Why I Love Custom Orders

One of my favorite things about being an artist is being able to encapsulate other people’s creativity by creating something they don’t necessarily have the skills to make themselves. Custom orders allow me to really cater to my customer, and I think this is absolutely invaluable. I love being able to make something specified to an individual.

I do many custom orders for my Peels and Posies shop, and I love getting custom order requests. Recently, I finished four large tapestries for a workout room. They are by far the largest scale custom orders I have made, and though they took me FOREVER to finish, I really had a great time making them.

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These tapestries were particularly challenging for me because I had never made something this large before. I used the same general technique as my regular tapestries in my shop (find them here) except multiplied. Although every stitch isn’t perfectly straight, I am still very pleased with how they turned out. (Thanks to my husband Grant for being a wonderful model!!!)

I’ve made all sorts of custom orders, from bookmarks to wall hangings and everything in between. Please contact me with any ideas you have for a personalized piece of decor, purse, or anything else you can think of. While I obviously get much pleasure in creating things want, there is something immensely satisfying about creating something for someone else.

In other news, if my presence on the blog is rather spotty it the next few weeks, it’s because I am preparing for my next craft fair, Behind the Picket Fence, on April 18th! I’ve got LOTS to do and not a lot of time to do it! If you’re in the Sheridan area in two weeks, please stop by my booth!

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What I’m Reading: Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

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I’m currently making my way through a rather difficult book – Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. If you remember my post from a few weeks ago about vegetarianism, you probably can recall I mentioned factory farms. Eating Animals takes an inside look at factory farming as well as why humans beings eat animals – the stories that drive us, the nostalgia that will always play a part in our eating habits, the societal exceptions we no longer even pay attention to. Surprisingly, this book isn’t purely advocating for a meat-free diet. It is not preachy in any way, and Foer states explicitly that he is not trying to turn anyone vegetarian. His purpose in writing this book was merely to bring to light how truly wrong some of our farming practices are when it comes to animals.

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Foer himself always oscillated between carnivorism and vegetarianism growing up. As a child, he always felt there was something a little wrong about eating meat – he thought about the animals he knew, and didn’t understand how it was not okay to hurt a dog, but perfectly fine to eat a chicken. Once he had a child of his own, he decided to figure out exactly what we in America eat, and this book was born. He visited factory farms and did mounds of research, and the results are frankly frightening.

Nothing inspires as much shame as being a parent. Children confront us with our paradoxes and hypocrisies, and we are exposed. You need to find an answer for every why – why do we do this? Why do we do that? – and often there isn’t a good one. So you simply say, because. And whether or not your face reddens, you blush. The same of parenthood – which is a good shame – is that we want our children to be more whole than we are, to have satisfactory answers. My son not only inspired me to reconsider what kind of eating animal I would be, but shamed me into reconsideration.

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Within this book are facts about chickens, pigs, cow, fish, and every other type of animal we know as food. Foer’s friendly and informative tone really makes it easy to reconsider our own eating habits, and it’s not just about being mean to the animals. It is about what is right.

Needless to say, jamming deformed, drugged, overstressed birds together in a filthy, waste-coated room is not very healthy. Beyond deformities, eye damage, blindness, bacterial infections of bones, slipped vertebrae, paralysis, internal bleeding, anemia, slipped tendons, twisted lower legs and necks, respiratory diseases, and weakened immune systems are frequent and long-standing problems on factory farms.

As I see it, God gave animals to man. Whether or not Adam and Eve ate animals while in the garden, eventually animals became one of our main food sources, and this was okay by God. But that doesn’t mean we can manipulate their genes, stuff them into cages where they can barely move, torture them with painful deaths. Animals were created by God and given to man, and therefore I believe should be given the sort of lives they were created for. Cows should be allowed to graze, chickens to peck and roam, pigs to be curious and play. 

It shouldn’t be the consumer’s responsibility to figure out what’s cruel and what’s kind, what’s environmentally destructive and what’s sustainable. Cruel and destructive food products should be illegal. We don’t need the option of buying children’s toys made with lead paint, or aerosols with chlorofluorocarbons, or medicines with unlabeled side effects. And we don’t need the option of buying factory-farmed animals.

