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Design & Style: Hardwood Floors & Rugs

 

My husband and I are at it again. We're finalizing the details on our home so that we can place it on the market in the spring. Our latest decision was to tear up the carpet upstairs in our master bedroom and put in hardwood floors. I think this will be a good decision based on the size of the room.

There is plenty of room for a sitting area/office along with the king sized bed. I think it will make it feel more like a spa. Of course everything we do inclues a little vintage, but we may head over to CSN stores for a look at their modern rugs once the floors are in. 

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What do you think about a master with all hardwood floors? The hallway and other two smaller bedrooms will be replaced with carpet.

 

 

Truth in Review: The above link is a promotional link provided by CSN stores. A gift card was exchanged for this feature and an upcoming product review of a CSN store product.  CSN Stores did require a link to their modern rugs store in exchange for the gift card.  All reviews posted by me are truthful in content and will be truthful in nature when I do the future CSN store product review. -   Gabreial Visit our Disclaimer  for more info.


Eco Living: sewZinski Travel Mugs

I heart coffee, I love the taste, the smell and the warmth. I truly enjoy my cup of joe. I'm right up there with you ladies who enjoy your tea in a fancy schmancy teacup, but I'm a coffee gal so I'm thinking I seriously need one of these eco-friendly cups that  sewZinski hand paints.

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Visit sewZinski on Etsy for these gorgeous mugs and more handmade goodies including lovely embroidered wallets.

 


The Daily Swank: Valentine's by Paper Sparrow

One of my favorite memories as a kid was creating my Valentine's box. You know, the shoe box decorated in sparkling glitter with a slot cut out in the top waiting for the perfect valentine. Did you ever create one of those as a child? Even though we homeschool, I cherish these sorts of memories and love to create them with my boys. This year we hope to plan a valentine's exchange with our homeschool co-op. I think it will be so much fun for me, I mean them.

Upon my searches of wonderful things for you, I happened upon Paper Sparrow. Their original artwork is simply charming, but I fell head over heels for their Valentine's.  I think you will love them too.

 

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Head over to Paper Sparrow to see more of their Valentine's and original artwork.

Also, be sure to catch them at Retro Indie Market on February 12, 2011 (see our sponsors to the left for more information)

xoxo Gabreial


VI Headliner: Retro Indie Market February 12,2011

If I lived anywhere near The Boynton Beach Woman's Club in Boynton Beach Florida, I would be heading to the Retro Indie Market on February 12th! Retro, handmade, vintage flea market goods as well as yummy baked treats! Boy, does that sound like my kind of perfect day.

It is my pleasure to introduce you to the Retro Indie Market, our newest sponsor. We are thrilled to be helping promote this event.

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WHEN
Sat Feb 12th, 11:00am-6:00pm

WHERE
The Boynton Beach Woman’s Club
1010 S. Federal Hwy.
Boynton Beach Fl 33435

ADMISSION
$5 (children 12 and under free with adult)
Strollers allowed, but not suggested.

WHY
Retro Indie Market is the creation of Amanda Linton and Michelle Parparian two long time friends who share a love of vintage and indie crafts. With two 2 successful shows between them (Amanda with Stitch Rock and Michelle with The Vintage Trunk Show) they wanted to combine their love of vintage and indie crafts together to create a unique marketplace showcasing some of the best local crafters and vintage dealers under one roof. Making things by hand has long been a part of the vintage home and we are happy to bring the two together once again.

 

To find out more about the show, vendors and directions, please visit Retro Indie Market's Website

Are you planning on going to the Retro Indie Market? Vintage Indie is looking for guest reporters. It's your opportinity to show off your video recording, photography and/or writing skills! We would love to have you. Please send your submissions to me, Gabreial Wyatt, Subject: Retro Indie Market Guest Reporter.

 

We're booking small business, eco-friendly, organic companies as well as blogs and other social sites. If you are interested in sponsoring Vintage Indie, please visit our advertising page.


Organic & Whole Living: Southern Magnolia Minerals Product Review

You may be wondering how organic and whole living pertains to makeup. Well, I'm here to tell you that the  ingredients in your everyday skin care could be the root of many health issues including many allergies. Often times everyday household products including soaps, shampoos and conditioners all contain harmful chemicals. Your skin, the largest organ on your body absorbs all of these chemicals. 

