What's in the bag?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Now that the children are officially on winter break, thanks to the Blizzard of '09, I have some newfound free time in the mornings which I have been putting to good use in the studio.

This morning I used up the last bit of Amy Butler's Burgundy Gothic Rose to make this beautiful diaper bag which I have dubbed the "Daytripper".

As the name implies, it is perfect for a day out with baby. My sweet Isabel ( 15 months old) was drawn to it right away. The green and pink make for a stunning combination. Additional photos can be found in my Etsy shop.


Contest winner announced

Monday, December 14, 2009


Before I announce the winner of the Watermelon Wishes Amy Butler Tote Bag, I want to say how much I enjoyed reading all of your posts! Thank YOU for taking the time to share your thoughts.

Now, without further ado…my favorite entry was submitted by Erin P from Denver, CO who wrote:

“Today was a great day! I have been trying to redeem a gift certificate for a pedicure I received 2 years ago! I am 9 months pregnant and the thought of bending over to actually paint my toes nails let alone trim them seemed next to impossible. I decided I want to look at pretty toes while pushing out this sweet baby. :) So today was the day! Hubby had to work so I dropped #1 and #2 off with the grandparents and off I went.....I decided I need to do this more often and maybe throw a massage in there too next time! :)”

Congratulations to Erin on her win and the new baby! Erin, I hope the tote will come in handy and serve as a reminder for you to make time to be good to you. When time permits, please email me your address in Denver and I will ship that out courtesy of Watermelon Wishes.


An infatuation with Old St. Nick

Saturday, November 14, 2009

In our home, we celebrate Christmas. For as long as I can remember, I have been dissatisfied with our Christmas Tree. Even as a child, the tree never lived up to my expectations.

The root of my discontent...When I was in the 7th grade, my mother took up the art of macramé and knotted us a hanging Christmas Tree. Albeit well made, it was the ugliest tree ever. Despite our pleas, she suspended it from the living room ceiling via a plant hanger until the New Year rolled around. We never did see that tree again; but, the damage was done.

Two years ago, we transitioned to an artificial tree. I love it because it stands up nice and straight and doesn’t shed needles. Despite its perfect stance, I have not yet achieved the look I so desperately want.

So, this year, I hereby affirm “Will be my year of bedecking excellence!”

Santa, you see, is my object of desire. From store to store, I go, in search of ornaments which depict Old St. Nick. With the hope of amassing a diverse collection, I only buy one of each. To date, I have located 32 Santa’s in a variety of sizes, shapes and poses. For now they are sprawled across the dining room table; but soon they will adorn what I hope will be "my" perfect tree.

This weekend, the hunt continues as I search for handmade Santa’s on Etsy. I’ve got my eye on the super cute felt one made by Amyliz and pictured above. Love it! I also want to find some simple craft patterns so I can make a few too! If you have one to share, please post the link or instructions below in the comments field.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Be good to you and win a tote!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

When I was pregnant with our first child, I babysat for a family who had three young boys. The mother, Mary, kept an immaculate house and was extremely organized. I admired the pride she took in her family, home and occupation. Although we had numerous conversations about all of these subjects, there is one particular piece of advice she offered that I have theoretically lived by.

Mary once told me, “Whatever it takes, be sure to get yourself ready first.” Regardless of what you might have planned, she reiterated, every morning, you need to take a shower, style your hair and apply your make-up.

At the time, I really couldn’t imagine not wanting to beautify myself. However, these days with four children of my own, I know more than ever what Mary meant. It is not really a matter of desire but rather a matter of time and the real or even sometimes perceived lack thereof.

I firmly believe it is important to put your best foot forward. When I look good, I feel good and that feeling becomes a part of all that I do from taking care of my home and family to managing Watermelon Wishes --- it is all relevant.

As of late, I’ve been feeling more stress than I would like. Understandable, as three of my four children are enrolled in different schools and participate in extracurricular activities. So, in an effort to offset some of the madness, I have decided to make a diligent effort to do something nice for myself everyday. Nothing huge, just a moment or two in which I extend some kindness to me.

This week, I am taking a little time (10 to 15 minutes) each day to reestablish my scrapbooking area. There once was a time in my life that I would scrapbook everyday. I find it to be a very relaxing hobby and enjoy it immensely. Yesterday, I uploaded hundreds of photos to be printed and went to the craft store to pick out a new album (which I will be sewing a custom fabric slipcover for…so, stay tuned fellow scrappers, I feel a new product coming on!)

So, I am curious…what do you plan to do nice for you today? If you are willing to indulge me, and will post the details of your random act of kindness below, for all to read, you will be entered to win a Watermelon Wishes tote bag (pictured left).

