Monday, September 29, 2008

Suzi Homemaker's sure-fire stain remover

Recently my sister, Vicki Homemaker, came to the Sew DoJo with a problem all of us have encountered at one time or another--a stain on one of her favorite shirts. Vicki lamented over the fact that this particular shirt was an expensive knit from Chico's in a very complementary shade of blue and that she had only worn it a couple of times before she spilled something on it, rendering it only suitable for what we call "makeup-free, not-for-public-consumption chore days."

Well, Vicki had come to the right place.

We went through several of my design catalogs searching for the perfect "stain remover," and settled on "Fashion Lady," as pictured here. I just embroidered the image over the stain and now Vicki can wear her shirt--with makeup--out in public again.

So the next time you get a stain on one of your favorite shirts, just send a shout to Suzi Homemaker and she'll make the old new again!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Custom embroidered Trick or Treat buckets from Suzi Homemaker

I just yesterday loaded the most darling Trick or Treat buckets on my retail site, The bags are 100% cotton canvas, are large enough to accommodate a candy haul from the largest of neighborhoods and a bargain price of just $16 (includes personalization with this particularly ghoulish font pictured on Max's bucket at left).

I stitched out Max's bag and took the picture, loaded it on my site and set about finishing up some shirt orders, when Sophie came in and wanted to know when her bag would be done. Of course, I had to do it right away because I am Suzi Homemaker Keeper of the Peace and Enforcer of All Things Fair and Equitable When It Comes to My Children. Sophie chose the bag with the bat on it and then Carly got the one with the spider on it. The kids loved their bags so much they carried them around all evening and Sophie wound up sleeping with her bag.

Check back on my retail site early next week as I will be loading some Halloween tees and sweatshirts, including the "Don't scare me I poop easily" style--last year's hottest seller at the fall festivals.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Bad blast from the past

Something happened the other day and I am having a hard time processing it.

I have been doing a lot of social and business networking of late, trying to promote my blog and my two businesses. I recently signed on with LinkedIn to try to connect with other business people who might be interested in doing business with me. I hesitated joining for a while because I was afraid someone from my past might try to re-connect with me.

You see, I have a dark secret.

I was in an abusive relationship while I was in college. For two years I allowed myself to be controlled by an awful man who seemed to take immense pleasure in belittling me. I often look back and wonder how I got involved in such an unhealthy relationship, but the truth is, it happened so gradually that I didn't even realize how bad it was until it started taking a tremendous toll on my health--both mental and physical.

I don't know how, but I managed to get out of it. It was a long, vicious cycle of breaking up, him promising he would seek help, preying on my then non-existent self-esteem, getting back together only to have his behaviors resurface again and again. I wound up fleeing, running home to my parents, like a wounded little bird. My last contact with him occured after my sister encouraged me to go on a date with a man whom she knew. I hesitated, but finally relented. That man treated me better in one evening than I had ever been treated by my abuser. I decided that I wasn't going to put up with it anymore and broke it off with my abuser for good.

It was no happy ending--yet. In my weakened emotional state I wound up going from one bad relationship to another, always being the doormat for the person with whom I was involved, never sticking up for myself. Not wanting to rock the boat, I endured abuses on a smaller scale. Finally, I sought treatment--six years of weekly therapy turned my life around. I had finally decided I would not tolerate anything but the best of treatment from a man--I DESERVED the best!

I had gotten involved with another man and after a couple of months, he started exhibiting controlling behavior. I was out of that relationship in no time. I told myself I DESERVED better and was perfectly content being single. Then, shortly after that, I met my future husband. My husband got the Real Me. Strong, confident, witty, with my own opinions that I'm not afraid to voice. The exact opposite of my former, abused self. He jokes that he sometimes wishes he would have gotten a little bit of the old me--but I know he is only joking.

My husband and I have been happily married for seven years, have three beautiful children, and are enjoying a healthy relationship. We have our ups and downs, but we respect and love each other and work through the rough patches.

So, what did I do when I received this request? If you're not familiar with LinkedIn, you receive emails from people inviting you to join their network. I did go to his page--out of curiosity and a little bit of incredulity. I was presented with the option of accepting the invitation or clicking on a button that says you don't know the requestor.

I clicked the latter. Maybe the Other Suzi knew him, but not this one. He doesn't DESERVE the privilege of knowing me.

If you have witnessed abusive behavior in your partner, please seek help. provides a wealth of information on domestic abuse as well as other forms of abuse, including alcohol and drugs. If you feel you are in physical danger immediately call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-787-3224.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Suzi Homemaker Review and Giveaway on My Life With Little Girls

It's time for another product review and chance to win $25 toward merchandise from none other than moi!

I know I had said I was going to slow down on the giveaways, but Regina from My Life With Little Girls was so sweet in her request that I thought I would help her out. She is a relatively new blogger and this is her first review and giveaway so you better scoot over there and get while the gettin's good!

