Jul 31, 2012

photo a day challenge

I am totally hooked on Instagram.
As I mentioned on my FB page, I gave Twitter a go for about a week, and it was just not me!

But Instagram?  
Yeah mama!

My friend Sherlai turned me on to a fun blog that posts a monthly photo a day challenge via Instagram.
Chantelle at Fat Mum Slim is the creator of this monthly post.

Want to see some of my favorites that I posted for the month of July??
The word prompt for the day is posted below each pic:

calm

cup

sunshine

upside-down
9:00

building

big

self portrait

Since it is the last day of the month (sheesh, where did it go???!!)
I thought I'd give you the link if you'd like to start up for the month of August.

It's a simple, daily dose of creativity.  
I love it!

Let me know if you decide to play, I'd love to follow your fun photos!
You can find my link at the top right corner with all of my other social media icons.

Have fun!

Jul 30, 2012

weekend finds

We were able to go away for the weekend with some friends, and had a great time relaxing in beautiful Central Oregon!

I managed to hit a couple estate sales before we left on Friday, and then we (the girls) snuck out for a couple hours on Sunday to hit some antique shops.

My first item was this vintage camera:


Then I found a treasure trove of Christmas ornaments!


I'm already squirreling away fall and Christmas items.
These were a major steal- super high quality too.
I love the aged metal tops!

We went to some awesome vintage and antique stores in downtown Redmond, Oregon.
I can't wait to go back. Incredible prices, and lots of good stuff!

I bought a little terrarium:


Can't wait to play around with some seasonal changes for this guy.
For now, it's housing some vintage books.
It was in a shop called Cottage ??? something!! I wish I could remember their name because they are new owners, and they had lots of cute, very well priced items.  The terrarium was only $15.

We also went to a really cute shop called Gypsy Flea Mercantile.  While we were shopping,
I just missed out on some vintage trophies!! Darn!

But, I did find these vintage travel liquor bottles.
Love the labels!
I actually purchased four, but one - the Scotch bottle- accidentally got left behind during the wrapping process.  I called the shop owner and she was very sweet, and is sending me the other one.


I have some other photos on my Instagram of some of the cuteness we saw in the area.  Lots of great shops and places to eat.   I will definitely go back to this area next time.

Today I found a few more treasures- some which will be heading to Etsy, and some to my space at Aunt Bee's House:


My love of oval frames.  I plan to put something cut in it, I promise!  ;)
The trophy is metal and a nice size.
(sorry it's so blurry, my lens is doing some wonky stuff recently....)


Vintage children's books:


And my favorite find today- a set of three glass decanters and a mini vintage bottle.
These will be staying local- stuff like this is hard to ship with out it getting damaged.



Fun fun fun!

Mark your calendars for a couple important upcoming events-


Sunday, August 19 is the last parking lot sale of the year for Aunt Bee's House.

September 14 & 15 is the Deepwood Vintage Market.

Both are chock full of awesome vendors and great finds.

I am so looking forward to nesting before school starts back up in a month!
Organizing, relaxing, and getting projects done!

Any great finds for you over the weekend?

Jul 25, 2012

oversized sheet music art

The gift I gave Jon for our anniversary was not an expensive one, but a sentimental one.

I had all kinds of ideas about getting him an engraved piece of jewelry, but he's just not a jewelry kind of guy.  
I racked my brain trying to think of what to do, and then remembered a Pinterest project I had pinned awhile back!

The original tutorial from Jesse at Scout and Nimble can be found here.
She does a very thorough job of explaining all the details of putting the project together, so I won't try and replicate the great job she did there.  
I will throw in my own info on how my project came together, since I tweaked a couple things.


First off, I found this painting at a thrift store.


I paid under $5 for it, because it was 75% off.
It was a good size, and the frame was really nice.
I wanted to make sure I had the dimensions of the frame I was using, so I knew what size to get for my canvas.
And then I had a "duh" moment.
Just use the existing canvas!

(sorry V. Taylor - your painting was put to a very good and important use...)
The inset of the frame was green, but I just broke out the black paint.


Next, I went to Sheet Music Plus, and purchased a copy of the music I wanted.
The price was $3.99 for me to get it.
You pay for each print, so as Jesse pointed out, make sure you are ready to have it go through your printer or you will be paying again to download your music!

Once I had the music printed off, I cut it into strips so the lyrics would lay out the way it would read on a large scale print.  It took a bit of time, but you really want to have it read all the way across, and not in short up and down sections.

****
I went into Fed Ex Office to have it printed.  They will do oversize prints like you would see for drafting jobs.
Initially the people I worked with were helpful, but the lady who finally did the actual print job was not very nice.
Grumpy!! (with several customers, not just myself)
I don't think customer service was her thing.

