Wife, Chicken Mommy, eBay Seller and Walking DIY Disaster

Category Archives: Giveaways

I like to read and I like to sew. Some of my favorite books are sewing books, especially vintage ones. So when I saw that Amy Barickman used themes from one of her favorite sewing influences, Mary Brooks Picken,  in her new book The Magic Pattern Book, I was intrigued.


Part of the reason I love old sewing books is the wealth of knowledge they contain. For some, flipping through an old book is torture. For me it’s another piece of history to absorb and identify with. The Magic Pattern Book takes the enthusiasm of my favorite vintage sewing books and combines modern looks and updated tools.


Hunting for patterns that extend to my size (BIG) that also flatter my shape (lots of curves, some in the wrong places) is often so frustrating that I end up trying to make my own pattern. While I have access to the tools to draft my own patterns, I’m also impatient. Sometimes a girl just wants to find a pattern that doesn’t require much tweaking. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that Amy Barickman’s latest offering includes measurements up to XXL. Be still my heart!

While my love for all things vintage is vast, it always nice to have my modern conveniences. I love the CD included with the book for printing pattern pieces. What’s especially great is that I can isolate the size I need without having to ruin pattern pieces of other sizes. This is definitely an improvement over the tissue patterns of the past. It’s much harder for me to destroy a printed page than tissue paper, that’s for sure.


Here’s the part where I admit defeat: I didn’t sew anything from the book yet. A long scheduled vacation took me out of town in the days between receiving my copy of the book and a post-vacation case of the creeping crud has knocked me flat. However, I have read and enjoyed the upbeat and encouraging tone throughout the book.

I absolutely love the fabric swatch ideas posted for each pattern! Sometimes having an extra idea or two can bring me out of a rut. A fabric I may never have considered (a thrifted wool blanket as material for a coat!) took my imagination places it could not have gone on its own. Thrifting is one of my biggest hobbies, so seeing suggestions for upcycling fabric won me over completely.


I really think The Magic Pattern Book is a must have. Each time I go back to a section, I find something I didn’t notice before. The language is easy to understand, the tips and tools explanations are a great refresher for even experienced sewists, and the patterns themselves are classic styles that are easily manipulated for individuality.

Check out the rest of blog tour (links below) and don’t forget to enter to win your very own copy!


October 6            AMYBARICKMAN.COM
October 7            WINDY LOU

October 8            MELLY SEWS

October 9            CRAFT GOSSIP

October 10          SEW MAMA SEW

October 13          ADVENTURES OF A DIY MOM

October 14          LILACS & LACE

October 15          FOUR SQUARE WALLS

October 16          PINK CHALK STUDIO


October 20          CUT OUT & KEEP

October 21          HE SOWED, SHE SEWED

October 22          CHIC STEALS

October 23          THREADS

October 24          INDYGO JUNCTION



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Thanks for entering! The winner has been contacted.

This is an sponsored post. I was provided a copy of The Magic Pattern Book to review and keep. All opinions and photographs and mistakes are my own. 

Photographs include fabric by Cotton & Steel, Creative Grids rulers and  Flatter by Soak

A while back I reviewed and gave away an awesome household cleaner: J.A.W.S. The Just Add Water System is cool because the products are environmentally friendly AND the packaging is minimal. The best part is the little refill holder attached to the bottle – it doesn’t get lost in the dark corners of a drawer or cabinet.

Since we tried the sprays indoors this time I tried the degreaser/cleaner on a REALLY grubby project. I’m renting a booth space in a boutique mall, which has sent me hither an yon trying to find all sorts of displays and shelving. I found a darling chippy old cabinet, but man o man was it dirty. Armed with my JAWS I decided to see if it would work on the crusty cabinet.

I’ll let the picture give my answer:

IMG_1894 IMG_1895

Y’all that is years of who know what all caked on. I didn’t photograph the whole cleaning sesh, but needless to say I’m an even bigger fan of my JAWS now.

Here’s the skinny on a few sales at a couple of stores: BOGO sale on JAWS cleaners April 14-27 at Busch’s and April 8-21 at Hiller’s (www.Jawscleans.com). It’s normally $4.99 a bottle at each store (with one refill included). The sale is a BOGO at each store, so it’s $2.49 a bottle with the included refill. The sale is on the JAWS Glass and Hard Surface Cleaner; JAWS Multi-Purpose Cleaner/Degreaser; Bathroom Cleaner/Deodorizer; and Disinfectant Cleaner Degreaser.


