Historic Savannah Halloween

I just got back from a little road trip to the historic Georgia town of Savannah. There really isn’t a more perfectly ghostly place to be on Halloween. Last night we got in around 7:30 and strolled down River Street for a little bit before riding off to spend the night on Tybee Island. We stayed at the humble Dune Inn and Suites and we loved it. This morning we woke up to a gorgeous sunrise and took a little walk on the beach collecting shells and small pieces of drift wood. Around nine we rode back to to Savannah to see the Colonial Park Cemetery before heading back up to little ol’ north Georgia. An absolute dream trip, Mom and I had a great time, laughing and grinning the whole way there and back.

It was so spooky and fantastic to spend some time at the Colonial Park Cemetery this morning. It has over 10, 000 graves in total, though only about 600 are marked with beautiful chiseled slate and marble headstones, some plots dating back to the 1700s. It’s a gorgeous cemetery boasting period-esque ironworks, brick mausoleums, and gorgeous spanish moss filled trees.

The back wall of the cemetery is lined with broken gravestones that were recovered after Sherman’s army removed them during the civil war when they were camping out in the grave yard. It makes for a very eery scene and is definitely a site to see and take the time to meander through. It blows my mind and makes it even more creepy to think about 10,000 people being buried in such a small cemetery.

Savannah is such an easy drive from where my folks live. Only five hours and well worth it. It’s got so much history and charm. The city will whoo you in mere minutes. I get butterflies before we even get into town and I think I could probably live there for a while at some point in my life. My only regret on this trip is I didn’t get to enjoy any oysters or a nice cold beer! But I loved every moment we spent at the beach this morning which I’ll share more about tomorrow.

Here’s a little photo log of our time in Savannah on River Street and at Colonial Park.

Hurricane Sandy, Unknown Legend

I’ve been thinking a lot about Sandy, the hurricane. Frankly, hurricanes scare me to death and are right up there with my fear of tornadoes. I remember the tornado drills back in elementary school, huddling in the hall on our knees, our noses just about touching the floor, and our hands tucked over our heads. The teachers would pace back and forth hushing us into quiet, trembling, molehills against the cold concrete walls; while we waited for the storm to pass.

I hated being that close to the dirty hallway floor, but most of all I hated the not knowing. Being scared for my cat and my dog at home, for my parents, and for my Grandmas. I’d seen the Wizard of Oz; my Gran could very well be out there whirling up in the sky with the cows, the barn, and all the floats from the swimming pool. I might never see her again.

It wasn’t bad enough that we had to practice this once a month and being a child you never knew if it was the real thing or not. Not being allowed to ask questions without an authoritative shushing, we scuttled along, and flung ourselves into position, waiting for the sirens to stop wailing. You’d pray that you got in line beside one of your friends so you could at least quietly whisper if ever the opportunity arose and heaven forbid if it ever cut into recess time. Then the day was absolutely ruined.

All this is on my mind as I plan for a road trip up the east coast. The hurricane puts a heavy weight on my heart and I almost wonder if it’s appropriate to take the time to see the sights with such a catastrophe going on. What would it be like driving into the city after a storm of this caliber, camera in hand, with a tourist’s questioning eyes? Seems kind of insensitive to me. For now the future of this trip remains unknown. Much like my time spent waiting out tornado drills. I think once we get behind the wheel we’ll know what to do.

As for today, I am heading out on a mini journey down south to Savannah, Georgia. I love this coastal town. My mom happens to be going there for work and I am going to tag along to be her driving buddy. You may not know that I have been back down in Georgia for about two months. I have been staying with my folks near my old stomping grounds and I am coming to the end of my trip.

I am so ready to head back home. Hopefully, this trek to Savannah will give me an opportunity to clear my head, be thankful, and figure out my path from here. I’ve encountered a few bumps in the road these past months that have brought me to where I am now, but I’ve got big plans for school this spring. Truly, I can’t wait to be back up north with my beautiful J. Thoughts of him, and his love and support are what’s getting me through it all. Yeah, okay I got a little gushy, but hey, I miss the guy and he is beautiful.

I hope yall are safe out there; dry, warm, and surrounded by love.

“And somewhere on desert highway, she rides a Harley Davidson.
Her long blonde hair flying in the wind.
She’s been running half her life, the chrome and steel she rides.
Colliding with the very air she breathes.”
-Neil Young

p.s. There should be plenty of photos to come as well as a hodgepodge of photos from this whole Georgia trip. My camera has been pretty much glued to my face.

