Sunday, December 14, 2008

the weather outside is frightful.

We are in the middle of a blizzard in South Dakota. We got the call from the school at 7:30 pm, telling us that school is cancelled tomorrow. Today (Sunday) was definitely a snow day, too. We only made it outside to shovel one side of the driveway so that we can hopefully get out of the house tomorrow. It's 20 below zero and the wind is swirling the snow in all directions. We had a cookie baking afternoon. Thought I'd share my favorite no-fail fudge recipe with you. I have an awesome toffee recipe too, but it fails a good bit before you learn to get it right (or maybe it's just that I failed multiple times). This fudge recipe though, is fail-safe, and I like to buy the cute take out containers that you can find now at craft stores and hand out fudge as gifts to neighbors and friends.

Fudge:
Butter a 9x13 inch pan lightly, place parchment paper inside (should hang over two sides), and lightly butter the parchment paper.
Bring to a boil: 4 1/2 cups white sugar and one can of evaporated milk.
Boil for 8 minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and add: 1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 cup of milk chocolate chips, 1 cup of butter, and 3 tsp vanilla. Stir until all is melted (I do this in my stand mixer and add the sugar/milk to these ingredients). Then, stir in 3 cups broken up walnuts (optional).
Refridgerate overnight. Loosen the sides around the parchment paper with a knife, and then lift out the paper with fudge inside and cut to desired size.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

time flies

Kelly and I won't win any blogging awards any time soon - we haven't blogged since September! Sorry! We are here, alive, and well. maggie delaney has had an incredibly busy fall. A tinge of insanity on all fronts, but the good kind, not the bad. I can honestly say this is the first Saturday I remember since September where I've actually sat on my couch, watched tv, and had time to blog. We are watching the American Girl Samantha movie on tv, and I just needed to tell you all that I'm a bit sad AG is retiring Samantha and Nellie this year. One of my friends thinks that AG will retire the historical dolls and bring them out of the vault every seven years - like Disney does with movies. I just hope Samantha and Nellie are not gone for good.





Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fear Itself



Geoff Williams of Entrepreneur.com, the online magazine, recently wrote an article about entrepreneurial fear.  Our maggie delaney Country Living Pitch-Your-Product experience is highlighted.  I can hardly believe that our CL mention was a year ago.  All we really had to fear was fear itself!   

Not to change the subject, but how good does that cover turkey look?  I hope my vegetarian sister isn't reading this.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

the girl effect

I was reading about Product (RED) today, and I ended up reading their blog, and I happened upon this video produced by the Girl Effect:

video

As a geographer in my other career, I like the video a lot, but they didn't really think through the implications of the cow... environmental, especially.

Friday, August 15, 2008

My Guilty Pleasure


I may need support from you other moms out there, but I have a new secret favorite television show. . . The Wonder Pets.
I had to present an all day, 8 hour seminar in Texas in July, and the next day, I flew home. I wasn on the plane, and I needed a mental release from the stress of the previous day. I grabbed my iPod and watched the Wonder Pets save the baby dolphin in Hawaii ("Aloha, Hawaii." "Oohh. It's very tropical.") -- it was an episode I put on my iPod for Henry to watch when we flew to Florida last spring.
I could seriously watch this show for hours. I love the little song ("The phone, the phone is ringing!" - wouldn't that be a great ringtone?). I love the tin can phone system at the beginning. I've been analyzing this guilty pleasure and trying to come to peace with it, and I've decided I like the show so much because it's secretly the peaceful world in which I would like to live - where in some Polyannaish way we could all take care of each other and appreciate each species (okay, person) in existence. But, what makes the Wonder Pets world so great is not just the Team Work... it's also that every animal is cheerful, polite to each other, has each other's best interest in mind, and every problem has a simple solution if we just think about it and work together. I'm old enough and cynical enough to know we cannot live in a world like this. But, I find a great mental release in imagining the Wonder Pets world.

Monday, August 11, 2008

"The dresses turned out beautiful!"



I LOVE EMAIL! Sometimes I forget how great it is because it is such a part of our everyday reality. Melissa sent Erin and I a great email with the subject, "The dresses turned out beautiful!" and included pictures of their girls in maggie delaney. It made my day! The girls had birthdays in July, and she ordered coordinating dresses for them. The one year old is wearing daisy pink, kaleidoscope pink, candy cane pink, and the four year old is in daisy pink, kaleidoscope and Molly. Don't you just love the helmet and elbow pads with the dress?

Monday, August 4, 2008

introducing the book!

