Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pocket Full of Sunshine- Chaotic Goddess Swap Sign Up

So you guys all know how much I love Chaotic Goddess' swaps, right?  I think I've participated in like five of them already.  So, when the favorite color swap came back around, of course I had to sign up.

I played last year and was partnered with the awesome Cindy from A Crafter's Corner and she put together a great box for me of things in lovely eggplant colors.

But here's a confession, I don't really have a favorite color.  They kind of change with the seasons and the purpose.  I like certain colors to wear, certain colors to paint rooms, pops of colors here and there.  I really do like eggplant, but this time around I decided to spice it up.  Maybe it's because it's spring and I'm looking forward to daffodils, maybe it's just that I'm tired of dark winter shades.  But, when it was time to list my favorite color, I picked yellow.

Here's some yellow stuff I'm loving.  So bright and warm.  How can you be cranky or depressed when looking at a color that just giggles happiness and sunshine?  So what do you think?  Is yellow a good choice?

And if you're a blogger and want to sign up for the swap, go to Chaotic Goddess and sign up!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I Bought a Greenhouse and Mother Nature Laughed

So this weekend while at Farm and Fleet (for those not in the upper midwest- it's a store that sells everything from tires, to jeans, to frying pans, to calf milk replacer) with my husband, I found a portable greenhouse.  It has four levels and a plastic cover- perfect to start seedling in.  I saw a similar one on Amazon for $45, but I'm cheap so I didn't get it.  Farm and Fleet's was $20 so I snatched it up.  Sunday morning I assembled it (super easy- no tools needed) and even thought about moving it on to the patio, but held off because it wasn't super warm out.  Monday I get up and notice a fine dusting of snow on every inch of grass and sidewalk.  Yuck.  That's Wisconsin springs for you.

I have (optimistically) started seeds though and their coming up nicely.  I planted more today too, now that I have a cat proof area to grow them.

Baby Flowers!
And I figured as long as I was showing pictures I'd share some tips for any newbie flower starters out there.

1.  Tackle something easy first.  I have dreams of growing Hollyhock and Foxgloves and having my own English garden all started from seed, but I lean towards the more realistic.  Some seeds are easier to grow into adults than others.  I've had the best luck with zinnias- these come in all sorts of sizes and color schemes, nasturtiums- you can eat these, morning glories- but you have to have a trellis or area for these to climb, or marigolds- if you are feeling nostalgic for the rock star five year old version of you who planted these in a styrofoam cup at school for you mom.  And if flowers aren't your thing, I always seem to have great luck growing basil, chives, and parsley.  As for veggies- salad greens, spinach, cucumbers, zucchini, radish, and kale are pretty easy to grow.

2.  Don't dump water onto seedling.  You'll crush the pour little things (or drown them).  I mist mine with a spray bottle to keep the soil slightly moist.  you could also water them from below by added water to your tray and then setting your little containers back into the tray, but I prefer misting.

3.  Make sure your plants get plenty of light.  I don't have a nice east facing window, so I set mine in the largest window I have which faces the north, but it seems to work okay. 

4.  Be sure to harden your flower babies off before tossing them outside.  You need to take them outside for a little while each day for a week or two before planting so they get used to wind and outdoor temps.  I start by putting mine directly against the house in a protected spot and gradually spread them out.

Flowering kale, creeping thyme, and borage are all new things I'm trying this year.
I buy my seeds wherever I find things I like.  I got these new guys (shown above) at Farm and Fleet, but I also got some from the hardware store, dollar store, and natural grocery store.  I have just as good of luck with seeds that are 5 for a $1 as with the ones that are $1.99 a pack.  So don't think you need to spend a lot of money on your seeds to make a go of it.

Organic seed from the natural grocery store.
As I mentioned before, cat proof growing areas are necessary at my home because HB is a menace and loves to dig in dirt.  The new greenhouse works great, but I also have a table top greenhouse that plugs in so that your seeds have a warm environment to grow in.

