Friday, February 24, 2012

Giveaway Time!

Thank goodness it's Friday...and what better way to start the weekend early than with a GIVEAWAY!

Many of you are probably already familiar with Shabby Apple, the online women's boutique.

With its vintage flair, Shabby Apple offers beautiful women's dresses, skirts, little girl's dresses, and even maternity dresses.

But did you know Shabby Apple also offers vintage-style jewelry and accessories?

Yes, my friends, they do.

And for this giveaway, Shabby Apple is kindly offering up the gorgeous Key to Wonderland skeleton key necklace.

Key to Wonderland

You know I like my antiques and vintage pieces, and when I saw this necklace, I knew y'all would enjoy the chance to win it! The key is finished in antique brass and suspended on a matching 24" chain.

And see how pretty it looks on!

Only one lucky person will win the necklace, but through March 24th, everybody wins as Shabby Apple is offering a 10% discount on purchases with the coupon code carolinacountry10off.

Now, for the details of the giveaway:

You can put your name in the proverbial hat to win Shabby Apple's Key to Wonderland necklace up to 4 times by doing the following steps, leaving one comment for each. 

1. Follow Carolina Country Living with Google Friend Connect or Linky Followers, or subscribe by email. (All of these can be found on the right sidebar.)  If you're already a subscriber/follower, you're awesome just leave a comment saying so.

2. Like Shabby Apple on Facebook.  (By liking Shabby Apple, you'll be notified of special promotions and exclusive discounts...)

3. Spread the word about the giveaway via Facebook, Twitter or on your blog; please leave a comment with a link to your post.

4. Visit Shabby Apple then come back here and tell us your favorite item in the store.

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and runs through Thursday, March 1st at midnight Eastern Time.  The winner will be drawn via and announced the morning of Friday, March 2nd. 

Thanks again to Shabby Apple for making this giveaway possible and thank you for joining in the fun!

Good luck!

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New Look at the Harmony Farm Candles Etsy Shop

Hey everyone,

Thank you so much for your compliments and kind words from last week's post about my flannel pajama pants sewing endeavor.

I hope that post empowered some of you to dust off your sewing machines or at least consider trying your hand at sewing. It's a very gratifying feeling to start off with a piece of fabric and transform it into a beautiful, useful item. I have more sewing plans in the near future and am looking forward to sharing some fun projects with you!

So, the next part of this post is a kinda-sorta Etsy shop plug, so please bear with me. :)  Some of you newer readers may not be aware, but I have a small soy candle business--Harmony Farm Candles. Several local shops--Nest in Burlington, and Fetch Antiques & Interiors and Vintage Revival in Hillsborough--carry these handmade soy candles, which are made right in my kitchen.

Back in the fall, I took the business one step further and opened an Etsy shop. At the time, I made a simple shop banner in Picasa, but I'm no designer, that's for sure!  Now, I haven't done much to promote the shop since wholesale orders keep me steadily busy, but something exciting will be happening in relation to the shop in March.  For that reason, I wanted needed a new look for the Harmony Farm Candles Etsy shop.

 Here's what the old banner looked like:

It was fine enough, but I wanted a banner that invoked a more sophisticated, but vintagey vibe.  Plus, a lot of the candles I make are floral fragrances, and I wanted the banner to hint at that.

So, I engaged the services of Sarah Ohme of Ohmeohmy Design to create a banner and business card design.  Sarah was a complete sweetheart to work with, executed the design flawlessly, and whipped up the order in just a couple days.  She's a design goddess! 

With that build up, I'm going to be a total tease and not post the new banner here! Visit the Harmony Farm Candles Etsy shop to check it out and let me know what you think.

And to be a further tease, come back on Friday for an exciting giveaway!  It's not candle-related (I'll do one of those in March...stay tuned), but I guarantee you're going to love it!

Hope you're having a wonderful week,

Monday, February 13, 2012

Mission Accomplished: Flannel Pajama Pants

One of my goals in 2012 is to branch out into sewing simple clothes for myself and my boys.