Just visit her blog, then visit my retail site (take your time, look around, make note of all of the new stuff I've added recently, make out your Christmas lists, tell all of your friends about all of the cute stuff), then go back to her blog and write a comment about what you would use the money toward should you win. The contest ends at noon CDT on Oct. 2, so scoot on over there and submit your comment. Winner will be chosen by

It is getting close to the holiday season and I do need to start earning some money to pay for presents for the fam, so I may need to slow down on the reviews for a bit and start actually selling some merchandise. I try to keep my prices reasonable, so I hope that you will keep Suzi Homemaker in mind when it comes to gift-giving this year!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My daughter's going to juvie

I am at my wit's end. My littlest one, Carly, is on a fast-track to pre-school juvie! She has become what I have feared most--a bully! (At right is a picture of her in her panty do-rag, ready for lock-up.)

My daycare provider called me today to let me know that Carly was on a bullying rampage, taking out every baby who got in her way. After being sent to the "Time Out Chair" on several occasions for pinching, poking and swatting at other kids, she did the unthinkable--she forcefully pushed a little guy, still getting used to his sea legs, into a cubby with both hands, resulting in the dreaded Incident Report.

OMG! What has gotten into my little angel? She has always been stubborn and headstrong, always trying to keep up with her older brother and sister and never shying away from letting us know when she's unhappy, but it's just lately that she has been resorting to biting, pinching and hitting.

She is two, but my other children never behaved this way. In fact, she's been biting, hitting and pushing them, too. They are almost afraid of her. Is it Little Sister Syndrome? Is she frustrated because she has trouble using her words to tell us what's bothering her? I just don't know.

My daycare provider is going to consult a Behavioral Therapist and ask her for advice on "re-directing" Carly. Does she need therapy? For the most part, she is a happy, loving little girl. It's just at odd moments she gets a wild hair up her Pull-up and acts out.

I hate to think she's becoming the Preschool Pariah and that I'm going to have to lower my head in shame at drop-off and pick-up while enduring knowing, disapproving glances from the other parents. I don't want her to get the reputation of being a miscreant--that's a hard rap to shake at any age.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to handle my little girl before she spirals out of control and winds up in military preschool?

Vote for Babycapes on

Babycapes LLC is a contestant in 2008 StartUpNation Home-Based Business Competition in the Glamorous and Innovative Product categories! My partner, Elizabeth, and I have been working so hard on this product for more than a year now and would really love your support—plus we would love to win this award!

If you have a moment, please visit and cast your vote. All you have to do is click on the “Vote” button and we’re good-to-go!

Also, we’re putting the finishing touches on our brand-new website: --it’s not quite finished, but should be complete by the end of this week.

Please forward this to anyone and everyone you know, ask them to vote, and help a couple WV moms reach their goal of making Babycapes a household name and help turn us into Godzillionaires!!!!

Vote and vote often! You can vote once a day!

Thanks in advance for your support!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

WV moms combat bulky coats with innovative outerwear: Babycapes

No responsible parent would ever knowingly put their child in harm’s way while traveling in a vehicle, but this winter, many parents will do just that merely by dressing their children for cold weather.

Martinsburg, WV, mom, Elizabeth Hostler, was shocked to learn that she was putting her daughter, Andy, at risk every time she put her into her infant seat.

“You want your child to be warm and comfortable, but, most importantly, you want them to be safe,” said Hostler, who also has a seven-year-old son. “Every time I went to put Andy in her car seat during the winter it turned into a battle. She hated being confined to her seat in a heavy coat. When the car warmed up, Andy would just wail because she was so uncomfortable and helpless to do anything about it. What I didn’t realize was that she also was not safe.”

Hostler had read an article that children fastened into car seats over bulky garments could be at risk in a crash as the force of a collision could cause the coat to compress and actually eject the child from the seat.

The non-profit organization generally does not recommend a child wear a winter coat while in the car seat, since the car seat harness straps must remain tight on the child’s shoulders regardless of any clothing.

“I thought there had to be a better, safer way to travel with my children,” said Hostler.

With limited sewing skills, Hostler immediately began constructing a garment out of a fleece blanket. The goal was to provide protection from the cold, while keeping Andy comfortable and safe while strapped into her car seat or stroller.

The garment she created was much easier to put on and take off. Putting Andy in her car seat also became much easier, as Hostler could flip the garment to the side, adjust the straps and then drape the garment over the car seat. If Andy became too hot, Hostler could easily lift the garment off. Hostler also realized that Andy was more secure in her car seat since there was no bulky barrier between her and the harness straps.

Every place Hostler went with Andy and her “cape” people commented on the ingenuity of the garment, including Suzi Crowder, mother of three and owner of Suzi Homemaker Custom Embroidery, whose youngest daughter, Carly, is just a few weeks older than Andy. Crowder encouraged Hostler to obtain a patent for the garment. The two joined forces and together made several practical and innovative modifications, including a clever back opening and interior foot pocket, and that is how Babycapes began.

Babycapes are simple to put on or take off, even while holding a squirming child.

From your arms to the car, there is no need to remove Babycapes. In the car, babies can move freely. When the car warms up, Babycapes can be removed or replaced without unstrapping the child.

When you arrive at your destination, easily remove the child from her seat and place in stroller. The front cozy feature works as a bunting to cover up and protect wiggly toes. And Babycapes innovative design is great for babies in front carriers as well.

One size fits newborns to preschoolers. Babycapes are available in a variety of luxurious, machine-washable fabrics to suit all climates.

For more information email or visit