Thursday, August 29, 2013

Aromatherapy Eye Pillow product review

I've recently had the opportunity to try out the Aromatherapy Eye Pillow from Winter Solstice Dreams, a creative aromatherapy company.

I received the Sleepy Head Blend eye pillow in a well wrapped package which included a protective sleeve for the eye pillow, care instructions, & product brochure. I really do appreciate getting care instructions with handmade items!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wordless Wednesday ~ Traveler Green

Meet Traveler Green! She is my new travel buddy courtesy of Little Green Guy, as an early anniversary present from my husband. Her first adventure was to the splash park with my daughter.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Why Locally Sourced Matters

Scott from GipsonWands is guest blogging with us again this week. This post is all about why locally sourced, naturally aged wood is important.

People have asked me why I prefer to make wands from locally sourced and naturally-aged wood. They are consistently amazed when I tell them that most commercially available lumber is sprayed with chemicals and that these chemicals then soak into the wood and become permanent. Surprised? I was also. The next time you see product that is intended for constant handling, food preparation, or even might end up in someone’s mouth, think about the following.

Trees transport water and nutrients up from the ground to its leaves and after it is cut the wood’s endgrain is like a sponge.  Any chemical that comes in contact with it travels throughout the wood. All lumber,regardless of its origin, has been cut down and transported, put through a sawmill, and has been dried in a kiln. All the steps of this process are capable of introducing chemicals to the wood.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Featured Shop of the Week- GipsonWands

This week's featured shop is my husband Scott's shop, GipsonWands. He has written a few guest posts for the blog previously, including Making a Wand, Why Locally Sourced Matters, and Making a Solid Wood Crochet Hook. Now Scott will tell you more about his business & how he got started.

My business started with my desire to have my own wand. I'm a huge Harry Potter fan, and I wanted something that was true to what is described in the book, but when I went online alot of people were selling resin cast wands or wands made from cheap wood stained to look like a different wood. I felt that these weren't authentic. So I decided to try to make my own. Instead of going to a lumber store I really wanted to use something more personal, wood I had harvested personally from a tree. When I was done making that first wand I started making wands for friends and family. Everyone seemed really pleased with the wands I had made. It was then that I started Gipsonwands.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Crockpot Barbacoa Recipe

I love Chipotle's barbacoa burritos. They are so tasty! As a money saver, we decided to try to make our own barbacoa (aka spicy shredded beef). Its actually very easy, and just as flavorful. This recipe serves 4-6 people.

You will need:
1.5 to 2 lbs chuck roast
1/3c apple cider vinegar
2 tbs lime juice
3 tsp minced garlic  (we added more)
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs fresh cilantro
2 chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped
1 chopped, deseeded jalapeno
1 onion thickly sliced

 For cooking:
1 can diced tomatoes
1c chicken broth

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Featured Shop of the Week: Kiser Krafts

Our featured shop this week is a creative toy maker, Kiser Krafts- "making useful socks playful." Owner Kelly is a fellow Kansas Citian, stay at home mom, and coffee lover. I encourage everyone to read Kelly's inspiring story on Daft Crafts "The Miracle of Crafting."

Kelly says, "My shop helps me with my sock addiction, sewing addiction, and helps my brain function. I got started when a friend, Cody, encouraged me to sell my sock lions in her shop. It opened my eyes to my inner dream of selling handmade things and providing for my children while still staying home."

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

DIY Upcycled Hairbow Display Frame

 Recently I attended Strawberry Swing Indie Craft Fair with Violet's Buds accessories. After attending Zeleny in the spring, I knew I needed to do something to improve my setup. I wanted to have a cohesive display without spending a lot of money, and make it "mine."

I love going to garage sales (or garage sale-ing as we call it) and thrift stores. I also find it important to reuse & re-purpose items as much as possible. This summer I came across many good wooden photo frames priced between $.10 to $1.00. Some frames didn't have a back, most didn't have glass, but that was fine with me!

I started by painting each of the frames an-off white color, using Craftsmart "Vanilla" acrylic paint. Each frame took 2 coats (with drying time in between), but I wanted sort of a worn, weathered look so I wasn't too particular about getting the coats even. A couple frames were too perfect-looking so I took a nail file to them in a few spots.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Featured Shop of the Week: Just for Littles

The featured shop this week is one of our awesome blog sponsors, Just for Littles. Owner Marella is a talented painter and creates wonderfully unique personalities for her pieces. Keep reading to learn more about her, and to enter to win a Just for Littles bank!

