Latest Deeds and Petunia Offerings

Visit my Etsy store to see what's new for sale!  Lots of yummy trims...


Some nice things

While I felt a bit down and crummy today and had to re-cut a pattern (wasting a precious chunk of my favorite vintage fabric... tragic), I thought I should post on some lovely things to cheer myself up.  

The sky cleared up into sunshine this afternoon and I got to read Pride and Prejudice for the 90th time in my orange PVC lawn chair (the kind my parents used to have) while the children played in the tent out back.  Delightful.

I made blueberry oatmeal applesauce muffins from this recipe I found in my Google search.  They were yummy and semi-healthy, and I made them with soured milk (instead of yogurt) and organic sugar (instead of Splenda.)  I love cake that disguises itself as breakfast fare.  

The other day I made this lovely, frothy coffee.
I guess technically it was a latte, but I used fancy espresso powder (sue me, coffee fascists) and foamy, steamed milk (nonfat too!  Just look at that foam!  I had to take a photo) with a sprinkle of sugar.

My cats are also quite yummy.  I have three of them, one slightly "crazy older lady" tortie cat named Snicklefritz, a mellow orange cat with tiny ears named John Paul Jones ("Jones" for short) and the devil himself, Peppermint, a black and white troublemaker that Santa dropped in our laps last Christmas (we must've been naughty.)  Peppermint and Jones are best friends, and always snuggle up in photo-worthy little poses just for me.  Like this one:
And here is one of Snicky in the little wig and bonnet we salvaged from a porcelain doll:
Maybe I'm a mean pet owner for dressing my cat up, but she didn't make a fuss and sat like that under the wig while she napped for the remainder of the afternoon.  I think we both thought it suited her.

We got to catch the very last bit of the farmer's market tonight and I enjoyed delicious Chicken Vindaloo, fresh bing cherries and hot, sugary mini donuts. Yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum.


Pictures from the Tacoma Etsy Craft Party

Whew!  What a crazy week.  Well here they are, folks!  Pictures from the Tacoma Etsy Craft Party!  A lot of fun and I think we all agree that the strawberry cupcakes at Hello, Cupcake are THE BEST EVER.

Jezbilinka brought some fantastic hairclips and handmade items, and The Jilted Coquette brought adorable hairpieces to display (and the cutest socks I've ever seen.)  We ALL made some pretty awesome party hats.  Everyone donated $4 to participate, and the funds were donated to wildlife rescue in the gulf.  Thanks to Hello, Cupcake for donating the space, and to all who participated for making the day so special.  I can't wait to do it again!


Sweet Darlin' ruffle apron for little people

Pipsqueak-sized apron!  So cute, I almost kept it.  But Piper couldn't wait to get out of her "modeling clothes" and back into a stained t-shirt and stretch pants.  Kinda like her mom in that way, I guess...
Made from upcycled vintage pillowcase, vintage fabric and lace trim.  A milder version of ruffles, like you see on the grown up aprons like this one
 Notice the stretch pants...

See what else Deeds and Petunia has been up to on my Etsy page!  And don't forget to become a Facebook fan!  And feel free to stop by and say hello, bring me an iced coffee, drink a glass of wine with me or just give me a hug anytime this summer!!!  ;)


Handmade Toy Alliance and Etsy

In honor of the Handmade Toy Alliance's Blog Week, I've created an Etsy Treasury featuring HTA members who are also fellow Etsy sellers.  There are some very sweet toys and handmade goods for children, only a few of which I've featured here.

I think my top three favorites are:

The Giving Saving and Spending Tags by MamaRoots.  My kids are just starting to earn allowance and we feel like it's so important to instill in them money management skills at a young age!  Especially the "Giving" part.  :)

Primitive Tetris!  What a great idea!  Remember how addictive Tetris was when you were a kid (ahem, I guess I still am since it's on my IPhone...)?  This fabric game can go along with you to a day at the beach or the park and you don't have to worry about it getting ruined if it gets dirty, sandy or wet.  A great quiet game or something to play solo.  This item is made by Blynken and Nod.  I love her Etsy Bio:

"I do not:
Run the local PTA
Sing on tune
Run a mile in less than 10
Play the banjo
Stick to an organic diet
Always make dinner
Reread the classics at every opportunity

I do:
Bake when I'm stressed
Reuse what I can
Inhale audiobooks while I work
Brainstorm when I should be sleeping
Teach my girls not to litter
Love farmer's markets
Intend to read the PTA newsletters
Enjoy listening to people who can sing on tune
Dance shamelessly when nobody's looking
Love my husband and children and...
LoveLoveLove a good creative project

Amen, sister!

