Sunday, October 20, 2013

Please Pardon the Chaos

Hello Friends of Mollykid Studios,
Happy Sunday! I wanted to take a few minutes to let you know I haven't forgotten about my page on Facebook or my blog here at www.mollykidstudios.blogspot.com 
Life has just been extremely chaotic lately, with trying to adjust to our new pseudo-settled life in California. I started my new job this week and soon enough we will be moving into a new place and unpacking a whole lot-o-stuff to finally be "home".

I ran across this great quote on Pinterest today that gives me reason to smile and I hope you will bear with me while I get situated and get back on an even keel. My creative life has gotten a little wacky and sporadic, but I will return with some fabulous creative ideas to share. Thanks for continuing to share my site with family and friends and I look forward to posting more again SOON!!

What fun projects and treasure hunts have you been working on lately?  Don't be afraid to share, I love to live vicariously through my friends, too!!  
Xoxo~Mollykid

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

It's a Sign...Our NEW Sign!

I am happy to say Fall is finally arriving in Northern California, and it's just in time for this weekend and the debut of our Mollykid Studios booth for Art in the Park.  The trees have been gently blowing, their colors are getting rich and the temperature is down to a pretty perfect 74 degrees.  Since Fall is my all time favorite season, I think it's safe to say Mollykid is smiling big these days!  Oh, and the fact that I got two interviews for new jobs this week makes me pretty excited as well.

I wanted to share my new sign for our sale this weekend.  If you have ever wanted to make a sign for your own event/business/etc, this one is a pretty simple and fun project you can accomplish in no time at all.  Before I tell you how...here it is.  What do you think??
I ran across this frame at one of the many local consignment shops here in Redding, and I thought it was a steal for only $5.  It had a lovely painting from 1983 with a fancy eagle catching a snake.  it reminded me of feathered hair, muscle shirts and mullets so it had to go.  The canvas popped out easily and then it was my turn to create something fun for that awesome barn wood type frame.  

After I completed my most recent painting for the sale, I took a picture of it, and edited it in Picassa to give me a cheery and colorful palette background.  As I love with Picassa, it was then easy for me to add my business name and website and choose a font, too.  Thank goodness for tiny little SD cards; they make toting your files down to Kinko's pretty stinkin' easy.  I told the friendly guy what I wanted {a simple printed 18x24 poster} and he had it printed in about 4 minutes.

Next, I headed over to Michaels to swoop up an 18x24 canvas to mount my poster to and pop back into the frame.  I did tape off my canvas and paint the outside edge, along with the outside 1.5" of the front to create an eye catching border around the poster.  After cropping the poster slightly and using spray adhesive on the poster and canvas, she was ready to be attached to the frame.  

I have to say, this was an easy project anyone can do!  Now go start scouring your local consignment and thrift stores, along with garage sales, for your own fantastic {and cheap!} frames.  I love finding good sized frames that can easily accommodate my own finished canvases. Xo~Mollykid


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Life is Busy, But Never Dull

Greetings from my crazy life.  I know it's been awhile since I wrote here and I have missed you so!  Life has been just plain old busy around here since we returned to live in California.  Between the kids getting back to school and having activities after school and me applying for a bunch of jobs, I ventured out to join a local art group called the North Valley Art League.  I thought it would be nice to meet some talented people who bring creative ideas to life and learn something new from some great artists.  They have a really nice gallery I can even display my art work in so that is quite exciting, too.  As much as I love being creative, I figured this would be a good way to have some "me" time. 


I am looking forward to having a booth in the upcoming "Art in the Park" event that takes place in Caldwell Park in Redding, California on Sunday, Sept. 29th from 10-4pm.  It coincides with the Ducky Derby, where the city races thousands of yellow rubber ducks down the Sacramento River, so it should be a good time!

I have been putting together some colorful things that will be for sale at my Mollykid Studios booth.  Even though I am missing the majority of my paints and supplies that are in storage somewhere in Virginia, I still have a good stash I kept at my parents while we were away so I can still create.  I shiped my sewing machine and a stash of sewing supplies and fabric ahead so I have  plenty to keep me busy...plus the fact that JoAnn's and Aaron Brothers are only 5 minutes away from the house is an added bonus.  I am excited for my first public sale!!!

So what have you been up to lately?  Any projects that you are working on or thinking about??  Tell us all about them right here on Mollykid Studios.  Hope to hear from you soon! Xo~Mollykid <3

*Image courtesy of Pinterest

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Banner Project Preview!

Hello Friends,
I am happy to say I finally got some crafting time today!  This has been a busy few weeks helping to prepare for a big party for my wonderful hubby who is retiring from the Air Force.  I am so proud of him...sure hope he knows that!  Anyway, I am tasked (or shall I say I happily volunteered) for several decorations to include a picture arrangement, some banners and table decorations.  For months I have been gathering ideas and I just wanted to share the start of one of my banners.  I can't wait to finish it tomorrow so I can share a "finished" picture!

Here is how it looks so far...what do you think??
When I mentioned to my sister this evening on the phone that it was made of brown paper bags, I heard a long, silent pause.  Almost thought she hung up!  I think she will be surprised, I think it's coming along pretty cute.  Tomorrow I will add some grommets and ribbon and maybe some stars and it will be complete.  

Have you ever made a banner for a holiday or event?  What kinds of materials did you use?  

Until tomorrow...xo~Mollykid

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Where For Art Thou Weekend?!

It's been a long few weekends helping my parents with some major makeover projects in their yard and I am pooped!  I feel like I have earned some much needed sewing, crafting and blogging time.  I hope I get some free time tomorrow to finish a blog post project with photos and at least plug in my sewing machine to whip up something fun!  

What did you do this weekend??  Though we were up to our necks in yard work, I still got to be a little creative this past week with making some awesome mosaic style stepping stones and finishing a towel rack for by the pool.  I will soon share the details and the finished products!  I can't believe it's almost Monday and the weekend is gone...where for art thou weekend?  

