November Means the Holidays Are Here! And New Christmassy Things in the Shop.

The beginning of November is always the most exciting time for me because it means pulling out my Christmas decor and spicing things up for the holidays. I LOVE the holiday season, and I love making everything in my house festive and cheerful. This November is even more special for me because in a few short weeks my wee babe should be making his appearance in our lives, and I can’t wait to bring him home to a beautifully decorated house.

IMG_4507

This year I’ve got a whole new collection of Christmassy items in the shop. Christmas decor and ornaments are probably my favorite things ever to make. Christmas is such a happy time of year, and I love the possibility of helping people achieve that with handmade decor!

For this season, I have created a new line of book-inspired Christmas ornaments, because books are ❤ and deserve a special spot on your tree. Right now, I’ve got a number of titles including Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, and Macbeth by William Shakespeare, among many others. I will keep adding more as I make them, and I’m thinking about giving them a permanent, year-round spot in the shop. These ornaments compliment my classic book cover tapestries.

IMG_4043 IMG_4416 IMG_4497

I’m also really excited to be offering fully customizable Christmas stockings, complete with a pocket displaying a hand-painted shelf of your favorite books. Obviously, books are a big part of my life and I love including them in my Christmas festivities. I made a stocking for my husband, one for myself, and one for the baby – who doesn’t have a name yet, so I’ll be adding on his name after he’s born!

IMG_4519 IMG_4201 IMG_4207 IMG_4208

I hope the beginning of your holiday season is amazing, and please consider shopping small this Christmas! Etsy is a great resource for any number of handmade goods, and supporting small businesses is what makes our world go round. Remember to order your handmade decor and gifts far in advanced so they ship to you in time!

Great Gifts for the Grad

Last week, a customer contacted me asking if I could make a graduation gift for her book-loving grad. Being so removed from the world of schooling, I had forgotten about graduation gifts and parties and celebrations (odd, I know, considering my husband is a high school teacher). Nevertheless, it got me thinking about my own graduations and the types of things I would have loved to receive in celebration of my matriculation.

I’ll be focusing on nerdy gifts for the grad as, duh!, I’m a massive nerd. Everything is also from Etsy, of course. Enjoy!

GREAT GIFTS FOR GRADS copy

For the General Studies Major:
1. Pray Continually Embroidery Hoop by Mattson Made Shop on Etsy, $20.
2. Oak Table Light by Solen Studios on Etsy, $120.
3. The World is Your Oyster Hand-Lettered Globe by Wild and Free Designs on Etsy, $230.

For the Science or Math Major:
4. Dinosaur Fossil Necklace by Xuanqi Rabbit on Etsy, $18.
5. Hand-Embroidered Geometry Notebook by Fabulous Cat Papers on Etsy, $26.
6. Science Girl Pillow Cover by Pai and Pear on Etsy, $32.

For the English Major:
7. Gone With the Wind Phone Case by Chick Lit Designs on Etsy, $29.
8. Poe Fo Sho Sweatshirt by Little Literary on Etsy, $34.

For the Creative Writing Major:
9. Recycled Newspaper Pencil Set by Social Goods Co on Etsy, $12.
10. Write Necklace by Laurel and Lime on Etsy, $30.

For the Education Major:
11. Teacher Coffee Mug by The Coffee Corner, $15.
12. Grammar Police T-Shirt by Alphonnsine on Etsy, $26.

Most of these gifts would be great for the high school or the college graduate! Congrats Class of 2015!

The Benefits of Sewing Your Own Purses

Or maybe this post should just be called “The Benefits of Sewing Your Own Stuff”… Seriously, teaching myself how to sew was probably one of the greatest things I’ve ever done. Now, I’m no savant (I can’t make high-fashion clothes or anything like that) but the basics have been pretty easy to master and for that I am eternally grateful.

IMG_1049
Custom Bookshelf Purse, $45

Hand-sewn purses are my topic today.

Let me tell you a story. I used to be a purse addict. Back in middle school and high school, I literally could not get enough of purses. Every time I went to Target I came home with a new one, and eventually I realized I had a problem (this epiphany happened in the form of opening my closet to an avalanche of purses no longer in use). Once I went to college and figured I should be spending my money on more important things, my addiction started to wane.

IMG_0681
Peace Love Books Purse, $35

I still love purses, but largely only the ones I make myself. Here’s why: In making my own purses they can be (1). the exact size that I want, (2). the exact look that I want and (3). cheap. It can be hard to find a purse that fits these three key criteria.

