Friday, September 30

Happy World Vegetarian Day

It's here - World Vegetarian Day! The day when everyone realizes how tasty broccoli and carrots really are and vegetarians no longer have to settle for second-best at restaurants. Not really, but we can dream right?

World Vegetarian Day is the kick-off for Vegetarian Awareness Month, so be prepared for lots  of veggie-loving posts here at Purple Clover in October. To start us off, I wanted to share this very fun piece of veggie art and wish everyone a meat-free day!

Vegetables are our friends!!

Fall Color Trends I Can Get Behind

Gold, Orange, Brown, Burgundy.

Sound familiar? These are the tried and true colors of fall, and, in honesty, not my usual favorites. I love the season (breezy temps, scarves, football and my birthday - what more could you ask for?) but with the exception of the continuing eggplant trend, I don't love fall colors. So I was thrilled to stumble across this HGTV post on top color trends this fall. The list includes some fun variations on the fall classics. Instead of forest green try an invigorating emerald or a muted cedar (had never heard of this color before either but I'm loving it).  Instead of chocolate brown try bamboo - it's brown with a healthy dose of retro yellow. Check out the post for the rest of the list (including a surprising blue hue!) and find ways, big or small, to incorporate these fun colors into your seasonal decor before someone remembers it's fall. 

Wednesday, September 28

Surprising Stats

Everyday each of us throws things away - but have you ever thought about just much stuff ends up in your garage bin each day? According to the EPA, the average American produces 4.4 lbs of trash daily - that's 30.8 lbs a week or 1,600 lbs a year. I wonder what that number was 100 years ago or 50 or even 15 years ago, I'm guessing no where close to what we waste today. Read this post from Earth911 for more startling statistics, including the amount of that trash that actually gets recycled (you'll be astounded!) And, the next time you go to throw that coffee cup (or water bottle or wrapper, etc.) into the closest trash can instead of looking for a recycling bin maybe you'll think twice.

Tuesday, September 27

Fun Finds for Book Lovers

In my continuing plug for banned books week, I put together a collection of fun finds for my fellow library-lovers. Highlights are below and be sure to check out the full list. Enjoy and read a banned book!

To Kill a Mockingbird Pendant by tuckooandmoocow

Lord of the Flies Art by MissCrowland

Modern Library Storage Bin by AbleandBaker

Monday, September 26

Celebrate Your Freedom To Read

Banned Books Week is here, and I hope you're marking the holiday by reading a book from ALA's frequently challenged books list. From 2001 - 2010, American libraries received 4,660 book challenges, which means from 2001 - 2010 4,660 people tried to restrict your right to choose what you and your family reads. As a former Library Science student, this is an issue close to my heart. It specifically states in the American Library Bill of Rights (yes, libraries have their own bill of rights!) that it is responsibility of libraries to fight censorship. 

“Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.” —Article 3, Library Bill of Rights

Support your local public library this banned books week by visiting to find an event in your area (or there are virtual events as well) or read a book from the 2010's Ten Most Frequently Challenged List. I bet you'll be surprised to see some of your favorites on this list:

And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

Crank, by Ellen Hopkins

The Hunger Games (series), by Suzanne Collins
Lush, by Natasha Friend
What My Mother Doesn't Know, by Sonya Sones
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America, by Barbara Ehrenreich
Revolutionary Voices edited by Amy Sonnie

Twilight (series), by Stephenie Meyer

Friday, September 23

Moving Tips Part II - Unpacking

As promised, here is Part II of my soon-to-be-famous moving tips...


Set Up Something Personal First - We all feel more at home with our own things around us. So to feel at ease set up something personal first. The sooner you feel like a new space is 'yours,' the more you'll want to complete the process of unpacking, get ride of all that cardboard and be settled in your new home. Something simple is best. My usual choice is photos on the fridge - ah! this is the bag from the suitcase. I simply take everything displayed on my old fridge, put it in a bag and then rehang at the new place. This just takes seconds but makes a big impact.

Just Dive In - If you're feeling daunted, just pick a box or bag at random and dive in. Take out whatever you can carry and put those few items away. Then go for another handful. Then another. And before you know it there is one more box ready to be flattened for the recycle pile.  Also - don't be afraid to get distracted. It's ok to have more than one box open at a time (as long as it's not 10 open boxes...) that you are pulling from. After a few handfuls from a kitchen box, you may want to switch and start setting up your antique spoon collection. Go for it, just don't forget to return to that kitchen box before too long.