Have a wonderful week and go forward with your creative ideas!  What are you up to this week?...xo~Mollykid
                           
      


Friday, July 26, 2013

Home is Where the Love is

As many of you may know we are a family in transition.  I guess that is an understatement considering the life changes we are making right now.  Hubby is retiring from the Air Force and that means not only new careers for both of us, but what about where we will live?!  We recently returned to the U.S. from Germany and while we have a temporary place to stay {thanks so much to Mom and Dad!!!}, I really can't wait to be home.  Home to a place where we will live and make our new lives with work and school for the kids.  A place where we can make new memories and think back on old ones.  While we are home in a place where we feel love, it will be nice to settle down in the comforts of our own home, too. 

For over 18 years I have been a part of the military lifestyle.  The hurry up and move mentality where you wait for a piece of paper to tell you where you are going, when you need to be there and what you will be doing when you get there.  On top of this, you have the benefit of the Internet to familiarize yourself with the area and all it has to offer.  As "directive" as the whole process is, it's kind of nice to know where you are headed next, so you can anticipate and plan what's ahead.  In our current situation, we are kind of like leaves blowing in the wind.  And guess what?!  We have choices!!!  Something Hubby and I don't know a whole lot about since we have pretty much been told where to go and what to do for a really long time.

Now days, we are searching for our forever home.  Well, sort of.  Let me begin by explaining what a forever home really is.  Most military families we know refer to home as where you live currently or where you return to see Mom and Dad when you take leave, while their forever home is where they live their post-military life {when there is no threat of orders to move once again}.  To me, a forever home means a place where we have jobs and a lifestyle that don't have to be ready to pick up and move at a moments notice.  This includes being able to actually make roots in a community, in a home, in a life that will last more than just a couple years.  I imagine my kids starting a school now and being able to progress to high school with the same friends as they have at this age.  That sounds great, considering the transitions they have already had to make in life.  I will say though, they are more resilient because of those transitions!

Now comes the tricky part...planning life around where the jobs are.  We have our "new life" narrowed down to two cities, just over 2 hours apart.  Both cities are home to us in on way or another.  It will come down to jobs as to where we will live and I feel comfortable that the answer will come soon enough as to where we will end up.  Things are coming together, though; we got our small shipment of goods and one car is ready to be picked up at the port!

I once read a list of things that cause stress and it included things like job/career changes and moving as some top reasons for stress.  As I sit here going through those things as I type, I remind myself that although this can be a stressful time, we are making the best of it!!  We are enjoying close family time with loved ones, we are reconnecting with a community we have been absent from for years living overseas, we are actively searching out careers we are excited to pursue and we are anxiously awaiting what life has planned for us next.
All in all, I can happily report that life is good.  I have a few friends facing the days we are walking in now and all I can say is embrace what you have coming to you.  Come with an open mind and heart and stay flexible.  When you face life changes, you can plan for the best and life can have other plans.  Face one day at a time and make sure you smile along the way.  Let your smile tell others you can't wait to be home.  Wherever that may turn out to be!  For us, home is wherever we are loving, laughing and living...so for now, we are home.
Is your life a series of transitions?  Where do you call home?  I would love to hear from you :)
Happy Friday!  Xo~Mollykid

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

It's GIVEAWAY Time from Mollykid Studios!!

The sun is shining and it’s finally time for a GIVEAWAY from Mollykid Studios!!  I created this up-cycled apron just for one of you {my cherished readers!} to wear while you create in the kitchen, in the craft room or even in the garden.  All you have to do to enter a chance to win is leave us a comment on this blog post here at Mollykid Studios or visit us at Mollykid Studios on Facebook and leave a message there under this GIVEAWAY post. 
Let us know when you would wear this apron, what kind of up-cycled projects you like or even just stop in to say hello!  If you have a friend who would like this apron, share this post with them so they can enter for a chance to win, too.  If they win, it’s like you are gifting it to them {how nice is that?!}.  It’s that easy.  I hope you will also check out our pages and sign up for email updates from the blog and “Like” us on Facebook for updates!      

This blog has been a fun way for me to share ideas and projects, and I would love to see it continue to grow!  Thanks for stopping by and GOOD LUCK!  I will be selecting a winner on Friday, August 16th at 10pm Pacific Time.  As long as you comment before then, you will be entered for a chance to win.  Oh, and I can mail this apron so don't worry if you aren't in the United States, you still have a chance to win! 

Enjoy your day, wherever you are in the world…  Xo~Mollykid         

Friday, July 19, 2013

Itching to do a Giveaway from Mollykid Studios!!

Although we are still in transition, I am happy to say that I finally got to break out my Mom's sewing machine (which is the identical machine to my own) to use while mine is still traveling the world. Needless to say, I am excited to get busy with some sewing projects {smile}.  To begin, I am thinking of something great to put together for a GIVEAWAY!!!! Yes, I said GIVEAWAY!! 

Stay tuned for the details to be announced tomorrow! Don't forget to SHARE Mollykid Studios with your friends so they have a chance to win, too!  Sign up here on the Blog for email updates and Like us on Facebook at Mollykid Studios so you don't miss out.

Until tomorrow...xo~Mollykid         

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Don't Wait Another Minute...It's Your Happiness

For everyone out there who says they don't have time, they put "it" off until another day, or those who are deciding on the "right" time:
If you have a dream, you should follow it.  Don't let perfection or procrastination get in the way of your happiness.  This includes your ideas to start something new or make a change in your life.  If you don't make today the day to pursue what makes you happy, you may never get a chance.  Do what you can today to make your heart smile today, tomorrow and always.  Live today and have no regrets about "what if..." xo~Mollykid

     
                           
         


Friday, July 12, 2013

It's a Project Kind of Friday

Happy Friday Friends,
It's official!  I was was completely overwhelmed on my first trip to JoAnn Fabrics last night since we have returned to the U.S.  Not only is it a brand new mega store in my parents hometown, but the amount of "stuff" to look at was crazy.  I have determined I am going to make some quilts for my kiddos for their new rooms and the fabric choices were just amazing.  Clearly I am going to need each of their inputs before I make any decisions.  

