Why I Love Farmers’ Markets

Summer in Iowa means farmers’ markets galore. Now, I think “farmers’ market” means something different up here than down south. When I was living in Baton Rouge I remember being severely disappointed at the lack of vendors, veggies, and general feeling of freshness in the Downtown BR Farmers’ Market. I went into it with a vague childhood memory from the one time I went to the massive and beautiful Des Moines Farmers’ Market – to which nothing can be compared. Up here, farmers’ markets are a vegetarian/health freak/outdoor lover’s dream, and Des Moines is the Taj Mahal of them all.

Eat Your Veggies Brooch by Peels and Posies on Etsy

Eat Your Veggies Brooch by Peels and Posies on Etsy

Nevertheless, they can’t all be Des Moines. The smaller ones are are not to be ignored – they are absolutely wonderful as well! (Just on a much smaller scale of wonderful.) This summer (at least until July) I am privileged to be a vendor at the Ames Main Street Farmers’ Market with my friend, Caroline Sallen (whose work can be found here). Two weeks ago was my first farmers’ market vending experience, and it was awesome. There is simply nothing better than spending a Saturday morning surrounded by mounds of fresh vegetables, smiling faces, and other artisans like myself.

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But anywaaaaaay. Here are my top 5 reasons for loving farmers’ markets:

  1. I love being surrounded by fresh vegetables. Call me crazy, but it makes me feel healthy, like there’s some sort of osmosis happening. And there’s no sight more beautiful than piles upon piles of fresh beets newly pulled from the ground, or rows of perfectly symmetrical heads of lettuce.
  2. I love buying local – not just for the food aspect of it (though I do feel more comfortable eating something of known origin) but for the human aspect of it. When I buy from my neighbors, I feel like I am not only personally gaining by stuffing my face, but I am also helping support someone’s livelihood.
  3. I love seeing all the different dogs. Apparently, there is a general consensus that farmers’ markets are a good activity not only for humans, but for their dog counterparts as well. Consequently, there are always a ton of different breeds sniffing around, and it is great!
  4. I love talking to the farmers and local artisans – their stories are oftentimes very interesting and very inspiring! Even if I don’t buy anything from their booths, I still feel like I am walking away with something.
  5. I love the bustle – normally I am not one for crowds, but on a crisp morning, it is nice to see people convening for something as wholesome and beneficial as a farmers’ market. People supporting people. It makes my heart happy.

To make your farmers’ market experience even better, I have selected a few farmers’ market must haves from shops on Etsy. (But if I’m perfectly honest, all you really need for an incredible Saturday morning outing is yourself, a friend, and a cup of joe.)

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1. Vintage Slingback Sandals by Our Town Vintage on Etsy, $34 // 2. Teal Crossbody Bag by MUNIshop on Etsy, $65 // 3. Dead Stock Vintage Shorts by Bless That Dress on Etsy, $28.27 // 4. Fruit Pin by Jordan Sondler on Etsy, $15 // 5. Vintage Umbrella by Vintage Wall on Etsy, $30 // 6. Farmers’ Market Bags by Moxie Madness on Etsy, $14 // 7. Rabbit Necklace by I Am a Bird on Etsy, $50

For those of you in Iowa:

After you hit the Des Moines Farmers’ Market this Saturday (May 24th), please come by the Kirkwood building downtown for Market Day! (Farmers’ Market – craft edition.) I will have my booth set up with all sorts of lovelies, and it would be a delight to see you.

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Divergent: A Series Worth Reading

Divergent Brooch by Peels and Posies on Etsy

Divergent Brooch by Peels and Posies on Etsy

As a bibliophile and an avid reader, I know I shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover. However, sometimes the artist in me judges in spite of it all. Recently, I discovered the err in my ways. A couple of years ago, my mom gave me one of the ugliest contemporary novels I’ve seen in a while – a cliche ring of fire, dark city scape, rolling clouds – and urged me to read it. I thought Divergent was about robots or some other sci-fi theme I don’t typically want to immerse myself in, and so I let it gather dust on my bookshelf.

However at the beginning of the year I decided to finally pick the book up (after seeing the movie trailer which piqued my interest), and I am so so glad I did.

