Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Cute and Crocheted

I have been working on the cute and crocheted aspect of the biz lately.  There are oh so many things that fit this category...way too many.  Actually, I just asked my mom if this weekend we can look through some ideas and get her help on where I should focus my time.  I want to make them all!!

For example, I love bunting.  So one of my very first projects was crocheted bunting.  I think they would make the cutest decorations for an outdoor wedding or kids room or a boho/colorful room!

In the works...

So cute!  And they can be made in any color!

I also think part of what our business is about is a sense of nostalgia and a need to bring back well constructed hand made goods that are nice to look at.  I love the freedom I have with our hand sewn pillowcases and that we can add that touch of fun and elegance with the crocheted lace trim.  It has been so much fun to hear people at the shows I have been at tell me that their grandmother had pillowcases with the crocheted trim.  You see this flash in their eyes of a happy memory.  Nothing is better than that.

Working with a bigger hook here...but also do a lot with a tiny hook.
I also love the search for fun and funky fabrics.  I either use organic fabrics (usually from or or we have fun with the hunt for fabric that needs a new home from thrift stores or antique stores.  

Even goats love them!

This is one of my favs...

While our little crocheted pillows are not our biggest seller (yet...hehe), I am in love with them.  The granny squares and crocheted roses are all about nostalgia for me.  They are the perfect shabby chic addition and so much fun to make!  What do you think?

I think they would be even cuter on a pretty cream comforter or couch....

I have many other things in the works....and of course you can find many of these things over at our etsy shop here.  I plan on sharing some tutorials on a few of the things in the works soon, too!  Let us know if there is something you are chomping at the bit to learn!


Friday, August 21, 2015

The hubby's new job with Wine Country Craftsman!

First, I like wine. I am no sommelier, but I know I love reds in particular and have a lot of fun living in an area with tons to try.  I try and patronize the ones with little or no irrigation (also known as dry farming) and are trying to be either organic or at least sustainable, since we are in one of the worst droughts we have seen in this area.

ANYWAY... how does this relate to the hubby's new job?  Well, his new job just so happens to be right in line with upcycling, sustainability and the wine industry...but instead of making wine, they make wonderful high end art, furniture and home goods from the old wine barrels and torn out old growth vines.  I mean, how do you not covet these?

I think these would be so perfect in the hubby's office...

Pretty sure the cats would fight over this...

Yes, please...
The hubby has just set up their new blog and is helping maintain their website, so you should stop on over and say hello!  I love their intro on the blog....

"This shop is full of stories. That's what happens when you take a bunch of mad geniuses and give them tools, toys, materials, and booze: great things, each of which has a great story. We're usually too busy kicking out the things to stop and tell their stories.  
So here's where we'll let the stories out. Watch this space for behind-the-scenes photos, mini-profiles of our awesome artists, DIY tips, and drunken ramblings about the joy of creating art."

How fun does that sound?  So happy he has found such a great place with creative artists who work so hard to reuse discarded items to make such neat new art.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Give a big welcome to Mountain Rose Herbs!

We are super excited to announce that Mountain Rose Herbs as our new affiliate!  When the hubby and I talked about whether or not we would have advertising on our blog, we realized that the only way we'd do it is if was with a company we really believed in and trusted.  And that, of course, matched our values.  I immediately thought of Mountain Rose Herbs.

Mountain Rose Herbs is back in good the ol' Eugene, OR area, where we moved from.  (And I am sure all of you from back home know a bit about them. But I am super stoked to introduce them to all those who have not checked them out yet!) I have had the pleasure of meeting some of the folks that work with them, and they are great.  I know they give to good causes, as well as do the right things for people and the environment in their sustainable business practices.  For example, I love this quote from their site:

"“The frog does not drink up the pond in which it lives.” From our commitment to Zero Waste, carpool program, eco-friendly packaging, and dedication to protecting wild plants, defending the Earth is paramount to who we are."

So what do they do? They make pretty much any herb or spice you can think of, essential oils and other aromatherapy goods, really cool health products (including bitters...mmm....) and much more.  Oh, and all you DIY'ers out there...check out their selection of ingredients like butters, carrier oils and beeswax and their neat containers to put it all in.  Oh, did I forget to say they have a crazy selection of teas, too?