Today I have some awesome jobs to apply for then it's on to a lamp project I have planned!  It will be my first stateside project so I am super excited.  Can't wait to share the details with you :)

What plans do you have for this weekend?  Any projects you have in the works?  We would love to hear all about them, so do share!  Have a wonderful weekend wherever you are... Xo~Mollykid

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Playing with Photo Editing on Picassa

A few weeks ago I was playing around with a fun {and FREE} photo editing software called Picassa...have you heard of it?  I have been using it for quite a while now as an easy, squeezy option for me to edit some of my photos.  I love that its quick and simple and can do all kinds of things to totally change the look of a simple picture.  

On my most recent {and final for awhile} trip to Paris with my mom, I took a simple picture that I was sneaking since I didn't want to look all "touristy" as I entered a store.  Did I mention the store was in the awesome fabric district of Paris?!  Well, I will write about that in another post!  

Anyway, when I went through my pictures when I returned home, I thought my sneaky little picture might look cute with a little Picassa magic.  After only a couple minutes, I had this fun, colorful product that I wanted to share.  I have to say, this reminds me of one awesome trip to an awesome area of Paris!  Especially if you like fabric as much as I do...

                                    
So what do you think??  I just so happen to l-o-v-e the dress form in this picture and how it stands out with this coloring.  Ahhhw, that reminds me of my very own dress form I found in Metz, France at the monthly antique and flea market there {what fun!!!}.  As it makes its way across the Atlantic to us here in California with our household goods, I am already dreaming of how I will use it!

What photo editing software do you use/prefer?  Have you tried Picassa?  Let us know...I always like to hear what readers recommend.  Happy editing!  Xo~Mollykid


    

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Day to Celebrate! Freedom & Family

Waking up in America is extra special this 4th of July.  There is this excitement of fun and family in the air and we are prepping for a house full of people we love.  I am so grateful to live in this country we call home.  Our nation was founded on strong, brave people who aimed for freedom.  Thank you to all of the past, present and future military service men and women who sacrifice so much of their lives to ensure our freedoms.  May them and their families be blessed today and everyday.  So happy to be be home to the land that I love.  
May your festivities be safe and your celebrations be full of love today.  Now I am off to finish my homemade potato salad and enjoy time with my beloved family.  

What are your plans this Independence Day??  Xo~Mollykid

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Few of My Favorites

Lately it seems like there isn't so much downtime to browse the Internet and check out my favorite blogs with all their awesome ideas, but I still have my favorites nonetheless!  I have this diverse set of interests to include sewing, painting, vintage treasure hunting and furniture revamping, so I am so happy to see that there are SO many bloggers out there that cater to these specialties.  Whatever your interests, there is someone out there to help you generate ideas for your own projects.  The cool part is that many of them have tutorials and how-to's published to help YOU become your own creative self...even if you have never tried the technique before.

I know, I know.  Many of you may have this little voice inside saying you aren't crafty or it won't turn out as good as some of the bloggers you follow, but guess what?!  Here is my voice saying "YES!"; you can be crafty and your projects will turn out!  With a little practice, patience and of course a lot of love that comes from creating something with your own hands, you will be successful {smile}.

Ok, so are you ready?  Here are a few of my favorite go-to sites for inspiration, guidance and helpful hints on doing what I love.  Tell them we sent you over for some smiles and motivation to step into your own fantastic project adventures...
"Good Time Charlie" or GTC at Redoux Interiors is a great example of a junk collector and renovator that defies the odds of furniture that has otherwise been destined for the trash-ola!  I admire her eagerness to stop roadside to rescue a sad, abandoned piece of furniture and then work her magic to bring that piece smiling back to life.  Check out her site and you will see she is somewhat of a furniture whisperer.  Her tutorials and finished projects will make you want to start rescuing roadside rehabs and creating your own fabulous furniture!
I ran across Holly Becker at Decor8 over 2 years ago when I was searching for fabric markets in Europe on Google.  She had written a blog post about the colorful markets in the Netherlands and a million clicks or so later, I was hooked on her blog.  Her site is a bright spot in your day, as the color is brilliant (in more ways than one) and her style and layouts really draw you in.  I also kind of love that she is an American living in Germany (as I was until a couple weeks ago) and she highlights so many designers from Europe that have clean, fresh and simple looks.  One of her talents is also teaching classes on blogging.  When time permits, I would love, love, love to learn some of her tips.
Sew Mama Sew
So you love to sew?!  I would call Sew Mama Sew a fantastic place to go for beginners up to experienced sewists.  Can you believe they have over 400 tutorials?!  I love that they have contributors from all over that submit their creative ideas for others to explore and do on their own.  It's a great place to find project ideas, connect with others, get tips and participate in giveaways and sew-alongs.  I am even thinking of submitting a couple tutorials, as soon as I have some time to sit down and get them organized.  Channel your inner designer today and sew till your hearts content!

Now that you have them, might I suggest you take a little "me" time from your busy day and sit down to relax while you peruse their sites?  Go ahead, get your favorite drink, and head on over.  You can call it an appointment...a creative therapy appointment!  Let us know what you think and have a Happy Monday...~Mollykid          


*Photos courtesy of Google and each blog site :)







Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Job of Your Dreams

It's the age old question...what do you want to be when you grow up?!  I have always gone by the motto "do what you love, and love what you do".  I say take your passions and turn them into something you really love doing.
If you could create your own personalized career, based on your personal interests, what would you do? Why?  For those of you who do what you love as a career, how did you incorporate your passions into a career?
I would love to hear your thoughts!!  xo~Mollykid

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Mollykid On the Move

I know it's been awhile since I have blogged here, but it doesn't mean you are out of my mind.  You see, we have been doing a whole lot of un-fun stuff lately like cleaning, organizing and preparing for our big move from Germany back to the United States.  I tell you, a move like this really makes you realize how much stuff you have!  I know some people would dread having to pack up the whole kit- n-caboodle and moving to a whole new, unfamiliar place, but military families like ours kind of have this lifestyle down pat.  If you doubt me, just ask a military spouse or military member you might know what they think about moving...I bet they will have some awesome tips, tricks and hints for you!
Since this lifestyle comes with it's fair share of moves, I would say one of the best parts about moving as a member of the military is that a company comes, packs and wraps everything and then all your "goods" are loaded into sealed crates and shipped to meet you on the other end.  I did a do-it-yourself move once, and vow to never do it again.  Let me just say it's A LOT of work!  I don't envy those of you who do this often, so we will be careful to choose our next home as hubby retires and we get to choose where we want to settle.   
 