Pick Your Favorite Area - Many people will advise you to start with one heavily trafficked area, say the kitchen, set it up completely then move on to the next area. I say start with whatever area will make you feel at home. Personally, I'm perfectly happy to survive on take-out for a couple days but cringe at the thought of not having immediate access to that grey dress I suddenly have the must-have urge to wear, so setting up the closet is first on my to-do list.

It Doesn't Have to Be Permanent or Perfect - It's very easy to get tied up in finding the perfect spot for that vacation souvenir. Or figuring out just the right way your closet should be lined up. Before you relocate your sweaters for the fourth time, take a deep breath and put them back on that same shelf. The important thing when unpacking is just to get everything out of their moving containers and back into usage. Don't get me wrong - I'm certainly not advocating dumping everything out onto the living room floor and saying your done. Just remind yourself that you'll figure out the perfect place for that buddha statue as you begin to settle in your space and not when you just walked in the door.

Hang It Up - It's always a good idea to live in a space for a bit before hanging anything on the walls. You want to make sure the furniture arrangement works for your daily life before making a lot of holes. But don't wait too long - or you'll get used to seeing that Beatles poster resting in the corner and it will never get up. I recommended hanging stuff up within two weeks of a move. On the same hand, don't be hesitate to hang something up if you know it will make you feel settled (our main goal afterall!). For instance, one of the first things I do is hang up a hook in the bathroom for my robe. Knowing it has a place, and won't be left to dry on the floor, helps me feel like I'm living in my own space.

Keep Unpacked Boxes In Sight - If you're getting tired of the sea of cardboard or maybe feel guilty that it's been two weeks and you still have piles to go through, you may have the bright idea to put those boxes in a closet or spare room or wherever out of sight. Resist the urge!
A hidden box is one that never gets unpacked. So unless you want to come across that same box the next time you move, leave it out where you'll see it (read: trip over it) every day.

Most importantly remember unpacking should be fun, not a chore. You're taking a blank canvas and making it into a space that is uniquely you - what could be more fun?

Thursday, September 22

Moving Day!

It's Moving Day in my casa! And here's a moving themed treasury to celebrate! Highlights are below, be sure to check out the full collection. Enjoy!

Small Bus by uswoodtoys

Home Love Wooden Sign by darcydixon

Moving Announcement by FourHarpDesigns

Tuesday, September 20

Moving Tips Part I - Packing

I am a seasoned mover. In the past six years I have moved nine times (including move-ins, move-outs and short-term moves). The ninth being currently in progress. I am also all about organization. The result being I pretty much have moving down to an art form (not to toot my own horn or anything...). In honor of move number nine, I will be sharing my soon-to-be-famous moving tips in two parts: Packing and Unpacking. Enjoy!


Make a Content List - Some may find this tip tedious, but I promise it is well worth the effort. As you finish packing a box (or bag, etc.) label it with a number. Then make an inventory (again as you go) with what's in that container in mid-level detail. For example, instead of labeling box 3 as "office supplies" put "office supplies - paper, pens, desk knick-knacks."  You don't need to get super detailed, just enough so that when you think "ah - I would really love that XYZ right now" you can find it without having to open five other boxes first. This helps in numerous ways 1) you just feel crazy organized, 2) it's easy to check if everything made it to the new location - just count and compare and 3) you can very easily find what you need without unpacking multiple boxes. I promise, it really does not take much time and will end up saving you lots of time and stress with unpacking.

Keep Like with Like - This basic rule of organizing can and should be applied to moving as well. Just because you have a little extra room in that bag of winter clothes does not mean you should stuff it with dish towels. Dividing up your items just means it will take you more time to unsort them later. Keep like with like.

Use What You Have - Why put all the items you use to carry around or store things in your day-to-day life into boxes when you can put them to good use? Use tote bags, storage cubes and suitcases as moving containers. Purses and reusable shopping bags can also be used to keep groups of items together (throw all your belts into one or two purses, then put those into a larger box or bag with other accessories).

Don't Plan On Finishing the Morning Of - Many people think it's ok to finish packing a few odds and ends while the movers begin loading. Don't fall into this trap! Having every shelf cleared and box sealed before the movers knock on your door is key to stress-free move. Trying to finish packing while the movers are trying to do there job just means you'll end up tripping over each other and the whole process will take longer. You should have one bag available for anything that is discovered in the back of closet after the dresser is moved. Without fail, when the movers first walk in my door they breath a sigh of relief seeing that everything is ready to go. Happy movers equals an easy move. I've also gotten some interesting comments on my inventory list, but I think they are just jealous.

