Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Blue Ladybug Beginnings- Part 2: Mary Beth’s Story

I’m Mary Beth, the other half of The Blue Ladybug team, and mother to an 11 month old little boy. My husband, Tim, and I have been married for 3 ½ years, and he is an associate pastor here in Michigan. Besides taking care of Titus and my Blue Ladybug work, I am also involved with the youth at my church, ladies Bible studies, and MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers).

My first recollections of sewing were from a young age. My mom had a beast of sewing machine, that she would haul out and set up when she worked on mending clothes or small sewing projects. She wanted my sisters and I to know how to sew, and I remember learning a couple different times in my growing up years. The first project I ever remember working on was a white and navy striped apron that we made for my Grandpa’s birthday for when he grilled out! My mom would set the machine up and get everything ready, and then my sister and I would take turns sitting at the machine, pressing the foot, and feeding the fabric through. In high school, my home school coop held a sewing class one semester. Of course, I’d already forgotten what little I knew about sewing. All the girls decided to make pajama pants and, along with the help of a few moms, we successfully completed them. However, the only thing I remember having come away from that class with was a pair of sparkly star print pajama pants!

Fast forward to 2007… it was my first Christmas married, and we were spending it with my parents out east. I was looking forward to a “big” gift from my parents that everyone had been telling me I’d love! When I finally opened it, I was surprised to find my very own sewing machine! I wasn’t super excited about it at first, but I thought it was, as my mom told me, a good gift to get me as a newly married woman. It seemed sensible to have one as I would eventually need it to mend clothes and work on small projects just like my mom, I was sure. But I was going to have to finally learn! After I got it home, it sat for a few weeks before I finally dared to take it out and play around with it. We had recently moved to MI and were renting a house with lots of large windows. My mother-in-law told me of all the creative ways we could make curtains and I was excited. So we bought flat red bed sheets, and I had HER make the curtains for my kitchen. After that first Christmas, I gathered my courage and decided to practice sewing by making curtains for my living room, inspired by my mother-in-law’s ideas and ingenuity. I was still too nervous to do it alone, so I waited till my mother-in-law could come help me. We bought a few curtain panels and altered them but we didn’t get it all done in one sitting, so when she left, I still had to finish them. Following her instructions, I sewed up the last of the curtains alone and hung them! What a sense of pride to see my handiwork, something I’d made and completed! After that, I became interested in a lot of different crafts, and became more brave and adventurous in trying them.

(My first sewing machine!)
When I got pregnant in early 2009, a whole other world opened up to me! As I did lots of online research on pregnancy, birth options, baby gear and baby care, I started finding blogs of other crafting mothers! They would give tutorials and tips on their crafting projects! When I’d see baby gear or accessories I liked, I’d think, “I wonder if I could make that?” and I’d go looking for a tutorial. I became interested in cloth diapering and decided to make my own cloth wipes! Through that experience, I learned so much about my machine and sewing in general! We wanted our baby’s gender to be a surprise, so I looked at both boys’ and girls’ items. There were SO many cute and creative girls things out there, but not much for boys. I was really hoping to make some cute accessories for my baby when he or she came, but if I had a boy (like my husband was praying for), what would I be able to make for him? Unbeknownst to me that I would actually have a boy, I began to search all over for ideas of cute things for baby boys. I didn’t really find much and so I put the search aside… for a while.

So, we had our little boy, Titus, in November of 2009. We brought him home to his adorable green and brown nursery, with handmade and painted stenciled walls, handmade curtains, and little monkeys peeking out from all corners of the room. We loved our new little family of three, and took a few months to adjust to all the changes. My crafting and sewing machine sat unused over the winter, as I cared for my baby and husband every day. During this time, I had been feeling the need to help out my family financially, but didn’t know what I could do as we were committed to me staying home with Titus. I heard from a mutual friend that Laura was beginning to make hair bows for her baby girl, and was thinking about selling them. I began praying that the Lord would provide some way for me to help my family with finances, and I kept thinking about crafting of some sort, but I didn’t have any ideas or direction. So I just kept praying… Spring came and soon after that, warmer weather! Now that Titus didn’t have to be bundled up so much, I thought about what kinds of cute things I could make for him! After a little more online research, I made him a Tie Onesie, that turned out adorably! I also had been looking for a pacifier clip since I was SO tired of him constantly dropping his pacifier and then having to wash it off! The stores had basically nothing, so I read a couple tutorials online, and came up with my own! I was so proud of my work, both cute and practical, that I posted pictures on Facebook that drew the attention of Laura, who had just open her Etsy shop, The Blue Ladybug Children’s Boutique, featuring tutus, hairbows and leggings. She commented that she would love to start offering my items in her shop! So we talked it over and decided to join forces! It was the answer to prayer that I’d been waiting for all those months!

(My first tie onesie and my adorable model!)

Now, six months later, I never would have dared to hope that our shop would be as successful as it is right now! The Lord has blessed us both SO much in our commitment to stay home with our kids, yet still being able to financially help our families! Laura and I both have so many ideas of products that we’d love to offer in the future, and ways that we’d love to grow our little shop. But we’re just trusting God’s timing in it all. He’s directed us this far!

“She makes and sells linen garments…” Proverbs 31:24