Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Guest Feature | B.Hive Designs

Back in November at a local craft fair, I met Barbara Sellen of B.Hive Designs and immediately fell in love with her bags. Not only because they are hand made in Falmouth, Maine, but they have the highest quality fabrics from all over the world (even visiting MOOD in NY!) and the most vibrant patterns. I asked if I could highlight her on my blog, and she thankfully agreed. Here is more about B.Hive and how Barbara got started.

Sarah: What inspired you to learn to sew?

Barbara: I learned some basics in girl scouts and remembered after I was newly married and discovered a high end fabric store in the town I had just moved to. I thought, I need to learn how to make clothes.

Sarah: How did you start B.Hive?

Barbara: The BeeHive was the name of a "store" my sisters and I had every summer when we were in grade school. We would craft all winter and then have "the shop" one weekend in the summer on our neighbors front porch. Since getting married, I have sewn for every phase of my life - clothes, baby bedding, draperies, children's clothes - when my daughters got to high school I started making bags for them and their friends. I even taught a short sewing class at Falmouth High School. I made bags and donated them to charity auctions. Many people started asking me if they could buy one of my bags. I started my etsy shop in 2009 around the time my son got deployed. It has been a wonderful distraction!

Sarah: Your company name is great! How did you come up with B.Hive?

Barbara: See answer to the above. When I started my etsy shop, I thought I had to call it the beehive. I thought B.Hive was an updated twist (I wanted to call it B "dot" hive). It evolved into BHiveDesign on etsy because I was not allowed to add "the dot".

: Your fabric quality is amazing and unique- how do you find/procure your fabrics?

Barbara: I have found out that the younger generation (20 somethings) call what I do "upcycling" - taking someone else's discarded remnants or waste and using it to create something new. I have several sources in Boston that give me their high end drapery or upholstery remnants. I sort through it and usually use about 25% of what I get. What I don't keep, I donate to goodwill, churches, schools or salvation army. I also check fabric stores for good deals. I am not big enough to buy wholesale. Since I have been sewing for so long, I am able to distinguish the high end textiles from the ordinary.

Sarah: One of my favorite toile prints below-

Sarah: Amazing quality

Sarah: For those out there looking to start their own small business- what is your best advice?

Barbara: Believe in your idea. One of the greatest rewards I have found from doing this business is that customers want to purchase my aesthetic. Also, another piece of advice is to get to know your competition. There are many, many bags and totes available - but my concept is to make them one of a kind. Find that thing about your product that is unique.

Sarah: I know you went to NYC to see the Nate Berkus show and Project Runway’s MOOD showroom recently- what was that like?

Barbara: Really fun!!! The people at MOOD could not have been nicer. However, I did not buy anything there because it did not make business sense for me. But it was really fun to poke around and identify trends.

Nate Berkus was also really fun. And he is even cuter in person! So down to earth. Since I use many home decorator fabrics, it was the perfect show for me to attend.

(Barbara at MOOD in NYC)

Sarah: The bags are beautiful, and a great idea for weddings and bridesmaids gifts. Do you accept custom orders?

Barbara: Most definitely!! I have made wedding bags out of vintage materials that I think are very cool but I have also done custom, so that the bag coordinates well with the shade of white or ivory the bride is wearing.

(Example of custom wedding bag)

Sarah: What is the one thing you would do differently with B.Hive if you could start over?

Barbara: Start off better organized. As you can imagine, I have a great deal of fabric on hand - keeping that organized and accessible is quite a task.

Sarah: With the new year ahead, what is your vision and goals for B.Hive 2012?

Barbara: Well my son is engaged, so I hope to make a bridal bag for my future daughter in law!

Also, I recently obtained some beautiful linen fabric that I am looking forward to making into bags for spring-summer.

Sarah: What local event/shows do you attend? Where will you be next?

Barbara: I am in the process of exploring that right now! I would like to get in one show for Mothers Day gift giving. But of course, I will have many new items on my etsy shop for Mothers Day.

(Beautiful floral fabric- bag available now on BHive etsy shop)

(Handmade in Maine)

Thank you so much Barbara for sharing your stories and ideas with me. To learn more or find a perfect bag, go to BHive Designs at etsy and find her at B.Hive Design on Facebook!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

More Sweet Confections

Keeping with the sweets is not to late to make a few batches of cookies. Here are a few favorites I have been wanting to try.

nicole bain- from pinterest

Monday, December 19, 2011

One Dough- Three Different Cookies!