I’m also giving away another full line of cleaners valued at $20!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


I was super excited to be given the opportunity to try out this cool gadgety gadget. Our family of four sports 3 smartphones and 2 tablets, and we’re looking at another smartphone in the near future. Since we share a data plan, sometimes The Millionaire has to remind us not to go heavy on the data when we don’t have a wireless connection. Now? He doesn’t have to worry! The NetZero 4G mobile hotspot can connect with up to 8 devices at once. Data plan saved!

The device itself is the cutest thing. It fits right in the palm of my hand, which also means it doesn’t take up much room in a purse or bag. As a travel baseball family, saving space is crucial and having internet access on the go is a dream. Not to mention our everyday activities, waiting at practices, my coffee shop stops, the school pick-up line and the like. My NetZero hotspot can charge while I’m using it either via USB or in a standard wall outlet. I love that I can stay connected even if I don’t have an outlet.

Another nice feature is that I can feel secure. I love free wi-fi, but let’s face it, there are concerns about who can get my info when I’m noshing on bagels and sipping my coffee at a coffee shop. With the NetZero mobile hotspot, my data is safe. Who doesn’t like safe and secure? It’s like a snuggly quilt for my wi-fi.


For a limited time these devices are on sale with purchase of a data plan!

Technical Specifications for the hotspot device (this is the device I received for review; I did not use the USB)
3.4″(L) x 3.4″ (W) x 0.7″(H)
4.44 Ounces
Battery Information
2200mAh battery providing 6+ hours of use
Usage Time
Works with any Wi-Fi-enabled device
Wi-Fi Range
150 ft.

I am so happy to be able to give away a mobile hotspot to ONE lucky reader! Prize includes NetZero Hotspot plus three months of platinum service ($49.95 per month), a $300 value. (The winner must live in the U.S.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


I was not compensated for my review, however I was provided a hotspot and service by NetZero in connection with the MomItForward community. All opinions are honest and my own.

We have 7 cats. SEVEN. CATS. That means seven times the love and seven times the poop. It also means seven times the territorial disputes and night crazies. I would not trade any of my kitties, but hoo-boy I would trade the spraying, scratching and litter duty.

The lovelies at Ceva generously provided me with full size samples of their pet products Feliway and Adaptil. Feliway is for cats, Adaptil for dogs. (Since I don’t have any dogs, I gave the samples of Adaptil to my mom and a friend to try out on their dogs.) Have you heard of Feliway? Well, pull up a chair because I am about to tell y’all about it. It’s my new favorite product to help deal with behavioral and territorial issues at my cat farm (as my house is lovingly referred to by a family friend.) Feliway comes in a plug in diffuser and a spray that can be applied to specific places to ward off scratching or marking. For the last few months, we have used the diffusers in combination with the spray. Can I just say AMEN!

Feliway is a synthetic copy of the feline facial pheromone, used by cats to mark their territory as safe and secure.

By mimicking the cat’s natural facial pheromones, Feliway creates a state of familiarity and security in the cat’s local environment.

As a result, Feliway can be used to help comfort and reassure cats while they cope with a challenging situation and help prevent or reduce the stress caused by a change in their environment.


And just what does that mean in a house with seven cats? It means that Kitty Cat, the oldest most jealous kitty doesn’t hiss and fuss at the youngers as much. It means that Gus, the one who sits by the door and cries to go out ALL.DAY.LONG can be redirected to play or come away from the door. It means that LuLu the fat bottom girl who is averse to anything that doesn’t involve food doesn’t mind being held so much, that Miss Ellen (or the BeeBee as  we like to call her) only hides under the bed 12 hours a day instead of 23. Feliway in my house means that Phineas and Tag, who are about the most chilled out cats I have ever met, remain chill even when Kitty Cat is being a jerk. And it means that when we brought home the 4 week old abandoned kitten, Captain, the big boys didn’t feel the need to eat him*

We have less territory marking, less torn up furniture, less hissing and posturing. Calmer kitties mean I am calmer and that our family enjoys our pets even that much more. In short Feliway has been a game changer for us. It has been studied and proven to reduce stress in cats! (As for the Adaptil, my mother and friend report the same calming with their dogs.)

