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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sewing

This week has thus far been occupied with sewing items for our two Etsy shops. In our 3anniemouse3 shop we sell eco friendly market totes and several things related to essential oil. When I first began sewing essential oil cases, there were not that many available. They were pretty on the outside, but made with elastic bands on the inside to hold the bottles. Not such a great idea as the elastic will degrade if it comes in contact with oil. I developed (through tons of trial and error) a design with fabric pockets that hold the bottle beautifully. My heart sank this week when I did a little search on Etsy for essential oil bags. Literally dozens of shops are now making this or a similar design. The kicker is they are charging less than I do. I have no idea how they can do that! Please tell me how to, well actually, I know. They are not charging for labor. Tis ever the dilemma with home made products. Anyway, I am now looking for new products to make so I can once again be unusual instead of usual.

Would you like to see pictures now instead of reading my rant? Why yes, of course! I think I will show you the bag I use for my oils first.

When we travel, I can carry all the oils I need, plus blends and the oils I have mixed with coconut oil in jars.

Ok, on to this weeks' projects!
Here is one of my new essential oil scarves. Lots of people like the essential oil necklaces for diffusing a scent close to you all day. I put a pocket with a special bead that can be saturated with oil. I think this turned out pretty cute. I also made two with cotton knit fabric.

Now to things for our Grapecake shop! I am always planning new Modest Barbie outfits in my head. This week I made a couple, plus a bedding set.


I like the jeans set because it is super easy to get on and off the doll. Great for smaller children! The white and black outfit is something I would wear!! So pretty. And of course, most girls love Paris, so I made a black and pink set complete with a cat bed.

So, I hope you enjoyed those pictures. The rest of the week will be playing catch up. I have two summer skirts with busted zippers. Oh joy. I really need them in my wardrobe, so they will be fixed. I'm also dreaming of making some more skirts. I'm a skirt kind of gal. I like to be comfy.

I think I'll go nurse my sore abs with some wintergreen oil. I started a rigorous pilates regimen yesterday. OW!


Friday, April 10, 2015

Spring

Hi! Surprised? I am back with some cheery pictures of my garden and a fabulous Pinterest success (for once). We live in South Texas and although I love gardening and have lots of experience, I find it so difficult to keep my garden alive down here. The summer heat zaps it like lightning and fries it before my eyes even as early as May. So for now, I am relishing the sight of my verdant garden and the sugar snap peas that I am harvesting.

I love Nasturtiums! They are so bright and happy. And edible! They fall victim to the heat every year, but in early spring they pop back up. I have gorgeous spearmint in early spring, also. I think this year I will build it a shade in an attempt to keep it longer. I have a self-propagated acorn squash, some cilantro, rosemary, sugar snap peas, German stripe tomato, small yellow pear tomato, and some really old periwinkles! I use rabbit, um, stuff to fertilize my garden, with an extra boost of Epsom salts every now and then. I am going to try to grow green beans as well. Ok, that is my garden. Sorry to all the folks up north who were hit with snow today......

On to Pinterest success! I absolutely hate pinning dozens of luscious looking recipes on my "recipes to try" board and have them turn out to be complete flops! Sometimes I think people who post recipes on their fancy blogs have done something different to the recipe to set us up for a fail. Probably not, but it makes me feel a little better to think that way. ha. Especially healthy recipes, don't get me started! Anyway, this one was NOT healthy! The recipe is found here. I whipped up fresh cream and slice some nice strawberries to top this lovely cake. I kept telling myself that this cake had lots of good fats in it, so it's ok to eat. hmm. It was a wonderful treat since I had company yesterday for lunch. I suppose lunch itself was a Pinterest success as well. I had searched for a good avocado chicken salad recipe and sort of frankensteined a few of them together. I can put that here if you are interested.
AVACADO CHICKEN SALAD
5 chicken tenderloin roasted and then cooled
1 large ripe avocado cubed
1 Tablespoon finely chopped onion
1 Tablespoon sour cream
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon herb seasoning
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Chop the chicken into small cubes and then dump everything into a bowl! Stir! I served the salad in hollowed out croissants on a platter. It was so yummy!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

how long?

