A Nest for All Seasons A Nest for All Seasons: October 2015

All content on this site is my sole creative property and may not be reproduced. If you would like to feature, pin or otherwise refer to content of mine, thank you! Please clearly link back to 'A Nest for All Seasons' and only use up to two photographs. To purchase content, please e-mail me for rates and restrictions. Posts may contain affiliate links for trusted products. I receive a small percentage of sales when you purchase from these sites. Buttons courtesy of SOURCE

29 October 2015

Why you might want a mentor blog...

Pin It

Can you guess what the topic is this time around in the Seven Deadly Sins of Blogging? We already hit greed and lust (twice). This time we are going after jealousy.  It is fitting considering lust is a step away from jealously and greed, but jealousy is driven by something a little closer to our hearts.  Greed and lust strike hard and fast.  They are the sins that are easy to identify and clearly wrong.  Jealousy though?  It grows.  It starts small.  It starts in the small things.  It starts off with good things and then before you know it, you have full blown jealousy gnawing away at you.  While I don't have many solutions to these "sins of bloggings", I do have one for jealousy and it is the mentor blog.  Keep reading and I will explain.

Let's start at the beginning where all bloggers begin.  Perhaps I should say most bloggers.  I cannot speak for everyone, but most bloggers will start a blog because they have seen another blog and they want to do the same thing -- be like that person or have the same kind of platform to speak from.

That is all fine and good.  To be inspired by someone to do something good IS GOOD.  In fact, that first blog usually sticks with you throughout your blogging career.  You never seem to lose love for your "first", so to speak.  It is the blogs that come after though.  They are the ones that begin to build jealous blocks against anything good you are trying to achieve.   You were inspired to start blogging because you read one or more fantastic blogs and loved them.  The logic would proceed then that you can read blog after blog after blog after blog and be inspired, right?  More in not more in this case.  More makes you jealous.  More makes you realize that THAT girl is fabulous at art and THAT girl has a KILLER blog design and THAT girl speaks RIGHT from the heart and I WANNA DO THAT!  ...and the list goes on and on and on.  (PS Those of you that have previously read about greed and lust...see any similarities here?  The snowball effect?  The LUST CAPS in your brain???)

The Solution

So is the solution to stop following blogs?  Get your inspiration from the "streets" so to speak? 
(If the "streets" mean the kitchen table, back porch and sidewalk with children pulling on your skirts...) 
Perhaps the solution is to just abstain from it all.  Remove yourself from the facebook groups.  
Stop going through your blog reader.  Put the instagram stream DOWN and just let it all go. 

 Perhaps that IS the answer for you.  That has been the answer for me sometimes.


...but I always come back.

I always come back because I LOVE blogs.  
I love reading and seeing and peeking and peering into the lives of other girls like me.

girls like me.

That is when it hit me that my problem was not a problem simply of whether or not to read blogs.  Rather, my solution hinged firmly upon reading blogs that inspired me because they were girls like me.  The girl like me doesn't make me jealous because we are at the same stage of life.  The girl like me inspires me without jealousy because she knows what I am going through and her words seem like they are written just for me.  The girl like me isn't trying to prove anything.  She is just living her life, sharing her take on it and her life?  It is very much like mine.  She is just doing it a smidgen better.  THAT is inspiring.  It is the smidgen that matters.  A smidgen ahead or a smidgen behind in life.  THOSE are the blogs I devour and gain from instead of feeling defeated and left with a belly full of jealous when I am finished reading.  I don't need to be reading blogs from barely 20 year-olds that have loads of time, fresh minds full of wonderful ideas and gorgeous bodies that have not birthed babies yet.  I also don't need to be reading the blog of the mom who has done it all, her kids are grown and perfect and she is enjoying a job well done.  I am not there yet.  To read those blogs is just frustrating for me at this point.  For every person it is different.  My mentor blog will not be your mentor blog.  Your station in life is not the same as mine.

What is a mentor blog?