As one of the commenters in the original project pointed out, you may get told,
"you can't photocopy that because it's copyrighted".
So be aware of that.

I did get hassled initially, but I pointed out that I had purchased the rights to the copy I had.

It may take you finding a few places that will be willing to do the copy for you, so if you have little ones in tow, or are in a hurry, allow for extra time if you have to make more than one stop!

I got my copy, and it cost me $9.
It should have been less, but the copy I wanted and the one she thought was better were two different things.
I ended up having a lot of excess, so that was a bummer.
Yes, I could have spoken up, but not having my frame with me, I didn't really know how exactly it would lay in the frame.  (There was a certain part of the lyrics I wanted.)
I had my dimensions, gave them to Miss Grumpy, but she wasn't a good listener either.

ANYWAY!

Next came the vintage, aged look for the paper.
Once I had the sheet music at home, I laid it out on the deck.  It was a nice, warm, summer day, and our deck is going to be stained soon, so I wasn't worried about the tea stains on the wood.


I brewed a tea bag, let it cool, and then began to paint the paper with the tea bag.
Because I let it sit so long, the bag eventually disintegrated, so I used a paper towel to finish up the last bit.


As you can see from the photo, I went pretty heavy with the tea, let it sit for a few minutes and then wiped all the puddles with the paper towel.  It dried in the sun pretty quickly.

Because Jon sometimes works from home,  I don't have any photos of me cutting it out- there was a moment of panic just after cutting it out when - SURPRISE!- daddy was home!!
EEEK!

He didn't see it, thank goodness, but basically, I just measured the area of the canvas inside the frame, cut out the section of music that I wanted, and poured Mod Podge right over the canvas.  I smoothed out the Mod Podge into a thin layer all over with a foam brush.
Then, I layed out the music and began smoothing it in sections with my hands.
It was wrinkly, but that's the look I was going for.

I also was running low on Mod Podge, and found a cool 'new to me' version.
Antique Matte!!
(has anyone else seen this before??)


It has a golden tone to it, so it also enhanced the vintage look I was going for!

Once the music was in place and dry (I let it sit overnight) I went over the top of it with the Antique Matte, and let it dry.

Since this was so large, I obviously did not take this with us to Maui.
I just took photos of it before we left, and then showed it to him during our card / gift exchange at dinner.

The song I had printed out for him was The Smith's, "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out".
We've loved it since college.
We always cheeseball and googly eye at each other the line, "if a double decker bus, crashes into us, to die by your side, the pleasure the privilege is mine."


It's a beautiful song with funny lyrics,
and is one that has had a lot of sentimental meaning to us for 20+ years.


He loved it.
We hung it up yesterday over the piano, and it makes us smile!
A wonderfully romantic, creative gift that has a lot of meaning to us.


Thank you so much to Jesse for giving me the inspiration to do our own version!

Sharing with:
Sunday's Best 
Wow us Wednesday
Tuesday's Treasures
Feathered Nest Friday
Show and Tell Friday
Frugal Friday

Jul 23, 2012

People Having Fun- Maui Highlights

Aloha!  
We are finally home from our wonderful week in Maui!

We had an absolutely wonderful trip celebrating our 20th anniversary together.  
So many memories, and a great time of relaxing, being a couple, and appreciating what 20 years has brought and taught us.


I'll share some of the highlights mostly from my Instagram pics, but also a few from my regular camera.

The operative phrase of the week was P.H.F. 
{People Having Fun}

We so enjoyed the people watching and seeing couples and families who were clearly having a good time.



1. Most humiliating / embarrassing moment:


I started reading a book on the flight to Hawaii from one of my favorite authors.  It takes place in 15th century China where foot binding was a common practice.  I've read one of her books before where it gives an in depth depiction of the practice, and it made me ill then.

I wasn't prepared for round 2 in this story, and I felt like I was going to throw up.  I tried distracting myself, but it was no use.  I realized I wasn't going to be sick, I was going to pass out.  I tried excusing myself to the lavatory, playing it cool, so I could get some room and air.  
My husband had no clue, but thought he would go to the lavatory as well.  As we approached the back of the plane, I could feel myself swaying, so I tried steadying myself by putting my hand on his shoulder.  I said to him, "I'm going to pass out", and down I went. 
To the floor.
I was only out for a couple seconds, but amazingly enough, there was a paramedic who had just stepped out of the lavatory, and he quickly swooped in and helped.

I recovered, and Jon and I kept giggling about the embarrassing moment throughout the trip.
(I think only the last 3 rows knew what was going on, thank God.)

2. Best meal: Mama's Fish House




This was for our anniversary dinner.  
It was more than amazing food.  
It was the whole experience. 

 The service was impeccable, and the food was unforgettable.  
It ranks in my top 5 best meals I've ever eaten.