The Divergent series consists of three books in which the narrator, Tris Prior, grows up in her identity – both what society marks her as and what she marks herself as. The series takes place in a post-apocolyptic Chicago, where the citizens are divided into five factions, based on their primary character quality: Abnegation (Tris’s starting faction), for the selfless; Dauntless (Tris’s chosen faction), for the brave; Amity, for the peaceful; Erudite, for the intelligent; and Candor, for the honest.

Divergent Hair Pins by Peels and Posies on Etsy

Divergent Hair Pins by Peels and Posies on Etsy

The pivotal issue in the story is that it is not in man’s nature to be just one thing, and Tris Prior must grapple with not only her own inner stuggles, but with her broken society as well.

This series has an extremely engaging plot and relatable characters. I highly recommend both the books and the movie (but obviously, read the books first!).

Check out this Divergent-inspired gift guide I put together. For the complete collection, follow this link.

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1. Carnival Photography by Carolyn Cochrane on Etsy, $30 // 2. Teal Constellations Print by Elise Mahan Fine Art on Etsy, $12 // 3. Be Brave Pillow by Belles and Ghosts on Etsy, $36 // 4. Be Brave Inspirational Print by Sweet Peony Press on Etsy, $10 // 5. Black Air Plant Pod by The Yarn Kitchen on Etsy, $21 // 6. Black Gothic Fairy Tale Crown by Neesie Designs on Etsy, $17 // 7. Bird Cake Topper Set by Ross Lab on Etsy, $28 // 8. Eye Moon Original Drawing by The Micromentalist on Etsy, $84 // 9. Grab Life Painting by Messy Bed Studio on Etsy, $99

Bring Back the Thoughtful Gift

Anymore, it seems like people, when encountered with a gift-giving situation, decide to take the easy way out – gift cards or cold hard cash. While I don’t think there is anything wrong with cash gifts (there is a lot of flexibility there), it does make me kind of sad that the thoughtfulness has gone out of gift-giving. Thoughtfulness, I think, is the essence of a gift.

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Note: thoughtful does not have to equal expensive. Some of the best gifts I’ve received have been handmade. Etsy is also a great option for those of you who simply aren’t crafty or don’t have enough time to be.

With graduation and Mother’s Day approaching, gifts are in most of our futures. So I have compiled a list of thoughtful gift ideas just to get the juices flowing. Here goes it.

  • Instead of a bouquet of fresh flowers, why not make (or buy) a bouquet of flowers that will last forever? Such as this bouquet of paper ranunculus.
  • A book. When did giving a book as a gift become uncool?? Books are chuck full of thoughts! Think about the person who is receiving the gift. Do they like to cook? COOKBOOK. Do they like history? AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY. Do they enjoy nature? BIRDWATCHING GUIDE. It’s easier than it seems, guys.
  • On a similar vein, if your person is an avid reader, get him/her something book-themed. If I had received this Nancy Drew brooch as a kid I probably would have died with delight. Likewise, book-themed candles, book jewelry, purses made out of books, purses made out of book spines, basically anything to do with books will satisfy the soul of a bookworm more than anything else.
  • Maybe the person you are buying a gift for is a foodie. If so, there are a lot of great options out there. I have a line of fruit and veggie bobbie pins and food pun art in my Etsy shop (found here) but there are literally TONS of food-themed items to search through on Etsy. I particularly love these fig earrings and this kitchen herb print.
  • Lastly, I would suggest thinking about the things they obsess over. Be it Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Parks and Recreation, or the Royal Family, you are sure to find something suitable to their needs.

the thoughtful gift guide copy1. Beatrix Potter Coin Purse, Bagsy Me First on Etsy, $34.52 // 2. Fig Stud Earrings, Doll Food Miniatures on Etsy, $38 // 3. Espresso Patronum Print, Indie and Company on Etsy, $10+ // 4. Botanical Blueberry Necklace, Htozkaya on Etsy, $50 // 5. Six Paper Ranunculus, Adorn Flowers, $42 // 6. Ron Swanson Key Chain, Peachy Apricot on Etsy, $8 // 7. Get Out There Typography Throw Pillow, Belles and Ghosts on Etsy, $36+ // 8. Old Books Scented Soy Candle, Frostbeard on Etsy, $15 // 9. Novel Literary Floral Purse, Whimsey Books on Etsy, $23.50

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.