Monday, October 15, 2012

90 years...

My grandmother turns 90 years old in a few weeks.  This is a photo of her from her wedding day.  Doesn't she look beautiful?  I hope I can live to be 90!

Saturday, October 13, 2012


In everything I do, I strive to be more efficient.  To me, that means a lot of things.  It means being able to get healthier, save money, be more organized and keep my house clean and in order (and spend less time doing it), keep my family happy, spend time on myself and my goals, and the list goes on and on...
I want to do all these things more efficiently so that my family and I can be as happy as possible and spend less time worrying about all the small stuff.  

So many posts on so many blogs seem to dedicate so much space to all of these things from organizing, to cleaning, to cooking once-a-month, to making everything DIY.  I guess that means that everyone else is inspired to become more efficient too.  The great thing about that is there is such a plethora of information out there for people to research.  

One of the best reasons to become more efficient is to save money.  Who couldn't use a few extra bucks in their bank account?  Implementing a budget has been one of the hardest things for my family to do, especially when being creative means I have a new plan for a new house project every week!  I am finally going to make it happen people (the budget that is, not all the new projects, but hey maybe I will get extra creative and do both!)  

I plan to do a lot more research and find some great resources for becoming more efficient in everything I do, and as I find them I will share them here with you.

I was really inspired today as I read Blissful and Domestic, a blog written by a woman named Danielle who has certainly embraced a more efficient and frugal lifestyle and it seems like she has fun doing it.  Check it out...and let me know what do you do to be more efficient?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Hamlin Beach State Park...

Yesterday we spent some time at Hamlin Beach State Park on Lake Ontario's southern shore.  Having gone there many times as a kid I guess I tend to take the place for granted.  It really is such a beautiful park right in my back yard (not really, but literally only a few miles away).  It really has everything a park needs; beaches, trees, playgrounds, trails, tons of open space, campgrounds, picnic tables and very cool old sandstone buildings.  Some of the cool old buildings happen to have been built by my great grandfather's construction company in the 1960's.  Despite it's beauty, Hamlin Beach State Park is not nearly as busy as it was when I was young.  It seems people have just forgotten about it.  So, if anyone out there is looking for a nice place to have a fall picnic, consider Hamlin Beach.  I will bring the wine.

(Hamlin Beach State Park holds many events throughout the year including concerts, an Earth Day celebration, a Civil War Reenactment, and also has a former POW Camp site that can be explored.  More info can be found at Hamlin Beach State Park).

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fall organizing fever...

It always happens this time of year.  I get so anxious about the change of the seasons and all I want to do is clean out my house and organize EVERYTHING!

As an artist, I am always collecting interesting things that inspire me.  The fact that I am also OCD, means that I am really torn sometimes between keeping things because they are interesting to me and wanting to eliminate clutter and simplify my life.  How do you solve this dilemma?  Excuse me now while I go clean out a junk drawer or two.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Spice labels...

I am an organizing nerd for sure!  I am sure there are a lot of us out there especially with all the "organization inspiration" that can be found on Pinterest these days.  So, today I finally decided to make labels for all the spice jars in my pantry.  There are many free printable labels online, but I couldn't find any that were the right size and shape, so I just made my own with my word processing software.  The font is "Sail" and can be downloaded free here.  Happy Organizing!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Super Sale at my Etsy Shop!

I just reopened my Etsy Shop: Circle and Stone Studio after being closed for a year...and almost everything is ON SALE!  I am preparing to revamp everything with all new work so these sale items won't be around for long.  Check it out! (Below is a sample of some of the pieces on sale).

Spencerian Script...

I have been learning to write in Spencerian Script, a type of penmanship that dates back to the 1800's.  It is so elegant and ornate.  I wish people still wrote like this, but honestly I understand why they don't...It really takes a lot of time.  Here are some photos of my practice.  (If you are interested in having something written in Spencerian Script, please contact me.)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Chore chart...