We really splurged and enjoyed everything.  
I ordered lobster (which I never do, but if you're going to, this is the place to do it).  
Sweet potatoes, and some grilled veggies- which I missed in my photo.  

My husband who is not a huge seafood fan, ordered a Macadamia nut crusted stuffed fish, and it was incredible too.  He loved every bite.


Dessert was an art form and treat.  Mine was a lime pie. It had a dollop of coconut lime sorbet, a coffee cookie palm tree with little chocolate covered crispy "coconuts"!
So pretty, it was hard to eat such a beautiful creation!

We had a glass of champagne to toast our anniversary and exchanged cards and gifts.


I have never been that stuffed in my entire life.

3. Most luxurious moment: Heavenly Spa couples facial


Another major splurge and something we typically don't do!
We did a couples facial the morning of our anniversary, and it was so relaxing and fun.  Jon has never had more than a massage in his life, and I knew he would enjoy this.  He is always wanting back and neck rubs, and you get both with the facial.  


We relaxed in our robes for a few minutes afterwards and enjoyed some beverages and chocolate covered macadamia nuts!

4. Favorite Activity:

Beach and pool time!  
We really just wanted to soak up the sun and relax.  



Because we were without Hannah on this trip, we were able to enjoy the adult only pool.  Really fun!
Poolside bar, and no distractions.



We switched off some days from the pool and enjoyed the beachfront.  I absolutely love swimming in the warm ocean.  So fun to see through the crystal blue waters, bob in the surf, and laugh.  I don't know why, but swimming and laughing are the best.

I love how vacation gives you time to reflect on your life and the clarity that comes with that time.  I enjoyed journaling some goals and thinking about the future with Jon.



5. Tradition we looked forward to after last year's trip:

Our daily lunch time visits to Yogurtland in Whaler's Village.  


My favorite combo:
Coconut with macadamia nut
Salted caramel pecan with Captain Crunch cereal and mini Reese's
Strawberry Lemonade with fresh strawberries
Delish!

Our other fun tradition was daily morning walks around the resorts.  


Up at 6:30 and out for a 3 mile walk.
I needed to smell the gardenias every day!



We had a little bird friend who walked (stalked?) us one day.  
Kinda cute, and a little creepy in a sort of Jurassic Park, baby raptor kinda way!  


6. Tradition we look forward to next time:

Daily visits on our morning walk to the Hawaiian Village Coffee!


The best caramel frappe ever!!


(not the most attractive picture of me- sweat /humidity laden hair, and monkey lip! LOL! 
But look at the view we had every morning!!)

Not too sweet; and creamy (not watery!)- down to the last sip.

Loved all the vintage Hawaiian decor in here too!



And, to wrap up this long post, we really had a great time connecting.
So important!
We've been through so much in our 20 years.
We really understand the amazing gift of love and friendship we have with each other.
We've had to endure infertility; we understand what a gift it is to have great jobs and a lovely home; the  treasure of friendships that have spanned our marriage; the joy and frustration of parenthood; and not to take each other, or each day for granted.

 I've come so close to losing Jon in a freak accident, and that memory has never left me.


We look forward to the next 20 and all the adventures and traditions it brings us!

Mahalo!

sharing with:

FJI - pretty scenery pictures

Jul 20, 2012

sour cream potatoes

This is one of our very favorite side dishes.  
I originally got this recipe from my mother in law, and it's one we frequently have at family get togethers.
I made this for our Fourth of July party we went to last week, and it went fast!
It is super creamy, rich, and has so much flavor, you can skip the gravy.

Here's the recipe, it's also even better as a make ahead dish. 
You can store the potatoes up to a week in the refrigerator, reheat, and serve.



Sour Cream Potatoes

5 lb bag of russet potatoes
1 cup sour cream
1 8oz package of cream cheese
1 tsp. onion salt
1 tsp. black pepper
butter 
milk
 chopped chives (optional)

Peel potatoes and cut into fourths.  Fill a large stockpot with salted water and bring to a boil. 
When potatoes are tender, drain potatoes in colander, and put in a large bowl or return to stockpot.
Add a small amount of milk and mash potatoes.
Add sour cream, cream cheese, salt, and pepper.
With a hand mixer, mix all ingredients together until there are no lumps and ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
Spread into a greased baking dish.  You can either store in the refrigerator up to a week, or bake immediately.  
Before putting potatoes in the oven, dot the top of potatoes with butter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and enjoy!

If you wish, you can add chopped chives on top.

Jul 17, 2012

What I've learned about being a small business owner

Have you ever wanted to jump into making your dream happen?
Something you've always wanted to do, but weren't sure if you could?