This is how I decided on a mentor blog.  OK, that is not true.  This is how I finally figured out who my mentor was and why it worked for me.  If you have read this blog for ANY amount of time, you know I love Ashley Ann of Under the Sycamore.  It took me a long time to figure out exactly why she has always been my absolute favorite.  First of all, Under the Sycamore was one of the first blogs I ever read.  More importantly, Ashley is about 4-5 years "ahead" of me in the progression of her life.  It doesn't hurt that she has incredible insight into her children's personalities and has killer crafting ideas.  Lots of people have those though.  Why is Ashley Ann so special to me?  Let me spell it out for you.

Ashley has three boys (This is when I started following her blog...I had 1 or maybe 2 boys at the time)
I had my third boy.  Ashley had a girl (after that steady stream of boys...)
Ashley did guest posting for large blogs like Design*Sponge.
I started writing for Houzz.
I got chickens.
Ashley bought chickens.
I had a girl (after a long LONG pattern of boys...)
Ashley began her adoption journey...
(We aren't there yet :)

Do you see what I mean?  It isn't necessarily that I follow directly in Ashley's footsteps, but that our lives are mirroring each other's somewhat.  I can learn from Ashley because many times she has been where I am going.   It is like a good friendship where both people have to be on the same wavelength.  When they are not, one person can often get jealous easily.  When I read too many blogs, it is like having too many friends.  I get too jealous too quickly.

So what do you do?

I follow Ashley's blog.  I follow 2-3 others. That is it.
Perhaps you don't struggle with jealousy of blogs/bloggers, but if you do?
Consider a mentor blog :)

12 October 2015

Leather + Rock = Crafting with Nature

Pin It

A few posts ago, I shared my cute little slouch leather bag and today, I have a little project I have been wanting to do ever since I read WiseCraft by Blair Stocker. The leather I am using is courtesy of the Leather Hide Store, where remnants from upholstery (couches, chairs, pillows, etc.) are sold to crafters like me.  Instead of wasting the cutting room floor pieces, Leather Hide Store is embracing the use of remnants for beautiful, luxurious little crafts. Each paperweight I made (I crafted 4!) used a slightly different technique as I played around with the concept. I encourage you to start with one of my techniques and branch out to make your leather rocks your own unique creation!


Supplies:

Leather Remnant, small to medium size (Leather Hide Store)
Leather Shears - essential for clean cuts, these 5" shears are pictured below)
Awl (consider this inexpensive kit with 5 awls and overstitch wheel or $5)
Rocks of various shapes and sizes, flat and round are nice

Rock #1 - The Triangle

1. I found a cool triangular rock and made a little pocket out of leather for it. I sewed two sides up with an overcast stitch in waxed leather.


2. I "fit" the leather to the rock as I went, piercing both layers of leather with the awl and then threading through.


3. The result is a pretty, smooth covered rock that turns nicely in the hand.  It is a great "thinking" rock when you are pacing and need something to turn in your hands. The natural version of thos Chinese meditation balls, you know?

Rock #2 - The Sandwich



1. See the oval rock on the left above?  It is mainly flat on the bottom and rounded on the top, making it perfect for a "sandwich" leather wrapping.  I cut two pieces slightly larger than the rock, making sure they fit around the rock to just barely touch around the circumference.


2. Again, I pierced the leather with the awl around the circumference of both pieces of leather, then started threading while holding the leather taut.


3. After each stitch, I pulled and aligned both pieces of leather so that the finished product would be even all the way around the rock.

4. I rubbed this particular rock with a little coconut oil and it darkened the leather in places and added a nice patina that typically comes with age.


Rocks #3-4 - Smooth and Textured

1. The next two rocks are covered similarly, but one has a large, smooth surface, while the other has added detail.  The overstitch wheel (pictured above in rock #2 supplies) is made to puncture a clean stitch line, but I liked the patterns it made and used it to make a pretty dot pattern on a circle of leather.


