New packaging!

I’ve been looking into ways to make my product packaging a bit more sophisticated. After playing around for a while, I came up with this backing card for a set of handmade ornaments!

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I think I’ll play around with the design of the label and make it fancier, but I like this setup so far. I could also use colored cardstock instead of just plain white, and maybe coordinate it with the color of the ornaments? Hmm. So many possibilities. 🙂

What do you think?


My shops: PeachPod on Etsy  |  PeachPod on Amazon

New mic!

Great news!  I bought a brand new microphone for recording videos!

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I have been using a tiny mic that came with a computer I had about 10 years ago, so the sound quality wasn’t that good. But now my videos should have really nice, clear sound! 😀 (It’s not in the pic, but I have a pop filter too.)

My Youtube channel is here: SkyHighAffirmations. There are only a few videos there now, but more are definitely coming!

 

I’m e-published!

I just published my first article on InfoBarrel. Please take a look and tell me what you think. 🙂

Is a Standard Poodle the Right Dog for You?

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Handmade Roundup 12-5-15

Welcome back to Handmade Roundup! I’ve been super busy sewing Christmas ornaments for my shop, but I allowed myself a little break to browse Etsy and find some beautiful new items to share! 🙂

 

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The ocean comes to life in these gorgeous ornaments by ShopNDS. Each ornament is a wood slice, and features a handpainted scene of a sea turtle surrounded by coral and sea plants.  They have awesome detail in the art, and I find them so calming to look at! Love them. ❤

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MyHappyHobby is filled with tons of adorable lampwork beads, so it’s hard to pick a favorite! These colorful parrots are too cute. They come in green, blue, and yellow, and all three coordinate well together too.

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I love love LOVE this vintage Moschino handbag from OceanAndMoreJewels. Great colors, great style, and lovely patent leather shine! Beautiful.

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This print from BrookeLeAnneArt is an attention grabber! I love the striking contrast of the black and white zebra with the colorful flowery background. She has lots of other colorful mixed media prints too. Check them out!

My shops; Handmade: PeachPod | Vintage: PeachNifty

 

 

My Little Pony cleanup tutorial

I love finding cool vintage items, and one of my favorite finds are old toys. Most toys get broken and destroyed by their owners, but a few types show up fairly often in decent shape. One toy I always grab when I see it are My Little Ponies! MLP began in the early 1980s, and was huge throughout that decade. These old pony toys are very collectible, and have a big fanbase of aficionados and collectors.

These ponies are usually intact, but are often dirty, marked with pens or crayons, and have terribly tangly hair. Fortunately, they are fairly easy to clean up and get them looking presentable again. 🙂

I found these two ponies at Goodwill last week. The first one is a So Soft pony named Paradise. She’s a white flocked pegasus, with soft, fuzzy fibers covering her entire body. The mane was tangled, and the tail had been double braided (three regular braids that are then braided together into one). The “fur” was dingy, with some yellow discoloration around one of the wings.

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The second one is an Earth Pony named Sundance, who is white with pink hair. She was dirty and had red crayon on her neck, and two pen marks near her cutie mark. Her mane and tail were also tangled.

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The first step was to unbraid Paradise’s tail. Who knows how long the tail has been this way…possibly years! Don’t try to do any brushing at this point; it’s hopeless and will only cause damage.

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Let the cleanup begin!

The next step is a nice bubble bath. I use warm water and a small amount of dish detergent, and submerge the ponies completely. An old toothbrush is used to gently scrub the bodies to clean off the general dirt. The flocked pony can also be cleaned with the toothbrush…VERY VERY GENTLY! I scrub very lightly in circles until the whole pony is sudsy and clean.

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After a good rinse, the next step is de-marking. Spots like pen marks, crayon, sticker residue, etc can often be cleaned off with rubbing alcohol. I like to take a Q-tip and gently rub the spot until it comes clean, being extra careful around paint applications like the eyes and cutie mark. Unfortunately not all spots will come off, but a good percentage will.

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The red crayon mark on Sundance’s neck did come off with the alcohol, but the blue pen marks on her rump didn’t.

After as much cleanup as possible has been done, it’s time for the most fun part: detangling! (Yes, it’s fun!) Take a small amount of liquid fabric softener (hair conditioner will also work) and saturate the mane and tail with it. I like to put the toys on a large dinner plate as a work surface.

