31 July 2008

One Hundred Sales

Just a few days ago, I reached one hundred sales in my Etsy shop! This is an exciting and very fulfilling milestone, and I hope to have at least one hundred more in the coming months.

To celebrate, I’m giving away a mini-version of my Bring Your Own Bags—Starter Pack. (One reusable canvas shopping bag—medium, and two reusable produce bags).
To enter, just leave a comment on this post. I will be out of town and far away from a computer for a few days, so I will hold the drawing when I get back on Thursday, August 7th.

Happy Day!

Baby Veggie photo shoot

What could be cuter than baby vegetables? I know--I'm a big nerd. I just can't wait for them to grow up so I can eat them.

This is one of the the mystery vines--turns out it's a pumpkin!

30 July 2008

Reuse what you have: Super Foamers

Since I'm sure you don't all have the same blogs on your google reader as I have on mine, I thought I'd pass along a fun idea found on a blog that I read frequently. (Most ideas that circulate around blogland are recycled ideas anyway, which is half of the fun! It would be interesting to trace back an idea to its original source).

This is a super fun activity for kids, and perfect for summertime or bathtime.

Super Foamers
  • used water/juice bottles (any skinny bottle with a smallish opening will work)
  • bottle of bubbles
  • old washcloth or towel
  • rubberbands
1) Cut off the bottom of your bottle

2) Wrap a piece of washcloth or towel around the bottom and secure with a rubber band (I cut an old baby washcloth in half and folded each piece in half again--it was a great size)
3) Dip the washcloth in water first, then in a plate of bubbles

4) Blow! You will be amazed at the super foam that comes out the bottom.

My boys loved making Santa Claus beards with the bubbles. We plan to bring these back out during bathtime very soon.

29 July 2008

Recycle, Recycle, Recycle: Participate in the cycle

At the children's museum here in Eugene, there is a display about recycling. Included in the display is a short video where clay characters teach kids about the cycle of recycling. While watching it with Owen the other day, I learned something new myself.

If we want to truly participate in the cycle of recycling, we have to do more than just clean out our cans, sort our cardboard products, and remove lids from water bottles to throw in the recycle bin. I feel lucky that where I live, a commingled recycling bin pickup makes it easy for me to recycle. You may live in an area where this is more difficult.

However, the cycle doesn't begin and end with us buying new things to throw in the recycle bin. The cycle is complete only when we choose to buy things that are made from those items we recycled. Often this requires us to make a small change in our budget, as these things are often a bit more expensive. But if you live in an area where recycling is difficult or impossible, this is another way to participate in the cycle.

Here are a few ideas:

Next time, when buying paper for your printer, buy recycled. Paper is definitely one material that can be recycled back into itself.

This one might be the easiest of all. Because aluminum is a material that can be recycled back into itself hundreds of times, you can safely assume that the soda cans you buy are made of recycled aluminum. That's good for us, since we consume a lot of soda at our house.

Again, because foil is made of aluminum, it is an obvious choice for buying recycled. This one might be a bit more difficult to find, but there are many stores that carry it these days.

Do you know of other products you can buy that are made from recycled materials?

28 July 2008

Monday Fun Find #9

I'm excited to have Alisa as a guest blogger today. She is officially the first guest Monday Fun Finder.

I was introduced to 12fifteen's etsy shop by design*sponge, and my first purchase was this wonderful little bird letterpress notecard, which I put in a frame. It was the beginning of my birds-as-d├Ęcor trend, and it's one of my favorite bird pieces in my little collection.

My next purchase was this beautiful orange print; it's a simple illustration but a striking orange color and has great contrast and composition.

My current favorite thing in her shop is this set of wonderful personalized notecards in best friends blue and brown letterpress, with fantastic blue envelopes.

I think Johanna Anderes, who runs the shop, has a great eye for vintage modern styling without being overly trendy or retro. She captures what's great about the trend but keeps her designs simple and traditional. She is gracious and professional and has well-deserved success with her etsy shop.

I highly recommend reading Alisa's musings on how she is distracted from distraction by distraction here. She has an amazing way with words.

***If you would like to showcase your favorite Etsy seller or Etsy handmade item, I would love to have you as a Guest Monday Fun Finder. Just leave a comment with your email, or send me an email at limabeanhome [at] gmail [.] com.

27 July 2008

Summer Berries & Cherries

Last year, here in our very own Lane County, we discovered an amazing community of local farmers, who allow regular citizens like myself to go out in their well-loved and cultivated fields, bushes, and orchards and pick fruit and vegetables at a supremely discounted rate. I call this a summer treat extraordinaire.

So last week, moms and kids found themselves among the blueberry bushes of the Adkins Family Farm. I wish I had pictures of the cuties and all the blueberries they shoved in their mouths while picking, but, alas, I forgot my camera. So, pictures of the mouth-watering fruit will have to suffice.