Practical and eloquent, this tote would make a lovely handbag or moderately sized diaper bag. It is crafted from Amy Butler’s Garden Maze in Sand and Olive Coriander fabrics and chockfull of defining features:

• Six way divided interior slip pocket

• Double padded handles with comfy 11” drop

• Swivel key fob

• Oversized button tab closure

Approximate measurements: 16" x 12" x 10" x 4"

Wondering how to win? I will choose my favorite entry and announce the winner here on Monday, December 14, 2009. Your entry should include your name and city as to keep someone else from claiming your prize (Ex: Andrea Chapman, Haymarket). International readers are welcome to enter and I will pay all shipping costs to the destination listed in the posting.

Good luck and have fun being good to you!

Hats off to you!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I'd like to tip my proverbial hat to those of you who have already begun your Christmas shopping. Over the last few days, I have been receiving lots of inquiries about bulk holiday orders. In particular, there is a great deal of interest surrounding my list makers and binder covers. Both of these items make great gifts and I especially like to make them for the teachers in our life!

I would like to accommodate as many special requests as possible; however, because my studio hours are limited---due to family commitments---I encourage you to order early. Also, if you would be so kind as to afford me some flexibility on the ship date that would be stellar. For those of you who are interested in establishing a "reserved listing", you may contact me via the Etsy conversations tab or email at orders@watermelonwishes.com. For your consideration, I stock a variety of fabrics from which you can choose to have the listmakers and binder covers crafted from.

As for myself, I would like to be completely finished Christmas shopping by November 15th and have been marking favorites on Etsy all year long. Your welcome to check them out and please do post your favorites here too. Of course, I love to gift handmade treasures whenever possible and Etsy makes that so easy to do.

(Photo credit: olgaitaly on Etsy: one of a kind mini red top hat)

ABC, 123, it's back to the basics for me

Friday, October 16, 2009

Now that baby Isabel can walk, she is getting into everything in my studio and consequently making it very difficult for me to get any work done. For her first birthday, my mother bought a really nice hiking type backpack carrier for us to use. My hope was to be able to carry her on my back and comfortably work. The pack itself is stellar---lots of padding and support for both of us---but she absolutely hates it and cries whenever I put her in it.

When she was smaller, I alternated between a baby wrap and a baby sling (if you are in the market for either, I highly recommend the wrap made by Lovey Duds on Etsy). Isabel still enjoys riding in both of them; but they are no longer comfortable for me now that she weighs more than 20 pounds. When I was pregnant, I remember reading a review of the various types of slings available and recollect there was another option, commonly referred to as a Mei Tai or Asian Baby Carrier (ABC), which I thought might work for us.

On a whim, I did a quick Google search, which provided me with several free illustrated patterns and instructions on how to use this type of baby carrier. In less than two hours, I completed my very first Mei Tai and was super excited to try it out. Much to my liking, I found my newest creation to be comfortable and easy to use. And, even more importantly, Isabel enjoyed riding in it too!

Because I made the carrier myself, I know that it is constructed securely. In addition, I was able to customize the straps and support panel to fit my body perfectly. I love that this type of carrier offers me the versatility to wear her on my back or in front and it is not bulky. Because the carrier is crafted from canvas, as apposed to quilting fabric or knit, she feels very safe and the straps do not shift with extended use.

Many thanks to “Jan Andrea at home on the web” for sharing her knowledge and making this stage of babyhood all the more enjoyable! If you would like to make your own, the instructions I used to make our Asian Baby Carrier can be found here: http://crafts.sleepingbaby.net/asian.html

Out of the frying pan and avoiding the fire

Friday, September 18, 2009

During the week, I wake up at 5:15 a.m. to prepare eggs for my son before he goes to high school.

The smell of the eggs, as they cook, carries me back to my grandparent’s kitchen where my grandfather would rise before the sun, to cook soft boiled eggs for my sister and me. As children, we frequently spent weekends at their farm in Elk, Washington and my grandfather would drive us to school Monday morning. These weekends are some of the fondest memories I have. This is where I learned to sew, laugh and love.

I realize, life is fragile---very much like the yoke in an egg---and I am grateful to wake up early and make those eggs, just as my grandfather did for us. Nothing brings me greater pleasure than caring for my family and home.

You may have heard, as of October 1, I will no longer be accepting custom orders and will be discontinuing the BYOF (buy your own fabric) option. After that date, all of the products listed in both our Etsy and eBay stores will be pre-made. I believe this change in production and inventory methodology will allow me to better serve my family and customers.

By listing only those items that are ready to ship, I will be eliminating a standard 7 to 10 day production time. Moving forward, it is my intention that all items will ship within 24 hours of payment and generally arrive within 2 to 3 days thereafter. Since the actual item for sale will be pictured in the listing, I can call attention to the defining details, such as fabric placement and other unique embellishments or construction techniques utilized. In addition, I hope to share a brief story of how the object came to be --- what inspired me to make it, what I love most about it, etc.