Once all of the fibers are wet and slick with softener, I take a fine toothed comb, which in this case is my cat’s metal flea comb, and gently brush out the hair. I find it easiest to lay the toy down, stretch out the hair, and brush against the surface of the plate. Start at the ends and untangle a centimeter or so at a time, slowly working up the length of the hair to the body. For super tangly knotty hair, you may have to do this strand by strand.

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After some patient and gentle brushing, the hair is untangled! As you can see, Paradise’s hair still has some waves in it from the braid. These will straighten out over time.

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After a light rinse to remove the excess softener, the ponies are set up on a shelf to air dry. After they are completely dry, the hair is smooth and untangled, and can be easily brushed!

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And here are the final results:

Sundance:

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And Paradise:

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Here are some before/after comparison shots:

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Pretty cool, huh? 🙂

These two were actually in fairly good shape for their age. I’ve seen some toys with hair so tangled it’s literally just a ball of knots! But this method has worked every time.

I’ll be ready the next time a pony or two shows up!

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My shops; Handmade: PeachPod | Vintage: PeachNifty

Homemade Yogurt

My mother and I decided to do an experiment in the kitchen: making homemade yogurt! I love yogurt, but in the last few years they’ve all switched over from natural sweeteners to artificial ones, which I find awful. But a quick trip to MakeYourOwnYogurt.com, and we had directions to make it ourselves!

This was our setup: a big stock pot for sterilizing, a homemade double boiler made with two nesting pots, a coffee pot, a candy thermometer, and a spoon. And of course a half gallon of whole milk from a local dairy, and a package of store bought yogurt for a starter culture.

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The first step was to sterilize all of the equipment. This is to kill random bacteria that might be lurking around, which could interfere with the specific kinds of good bacteria needed to make the yogurt. We boiled a big stock pot of water and dipped the coffee pot, spoon, and other tools in for a few seconds.

The milk goes in the top pot of the double boiler. We used a metal pan with a handle, which fit down into a slightly larger pot (actually the bottom of an ancient pressure cooker). The candy thermometer goes in, and we let it slowly heat up to 185°F (85°C). Interesting note: the burner on the stove is actually bright red, but for some reason it shows up as blue in the photo!

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Once the milk is at the correct temperature, it then gets transferred into a cooling bath; in this case, a large pot filled with ice water in the sink. Using the thermometer, the milk gets slowly cooled down to 110°F (43°C).

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The cool milk then goes into the coffee pot, and 2 tablespoons of plain store bought yogurt is added. I made sure to get a brand that guaranteed live cultures, since the bacteria are necessary to convert the milk to yogurt. Those lovely hands in the pic belong to my mother, Linda. 🙂

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Once the starter blob is mixed in, the coffee pot goes on a heating pad. It has to sit at 100°F (38°C) or so for 7 hours, to allow the bacteria to multiply and do their magic. We wrapped the pot in the pad and clipped it, then nestled the thermometer beside the pot to make sure it stayed around the correct temperature.

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Seven hours later…yogurt! Ta da!

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The final step is to mix it well with the spoon, because it was more liquidy at the top then at the bottom (my research tells me that this liquid is whey). Then it goes into smaller containers and into the fridge to chill overnight.

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The result: …..*drumroll*….a half gallon of tasty yogurt! I’m happy to say that our first attempt was successful. We sweetened the plain yogurt with some shredded coconut, and it was delicious! They say you can also use sugar, honey, pudding mix, or jam, though I haven’t tried any of these myself. The finished product was thinner than the commercial kind, but I didn’t mind.

We’ve actually made another batch since then, and it turned out perfectly as well. I don’t think I’ll ever eat store bought yogurt again! The homemade kind is delicious, and doesn’t have horrible tasting fake sweetener or a bunch of chemicals like commercial brands do.

I might have to look into getting some bigger pots, so we can make bigger batches! 🙂

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My shops; Handmade: PeachPod | Vintage: PeachNifty

Amazon Handmade!

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Big announcement: my shop is now live on Amazon Handmade! In case you haven’t heard, Amazon has created a handmade division, which features creative small business artisans and seems to have better protections against factory made items than some sites. I applied and was accepted, and my shop is now open for business! 🙂

Please check it out here: PeachPod Handmade

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Thrifting finds 10-3-15

I found a few cool things while thrifting today!

