Thursday, December 15, 2016


 December has been a bit of blur. i've been putting in a few hours in the glass shop each week making heart pendants. They have been selling well, so each morning i'm packing and shipping and then trying to balance everything else has left my head spinning. i've several sponsored blog posts to write, and a few product reviews as well. So Suddenly, i'm half way through December and starting to panic a bit.

i'm pretty pleased with my heart pendants, although i still struggle with the shapes a bit. i'm going to keep making them until i feel like i can make the shapes consistently. i feel like i've learned a lot about striking the glass to get the colors i want and my loops are also improving. i sell the pendants for $10 shipped. 

i also made a few leaf pendants this month and the colors on them are fantastic. i have a few of these available for sale as well. So right now, this is the extent of my lamp-working abilities. :) i can make hearts and leaves.  i was planning to focus on dolls this fall, but somehow that never happened. i got started on the glass again, and that seems to be where all my spare time is going. The fall is always so busy from halloween until new years, so hopefully when winter kicks in things will slow down a bit. 

One super exciting thing for me, is that i still had fresh tomatoes the first week of December. :) That was a goal for me with the greenhouse this year, and although my plants didn't survive December i still had a beautiful basket of fresh  tomatoes. Next year, i plan to add a heat lamp and i'm hoping to extend my tomato growing season even longer.

Another fun thing for this year, is that i finally am getting some new colors from my chickens. i have so many barnyard cross, that i really wasn't sure what to expect. Right now i am getting everything from white, to dark olive and all different shades of brown.  So i'm not ready to do my recap on the year, but i do feel like this is definitely progress.  It's nice to start December feeling pretty good about the direction we are heading in with our creative and homesteading goals. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Blissoma, Holistic Skin care- Handmade Holidaze Feature

Hey folks! i will be posting about different small businesses/artists and crafters over the next few weeks. i love to help promote my fellow artists and small business owners.

Today my feature for #handmadeholidaze is Julie Longyear of Blissoma Holistic Skincare! i've known Julie for years, first connecting through the old Stitchin' Bitches group. Julie's original business was Irie Star patchwork, but her focus turned to Skin care and Blissoma was created. 

  Her products are one of the most effective and purest skin care lines on the market today. Every product in the collection is 100% natural, Certified Vegan, made in-house, and packed with certified organic botanicals, bioavailable vitamins, essential fatty acids, and skin-soothing seed oils. They are also 100% free of artificial chemicals commonly found in beauty products. 

Visit her website for a nice selection of organic cruelty-free skin care products 
Blissoma on Instagram 
Blissoma on facebook 

i'm will be featuring many other artists and small businesses in the coming day.

#handmadeholiday #promotewhatyoulove #smallbusiness 

Thanksgiving 2016

Playing a little catch up on blog posts again. December already has my head spinning, and i'm feeling completed overwhelmed by all things i still have to do. i know i go through it every year, but it still causes me a bit of panic.

Anyhow, i had started this thanksgiving post on Thanksgiving, but never got around to finishing it.

As always, i pride myself in having a mostly homegrown meal. This year, i don't have leaf greens ready. i was still getting tomatoes, so i was behind in planting my cold crops. Our meal consisted of home grown potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and squash. We also had green beans that had been canned last year, frozen corn gifted by a neighbor, eggs from my hens, apple sauce i had canned, cherries we picked from another neighbor and fresh tomatoes from my garden! 

As a vegetarian family we don't eat turkey,  So i made a tofu-seitan roast filled with wild rice and portabello mushrooms. i loosely used this recipe by vegan dad.

A glimpse of our vegetarian feast.  i turned the pumpkin into Pumpkin pasties, and made cauldron cakes out of the squash. i had a bit of  a Harry Potter theme for our Thanksgiving.

i made hot butter beer for dessert using this recipe. It was so good!!

Afterward dinner, we took a hike to the top Buffalo mountain. Buffalo mountain is the highest point in Floyd county. It was a beautiful day for a hike and perfect end to our day. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Novica- review and Giveaway!

Novica is one of the leading fair trade artisan websites. They work with National Geographic to give talented artisans around the world a place to express their artistic talents and provide access to the world market.

i have always been drawn to unique artwork and clothing from other countries. However, once i became aware that many times artists are not paid a fair wage for the product i became more hesitant to buy many imported goods.

Novica provides fair trade products made by artisans around the globe. They want you to know who you're buying from, to feel an attachment to the product, and to the hands that created it.  One of my favorite features on the Novica site is that there is an artist story at the bottom of every product. So, you can see the artists who are actually making the items. When you purchase an item from Novica, an artisan card is included with each item.

i always really enjoy browsing the Unique Gifts section. Novica has put together a versatile collection of hand-crafted treasures from artists around the world.  The Eco friendly selection includes items that are sustainable and natural as well as items made from recycled or reclaimed materials.  At Novica you'll fiind unique handmade products, great value, and the joy of helping to nurture and elevate the craft of global artisans.

