Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Oh my GLOB. It is a Geek-A-Long.

I absolutely adore knitting.  LOVE IT.  My friend got pregnant and I knew I had to knit her SOMETHING.  What it was, I didn't know...then I found this glorious page.

It was pretty much a dream come true.  My friend is a BIG nerd.  Lover of all things geeky.  They are hosting....a geek-a-long.

Basically, they give you 48 "square" patterns.  One per week.  It takes 24 to make an afghan, 12 for a baby blanket. You can read about the whole process here ----> GEEK-A-LONG facts

The process they use is called "double knitting".The piece ends up being thick, like two pieces held together.  Both sides look knitted and are reverse colors.  I pretty much want to only double knit for the rest of my life.

Basically I wanted to show off a few of the pieces I have done. She will get the gift in about a week and a half.  I AM SO EXCITED.  I tell this girl everything about my life.  Having to keep this a secret has pretty much been torture.

So, here are two sneak previews.  If you WANT to see them all you can click on one of these and scroll through my feed. All 11 are posted. I am working on the last one!!!
A photo posted by Sarah Dodson (@bumbleflies) on

Aren't they awesome? I LOVE this process.  I need to give my arms a break for a bit after this, but I REALLY want to make a blanket to keep. It is going to hurt giving this up.

Be on the look out for the final blanket after the shower! I CAN'T WAIT!!! 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A change

I used to have a blog.  A simple little cute blog about my family that I called my own.  A place to share thoughts, pictures, just us.  Then I got a bit sucked into "look at this thing!  Look at that thing!" and  it ended up feeling fake as hell. It wasn't me.  I also had no place to really share about my family without it feeling "commercial".  Will I still post about things? Sometimes.  When it feels honest. When it is honest.(Not that I EVER lied about any opinions of anything I ever wrote about.)

So here is me.

Here are my minions.

Here is our life.

I am slowly removing my old family posts from my other blog and bringing them here.  I don't CARE if it hurts my "ratings" scores.  I am not in this to be popular.  I am in it for me.  I want a place to look back and say "this was my life"

If you are here, I am 99.9% sure it is because you are a friend of family member of mine.

In that case, welcome!

Monday, June 1, 2015

I used Lush Caca Rouge and LOVE it. Yes....caca means wasn't actual poo.

I have been dying my hair for YEARS.  Kool Aid, dye from boxes, dye from Sally's that you mix yourself, worked at a salon for years-dyed there, then normal "I give you money you dye my hair" at the salon.  The "I give you money" part hurts.  Being a stay at home mom of three, money does not grow on trees. Did I JUST type that?!?  Yep. I am a mom.

I would get my hair done maybe once or twice a year.  Just something fun, but ALWAYS not on the top layer so I could hide the new growth.  

New Growth:  When your hair grows out from your head.  That is new growth.  Not your "roots".  Your roots are IN your head.  

I have a friend over at Natural & Thrifty who told me she uses henna and I was very intrigued.  She has amazing red hair.  Go check it out. Gorgeous, right?  I wanted it.

After much research I came across Lush Caca Rouge.

 Yes....caca means "poo".  I put something named red poo on my head.  Unlike traditional dye full of chemicals, henna has "no poo" in it.  Just all natural ingredients.  Hence the name.  Kind of a tongue in cheek thing. There is no actual poo involved.

Henna's are NOT all the same.  Many are sold in powder form and are easily found on Amazon. What drove me to this one was the extra ingredients.  

Red Henna (Lawsonia inermis) , Fair Trade Organic Cocoa Butter (Theobroma Cacao) , Fresh Organic Lemon Juice (Citrus limonum) , Powdered Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) , Clove Bud Oil (Eugenia caryophyllus) , *Citral , *Eugenol , *Geraniol , *Citronellol , *Limonene , *Linalool , Fragrance  *Occurs naturally in essential oils.

From their site:
For aspiring redheads who want to stop traffic with unparalleled shine and color. That’s not too much to ask from a solid block of henna, is it? Not if you make it like we do. Caca Rouge is the reddest of our henna dyes and it’s sure to get you noticed. We use the finest Persian henna; the leaves are dried and ground into a powder and mixed with conditioning cocoa butter, which forms the basis of our cacas. Organic lemon juice helps to bring out the redness and gives hair shine and luster. You're left with stunning, shiny and healthy-looking hair.

