Mama Makers | Written in Metal

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June Mama Maker: Chandra Palmer with Written in Metal

Meet your Maker

When I started this feature, I knew straight away that I wanted to show off my pal, Chandra Palmer, to y’all.  She and I have worked together for about two years and we get along like peas and carrots.  Our kiddos are close to the same age (she has a 2 year old son named Weston whom she describes as “all-boy”, meaning she has a lifetime supply of stain eraser), our husbands are basically personality twins, and best of all, she totally gets my weird humor.  Bonus: she’s my go-to for stamped jewelry at insanely reasonable prices. Chandra was clutch this past Christmas when she made two gifts for me literally overnight, God love her. She makes seriously unique and fun pieces out of recycled metal, beads, old jewelry, leather, and other miscellaneous stuff that strikes her fancy.  I’ve ordered cuffs, bangles, countless necklaces, and I’ve got my eye on a fork ring.  Yeah, you heard me.  Fork ring.  Looks like stacked rings, but better.

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Here are a few favorites from my own collection:

Anywho, I recently sat down with Chandra to find out how she started her business, what inspires her, and how she finds time to create while chasing her boy out of mud puddles.

 

So, when did you start Written in Metal and what’s the story behind the name?

C: I started in May 2010 and actually, the original name that I chose was Thinguhmajig, but someone else already owned that name, so I changed it.  Since I stamp words and sayings, it made sense.  I literally write in metal.

How did you learn to make your pieces?  Did you take classes, was it a family tradition, self taught?  

C: I’m very much self taught.  A LOT of trial and error is involved.  I play around with different textiles and see how I can maneuver them to form what’s in my head.  Sometimes I scrap a piece before I’m halfway finished because I don’t like the colors together, or I stamp my words crooked.  It took a lot of practice to get the letter stamping down! But I think imperfection is something to be celebrated and I’m okay with figuring things out as I go.  Some of my favorite pieces were mistakes.

Speaking of, what your favorite thing you’ve made?

C:  Too hard to pick one!  I’m proud of everything I make, so it’s like picking a favorite child.  I do have a new technique that I’m slightly obsessed with…acid etching metal with a design and then stamping over it.  Takes some extra time, but so far the results are totally worth it.

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Where do you find inspiration for your products?

C:  Lots and lots of research.  I carry a notebook with me full of sayings and phrases and I’m constantly adding to it.  Pinterest is also a great source to keep up with motivational quotes and such, so I scroll through that a bunch.  I usually have a booth at the local craft shows and I get inspired by other artists there as well.  It’s also common for a client to request a special saying or maybe a bible verse.  My favorite is when a customer will describe what they’re wanting and then allow me to get creative with the piece.  For example, I’m working on a men’s archery bracelet for a company and the only thing they requested is that it look manly and incorporate an arrow.  So many possibilities, and I love it.

Where’s your favorite place to shop for your supplies?

C:  Etsy!  It’s my online swap-meet.  I also repurpose a lot, so I love junk fairs and antique booths.  Flea market hunting is my idea of a perfect afternoon.

As a mama, when do you find time to make your products?

C: When he is sleeping!!  There’s no working when he’s awake.  Weston keeps me on my toes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  When I’m on a time crunch, my husband is really good about getting him out of the house and off on manly adventures together.

Before you sit down to create, what do you HAVE to have on hand?

C:  Coffee, 100%.  And usually a long forgotten TV series to keep me company.  Currently, it’s Dawson’s Creek.  Joey + Dawson = Forever

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What three Instagram accounts are your favorite to follow for inspiration or fun?

C: 1921 Designs, Creative Carmella, and Your Words Cuffs.

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Where can we find your pieces? 

C: I have booths located at Wasted in Ft. Smith, AR and at The Locals in Prairie Grove.  You can also order through my Facebook page since I’m always posting new items there.  Oh, and I’ll be at the Junk Ranch this weekend, June 9 and 10, in Prairie Grove!  You should definitely check out the Junk Ranch!  It’s huge and has some incredible finds.

 

I don’t know about y’all, but I’ll definitely be going to the Junk Ranch this weekend!  Hope to see you there!

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Mama Makers | Tubtonics

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“When women support each other, incredible things happen.”

When I started this blog, I asked myself a few questions: who am I trying to reach with my words and what is it that I’m trying to say?  I’m an uplifting person by nature, so my message and mission has always been to brace each other up in life, work, and family.  Celebrating women in their daily walk and shining the light on those that have done both the ordinary and amazing.  Listen, we are all trying to do great things–in the office and at home. As women, sometimes all we want is to feel appreciated and have someone notice our hard work.  And, by golly, we work hard, y’all.