The Environmental Working Group is a non-profit company that has become an authority for safer foods, skincare products and more. They are also the creators of the Cosmetics Safety Data Base, Skin Deep. I usually visit Skin Deep when I'm researching any new cosmetics or skin care products that I'm interested in. My goal is to steer clear of the products that even mention cancer. I'm certainly not perfect when it comes to the products that we use, but we do try our best.

Recently, Southern Magnolia Minerals sent me a few products from their all-natural mineral makeup line. I've been using mineral makeup for a few years now and it is a work in progress. I mostly use all mineral makeup for eye shadow, foundation, blush and bronzer. I haven't been successful with the eye liner, I still use a stick.

Southern Magnolia Minerals offers a fair foundation that rates as a 1 (1 being the lowest in harmful chemicals at Skin Deep). While not everything from Southern Magnolia Minerals is listed at Skin Deep, this was a good start. They also state on their website the following;

Free of preservatives, chemicals, dyes, oils, perfumes & bismuth, our shine-free long-lasting formula provides sheer flawless coverage for every skin type and skin tone.

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I like the fact that their line is free of preservatives, chemicals and dyes as these things tend to not agree with my skin.

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The foundation and concealer worked well for me. I used the Medium Foundation. It blends nicely, especially if you moisturize beforehand and that is very important when using mineral makeup. If you don't mineral makeup tends to fill in any cracks and they show.

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I  tried two kinds of eye shadow Dusk and Stormy. Both of these worked just fine as a dressier shadow for the weekend or evenings out, but for every day use they contained too much sparkling mica for me.  I prefer my minerals to be more matte finish and contain no glitters. The gray contained too much glittery mica for my taste.

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One of the products that I really liked was their Warmth All Over Face Color for a Soft Focus. With snowy white surroundings this winter, it tends to give you a washed out look. With this warmth  it truly creates a summery look without the feel and orangeness of the spray on tan. I recommend this product.

 

A special thank you to Southern Magnolia Minerals for sending me their products to review. I truly appreciate their standards for mineral makeup. Visit Southern Magnolia Minerals for their makeup, lip-care, and skincare collections.

Truth in Review: Southern Magnolia Minerals. did provide me with makeup to review including shipping. I was not paid for the review or require any certain context within my review. All reviews posted by me are truthful in content and not bought. Gabreial Wyatt, Editor Visit our Disclaimer/Disclosure  for more info.



 

 

 


Vintage Style Organizing: Creative Ideas for Displaying and Organizing Your Jewelry Collection

Please help me in sending Vintage Indie reader, small business owner and homeschool mom of four Mrs.Shelbi Lynn- Awabdy  a warm welcome. She is here today to share her nifty ideas for organizing your jewelry in a repurposeful and vintage style. Be sure to visit her links at the bottom, she has a beautiful shop.

 

When it comes to displaying our jewelry, there are so many creative options at our fingertips. All you really need to do is look around your home, and many times you will find things to use in a new and charming way. If you’re a visual person like me,   you want your intimate space to feel welcoming  and reflect your personality. Nothing captures this quite like the art of creative jewelry display.  I love to find different and unique ways to arrange my favorite pieces and I’d love to share a little of that with you here today.

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 If you know me, you know that I have an affinity for all things ‘tea’ and ‘jewelry’. So it seemed only natural to marry these two loves. Here you’ll find  teacups and saucers on my bedside table decorated with my favorite ‘go to’ earrings and bracelets.

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A vintage velvet lined wooden box becomes a shelter for rings and various earrings with posts. 

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An oblong vintage tray is a perfect length for laying bracelets out flat to grab and go at a moments notice.

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Elements of nature - like this coral cast piece is perfect to catch rings as well as drape lovely and delicate chain bracelets across it’s makeshift ‘branches’. 

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If your space is limited, don’t discount the idea of utilizing any wall space you may have available.  Here above my dresser, I have continued with my jewelry display. Where once there was plain white space, now breathes new life into the room with my favorite necklaces hanging from small hooks and the tiniest nails.

 

A rusted hued vintage inspired key holder adds a little décor and drama as champagne pearls hang from the hooks.

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An old vintage frame (once discarded and almost thrown away due to chips and scratches)  has been given a new life by way of earring display. To make one yourself, simply place small nails down the back sides of the frame, and string wire across to each nail. Easy peasy, and now showcases all of my favorite earrings.