One of the first crafty things besides sewing I really got into after college was making sugar cookies! So, on a cold Sunday afternoon while Matt watched the Pats play Tiebow I was nestled (err, hiding) out in the kitchen. I was inspired by one of my all time, most absolutely, totally fantastic, just plain awesome inspirations, Amy Atlas and her recent spotlight on sugar cookies in People Magazine. I modified some of her ideas a bit, as I explain below. Enjoy

- I used almost the same sugar cookies recipe as Amy's- but I do not add salt, and add 2 tsp baking powder. Let the dough get cold, I usually leave it in the refrigerator over night. I decided to use just two cookie cutters, and keep it simple- so I decided to use a star and candy cane shape.

- After I made a double batch of dough, I cut out the shapes, and baked for 10 minutes a batch. I melted a bag of Toll House chocolate chips over very low heat, stirring a constantly. Once the cookies cooled completely- I dipped a portion of the cookie into the pot of chocolate, and placed on tin foil. While the chocolate was still warm, I sprinkled on sea salt (just a pinch) on the star shaped cookies. For the candy cane shaped cookies, I sprinkled on crushed candy cane pieces (how apropos). I also did a small batch with white frosting on both cookie shapes, and added green sprinkles. Leaving me with three different cookies, all from the same dough.

- Once all the cookies were done, I placed on small white plates with a doilies. I added boxwood sprigs I had in an arrangement in the center.

- I put each kind of cookie on its own plate with boxwood sprigs.

- My mom gave me a little box of vintage Christmas stickers, so I decided to put them on white paper, cut rounded edges, hole punch in the corner and tie with red ribbon as gift tags. I love re-using things I already have.

- I bough this clear wrap (comes in a roll like wrapping paper) at the Dollar Store, and I think it works great for holding all the cookies on the plate, but still keeping the look simple and clean. Add red ribbon, and done!

Hopefully this inspires you to do a little baking for your friends and family. On a side note, I am loving my camera- and still trying to get use to all of the settings, lighting options etc. So excuse my photos while I master the art of the Canon.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Guest Feature: Ogden Cottage | Bend, Oregon

One of my dearest friends, Ms. Anna Cole and her friend Sarah (also the owner and designer), found and fixed up this desperately seeking love little cottage on Ogden Street in Bend, OR, which they appropriately nicknamed "Ogden". Anna is one of those friends who you get e mails from with the subject line: In Cambodia, Cant Chat Now, or: OMG come to Mexico with me! (those are no joke!). Needless to say, not only am I envious of her traveling ways, but now I am envious of her adorable abode. She was kind enough to share with me their experience in fixing it up. Anna now lives in the cutest little place, in one of the cutest little (well, pretty good sized) towns (yes, it rivals my beloved Kennebunkport!)

The Shower

Before: Not much to say here other than it needs help!

After: How amazing is the steel shower lining (Sarah was inspired by this in a magazine) with elegant shower curtains from Anthropologie to give it a softer feel. It also created much more spacing by eliminating the glass walls (and is a lot more airy and clean).

Second After: Bath
(You will notice how this wallpaper pattern in sprinkled throughout the house). This is just framed piece of left over wallpaper. The crystal chandelier adds that romantic, feminine look too!

The Bedroom

Before: No one will complain about having nice open ceilings- but when it is red walls meeting pine colored panels...

After: I mean seriously. This looks like it is out of Country Living Magazine! I love the whitewashed look with baskets for storage. By adding in closets (this is the bedroom after all!) on each side helps ground the door, and offers much needed storage.

Second After: Bedroom (amazing what some paint can do, isn't it)

The Side Door

Before: Just needing some TLC with paint and new hardware. They did remove shingles and went with classic white clapboard for the siding.

After: New clapboard all around! I love the cool white with the grassy green door.

The Living Room

Before: One thing I love is that a lot of the new updates were recycled from other places, or just found behind them! The wood floors were already there (under piles of carpet and vinyl). They removed the stone covering as well (and found amazing brick behind it). Many of the updated appliances were from Habitat for Humanity.

After: What a cute, cozy place. You can see the great brick, beautiful floors, adorable wall paper and some nice white paint. The pink couch is priceless (and very doll house) which they found at a yard sale and had re-upholstered. I love how it is open, but still functional with dining, lounging and kitchen spaces (behind the wood stove is a bar looking into the kitchen). They also added one of my new favorite things, chalkboard paint. Look closely and you will see it on the right side wall.

Second After: Kitchen Nook. Love the wallpaper pattern, and love how they re-used it throughout the house. They added the wrap around bench with built-in storage and found this cute 50's style table to tie the look together.