While browsing Pinterest one day, I found a chore chart, which led me to this blog post from Jenny Komenda at Little Green Notebook.  I felt like this was what I have been searching for since Pip was born.  You see, since I had baby number 2 I have been feeling pretty overwhelmed when I think of getting time to clean my entire house.  This has really helped me break down the cleaning and house work into manageable chunks.  Below is my version of the weekly/monthly chore chart and my house is actually clean and I am not so stressed out! I say that makes a good day (and believe it or not it doesn't take me that long to complete these tasks each day).

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cute for little girls... from Circle and Sprout

Sarah and I designed and made these cute little scalloped "bunting" necklaces for the flower girls in a recent wedding (we also did the bride's wedding band and bridal jewelry and the bridesmaid's jewelry as well.)  Aren't they cute?!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Chicken Mobile...

In a few years, we want to have chickens of our own... once the girls are a little bigger and can help out with them.  So, I am always on the lookout for cool chicken habitats that can move around the yard.  (We can't really do free range at our house or they will become free - range dinner for the dogs).   I drove by this "chicken mobile" the other day.  I had to stop and take a photo.  You can't see it in the picture, but the inside has all the comforts of a chicken home.  It also has a trailer hitch so you can hook it up to the tractor and move it.  So in a few years you might just find one of these in my back yard!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Love x 2....

I have been too busy to write any new posts lately.  This past weekend we had a picnic that was long overdue (we wanted to have one the first summer we were back home 4 summers ago).   So the past few weeks were spent planning and preparing.  We also had our 9th wedding anniversary and Pip's 1st birthday the very next day.

I have been thinking a lot lately about a year ago when I was pregnant.  At the time, I was worried it wouldn't be possible to love a second child as much as the first.  A whole year later and I have learned that when you have the second one you don't just love them equally as much, the love is love them both MORE.  You love them for the relationship they have with you, the one they have with their daddy and the one they have with each other (although at times they seem to test that one).  Some days I really struggle being a mom (it really is the hardest job ever), but everyday I am so happy I have them in my life.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Enamel Tree Pendants...

I have been working on a series of enameled tree pendants for almost 2 years now (I don't enamel very often when it is hot outside).  Here are some of the pendants.  I hope to get some more enameling time in the studio once the weather cools off in the fall.  I also plan to teach an enameling class at my studio this winter.  What do you think of them?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Pickles, anyone?

We have had an abundance of cucumbers this year, so we finally decided to make pickles!!  I used a recipe from one of my Facebook friends who does cooking videos on YouTube on everything from pickles to making your own tortilla chips.  It was a really easy recipe!  Can't wait to pop these jars open and give them a try.  Just opened them up.  BEST PICKLES EVER! We ate a whole jar!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Butterfly weed, balloon flower...

I thought I would share two of my favorite perennial plants.  They are some you don't see everyday and in every garden and I like that.  The balloon flower, also known as Chinese Bellflower comes in a dark purple variety as well.  The butterfly weed attracts butterflies and bees.  I think it's a new hybrid of some kind of milkweed because the leaves and pods that form look similar, but it doesn't create a mess like milkweed.  It is available in several colors.

Butterfly weed in white. 

Pink butterfly weed.

Balloon flower

Balloon flower ready to "pop".

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bathroom vanity redo...

Although I really liked our bathroom vanity (made from an old dresser) when we bought our house, it proved rather useless for storage because the humidity of the bathroom caused the drawers to swell and not open and close well.  A few months ago, I found some old bead board cabinet doors on the side of the road, and they were just what we needed to make a new vanity.  K made a frame out of 2 x 4's that were left over from other projects.  We used the top from the old vanity so we didn't even have to cut a hole for the sink.  We used extra plywood that we had for the shelves inside and the salvaged doors.  The small shelf on the back was made with extra trim we had from our bedroom addition and barn wood we salvaged when my in-laws barn collapsed.  The only thing we bought was some sponge brushes and poly-acrylic to seal the trim and vanity top.  Total cost = approximately $10.  I didn't even have to paint the salvaged doors because they were a perfect worn out white, I just cleaned them really well.  What do you think of our vanity redo?


Sorry for the bad angle. This was the only before picture I had.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Rustic garden fence...