As we were getting ready the past few weeks, many friends asked for some advice on how to make it easy, so I thought I would share a few tips that apply to any kind of move, while some may apply to military moves specifically.  Here are a few things I can think of off the top of my head... 
 
- Get friendly with totes, tubs and containers.  These will help you to organize anything from papers, to supplies and even clothes and that infamous "junk drawer".  They make packing up as easy as unpacking.  Many of my items (like say...my sewing, art and crafting supplies!!) are stored in containers in the cupboards for ease of access and organization, so I simply put the containers where I want them when I unpack.
 
- Invest in some Zip-Lock bags.  I suggest the gallon and quart size ones.  They will help you keep the small things together.  No one wants to have to worry about how those small miscellaneous items will scatter in the boxes.  I learned this early in my moves that all those little trinkets in the junk drawer are a real pain to unpack when the movers dump the whole drawer into paper and stuff it into a box.  On the other end, you will have a big surprise when you go to unwrap that paper and you have a million coins, screws, nails and other small little things falling all over the floor.  Just sort and Zip-Lock it instead!
 
- Start your pre-move clean out early.  I took one cabinet at a time and cleaned it out from top to bottom.  Each time I cleaned out a space, I sorted out anything to sell/donate and put it into my favorite strong recycle bags.  I always keep the trash can, paper recycle bin, and a box for stuff to shred nearby, too.  Any items I have that have the original boxes, I put them away at this time.  Original packaging protects many items the best so re-use it if you can.  This cabinet clean out includes dressers, closets and even the car.  I use my sit down and relax time in the evening to go through containers of miscellaneous tidbits while I catch a favorite TV show.
 
- For those with multiple shipments (like those of us in the military) be sure to sort out what you need by shipment.  We had a household goods shipment (big, one takes the majority of your belongings and you won't see them for 2-3 months), an unaccompanied shipment (small, 1000 lbs or less, see in about 4-6 weeks) and of course the immediate needs items you will hand carry in your suitcases (clothes, records, passports, medications, etc.).  This process takes some time, so don't forget this step WELL BEFORE the movers come.  Otherwise, they might pack what you need, and you will end up spending more unnecessary money replacing something you need or not having a critical document you need.  I will break this step down:
    
     -- Set all the luggage aside that you will need.  We like to travel light, so 1 rolling suitcase and backpack per family member, plus 1 toiletries bag and 1 small carry-on for critically important records. 
     -- Go room by room with a laundry basket and pull out what you will be hand-carrying.  Go ahead and start packing suitcases and building a bag for records.  This should include medical/dental records, birth/marriage certificates, school records, military records and anything that you will need to start life new in your next location.  I plan for 7 days of clothes for everyone. 
     --Next, go room by room and pull out what you need to live in your home until you get lodging or have to move out.  I pulled out paper plates/napkins, old silverware, cups and some other kitchen items that I had planned on donating anyway.  This makes meals easy when you are in move mode and don't have time for anything complicated.  I also include blankets, sheets and extra clothes in this, so we have more to choose from a few weeks after we arrive in the new location.  You can put pillows in this shipment as well, though I finally said I have had it with our old pillows and tossed them the morning we moved out.
Now that our goods are shipped, the house is cleared and we have travelled the first leg of our journey back to the United States, it feels nice to sit back and relax knowing all that preparation paid off.  I hope these tips help you out in your future moves.  If you have some tried and true tips that you can't move without, please share them with us here at Mollykid Studios.  We look forward to hearing from you...  xo~Mollykid               
    
 
  

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What Is It You Love?

If you have a few free minutes in your busy day, what do you like to do? Ready...set...GO! Spend some time doing what YOU love today. Xo~Mollykid


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Oh No...Not Another Broken Umbrella?!


Two weekends, two European capitals...Paris and Berlin back to back and nothing but rain (you know the soak you in a minute kind of rain!) and grey, gloomy skies.  Needless to say, we are not only anxious for the sun to break on through, but we realize how delicate umbrellas really can be!! I am serious when I tell you that we have thrown away about 4 umbrellas in the past two weeks. We have worked them to their breaking points. And do you know how hard it is to maneuver a digital SLR camera being a tourist while having to hold an umbrella or risk getting drenched?! 

I knew it was bad when we were at Mauerpark Flea Market mecca today in Berlin, Germany, which is one of the more muddy fleas I've found, and my youngest son said "this is by far the cheapest umbrella I have ever seen!" This was as he was having to hold it open manually because it wouldn't stay open. Later, he declared that it would be in umbrella heaven at the end of the day. He was a trooper and though we were going to trash it, he insisted that he could fix it, he just "needed some tape!!" Oh my, a boy after his grandfathers heart.  Lol

Looking forward to drying out our feet this week with some sun, even if its only 55 with sun, I am not complaining. I hope the sun finds you this weekend... How are you spending your Sunday of this holiday weekend? We would love to hear from you! Xo~Mollykid

P.S. I look forward to sharing some pictures when I am back to my lappy (the laptop) {smile}

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Bonjour From Paris


Bonjour and greetings from Paris...
Arrived to our lovely home for a few days with my mom and we are so excited to head to the Paris Flea Market today at Marche de Puces St. Ouen! I will be taking pictures to share with you so you can see what it's all about. Hoping for some clear skies at any time, its been raining a bit this morning, but that isn't stopping us!
Xo~Mollykid

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Hardly a Moment for Creativity!


Another gloomy Day in Germany, but Mom is visiting so there is a lot to smile about and be thankful for!  I have been so busy with preparations for our big move back to the U.S. that I have hardly had a moment to be creative. Well, unless you consider cleaning out cupboards and storage areas "creative"! Haha...

I wonder what big chores and projects you all have on your plates this time of year when the end of school is drawing nearer (for those with kiddos), and the weather is getting nicer (in some parts of the world, at least!!). 