2.  I cut a piece of leather about 1 inch larger than each rock, then pierced the edges all the way around with the awl.



3. Then, I started stringing thread from one end to the other, pulling taut, and crisscrossing so 
that I maintained a smooth "pull" on the front face of the rock.  The back starts to look like this:


The smaller rock took a lot less time and the pattern wasn't as cool on the bottom, but both are beautiful paperweights!


Here are all four rocks along with the slouch bag! (tutorial HERE)





 If you liked this tutorial, then you might enjoy the BOOK!

Make your own coconut oil.
Gather your own sea salt.
Grow your own grapevines for wreaths.
Give gifts naturally grown and crafted from your backyard garden.

Each chapter focuses on a plant or groups of plants and how to grow them in your home garden.  Then, gather up those natural ingredients and get crafting! From lavender wreaths and hypertufa planters to lambsear angels and pickled tomatoes, there are projects for beginners on up!

Crafting with Nature is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a MillionPOWELL's! (!!!!)  Booktopia (Australia!), IndieBoundAlibrisGlose.comThe Book Depository and Walmart.com.  Books are also rolling out to retailers and libraries, so check for them there. 
 If your library does NOT have it yet, this is why you should talk to your librarian!

09 October 2015

Why you SHOULD TALK to Your Librarian!

Pin It

Libraries have always been a happy place for me. From devouring Sweet Valley Twin and Babysitter's Club books by the dozen on summer vacation to 30 lb. stacks of gardening texts in my 20's to the bags upon bags of children's books we buy at the yearly book sale; libraries are my happy place. Surprisingly, I did not review many books on A Nest for All Seasons for a long time. I stuck to gardening and craft tutorials for the most part with some food and photography mixed in.

However, once I started writing my first book, I started to focus in on how writers were promoting their books, how they organized their thoughts, how they choose to show their style through design and I wanted to support every book I possibly could. I started with gardening books, and have branched out a bit, though gardening is still my favorite. I hope you have enjoyed a recommendation or two from my reading lists over the past year or so (See all the Nest Book Club Posts HERE)and I am hoping to bring you more and more as times goes on. I encourage you to find these titles at your local library if you are unable or not ready to purchase them. If your library does not have them, REQUEST THEM! Library sales are so important to authors and YOUR requests are vitally important, especially for first time authors like me! TALK TO YOUR LIBRARIAN!

Onto my fall reading list -- Here are my recent favorites, some recently released publications sent to me for review, others I found myself and some that are older publications but new to me! Links are Amazon affiliate links and if you click them and purchase anything from Amazon, I receive a small portion back.  I thank you!! There is also a fun GIVEAWAY at the bottom of the post of Maria Colletti's new Terrarium book!  Don't miss your chance to win a copy by commenting or tweeting!

Fall Book Reviews The nest Book Club by Amy Renea

Drawing, Meditating and Coloring

I have been enjoying quite a few "grown-up" coloring books lately, along with some simple drawing books. The simplicity of coloring is meditative and I love picking up a few new art skills along the way.  Here are the best I have found!

The time Garden by Daria Song, Book Review by Amy Renea of Crafting With Nature

The Time Garden - I am going to start with my VERY very favorite coloring book. This one is special because it tells a story - a mystery actually.  I am slowly coloring in the illustrations, with the completed book to be saved for my daughter.  I think it is a fun keepsake that I can pass along to her...a beautiful story and beautiful art with a hand painted touch. The Time Chamber is another similar book by the same author (Daria Song) and it is next on my to-buy list.

The time Garden by Daria Song, Book Review by Amy Renea of Crafting With Nature
See those BEAUTIFUL flecks of foil on the cover?  Stunning in person!
PS I use mixed media on my coloring -- colored pencils 
(pictured: Tombow -- they are Japanese and color wonderfully smooth!), 
gel markers and watercolors for the most part!

