archive: August, 2009

in a few simple words

August 31, 2009

Posted by in handmade

hello lovelies- happy monday! for quite some time now, i’ve been bookmarking feel good words and phrases as i come across them.  i love how the simplest words can make you feel something in such a huge way.

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faux frame by awkward accents

of course, i thought of you when i saw this- you all really do make me so happy! the highlights of my days are hearing from you and reading your comments and e-mails.  i wish we could all go grab a cup of coffee together!

shine

clockwise :: i love you blogs and tea by made by girl :: shine mixed media collage by oiseaux noir :: custom heart by miniature rhino :: love by kristine mays :: i’d rather be smooching my crafty wife by button empire :: you are my favorite by robayre :: grow by william dohman

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the beginnings of fall are my favorite.  i l.o.v.e. the feelings of late summer preserving my mini harvests for the winter.  it’s all very cozy, isn’t it? last week was grape jam, this week has been all about apples.  yum yum yum.

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that’s me picking these yummy apples from the tippy top of the tree! did i mention this organic apple tree is in my grandmother’s back yard? applejelly

apples apples and more apples! applejelly-3

we picked out a few of our favorits- that’s my mom in the green!

ingredients for one batch of apple jam:

– 7 cups of apple mixture (will explain later)

– one box of pectin (organic if you can find it!)

– 9 cups of organic sugar (double gasp)

– 1 tbs of organic butter

we made about 7 batches of jam (from about 3 bushels of apples)- so make sure to get plenty of ingredients! next is the how-to:

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wash all of your apples, reeaally well, then cut them into fourths- and place them  in a big stock pot (don’t worry about the cores and seeds).

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aren’t these so beautiful? just make sure to remove any bad spots- organic apples are a bit prone to worms, but hey- can you blame ‘em?

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next, fill your pot with enough water to just barely cover the tops of your apples.  simmer on med-high for about 30 minutes, or until they get good and mushy (yum yum).

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stew stew stew!

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next, place the cooked apples into a food mill (if you have one) and turn it until all that apple goodness comes out the bottom (see below).  this leaves the seeds, cores and skins in the mill to be discarded/composted.  if you don’t have a food mill- don’t fret!  you can just place your apples in a strainer (make sure the seeds won’t fit through the holes) and whisk it around with a spoon until it sifts through the bottom.

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what sifts through the bottom comes out looking much like apple sauce.  from this is what you’ll measure your 7 cups from.  place 7 cups of this apple-saucey mixture into a pot and add your box of (hopefully organic) pectin and butter.  place over high heat until it comes to a rolling boil- stirring so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom.

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when your mixture has come to a rolling boil, it’s time to add the sugar (yup, all 9 cups of it).  stir this until it returns to a rolling boil.  when it does, set your timer for 1 minute and stir continuously.  after 1 minute, take it off the heat.  you’re now ready to start dipping the apple jam into your sterilized jars (you did sterilize your jars, didn’t you?). click here for the know-how.

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this is what our ‘assembly line’ looked like.  sterilized jars and lids to the left, jars being sterilized to the far right.  apple everything somewhere in the middle!

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make sure to skim the foam off the top of your jam and then start ladeling it into your sterizlied jars.  leave 1/4″-1″ head space at the top.

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tighten down the lid and you’re all done! you’ll have wonderfully delicious jam all year long!

let me know if you have any questions- and please share w/ us if you make it or have any advice!

ok.. one more picture of how pretty the tree is:

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tick tock :: pilot design

August 28, 2009

clocks

tick tock! check out these mod clocks from pilot design. keith moore often uses bamboo wood (A+!) and all of his clocks are very affordable!

check back later today for a ‘slice of organic life’ post on homemade apple jam!

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Posted by in vintage finds

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1970s school chairs by vintage avacado

for half of us it’s back to school, for the other half us it’s back to the office as usual.  either way, cute vintage supplies always brighten up your desk!

office

a :: brass whale holder by bouquet. let this little whale gobble up all those paperclips!

b :: wood pipe stand by AMradio.

c :: 1950s metal stapler by jessjamesjake.

d :: student chalkboard by adventures in vintage. (i’m thinking grocery lists, to-do’s & menus!)

e :: post scale by picky picky shop.

f :: 1950s globe by hight street market.

g :: metal magazine rack by adventures in vintage.

h :: wind up alarm clock by jessjamesjake. for all those eeaarrly mornings.

i :: tin office sign by sweet love vintage.

j :: take it with you- kitty pencil box by ethanollie

how about you? heading back to school or to the office? i’ll be at the office as usual!

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etsy savoir faire :: seo

August 26, 2009

Posted by in indie biz

etsy shop help

sailing to bluer skies

so what’s all this talk about seo? what is seo? seo stands for ‘search engine optimization’ and their are a number of things you can do to improve your website’s optimization.  in other words, improving your seo will improve a search engine’s (think google, yahoo, etc) ability to find you on the web- which in turn directly improves the chances of other people finding you and your website!  today we’re going to talk specifically about how to improve your etsy shop’s seo.

the beatles google love

most of search engine’s seo work is done through meta data which consists of three parts: the page title, meta description and meta keywords.  the page title is what shows up at the very top of any web page (at the very tippy top of this page you’ll see ‘going home to roost’ in the header bar).  the ‘page title’ format for etsy pages is: [username] on etsy – [your shop title].  a search engine gets this information from your page title.  the page title and meta description are both visible on search engine’s results page, and though the meta keywords are not visible, they are used by search engine’s to find results.

