Friday Featured Favorites: Wicker and Wonderful

I… love… baskets. I don’t know what it is about baskets that makes them so appealing to me, they’re just fun!

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So naturally I was pleased to find the Etsy shop JGBaskets, with a wonderful variety of baskets. And when I say variety, I mean Variety!

The basket on the left is a mail basket. She also has stair baskets, bread baskets, napkin baskets and wall baskets (all of which are worth looking at!)

Jan, the owner of the shop, got started about 28 years ago, when she decided to get a kit and make herself a basket. Apparently, her first basket wasn’t a roaring success, but she kept at it until, as you can see, she got fantastic results!

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Besides selling on Etsy, Jan sells her baskets at art shows. As well as weaving, she’s tried her hand at cross stitch, macramé, quilting, crochet and rug hooking. What really impresses me is that she runs her Etsy shop on the side, and works as a surgical technologist and surgical assistant during the day.

I really enjoyed featuring this shop today. I kept running into it, and seeing different, fun baskets every time. I love the simple, beautiful look and I look forward to coming back to see what else she has. By the way, she has some really fun Easter baskets you have to check out!

Once again, the shop is JGBaskets.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Sarah

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DIY Dishwasher Detergent

Over the last few years the acronym DIY (or Do It Yourself) has been floating around the internet. When I first saw it, I got annoyed at it – kinda dorky word! But then Abigail, Sarah and I realized that it’s no different from what we’ve always done – work with what you have and make up little projects or crafts or food dishes or cleaning supplies or – well the list goes on – and my mind runs blank. 🙂 There are too many things that we’ve done to list them all.

So to celebrate my continuation of creatively finding solutions for little everyday problems, I’m making a blog post about it! And maybe we’ll do more blog posts about our own version of DIY.

Ok, so the problem was we just ran out of dish detergent tabs and kind of need to run the dishwasher – we use a lot of dishes in one day, people! And since I’ve been curious about making my own dish detergent for a while now, I decided to look one up. I found a couple that looked pretty similar. (First one I found was on Tipnut and the second, which is the one I used, was on DIY Natural)

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DIY Dishwasher Detergent

  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1 cup Baking Soda
  • 1/2 cup Citric Acid
  • 1/2 cut Salt
  • 3-4 drops essential oil (optional)

Mix it all up, making sure to evenly spread the essential oil. I used lavender, but you could use lemon, orange, eucalyptus, tea tree, lemongrass essential oil.

Use about 1 tablespoon per load, or more if desired.

 

 

 

This stuff is sooo white! It’s all powdery and clean smelling – until I added lavender, and then it smelt all pretty!

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An added bonus for me was using up a few things we have in the cabinet. Like this stuff – we found the regular salt in the back of the cabinet – does salt go bad? What little I tasted of it just tasted like regular salt. But since I didn’t want to use it in cooking, this was the perfect thing! 🙂 And I used up the sour salt – or citric acid. Don’t really use sour salt for anything else.

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Then I put it into my handy dandy jar, and there you go! And of course, always use the Collaborator – that’s the word we girls use for a big funnel – don’t ask why!

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Just ran the load with it – looks pretty good to me! Nice and clean!

Has anyone else tried a homemade dishwasher detergent before?

What did you think of the results?

~Hannah~

Friday Featured Favorites: Designs by Diane

The shop I’ll be featuring today, DianesDesignsbyDiane, I discovered through the Etsy forums. What especially struck me was the happy, nice personality of the lady that runs it, Diane. I thought: “Wow, she must have a fun shop!” and I was right.

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And similarly, when I saw her shop, I found the personality inviting, charming and open.

As you can see with the fun picture on the left, her cards have a simplistic, amusing style that’s totally unique.

Diane’s career in art started when she drew a picture for a friend’s birthday. It was so popular, her friend got about 40 orders! (I think that’s a great way to start a business)

Diane’s work is shown in art shows and she used to own a shop. Sadly, her shop was destroyed in an earthquake.

Diane heard about Etsy through an artsy niece, and opened her shop in 2010, though didn’t keep it up until recently when she was laid off from her regular job. She admits the situation is a little scary, but with the support of her husband and Lord willing, she thinks a door will be opening soon. Even while I was talking with her, she made her first sale since reopening!

il_570xn-1132268380_ks92It goes without saying that I loved looking around at her shop. What struck me just now, when I was looking for some of the pictures to feature, was that there seems to be endless possibility to what Diane could do, since she’s making the cards completely from scratch!

She has several cute little angels, as well as animals, like the owls to the left.

Many of the cards are blank, or can have a small message, making it very customizable!

Besides the wonderful cards, Diane has several dolls that look amazingly like her illustrations. Here’s a Link to one of my favorites.

