June 30, 2014

How to Clean Your Oven with No Harsh Chemicals + Weekly Update

So, you might have noticed that I have not been posting much lately.
To say I have been busy is an understatement. I love summer and I am fully taking advantage of all it has to offer this year. Taking inspiration from the women in my life, I decided to do some flower planting of my own this year, get into picking fruit fresh from the garden and orchard, and venturing out to some all day auctions to score some pieces I have been searching for. 

Last year we moved into a new apartment and now that we are comfortable in our new space and it is decorated to our liking, I am focusing more on the outdoors. The back of the house has a patio area I am working on fixing up and I added some flower beds. (We rent from my in-laws.) I have been spending most of my days lately doing some business planning, which has involved a lot of praying and God bringing just the right people I need to hear from into my life. It is funny how you can go almost a year or more without seeing someone and just when you pray for guidance they come into your life again for a brief moment and have the best words of advice. 

I have been spending more time outdoors enjoying the scenery and we have been eating a lot healthier lately so I am feeling supercharged! Our vacation to Washington was just what we needed to help get us started on living out this summer to the fullest.

Here is my life in pictures from these last two weeks:
 The nursery is my new favorite place to shop!
I filled my trunk up with some beautiful flowers to fill up my new flower beds. 
I picked the brightest flowers I could find for our soon to be cheery outdoor space.

 I love cooking with citrus!
It makes every dish look delicious and summery.
I made some salmon flavored with orange slices and rosemary. 

My dad helped me put in a flower bed along the back of the house and I planted all of my flowers.
We will soon be ready for a cook-out with family back there! 

We had our last show for the spring season. It was a fun adventure for us.
We celebrated our last show with hosting an open house/chocolate party!

 I went on a date with my mom to a coffee + tea shop where we shared this incredible fresh-baked slice of black raspberry pie. I am normally not a pie person, but this is really something!

 My parents are raising chickens. These three little ladies are Scarlet, Rosie, and Ruby.
They are about 4 weeks old and love to take adventures.

 My best friend and I ate at Cafe Chocolate in Lititz for the first time.
It was delicious. Of course I ordered a crepe! Which is probably a number 2 on my list of favorites. 
Donuts being number one. 

And after all those tasty treats, here is a my dirty oven.
I hate using harmful chemicals to clean anything in my house. Especially something I prepare food in.
I cleaned my oven using just baking soda and vinegar.
The left side is after the treatment, and the right side is during.
It certainly makes a difference!

Here is my quick tutorial:
Make a paste out of baking soda and water, slowly stirring while adding a little water at a time.

I used my hand to apply the paste, sponges absorb the water from the paster and make it hard to smear across the oven. You just want to take handfuls of the paste and work it into the nooks and dirty walls.
Close your oven door and let sit over night. In the morning use a spray bottle filled with white vinegar and spray down the oven. 

Let that work for a few minutes while you prepare a sink or bucket of hot water. 

Using a wet sponge wipe away the excess baking soda, rinsing your sponge between strokes. 

Spray the oven again with some vinegar and get out your handy dandy tool, a Pampered Chef pan scraper!
Scrape the walls and bottom of the oven with your tool and watch as all of those tough baked on food spots magically come right off!

Using your wet sponge again, wipe the oven clean.
Wipe it down a few times, refreshing your water if needed.
And ta-dah! Super clean oven with no harsh fumes!

After you use your oven once or twice, wipe down again with a wet sponge to remove any baking soda you might have missed originally. It will harden and fall to the bottom of the oven.

June 24, 2014

Snapshots from Seattle

We are back from our trip and hitting the ground running.
It has been a busy week and I already want to fly back out to Washington.
To celebrate our One Year Wedding Anniversary we flew out to Seattle and then drove to Long Beach, WA. The game plan was to relax! And of course see some awesome stuff and get really inspired.
We traveled for about 23 hours straight our first day, with sightseeing in Seattle for most of the day.
First stop in Seattle was Fremont Market. Familiar with Craft Markets after our spring show season, we were excited to see some different products. We loved that they had several Boutiques-on-wheels at the market. Check out: http://shopfashionbar.com/ which is just one of the boutiques that was there.

We grabbed a bite to eat at the market since everything looked delicious and then ventured to Ballard's market. 

