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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Tumbling Around

Happy Monday! It is a quiet and rainy day here. For our Bootcamp assignment we were asked to sign up to Tumblr.com. I was excited at the prospect. A month ago I was scared about getting to learn how to use all of these social/media sites but I have really changed for the positive, especially since I have been in the HMC Bootcamp. I am now finding it is really fun to use these sites and I am amazed how you can use these sites to share your products, ideas, and interests.

Today I got signed up and am playing around and exploring the site. I have come across several mini-blogs to follow on such interesting topics as art, food, and history. I have already re-blogged a beautiful piece of art I came across and a recipe that is perfect for a rainy, chilly day like today. You can see these posts and follow me here:

http://mondayschildprimitives.tumblr.com/

Just want to share another photo I took yesterday. My columbine is coming into bloom…Have a wonderful day!

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Posted by on April 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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My Retreat

Happy Sunday! Welcome to my little backyard retreat smack dab in the middle of suburbia! It is a pretty spring day so I decided to go outside and take some photos. Taking photos of plants and beds throughout the seasons is a wonderful idea for gardeners. Not only does it help you remember what you planted where, it also gives you an idea of how plants look at different times in the growing season. This can be really helpful in determining where to place new plants or what sections might be devoid of flowers at given times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The above photos are shots that I took from my patio. To the left, my bed runs down along the wooden privacy fence and contains a small pond, shrubs, and perrenials. The bed slowly curves out and then back in to showcase a lilac tree. As the bed runs along the back fence, it contains plants that will contain gorgeous mid-summer blooms. A bird bath is placed in the bed among Purple Coneflowers, Black-eyed Susans, and Campanula Cherry Bells. The bed curves and sweeps to the right and continues along down the side of the garage/woodshop. Behind the garage is a shed and my vegetable bed. A Dwarf Burning Bush and a Spiraea help act as a backdrop to keep the vegetable plot separate from the flower bed.

All gardens need lots of love and care in the spring and mine is no exception. The unnaturally warm weather early in the season this year has caused my hostas and perennials to get big fast. I have a lot of work ahead of me but today I decided to tackle a small corner in the back where the irises are in bloom.

As you can see in the above photos, this little corner needs some thinning and the hostas need to be divided. I have Physostegia planted around the Iris. They bloom in late summer until frost and add much needed color to the late-season garden. They tend to multiply quickly and need a good thinning every year. The hostas I have planted here are variegated and remain small. They do well in partly sunny areas and add a nice pop of color througout the whole season.

Well, the hostas have been divided and replanted and the Physostegia thinned. The majestic Iris look so much prettier with the area around them cleaned up. And no project is ever complete without giving credit to the person in charge… Well, here’s the head honcho, my little Peanut girl. She is laying in the shade of the grill making sure I am doing things right, and patiently waiting for me to light the grill!

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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All About Me

 

No, contrary to how the title sounds, this post isn’t going to be about my profile. I am going to use those words in a different context. In this day and age, everyone is always busy with on-going to-do lists that never end. My life is no exception. While I am blessed to be a housewife, doing my daily chores, babysitting my nieces and nephews, and creating products for my Etsy shop as well as running it seem to keep me busy non-stop. While I love and enjoy doing all of those things, sometimes I need to let go and let things be all about me…

While I am a perfectionist and my own worst task-master, I do have to occasionally let myself stop and spend some time doing something for myself that I truly enjoy. Today feels like one of those days! Among my varied interests and hobbies, I have one true passion that I do for the enjoyment of it and that is genealogy and tracing family trees. Crazy as it sounds, I look forward to spending an afternoon browsing online scanned images of 300 year old church record books the way that some women eagerly anticipate a trip to the spa…

Making millions of records accessible, the internet has allowed family history research to grow by leaps and bounds. I have been able to trace 3/4 of my ancestors back to Germany. I found one of my family lines in church record books from the late 1700’s and found what town they were from. I have also been doing my husband’s tree for over a year and at first he didn’t think I would find anything. Finding a John Smith from Kentucky is like finding a needle in a haystack. Well, his family tree is turning out to be large and quite impressive. I have been able to trace through his mother’s line that he is descended from dozens of the first settlers of Quebec in the early 1600’s. Some of these ancestors were also some of the first residents of Detroit and the first settlers of Monroe, MI. His family tree branches on his father’s side are no less impressive. Several of his family lines lead to ancestors who migrated to Kentucky from Maryland in the late 1700’s and were some of the state’s first settlers. Some of them were from prestigious families and there is at least one person who I believe is to be a patriot of the Revolutionary War.

I am excited at the thought of digging into the past this afternoon. If you have any interest in finding out about your family history, the best place to start is by asking older family members questions about your family. Census records and state birth, marriage, and death records are also good starting points. One of the best websites of online collections is familysearch.org and surprisingly, it is free. Ancestry.com is also very good but usually requires a monthly fee. You will be amazed at what you can find…

Hope everyone has a happy Saturday!

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Some Favorite Pins

As we near the end of April, my thoughts are increasingly turning to gardening. Here in Michigan I generally plant my vegetable garden and annuals in mid-May. Usually the danger of frost has passed by then. As an avid gardener, I make use of lots of shrubs, bulbs, and perrennials in my flower beds. As they have filled in over the years the need for adding annuals to them has lessened. However, I still enjoy doing a few containers of annuals every year to place on my porches to add a pretty touch.

