7/29/11

Eco Friendly Friday { Meet Erin }

**A message from Erin**

Thank you all of you for all of your sweet comments! I am truly blessed to have a wonderful support system behind me!

As a thank you for the feature I have a special coupon for the wonderful readers of this blog. Use the code ANYTIME15 for 15% off any purchase in my two shops.

I am SO excited to introduce you this amazing young woman. Erin is a talented aspiring student and jewelry designer who turns to upcycled creations as her outlet for a medical condition. She has a great story to tell so please enjoy it and make sure to check out her shops Antique to Chic and Antique to Chic Supply, facebook and twitter. She has achieved so much in life and is only nineteen. You are an inspiration Erin!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started with making eco friendly jewelry.

I am 19 years old, I live 30 minutes from Boston, MA. I have 2 cats, Cooper (an orange tiger, like Morris) & Nellie (3 colors, a calico), and a guinea pig, Roo. Cooper and Roo are the hams of the family, they're always making me laugh. Roo even has his own listing in my supply shop, Antique to Chic Supply. I live with my mom in our cute little house out in the country. We live right across the street from my great grandparent's old cow farm, now a house to a family trying to fix it up and bring it back to life. I am still in high school. I have had to step out so many times due to rises in my headaches, so I am currently tutoring to graduate in 2012.

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I started making jewelry when I was 14 years old. In March of 2006, I got a headache. That headache never went away, and the pain level was sometimes too much to bear. I was diagnosed with Chronic Daily Headache which means "you have a headache everyday, but we don't know what's causing it." One day I found some old clay beads and some string and Antique to Chic was born. I started out with the eco-friendly jewelry about 6 months later. I was always a flea market junkie and yard saler with my mother. I found the vintage necklaces and unwanted jewelry pieces were a lot cheaper than new beads. Most of the vintage beads are even made better than beads today, and they are definitely more interesting! My favorite part of making jewelry with vintage beads is I can bring something back from dirt and grime and make it into a new envied piece of jewelry someone will love.

Do you have any favorite spots for searching out vintage jewelry?


I mostly find the vintage necklaces at a flea market in Rowley, MA. It is called Todd Farm and is extremely well known around New England. There are hundreds of tables and vendors with all sorts of items. It is pure bliss for me! I go with my mom almost every weekend to seek out new jewels to play with. I love the thrill of the hunt, so I don't leave until I have checked every single table for beaded necklaces. I usually come home with my reusable bag full of new shiny baubles to use.

Being Eco Friendly is very important to my readers. What are some ways that you are eco friendly around your house?

I always say I am an avid recycler. I do the usual paper, plastics, glass, etc. I also make sure whenever I find something I don't really need anymore, I NEVER throw it out. I either have yard sales or I pass it on to someone new. My mom and I even decorate with vintage or reclaimed pieces. My mom refinishes furniture and has the biggest collection of vintage glass I have yet to find! Most of the items in our house are recycled. I am always trying to lessen my carbon footprint and energy use, so I have been the light police lately.

I almost forgot! I got this great tip from fellow etsian Hamsa Healing and I have to share it with all of you. She told me to use cracker and cereal boxes as shipping boxes, but you have to turn the inside out. I felt like I should've thought of it since I've been trying to reuse packaging supplies to ship orders. I have already used a few to ship items out it. They work great!

I know you suffer from Chronic Headaches. Do you have any advice to those out there who are seeking crafting as a form of therapy.

For me, making jewelry is a distraction from my everyday pain level. Something about using my hands makes me detach from however I'm feeling. I literally don't feel my headache when I'm making jewelry. Some days if I was in a lot of pain I could crank out up to 30 bracelets because I was so focused on keeping myself busy!

As far as advice goes, I have to say you have to find what you love to do, and slow down. I found out I love to cook, make jewelry, and be with my animals through this headache. I am even going to go to college to be a Veterinarian Technician. I never would've come to that conclusion without my headache. It is a burden for the most part, but I figured out my path in life and I get to do what I love everyday! Even though I am out of school, still trying to graduate high school, I have time to find myself which most people can't say they can do with their busy schedules. The world is moving fast and we need to look back on our lives every now and again to determine what we want out of life and how we can get it.

