Buy Handmade: The Melting Pot Candle Company

I just love candles (who doesn't?!) and when I can find
ones that are handmade by a mom, I like 'em all the better.

The Melting Pot Candle Company is owned and operated
by Natasha, a 31 year old wife and mother of 3 (plus one on the way!).

She was kind enough to send me some sample products
to check out, including bath salts,
mini melts, a tart warmer,
a soap sample, and some little tea light candles. PLUS
She's offering a sure to read all the
way to the

bottom of this post for details!
The mini melts are really cute, some even having
sprinkles on them
to make them more festive, and the scents are really
nice and yummy. :) I'm looking forward to giving
some of these
great items as gifts for Christmas. The prices are
bargains--you can really get a lot for your dollar,
and put together a beautiful,
useful, as well as economical gift here.

Natasha shares about how she got started in
her business:

I started making soy and palm tarts because my
favorite tart maker decided to no longer sell her products.
I was on a mission to make the best tarts for the best price.
I love making homes smell great and people happy.

What inspires you?  
My customers inspire me!
I get a lot of feedback from my items and I am grateful
for each and every one of my customers.
I try my best to make sure each and every order to
every person is perfect.
I get a lot of joy trying new things and sending them
as freebies or having particular customers try new products.
I appreciate their thoughts and take them all very seriously.

What are some of your favorite items in your shop? 
Some of my favorite items are my new ones!
I love handmade soap.
With the economy getting tighter and pressing on my
own wallet I could no longer afford to buy from other WAHM's
so I created my own and offer them at the lowest possible prices.

Some of my favorite scents are Oatmeal Milk and Honey,
Wild Mountain Honey, Pink Sugar, Cotton Candy and
Sweet Orange and Chili Pepper!

One of my favorite things about The Melting Pot
Candle Company is their
Random Act of Kindness program.
If you know somebody who needs a "pick me up" or deserves
a little special something, you can send in your story about them.
Once a month
someone is chosen to get a special goodie
package from The Melting Pot for FREE! How sweet is THAT?!
This sort of
thoughtfulness and heart is the kind of thing that makes me
LOVE supporting mom-owned businesses.... Heart!
You can read more about that here.

As I looked through the Melting Pot site I saw over
and over again the sort of thoughtfulness

and heart that goes into this business. From
conscientious shipping policies, and being mindful

of pricing and speedy service, I am impressed and
pleased to recommend The Melting Pot

Candle Company to you. :)


Natasha is offering one lucky winner a candle burner, tea lights, and
5 tarts of their choice of wax (soy or palm) and scent! (photo below shows details)

To enter:

1. Visit The Melting Pot Candle Company and look around.
Come back here and leave a comment, letting me know which 5 scents you'd want to win! Be sure that your email address is included so that I can contact you if you win.

2. To get an extra entry, join their facebook fan page by clicking here. Leave a comment letting me know that you joined and your name as it appears on the fan list.

3. To get another entry, blog about The Melting Pot Candle Company. Leave a comment letting me know you did this, with a link to your post.

1 winner will be randomly chosen on Saturday, December 12.

Buy Handmade: Anise Mouette

Anise Mouette is a super-fun place to shop for retro-inspired handmade goodies. Check these out:
Felt Plush Toys!

How cute are these scarves with little animal friends?!
I love these birdies! (Anise sent me a tote bag with this design.
Love it!! Nicely made, and great for a reusable grocery bag!)

Itty bitty finger puppets that are SO sweet!
(I got one for someone on my Christmas list! It is well made and totally adorable.)

Tell a bit about yourself:
My name is Anise and I live in Altadena, California,
with my 22 month old son Cyan and husband Biff.

My Etsy shop is
The name makes up my first and middle names
which are French, though I’m not French,
at least not entirely.

I’m a native Angeleno, though I did live
with my parents in Paris for a brief time in the
early seventies when I was just a baby.

