archive: June, 2010

sugar chills giveaway!

June 21, 2010

Posted by in handmade

vegan body care giveaway

i’m excited to bring you a little giveaway today, yeah! sugar chills is offering two (count them, two!) gift certificates to her all natural body care shop!  the first winner will receive a $15 gift certificate and the 2nd winner will receive a $5 gift certificate to her shop.  all of her products are 100% vegan and formulated with natural & organic ingredients to gently nourish your skin.  between the face slimes, foot gunk and skin sludges, there’s definitely something for everyone!

how to enter:

head on over to sugar chills and take a look around.  come back to this post and leave a comment about which one is your favorite (one comment per person).

bonus entry!

blog, tweet or facebook a link to this giveaway and come back to tell us about it! you may leave one comment per extra post (up to 4 comments in all)- please include a link to your post in your comment.

the giveaway will close on sunday june 27, at midnight est.  the winners will be drawn using a random number generator and will be announced on the following monday.  the winners will have 48 hours to claim their prize, good luck!

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diy ornithology clock

June 18, 2010

diy ornithology clock

diy ornithology clock

when i ran across this diy ornithology clock on design*sponge, i about fell out of my chair! i think this clock was destined for me.  so simple, i thought, “why didn’t i think of that?”  the tutorial comes from kate pruitt who is a regular diy contributor on d*s.  not only is this version of eggs and feathers near perfection, but think of all the possibilities for different varieties!  make sure to share with us your results if you decide to get crafty!

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Posted by in handmade

they call them locavores- people who choose to eat seasonal, local produce.  today i’m kicking off a new series about eating local produce, where i’ll share with you a weekly recipe using local yummies!  first you may ask, why eat local? well, there are tons of reasons, the simplest of which is that it just makes sense.  the average mileage of your food, (we’ll call this farm to fork mileage) is 1500 to 3000 miles, and that’s a lot of fossil fuel! when produce has to travel so far, much of it is picked while still unripe then gassed to ‘ripen’ it after transport, or it is processed in factories with preservatives and the like.  scientists are even experimenting with genetic modification to produce less perishable produce.

by purchasing local foods in-season, you eliminate the environmental damage caused by shipping foods thousands of miles, your food dollar goes directly to the farmer, and your family will be able to enjoy the health benefits of eating fresh, unprocessed fruits and vegetables. buying seasonal produce also provides an exciting opportunity to try new foods and to experiment with seasonal recipes.

the good news is, local produce is usually easy to find and it simply tastes better because it’s fresher!

seasonal spring vegetables

above is a list of the veggies you’ll find at your spring farmers market. remember that certain crops and harvest dates depend on the climate and your region, so this is just a rough outline (check out this regional seasonality guide for your area).  as you can see, spring is almost over, but i’m going to post a recipe next week anyways and then introduce to you your summer guide! i’ve also made this list in pdf format, so you can print it out and keep with you while your shopping or scouring for recipes.

download the seasonal spring vegetable guide

recommended reading

read my favorite book and get incredibly inspired to eat locally with animal, vegetable, miracle.

find local, organic and sustainable food in your area with the eat well guide search.

learn about eating more sustainably and find recipes at the sustainable table.

join the eat more local food initiative at eat local, america!

{resources: the sustainable table, cuesa sustainability}

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how to dig a garden spot

June 17, 2010

hello dear ones! i’m giving caroline a little break this week to tell you about my own garden!  since last year i used the square foot garden method, this was the first time that i actually dug a garden spot so that i could plant right in the yard.  i wanted to maintain organic methods, so i called up caroline up and she walked me through the whole process, she’s such a sweetheart!  so today i’m going to teach you how to dig your very own garden spot!  we used the organic friendly ‘double digging’ method, and though it’s a lot of work, i highly recommend it.