Know What You'll Need Right Away - I put essentials I know (or think) I'll want the day-of the move in one of my suitcases. It makes them easy to find and access. For this move, my suitcase holds my toolbox, mini air purifier (for us allergy-suffers), a set of clean towels, a set of clean sheets and a bag of pictures (to be explained...).

Check back later this week for the tantalizing sequal:  Part II - Unpacking

Monday, September 19

How Do I Recycle That?

If you're like me, then you probably have items around your house that you think should be recyclable but either aren't sure if they are or know that your local recycling center isn't equipped to handle those items. The solution? Mail-in recycling programs - like TerraCycle.

Collect your random items - such as candy bar wrappers, beauty product containers or kool aid packages - send them in and TerraCycle not only turns those items into new products but also donates funds - based on the amount recyclables - to a charity or school of your choice! You do have to register and some types of items have fees, but TerraCycle does cover shipping. There are other programs like this out there, so do some research and find a program that accepts the item your looking to recycle. Every little bit helps!

Saturday, September 17

Fun Finds for Fall

Who doesn't love to start off a new season with fun new things? Personally, whenever a change of season rolls around I always get an itch to go shopping. Whether its the season's latest clothing trends or seasonally-perfect decor, it's always nice to have a mini 'refresh' when the weather turns. To start off your fall right, here are a few of my favorite seasonal 'refreshers' in surprising colors (who says all fall items have to be leaf colored?) that can found at Lilyshop. Enjoy!

Flea Market Journal by LazaFlair

Wall Shelf by KPDreams

Shabby Chic Necklace by uknitme

Wednesday, September 14

DIY Design

I'm moving next week. And, of course with me being me, my mind has been filling with all of the fun new decorating possibilities. Perhaps this is why I move so often - what can be more fun than a blank canvas just waiting to be filled up with whatever your mind (and abilities, and wallet) can dream up?

I've been collecting ideas on Pintrest. Here are a few of my favorites, but you can check out my pintrest page for lots more DIY fun. Who knows - maybe some of these will end up in your home as well? :)

Scrapbook Paper Map  via My Life and Kids

Tea Container Window Garden via Re-Nest

Oven Rack Jewelry Organizer via Just Sew Sassy

Monday, September 12

At the Market - Ballston Market Sept 10

This past Saturday I was a vendor at Ballston Arts & Crafts Market. It was a beautiful day, so I expected lots of foot traffic - given that the DC area was water-logged for most of last week. Surprisingly, the crowd turned out to be pretty sparse. Even though sales were a little slow, at least I was able to get plenty of vitamin D and test out the new set-up.

You'll remember last week I posted a sneak peak, well I think the actual set-up turned out to be even better than I had envisioned. It improved on my old set-up by adding more items at varying heights and encouraging people to interact with the products.  Putting the vintage book and map paintings in baskets and displaying the magnets on an easily visible tray encouraged people to touch and feel, hopefully turning more 'lookers' into 'buyers.' Plus this new set-up takes less time to assemble/dissemble, a fact both myself and my set-up assistant (a.k.a. my dad) were very happy about!

Crafty Book Review - How to Make Money Using Etsy

This book, from the mind behind, is a great resource for beginner and advanced Etsy sellers alike. The beginning chapters go through step by step the process of setting up a shop and getting involved in the Etsy community, which veteran Etsy sellers may find redundant. These readers should skip ahead to the later chapters on SEO (we can all always use a brush up here!) and marketing. The book closes with a collection of interviews with Etsy sellers. This was the section I found the most useful and interesting. It reinforced that there is no one way to go about being successful on Etsy, just because you hear of one person having success with a certain tactic does not mean that if you’re not doing it that way you won’t see results. The entire book is supported by pertinent graphics (mostly screenshots of various online tools or Etsy itself) and tips from successful sellers. I’ve found myself picking it up even after the initial read for further inspiration, particularly for marketing and blogging tips. 

Verdict: Recommended

How to Make Money Using Etsy by Timothy Adam
240 pp. 2011, Wiley

Friday, September 9

Introduce Some Color Into Your World

The rain clouds finally decided to take a break here in DC. Just as they were moving on I caught a quick glimpse of a rainbow. This unexpected sighting (after three days of dismal, seemingly unending rain) reminded me just how much colors can impact a person's mood. I'm sure everyone's heard how businesses, such as hotels and restaurants, choose specific colors for their decor to influence customers but how many people apply this same concept into their homes?