How did you get started creating your products?
When I was a child I loved to draw and over
the years I've taken more art classes than
I can count.

In college I enrolled as an art major, but
I eventually majored in English literature

and then went on to pursue a master's in
creative writing.

Following, I taught collegiate English for
seven years, but with the birth of my son,

I decided to take a break from the working
world and spend more time at home.

In doing so, I was inspired to pick up the
pencil once again.

Memories of my childhood and the playful
nature of my son became the focus of my
work and then,

after stumbling upon Etsy and the Handmade

I was immediately inspired to take my
designs to the next level

and create Anise Mouette - a line of
retro-inspired handmade wares

that include toddler & adult tees,
canvas totes, “kitsch”en magnets, utility aprons,

and now felt goods.
What inspires you? 
As mentioned, both my son and memories
of my childhood inspire me the most,

although I am always up for a challenge
and often try my hand at craft challenges

such as those held on Craftster every month
which allow me the opportunity to

work with new ideas and mediums on a
regular basis.

What are some of your favorite items
in your shop?

Recently, I've started working with felt,
so my newest items are my current favorites.

My "record player" tee and tote come in
at a close second while my customer base
seems to love

my "family fun" items most.

One thing I love hearing about is the
ways that businesses share their
profits with others.

Here's what Anise does:
Since I've taken a break from teaching,
I'm using a portion of all my sales

to purchase baby formula for infants in need
so as to keep contributing to my community.

Once a month I purchase formula locally and
then donate it for immediate distribution

at the Foothill Unity Center in Pasadena, California.

If you're a crafty gal yourself, and want to try your hand
at making some of the

items that you see at Anise Mouette, you can
check out her blog,
where she spreads

the crafty goodness, with her “Kitschy Crafts” section.
Anise posts fun how-to

craft tutorials regularly! Pretty cool, eh?
(I know my 13 year old daughter will be loving this!)

Here's a picture of Anise and her son. Awwwww! :)

Keep up with the latest and greatest at Anise Mouette by joining their Facebook Fan Page here.

Buy Handmade: Julie the Fish Hand Stamped Personalized Keepsakes

Julie the Fish offers a fabulous variety of hand stamped, personalized keepsakes, and I think she literally has something for everybody! Whether you are looking for a gift for a man, woman, teenager, child, coworker, or a special occasion, she has just the thing. And if she doesn't...guess what. She does custom work too! So you can let your imagination loose and get something completely unique. Awesome! The prices are very reasonable, and Julie works fast, considering how much of her work is custom. You'll want to get over there right away to make your purchases, because December 7th is the cut-off to ensure Christmas delivery.

Be sure to read all the way to the bottom of this post, because Julie's got a GIVEAWAY for you!!

I think the first thing that caught my eye at Julie the Fish was these custom guitar picks. With a 17 year old rocker in my own home, I loved it that I had found something mom-made, handmade, and cool enough for a teenage boy. :) The finished quality is very good, and the size works perfect for us because my son prefers the smaller jazz picks, so he is going to love this.

These leather bracelets are another unique find that will work well for guys or girls:

I just love these necklaces. Such a great gift for a new mother! I got one for a new mommy on my Christmas list, and I'm very pleased with the quality and look of it. So sweet!

This sort of creative piece is right up my alley. I love swirly trees, and anything that can be personalized with a larger number of names.

Julie sends out her products in sweet be-ribboned gift boxes, and I love that. It's all done and ready to give!

Here's my interview with Julie!
Tell a bit about yourself:
I'm a mother, teacher, and artist.
I stay home to take care of my two little boys during the day.

I love my guys and enjoy all the funny realities of being a mom.
At night I teach English as a Second Language.
My students are native Spanish speakers learning English.

I have fun using both of my fluent languages every night.
I'm also an artist/crafter.

I love to create just about anything.
My newest passion is hand stamped jewelry.
I just can't get enough!

How did you get started creating your products?
A friend of mine had a simple stamped necklace and I loved it.
I thought, "I can make that!"

so I started creating custom pieces.