Lucky for you, my lovelies, I have prizes to give away! I took all my willpower not to keep these for myself because I am SO in love with this product. Two (2) winners will each receive a bottle of spray and two (2) single-use comfort wipes, and two (2) winners will each receive 2 single-use comfort wipes.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In the sad, sad, event that you don’t win one of the prizes, Feliway can be found at places like PetCo, PetSmart and local veterinarians.

The full scoop: I was not compensated for this post. CEVA graciously provided samples to me and I will host the giveaway from the products I was provided. Postage is at my own expense. My cats like Feliway. It’s worth every penny!


Congratulations to Candace!

Ok, admit it. When you see the word JAWS you think of the shark movie and you immediately hear the dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun music in your head, right? No need to fear, this awesome cleaning system is not gonna bite. I had the opportunity to test out the full JAWS (Just Add Water System) line of non-toxic cleaners in my home over the last few weeks.

First off, I love the minimal packaging. It’s a thing with me. I hate to make extra garbage if I can help it. Now I can finally feel better about buying household cleaners. The Just Add Water System is pretty cool. Each spray bottle can easily be reused because JAWS utilizes a cartridge system. And, when I say easy, I mean I handed the kids each a bottle and cartridge and said “See if you can figure out how this works.” Within a few seconds they read the instructions on the bottle and popped in the cleaning solution cartridge with no help or prompting for me. If they hadn’t been headed to their mom’s house, I would have had them test out cleaning the bathroom! Bwahahahahaha.

The bottles I tried out had an awesome cartridge holder attached to the side of the bottle. Can I get an amen? My OCD loves that the refills are stored ON THE BOTTLE! You always know how many you have. No excuses of “I can’t find the refill!” Having the refill on the bottle also means I don’t have to come up with extra space to store the refill cartridges.

And the best thing? JAWS cleaner actually works. It’s all well and good to have a fun new gadget to try, but if it doesn’t work it ends up as a dust catcher. The degreaser degreases, the bathroom cleaner de-grimes, the all purpose cleaner removed kitty paw prints from my windows. I’m sold.

Now for the good news: JAWS is BOGO at all area Hiller’s stores, from Nov. 12-25. (www.Jawscleans.com).The cleaner line is regularly $4.99 a bottle (with one refill included).

Wanna try before you buy? Enter to win a set of JAWS cleaning products

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can find JAWS online, on Twitter and Facebook and in local stores like Hiller’s, Busch’s and BedBathandBeyond

It must be said: JAWS graciously provided me with a full line and refills of their awesome cleaning system. I was not paid for my opinion. Giveaway prize is provided by JAWS. All honest opinions and corny jokes are my own.


Congratulations to Jen H.

I’m teaming up with several other bloggers to support Michigan based businesses and locally made products. Welcome to the 2nd Annual Made In Michigan Blog Giveaway Hop hosted by DETROIT MOM AND HER VIEWS

My love of thrifting doesn’t mean I never buy new! But in keeping with a recycling/reusing/conservation-y frame of mind, I enjoy shopping locally as much as possible. Through my Etsy shop I met several local ladies who make amazing products right here in, not only Michigan, but in my town!

Meet Jennifer Gunter, hot mama and One Haute Hostess, a work at home wife and mom to a GORGEOUS little boy. I met Jen at one of the first meet ups of local Etsians. From there a couple of us kept up meeting on a semi-regular basis, and have dubbed out meetings “crafty coffee.”  You can imagine we talk about everything under the sun, but we actually still find a few minutes to discuss our current crafts! Jen’s specialty is beaded and wire-wrapped baubles – everything from coffee scoops to wedding cake cutters! She has generously offered a salad set for me to give to one lucky reader!

