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Sunday, March 11, 2012

It is a celebration! Spring is just around the corner and so is our 500TH fan! Wow!

I cannot believe how fast time has gone for me this year already! So many wonderful things have happened to me and my business. I want to celebrate the renewal that is Spring and all of the wonderful people who have been with me on my journey. So, we will have a really cool giveaway to get you started on the right track for the warmer weather.

There are a few things that you will need to do, but they are easy and will help me get to know all of you better. Some of the items you can do everyday for even more chances to win.

Thank you for your support and Good Luck!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Teri Polo likes Mama's Inspiration Tote at the GBK Oscar Gift Lounge

The lovely actress Teri Polo who, in my family, is best known as Pam Focker in the Meet the Parents movies, posed with my Inspiration Tote at the GBK Oscar Gift Lounge! The photo was the cherry on the sundae that was the whole gift lounge experience.

Once I sent off my swag wristlets and my Inspiration Tote to California, I needed to get the word out to the universe about Mama Mahoney Creations. I sent out a press release with PR Web that went out to media that I did not even know existed. I then sent my press release to a friend in Pittsburgh who got my information in front of the fashion editor of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Check out the amazing article:

Not only did I get a write up in the paper of the town that I grew up in, I was also named FOX's Small Business of the Day the week before the Oscars!

Now, I am currently being featured on 20 Best Twenty and am in LOVE with their review. Check it out :D

There are a ton of wonderful things in the cue for my little company. I am happy and excited about all of the attention my bags are getting, and cannot wait to get to work on my next project. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Vegas and High Fashion

So my hubby and I went to Vegas this past weekend to celebrate the fact that I had finished my swag for the gift lounge. The kiddos stayed home, so it was grown-up central (first time in, I think, eleven years). I had never been to Vegas and was very excited to check it out. There were a couple of surprises.

First, I was expecting wall to wall people, kinda like a frat party. It was surprisingly easy to navigate (well, unless you wanted to cross the street and then you have to maneuver through escalators and walkways to get where you want to go).

My second surprise was all of the high fashion. I had no idea that Vegas was a fashion mecca! Of course, I checked out all of the bag and shoe stores :) First of all, how in the world does a female wear heels 8" high? Totally not practical for a Mom of three, beautiful and sparkly, but never gonna happen.

The bags were interesting. Beautiful colors of orange, yellow and blues (all hot colors for the upcoming Spring season) adorned the shop windows. I was surprised by how many different sizes were represented and also by the price of these pieces. Holy heck! $500 for a bag? Really?!?! Wow! Even if I had a ton of money, I could not imagine paying that much for a BAG! Most of the bags, of course, were leather, which increases the prices. While leather is beautiful, all I could think of was what happens if something, like say juice, gets spilled on it? Again, never gonna happen for this Mom.

One of the reasons I started making bags is because I could not find what I wanted in the stores. High quality, functionality, and a reasonable price. Plus, I could not find prints that I liked, or my favorite colors. One of the things that I am proudest of about my company is that each female that has a custom bag done gets to pick their fabric and have the bag done their way. I know that when I send a bag out to a customer, that they are gonna use it and I know that it will last a long while.

I know that high fashion is popular and I love to watch trends. I guess where my philosophy differs is that I think everyone has the right to choose what THEIR fashion is. People should not try to "fit into" some else's idea of what they should wear (or in my case carry), designers should try to get into the mindset of their clientele. It would be more profitable for me to say that I only offer certain fabrics and believe me, people have brought that to my attention. I don't buy it. I think that there is a large portion of the population that would love to be able to dictate what works for them. That is where I come in.

If you agree, check out to see past custom orders and place an order of your own :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

In line for the roller coaster

I remember my very first roller coaster ride. I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and our family vacation every year or so was up to Sandusky OH to Cedar Point. I was *finally* tall enough to ride a big kid roller coaster.

It was a wooden roller coaster called The Gold Mine. My Dad took me to ride it. Since it was the height of the summer, it was hot and the line was long. We were in line for what seemed like forever. Anticipation was high. We FINALLY get to the ramp that leads to the loading platform and I start to get nervous. Some people are getting off the ride laughing and smiling, but others looked sick to their stomach. What if I wasn't ready? What if what I had built up in my head all year made me sick instead of jubilent? My Dad noticed that I had gotten quiet and asked if I was alright. (He knew that I was his cautious kid, always weighing my options, always looking for pitfalls, not a leap before you look sort of person). I just looked at him and he said, "You are never going to know, if you don't try. You are going to be fine. I am right here".

So on the coaster I went. The first hill was terrifying. That long ride up. The click, click of the chain and the shaking of the car (it was a wooden coaster) and I wanted to leap right out of my seat. We got to the top of the hill and away we went! It was breathtaking, fast and FUN!!

I went on to ride bigger coasters of all kinds as I became an adult. High, twisty, FAST. All because I had the courage (and a nudge from my Dad) to ride the first one.

Well, I am in line for another coaster of sorts. It has been a long 5 months. Signing up for the GBK Oscar Gift Lounge and deciding what I was going to make as my swag gift was just the start. I worked with some friends at The Artisan Group, rebranded and got a new Mama website up and running. I searched for days trying to find the right fabric, not only for the swag, but for my display piece as well. I even tried (and failed) at designing my own fabric. FINALLY, found the fabric and started making the swag gifts. All the while designing my display piece in my head. That is the hot and sunny in line work....not thinking about the ride itself, just working and waiting.

Now, The Artisan Group just finished the GBK Golden Globes Gift Lounge and I find myself on the ramp leading up to the ride. My display piece is done and I am 9 wristlets away from having all 100 swag gifts completed. I've made some great contacts, have some awesome promotional things lined up, the "sweat" part is almost over. Soon, all that will be left is the ride.