Of course, proper storage of your jewelry is always good practice. It’s best to rotate your jewelry collection from display to storage every few weeks in order to keep your jewelry safe from the elements.   Humidity, dirt, soaps, lotions and oils from our skin can be harsh on our jewelry.  It is good to wipe your jewelry down with a soft cloth after each wear, and then store the pieces in small plastic Ziploc type bags, found at craft stores.  

I hope you have found some inspiration here today. Arranging our collections and using what we already have is one of the most satisfying dynamics of interior styling. I wish you all many happy days of inspiration!

 

Shelbi Lynn- Awabdy  is a wife and homeschooling mom to four.  She authors the blog ‘Marigold’  and runs a little jewelry shop by the same name Marigold.  She loves all things vintage and handcrafted - and her favorite part of any day is with a baby on her hip and behind the lens of her vintage polariod.  (of course, not exactly at the exact same time ).


My Vintage Pad: Home Tour Julie From Michigan

Alas it is my birthday today so I'm taking the day off. Don't worry though, I'm here with one of my favorite feature here, a Vintage Pad Home tour. This time with Julie T. of Michigan and her fabulous ranch.
Have a beautiful day lovelies! xox Gabreial
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View from the backyard 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
By profession, I'm a physical therapist, but am currently a domestic manager of a house, a husband, a cat,  and 2 kids - ages 5 and 1.  I used to run my own small, tiny, micro-indie record label.  Also, I'm a detail obsessed Virgo.  

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Living Room
Where do you live? City or just the state is ok.
A small college town in the middle of Michigan.
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Dining Room in the summer.  We get all our flowers from the backyard
What is your favorite part of each room (each one that you share with us)
In our family room, the built-in wall of storage is amazing.  We keep EVERYTHING behind all those doors.  The kid's toys, stereo equipment, the TV, our videos, photo albums, records and Cd's,  board games, books and more!  There are even cutouts at the top of the wall for the stereo speakers.
In the living room, the big floor radio is one of our favorite things.  We found it for $15 at a junk store in rural, RURAL Georgia.  We planned to just use it as a bar and then give it away when it was time to move, but we wound up getting it working again, so we listen to it all the time.  It sounds great. 
House tour photo 3
Family Room - looks out to the backyard
My favorite part of all the rooms is the abundance of natural light.  This house is full of big windows and lots of light.  It's made a big difference in my mood in the Winter time, since we have such long winters up here in Michigan
House tour photo 2
some original tile by the back door in the Family Room.  A great place to throw snowy boots, shoes, snow pants - then just mop up the puddles later.
Where do you find inspiration for decorating your home?
I love looking at interiors and furniture in old movies -  the 30s through the 60s.  I'm also a big magazine junkie - both current ones as well as fun vintage ones like Better Homes and Gardens from the early 60s.
With the internet, there is just so much good stuff out there these days.  All the design blogs, it's just crazy.  Good crazy.
I'm also inspired a lot by our house - it's a ranch with tons of character and strange little nooks.  The original  house was built in 1950 and 2 large rooms were added on in 1960.  So the old part is very traditional, with a brick fireplace and pretty mouldings and things, and the 2 newer rooms are more mid-c modern. It's fun to try and find things that fit the feel of this house.  We've only been here 2 years (and also added a new baby during that time) so still have much work to do!
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House tour photo 6
The storage wall in action 

How do vintage things play a role in your room/home?
 
When I married my husband, we were living in Georgia (we're both from Ohio) and we fell in love with all the vintage amazingness in the south.  Everything is old and lovely. We went to so many estate sales, junk stores, barn sales and the like.  (I still remember one estate auction with box lot after box lot of vintage pyrex going for 5 to 10 dollars a box...)  After Georgia, we lived in small town Virginia for 5 years and continued our hobby of going to antique shops, estate auctions, etc.  We have found so many great things,  and have so many of those things in our home now.  Every time I look around, I see something that is some part of our history together.  I love how vintage things have their own story too.  And I love buying something vintage or antique and giving it a second go-around. 
House tour photo 7
Master bedroom

Any advice on creating your look?
Pare your belongings constantly. I try to only display things I really love.  It helps that we have tons and tons of storage in this house. 
And I'm one of those weirdos who doesn't display family photos.  I order many prints of photos, and put them faithfully into albums, and we do get our albums out and look at them (frequently!) I just don't do the photos on walls thing.
House tour photo 8
Toy shelves in the toddler's room
Find lots of photos of my daily goings-ons and I often take photos of neat things I've thrifted.  I also have a set on my flickr page of our vintage fisher-price toys.  We love vintage F-P at our house!