Whether you are a vegetarian or a meat lover, I definitely recommend this book. It will make you think, reconsider. And this is a good thing.

Do you eat chicken because you are familiar with the scientific literature on them and have decided that their suffering doesn’t matter, or do you do it because it tastes good?

Spring Has Sprung! Spring Inspiration and a Giveaway

IMG_2627It’s April!!! It’s spring!!!!

It isn’t hard for me to get in the mood for spring, what with this gorgeous weather and the budding trees and the grass turning green again. People around here say this is very odd weather for end of March/beginning of April and that it doesn’t necessarily bode well for our summer, but I think it is simply fantastic.

Spring is just cropping up everywhere, including one of my favorite places ever – Etsy. It is a time of inspiration, so I have put together a collection of Etsy items perfect for welcoming Spring with a bang.

inspiration for spring on etsy copy1. Find Joy in the Ordinary Print by Katievas on Etsy, $14. Spring demands bright colors and happy sayings. I love this particular saying because it rings so true in the spring – blooming flowers seem ordinary on the surface, but there is something deliciously miraculous about them as well.

2. Hand-Painted Wooden Bobby Pins by Jill Makes on Etsy, $20. Welcome spring in style with these adorable hand-painted bobby pins. With the weather getting warm, it’s absolutely necessary to have something to keep your hair out of your face – might as well use something colorful and handmade.

3. Lavender Fish Eye Pillow by Alia Grace Dolls on Etsy, $36. I’m obsessed with this fish eye pillow right now. With the days getting longer, it’s essential to get your beauty sleep. This soothing eye pillow is filled with lavender – perfect!

4. Tropical Banana Ottoman by Square Fox Design on Etsy, $90.  Brighten up your home for spring with this sassy banana ottoman. I would LOVE this in my living room!

5. Patterned Paint Roller by Patterned Paint Rollers on Etsy, $19. Spring is the perfect time for freshening up your home decor. This gorgeous paint roller would make a lovely pattern in a kitchen or small room. Can also be used for smaller projects, like furniture. Patterned table, anyone?

6. Matisse Removable Wallpaper by Kate Zaremba Company on Etsy, $27. If you are renting or hesitant about the permanentness of paint but still want a fresh look for your home for spring, this removable wall paper is the perfect option! I love the colors and pattern of this design – very springish.

7. Pineapple Pocket Notebook by Modern Botanic Shop on Etsy, $8.50. It’s always a good idea to keep a notebook handy to record your spring adventures. This journal bears such a cute pineapple pattern that it’s just irresistible.

8. Abstract Acrylic Painting by Wild Humm on Etsy, $40. I love the happy spring colors of this abstract painting. A great cheer-me-up for any mantel or desk.

9. Hand-Dyed Silk Scarf by Caroline Sallen on Etsy, $28. Spring is the perfect time to don one of these lightweight, hand-dyed silk scarves. The colors just scream spring!

10. Rose Quilt Pattern PDF by Flowers N Butterflies on Etsy, $10. What could be a better time to pick up a new hobby than spring? This gorgeous rose quilt pattern is almost enough to get me quilting. I would LOVE to have this blanket on my bed right now.

IMG_2623I hope you enjoyed my Spring Inspiration list! Be sure to visit my Instagram page today, tomorrow, or Friday for a chance to win my new Spring Has Sprung Wall Flag. It will also be available in my shop soon. Cheers!

Healthy Banana Cookies

IMG_2191YUM! There’s nothing quite like a healthy cookie (the fluffy, cakey kind that I like), and so I must share with you these healthy banana cookies!

IMG_2170I made a chocolate version of these cookies for Grant a few weeks ago and they were delectable (I’ll probably post that recipe eventually as well), but obviously with the pounds of chocolate, they were not quite as healthy as the chocolate-free variety. As an ever ferocious advocate for healthy foods, I just had to make them healthier.

IMG_2198These cookies are great because you can eat them for dessert or breakfast (they have oats, guys) or a pick-me-up in the middle of the day. Versatile cookies are wonderful!

