Getting ready for the MECA Holiday Sale!

I have been busy busy busy! In a few weeks I will have a booth set up at the MECA Holiday Sale!




















Yesterday I was working on my Pansy earrings. These are all hand cut, painted, sewn together and then varnished. It is a process, but it has been a lot of fun making these.


There are a lot of great vendors and I am going to be creating posts that are on a theme that are inspired by what will be at the event. This is fun for me because it is kind of like window shopping! :)

If you are interested in attending the event, I am going to be sending out a secret code in my newsletter for a special discount on what I will have there! Just sign up for it here and I will be sending this out the week of the event!

Thanks for stopping by!


Greenhouse as a house?

I came across this video recently and it really struck a chord with my “Amateur Homesteading” brain. Marie Granmar and Charles Sacilotto live in Stockholm and have built a greenhouse around a small summer house. This allows for them to use the solar energy from the sun to keep the home warm in the winter months (with additional wood fire) and keep a lot of plants growing. Charles is a trained engineer and he was able to come up with a really interesting sewage system as well. I love the interesting use of materials.

Would you ever live in a house like this?

Garden and Life

Last week, I had my last garden experience of the year. It was a beautiful crisp autumn day. The leaves had been falling and covering the driveway in a blanket of colors.

My goal for the day was to move my garden bed. I had built it wrong originally and needed to take it apart to put it back together. I guess this happens when you do something for the first time with scraps that aren’t really meant to do this.
I also needed to make more room for the plow to be able to push a bunch of snow towards the back of the yard.
Here is the before.
I had to break it down slowly and move loads of soil from the wheelbarrow.
I had a lot plants that were torn out from lack of proper planning. I had this many carrots that were taken out:


This looks like a bounty but actually was a failure. When I planted my seeds, I just put in as many seeds as I could. I didn’t take the time to carefully put in a few seeds in each area as directed. I thought that as the plants grew, I would have thinned them out. I didn’t. I really don’t like taking out the little seedlings. I feel a weird guilt about it. What I realized then was that if I had done it correctly from the start then I would have had an amazing bounty of carrots to eat throughout the summer! What I decided to do was use this as a life lesson:



This concept has already helped me.  Another way to look at is like this:











I am currently in the awesome process of figuring out what is the best direction for my shop. I have had some amazing conversations recently about it and can’t wait to jump in with these endeavors. Like my garden bed, I am learning that I need to do things correctly from the start with this as well.
Here is what it looks like now.
I moved a bunch of the leaves over to nestle into the garden space and help give some texture to the pure soiled areas. Not sure if this is correct, but it felt right to do for some reason. I also used the proper hardware this time when putting it back together. This will help immensely in keeping it together for another year. (I guess now I need to make some really bright tags to stand up so that the snow plow doesn’t take it on me:)
Have you ever had a gardening moment that made you look at life a little differently?


P.S. I also have a new desktop background available in the above tab!

Free Desktop Organizer

I have been wanting to create a free download for awhile now. I have created a desktop organizer for myself and thought that this may be enjoyable for others. I will be updating the photos throughout the seasons. This particular background is of the sunflowers in my yard that I started from seed!

Here is what it looks like on my on desktop:






Just click on the photo below to take you to the larger image. Once there, just copy the photo into your desktop folder on your computer.






This is a free download. Please use it for personal use.
Thanks and enjoy!


If you are interested when there are new designs, I will be posting about them in my newsletter. To sign up for this just apply here:
Amateur Homesteader Newsletter

The Garden of Smalls

This summer I grew a garden that had some success and many fails. Lets just say it is hard for me to thin out plants that I start from seed and the plants were not able to fully develop.


I started a bunch of things from scratch.
























This is a shot from the middle of summer.



















We mostly ate tomatoes from the garden. This is one of my favorite parts of growing. We also constantly cook with the herbs. These grew great and am very happy with these plants!

