Our Morning at the Circus

Tuesday, December 28, 2010
I have been hard at work finishing the Finley and Oliver Spring 2011 line. Originally, I had scheduled to shoot the line in February with my dear friend Laura of Laura Winslow Photography. However, the line is inspired by the circus so when we heard that the Zoppe Italian Family Circus was in town, we were all over it.

We packed up our kids early yesterday morning and headed over to the circus. I had emailed the circus folks to ask for permission but we never heard back so we had no idea if we'd be allowed to shoot or not. We were fully prepared to sneak around and take photographs under the radar.

However, as soon as we arrived a woman came up to our cars and invited us inside for a little performance that they were putting on for our local news channel. We were so stoked and the kids were in heaven. After the performance, Laura asked the folks in charge if we could take some shots in their circus tent. They were happy to give us permission and let us have free reign. This tent is the coolest little circus tent I have ever seen. So intimate, charming, and vintage - it really transported us to a different time. 

Once we finished up shooting inside, we moved outside and were honored with the presence of Nino the Clown. Nino is played by Giovanni Zoppe who is a 6th generation circus performer and runs the circus with his siblings. I used to have major clown phobia until I met Nino.

Giovanni was so incredibly gracious and actually brought me back to his trailer to meet his wife Amy who did an incredible performance up on some crazy high ropes that morning. We also got to meet his son Julian who is just 14 months old and the cutest little clown ever. The fact that I got to go into the trailer of a family of circus performers is probably the highlight of my year. I read "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen this past summer so I'm a bit circus obsessed lately.

They even offered to have us back to shoot some more photos with the kids on ponies and on tight rope platforms. Unfortunately, none of us have the time to make it back as the circus leaves at the end of the week.

If you are local to the Metro Phoenix area, you should definitely check out the Zoppe Italian Family Circus in Chandler. They have performances twice a day through January 2nd. We have tickets for the New Year's Eve performance and can't wait! (And a note to other animal friendly folks like myself, the only animals involved are some very lucky dogs and a happy little pony).

A huge thank you to Laura Winslow for being so amazing to work with - not to mention up for anything! Thank you also to the Zoppe family for allowing us to shoot and creating some really fun memories for our kids! Lastly, thank you to Mia of Dolce Vita Mia for letting me borrow your little model :)

We still have several more pieces to shoot so these will be available in the shop in a few weeks.

Flower Headband - Dolce Vita Mia 
Pink Hat - Gracylu Originals

Choosing Our Newest Flock Members

Saturday, December 11, 2010
The crazy chicken lady in me has emerged again so you might be seeing a lot of chicken posts in the near future. Apologies in advance. Anyhow, we have decided to add four more chickens into our little backyard flock. Orders for the February hatch through My Pet Chicken will open up any day now so I've been busy reading up on different breeds and determining which would be a good fit for our family. I think we've narrowed it down to these four breeds.

image via mypetchicken.com

We knew without a doubt that we would want another Buff Orpington. We had the sweetest Buff named Ramona but sadly we lost her this past August. She was the friendliest chicken, a great layer, and was wonderful around the kids. 

image via mypetchicken.com

I've always been captivated by the gorgeous feathers on Wyandottes so we've chosen to add a Silver Laced Wyandotte to the family. They are good layers, friendly birds, and are hardy to the heat.

Buff Orpingtons and Wyandottes are good layers. Add those to the three layers we have now and we will be rolling in the eggs. As it is, we get plenty for our household of five. Because we'll be getting more than enough eggs with these breeds, I've decided that it would be fun to add chickens of the ornamental variety to the flock.

via mypetchicken.com

This little fluff ball is a White Cochin. While not the best layers, these little chickens are easily handled, friendly, and super docile. Not too mention they are crazy cute and get fuller and fluffier as they get older (the one in this picture is a pullet - female chicken under a year old)

via mypetchicken.com 

I saved the best for last. This ornamental oddity is called a Polish. I haven't decided which variety of Polish we'll get but I promise you that they all have that fabulous crest of feathers. Never a bad hair day with these girls.

Once we place our order, I'll have to impatiently wait until the chicks hatch sometime in February. Once they have hatched, they'll be packaged up at a day old and sent via USPS to us. 

This is how our girls arrived last February. So cute, right? I can't wait to have little chicks in the house again!

On Sale and Ready to Ship!

Friday, December 10, 2010
I've just added a bunch of my most popular items to the sale section in my shop. I've adjusted the inventory listed to stock on hand. All items in that section are already made and will ship within 24 hours of purchase. Just in time for Christmas! 

