Mar 6, 2015

Lavender Loves Mush Tushy! & Giveaway

MushTushy's sock monkeys are really sweet. I immediately fell in love with these very cute toys. They're amazing.

The owner of MushTushy, Emily, makes monkeys from socks in all kinds of patterns, colors and styles. I love that she has sock monkeys for girls and for boys.

I've asked Emily a few questions to find out more about her and her shop.

Where did you learn how to make sock monkeys?

Mushtushy started by accident in October 2010.  After years of trying to conceive I was finally pregnant, but 5 short months later my world came crashing down when we learned my little girl wouldn't survive after birth.  The recovery process was emotionally difficult, so my mom told me I should pursue a hobby to distract myself and help me heal. I majored in art in college and had been selling my paintings for years. My mother and I went to the book store and found a book called "stray sock sewing too" and it had a sock monkey in it. Although I had absolutely no sewing experience, the template was pretty basic so I decided to give it a try. I bought a pair of socks at Walmart for $3 and was terrified to cut them up and ruin them. I made my first monkey and posted it on Facebook for my friends to see. To my surprise everyone asked to buy it, and that's where it all started. Within one month my entire kitchen was overrun with socks, my antique Singer sewing machine, and monkeys. I signed up for a booth at Canton Trade days and started sewing as fast as my fingers would allow. I used the 50 year old machine to sew the parts, and would then hand sew the monkey together.  Looking back, I'm very embarrassed by my first monkeys, and in time I tweaked them to what they are today. My first booth set up was a simple folding table with monkeys lined up across the top.  Here's a photo of the first batch of monkeys I ever made.

When and how did you start on Etsy?

Shortly after this first craft show I started signing up for local school craft shows and stayed busy all winter. Since I was thrown into this "business" I didn't have time to focus on marketing or even a business plan. I came up with the name so I could order business cards and start my Facebook fanpage. I continued in this way for several years, selling from Facebook and at craft shows, and then eventually opened my Etsy store in March 2012. To this day I still don't have much business sense, or the time to focus on it. I still hand sew every monkey, with custom monkeys taking a couple hours each. I also successfully had a baby a year after the monkeys started, so it's hard to find the time to help this one woman home based business grow. Here's a photo of my daughter in the early days of Mushtushy.

What has changed since you first started your business?
I eventually had a logo made and better business cards made.  My craft show display has improved as well.

What's your biggest strength?

One thing that sets me apart from the competition is my custom monkeys, and the colorful fun socks I use.  When most people think of sock monkeys they envision the old tan and red rough socks.  The ability to custom order down to colors, logos, and size has really helped my Etsy success.

 What are your plans for the future?

I still struggle with growing the business, and social media marketing.  I would love for Mushtushy to be a full time job that pays the bills, because right now it feels like a hobby. I am busy for holidays and during craft show seasons, but during the rest of the year my orders almost come to a halt. I absolutely love working for myself, staying home with my daughter, and making art. I can take my sewing anywhere, I've been known to sew in restaurants, the car, even at the pool! Each time I finish a monkey I feel great success knowing it turned out how I wanted, and will make the customer very happy. If only I could hire someone to sew with me, or run the business side, but I can't afford anything right now. I also have never figured out how to buy wholesale, so I buy my socks from target, walmart, and amazon. My dream would be to sell my monkeys in boutiques locally, and have my business keep my busy full time. I hope to continue to inspire my daughter to follow her dreams, create and use your imagination, and find joy in what you do daily! This all started because of the devastating loss of my daughter Sarah, but now her legacy lives on in Mushtushy and my blessing of a daughter, Brecklyn.

I love Emily's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle sock monkeys, they're fabulous!

The cheerful colors and open faces make these monkeys such a delight to look at.

The possibilities are endless which is such a wonderful idea.

 All children will love these very cute sock monkeys that will brighten up their day. And if you haven't lost your inner child, treat yourself to one as well.