Someone sent me this youtube link today, and it cracked me up so much, I thought you would all enjoy seeing it, too. I feel this way a lot with new technologies. I can't keep track of twitter and flickr and all the other r's out there.

video

If you ever feel this way when you are maggie delaney-ing, just email us or call, and we promise we'll help you figure out what fabrics you can put together:

info@maggiedelaney.com

or, call Kelly at 708.997.3423 or Erin at 605.228.8137

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bummer!


It has come to our attention that we are all out of lace candy aqua. Gasp! Although this is not ideal, it is not as bad as it could be. Erin called today and confirmed that we can get more. It's just going to take about a month or so. We will let you know when it returns. We love lace candy aqua, and what would wild thing and cocoa dots aqua do without it?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Unfortunate Fabric





Occasionally Erin and I challenge eachother to find the ugliest fabric around. Okay, so this is really not time well spent, but it is completely amusing. There is a lot of unfortunate fabric out there. Which one wins? Option 1, a lansdcape from the planet SCAREY, or option 2, HALLOWEEN GONE WRONG? I have to say that these two fabrics are made by one of our favorite companies. To each his own, I guess.

So my vote is option 2. Not that I am not deeply offended by the landscape, but I have always had trouble with thematic dressing. My mom's friends' are still presenting me with holiday sweaters after I made an edict that it is never okay to wear one. What do you think, option 1 or options 2? This is a toss up.

I can promise you one thing: maggie delaney will not be featuring either of these for Fall 2008.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

LO

Yesterday I was listening to NPR All Things Considered . . . I love NPR.  It is truly an addiction for me as my role of mother has evolved to full time chauffeur.  So, Michele Norris of ATC interviewed a 35 year old Chicago actress who is currently living like Oprah.  What does this mean?  She is reading Oprah's books, buying her recommended Oprah's favorite things, and following the 'live your best life' mantra for one calendar year.  I think this may be the funniest thing I have ever heard.  It is inspired and insane.  She is blogging about her experiences and her insight on 'Living Oprah' (LO) at http://www.livingoprah.com.  She makes it clear in the introduction of her blog that she is in no way connected to the Oprah show . . . I think you could probably surmise as much from her posts.  I am fascinated.  Just what I need, another addiction.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Christmas in July... or is it back to school?

Just got our first internet order for Christmas dresses. Love, love, love the Christmas playdate fabric, and this mom put it in two ringlet dresses (sleeves on Christmas dresses rock in this part of the country) for her two girls. I'm just hoping she's taking Christmas pictures in July and that she will be sending me a copy soon.

I'm not thinking much about Christmas, but it is only July 2nd, and I have to admit that I bought Maggie and Henry's back to school bags already. Laney and Charley in IL just got out of school a few weeks ago, but we have been out in SD since May 21 and the kids go back on August 20. Henry starts kindergarten; so, I had to find the right backpack for him and lunch box - he is allergic to wheat so I pack lunch every day.

Maggie, also known as the girl who will no longer wear dresses (thank goodness we make skirts), had to have a messenger bag this year - ditching the backpack must be a right of passage for third graders.
Okay, so I also bought three shirts with Maggie's messnger bag. Have you seen the super cute Junk Food shirts at the Gap? Had to order a couple Star Wars ones for Henry and a Snoopy one for Maggie. There was one with Smurfette on it, and I pointed at it and said, "Have you ever seen this show - 'The Smurfs?'" She looked at me and said, "No. And, I hope I never do."
She's smurfing out on something ... isn't she?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

adorable NC maggie delaney fans

So fun! I got an email from a Jennifer, a customer in NC with pictures of her two adorable girls in their maggie delaneys. Jennifer explained, "There is a large age difference between my two girls. They enjoy dressing alike, but I struggled to find matching items in both age groups. Thank goodness we found Maggie Delaney. These custom made pieces allow my girls to match with styles appropriate to their ages. Thank you Maggie Delaney for giving my girls the opportunity to have the matching dresses that they dreamed of wearing."

Jennifer's older daughter, 9 year old Jillian, told us, "I always wanted to dress like my little sister, but if I got a dress just like hers I felt like a little baby. When mom showed me the Maggie Delaney dresses I was so excited. Now we can have matching dresses and I can look my age and she can still look like a baby."

I totally agree. Jillian looks like her 9 year old self in the zebra skirt, featuring lace candy aqua, copley aqua, and swirly flowers cocoa, and Lainie, age 2, looks like a 2 year old should, in her monarch dress (I'm betting she likes twirling in it, too), featuring the same fabrics. Jennifer was kind enough to send me three pictures to choose from. I chose this one because I love the smiles on their faces. I'm guessing Jillian is not only a great fashion designer, but also a wonderful big sister.