Wow! That's some good advice. Is there anything else that you want to share with my lovely readers, because you truly have a great story and are inspirational.

I have to include something about my mom. She is an amazing woman who gets me through my toughest days. She is my best friend and I don't know what I would do without her. She is always there to get me ice packs in the middle of the night, help me with craft shows, and so much more. She is a truly special woman who deserves the recognition for my success as a crafter and a person.

Amazing! Thank you SO much Erin!

7/28/11

The Beach { Small Style No. 10 }

she smiles.

softly and slowly
as the warm water
gently creeps along
brushing over her delicate skin
like a mothers touch
on an early morning.

she laughs.

under the summer sun
as silver ocean waves
splash against time
creating moments
we shall never forget.

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Jessica is wearing: Polo bodysuit (via Marshalls)

I am so excited to link up with Morgan at Mama Loves Papa for the
Small Style Post

AND I have also linked up for the first time with Gussy at Gussy Sews for her Inspiration Workshop.
Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop!
Please check out these lovely ladies :)

7/26/11

Vegan Strawberry-Almond Cream Tart

These past couple days have been crazy. I have been dealing with a house full of sick kids who happened to pass on the sickness to me. As you moms out there know, juggling three sick kids really takes a lot out of you....so why not bake a tart to help ease the pain??

Ok, I'll be honest, I actually made this last week, but I felt now would be a great time for a recipe post. I could really go for something sweet to pick me up after this week.

Ingredients

Crust:
36 honey graham crackers (about 9 sheets)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 teaspoons water
Cooking spray

Filling:
2/3 cup light cream cheese (vegan)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Topping:
6 cups small fresh strawberries, divided
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted

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Preparation
Preheat oven to 350°.
To prepare crust, place crackers in a food processor; process until crumbly. Add 2 tablespoons sugar, butter, and water; pulse just until moist. Place mixture in a 9-inch round removable-bottom tart pan coated with cooking spray, pressing into bottom and up sides of pan to 3/4 inch. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack.

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To prepare filling, combine cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, and extracts in a medium bowl; stir until smooth. Spread mixture evenly over bottom of tart shell.

To prepare topping, place 2 cups strawberries in food processor; process until pureed. Combine strawberry puree, 2/3 cup sugar, and cornstarch in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low; cook 1 minute. Remove glaze from heat, and cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

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Combine 4 cups strawberries and juice; toss to coat. Arrange berries, bottoms up, in a circular pattern over filling. Spoon half of glaze evenly over berries (reserve remaining glaze for another use).

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Sprinkle nuts around edge. Cover and chill 3 hours.
Note: You can use either an 8 x 12-inch rectangular pan or a 9-inch round tart pan. The recipe also works with a 9-inch springform pan and a 10-inch pie plate.

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ENJOY!

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Recipe from Cooking Light, but I made the necessary vegan changes :)

Oh! And the winner of the Will Dill Giveaway is Miss Debbie!! Congrats Debbie, I will email you with more information.

Living Room Inspiration {white on white}

I have been waiting for this day for a LONG time. We are FINALLY getting our living room painted. It has been sitting on our to do list for....well....I won't even tell you how long. I have also decided that I am done painting. We painted every single room of our old house and the outside (which I consider a form of abuse) and then when we moved into this house the cycle started again. Stripping wall paper into the wee hours of the night, deliriously painting, bribing friends with food and alcohol to help paint, you name it.

We live in an older home that was built in 1942 so the rooms tend to be on the darker side with less lighting. I love light and I love white so we decided to take the dark trim and make it white and accent it with white walls. I hope this isn't too much of a dramatic change, but I REALLY want to lighten things up. I also decided that I am replacing all of my prints and paintings. I want simple, clean and contemporary. This is where I would love your help. I was thinking of an abstract canvas print above the couch and a mirror above the fireplace. Below are some examples of my inspiration. I would love any and all feedback. What would you do with a white living room? Feel free to include links or photos. Do you have a white living room? Link your blog post below, I would love to check it out.