Mine is not on my table, but does great in front of a window.
Here's a picture of HB contemplating how to get the cat grass from the bottom shelf of the greenhouse.
HB and my plants.
And finally, remember, if you have horrid luck and your cat destroys your seedlings, or you forget to water them for a week and they die, there's always greenhouses to buy plants from.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Few Favorites April 13

This has been a weird week.  I feel like I've hardly been at home at all!  I went to visit my friend, Lori, on Tuesday and my car broke down while we were on our way to lunch.  Luckily, her husband is awesome at all things mechanical so he was able to fix it, but we had to wait for a part to come the next day.  So my husband picked me up Tuesday and then Wednesday after work, we drove back up and picked up my car.  It's running like a champ now. 

Work has been busy, snow is almost gone, and both cats have been trying to sneak out at every opportunity.  I've started some seeds indoors, done some spring cleaning, but not much sewing or crafting. 

But, here are some things I'm loving this week.

1. Did you guys see that See Kate Sew is having a Zippy Top sewalong?  I like the pattern because it's hard to find a cute, simple, top that uses non-stretch fabrics.  I think the zipper is an adorable addition too.  I haven't had time to start mine yet, but I did buy the pattern, and find some fabrics I may try to make it out of.

2. These candles are from Maple Hill Farms are awesome!  Their farm is near here and they sell at our local farmer's market.  (Actually I mentioned them in a blog post from last July about my Farmer's Market.) Their candles are soy and they smell great.  I was excited to see that they sell on Etsy now.  Trust me, if you're looking for good smelling soy candles, you can't beat these.

3.  Blissful Basil is one of my favorite vegan blogs.  I can go days without eating meet.  (Giving up dairy altogether is another story.)  Blissful Basil always has great recipes and these avocado radish toasts are no exception.  It looks so tasty!  I actually went out and bought radish seeds after seeing these. 

So it finally feels like spring is here and I'm super excited to get some projects started as well as finish up some that have been hanging over my head.  Hope it's nice where you are!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Goodbye Bread, Hello Classic Croissants

Even though I'm done with Craftsy's Artisan Bread Making class, that doesn't mean I'm done making bread.  In fact, I made a loaf of sandwich bread yesterday.  But, since I'm done with all the lessons, I'm ready to move on to the next challenge.

I chose Classic Croissants at Home because I like a challenge, and the savory croissants with spinach and cheese sounded delicious!  I won't be sharing lesson by lesson recaps because this class is less about making different kinds of croissants and more about the technique used to make them.

Hard at work with class print outs and coffee.
I've done the first couple lessons and so far I've learned a few things.
  1. Croissants take a ton of butter!  Like 20 ounces.  That's five sticks of butter!  I live in the Dairy State where we use butter like it's going out of style but that's still a lot!
  2. Butter is what makes croissants so light and flaky.
  3. You have to make a butter block to make croissants.
  4. You wrap your dough around the butter block to make a "laminated dough".
 I haven't even tried any techniques yet, just watching and letting it all soak in.  But hopefully in a month or two I'll have it down pat.

If you like croissants (or butter) and think you want to learn how to make your own, check out Craftsy's Classic Croissants class.  The teacher is great and it's always fun learning something new.

Learn to Bake Your Own Croissants!

Oh!  And I almost forgot!  We have a winner from the  Artisan Bread Making Class GiveawayCongratulations to Debra P.  Craftsy will be contacting you to hook you up!

Note:  Craftsy is an affiliate but all thoughts are my own.  All links are affiliate links.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Rimmel Moisture Renew VoxBox Review

Influenster sent me a tube of Rimmel's Moisture Renew lipstick to review.  The shade is called "As You Want Victoria" and it's about the same shade of fuchsia that my grandma used to wear when I was a kid.  It comes in a shiny little tube and feels super great on my cracked winter lips.

The only thing that would have made it better is that if it would have been a shade more inline of what I usually wear- like a deeper neutral or a nude.  I usually stay away from bright pinks because they make me feel like I'm a little kid playing in my mom's makeup.