Novica also has an extensive jewelry collection, featuring beautiful handcrafted Sterling Silver Jewelry, precious gemstone necklaces, bracelets and earrings.

Don't know what to give a special someone? The Unique Gift section has gift ideas for everyone; Anniversary gifts, Corporate gifts, Gifts for Animal lovers, and more.  You can shop buy price range, by region, by category, and by individual artist. Their original and unique gift ideas will make it easy to find the perfect gift!

i really love what Novica has created. It is a wonderful online marketplace that bridges the gap and brings all of these unique artisan treasures together in one place for an easy shopping experience.

 You can feel good about your purchases, and feel connected with the artists whom your purchase is helping.

Be sure to check out the Keeper of the Arts section. The Keepers of the Arts honor their cultural traditions and family legacies by preserving ancient techniques for future generations to enjoy. This collection contains many of the world's most precious artistic traditions.

Connect with Novica!

Enter the giveaway below using the rafflecopter form. It may take a minute to load.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Novica provided me with a gift card to review their store, but these opinions are 100% mine. i really feel like this is a great store that showcases the talents of these wonderful artists and provides a place to purchase fair trade, high quality items.

Hello November, Goodbye Tomatoes.

This is how my November started. Sunshine and tomatoes.

 Lots of tomatoes.

 A full Rainbow of tomatoes. 

Despite being the beginning of November, the tomatoes in my greenhouse looked like this. It was absolutely amazing.  The plants were absolutely gorgeous, 11 foot tall and loaded with tomatoes.

11-7 We had a couple light frosts, but i was able to pick the remaining green tomatoes and peppers from the garden. The tomatoes in my greenhouse were still doing fantastic. Despite the cold temperatures outside we'd had enough heat during the day to keep the temperature above freezing at night in the greenhouse.

11-12 The temperatures were really starting to dip down, so i picked all the ripe fruit that was in the greenhouse and many of the larger green tomatoes as well. i had mostly Blue Beauty and Cherokee purples. i'd been planning to put a light out in the greenhouse, to help maintain a bit of heat at night.

Unfortunately i didn't get my light out there in time. Around the second week of November we had a predicted low of 36, so i wasn't really worried.  The temperatures were much lower than that, i believe when i woke that morning it was 21 degrees  F outside.  With no light it was 27 in the greenhouse. i don't know if the light could have kept it above freezing and saved the tomatoes. but i think it may have. Next year i will put the light in early and get it on a timer so i don't forget to turn it on. i was pretty much devastated to lose everything in the greenhouse overnight. i'd had not only tomatoes, but peppers, eggplant and a pineapple sage plant i has successfully rooted from a cutting and kept indoors until it was established. It had not only rooted, but it had just started to bloom. i was hoping to keep it going all winter so i could transplant it back outside in the spring.

11-19 Nearing the end of November and i still have fresh garden tomatoes. Thank goodness i picked all of the ripe and large green ones when i did. i still have a basket of green tomatoes trying to ripen. My goal was to have fresh tomatoes in Dec. and i think i may get my wish. Although i won't be able to pick them off the plant, i should still have a couple ripe on Dec. 1st. 

Although i was really bummed to lose my tomatoes when i did, this is the longest i've ever had fresh tomatoes. i knew the greenhouse was an experiment this year, having never had one before, so i know what i need to do to keep my tomatoes going longer next year. i feel like this was a big step for me and i'm really pleased with how well every thing did this year. Makes me very hopeful for a great garden and harvest next year. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Vending at the IVES Fall Festival

Last Friday i set up my table at the IVES Fall Festival. This is pretty much the only craft show i vend these days. It's a very small local event and i never really expect to make money. i do it to support the school and the event. 

i borrowed the table and necklace displays from a friend and was really pleased with how nice my display was this year. Honestly it usually sucks. ha ha.  i'm always surprised by how much stuff i actually have once i start putting it out. 

The tree cookie (wood slabs) were a last minute addition. i couldn't figure out the best way to display my bendy dolls, but i really think this worked out great. This may be the last time i have bendy dolls for sale. i rarely make them any more and am trying to sell these so i can move on to other crafts.  i still have a lot left and will eventually get them listed on my website if i ever get around to finishing it.

i've been working on lampworked glass leaf and heart pedants again. The leaf pendants are my favorite. The hearts are still really challenging, but it's good practice and hopefully one day i'll master them and be able to move on to something else.  

i really enjoyed vending the fall fest this year, i sold a few things and made enough to more purchase more glass supplies. i've been using Kenan's scrap color, but had burned through all the good colors last fall so i didn't have a lot to work with now that i'm starting to melt glass again.  i ordered a random assortment and am really hoping that i got some good colors! i'm excited to get back down to the glass shop and make holiday gifts again this year. 