I started Just for Littles when I moved to Brooklyn two years ago, from a small town in the Pacific Northwest. It was a new city on a new coast, so I decided it was time to try something new in life! Crafting and painting had always been a hobby of mine and it always made me smile-I figured why not see if it makes others smile, too?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Easy Orange Chicken dinner recipe

After too many disappointing Chinese take-out meals, my husband Scott & I decided we had enough. He did some online research and found a few recipes that we tested. This recipe for Orange Chicken & Fried Rice is one we tried, made a few changes, and now is a regular in our house.

We take a shortcut to make it an easy weeknight meal by using frozen breaded chicken nuggets or tenders. The following recipe makes 4 servings, and can easily be increased. To get the main part of the Orange Chicken & Fried Rice started you will need:

Frozen breaded chicken nuggets or tenders
2 cups Rice (white or brown)
Start by cooking the rice & chicken nuggets according to package directions. While the chicken & rice are cooking you can start the orange sauce.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Wordless Wedensday- Popsicles

What says summer better than melting popsicles?

Happy August!

Linking up at:

A Peek Into My Paradise

Etsy Coupons for VioletsBuds at

Back to School Portrait Tips

Contributor Verte Photography has more great tips for you! Read these great suggestions for taking those special back to school photos.

While I typically promote myself as the product, small business photographer, I do in fact have a TON of experience in family portraits. So when a very dear client asked me how to take her daughters back to school photos.. I was excited to share some tips to help her out!  That first day of school photo, is a right of passage photo that everyone seems to do! However, it can be a stressful morning for kids and parents alike. Many families struggle with the new schedule, early alarm clock, and stress and anxiety of the child... which we ALL remember about our first days.

Taking a child's portrait when they are stressed out - or when the parent is stressed out is NEVER a good idea. So here are some cheats, tips and suggestions on getting "back to school" stress-free.

Stressed, sun in my eyes, cranky, upset child... does it show?

 First, Fake it if you can!
I know... CHEATER you all say... "smart planning" I say! We are doing a "dress rehearsal" for our first day of Kindergarten this year. A few days prior to the "real deal" we are setting the alarm, and doing our full run all the way to the school in the morning so my daughter will know what to expect. I find she does extremely well with a little preparation and planning, so were going to include a few photos at the same time! Then, if things are out of control for the first day... we have some that we took just days prior... and really who is going to know the difference! Plus, doing it ahead of time gives you a chance to be less concerned with time and more creative!

Second, Plan Ahead
Charge batteries, empty memory cards, and put the camera with all the parts you might need on the kitchen table or next to the door just like your kids backpack! Then it's as easy as grab, shoot, and go. Easy peasy. If your going to use props like chalkboards, posters or old photos from previous years then make sure you have them painted, written, clean... whatever! Even I have been known to grab a memory card and not test it... only to find it corrupt and I left without a backup. Be sure to have a spare on hand!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Featured Shop of the Week: Crafty Kelli's Baby Accessories/Kiddos

Our feature this week is of a busy WAHM, Crafty Kelli. She runs 2 shops- Crafty Kelli's Baby Accessories & Crafty Kelli's Kiddos.

I got started sewing when I was a kid and my grandma taught me. She was a neighborhood seamstress and did alterations for the neighbors. She also made a lot of my clothes when I was growing up. My mom made my costumes every year for Halloween so I was around sewing a lot! I didn't sew for MANY years until my kids were born and I moved and had some spare time on my hands. That is when I opened my shops and fell back in love with it. It is so relaxing to me to just sit down in my basement and sew. Since then I have also learned about embroidery and love how they turn out and that I created these beautiful pieces.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Blogger Book Club ~ July's book review

July is already over, and I am sad to say I never was able to obtain a copy of America the Beautiful by Ben Carson. However, I did read 3 other books this month-- The Idiot Girl and Flaming Tantrum of Death by Laurie Notaro, State of Wonder by Ann Patchett, and Life as I Blow it by Sarah Colonna. I decided to review my favorite of the three- State of Wonder.

State of Wonder is about a pharmaceutical research scientist, Dr Singh, who is sent to Brazil to track down one of her colleagues and her former mentor, Dr. Swenson, who has all but disappeared into the Amazon jungle while researching & developing a new drug.
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