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Thanks Julie for making taking the time to show us your lovely home!


Vintage Green & Eco Living: The Steel Fork

Today's Vintage Green feature comes from The Steel Fork.

Mosaicefc5a7365a233a16868de9d311beb7781f920fa5 Top Left: Recycled Magnet & Metal Memo Boards. Top Right: Recycled Metal Fresh Sign.

Bottom Left: Elephant Trophy Head.  Bottom Right: Candle Lantern.

Find all sorts of handmade and recliamed items at The Steel Fork. Creations include reclaimed metal and sculptures using recycled farm machinery. How cool is that!

Visit The Steel Fork to purchase any of the above or to have a look at there other works of art.

 


Designer Profiles: Nikki of Candy Soirees

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Please help me in welcoming another designer to Vintage Indie for our Designer Profile business spotlight. Today, I'd like to introduce you to Nikki, owner of Candy Soirees.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

I am mum of two young boys aged 4 and 2 and work from home.

My background is in Homeware design but after a successful career in this area I decided after the birth of my second child to work from home and try something new and fun.

Generally I am a humble person who enjoys creating.....I don’t claim to be the best in the business but I love what I do and the idea of being home more with  my young family is very important to me at this stage of my life.



How did Candy Soirees come about?

Basically it started as a little hobby, we had my second son’s christening in which I created a candy buffet for and chocolate bar favours for the children and it all started from there. Friends of friends started asking me to do it for them and before I knew it, it evolved into a business.....and I am now so happy that I took it that next level.

We have also launched an online party shop offering unique and beautiful party decor for the DIY client.

Below, Vintage Tea Party

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I loved the styling of your Vintage Tea Party. Can you share with us, what you did to make this a success for your client?

Ohhh this one is my favourite so far. I think the main element when styling a table such is this is to sit down and discuss with the client their needs and find out what they love about parties and decorating. I also like to look at the child’s bedroom decor....how mum dresses the child.....their interests to ascertain how the party / table should be designed.

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The second step is to discuss favourite food and candy to ensure that the table is a delicious experience for everyone. I was lucky that the client of this Vintage party allowed me to take it where ever I wanted......but the personalities of mum and daughter are definitely reflected in this design.

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Macaroons


What makes your business different from other event planner businesses?

My business is not about creating the most popular or most creative party .... it is about creating for the client and giving them exactly what they want......even if  you don’t always agree with it. We create to a certain style that reflects candy soirees but at the end of day it is about satisfying the client.

I also believe that candy soirees is all about building strong relationships and a certain rapport with their clients, we treat all our clients like they are personal friends.....we warm to them and build a relationship that helps us understand precisely there taste levels....so it is like creating a personal party for a close friend......and it works ( I would say)



Do you specialize in any one particular thing?

We started specialising in chocolate bar favours and favours for weddings and children’s events.....and we have now evolved the business to dessert tables.....but we do as much or as little as the client wants us to do. Many times we have clients approach us for the little details of a dessert table such as food labels, banners and chocolate bar wrappers .....which we are happy to do because we understand that there are so many creative people out there who like to put together their own dessert tables......which I think is fabulous...and love it when clients send us photos of the end result J



What is involved as a client to work with you?

Hmmm, Trust, communication and the ability to have fun J



Do you have any other unique events that you would like to  share with us?

My other favourite event would have to be a combined Baptism 1st birthday we did for a sweet little girl named Sundae.....it was  unique because the mum was very creative and modern..... extremely in tune with what she wanted for her daughter......she chose non the traditional colours of yellow and black with a butterfly theme. I would have to say this was one of the most challenging parties to date but everyone was thrilled with the outcome.

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A special thank you to Nikki for sharing a closer look into her business Candy Soirees. Please visit Nikki at her website for product and event inquiries.


Teach Me: Product Review - Building Thinking Skills Book 1 & 2

We're heavy into our school year crunching subjects in hopes of a warm and lazy summer. What about you? I've been hearing a lot of ho-hum glum is going on in home schools around the globe.The snowy weather has our minds trapped in when are these cold gray skies going to give. How about a little change of pace for breaking up the long winter school days. I'm talking about the Building Thinking Skills Books from The Critical Thinking Co.