Emily's monkeys vary in size and there are several options you can purchase to personalize them. You can also request a sock monkey that's entirely made the way you want it.

 The prices are really great, you can already buy one of Emily's sock monkeys for $12.

 One very lucky reader of my blog will receive a lovely surprise sock monkey from Emily. Enter the rafflecopter below and good luck!

  I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.  

Mar 5, 2015

Lavender's Big Book Survey Giveaway


You will find my survey and giveaway at the end of this post.
Win a box filled with books and other great goodies!

It's World Book Day in the UK and Ireland today and for me that means I've won a lovely book and have been reading as much as I can. Books are so important, everyone loves stories. No matter how they're being told. I'm grateful that there's a lot of choice. Books are my life. I can't picture a day without reading. A good story makes me so happy. I'm glad they are there. 
I've done some extra book shopping today, I've received amazon vouchers from my great friends Tanya and Sophie and I've spent them on the six books you can see here. I'm so happy with them and I can't wait to start reading. Books unite, through books I've found so many great friends already. I'm grateful that I've got such sweet friends to share my hobby with.

I've received these books as a gift from my mother and can't wait to find them in my mailbox. My World Book Day has been perfect and I'm really happy with everything I've received. World Book Day felt like a birthday to me. 

 Because I would love it if someone else feels like it's their birthday as well I will send the winner of this giveaway several books. You will get a box filled with seven books (I will send you a list and you can choose what you'd like to have from it) and lots of bookmarks, chocolate and other lovely goodies. All you have to do is answer a few questions, so every person has an equal chance to enter. You have to answer every question to be in the draw. Double entries will be deleted from my database, please don't enter with different email addresses while it's only for one person, be civil. Good luck!

This giveaway is worldwide as usual. I will keep the survey open for two weeks and will email the winner on March 20th. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else.

The Torn Up Marriage by Caroline Roberts


Why do we hurt the ones we love, and can there ever be a way back?
“The Torn Up Marriage” is about betrayal, complacency, love and loss, and that key instinct to protect your family. But what happens when you tear that family apart? Kate and Michael are about to find out as they cope with the crushing fallout of his affair, whilst trying to protect their two young children. This powerful and poignant novel captures the explosiveness of everyday life and what it is to be human; to make mistakes.
Set in the historic town of Alnwick, Northumberland, with its stunning backdrop of castles, moorland hills and coastline, this relationship story of love and family takes you in a rollercoaster ride of emotions along with Kate and Michael.
Michael’s mother’s battle with breast cancer shatters them all, yet shows them how precious life, love and family is. Can they find a way back and fight for their battered yet enduring love?
So, what would you do if it happened to you? Could you betray? Could you forgive?


I requested this book on Netgalley.


Kate and Michael are living in a lovely house and they have two sweet, angelic daughters. One day Michael messes all of this up by starting an affair with his secretary, Sophie. Kate is devastated when she finds out. She wants to work things out, but Michael chooses to move in with Sophie. This crushes Kate, who's now left alone. How do they explain to their daughters that their father has moved out? Has Michael made the right decision and will Kate be able to move on?

The Torn Up Marriage is a beautiful story about a marriage that's been torn apart by an affair. Caroline Roberts describes the process of grief in such a sensitive way. It never becomes overwhelming and the story remains enthralling the entire time, which I think is a really great achievement. This is an intense story about a sensitive subject and I felt so bad for Kate. She's brave, she keeps her dignity and she's always there for her girls which makes her such a great and sympathetic main character. The story managed to move me from page one and it remained like that until the last page. I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend this realistic story about the complications, pain and beauty that love can sometimes bring.

Girls Happy Mail Giveaway

I love girl items and have made a selection for you. Good luck!

   I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.  

