Our Favorite Little Shoes

We recently interviewed Melanie of Starry Knight Design....and today we are showcasing Ezra & Stella in her handmade [MADE IN MONTANA] soft soled moccasins that we absolutely adore.

I [Kelli] met Melanie at our local Farmers Market this summer. I had previously purchased two [of the same style] shoes that she had made so it was awesome to meet her in person. The shoes that Ezra wore [and wore out] the most this summer were her Bison shoes. Oh my! Can we say adorable?!? Ezra loved them and we got stopped weekly by admirers. Im a huge fan of Melanie's work. I also love that these are handmade by a passionate momma, who has a built a business to contribute to her family financially. So awesome!

For our blog readers and Instagram followers...we have a limited time DISCOUNT CODE for you to use. Now through November 14th use this code for 10% off your purchase in her Etsy shop! Believe me.....you wont regret it! Her prices are so great too! It's a win-win. Be sure and use KANDV10 before you check out!

Need help with sizing information?! You can always email Melanie directly through Etsy if you have questions- she's awesome and so helpful!

/// Starry Knight Design creating unique leather soft-soled shoes since 2008, for tiny babies up to big kids. Made from re-purposed leather and vibrant custom dyed suede. Elastic sewn in backs of the shoes to keep them on squirmy feet without being restrictive. 40+ Fun, bright colored designs for every style. Starry Knight Design soft soled shoes stay on when babies start crawling; wonderful for feet and balance when they start walking; and perfect house slippers for bigger kids. Great leather soft-soled shoes for every child! 

Starry Knight Design uses re-purposed leather and custom dyed suede pieces to create a variety of colors and textures on the soft-soled shoes. All designs are hand-cut for an original look on every pair. Patterns for the leather shoes are and designed and custom cut in my studio by me . My studio is solar powered, and runs my industrial leather machine. All of my products are made exclusively by me with love and care.

Creator Series // Ashley Rodriguez

We are super excited to introduce you to Ashley of Thorn + Sparrow. It was an honor to collaborate with her on our branding for our new blog! She is wonderful to work with....we can't speak highly enough about her. Thanks so much, Ashley! xoxo

[#1] Share with us a snippet of your story.
I'm married to my absolute best friend and super handsome musician, who has taught me so much about love and life and being comfortable in my own skin... he's one of my favorites parts of my story and I could just chat all day about him! But don't worry, I won't. :) I live in northwest montana with said wonderful husband and our pet bunny, and as a southern california native I can't believe how much I love it here. There's no where else I'd rather be!

When I was about 5, before I started kindergarten, I was molested a few times by my babysitter's teenage son. It's something I kept secret for a long time, I felt trapped by shame and I let that define me internally, which I believe kept me stagnant. After going through a Beth Moore study in 2011, I finally felt the relief of my childhood burden... I gave it to Jesus and felt a rush of healing. I really feel like that was the start of a domino effect because ever since that moment, God has been opening so many doors to share my faith, step out of my comfort zone, and finally use the gifts He has given me, and I don't feel defined by it anymore. It makes my redemption through Christ so much sweeter, and lays the foundation for the meaning behind my business name....   

[#2] What is the story behind Thorn + Sparrow?
When I started thinking about what my business name would be, I knew I wanted it to reflect the life change that had recently happened - I always wanted to see the name and be reminded of what Christ has brought me through and the freedom he continually gives. It's a reminder that no matter what happens, however difficult, God will get me through it. So I prayed about it, read my bible, and almost immediately I knew what it was going to be, but I sat on it for a couple of days and decided I couldn't get it out of my head so I went for it!  

[#3] What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day usually starts out with a homemade breakfast with my husband, both of us in the kitchen tag-teaming the meal! Then we'll chat about the day's plans, have some devo time, get ready, and send each other off with a kiss and 'I love you'... actually, it's usually my husband that's being 'sent off' to work, since my workspace is at home. It's funny, the roles have totally reversed --- I used to work full time in an office and he was the full time artist/musician. Now, he works for Fresh Life Church [and still has a home studio] and I'm the full time artist. :)

Next, I'll dive into the emails for a bit, then brainstorm/sketch/paint/scan/design/blog for pretty much the rest of the day. I usually have a few projects going at once so there's always something to be done! I'll take little breaks here and there to get coffee, eat a snack, browse pinterest and read a few of my favorite blogs. The day goes by so fast and before I know it, I'm having to think of something to make for dinner... which is usually eaten pretty late. Thank goodness my husband is so gracious! I have to say, I have so much admiration for all moms [creative or not] because I just can't fathom how they do it all!! Go moms!