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This picture to the left is totally my favorite so far!!!

I loved checking out this shop, as I’m sure you will too!

Here’s a link to her Etsy shop, DianesDesignsbyDiane

And a link to her Blog, here on WordPress.

If you want to see more shops we feature here on occasional Fridays (hopefully a little more often than we’ve done recently) just follow our blog!

Hope everyone has a great Friday and weekend!

Sarah

Photographing Food

I love food. Food makes me happy.

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And occasionally I remember to take pictures of the dishes we make! So I thought I’d share a few of those photos here.

Admittedly, some dishes, like pilafs, are really hard to photograph. And another difficulty I find myself facing is that we usually have our main, photo-worthy meals in the evening when the lighting is… difficult.

The beautiful heart shaped cake to the left was made several years ago for Valentine’s Day. I forget what recipe we used for the cake, but it was delicious.

And something I’ve noticed more recently is that we didn’t serve the cake on a Fiesta Ware plate, which we normally would’ve done… so it was pre-Fiesta Ware days!

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Then there are also times when I happen to have my camera with me – or nearby – and I notice something that would be interesting to photograph…

which was the case with the coffee grounds pictured on the left. It was just too interesting looking for me to resist, especially since my current camera focuses very nicely. In this case I like how it either looks like chocolate or dirt or like what it actually is. Naturally, I took lots of pictures, but I liked the way this one turned out.

img_2364 I believe this was the mince pie we made recently. It was looking so wonderful and yummy in the light that, of course, I had to take pictures of it!

Solid things seem to be the easiest to take pictures of. Like I said before, pilafs or rice pudding, or anything with a squishy, gray-ish color makes it difficult to photograph. The best thing to do with those dishes, if you want to take pictures of them, seems to be to put a nice garnish on top and don’t get too close… allow people to imagine what the gray-ish dish is.

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The most recent food thing I’ve taken pictures of is the hot cocoa to the left… the wonderfully thick, rich, amazing Hot Cocoa.

I was trying to take pictures of it, and for some reason it was pretty unsuccessful. Maybe the lighting was off. However, I did manage to get this nice close-up of the surface, in which you can see the reflection of the orange slice and a little of the room. Yummy!

winter-orange-2A couple years ago I decided to challenge myself to taking pictures of food. It’s an ongoing challenge, since a dish will sometimes strike me, while others don’t work. Tonight’s meal of carrot soup and chicken with couscous was pretty, but I doubt it would be easy to photograph.

So, this year, I think I’m going to challenge myself to something even tougher. And… I’m going to challenge you too.

Find something you find especially difficult to capture, either photograph or paint or whatever the case may be, and try to capture it.

img_3043In my case, I’m going to challenge myself to Photograph my family. For some reason I find it difficult to photograph people, which is sad considering they’re much more important than most (if not all) things I take pictures of.

So, anyway, I challenge you to photograph or paint something you’re unfamiliar with this year. Challenge all the photographers or artists you know. I’ll go ahead and do a blog post on my process and the final results by April (although I should be able to manage it in March)

So there we go! Now the challenge is out, and I’d better get to it 🙂

Hoping everyone has a great finish to their week,

Sarah

 

Friday Featured Favorites: Redo

(I wrote this blog post – like… a month ago, and discovered recently that I hadn’t published it! Terrible mistake, considering the featured shop 🙂 )

I found a really fun shop a while ago…

and then I lost it. Fortunately, I found it again, and today I will feature it! This shop is known as VintageRedo, operated by Pamela.

il_570xn-733919732_skv2What caught my eye and made me want to feature this shop? First of all, I liked the art. Then, I love how Pam remakes something old – not only new – but she seems to completely reinvent it!

I’ve been looking around Etsy recently, and realizing that there is a lot of interesting retro/vintage things to find there. We’ve even discovered lots of stuff that we have, so apparently we could start up our own vintage shop!

I saw the art here on this shop, as shown on the left, and I really liked it. It’s surprising, unique and pretty.

I contacted Pam, thrilled to be featuring such a fun shop. I was especially interested to find out how she got started doing this art.

Apparently, she started when she was a young girl, and she always loved making jewelry. Her first project was using her grandmother’s buttons and jewelry to make a picture.

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Pam started her Etsy shop because, as she put it, “I’m an empty nester“. It turned into more of a business because of her love of jewelry and, as she puts it, a girl can only wear so much jewelry.

I asked her what her favorite era of history is. The Victorian era is one of her favorites, but she also specified the last 10 years of the 19th Century (also known as the Gay Nineties) as a favorite because of their intricate and beautiful buttons.

I looked up the Gay Nineties for myself, to see more about this era, and the buttons – among other things – are quite amazing.

