August 29, 2013

My Everyday/ Creator Series Featuring ... Sarah Pellerino-Thompson of Yarn Bomb Antlers

[#1.] When did you launch "Yarn Bomb Antlers" and what prompted you to start your own business?
I launched Yarn Bombed Antlers in August of 2012. My husband and I have 3 little ones, Curren, Finley, and Van, who came in 3 years. I had always waited tables at night at The Cheesecake Factory up until my second was born, but when our third, our son Van came along...I was so exhausted by the end of the day, going to another job was just not something I was interested in, at the time the kids were 3, 2, and 6 months. As hard as that time was I was not willing (nor was my husband) to go work during the day while someone else had our kids, the thought was heartbreaking to us... But those bills don't pay themselves! So I needed to find an income to help! (My husband is a high school teacher and has a window washing business) In addition to that, being home with my 3 littles under 3 was something I really enjoyed (still enjoy) but I was sinking, the day to day was so hard, and so non stop, I needed something else to think about, and I needed a creative outlet! 

My husband got me an iphone and Instagram was the first thing I downloaded. Being a lover of photography I couldn't get enough, and was really inspired by every one's photos. Seeing antlers pop up all over every one's pictures, and seeing antlers in every (2012) fall catalog (Pottery Barn, Anthropologie, Restoration Hardware) collided with the Afghan craze I saw as they popped up in Insta Sales across my feed. Antlers + Yarn just came together and I made my first one and showed it to my neighbors (Marcella @illnana and Jyll  @sickfeet_studio) who are always ahead of the game when it comes to decor and fashion, and they themselves were Etsy gurus. They were like've got something big here, I'll share it for you and lets see what happens...and it just took off! They helped me start up my Etsy and it's been amazing since! I started with a collection of antlers I had from my family who has all hunted for years and years, now that that is gone I'm sourcing from everywhere I can! It's a constant hunt. I love that I can put a feminine and homey touch on something that's always been considered so masculine.

[#2.] What tool/marketing strategy has helped you the most in regards to getting your business noticed?
I saw a real opportunity in using Instagram as my main form of marketing. I got the idea of doing a giveaway and creating a specific hash tag for just that giveaway, with a "rules" picture at the bottom of the hash tag, and all the info in the picture, so it's simple to join in! I mean, our phones are so we are reading someones comments, here comes a text or some alert and boom there goes whatever it was we were doing. So I started with giving away a set of antlers that the winner was able to customize, and just from that I got a huge response. I also gave a few antlers away to "big bloggers" in exchange for a share on their blogs....but that never really panned out how I expected. In addition to that I purchased Etsy Keywords, and Google Keywords to direct more traffic towards me...but do you know what? EVERY SINGLE one of my sales has been from Instagram. Every one! I find that very interesting! People will purchase via Etsy, but they find me on Instagram. I think of it as window shopping! Many times when doing things online instead of face to face I've been let down by people not doing what our "agreement" was so I've been doing my own giveaways and Insta Sales, and everyone has been very happy! Also an important tool is creating your own IG account for your business, that's just your product and not personal of your kids doing crazy things all day :)
[#3.] Share with us a few of your tips for balancing motherhood and business.
Oh man this is a hard one! My office is also my bedroom so I put music on and the kids dance around while I try to work..BUT Antlers + Yarn + Kids can be a dangerous combo! I try to set specific hours during the week at night that are my "work" hours, and the goal is to pretend I'm not here, so I can get orders out. My husband is amazing and really jumps in and will watch the kids, or handle putting them all to bed so I can answer emails with full attention, and wrap some Antlers! It's really important to me to be attentive to them during their awake hours and work when they are asleep. Sundays are usually our days to get stuff done, I wrap while he has the kids, then I watch the kids while he mounts the Antlers! It's always crazy here!...oh and coffee A LOT OF COFFEE.