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So, I’ve decided to shine a little light on women who are balancing the incredible: a messy, loud family and their own business.  Mothers that have scrambled during nap time to work on their art.  Wives who have stayed up long after their husband have gone to bed in order to learn just a little bit more about their industry.  Ladies who have held their breathe while they signed on the dotted line to invest their money on themselves and their dream.  Mama Makers who are making their dreams work.

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**Each month, I’ll be spotlighting a different lady that is excelling in her Mama Maker role.  If you have someone you’d like to nominate, please shoot me an email at katdoland@gmail.com.**

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The Biz

Tubtonics is owned and operated by Andrea Long, a mama of four kiddos, aged nine, eight, two and four months. Time out: the fact that this gal has four(!) kids AND is running her own business is really enough to encourage us all to patron her art.

Anyway, based in Northwest Arkansas, Andrea began selling her organic and environmentally friendly soaps in January of 2016.  Tubtonics is constantly producing new and unique products to be used for your daily routine.

17438254_201511427008877_255938561457520640_nAs a self-taught Mama Maker, Andrea creates custom soaps and body products made specifically to make your skin feel clean and nourished.  Using supplies purchased at Ozark Natural Foods in Fayetteville, AR, Andrea can often be found there doing product demonstrations and tutorials on how to make your own soaps at home.

18513477_736348813203378_7977364692429438976_nWhen pressed to name a favorite product, she calls it a tie between Up the Anti and Astringent C soaps.  Designed to assist in relieving inflammation and itchy skin, Up the Anti is Tubtonics’ top seller.  Astringent C deep cleans and heals blemishes while firming skin.  Along with purchasing online at Tubtonics.com, their organics soap can also be found at Ozark Natural Foods.

To Be Honest

18252174_173706426487384_3638263811439329280_nI sat down with Andrea recently to learn more about her products and what inspired her to start her own business.  When I met Andrea, she had her two youngest kiddos with her and, to be honest, that made me like her right off the bat.  Real life means juggling your babies with your business, am I right?  Sometimes you just have to toss the kid in an Ergo and get to work.  So, with the youngest on her hip and an eye on the other, Andrea proceeded to educate me on the importance of palm-oil free products and using only natural fragrances.  Now, her passion and dedication to the environment was endearing, but the minute I opened the bottle of her Lavender & Honeysuckle Salt Soak, I stopped listening.  You guys.  I wish scratch and sniff screens were a thing.  All I wanted to do was get home, toss the stuff in the tub, and never get out.  So I proceeded to do just that (until my own kiddo got her whole hand stuck under the locked bathroom door and lost her ever loving mind.  Relaxation was over at that point.).

18013764_319302155157149_433678799385657344_nBefore the stuck hand debacle, I dozed pleasantly and pretended I was swinging on the wooden rocker out in my grandmother’s yard, right next to her back fence.  The one that honeysuckle takes over ever summer and smells strongest at night when the air is so thick you can practically cup it in your hand.  There’s a little breeze so I could smell the flowers from her garden she keeps by the porch.  Lavender with just a hint of her hydrangeas. Sure, I’m just floating on sensory happiness in my bathtub, but the scent is so uniquely Southern summer night, it feels like I’m there if I close my eyes (and ears so I don’t hear the insistent knocking on the door).  Seriously, this Salt Soak really does make me feel like I’m surrounded by those huge summer honeysuckle vines and I love it.  Afterwards, my skin felt so smooth without any of that sticky residue stuff you get with some salt scrubs and soaks.

17818116_245155772559512_8287338941812572160_nI don’t know about you, but when I find a new product that rings all my bells, I have to tell every single person I know.  I’ve tried her tooth whitening paste and after 2 uses I’ve already noticed a difference.  And bless Andrea’s heart, when she heard we had the tummy bug at our casa, she sent over her anti-viral, anti-bacterial soap.  When I asked her how she finds time to make all of her products, she credits the grace of God and a dedication to her schedule she’s made for her family and business.  As an obsessive planner myself, this is a gal after my own heart. So, as much as I like promoting a great product to my tribe, I’m even more passionate about introducing you to people you really should know.

Tubtonics is available at

Ozark Natural Foods

or purchase online here.

Follow Tubtonics on Instagram!

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Best Tips for Childbirth That You Really SHOULD Know

Listen up, Mamas-to-Be

I have a pal at work that’s about 38 weeks prego.  Ready and willing to pop any day, bless her heart.  She and I were talking last week about my own childbirth and stuff that no one told me about and I wish someone had.  I started to ramble on and on about random stuff and she said, “Wait, wait.  I’ll never remember this.  Just shoot me an email with the most important info.”  After reading it, she told me that I needed to share this with y’all so you too could learn from my awesome wisdom.  You’re welcome.

So, whether you’re a mama-to-be for the first time or you’ve purposely blocked the previous birth(s) from your memory, here’s my list of childbirth tips that, honestly, will save your sanity and comfort.