Albeit significant, this change will allow me to create a production schedule designed to maximize my time and resources which directly translates into low (and likely lower) costs for YOU my adored customer.

I am looking forward to the transition and the ability to share more of myself and my craft with you all. I have so many ideas that I am eager to materialize and this will allow me the time to bring those products to market.

Last but not least, I will have more time to care for my family and home.

(Photo credit goes to Little Crickets Felt Fun, please visit her Etsy shop for more cute felt patterns!)

A Birthday Quilt

Sunday, August 30, 2009

I spent the better part of yesterday sewing a beautiful quilt for baby Isabel’s first birthday.

Colorful and full of whimsy, I kept the project simple by machine stitching precut 2.5” x 40” strips of fabric together.

The quilt is crafted from my all time favorite Wonderland fabrics and backed in a vintage inspired flannel which her father selected.

For added interest, I finished the top with faux stippling. I was able to quickly accomplish the stippling effect by utilizing a decorative scallop stitch and meandering a long and winding trail across the quilt.

I hope Isabel will enjoy the quilt for years to come!

Confession of an unprepared mother…

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Yesterday, we decided to go to Fair Oaks Mall and buy the baby her fall wardrobe. I was looking forward to the trip all day. Shortly after we arrived, my 7 year old announced she was hungry. To appease her, I said we would get something to eat after we shopped, although, I had not planned on dining out.

With glee in my heart, we proceeded to the destination of my choice, the Baby Gap. Shortly after we arrived, the baby started to get restless in her stroller. The aforementioned sister tries to help, but actually compounds the problem by repeatedly suggesting she take the baby out of the stroller.

Now feeling rushed and no longer enjoying myself, I quickly make my final selections and head to the checkout with a stack of clothes that I would have preferred to spend more time picking out.

Obviously disappointed from being denied the pleasure of shopping at my leisure (and hungry myself) we decide to eat dinner at a nearby French bakery.

While my husband orders our food, I attempt to find a semi-private table where I can feel comfortable nursing the baby. Situated, I reach into my bag for my nursing cover-up and wish I had bothered to pack a jar of baby food for her to eat. Distracted by the new environment, she wasn’t too interested in nursing, so I asked my husband to order her a yogurt to eat instead.

When our food arrives, the baby’s yogurt is actually a parfait with strawberries, blueberries and granola --- all mixed together. So, I spend the next half hour trying to separate the fruit from the granola which she refused to eat. Before long, there is yogurt smeared all over her face, the chair and the table top.

Now, I am really wishing I would have packed her high chair cover, bib and a baby spoon. At this point, the only thing going for me is the fact that I have a bag full of baby clothes and I can at least change her outfit.

In short, the contents of my diaper bag consisted of two diapers, a package of wipes and a nursing cover up. What was I thinking? After all, I do have four children and I have access to a multiplicity of awesome diaper bags. To make matters worse, when I got home, I realized I bought two pairs of the same blue and pink polka dot leggings!

So---from this point forward—I, Andrea Chapman, hereby vow to maintain a well stocked Watermelon Wishes diaper bag, which will be ready to go on a moment’s notice and contain the following essentials:

• 3 diapers
• 10 – 15 wipes
• 3 to 4 small toys
• 1 change of clothes
• 1 nursing cover
• 1 burp cloth or small blanket
• 1 bib
• 1 spoon
• 1 jar of food
• Dry snacks
• A water bottle
• Sippy cup (that doesn’t leak!)

Back to School is a great time to get organized

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Traditionally, I usher out summer by organizing my household filing system. With three of our four children back in school, September promises a whirlwind of paperwork, requests and other important information that will need to be referenced at a later date.

Several years ago, I allotted each child a file folder to hold their respective papers. This year, I am upgrading every member of the family to a Watermelon Wishes fabric accordion file organizer with coordinating three ring binder cover. These products are great because they come in more than 40 fabric options, so everyone can have a different theme/color palette. Staying organized has never been so fun, or fashionable!

People ask me all the time...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

How it is that I manage the responsibilities of a large family and running my own business.

Most of the time, I skirt the question with a smile or say something like "yeah, I am busy alright..."

Truth be told, I have an amazing husband who has always supported my dreams, including motherhood and entrepreneurship. Aside from that, I am influenced by a host of internal and external factors. At the forefront of which I would say is an autonomous spirit and the current instability of our economy. Said spouse, is an airline pilot, who at the present moment is doing his best to enjoy what he likes to call ITR (involuntarily temporary retirement), more commonly known as unemployment.

So, how do I do it? Pockets of time---that’s the key to my success. My day is comprised of brief segments of productivity. A lot can be accomplished in 30 minutes or less!

