Friday, May 23, 2014
I actually read a lot of children’s picture books. Partially because they are adorable, fun, and have great images that my artistic side loves. Mostly I read them for work. I fill in for storytime when we don’t have a volunteer. It is really fun to plan, and I get to be silly at work. I also read young adult books, which many adults will tell you are not just for teens!
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
My boyfriend and I watched the movie, and we really enjoyed it. He does not like reading at all, but after watching the movie he said he actually wanted to read the book. I was flabbergasted! And immediately added it to our summer to do list.
Libriomancer (Magic Ex Libris #1) by Jim C. Hines
I started this a while back, but didn’t get to finish it when I moved. I figured I would give it another try. How could I resist since I work in a library? ;)
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness – All Souls Trilogy
Another book filled with magic and a library. This book got really mixed reviews though, some people said it was amazing while others said it was horrid.
The Body Book by Cameron Diaz
Part of me wonders if all the hype about this book is because it is written by a celebrity. I also wonder what her perspective is as a celebrity. I am excited to see what I can learn from her book.
Cress by Marissa Meyer – The Lunar Chronicles
I listened to Cinder and Scarlet on BCD on my drive to work. I really liked the reader as well as the stories. Sometimes I even wished my car ride was longer so I could finish a chapter. I have been on hold for a while for Cress. I can’t wait for it to be my turn!
The Quarter-Acre Farm by Spring Warren
I started my first real garden this year, and it has been a lot of work! Luckily, my boyfriend has been a huge help. Our backyard isn’t very big, but it is filled almost to the max. I hope this book will have some good tips. I am really excited to be working towards self-sustainability and eating healthier.
What is on your summer reading list? Have you read any of the ones on my list? Have any suggestions for what I should read next?
Saturday, April 19, 2014
I love playing in the dirt.
I love making a mess.
I love creating something beautiful.
My garden has been a little slow to start. There is just so much to do! But it is exciting to see it progress. The soil in our yard is very healthy and has a lot of worms! Plus, I've got an awesome garden outfit. Who would've guessed that scrubs are useful and comfortable for gardening?
This was the start of the garden layout. The plants will (hopefully) be going in the ground this weekend and next weekend. We are in the process building a fence around the garden to keep pesky animals out! If it weren't for the cats and squirrels, we would probably be done or almost done planting.
What we will be growing:
1. Tomatoes - 4 kinds
4. Squash - 2 kinds
13. Green beans
20. Bell peppers
Plus various flowers
and I'm probably forgetting something!
I think the future is looking pretty bright!
Saturday, March 29, 2014
|My lettuce and cilantro plants|
Here are my reasons for gardening along with some of my colorful doodles :)
1. Saving money
Moving was expensive. The time it took me to find a new job once we moved depleted our savings. We have been trying to spend less, save more and reduce our debt. Gardening is going to help us do this.
It is also cheaper to grow vegetables than to buy them at the store. Seeds are pretty inexpensive, and some of the ones we have were given to us, but they will produce hundreds of dollars worth of vegetables/fruits/herbs.
2. Eating healthier
My boyfriend and I don't eat enough vegetables, plain and simple. Hopefully this will make it easier to incorporate them into our diet because they will be more readily available. We have a juicer, and we really enjoyed drinking a fresh made juice in the mornings, so we will start this again in the summer.
I also will know what is going into my food, so I won't be ingesting as unknown pesticides or chemicals.
3. The 'green' thing to do
There are a number of reasons why it is 'green' to grow a garden. The vegetables don't have to be transported to to the grocery store, and you don't have to travel to the grocery store to get the them.
I am also a big supporter of growing food instead of lawns. It takes a lot of time and energy to maintain a lawn. Why not put that energy into growing something useful like food? :)
During the summer my boyfriend doesn't have school or work. He does love to garden, so it will be his 'summer job,' and, as a gardening newbie, I will greatly appreciate his expertise.
I have started helping with the compost and getting our backyard ready for the new plants. I must say, it is pretty fun to be outside, playing in the dirt. It's also something my boyfriend and I can do together.
5. Getting outside
Sacramento has some pretty nice weather (excluding the scorching hot summer), and it is so enjoyable to be outside! Fresh air and sunshine is great for the body.