To do so, first we must understand what feelings and characteristics are naturally associated with each color. Here is a neat color symbolism chart from ArtTherapy to get you started (For those unfamiliar with tag clouds, note that the words in white are the most strongly associated attributes with the association weakening as the text color darkens). I was intrigued to see just how many conflicting feelings are associated with each color - for instance blue is associated with both confidence and despair as well as balance and depression. At first it's hard to understand how those such opposing feelings can be drawn from the same color until you consider that each person interacting with the color comes with their own perspective. I guess like many things, color symbolism is very subjective. Either way, if you're looking to change up your space, color symbolism can be a fun way to guide your transformation. Want to introduce more excitement into a space? Try introducing red accents. Looking to make your living room more joyful, humorous and cozy? Go for orange. For myself, purple has always been my power color. With attributes like dream, individualism, beauty and creativity it's easy to see why!

Thursday, September 8

Craft Show Displays

First, a big apology to all for being a slacker this week and not posting. Unconsciously, I took a bit of a breather from all things-online and before I knew it four days had passed! (There are 823 new posts on my google reader to catch-up on!) Guess I just needed to unplug for awhile.

During my trip back to the pre-digital era, I took the opportunity to rework my craft show display. I'd been doing roughly the same set-up for the past two years, and with some new products to display I thought this weekend's Ballston Market would be a great opportunity to shake things up. Months ago I had bookmarked this blog post on Indie Fixx with 14 rules for craft show displays. Many of the items were things I wanted to improve about my own show display: making it easier for customers to interact with the products, utilizing different heights and incorporating unique display props. I want my booth to look like a mini store, so when people walk by my tent they get an immediate idea of the types of products they will find there. Will my new set-up be perfect? No. But it's definitely a step in the right direction. Below is a sneak peak (ignore the garage jumble in the background) with full pics coming after Saturday's show. 

Saturday, September 3

Crafty Book Review - Organizing Your Day

Since leaving a full-time job one of my biggest hurdles has been time management. It turns out I’m great at physical organization (my desk space is a tribute to the color-coded gods) but lousy at mental or action organization (i.e. I just spent two hours online ‘window’ shopping for couches). 

I picked up Organizing Your Day because the title kept coming up in my online searches for time management resources. Frankly, I was disappointed. I found that the book did a good job of pointing why people have problems managing their time and what causes people to lose their focus, but failed to fully deliver on the promised time management techniques (come on, it’s even in the title...Organizing Your Day: Time Management Techniques that Will Work for You.) For instance, the tips at the end of the chapter on Daily Scheduling include - “Before you start your day, look at your to-do list.” and “Create consistent, successful morning and evening routines” Well that sounds great - but how do I do that and stick with it? The book is organized into 24 chapters each on a specialized topic - procrastination, delegating, multi-tasking, etc. The authors use case-studies to explain each topic and at the end of the chapter have a short list of summary tips. Now, it may be that I’m more educated on time management methods than I realized, but unless you’re looking for very basic information on the topic I wouldn’t add this book to your reading list.

Verdict? Not recommended

Organizing Your Day by Sandra Felton and Marsha Sims
272 pp., 2009, Revell

Friday, September 2

Hope, Love and Peace, Man

My family has often said I was born in the wrong decade. In my teens I decorated my room with peace signs and listened to the Beatles instead of Brittany. I'd like to think that I haven't lost my peace-loving, open-minded hippie spirit (even if my decor and music choices have evolved a bit). That's why I'm loving these new additions to my line of map wall art. And for my fellow misplaced modern hippies, don't you worry - 'peace' will soon be joining this collection...

Inspirational Word Art from Upcycled Pennsylvania Map at Lilyshop

Inspirational Word Art from Upcycled Maryland Map at Lilyshop

Thursday, September 1

You Can Recycle That?

These days everyone knows things like newspaper, aluminum cans and water bottles can be recycled. A few of us may even go so far as to recycle electronics or cooking oil, but did you know there is a whole wealth of items out there that can be recycled...and organizations just waiting for you to send those items their way? One example - a non-profit that collects donations of human hair to be used as part of the clean-up effort during oil spills. Check out this list of 10 Things You Never Knew Were Recyclable from Earth911 and prepare to be amazed.