Lush is NOT tested on animals, minimal packaging, it is NATURAL, it uses organic and Fair Trade ingredients.  Also, all the products are handmade.Thanks Oscar for my Caca Rouge brick!

I read literally HUNDREDS of reviews, watched videos, and looked at pictures. With henna, it really works with your hair, so no two results will be the same.  I tried to find before and afters of similar colored hair. Some people had AMAZING results and others it had zero color change, but almost everyone talked about how healthy it felt afterwards.  So I bit the bullet and bought a brick.

Caca Rouge is NOT cheap. It will set you back about $26 for a brick.  My hair is a touch past my shoulders and figured that I would only use about 1/2 the brick, so $13 for colored hair is doable.

The directions leave much to be desired.  It basically says grate and add water.  No amounts.  Nada. Just mix it.  That is where research is handy. It did say to do a test strip, which I did, and it didn't do that much.  I think it was too small of a strip to really tell anything.  I decided I bought it, might as well still use it. 

For my whole head, I did three cubes, so half the block. I have shoulder length fine hair,but a lot of it.  Instead of grating, I slivered it thinly.  I didn't want to gunk up my grater. My friend Kate has hair about 6inches longer than mine and THICK.  She used 5 cubes.

Yes, it is green but comes out red.
I heard adding an acid could make it redder, so I squeezed a lemon into it.  Don't do what I did and squeeze it directly into the henna.  In a tiny lemon half, I shot about 10 seeds into the bowl.  Definitely juice the lemon into a separate bowl first. I used a one and a half lemons.

I totally forgot to take pics of it while we were mixing and applying. OOPS.  I poured a small amount of boiling water into the henna and stirred.  I kept repeating until it looked like cake batter. My friend Kate over at My Mommy Brain  made hers a bit thicker like brownie batter.  We coated around our hairline with some balm Kate bought at Lush.  I applied hers and she applied mine. I have to say, hers was rather hard to spread and when she rinsed it out she said it took a while.  Might be because she has more hair, might be the thickness of the henna. No clue.  I highly recommend having a buddy to apply.  It isn't the easiest thing to do.

After it was fully slopped on my head and wrapped in plastic wrap, I threw a wool hat on my the 85F weather.  I read that heat makes the henna work better. ALL FOR BEAUTY!! 
I lasted like this for about 3 hours and 40 minutes.  I was trying to hit four hours.  I got impatient.  We went to the back yard, grabbed the hose, and started rinsing. I got most of it out that way and then a quick jump in the shower removed the rest.

I LOVE IT. This was a "OMG I NEED TO SEE IT NOW PICTURE"  I blew dry my bangs and the bottom is still wet.

Henna supposed to keep working for about 3 days before you get your final results.  This is the next morning. Totally love it. 

There are a few spots where my pink and purple faded that turned slightly blue (before henna). I can still see it a BIT through the red.  The good thing about henna is you can re-henna right away!  They say it builds upon itself. It doesn't bother me that much though. I will probably wait a while before reapplying.  

FYI-If you henna do NOT try to dye with a traditional dye right afterwards if you hate the color. The chemicals can react to the henna causing hair catastrophes.  DON'T DO THAT. Also-I read that if your hair is previously color treated that you can get crazy results. That is why they say to do test strips. I did multiple.

Super soft hair.  I just want to keep touching it.
The smell. Lots of people think it is harsh.  I love it.  It is a rather earthy smell.   My hair still smells like it the next morning.
The color is GORGEOUS. 
All natural and good for your hair!

Messy as all hell.  It literally looked like we were taking horse poo and smearing it on our heads.  We did it on the back porch and am glad we did.  It might be hard to do in the winter if I have to do it inside. It really does make a big mess.
It takes FOREVER once it is on your head. Four hours doesn't seem long, but believe me, it is.

Would I do this again? Is Disintegration the best album ever?  Yes.  Yes it is.

**Lush in no way sponsored this review. Henna bought by the lovely husband because he is awesome**

Monday, April 6, 2015

Eric won't let me get chickens so....