After snooping around the markets I took Josh to see Kerry Park which is an awesome lookout point in Seattle, near Queen Anne. 

Alright, finally some pictures!

Fish Waffle!
Filled with sweet potatoes, brown sugar, and walnuts. 
I definitely need to get on board making waffle sandwiches at home! 
We grabbed some ice cream at Lick before leaving the city. 
I am now crazy about Blueberry Chai ice cream!
Yet another thing I need to start making at home!

Gosh, I just love Seattle.
And I am pretty sure Josh now has an appreciation for Seattle as well.
Mission Accomplished.

I am filled with inspiration!

June 12, 2014

Project: Dining Chair Transformation

Before we were married, Josh and I spent our evenings together shopping craigslists and thrift shops for furniture for our future apartment. I knew I wanted a vintage inspired kitchen from the beginning. Originally I wanted all white appliances and turquoise walls. Still a lovely idea, however we rent our apartment from my in-laws. I quickly re-strategized my plan to find a more neutral wall color when the time comes for us to moved out, they will not need to repaint the walls a less, how shall I say, subjective color. I mean, I would love it, but how would the next person feel about aqua kitchen walls?!
Therefore, I settled for a light gray. Not as exciting, but it works.

We found this adorable dinette on Craigslist. I bartered with the guy and brought it down to about $40 I recall and we went to pick it up. It came with caned chairs (similar to this one on Etsy;) which Josh was unsure about how long they would last from the beginning. Fortunately the caning was not the problem. The screws must have been improperly replaced at some point and were too short and narrow. The chairs wobbled and creaked! Every now and again the screws would come right out of the chair on their own (side note, if that guy can sell that chair for $80, I better start fixing our chairs!) I screwed them back in multiple times knowing I needed to permanently fix them at some point. After the screws came out yet again, I just decided to get new chairs at the thrift shop. Someday we will fix the other ones.

I picked these up for $10/chair.
Not the most excited thing, but I liked the mid-century lines and I thought they would work well with our kitchen theme. The previous owner got crafty and covered the seats with a pillow case.
It was not the best job, but hey, they tried, so I will give them some credit. 

Once bringing them home and placing them in the kitchen, I decided they should be painted white and have some type of geometric black and white print cushion. I dug through my stash and found some home decor fabric I purchased from Fabric.com a while back in a black and white chevron. How cute!

Yep! Good choice! They are super adorable.

And they look great with our table and fit in wonderfully with the kitchen. I will have to do a kitchen tour soon! It took 2.5 cans of paint to give the chairs three coats of paint.

 One of my friends from high school just graduated college (she studied PR and needs a job if you know any good leads!) I asked her over for one of my personal favorite dishes, Waffles topped with fruit and whipped cream! 

Yet another great decision!

Make sure you enter our June Fabric Giveaway!
Giveaway ends June 13th at midnight EST

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June 9, 2014

June Fabric Haul + Fabric Giveaway!

It's the weekend!
And I have something new and exciting for you!
A fabric haul video and a fabric giveaway!
How do I enter to win some fabric?! What is the fabric?! Where can I see the fabric?!

Well, right here on this video!
Take a peek at what is currently on my cutting table and at the end of the video I will show you the fabric I am giving away. I will give you a hint! It's leopard print!
Two lucky winners will receive some of this awesome fabric.

Use the app below to enter the giveaway.
That's it!

Giveaway ends on Friday, June 13th at midnight EST.
Winner announced on following Saturday. 
Best of luck!

Inspiration: Floral Prints

1. Pants
3. Dress
4. Watch
5. Blouse
6. Skirt
7. Romper

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June 6, 2014

Coffee Date: Catching up!

So how about coffee? Or shall I say tea?
Yeah, I started drinking tea. And for anyone who knows me personally, you know I have spent the last 21 years of my life very intentionally avoiding hot tea. After I started dating Josh and was introduced to his grandma's meadow tea, which is basically cheating because it is so sweet and deliciously minty. It's kinda like drinking a stick of gum. But I don't mind one bit. 
Last weekend at Liz's adorable tea party bridal shower I decided to try a hot tea that was a vanilla caramel black tea which was very good. I decided to try another flavor. I went with a blueberry green tea. Thus far, blueberry flavored anything has yet to disappoint me.
I have been craving it since!
 So I stopped into A Tea Affair's shop to look for that delicious blueberry tea. (The lady in the shop was very kind and knowledgable! I recommend stopping in and trying some of their fine teas!)
So now I am finally enjoying some tasty hot tea out of my adorable tea cup and saucer set I thrifted a while back for such occasions as this. 