Easy Pumpkin Pie Spice Flax Seed Vegan Smoothie

There really is nothing like a good smoothie to kick off the day right. This week I experimented with my age old banana smoothie by adding in some pumpkin goodness. I spiced it up with a few easily found spices, added in some flax seed for extra morning goodness and to get that body going, blended all up with tasty almond milk and I am good to go.

It took a little while to figure out the proportions and they may not be right for all, this is sort of a hefty smoothie, but great for breakfast on the go or a sit down treat with your sweetie before work.

It is a really simple recipe, all you need is:

A blender
One frozen banana chopped, I peel and chop my bananas before freezing and keep spare in the freezer for morning smoothies.
1/2 cup pumpkin puree, add more if you really love pumpkin, I usually don’t measure just scoop out what looks right and go.
1+ tbsp ground flax seed, as much or as little as you please, I use a coffee grinder to grind my seeds fresh.
1 to 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice or 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp all spice = 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
8 oz of vanilla almond milk, you can also use plain, sweetened or unsweetened I prefer unsweetened.
Honey to taste

Put the milk in the bottom of your blender, add all ingredients, pulse to break up banana and then blend till smooth. Pour into your favorite to go cup equipped with a straw and you are ready to go.

This is the face of one content little lady ready to rip through a day of crafting, halloween costume scheming, house chore doing, epic road trip planning, and social media marketing-ing.

Southern Blogger Mixer in Chattanooga

This past Saturday I went to an awesome Southern Blogger Mixer hosted in Chattanooga by Beca of Tales of a Tumbleweed and Danielle of Dinosaur Toes, both amazing artisans and awesome bloggers. I was a little nervous at first, arriving right on time, I was afraid I wouldn’t fit in the with mix considering I only spend part of my time in Georgia and the rest of my time in Ontario, where I eventually plan on living full-time. I’m so glad I went! It was not only an adorable event, but gave me the opportunity to meet so many incredible ladies and discuss some really cool topics.

It was pretty much an all-star line up with Amy, Sally, Beth, Danielle, Beca, Sunshine, Mary, and Amanda. A great group and the perfect size for my first mixer. I walked away with not only an awesome bag of goodies, (which I’ll share some of the non-edible components later, cause yeah Eva, Jamie, and I demolished those) but also with so many little tips and inspiration. It’s pretty amazing just to meet so many inspiring women who blog about things they love and are passionate about. So so so cool.

The venue was really beautiful it was the Easy Bistro in Chattanooga. It has a gorgeous black and white motif and even more incredibly yummy foods.

Handmade apple sodas and a delicious spread of yumminess!

We talked about everything from the basis and inspiration behind our blogs to our personal perspective on the ominous outfit posts. Which frankly scare the bajeezus out of me for the most part as I kind of turn into a bit of a perfectionist or just being honest maybe I’m just really picky about photos of me, but I’m working on it!

For the last bit of the mixer Beca and Danielle had set up a little terrarium DIY for all of us to partake in as a sort of ice breaker and party favor. The table was equipped with glass bulbs for each of us and a terrarium bar of sorts filled with succulents, different mosses, and a little soil. Such a sweet little project. I remember making terrariums back in my 4-H camp days and it kind of re-birthed the need to go on trail walks just to find that perfect moss and tiny plants to use.

It was such a great turn out, the space was incredible, the food and drinks were amazing, and we all had a fantastic time chatting about blogging, running our side businesses, or following our passions. Truthfully, I loved every minute of it. Such amazing ladies all with so much talent. It really couldn’t have been a nicer bunch, so relaxed, and everyone brought something different to the table which I really loved.  I can’t wait to go to more meet ups in the future. This one has got me thinking about Kingston and how I really need to get things going with my crafters meet ups and about how I need to add blogging to the mix. Blogging is a lot of fun, but sometimes I get embarrassed on the internet. This weekend reaffirmed for me how a blog is a great space to just be yourself, share the things you love, and space to grow in your passions.

CleverPlumage farm feather haul

Sunday I went out with my folks to a farm in Taylorsville Georgia to collect feathers for crafting. This is an annual fall trip for me and I was excited to see what little treasures we’d find. We wander around the roaming areas of the birds with giant plastic bags gathering feathers till the golden Georgian sun began to set.

The birds are free range and include ducks, guineas, turkeys, a variety of chickens and roosters, and about 6 male and 3 female peacocks. Which of course are my favorite to find.

