Saturday, July 27, 2013

More mushy stuff!

 My friend and amazing photographer, Margaret Jacobsen, sent me a few photos from last weeks photo shoot for Camp Wolf. They look SO cool and I can't wait to see the rest!! Also, see that rad "Stay Local" shirt on Farrin? Well, I have Prefresh to thank MAJOR for giving all of my models really awesome tees for the shoot. It's pretty incredible how generous and supportive people are when you really need help. I am blown away by everyone who has been there for me during this time. Starting a business is tough shit! I mean, there are days where I am extremely overwhelmed to be doing this alone (not anymore thanks to my new right hand lady, Cristin!) and then I remember that there are people and businesses out there who believe in what I'm doing and are willing to associate their name with my line. These are all strong woman who offer advice, products and friendship and have all been in my very position at one point. I'm also so thankful to have an incredible friend and graphic designer, Danielle Rauto, bringing all of my ideas to life and is willing to trade products and take payments for her services. So amazing right!? Nicole from Lillies and Leon has been another huge supporter of us right from the start. She's written really kind reviews about Camp Wolf and is always offering to help spread the word. A huge thank you to Cristin for joining along on the ride and being as excited about Camp Wolf as I am! I can't forget to include my friends and family who have donated time and money, free sewing lessons (Yay, Val!) and countless hours to watch Miles (Thanks Meagan!!). My mom and sister have been by my side every step of the way and when I have a hard day and feel super discouraged, they are there to tell me everything's ok, which is all you really need to hear sometimes. And my sweet, hard working husband makes it possible for me to be with Miles all day and start a business from home. But lastly, my biggest source of inspiration every single hour of the day is my sweet pal, Miles. He's the reason for ALL of this, my mini muse. 
This didn't mean to start off as a rambling thank you list but I'm glad it did because life has become really exciting and overwhelming lately and sometimes I forget to thank those who make it all possible.

AWESOME!

 A few weeks ago I started following a mama blogger, Cristin, on Instagram and saw that she had made really incredible embroidered portraits of her kiddos. I messaged her asking if she would be interested in making a custom one of Miles and a week later she sent me this AMAZING embroidered hoop of my boy along with other darling things she makes. I still can't get over how thoughtful she was to make all of this for me considering that we had just "met" but I knew there was something really special in her designs and I wanted to encourage her to make more...

Well, I want to introduce you to my new Accessories Designer for Camp Wolf!!!
After a couple days of thinking about the options and the opportunities of having a partner join me at Camp Wolf, I decided to message her thanking her for my lovely package she sent AND asking her if she'd be interested in designing for my line. She was thrilled and I was excited that she was thrilled and after a few emails back and forth and a Skype date later, we worked out a really excellent plan to expand and perfect Camp Wolf as a team. She has such a fun and chic approach to design and I'm so thankful to have her on Camp Wolf's team. 
Cristin runs the sweet blog Doin, Doin, Doin and lives in Richmond Virginia with her husband and two adorable boys, Henry and Jack. She recently became a stay-at-home mama and besides from working on Camp Wolf, she is starting her own online store where she will be selling felt and leather bows, stuffed characters (like the awesome one she sent me!) and custom embroideries. Needless to say, we are going to be very busy mama's but at least we have each other to lean on for advice and support. Have I mentioned how excited I am!?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

My helper

Miles has been such a good boy while I've been working on Camp Wolf. I try to always set aside time during my day to focus on him to go to the park, get ice cream or play in our backyard. He really loves helping me out too. It's so awesome to watch him grow into this amazing kiddo. He loves watering the front porch plans and he's pretty damn good at it too! He even helps feed the kitties which is just so cute. But with all of that said, I've also been letting certain things slide like watching Curious George alllll morning while I get to my emails or tear up the house so I can finish sewing a jacket. Nursing has been a doozy too. I wanted to stop breastfeeding after we got home from our trip but with all the excitement and craziness of starting a business, nursing was something that we could stay consistent with and stopping just sort of fell on the side lines. I've definitely cut him back a lot and I'm okay with waiting a bit longer to stop. He's still a little hellion with throwing and the tendency of not listening but man, he sure has a sweet heart. We got real lucky with Miles. He has a real love and understanding for animals, adores entertaining people, gives the BEST hugs and kisses and is genuinely such a happy soul. This boy has my heart. And even though our life has become more busy he is still by my side as my anchor, loving me each second of the day and you can't beat that.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Camp Wolf news!