So I bet you can guess how very excited I was to get the email back from them that we could join their affiliate program!  Here was the very company that I thought of when we talked about advertising....and we got them!

I hope you will click on any of our links and check them out.  If you are planning on making a purchase and you got to their website via one of our links, both Fiberton and Mtn Rose Herbs benefits.  Oh, and of course you do, too, by getting really quality products that are good for the earth and for you and your family.

Thanks so much!


Mountain Rose Herbs. A Herbs, Health & Harmony Com

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Rolling with the punches and supporting local farms = really good food!

This year has been a year for learning about gardening in our new climate and how to work with all the little critters of the area.  My big hopes for a large, prosperous garden faded fairly quickly when plants that I was told were not on the list of things wild critters would eat were killed off.  Marigolds to keep pests away were 'snipped' off to die, the little boogers didn't even eat them.  Just wanted them gone.  And the 8 tomato plants planted in the spring are now down to 2.  I hope to finally get some fruit off of them now that I have built a large wire cage to try and keep these two alive.  Nothing like watching a squirrel take off with tomatoes in its little hands or mouth to make you realize you need to batten down the hatches.
Almost done with this cage to keep the wild animals out.
A few more tweaks and my last 2 plants might just make it.

My green beans are trying hard to stay alive!
Anything poking out of the cage get eaten, so a new cage will be coming asap.

And that chicken coop that we built has yet to be filled with chickens.  I am pretty picky about my eggs, and would prefer fresh over store bought any day.

Luckily, our friend-lords came to the rescue and asked us to join them in sharing a CSA box from Talley Farms in San Luis Obispo.  They deliver the boxes to handy pick-up points throughout the county, and work with other local farms to fill the wonderful boxes with lots off goodies.  For cheap.  Seriously, so much fresh food for way less than you'd spend at the store.

This big box filled to the brim with vegis and fruits each week? Yes, please!
As for eggs, between the friend-lords' lovely little chickens and our friends out at Vicarious Ranch (check out their fun and adorable Facebook here), I basically never have to get store bought eggs (at least during the laying season here.)   So I can support local farms and ranches and my friends, while getting all the goodies I could not produce myself.
Color coded eggs from the friend-lords!

Baking bread and admiring the lovely colors of my delivery of eggs from Vicarious Ranch!

Last night was such a great and delicious example of how well we eat because of the good food we get.  We used the spinach and heirloom tomatoes we got in our CSA box, baked some french bread (seen rising in the photo above) and some of those eggs to make our own take on this delicious open face egg sandwich over at My Fitness Pal's blog.  Man...this one is definitely staying in the rotation.

We tweaked the above recipe with our homemade french bread and larger portions...cuz we can.
So, even though my efforts this year to build our own garden thus far have not quite worked as planned, our 'failures' have taught us a TON and during which we have found these wonderful farms and friends to support in the process.  It's a win-win for sure.

Life is all about learning, eating real food, and supporting our local farms.  At least it is in my book.  (Well, I'd probably expand upon that a little more, like making goods yourself and supporting local artisans off all kinds, but hey, I am biased.)


PS - I will be letting you know more about local farms like Vicarious Ranch soon!  We will soon be featuring a local farm, artisan or handicrafter each month.  Stay tuned!) 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

My new letter mailed off a day!

Sometimes it is important to think about the small things that make us as people feel good.  Like taking a morning walk with your dog down the long dirt driveway to drop something in the mailbox while sipping on your coffee.  This morning I did just that, which got me to thinking how nice that would be to have such a good excuse to go out and do this every morning with our wonderful, but aging dog.  I want to spend as much time as I can with this silly guy.  

JB the Wonderdog.  Slowing down a bit
but still doing his darndest to keep up!
And as I thought about how I only have so many Netflix's that I can walk to the mail, I also thought about how much fun it would be to send off a letter to someone every day (well, except Sunday's).  I know how excited I get when something comes in the mail that is personal and not a bill. 