[#4.] Divulge one of your dreams for your business.
My first goal in starting this business was to pay off our credit card debt. After the first 2 kids were born, Curren and Finley- those hospital bills really racked up and we had to start putting things on credit cards. We buckled down and paid all of it off, and what a relief that was! Our second goal was to buy a camping trailer to take the kids camping-- we live in Southern California and have such great weather so we thought that was what our reality of vacations would be and we love to camp so might as well try to get one now! We found the perfect one last December and have gone many times. Our goals now are just to sock it away and save! All 3 kids will all be high school/ college together so I imagine those years are going to cost some $$$. We bought a house that was built in 1954 so there is always something to fix and that's where most money seems to go, but we're happy we are able to do that! My ultimate dream for this business is that I can keep working from home and just help supplement our income but still be the one to raise our kids (and not have to waitress haha)

[#5.]What advice do you have for moms who have a creative dream in their heart and desire to start their own business from home?
My advice would be to go for it! It's the best time ever to be a stay at home mom with a small business. You can do so much on your phone here and there throughout the day- and still be attentive and present with your kids. Ask your friends about your idea and tell them to be honest! There is a lot of opportunity out there, and the community I've met through IG, and my customers, and my local community has been so positive and so much fun to be apart of.

[#6.]Share with us a peek of your working space.
Our bedroom was actually an apartment that the previous owners added on to our house, it's been gutted and is a huge room! so I have my 2 old Steel Tanker Desks that I thrifted making an nook in the corner of our bedroom, one desk for my computer/ paperwork, and the other for yarn and antlers! Ryan put some nice shelves up for me to store my antlers and yarn, I love it!

[#7] Name three mompreneurs who inspire you. 
The first person who first inspired me was Jessica from @houseinhabit, she and her husband make amazing Teepees while raising their boys.... and they really started such a trend. They are so down to earth and made everything with their hands and she is still a huge inspiration to me! Her feed is one I check every day and just get lost in her pictures. She and I did an Antler/ Teepee trade last Christmas and I was so excited! The teepee made Christmas morning magical, i'll never forget it!  

Next would have to be my neighbor and best friend Marcella @illnana & @pellajamesvintage that girl is always doing something cool, and inspiring me! She owned her own boutique for years and is now selling Vintage treasures on Etsy & IG and runs her own Vintage Wedding Rental business. She always has such great ideas and the girl is an Internet guru, she knows how to work things and has been so generous in sharing her knowledge with me. 

Third without a doubt would be Laura from @ascotfriday (are we really surprised here) NO! I identify with her big time, I love her style, she just goes for it with her amazing choices in home decor and constant projects. Her flea market pictures always inspire my color combos, and I love all the neon her family wears, they inspired my recent purchase of many neon yarns! She sets the bar for cool. She has inspired me beyond words honestly! I've bought so many things per her recommendation, from Brueder trucks for my kids, to my husband working on building a half pipe in our back yard. Not to mention the Target goodies! Cant wait to see what she and her family do next!

Tomorrow you will have a chance to win a My Everyday- inspired- Yarn Bombed Antler! Be sure and follow us on Instagram for those details! Sarah has also decided to offer a limited time discount code so you can pick up an antler for yourself at a discounted rate. 

Be sure and follow @yarn_bombed_antlers on Instagram! You can also keep up with the series by following @kelliandvanessa or #myeverydaymoms 

August 27, 2013


Before bringing home a fresh little newborn, we create "the list" ... the endless, very important list of items we need for that precious babe. While the list can get extensive, there are major essentials you can not go without: crib, diapers, bottles, swaddles & bath products. As with many moms, my swaddle of choice is aden + anais. It's a dependable brand with outstanding products! Your baby needs them in their life, trust me.

I'm thrilled to share that we've recently partnered with aden + anais to photograph + style + try their new bath line - mum+bub. Good news, friends - this can now go on your essentials list ... it's a must have! The bath products are a naturally-derived, pawpaw fruit infused skin care collection for baby & mom. The products have a fresh, spa-like scent to them ... most definitely a treat for you + baby!

The hair + body wash is extremely gentle on Stella's skin & hair. Stella has fine hair, so I'm always on the look out for products that leave her hair feeling soft ... this is it. Love it! The ultra-gentle lotion is just that - extremely gentle ... it's the *perfect texture. An added bonus is that after I use it, I don't feel the need to rinse my hands ... it actually leaves them feeling very smooth.

Now, let's chat about the new soothing ointment. Honestly, at first I figured it was a thicker version of the lotion. Oh, was I wrong! Not only does it work wonders on a diaper rash, it also helps minor cuts, insect bites, chapped lips & chafed/cracked skin. OH MY! It's a little miracle bottled up in a jar.

