Customize Your Holiday Gift-Giving!

Hand-Embroidered Mini Ornaments by pen&thimble can be customized for baby's first Christmas or gift tags!

I’m so excited to announce my new line of hand-embroidered mini ornaments. Available on Etsy and Amazon Handmade!! These ornaments are just 2.2 inches (5.5 cm), but they have BIG character and adorable hand stitched details.

Pandas with flower crowns or penguins with pom-poms! Whichever you choose, these hand embroidered ornaments will bring cheer to your holiday decor!

 

Mini hand-embroidered ornaments by pen&thimble are perfect for the kid's Christmas tree!Who are these ornaments for? You, kids, teacher gift, baby’s first Christmas, family, friends, penguin lovers, panda enthusiasts!

What do I do with this? Gift to your kids’ favorite teacher — bonus points! They are the perfect size for your mini tree or kids’ tree! Hang on your plant for easy festive fun! Use as a bright personalized gift tag or napkin ring tag before hanging on the tree! Grab a bunch for wall decoration in small spaces (mine are right above my desk already)!

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Which mini ornament is your favorite? Are you Team Panda or Team Penguin? Tell me below!

I Packed The Same Lunch For My Kindergartener For A Week: I Double Dog Dare You To Do It Too!

I challenge you, no I DARE you, to pack the same lunch for your child every day for a week.

I did it last week. It made packing lunch a breeze! No wondering if it all would fit into the bento box. No wondering which item would go in which slot. No wondering if my daughter was going to eat the food or like the food. It was simple. And better yet, my kid came home and told me I had made the best lunch ever nearly every day. And she even thanked me some days too!

I didn’t start packing lunches this way. I had this idea in my head that I was showing my daughter I loved her by offering variety. Each lunch was a surprise that said, “Look at this creation! I love you and miss you terribly!” Yes, this is my first child and our first long school day apart. Haha!

I packed the same lunch for my kindergartener for a week. And I dare you to do the same!

The first week of school lunches looked like this:

Chicken Pinwheels on Monday: She ate some of the chicken, a bit of the lettuce and none of the tortilla it was wrapped in.

DIY Ham and Crackers on Tuesday: Her whole lunch came back except apples and carrots. She said lunch was cut short. And then later said she wasn’t “into” the ham or crackers.

Kids Charcuterie on Wednesday: Lunch was cut short again? Evidence of child-size nibbles on a piece of chicken and her apples were gone. I suggested she concentrate on eating her lunch the next day.

Blackberry Jam Sandwich on Thursday: Everything was gone. The sandwich, apples, carrots, plantain chips, and freeze-dried blueberries. She told me she loved her lunch and I was the best mommy ever.

Blackberry Jam Sandwich on Friday: Her bento box was empty again. And the guilt I felt about packing a duplicate lunch because I was so tired vanished. And that guilt was replaced with the notion that I may be a genius!

I packed the same lunch for my kindergartener for a week. And I dare you to do the same!

The next week I got more jam and…

I made the blackberry jam sandwich lunch every day the following week with the same results — an empty bento box returning to me all week long. My daughter still came off the bus ravenous, but raved the entire week about how good lunch was!

No, it’s not Instagram Story worthy to show the same lunch each morning. So I stopped sharing those – haha! I don’t get points for creative lunch-making or food-art technique. But I feel certain that my kiddo will have a full belly in school each day. And isn’t that the point of a lunch?

I still love to see what others are packing and creating for their children’s lunches, kind of obsessed, actually! Especially all of you lunch-packers I follow on Instagram (shoutout to @sarahmakeslunch!). And I’ve been pinning kid lunches ideas like a madwoman recently on Pinterest — I have three boards dedicated to kid lunches – Kids Bento Box Lunch, Bento Box Inspiration, and Kids Lunch Ideas Not Just Bento Box! I’m not completely naive, I’m looking out for ideas for when the jam sandwich shine wears off. Haha! But I’m determined to wait to make a change until the shine wears off.

But I challenge you to repack your first entirely-eaten up packed lunch and see what happens for you! Side effects of packing the same lunch may include: less mom stress, full bellies, and being called the best mom ever a few times. Oh my goodness is my daughter just shaping my behavior through positive reinforcement? Well, it’s working!

I packed the same lunch for my kindergartener for a week. And I dare you to do the same!

Tell me where you get your lunch inspiration? Who should I be following? What bloggers should I be reading? Whose pins should I be pinning? Tell me below or find me over on Instagram and send me a DM or comment in a post you like.

I packed the same lunch for my kindergartener for a week. And I dare you to do the same! Read more at the blog: https://penandthimble.com/2018/09/23/samelunch

There’s No Such Thing As Free Lunch Or Free Shipping. But It Sounds Awesome!

Hi, pen&thimble friends!

I want to let you behind-the-scenes of some very recent price changes in my shop!