If you have a photo of your girl(s) in their maggie delaneys that you would like to post on the blog, please send them to me at: erin@maggiedelaney.com Include a quote, if you feel inspired!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Forgive the infomercial


On Monday night I was on my way to my Ladies Who Launch Incubator Intensive, and I stopped at Old Orchard Mall. I was walking by a kiosk and a guy started talking to me about my nails. I tried to escape . . . I really hate it when they attack with fragrances, etc. It is an outdoor mall, though and it was so nice outside. I was more open to listening. Anyway, this guy showed me this amazing nail stuff from Dead Sea Skin Care and Spa Products. It is a buffer thing that make your nails glossy (they look as if they have a shiny clear coat of nail polish on) and cuticle oil that really works. Please forgive the infomercial. It is so cool, though. After a crazy fun, but busy weekend at Wells St. Art Fair, it was nice to treat myself.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Perfect Summer Night

Last night, Rob and I took the kids to our friends' new home to help them unpack a bit and have a glass of wine or two. We planned to leave by 10:00 to get the kids to bed. We left at 12:45 am. What a fun night of conversation and laughter. The kids had a blast - running around inside and outside, playing in boxes and playing with glo sticks (the Halloween kind, which were unraveled in the unpacking). The adults got to have adult conversations and solve the world's problems. When we went downstairs to carry the kids to the car (thinking they were surely asleep) after realizing how late it was, only the two youngest were asleep. The others were fighting off sleep and wondering, with that bewildered, "Can you believe our parents let us stay up this late?" look, what we could possibly be thinking. It's 9:26 am, and the dog and I are the only ones awake in this house. Good thing church doesn't start until noon!


Sunday, June 1, 2008

Anyone know Senator Obama?

The South Dakota presidential primary is Tuesday, June 3 (Henry's birthday). We thought it would be meaningless since it's on the last possible day - but it turns out we are getting more presidential political attention than ever. Hillary Clinton was in Aberdeen 2 weeks ago. Barack Obama was here yesterday, and Bill Clinton is coming on Tuesday. Kel and I actually saw Bill Clinton speak back when we were still students at G'town (President Clinton actually went to G'town).

Kel is obsessed with us getting a zebra skirt and a monarch dress to Senator Obama's two girls. I have them in my possession. I just need to figure out how to get them to his people. Our angle is his discussion of small business yesterday, and our best possible connection is Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin - who also went to G'town and graduated a year behind us (and is a superdelegate in favor of Obama). Steph lived in the Fishbowl with us for a week or so during her sophomore year when she broke her ankle. I'm charged with heading to her local office here tomorrow to see if I can get these red white and blue maggie delaneys into Senator Obama's hands.

The dress looks a lot like the one in this picture - only we don't have holly berry (the red in this one anymore) - so we used new snow red.


That's our however many degrees of separation to Senator Obama. Seems like Kel should have a more direct link, she is afterall, in Chi-town...

Here's to small business

South Dakota has its primary on Tuesday. Senator Obama passed through Aberdeen on Saturday. Erin and her family attended a town hall meeting . . . I have yet to hear what she thought. I did, however, find a little You-tube clip from yesterday's event with his thoughts on small business.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Brother and Sisters


I love it when we get to see pictures of your girls in maggie delaney!  These are Annie's kids on Mother's Day!  (It must have been nicer in Garden City than it was in Chicago!)  It's great when we actually catch our kids loving each other.  I am hoping this picture will dull my memory of Charlotte hitting Delaney with a very large, heavy plastic Dora doll today.  

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

must be that time of year.


School is almost out. Maggie is done tomorrow, and I think Delaney is done next week. Kel and I talk every day, and we end up knowing so many more details about each other's lives that we would if we didn't have maggie delaney to bring us together every day. Our conversation today was about who made the more disgusting sack lunch for their daughter today. Our fridges were both pretty bare this morning.


Here's what the girls ended up with:

Delaney had:

a half a peanut butter sandwich (because there was only one piece of bread left and no jelly)
a box of raisins (not exactly fresh ones)
a small bag of pecans (the dregs of a bottom of a can of pecans)
two pickles (I guess Kel thought she needed a vegetable)

Maggie had:

green apples and peanut butter (this is actually a staple in our lunch boxes)
pepperoni (because doesn't everyone eat spicy pepperoni with sour apples?)
chocolate milk box (because I felt guilty sending her to school with pepperoni for lunch)

Which lunch do you think is worse?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Maybe there is hope for my golf game!