I expanded the garden. (By I, I mean Eric.  He did all the lugging. I directed.)

For the past few years we have had a raised bed. Kinda small.It is only 4'x8'.  The kids are kinda anti-everything,so it produced a decent amount for Eric and I.  The only issue we had last year was the squash grew GIANT and took over my garden.  Literally half of the area was for 2 squash plants.  TWO PLANTS.

This year we quickly made another bed with just concrete blocks, garden soil, cow manure, and a bit of top soil!  Took all of 20 minutes to throw together.  The hardest part was transporting everything to the backyard.  I guess....I LOOKED hard.

 I walked around, cleaned out the old garden and added some new soil to mix in.  When doing that, I noticed that my asparagus was taking off!  You have to let it grow for about 3 years before eating.  I have roughly 6 sprouts popping up.  This one is the biggest.  Well over a foot tall.

I also noticed that all my strawberry plants were back in bloom! There are even some little green berries on the plants!  Hopefully the birds will leave them alone this year.  I need to get some kind of netting.  They are just in pots on my porch railing.

Since I was on the ball this year I decided to start things from seeds. I found a new company Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and got together with a few friends and split an order.  That worked out wonderfully, because I really don't need 50 of one type of plant except carrots.  LOVE CARROTS.

I ended up getting 2 types of lettuce, horned melons, 2 types of cucumbers-slicing and pickling, 2 types of peppers, watermelon, broccoli, carrots, pattypan squash, crookneck squash, zucchini, beans, soy beans, peas....I really had way too much fun with it.

One thing I unfortunately learned about is growing "leggy" plants.

This is a "normal" seedling.  (Pattypan squash)  See how they are short and thick?

THIS is what happens when you don't have enough light. I started them inside and THOUGHT that the window was bright enough. Nope. I read all about it online. It can also be caused by too much water.  I know that wasn't the case for me so, I ripped them out and started them over.  The squash up top was just grown outside.  Well, I bring them in at night because it is still chilly out.  But you can tell that they are LOVING the sun.  Once your seedlings flop like that, they are kinda screwed.

This is my second growing of broccoli.  They all got leggy like the jelly melons up top.  Also-I did water them.  I forgot yesterday so they look much nicer now.

 I will try to post some updates this year!  I always seem to forget.  I have some interesting plants this year, so I can't wait to share their growth with you!  I am even going to attempt pickling AND sauce making.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lion and Tigers and Ligers....OH MY!

I have a lot of blogger friends, go figure, and about a month ago one said "Hey!  We need to go to Tiger World!"  Not gonna lie. I was really hesitant about it.

I am the girl that refuses to go to the circus because of the way animals are treated. I am also the girl that when growing up wanted to be reincarnated as a white Bengal tiger with blue eyes.  I was rather specific.  I love going to zoo though, provided that the animals have adequate living area. But roadside zoos scare me. you can see I was at a crossroads.  I did TONS of research even enlisting my vegan soon-to-be animal rights lawyer into it.  She called and spoke with them (she didn't tell them her background though) and gave them the thumbs up.

Tiger World is a bit different from a normal "zoo".  They are "one of a handful of accredited zoos in the nation that operates with  no tax support". What that means is the only way they are able to operate is through admissions, memberships, and donations.  They are a nonprofit that is dedicated to rescue, rehab, and preservation of exotic animals. They don't hide "damaged" animals in a back room. They don't ship them off to anywhere. They give them just as much exposure as the others. In fact,the first enclosure you come to even before the admissions desk is two tigers. One of these tigers just has one eye!

It was an easy afternoon drive. They are located about 4 miles off of exit 68 on I-85. It was about a 20 min drive outside of Charlotte heading north.  If you are planning to make a day of it, make sure to eat before you go.  They don't have a food court area. We actually ran up to Concord afterwards and ate there.

All the employees I met walking around were VERY nice and chatted freely with me.  I never said "Hey there! I am a blogger and am going to write about you!"First off, that sounds really lame, you know?  Secondly, in some instances in the past I feel that people knowing this might have made people act a bit different towards me.  I just did my thing and observed.

