Words of Wisdom Concerning Outdoor Craft Fairs

Last weekend I participated as a vendor in my first ever craft fair – Craft Your Environment in Iowa City. It was an event that focused on recycling, reusing, and being kind to the environment. All of the vendors sold art that included upcycled materials.

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In the weeks proceeding the fair, I got increasingly anxious (how stupid would I feel if no one wanted any of my stuff?!?), but after twenty minutes or so into it I felt like I had finally found my niche. Selling art is fun! I got a lot of chuckles, a lot words of encouragement, and  yes, even a good number of sales!

This was an outdoor show, which is a bit of a risk when selling items that could potentially be damaged by the elements.

Rainy Day Brooch by Peels and Posies on Etsy

Rainy Day Brooch by Peels and Posies on Etsy

Nevertheless, everything turned out well, and to this point I would like to share a few words of wisdom when it comes to outdoor craft fairs.

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  1. In April, mornings are cold. Even if the high for the day is in the 70s, bring gloves or else your fingers will freeze solid as you put up  the tent.
  2. A tent with side-walls is a must, especially if you live somewhere where it is windy. The walls really helped protect me (from the cold) and my items (from blowing away).
  3. Bring tape. Lots of tape. Just do it.
  4. If you want to bring items that are personal jokes, expect to be questioned about them. It took me like 5 minutes to explain to a lady that “Por Queso” didn’t actually mean anything, it was just a bad pun that I thought was really funny. Needless to say, she left with a rather bewildered expression on her face.  

    Por Queso Badge by Peels and Posies on Etsy

    Por Queso Badge by Peels and Posies on Etsy

  5. You’ll be neighbors to the vendor next to you for the entire event. So try not to let yourself get annoyed by their “selling ways.” You may hear the phrase “All my items are made from recycled magazines” two thousand times, but chances are you’ll have a nicer time if you don’t let it nettle you (or at least make a joke of it).
  6. Finally, if you are OCD about dust and dirt and things falling off the table, don’t do an outdoor show. It is probably not worth it.

I really enjoyed my first craft show experience. It was both rewarding and fun. I am especially grateful for my incredible husband, who was by my side all day without complaint. It takes a special kind of man to do that!

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There are a lot of great craft fairs/shows/markets in Iowa during the summer (like this one I will be participating in in May and this one in June), so it is kind of a bummer I’ll be cutting the season short in July as we move to Wyoming. Luckily for me, however, there are a lot of great crafting opportunities in Sheridan as well. One down, a lifetime-ful to go!

The Mountains Are Calling

Here is a piece of advice: Don’t be surprised if all your well-layed plans fall to the wayside in the blink of an eye. It’s happened to me more times than I can count in the last four years.

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Wild & Free Mountain Brooch by Peels and Posies on Etsy

Just as I was getting used to the idea of staying in Iowa long-term (finally acclimating to the climate, learning about crops and tractors and Iow-y things, figuring out the good places to craft, etc etc), the unexpected happened in the form of a particularly persuasive school superintendent. A few weeks ago, my husband went to a teacher career fair to look for a job – hopefully somewhere in Central Iowa – and came home with the all the shining possibilities of the Wild West.

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Seek Adventure Journal by Peels and Posies on Etsy

Wyoming had actually been a joke between Grant and I as he filled out applications for teaching jobs:

*sardonic voice* “Hey, Haleigh, I think we should go to Wyoming!”, to which I scoffed and made some rude comment about hillbillies and the middle of nowhere.

The truth is, I didn’t know a single thing about Wyoming until about three weeks ago. The mental picture that came to mind every time someone mentioned the state was a big, flat, boring abyss where the most exciting thing to happen was roving cows munching on grass. But, au contraire, Haleigh. Au contraire.

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This summer, Grant and I will be moving to Sheridan, Wyoming, which is comfortably nestled halfway between Yellowstone National Park and Mount Rushmore. It sits at the base of the Bighorn Mountains, and is one of the most deliciously beautiful places I have ever been. The place is teeming with wildlife (elk, pronghorns, buffalo, bears, deer, just to name a few) and there are endless possibilities for outdoorsy adventures like hiking and rock climbing and snowshoeing in the winter.

