October 18, 2012

Christmas Hats 2012

Two Christmas hats are now available in my etsy store.

I love being able to do festive hats for the upcoming holiday season!

August 31, 2012

My First Dress

What have I been up to lately? Well, besides dreaming about jeans, boots, and leaves....

Looking ahead to my little girl's one year birthday. Whoa.

So, for her pictures, I tried my hand at a simple dress for her.

I will probably put it with tights and a cute onesie and cardigan.

Excited for it and for fall!

August 8, 2012

Yarn Bomb - Vintage Chair

Atlanticfest is this weekend! So, I am trying to get everything ready.

This is a project that I've been wanting to do for a while, a yarn bombed vintage chair.

The chair actually features the colors I use for my hats and custom orders.
It also includes two different types of pom poms that I offer.

LOVE how it turned out. 

The top of the chair was even woven by my husband!
He enjoyed it!

August 3, 2012

Posh Blankets by The Polka Dot Tot featuring PDP Hats

Proud to announce that Posh Blankets, by The Polka Dot Tot will now be featuring my hats on their website!

Check them out here!

They have some great blankets also for sale.

This is one of my favorite blankets that they offer.

Have fun shopping!

July 18, 2012

DIY Simple Table Runner

Gotta love hem tape and outdoor fabric!

Looks great!

July 9, 2012

Fall Girl Hats 2012

These hats I will be showcasing this year at shows and in the shop online. Basically all of these are my top sellers and most popular.

There are also 'READY TO SHIP' hats available in the store, which will sometimes include these styles. They also include one-of-a-kind hats in assorted sizes.

Check out Polka Dot Pocket online for a full line up! And follow me on facebook for deals, sneak peeks and specials.

Shout out to the amazing Hannah Hilliard for the images! Check out her site here. Or her facebook page here.

July 7, 2012

Final Painting Product

Final Painting Product!

Quite a bit of work went into this painting and I enjoyed every bit of it!

I hadn't painted in this style in quite some time. 
One thing I love about doing commissioned work, is seeing the client's face when they view it for the first time. This was no different!

This picture was actually taken by the owner after they were hung up and sent it to me. 
Because of the size of the pieces, it was hard for me to get a full picture in good lighting.

June 29, 2012

Painting Preview

Finally completed the 3 24X30 Canvas painting!

I am very pleased with the piece and cannot wait to hand it over to its owner this weekend.

Here is a sneek peek of one of my favorite parts. Stay tuned for the whole thing!

June 27, 2012

Vintage Toolbox - What do I do with it?

While attending the Junk Jubilee in the Spring here in Des Moines (a.k.a. The Best Place on Earth), 
I purchased this awesome vintage toolbox!

When I got it home my husband asked me "where is that going to go?" 
I said "I don't know....pause...but I will find a place for it!"

And I did. Of course I did, there are endless possibilities for this beauty!

It sits right by our dining room table on our console table turned buffet.

Rolled up printed table runner, cork coasters, rope knotted napkin holders ($1 bin at Michaels!), Fun wooden letter 'B' and some moss rocks, wine cork trivets, and placemats.

June 11, 2012

Old Windows Turned Into Frames

I love the distressed wood in the form of basically anything.

Especially with white paint on it!

Tie in family history and these are one of my favorite things in my home.

This was my favorite project that we did this past weekend.

These windows are from an old barn at my Grandparent's house and have been hanging in my living room, waiting for a makeover and this weekend was it.

I used some twine, stapled it to the back, and purchased the world's smallest clothespins from Hancock Fabrics. One of my favorite places on earth.

My husband and I both LOVE how it turned out. 
And against this yellow they look really great!

I know that I will have fun easily changing out the pictures.

12 Traits of Creative People

Fun post on 12 traits of creative people!

Saw this on Barn Owl Primitives fb page today.

12 Traits of Creative People

June 10, 2012

New Design for Fall 2012 - The Aviator Hat!

I'm excited about this hat, so many options!!!!
From the top of the hat and yarn...

It is absolutely darling on!

This hat is pink yarn, with denim goggles.

A little ruffle on the back as an added touch.

What I love is the options that I have for this hat.
Options for boys and girls!

Check it out!

I cannot wait to get a model for this hat! It is so so so cute on!!!!

Custom Baby Hats - Top Options

I have made a. lot. of hats.

Most of my hats are custom ordered and I usually get a few out-of-the-box "can you do this?" types of orders. 

I am in the process of trying to make it even easier to custom order a hat through my shop.

First on the agenda: 
Hat top options.


Old Painting in Ugly Frame...turned New

Scored a 'seventies' looking painting with a not-so-cool frame a couple of weekends ago.
Here it is all ready to paint the frame (The blue edging is painters tape).