Busting at the seams...again!

Friday, May 8, 2009

When my husband and I established Watermelon Wishes, in January 2006, our dining room served as the company headquarters. Within six months, bolts of fabric, batting and notions were stacked upon the table and chairs and the room resembled a mini factory. Consequently, we made the decision, to convert the guest room into a sewing studio which has served us quite well. Since that time, we and Watermelon Wishes have been blessed with continual growth and are pleased to find ourselves once again “busting at the seams.”

After much debate, as to whether or not we would move the company out of the house, we decided to remodel the basement instead. Albeit tempting, the benefits of working at home outweighed the grandeur of the quaint second floor Main Street studio we had in mind.

The renovations are underway and it is my intention to post regular updates here. Upon completion, the new space will offer us 360 square feet with designated areas for cutting, layout, sewing and shipping; in addition to ample storage for our beloved collection of fabric, notions and supplies.

Week 1:
Formerly an enormous play room, the first task was to purge and organize the toys which would no longer occupy the space and the adjacent storage room. This is something I like to do at least once a year anyways but nevertheless an overwhelming job which takes several days to complete. In total, four loads of furniture, toys and clothing were donated to the Salvation Army.

Week 2, 3 and 4:
We moved the remaining contents to one side of the room and my husband commenced to painting (I am forbidden to paint…lots of funny stories there; but I’ll have to share another time.) Still in progress, this part of the project is taking much longer than we had hoped because the paint fumes are downright noxious to me and obviously aren’t good for baby to breathe either. So, he has to paint when “babes” and I are elsewhere.

Nevertheless, progress is being made. The ceiling has received a fresh crisp coat of ultra white paint and the drab yellow that once covered the walls has been updated with a beautiful shade of blue which reminds me of the tropical waters of Megan’s Bay in St. Thomas. This color (Sherwin Williams Georgian Revival Blue SW 7609) is going to look amazing with the white plank floors we’ve selected!

Week 5: This week my husband is finishing painting the trim and doors. That should be complete by mid week and then we can install the floors. I am so excited to see how the floors are going to look. Last night, I took the opportunity to define each function of the room. I want to be certain not to buy too much furniture and at the same time I need each "station" to be 100% functional. Currently, the lack of layout/cutting space is our primary issue. In the new studio, we will have 4 large tables: 1 to cut, 1 to sew, 1 to layout and 1 to ship.

Week 6: Finally! This is when it all comes together. My husband finished the painting early in the week and my son helped him install the floor Friday. On Saturday, the girls came with us to Ikea to shop for furniture. The next two days were spent assembling furniture and moving in. All hands were on deck.

Week 7: I have been working in the new space for 3 days now and I love it! (See photos below) It is so nice to have the space to tackle multiple projects at one time. I especially appreciate the over sized counter height cutting table. The independent sewing stations offer space for my machine and serger while offering storage for finished projects and my ever growing fabric stash. In a nutshell, the new studio has exceeded all of my expectations. Here is a great big THANK YOU to my husband and children for taking the time to help me create a wonderful space. I love you!

Tools of the Trade

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I love the notion of re purposing classic household items, such as this laundry drying rack (left), for use within my sewing room. By utilizing my vertical space, I am able to layout several orders at one time. Heavy duty plastic clothes pins serve as dividers for straps and key fobs. Bolts of fabric are suspended on the wall (top right) via inverted pot lid organizers. An inexpensive solution which allows for maximum ventilation and accessibility.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Hi! My name is Andrea Chapman and I am the woman behind Watermelon Wishes. Bags of assorted dimension and character are my passion. I would be remiss if I didn't attribute my success to my husband, Darin, who has always supported my aspirations. When I was pregnant with our first child, Zachary, he would rub my belly and say in deep voice "I wish I had a Watermelon, I wish I had a Watermelon." I'd laugh and he would too. Hence the name of our company, Watermelon Wishes. These days, we have four "Watermelon's", ranging in age from 8 months to 14 years old (1 boy and 3 girls). Most days, you'll find the two of us, working side by side, in our home studio. While he cuts, I sew and together we contemplate all the possibilities the future holds for oursleves, our company and our country.

A peek inside my NEW studio

I enjoy working with designer quilt weight fabrics. Bolts of Amy Butler and Anna Maria Horner fabrics adorn one wall of my home studio. Smaller cuts of Heather Bailey, Michael Miller, Moda and more are sorted by color and found in the cube's below my sewing station.

The fabric wall is a never ending source of inspiration and joy for me. Ingenious, if I don't say so myself, the fabric bolts are suspended with pot lid holders (you know the kind you use to keep your lids upright in the cabinet). They are great because they allow for proper circulation and provide valuable hanging space for my completed projects.