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I found it difficult to figure out what photos to use from this shop, to capture the beauty Pam creates, so I definitely recommend you check out this vintage shop!

There are several necklaces and brooches, and I love all of the beautiful art pieces she created out of the jewelry!

Once again, the name of this shop is:

VintageRedo

I hope everyone’s December is going well so far, and everyone’s weekend is great!

Sarah

In with the new!

Wow! we’re a little more than half way through the first month of 2017! I didn’t see that coming.

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I have tons of plans for 2017! I usually have to think about them for a while before getting going on them, and talking about them beforehand really doesn’t help me.

However, I’m going to be daring… and make a sort of resolution.

It’s not an actual resolution, because that makes it sound boring. Anyway…

I’m talking about it here – first of all, because I’d love to share it a little with you – also, hopefully it will help me keep to it if more people know about it.

It’s recently come to my attention that I really enjoy playing music. I always had trouble figuring out how I wanted to play with music, but I miss it, so I really hope to get back into it during 2017.

img_2348I’m sure it’s been mentioned at some point that I play the violin, guitar and piano. I have less experience and knowledge with the piano and guitar, but they’re both very understandable instruments and I love all three of them.

So… I’ll be pulling out the guitar and violin to tune them! I’m especially interested in working on hymns, because I know several pretty well and enjoy them, and we’ll see where I go with that!

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Technically, this might not be the best time to be picking up another, time consuming thing. I can juggle a few things, like Etsy, eating, sleeping and thinking. But not much more.

However, I feel ready to try something new (or old). Plus, music is a wonderful, essential language. So, I am looking forward to this year, and praying that I can incorporate music comfortably into my life.

I’d love to hear what everyone has planned for the new year! Do you have anything that you’ve been wanting to get back to or a new adventure you’re thinking of trying?

Welcome to 2017 everyone! It’s still a new year, and I’m praying it’s a great one for everyone!

Sarah

5 Things

This Christmas season has been a little weird. For one thing, I haven’t been here celebrating Christmas on our blog as much as I was hoping.

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I blame the weather. We had a long and beautiful Autumn, and everything is delayed so it literally doesn’t feel like Christmas. Everything feels a bit vague and I basically don’t have anyone’s presents ready. Plus, there’s a cold going around!

However, just yesterday Hannah and I were talking about how we didn’t want to look back on this Christmas as the ‘worst’ Christmas. Every Christmas I remember, there’s always great things about it.

So, I thought I’d list 5 Great Things About This Christmas:

1. Our Christmas Tree. We’ve been going for smaller trees the last couple years – all of which have been wonderful – but this year we managed to find a beautiful, full, happy Christmas tree. We decorated it in retro/vintage style, since we’ve been seeing so much fun retro things on Etsy.

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2. Christmas Tea Parties. We had a party with our girl friends last week, with mini mince pies, some fun tea, pretty new velvet dresses and the traveling fascinator (probably we’ll bring that up later). Then a couple days ago we had another party, and had an amazing cookie exchange, more wonderful tea, fun company and Mummy scones! Both teas were absolutely wonderful

3. Baklava! We got to make Lebanese Baklava with some friends. It was surprisingly easy, sort of meditative and such a lot of fun. There’s nothing like the blessing of friendship! Plus, the Baklava, which I finally got to have today, is amazing. Especially when you don’t eat it all at once.

4. Peppermint Patty! Abigail discovered a shop on Etsy by the name of Deep Midnight Perfumes, which is on vacation right now but you totally have to check it out! Abigail got some perfumes for her birthday, and then sweetly got perfumes for an early Christmas present. Abigail got Fezziwig’s Tea, Hannah got Blitzen’s Blast and I got Peppermint Patty. I love all of them, but Peppermint Patty is awesomely deep, pleasant and minty. (by the way, the descriptions the owner has for her perfumes are amazingly accurate!)

old-fashioned-christmas5. Changing Tradition. This year more than usual I’m realizing that the Christmas celebration doesn’t have to be… well, a cookie cutter celebration. Due to various changes, this Christmas was bound to be a little different, and we were trying to focus more on experience than gifts – after all, there’s only so much you can get for people! So, some of the gifts are a little less of a surprise, and we all know the celebrating will be extended. As our friend Lexi points out at our various tea parties, the point is not that the event is perfect, but that we get to spend time together.

And a few other awesome things come to mind, so I’ll mention them really quickly. I made my doll, Mildred, a Christmas dress, which is so cute! I discovered I really like cinnamon with oranges. Just today I discovered a new tea shop, which I am quite thrilled about!

Now, off to read The Christmas Carol. I’d love to hear what you’ve enjoyed so far this Christmas season! Please share in the comments.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Sarah