IMG_2175Healthy Banana Cookies

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups processed oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 medium bananas
1/4 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup honey
3 tbsp coconut oil

METHOD:

1. Combine processed oats, flour, protein powder, salt, baking soda, and nutmeg in a large bowl.

2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine bananas, greek yogurt, honey, and coconut oil. Process until smooth.

3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Place dollops of dough onto a greased cookie sheet. Press down onto the dough so it is slightly flat.

4. Bake cookies in a preheated 350 oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown on top.

5. Enjoy!

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My 15 Favorite Quotes From Literature

Words are powerful things. As a reader and a wanna-be writer, I know this to the core of my being. Words are everything. So much can be packed into a line – emotion, love, finality, consequence – and I think this is why there are some lines of literature I’ve simply never been able to shake.

Obviously, choosing your “favorites” of anything can be a task. When it comes to books and literature, the options are endless, and the beautiful language abounding makes it extremely difficult to make a definitive list of one’s all time favorite quotes. However, these quotes I have chosen made a resounding impact on me the moment I read them, and lived on in my mind and heart even years later. I think it is sometimes possible for a single quote to make an entire book, and the quotes I list below are of that kind.

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So without further ado, I give you my 15 favorite quotes in literature:

1. “Before I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.” Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird

TKAM Wall Plaque // Peels and Posies on Etsy
TKAM Wall Plaque // Peels and Posies on Etsy

2. “Even a broken heart doesn’t warrant a waste of good paper.” Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle Brooch // Peels and Posies on Etsy
I Capture the Castle Brooch // Peels and Posies on Etsy

3. “Books are cold but sure friends.” Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

4. “Even the darkest of nights will end and the sun will rise.” Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

Les Miserables Bookmark // Peels and Posies on Etsy
Les Miserables Bookmark // Peels and Posies on Etsy

5. “I am no bird, and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.” Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre Bookmark // Peels and Posies
Jane Eyre Bookmark // Peels and Posies

6. “He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights Bookmark // Peels and Posies
Wuthering Heights Bookmark // Peels and Posies

7. “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

8. “What are men to rocks and mountains?” Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice Mountain Magnet // Peels and Posies on Etsy
Pride and Prejudice Mountain Magnet // Peels and Posies on Etsy

9. “Take the Adventure, heed the call, now ere the irrevocable moment passes!’ ‘Tis but a banging of the door behind you, a blithesome step forward, and you are out of the old life and into the new! Then some day, some day long hence, jog home here if you will, when the cup has been drained and the play has been played, and sit down by your quiet river with a store of goodly memories for company.” Kenneth Graham, The Wind in the Willows

10. “All this he saw, for one moment breathless and intense, vivid on the morning sky; and still, as he looked, he lived; and still, as he lived, he wondered.” Kenneth Graham, The Wind in the Willows

11.“Onward and Upward! To Narnia and the North!” CS Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia

Narnia Bookmark // Peels and Posies on Etsy
Narnia Bookmark // Peels and Posies on Etsy

12. “Girls aren’t very good at keeping maps in their brains”, said Edmund, “That’s because we’ve got something in them”, replied Lucy.” CS Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia

13. “Narnia! It’s all in the wardrobe just like I told you!” CS Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia

14. “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.” JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter Wall Plaque // Peels and Posies on Etsy
Harry Potter Wall Plaque // Peels and Posies on Etsy

15. “And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” F Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

I hope you enjoyed this list! What are your favorite quotes from literature? Tell me in the comments!

Cute DIY Succulents (Made From Rocks)

I LOVE succulents! You’ve probably noticed this if you follow my Facebook page or instagram account. I like them because they are hardy and beyond cute and can be planted basically anywhere. Such as a vintage teapot or a pretty crystal goblet. Guys, succulents are, like, the best plants ever.

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Even though they are supposed to survive anything, sometimes succulents too will die. For instance, my husband bought me a cactus for our one-year anniversary, which we deemed our “love cactus.” I put it by the window and watered it occasionally, but for some ridiculous reason it still died a few months after we got it. :'( (Fortunately, our love did not die with it.)