Air quality is also better outside than in our houses. How crazy is that?
6. Getting exercise
It might not be intense cardio or weight lifting, but it is still exercise. Turning soil, bending to plant, and watering are different from regular daily movements (unless you work on a farm), so it will work different muscles.
Gardening also reduces stress!
What are your reasons for gardening?
Check out this video which is relevant to why some people choose to garden!
Saturday, March 15, 2014
Posted by Michelle Brown On 10:02 PM 8 comments
My boyfriend is TERRRRRRIBLE at doing laundry. He forgets to do it often, but I think it is more that he doesn’t like to do it. He will only buckle down and do laundry if I nag him enough or if he ran out of clothes (and I haven’t done them already). We decided to make a chore chart to keep track of who did what chore in the week. I also made a laundry how to, so he will never be lost at what to add to the load (or have an excuse for not doing it!). Laundry doodles were drawn by me in Illustrator.
This chart is pretty specific to how we do laundry. We dry our blacks in low heat because my boyfriend wears cotton shirts and doesn’t want them to shrink. However, if you’d like the chart for your own laundry room, it is free to download from here or the printables page.
We have been trying to cut our expenses, and laundry soap can get pretty expensive, especially if we buy soap, bleach, fabric softener, and dryer sheets. Not to mention it is better for our bodies and the environment if we use alternatives to the laundry supplies that have chemicals and dyes.
When I do but laundry soap I buy the free and clean kind for sensitive skin. I usually buy the packets because there is less plastic waste than a big liquid container.
When I don’t use store bought laundry soap, I use baking soda. I have read many recipes about homemade laundry soap, but honestly, I just pour in ¼ cup baking soda lol I figure my clothes (especially work clothes) don’t get very dirty, so they don’t need heavy duty washing or much soap anyways. I have read that mixing baking soda and vinegar don’t work well as a cleaner, so when I use one in the wash, I usually leave the other out.
I use bleach because it is inexpensive and effective for our towels and whites. I DO NOT use bleach if I am using vinegar in the load. I read that the two shouldn’t be mixed, so I figure better safe than sorry.
|Image from The Nerdy Farm Wife|
The Nerdy Farm Wife has a great post called Five Uses for Lavender Vinegar. She also has some great ideas for other kinds of vinegars you can make.
Sunday, March 9, 2014
Posted by Michelle Brown On 8:30 AM No comments
I checked out two ebooks by Meg Mateo Ilasco from my library: “Craft Inc. Revised Edition” and “Craft Inc. Business Planner.” The two go hand in hand and offer some great advice about turning your hobby into a successful business.
Craft, Inc. Revised Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Turning Your Creative Hobby into a Successful Business talks about developing your company (name, identity, products, and pricing plans) obtaining licenses, paying taxes, and where to sell your items (online, Etsy, craft fairs, wholesale, stores, etc.). The book is pretty detailed, so it would be good for those who already have a basic understanding of how to sell their arts/crafts. It is not a comprehensive guide, but has very good information and tips.
I enjoyed the Q&A with artists and business owners, but I would’ve like to see their pictures and examples of their work. I didn’t want to spend time looking up each of them online. I also didn’t like the overall lack of pictures and graphics.
Craft Inc. Business Planner is great for starting and expanding your craft business. The book walks you through the steps, helps you define your business, has useful charts and lists, and helps you plan out goals. “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail,” right?
What I liked about this book is that it gives you some business basics, but goes beyond that as well. It helps you map out product lines and prices, tells how to market your items with a press kit, and prepares you for trade and retail shows.
Since I didn’t have the physical copy of the book, my experience with it is a little different than what was planned for the reader. The description of the book is a planner that you can write in, that has pockets, and that has tear off pages for notes. This is great for keeping things organized and in one place! You have your business plan and ideas right next to checklists, tips, and information which can be essential for creating a successful, organized business.
Amazon has both books in stock if you want to purchase them or read more reviews.
I have a third book Creative, Inc.: The Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Freelance Business by Meg Mateo Ilasco on hold. This is the Craft Inc. version for Photographers, Illustrators, and Graphic Designers who want to be freelancers. So if you are interested in one of these fields instead of crafting, this would be the version for you.