how to dig a garden spot

i started off by choosing the right spot.  i knew i would only be planting veggies, so i made sure it would get full sunlight and be easy to get to water, weed and harvest.  some of my favorite advice i’ve read is to place your veggie garden as close to your kitchen door as possible, that way you’ll see it everyday and be more likely to weed and check up on it routinely.

once you choose your spot, mark it off with stakes at the corner and some twine.  my spot above is about 18’x8′.

then, if it’s a grassy area, you’ll have to remove the top layer of grass (i’m not gonna lie, it’s pretty terrible, but it only took about 2 hours and then it was done, whew!).  use a shovel to dig just under the top layer of soil and work your way in rows.  you’ll most likely have to use your shovel in both directions of a row before the grass will release, but once you’ve loosened underneath it, it will peel up like carpet.

now it’s time to double dig! working in rows, you’ll use your shovel to dig and break up the first layer of soil.  then, you’ll go back with a pitch fork to ‘double dig’ the harder, second layer of dirt.

i learned how to double dig by watching this video (recommended by caroline), so rather than try to thoroughly explain, i’ll just recommend watching it (it’s only 5 minutes, plus the guy is pretty easy on the eyes). ;)

if your soil is a little clumpy after double digging (like mine) break it up as best you can with a rake or pitch fork.  then, you may want to mix in some organic compost to the top soil (i used organic mushroom and fully composted manure on mine).

next your ready to plant! plant your seedlings according to package instructions and give your garden a good watering.

your next step will be to mulch around  your new plants to help retain moisture and prevent some weed growth.  there are many mulches to choose from, but i used straw (just make sure it’s been cleaned or else you’ll be planting grass!).

it’s hard work, but with my ipod and a glass of lemonade i was able to get it all done in one day.  and hey, i got my work out in!

planting vegetables in your garden

so it’s been about a month since i planted everything, and all my veggies are starting to grow so well! above you can see (clockwise) my apples, squash, asparagus, grapes, pears and one wee tomato sprouting already!  i can’t wait to harvest all these yummies, i’m planning for a long, productive summer full of harvesting, freezing and canning.

garden bugs and slugs

on a final note, the garden has become quite the hang out for bugs, slugs and the like.  just as longs as they don’t eat my veggies, i’ll enjoy watching them!

feel free to email me with any questions or leave them in the comment box, and either me or caroline will get back to you!  xoxo! bonnie

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mengsel designs

June 17, 2010

Posted by in handmade

mengsel design

the definition of mengsel is mixture, which pretty perfectly describes this london based south african designer, luzelle van der westhuizen and her work. luzelle’s work is inspired by african and scandinavian design, and i just can’t get enough of her beautiful prints.  my favorites (of course) are the retro rooster and moka express designs, two of my favorite things!  be sure to visit her beautiful blog and website as well, you’ll find enough inspiration to last you all day!

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Posted by in simple living

hi lovelies! today, i am honored to introduce to do you the newest members of our family!

baby chicks

my little box of 7 healthy peeping chicks (all girls) arrived at the post office yesterday from my pet chicken!

baby chicks

“well hello, sista!”

baby chicks

this is paulie the buff laced polish – her fluffy head will turn into a big tuft of feathers one day, you can what she’ll look like here!

baby chicks

this is pearl the plymouth rock- she’ll be especially friendly.

baby chicks

say hello to clover the blue cochin! do you see her feathered feet? she’ll have beautiful feathered legs when she grows up.

baby chicks

this is joby the jersey giant- jersey giants are good natured and supersized!

baby chicks

meet olina the orpington! i already have one orpington (odessa) and she’s the smartest chicken i’ve ever met (i promise!) so i couldn’t say no to getting another one.

baby chicks

elloise the easter egger will one day give me beautiful blue eggs.

baby chicks

this here is daisy the dominique, her breed is endangered so i’m doing what i can to keep their name alive!

baby chicks

these next few shots are of elloise and paulie, they are so cute together!

baby chicks

baby chicks

her beautiful eyes take my breath away.  i’m such a proud momma!  they are all in my kitchen for the next week or so, then i’ll move them to the laundry room before they make their way to the outside coop where they’ll meet my other 7 hens!