A few more notes and then some pictures:
  • I did go in March, which means the trees/grass/etc isn't the greatest looking.  I think that some of the enclosures would look a LOT nicer once it gets all green again.  
  • There are two new enclosures that are being built. One for lions with a waterfall and a fake rock wall. I totally forgot to ask about the other one. oops.
  • I had to keep reminding myself that this is a rescue that relies on people visiting for EVERYTHING financial.  Many zoos are "flashier" but I think this had more "heart" if that makes sense.  I think what they do with what they have is great and many of these animals were taken from horrible conditions.
  • Last thing.  Probably the only thing that annoyed me.  They sell cups of food for you to feed the animals.  I saw a family (kids AND the father) throwing peanuts and CHEERING when they hit a mandrill (primate) in the face.  You have NO idea how hard it was for me not to rip them a new one.  NO IDEA.  It didn't seem to bother the animals and an employee didn't say anything so I bit my tongue.  The animals were excited to eat the peanuts they picked up off the ground, but seriously people. Use common sense. Do you want me to throw a peanut into your face?  No? Don't do it to them. my soapbox there. Picture time! I LITERALLY had over 20 shots I wanted to share.  I narrowed them down for your viewing pleasure!

Wolves that look MUCH larger in person. This one kept following V. I don't think he liked her very much, or maybe TOO much.  Either way...I was not a fan.

We got there at his lunch time.  He REALLY loved the cantaloupe and sugar snap peas. I wanted to hug him.
Some of the exhibits are super close. This exhibit warned of biting. 

HOW PRETTY IS THIS TIGER? It was literally about a yard away.
So this, ummm,male baboon was raised by a blond lady and was made to wear clothing.  He comes with a pretty long rule list at his cage. Don't provoke him or you will be asked to leave.
I wanna scratch his head.
Lazy days yawning are hard.
When we were there they did "afternoon enrichment"  The boxes were full of paper,snacks,and flowers (also snacks). They loved pulling out  and discovering what was inside.  Side note-this is the guy who got pelted with the peanuts.
There is also a large lake with ducks, geese, and swans-white and black.
We spent about 2 hours there and in that time revisited some exhibits. I think it was a fun afternoon.  Next Saturday they are having an Easter Egg Hunt free with entry.

So glad I was convinced to go and look forward to going back!  Thanks to Tiger World for the complimentary tickets for the family. All thoughts,experiences, and pictures are my own.

Monday, February 23, 2015

So...You want to do craft shows, huh? (How to get ideas for your UNIQUE business)

If you weren't aware, I do LOTS of craft shows.  Around this time of the year I have just recovered from the fall/winter show season and start thinking about the spring/summer shows.
Every year at craft shows I always get asked how I got into them, how do you go about doing them, where do you get your things....

I am NOT going to tell you all my vendors.  Gotta protect myself a bit!  But I figured I could write down some ideas on how you can get into the craft show circuit.  Also, I figured it would throw in a bit of craft show etiquette.

First things first.  You have a great idea, right?


If you are planning on soap, candles, or jewelry expect LOTS of competition.  LOTS.  So much so, that lots of times even if the show isn't "juried in" the jewelry will be. Those spaces always fill fast. (FYI-some shows are first come/first served.  Others are "juried in" meaning that you have to submit photos or pieces of your work to be voted on by a panel.  Sometimes you get it back, sometimes you don't)

When you are out looking around at shows, please don't straight up ask how someone makes something. Most people aren't going to tell you their secret formula.  If it is food/lotion/etc, the ingredients BY LAW will be on the item, but don't expect a ratio given to you.  You can look at my lip balms and see what ingredients I use, but I won't tell you my ratio. Most people won't. If we did, we wouldn't have a business!

If you LOVE something , don't take pictures without asking first.  Personally, I don't care.  You can find my items on Etsy, Facebook, and blogs all over the world. I post a lot on Instagram as well.  Social media is how I get my name out. Some vendors though are VERY touchy on this subject.  ASK ASK ASK.

If you feel you can make something a vendor makes, that's cool. Make it. With lots of crafts, they are relatively inexpensive to make.  Most of the cost of an item is for the time put into making it/packaging it/promoting it. Not the actual materials themselves.