I was able to squeeze in some sewing time last week at my friend Kate's house to make this pair of pajama pants!

Kate is an accomplished sewer, even though she probably wouldn't cop to it.  She makes clothes for her kids. Like so-meticulously-crafted-you'd-never-guess-they're-handmade outfits.   She's really talented! 

Kate was kind enough to walk me through the steps--particularly how to sew the crotch together, which I simply couldn't wrap my head around at first--and ignore my occasional whining.  :)

In the end, we had a great afternoon hanging out in her "fortress of sewitude" while the kids played, and I emerged with the basic knowledge to make pajama pants.

Happy Erin

And O-M-G are they like heaven to wear.  So soft. So comfy. A perfect fit. I don't want to put on real clothes in the mornings now because I could easily wear these pants all day and night long!

If you want to make your own pajama pants, visit this tutorial from DIY Fashion for some excellent diagrams on how to cut your fabric and piece it together. And if you're like me and need to actually see something being made to understand its construction, watch this YouTube video tutorial.

(Of course, it only occurred to me after taking up part of Kate's afternoon to check YouTube for pants-making video tutorials...story of how my brain works.)

Also, here's a tip (courtesy of Kate) for cleaning up hems and seams without having to double-over the fabric or using a serger: sew the seams/hems, then simply cut the excess fabric with pinking shears.  I did that to the waistband after sewing the casing for the elastic, the crotch seam, and the hems on the legs.  It really cleans up the pants on the inside and prevents the fabric from fraying excessively.

Sewing a tag onto the inside back of the waistband is also handy to know which way is front.  (That's another tip from Kate, by the way.)

Anyway, I love having a pair of flannel pants that fit so comfortably and aren't high-water sweatpants --which is what my 5'8" self has been wearing so far this winter! 

Plus, I have to say, I'm pretty stinking proud of myself for sewing an actual pair of pants. Shoot, if I can sew pants, there's nothing stopping me from a skirt! Or who knows what else? :P  And let me assure you, if I can sew a pair of PJs, you can do it, too.

Have a lovely week,

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

25 Things

Shaunna at Perfectly Imperfect is holding a 25 things link party this week.  I love reading these lists of random facts and thoughts, and learning more about fellow bloggers.

Here's my 25:

1. I love riding roller coasters, especially ones that go upside-down and involve corkscrews. 

2. I'm highly irritated by all the grey hairs that are suddenly sprouting from my head in the last few months.

3.  Same goes for the brown hairs on my chin.   Hello, tweezers...

4.  I'm an inherently optimistic and resilient person. 

5.  I still miss my beloved Persian cat, Beezey, who went missing two years ago today.   Sniff.

6.  I'm learning how to crochet and I can't wait to make granny squares and dishcloths. 

7.  I wish I hadn't spent as much time out in the sun without sunblock as a teenager.  It's showing now.

8.  I love being in my 30s and feel like life keeps getting better as I get golder.  You couldn't pay me to return to my teens or 20s...well, maybe unless I could take the knowledge I now have about myself and life with me.

9.  I believe we have to seek out and choose happiness in our lives and that with enough therapy and self-work, people can move past damaging events/situations with grace and dignity.

10. Getting new pens and pencils makes me insanely happy.   

11.  I lack any career ambition.  I'd like to eventually work at a public library, but as for having a "career?"  No thanks, I think "just" having a job is perfectly okay.  My ambitions lay elsewhere.

12.  Every so often, I consider having another baby.  But then I worry how my son's already 5 and wouldn't having another be like having two only children?  I was also told by a palm reader in New Orleans when I was 21 that I'd only have one child, a son.  All the other major life things she told me have come eerily true in the ensuing 10 years, and as completely batty as this sounds, I feel like by trying to have another baby, I'd be challenging the will of the universe. And that seems like a terribly dicey thing to do. 

13.  I love the Internet and my laptop, but despise most other current forms of technology like e-readers, GPS systems, and smart phones.  I'll admit, I have a cell phone, but only because my husband insisted.  I hardly use it because I'm spiteful like that.