Beauty in the Bible...by {Paige Tate} is another adult coloring book that I have been using lately as a meditative tool.  The coloring of simple lines and pretty shapes surrounding biblical texts helps focus my attention on the words.  The end result are pretty hand-illustrated pictures that could make nice little gifts...similar to a color printable. One note: the pages are thin like a "normal" book or regular computer paper.  The Time Garden uses a thicker, more luxurious paper.  I definitely prefer the latter, but the thinner paper still works well when framing the prints.

Beauty in the Bible by Paige Tate, Book Review by Amy Renea of Crafting With Nature
Those are the TOMBOW colored pencils on the left.

20 Ways to Draw a Tree... There are several different books in this series (and a TON of imitations that are NOT nearly as good - beware!), but this one is my favorite. I actually bought this book for my son, but ended up stealing it when he wasn't very interested and trying it out for myself. I love the simple illustrations and learning how to draw these basic natural shapes via imitation.

20 Ways to Draw a Tree Book Review by Amy Renea of Crafting With Nature



Natural Play Books

The Stick Book - You might remember when I reviewed The Beach Book (Baths, Birds and The Beach post HERE if you are interested :)  The Stick Book is another great little book for kids by authors Fiona Danks and Jo Schofield, focused on tons of crafts and outdoor activities you can do/make with sticks!
I know it is just mud and moss and a stick, but I LOVE the idea of natural "pom poms" -- see left!



Go Wild! 101 Things to do Before You Grow Up -  I requested this additional book, also by Fiona Danks and Jo Schofield because I thought my boys would LOVE it.  I was right.  They were TOTALLY into the shelters chapters.

I was TOTALLY into the tepee-making section -- how cool!
The boys were much, MUCH more interested in this chapter:

They spent many, many hours reading and re-reading this chapter.  When we get back to PA, there is going to be a LOT of woodland exploration and weapon-making.  Heaven help us.

Design and Decor

The Bee Cottage Story... This is the story of Frances Schultz, House Beautiful columnist, independent writer and decorator.  From the book's description: Schultz taps into what she learned during her renovations of Bee Cottage—determining how each area in the house and garden would be used and furnished—to unravel the question of how a mature, intelligent, successful woman could have made such a mess of her personal life. As she figures out each room over a period of years, Frances finds a new path in life, also a continual process. She comes to learn that, like decorating a home, our lives must adapt to who we are and what we need at different points along the way. 


The Bee Cottage story by Frances Schultz, Book Review by Amy Renea of Crafting With Nature

From me:  Frances is just delightful.  Her spirit jumps right off the page into your heart and from a few short personal 
emails with her,  I must tell you that she is JUST as delightful in correspondence. She is just a flat out delight.

The Bee Cottage story by Frances Schultz, Book Review by Amy Renea of Crafting With Nature
I love how Frances has a "thing" -- the bees -- but it is not trendy or overdone or derivative!

The Bee Cottage story by Frances Schultz, Book Review by Amy Renea of Crafting With Nature

Of course my very favorite chapter...

The Bee Cottage story by Frances Schultz, Book Review by Amy Renea of Crafting With Nature

 It was a  great read and made me VERY interested in buying a cabin.  VERY. 
(If you think I am just exaggerating, check out my "ArrowWood" pinboard...I will let you draw your own conclusions, eh?)


Terrariums - Gardens Under Glass Designing, Creating, and Planting Modern Indoor Gardens by Maria Colletti Review fom Amy Renea of Crafting With Nature.jpg
So the cover got me on this one.  I cannot help but love a multi-paned glass terrarium.  
To be honest, the hanging globes and cookie jar terrariums -- I can just take them or leave them -- but these greenhouse-like affairs?  
They speak to me.
Terrariums - Gardens Under Glass Designing, Creating, and Planting Modern Indoor Gardens by Maria Colletti Review fom Amy Renea of Crafting With Nature.jpg

