archive: May, 2010

Posted by in handmade

tres leches cake recipe

{photo: the pioneer woman’s tres leches cake}

just popping in to say hello!  i’m planning on making this tres leches cake from the pioneer woman for our family’s memorial day get together tonight, and thought i would share it with you!  doesn’t it look delectable?  i’m planning to top mine with blackberries, blueberries and strawberries, yum! i’ve been working all weekend trying to get our last-on-the-to-do-list back porch decorated, and i’m so excited to say, it’s coming together!  i even moved this huge (i mean huge) swing thing up the steps and through this tiny doorway all by myself, someone really should’ve seen it (but since i hid out of embarrassment every time a car passed, i guess no one did)!  i have big plans to surprise david and both of our parents tonight, so all the men in the family were out of the question when it came to asking for help  (yes, i was secretly hoping that someone would see me and offer a hand, ha!).  stubborn?  yes.  did i totally wreck my back?  yes. will it be worth it? yes!

luckily all the heavy lifting is done and now all there is to do is make a few pillows and hang some artwork.  i hope to share it with you soon!  what are you doing for memorial day?

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our home redesign on young house love

happy saturday!  just popping in to say that our home is featured on young house love as a reader redesign! you can see our kitchen makeover with before and after pictures as well as a list of supplies and products that we used.  of course, don’t stop there! young house love features an amazing how-to section, lots of videos and their own house tour- plus sherry and john are two of the most genuine sweethearts you’ll meet.  if you want to explore further, here are a few helpful links!

view the full home makeover

diy thrift store frames

painting your own cabinet knobs

and even more photos over on flickr!

let me know if you have any questions, and i hope you have sunny weekend! xo, bonnie

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make your own fabric tape

i was so thrilled when i found this brilliant paper tape project on creature comforts last week, i thought, why didn’t i think of that?!  the original project with detailed instructions comes from kathrin on annekata. with how obsessed i’ve been lately with happy tape, i can only imagine all the endless possibilities with this project.  i’ve got so many fabric scraps laying around, and now i know what to do with them!  soon cards, gifts, wrapping paper, & vases will all be adorned with my make-it-at-home fabric tape.

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so, in my new yard where i’m having unknown this and that’s pop up all over the place, i discovered that i pretty much have mint and lemon balm running out my ears.  i was chatting with caroline the other day about garden do’s and don’ts and happen to mention just how much mint i had, and just how much i didn’t know what to do with it!  per her advice, i’ve discovered my new favorite drink: a garden mint and lemon balm refresher.

garden mint and lemon balm refrehser

it’s delicious, it’s easy and it’s straight from the garden.  ingredients:

a squeeze of one lemon

1 tbls of honey

3-4 mint and/or lemon balm leaves

crush the leaves in the bottom of your glass with the ice to help release their yummy flavors, then add the lemon juice, honey and water (add a little sugar if you prefer sweeter).  stir until the honey dissolves and enjoy!

seriously y’all, this is one delectable drink.

to top things off, i walked up to our old house the other day (my sis still lives there) and visited my long forgotten (and long not-watered) square foot garden from last year. to my glorious surprise, my strawberry plant from last year not only was producing, but it had multiplied.  big time.

i’m pretty sure nothing could have made me any happier!  seeing (and devouring) these most beautiful sweet and perfect strawberries, made my day- maybe even my summer.  needless to say, my sister’s going to be seeing a lot more of me.

{photos: bonnie forkner}

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color inspiration

May 27, 2010

when i found this lovely post over at melissa loves this morning, i couldn’t help but be inspired by artist, rolo.  i hope you enjoy my collection of rich and indulgent color finds!

{cuéntame sobre el mar (al que alguna vez llamaste hogar)}

column 1 :: aspirations, the satine dress, royal purple and lime green serving bowl, spin mixed media

column 2 :: needle felted white raining cloud, brooklyn’s many colors painted vintage jar, double asian waves necklace, poolside… 1 pomagran- it, unisex polaroid hoody

column 3 :: vintage hollywood glamour birdcage veil, 15 may 10, effervescence, queen of the night 2, fine art carnival photo

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Hello!  How are you all this week?  Did you know that Memorial Day weekend is one of the biggest gardening weekends of the year?  Garden centers are going to be stocked with the freshest and biggest selection of plants in preparation for the gardening madness that they are expecting.  So here is a little tip – if you plan on buying plants for this weekend, visit your local independent garden center on Thursday or Friday morning to get the best selection.  I’ve been haunting my local garden center all week – this year we are inundated with last minute requests for potted containers to decorate homes for Memorial Day.  So I’ve been spending lots of time playing with different color and plant combinations and making some fun containers.

Last week I was asked how I grow such abundant herb containers and I wanted to share one of the Ladybug secrets – we make our own potting soil.   We are not fans of peat moss as a gardening agent, and almost all commercial potting soils  use it as a primary ingredient.  Peat moss is troublesome for several reasons – it is a rapidly depleting natural resource that is slow to renew and we are not fans of this environmental cost.  It is also very finicky and once it dries out it is very difficult to re-wet.  If you have ever added lots of peat moss to your soil and then felt like you could never water your plants enough then chances are the peat dried out in the soil and created an impenetrable barrier to moisture.  In our experience with clients, peat moss based potting soils are one of the leading causes of container plants failing.  With any type of gardening, always pay attention to the soil you are inviting your plants to live in.