Since my cats can't hold a camera and my husband was at work, I had to do my own pics.
But, as you can see, after blotting it about six times, it actually isn't too bad.  So to sum up, Rimmel Moisture Renew feels great and goes on smooth.  I'd definitely buy it for myself, but not in hot pink.  Maybe in a shade like Rose Blush or Mocha Cream.

If you want to learn more about Rimmel, check them out on Facebook at or Twitter at @RimmelLondonUS

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Few Favorites March 30

Snow is melting here! We've had a couple warm days, and then got more snow dumped on us, but then it warmed back up.  We still have a lot of snow, but you can see more and more ground every day.  It's also to that point where the snow we do have is dirty and gross, so I'm really hoping the rest melts soon.

This week has been a productive one.  I got to spend time with one of my friends, do some shopping with my mom, catch up on laundry, and just enjoy life.  It's amazing how much energy a little sunshine will give you.  Here's what I'm loving this week.

1. My new dish of succulents.  I bought three plants at Walmart and then picked up this dish at the second hand store for a dollar, so I transplanted them all into the bigger dish together.  My cat was continually knocking over the cactus so hopefully he's a little nicer to it now.

2. My Dover Publications order came a few days ago, and I love the Cats in Art Sticker Book.  It filled with great art pieces that feature cats.

3.  I haven't tried sewing knits yet, but I plan to soon, and when I do, I want to try the Parisian Top from GoTo Patterns.  Since I wear scrubs to work, I've kind of let my out of work wardrobe deteriorate.  I just don't have a lot of occasions to wear dresses and such.  But, this knit top is super cute.  Looks girlie, but still comfy.  I want to try it out.

4.  This is the best Broccoli and Cheese Soup I have every had.  One of my friends made it and I loved it.  It  uses gouda with a little cheddar and I think that's part of what makes it so great.  It also calls for half and half.  I made a batch a few weeks ago and ate it all in like three days!  It's so good.

Well I hope you all have a nice week.  I have to work day shifts on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, at work, so I'm not sure how much I'll be around.  So just a reminder that the Craftsy Artisan Bread Making Giveaway ends on April 1.  If you haven't entered yet, be sure to click on the link.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Mug O' Comfort Swap Reveal

The Mug O' Comfort swap was great!  I was paired up with Jennifer who blogs at Busy Being Jennifer and also runs on the online shop Home Spun Happiness.  She is a talented sewer, embroiderer, and crocheter.  She lives in Texas and I would love to be as crafty as she is!  Check out her shop.  Don't you just love her hoop art.  Anyone that embroiders weeping angels is my kind of girl!

Anyhow, so I got an awesome box in the mail from her this week, and here's what she sent:

Great mug with super cute mug cozy!
I love the colors she chose for this.I had a mug cozy once before but it was one I had just bought off Etsy and it didn't seem to fit any of my mugs.  And the mug is the perfect size.  I didn't want to seem like a weirdo and say that I have a preference to my coffee cups, but I do.  I like ones that are about average height, but fat.  Ones that can warm up both hands at the same time.  Like this one.  So, it's basically perfect.

And more treasures!
And along with the mug, she also sent some Strabucks Via to make instant iced coffee and iced tea.  I love things like this for work.  And a Ghirardelli candy bar!  I always have at least one fancy candy bar stashed away for emergencies.  Sometimes a girl just needs yummy chocolate!  If I could live on chocolate and coffee, I probably would.

But wait!  There's more!
And apparently Jennifer really likes to spoil people, because there's also this adorable pouch.  I should have taken a picture of the inside too, because it's lined in this awesome, bright flower print.  I love the little coffee mug embroidered on the outside with the heart!  It's super cute.  I may use it to hold tea for work, I'm not sure yet.  I love little pouches for their functionality, but this one is super cute too!

So do you want to see what everyone else got in their packages? Just click the picture to be taken to Chaotic Goddess Swaps.  And you can also check out what's coming up next!