The Christmas in July sale is officially over at Mama Made Them. Now I just need to get everything made in before I go on vacation in a few days.

Yesterday I was feeling the crunch of time and the weight of my orders, when my son asked me if we could go to the pool. I said, no, we have too much to do, but I’m planning on a pool trip tomorrow. Today we were going to the farmer’s market (he loves going to the farmers market because we can see our farmer friends). He pouted.

But as I went down to the basement, sweating behind my dust mask, I fell prey to the siren song of summer: “just relax, don’t work so hard, play!” So I cut out a sheep for a puzzle, but set it down, went back upstairs and said, “we’ll go for an hour.”

And that hour was lovely. Then we went to the market, and came home to cook up a feast.

But I never made it back to work in the evening as I had planned.

But I don’t regret skipping out to go for a swim on an oppressive day in July.

But I need to find a way to get back to work in the evening on busy days. Because despite the peace and tranquility of the days when my business was not requiring as much work, I prefer the peace and tranquility of not worrying how I’m going to pay the electric bill. I prefer having a car. I prefer having money in the bank.

Working from home as a single homeschooling parent is a constant balancing act. I had to laugh at this article on Simple Homeschool last week. It is about homeschooling and working from home, and how it is the hardest part of her homeschooling. Her solution was to work less.

I was disappointed with the article, because it seemed to sell her kids short. And it didn’t really address the issue of balancing work that you have to do with the work of your home life. It just said work less. Which is a great solution: if your husband already has a job, if you aren’t in need of all the money (and more) that you can bring in, if you want to work less.

But if you really would benefit from working MORE, it didn’t offer any solutions.

When I get back from vacation in August, it’s going to be time for me to put my nose to the grindstone preparing for Christmas. And I’m going to come back to this issue of balance again and again. And I’m going to blog about it here.

If you are curious about how I “get it all done” (as I hear people wonder frequently) or about things kids can do while you are working or about productivity strategies for working parents, I’ll be talking about all that. If you have specific questions, just post them below.


Summer, Sailboats, and Craft Shows



Finally the long, lazy days of summer are here! So far this summer, there hasn’t been much time for laziness.

First we were at the WYEP Music Festival in Schenley Plaza, which is always a fun show. This year it rained, but we still showed up, and customers still shopped, and fans still cheered for the bands.

The following weekend, we staked out the 6th Street Bridge for the weekend to sell our toys at the Regatta. There were three sold out Pirates games. The stadium is right over the bridge, , so let me tell you, I was a busy sword maker that weekend!


This past weekend, we were in Southside Works, right across the Hot Metal Bridge (awesome name isn’t it?), for Southside Works Exposed.


There has been so much rain here in the Pittsburgh area, that all the water activities (boat races, jetski shows, etc.) were cancelled during the Regatta. The current was 4 times stronger than normal, and there was all kinds of floating debris in the water.

But I debuted my new Sailboat, and it did just fine at the show.


I’ve been wanting to make a sailboat for a while, but every prototype I made wasn’t good enough. You see, I wanted to sell a sailboat that really sailed. And I also didn’t want to be sewing sails all the time, because sewing is not my forte.

I found plans for this sailboat, and with a few modifications, it was perfect. The keel is weighted, which makes it very stable in the water. The sail is wooden, which means no sewing for me, and no nasty stained up cloth for you next summer.



You can purchase the sailboat here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/239016525/floating-sailboat. We’ll be taking ours to the lake today, so I’ll have more pictures tomorrow.

Coming up next week, I’m going to be doing my annual Christmas in July Sale. It starts the 20th, Monday, and ends the 25th of July. 25% off of everything in my shop. Don’t miss it.