Recently Timberdoodle Co. gave my family the opportunity to review Building Thinking Skills Book 1 & Building Thinking Skills Book 2. These books are a great go-to when the kids need a break in their every day routine of Language Arts, Math, History and their other everyday subjects. I tell them to grab their Building Thinking Skills Books and pick a page.

My youngest is doing 1st grade work in our home school and he is using the Building Thinking Skills Book 1. It is recommended for Ages: 7-8 Grade Levels: 2nd-3rd, neither of which he is, but I found with a little bit of direction or explanation of the directions, he caught on very quickly and soon didn't need my help at all.

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His review - I like the cool stuff that you do and it helps you to think. He also mentioned he likes the black and white pages. The books aren't colorful with no distracting images.Important for my guy who is a story teller and likes to day dream over images.

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My oldest is doing 4th grade work in our home school and is using Building Thinking Skills 2 which is recommended for  Ages: 9-11 Grade Levels: 4th-6th. He can follow the directions on his own and has really been enjoying the books.

His review - I like Building Thinking Skills Book 2 because it has things that challenge me. It offers things that I don't normally get to do during the school day. It's great to take on the road and do in the car too. 

 

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Visit Timberdoodle Co. for these books and other great books by Critical Thinking Press. You can also order a free Homeschool Catalog.

 

Truth in Review: Timberdoodle Co. did provide me with Building Thinking Skills Book 1 & 2 including shipping. I was not paid for the review or require any certain context within my review. All reviews posted by me are truthful in content and not bought. Gabreial Wyatt, Editor Visit our Disclaimer/Disclosure  for more info.


New Column: Instant Collections! Kicking it off with Franciscan Ware

Welcome to the newest column here at Vintage Indie. We hope to bring you "instant collections", from single shop owners that will get you started in that collection you've always wanted. Up first is this "instant collection" from MayDae.

 

Franciscan Ware

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Don't you just love those colors! Pick up all 31 pieces at MayDae!

 

What about you? What do you collect? Do you have a set of Franciscan Ware or other vintage goodness that you would like to show off here at Vintage Indie? Email me, Gabreial Subject: Vintage Collection.


VI Headliner: Interview with Amy Peters of Amy Peters Studio

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Yesterday I mentioned I'd be back soon with an interview with Mrs. Amy Peters of Amy Peters Studio. I'm thrilled to have Amy as a sponsor this month and excited to get to know her a little bit beyond her inspirational jewelry.

Amy Peters

 

Welcome Amy, we are so glad to have you here today. Can you tell us a little bit of background information about you?

I started making jewelry when I was 8 and took a jewelry enameling class.  It sparked a lifetime love of the craft.  I went on to get my degree in jewelry and metal arts, but I didn't start my business until about 4 1/2 years later.  I was working at a gallery at the time.  A prominent local artist told me some advice his art professor had given him.  "If you aren't using your art degree as your career 5 years after college, you never will".  I rented a Victorian carriage shed with a dirt floor and no running water for my studio, filed my business papers and Amy Peters' Studio was born. 

Amy Peters Studio 3 Order Boards at Amy Peters Studio

What is something about you as a designer that you've never told anyone?

Wow, I've been in business for 15 years and interviewed so many times,  so this will be tough.  hmmmm....Ok here goes.  I sometimes look at my work and I can't believe I've actually made it.  When a piece comes together just right I often look at the piece as if I'm just an admirer, not the creator. 



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Hearts & Words Starter Set

What are your dreams and hopes for your business this year?

I'm working on an entire re-design for my website, blog and facebook.  I hope to integrate our online business with our in studio accounting system to streamline the business as we continue to grow. 

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Amy's Stamp Sets Collection (only a third of what she actually owns)

What is important for your customers to know about your work?

2010 marked my 15th anniversary in business and we have continued to grow and change over the years but have stayed true to our mission of creating beautiful inspirational jewelry for women of all ages.   I take pride in the fact that we are all handcrafted in the USA

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Love Sent to You, from Amy's Daughter's collection Designs that Give Back.


 

Can you tell us a little bit more about your Designs That Give Back collection?

My daughter Kyra started this collection when she was 8 years old.  A trip to the grocery store sparked a conversation about giving back.  So she decided she wanted to create a collection of charms where 100% of the profits would be donated to various charities.  She did all of the designing and creation of the design and packaging.   She choose all of the charities in the generic (feed people, help animals, kids, ovarian cancer) And I choose the charities.   Kyra has had several articles written about her, but her favorite was in the American Girl magazine. 