Mother's Day 2008...

I took Maggie and Henry to the driving range. My golf lessons got cancelled because it rained the last three Thursdays. I was bitter about that and itching to get out there, so I took the kids and we hit the driving range, literally. Update from last year... my driver still does not work. I am still in love with my fairway wood, but other than that, the rest of my clubs don't like me very much. I just started golfing with my girlfriends last summer. We did the "divots and drinks" lessons and then did social league. I am a bit obsessed with the idea of becoming a decent golfer, and I'm thinking it's going to take at least 30 years to achieve this goal.

This morning, I had an email from my dad in my inbox. His dad, Ed Hogan, was a really good junior golfer in the St. Louis area many years ago. My Aunt Eileen found all these neat newspaper articles about my Papa Hogan's (who died in 1969, the year before I was born) golfing successes, and my dad's email included 12 articles from the St. Louis Post Dispatch that my Aunt Eileen had found. I am hoping that I got a gene or two of my Papa Hogan's. Maybe there is hope for my golf game. I'll keep you posted on the driver.




Tuesday, April 8, 2008

grow old with grace ... or at least fewer wrinkles


love: philosophy hope in a jar
Kelly makes fun of my makeup and skin care obsessions because I'm a little naive when it comes to these things - I like the simple things. My mom always uses Oil of Olay, and she looks like she's 45 (she's not, but don't tell her). The facecream my children will associate with me some day ... the one I'll still be using in 30 years ... hope in a jar.


Friday, March 28, 2008

Earth Hour

Have you heard about Earth Hour?  Chicago and other cities around the the country will observe Earth Hour tomorrow night, March 29, 2008, from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. CST.  All non-essential lighting will go out for the hour, dramatically altering skylines in a gesture to bring attention to energy conservation and climate change.  

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Over before it really even started

The NCAA basketball tournament resumes tomorrow.  Erin and I are definitely girly girls, but back in the day, we were devoted HOYA fans.  When March rolls around, I easily fall back into that bracket-crazed mania that once was a way of life when E and I shared a dorm room. 

Georgetown University

No Sweet 16 this year, though. 

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Haze

Oh, the sugar coma has set in. . . why do I let myself, and my children for that matter, eat things I would not consider any other day of the year?  

What a fun day!  Easter is too early this year, though.  Delaney and I went to Jill's for an Easter Egg Hunt, and the kids were digging the eggs out of the snow still blanketing the backyard.  

Erin is back from Florida sometime today!  Florida sounds pretty good about now.  

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tres (or tray) Cute

My friend Amy is headed to Arizona tomorrow.  She stopped by today with the most unexpected and fun birthday gift.  Just like Erin's ENVIROSAX, Amy's gift was inspired!  It was accompanied by a recipe that I cannot wait to make!  


See that cute tray in the lower right hand corner . . . that's the one.  Jackie Shapiro is the name of the designer!  I LOVE IT!  Now I just have to do some research and find out if she makes fabric, too.  

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tickled Green


I opened my birthday present from Erin a little early.  I knew that it was my birthday present.  I still opened it.  Good things come to those who don't wait, in this cute little case.  Take a look at these adorable ENVIROSAX.  This little pouch is filled with 5 cute grocery sacks and is no bigger than your standard make-up case.  What a great gift! Erin is the best at finding gifts that are useful and fun! This almost makes me want to go to the grocery store . . . almost.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Color me happy!

Three big boxes of fabric arrived at our production facility in South Dakota today.  I can't wait to see the beautiful new ones that we ordered weeks and weeks ago, but I may be even more excited about the return of Kaleidoscope - cocoa . . . 

It's back, better than ever, ready to be mixed and matched and worn by cute little girls everywhere . . . 

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Entrepreneurachauns



Saturday was the Country Living Women Entrepreneur Event in Chicago at the Renaissance Hotel. It was also Chicago's St. Patrick's Day Parade. As I walking to the hotel surrounded by a sea of people wearing the green, I was slightly bummed to be missing Chicago's best party of the year. It didn't last long, though. . . I had an amazing time even without green beer. So sad that Erin couldn't be with me, especially when I saw all the nervous women who had "pitched" their products to CL. Couldn't help but think of our "pitch" last year!  

