• Enjoy free printables made by Just Jaunty. Feel free to download, print, and share!

  • These ornaments are handsewn and made using swatches that were discarded by furniture and upholstery stores. The fabrics are gorgeous, unique, and heavy duty.

  • Well they say a picture is worth a thousand words, but you won't find any in my Silent Sunday blog posts. Take a look.

  • I have scored some great finds at Goodwill. What I love about shopping at the Goodwill Outlet (besides the prices) is that this is the last stop for items before that get taken away and disassembled, often into rags and rugs.

  • I work at a library, so I definitely see my fair share of books. I often bring home more than I have time for though. Books on CD have become one of my favorites.

  • Handmade stamps make beautiful giftwrap. I tried out old corks. I cut designs into some of them and used blank ones as well. The designs that came out were pretty interesting.

Friday, May 23, 2014

My Summer Reading List (2014)

Posted by Michelle Brown On 3:27 PM 8 comments
 photo summerreadinglist_zps3721e3a5.jpg 

Working in a library, I (obviously) see many books. I get to see what is new, popular, and all the old stuff too. My reading list gets longer and longer every day. With work, hobbies, and especially when I am in school, I don’t get much time for leisure reading. This summer I am making a goal for myself to read at least a few books since my boyfriend and I both will be out of school.

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?

Happy reading!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Getting My Hands Dirty - The Start of My Garden

Posted by Michelle Brown On 9:41 PM 8 comments
 healthy soil with lots of worms
 
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?

 Just Jaunty Garden Scrubs

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.

 The start of the garden with rows

What we will be growing:

1. Tomatoes - 4 kinds
2. Pumpkins
3. Cucumber
4. Squash - 2 kinds
5. Chives
6. Parsley
7. Spinach
8. Cauliflower
9. Sunflowers
10. Peas
11. Cantaloupe
12. Habaneros
13. Green beans
14. Cilantro
15. Lettuce
16. Carrots
17. Basil
18. Rosemary
19. Lavender
20. Bell peppers
21. Celery
22. Strawberries
Plus various flowers
and I'm probably forgetting something!


 The future belongs to those of us who are willing to get our hands dirty

I think the future is looking pretty bright!
:)


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Silent Sunday - 4/13/2014

Posted by Michelle Brown On 11:00 PM 20 comments
 photo PlantsInBackyard_zpsdb8b731f.jpg

OneDad3Girls

Saturday, March 29, 2014

My 6 Reasons for Gardening

Posted by Michelle Brown On 10:04 PM 6 comments
 lettuce
My lettuce and cilantro plants
Before moving to Sacramento, I lived on the Northern California Coast for most of my life. It rains there often and has cool summers. Although some people did garden, it wasn't hot enough to have a really good vegetable garden. Now that I live somewhere that gets hot hot hot, I figured it would be a great time to start gardening. I wasn't really interested in gardening when I was younger (other than eating the veggies), so I've never had a garden of my own. I'm very excited to get started!

Here are my reasons for gardening along with some of my colorful doodles :)

 photo PiggyBankKaChing4in_zps24aa41aa.jpg 
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.

 photo CarrotYumYum4in_zpse18e6517.jpg 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.


 photo GoGreen4in_zpsa806c056.jpg3. 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? :)

 photo GardenForTheSoul4in_zps31552204.jpg 
4. Hobby
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.

 photo SunShine4in_zpsfc2b7452.jpg 
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?

 photo GardeningIsMyExercise2_zpsfe0784ca.jpg

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

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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.

 photo LaundryHowTo_zps69d69f1c.jpg
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.

Instead of fabric softener, I use vinegar. It is very inexpensive and useful for cleaning around the house. I use the same amount of vinegar as I would’ve fabric softener. If you use a lot of fabric softener, you might want to dilute the vinegar with water to a 50/50 mix. Once the clothes have dried, they don’t smell like vinegar at all. If you want a scent you can add a few drops of essential oils (I like to use lavender, but you could add rose, orange, etc) or you can use a homemade scented vinegar.


LVthenerdyfarmwife photo LV1_zps84d72102.jpg
Image from The Nerdy Farm Wife
A great thing to try in your laundry is lemon, lime, or lavender (there are many more kinds too!) vinegar. I made some for cleaning, but haven't tried it on my clothes just yet. Since lemon can be used as a bleaching agent, I would use it on whites, but not your colored clothes!

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

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.


CraftIncCraftIncBusinessPlanner

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.

BusinessPlannerInside


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.

creativeinc

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