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Office Coordinator Extraordinaire.


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Studio

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Marlie the office pup!


Does vintage play a role in your work or life? If so, how?

I absolutely adore vintage. In my business I often use vintage and antique steel letter stamps to create the jewelry collections.  Several of my sets date to the 1800's.   I have collected them over years by shopping at flea markets.    In addition to my business, most of my furniture and decorative accessories in my house are vintage.  I fix up some and use some the way I found them.  The love of vintage came from shopping trips with my dad. When I was younger and living at home with my parents I used to go to the San Jose flea market with him every single weekend.  I have so many amazing things that I've collected over the years during these flea market trips.  But I'd have to say the 1940's cursive print typewriter I have is one of my favorite vintage items.

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A special thank you to Amy for giving us a peek into her studio and a closer look at her and her daughters jewelry.

Please visit her website; Amy at Amy Peters' Studio

 


Vintage Style Organizing: Muffin Tins & Vintage Suitcases

We're kicking off 2011 with some unconventional ways of organizing with vintage. Vintage Indie reader Mitzi C. has found a great way to store bits and pieces, as well as larger paper items using vintage.

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I like to use muffin tins found at garage sales or tag sales to keep tiny bits and bobs handy.  To make the tins look prettier, I spray paint them with a flat white paint, then sand the edges a bit. 

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Vintage suitcases can be great storage for old photos or folded fabric.  I've taken some old suitcases and dolled them up with vintage wallpaper so they look pretty and add some vintage flair to my decor.

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Thank you Mitzi for sharing your vintage style organizing ideas!

 

Do you use a pice of vintage/antique furniture for storing your kitchen supplies, home school materials or another creative use? Show it off here at Vintage Indie. Send your submissions to me Subject: Organizing with Vintage.


Vintage Style Organizing: See-Through Vintage Storage Solution

We're kicking off 2011 with some unconventional ways of organizing with vintage. Up first is our contributing editor Elizabeth Holcombe with a great idea using vintage glass jars!

See-Through Vintage Storage Solution

I just love printed glass jars as fun and whimsical storage solutions! I use them to store smaller items in my craft studio. Being able to see what goodies I have can spark inspiration, and keeping them in glass containers displays them without hiding them away.

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Many of these jars are printed with flowers (my favorite are the Morning Glory flowers) and sweet animals. Sometimes you can find hand painted glass jars, such as the heart and Edelweiss jar in my collection. The jars come in pint and quart sizes and sometimes half-gallon sizes too!  They were originally used in vanity sets and baby sets which held cotton balls and swabs. They've also been used for kitchen storage.

Storage glass containers 1
You can find the jars at flea markets, antique shops, and estate sales. I usually pay anywhere from $5 to $10 each. If they have a chip or missing lid but wonderful graphics, I always get it if the price is right. You may have noticed the green elephant planter on the shelf. Another fun vintage storage solution for taller items!


Elizabeth Holcombe Fedorko, aka Bethsbagz, began her checkered crafting career when at four she realized using paste on paper was better than eating it. Inspired by vintage dime store treasures, vintage fabric, and a no-fear attitude toward color, Beth crafts totes, pin cushions, wreaths, and corsages into her Dime Store Chic creations. Beth would love you to take a peek into her whimsical world at her blog.

 

Do you use a pice of vintage/antique furniture for storing your kitchen supplies, home school materials or another creative use? Show it off here at Vintage Indie. Send your submissions to me Subject: Organizing with Vintage.


Organic & Whole Living: Raw Almond Butter from Scratch

This year, my plan is to grow the Organic & Whole Living category here at Vintage Indie. Feeding my family with wholesome foods using the freshest ingredients is a passion of mine and I hope to make more from scratch.

This year I plan to dive into homemade sourdough breads, tortillas,cheeses, kefir, sauces and much more. I hope you'll join me as I strive to keep a budget, fill my families bellies with things that are good for their bodies, all-the-while encouraging you at the same time. 

 

Raw Almond Butter:

Hopefully you'll find this tutorial for raw almond butter helpful and a step towards healthier eating for 2011. One of my favorite snacks is a granny smith apple slathered in a little raw almond butter. One with no added sugars or preservatives. Here's how to do it.