Here are some of the items I've added:

If you're still looking for a unique gift for a baby or toddler, pop on over to my shop to see all the items I've included in the sale. Once the sale is over, some items will go back to the original price and others will be discontinued to make room for my spring/summer 2011 line.

Tour de Coops Recap

Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Well, we had the big Phoenix Tour de Coops this past Saturday. So incredibly fun and ridiculously exhausting. Those of you who have no clue what I'm talking about can read my last blog post on it here. In short, the Tour de Coops is a tour of the metro Phoenix area's coolest urban chicken set ups. This year we were honored to be a stop on the tour and loved showing off our coop and our girls. 

When the tour goers arrived, they put on a pair of blue booties and spritzed their hands with sanitizer. Chicken diseases are easily transferable and in the rare case that there were any sick birds on the tour, this ensured that all the other birds remained healthy and diseases weren't transmitted from coop to coop. A bonus is that those booties kept the chicken poop off of everyone's shoes!

We had about 200 people visit our coop over the course of the day. It was a great mix of people who already owned chickens and people who were thinking of taking the plunge. What a blast I had talking to them - it was fun giving tips to those who knew nothing about chickens and getting tips myself from old school chicken keepers. 

Showing this couple our "brooder"

The girls were a little bit nervous at first with all the people. Lucy and Effie stuck to the patio with the familiar faces of my mom and my sister and Flo hid in the bushes. Eventually, they warmed up and visited with the other folks. (Effie is molting which explains her wonky feathers right now).

In addition to learning about our chickens and our coop, a lot of the visitors wanted to learn more about our raised bed vegetable garden. Fortunately, my sister who is an Arizona gardening guru, was there to answer questions for us since we were so busy talking about the chickens.

Even Finley and Oliver had a great time. Finley managed to wrangle some kid into pushing him on his "tractor."

Talking all. day. long. seriously tired me out. I even fell asleep before the big USC/UCLA game (gasp!!). But it was so worth it - we had a fabulous time and are already looking forward to next year's Tour de Coops (but as tour goers next time around).

Crafeteria 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010
This past weekend I had the pleasure of participating in Crafeteria 2010 at Frances Vintage in Central Phoenix. Wow. What an absolute honor to be included among the 40 incredible vendors. I was so impressed by the level of artistry and craftsmanship.

One of the highlights of the evening was being parked right next to my good friend Erica of Parkside Harmony. There was a steady crowd all night but we were able to sneak in a quick chat here and there.

The vibe for the evening was incredible. There was great live music, tasty treats, and an amazing crowd. The shoppers were so friendly and very supportive of the local handmade scene.

A huge thank you to Georganne of Frances Vintage and Smeeks for putting together such a fun show. We are looking forward to next year!

Hitting the Road and Giveaway News

Tuesday, November 23, 2010
We are getting ready to make our annual trip to my sister's house in California for Thanksgiving. I absolutely can't wait. I can hear my brother in law's mashed potatoes calling my name already.

I probably won't get to update my blog while I'm gone so I wanted to let you all know about two rad things. The first is the craziest giveaway I have ever participated in. No joke, folks. Laura of Laura Winslow Photography is hosting a giveaway with some of my favorite crafty peeps. Winner takes all 50+ prizes valued at over $2,000!!! Yes, you read that right...over $2,000. For a sneak peek of what's being offered, click here. Included in the crazy huge prize package is a gift certificate to my shop. Laura will start the giveaway this upcoming Monday, the 29th. Keep an eye on her blog for details on entering.

I'm also super excited to be giving away another gift certificate to my shop over at The TomKat Studio But shhh...it's a secret for now. Giveaway starts sometime this Friday.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by loved ones and lots of mashed potatoes. Be safe.

2010 Crafeteria

Tuesday, November 16, 2010
I am so excited to share that Finley and Oliver will be participating in the 2010 Crafeteria this year. Crafeteria has been deemed the "Best Indie Craft Fair" by the Phoenix New Times and I am thrilled to have been accepted.

Mark your calendars for December 3rd and come on down to experience amazing live music, super tasty sweets, and some serious handmade goodness.

2nd Annual Tour de Coops

Wednesday, November 10, 2010
When the idea of being chicken owners was just bouncing around in our heads last year, we had the opportunity to attend the 1st Annual Tour de Coops in the greater Phoenix area. The Tour de Coops is a self-guided tour of the valley's coolest chicken setups. (Kind of like one of those holiday home tours but way cooler).