This past Saturday I had my very first product photo shoot for Camp Wolf! I had the best photographer and the coolest kids modeling my jackets. The days following the shoot I was SO anxious and nervous about how it was going to turn out and the moment that we got all the kids together at Mt.Tabor park it all ended up being absolutely perfect! But really, my little models were so awesome and Camp Wolf looked great live in action. It's all coming together, guys!
 A few of the jackets I made for the photo shoot.
Stamps and buttons!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Thrift shopper

I've been feeling a little burnt out from thrift stores since our trip a few weeks ago. How is this even possible? I don't know but I'm pretty sure this was the second time thrifting in the past three weeks I've been home. That's just crazy! We went to tons of thrift stores on the road and one of my main focuses was to make it a buying trip for my mall space. When we returned home I was pretty damn broke (hah!) and since my mall space is now full there's been no need to hit the thrifts as often as I normally go. But anyways, on Sunday I went thrifting by myself (absolutely heavenly!) and picked up all this from one Goodwill. I love finding baskets to stash Miles' toys in and you can't go wrong with too much denim or owls.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

On the road- day seven, eight and nine

Day 7.  Today was family reunion day, so we tried to keep our stops to a minimum.  Drove through Indiana, stopped somewhere in Ohio to let the kids run around a massive field. And then, Cincinnati! 10 miles before our final stop, my mom began with the hyperventilating.  She was so excited and nervous to meet her sister, she could barely sit still in her seat. And then we were there.  Hugging and screaming, introductions amidst the tears.  A new aunt and uncle.  4 cousins and their 7 kids combined. It could have been very awkward, but it just felt like coming home. The rest of the night was spent looking through pictures and telling stories.  Looking forward to just staying put for a few days and being with our wonderful new family.

Day 8. Cora and I left everyone behind to swim, and went out sightseeing and thrifting. Oh Ohio! With your quaint neighbor hoods and your Amazing! thrift shops! We drove around Glendale, looking at all the sweet homes, built mostly in 1850's. Cora scored carts full of boots in the local stores, while I didn't do too badly myself.  Back to the family for dinner and more gettin' to know ya's.

Day 9. More thifting, more family time.  Our kids loved swimming in the indoor pool and they were so delighted to discover fireflies!  Running in their acre of a backyard, pushing each other on swings hanging from tree limbs.  Julia and Jocelyn were the perfect hosts, sharing their toys and putting on fashion shows with my Lily's clothes.  Chad, Katie, and Eric. Madison and Miley.  All were the perfect playmates.  And our cousin Lexie, 16, was the perfect baby whisperer, soothing Miles when no one else could.
The similarity's amongst the family's are outstanding.  My mother named us all "C" names, while her sister named her children all "A" names.  My grandmother and her siblings were all "J" names just as Julia and Jocelyn are "J's" and Madison and Miley are "M's". Lot's of family resemblances, including redheads!  My Ella, whom I couldn't find any family resemblance to, is the spitting image of Madison. Chad and Angel have our red hair.  Aunt Marie has the same profile as my mom and grandma and all of us kids were shocked at how much our mother's looked alike in some photos.
Marie and Mom have quirky things in common, like stuffing the glove compartment with straws for just in case moments, and being an hour late for everything. They drive the same car and have the same affinity to clutter just like Cora and I do, a trait handed down from our great-grandfather. We stayed up late each night, and slept past ten each morning. Of course the 3 hour time difference had something to do with that too. We really felt at home though. This was family and we bonded so strong. Pretty amazing how life has it's way of unfolding itself in the most mysterious of ways.