Here is our recipe for potting soil for container annuals and herbs.

We use our homemade compost and buy the rest of the ingredients.  Perlite and vermiculite are added to improve drainage and coconut coir is an excellent substitute for peat.  You can find the bricks of coconut coir in many garden centers, or check your local hydroponic shop – they will most certainly have it.  The most time consuming part of this is waiting for the coconut coir brick to reconstitute.  If I know I am making a bunch of potting soil I’ll start soaking the coconut coir the night before to be ready to go in the morning.  Each brick reconstitutes to about 2 gallons of dry material.

Then you simply add the rest of the ingredients. The ratio depends on what you are planting in the soil.  I tend to use equal parts coconut coir and compost mixed with a third of the amount of vermiculite, perlite and worm castings.   If I am potting succulents I use very little compost.  Otherwise this is a good starting point.  The point is to just try it out and see how your plants respond.  This was a messy process…so I could not take photos of the mixing.  Just get in there and get your hands dirty and mix all the ingredients together!  Make sure to crumble up any bits of coconut coir and you are good to go!

I planted  up my Thai basil with the potting soil I made today.  I have to take full blame for the spindly little seedlings in the photos.  I know they will fill up and create huge basil plants, but don’t they look so gawky!

I also potted up some more salad greens around my dill…as the season heats up and the lettuces bolt, the dill will fill the entire container.  I’ll then remove the lettuce and enjoy the dill!

I wanted to end this week’s post with a quick camera phone shot of a bouquet I created from my flower garden. As I was heading over to give this to a dear friend who is not feeling well I was struck with gratitude for the bounty of life and garden.  I remembered planting the peony bulbs years ago and being so excited to one day be able to harvest armfuls of peonies to give away and enjoy.  That day has finally arrived and it reminded me, again, why I love to garden.

Gardening is hope and looking to the future while tending to the present. It is care taking and nurturing and knowing that what you put in comes back.  It is also fleeting and cyclical and filled with the knowledge that as you enjoy this moment, it is coming to an end.  But it is also knowing that after the peonies come the hydrangeas.  Happy gardening dear ones…may your blooms be bountiful and your bounty be nourishing!

Caroline Finnegan owns Ladybug Landscaping, a full service organic landscaping company. based in CT. She is a NOFA accredited landcare professional and when not designing gardens can be found rearranging her furniture or out at a flea market finding new goodies. She almost always has dirt under her nails.


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Posted by in indie biz

etsy shop help

do you ever feel like you just need your own personal squad of cheerleaders to keep you motivated?  there are so many ways that owning a small business can chip away at your motivation, and that’s often what you need the most of!  whether it’s from boredom, busyness, or stress from trying to break even- we’ll talk about some motivation boosters today.

bee hive print

try to limit your time-wasters. in particular, time spent on the computer.  it’s amazing how i can sit down at my mac and not really even know what i did when my consciousness returns 3 hours later!  with everything that can ‘suck you in’ it’s important to set some boundaries for yourself.  between computers, ipods, phones, emails, convos, twitter, facebook, formspring, & flickr, there are many reasons to step. away. from. the. computer.  else, you may find yourself there all day, then stressed and unmotivated when it comes time to work.

harris tweed yellow harris no more

try something new. when you make the same things over and over again, it’s really easy to feel like you’re in a rut.  work on some new designs or try learning a new technique.  maybe take a break from your workspace and online shop to do a local craft show or trade event.  whatever it is, try to break your habits and spice things up again!  when there’s something new to look forward to, your motivation will surely begin to bounce back.

yellow warblers watercolor painting

make your space inspiring. one of the quickest ways (i’ve learned) to kill my motivation is to have a messy workspace.  sometimes i try to work through the clutter, but it never fails to effect my inspiration, and nag on my motivation. surround yourself with things that make you happy like flowers, artwork or pictures and reflect on them when you’re feeling a little bogged down.  it’s also helpful to just take a break and change the mood.  go for a walk, open the windows, fix some lemonade, or anything that will help rejuvenate your spirits.

the bluemoon. flying earth headband

slow down. sometimes motivation can lack because you’re not selling enough, other times it can be because you’re selling too much.  if you’re the latter, don’t forget that you’re a one woman (or man) show!  try to slow down or find some help.  if you’re flat out selling to much to keep up with, and you can’t make-one-more-(fill in the blank), you’ve got to find a way to take it down a notch.  hire a nanny, or someone to help you with shipping.  raise your prices, don’t relist as much or just close your etsy shop for a few days until you can regroup and pick yourself up again.

those are all things that i’ve done to help boost my motivation.  what do you find works best for you?

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collage of blouses & jewelry from spool no.72

i’ve written about spool no. 72 before, and got all bubbly inside when this right-up-my-alley store announced their biannual sale! with some very ‘worth it’ markdowns, i think you’ll have fun browsing (unless you’re like me and have already spent too much this month.  david needs to hide. my. purse.).

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