I'm looking forward to posting a before, during and after picture series.


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7/23/11

our week { viewed from my iphone }

I know I've been a little absent this week from the blog, but in a way it felt good not having to worry about posts or updates or staying up late to write. Instead, I stayed up late to do other things....like filling 175 balloons with helium that I then snuck into Jonas' room. Yep, that's right! We have started a new birthday tradition around our house. On the morning of the kid's birthday they wake up to a room full of decorations. For Joshua (he turned four in June) I covered the walls and doors with tissue paper. For Jonas' sixth birthday we decided balloons! I also hung some Star Wars streamers and a Star Wars plastic table cloth for extra fun.

So, my week was over taken by balloons, birthday parties at the pool and playdates. This week also included my daily Insanity workouts, some time with friends, movie night with the hubbie and some vintage shopping. Tomorrow I have a huge art show at a local winery, Gervasi, so it looks like I'll be up late tonight making jewelry.

Jonas woke up to this:
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On Wednesday we had lunch at the restaurant and a playdate at our house.
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Pool party on Thursday with a rockin Star Wars cake!
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Pool side bubbles.

And a doctor's appointment to end the week. Too much pool means swimmers ear.
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7/19/11

Happy 6th Birthday Jonas!

on the day you were born
your eyes captured my heart
my soul silently melted
and within moments
i grew into a woman
where happiness consumed
my days and evenings
and filled the gaps.

thank you.

for your smile, your laughter
your love, your dreams.

everyday.
i am thankful for you.

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7/18/11

Will Dill Toy Review and Giveaway

A few Eco Friendly Friday's ago (read the post here) I talked about a great company called Will Dill who features organic, fair trade and natural toys, clothes and bedding for little ones. I am SO excited to share this product review with you and offer one of my readers a gift certificate.

As you know by now I am very conscious about what we eat, what we wear and the toys we play with, which is why I am so excited about Will Dill. They have a great selection of eco friendly toys for all ages. I was thrilled when they offered me a toy to review and I wanted to choose something that all my children could enjoy.


The Groovie Blocks are a set of 28 blocks with numerals and math symbols on the side and geometric shape sets that correspond to the number on the opposite side. They are non-toxic, made with child safe inks and best of all made in the USA!

I can honestly say these are an awesome toy and I highly recommend them to anyone with a baby, toddler or young child. Now that Jessica is nine months old, her fine motor skills are improving everyday and she was able to stack two and three blocks, which is a new milestone for her. Joshua (4 yrs. old) is learning his numbers and basic counting so we practiced counting as we built a tower or lined them up. Although he knows his shapes, colors and patterns this is a great way to review. Jonas (6 yrs. old) is working on his addition and subtraction so we formed basic equations like 7 – 4 = 3 and 3 + 2 = 5 and we also used the total number of blocks (28) and subtracted how many were being playing with by his siblings. There are so many educational activities that you can do with these Groovie Blocks. And of course, you can always have fun and just build! We had a “tallest tower” building contest that had us on the floor laughing.

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GIVEAWAY:
Will Dill has generously offered one lucky Yellow Finch Designs Blog reader a $40 gift certificate!
To enter:
1. Go to their website and sign up to receive their newsletter.
2. Leave a comment below telling me you signed up for the newsletter and leave your email address.

For extra entries you can:
Like Will Dill on Facebook
Tweet about this giveaway.
Use this prompt: Yellow Finch Designs giveaway! Win a $40 gift certificate to Will Dill natural baby store. http://tinyurl.com/4y5zdtj @yellowfinchlove
Follow Yellow Finch Designs Blog on Google Friend Connect
**Make sure to leave an additional comment for each entry**

Goodluck friends! This giveaway runs until Saturday, July 23rd.