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The best find was a set of 2 original 1980s My Little Ponies. One of them is a white Earth pony with pink hair and a circular heart cutie mark, and the other is a white flocked pegasus with bright red hair and palm trees on her butt. I’ll have to hit up the collector sites to figure out their names and dates.

I love the finished cross stitch of the name KELLY, accented with cute Precious Moments style characters. I’ll get it cleaned up and nicely framed, and maybe it will make a cute Christmas gift for some little Kelly out there. 🙂

The purse is a cute beaded clutch from the 60s-70s. It has a small stain on the back, but I’m pretty sure it will clean up just fine. The three hearts are 80s Syroco style plastic wall hangings. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll sell them vintage as-is, or repaint them in prettier colors (perhaps pink and white, or two shades of pink?).

I also found a little pack of glue sticks for 10 cents. I love finding crafting supplies for next to nothing!

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My shops; Handmade: PeachPod | Vintage: PeachNifty

Halloween handmade ornaments!

It’s September, the weather is starting to cool, and the leaves will be falling soon. And that means the approach of one of the most fun holidays: Halloween! I’ve been designing and sewing spooky ornaments, perfect for Halloween decorating or parties! 🙂

First up are these skulls. Spooky, but still cute!

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Then two sets of black cats, one with orange and one with zombie green.

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And these aren’t specifically Halloween related, but I also have a set of colorful autumn leaves.

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What are your Halloween decorating plans?

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My shops; Handmade: PeachPod | Vintage: PeachNifty

Netflix Treasure Hunter

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I’m starting a new feature here on the blog, called “Netflix Treasure Hunter”. I watch a ton of Netflix while I do my crafting, so I see a lot of good shows, bad shows, and just “meh” stuff. I thought I would highlight some of the good shows or movies that I’ve seen, in case anyone needs a quick recommendation. I sort through the junk and pick out the treasures, so you don’t have to! 🙂

Time Lapse

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Supernatural and horror movies are a guilty pleasure of mine, so I watch most of the ones that show up on Netflix. Most of them are so-so, but occasionally I find an unexpectedly good one. “Time Lapse” is one of those surprise winners. The story is about three roommates who find a mysterious camera in an old man’s apartment, that takes a photo through their window every day at 8 pm. The catch? The photo shows not what is happening now, but what will happen 24 hours in the future. The friends think it’s cool at first, but trouble brews as more mysterious and dangerous images begin to show up as time goes on.

This film is basically a horror/mystery with a fun and cool concept. It was well written and acted, and had a couple of good plot twists too. It was fun to anticipate what would show up on the camera next, and how the characters would deal with the unexpected images.

Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood

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I’ve been an off-and-on fan of anime for a long time, and I finally got around to watching FMA:B last week. WHY did I wait so long?? I don’t know, because this series is amazing!

The story is about Edward and Alphonse Elric, two brothers living in a world where a minor form of magic, called alchemy, exists. They break a taboo and attempt to resurrect their dead mother, and as a result, Ed loses two limbs and Al loses his entire body…surviving only because Ed binds his soul with an antique suit of armor. They set off to find a way to get their bodies back, and end up on a much more important quest that involves the future of their entire country.

I can’t say enough good things about this show! Wonderful characters, an engaging story, pretty music, and lovely animation make this a must watch. I absolutely LOVED this, and will no doubt marathon it all over again soon. Don’t miss it!

Titanic’s Final Mystery

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Lots of documentaries have explored the tragedy of the Titanic, but this one has a cool twist on the formula: it focuses on the science of what could have caused the ship to run into an iceberg on that fateful night. They explore weather patterns, temperature fluctuations, and ocean conditions, and present an argument that the unique qualities of the weather that night caused mirages that may have prevented the lookouts from seeing the danger until too late.

The show has lots of CG animated ships and recreated testimonials that help you visualize the conditions and effects that they talk about. I’m not sure how scientifically sound the arguments are, but I was interested the whole time, and the possible conclusions are fascinating. A fun documentary to watch if you like trying to solve historical mysteries!

So that’s it for the first edition of Netflix Treasure Hunter! Happy watching! 🙂

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