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First things first, know that they won’t be giving you a damn thing to eat while you’re in the hospital until you pop that kid out.

SO.  Here are your two options:  if you’re induced, hit up Waffle House before you go in.  When we found out we were getting induced at 5 am, I asked my doc if we could grab a quick bite before coming in.  She recommended carbs and more carbs.  Pretend you’re about to run a marathon.  So, we strolled in to Waffle House at 4 am and I ate 2 waffles.  Don’t even try to sit in a booth, your belly won’t fit.  Just head straight to the bar, but good luck getting back down.  Oh, and don’t eat anything greasy.  Doc says that’s a sure fire way to poop all over the nurses when you’re pushing.  So there’s that.

If you go into labor naturally (hooray), make sure you have something substantial in your fridge/pantry that you can eat relatively quickly on the way to the hospital.  This may sound silly, but I was in labor for 23 hours and I was STARVING by the time I had Bailey.  Star.Ving.  Do yourself a favor and prep a meal.

Second, for the days following birth, you’re gonna bleed like it’s the worst period of your life.

Not so much pain wise, but the flood gates will be open.  Get ALL the mesh undies they will give you at the hospital.  Stuff them in your bag like a squirrel with nuts.  They are the furthest thing from cute, but they’re worth your baby’s weight in gold.  Trust.  I suggest going to the Walmart before hand and getting a pack of Old Lady Undies that come up above your belly button.  You won’t want anything tight on your belly after you give birth and those mesh panties can only go for so long.  Do your hubs a favor and burn the lot before the kid turns one.

Third, your hoo-hah is gonna hurt.

Fact.  Gather the stuff this girl tells you to and pre-make these padsicles before you pop.  Your hoo-hah will thank you.  To be honest, I bought everything and was totally prepared to use them, but I ended up having a c-section and they were unneeded.  Turns out, there really is a sunny side to have major abdominal surgery.  You know, besides having a squishy sweet baby,

Fourth, go to the Walmart and buy a knee length nightgown with front buttons.

It doesn’t have to button all the way down, but enough to breastfeed without sticking the kid underneath.  You will almost certainly be in the hospital for a day after birth and you are NOT going to want to hang out in those awful bedgowns.  Also, with all the bleeding (see second paragraph), you aren’t going to want to wear sleep shorts or pants while in the hospital bed.  I’d also suggest a bathrobe because they’ll make you walk around the floor before leaving.  Also, you’ll have a crap ton of visitors and you might be feeling modest.  Oh, and bring flipflops or slippers.  Something easy to slip on and off.  Those floors are frigid.

Fifth, bring 2 packages of store bought cookies and/or sweets.

DO IT.  IF YOU DO NOTHING ELSE I’VE TOLD YOU, DO THIS.  These sweets are to bribe the nursing staff and make you their favorite.  They will do your bidding with a smile if you give them snacks.  Trust me, I worked in a hospital, I know this as fact.  We brought crack cookies (you know, those sugar cookies with thick icing you can find in the bakery at Harps or Walmart.  So addicting, hence: crack cookies).  Buy 2 packs, one for the day shift and one for the night.  You’re gonna be there a while.  Oh, and make sure they’re store bought.  No offense, but no one will touch home made goods once you work in a hospital for a week.  Germs=ew.

Sixth, have a spokesperson in the room with you at all times.

By that, I mean be sure you have a nurse or your husband or your mama on your team to be able to speak up on your behalf.  Too many people in the room, people eating near you, another nurse not giving you enough meds to make you happy.  You will be in an emotional and physical state where you will need such a person to be in tune with you.  Sure, you may think you’re going to be able to do that type of thing on your own, but who knows what’s going to happen during a birth.  Pick your person, set parameters, and have a code word for them to know its time to lay the smack down.  Ours was “elbow” because I just like saying that word.  Makes me smile and Lord knows you need that when you’re in labor.  Say it out loud.  Elllllbow.  Nice, right?

Seventh, have someone photograph (cell phone camera is totally fine) the baby and you and your husband and your kids throughout the process.

You don’t have to show a single person ever, but you’ll love looking back at that day.  This isn’t necessarily for Facebook posting or such, but for your own memories.  Also, be sure to get a picture like this before you leave the hospital. I mean, doesn’t that just tug at your heart?

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Lastly, message me when he’s 5 days old and it’s 3 in the morning and you’re having a meltdown because you’ve tried literally everything you can think of to make him happy but he won’t stop crying.

I’ll talk you down off the ledge and bring you brownies the next day and let you eat 4 while I snuggle the kid.  No judgment.  If you live outside of my bubble area of Northwest Arkansas, I’ll send it Amazon Prime and just ask for a really cute picture of your squishy newborn in return.  Gah, I love babies.

You know I’ll think of more things, but this will get you started.

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