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Yes, I really had to put this last picture in this post:) How cute is Jessica's bottom? She is wearing a diaper cover by Baby Ewe, t shirt blabla and Zuzii flower.

7/15/11

Why do I blog?

So, I wanted to talk about something that has really been on my mind for awhile. While on vacation with the family the question came up "Why do I blog?" and in fact I have been thinking long and hard about this for some time. Way back when I started this little blog I knew what direction I wanted to take it, but I didn't know if I was ready. So I didn't post much and used it as a tool for my jewelry business. But then I thought BORING. Who wants to read and look at only jewelry? There are so many other aspects to my life that make me who I am today. So, I decided to create a blog that's about my crazy life as a mother of three who also runs two shops and helps out at her husband’s restaurant. I also knew I wanted to talk about my family and children, but I just didn't know how comfortable I was posting pictures of my little ones. I decided to dive in and take the plunge, which leads me to one of my answers.

Why do I blog....

One of the main reasons why I blog is so I can share my life with friends and family. Jon and I have several friends from childhood and college that are spread out all over the country. We also have family everywhere, even as far as China and Spain. If I can talk about our life with simple words and pictures it's a great way to keep family and friends up to date. That was the original source of my blog. But as I started to write, my simple words turned into paragraphs. Apparently I have more to say than I thought. So for right now, at this point in my life, this little blog is a journal of our life and daily adventures. Down the road it may take another path. I hope it does. I don't like to do the same thing for too long...

The other reason why I blog is because I simply love to write. Although this has turned into more of a journalistic form of writing, at least I am still writing. For those of you who don't know my Bachelor's Degree is in English with a minor in Creative Writing. You don't see it here too often, and it's something I'm going to include more, but I love writing poetry and have even been published (long long ago). I love how simple words can explain feelings, emotions and memories in a way you can’t imagine.

So there you have it. That's why I blog.

Now, you ask, why am I talking about this here and now? After all those long walks on the beach I started to really think why the heck I am blogging. I have SO much going on in my life that honestly, I don't really have extra time for more projects. And I didn't know if I really fit into this blogging community. Well, as least I think it's a community. I have found that there are people out there who are not so welcoming. There are people who leave rude comments that I just don't understand. There are people out there who are just downright mean and intimidating on twitter. And there are also bloggers out there who have their little blogging circles and sometimes I wonder why I am following these people and what am I getting into. I am far too old for this and don't have time to worry about blogs, twitter and any other social network. What it comes down to is this: I love to write, I love to create and I love to share. There you have it....in the simplest words...why I blog.

What do you blog about? What inspires you? What is your motivation? I would love to know. And I promise, I REALLY will read your comment and check it out. You just may not get a reply for awhile ♥

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Next week I'll return with my Eco Friendly Friday posts!

7/13/11

Our July 4th Day { Small Style }

I know it's a little past the fourth, but I still wanted to share this day with you since it was part of our vacation. Only one more vacation post after this, then I'll ease up on the picture overload :)

Every year there is a July 4th festival on the island where we vacation. And every year we get all dressed up in our red, white and blue attire to celebrate. I will admit, I do love dressing up the kids, especially since I know the days are approaching where the boys won't wear what I lay out.

Joshua's pictures crack me up. I have never met a boy who is bursting with such personality. He can truly put a smile on any face. I love this kid. And yes, he did overload on the snow cone, if you couldn't tell from his expressions.

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My sister Becky and my sister in law Liz
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Cousins Nathan and Colin and my brother Mike
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Cousin Colin
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Blowing in the beach wind
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Happy Fourth of July.
How was your day, I would love to hear.

Jessica is wearing: Polo dress via TJ Maxx (clearance rack) and Zuzii flower
Jonas is wearing: Janie and Jack shirt, Target shorts, Gymboree boat shoes
Joshua is wearing: yep, he's wearing the same exact thing as Jonas. I'm a cheeseball :)

Swing by my friend Morgan's blog over at Mama Loves Papa for some more Small Style.