One of the highlights this year was the panel that included the 2008 Country Living Women Entrepreneur Honorees.  Just loved seeing Mia Galison of eeBoo . . . her toys have saved me from so many birthday gift dilemmas.  Monique Greenwood of Akwaaba Bed & Breakfast Inns was so funny and honest.  She has inns in Brooklyn, Cape May, D.C. and New Orleans.  Ann Marie Craig had pitched with us last year (I definitely remember meeting her) and her Century Farmhouse soap is heavenly.  We were lucky enough to get some in our SWAG BAG.  

I was so pumped hearing all of these amazing success stories that I forgot to look down when I left and see the Chicago River dyed emerald green.   Happy St. Patty's Day.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Things that make you go hmmm...

When Kel and I started ordering fabrics two years ago, we realized we needed to name them. Almost all of the fabrics we order already have names when we receive them, but we were certain we would never remember the names. So, we decided to rename them with names we could remember. When we received fabrics from Jennifer Paganelli's Girlfriends collection, we naturally renamed the fabrics for our girlfriends from college - Maria, Tree, Amy, Dana, and Lisa. Well... we got an earlier version of our website up, and we found out that one college girlfriend was none too pleased. You see, everyone's fabric was up there but hers, and she thought maybe we forgot her. We hadn't, it's just that she sold so well, we were temporarily out of her! I'm sure she's glad to know she's prominiently on our website, and that everytime we sell her namesake we think of her.

This Christmas, I was home with my sisters at my parents' house, when I started getting grief from my sisters -- why didn't they have a fabric named after them, they wanted to know. I explained that I hadn't seen a fabric that really looked like their taste yet. This week, we got a few new fabrics in. I opened the box, saw a swatch of fabric, and wondered if maybe the brown one with the small flowers in a geometric pattern should be named for my sister, Molly. I just couldn't decide -- did it look "I live in Boston. I'm an architect. I look straight laced, but I'm perhaps the funniest person alive?"

Went to a show that night, brought unnamed brown fabric with me. Customer was holding onto banana seat pink and asking me what went with it. She was designing a baby gift - a monarch dress in size 3-6 months. I said O's pink looks great - see the orange shades together. Then, I remembered the brown fabric. I held it up, and it was adorable. It made the bikes come alive - like a suprisingly fun fabric should.

I looked at the customer and asked, "So, what's the baby's name?" She said, "Molly. Molly Kate." This has to go in the category of things that make you go hmmm... My Molly is Molly Kathleen.




Now, Molly has her fabric, and I am on the lookout for a Bridget. A fabric that says "I am from Minneapolis. I'm a buyer. I juggle 3 kids, a husband, and a full time job, and I always pick out the perfect card and gift for every occassion."

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Designing for sisters



Yesterday, I helped a customer design three dresses for her three daughters for Easter. I cannot wait to see the three of them in their maggie delaneys. The 3 year old is going to wear a skipper, the 5 year old will wear a monarch, and the 8 year old will wear a painted lady.
Each dress has cotton candy flowers and licorice stripe:



And, then for the youngest, we put Maria green in the dress.
For the middle daughter, we added Maria purple.



The oldest daughter's painted lady will have Maria brown. If you want to take pastel fabrics, like the purples and greens in cotton candy flowers and licorice stripe, and make them look more mature, Maria brown, or any brown fabric, is a great way to do that.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Do you need Tim Gunn to help you with your maggie delaney design?

So, I'm watching the Daily Show right now, and Tim Gunn is on from Project Runway. He is perhaps the funniest person alive. They just showed the clip where he told Sweet Pea that her dress was "very happy hands at home granny circle," and it makes me laugh so hard. What I remember is that Tim told Sweat Pea (the designer) how to change the dress, and then it looked amazing and she almost won.

Kel and I are trying to figure out how to help serve as your Tim Gunn, should you need one. We are going to post ideas for fabric combinations here because it gives us a ton of flexibility and also a space for our designers - you, the customers - to give each other advice on your fabric combinations.

Here's one Erin is loving right now:

Erin Pink, Lucille's Garden, Bubble Fun Multi




Sunday, February 17, 2008

so... this is a blog?


hey maggie delaney fans, kel and i are new to the world of blogs. everyone says we need one, so here we are. we plan to use the blog to let you know what's new with the world of maggie delaney - when we get new fabrics, what new designs we are playing around with, and our often crazy experiences as entrepreneurs. so, play with us - post some comments, your thoughts, and even your pictures of your adorable girls in their maggie delaneys. aside from spending a lot of time on the phone together, our favorite part about this whole adventure is when we see a girl proudly wearing her maggie delaney.