I am always challenged every year as to how I should do my containers. I always like new ideas and trying things a litlle different. Some of my favorite color combinations are purples with pinks. I found and pinned the above photo. I think it is just gorgeous and love the different heights, colors, and textures. This might just be the inspiration I need for my containers this year…But then again, I found the lovely photo below. I love the white blooms with all of the green. It would really add interest to a shadier spot!

As I am becoming more familiar with Pinterest, I am growing to love it more and more. As I browse the web and find all kinds of lovely ideas and products, I can create beautiful boards to come back to. While I do a lot of pinning on boards to help promote shops and products on Etsy, I am also trying to make more boards that reflect who I am and my personal style.

And now that spring is in bloom, it is also time to start thinking about barbeques. I also pinned this recipe and can’t wait to try it…Happy Friday everyone!

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Primitive Nooks And Crannies

The ultimate goal of any business is to sell their product or service. An important part of doing this requires marketing that product or service to the group of people most likely to buy that product or service. It means finding the niche that your product or service falls into and promoting and making connections within that niche.

Today with all of the possibilities available on the internet, the sky is the limit in the ways you can promote your business and find your niche. In the broadest sense, you can do web searches to find other people, shops, groups, and organisations that deal with your particular type of product. You can also connect with all of the social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, to name just a few. As you look further and further into these like-minded groups, you will find even more links, shops, people, and groups.

For me personally, my products generally fall into the niche of Primitives. While I try to have at least a few items in my shop that will appeal to a broad spectrum of people, most of my items are geared toward the Primitive market. Well, what are primitives? Every person who is asked this question will give a different answer. Generally speaking, primitives are items that are reminiscent of yesteryear and of a simpler, more peaceful time. They often include items that are vintage or have been made to look aged. There are often common themes within primitives such as crows, watermelons, sheep, stars, bee skeps, and salt box houses. Primitive decor can also include Early American decor. Think of a weathered 18th century New England house and how it would be decorated. As with many types of products, primitives have a main niche, but also a subset of “nooks and crannies” that they fall into.

Part of my business strategy has been to research primitive shops and groups to see what everyone is selling and what they are doing. When I started out, even before joining Etsy, I did a lot of looking around the web. I kept coming across several shops and groups that I really admired and that inspired me. After I joined Etsy I discovered that some of these shops and groups were on Etsy as well. I saw that there was one particular team that I really admired and I saw that it was a juried team. You had to apply to be accepted. Well, I applied with fingers crossed. I thought to myself, how would I, a really new kid on the block, get in with these super talented artists? Well they accepted me right away and I am so honored to be among them. The moment that I saw that I was accepted was more exciting to me than my first Etsy sale! This group is the Old Farmhouse Gathering and here is the link to their blog if you’d like to check it out…They also have a link to their cooking blog which has lots of great recipes!

http://oldfarmhousegathering.blogspot.com/

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Rose’s Recipe

The beautiful lady in the above photo was named Rose and she was my great-grandmother. She was one of the sweetest people to ever live and I was blessed to have her in my life until I was 13. Having only one brother, she was from a small family. She in turn only had a daughter, the mother of my father, who was also an only child. Because of the smallness of our family over the generations, I was fortunate enough to inherit several items that were passed down. Among these treasures were some of Rose’s kitchen implements and her hand-written recipe book. The old wooden bowl that I use in my shop photos belonged to her and I use her old wooden rolling pin when rolling out my pie crust. She loved to bake and her book is filled with “receipts” for all kinds of delicious pies, cakes, and cookies. I’d like to share with you her recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies. They are delicious yet easy to make and I have been baking them for over 20 years.

PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES

1 c. shortening (or 1/2 lard and 1/2 butter)

1 c. brown sugar

1 c. white sugar

1 c. peanut butter

2 eggs

3 c. flour

1-1/2 t. baking soda

1 t. vanilla

dash of salt

Mix ingredients as listed. Roll in small balls and flatten with a fork.

 

This recipe is given verbatim in Rose’s words. Like many old recipes, just the ingredients and basic directions are given. It was assumed that the cook already knew the basics. When making this recipe, I find it easiest to mix the dough thoroughly with a stand mixer or hand mixer. I roll the dough into approximately 1″ balls and roll them in white sugar. I then place them on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake them at about 375 degrees for 8 – 10 minutes. Because ovens and cookie sheets vary this is just approximate. Just keep an eye on the cookies so that the bottoms do not brown too fast. The cookies should be light golden brown and lightly browned on the bottom.

Hope you enjoy them!

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Greetings From Bootcamp

Sending out a hoorah today on our 7th day of Handmade Circle Team’s Bootcamp. I am feeling very positive today…up early and got my daily tasks done in record time. I have to say that I am amazed at how far I have come in seven days and that I am doing things I never dreamt possible. I am actually blogging and yesterday I began setting up my own website!  I am so excited about this and will be so happy to share it with everyone after I have it tweeked a bit more. Debbie Nowicki is an awesome leader and is really onto something great with this Bootcamp. And my fellow team-mates are all wonderful! We do everything we can to help, encourage, and inspire each other. I feel so blessed to be a part of this initial group and am looking forward to what the next 23 days will bring…

Wanted to share a photo of my irises with you that I took this morning…They are in bloom a good 3 weeks earlier than normal this year because of the unseasonably warm weather we had here in Michigan a few weeks ago.

And if anyone is interested, my Scotty Dogs and Bones Bowl Fillers are still 35% off but this flash sales ends after today:)

 

http://www.etsy.com/listing/96019951/on-sale-35-percent-off-set-of-6

Have a great day!

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 
 
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