 

What You'll Need: Raw Almonds & a Food Processor.

Yep, that's it! No sugars, no oils, no preservatives. The only ingredient you need for raw almond butter is raw almonds.

You may be thinking, why would I want to make my own almond butter. Well, here are a few reasons, that I make raw almond butter at home.

1. You can purchase almonds in bulk for a price break to make almond butter cheaper than you can purchase it in the store. 

2. No added sugars.

3. No added preservatives.

4. No plastic packaging. (I realize there are some glass jar almond butter companies, but the majority of them are plastic containers)

5. The simple joy you'll feel when you have your own jar full of that luscious butter.

 

The processing part is where most people give up. You will need at least half an hour, patience and a spatula for scraping down the sides. Other than that, it's easy I promise!

 

Let's get started!

Almond Butter 1
Start with 2 cups or 16 ounces of raw almonds. Pulse them until the are a sand-like texture. This will be a loud process, so best not to do this when the baby is sleeping.

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Once you achieve a sand-like texture. You're going to want to scrape down the sides of the processor bowl and give your processor time to cool if you find it over heating. I used 2 cups for this batch, but smaller batchers are easier, you just end up with less butter. Hower, the processor seems to get hotter when you use the larger amount and it takes a little more time waiting for it to cool down.

The almonds will start to gather into a ball, much like pizza dough. You'll need to remove the lid and break this up every once in awhile.

Remember, raw almond butter takes patience. Keep pulsing and scraping and breaking up the almonds. You're waiting for the almonds to finally give up their oil.

Almond Butter 5
Once they give up their oils, you'll start to notice the mixture getting creamy. Keep processing to get the consistency of your choice. The key here is to not overheat your processor causing the almonds to go from raw to cooked.

I store ours in a glass jar in the fridge. Usually it doesn't last longer than a week around here. Especially if I'm making dessert with it (recipe for that coming soon). We choose not to sweeten ours, the kids have got used to it that way. You could easily add honey or whichever sweetener you prefer.

Enjoy!

PS. Photos will be much better next time hopefully, as I plan to do more in natural lighting and of course figure out my new camera. 


Teach Me: Chronicles of Narnia Voyage of the Dawn Treader Movie Review

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I'm not sure I've mentioned it much here, but we are big Narnia fans. I can honestly say that as a child, I never had any favorite books. Now that I'm older, I have fallen for the excitement that is C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia. If you've never read any of his work, you are in for a treat. A friend of ours lent us the Focus on the Family Radio Theatre - Audio Drama series and we were hooked. We couldn't wait to get in the car and go somewhere so we could start where we left off. I found us sitting in the grocery parking lot for over thirty minutes just to hear what was going to happen next. We even folded laundry as a family just listening to the series. It was that good.

While on vacation my family and I were able to see Narnia The Exhibition at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville AL. It was in deed a treat for us. Quite pricey at that, but I figured what other time would we get to step into the life of C.S. Lewis (just a bit anyway) and see up close and personal life-like creatures and actual wardrobe pieces from the movies. The boys enjoyed a walk through the "wardrobe" and into Narnia. We even saw the famous piece of art that comes to life in the latest movie produced The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

We headed out a few weekends ago to catch the Dawn Treader, not in 3D. It gives me a headache. As far as I'm concerned it was perfect just the way it was.

 

Our family would give it 100 stars if we could. The graphics, the acting, the sets, the characters, the voices, were all simply amazing. Of course, what would Narnia be without C.S. Lewis, what an imaginative mind he had.  We think it was just as good if not better than Prince Caspian produced by Disney. I think Walden Media did a fantastic job. We loved it.  I hope the they continue with the rest of the series. I know my family can't wait!

Did you see it? If so, what did you think?

 

Narnia: The Exhibition is coming to a town near you!

“An excellent family experience that should not be missed” —
Be a part of this state-of-the-art exhibition in a venue near you. If the venue or city you wish to purchase tickets for does not appear here, sign up for the email updates and check back later. More cities will be added soon.
DATES VENUE  

6/4/2011 -
9/18/2011
Louisville Science Center
LOUISVILLE, KY
 
2/5/2011 -
5/8/2011
Buffalo Museum of Science
BUFFALO, NY

 

I was not paid for my review. My family and I truly love the Narnia series. We paid full price to the movie and to the exhibition. Ya know, just in case you're wondering.