Even though I've only been doing this a short time, there's a lot that I've been learning along the way.
I'm sure that a year from now I will have all kinds of new things I've learned, but here's just a few of the key things so far.

#1- a good support system can make or break your business.


I am SO thankful for my family.  SO thankful.  They really support what I do, help out a lot, and make sacrifices, just to allow me to pursue what I love.
My husband is constantly helping me move furniture to the shop, shows, and into the garage.  And he never complains.



My daughter, while not exactly enthusiastic about what I do, does show me glimpses of how she is proud of me, and it means the world to me.  Because I really want her to see that if you want something in life, you try.
 You don't hang back in fear of the "what ifs".
The only complaint I hear is how embarrassed my husband is of all the junk in the garage, and can we please shut the garage door so all the neighbors won't see?
:)

I can oblige that.

(by the way- they do see, but I'm glad that most of them have a sense of humor,
 or interest in what I'm doing despite the mess....)

My dad has also helped me with fixing problem pieces, and I am learning so much from him along the way.  Both my parents come to every single show I have, and the same goes for my inlaws!

My brother in law has helped us move lots of heavy pieces with the assistance of their trailer.
I am very fortunate.

It breaks my heart to hear of women whose husbands and families are negative, condescending and unwilling to help.  It's tough going when you have that to contend with.

#2-Know your market


I am starting to understand the market that I sell in, what I can charge, and what people want.
The same goes for shows that I participate in.


Things that sell for hundreds of dollars on the East coast and in an antiquing haven, will only garner a fraction of the same dollar amount here.

I try to stay on top of trends of what people are buying, and then put my own unique spin on it.


At the Farmhouse show this last May, I got word that furniture sold great.  So I brought as much furniture as I could pack into my little 10x10 space.
I'd never participated or shopped at Farmhouse. (mistake #1....)

I sold 2 pieces, and hauled 4 more back.
 Not terrible, and I definitely sold a lot, but you know what was flying out the door this year?


Architectual salvage.


Signs.

Good to know for next year.

#3- Restock, restock, restock!


Whether you have an Etsy shop, a booth, or a brick and mortar, regular restocking / fluffing makes a HUGE difference in your sales!

I'm talking daily, or several times a week!


When I started my booth at Aunt Bee's House, I was going in about once a week to move things around and add new items in.
My sales were good, but I started to see that I could be making more money, and I asked a few of the top sellers what they were doing.


Daily movement in their booth!
Since learning that bit of info, I have tried to make sure I'm in a minimum of 3x a week.  Sometimes I am in every other day. And it's helping!

Even if you aren't able to bring something new in, at least try and put a fresh light on a few items.  Sometimes in doing that, it will sell when it's otherwise been hidden from a customer's view.

The same goes for Etsy.
If you can list just one new item a day, your shop continues to be seen on a regular basis.
(still working on adding this in to my routine....)



#4- follow what the large retailers are doing for seasonal changes

A couple weeks ago, I went in to Michael's for some items, and saw that they already have their fall floral stems in !!!!!
The beginning of JULY!
(we just STARTED summer here!)

There is no way I am adding in fall items to my Etsy shop or room at Aunt Bee's House this early, but- when I start to see more regular window displays from all the major retailers nodding towards fall or other seasonal changes, I will definitely be adding that into my spaces.

#5- Brand yourself




If you've always dreamed of having your own business, then treat it with the respect and dignity worthy of good branding.


I am so thankful to Megan of Red Pearl Designs, who very early on in my business, taught me about this.
She redesigned my logo, made my business cards, my Etsy header, and all of my sales tags.  It's an expense, but it looks so much better than a cheap tag.


Use the same logo for all of your stuff!
(FYI- I have recently started using my logo - now that I figured out how to add it into my photos- on all of my current pics.  You can see from some of the older photos here that I still need to do that!)  Next on the agenda- blog redesign, and stickers for sales bags for shows & Etsy transactions.

#6- Keep track


Pink Postcard became an official business with the state of Oregon this last year.
Which means I have to keep track of my income and expenses!


I have started using Outright as a way to log and organize my stuff.
It's very simple, and gives me reports of how I'm doing.
It also imports all my Etsy fees, and transaction fees every time I list something.

I also would like to start up my own spreadsheet (instead of my spiral notebook) on inventory.

#7 Do as Conan does...


via Teamcoco.com


One of my favorite quotes is from our favorite late night host:

"If you work really hard, and you're kind, amazing things will happen."

Be kind and grateful to your customers and supporters.

Be a good coworker and vendor to the people you are working with.

Do the best job you can do with the time you are given.

Be especially good to your family- they sometimes have to work with all the junk and projects laying around the house.  Time tweaks to work with deadlines or errands
(like borrowing trailers or helping you fix furniture...)

They make the time for us to do what we love.
So love them back and be grateful!