We had an amazing time touring the different chicken set ups at different homes throughout the valley and talking with the owners. It was after attending the tour that we decided raising urban poultry was definitely in our future and set off with plans for our own coop filled with baby chicks (you can read all about the beginning of our chicken adventure here).

A couple of months ago, the Phoenix Permaculture Guild put out a "call for coops" to be on this year's tour. We were all over that and quickly submitted our detailed application. Once they looked over our application, they sent someone over to check out our coop to ensure that it was seriously cool (and it totally is). They agreed and this year our cool little coop (as well as our chickens, gardens, trees, etc.) will be on display for this year's tour. You all know how much I like to talk about my chickens and now I get to do it for an entire day - with a captive audience! Absolute heaven for me.

If you are in the Phoenix area and have any sort of interest in urban poultry or even urban gardening, I highly recommend this tour. It's a blast and a great way to connect with like minded people.

2nd Annual Tour de Coops
December 4th, 2010
10am - 3pm
Visit www.tourdecoops.org for more details and ticket information

A Halloween Recap

Monday, November 1, 2010
I am telling you, this past month was crazy. Seriously, crazy. Between keeping up with orders and craft shows, Finley busting up his mouth and getting stitches, school, Halloween hoopla, and our regular toddler madness, I am beat!! In the midst of the chaos, we had an amazing Halloween with the family complete with an eyeball toss, donkey pinata, and ghostie treasure hunt.

As most of you know, Finley insisted on being a purple Mini Cooper.

He's been waiting weeks for the chance to wear this costume and "drive" down the street. But when the time came, he decided he'd rather tow it than wear it. 

Oliver was going to be a ghost and we made a cool little costume out of cheese cloth (thanks to one of my commenters for the suggestion!). Sadly, we couldn't keep the eye holes lined up with his actual eyes and had to ditch the ghost at the last minute. Fortunately, we had Finley's old puppy dog costume on hand and Oliver makes a ridiculously cute puppy.

The day was so perfect that my little guys actually got along and sat for some cutie brotherly pictures. (A major rarity.)

I love Halloween but I'm glad it's over. I'm looking forward to moving on and preparing for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Two Big Shopping Events {PHX locals}

Monday, October 25, 2010
I have been totally MIA from my blog for a while and I apologize for that. This is my busy season and I am sewing my little fingers off keeping up with orders and building up my Finley and Oliver stock for these two amazing events.  If you are in the metro Phoenix area, mark your calendars! You can get a head start on your holiday shopping and say hi to me while you do.

Believe Boutique
at Cornerstone in Chandler
November 5th and 6th
Click here for details

Hissyfits Hullabaloo
at Hissyfits in Phoenix
November 7th
Click here for details

I will be back to my regularly scheduled blogging soon! I have a lot to tell you all between Finley's 2nd ER visit in a month, some fun chicken news, and all of the Halloween hoopla.

My New Online Obsession: Terrain

Friday, October 15, 2010
I came across a short little blurb on Terrain while reading the Phoenix New Times last night. How on earth I missed this amazing site for so long is beyond me. Leave it to the folks behind Anthropologie to come up with another store that is equally amazing and just as dangerous to my pocketbook. 

Terrain carries handmade, vintage, and all kinds of cool things for the house and garden. These are just a few of the many things I'm swooning over.

How rad are these chalkboard garden markers? Definitely going on my wish list.

Or this adorable egg beater tea towel? (Screen printed by hand)

I am in love with this deer wall sconce but it's out of my budget right now. 

If you have some time to burn, hop on over to Terrain and let me know what you think. But I'm warning you, the store is amazing and will likely become your new obsession too.

A Black and White Halloween

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I love Halloween. Seriously love it. I think my favorite part about it is all the fun decor. This year I thought it would be cool to decorate our living and dining room in black and white. Kind of spooky yet classy at the same time. 

I used my Cricut Expression and the Mini Monsters cartridge to cut out these fun shapes for our white frames. 

For our dining table, we used a ton of black candle holders, taper candles, faux crows and white pumpkins. 

And of course, we had to have some little ghosties flying around. 

Halloween has been on my mind so much lately, and we've done so much to prepare that I can't believe it's still 2 1/2 weeks away!

New to Finley and Oliver

Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Check out these adorable photos from Lexi at Wild Fern Photography of a few pieces that I've added to my Finley and Oliver line. I love what she did with them.

I also added Mr. & Mrs. Cupcake tees. Check out these two cuties rocking their new shirts! Photo and kiddos courtesy of the amazingly talented Laura of Laura Winslow Photography.