I love all of the colors that are within the painting. So many possibilities....
A hint of Impressionism, yet abstract. Has a complete nature feel to it, looking like a vase of flowers with butterfly looking petal shapes mixed into it. 
All put onto what feels like a dawn or dusk sky.

Here is the final look.

What do you think?

June 6, 2012

Vintage Furniture - Does it contain lead?

Vintage furniture is showing up just about everywhere these days. I have begun to wonder, with small children of my own, if some of the items I have purchased contain lead (enter fear here).

Just using this picture of some windows for sale off of an etsy store. 
I do not know whether or not they have lead based paint on them.

Even with the popularity of these items I have not been able to find much on it. Here are a couple of good posts that I found:

From Country Living
Apartment Therapy - great comments

Here is a general explanation:

About Lead Poisoning

I will be hitting up the local hardware store for testing, which seems like the best route to take when you have little ones. I called today and it is around $12 for a test.

June 1, 2012

How Chalkboard Paint Changed my Life

Let's face it, having a baby no matter what number of baby in the birth order it is, rocks your world in at least one way.

Last week, was my slump week. I was totally off in a lot of areas of life! When I didn't want to get out of bed one day I decided something needed to change. Maybe more than one thing but I started to look at the different areas of my life and dust them off.

2 or 3 weeks prior, we had painted the door going to our garage with chalkboard paint. I thought it would be fun and interactive for my little ones to draw on. And it would hide the marks that were happening on it from magnets ;)

As I was doing some dusting in the areas of love, finances and (most importantly!) my relationship with God, I started using this door in more ways than I ever thought I would.

Here's what has happened:

1. I implemented a "I love you because _________" for my husband. For all those random small or big things that I absolutely adore about him and think of daily. He just wasn't knowing all of those things, and I needed him to know. Babies change your marriage, not for the worse, but they just change it because of less time for each other. Less time to say what needs to be said. Writing down random things of why I respect him has been really great so far. I look forward to it and are constantly thinking of new things to put on there!

Because when I look at him. I love him to the bottom of my soul. Seriously people. We could have a movie with our story. I will fight for our marriage to be strong no matter what! And if that means writing on a door every day, I will do it! There is a canvas print in our living room that is from our engagement pics. If you saw it, you would understand. Not because it is cheesy or something bad, just because of the way we are smiling at each other.

2. I've started to write random things that I have learned through books I'm reading, scripture, etc. etc. It is right there by our kitchen table and what we see when we leave the house. Perfect placement! Another positive is that it holds me accountable and because I am a teacher (side note from Beth Moore: You know you are a teacher, when you learn something you just want to shout it out to everyone!) this helps me 'shout'.

3. Time with my children. I cannot wait to start writing notes to my kids on this, when they can read, which won't be for a while! But for now, I get to draw and imagine with them. Going on adventures and of course, teaching them how to draw. I love to draw. Another bonus: helps me with a creative outlet.

4. Plain and simple: helps me to stay organized. To-do lists. I love them. Here I cannot escape them.

Needless to say, it has helped me in a lot of ways. I will always have a chalkboard door. You should too.

May 23, 2012

How do I organize? - pieces of yarn

Obviously I work with a lot of yarn. Probably should have tied (no pun intended) that into the wedding vows that we would be with each other even through miles of yarn everywhere.

It used to be a problem, but I tamed the yarn that was consuming every certain areas of our house.

Here is a tip for keeping your yarn nice and tidy. Whether you have 1 or 100 skeins of yarn lying around (yes it is called a skein, now go use it in a sentence so you sound smart).

I have lots of 'small-long' pieces of yarn which are hard to wrangle at times. I have wasted some hours untangling yarn...they weren't fun hours...

All you need is a clothespin. You can see where this is going.

I do have a separate ziploc bag for small pieces of yarn that are long enough to be re-used. Here, I had a long piece that I wanted to keep with the skein. So I wrapped it around the mid-section of the skein.

Took both ends, the ends you can see in the middle picture, and put them together with a clothespin.

easy peasy.

May 21, 2012

How do I organize? - so. many. pictures.

I'm buried...or at least I was.

Not just under toys, crumbs, laundry and dinosaurs, but pictures of adorable faces with toys, crumbs, and dino's!

One child wasn't so bad, but when number two came along, something had to be done!!!

How do I organize? - so. many. pictures.

Here is how I do it:

1. Upload pictures onto computer. I own a mac, so my pictures go straight into iphoto. I delete them off my camera right away, so I don't have to manually do this later on. Blank slate. Feels good. Don't worry, see my sidenote below those of you who think you are going to lose them if you delete them off of your camera. If you do not own a mac, I'm sorry....no I'm just kidding! If you don't own one, make sure your photos are being uploaded to the exact software you store them in to.