What inspires you?
I am inspired by my customers, their lives, and stories.
I love creating a custom keepsake piece that someone
will cherish for years to come.
When someone has a special occasion
I feel honored to create a piece that helps them celebrate.

What are some of your favorite items in your shop?
My two favorite pieces in my shop right now are the
square name necklace

and the love necklace.

All of the pieces in my shop
can be personalized with your information.
Also, if you have an idea of a piece
you'd like created I can make it happen.

Julie is giving away one of her
hand stamped initial necklaces!
The winner will get to choose
what letter you want on the necklace,

plus can choose from an assortment of crystals
or other adornments to go

with it. Sweet!

Want to win?! Here's how:

1. Visit Julie the Fish and browse around. Find your favorite item.

2. Come back here and post a comment, telling about your favorite item. BE SURE that I have your email address with your comment, or else there's no way for you to win. :)

3. Get an extra entry to win by becoming a Facebook Fan of Julie the Fish! (let me know in comments that you have done this, and your name as it would appear in her fans) Julie's Facebook Fans will get an extra 10% off their purchases in November. (hurry!)

4. Get an extra entry to win by placing an order with Julie the Fish! (let me know you have done this in the comments section)

5. Blog about this to your peeps! (send me a link to your post in the comments section)

6. Tweet about this post! (let me know in the comments section)

7. Kirtsy this! (use the link directly below this post, leave a comment letting me know you did it)

8. Winner will be chosen on Saturday, December 5. (I'll send you an email if you're the winner)

Buy Handmade This Holiday Season!

As all of you who shop (and browse!) at The Baby Boutique know, I love-love-love to promote handmade, mom-made products. There are SO many talented women and mompreneurs around now, and I just love to support those businesses. This year I have decided to tell you about some of my favorite mom-made products, to encourage you to Buy Handmade for all of your holiday gift-giving. Tune in over the next few days to see what great stuff we have in store. There will be giveaways!!! :)

Get Your Tissues and Take 9 minutes for this

Back to School Sale

Don't let the cooties get you down this school year! Stock up on Supermom's No-Lice Hair and Body Spray.

Right now you can Buy 1 Get 1 FREE!

Whether you want two bottles for your own family, want to split the cost with a friend, or share the extra bottle with your day care provider or classmate, this is a GREAT deal that we have never offered before.

Shipping is a bit more when shipping two bottles together, so the sale price is $29.99 including shipping


Would you rather purchase with a credit card? Click here to go to my store!

New Products!

Today I've been busily adding a bunch of cute new hats to the boutique. We now have a new Tie Dye product line for boys and girls, and bunch of new hats for boys!

Buy Handmade Campaign Coming Soon!

You all know that I love etsy and other handmade products. My entire baby boutique is almost exclusively made of mompreneur handmade items!

Well, this year I plan to do a Buy Handmade for the Holidays campaign here as well as on the Baby Boutique Blog. I'm going to feature lots and lots of handmade products and the talented, creative people that bring them to us. My hope is to inspire you and introduce you to some wonderful new businesses to give your business to this year!

If you want to spread the word, please do. I have an intake form set up here for business owners that are interested in having their products considered for the campaign.

This is gonna be fun!

Help This Family

I just learned about Carol and her family today. A year ago, after giving birth to her second child, Carol had multiple health complications that resulted in both of her legs and one arm being amputated, in addition to losing her sight. Unimaginably difficult.

As you can probably guess, their medical bills and the continuing costs related to Carol's rehabilitation are huge. There is a fabulous silent auction set up right now that ends soon. There are tons of gorgeous items there that you can big on. Most bids start at $15-20. PLEASE go check it out, and spread the word. This is an easy way to be a blessing to others.

Wanting to Start Making Money Online?

I know that many people are looking for ways to earn extra money today. Using the internet is the best way I know how to do that.