Since I am not doing much creative stuff on my own, please share what you have going on! Xo~Mollykid

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mollykid Recommends: Shopping in Nove, Italy

I know, I know... I keep sharing details about our fantastic trip to Italy, but for good reason!  You all should know about the awesome places we were so lucky to visit, should you get the opportunity to visit there yourselves.  I happen to think first hand recommendations are great for planning on our own trips, so I like to pass on good info, too.  A good friend of mine tried to convince me that we should visit Nove, Italy together while on vacation.  Who knew what a great time we would have shopping amongst so much beautiful pottery and glassware.  When I first told my husband I didn't really have to visit the many ceramic shops that Nove is so well-known for, he gave me the look...you know, the one that screams "are you kidding me?"  He had been before on a tour years ago and thought it was right up my alley.  If I forget to thank you here later, thanks Babe for making sure we made it to Nove!!

Since we stayed in nearby Vicenza the night before, it was less than an hour drive to Nove.  We pulled into town (a small, cute town I might add!) on a very rainy day and I couldn't help but notice all of the ceramics shops up and down the main road running through town.  It was like my trip to Poland a few months ago, where it is obvious what supports the local economy.  As we waited at the stoplight, this statue seemed to represent all the artists of the town.  The next stop was our rendezvous point to meet up with friends for some shopping.
La Ceramica VBC stands out among the shops because of all the flags out front, including the American one.  Since we had the kids, I gave the speech again as we walked inside, you know the one about not touching anything because if we break it, we buy it.  I mean if I am paying money for something, I want it to not be broken, after all.  The entrance takes you through the actual warehouse area where products are visible in all stages of completion and pallets of boxes are ready for shipment.  From the first sights, I could tell I was happy I came! 
At first glance, the color was spectacular.  Bright and completely what I think of when I think of Italy: mosaics, sunflowers, olives and views of areas like Venice, Tuscany and Cinque Terra.  It was as I walked further back though that I really fell in love though.  La Ceramica VBC produces Italian dinnerware and accents for a company called Vietri, which has really beautiful pieces that are so unique and different from every day dishes.  They have so many different ones, in fact, it is hard to choose what to actually purchase.  We loved how they had a large table setting arranged so you can see how pieces look together.  
 
  
We found that this factory store offers spectacular prices for items that are quite popular throughout the United States.  They make products for Williams-Sonoma, Lenox, and Banana Republic, to name just a few.  Their products have even been featured in magazines like Oprah Winfrey's "O", Martha Stewart Weddings and Traditional Home.   
If you are able to make a trip to this store, I don't think you will be disappointed.  The gentleman helping us was extremely pleasant and helpful.  The store takes credit cards, but if you pay in cash you get a discount.  We were happy about this so a quick trip to the local ATM saved us some euro!  I hope if you are in the area that you check them out and let them know Mollykid Studios sent you.  


Happy shopping, friends!  xo~Mollykid

You can find La Ceramica VBC at:
CERAMICS VBC, Via Molini 45-36055, Nove (Vicenza) Italy  (Don't worry if your GPS doesn't get you there...just stay on the main street and look for a group of tall flags out front of a u-shaped building - Good Luck!)



Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Big Roadtrip: Northern Italy Part II

After a long day of walking on hard pavement and taking in the tourist sights of Pisa and Lucca, Italy, we decided the northwestern Italian coast line was a must see.  I am so glad we made our way to Viareggio for a look out to the Ligurian Sea in the late afternoon, when the sun was hovering out above us and reflecting so beautifully on the water.  The kids (in classic fashion) rolled up their pant legs and ditched their shoes immediately, and I did, too!  There is nothing like the feel of warm sand under your feet and moving through your toes.  I suppose I have loved that feeling since I was a kid...
One of our funny family travel traditions is to make sure that we witness the seas and oceans nearby to cities we visit.  I will say that this day, with its blue sky and white, billowing clouds reminded me of one of our first trips here in Europe to Finland, where we looked out over the Baltic Sea.  
There is always something I find amazing about the view from the waters edge.  How the tides change and the sand moves and reshapes the coastline with every breath.  To know that there is a whole other living world lying under that water is simply amazing.  One thing I know is skylines like these are the stuff that peaceful dreams are made of.  What kind of landscapes make up your most serene dreams??  xo~Mollykid     

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Big Roadtrip: Northern Italy Part I

Now that Spring break has come to an end and we are back to reality with work, school and life, it's time for Mollykid to have a seat and share a bit of what's been going on around here.  First, I have to say I have missed you all; I just love sharing projects and pictures here for you.  You haven't been far from my mind though, in fact, I have a bunch of great ideas for upcoming blog posts here so I hope you will tune in for a good time over the next few weeks.  To give you a hint, we took a once-in-a-lifetime road trip to Italy and from that one week, I have some f-a-b-u-l-o-u-s stories and information to share! 
With destinations like Tuscany, Florence, Pisa, Lucca, Cinque Terra, Modena, Verona and Nove...we were in love with the food and the sights.  Oh and of course, a little bit of shopping to wrap up a long road trip is always nice, too!  Though I initially questioned the length of such a trip by car (2000 road miles all together), I must admit, there wasn't a moment we were bored or without something to see, do or taste.  We kept moving from sun up to way past sun down, which made for some very sound sleep.  To top it off, we traveled with some awesome friends so our trip was full of fun and great memories.
Since this is likely one of our last big trips while living here in Europe, I made sure to take plenty of pictures (as usual) and we made ample stops for Italian gelato along the way.  Despite some days and moments of intense rain, we still forged on, huddled under umbrellas and ducked into train stations, restaurants and museums for some time to dry out.  I think one of our favorite days (despite the crazy rain that day!) was spent exploring the Cinque Terra.  Five small ocean side fishing villages tucked tightly into the steep landscape along the Italian Riviera.  Talk about picturesque!  And to think they grow and harvest grapes for wine along these steep cliffs is simply amazing.
 
