Reusable, Comfortable, Functional

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Trip To Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park

My husband and I were finally able to get away with the kids on a short family vacation. We had heard of the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Garden a while ago, and I really wanted to go. It is about a 3 hour drive each way from where we live, so we made it an overnight trip so we wouldn't be rushed and exhausted. We were fortunate enough to visit during the Chihuly Glass Sculpture displays and the ArtPrize.
I really like this sculpture of the horse.

Having a love of gardening, I really like this sculpture of the trowel. It was quite large - compare the size of the trowel with the trees!

This is an amazingly massive sculpture. My daughter said she wished it was a slide.

I don't like spiders, but this was a pretty cool sculpture. My daughter was a little afraid.

This beaver was interesting. Quite friendly little guy. Well, actually, he was pretty big.

I liked the animal footprints in the stonework. We enjoyed trying to guess the different types of animals the prints belonged to.

This is the TreeHouse in the Children's Garden. My husband and I took turns taking our daughter through it since our son was in the stroller. Lot's of fun!

This is a plant in the room with many variations of cactus. My daughter especially liked this one and said it needs a haircut!

Very nice sculpture. I can't imagine the time, sweat and patience it took to create this.

As a mother, I really enjoyed this one.
Overall, we had a great time and I am so glad we took the time to see this. Sometimes the best vacations are short and sweet, and close to home.

The Gathering Bag

This is the newest item available in my etsy shop. It is a Gathering Bag, a bag for collecting goodies from nature, an adventure bag, what ever you would like to call it. It is made of burlap, 100% jute, a natural plant fiber.

I love the rustic, natural look to this bag. It features a long strap that allows the bag to hang 16" from the shoulder. Perfect size for a smaller person or a child to wear across the chest.

Roomy enough to collect all that nature offers us. Pinecones, acorns, leaves, stones, seashells. Take it to the backyard, on a nature hike, to the park, or the beach.

This is the first being offered in my shop Customers may even choose any design from my shop to have stenciled on the bag instead of the word "Collect". This really is the perfect bag for the kid in all of us.

Stirring Up A Little Ghoulish Fun

I love Halloween. It had always been one of my favorite holidays as a kid. Of course, back then I loved it because of the trick or treating, but also because of something more. I loved how people would go out of their way to decorate and make their lawns scary. I loved the hayrides, pumpkin carving, leaf piles, scarecrows, apple cider and donuts. You name it, if it had something to do with Halloween, I loved it.
Now that I have kids of my own, I want to share with them some of the experiences I enjoyed when I was their age. As a homeowner, I had never really had the money to spend on the costly decorating Halloween involves. So I decided to make my own ghosts.

I have a lot, and I do mean A LOT of scrap material from all of my other crafting projects. What better way to use some of it up then on one of my favorite holidays? I used 2" foam balls and tore wide strips of fabric and left the edges raw for a "scary" ghost look. I draped the fabric, usually about 3 pieces per ghost over the foam ball and pinned it on with straight pins. After each ghost was made, my 4 year old daughter had a blast drawing the faces on with a Sharpie marker.

We made a total of 12 ghosts. After each was made, I used a large needle to thread embroidery floss (6 strands thick) through each ball and tied them to this pine tree...

...and this shrub. How "ghoulishly" scary!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Beauty of Summer

It has been a while since I have had a chance to blog; it has been quite a busy summer so far. I can't say that I have accomplished anything too extraordinarily exciting, but I have captured a few good shots this past month.
Each of the shots taken here were in my front yard, shortly after a rain storm. I was sitting on the porch, taking a break from house cleaning, and noticed the way the sun was shining and the raindrops glistened. I had to run into the house and grab my camera before I missed my opportunity. Pleasantly surprised on the outcome here.
The above 3 images will soon be available in my second etsy shop Meanwhile, there are other exciting images currently available. I love checking out other photographers on etsy as well. Some of my favorite photographers are:
That's just a handful of the wonderful photographic talent on etsy. I encourage you to check them out and enjoy what they have to offer.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bean Art Mosaics - Rainy Day Fun

A fun activity for any age child, even adults. I came across this idea when I was looking for party games for my daughter's 4th birthday party last month. Of course, it's not a new idea, as I can remember enjoying this craft when I was a young child too.

For a nice variety, you can try pinto beans, black-eyed beans, black beans, green split peas, amongst others. For designs, I simply searched online for stencil templates and came across a huge amount of choices. Be sure to use thick cardboard to avoid curling from the glue.