Etsy Increased Seller Fees So I’m Lowering My Prices? Yup!

The Boring Part: Etsy has changed its seller fee structure so that their cut of my sales includes the item price (same old) AND shipping price (new). And on top of that, they are increasing seller fees. Some people are pretty upset, but to me, it’s no big deal. Fees are an expected part of selling on an online marketplace.

pen&thimble handmade accessories for children

What That Means for YOU Shopping pen&thimble On Etsy:

1) FREE SHIPPING ON EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME! Now that Etsy is taking a cut out of my shipping costs too, it makes sense to offer free shipping! Yay!! We all love free shipping!

2) TOTAL ITEM COST GOING DOWN, NOT UP. WHAAT? Yes!

For example, previously, a $12 placemat cost $3.11 to ship. That was $15.11 total. 

Now that same placemat is $13 with free shipping!

Previously, a $15 pouch with $3.11 shipping was $18.11 at checkout.

Now, the price, including shipping, is $16!

I’m so excited to offer free shipping, while keeping prices low, so that I may continue making quality and sustainable items accessible to you!

But Real Talk, There’s No Such Thing As A Free Lunch… Or Free Shipping.

Yes, there is always a catch! My decision to offer free shipping and to offer lower prices overall means that sitewide sales and promotions are going to be nonexistent, or at best SUPER RARE — like an eclipse. I’d rather have items more affordable all year round than offer sales continually.

But! Email subscribers! You will still get those special coupons each month! Click HERE to subscribe if you aren’t already a pen&thimble insider!

affordable handmade with pen&thimble

Recap:

Etsy seller fees going up. Just fees on my end! But my prices are going down. This means WAY less public site-wide sales and promotions moving forward. But email subscribers are still getting freebies and exclusive sales each month! Sounds like we’re all winning, right?

Check out the new prices and free shipping on Etsy! Just in time for your back-to-school zero-waste/waste-free lunch needs — so many reusable placemats, napkins, utensil bags, and snack pouches to choose from! Yay!

 

pen&thimble Picks: Books To Check Out This Summer & Free Color-Your-Own Bookmarks!

Hi! It’s probably not surprising that a woman who sews and runs a business from her home is an introvert. But, to be clear, I totally am. And while I LOVE to be out-and-about more in the summer, one of my ALL-TIME favorite things about summer is…. SUMMER READING!!! As school is letting out around the US and summer is starting, I wanted to share some picture books we are especially excited about right now and share some printable color-your-own bookmarks!

pen&thimble Book Picks

IMG_5051 Our first pick, is Do Doodlebugs Doodle? This book is co-written by a friend of mine and my farm share partner. But that is not why I’m recommending this book. It is TOTALLY DELIGHTFUL! The illustrations are bright and beautiful (and include children of diverse backgrounds which is super important to me). And the book is full of insect facts presented in a super fun way! We can’t get enough! Check it out at your library or grab a copy HERE! Oh and the other co-author of this book is my friend Artemis’ mom! Mom + daughter teamwork! Love it!

IMG_4726 Our second pick is a book written by one of my favorite fabric designers and illustrator, Sarah Jane Wright, and her husband. (There is an unintended theme in our favorite books — families working together!) Lola Dutch is about an imaginative and creative girl! And if you are a fan of fine art or France you will love to point out landmarks and artists while you read! Bonus! The book cover of the hardcopy edition of Lola Dutch is a replica of Lola’s home and includes a paper doll of Lola and her nanny/nurse Bear. So your kids can create their own Lola Dutch adventures after you’ve put the book down!

Screen Shot 2018-06-06 at 2.49.52 PM.pngOur third pick isn’t a single book but a bunch of books read by astronauts taking a break from their work in the International Space Station to read to you! Whaaaat!?!? Yes!!! You can access it through the Story Time From Space website or search for them on YouTube! It’s as amazing as it sounds. We have especially loved Rosie Revere, Engineer read by Astronaut Kate Rubins. I may have cried at the end of this book. And another favorite was The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home read by Astronaut Tim Peake.

Color-Your-Own Bookmarks Freebie

Want to get extra creative with your reading this summer? Check out the recommendations above and download this month’s pen&thimble freebie! I’ve made some color-your-own bookmarks for pen&thimble email subscribers this month! Not a subscriber? No problem. Join here and I’ll send the freebie to you right after you subscribe. Then download the PDF, print the bookmarks on cardstock, cut, color, and use all summer long!

Bonus Bookmark Game: Reading Hunt

My kids made up a fun game that we’ve been playing for a few days now. After they color their bookmarks, they hide them in the pages of a stack of books we plan to read that day. As I read the books aloud, we giggle and shriek as their bookmarks are revealed in the pages! It’s like an Easter egg hunt only the kids do the hiding and the bookmarks don’t stink up the place if you miss one!

Have a wonderful book-filled and adventure-filled summer!