Today I thought I’d share a little of the behind the scenes action as to how I prepare the feathers after I’ve collected them. It’s one of those curiosities that always comes up for customers at craft fairs and I enjoy  talking about my process so what better place than the blog!

(Recently collected feathers ready for wash. Look at the variety!)

The first step is to wander aimlessly around a farm looking for feathers on the ground while trying not to disturb the nesting areas of the birds. After which I clean and preen the feathers to make sure they are up to par for my Etsy shop. I soak the feathers in a bucket of water with a cup of vinegar for about 10 minutes and swirl them around to loosen any leaves or red mud, which is my nemesis. I pick out most of the leaves during this step as well.

Then I suds those bad boys up with a couple of squeezes of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Tea Tree Oil soap, swirl and dunk them as if I was washing delicates, I let them sit a little longer to make sure all the mud is off, drain them off to get them ready to move into a clean rinse bucket that has a little hydrogen peroxide added (sometimes spray hydrogen peroxide directly on the feathers before dipping them into the water, but this time I just tried to do this step in the shade, maybe it was more piece of mind). I take them two by two, inspecting each one, and suds them up one final time before dunking them into the clean peroxide bucket that I let fill up as I move over the feathers.

After I’ve been through the whole bucket I lay them out on a screen in the sun to dry, which only takes about 10 to 15 minutes. I do this twice per bucket.

The whole process takes about 50 minutes per bucket load and the bag you see in the first picture took me two bucket loads to clean up nice and bright.

Finally, I am left with beautiful clean feathers ready for crafting into fun head pieces and jewelry. I pretty much love my job. This is the worst part about it.


Fall recipe Round Up

The gorgeous changing of the seasons has inspired my palate and lately I find myself craving the flavors of fall. With the abundance of pumpkins out there for sale at road side stands, farmers markets, and fall festivals I thought I’d share some very intriguing and unique pumpkin recipes I’ve found around the web.

Number one is a flavorful pumpkin humus. Number two, a to die for pumpkin spice bundt cake with creamy pumpkin glaze. Number three, a warm and creamy, veggie packed pumpkin soup. Number four, a gorgeous and hearty pumpkin chili. And number five is a grain free, dairy free take on the classic pumpkin pie.

These recipes are sure to please your taste buds and warm you up with all the flavors of fall. Mmmmm mmm! Click To Tweet!

Recipe Links:

Interview with Lynda DeSouza

1) How did you get started in vintage? Was it always a love for you or was it happenstance?
I have always loved vintage clothing particularly clothing from the 70s, and did most of my searching on line as I was living in India, Dubai and Bahrian where there is not much access to vintage clothing. It was only after coming to Canada that I was really able to source the clothing for myself and after that I thought why not source it for others too…..and that was how Sparrow Lyn was born. After that it was only natural that I would want to integrate my Art into this and that was how I started illustrating for my T-shirts. Sparrow Lyn has been a work of love that evolved into something that I am truly passionate about and excited to see grow.

2) What is your typical day like as a vintage seller?
A typical day would have me sending off my two daughters & hubby to school & work respectively, walking my dog ‘Coach’ and then ‘dressing’ for work…yes I dress up even though my office is in my basement – just puts me in the right frame of mind, plus it gives me a reason to try on new styling ideas. I start off with inspecting the clothes, sort by category and then photograph. My in laws are vacationing (from India) with us for the Summer and they take care of all the mending and altering of stock. Then I do the photography and start the uploading. My favorite part is dressing ‘Bella’ up (the mannequin). I love creating the whole outfit and then accessorizing to complete the look. I am currently studying Art at The Academy of Realist Art Toronto and my week is split up between school, the shop and family. After 18 yrs in the corporate world this is a nice change to the fast pace of my earlier life and a life I am truly ‘present’ in.

3) What has surprised you the most about setting up shop?
That people love vintage as much as I do, that they are willing to make a purchase without having the product in their hand.

4) What is something interesting about your method of finding items for your shop?
I think we all have our systems / rituals in the way we trek the stores we source from. What I never fail to hit is the nightwear rack – I always find the best things there. I think when the people working there have something that does not fit in with the other racks they put it in the nightwear rack and most of my treasures were found there. So there is my dirty little secret ! trust me on this……..try it yourself.

5) What is your favorite thing about selling vintage?
It would definitely be spotting a vintage piece and then falling in love with the workmanship. Clothes are just not made like they used to. The detailing of the zip, pleats, cuffs……..everything. You know that skilled hands transformed a piece of fabric into something exquisite.

