Shop Local, Shop Big

As some of you that have been following my recent posts know, there is a small new shop opening in Westwood, NJ.  A shop full of Big dreams and locally handmade items.  It’s been really exciting to see it all come together over this past month!  And today, is the big day for Market House!  They are now officially open!  It looks so fabulous and so many fabulous finds are there! Tonight from 4pm-9pm, Sarah and Chelsea will be having their grand opening event at Market House.  There will be raffles, and many of us vendors will be there to greet you in person!  So come on down and check it out.  Buy some locally made hot sauce, roasted coffee, suspenders and matching bow tie for the little man, organic baby clothing, accessories, jewelry, apparel and more!  You will NOT be disappointed!!

Market House is located at 172 Center Ave. Westwood, NJ  A block from the train station.  Plenty of parking on the street and in the municipal lot is available.

Road Trip!!!!

In exactly one week, Erin and I will be embarking on a road trip….for 6.5 hours….just the two of us.  I love road trips. Erin likes going places as well.  She and I are both really excited to see the “big waterfall” (what Erin calls Niagara Falls).  I’m more excited to see some parts of Eastern Canada too.  What makes me anxious is entertaining a 3 year old in a confined space for that length of time.  Sure, I plan to have the Kindle powered up and a few movies downloaded for her view pleasure.  The usual portable items such as books, crayons, coloring books, her art book and travel chalk board. This kid’s addiction to art is great, but not so much when her crayons come tumbling down on the floor out of her reach.  Now that doesn’t make a long car ride so pleasing to her nor I.  I decided I’d try to find a solution to this problem and incorporate it into a cool new toy to entertain her for the car ride as well.

When I was a kid, we each had a lap desk that we took on our road trips.  It was great.  A hard flat surface to color and write on with a pillow for leverage on the bottom.  The pillow prevented the lap desk from sliding off our laps easily.  I decided I’d buy one for Erin.  But I either didn’t find one I liked, was too wide or big for her car seat or it had a completely flat surface. What about those crayons?  They will still roll? I decided to hold off and keep looking.

One afternoon, as I was frantically semi-cleaning out the car, (you know, clearing space so a second passenger can sit back there?) I came across Erin’s “activity tray” that I made for her at a MOPS meeting last year. Similar to this one. I had made a flimsy alphabet set with it and most pieces were either worn to no use or missing.  It then dawned on me, it had the surface I wanted….a design to keep those crayons from rolling onto the floorboard out of everyone’s reach!  I knew then, making my own lap desk for Erin was totally possible!

I used the tray for the top hard surface, some fabric that Erin picked out at our new favorite fabric store (The Quilt Spot); and piping!  I decided to make my own piping which I’ve never done before out of complete convenience.  And HOLY HECK was that so easy peasy!!!!  I don’t think I’ll ever be buying premade piping again!

It didn’t take me long and I had very little to no frustration in making it!  In fact I love it so much, I might just list it in my Etsy Shop!  After all, it does fit my brand (portable and expandable activities).  The best part….it’s magnetic!!!!  And I could make it a chalkboard surface or dry erase too!!  Oh the possibilities are endless!!!  Since it is magnetic, I decided I’ll be gifting Erin something similar to this for the road trip:

Here is the finished lap desk for Erin:

Magnetic top with a small ridge to keep crayons from rolling off.  Plus handles!!!

Magnetic top with a small ridge to keep crayons from rolling off. Plus handles!!!

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Pillow on the bottom with the lovely fabric! Look at that perfect 3 inches on leverage!

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Bottom Pillow View. This really is gorgeous fabric. Erin’s got great taste!

So what do you think?  Do you think the little artist will like it?  What about YOUR little artist?

A New Gem in Town!

While you may be reading this post later in the morning/day, it’s not even 6am as I’m typing this.  The moment I woke up this morning, my mind started racing of all the things that I need to get done today.  Deliver signed forms to Erin’s school.  Don’t forget to include her medical info form.  (currently in a separate pile). Fill Erin’s Epipen prescription.  Return library books that are due today.  FIND said library books that are due today.  Add items to my Etsy Shop.  Edit items already in my shop. And finish one VERY AWESOME order!

Earlier this month, I mentioned a possible opportunity that I’d hope would come to fruition.  Well, Look out Merchants!  There’s a new shop opening in town and it’s going to be AWESOME!!!!  Why is Market House going to be so awesome?  Because they are only selling local handmade items!  And who is one of the artists/hand crafters whose items will be included there? ME!!  THAT’S WHO!!!!  Did you hear that!?!  ME!!!!  MY items are going to be IN A STORE!  People can see and touch them EVERY DAY!  (well, except Sundays as retail stores are closed on Sundays in Bergen County) I’m so excited about this opportunity!  It’s something I’ve worked VERY hard for and hope that it proves to be a successful venue for my items.

Let me tell you a little bit about this tiny gem.  Market House is located in the downtown area of Westwood, NJ.  Just around the corner from Conrad’s Confectionary (est. in 1928 and has AWESOME homemade ice cream), and the Westwood train station.  Two gals who have a handmade soap business (Yogi’s Choice) had a vision.  Selling their soaps at local farmers markets during the summer were great, but a place where local hand crafters could sell year round without a booth fee at a market or craft show, now THAT would be awesome! While sitting on a beach, Sarah and Chelsea found a retail space for rent in an area that values small local businesses- a perfect location.  They jumped on the chance for the space and Market House was born!

A place where people can purchase local handcrafted soaps, furniture, hair bands, t-shirts, jewelry, Hot Sauce, baby and kids items!  Wait, did I just say kids items!?!  THAT’S ME!  Sarah and Chelsea have chosen to include my Travel Felt Boards, Travel Chalkboards, and Portable Art Books for sale at Market House!  I’m so excited!  Grand Opening is set for the weekend AFTER Labor Day.  If you live locally (or not), come and check it out!  It’s a great way to support your local hand crafted small businesses in one a stop shop!

You can get some previews of items that will be for sale in Market House by visiting their Facebook Page. (Website is still in the works)  And any local farmers market that Sarah and Chelsea will be selling Yogi’s Choice Soaps, you can pick up one of their cards.  Mark it on your calendars as a great place to visit the weekend of September 6th!  Grab an ice cream cone or old fashioned egg cream from Conrad’s while your at it!