My 4 year old daughter made all 3 of these designs, using her imagination and creativity to place the beans where she thought would be best. I just helped with applying the glue for her. I think she did a great job!

Natural Unbleached Cotton Napkins

I've been busy improving some of the items in my etsy shop. My reusable cloth napkins are now made of unbleached natural cotton, and are a larger size....a generous 19 1/4" square. I've also mitered the corners for a clean, formal look. Each napkin is stenciled with one of my unique designs.

Although most people think of cloth napkins as a formal dinner party accessory, they are great for everyday use, as well. I love to use them to replace paper napkins and towels, to aid the effort in keeping our earth green.

Napkins are sold in my etsy shop in sets of 4 for $24, plus shipping. I can easily adjust the listing for a smaller or larger quantity. So far, there are 2 designs available - "Recycle It", and "Walk This Way". All of my designs will be available on the reusable napkins soon, for a total of 11 to choose from.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Hard-Hatted Friend Pays A Visit

As I was taking a walk outside yesterday to the mailbox, I noticed something out in the yard. It lay on the ground, quite a distance from me. My original thought was that it may be a large plastic cup from this past Memorial Day weekend....a little bit of the party leftover. Oops! But wait!!! On my way back from the mailbox, I thought I saw this "thing" move. My next thought was that it may be an injured animal. From a distance, my imagination began to run wild as I wondered if something would 'leap' at me or maybe become frightened by my presence and begin a defensive attack.

My husband was outside feeding the dog, so I called to him, and together, we discovered it was a large turtle. What a pleasant surprise! He was probably a good 8" in length. He didn't move much as we checked him out...and of course, I had to run and grab my camera. He seemed to be smiling the entire time during our visit.

What a joy to find such neat and interesting visitors in our yard. I'm just glad he was friendly and enjoyed having his picture taken!

THREADKILLER Giveaway on etsy

I'm currently offering a Threadkiller Giveaway on etsy. You have a chance to win 2 Reusable Sandwich Bags. I have 7 designs to choose from. This is a $14 value!

If you are unfamiliar with the way a Threadkiller Giveaway works, you must post in the forum thread, and if you happen to be the last person to post within a 24 hour period, you win! As simple as that!

Click the above link for your chance to play, and maybe win!

Good luck!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Nature Photography

Now that the weather has been considerably warmer, I've noticed nature's treasures around my yard. Beautiful plants and flowers that I, myself, have planted within the ten years we have lived here. Bleeding hearts are beautiful, but be fore-warned if you weren't aware of this before...all parts of a bleeding heart plant are poisonous. So don't plant where children and pets can get into them.

This last picture is one of my irises, and I thought it was neat to see the spider on the flower. I think I'll call this one "Beauty and the Beast". By the way, I am not a huge fan of spiders. I always joke to family and friends that I am arachnidphobic. But it's not really a joke.
I'm seriously considering opening up a second etsy shop and offer my photography prints for sale. I absolutely love photography, and would enjoy showing more of my work. What do you think?

Two Stray Mice

My husband found two baby mice when he moved a tarp in the yard. The mother was nearby feeding her young, and ran away scared, with some babies still attached when my husband moved the tarp. He didn't know they were there, and felt so bad. I ran inside to grab my camera, and then we left them alone in hopes that the mother came searching for them afterward.

I don't like mice, and definitely would not want to see them end up inside the house or barn, but they sure are cute, aren't they?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Time For Lasting Memories

Today was a difficult day. It was the day to auction off the belongings of my Grandparents. My Grandma passed away in 2005, and Grandpa in October of 2009. I'm not exactly sure how old my Grandma was when she made her journey to heaven, but my Grandpa was 100 years old. He would have been 101 in January of this year.

I have many memories of Grandma and Grandpa. Upon each arrival to the farm, Grandpa would be coming in from the field, hard at always. When I was really young, we would travel around holiday time and they would take us in the farm truck and ride in the bed of the truck to get ice cream cones. I can remember running though the grounds of the farm and entering each building with awe at the expanse of each one in amazement. I found the cattle barn to be the most wonderful with the equipment to milk the cows. They seemed so bold, yet vulnerable, waiting for the expected comfort.

I found at an early age that a lot of hard work went into operating a farm and a lot of pride was gained from the venture. Grandpa knew what it took to grow beautiful, healthy crops, and he absolutely worked until the last day that he possibly could to accomplish this.