Oh, and the GORGEOUS queen-anne cherries were bought at Me & Moore fruit stand on the drive home from Adkins Family Farm. I drove by the sign for cherries and couldn't resist. Can you see why? That whole big bowl of cherries was only $5!!

***Here are some interesting tidbits I found out about storing blueberries after they're picked:
  • Unwashed blueberries will stay fresh for up to two weeks in the refrigerator if kept dry.
  • Place dry, unwashed, and unsweetened berries in freezing containers or plastic bags. Seal and freeze. The berries will freeze individually and pour out like marbles.
  • When using frozen blueberries in your baking, do not thaw them. Always add them frozen so they will not "bleed" in your baked goods.

21 July 2008

Monday Fun Find #8

Because the $15,000.00 price tag on this Monday Fun Find makes it a little out of the budget, this one is mostly just for fun.

Anax Imperator Machina

If you're interested, you can read the fascinating description of this item below. JesseDanger is a truly remarkable artist, and as of today, this Machina has had 28,000+ views on Etsy. In her shop you will also find unique, eco-friendly jewelry.

Latin for, The Emperor Dragonfly Machine. Modeled after the largest modern species of dragonfly, this is a functioning creation whose wings flutter up and down when the very tip of the tail (really the abdomen, but tail sounds cooler) is turned. The inspiration for this complex mechanical insect originated from many of the fantasized gadgets of Leonardo Da Vinci and other mechanical creations once thought futuristic in times long before our own. Inspired by these designs I set out to recreate nature using classical engineering and an elegant form. My intentions are to develop and continue making more of these mechanical insects. The internal mechanisms, gears and moving parts were painstakingly hand-milled and hand-calibrated with absolute precision from 14k gold. The body, mechanical frame and wings were handcrafted from Argentium Silver, far superior to Sterling or fine silver. The body opens up to reveal the intricate inner movements, and fine details that just could not be left forever covered up! The eyes are each large 10 carat Swiss Blue Topaz cabochons and the 14k gold bezel on the tail contains a 4mm Amethyst bullet shaped cabochon.

Completely handmade (except two brass gears), this creation is the culmination of hundreds of hours of designing and redesigning, and even more hours of patient and careful construction.
Size is 8" wide from wing to wing, 6" long and 3.5" tall. I can guarantee that you will not find a similar creation anywhere!

**Stay tuned for next week's MFF, which will feature my first guest finder, Alisa's favorite handmade item.

18 July 2008

A fun present

For her birthday, my mother-in-law wanted a new bag for church to hold her essentials. This is my favorite kind of project--one that has just enough specifics to narrow down the size and functionality of the bag, but with no specifics on fabric or style to allow for creativity and fun.

I recently checked out this book from my library, after reading about it on someone's goodreads list.

The book is full of fun, relatively simple projects for any level of sewer. One of the projects was called Pleated Beauty Handbag. It seemed like a fun, unique bag that would suit this purpose.

My mother-in-law loves blue, so I found a couple of contrasting blue fabrics to use for the outside, and a beige upholstery stripe to use as the lining. Because the author encourages bending the rules, I added another pleat in the middle of the bag.

Here is the final product. She should have already received it in the mail by now, and I hope she likes it. Happy (belated) Birthday Mom Fuller!

17 July 2008

Reuse what you have: water storage

With two little apple juice guzzlers in my house, you can imagine we end up with a lot of these:

So a few weeks ago after reading in the news about multiple natural disasters which affected the water supply in various parts of the U.S., I started to worry about my family's water storage. Because our house isn't very large, I've been using that as an excuse to not store water, always telling myself I would do it later when we had some extra room. Also, I never wanted to go out and buy bottles of water and have to haul them all home. (cheap AND lazy)

The very next day I found myself chucking one of those empty gallon apple juice jugs in the recycle bin, thinking to myself, "those containers are made of sturdier plastic than most," and at that moment I had a lightbulb moment. These gallon jugs (of which I've recycled at least 25 in the last few years) would make perfect water storage containers!

And so, as I've said before, recycling is great, but reusing is better. Store some water in your reused juice bottles and find peace of mind knowing you'll be prepared if there is ever a water shortage. Yes, your water will all have a hint of apple juice flavor, but in an emergency, you probably won't mind.

***Here is a very helpful website all about water storage. They say: "Every home should have a supply of water stored for at least three days of emergency use. Store one gallon per person per day, and one quart per small pet"

14 July 2008

Monday Fun Find #7

Today's fun find is made by Jessica of weelittlemousie.

3 burp cloths - blue/yellow flowers and bees

If you're going to a baby shower and need a unique, handmade gift, check out Jess's Etsy shop. "The name of my shop was inspired by a little tickle game my aunt used to play with me and my sisters. The rhyme goes:

Round a bit, round a bit
Wee little mousie
Up a bit, up a bit
Into wee housie!