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Honestly, the closest I ever thought I would get to this kind of life backdrop was the Wichita Mountains (which are deceptively-named hills). But then, by now I should be used to things happening exactly the opposite of what I expect/want. For instance:

- When I lived in Tyler, Texas, Mississippi was the last place I thought I’d be for college. My fantasies included Boston, North Carolina, Maine – somewhere grand and long-praised. But I landed in Jackson, Mississippi for my first three semesters of college, and I don’t regret it a bit.

- When I lived in Mississippi, I hated Louisiana with an unmarked passion. Driving across that state on my way to Mississippi was the most detestable thing I had to do. And yet, by my fourth semester of college, I was in Baton Rouge attending Louisiana State University. To this day I still hate the state, but it’s where I met my husband, so obviously it was where I was supposed to be.

- My entire life I was against Iowa. In fact, it was the only state I audibly and passionately declared off my list of potential places to live. I was born in Iowa City, and as both sets of grandparents live in Central Iowa, it was the most common vacation destination for my family. I thought it boring. But then I met Grant, my lovable farm-boy from the hills of Northwest Iowa, and the rest was history. I took my last semester of classes at Iowa State, got married, settled into Gilbert, and really started to love my roots.

And now I’m being uprooted yet again.

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Adventure Brooch by Peels and Posies on Etsy

Wyoming was nowhere on my radar a month ago, but now that it is I am extremely excited. Sure, it’s far from family, but sometimes you just have to take those leaps and be adventurous. If the mountains are calling, go to them.

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Not to mention, my mountain-themed art (found here) will fit in perfectly. :)

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Mountains Teacup Pincushion by Peels and Posies on Etsy

Blog Anniversary, A Cat-Shaped Crossbody Purse, and Tending the Herbs

Hello lovelies!

It’s been a while since I have posted anything on here, and in my neglect, I failed to realize that yesterday was the one-year anniversary of my dear Consider the Peel. One year! A year ago I was unmarried, living with my grandparents, and experiencing my first real winter in about ten years!

Yesterday was a good first birthday for my blog (even though I didn’t realize that’s what it was at the time). It got up to 60 degrees in Gilbert, and the sun was beating brilliantly down. I went on a 4 and a half mile run, which was absolutely fantastic even though my shoes got soaked through.

When I wasn’t outside, I was spending my time making this cat crossbody purse.

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I will admit it took me forever to figure out how to do, since I made up my own pattern. I have this handicap when it comes to following someone else’s patterns – okay, so it’s less of a handicap and more of an impatient, pig-headed independence and a disposition of boredom while reading instructions. I don’t know how people normally come up with patterns. I am sure there is a science in there somewhere, but I’ve never had the patience to read about it. So I used my own method and fashioned this paper purse instead.

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Then I cut out of paper the same shapes with about a half an inch extra on every side, for seam allowance. I decided to use three layers of fabric (including a lining) to give the purse more structure and durability. After the fabric pieces had been cut out, it was all just a matter of thinking reeeaaaallly hard about which way to sew everything so it came out with all the sides facing the right ways. The lining was particularly difficult for me to figure out, but this informative video really helped me out.

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One of these days, I will figure out how to sew a buttonhole on my sewing machine, but for now it is handsewing for me. I don’t really mind it, of course.

In other news, today I finally decided to be a good plant mother and prune my struggling herbs. This winter has been a tough one on them (the window on who’s sill they sit is constantly frozen over on the inside) resulting in the demise of my basil, and the others worse for wear. I’m not sure my chamomile will survive. :’(  Nevertheless, after pruning, I now have this luminescent plate of fresh parsley and lavender leaves sitting on my window sill and smelling all spring-like. Wonderful.

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I have planted more basil, oregano, mint, rosemary, and dill and they are just now tiny little sprouts. Unfortunately, I do not know which is which anymore, as all my labels washed off.

Other than running, purse-making, herb-tending, and wife-being, I have been keeping busy with my Etsy shop Peels and Posies. Recently, I’ve made a lot of brooches, badges, fridge magnets, and little wall hangings. Now I have a question for you: Are cat purses something you would like to see in my Etsy shop?

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Sherlock Silhouette Brooch, Peels and Posies on Etsy, $11

:)

5 Signs That May Indicate You Need a Pet

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When I was a little kid, having a pet was always my “thing.” I had so many hermit crabs and beta fish that eventually throwing them down the toilet became a regular activity. No need for tears. But these non-mammalian animals were merely precursors for the real thing. (I’m only a little ashamed that at age six I thought rodents could be considered real pets.)