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So for those out there who are hard on plants but want some succulents in your home, I’ve got the perfect succulent solution for you – cactus rocks! All it takes is some flat rocks and green paint and a pretty little thing to plant them in. What’s nice about these rock succulents is that you can put them anywhere in your house – rocks don’t need sun, see? Furthermore, you can forget about them entirely but they still will not die. WOO HOO!!!!!

Here’s what you need:

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  • some flat rocks
  • a few shades of green paint
  • a paintbrush
  • dirt, sand, or small pebbles
  • a planting container

Here’s how to do it:

Lay your rocks on a piece of paper so as not to get paint everywhere. Paint one side at a time. Let dry completely.

IMG_2476Meanwhile, put some dirt, sand, or pebbles into your planter, filling it about 3/4 of the way. Once the paint on your succulent rocks has dried, wedge them into the dirt so they stand on their own. You can put one to a planter or stuff them all in there like I did. I personally like the look of a full succulent container.

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Place wherever you’d like! This is the easiest DIY ever and turns out SO CUTE! If you like succulents give this one a go. Don’t forget to instagram your creation and tag @peelsandposies!

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Vanilla Green Tea Energy Bites (With Kale) and Spring Break Adventures

IMG_1895This past week was Spring Break for Grant, which – perk of being a teacher’s wife – means Spring Break for me too! Some things never get old, and Spring Break is one of those things. It’s nice taking a little break from life sometimes, even if it means I’m behind in everything now.

spring breakFor the first part of break Grant and I went to Billings, Montana on a little weekend getaway. We had a great time thrifting and eating good food and riding our bikes along a cliff edge. Then, on Monday my brother and his beautiful wife came to visit us in the Bighorns! Leslie and Andrew have been married since January and live in Texas. They decided to make a loooong road trip to come see us, stopping along the way at places like Carlsbad Caverns and the Grand Tetons. It is nice living in a part of the country that can be a road trip destination – Wyoming is so beautiful and contains so much adventure, which makes it easier to convince people to come visit us! While they were here, we explored the Tongue River Canyon, journeyed to Shell Falls in the Bighorns, and visited the Badlands. It was a great time!

Andrew and some mountain goats
Andrew and some mountain goats
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Watching some bighorn sheep
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We saw LOTS of bighorn sheep

spring break 2So it was a fantastic week off, but now it’s time to get back to reality. If you are having a hard time getting back in the groove like me (especially when the sun is shining and everything outside is begging you to take a break) I have some energy bites to hopefully get you in the spirit of things again. My Vanilla Green Tea Energy bites are bursting with flavor and color and adventure, kind of like spring itself.

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And since energy bites are obviously the cure for everything……….

IMG_1902 IMG_1912Vanilla Green Tea Energy Bites

INGREDIENTS:

3 cups oats
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp chia
1/2 tsp salt
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
2 to 3 green tea bags, contents only
1 cup kale
4 tbsp honey
3 tbsp coconut oil

METHOD:

1. Mix oats, flour, chia, protein powder, salt, and the contents of your tea bags together in a large bowl.

2. Process your kale in a food processor until smooth. You may need to add water (one teaspoon at a time). Once kale is processed (it is okay if there are still some chunks), add honey and coconut oil and process together until smooth.

3. Pour the liquid mixture into the oat mixture and stir until all oats are incorporated. If the mixture is too dry, add water one tablespoon at a time. If too wet, add flour one tablespoon at a time.

4. Once fully mixed, roll mixture into balls, using about a tablespoon of your dough per ball. These will last up to two weeks in the fridge. Enjoy!

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10 Sad Books That Will Make You Appreciate Your Life More

DSCN7479I like being happy, but let’s face it – as humans, sometimes we enjoy wallowing in other people’s pain. And books are the perfect vehicle for doing this. There are times when all I want to do curl up with a nice, sad book, something that is going to give me a good cry and make me ruminate on life a while. In these times I have a few go-to sad books that I would love to share with you. Each of these books has strong, relatable characters involved in some sort of misfortune. Jumping in to the lives of these tragic characters really does lend some perspective on a hard day – at least my life isn’t as hard some of the lives in these books.