Now, if you want to learn about terrariums and do the job right, you talk to Maria Coletti, the resident terrarium expert at The New York Botanical Garden Shop in the Garden.  Maria shares not only excellent design advice, but practical advice on arranging, watering and caring for the light needs of various terrariums. Personally, I was really drawn to the design ideas where Maria takes a large landscape like this:

Terrariums - Gardens Under Glass Designing, Creating, and Planting Modern Indoor Gardens by Maria Colletti Review fom Amy Renea of Crafting With Nature.jpg

...and translates it into a tiny, indoor world like this:

Terrariums - Gardens Under Glass Designing, Creating, and Planting Modern Indoor Gardens by Maria Colletti Review fom Amy Renea of Crafting With Nature.jpg
The ideas just keep on coming the farther you get into the book and the references for plant selection are a resource I will be happy to have in my library for years to come. BUY TERRARIUMS: gardens Under Glass HERE! SPECIAL NOTE: Terrariums is our GIVEAWAY book this go around, so make sure to enter to win yours below!

Carrier and Company Positively Chic Interiors by Jesse Carrier

First off, you guys, this is a serious coffee-table book.  It is heavy in hand, gracefully weighted and looks amazing on a freshly shined table.  THEN you crack it open and you must go immediately grab a notepad...

Positively Chic Interiors by Jesse Carrier, Book Review by Amy Renea

Here are a few of the pages I made sure to take note of...this is a small fraction of the greatness!
Positively Chic Interiors by Jesse Carrier, Book Review by Amy Renea
Those mirrors....right??
Positively Chic Interiors by Jesse Carrier, Book Review by Amy Renea
THAT SINK.
Positively Chic Interiors by Jesse Carrier, Book Review by Amy Renea
Pretty, pretty whites, but notice the window treatments!  Pretty, simple, darling, positively chic!
Positively Chic Interiors by Jesse Carrier, Book Review by Amy Renea
That GIANT and DEEP basket for a planter -- perfection.  I am stealing that idea!

Buy Positively Chic Interiors RIGHT HERE on Amazon!

Coming Soon...I know that Habitat: The Field Guide to Decorating by Lauren Liess has landed on my doorstep in PA and I am SO excited to get back and get reading!  Lauren is an inspiration to me and I was blown away that she agreed to endorse my book. I cannot wait to share how wonderful HER first book is with you guys.  Read her post about the cover HERE-- I found it fascinating! You can order Habitat RIGHT HERE on Amazon! (It is the #1 Best Seller in Interior decorating right now btw - GO LAUREN!!)

...and I fully apologize up front, but I fully admit every reading list post is now going to end with MY BOOK (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! still very VERY fun to say!) If you like gardening or you like crafty DIYs, you are the perfect reader for Crafting With Nature.

 If you liked this tutorial, then you might enjoy the BOOK!

Make your own coconut oil.
Gather your own sea salt.
Grow your own grapevines for wreaths.
Give gifts naturally grown and crafted from your backyard garden.

Each chapter focuses on a plant or groups of plants and how to grow them in your home garden.  Then, gather up those natural ingredients and get crafting! From lavender wreaths and hypertufa planters to lambsear angels and pickled tomatoes, there are projects for beginners on up!

Crafting with Nature is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a MillionPOWELL's! (!!!!)  Booktopia (Australia!), IndieBoundAlibrisGlose.comThe Book Depository and Walmart.com.  Books are also rolling out to retailers and libraries, so check for them there. 
 If your library does NOT have it yet, this is why you should talk to your librarian!

One last reminder -- If you want to support authors -- TALK TO YOUR LOCAL LIBRARIAN and request my book or any of the books recommended that you are interested in!  THANK YOU!

NOW.  You want a free book?  Awesome!  Comment on this post or enter via the rafflecopter below for your chance to win!




Pin ItA fun treat for those of you that made it ALL the way to the end of the post. 
 See inside my favorite book from the fall list (The Time Garden by Daria Song -- an Adult Coloring Book)!

Adult Coloring Book


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------