So my first real pet was a mouse named Peanut. His death must have been extremely traumatizing to me, though, because I actually have no recollection of ever having a pet mouse named Peanut. The rest of my family had to convince me it was true over Christmas holiday. My second and favorite pet was a hamster, and ironically, his name was Goober. In homage to my pet mouse, perhaps?

When Goober died I went through a slew of other hamsters (whose names I no longer remember). One of them had a large litter of babies. I still have nightmares about the time I woke up to find that she had assassinated all but two of them. After this questionable experience, I retired as rodent owner and focused on the family dogs/guinea pigs.

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I won’t even go into the guinea pig story. All I can say is this – they reproduce like a contagious disease and it is a veeery bad idea to leave the lid of their outdoor hutch open.

So basically there were always pets in my life of some kind or another. Since going to college, however, I have been sadly bereft of a pet, and as my apartment does not allow them, it will be a while before I get one. However, I have been noticing a pattern of habits in myself that indicate my petlessness may be a bit of a problem.

They are as follows:

1. Sometimes when I am alone, I find myself talking to things in my apartment. Such as my kitty pillows. “Hi little kitty, would you like some coffee this morning? It’s really good. Oh, maybe you just want me to pet you.” … Yeah. At least if there was an animal – a living, breathing animal – that behavior would be excused. Kind of?

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2. I dream about animals on a nightly basis. Most recent one: a horde of ducklings was following me around, quacking “Mother.”

3. Occasionally, my procrastination leads me to the animal section of Pinterest. And doesn’t let me leave until I’m lying prostrate in the middle of my fluffy rug, rueing my lack of cute baby creatures to squeeze.

4. On the rather rare occasions that I do encounter an animal, I use a pet voice that has become dramatically higher and squeakier than the one I used when I was around animals on a daily basis. I think it has alarmed my husband multiple times.

5. Essentially everything I have created in the last few weeks has had to do with animals. Like these bunny pillows. Or this deer wall hanging. I’m even writing a story about a bunny. The madness never stops.

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If something similar is happening to you, you might think of investing in a furry little creature for yourself. I recommend a rabbit. That’s what is first on my list. Needless to say, I don’t think this petlessness is good for my health.

Hello 2014!

Well, I’ve had a crazy, competitive, diverting, pleasurable, spirited, family-filled holiday reprieve, and now it is sadly coming to an end. Tomorrow my husband and I make our long trek back to Iowa, where the icicles are sure to skewer my heart after soaking in this warm Texas winter for the last two weeks.

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Some highlights of my Christmas vacation are as follows:

  • Rediscovering the game Killer Bunnies,  which is probably the most creative game I’ve ever played. From deadly lawn darts to killer whisks to carrot chefs and fountains of youth, this game is sure to entertain (if not completely and utterly confuse you). It is quite fun.
  • Finding the most beautiful fabrics at A Nimble Thimble in Tyler with my mom and sister. Literally, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a magnificent assortment of fabric anywhere, not even (gasp) Hobby Lobby.
  • Getting hours of Boggle under my belt with my siblings. Always a treasure.
  • Sorting through all my mom’s old patterns and fabric scraps.
  • Playing with my sister’s pet bunny, Watson, which consequently inspired a parody of Royals by Lorde, King Bunny style.
  • Doing 1000 pushups yesterday with my dad and husband. In case you didn’t know, doing 1000 pushups in one day is hard. And my body feels like it is on fire today.

I am definitely sad to be leaving my family tomorrow, and for more reasons than that it’s darn cold in Iowa. I’ll miss them a ton. However, I realize it’s time to get back to the real world; a new year, which means new responsibilities and new goals.

This year, my goals are as follows:

  • Grow my Etsy business, Peels and Posies, and try to make at least 100 sales.
  • Write and illustrate a children’s book.
  • Read through the whole Bible.
  • Get a bunny (okay, so maybe this isn’t a goal, but it is a dream I have…)

I am excited for 2014 and the opportunity it offers. My husband and I will be moving somewhere this year (we don’t know where yet), so it’s already destined to be a year of change, excitement, and adventures.