If you can get it at Wal-mart for less. Cool.  Go buy it. You don't have to tell me about it.  Buying something handmade is MUCH different from buying factory made things from China.  I am aware, and so are other vendors, that items made over seas can be cheaper.  That isn't the factory workers passion, though.  My items and my shop are my passion and my heart.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It is...if someone copies your hair style.

When it isn't is when you spend time making something and then someone stands in your booth INSPECTING how you made it.  Not a, "Oh wow,cool!  Look at the details in this ceramic bowl!!" I am talking inspecting EVERY SINGLE SEAM.  Asking how well it sells.  Asking what items you use to make it.  Asking where you get your materials...then saying I can make this!  Or my sister can make it.  This is ESPECIALLY annoying if you are another vendor (had it happen and saw stuff copied!!!) OR if you already stated that you want to open a shop.

I know what you are doing.

You are making mental notes of how I made my item so you can copy it.

You know what would be even better?  BUY something, take it home, and figure it out for yourself. Copying happens.  If it didn't, we would all be wearing the same t-shirt.  Make it your own though.  Change things up. 

If you DO decide to imitate someone, PLEASE do not go to a craft show that they are already a regular at.  I have some craft shows that I go to every year and plan on going back to.  Don't try for the same shows.  Craft vendors TALK. 

When you enter the craft world you will learn that it is a super close and trusting group.  Where else can you have a tent full of items, look at someone you met 2 hours ago and say "Can you watch my items while I run to the bathroom?" and leave thousands of dollars of merchandise and know that it will be fine and watched over?  With that being said, see up above.  You don't want to enter the craft circuit and already be on someones bad side.

The more unique, the better! Look around.  Find something that someone else in your area doesn't do OR does do and do it different!  There are lots of people who do wood working in my area, BUT there wasn't anyone who made toys like mine!  It is a unique spot that I got into and because of this, I have people looking for me at shows.  There is "competition" but not someone selling the EXACT same thing as me.

So, I kind of went off on some tangents there, but I think I stressed the number one thing I wanted you to learn here....BE UNIQUE when deciding to open a shop.  

Next time I am going to give you a list of items that you will need (some you never thought about!)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Dishcloth Knitting Tutorial aka What in the world is "Mercerized Cotton" and what do I do with it.

Back last fall my friend sent me a message that read "I have huge bags of yarn and other crafty things.  Want them?"  To which I replied "DUH."I have a serious yarn habit.

I can home one day to THREE TRASH BAGS FULL of yarn and stuff on my front porch.  I literally squealed.  I went through and separated everything into piles and ended up with some stuff called "mercerized cotton".  It looks like embroidery floss, but thicker if that makes sense and was on all these little spools.  So, I got to googling.

According to :    Mercerized cotton is cotton which has been treated with sodium hydroxide to bring out certain properties first discovered by John Mercer in 1851.

Ok. So I know WHAT it is, but not what to do.   I threw it back in my plastic tub and flash forward to last week, I decide to do something with it.  I knew I didn't have enough to make clothing from, plus it is an odd feeling.  The slippery is weird.  I decided on dishcloths!

Again, off to google.  I saw TONS of tutorials for "Grandma's Favorite Dishcloth" and decided to go that route.  Most used normal yarn and since mine was so thin, I decided to double up on the threads.  Not really sure WHO to give credit to officially so I thank all knitting Grandma's out there for this one!

With the size of the yarn, I decided to use size 2 needles.  My needle length is 13.5inches. This was my determining factor in the size of the cloth.

Cast on 4
Knit across all four.
Next row Knit 2, yarn over, knit to the end.
Repeat the last row until you get the width you want.  

I ended up going until I had 80 stitches across.  When beginning to knit this you are making a big triangle.  By doing yarn overs you are adding additional width as well as the cute little holes on the sides. Yarn overs are literally just that.  Take the yarn from the back and loop it around the needle. After turning and going back across treat that as a stitch to knit.

Once at the width you want, time to start decreasing.
Knit 1, K2Tog, Yarn over, K2Tog, Knit across.
Repeat that until you are down to 4 stitches left on needle.
Bind off.
Weave in ends.

BOOM. Done.
 So, there you have it.  Super easy pattern to mindlessly knit, kill time, and bust your yarn stash!