The Front

Before: The front of the place needed a lot of TLC. Sarah decided to add on to the front, and include a porch. By doing so, this added much needed outdoor space. Their contractors Greg and Brad framed in an expanded room, and added the porch.

After: The look that Sarah and Anna wanted (and even wrote on the contractors papers) was Beach Cottage meets Doll House! I think this hits the nail on the head. Not only does it have my favorite kind of lighting (industrial meets cottage), the colors are amazing. Now if only I could be having a cup of coffee (or glass of wine) on this porch...

Thank you Anna and Sarah for sharing this very well done restoration of a cute little cottage. I love the use of recycled items and not changing the character. It is a wonderful home, and I cannot wait to be there soon (hint, hint).

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It's Gift Giving Time Again

1. J Crew Cashmere Wash by The Laundress New York®
2. Coasters by Sea bags- made from recycled sails, made in Maine
3. Bracelet made from marine ropes by The Ropes (I wear mine all the time)
4. The Lipper hand-made natural chapstick
5. Tocca Candle-
Cleopatra Candelina is one of my favorites
6. If you know me, you know I am a sucker for Lilly Pulitzer- especially this Murfee Scarf
7. WEWOOD Watch (how cool is that watch!) from a great shop, Minka Home
8. A favorite, Spaces Kennebunkport and the John Robshaw Dob Kit (I think it is fine for girls too, just sayin')
9. And for the acquired taste buds, Maine Mead Works- Honeymaker Lavender Mead. It is very sweet, but good for an after dinner wine

*Note, there are hyperlinks above (just hover over), I am working on how to make them a different color once published.

Gift giving is one of my favorite times of year. There is something about finding that perfect gift- no matter how big or small...

On another note, I have tried this new tactic of pasting several photos on one page, and uploading one (see above), not sure how it is going to look. I got the idea from Pinterest (obviously!). It is kind of the DIY way to throw some pics into one. I found a good tutorial here from a great blog in Switzerland.

Happy gift giving...

Volume 2

Welcome to Volume 2 (better late than never) of Why Didn't I Think of That! There are sooo many good ideas all over the place, especially now with Pinterest, so it is hard to find a few favorites. Needless to are a few goodies I have been saving.

1. Feeling cold outside? Well start planning your summer soirees. How awesome is this picnic table idea. Such a great way to keep wines cool in the hot summer sun. We have not tried this yet, but my husband said it looks 'easy', which is good news for me!

2. OK, this seems extremely easy. Just bake cookie dough over the back side of a detailed cupcake tin/ mini bunt pan. Pop them off when done, add ice cream or another fun treat, and you have an instant edible bowl.

3. I dont know about you, but I really dove right into the Mason Jar craze. I now have about a million of them around my house. While the craze might be dying down, I think this is a great way to still use them without over-doing it.

4. Happy Holidays! I love getting Holiday cards in the mail, LOVE IT. This is a great way to show them without the trusty old refrigerator display (although that works too!)

Well, I hope you liked some of these Why Didn't I Think of That ideas and inspiration. Thank you to all of the blogs and influences above. Enjoy!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Camera Time

So my husband outdid himself and got me a Canon EOS Rebel T3 with a Canon 75-300 MM zoom lens. Very cool, and very intimidating. So we just played around with it...and here is what I came up with. Note: many are of my dog, who I affectionately call The Nugget or The Puppy. Just FYI. - Crazy how different setting effect the photos...

- This was taken with the basic lens in the portrait setting.

- No flash, much warmer photos. More of the look I was going for

- The Nugget

- Posing with the tree

- Soft light- zoom is great for ornament on the tree...

- When using the 'Flower' setting, flash is on, things look brighter/sharper

- Mini-Matt playing Lacrosse

- Hi to my west coast friends...

So, the camera is amazing, and I am one lucky girl. This is a fun camera I will use all the time. If you have any tips or tricks for better picture taking, let me know!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Wicked Easy Holiday Swag

Real quick, easy way to give a little holiday touch, with out any money*. You can put this swag on your mailbox post (like I did), on your bedroom door (like I did)- it is a nice way to be festive without wreaths all over your house :) Remember, less is more...

- *OK, so I had the ribbon, boxwood and have a great big pine tree in my yard that I can cut from.

- Anyways, this is super easy- just take 4-5 sprigs of pine, then lay 2-3 sprigs of boxwood on top. Add a sprig or two of red berries and tie them all together at the top with twine. Use ribbon to tie a bow on top of twine.

- Waaaaahlaaa, wicked quick easy way to make some swag.