Hopefully, your year will hold good things as well. And for good luck, a video of Watson the bunny playing with yarn. :)

DIY Christmas Gift Tags

Growing up, I remember my mom always used to buy an assortment of those stock Christmas gift tags for wrapped presents, the kind with grinning snowmen or cheesy holiday salutations (which I absolutely love). Honestly, though, it seemed like about half the time she’d forget to actually put the name of the recipient on the gift. I remember one year my brother Andrew opened three seasons of the TV show The Office and he was sooo excited. But my mom squealed, grabbed the package, and said, “Oh, I’m sorry!” We all looked at her in puzzlement. “That’s for Haleigh.” Boo-yah, best Christmas present ever, stolen from the very fingers of my good ole bro.

This little anecdote is all to say how important gift tags are, and they really don’t have to be the store bought kind. I personally enjoy painting my own gift tags. If you are not artistically gifted, however, there are still options for you.

  1. Glue vintage buttons and ribbon on square cardstock and write or type the to and from.
  2. Cut out scrapbook paper and layer it in interesting ways onto cardstock.
  3. Cut Christmas shapes (like gingerbread men, evergreens, snowmen) out of felt and embroider or draw the names on with felt marker.

However, if you’re really feeling the look of hand-painted Christmas tags this year, you are in luck! My hand-painted posie tags are available at my Etsy shop, Peels and Posies, and are downloadable. That means you can have them the day you buy them! Perfect if you’re in a wrapping bind. Otherwise, have a great time DIYing! <3

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All the Firsts I’m Thankful For

Somehow Thanksgiving snuck up behind me and clobbered me this year. Don’t ask me how it came so swiftly, because, honestly, I can’t believe a year has already passed since the last one.

The smells of turkey and stuffing and sweet potatoes and pie have got me to thinking a lot about last Thanksgiving and all the events that have occurred between this one and that one. My life is quite a bit different now. For one, I’m celebrating the holiday in below-freezing weather, where as last year I’m pretty sure I was in shorts. But that’s just a minor thing.

There have been a lot of firsts for me this year, and I’m thankful for every one. Let me just name a few for you:

  1. Last Thanksgiving was the first time I ever made a stuffing-filled pumpkin. It was delicious.
  2. In December I got engaged. On a lovely sunny picnic. :)
  3. I moved to Iowa. The last time I lived in Iowa I was an infant. It’s dang cold up here and I have not gotten used to it
  4. Spring semester was the first time I’d attended a school in Iowa. Now I’ve been to schools in Kansas, Ohio, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Canada.
  5. I got stuck in a snow drift. While I cannot be directly thankful for this regrettable experience, it is a good story to tell. And I am sooooo grateful that it happened right next to my grandparents’ house.
  6. I got stuck in ditch. Another awful snow occurrence, but this one happened basically in the same place. And it makes the first story even funnier.
  7. I started a blog. Okay, so Consider the Peel technically isn’t my first blog, but it’s my first blog that counts.
  8. I bottle-fed a baby calf. :) DSCN0912
  9. Kitten in a flower pot. Enough said. DSCN0866
  10. Spring semester was the first time I skipped more classes than I attended while still managing to receive an A in the class. That was Geology 100, or Rocks for Jocks as it is popularly known.
  11. I nannied three small children full time.
  12. I graduated college. YAY.
  13. I got married. YAAAAY. ceremony kiss!
  14. I went to Nashville then North Carolina for the first time. Both beautiful places.
  15. I stole apples off an apple tree.
  16. I went to an NFL game. That means football. I went. To a football game. That’s big stuff.
  17. I got to see the place where F. Scott Fitzgerald was born (in St. Paul).
  18. I went to the American Girl Doll Store.
  19. I bottle fed then hung out with the coolest baby deer on the planet. DSCN1998
  20. I opened a business – Peels and Posies on Etsy.

I’m sure there are a thousand more awesome firsts I experienced this year, but these 20 are good for now. I really am grateful for all of the new things that happen in my life. I used to be afraid of change, but recently I’ve realized that change is absolutely imperative for growth – not only in yourself and your character, but in Christ.

This Thanksgiving (even though it is my first one ever not with the Robbins’ family, and not as a Robbins anymore) I want to give thanks for my amazing family who shaped me into the woman I am today. Without all the grueling hours of family meals, weird conversations, arguments about clothes with my sister, long car rides, and years of being stuck under the same roof with them, I would not be me. Mom, Dad, Andrew, and Mickey, I miss you guys so much!

Happy happy happy Thanksgiving, everyone. <3

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Give Thanks Wreath by Peels and Posies on Etsy