My first foray into purse-making was with this cat purse that I still am very fond of, but it eventually outgrew my needs. Currently, I make and sell (on Etsy) my messenger bags, which are perfect for everything I do in life.

purse
Custom Bookshelf Purse, $45

The reason they’re so handy is that they’re simple, easy to wear, and very spacious. And whenever I get tired of one, I can just whip into my stash and -BAM!- new purse. I love that I have all the creative power.

In my opinion, taking the time to make your own purses (or curtains or tablecloths or whatever else that can be sewn in the home) is much more rewarding than spending money and gas to go to Target. You’ll always better appreciate something you make with your own two hands anyway.

Learning to sew is not difficult. You don’t have to be an artist to do it. All you need is fabric, a sewing machine, and some patience. I never use patterns, but I don’t recommend this if you’ve never sewn before. Go to your fabric store and find a simple pattern of something you’d like to have. Try it out, and eventually you’ll realize how magnificent sewing things for yourself really can be. Don’t say you can’t do it just because you’ve never tried.

IMG_1809
Mountain Purse, $38

Of course, you probably do need to be an artist if you want to paint your purses like I do mine 😉 But I’ll give you a hint: textile medium. Find it at Hobby Lobby.

Have a great Friday and sew something!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

DSCN5711
Nancy Drew Bookshelf Purse, $38

6 Tips for Staying on Task While Working from Home

DSCN6197

People always ask me how I manage to get anything done when they find out I work from home. “I would just sleep in till like noon everyday,” is one I hear all the time. Honestly, working from home can be just as worthwhile as working in a professional setting, you’ve just got to know your boundaries and limits. If you’ve considered working from home but don’t know if you’d be able to manage it, here are six tips from yours truly on how to stay on task and get a ton done while still being your own boss.

DSCN8016
Let’s Stay Home Wall Flag by Peels and Posies on Etsy, $18

1. Set an alarm and wake up when it goes off. You know, so you don’t sleep in till noon? If you want to be productive, you’ve got to think of what you’re doing at home as a real job. Be as hard on yourself as a real boss would be, and I don’t think a real boss would take kindly to coming in to work at 12. For me, my alarm is my husband. When he gets up to go to school (he’s a teacher, so he goes in at 7 am), I get up and start my day. I don’t let myself sleep any later.

2. Make a daily list of to-dos. This is the best way to start your day – think of all the tasks you need/want to accomplish and write them down in a neat list. As you get these tasks done, cross them off and have tangible proof to how much you’ve gotten done! I even put personal things like working out on my to-do list. It helps me organize my day.

3. Take breaks if you need to. Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you have to be working every second. Give yourself half and hour for lunch, fifteen every now and then to enjoy the sunshine. Taking breaks always helps freshen me up, especially in between tasks.

4.  Break up your day into different categories. For instance, in the mornings I tend to work on computer stuff – dictations for my transcription business, blog writing, any Etsy or social media promoting for Peels and Posies. Around ten, I’ll package any outstanding orders and get them ready to take to the post office at lunch time. In the afternoons I work on product development. It’s a basic and flexible arrangement, so if I need to make adjustments I can, but it really helps me make the most of my day.

5. Set a time to “go home.” Obviously, you’re already home. But when working from home it’s important not to let it take over your whole life. You still need family time and though it’s super easy to get sucked in to work when it’s right at your fingertips, it’s simply not conducive to your emotional well-being. Obviously, there will be some days when you may need to work late, and that’s okay – just try not to make it a habit. My work day generally ends when my husband gets home. In the late afternoons I allow myself to cook and bake, read, watch a little tv, and hang out with my husband. It’s great.

6. Enjoy yourself. This is ultimately the most important thing about working from home. If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing at home, you need to find a new job, something that you do enjoy! The main reason people decide to quit their “day jobs” is to do something more exciting and personally rewarding – so hopefully that’s how you feel too. I wake every day and feel blessed that I get to stay home and do what I love – not many people are able to do this.

IMG_0680
Live Happy Wall Flag by Peels and Posies on Etsy, $18

Do you have any more tips on how to stay on task while working from home? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

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!

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!

IMG_1739

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.

IMG_1966IMG_1960

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

IMG_1880IMG_1885

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?

10 Ways to Get Out of a Creative Funk

I think March is probably the worst month of winter for me. Growing up in the south, March generally meant Spring – here, March means the month with more snowfall than any other month. Deep in my bones, I know it is supposed to be warm, and even the birds think so too, because they’ve come back and I hear them singing; but when I look out the window and expect to see blue skies and horizons lined with wildflowers, all I see is an endless expanse of white.