Stella & I also tried the hooded towel + washcloth sets. As with the swaddles, everything aden + anais creates is, as they say, made for baby ... perfect! The terry towel will last for years & the washcloths are 100% cotton muslin which means it's extremely gentle on Stella's skin. Not only are the washcloths generous in size, Stella loves the adorable little print on the cloth! 

Overall, I'm just over the moon thrilled about these new products & I hope you get to try some out for yourself ... your baby will be soooo extremely happy that you did!

Bath time with my little Stella Love is just that much sweeter now! Love these little baby days ... soaking them up as best I can!

Vanessa XO

August 26, 2013

New Bath Products by Aden + Anais, by Kelli

We have recently partnered with a favorite company of ours, Aden + Anais -to photograph, style and try out their new products. I absolutely love their muslin swaddle blankets and have snuggled with Ezra many many nights wrapped up like a little burrito. I also used these blankets as backdrops for a few images in Ezras one year series.
Aden + Anais has a new bath line called MUM + BUB. A naturally-derived, pawpaw fruit infused skin care collection for baby & mom! Although I haven’t tried this product on myself….I absolutely love the scent it creates at bath time every night. It really does have a relaxing effect [on both of us!]. The hair + body wash is super gentle on Ezras skin [and his eyes!] and the ultra gentle lotion is a perfect texture- not too thick and not too greasy!
I also tried out the hooded towel & washcloth set. Oh my goodness….this washcloth is ridiculously amazing. It’s the loofa for babies! This washcloth expands and becomes super soft and one squeeze does a whole lot of rinsing. It’s pretty awesome.
This new bath line really does create a spa-like experience for our babies. Bath time is at the end of the day for us- a time to relax and prepare for a good nights sleep….so I love the idea of creating a peaceful environment for Ezra [and myself] and these bath products help me achieve our night time goals.
There’s so much junk and hard to pronounce ingredients in our food and beauty products these days. It’s really sad, but this also prompts us do a little research on our own, which I think is the right way to live, regardless. I am super excited that these Aden + Anais bath products are
Free Of:
phytoestrogen + parabens + added hormone disrupters + petroleum oils + phthalates + dioxanes from sulfates + gluten and soy + petrochemicals + DEA + artificial colors

Made in the USA [i really love this part, too!]
What bath products do you use and love?!?

August 22, 2013

My Everyday Featuring ... Ashley Ann

[#1] Share with us a snippet of your story.
I'm a very simple girl. I cherish simplicity and quietness, craving country roads over city streets. The great loves of my life are Jesus and my family. Very soon my husband and I will celebrate our 12th anniversary. We met in high school, got married in college and get to walk the amazing adventure of raising 5 kids. Everyday I am learning, growing, messing up and asking for forgiveness. I long for a heart of wisdom and to walk in the knowledge that my days are numbered. Photography has been a gift in my life by helping me to really see the marvelous the seemingly mundane moments of my day. Through photography I began writing a blog which opened up all kinds of unexpected doors in my life. While my story includes photography, blogging, and crafting - at the heart of it I am just a plain ole' girl that is really soaking up and enjoying this adventure of life with my family. I want to be brave in a world that can sometimes feel hard & scary - I want to be brave to show my kids the immeasurable joy of trusting God with their leaps.

[#2] What is your favorite part of the day with your little one[s]?
This is such a hard question for me! There isn't a specific time of each day that I would call my favorite. The times during the day when there is an overwhelming peacefulness in our home - those are my favorite times. Sometimes that peacefulness is when all the kids are loud, crazy and happily playing together. Other times it is when they are all doing their own thing and I am getting dinner ready. I've learned that peacefulness in my house is not the absence of noise, but the absence of strife. With five kids - including 3 boys who think they are the Avengers - we sure have our fair share of strife. So those moments when everything feels just as it should be - that is my favorite time. I breathe it in deeply and it is like honey to this mom's soul.