The Stuffed Animal Horse by Woolies.  Since my children are obsessed with horses, I have gained a new appreciation for all things Equine.  The horse is stuffed with soft wool and knit with 100% wool yarn, so I'm automatically in love.  The description states "Spring is brave and strong, and runs free with her band of wild horses."  Spring sounds awesome.

Take a look around at these online shops, and don't forget to leave a comment on the Treasury!  The more clicks and comments this Treasury gets, the more likely Etsy is to feature these HTA members on their front page.

And remember, when you need a gift for someone small, check out all the great Handmade Toy Alliance members on Etsy!


Deeds and Petunia featured in an Etsy Treasury! Let the clicking begin!

Please click on the items and take a look!  Especially the Sugary Sweet Ruffled Apron...

Cherished Toys

I'm thinking about my childhood tonight.  I remember some of my toys very distinctly - I had My Little Pony horses that were scented.  I had a Barbie that winked and brushed her hair back out of her eyes with her hands.  Of course, I remember the Super Nintendo and Atari!

But the things I will always cherish are the heirloom toys given to me by my grandmothers, aunts and family friends.  These are the toys, clothes, blankets, books that were made with love and great care.  There were no natural toy stores or stores that specialized in European import toys when I was a kid.  Etsy, which features handmade goods and loads of amazing handcrafted toys, certainly didn't exist.  The heirloom toys that were given to me were made to last and were made with skilled hands of crafty women who had my health and safety in mind as much as my enjoyment when making these items.  Some of these items had an incredible attention to detail.  I had a soft book for quiet time that was appliqued and featured activities like a fabric clock, a snap on apple orchard (you would pick and count the apples, and sort by color),  a little button vest and shoe tying.  I remember playing with that quiet book more than any other toy we had.  There were cat pillows with mother and baby cats that were patchworked and had embroidered whiskers.  I believe my grandma purchased them from a local crafter in her town.  I love those pillows and still have them.  My mom hung onto to most of these items, if they weren't totally worn from use.

When I grew up and had kids, I looked around the room one day and realized that nearly every toy we owned was made of cheap plastic, and kept breaking.  Since I didn't have anyone gift me any handmade toys (but we did receive some really lovely blankets!) I started looking online for heirloom quality toys that my kids could cherish.  For Christmas one year I bought toys online from shops like A Toy Garden, which features high quality and mostly natural and handmade toys, hoping to find that while these toys were higher priced, they were made to last as well as please my children.  I was completely blown away by the quality and craftsmanship of these toys.  By the next year I had become mildly obsessed with handmade toys.  The kids loved them.  They were different from everything else and treated with extra care (well, most of the time.)  Five years later my daughters still play with many of these toys and they haven't worn down or broken.

Now there is a great resource for all of us parents who do not want our children to play with toxic toys that break easily, but instead want to give our children quality toys produced by people with loving hands and sold by business owners with a conscience.  The Handmade Toy Alliance has a wonderful list of members who manufacture children's items, handcraft toys, and make these toys available for sale to people like you and me!

But the Handmade Toy Alliance also exists for a bigger purpose.  These toys are at risk of becoming unavailable to us for sale.  Here is some info on the history and mission of the HTA from their Website:

In 2007, large toy manufacturers who outsource their production to China and other developing countries violated the public's trust. They were selling toys with dangerously high lead content, toys with unsafe small parts, toys with improperly secured and easily swallowed small magnets, and toys made from chemicals that made kids sick. Almost every problem toy in 2007 was made in China.

The United States Congress rightly recognized that the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) lacked the authority and staffing to prevent dangerous toys from being imported into the US. So, they passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in August, 2008. Among other things, the CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in toys, mandates third-party testing and certification for all toys and requires toy makers to permanently label each toy with a date and batch number. All of these changes will be fairly easy for large, multinational toy manufacturers to comply with. Large manufacturers who make thousands of units of each toy have very little incremental cost to pay for testing and updating their molds to include batch labels.