Anyway, go grab your coffee/tea and sit down with me as I gab about what's happening in life and sip this blueberry goodness. 
Oh, and just so incase you were wondering, this is my "let's meet up for coffee" outfit.
Ok, so maybe you were not wondering.
Don't mind that I moved the mirror into the leaving room so I didn't have our floral frenzy wallpaper in the picture.
Currently I have been working on some projects for myself now since my show season is almost over and the wedding has passed and the dress was fabulous. You will get to see what I am currently working on and what I plan to sew during the month of June in my video that will be up tomorrow!
Plus! I am hosting a giveaway this weekend. A fabric giveaway! So make sure you tune in!

I just downloaded the Blog Life e-course by A Beautiful Mess. I heard it is amazing, so I am excited to get started and start planning out the next steps for this blog. 

My logo update is complete, I am just waiting for the rest of my branding package to be complete. I am very excited about the designs I have been seeing! Next step is to update the website! We would like to make it easier to shop on a website that has a shopping cart so you won't have to be directed to another site to order or be forced to make an Etsy account. 

I have been busy in my studio this week going through my fabric stash and organizing every thing. I am opening my studio up for family and friends to come see and to shop my current collection of handbags in person. It should be a special evening and it will be great to show them what I have been up to and what my plans are for the future of my business.

That's about all I have for now!
Be sure to check in tomorrow for my giveaway!
(I'll give you a hint, it's leopard print!)

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June 5, 2014

Project: Old Chair, New Paint

I did a quick DIY this week and gave an old chair I found at a thrift some a new look with some paint.
I love the shape and design of the chair, but the paint was very worn. Otherwise the chair was in great condition. I decided to pick it up to be used as Josh's nightstand, as I decided his current nightstand should be in our living room to holding our goldfish plant, because I originally bought it to use as an end table anyway!

We don't really have much of a theme going on in our bedroom right now other than some country rose wallpaper which neither of us are into, but Josh would rather leave it up than go through the work of painting the room. I on the other hand welcome the challenge.

I thought long and hard about what color I wanted this chair to be. When I first bought it I thought I would just paint it gold and be done with it. However, I came across something with gold feet and that vision stuck in my head and I knew I wanted this chair to have gold feet.
Which then I went between black or white paint, but I settled for the white to brighten the space.

I used painters tape to tape the original seat. I loved the black seat and it was still in perfect condition.
After painting the entire chair white, I measured up from the bottom how much gold I wanted on the feet. I taped off each of the legs and painted them gold.

I think it came out great! I just love those gold feet!
 Now for that wallpaper...


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June 4, 2014

Etsy Shop Favorites!

Today I put together a little list of businesses I have purchased from on Etsy and have become a big fan of their products and wanted to share with you: 

Not One Sparrow sells handmade jewelry from New Hope, PA.
I ordered from Ina for my wedding last year. I purchased the above earrings for each of my bridesmaids and ordered a gorgeous vintage-inspired pair for myself. We have worn these time and time again!
I have a huge wishlist for her shop because I kinda want everything!
She offers several styles of classic drop earrings, studs, and bracelets in gorgeous rich colors.

Aubrey Elizabeth Apothecary has the cutest soaps!
I ordered some of these macaron soaps for my bathroom when it was Kate Spade themed.
I am very interested in trying out some of her lip scrubs. I have been looking for a good one and she has some citrusy options that sound nice!
Shop here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/AubreyEApothecary

Fleet Collection dresses are my favorite. I own about three now and they are worn often and for almost every occasion. I have worn them for interviews, meeting clients, to church, weddings, and showers!
I loved my mint dress so much (which I wore during my lookbook shoot!)  I ordered another one in coral and recently wore it to Liz's Bridal Shower.
I love seeing pictures of bridesmaids wearing their dresses posted on their Facebook. They always look so lovely! If only they came out with the dusty rose color in time for my wedding!
Shop here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/FleetCollection

 Zoet Bathlatier offers luxurious candles and bath items.
I found this shop at Clover Markets, where we both are vendors, and smelled every candle in the tent! They are wonderful unique fragrances and I had to pick myself up one!
I can't wait for her Pumpkin Lager to come out in the fall again!
Shop here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ZoetBathlatier

Firebird has incredible scents of lotion and soap.
I tried a sampler of her soaps and every scent was unique and refreshing.
My personal favorite product is her body lotions. I love the lavender wood scent!
I am almost out and have to get some more!
She has great seasonal scents too that I can't wait for them to come out in the fall!