The burp cloths are made with absorbent Gerber cloth diapers and accented with a panel of 100% cotton flannel. She's a great seamstress and I'm especially lucky to have her as my sister-in-law.

***If you're looking for a reason to surf around Etsy and fill up your favorites (or perhaps you already do that), I would love to have you as a guest finder on the Monday Fun Finds to share your most favorite item. Just leave a comment on this post with your email in this format: limabeanhome [at] gmail [dot] com (to avoid spammers) and I'll email you soon to set it up!

12 July 2008

Update on the mystery vines

If you remember reading this post, you'll remember that I promised to give regular updates on these awesome vines that are mysteriously growing in my garden.

As you can see, they're getting bigger, but because they have yet to produce a blossom, I still have no idea what the future blossoms will turn into. Although I'm holding out for some type of melon, due to my watermelon AND cantalope plants both withering away for no apparent reason.

Here is one of the tomato plants that also spontaneously appeared from the compost spreadings. This poor little plant will soon be dwarfed by the rapidly growing zucchini plant behind it. This one may require transplanting. . .

Again, I'll keep you posted.

08 July 2008

Two goals

Here are a couple of my summer goals:

(1) buy local produce
(2) use whole wheat flour in my cooking/baking

I know, they're not much related and totally random.

Buying local produce comes from my desire to support local farmers. These days, produce bought in the stores is from all over the world, and with the way gas prices are, the cost is being passed onto us in the rise of produce prices. Therefore, where it was once more expensive for a girl on a budget to buy local produce, now it perhaps is not. I am going to do my best to purchase produce at local markets and stands and I'll post when I find something extra delish.

The second goal comes from my desire to increase our family's consumption of whole grains. Up to now we have been mostly a white rice, white flour family. We do eat whole wheat bread, though, which is why I decided that whole wheat flour is a wonderful way to add whole grains to baking. So far I've found that if it changes the flavor of something at all, it is a good change--the whole wheat flour makes cookies, pizza dough, and pancakes taste nuttier and adds great texture.

Here is one of the recipes I've discovered that uses TWO whole grains and my kids love them.

Oatmeal Pancakes

1 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup whole wheat flour (you can also do half white, half wheat or any ratio of white to wheat you desire )
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp. lemon juice

Combine oats, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center. Combine egg, milk, oil, and lemon juice. Pour into well and stir just until moistened.

(You know the rest--cook like regular pancakes).

They're sweet and nutty and a great way to start the morning. Let me know if you like them!

07 July 2008

Monday Fun Find #6

Here is another fun find for young kids.

Baby Bug Flash Cards

My sister gave James a set flash cards when he was small, and he had such fun with them--they make a great activity for church, quiet time, or car rides.

This set is colorful cards has been "lovingly illustrated over the course of several months" by secretagentjo, and come in a handmade, cotton muslin bag for easy storage. (Notice the cute pair of smiling underwear for the letter U!)

Happy Monday!

01 July 2008

Time is a Mother's Enemy

Lately I've been reading books in which the characters are brave, intelligent, strong mothers.

The book I just finished is The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant. The book tells the biblical story of Dinah, daughter of Leah--the only surviving daughter among the twelve sons of Jacob. It is a fascinating tale of motherhood, midwifery, biblical culture, and the sufferings and joys of women.

Late into the book Dinah gives birth to a son, and the author beautifully describes the joy of a first-time mother.

"Just as there is no warning for childbirth, there is no preparation for the sight of a first child. I studied his face, fingers, the folds in his boneless little legs, the whorls of his ears, the tiny nipples on his chest. I held my breath as he sighed, laughed when he yawned, wondered at his grasp on my thumb. I could not get my fill of looking.

There should be a song for women to sing at this moment, or a prayer to recite. But perhaps there is none because there are no words strong enough to name that moment. Like every mother since the first mother, I was overcome and bereft, exalted and ravaged."

And later, she says this:

"Every day, I kissed my fingers and touched the statue of Isis, offering thanks to distribute among the multitude of Egypt's gods and goddesses whose stories I did not know, in gratitude for the gift of my son. I gave thanks every time my son hugged me. . .The days passed sweetly and turned into months, consumed by the endless tasks of loving a child. I had no leisure for looking backward and no need of the future.

I would have stayed forever within the garden of [my son's] childhood, but time is a mother's enemy. My baby was gone before I knew it, and then the hand-holding toddler was replaced by a running boy."

Often when I am out and about with my boys, older women will stop me, look longingly at my children while thinking of their own, and say, "time goes so fast--cherish every moment." or, "my baby is now 25 years old--enjoy each day".

Although being a mother is often challenging, I am so grateful for each day and each precious moment I have with my boys. They too, are growing up so fast.