Well, that is just a taste of what's to come!  I hope you are enjoying a peaceful weekend wherever you are in the world.  Check back this week for more about some fantastic treasures in Italy.  Better yet, sign up to the right on our page for email updates...  Ciao! xo~Mollykid  
 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Modern Magazine Debate

Sometime last year while I was just searching around the Internet for some creative ideas, I ran across several online magazines that caught my eye.  After peacefully perusing their colorful pages with the simple move of my finger, I had a realization that at that moment, I was contributing to a better environment.  I was doing my little part in helping to prevent the piles of paper waste that come from printed magazines.  Even better for me was that a few of the magazines I found were actually...are you ready???  They were free!  Imagine that... In a world where we pay for practically everything, you can get a couple hours of quality reading with interesting articles, fabulous graphics and all the joy of your favorite hobby right at your fingertips.  Let me just say, I am hooked.

So what do you think about the way modern technology is cutting in on our slow dance with a good ol' printed magazine?  For me, I still love both formats, but I must admit something.  Since hubby got me an iPad this past Christmas, I just love that I can access digital magazines whether by downloading and owning a "copy" or simply finding them online and reading from one of many awesome sites.  Did I mention how bold and colorful the digital pages appear on a screen or how cool it is that I can read in a dark car on a road trip?!  The opportunities are endless.
So how about the classic paper printed magazine?  You know, the one your mom {or is that only my mom?} has hundreds of.  It's a funny saying in my family that my mom and her older sister got the "magazine gene", as the middle sister jokes.  Yes, I think the gene can exist and the symptoms of having this gene include the desire to purchase, read {and re-read, again and again}, mark favorite pages with Post-it notes and store stacks, hey even shelves of magazines for decades.  I have seen first hand how this gene works and I pray it's not hereditary!  So far, so good for my sister and I; we aren't showing symptoms yet.  As for all those old magazines, mom always says style comes around again but I think it's best to say that those magazines from 1980 or 90-something have style many of us don't want to relive.

My mom knows I love her, despite her wacky gene, so I have to just acknowledge that though her old school Better Homes and Gardens and Victoria magazines from the 90's aren't really my taste, she has my approval on her Flea Market Style Magazine collection.  I think I read all of the print copies while on vacation relaxing poolside last summer.  Thanks and I love you, Mom!


So now comes the big question.  What do you prefer, paper or digital magazines?  I am quite sure you have all laid hands on the smooth pages of one of your favorites, but what about a digital magazine?  Whether you have or not, I have to share one of my favorite digital ones called Sweet Paul Magazine.  It's a smile on a gloomy day with all kinds of awesome like food, recipes, crafts, and style to name a few.  I love the creative, colorful photos and that the whole magazine seems to breathe a sunny vibe {maybe because its always gloomy here in Germany?...hmmm}, and I am pretty sure you will like it, too!!!  Be sure to check it out and let us know how you stand in the modern debate: print or digital magazines??  Happy reading!  Xo~Mollykid

Sunday, March 17, 2013

For the Love of a Vintage Bottle

Once upon a time a girl spotted a beautiful green vintage European wine bottle at a flea market in a small town in Germany.  She happily paid 3 euros for that little gem and brought it home thinking it was a chic little addition to her home decor.  Little did she know that would begin her "love" of the beautiful green glass!
  
I assume you know who that bottle collecting girl is, so I wanted to share a little glimpse of her {my} green vintage bottle collection.  Since we have been living in Germany for the last three years, I have developed quite an interest in these fabulous pieces of glass.  In fact, I could say they are one of my vintage obsessions. Each one is unique in shape and color and all have given me a little test when it comes to cleaning them up.  The best part is they all bring awesome personality into our home.

Once I had a couple of them, I started feeling like I would lay off buying them, but I am not going to lie...I kept finding ones that were all different from the others, thus the collection grew!  I must mention that the prices I find these for are almost ludicrous compared to what you would see them for at Pottery Barn or any other popular store.  Are you ready?  Most of my bottles are between 3-5 euro {about $4-7 U.S. dollars} and amazingly enough, the biggest one in the picture above was free!

Now to answer a question from one of our readers: how do I get them so clean?  This can be easy, but can also be difficult...depending on what was in the bottle prior to it being discarded.  Here are some of my best tips for cleaning them.  The main cleaning agents I use {not always together} are vinegar, dish soap, baking soda and hot water.  I always clean them in the bathtub so I have plenty of room to work without accidentally hitting it on the sink edge and risking a fatal accident to the glass.  I spread out a hand towel on the bottom of the tub to protect it and the tub from scratches.  Once the towel is wet, it stays put very well and allows me to move the bottle about freely to move around the cleaning solution inside.  This is a delicate process for glass to be moving around in the tub {think disaster if it breaks and you have to clean it up!!} so make sure you aren't in a rush for this step.

I begin with a bit of very hot tap water in the bottle, I cover the open end and carefully shake back and forth to remove any debris.  I do this a couple times and hold it to the light to see what I am faced with.  At this point I fill the bottle with some vinegar, maybe 2 cups or so {I really don't measure} and the rest of the way with hot tap water to the top.  Be warned that vinegar creates a little pressure in your bottle when you shake it with the end covered so be careful not to spray yourself.  Also, if you have some stubborn stains, you can try baking soda with the vinegar for a bubbly cleanse.  I then let the bottle soak according to how dirty it is, and sometimes an overnight soak is necessary.  You can find some long brushes in our German stores that people use for the wall heaters and I bend it to be able to scrub the inside of the bottle.  If you don't have a brush, you could use a wire hanger along with a rag to clean inside.  If the rag gets stuck, simply make a hook with the hanger to pull it out slowly.  Also, make sure not to scratch the inside of your bottle with the hanger end.  Once you have soaked and scrubbed your delicate glass baby, you can rinse with warm water until the water runs clear.  To dry, I usually find a quiet, traffic-less place in my house to prop it upside down.  This allows the water to run out freely.  Also, you can use a dry towel, roll it from the corner until its long and thin.  Insert the end into the bottle and wiggle around{holding carefully!} until the majority of the water is dried and voila!!!  You should have a clean bottle ready to display.
I hope these tips are helpful for you and your vintage bottles.  Do share any tips you might have on getting these beauties cleaned up in no time, we would love to hear them!  Happy collecting...xo~Mollykid



Saturday, March 16, 2013

Hello Spring, Are You There?