I also have to confess something.  I am addicted to stationary and office products.  I LOVE pens and paper.  I am pretty sure if I had all the money in the world, I would have one of those color coordinated offices with all the fun and colorful folders and organizing bins and file collectors and pretty pens and matching stationary and....well, something like you'd see in the ads of a magazine.  But with a vintage phone in teal.  And my typewriter. Now I want to go redo my entire office/craft room....  Maybe something like this as some inspiration...

Image Source - Google Images

Or this....

Image source - Google Images

That actually doesn't seem too hard to do...I also love the suitcases...

ANYWAY....I digress.  I love stationary, I love the idea of a walk down to the mailbox with my doggie and I love the idea of putting a little smile on someone else's face when they receive a letter.  So, why not put all of that together?  My new goal is to write a letter or postcard or something each day to mail off the next morning.  

Here is where you come in, my lovely and awesome readers.  Shoot me a line here if you would like to join in the fun.  Include these 3 things: 1) Your mailing address, 2) Your name of course, or you know, whatever you want me to call you and 3) Any interests you might want to let me know about.  And/or if you have Facebook, head over and like our page and shoot us a PM there!  And no expectations to send mail back.  You are making my day just by joining in!

Image Source - Google Images
I can't wait to get started!  Hope this gets a few of you excited, too!


Sunday, August 9, 2015

Adventures in Raising Angora Rabbits Part 3 - Breeding

What is cuter than a baby bunny?  Not much is the answer.  When we got our breeding pair, we knew we would be breeding them later in the year.  But as I mentioned in the first post, they sped that timeline up quite a bit (or we did with having a not-so-secure barrier between the two rabbits.)  We were thrown into getting ready for babies, and let's just say, both Penny and I were not ready.  We didn't know our stuff.

I hadn't been sure that she was pregnant until I was doing our 3 month full trim.  She did seem a bit heavier, but not that much.  But there were the nipples, quite prominent and it seemed that there were small lumps in the belly.  "Oh, crap."  I said to Ric.  I ran to the calendar and checked dates of when they first escaped to be together.  "Oh, crap...." I said again.  I hurriedly read up more on what to do when you are expecting, and threw together a nesting box.  The resources I found said that the mom would likely start pulling out her hair for the nesting box to help keep the babies warm, since they are born with no fur.  I thought, "Ok, maybe I have a bit more time..."

Penny just after being trimmed and moving out from the babies.

That night I could not sleep.  At about 4am I went out to check on her and she had pulled out a bunch of hair.  Another "oh, crap" left my lips, and I tried to calm myself back to bed.  In the morning I ran out, and lo and behold, there were 8 babies.  But none of which were in the nesting box.  They all looked cold and dead.  I rushed them inside with mom, placing them all in the bathtub with a hot water bottle and heating pad.  Two started breathing. But what now?  I watched and tried to be calm, but a few hours later they were all gone.  It was a rough morning. 

I read a lot more, and found that the first litter can often be still born and/or the mother, also being inexperienced, may leave them to die. While it made me feel a little better, it made me realize that this was not nearly as easy as everyone makes breeding rabbits sound.

We let Penny recoup for a couple months, all the while I did more research.  In the meantime, Rory seemed to be such a sad guy.  I felt like he really missed Penny.  They were finally reunited and we were so much more prepared for this go round.  We had a special hutch for Penny to have the babies in, and she started nesting much earlier.  Gestation for a larger rabbit is anywhere from 28-32 days, and right at 30 days she gave birth to 10 babies.

The 10 little pinkies.
I also learned in the meantime that because of how rich rabbits' milk is, they will only feed the babies once or maybe twice a day, usually at night, and that their instincts are to leave the babies alone most of the time so as not to draw attention to them from predators.  Because of this, it is hard to know if they are taking care of the babies.  Everyday I would go out and give them a quick and gentle inspection, to make sure they seems like they were gaining weight and to remove any dead.  Unfortunately, we slowly lost babies until we ended up with 4.  It is hard to know for sure why we lost so many, other than the fact that Penny was still a new mom and 10 babies does seem like an awful lot to feed.

Look at all that fluff at just 6 weeks!

Getting so big!  About 8 weeks here...