Custom Salad Set Reserved for kcarlson

(photo is for example only)

Jennifer was kind enough to answer a few questions about herself so you can get to know the lady behind the hostess gifts! Here’s my first attempt at an interview:

What attracted you to beading and wire wrap work?
When my husband and I were engaged to be married, I was trying to find a cake server and knife that we could use to cut the cake that didn’t have plastic handles or gaudy bows. I finally decided if I wanted something unique that would fit our fun wedding, I would just have to make it myself. After some trial and error, I came up with something that we used. From there, things just kind of took their own course. My brother got married the next year, as well as a cousin in between, and they all wanted wedding cake sets like ours, so I did them as bridal shower gifts. My grandmother also wanted a pie server to show all of her lady friends when they got together for dessert.

What was your first sale?
My first sale was to a cousin who ordered some wine glasses and spreaders for her mother for Christmas. Friends and family really encouraged me to try craft shows and the like, and then I found Etsy! I love Etsy! Craft shows aren’t really my market, so I’d spend an entire weekend (with setup and the like) and sell a few things to make back my booth fee. Etsy allows me to fill orders and promote items at my leisure.

Do you enjoy any other crafty pursuits?
Absolutely! I love doing anything “DIY” around the house–painting, decorating, etc. I have started to dabble a little into sewing–nothing complicated–bibs, pillowcases, etc. I also love to scrapbook because I feel it is important to document my family’s memories. I always promised myself I would be more organized than just having shoeboxes full of photos–it seems to be working so far:)

What’s it like to be a work at home mom AND a crafter?
Busy–and messy! My little boy loves to “help” so he often scoops beads from one container to another, leaving a giant trail of beads in his wake–nothing a vacuum can’t fix! Thankfully, he has never been one to put things in his mouth so we have not had any bead-eating issues :) My husband is really good about making sure I get time to get my orders done, and I mostly end up doing it on the weekends or after my son is in bed.

Where can we find your work?

I will also be at Beneath the Tree Nov 9 and 10 in Grand Rapids this year. I have done this show the past 3 years and really enjoy it. It is an open house environment where you can see homes decorated for Christmas and shop artist who have brought their items into each home. It kicks off my Christmas shopping every year!

Isn’t Jen a doll?!

Enter her to win a one of a kind salad server valued at $30-$40, then hop along to the other blogs and enter to win even more fun stuff!


Welcome to the 2nd Annual Made In Michigan Blog Giveaway Hop hosted by
All of the Michigan bloggers below have joined forces to bring you Products from Made In Michigan Companies.  Each blog has a prize package of at least $25 worth of awesome Made In Michigan products.  Once you’ve entered here, be sure to hop along to all the others on the list. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I have so many things swirling around my head to write about. Sometimes dumping it in one spot helps me clear my mind enough to move forward. There. I admitted it. So here are the posts I’d love to do, but haven’t found a way to gel into coherent thoughts. My hope is that I can put this out there for accountability purposes:

  • More kitty introductions. The world definitely needs more cat photos on the internet.
  • Further discussion of the Deep Clean Extravaganza
  • My dysfunctional extended family and the emotional blackmail and abuse that come along for the ride – there’s so much I could probably write a book. Not even kidding a little bit.
  • Crafty shits. I don’t feel like I’ve gotten my craft on all year. That makes me sad. I blame a summer heat wave and no A/C
  • Gonerfest 9 photos.
  • My awesome Shutterfly cards & super duper adorable TinyPrints return address labels (just about my only creative efforts this year)
  • Product review for an awesome pet product that I LOVE.
  • An upcoming giveaway and blog hop – stay tuned because this one is imminent.


Everybody knows how much I love eBay. Using the eBay Mobile App just makes it that much better. Listing is super fast – like 60 seconds fast. I use the mobile app every single day to keep up with my sales, to check prices, answer customer questions and determine what items will be best for resale. No joke. I love it. Not only do I use the mobile app on my iPhone, I use it on my iPad as well. All my photos are synced with the cloud, so I can quickly list from either device without having to transfer, upload or mess with any photos. Tap, tap, tap and done!

I’m clearly not the only one who loves using the eBay mobile app: eBay is celebrating the 100 millionth mobile listing by giving a lucky someone $25,000! Pretty cool huh? And 100 MILLION listings? Holy guacamole!