My inspiration is waning.

This winter is bad for my health and my craft, and lately I’ve been experiencing a lack of motivation. However, I have a few methods for getting out of a creative funk when I’m stuck in the house, and I would like to share them with you.

It is my opinion that the most important thing to do if you are in a creative funk is to put down whatever you’re working on. Just walk away, forget about it for a little while. I don’t care about your deadlines or personal goals – in the end, taking a break will be worth it. So with that in mind, here are some techniques I use for getting out of a funk.

fabric

1. Do some spring cleaning. This is my favorite thing to do when I’ve lost my verve; I’ll put on some loud music, grab a sponge, and let my mind wander as I scrub the stains out of our stupid porcelain sink. I went through the whole house earlier this week and cleaned cleaned cleaned. Winter lets the dust settle over a sleeping house, and it seems like cleaning it away banishes the dust of my mind as well.

2. Organize your craft room/work space. If you don’t feel like tackling the whole house, aim for just the area where you spend most of your time. When I reorganize/clean my craft room, I notice the difference immediately. It can be as simple as vacuuming up all the flyaway thread pieces and a huge weight is lifted off my shoulders.

3. Revisit a favorite book. I do this often. If I’m feeling uninspired, it really helps to thumb through some of my most-loved novels, trying to find favorite passages. Sometimes I will stumble across a quote I’d forgotten about that inspires to me make something new.

4. Organize a bookshelf. Sometimes thumbing through my favorite books leads to me taking all of them off their shelves and completely reorganizing them. I LOVE organizing books, and it really knocks stuff loose in my creative attic.

bookshelf

5. Bake something. Baking is a huge stress reliever for me, and we all know the aroma of fresh baked bread wafting through the house is intoxicating. The smell alone is enough to inspire.

6. Plant something and watch it grow. There’s nothing quite like watching the progression from a seed to a tiny sprout to a full grown plant. Obviously, this takes a little bit longer than baking a loaf of bread or doing a DIY, but it is still a fun activity for when you’re feeling unmotivated. If you don’t want to mess with soil and pots, try sprouting lentils.

IMG_1475

7. Redecorate a wall in your house. Sometimes you just need to change things up a bit. Rearrange your gallery wall or move the wall hangings in the bedroom to the living room. Simple changes like this can help freshen up your house and your attitude.

8. Make something you don’t normally make. Get on Pinterest and find a fun, springish DIY – maybe something to decorate your walls with – and try it out. Even if the funk you are in is a creative one, sometimes doing a project in a different line of creativity will help you get out of it.

9. Go to your local Goodwill or thrift store and find something unique. Old stuff always seems to inspire me, so if I’m deep in the mires of creative paralysis, I love to go thrifting. Last weekend my husband and I went to a huge antique mall where I found some truly beautiful old books and a plethora of other awesome goods.

old book

10. Exercise. If all else fails, go to the gym. Physical activity is known to promote improved brain function, and for me burning calories and sweating a little bit really helps me get motivated in other areas of my life.

DSCN7678Creative funks are stupid, I know, but don’t let yourself be discouraged! Just keep moving, creating, and seeking inspiration. If you have any methods for shaking a creative funk, share them in the comments!

DIY Notebook Paper Gift Pouches For Small Gifts

IMG_1652

Cute packaging for small gifts is really easy to come by, and doesn’t require the purchase of special materials. In fact, it’s as easy as a piece of notebook paper, a sewing machine, and some string.

IMG_1655_02IMG_1613

I don’t know about you, but Grant and I have a ton of notebook paper left over from our college days. We don’t really have much of a use for it anymore, so it’s just been taking up space in our already over-crowded desk. You can make gift packages using this same method with any type of paper, really – scrapbook paper, craft paper, newspaper, etc. But I like the idea of using notebook paper for a couple of reasons: 1). It saves space in my desk. 2). There’s something whimsical and nostalgic about a wrapping a gift in notebook paper. It makes me think of my school days, and I kinda like that.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • notebook paper (one sheet per small gift)
  • scissors
  • washi tape or small brads
  • string
  • sewing machine

IMG_1625

First, fold the paper in half, and make a mark for where you want to trim it down. You’ll want a little bit of seam allowance for sewing, and also a little bit of space once your gift is in the package. If it is too tight, you’ll risk tearing your paper. For a guide, mark where you plan on sewing. (I normally just eyeball it, but do whatever feels most comfortable to you.)