The other thing I like about selling vintage is the packaging. I love packaging gifts……every year I plan in advance what theme I am going to use for gift wrapping the Christmas gifts. One year I used cookie cutters as the toppers, another year we used old maps to gift wrap with old leather belts to tie them up. So of course I pay a lot of attention to gift wrapping each purchase. I use white tissue paper and red raffia, then tie a little brass birdie as the topper, with feathers and beads………my own little work of art.

6) What are some of your favorite items in your shop?
Some of my favorite items in the Sparrow Lyn collection are the Caftans………….anything long in length appeals to me……….maxi dresses, skirts, long tops. My absolute favorite would be the black velvet Caftan, it has got wood buttons and pockets and a whole lot of edge! Paired with ankle cowboy boots and a fringe bag it would make you feel like a Bohemian Rock Star!

Click below to go to Lynda’s gorgeous Etsy shop!

Images provided by Lynda, graphics by Hillery.

Preparing for a Green Juice Feast

So I am doing it. I have been gearing my body towards a juice feast for the last three weeks. I started by eating a nice big raw breakfast for two weeks and then into a week of fresh citrus, fruit and green smoothies. Yesterday I started the “feast” by replacing breakfast and lunch with fresh squeezed green juice.

Raw foodists often use the term feasting over fasting, because you truly are feasting! It’s all about abundance and eating as much pure, beautiful goodness you can! It’s enlightening really to think about it that way and to really appreciate all the beautiful, fresh, organic, local treats you are eating all in one go. It’s like living like a god! Surrounded by beautiful ripe fruit and veggies!

Why did I choose green? To be honest, I’d be lyin’ if I said I didn’t want to loose a few pounds, but also I want improve my overall health and I think a low glycemic clean system of eating will help me get there!

To prepare for this feast I went to our local market on Saturday. I had a budget of $20 to spend and that was it. I wanted to see if it was really doable on a small budget, because just the thought of organic produce prices can scare the pants off some people. To add to this James and I do have some fresh veggies from our CSA Share (community supported agriculture) so in total that makes my weekly budget about $40. I don’t know if this is doable yet, but I am sure going to find out.

Here’s what I scored at the market (I am just going to apologize in advance for these terrible quality photos it was later in the day and I refuse to use flash photography.)

A giant head of kale with roots still intact $5
Three light green sweet peppers
One green pepper
an entire basil plant $3 (I have other plans for this other than juicing: Pesto!)
six small peaches
a good sized head of romane
six 1″ ft cucumbers
five green apples

Amazing! All are low pesticide to no pesticide and some certified organic in there too. Now how long is this going to last me? Probably 3 to 4 days as I am replacing two meals with all of these goodies, though the CSA share should help prolong things and hopefully I’ll make it to Friday for our next share.

I couldn’t wait to start on Sunday so I made a small batch for dinner Saturday night. So fresh!

Not so green because of the addition of three small purple carrots.

Even Nori approves! She actually loves greens and we often share with her fresh lettuce and spinach cause she devours it!

It’s definitely an acquired thing juicing green veggies. I had some experience with it back at Omega when a fellow staffer leant the use of her juicer to staff (Lindsay that was a godsend!) but I didn’t juice it up full time. My short term raw food goal is to be raw by the end of September and see how it affects things, from there I’ll think about my long term plan and how I can use this method to improve my life over all. This is just a little experiment, I am in no way an expert, but over the course of this month I hope to learn as much as I can about my body and the affects of a pure clean diet (by diet I mean the aspect of my lifestyle having to do with food, not a “diet.”)

Wish me luck and please if you have anything to share with me do it! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Etsy Feature Friday – The Gorgeous designs of Lauren Kemp

I just discovered the beautiful DIYed designs of Lauren Kemp on Etsy. Truth be told I found her through Uncovet and searched her out to find her shop and low and behold there she was on Etsy!

These are some of my favorite designs of hers that I seriously can’t get enough of and wish they’d jump into my closet right now! Her simple cuts and fun hand painted/stitched embellishments have really inspired me to get out the ol’ needle and thread and try my hand at some of that gorgeous embroidery work. Although it will have to wait till after Urban Craft is over as I am swamped with last minute projects leading up to the big day!

First up to bat:

Look at the gorgeous back on this one:

Fun elbow pads are always a + in my book:

This one is hand painted, love the color:

Similar embroidery design as the first image, but boy do I love the cut of this shirt:

Images from her shop, Lauren D Kemp :1 || 2 || 3 || 4 || 5 || 6

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