[#3] Name Instagram MOMS who inspire you.
Goodness these are hard questions for me! Every mom I follow on IG inspires me in one way or another - and most of them you've featured here. There are so many moms I've met through IG and my life is richer because of their willingness to be vulnerable and brave. It would be impossible to list 3! So, I am going to list three that I only know online but specifically they inspire me with their incredible thoughtfulness and kindness as it extends beyond IG:
@katykristin@skippee @mrsmogun

[#4] What challenges have you faced in balancing motherhood and your passion for creativity?
Time is the biggest challenge for me. There were seasons of life that I was able to create, decorate, craft and still maintain the schedule with my kids that I wanted. Mainly those were seasons when kids took naps! These days I am not starting many new projects, but am focusing on finishing projects. I still have a passion for creativity, but I've had to adjust how I act out that passion. Instead of working on my own creative project, I'm usually helping one of the kids with theirs. I do have to keep a watchful guard over my attitude. There are parts of me that would much rather be dip dying doilies than building miniature steamboats. However, there is a bigger part of me that wants to encourage and support creativity in my kids. I figure there will be a time for creating alone again one day. This is a season that will pass and instead of focusing on what it isn't (cute pinterest crafting), I have to daily choose to see all that this season is and relish the joys of it. And, goodness, there is a lot to savor about being creative side by side with my children.

[#5] What is a family tradition that you love sharing with your kids?
We've got a lot of family traditions and I love every one. I cherish celebrating with traditions. I love how the repetition of something each year (or month) reminds me of how time passes. One tradition that my grandparents have worked to keep going is celebrating birthdays at their favorite doughnut shop. Sometime around everyone's birthday my extended family meets up to celebrate and my grandpa treats us all to doughnuts. I love that my kids get to have a close relationship with their great grandparents and it is a tradition I hope they will always remember.

[#6] If you could give us a peek inside your home - what image would you share and why?
When I am sitting on my couch, this is the view I see. I started the photo wall several years ago (before instagram) and had to cut 4x6 prints down to 4x4. The bottom row starts with my very first ultrasound of my oldest and I add about two rows a year. I can see this wall from the kitchen and the living room. Most of our days happen in this area or outside, so I see it all day long.  It is such a powerful reminder to me of how when you add up all the little everyday moments of my family you get this beautiful canvas that is our story. I love being able to quickly look up and remember moments from when the kids were younger. It might be the only thing in my house that I never get the itch to change.

[#7] Share a photo you wouldn't typically post on Instagram but depicts real life happenings.
My niece gave my oldest daughter a Just Dance game for our wii. I'm pretty sure the boys like it better than the girls. I actually really love this shot, but didn't post it on IG because it is so dark and grainy. 

Be sure and follow @underthesycamore on Instagram! You can also keep up with the series by following @kelliandvanessa or #myeverydaymoms

August 21, 2013

August Desktop + iPhone Download

The month is just about over, but Ashley and I were determined to sneak this in just in time!

Life has truly been an adventure this summer….a fun adventure for sure, but also one that has brought on new challenges. Life isn’t aways the “adventure” we hope it to be, but I’d take a wild ride over complacency any day. I’ve been there….in my comfort zone and it scares me to think of living a “satisfied // good enough” life. Being uncomfortable reminds us that we are alive! We have a life to live…and a story to tell.

A sweet friend of mine is currently on a daring adventure- you’ve got to check out Donny & Joy Prouty’s story that was recently featured on Yahoo! I love this so much!

I hope you are encouraged by this months download….whether your adventure has you in a valley or soaring high….don’t settle- don’t lose hope. Every season- every tear and every pain has a purpose. 


 DESKTOP // right click & save  

iPhone Download

August 19, 2013

My Everyday Featuring ... Lynsey Kramer

[#1] Share with us a snippet of your story.
I grew up in heart of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Shortly after high school, I fell in love with a country boy who was unlike any man I'd ever met. I was 19 when he swept me off of my feet and 19 when I married my best friend. Thirteen years later, and we have FOUR precious girls (9, 6, 4, 2) and feel so incredibly thankful and blessed to get to parent them together by God's grace. I seriously adore being with them! Our days are spent on our farm in a teeny town in Texas in which we get to do work alongside one another and be closely connected with God's beautiful creation on a daily basis. We are full-time farmers who raise grass-fed beef, pastured pork, pastured chicken, and pastured eggs ( Our lives are very simple-minded, but farming is one of the hardest things that we've ever done in practice. We absolutely love it! We feed around 300 families in the Houston area who have chosen to be a part of our farm community through the food that we raise on our farm. There is so much joy in taking the meat that we've harvested and putting it directly into the hands of people. We also home school our girls. It's been so beautiful to see them grow up into the gifts that the Lord has uniquely given them. But also see their gifts fit into the life of farming that the Lord has called us to. I love to snap photos of our daily farm and life happenings, being in the kitchen working on hippie concoctions, cooking with cast iron, laughing, creating beauty in our home, and sitting on the porch swing of our farmhouse dreaming big dreams with my best friend and farmer. 

