small breaks for lunch and some sun bathing.  I have used bottles upon bottles of sunscreen on this girl.

 Sammy on the other hand doesn't like to be in the pool with the other kids.  It makes him nervous.  He would rather watch from the side lines inhaling otter pops by the dozen. 
 One of the benefits of being so busy last month was that I was actually able to buy decent fireworks this year. This is Sammy trying out his very first sparkler.  He did fairly well.  

 Of course we still went to see our local fireworks display.  It was crazy loud but fun.

With a five year old girl around there is always a lot of pretend play going on at our house.  We have sooooooo many boy costumes but Sammy always ends up in a dress. lol

We love movies at our house.  I probably let them watch way too many, but they are good for my sanity, and it's so nice to see them all snuggling together and getting along. :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Today's post is a really hard one for me to write.  I have been struggling with the feeling that I need to say something about this issue for a long time and it's finally gotten to a point where I just have to do it. There can be a really fine line between finding inspiration in someone else's work and copying it and claiming it as your own. I have found an amazing online artist community on both Etsy and Facebook that is filled with wonderful artists who are full of integrity and original ideas. Then there are the ones who are not so original or honest, though those are, thankfully, few and far between. I usually ignore these people. However, there is one who keeps popping up all over the place. I get messages from other people at least once a week about this person and their tendency to "glean" ideas off of other artists. Just to put it out there, this is the artist in question's view on copying, in her own words.

"These people don't understand what "copying" means. If you take the exact fabric, shape, colours, and copy every single detail, then that's copying. There are no original ideas out there. Someone's borrowed something from someone, and you have to realize that they are probably jealous. Just keep doing what you're doing, and you'll be fine. CHIN UP!"

"Oh, and if your design is 10% different than this person's design, you're safe. That's the rule in the art world. Take something, change a minimum of 10%, and you're good to go."

10%, huh? Aside from being an unethical practice, this theory doesn't hold up in court, either. See the following articles on artist copyrights and 'fair use':

Myths about copyright
top 10 myths about copyright

You can decide for yourself but, as far as I'm concerned, and I know several other artists who strongly agree, she is a copycat.

She copies artists over and over again and we, the artist community, point it out to each other, privately, but very rarely say something out loud. This is a topic that we need to be more public about.  I am not going to name names today, because I'm rather positive that my pictures will speak for themselves.  If you still don't recognize this 'artist's work and would like to know who to watch out for and hopefully unlike and block on Facebook, please message me privately and I will give you the person's name.
Remember--in her mind, all you have to do is change a design by 10% They may not be exact, but you can tell exactly where the "inspiration" came from.
The worst part is that she claims the designs as her very own and often blogs and remarks about how awesome she is and how her business is so wonderful.
It surprises me that she won't even wait a while after she gets "inspired". She just jumps right at it and makes a similar item of her own.
For example, I came out with my little cupcake monster with a unique cute nose and the copycat even commented on a couple of my monster photos that I posted. Then, the VERY NEXT DAY, she came out with her "new" monsters with the same noses, saying, "I also love the furry noses, and I think they are a fantastic addition, something I thought of later on. I'm so glad I did it."  
Seriously? If she had said something about liking my monster noses and wanting to try something similar on hers, I might not have been as angry.

Here is one more photo of an item that was just copied today (7/10/12).
There are more.  I could sit here for hours and put together photo collages, but I'm not wasting any more time on this person.

Do you think I am being harsh or unreasonable? Many of the artists who are being copied are earning their living from the time that they invest in their craft. They work hard, thinking of new, fun ideas, only to wake up the next morning to see this person posting their items on Facebook, claiming them as her own. Where do you stand on this topic?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Pay it Forward Handmade style

 Inspired by my lovely, crafty friend over at olga wassupbrothers, I am participating in a little craft swap with a twist and I'm inviting you all to join me. I cant wait to see what olga makes for me. Her creations are completely adorable and so is she.  Her owls are amazing. 

The idea is that the first three people commenting on this post will receive an item entirely handmade by me.  Those three people will then

 * do a similar blogpost and make something special for their first three commenters  

*and will send me something handmade in return as well  

Im So excited to see who joins in the fun! To be fair to all participants please only join if you fully intend to participate.  The first three people who comment with their email address (so I can contact you) will be entered. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Music Monday and drowning in fur

I know I have shared my love for this band before but really I just cant stop listening to them!  They have this magical ability to calm and bring out creativity in me.  Their Album is only available at their shows and on iTunes at the moment.  Give them a listen.  


Also I got a rather large shipment of fur in the mail last week.  Over 20 yard of it actually.  I have no clue where I'm going to put it all.  I laid it out on my dining room table today to take some pictures. 

So many fun colors!

My kids keep asking me to make them blankets out of them. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

10 things about me

Hi all.  I just wanted to do a little get to know me post today.  You see my craft posts on facebook a lot but I don't offer much info on myself.  So here you go.  A little glimpse into me.  

1.  I am super afraid of sharks.  When I was little I thought it would be cool to be a marine biologist....till I swam in the ocean for the first time and something touched my foot. Yikes!

2. I love, love, love my chicken enchiladas.  Seriously they are soooo good I will eat the whole pan which is why I only make them when I have company, and I give most of the leftovers away.  Mmmmmmm now I'm hungry.

3. One of my favorite things to do is go on our McClary adventures.  Sometimes on my hubby's day off we will just get in the car and drive to the mountains or to somewhere we have never been before like in the pic below.  That is horseshoe springs near Tooele, Utah.