Hello Friends, how are you on this fine day?  We are smack dab in the middle of the weekend and Mollykid is more than ready for Spring!  Who doesn't love the brighter colors, the sunnier days and the flowers popping up all over town?  Well, I love those sure signs of Spring but good old Mother Nature just isn't having it here in Germany just yet.  We had a weird return of snow earlier this week, and with low temperatures, it just won't melt fast enough!  Let me tell you, the people living around here aren't too keen on it since we have had a record dark winter.  In anticipation of the upcoming season, I have decided to devote this post to some of our favorite signs of Spring.
This picture was taken at a butterfly garden nearby in Luxembourg quite some time ago on one of the kids' class field trips.  Picture a giant greenhouse, bright and sweaty with humidity and heat, and nothing but greenery, flowers and thousands of butterflies all around.  I think they actually play games with humans to see how much they can freak you out when they come within centimeters from your face before they change direction or choose to land on your arm, your shirt or even in your hair.  For people of all ages, this is a really up-close look at these beautiful, gentle creatures that you won't soon forget.  I invite you to visit a local butterfly garden in your area this season.   

With Spring comes flowers of all kinds!  This is one of my favorite colorful accessories, especially when I can buy cheap, simple ones to have in my home.  I love my local Aldi store for a bundle of fresh tulips, usually on any day but Sunday when they {and everything else here in Germany} are closed.  For 1.99 euro {about $2.50} I can have fresh flowers on my table for about 8 days.  When you cut the stem about 1.5" up from the end before you put them in water, they do nothing but bloom and spread good cheer.  Of course there all all kinds of flowers at your neighborhood flower shop or why not plant some outdoors for some color?  Here are a couple other favorites...

Here in Europe, April is the month that the local flea markets begin starting up, and if you know me at all, you know I l-o-v-e fleas!!  Since many areas are thawing out from the cold winter weather, Spring is a great time to get out and check out your local markets, as well as venturing out of your comfort zone to check out something new.  One of my favorite markets I found last year was in Homburg, Germany...only a 15-20 minute drive from Ramstein and the Kaiserslautern area and 1 hr 20 min from the Bitburg and Spangdahlem areas.  A real flea heaven {ahhhhh...} for European treasure lovers.  They have their dates listed from April to November 2013 so you can plan ahead.  Here is the link for their schedule so you can check it out: 
While the United States has always sprung their clocks ahead for daylight savings time, Europe still awaits that traditional sign that Spring is nearing.  While we do lose an hour of sleep, its really not a loss at all since we gain valuable daylight for longer, {hopefully} nicer days.  Along with this comes St. Patrick's Day, Easter and Spring Break.  Need I say more about how nice it is to have Spring approaching?  What do you like best about this season?  Do you have any special seasonal projects you are working on?

Thank you for joining us...here is to a colorful season! xo~Mollykid






Monday, March 4, 2013


Hello Friends,
It's been a few days since I have written but don't think I have forgotten about you. I was on a trip that I am dying to share with you. Let me just say...Polish Pottery! I will share some great info with you here soon {perhaps after I finish doing my chores from being gone this weekend!}. I hope you had a bit of sunshine shining on you today, wherever you are in the world. I know I did and it was so nice. 

So what did you do this weekend? Go anywhere exciting?? Do share, we would love to hear all about it ♥ xo~ Mollykid

Monday, February 25, 2013

Fabric Love: Around the World

It's Monday and I have to make a confession.  I walked into my crafting room today to create since I finished my 'chores' yesterday and I realized I just l-o-v-e fabric!  Since we live in Europe, I have developed a kind of habit of searching out fabric when we travel to new cities.  Ok, ok.  So I am not being honest...or rather, I am leaving something out.  I search out fabric...and antiques...and flea markets!  I love them all and get so excited at the thought of what I might find in fantastic places like France, Belgium, The Netherlands and Italy.  After all, some of the best designers and haute couture come from Europe.  That being said, though I may not have the budget of those high end fashionistas, a girl can still get ideas and find more economical ways to create her own fashion style. 

Over the last three years of living in Germany, I have learned a few key things about fabric and textiles.  Shop around being number one.  Prices vary from country to country, and so do styles.  I adopted the mindset early on that I didn't want to spend money on frivolous things when we traveled so instead I would search out something that I could use to create a memory of our trip.  I have found that with fabric, I can make whatever I want.  The beauty is, it travels well and it can be set aside for a rainy day.  The best thing to me is that when our European vacation is over, when I look at the fabric in use in our home, I will remember the times we traveled, the places we went and the stories that go along with it. 

On a trip to Finland in 2011, I discovered Marimekko (http://us.marimekko.com/), a textile design company that exudes nothing but fun and color.  Their fabrics are top quality, colors are bold and lively and what I would love to have all over my house.  The only drawback I could see was price...they are high end so expect to pay a pretty price.  At $59 for one yard of fabric, I think I might have to hold out on this designer for now.  I do check the sale section of their website often though, just to see what might pop up because their designs are so awesome and quality is great.  Their products are even sold in Crate and Barrel so I can keep an eye open for them. 
In February we hoped a flight with our backpacks and headed to Northern Italy, and visited Venice, Pordenone and Aviano.  When our friends there asked if there was anywhere we wanted to go, they giggled when I said I would love to find a fabric store.  Sure enough, they found one (http://www.giessescampoli.com/index.html) and we ventured out to find it!  When we arrived, they simply laughed at me moving through the store finding several items that I packed in my basket.  Funny enough, this time I had a project in mind so I focused on everything I need to accomplish it.  It was funny to see two men following me around the store (hubby and our friend) while I was shopping. 

On our Italian trip I learned 'scampoli' in Italian refers to remnants, which was evident by the large amount of usable remnants in this fabulous, 2-level store.  Giesse Scampoli is one of the largest fabric stores in Northern Italy and what makes them unique is they get remnants from fashion houses.  This means they have all the latest trends to include velvet, silk, and a whole lot more all sold by weight.  For about $8 I found what I needed to redo all the pillows in our bedroom since I am changing out our colors.  I also found some beautiful tapestry I am using for table runners.  I have three of these for sale so stay tuned to our Facebook page to get one!  Here is a sample of one of my favorite patterns...this is also the pattern I have for sale.
 