Today, I met a man whom spoke to my dad about Grandpa. He said that Grandpa, at one time, said to him (at age 80), "I wish I was only 65. Then I could do so much more." The funny part about this is, Grandpa did not wish to be 30. He just wished to be 65.

Grandpa did not know how to spell or write. He had a special way of signing his name. He trusted people by the look in his or her eye. He knew when someone was untrustworthy, and he protected all he had.

All in all , today was a difficult day for me because it is probably the last time I will kick my heels in the dusty gravel between the weather torn boards of the hollowed barns. Realizing this now is difficult, as I have grasped the openness of the truth. No longer will I run through the veined crops, see the stuffed owl in the room to dine, smell the aroma of a farmer's land, see Grandpa's laughter of our visiting squirming pet.

But to lay to rest the past is most important. Move forth with these thoughts in mind and treasure them forever. The memories will never diminish and will keep the spirit of those loved near.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Bare Garden Deserves Some Plants

This is the beginning of my new flower garden. We originally had a lot of wood piled here, and I started planting flowers last summer. Now I finally have it weeded, so I'll be off to Campbell's Greenhouse soon for new plants. I can't wait!

Oh, and I did see a snake while I was clearing two wheel barrows worth of weeds. ***shudder*** But he was kind and went on his merry way.

I am looking for ways to make the garden interesting with natural materials. I have two piles of rocks, and more available if I need them. Maybe a couple of pathways, bench, anything appealing to the eye. If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear/see them.

Reusable Sandwich Bags Are Eco Friendly And So Much Fun!

Did You Know?:
According to earthdaynetwork,
  • The raw material of plastic bags is oil. Therefore, the more we use plastic bags, the more we waste oil - a non-renewable energy source.
  • The petroleum-based plastic bags take decades to break down, so if they are not recycled they litter. It creates visual pollution: in the streets, on the beaches etc. Also, they can clog roadside drains, which could cause street flooding during heavy rainfall.
  • Plastic bags can be recycled but it rarely happens: according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, only 1% of plastic bags were recycled in 2000, against twenty percent for paper bags.
  • They endanger wildlife and particularly sea life such as sea turtles and dolphins which can die of entanglement, suffocation, and ingestion because they assume that these bags are jellyfish.
Think about it. Do you REALLY want your food placed in a material made out of OIL?
Do you REALLY want to add more garbage to our landfills when you know something can be done about it?

Simple solutions are available. There are many people on etsy making and selling reusable sandwich/snack bags that can be washed and dried, then reused for a very long time. I also make and sell them, at $7.25 per bag, but if you purchase multiple bags, the price decreases per bag. I have separate listings for different quantities. It may sound like a lot of money, but you know the craftsmanship and quality is there, and of course....they are reusable! Really think about how much you spend each year on plastic baggies, and you will realize the convenience and cost-effectiveness of doing our earth a huge favor.

My bags are made of 100% unbleached natural cotton. No plastics here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring Is Almost Here

Harriet's Haven is clearing out all onsies and t-shirts at really low prices. 50% OFF, to be exact! They are hand-painted with cute designs with non-toxic fabric paint and offer excellent washing durability. This is a way for me to make more room in my etsy shop and concentrate on my newest endeavors, and a great way for you to pick up really cute duds for your kids or for friends with kids. Please visit my etsy shop at and let all your friends and family know too!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Draft Dodgers - Useful For Many Purposes

A unique and stylish way to block the chilly wind from poor insulation or cracks around windows and doors. Most people think of using an item like this only in the winter time, but even with spring and summer fast approaching, it can be used to block chilly areas caused by air conditioning. Other purposes include blocking light and sound at the bottom of a door, which works well for sleeping children and babies. An apartment dwelling friend of mine even mentioned that it would be perfect to block cooking odors from lower-level neighbors.

The draft dodgers have recently been improved and are made with two layers of fabric and then finished with a velcro closure. The user can then fill it with any desired material such as dried rice or beans, polyester fiberfill, or my personal favorite...clean, old socks (such as your collection of holey soles, or the abandoned twin), or even old unwearable tee shirts.

Each draft dodger is stenciled with one of my designs, currently 6 choices are available. "Walk This Way" is pictured above. Two different sizes are available in my etsy shop, and other sizes are available upon request.