1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Probably the most tragic love story of all time. Cathy Earnshaw and Heathcliff grow up and together and have loved each other their entire lives, but they are both so selfish, conceited, and ego-centered that their love ends up destroying them.

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Wuthering Heights Bookmark // Peels and Posies on Etsy

2. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. The main characters of Gone With the Wind have a similar problem to Cathy and Heathcliff – they are selfish. Rhett and Scarlett are both hard-headed and independent, and they fall in love completely, but in the midst of war and turmoil their love simply cannot endure.

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3. The Lifted Veil by George Eliot. This short novel is a haunting tale of a loveless marriage. The main character, a poetic, dying man, tells the tale of how he blindly fell in love with his wife, despite seeing visions of what their married life would be like. This 90 page book really makes you think about life and how the choices you make affect it.

4. The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy. This is also a short, poignant tale about a man on his deathbed, who, as he dies, realizes that his life has been empty and void of love. A startling look at the inner life of the common man, this novella is sure to bring tears for humanity.

“The very fact of the death of someone close to them aroused in all who heard about it, as always, a feeling of delight that he had died and they hadn’t.”

5. The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald. Everyone knows the story of Gatsby and Daisy (thank you Warner Brothers), but have you read it? This book is one of the strongest works of literary fiction written by an American author. The characters are memorable and colorful, and the twisted plot unforgettable. You don’t get the full effect from the movie – if you haven’t read this one, it’s a must.

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The Great Gatsby Bookmark // Peels and Posies on Etsy

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

6. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. Such a story. Such a saga. Les Mis, also a movie based on a book that demands to be read, is about a righteous man who is served a cruel slice of life. In all of his trials, he remains a good good man, and this is why his tragedy is so heartbreaking. It is a story of the rise and fall of the common man, and anyone who loves literature must read it.

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Victor Hugo Bookmark // Peels and Posies on Etsy

7. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. Another short novel about a bitter marriage, Ethan Frome is a singular story that parallels the harshness of a New England landscape to an adulterous marriage. When Mattie Silver comes to work for the Fromes, to care for the house and Mrs. Frome, who is chronically ill, Ethan falls in love with her. The lengths he goes to escape his embittered wife is audacious but becomes his undoing.

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8. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. This story follows the lives of a missionary family who has gone to Africa. The arid African landscape changes everything they have ever known – including their hearts. This poignant novel is riveting from the first page to the last, and I think I cried throughout the entire last half.

“It’s frightening when things you love appear suddenly changed from what you have always known.”

9. Atonement by Ian McEwen. Perhaps you have seen the movie. Atonement is about how the clouded judgement of a young girl and her quick words of accusation can upheaval an entire life. Set in the English countryside during World War II, this novel is engaging and never short for emotion.

10. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. This lyrical novel is the story of an African American woman’s fight to become her own person during the Depression era. Beautifully written and well worth a few tears or more.

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“Two things everybody’s got tuh do fuh theyselves. They got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin’ fuh theyselves.”

I hope you enjoyed my list! What are your favorite sad books to read? Tell me in the comments!

New Spring Line in the Shop

If you haven’t browsed my Etsy shop in a while, I am pleased to say that you will find a variety of new, springish items available for sale! In particular, a new line of market totes. Reusable grocery bags are all the rage these days, and I am happy to now be offering a handmade option!

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As with all my items, my totes are hand-painted with an original design. These totes are very lightweight and can be easily folded down to fit into your purse before filling them with goodies from the farmers’ market.

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I’ve also made some new banners, perfect for hanging in the gardener’s home.

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If you love spring as much as I do, keep your eye on my shop as I’ll continue adding spring items throughout the season.

When the weather starts getting warm I cannot help but be inspired by hopeful memories of springs’ past, and so a frenzy of creation ensues. I am inspired by vegetable gardens and green everywhere and singing birds and bright sunshine. Right now, I’ve got chia growing in a planter on my kitchen table and brussel sprouts and cabbage patiently waiting until it gets warm enough to be planted outside.

This time of year is possibly my favorite because it carries with it the burgeoning of possibility in new life. What are your favorite things about spring?