I find myself wondering what it will be like. I watched my friends getting on the roller coaster and getting off giving high fives and laughing this weekend. I am hopeful and excited that I will have the same experience. There is, of course, the thought that perhaps even though I have done everything I could, honestly given it all I have, that the ride may not be as great for me. But, you don't know if you don't give it a shot. So up the ramp I go, hopeful, excited and a smidge scared, but I am going on no matter what. I didn't stand in line all this time to turn back now :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Oscar prep almost done

My daughter says that I am OCD with my assembly process! I say that I am organized. It took me over a week to quilt the wristlet sides, sew on tags and make the handles. (Elizabeth cut the lining pieces for me) All that is left now is the final assembly. Granted, I have everything divided in sets of 10, but that is so I can see my progress :)

Even though all of the pieces of the wristlets were cut from the same fabric, because this is Indian Batik, each wristlet will be different. I am happy that I am able to give each celebrity or presenter with their own unique piece, but still able to mass produce. I cannot even imagine how I would have made 100 unique pieces otherwise.

Almost done. Next pictures will be of all 100 together. 100 of ANYTHING is a lot!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Finally finished all of my custom orders for Christmas!

I love making presents for people. Since starting my company in 2008, I estimate that I have made about 250 custom gifts for others to give either for the holidays or some other gift giving time. That does not count the items that I have created as gifts or that I have made and sold in my shop.

The other day we were putting out the Christmas decorations and my husband ran across pillows that I had made my great Aunt Dell when I was 11 years old. They were in the trunk that I received when she passed away. I remember making them, and giving them to her. I was touched that she kept them in "a special place" all this time. They look pretty good considering that I stitched them entirely by hand! The pillows are on a chair in our new living room to remind me of my past and how far I have come : )

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

When a door closes, another, better door, often opens up.

If you would have told me 5 or 6 years ago that I would own a company that is taking its products to the GBK Oscar Gift Lounge, I honestly would have probably looked at you like you were nuts. Where I am now and where I was then, are almost on two entirely different planes.

I remember distinctly sitting on the kitchen floor, with a baby (my now 5 year old boy) sitting in his swing screaming, while I sat and cried. Not just from the usual hormones and total lack of sleep, but from grief, and fear.

The grief was due to the loss of my Dad the year before. I had just finished closing out his estate. With nothing else to do for him, it finally hit me that after being with him for nearly five years fighting colon cancer that it was truly over, he was gone. My constant coach, the person that had believed in me my whole life, was never going to be there for me again. The pain that was in my heart was almost unbearable.

The fear was the pain in my hands. I had been diagnosed with fibrositis (now called fibromyalgia) at the age of 19. Aside from headaches and some neck pain, I had been able to deal with it. Since having Sam, my youngest, I noticed that I could not sit too long in one position without my knees freezing up and that my whole body hurt, really hurt. I ignored the pain until that day in the kitchen, when I could not grasp the baby bottle to get the cap off. I had no idea what was going on, but decided bite the bullet and called my doctor.

Three days later, I sat in his office telling him what was wrong. He knew about my Dad. That I had been his primary care giver for those five years. That I had just closed out his estate. I explained the pain to him and insisted that it was more than being a new mom and grief, that something was wrong. He agreed and sent me to a rheumatologist.

Two weeks later, I was given a complete workup including x-rays of my hands and feet to see if I was developing RA. RA was scary enough, but then the doctor suggested that there was a strong possibility that I had lupus. The nurses took was seemed to be a gallon of blood and it was sent away for a 5 week test to determine if I did in fact have the disease. Five weeks to wait, look up every morsel of information about lupus on the internet to freak myself out, five weeks to pretend some more to my family that I was OK.

Somewhere in those five weeks I made a decision. If I did have lupus, I would fight with every ounce of my being, just like my dad fought the cancer. If I didn't have lupus and it was fibromyalgia rearing its ugly head, I would be grateful. I would start being grateful for the time I had been given and do everything possible to make the most of my life.

Thankfully, the lupus test was negative. But, the doctor stated that she thought the fibromyalgia was worse because of the pregnancy and that there was a good chance that the pain I was experiencing was my new "norm". We talked a long time trying to figure out the best way to help me deal with the pain. Part of the treatment is, of course, medication. The other part was more about how I deal with stress. The doctor suggested that I try to do something that helped me to relax, something that brought me peace. She asked if I had anything like that in my life.

I remembered sewing as a kid on my grandmother's old Singer. How, somehow, the rhythm of the machine and the ability to create something gave me not only a sense of accomplishment, but soothed my creative soul. I had stopped sewing when my Dad got sick because I didn't have the time. I told her that I would try it to see if it helped. I started sewing again after a 5 year break and haven't stopped.

I still have fibromyalgia, will have it all my life unless they find a cure. I am still in pain every day, have a hard time standing up after a movie because my knees freeze up. Walking up stairs is a challenge some days. And, yes, even as I type this blog, my hands hurt. But, I am okay. I am not the type of Mom who can run around with her kids and play ball, or go skiing in our new home state of Colorado. But I am here. Not only am I present each and every day for my family, I have built a successful business that might not have been if I hadn't been looking for a way to deal with my condition.

I thought long and hard about sharing this information in a public forum. Only my closest friends and family know about the fibro and I was afraid that people, potential customers, would think I was weak, that I could not successfully run a business with fibromyalgia. My daughter changed my mind. She said that I am strong and that I should tell my story to others so that they can see what you can do with fibromyalgia. Maybe if someone with fibro sees my story, I can give them hope. She is one smart kid, my daughter.