Thursday, March 29, 2012

From Bags to Drawers - A Studio Makeover Story

I'm a really big slob, can't clean for my life, and many would say that I'm a hopeless mess. As I've gotten older and my "artists" gene has become more pronounced the crazy disorganization has fully taken root within my home. I don't think it helps that I have 5 children (animals) under the age of 9 who's sole purpose in life is to destroy every surface of my very small home. Seriously, I think I have crayon drawings on EVERY wall - at least I can say it goes with the aura of the house :)

When I first began the many adventures of Not 2 Shabbey I was working down in my very sad basement. White walls, industrial shelving, boxes, and tubs kept me company. It was very hard to be creative in such a dreary place.  Soon though, as I became more and more successful, boxes and garbage just began piling up. In those early days - what a year ago ??? It was just me! And I was so busy filling orders that there was just no time to clean up after myself. So I finally had to seek refuge from the garbage and abandoned ship to my dining room table. There, I worked all week long - hoping and praying that my pieces wouldn't be broken by one of my children. Then, every Friday in anticipation of Shabbos, all the pieces and bags of supplies would be brought down to the basement only to resurface afterwards.

Baruch Hashem, within the past year my business has started to grow and is now beginning to flourish. No longer am I "Little Abbey Wolin" painting on her dining room table, but I have created a true honest to goodness company that pays employees and has a REAL business plan. And because of that, a new studio space was so vital to the productivity of the company. My WONDERFUL and AMAZING business consultant - Soshana Raff-  found me the best team of workers - Shoshi and Tali from Clear My Desk to come in and redesign the entire space. They not only did a fabulous job, but they intuitively knew what I needed. Here are some pics of the new studio :)

My desk in itself is so totally awesome. Buckets and drawers galore - I have a place for everything now. Each stamp is categorized and  every tube of paint has its place. I decided to paint one of my walls a darker purple - infusing the entire space with creative spirit.

My favorite place - by far is the wrapping station. Every ribbon is at my fingertips! It's so easy to wrap, ship, and package. It makes gift wrapping a breeze!

On the other side of the room is another work station for my assistant Heather. She has her own rack and shelves for paints and brushes. And then on the far wall is the "office" station for Natan our administrator.

There is just one thing you guys should know before I end this blog. This entire makeover happened just last week. During my CRAZY Pesach rush. How I got all the orders done and worked through the cleaning process - I have no clue. I am just so happy it's finished and that it is beautiful and above all else exceptionally useful. Now all I have to do is keep it clean. Thank God for Heather and my housekeeper. Without them, I think I would be lost in my own garbage.


So. I guess you could say that my new studio is  

"Not 2 Shabbey" 

What do you think? 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Do-It-Yourself Bag Of Plagues For Your Passover Seder

Pesach is around the corner and the time to prepare is upon us. I can only imagine the facebook posts that are already being displayed about the long hours spent in the kitchen cleaning, and cleaning, and cleaning.  However, I have a little secret to share with you……..I absolutely positively have no clue how to clean.  Somehow when God was giving out the cleaning gene, he promptly skipped me. For the first 10 years of my marriage I thought I hid it very well from my husband. It was right before the very first Pesach that I had to make on my own that it became rudely apparent that I lacked the fundamental skills of organizing and housekeeping. I quickly confessed my sins to my husband who matter of factly told me that he’s known for years!
Although God may not have given me the cleaning talent, he did bestow upon me an awfully good one. Creativity.  One of my favorite creative projects for Pesach is a relatively simple idea that I wanted to share with you.  Much like crafting guru Martha Stewart, I like making my bag of plagues from scratch since it gives over that homemade feeling you can’t get from anywhere else.  To get an idea of a home made one, watch Martha’s video hereBut instead of using the ingredients that she recommends, check out mine – I’ll guarentee they’ll be more exciting!
Here are the items that I like to put into MY Makkos Bags.


Now yes, Martha’s red cherry chocolate is quite delicious, but does it REALLY scream blood to you??? I don’t think so.  How about this Blood Putty for $.99cents- I will be my 8 year olds best friend when he opens up his bag, let me tell you!


Glitter Confetti - 8 oz.For lice, if you really want to ramp up your Seder table give your kids each a small container of Glitter or Confetti
Plastic Glitter Pack - Set of 6


For wild animals I personally love these wild animal bubble containers  which adds an extra layer of fun, but there are also these great wild animal toys that come in handy all year round as well.

Cattle Disease

These are seriously fabulous for Dever, Cattle disease, but if they really gross you out why not try the farm animal bookmarks which can be useful for the rest of the Seder or these relaxing sqeeze balls , all perfect choices.


Boils may take a little bit of work on your part. I would buy these sticky hands and draw small dots all over them, giving the hands the appearance of boils.  Cute right?


For hail I’m thinking ping pong balls.  Can you just imagine them flying and bouncing throughout your Seder!!!  HOW FUN!?! But if you are more of the reserved type you can get these reusable ice cubes.


For Locust you could go a little bit more buggier with these adorable snap & play bugs.
Snap 'n' Learn Number Bugs - 18 Pieces


For darkness your best bet are sunglasses which everyone has fun putting on and playing with.

Death of Firstborn

For the death of the firstborn these glow in the dark skeletons  are pretty freaky.


Last but not least, your seder isn’t complete without some of these plastic jumping frogs!

How To Assemble

Now that all the contents have been ordered let’s discuss how it will be presented. Martha recommends using a wax bag, but any brown paper bag, or even white bag is perfectly fine. You can get them at any local grocery store. You can use these fancy craft scissors to cut the top off your bags, put each of the 10 plagues into a bag and fold over the top.   Attach the ribbon to the bag as well.

For the decorative paper that goes on top of the bag print out this coloring sheet on cardstock paper and give it to your children to color during one of the endless days before Pesach when they have nothing to do.  When they are finished (make sure their names are on it – don’t want to go mixing them up!) glue them to each of the bags.  It’s the perfect personal touch.
Of course, you can also buy a ready-made bag of plagues like this one if you’re short on time.

So while you are meticulously cleaning and scrubbing, I will be meticulously painting down in my studio bringing creativity back to each of your dining room tables.  Come and visit my store & choose something unique and special to enhance your Passover Table.
Share pictures of your Makkos Bags here in the comments or on our Facebook pages: KosherShopaholic & Not2Shabbey - we can’t wait to see them!  Wishing you all a Chag Kasher V’Sameach.
Not 2 Shabbey, Abbey & The Kosher Shopaholic, Shoshana