If your interested in seeing what work i have for sale you can check my fb page and i'll eventually have the items on my website shopping cart. .

How to store your Essential oils- Anji Naturals Storage box review

A couple months ago i started looking for a storage box for my essential oils. Essential oils should be stored in a cool dark place and away from direct sunlight.  i wasn't entirely sure what i wanted, but felt like i would know when i found it. i checked the thrift stores often, for some type of wooden box but just couldn't find quite what i was looking for.

Then last week i had the opportunity to review this #anjinaturals essential oils storage box. 

 How perfect is this?!? It holds 45 5-15ml bottles and 14 roller bottles. It also comes with 25 pipettes, colored labels and an Aromatherapy E-Book which came on a disk The three tier box is made from unfinished pine and will be fun to decorate/paint. :) You could stain it, or paint or even wood burn a  design on it.  

It's actually a bit larger and heavier than i was expecting! The box measures 9 1/2" tall when closed.  It's 8 1/2" wide and 7 1/4" across.  When it's opened up it is 13 1/2 " tall.  The eBook has info to get you started with essential oils. This is a really nice package!

Most of my oils are in large 1oz bottles, so they don't fit in the little slots, but i have been planning to get some smaller bottles anyhow so i can mix my own oil combinations. The 1/2 oz bottles fit on both the top or middle tier. The slots are also removable if you want to use one of the tiers to store something else. i'm really thrilled with this storage box and i'm looking forward to filling it up with my oils, custom blends and customizing my new box!

You can purchase your own Essential Oil storage box on amazon. It's currently $34.95 with free shipping if you have prime!

i received this product at no cost for my honest review. i was not compensated. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Sneak peek at my crafts for the IVE Fall Festival-2016

On Friday, November 11 at 4:30 PM - 8:30 PM, i'll be set to vend at the IVES Fall festival in Indian Valley, VA.  This is our a fundraising event for our little school. They'll have bounce houses and carnival games for the kids, tasty food for sale and lots of vendors so you can get a head start on your holiday shopping.

This is just a few of the things i'll have for sale. Beaded mandala jewelry, lamp worked glass leaf & heart pendants, bendy dolls, crocheted goods and  more!

i have lots of jewelry available. i'm working on getting it listed on my website very soon. 

i've also been playing in the glass shop and will have a few hearts and leaves for sale. i'm am still very much a beginner. i haven't touch glass since last winter/early spring and am trying to get back into it during the winter months.  The heart shapes are really tricky for me, but they are getting better.

i'll have a handful of crocheted owl pouches and cat ear hats.

i also have lots and lots of bendy dolls!!

i'm working to get all these dolls finished before xmas. Most are just waiting on shoes and undies. lol. FOr some reason, i find both of those things super challenging. Also still working on find the perfect outfits for each doll, so i constanntly change them around until i figure out their personality.

All these items will be listing on my website for sale after the fall festival is over.

It's has been so warm the last few days i'm having a very hard time getting into craft mode. i'm not complaining in the least, i'm very much enjoying the extended summer.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Standard St Storage Canisters- product review

You may remember my post a couple weeks ago about organizing my pantry.  i've been checking the thrift store for large canisters, but haven't come across any that would work. However last week i was invited to test out and review this #standardstreetcanister set and thought they would be perfect for either my food pantry or my craft room!

 i do usually prefer glass, but i like that these are BPA-free, non-breakable and airtight.  The set has four different sizes, and the opening is large enough to fit a measuring cup in for scooping. These will work great in my pantry or to organize craft supplies. 

My chalkboard labels work great on the smooth surface,and i really like the different sizes in this set. The tallest one is perfect for spaghetti or fettuccine if you are using it in your food pantry. i was also thinking it would work great for pipe cleaners if they were used in my craft room. . They have a silicone gasket that creates an airtight seal and can be opened and closed with the flip of a lever. They really do seal tight!

Standard Street storage canisters can be purchased on amazon for $29.99 free shipping if you have prime.

i received this product for free in exchange for my honest review. i really like that these are clear, and work great with my chalkboard labels.  

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Halloween 2016- Undertale themed costumes

So i admit, i have never played Undertale.  Both of my kids love it though, and requested Undertale costumes this year, and told me i should dress up as Toriel aka Goat mom. So i got online and found someimages to use while creating our costumes. i love doing homemade costumes.

My daughter wanted to be Mettaton EX. Right after she decided this we walked into a goodwill and found the perfect boots. They were black instead of pink, but i figured we could paint them.  For the rest of her costume we needed a silver shirt, black leggings and the chest plate and belt.  Should be easy enough.

i found two different silver shorts at the goodwill, but my girl didn't want to use either one, and instead we used a black shirt and duct tape. It actually looked way better that the silver shirt would have looked, since we are able to create the black lines on the arms by spacing the duct tape.  

