Saturday, August 23, 2008

Pumpkins are doing Great

We don't know what 'went wrong' but it's only August and our pumpkins are bright orange already. We had planned on selling pumpkins in the fall but are really wondering what they will look like by then.

Ok, pumpkins were a battle this year - for some reason our darling chickens kept pulling up the plants when they were a couple inches tall. I really didn't think we were going to have any pumpkins.

Well, we finally got the chickens under control and the pumpkins took off like crazy - they started taking over everything and still it's a daily chore directing the vines (some as much as 50 feet long) back into their area.

So what do you think, will we have pumpkins to sell in the fall or will they all be rotten by then? Needless to say I'm going to be busy trying to figure out how to save 30 some pumpkins for 2 more months.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Newest Additions to the Family

- to the left you can see the baby chicken just hatched in the last 24 hours. No, that is not 'Mom & Dad' in the nest. Actually both are hens, the white one has sat on the eggs for weeks while the brown and black one spent most of her time in the nest next door copping an attitude everytime someone came near the nests. We do however know that the white hen has been setting on more than just her own eggs so it is very possibly the brown chicken is the mother in reality.

The two hens pictured here are 2 of the 10 Ameraucanas that survived of several raccoon and possum attachs we had this year. The Ameraucanas are the chickens that provide us with the beautiful pastel colored eggs so we hope to build the flock up again.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Our house smells soooo Good

I had a 'bright idea' this spring and planted several herbs I'd never grown before. It's been, still is, a great experience but am today reaping the benifits of my hard labor.

You see, one of the things I use a ton of is 'Italian Seasoning' - you know the dried combination of herbs that you can pay a fortune for.

I planted (among some herbs for other things):

This morning I harvested some of each herb and filled my food dehydrator. I'm not sure how long it will take to dry them but if it comes out right I will have enough Italian Seasoning to last several months and still have more growing in the garden.

When you plant your garden do you plant a lot of things for one end product such as I did for the Italian seasoning? (I did the same thing for Salsa)

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Problem with Online Store

I honestly have no idea when or how this happened but it's been brought to my attention that there is a problem with our e-commerce online store. This is heart breaking as I spent hours and hours setting up the store and checked everything several times.

The problem is when someone orders via PayPal the payment goes into our account but we have no idea on earth what the 'customer' has paid for. I've tried as best I can to take the store down but if anyone has ordered anything from us over the last 2 months would you please contact me by e-mailing
or leave a comment here.

I'm afraid for the time being all orders are going to have to be by direct contact either e-mail or telephone. This will be until we can hire someone to set the store up to run the way it was ment to run. But then that's ok by me because I love that one-to-one contact. I've done business selling the baby afghans for almost 2 years this way, via e-mail contact, and have never had a problem.

Nature Inspired Handcrafts
Nature Inspired Handcrafts - Arts & Crafts Blog
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Faith's Life & Business Blog

Monday, October 29, 2007

Are You Prepared to Run a Home Business?

Today was not a day directly related to business. Ok, Mel and I both worked all day but he was working mainly on getting the siding up around the rabbits and the fireplace wood. I on the other hand spent most of the day taping and mudding drywall in the basement of Mel's house - the laundry room to be exact.

Thinking about it now neither jobs were for Nature Inspired Handcrafts but at the same time both were connected to business. Getting the wood out of the weather will make the rapidly approaching Michigan winter a bit better to bare as there is nothing like a nice fire to warm the old bones. The laundry room will not only be nicer to do laundry in but will also have a work table for 'crafts' when we don't feel like going out to the studio.

One of the great things about running a business from home is being able to multi-task such as today - both Mel and I's work for today will benifit both business and personal lives and at the same time our 2 grandchildren were here most of the day.

A draw-back to a home business is you don't get away from work as easily as the buzzer going off at 5. Often work goes late into the night and 7 days a week. It's important even in a home business to set aside time to relax, have fun, and not work 24/7 - burn out can happen if you don't.

Another draw-back is it's easy to put things off and you need to be very very dedicated to what you are doing. For a home business to be successful you have to be self-motivated, able to work alone, and be prepared to put in some extra time when needed.

Many home businesses fail the first year or even before they get started because people think that because they are 'the boss' they can do what they want when they want. This is far from the truth - you may be the boss but if you don't have a plan and stick to that plan your doors may be closing before you know it.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Juried Arts and Crafts Show

This will be yet another first for me - a juried arts & crafts show. Mel has experience with these from years back when he was showing his handmade unique jewelry but I'm new to this.

If your not familure with this term, which I wasn't until a few months ago, a juried show means that a selected 'jury' will be judging the arts and crafts. Some of these shows offer very high priced awards for the winners while others merely do this to keep out the flee market junk and can monitor the quality of the arts and crafts shown.

I have no great expectations of taking first place but it will be a great experience for future shows and hey, who knows, we just may be more original and creative than I think we are at this point.

So, if your looking for something to do On November 10th, 2007 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. why not pop into Marshall High School in Marshall, Michigan and pay us a visit at our Nature Inspired Handcrafts booth. You just may find some great gifts for friends and family while at the same time you can help support the Santa's Bag Arts and Crafts Show which is a fund raiser for the Fountain Clinic.

You can learn more about the Brooks Memorial Fountain in Marshall Michigan at the Marshall Chamber of Commerce web site but I can tell you this much - it's beautiful. I remember as a young girl visiting Marshall with my Grandparents and the thrill of driving around the beautiful fountain. I'm happy to know that the chamber of commerce is working at keeping this a terrific Michigan landmark.

If you need directions to the arts and crafts show in Marshall, Michigan feel free to leave a comment on this discussion and we'll do our best to help you out.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Latest Addition to Our Arts & Crafts - Dream Catchers

Neither Mel nor I had ever made a dream catcher until this last month or so but he's had an interest and I have some Native American blood in me so dreamcatchers were a natural fit into our line of crafts at Nature Inspired Handcrafts.

Thanks to the internet and all the free information available we've now added 12 unique dream catchers although oh gee - one has sold already. That tells me right off that they are going to be profitable. Also our Grandson, Andrew, received one for his 5th birthday earlier this month after he mentioned to Grandma and Papa several times that he 'really needs a dreamcatcher' because he has bad dreams.

We've added some dream catcher history on our web site but today I'd like to talk a bit about the dreamcatcher 'construction'. How to make a dream catcher turned out to be much easier than I thought and really lets the creative nature come out.
  • The dream catchers we have in stock right now started with metal rings purchased at the local crafts store. We then wrapped each ring with leather (we have 3 sizes in 2 different shades of leather).
  • After the rings were wrapped it was then forming the 'web' of the catcher. Afraid we didn't use natural here - the original dream catchers were made with sinew which is tendons (the Indians saved this from the deer they killed for food and clothing).
  • The web is woven to simulate a spider web where the 'bad dreams' are caught and not allowed to ender the sleeper below it's rest.
  • We've added to each dreamcatcher a small glass bead which are made by us also by using the lampworking process.
  • Lastly the dream catchers are decorated with more glass beads and feathers (we collect those mainly from the chickens out behind the studio).

This picture is a sample of one of the dream catchers we have available for sale right now and one of my favorites as I love lavendar which is the color of the beads.

This coming week we plan on added even more unique dream catchers to the line making these even closer to the original by using grapevines rather than the metal and leather. Mel has already cut the vines, I have a great collection of beads finished and feathers waiting.

Feel free to visit our online store Nature Inspired Handcrafts Store to see more pictures of our dream catchers and other handcrafted items.