Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Book Review: Sew and Stow

Sew and Stow by Betty Oppenheimer

Recently one of Verona Collections' my sewing student had this book, and has chosen the "Cook's Helper Apron," as one of her "Beginner Sewing" projects. It is an interesting project book with a selection of easy to follow projects. The instructions are simple and the illustrations are effective. The projects featured are great for every aspect of your life, and all convey the common theme of organizing.

The apron project was very easy to follow and the step-by-step cutting and sewing instructions are great. There are thirty-one sewing projects in the book; including yoga bag, garden apron, garment bag, jewellery tote, and a cozy doggy pad. The book also provides helpful fabric and needle selection guides. The author also provides sewers with great tips and information on basic sewing techniques.

On a down note, all of the pictures for the projects are to the front of the book and not at the beginning of each project; which is something that does not work for me as far as the layout of the book. I do however find that the projects are simple to follow and allows for you to add your own creativity.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Profile: Ally Lazare and Lisa Avery

Ally Lazare and Lisa Avery are close friends, and the designers and founders of "Flower Tots," a Toronto home-based business with love and creativity at the core of its inception. Ally first connected with Crafted Spaces late last year, and since then I have become familiar with the company and its products. I had the pleasure of interviewing Ally about "Flower Tots," and I'm happy to present this profile.

Last spring these ladies started dreaming up new ways of developing baby products that are "fashionable, affordable and safe." They have diligently worked on sourcing quality materials, developed their designs and have created a handful of products that offer moms and babies comfort, style and functionality. Ally and Lisa's designs are carefully handcrafted with stylish, vibrant fabrics and ribbons, as well as non-toxic, lead-free metal hardware. Citrus green, hot pink, bright yellow and turquoise tones are signature colours in their collection.

"We strive to create bright, exciting designs that both mom and baby will love!"

Ally indicates that she has always had the "creative bug" and has always looked for ways to share her "passion for all things creative." Prior to the birth of her daughter, Ally worked in marketing and advertising in the Consumer Packaging Goods industry for twelve years. With motherhood, came her decision to seek a way of expressing her creativity and an opportunity to stay at home with her daughter. She then joined with Lisa to co-develop the home-based business and to create their original handcrafted baby and kids accessories.

Lisa is a mother of two boys and like Ally, she was often disappointed by the baby products that she found. She also wanted to focus on being a mother and have found inspiration from her children. Lisa's thirteen years of experience working with a global technology company, has also been invaluable to the development of Flower Tots.

"Handmade originals and designed with baby in mind . . ."

Flower Tots currently provides a line of hip and trendy baby accessories including; tag blankets, pacifier straps, toy tethers, and pant clips.

Crafted Spaces: What inspired the name of your business?

Ally: We chose the name Flower Tots primarily because to us, babies are like flowers - constantly growing and blooming - and because we thought that the bright colours and patterns we chose for our products reminded us so much of flowers. Lisa has a huge affinity for gardening.

Crafted Spaces: What have you found to be a challenge?

Ally: Our biggest challenge has been balance - focusing on growing a business that needs tender love and care (and constant nurturing - just like a garden) as well as our kids and families. It's taken a lot of work to get our name out there.

Crafted Spaces: What advice will you give to others?

Ally: Our advice would be to not doubt yourself. If you have a great idea for creating something or an entrepreneurial spirit, don't be afraid to follow it. And ask a lot of questions - there are a lot of great resources out there to help!

Like so many others, Ally and Lisa have both indicated that being an entrepreneur was not something that they had envisioned themselves doing. Both of them were on viable career tracks; however, motherhood often sheds a different light onto what we will like to do with our lives and how we envision our time with our children. More women are also finding that a "partnership" or "collective" makes the process of business management more manageable.

Both Ally and Lisa continue to work on developing new ideas and strive to further develop their business and product line. For more information about Flower Totes please visit: www.flowertots.ca

You can join them on Facebook and Twitter! Enter their giveaway with Haute Mommy or visit them on Saturday, April 9th, 2011 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at:

2011 Markham Mom to Mom Sale
Markham Fairgrounds
Buildings #1 and #2,
10801 McCowan Road,
Markham, ON

*All images contained in this post are courtesy of Ally Lazare

I am a mother of two boys, an eight year old and a ten month old. I have also been a designer, business owner and small business development consultant for over fifteen years. Over the years I have faced a number of challenges as I nurture my business, create, and most importantly be a mother. I can therefore connect with these ladies and I hope that you have found this profile insightful.

Join us as we continue to interview other creative individuals and feature their creative business ventures. You are also invited to read and view our other profiles and reviews.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...