On the road day six - walkers and strollers

Day 6.  Chicago. We had been planning this day for months. My Mom grew up here so she was looking forward to showing her children the wonders of the city.  We were going to go to museums and eat delicious food.  Well, best laid plans, right?  Here's how the long anticipated day played out.
We woke up to a broken lap top.  Seeing as it was my mom's new one, she was none too pleased.  We put a hold on out day's plans, and went to get it looked at. Broken with a capital B, which also stands for bummer, busted, and big trouble.  For many reasons, we needed to stay connected on this trip, so mom got a sweet Samsung tablet. So much better than a lap top, in my opinion. After a quick lunch, we set off in search of fine works of art.  What we ended up searching for was a parking spot.  Because we have a cargo carrier on the roof of my SUV, we aren't able to park in a covered lot. I know this because we've tried. It didn't turn out well. After a considerable time driving around, we decided it would be best to head back and just take cab.  By now the kids were amped up so we took them to the Field Museum.  I've been to several natural history museums and this one is the best by far. The taxidermy was absolutely amazing and the Native American and Egypt exhibits were quite impressive. For having such a rough start to our day, this definitely made up for it... well, until we were planning on leaving. We all stood outside, with about 10 other people, waiting at the cab stand. And we waited, and waited.  And waited. Babies were exhausted, crying, screaming and rolling on the ground.  Mother was beyond pissed, sitting stoic on the steps of the magnificent Field Museum.  Cora and I, walking around wringing our hands, cursing the great city of Chicago. In other words, a hot fucking mess.  After several failed attempts contacting the cab companies, we decided it would be best to walk down to Michigan Ave and try our luck there.  An hour and a half after we left the museum, we were riding in a cab through rush hour traffic.  Clearly our driver had driven for NASCAR.  He was weaving through half an inch of traffic, oblivious to the screams emitting from the back seat. The big girls were laughing like it was some Disneyland ride while us mothers gripped the babies with white knuckles, our eyes wide and teary from not blinking. Death Cabbie finally pulled up to the retirement home we were staying at and we all flew out like witches on broom sticks.
You may have noticed I mentioned a retirement home. My wonderful Great Aunt Jeanie lives there and offered to put us up in the guest suites.  So for two nights we stayed in an old folk home.  Only this was like no old folks home I'd ever seen before.  It was a high rise beside a lake with views to kill for. Amenities such as a library, a bank, a hair salon, a dining hall and a dessert lounge. Posh.
We were supposed to meet Aunt Jeanie for dinner in the dining hall at 6 sharp, but you can guess we didn't make it.  At 6:45, Auntie met at the door, dolled up and ready to eat. We just wanted to fall into bed.  But we didn't. And boy, we we glad we didn't.  Dinner was delicious, the company was wonderful and best of all, the perks of dinning in a retirement home is that Allen cuts your meat into bite size pieces. Dessert and coffee in the lounge. After dessert she too the two toddlers on rides on her walker all around her building, multiple time. The kids were in heaven, laughing their asses off as was my Aunt Jeanie. By this point we were all beyond exhausted so we made our was up to floor 27, called it a night and slept like babies.
Photos of my moms grandfather Clarke Crandall (Aunt Jeanies father) performing card tricks.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

On the road- day four and five

Our travels according to Clair...
Day 4. We trudged through the rest of Kansas and into Missouri. Missouri was delightful with its green fields and diverse roadkill. Deer, turkey, and the occasional armadillo. Our destination for the day was St. Louis.  My grandfather's sister lives there and at 80 years old, she was as funny and sweet as ever.  Her home was beautiful, filled with antiques from her mother.  As I looked around at her collections, I was surprised to see many things similar to the antiques I grew up with.  Staffashire dogs, cinnibar dishes, toby mugs.  Turns out, my mom had subconsciously filled her home with things she had grown up with. As I said, antiques.  And you already know we are travelling with toddlers. Sooo, my sister and I got a room, at the Best Western of course, and my mom and the oldest girls stayed with Aunt Georgeann. Here's how our evening went: Room service, yay!  Cheesecake with strawberry sauce, yay! Clumsy kids, sauce in the air! Baby boy crying, strawberry ooze streaming down his face and all over the surrounding furniture and people, ie my pjs. I slept in a towel, on strawberry scented sheets.
 My great Aunt Georgeann and mom
Day 5. The road to Illinois was broken by a gigantic pink elephant looming into the horizon. You better believe we stopped for that!  It was an antique store with funky vintage attractions living on the lawn.  A huge green space ship, a handsome 70ft shirtless man enjoying an ice cream.  And an actual ice cream shop in the shape of an ice cream cone. We next drove to Springfield to visit where Abe Lincoln lived. The city itself was not impressive so we figured we'd forgo seeing Abe's home and just head straight to Chicago but we knew if we didn't stop we would have regretted it later. This was something important for my mom to see so we're glad we made it happen. The kids ran around, the moms looked at the beautiful historical buildings of our past president and we got a few fun souvenirs along the way.
Next stop was Chicago, land of 1000 joggers.  Seriously. The fog was so thick the tops of buildings apperied to be floating.  And yet, people were out jogging.  And playing volleyball. On a Monday evening!  In the blinding fog! Now that says something about the perseverance of this town.  Not so much about our own.  We were once again tired and hungry.  Through most of the trip the babies have been well entertained, trading off their aggravations, one baby crying at a time.  And the big girls in the back have behaved like saints. Watching movies, reading or listening to music, playing peekaboo when the little kiddos get restless. But we had all hit our limit tonight. A quick scan of the GPS told us that there was a pub nearby and I called ahead to make sure they were kid friendly, cause man we had kids with some pent up energy.   The pub was called Bridget McNeill's and Chef Patrick was a big Irish fellow who took a natural liking to Miles, a fellow redhead.  The kids played with blocks, while the adults nursed their beers.  When dinner came, we feasted on gourmet mac and cheese, bbq pulled pork sliders, and Margarita pizza. Food was suburb, costumer service was amazing, best of all kids got to be themselves and nobody complained.  Chef would come around and play with the kids, stopping once to sit and chat. This was the perfect ending to a long day.

 So, this photo doesn't even do what we saw justice! The streets were PACKED with joggers but it give you an idea of how thick the fog was.
Sleepy walk back to Aunt Jeanies after stuffing out faces with beer and food from the pub.