Sidenote: You need to back up your pictures. I use shutterfly, but google it for more options. I use shutterfly because it is free, fast, easy, and they have these amazing private share sites that act just like a blog, but without the large amount of writing. Love them. BACK UP TO YOUR FAVORITE BACK UP SITE WHILE YOU ARE DOING THE FOLLOWING STEPS BELOW. I also use an additional hard-drive to back up onto. Which you need to look into if you have not before.

2. Look through that 'event' (as iphoto calls it) or through the pictures you just uploaded and delete ANY and EVERY photo that is not needed. How do I know what to delete? Ask yourself these questions:
          1. Is it out of focus? Yes? delete.
          2. Is it awkward? (unless you like awkward of course) Yes? trash. or send it to awkward family  
              photos. then trash it.
          3. Is it the best picture out of the 20 you took in the same pose?  No? see ya.
          4. Is it frame worthy? No? don't let anyone else see it again.
          5. Will you choose it to be put into a picture book or photo album? No? get rid of it.
Be decisive when it comes to this right away. It will help in the long run.

3. Flag your favorites, or make a favorite file. This way, when you have Grandma that wants a pose, a relative that has a birthday today or need to put together a first birthday party with a bunch of pictures, you know right where to go. Pronto.

4. Make a name for the file. I just started doing this and it changed my life. I found that if I take the time to make a name for the file, then I should keep it on my computer. Even after my first round of deleting, I still send some to the trash on this step. I don't really 'need' 20 pictures of my son brushing his teeth, or 10 of my 3 month old staring at the camera in the same outfit, on the same day.
          Tip #1: Be specific. This way, when you look at just the file names on your computer, you know exactly what it is. Example: "Melaney sitting up in her jean jacket..." or "M sitting up in her jacket..."
          Tip #2: Label it with the date. At the end of the name of the file I put: "Melaney sitting up in her jean jacket - May 2012" This makes it even easier to know exactly when that photo was taken. We have the who, the what, and the when. Add the where too, like at the zoo, if it is not at home. I would recommend not putting the exact date, at least for me this seems overwhelming.

5. Move it into your file for the month. For example, all of the pictures that have been looked through, flagged and named, should go into its correct month 'event' or 'file'. Use the name of the month for these. Example: 'May 2012'. Did you notice what I underlined? Don't put your pictures into this file until you have gone through them. This way you know what has been gone through by just looking at it. Maybe you even wait until you choose one for your photobook...up to you. Either way, decide how you are going to do it and stick to it.

I keep all of my photos into files according to months, until we hit the end of the year.

6. End of the year: I choose a week (or month, or day, whatever works) and go through each month of the previous year and DELETE WHAT YOU DON'T NEED. Reminisce and keep those special moments in time forever. When you sit down to do this, do a month at a time. Which means, do not stop until you are done with that month. When you are, move it on in to that label for the year. Example '2011' or 'Pictures of 2011' or 'Year 2011'...you get it...This does take awhile, but again, if you decide that you are going to do a month at a time, you can visually see when needs gone through.

Sidenote: Sometimes there are occasions that need their own file or event. Which is fine! Be flexible. A wedding or a special birthday party, or that day at the beach that you treasure so much, are all great examples of this. For me, I have an event just for my etsy shop, Polka Dot Pocket. Do what works for you.

7. Photo book it, print them, frame them...whatever! I do a photo book that goes from July to August every year. Why? 1. I have sunny outside pictures in the beginning and end of the book. 2. December and January are very busy months, so I choose to do this in the months I am not so busy. Do what works for you.

This sounds great, but it is overwhelming to think about. How do I start????????? Where do I start????


Really, it's easy.

2 options.

1. Start with your next uploading from your computer.
2. Start with the month that you are in right now.


It seems like a lot. Some of you are thinking: so. many. words.

I'm thinking: so. worth. it.

Do you have a different system? Let me know!

May 19, 2012

Why not try it - Dyeing Denim Jackets

Odds are that you have a denim jacket waiting in your closet as you read this!

While at Ed & Eva's the other day, I had seen a dyed denim jacket. Totally fell in love and thought right away about how I would do it...so I did what anyone would do...I googled it.

I believe that we will be seeing more of these, so grab that denim and give it a makeover!

Here is a video on how to dip dye one using two colors. She also did a tie dye type of option around the middle.

Two reasons why I chose this video: 1. Accents are fun to listen to. 2. She did most of this outside, very smart idea!!!

May 16, 2012

A visit to a small town

Today I packed up the kids and we went to Greenfield, IA for the day! Spent some time at a dear friend's house, stopped by Ed & Eva's on the town square's Opera House and ate at The Olive Branch right next door.

Greenfield is a pretty town that is growing every day.

Ed & Eva's looks really great and has a wide variety of artwork and merchandise from local artist's.

Had to throw in one of a local celebrity, my Grandma Kay. You may know her, and if you do not, you are missing out. We met up with her and my mom for a nice lunch.

It was a great day!