The Paper Fairy is my go-to shop every time I am about to have a party.
They have so many fun things from printed goodie bags to flashy paper straws and cupcake liners.
Every time I look there are new awesome products being added to the shop!
So next time you throw a shin-dig, you know where to go!
Shop here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThePartyFairy

What are your favorite shops on Etsy?
Comment below, I would love to check them out!

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June 3, 2014

Bride to Be with Garden Tea

My weekend was full of marriage and soon to be marriage!
Liz's mom and sisters planned an adorable little bridal shower for her at A Tea Affair in Lititz.
Complete with a mimosa bar and garden tea served by the wonderful tea ladies. 
It was a pleasant afternoon meeting her guests and catching up with old friends. 
And a perfect excuse to break out my coral dress by Fleet Collection!
I am so honored to have Liz in my life who is always there to run my crazy ideas by and encourage me to keep pursuing my dream. Liz is also a designer and we are both working hard on our upcoming lines! I can't wait to see her samples!
And of course I picked my seat by choosing my favorite tea cup in the room.
I think I have been converted to a tea drinker during this delicious party.
Especially when it comes to fruit or dessert flavored tea...

Now for some news:
As my show season comes to a wrap for Spring '14, I have been offered an opportunity that would expand my faith, allow me to be a more determined steward of the word in my community, and learn a skill I have always admired. There are so many great benefits to the position that are beyond money. Yet I am struggling with my decision due to paralyzing fear. My past experience I finally removed myself from earlier this year is finally showing its wounds. 
 I just ask that you pray for me and my ability to make the right decisions regarding jobs and my business in the upcoming future.

Thanks + Blessings,

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June 2, 2014

Project: Wedding Dress Complete!

As promised I am sharing some pictures of the wedding dress I made for my cousin's wedding this past weekend! But first, I am going to hold you in suspense (unless you just scroll to the bottom right now, but wait!) by showing you this dress that my momma made me!
It is so pretty and classic I needed one for myself!
We used Vogue pattern 8241. We found a pink knit that is on the mauve side. The material is almost like an activewear knit. It is a super comfortable dress and it breathes! Which is something I was very concerned about for my bridesmaids. We had a July wedding, and knowing it would be hot, I looked for any fabric that could look dressy but would not make them too warm. I was looking for a rayon challis or knit until I came across this one for $1/yd at Fabric Mart! I bought the whole bolt!
She used a hanging button closure at the top of the keyhole. I found a bag of large buttons that looked like pearls at Fabric Mart in the clearance section. Picked them up for 10 cents for the whole bag!
I found the wide lace for the bottom at a thrift shop in packs of 5 yards for a dollar!
I dressed it up with a brown belt, vintage-looking rhinestone drop earrings, and nude heels.

And now, after dozens of fittings, muslins, and hours of pinning and stitching...
Candy's dress!
 Candy was looking for a simple, elegant gown that was vintage-inspired.
She came to me with the idea of an all lace gown with a scalloped neckline and a-line skirt.
She was ultimately looking for something modest and comfortable.
We used Simplicity Pattern 1460 as a guide for the top. 
I used a cotton lace with a swirl pattern in an ivory. I lined the lace with a white poly charmeuse.
I found some floral bridal lace trim to give her the scalloped edge she wanted.
I had to draft the skirt myself so I could get the shape I wanted. The skirt was four pieces that flared out to give her a full bottom that puddled around her. I added four box pleats to the back to make it fuller.
We finished it off with a champagne bow. The dress is fully lined with white poly charmeuse I purchased from Fabric.com for a great price!
The top closes with pearl buttons. I made her veil as well. I had to have a lot of patience glueing on tiny pearl beads with a tweezer! But it was all worth it. She looked gorgeous in this gown!
Congratulations, Candy + Chris.
May you live a life full of love and happiness!
And thank you so much for allowing me the honor to make your gown!
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