IMG_1629IMG_1634 IMG_1635IMG_1642

Now it’s time for the sewing. Sew along the lines you marked. After you are finished with this, trim the extra thread and edges.

IMG_1643 IMG_1645IMG_1646

There are many different ways of dealing with the flap of your pouch to make it unique. One way is cutting a pattern on the top of the paper and folding it down once, securing the sides of the pouch with washi tap so the pattern is visible.

IMG_1647IMG_1672

Another way is folding the flap over and over and pinning it down with two brads on the edges of the pouch. This is my favorite way of securing the pouch closed.

IMG_1653IMG_1673

Yet another way is folding the flap down once, and then simply placing washi tape down to secure it.

IMG_1654

And I of course always like to adorn my pouches with ribbon or string and a homemade tag (using one of these awesome Uchida paper punches). It’s fun to get creative with gift packaging! There are a plethora of customizations you could do to make your gift really stand out in its packaging. If you try your hand at this packaging DIY, don’t forget to instagram it and tag @peelsandposies!

IMG_1683

Click here for the Gone with the Wind bookmark pictured above, available in my Etsy shop. And my marvelous Peels and Posies stamp is from Paper Sushi on Etsy.

Happy Valentine’s Day and 14 Things I Appreciate About My Husband

DSCN1195

Well, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. In high school I proclaimed animosity toward this holiday. Everything was so pink and red and lovey-dovey, and of course I had no one to direct this sort of mushiness at, so I hated everything instead. I was a bit of an antagonist.

At Grace High School, every Valentine’s Day we could sign up to send our friends/crushes/people-we-were-trying-to-impress either candy or carnations, a dollar a pop, and then at the beginning of every class period little cupids of love (student council members) would deliver said candy or carnations to the people who received them, with a little note from the giver. I used to fume in my seat as the “popular” kids got like a hundred per class; I would get maybe three or four the entire day. It just seemed so stupid, and that combined with the rest of it just put me in a bad mood.

I’ll admit that the candy/carnation thing still seems rather questionable to me, but now that I have love in my life, I no longer hate Valentine’s Day. I try to show love for my husband every day of the year, but Valentine’s Day just gives me an extra excuse to buy him a new shirt or make him a really elaborate chocolate cake. I love him SO much, and I love that there is a holiday devoted to celebrating this!

0314-G&H_W-1616

I know Valentine’s Day can be hard if you are single, but honestly, it doesn’t have to be a useless holiday if you are “alone” – because, well, you are not alone. There are tons of people in your life who love you – your family, your friends. Do something special for them on Valentine’s Day to show them how much you appreciate that they are in your life; doing things for others will ALWAYS lift your spirits.

So in honor of February 14th, I have decided to make a list of 14 things I appreciate about my husband. I could say 14 things I love about him, but let’s be honest – love is a rather vague, abstract word in our culture. I love my husband, but I also love bananas. So….Appreciation is defined as “the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something.” Ready go:

  1. I appreciate that he will eat anything I make, even if it is a weird, experimental vegetarian dish.
  2. I appreciate that he works out with me whenever I suggest it.
  3. I appreciate that he give me back rubs without me even asking.
  4. I appreciate that he makes the bed every morning, even though before we got married he didn’t know what making a bed was (slight exaggeration).
  5. I appreciate that he smells every candle I shove in his face when we are in the candle section of Wal-Mart or Bath and Body Works (and that could be, like, a hundred candles).
  6. I appreciate that he listens when I go into long (probably boring) monologues about books I’m reading or Etsy stuff.
  7. I appreciate that he has never doubted my decision to work from home and pursue my dreams.
  8. I appreciate that he has never said a bad thing about my book obsession, even when we had to pack them all up and move them across the country.
  9. I appreciate that he supports me when I want to get MORE books (even though you’d probably think we’re both crazy if you saw how many books we have).
  10. I appreciate that he knows me well enough to show me videos of cute animals when I’m down in the dumps.
  11. I appreciate that he works incredibly hard to support us.
  12. I appreciate that he does things with me that he wouldn’t have done before we were together, like play tennis and rollerblade and rummage around antique shops.
  13. I appreciate that he takes care of the mice we’ve caught in mouse traps so I don’t have to look at their sad little limp feet.
  14. I appreciate that he chose to love me and marry me, and that he is a man of God so I never have to worry about him not loving me.

That was surprisingly easy – let your loved ones know how much you appreciate them tomorrow. Happy Valentine’s Day!

DSCN6304