Bunny pile! we might want a bigger home soon...
At about 5 weeks it was time to ween them already.  They had started eating hay at about 3 weeks and then started nibbling at the pellets at 4.  But 5 they were eating no problem and Penny with the babies were certainly outgrowing their space.  Penny seemed quite ready to take a break.  

Penny and Rory often lay 'together' in their cages.
As I mentioned in our first post on the rabbits, it was during this time that we had set up the new lodging for the rabbits.  We gave Penny and Rory their own spaces, but adjoining cages so they could see each other and hang out.  They both seem much happier now.

The male babies we plan on getting neutered, as we will not be planning on breeding them.  We will keep the females in tact, though.  We are working this week on the new living quarters for the babies, now a little over 2 months old, where they can have more space to move around.  As you can see, these are larger rabbits, in the 8-10 pound range, so they need more space than most other domestics.

Whew!  That was a long post, and I feel like I could say even more, but it is the general gist of the fun of breeding.  Hope our little mini series on raising Angoras has been helpful or interesting!  We would love to hear your thoughts!  Leave us a comment!


Sunday, August 2, 2015

Adventures in raising Angora rabbits Part 2 - Grooming

As I mentioned in my last post, we have been learning by doing with our Angora rabbits.  We have had them now for just about 7 months.  You can ask my hubby, the first couple months I was convinced they were dying any time one of them did anything abnormal in my eyes.  "Is Penny breathing too fast?" I'd ask.  "I think something is wrong with Rory, he seems funny." I'd state to Ric, who would assure me that he was just fine.  

Penny showing off her moves...

So needless to say, this has ALL been a learning experience for me.  Thankfully, I have been able to go online and find resources (however, this can also be bad, as many resources provide scarier answers than needed...) and ask questions of the folks we got the rabbits from.  But there are very differing views on grooming.  For Angora rabbits, this is a very important part of keeping the rabbits.  They are more work than other domestic rabbits.  This is something I let folks know of every time I am asked if I will breed to sell.  The only way I will sell is if the person fully understands that these rabbits will be much more work to care for than they think.

 For us, we have fallen into a grooming schedule that consists of a once weekly full body brushing, trimming the underside of the rabbit, around it's face, the bottoms of the paws, and nail trimming. 

Penny a week or so after her first trimming with us.
And Rory needing a trim.
This is where getting them used to being belly up is pretty important.  They need to be inspected...down there....fairly frequently to make sure all seems to be ok and keep fur trimmed to keep clean.  Penny was well trained on her back when we got her, so she is my piece of cake.  Rory however...well, let's just say he is always a handful, and a handful of scratches seems to just be par for the course.

Thanks a lot Rory.  You little booger.

I am working with the babies often to be held and turned on their backs.  They are still squirmy about it, but getting better.  

D'aaawwww!  So cuuuttee!

I have my set of clothes that I wear on the big grooming day of the week....and this is usually the aftermath...

Then throughout the week I try to make sure I check them for any other grooming issues.  Rabbits are pretty clean animals, and will clean themselves often, kind of like cats.  But that comes with another set of issues for Angoras.  They can't just work up a hairball like a cat does, so it gets caught in their intestinal system.  It is fairly easy to spot with them in the cage...let's just say that the bottom of the cage has 'ornaments' dangling down (aka poos connected by hairs.)  I have learned that if it is serious, you can use cat hairball goo you would buy at the pet store to help work stuff out.  But I prefer to keep a good stock of timothy hay (fiber!) for them, and every couple weeks or so supplement their water with 100% pineapple juice.  Apparently it has enzymes that help breakdown the hair in their system.

"Feed me more grass!"
In addition to the once weekly grooming, every 3 months (and more frequently in the summer) we give them a full trim.  After just 3 months their hair is to about 3 or more inches long, which is what we need to spin it.  We just use sharp scissors to trim them, which works well but gives them a funny hairdo for a couple weeks.  They don't seem to mind, since they are nice and cool without all that hair.
3 inches long already Rory?

Kinda hard to see, but the right side is trimmed and the left is next!

Next time I will share with you the ups and downs we have learned so far about breeding....and it is a lot of both for sure!