We needed a fence for our vegetable garden to keep the dogs out (they think it's their playground, and love to dig in it).  We couldn't see spending a lot of time and money to do a fancy fence because we plan to possibly expand the garden next year.   We wanted something that was free and that wouldn't be wasted if we took it down later.  So, we looked through the wood we had left over from the big tree we cut down last fall.  K plans to use the big pieces for firewood, but there were lots of small but longish pieces that he hadn't cut or split yet.  They make the prefect rustic, simple, temporary garden fence.  If we decide to take it down next year we will just use it as firewood.  It took us about 2 hours (during the girls nap time) to get this done.  I love it, I just wish it could keep the bunnies out too.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Daylilies, oh how I love thee...

I have many different types of daylilies in my garden.  I got all of them from gardener friends or family. Most of these I only planted 2 summers ago and they have filled in quite abundantly.  I might even have to thin them out next summer.  Anyone want to do a lily/flower trade?

These ones I just transplanted this year, from some that I originally planted at my parents house probably 17 years ago.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Homemade cleaning solutions.....

About  year and a half ago I quit buying cleaning products and I searched online for some recipes to make my own.  I thought I would share some with you.  I have saved tons of money and I like that the stuff I am making is safer to use around dogs and kids.  After all, I don't really think clean smells like "pine forest" or "fresh lemon scent" or "spring rain" ... clean just smells like no scent at all.  Recipes below.

(works so well I couldn't believe it when I first tried I will never use anything else.  Found this one via Pinterest).

1 c. Blue Dawn dishsoap
1 c. HOT white vinegar (heated to almost boiling in the microwave, about 1.5 min)

Pour dawn into a clean empty spray bottle and add heated vinegar.  Spray on shower/tub and leave for 15 minutes.  Wipe gently and rinse with warm water.  It will make the shower sparkle!

1 c. white vinegar
1 c. water

Mix together in a clean/empty spray bottle.  Spray on and wipe clean.  Great for the countertops and highchair, etc.  Smells like vinegar (of course) but the smell disappears as soon as it dries.

1 tbsp. clear, non-sudsing ammonia (available at the grocery or hardware store, one bottle has lasted me over 2 years and it still has a lot in it).
1 tbsp. dye free (clear) laundry detergent (I use Seventh Generation, because I also use it for the laundry).
2 cups water

Mix all 3 ingredients in clean/empty spray bottle.  Spray on soiled surfaces and wipe clean.  I use this one on the stove and bathroom sink and when the counters, etc are really dirty.

1 c. isopropyl alchohol (rubbing alchohol)
1 c. water
1 tbsp. clear non-sudsing ammonia

Mix in clean/empty spray bottle.  Spray windows and wipe off with newspaper (or paper towels, however, I think newspaper works even better and it saves $).

1/4 c. baking soda
1/4 c. bleach

Make a paste and apply to sink. Let sit 10 minutes and rub gently with sponge.  Rinse clean with warm water.  The baking soda is abrasive but won't scratch and the bleach disinfects.  This makes our white porcelain sink sparkle, which is great since it gets pretty dirty and stained.  This is the only time I really use bleach around the house, except for the occasional load of laundry.

*Update - I no longer use bleach to clean my kitchen sink.  See my new method here.

1 c. olive oil
1/2 c. lemon juice

Shake well and apply a small amount to a clean rag.  Spread evenly over furniture surface.  Flip cloth over to dry side and polish dry.

Try these recipes out and let me know what you think!  They work great and save money.  Plus, you will feel like you are in Chemistry class again!

Friday, June 29, 2012


Some mornings I decide to get up early thinking that I will get a jump on the days tasks and also try to get my workout in.  I did that today and of course all my "helpers" decided to get up early too.  I set Pip down to play while I made the bed and a few minutes later I found her crawling around with the morning sun coming through the windows.  I took this photo and it reminded me of just how fast they grow.  It is the small moments that mean so much.  In taking this picture I felt like time was suspended just for a moment.  Now, as I type this she is eating cheerios off of her high chair tray like a dog.  So, back to the crazy life. (Crazy, but good!)

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