  Having recently been hooked on reading certain types of blogs, I've become eager to write on my own. I know, probably no one reads them, but I enjoy posting. First, I'll tell you about my reading curiosities. My hubby is a huge history buff and is constantly watching documentaries on WWII and such. I do admit to enjoying them as well, but I have also developed a love for all things 30s and 40s. Specifically, fashions and sewing styles. So, I have searched about on the blogosphere and found a few gems. My favorite by far is theboyerfamilysingersblog.com . These three sisters sing music from the 40s for special events. They also sew their own dresses for these events in period correct patterns and fabrics. My own daughters roll their eyes and sigh when I talk about the Boyer blog, but I get tickled when a new post comes to my inbox.
  For those who follow me on facebook or have seen our Grapecake shop on Etsy, you know I have begun to sew 40s style dresses for Barbie. I had no patterns, so the whole process was so frustrating! I made three models without patterns. I will show them here:
This one a dress with belt, bows at the shoulders, and a pearl necklace.


The last one is a dress with belt, tiny black buttons, and Minnie applique. I made the iconic ear beanie as well.


So finally, a local fabric shop had patterns on sale for 1.99. I stocked up on all their vintage patterns for doll dresses. I hope this will cut down on my stress level!
  I am still sewing for my 3annimouse3 Etsy shop as well. I have been sewing more small size zippered pouches and trying to come up with new designs for my large pouches. Hand made scallop trim on the fronts of my bags take a lot of time. Time that I do not get paid for. The Etsy world is highly competitive and difficult to conquer.
I still love the whole process of being creative and blending fabrics, I just wish it paid better! I know my accountant hubby would love it if I charged a lot more for my creations, but the truth is ugly. People expect the same cost for handcrafted as store-bought. I suppose each person goes through the dilemma of supporting a family in Bangladesh or paying more to support a family here in the USA. Or not. Ah, here I step off of my soapbox.
   On the book front, I am chicken. I admit it. Rejection by more than 30 literary agents has made me thus. I still consider daily the option of self publishing my 4 novels. Courage! Pray for that!
And here I stop rambling.
I am hoping if anyone reads this that they are blessed and encouraged. God's loving kindness was new and fresh this morning when you woke up!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Essential Oil Girl strikes again

My dear daughter, Emma, is my comic maker extraordinaire. She has always done comics instead of your standard creative writing. This morning she sat down and made a really good one! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!













 Another day saved by Essential Oils Girl!! We have had this real experience in our family. My youngest had a lot of warts on her feet and they are all gone now!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Stuff, Things, and Deals

Gracious! The moment I think my life could not possibly get any more busy....Bam! I have been trying so hard to make my Etsy shop viable, I was sewing like a drag racer! I struggled through trying to please people and wanting to just express my own creativity. Ug!! I get so upset when I read magazines and crappy pillowcases are 80 dollars, but people won't buy hand-crafted, quilted and embellished bags for much less from me. Deep breath! I've decided my Etsy shop is a lovely hobby. I do not wish to beg and whine and plead for customers. If it is supposed to be, it will be. Kudos to those who have done so much to help me!
On a happy note! Last weekend was my oldest daughter's 13th birthday. I have a teenager! She had been wanting the doll pictured above for quite a long time and didn't know that I had snatched her up in a fantastic sale. She started to have an idea when I made the Maddie Hatter bedding and bed the day before her birthday. I love the top hat and tea cup. (this doll is supposed to be the daughter of the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland). I made a crazy quilt and even made the polka dot fabric to match her tights! I painted dots on white fabric with a pencil eraser. Anyway, daughter was very happy!

So in praying through all of my troubles from the first paragraph, God came through and I got a job! I am the new Education Coordinator for the local Jo Ann's store! Yay! I get to craft and sew and get paid for it! Sew excited! (I know, sorry)

Next, my dear daughters wanted to open an Etsy shop with doll clothes and accessories. My oldest has just figured out she loves to make doll clothes. It's her own creative outlet. So we all got busy and created some awesome things! I am so proud of my girls for heeding my scrutiny and doing things well. Here are some of our things.
 I made this one and that is a paper purse I made, believe it or not.
 Ellie made these outfits. Elastic waist skirts and Velcro closed tops.
 I made this sparkly bedding set with lots of pillows.
So we had lots of fun sewing and photographing, as you can see! The girls new shop is grapecake.etsy.com .