Mar 4, 2015

Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes


Outside, Anika Dragomir is all lip gloss and blond hair—the third most popular girl in school.
Inside, she's a freak. A mix of dark thoughts, diabolical plots, and, if local chatter is to be believed, vampire DNA. After all, her father is from Romania. Everyone else in Nebraska is about as American as an apple pie . . . wrapped in a flag . . . on the Fourth of July.
Spider stew. That's what Anika is made of. But she keeps it under wraps to maintain her social position. One step out of line and Becky Vilhauser, first most popular girl in school, will make her life a living hell.
So when former loner Logan McDonough shows up one September hotter, smarter, and more mysterious than ever, Anika knows she can't get involved. It would be insane to throw away her social safety for a nerd. So what if that nerd is now a black-leather-jacket-wearing dreamboat, and his loner status is clearly the result of his troubled home life?
Who cares if the right girl could help him with all that, maybe even save him from it . . . ?
Logan. Who needs him when Jared Kline, the bad boy every girl dreams of, is asking her on dates?


I received this book from the lovely Carmel and Kyla

Amazon US Amazon UK


 Anika Dragomir is popular, she isn't the most popular girl at school, but being third isn't so bad. She looks sweet and kind, but inside she's entirely different. She's made of spider stew. It doesn't help that her father is from Romania and that he's probably a vampire. Anika is all smiles and good behavior, otherwise Becky, who is the most popular girl at school, will destroy her life completely. Becky doesn't like it when Anika is being interested in Logan. He's a loser and she doesn't want them to hang out together. Only Anika can't stay away from him and she finds out more about him and his difficult life at home. Unfortunately hanging out with someone she fancies isn't important, or is it? She can become even more popular when she's going out with Jared Kline, which will certainly improve her status. 

Anika doesn't like the way she's inside very much. She's bitchy, snappy and she has all kinds of dark thoughts. On the outside she's imperturbable and she's so smart and lovely that everyone thinks she's great. She doesn't agree with them, as she steals for fun and she has no conscience, but is that really true? Is Anika the person who she thinks she is inside?

Anatomy of a Misfit is a story about a teenager who doesn't appreciate herself very much. She also doesn't like her father and the same goes for her stepfather and her sisters. She thinks her best friend is a slut and she only tolerates Becky, because she doesn't want to be one of her victims. This makes her do all kinds of things she doesn't really want to do. Anika is bored and when she finally finds someone who doesn't bore her she isn't sure if he's cool enough to hang out with. Peer pressure is often strong, it always influences her actions of lack thereof and Anika has a lot to learn. 

I enjoyed the writing style of this book which is honest and sometimes crude. Anika is a great main character. She's certainly not perfect, but I liked her immediately, spider stew or not. Anatomy of a Misfit is funny because of Anika, she's witty, snappy and sarcastic. This together with the sometimes over the top language made the story more believable and unique. I loved the development in the story and the growth of the main character. It all results in a great story with a beautiful plot.


Benecos Giveaway

The winner of this giveaway will receive the Benecos products on the photo. Good luck!

  I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.  

Rose & Co. Patisserie De Bain Cranberries & Cream Hand Cream

I love Rose & Co and have purchased and repurchased most of their Patisserie De Bain products already. This Cranberries & Cream Hand Cream comes in a sweet box that contains a very cute jar. I like both the colors and the design. That goes for all Patisserie De Bain products, they're a joy to have on my dressing table.

What makes me fall in love with this hand cream over and over again is the scent. It's really delicious and it radiates warmth and comfort. I use this hand cream every day, it's a great moisturizer and it's very suitable for dry skin. The product doesn't leave any fat residue at all, so touching phones or tablets is no problem almost immediately after using it. My hands feel fresh and smooth which is exactly how I like it.

I'm a big fan Rose & Co. and every time I try one of their creams, bath products or lip balms I'm amazed. The quality is great, while everything they offer is affordable and the look and feel is such a happy one while at the same time it's still very professional. I like the way the brand has been set up, the combination of vintage and modern is fabulous. I'm definitely a loyal and satisfied customer.
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