hometoroostsnapshot

i’ll use my shop as an example above: your shop title appears just below your shop banner and is your ‘page title’.  your shop announcement is your ‘meta description’ and your categories are used as your ‘meta keywords’.

googlesnapshot

see? if you do a google search for ‘home to roost + etsy’, my shop appears, with the page title and the first bits of my shop announcement (meta description) right in place.  therefore, you can change these to fit exactly what you would like searching shoppers to see about your shop- remember, first impressions always count!

which way to love

use your shop title wisely- make it short and sweet, and what you most likely think your customers will search for.  a brief ‘this is what i sell’ is usually the best title to catch potential shopper’s eyes.  to edit your shop title, go to ‘your etsy’ then ‘appearance’.

vintage wilson steampunk goggles

so, the first bit of your shop announcement is the most important.  you want to open here with your ‘hook’ (remember all of those thesis’s from school?).  you’ve got between 140 and 180 (depending on the search engine) characters to describe what you sell and hook the searching shopper into wanting to click on the link to see more.  to edit your shop’s announcement go to ‘your etsy’ then ‘appearance’.

i see london’s underpants

etsy automatically uses your shop sections as your website’s meta keywords.  so, if you make lots of home goods, it might be a better idea to section your shop with ‘pillows’ and ‘dog beds’ rather than with ‘for your cushy couch’ and ‘furry friends’- does that make sense?  people are more likely to search for simple words like pillows and dog beds.

blue pillow

you can also take seo to your individual shop items (woohoo!).  as you can see above, your item’s title stands for your ‘page title’.  the first few sentences (remember 140-180 characters) stands for your meta description, and your tags stand for you ‘meta keywords’. that’s not so bad is it?  you can edit all of your item’s details when you first list an item, or by going to ‘your etsy’ and then ‘edit’ on the items you wish to update.


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here’s another great article by etsy on google pagerank tips, specifically for your shop. let me know if you have any questions, and get busy increasing your shop’s seo!!

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victoria {everman} klein

August 25, 2009

Posted by in handmade

victoriaklein

victoria klein is a writer, eco-consultant, photographer, and cherished regular-commenter here at home to roost.  she has lived and traveled all over the world and her writings have been published in numerous magazines and websites, such as yoga journal, craft, readymade, boho and greenopia.com- just to name a few.  she also happens to be a like minded ‘rooster’ since she loves to knit, sew, read, practice yoga, garden and cook!

victoria klein

{clockwise} the spot :: tuxedo twins :: arbor shadow :: butter blooms

make sure to stop by her etsy shop, and also her fab blog!

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5 comments

cocopunkz

August 24, 2009

Posted by in handmade

have you seen cocopunkz on etsy? a set of two designers hand paint these shoes that are simply stunning!  each pair is completely unique, and they are happy to do custom orders for all of those special occasions.

cocopunkz

obsessions cocopunkz2

{clockwise}  infatuation :: go forth young women :: ink flared

sadly, i can’t afford them- but at least i can dream about them all day!

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my grandmother’s yard is immaculate.  apple trees, pear trees, black berries, grape vines.. you name it- she’s got it.  early this week she gave me 3 pounds of grapes and together we made grape jam- a first for both of us!

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look at all of these beautiful grapes!  did i mention they were organic?

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vines and vines galore..

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these are her vines post-harvest, still so beautiful aren’t they?

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here she is! my grandmomma- hard at work!

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(that’s me in my yellow apron!)  here’s for the recipe:

– 3lb grapes

– 1 cup of water

– 1/2 tsp cinnamon

– 1/2 tsp ginger

– 1 box of pectin- organic if you can find it!

– 7 cups of sugar

1) wash your grapes- really well!  then separate the pulp from the skin. sorry i don’t have a pic- but it’s easy!  all you have to do is squeeze the grape and… POP! out comes the pulp (don’t worry about the seeds).  keep the skins in one bowl and the pulp in another.

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that’s three generations in one kitchen!

2) cook the pulp in a big pot for about 30 minutes, just to get them really soft and juicy.  while they’re cooking, you can blend all of the skins in the blender.

3) after the pulp has cooked, place a few cups at a time into a colander (small enough to catch the seeds!) and whisk it around with a spoon  until all the good stuff sifts through- just make sure no seeds are sneaking through!  then, you can combine the sifted pulp with the blended grape skins.

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remember me mentioning my bird’s nest? you can almost see it here in all it’s glory…

4) take 5 1/2 cups of the grape mixture, add 1 cup of water, 1/2 tsp of ginger, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and 1 box of pectin.  stir together and put over high heat and bring to a boil.

jars

5) meanwhile, make sure to sterilize your jars- click here for the know-how.

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(isn’t she cute?)  6) when your mixture is boiling, add your 7 cups of sugar (i know, gasp) all at once.  bring back to a rolling boil, and then take it off the heat- it’s time to start canning!

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7) once the heat is off, you can start ladling the *deeelicious jam into your sterilized jars.  leave about a 1/2″ space at the top and seal with your lid.  once they start cooling, they will all seal, and you’ll have jam all year long!  yay!

ladle

don’t worry it can get a little messy..

i thought i could finish with a pic of david with jam all over his face from our morning pancakes, but i’ll spare you.. :)

hope you all have a great weekend! and let me know if you have any questions! love, bonnie

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