For small American, Canadian, and European toy makers, however, the costs of mandatory testing, to the tune of up to $4,000 per toy, will likely drive them out of business. And the handful of larger toy makers who still employ workers in the United States face increased costs to comply with the CPSIA, even though American-made toys had nothing to do with the toy safety problems of 2007. Toy makers won't be the only ones impacted by the CPSIA, the thousands of US businesses who offer clothing, jewelry and other gifts for children --in essence-- the entire children's industry will be as well.

The authors of the CPSIA simply forgot to exclude the class of toys that have earned and kept the public's trust. The result, unless the law is modified, is that handmade and small batch children's products will no longer be legal in the US. The Handmade Toy Alliance represents these toy makers, manufacturers, importers and retailers. We actively lobby the House of Representatives and the Senate for CPSIA reform and also serve as a collective voice to the CPSC. Thriving small businesses are crucial to the financial health of our nation. Let's amend the CPSIA so that all businesses large and small are able to comply and survive!

Please support these businesses and visit the Handmade Toy Alliance's Website this week to learn more.


New Assemblage Piece

Titled, "Celia."  Plaster on Board, Mixed Media. 12" x 12".


Say hello, transfer complete and sugary sweet aprons!

Hello Blogsphere!  I've noticed that folks are in fact reading my blog, but no one has left a comment as of yet!  I would love to hear from you.  Leave a hello if you pass through!  ;)

So I think I've finally moved over all the old posts from Wordpress.  I just never took to the place, over there at Wordpress.   I used to have a Blogspot a few years ago (long gone now,) and so I know my way around here much better.  Things are gonna get fancy from now on, watch out!  ;)

I've been spending the week tweaking all my Etsy listings.  I had a bunch one right after the other last week and this week it's all lookers!  But I'm happy with lookers.  Here's hoping they turn into buyers!  I've also been busy trying to get done as much work as I can since the kids are now officially done with school.  It won't be long before the novelty wears off and I start to hear the dreaded "MOOOOM, I'm bored!" 

Here's some of what I've been working on (please ignore terrible modeling job.  Hopefully my photo skills will keep improving and I can find someone who's adorable in a burlap sack to model for me):

Ruffled Skirt Apron #1, made with vintage embroidered pillowcases, vintage fabric and all vintage trims.

Ruffled Skirt Apron #2, made with vintage pillowcases, vintage fabric, floral fabric from my stash, vintage lace and trim
Patchwork Skirt Apron, made with vintage fabric, upcycled skirt from a dress, vintage buttons and trim
Really need better photos of this one because it's really cute.

Playing Catch-up

Today is my day to catch up on blogging! I've been very busy searching high and low to find beautiful new (well, vintage) items, (and making new items and photographing new items and posting new items...) as well as trying to get more connected with Etsy Teams and the it's wonderful community of sellers, planning and promoting the Tacoma Etsy Craft Party on June 18th, and readying for a summer full of craft fairs!

I though I should share some of my latest favorites:

I came across this very informative blog on making hair fascinators.  I've very interested in Millinery, although I rarely wear hats myself.  But I do appreciate them on others, and always stop whenever I see a hat in a window or shop (especially at Nordstrom, where I used to go as a teenager just to try on the hats.)  One of my first jobs was working in a bridal boutique.  The shop was vast and had a huge veil section, most of which were hideous.  I designed my own veil from a length of organza that had a rolled hem and sat atop my head underneath a crown of fresh flowers (a la Maid Marion.)  My face wasn't covered, so in all my pictures walking down the isle you can see my "ugly cry" face (even though I was very happy, and looking quite lovely otherwise!!!)  Anyhow, I always thought it would be fun to make veils that weren't hideous, as well as hats.  And I've seen many pretty ladies walking around lately with flower combs, headbands and clips adorned with flowers, feathers and ribbons that look very fancy and old fashioned.  I ordered some supplies on Etsy (of course!) so I think I shall try my hand at Fascinator-making next week.  Who knows, maybe I'll have a millinery shop someday soon...