Now that it's warm outside, we'll take a walk after dinner, visit our pet rabbit [who lives in the barn], and chat about the day's festivities and future plans we've been dreaming up... then we usually cuddle up on the couch to watch a movie and head off to bed around midnight. It's such a fun full day and I'm so thankful for each moment! 
[#4] How did you discover your passion for paper goods design and illustration?
I know it sounds cliche, but I've been drawing for as long as I can remember... I literally can't think of a time that I didn't have an artistic drive. My dad has always been an artist and he must've recognized the same passion in my little self and sowed into that - letting me sculpt leftover chunks of clay [he was a full time ceramic artist at the time] and urged me to keep at it. 

I took every art class I could in high school and ended up selling two of my paintings to my school... it was the first time I had sold any of my work and it's something I'll never forget. I was shocked and excited and I knew I wanted to be doing more of it. There was always an urge, a drive to create, but I didn't pursue it after I graduated highschool... I think I got stuck in the 'corporate america' mentality, that's just 'what you should do' I thought. 

In 2011, we found ourselves in montana [invited by our dear friend Crystal Lewis], where I rediscovered my love and drive for art again... and with the help of some encouraging friends, I started thorn + sparrow, where my passion gets to thrive!!

[#5] What is your favorite material to work with?
That's a tough one! I love working with ink + watercolor day to day but I also really love painting with acrylic on canvas... it's so inspiring.  



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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 ..you'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 distracting..as 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 

My Everyday / Creator Series featuring ... Bobbi Bankston of The Mason Bar Company

[#1.] When did you launch "The Mason Bar Company" and what prompted you to start your own business?
I launched TMBC in August of 2012. It was a “sister store” to my first Etsy retail shop, Poppy & Pearl co. which I started a year before in 2011. I was prompted to start my own business when I found myself craving some spark and adventure in my career. It was a time in my life that a new chapter was necessary and with a leap of faith I followed my heart... it’s been the best two years!!

[#2.] What tool/marketing strategy has helped you the most in regards to getting your business noticed?
Etsy- without a doubt! Etsy has been an unbelievable platform. I worked really really hard, researching and learning the ropes for my shop. I got plugged in to the community and learned the importance of consistent network marketing. I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Etsy as it truly changed my life! 

[#3.] Share with us a few of your tips for balancing motherhood and business.
Oh goodness...Is that such a thing? Just kidding! I’d say the first thing that comes to mind is to set apart business hours from mom hours when possible. When you get home or close the door to your home office, don’t “mentally” go back to work. Be truly present when the hours allow for they go fast and having quality time with your kids is irreplaceable. Secondly, I’d have say go easy on yourself because we can’t “do it all”. This concept is a daily struggle for me and I feel that I’m slowly but surely coming around. You will drive yourself crazy if you try to be perfect in every hat you wear. We can be exceptional mothers, wives and career women and still maintain balance- it’s a matter of allowing ourselves to accept the imperfections that naturally come along with life. Smile... Breathe... and have a dance party once in awhile!

[#4.] Divulge one of your dreams for your business.
I’d love to see TMBC expand its product line... there are several ideas swirling around my brain.

[#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?
1. Start simple... even if it’s selling one item. Take baby steps toward your big vision. 2. Use your resources and ask to barter with friends and family who might be photographers, graphic designers, constructive critics, etc... 3. Find an inspirational verse or quote that will motivate you when fear starts creeping in. I think I’ve recited Jeremiah 29:11 a thousand times!

[#6.]Share with us a peek of your working space.

[#7] Name three mompreneurs who inspire you.  

/// 24oz Mason Jar Tumbler EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT ///

Click here to purchase a 24oz Mason Jar Tumbler with PINK straw, an exclusive discount for My Everyday readers! After adding product to your cart- type in discount code "kelliandvanessa" which gives you 40% OFF your purchase! Offer good TODAY ONLY from 10am-noon CST! Sweet Deal! Don't miss out! 

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