By not thinning, things stay small though. I don’t know what I was thinking by doing this. Next year I will make more of an effort to make this better. I have so many carrots growing right now, but they are pretty small. The peppers in the below photo are actually supposed to be small though…:) The garlic grew pretty well because I grew them in some containers that my Father gave to me.











































I also canned some items this summer. I got this at a local market because I failed at growing my cucumbers…





















Gardening for me this year was more of a therapy. I did not give me an overwhelming amount of food, but it did act as a great way of decompressing.

Sewing Studio

Recently I reorganized my studio and it is getting even more streamlined! I love this studio space! It doesn’t have the cozy feeling of the Vintage Trailer Studio, but it is way more efficient! I have a few tables set up. Two house my sewing machine stations. I use my serger for finishing seams, my vintage Singer is set up with white thread and set for basting stitches for muslin work and my Janome is my most used. This table has a larger work zone where I can have larger projects.

Next to this I have my Lobster box/shelving unit with fabrics that I am currently working with. The top shelf has pieces that are cut and ready to be sewn into bags at a later date.


Next to this is my shelving unit that has most of my supplies, more fabric, paper cutter, scale, and products that are for sale.
I happily have my ironing board always set up! My last apartment I had to break it down after use. I love having it ready to go! It is amazing how much ironing is part of sewing. This photo also shows my painting in the background that was from my senior thesis show from when I went to the Maine College of Art. Even though I haven’t been painting as much, I like to remind myself of where I started with my creative projects. I will paint again some day, but right now sewing really has me energized!
I have a great table set up for cutting as well. To the right I have my handy dandy post-it note collection that helps me break down what I am working on, what needs to be done and directions that I should take. It is a little OCD, but it really helps to break down things into manageable items. I have to say that I LOVE to cross things off after completing them. I get way more done because of this!

Off of my studio is also a really amazing little space. I sometimes go here to sketch, read or take a nap. I call it my “Sleeping Porch.” I live in an old home and wonder if this was why it was created. Prior to air conditioning units, these rooms were great for sleeping in during the hot months.


I have it themed with items that I would have had in my trailer studio (which is currently being stored at my Mom’s house).













Part of my reorganizing was making spaces that really help my creative process. This area is where I am putting works in process. It really helps to have a permanent place for these items instead of being in a pile on the floor or table.
I also have a box that has items that need to be shipped. When you sell something on Etsy, there is a lovely Cha-ching sound that you hear on your phone. I never thought I would get such a joy in hearing this random sound. It is a reminder to me that what I am doing in this space is interesting for other people.


There is a lot of dedication in spending hours in a space with your own direction. It is a major part of me though and I feel more like myself when I am in here.
Do you have a creative space that you enjoy?

The completely upcycled garden bed!

This blog post is written with great fondness. I updated me blog recently and then halfway through, it failed. I was not able to continue the process and lost my blog the whole day! I still can’t believe that I am writing this! I didn’t realize how much this blog meant to me. It has been a documentation of my creative process for five years. It also meant my day was pretty useless! I hate that! I did learn a lot though…. Anyway, this post is about my recent garden beds that I created using material that was headed for the dumpsters!