I just purchased this item for my husband's upcoming birthday, (shhh, don't tell him!) from Eagles Nest Woodcrafts in Colorado Springs.  It's a brown Mustache Mug that keeps his cookie duster/soup strainer/crumb catcher out of his coffee.  Hope he appreciates it!  :)

For Etsy Shop owners new to the biz, I've come across some incredibly useful tools on Craftopolis and Craft Cult.  Both are tracking tools that show how many page hits you're getting, new fans, new hearts, if you're in any treasuries (not in any yet, sniff sniff) and which tags people are using in their searches to find your shop.  I'm constantly tweaking and fine-tuning my shop, and this past week I've made a huge leap in page hits, thanks in part to these two websites!

I've joined Team EtsyRAIN!  What a great resource for people in the greater Seattle area.  So much information and wonderful people to connect with.  Happy and proud to be a new member!

Now, in totally unrelated news, I saw a couple great movies this past weekend.  First was Bright Star, a romantic period drama about John Keats and the love of his life, Fanny (for whom his Bright Star poem was written.)  Jane Campion directed it and each and every shot in that movie was like a beautifully crafted work of art.  So many lovely scenes, and a sweet and tragic love story.  Highly staisfying to my pining inner victorian.  The second was Alice In Wonderland.  I don't know if this one is actually what I'd call great, it won't win any awards, but as a die hard Tim Burton fan I can't say I hated it.  In fact, Johnny Depp was as amazing as ever (except the dancing scene, yuck) and the two queens, Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway were delightful.  It was completely Disneyfied, and if Disney had been left out of it I'm sure Tim Burton and his magical crew would've blown us away with another dark and twisted masterpiece (it was still dark enough that I wouldn't let my 6 year old watch it just yet.)

Archives - The sun has returned and so have my spirits! 06/14/2010

What a lovely day it was.

Today made me think about living in England.  We lived there for a few years back in the late 90's out in the country.  The summers were sumptuous.  There is nothing like the beautiful rolling hills of the English countryside.  The yellow rapeseed fields were so vibrant and shockingly yellow against the blue sky.  I miss warm afternoons in the pub garden drinking cask conditioned ale and eating chips with vinegar.  How everything was so old and settled and relaxed.  We move too fast most of the time.  The English perfected the art of a sunny summer afternoon.  Come to think of it, they also perfected the art of a warm fire and cuppa tea on a dreary, rainy afternoon as well.

My husband reminded me "this is why we live in the Northwest.  Days like today."  He's right.  We've lived many places over the past twelve years or so, but a sunny day in the beautiful Northwest is hard to beat.  Just wish there were more of them!

Today I visited an Estate Sale of what must've been a lovely old lady.  She was a school teacher, I'm guessing.  Her home was neat and tidy, and her items were well taken care of.  I found many old children's books, especially grammar readers, and a few books with beautiful german script (but since I'm not able to read German, I decided against buying them!)  There were names penciled in many of the books.  The lost art of careful penmanship, the kind I imagine any good teacher would use, was evident.  In particular, I love to collect old books.  There's something about the smell of old books that I love.  I find it comforting.  Her home felt very cozy.  I walked away with an ancient dictionary and an illustrated book of children's poems.

I also found an old stamp set in an old Pall Mall cigarette box.  The box was fantastic to begin with, but the tiny wooden stamps inside were very exciting to find.

There were old children's school desks, toys and games, carefully preserved doll clothes, vintage tea cups, a vanity set with a gold trimmed brush, comb and handmirror, and lots of fabric scraps and unfinished sewing projects (much like my own sewing room.)  Outside I found some old wooden fruit boxes to take home and a muffin tin to house all my buttons.  My favorite treasure was the school teacher's bag of letters, valentines, hand drawn pictures, class photos and student photos.  I imagine her hanging onto these items, stuffed inside an old paper sack, to remind herself of a job she seemed to be made for, if her home is any indication of the kind of person she was.  Orderly, organized, comfortable, full of enrichment.

Estate sales are my favorite.  While it should feel unnerving walking into a stranger's house and paw through their things, there is something amazing about handling the material possessions these people left behind.  They are normal everyday items, but they tell a story.  Individual pieces sometimes speak louder than all the items put together.  Finding that special something that speaks to me and connects me to this person, this stranger, is magical.  A little piece of them, their essence, their taste, whatever you want to call it, gets to live on with me.  We have something in common.  It's not the same when you go to a garage sale or a flea market or antique store.  Being in someone's home surrounded by what they've left behind is a completely different context and a different experience entirely.