We originally tried spray painting the boots pink, which was an epic fail. It looked fine at first, but the first time she put the boots on it cracked and the paint started falling off. So i went back to the store and found pink duct tape, and it worked perfect! They look way better than they would have if we had just painted them.  The belt was also made from duct tape and the chast piece was made from craft foam. i used black sequins for the speaker. All that was left was black hair dye and face paint. We also added duct tape to the shoulder pads so they didn't flop like they are in this picture.

My son wanted to be W.D. Gaster.  He already had the black pants and white shirt, so we just need a black suit coat jacket , a white scarf, gloves and the mask.

i found some white spandex type fabric at the craft store, and made the morph mask after watching a tutorial online. Then we just a sharpie to create the face. 

A trip to goodwill for the suit coat and they had nothing in solid black, but i found a large women's blazer that worked perfectly. i used a pair of $1 gloves and black felt circles for the hands, and i recycled a white long underwear shirt for the scarf.  My boy was extremely happy with his Gaster costume.

My Toriel costume, ended up being the most work. Instead of face paint, i thought a felt mask would be easy and look better anyway. Yeah, it wasn't that easy. ha ha/

i used felt for the mask, and fun fur for the ears. i hot glued the fun fur onto a head band, and then hot glued the ears and horns onto it. The fangs make it look more like a wolf, but the kids told me she is supposed to have the fangs. 

i had to buy fabric for the dress, but it was easy to sew.  i played around with a couple different noses, trying to get her to look more like a goat, but ended up not using any black felt on the nose at all.

i think our costumes came out fantastic. i know the kids were both super pleased.

We had a great time trick or treating. Most people had no idea who we were, but occasionally we'd come across and undertale fan and they would recognize us. It was so much fun!

IDO3D Vertical Five Pen Set- review

My kids have seen some advertisements for 3D pens and really wanted to try them, so i was happy to test out this #ido3d vertical 5 pen set.  First off, the box is a little misleading. You can't draw lines up in the air, like some of the more expensive 3-d pens we've seen. Instead you create the pieces flat (2-d) and then construct the pieces together. You can draw up a little bit (see my video below) but most of the projects will be done flat and connected. 

 This set comes with 5 different colors, an instruction booklet with templates and plastic sheet/shapes to use over the templates. It has a LED light that snap on to the pen and sets the ink. It's a really neat concept, but they are not easy to use. It takes a steady hand and a lot of practice. 

The pens are pre-filled with a liquid ink, and hardened by a LED light which attaches to pen. It really reminds me of trying to draw with henna or batik wax. We accidentally had our light on when we first started drawing, so it was really clumpy at first. Then we realized that the light should be off until you are ready to cure it, and then it flowed much smoother. (always read all the directions.) lol.

My daughter made the beginner project which is a pair of glasses. She layed the plastic sheet over the template and then copied the design. Once finished, we turned the light on and held it back over the ink until it as set. Then she removed the pieces, and we connected them using the ink like glue. She was thrilled with the glass she made and thought this was the neatest thing ever!  

i decided to play around with it and made this little butterfly. To make it, i made each wing individually, then made the body. One all the pieces were dry, i assembled it, using the 3-d ink like glue and using the LED light to dry it quickly.  Once it was it was set, i attached the antennae.  The video below shows me creating the antennae. You can draw up in the air for small things like this. i kept the light on for this, so it dried as i was drawing. 

Pros -This 3d pen has no hot parts! and uses ink instead of plastic filament. 
-Comes with stencils, pen tips and drawing pads 
-Colors blend together and make cool effects 
-very affordable compared to other 3-d pens sets.
-kids are challenged to create their 3-d projects by constructing 2-d pieces andconnecting them together. 
-It's a good STEM activity and introduction to engineering.
-no batteries needed
-easy to clean up

-The ink is sticky and got all over our hands/pens when we were using it.
 -After drying the art they will always be a little sticky. 
 -This pen is not made for drawing up into the air like you can do with other 3-d printing pens. You’ll have to make 2 objects, then attach them by adding ink
-you have to purchase refills
-The instruction book only had one beginners project and the others were intermediate and advanced 
-requires a lot of practice, which could discourage some kids.

Overall, i like that kids can be creative and make and construct different 3-d creations. Once they figure out how it all works the possibilities are endless!  It is a little difficult, so i think some kids may get discouraged that it's not as easy as it looks in videos. i wish their had been more beginner projects in our booklet. i think this is a really nice introduction to building, creating and engineering 3-d models and it's much more affordable than many of the kids on the market. Once learn the basics and you've mastered the process, it's a lot of fun! 

i received this item for free in exchange for my honest opinion. i was not compensated.