This shot shows Stuart’s surprised face that I actually completed it.
I first started with a covering for my 5 gallon buckets for my tomato plants.
I then came up with an idea for a larger bed. This location was great for the sunlight and also gave some covering for the garage sitting area.
The pieces that I used where small. Stuart pointed out that the reason that the construction workers were getting rid of them is that it takes a lot of time to put them together and create something useful. The time that this takes may not be worth it. For me, I had whatever time I wanted to put into it. So, I pieced them together, cut small pieces to drill and screw and glued them to create the bed. If looking for scrap wood, visit a construction sight and politely ask if they can leave their discards outside of the dumpster. All of this would have just gone to the dump.
I was really happy with how it came together. I wasn’t so happy with the back part of it though. I had one piece of white board and a bunch that just looked dirty and gross (yeah, it is a garden bed, but there is an antique shop right on the other side of our yard). I thought that I would try and give an antiqued look to the back. I wish that I took a photo before to show the difference! I started with black spray paint, then a warm brown stain color and then a wash of pinkish white. I may add a warm brown to match the front, but I think that I may just leave it as is.
I also did this to the poles that I created. These were just two by fours that I cut on the top to look like fencing. I also drilled holes every 6 inches to run wire through. This will become my trellis for peas and beans. IMG_20150505_064730_768
I also wanted to clean up the leaves from the side of the house and create a layer at the bottom of the garden bed. This took some time!
I was able to get just the right amount! This photo shows the inside and how the pieces are put together. I now need to get some manure and soil!
Today after breaking myself away from my computer, I transplanted my seedlings and am excited to put things in the garden! Here is also how I extended the tomato section. (Something must have been on my phone to create this hazy affect)
Do you garden? Do you like to use upcycled materials? In total, I used all upcycled wood, buckets, screws (some upcycled and some that were already part of my collection, glue that I had already (will need more though) and paint that I already had and needed to use. Overall probably the most expensive part of this project will be the soil.  I have started most of my plants from seed and once the garden is ready I will also plant some seeds. Exciting!

The New Studio!

There have been a lot of new things lately. The biggest thing is that we moved into a rental home! We had a cute little apartment before but now it is exciting to have a house that we can spread out in. My studio for instance is amazing!  I have multiple work stations and can even leave my ironing board up all of the time. Before I would have to break it down when done and set it aside. Ironing is a major part of sewing and it is great to be able to have it ready to go.


I will go into what I have been working on and the space. Moving takes a lot of time and energy and this has soaked up my free time lately. It is worth it to set up your space right for you though. It is sometimes a work in process, but once you get it, it feels great to be in the space!

My first sewing project happened before I even moved into the space! I picked up a few shifts at a great local restaurant, Krista’s. Currently, there is a major renovation happening and there was a need for a large curtain to be created to cover up one of the walls in the restaurant. Krista learned that I loved to sew and asked if I would be interested in creating this custom curtain. She has some great fabric and thought that burlap might be an interesting material with that.

Since we didn’t have much furniture in the space yet it was a great place to spread out all of the fabric, measure, and piece it together. It was quite a project! Burlap is kind of a tricky material to work with mostly because it likes to shed. When I was done working, there were little hairs of burlap running around the house like tumbleweeds!


Working on this project was a great way to see how I could best use my new studio. I had to be creative with my set up because I didn’t have all of my tables right away. Here is my table top on my ironing board. Using the top of the stairwell ended up being a great location. I wouldn’t have thought of this without this project!



This is the final product! It will have a new use once the new construction is done. Not sure yet what that will be. In the next few days I will be creating a bunch of pillows with one of my lovely new coworkers. It will be fun to work in this space now that I have it set up!


Shortly I will create a post that shows how I actually set up this space.

Another Rose bag!

downtonabbeyinspiredThe season has ended, yet I still have a few bags to create. I enjoy challenges and like coming up with new designs. For the next few bags I create, they are going to be simpler. These bags are interesting to create, but do take up a lot of time to develop. I came up with this bag using part of my pattern from an earlier bag. The original was a purse and this version is a clutch. I really enjoyed being able to adapt it!


This episode Lady Rose gets engaged! Her smile really says it all!










I have created a bag that uses the pink of the dress, the beading and the embroidery.












Get the Look!

I wanted to share some accessories for this particular look. Her name is Rose and maybe that is why they like to play up the rose in her looks. I found a pink hair rose through LilaJo on Etsy.











Her necklace is similar to one that the ThePaisleyUnicorn found.











Her earrings are pink with pearls. I couldn’t find ones that fit exactly but these are dangled pink pearls from GlamorousSparkle.







I am sad that the show is over, but am also looking forward to creating some new items. I have come up with some new looks and have learned quite a bit from these. Do you have a show that you love?

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