 Since living here in Europe, my best advice to you for finding fabrics if you live in Germany is to head to The Netherlands!  Sadly, Germany has a lot to offer as far as sewing and crafting goes, but all of the fabrics I have seen here are grossly expensive.  I thought maybe it was just the first store I went to in Trier, but then I searched around and kept coming up disappointed.  Many fabrics {especially cottons} are actually ordered from the U.S., so because they are imported, they are priced very high.  In contrast, I found a weekly fabric market in Maastricht, Netherlands and they offer way more variety and seasonal options for much less.  I can honestly say I have seen fabrics there for 12 euro/meter, and turned around and saw the same, exact thing here in Germany for 28 euro/meter!!!  That is a savings I will drive an hour and 15 minutes for.

I would love to hear from readers about your experiences with fabric shopping and what your tastes are!  Wherever you are in the world, what is favorite go-to store for all your sewing needs?  Give them some love here and call 'em out by name!  Have a wonderful week and thanks for stopping by.  Xo~Mollykid 

       

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Join Mollykid Studios on Pinterest

Enjoying a relaxing Sunday morning looking around on Pinterest for a little bit before I have to get started with my Sunday cleaning routine. Did I mention Mollykid is on Pinterest?! I don't think I have since I am somewhat of a newbie...so stop by and follow us @ http://pinterest.com/mollykidstudios/



Though I would love to wake up and do nothing but sew, paint, and create... I have this sick obsession to make sure my house is tidy and clean before I get fun time. So I think today I am going to put on my headphones, turn on some jams and put my cleaning routine in high gear so I am done quickly! Wish me luck, I think the bathrooms are first after I get the washer going. I dislike bathrooms immensely, and would love nothing more than a self cleaning one that is somewhat like a dishwasher. You simply would remove anything you don't want to get wet, (cabinets would be watertight), close the door, insert a cleaning tab, power and walk away! Voila! When you return you have a sanitized masterpiece. 

Enough dreaming, Molly! Snap out of it and get to it; valuable creative time is being wasted. What chores keep you from pursuing your hobbies today? Xo~Mollykid

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Amazing Amsterdam

Hello Friends,
I have been away from my computer more than usual for the past few days, but for good reason!  I was spending some much anticipated time with my family in Amseterdam, The Netherlands.  Let me begin by saying...if I were to live long-term in Europe, The Netherlands would be my country of choice.  I love the clean and simple, yet friendly and convienent life the people there seem to live.  I picked up some information and read that UNICEF studies show children in The Netherlands to be the happiest in the world!  There is something to be said about that.  I love that everyone has bikes and bikes are welcome everywhere...in fact, there are parking "garages" dedicated specifically to bikes.  And seriously, I mean thousands of them!  We even saw a gentleman checking "parking" passes and giving tickets to those out of regulation.


The sun was shining for a couple days and it made the reflection in the canal waters so beautiful.  Like most trips we have taken, my camera never left my neck to be stowed away.  I had it at the ready for every time I saw an awesome sign, an unforgetable view or something unique that we just don't see every day.  We saw evidence of history everywhere, to include our visits to the Anne Frank House and the Vincent Van Gogh exhibit at the Hermitage Amsterdam.  I could hardly walk away from the many beautiful paintings from one of my all time favorite artists.  I only wish I could have taken pictures in these fantastic places, unfortunately photos were prohibited.  Luckily outdoors there are no restrictions on pictures!  These canals are simply beautiful, don't you think?


I felt one of the best parts of our trip this weekend was simply walking along the canals in the evening when it got dark.  Upon each turn of a corner, bridges and canals were gently lit and it made me want to keep snapping photos.  I have always had a small love affair with black and white photography and can't wait to blow some of these prints up for my new home decor.




I figured no article about Holland would be complete without a mention of the beautiful flowers that will begin blooming all over soon!  For now, they are growing in greenhouses mostly, but in the Amsterdam Bloemenmarkt flowers are all around.  Every kind of bulb you could ever want is here, in every color under the sun.  Did you know there are actually black tulips?  And ones that appear to have feathery hairs on them?  Here is where you will find whatever you need for your own little Holland in your back yard.  I hope if you ever have a chance to visit this wonderful city that you don't pass up the opportunity!  You won't regret it.  Oh, and if you need a hotel recommendation, simply contact me!  We stayed near the train station, never had to drive on those narrow roads, find parking or even risk getting towed.  
Until tomorrow...what will you do today to feed your creativity?  xo~Mollykid



   

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love is in the Air


It's Valentine's Day and love is all around!  I spent some time preparing for the "men" in my life today...my wonderful husband and our wonderful boys.  I love making gifts that are personal on days like this, not only is it fun, but it gives my loves something from my heart.  What do you think about hand made gifts?  Here are a couple of the ones I made this year...

"You light up my life" hanging bulb

"My Special Secret Note Pillow" with pocket on the back for special notes from Mom and Dad

Personalized kid's bookmarks with ribbon tassles and special "I love you" messages

What is Valentine's Day without some special treats?  This year our boys decided they wanted to make their own Valentine's for their friends and classmates and I was all for it!  I was actually excited to bring out my scrapbooking tools, papers and stamps to make this a fun time.  I must say, I have been more focused on sewing lately so my scrapbooking supplies have gotten a little lonely in that big closet.  After a few hours of work, a break for a Thai food dinner, and then some clean-up, the kids were ready for their Valentine treat deliveries today. 

I must admit, I wasn't too keen on baking enough treats for three different classrooms so when I found a Wilton chocolate covered cookie mold at the craft store, I was so relieved!  I stocked up on Oreo's, red and white chocolate meltables {also from Wilton} and easily made almost 60 red and white chocolate covered Oreo's while the kids worked on their cards.  If you are a mom, might I recommend this idea as it was easy and I was even able to help the kids in between batches {see picture above}.  The boys were happy they had something special to bring for friends, too!

What kind of special plans do you have for Valentine's this year?  I hope you have a wonderful day; I will be wishing you lot's of love.  xo~Mollykid