[#2] What is your favorite part of the day with your little one[s]?
As with most things in farming, the part of the day depends on the season that we are in. During the Texas Summers, my favorite part of the day would have to be in the evenings after we've had supper and it starts cooling down. We usually take off outside and walk down the dirt road, go exploring in the oak grove, sit on the front porch swing and talk, or drive around the farm in our farm buggy and see what the animals have been up to for the day. Whatever the case may be, we are usually spending this part of the day outside all together, being intentional, and with daddy. We will sometimes tackle a family project together during this time and choose something that everyone (even the babies) can participate in. This has truly been my favorite part of our day as of recently. 

[#3] Name Three Instagram MOMS who inspire you.
Gracious sakes a livin' this is hard! I'm constantly inspired and amazed at the lens in which other women view their life, create their own version of beauty, and the differences in scenery that we are all placed in. The diversity of Instagram is a beautiful thing to me.

If I had to pick 3, I would pick these particular women who happen to be in a little different season of life than I with older children and have been a great source of encouragement for the type of women I hope to be in the future along with seeing how they relate to their older children in such beautiful and connected ways. 

[#4] What challenges have you faced in balancing motherhood and your passion for creativity?
Being creative and making time to create is so important to me and something that I'm realizing the more busy life has become and the more time consuming farm life has been. As my girls have gotten a little older (especially my 9 year old), it's been amazing to see their need to create as well. So, when I tackle a project, I usually choose something that they can participate in with me and we learn together. This was not always easy for me since I struggle with wanting things to be done perfectly or not at all. Over the years, I've come a long way in this area because I went through seasons of not embracing my creative side and children at the same time. I thought you could only have one and not the other- obviously the children weren't going anywhere, so creating took a backseat. Inviting my girls into creating with me has been something that I have learned to love and also seeing their little creative spirits flourish as well is truly special. I want them to grow up learning to embrace creativity and be able to learn to tackle whatever their heart's desire to create.

[#5] What is a family tradition that you love sharing with your kids?
Our family typically shares 3 meals together every single day. We enjoy food and cooking and the art of preparing dishes from scratch using whole foods. The prep that goes into our food allows my girls to be in the kitchen with me! They are turning into such great helpers, cooks, and bakers. There is usually a job for everyone to have! Meals tend to be anchors for us that we get to sit down and connect over a good plate of food. I hope that my girls will continue to carry the love of preparing and sharing a meal with their one-day families. 

[#6] If you could give us a peek inside your home - what image would you share and why?
I'm in the kitchen a lot! That tends to be the hub of our home since much of our days consist of eating good food and raising good food. We recently completed a kitchen remodel to make the kitchen more functional for our family and pleasing to the eye (we had fruit basket wallpaper from the 70s....ha!). Our home was built in 1906 and was in major need of updating. I still have some finishing touches to make, but the bones are all there and I'm loving being in the kitchen even more now! 

[#7] Share a photo you wouldn't typically post on Instagram but depicts real life happenings.

Be sure and follow @five_chicks_and_farmer on Instagram! You can also keep up with the series by following @kelliandvanessa or #myeverydaymoms

August 12, 2013

Ezra Turns ONE!

It seems like just yesterday that Vanessa and I were visiting eachother here in we were both pregnant! Now....our babies are ONE. Im so thankful to Vanessa as a dear I have walked out motherhood this year. Momma friends are the best. 

Well, we celebrated Ezra’s 1st birthday a few weeks ago with a few of his little buddies and family, who visited us from Wisconsin & Illinois by car & airplane. This was the first time for Ezra to meet this side of my family….it was a super special celebration. The party was held at the family cabin, where we spent lots of time last summer when Ezra’s was brand new. It’s a quiet and peaceful place, with stunning views all around.

I decided to keep the “Little Brave Man” theme for his birthday, which was also the theme of my baby shower. I loved pulling out all the arrows and triangles that were handmade by my sweet friends. The day brought back so many wonderful memories of my pregnancy that I loved so much.

The day consisted of Ezra’s favorite things:: playing in the sand, hanging out with his little friends, eating, smiling and laughing…..and playing Peek-A-Boo in his new teepee! Below are a few of my favorite photos and details from the day!

We all had so much fun celebrating Ezra. He is loved….oh so much!