Finally, we are saying goodbye, hopefully, to our baby bunnies this weekend. The time has come to sell them. So I'll post one last cute photo!
It's hard to photograph 8 wiggly bunnies!

Monday, May 5, 2014

What did I do last week?

Oh, thank you for asking! I had sew many projects on my plate. ( did you catch the pun?) Ok, I will probably stop being silly now, or not. Anyway, I wanted to post some of my fun projects that I completed last week. Ready. go!
These are not in order, but oh well! This first pic is a gift I made for a graduating senior, who is on her way to Baylor. I just had to whip up a tote bag for her new adventure (in Baylor colors).

 
 Another mission-minded friend is using these cute little bags to raise support for missions.
 I found this adorable template for a Dachshund here:  http://smallforbig.com/2014/02/diy-cardboard-animals-templates.html . My mother loves them, so I had to make her an essential oil purse with it.
 
My middle daughter is growing like a weed and loves her "hippy" pants. They were just too short, but she didn't want to get rid of them. We had seen some jeans on Pinterest that had eyelet lace inserted like this and loved it. I made the lace insert and then added more denim to the bottom. She will get a couple more months out of them! haha.
 
 
Want to see some beautiful essential oil purses and shopping bags? Check out my shop: https://www.etsy.com/listing/185913357/essential-oils-carrying-case-sweet-green?ref=shop_home_feat_1
 
Want to support missions? Check out our blog with info about our upcoming trip to Bolivia.
 
Thanks!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sprung

I think I must have blinked. Where did spring go??? It is already in the 90s here and our little bunnies are suffering! We jumped straight from nice and cool to blazing hot. Welcome to South Texas! Although I would wish for a real spring, I will not complain. We did not have the never ending winter here, and that is why I love living here.
 
Ok, how about projects? I will share some things I've been working on in the past week.
First, I made 10 cute zipper pouches for a fellow short term missionary. We love the Russian doll fabric!! Putting in 10 little zippers was not the most fun thing I've ever done in my life, let me tell you. However, the finished pouches are so adorable!
 
 
 
Next, I altered a fancy smancy gown for a friend. That was the first time I had ever used a tiny rolled hem foot on my sewing machine. I must give a shout out to my two younger daughters who rubbed my shoulders and patted my head while I yelled at the machine. I watched multiple tutorials on how to use the rolled hem foot and most of them were not helpful. Only one helped me.....for future reference; you need to kind of have the fabric rolled in a nice tube before it gets to the foot for a nice, smooth outcome.
And I have to throw in a picture of adorable bunnies here. I think the little brown ones look like cow hide. I know that is tremendously uncute, but there it is. All 14 babies are growing quickly and can now jump in and out of their nesting box. (Their mothers do not appreciate this).
And my last baking exploration: Low carb, sugar free peanut butter cookies.
My dear hubby tries to avoid sugar in any way, shape, or form, so chocolate chips are out. We also do not eat anything with synthetic sweeteners. So, I tweaked my fabulous low carb and mostly sugar free chocolate chip cookie recipe. The result was a nice cocoa peanut butter cookie worthy of a large glass of milk. Hubby can't stop eating them, so I guess they are a hit. Want my recipe?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (Low carb and sugar free)
1 stick of softened unsalted butter
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup stevia
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1 cup hazelnut flour (you can sub almond flour if that is your choice)
1 1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Stir it all together and bake rounded tablespoon size balls on a cookie sheet for 9 minutes at 350 degrees. (I did the old fashioned criss cross pattern with a fork on mine and hubby was duly impressed).


Hey, please pop over to my shop and check out my bags! https://www.etsy.com/listing/185692008/essential-oil-carrying-case-purse-red?ref=shop_home_feat_3


Also, please support our trip to Bolivia in September. If you would like to check out our mission page and see what we are going to do, go here:  http://sotxandeanboendeavors.com/


Thanks!!!