Here’s how to enter:

Anyone who lists an item between Sept. 5-14 via the eBay Mobile app is entered to win $25,000. Follow this exact link to get registered and download the app:


Remember, you HAVE to use that exact link to be entered in the contest.  Easy peasy. You can do it! eBay will select the winner and notify them within 6 weeks. (I won’t be the one choosing, probably because I am evil and I would choose myself. ME! Bwahahahahaha)

If you’re new to using the app or new to selling on eBay in general, check out tips on how to price items, take awesome pictures and ship without leaving the house, check out the Quick Start Guide: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-158319-2357-0/4?mpre=http%3A%2F%2Fpages.ebay.com%2Fsellerinformation%2Fhowtosell%2Fquickstartguide.htm


Good luck and happy selling!




Disclosure: This post is part of my work with the eBay Parent Panel and is compensated as such, but my love for the mobile app and selling on eBay is mine, all mine! Photo courtesy of eBay.

Bloggers helping bloggers helping …..This 24-hour FLASH giveaway was shared with me by Detroit Mom and her Views!

See how everyone helps everyone? Bloggers are the best. Don’t forget to like/add all the pages for extra entries!


Your Uncle in the Furniture Business Robinson Furniture Detroit,Mi.

It’s official, Detroit! Your Uncle in the Furniture Business is back! No one takes care of you like Family, right? Robinson Furniture has embraced our city and is back to assist you in furnishing every room in your house. Need a new mattress, new Living Room or Dining Room Set? Your uncle has you covered. Come on Down to Robinson Furniture, no need to head to the Suburbs, your Uncle is right here in Your City, Detroit. Located on Jefferson they are super easy to get to and their team of expert salesman are here to help you in selecting the right piece of furniture for you! Whether your style in conventional or shabby chic, Robinson has the furniture you Love and Need!

Remember, Regardless of your Credit Situation, Robinson has No Credit Check & Free Layaway!

Enter to win an Amazon GC or Paypal Cash Winners Choice! Flash 24 Hour Giveaway Starts today August 29, 2012 at 8PMEST and Ends tomorrow August 30 at 8PMEST!

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Earlier this summer I participated in a Twitter party from Shutterfly and Playground Dad. I won a custom iPhone case as part of the party and kind of forgot about it. I was excited to have won a prize in one of the first parties I participated, which fueled my excitement. Prizes generally take 6-8 weeks to arrive, so by the time I received my prize code it was like winning all over again. Shutterfly’s site has TONS of custom options, which I didn’t know about until I went to the site to check out the custom iPhone cases. TONS. I discovered that the custom iPhone cases are categorized in the photo gift area. Tucking that away for future reference, I proceeded to the custom iPhone case area.

I was immediately overwhelmed with options! Lots of choices for different types of phones, colors choices like crazy and options to add your own photos.  Since I was all aflutter and with an expiration date on my gift code, I wanted to make a quick and easy phone case so I could get it in my hot little hands ASAP. I went with the Chevron case (a patterned case) and simply added my first initial in my choice of font and color. The site was easy to use, making it simple to save my designs and preview them without having buy right away. As happens with kids in the house, I was interrupted and came back to my design later. A couple of clicks and my custom iPhone case was ordered and on its way.

My case arrived yesterday.  The shipping materials were efficient yet minimal – I love receiving packages without excessive, wasteful packing material. Go Shutterfly! Now, I must say that the case that was on my phone before this one was a great case. I’ve had it since Spring with no problems. It was ordered from another custom art company, and I thought it was a great quality for the price & to be able to use a design from a favorite fabric designer. I felt (and still feel) that it was $40 well spent. I’ve got to say, that this custom iPhone case from Shutterfly is just as sleek and actually offers a bit more protection than my former phone case with a slight lip that protects the screen. I’ll definitely keep the old one, but I also plan to order more from Shutterfly in the future for myself and as gifts. At about $35 + shipping, it’s a great price point for a gift or a splurge.


 I was not perked or paid in any way by Playgrounddad,  Shutterfly, Society6 or Jenean Morrison. I simply love this product and the ease of use of the Shutterfly site. All opinions and photos are my own. Society6 iPhone case design by Jennean Morrison

UPDATE! Good through Aug 22, 2012 -Shutterfly.com $10 off 20 special going on through tomorrow 8/22 – enter code ‘EXTRA10’ at check out – this will work with other ongoing offers as well.

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