Just recently an amazing new resource became available that teaches TONS about probably every aspect of making money legitimately on the internet. And guess what---it's FREE!

If you're at all interested, I encourage you to check it out. I have been learning from the site creator for several months now and have been extremely impressed with what he has to say. I hope it is a help to you.

Fun Valentine's Day Recipes

Today I've got a fun freebie for you--a special download of Valentine's Day Recipes. Enjoy!

Inveventory Reduction Sale

I just wanted to let you all know that I've got a big sale going on right now, trying to clear out some of the things I have in stock. These are super low prices, and quantities are very limited. Get 'em while they're hot!

Stop the Diaper Changing Battles

By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of Gentle Baby Care

Babies are little bundles of energy! They don’t want to lie still to have their diapers changed. They cry, fuss, or even crawl away. A simple issue can turn into a major tug-of-war between parent and baby.

Diaper changing as a ritual

The position of parent and baby during a diaper change is perfect for creating a bonding experience between you. You are leaning over your baby, and your face is at the perfect arms-length distance for engaging eye contact and communication. What’s more, this golden opportunity presents itself many times during each day; no matter how busy you both get, you have a few moments of quiet connection. It’s too valuable a ritual to treat it as simply maintenance.

Learning about your baby

Diapering offers a perfect opportunity for you to truly absorb your baby’s cues and signals. You’ll learn how his little body works, what tickles him, what causes those tiny goose bumps. As you lift, move, and touch your baby, your hands will learn the map of his body and what’s normal for him. This is important because it will enable you to easily decipher any physical changes that need attention.

Developing trust

Regular diaper changes create rhythm in your baby’s world and afford the sense that the world is safe and dependable. They are regular and consistent episodes in days that may not always be predictable. Your loving touches teach your baby that he is valued, and your gentle care teaches him that he is respected.

A learning experience for your baby

Your baby does a lot of learning during diaper changes. It’s one of the few times that she actually sees her own body without clothes, when she can feel her complete movements without a wad of diaper between her legs. Diaper-off time is a great chance for her to stretch her limbs and learn how they move.

During changing time, your baby is also a captive audience to your voice, so she can focus on what you are saying and how you are saying it — an important component of her language learning process. Likewise, for a precious few minutes, you are her captive audience, so you can focus on what she’s saying and how she is saying it — crucial to the growth of your relationship.

What your baby thinks and feels

Many active babies could not care less if their diapers are clean. They’re too busy to concern themselves with such trivial issues. It may be important to you, but it’s not a priority for your child.

Diaper rash or uncomfortable diapers (wrong size or bad fit) can make him dread diaper changes, so check these first. Once you’re sure all the practical issues are covered, make a few adjustments in this unavoidable process to make it more enjoyable.

Take a deep breath

Given the number of diapers you have to change, it’s possible that what used to be a pleasant experience for you has gotten to be routine, or even worse, a hassle. When parents approach diaper changing in a brisk, no-nonsense way, it isn’t any fun for Baby. Try to reconnect with the bonding experience that diaper changing can be -- a moment of calm in a busy day when you share one-on-one time with your baby.

Have some fun

This is a great time to sing songs, blow tummy raspberries, or do some tickle and play. A little fun might take the dread out of diaper changes for both of you. A game that stays fresh for a long time is “hide the diaper.” Put a new diaper on your head, on your shoulder, or tucked in your shirt and ask, “Where’s the diaper? I can’t find it!” A fun twist is to give the diaper a name and a silly voice, and use it as a puppet. Let the diaper call your child to the changing station and have it talk to him as you change it. (If you get tired of making Mister Diaper talk, just remember what it was like before you tried the idea.)

Use distraction

Keep a flashlight with your changing supplies and let your baby play with it while you change him. Some kids’ flashlights have a button to change the color of the light, or shape of the ray. Call this his “diaper flashlight” and put it away when the change is complete. You may find a different type of special toy that appeals to your little one, or even a basket of small interesting toys. If you reserve these only for diaper time, they can retain their novelty for a long time.