14.  I think it's important to volunteer in one's community in some capacity.  

15. Besides riding a roller coaster or a galloping horse, there's nothing more exhilarating to me than being on the road and traveling.  I love car trips and the best one I took was in 2004 with my friend Linnet. We drove across the country, camped in numerous national parks, visited friends and family, were on the road for two full months, and logged 12,000 miles.

16. I wish I could do one of these things really well: sing or play either the piano or violin.

17.  Dollhouses and miniatures fascinate me.  I would love to build a doll house like this one day.

18.  I don't express it enough, but I'm very appreciative of my husband's ability to provide for me and our son. He's a man's man, and is resourceful, handy, dependable, and can kill, butcher and cook any kind of animal. That sounds so old-fashioned, but it comforts me nonetheless.

19. I secretly hope that time travel is possible and that parallel universes exist.

20.  I can't handle having long finger nails.  They're impractical and dirt gets under them too easily. 

21.  One of my lifelong dreams is to own a racehorse, be present when it wins a race, then lead the horse to the winner's circle for the photo. 

22.  I believe in equality for all people and can't wait to vote against the same-sex marriage ban amendment that will be put before North Carolina voters this spring. 

23. I'm a homebody.  I do leave the house nearly every day, but there are many times where I'd be completely content to simply putter around the house and property. 

24. I think your gut instinct should never be ignored.  I also think that people always tell you who they are through their actions whether you want to acknowledge it or not.

25. I can honestly say I'm happy right now with where I am in my life. 


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Saturday Randomness

It's a chilly, dreary Saturday here, so let's lighten things up with some random but cheery photos.


First up is this vintage-style alarm clock, found on eBay late last year.

I had seen a very similar clock on the delightful blog, Tinkered Treasures, in a November 2010 post.  It was from a completely adorable line called Green Gate and was only available from a UK shop called Berry Red.  Needless to say that by the time I found out about it in 2011, it wasn't available.  Plus, it retailed for something like $30.  Which seemed a bit much for a bedside clock...but maybe I'm just cheap?

Tinkered Treasures

Anyway, I hopped on Etsy, then eBay, to see if I could find a reasonably priced vintage alarm clock. On eBay, I found a seller from Hong Kong who had a new clock that was very similar to the Green Gate clock.

Side-by-side, you can see these are pretty much the same clocks, just with different faces and hands. 

However, the eBay clock was a much more reasonable $13-- including postage all the way from Hong Kong.  Score!

This seller still has a few of these clocks, as well as some other vintages styles. Click here to view them.

I'll warn you, though, the double-hammer bell is REALLY loud.  There's no way you'll sleep through that alarm!


While we're on the topic of cute home goods, the Spring 2012 Cath Kidston line is now out!

Here are just a few of the many items that caught my eye...

Provence Rose Set of 3 Tin Canisters

After making candles this week, volunteering with my local Friends of the Library group, working on a little project I'll sneak peek below, and generally playing catch up from being sick last week, I haven't yet started making those flannel pajama bottoms I mentioned in January.  

However, this is the week and this is the fabric I'll be using:

 It's from JoAnn and the line is Cottage Gardens.  I happened to luck out and buy the last 4 yards on the bolt for just $4 a yard.  P.S.--If anyone has any yardage of Cotton Gardens (which came in both flannel and quilter's cotton and in a couple of different colorways), email me if you'd like to sell it.  I love this line so much and JoAnn no longer carries it. : (


To continue with what has turned out to be a very flower-heavy post, here's a peek at a project I'm working on.  I've begun contributing craft tutorials to a local magazine.  This project--which is still underway in the photo below--will appear in full in the March issue of Alamance Magazine for you local readers.

Fabrics, from top to bottom:
Old New 30s in Purple Rose by Lecien
Old New 30s in White Calico by Lecien
Delilah TW42 in Pink by Tanya Whelan/Free Spirit Fabrics


So, what have you been up to this weekend?