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Posted by in handmade, indie biz

etsy shop help

when it comes to selling online, i’ve made so many mistakes it’s a wonder i’m still afloat.  here are what i think my top ten have been and how i’ve learned from them.  i’ve also mingled in some dad’s day goodies- it seemed fitting since he’s always helped me learn from my mistakes!

Vintage Tennis Rackets

vintage tennis rackets

1. practice time management. sometimes i can be the ultimate procrastination station and it’s just not a good habit. running in an all out sprint to make it inside the post office door in time is just not professional (or fun).  my advice: schedule your days on paper and try your best to stick to it.

2. follow through. i’ve been called out before for not following through on something i promised.  people will hold you accountable and it’s embarrasing to be caught slacking off.  my advice: always be a person of integrity and own up if you end up not following through on a promise.

 Vintage Mounted Trophy Antlers

vintage mounted trophy antlers

3. be present. i once forgot to update my ‘vacation announcement’ and have even accidentally misplaced a convo before without answering it- never good! my advice: make communication and up to date announcments a priority.  getting to know your customers will always be beneficial (and fun!).

4. photos matter. i’ve said this before, but having great photos really is the most important factor for an online business.  i’ve certainly posted pics that i’m not proud of, and guess what? the items never sell! my advice: get a good camera and don’t rush through snapping pictures of your products.  if you need help editing, seek help!

Docking Station Steampunked Royal Typewriter with Speakers

docking station steampunked royal typewriter with speakers

5. pursue publicity. at first i assumed that press and publicity would just come knocking after i opened a shop- oops was i wrong!  my advice: you need to put yourself out there to get found.  contact bloggers for write ups and self promote your work via your blog, twitter, facebook or the like.

6. be truthful and complete. i’ve forgotten to add the sizes of a product or gotten questions to things that should have been obvious.  it’s never good when a customer is surprised at what they recieve or can’t find the answers they are looking for.  my advice: make sure you’re proud of everything you put your name on.  having complete, truthful and thoughtful listings will only improve your customer satisfaction and business reputation.

 Attache Case

attache case

7. research research research. i’ve certainly learned that researching how to do something before i get started is the ultimate way to success.  my advice: look at what other sellers are doing and notice what works and what doesn’t.  take note about what etsy prefers to feature and read all the material you can get your hands on (starting with the storque!)

8. relist, relist, relist. i boycotted the idea of relisting items for a long time.  after a bit of experimenting, it’s fair to say that i always sell more when i relist items on a daily basis.  my advice: relist 3-5 items every day when you’re just starting out (that’s $0.60 – $$1.00 a day) and count it as part of your marketing/start up costs.

Wood Parts Bin

wood parts bin

9. be original. there’s a big difference between getting inspired by something and straight up copying it.  i’ve struggled before with feeling original, because everywhere i look there seems to be another ‘me’.  my advice: learn how to tune out other ‘yous’ and try not to refer to other’s work when you sit down to sketch/write/brainstorm.

10. take a little, give a little. one of the best lessons i’ve learned is to always give back. my advice: don’t be afraid to ask for freebie advice or help, but always try to find a way to return the favor. i think this should be called ‘how to be a friend 101′.

so there you have it! my mistakes and how i’ve learned from them.  what are some of your most learned from mistakes?

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remember my back porch makeover? today i’m going to share with you one of my thrifty diy projects that gave the space the right kind of feel- a thrifted frame tray!

frame tray before

i bought this lovely from goodwill for a buck.  beautiful, isn’t it?

frame tray after

i painted the frame with high gloss white spray paint and then covered the cardboard insert with this red print fabric (from ikea). i secured it with a little hot glue and voila! i had a matching tray centerpiece within about twenty minutes!

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