Try a stand-up diaper

If your baby’s diaper is just wet (not messy), try letting her stand up while you do a quick change. If you’re using cloth diapers, have one leg pre-pinned so that you can slide it on like pants, or opt for pre-fitted diapers that don’t require pins.

Time to potty train?

If your child is old enough and seems ready for the next step, consider potty training.

This article is an excerpt from Gentle Baby Care by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2003)

Handling Unwanted Advice

By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of Gentle Baby Care

“Help! I’m getting so frustrated with the endless stream of advice I get from my mother-in-law and brother! No matter what I do, I’m doing it wrong. I love them both, but how do I get them to stop dispensing all this unwanted advice?”

Just as your baby is an important part of your life, he is also important to others. People who care about your baby are bonded to you and your child in a special way that invites their counsel. Knowing this may give you a reason to handle the interference gently, in a way that leaves everyone’s feelings intact.

Regardless of the advice, it is your baby, and in the end, you will raise your child the way that you think best. So it’s rarely worth creating a war over a well-meaning person’s comments. You can respond to unwanted advice in a variety of ways:

Listen first

It’s natural to be defensive if you feel that someone is judging you; but chances are you are not being criticized; rather, the other person is sharing what they feel to be valuable insight. Try to listen - you may just learn something valuable.


If you know that there is no convincing the other person to change her mind, simply smile, nod, and make a non-committal response, such as, “Interesting!” Then go about your own business...your way.


You might find one part of the advice that you agree with. If you can, provide wholehearted agreement on that topic.

Pick your battles

If your mother-in-law insists that Baby wear a hat on your walk to the park, go ahead and pop one on his head. This won’t have any long-term effects except that of placating her. However, don’t capitulate on issues that are important to you or the health or well-being of your child.

Steer clear of the topic

If your brother is pressuring you to let your baby cry to sleep, but you would never do that, then don’t complain to him about your baby getting you up five times the night before. If he brings up the topic, then distraction is definitely in order, such as, “Would you like a cup of coffee?”

Educate yourself

Knowledge is power; protect yourself and your sanity by reading up on your parenting choices. Rely on the confidence that you are doing your best for your baby.

Educate the other person

If your “teacher” is imparting information that you know to be outdated or wrong, share what you’ve learned on the topic. You may be able to open the other person’s mind. Refer to a study, book, or report that you have read.

Quote a doctor

Many people accept a point of view if a professional has validated it. If your own pediatrician agrees with your position, say, “My doctor said to wait until she’s at least six months before starting solids.” If your own doctor doesn’t back your view on that issue, then refer to another doctor - perhaps the author of a baby care book.

Be vague

You can avoid confrontation with an elusive response. For example, if your sister asks if you’ve started potty training yet (but you are many months away from even starting the process), you can answer with, “We’re moving in that direction.”

Ask for advice!

Your friendly counselor is possibly an expert on a few issues that you can agree on. Search out these points and invite guidance. She’ll be happy that she is helping you, and you’ll be happy you have a way to avoid a showdown about topics that you don’t agree on.

Memorize a standard response

Here’s a comment that can be said in response to almost any piece of advice: “This may not be the right way for you, but it’s the right way for me.”

Be honest

Try being honest about your feelings. Pick a time free of distractions and choose your words carefully, such as, “I know how much you love Harry, and I’m glad you spend so much time with him. I know you think you’re helping me when you give me advice about this, but I’m comfortable with my own approach, and I’d really appreciate if you’d understand that.”

Find a mediator

If the situation is putting a strain on your relationship with the advice-giver, you may want to ask another person to step in for you.

Search out like-minded friends

Join a support group or on-line club with people who share your parenting philosophies. Talking with others who are raising their babies in a way that is similar to your own can give you the strength to face people who don’t understand your viewpoints.

This article is an excerpt from Gentle Baby Care by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2003)