4.  I have four kiddos.  Josh is almost 13, Zeke is 8, Hannah is 5 and Sammy Levi is 3.  Don't let this picture fool you.  They love and hate each other in equal measures which makes for some very interesting days. Who tied who to what?

5.  I used to teach pre-school and art classes for K-7th grade.  It was a lot of fun but I really don't have the patience for it anymore.  

6. My Grandma Jessie raised me from the time I was a baby until I turned 13.  I miss her terribly.  She was the one who taught me how to sew. This was the last picture I ever took of her back in 2006 in San Diego. 
7.  Horror movies give me nightmares.  Really vivid, wake up at night crying or screaming type of nightmares.  I saw Child's Play when I was 8 and I still have nightmares.  I used to make my grandma lock my cabbage patch kid dolls up in the closet at night time because of this. 

8. I have never met my father.  He died a around 12 years ago.  I have a couple half brothers out there somewhere but I don't even know their names.  I think coming from a broken family makes me appreciate the one I have with my husband and kids even more.  

9.  I love 80's fantasy movies like Willow, Legend, the Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. :)

10. I hate waking up in the morning.  I stay up so late at night working that when morning comes around I feel like I have barely slept.  It can take me an hour from the time my alarm goes off until I am completely awake and moving.  My hubby on the other hand is a total early bird. It bugs me to no end lol. 

Oh how about a bonus one.  

11.  I love love love love my husband!  (gotta give him one more than my enchiladas) He is a super hard worker, a great daddy, funny, smart and a total hottie.  We've been married for almost 15 years and I love him more and more. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May Giveaway!

Its time for a Giveaway!
follow the directions below for a chance to win this guy!  (the furry one)

Simply comment on this post for one entry.  Follow my blog for an additional entry. You may also share on your blog, tumblr, twitter or facebook page for one entry each.  Make sure you let me know where you have shared when you leave your comment.  Winner will be announced on June 1st!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I would like to write today about a topic I am very passionate about.  I'm sure you have all seen the commercials on T.V.  of children in Africa with swollen bellies and flies on their faces, their parents have died of AIDS and now they are all alone in the world, fending for themselves and often their younger siblings as well. While this exact scenario may not apply to the majority of starving children around the world, their stories are all the same in one way, they do not have enough food to eat.  Most have little to no education, no access to health care, or even a clean water source. Check out the following link for some surprising facts about hunger. 

I have to admit it makes me cry every time I think about this.  I have four kids of my own and to even imagine them going for days without food makes me cringe.  I sometimes feel guilty that our fridge is full, I can run to the grocery store and buy anything I want and while we don't have health insurance, my family has never gone without our basic medical needs being met.

I know there is a ton of controversy about some of the organizations out there that ask for money to feed hungry children.  These organizations are not all equal and some are sadly more about making money than others.  That said, I would love to tell you all a little bit about World Vision.  My husband and I have been sponsoring a child through World Vision for over 9 years now.  Her name is Janet and she is from Zambia.   World Vision is an amazing organization that is running programs in over 100 countries around the world.  Over 86% of the money they receive goes directly to these communities and to the children sponsored.  World Vision does more than just provide nutritious food to children. They help set up schools, medical centers, and water treatment facilities and also educate and provide agricultural help to local farmers. 

I would like to encourage all of you to check out the World Vision website and see for yourself how they are changing lives around the world.  I have been feeling for months that I needed to do more in my business to reach out and help others, so two weeks ago, while I was volunteering at a World Vision event,  I decided that Heart Felt Design would sponsor a child. I can't wait to introduce him to you.  He is such a little guy and I look forward to many years of getting to know him and maybe even visit once or twice.  Did I mention its only $35 a month?  Or that it's super easy?   Please check it out.            

Friday, March 23, 2012

March giveaway time! Follow the link and comment on the photo to enter. Good luck!

Friday, March 2, 2012


In my last post I mentioned that I had made some frogs for an advertising company last month. I didn't really know what they were for and just assumed that the company was going to had them out to clients at an event or something boring like that. I ran across the company's facebook page and saw an album of photos about my frogs and it got me so excited. I had to write to them and ask what they were being used for. Boy was I wrong. These guys are going to be heading out on an adventure that has the potential to be world wide. Check out this website made entirely for them and their adventure. How exciting!

Monday, February 20, 2012

An Army of Frogs...and yes that is the correct term :)

I have been getting a lot of custom orders lately which I absolutely love. It stretches my abilities as a designer and I love trying new things. I recently was asked to make a jack skellington and Rapunzel plushie using the body shape of my Harry Potter monsters. I drew up a sketch and this is what I came up with.

I think they turned out well. About a week later I was contacted by an advertising company about making some plush frogs for an event they were having. It was really short notice but I was able to shut down my etsy shop for a few days and get the order out. It was a little stressful but so much fun. The order was for 29 plush frogs based on my frog I have listed on Etsy. The catch was they all had to be different with their own personality and style to them. These are some of my favorite photos that I took after they were all done. I really like the idea of making a bunch of one thing but having them all slightly different. I may have to do that again sometime.

I just love that last picture...they really do look like a little froggy army. I have a couple more custom orders to do this week and am excited about them. Two are for some of my Dr. Who items but in large pillow size! I can't wait to see how they turn out. I also have a ginormous pile of sketches I have made that are in my ideas to make file. So many ideas but very little time.