it’s fall and i’m missing it.

it just occurred to me that by the time i can take a minute step outside my studio and breathe in this amazing season, it will all be over. i was at the grocery store yesterday excitedly (frantically?) filling my cart with apple butter, cans of pumpkin, apple muffin mix, butternut squash soup, and real (very large) pumpkins that i realized i’m missing it all. (seriously, i had 5-FIVE-things on my list and walked out with a cart full of fall!) i’m not just missing in the sense that it’s passing me by while i’m slaving (happily) away at my sewing machine, but in the sense that i MISS it! i want to go to the apple orchard, pumpkin patch and farmers market wearing plaid and boots and a scarf. i want to buy bales of hay and pumpkins and gourds and too many bags of candy. i want to bake pumpkin everything, prepare hearty meals, enjoy a backyard fire and snuggle under a blanket to read a book. and i’ m missing it all. SO. after i realized 3 (very large) pumpkins wouldn’t fit under my grocery cart and that maybe 3 (very large) pumpkins was a little much anyway, i decided to enjoy fall in little doses. you know, when i can squeeze it it. because i love it. i love seasons changing, i love the sunny but still cool days, i love the smell of pumpkin and the colors of the changing leaves. and i crave change when the seasons are doing their thing out there (who doesn’t? i loved this post recognizing the excitement of everyone during the changing of a season!)

so, i’m changing things up little by little around the house, moving things around to keep it all fresh and feeling new. i’m finding little ways to honor fall in all her glory. and i won’t stop. cause fall rocks.

i’ve found pretty ways to add pumpkin candles to all our rooms

i’m enjoying hot coco in my studio every chance i get.

i put 1 (large-ish) pumpkin, a bowl of not-apple-orchard-picked-apples-but-still-delicious-and-pretty-apples, and some rocks and sticks  from my collections on our table with my favorite fall vintage tablecloth

i purposefully venture out in the rain so i can bundle up and enjoy the grey

i baked apple cinnamon muffins in my vintage mint green muffin tin (and ate one)

added some rich colors and patterns to our living room

i’ve been living in my moccs which keep my toes warm while i sew

and i went red. i love it.

i’m going to need more fall. it needs to be a priority. note to self: enjoying what you love to do for work must be balanced with enjoying what you love to do outside of work or it won’t be fun anymore!

here are some other things i’m looking forward to enjoying:

come on baby, light my fire. seriously, we’ve been collecting sticks forever, can’t we please have a fire yet?!

maybe some nice fall hikes? yeah, i’d love that.

and i was really inspired by this a beautiful mess  post and can’t wait to make some blueprint-photo-prints for our living room!

and more pumpkins. i need more pumpkins!

what are you enjoying this season? any fall inspiration you’d care to share?

home studio.

the other day i ran into our sweet old neighbors at the grocery store. we don’t see each other often, but when we do we always share updates and tid-bits about out lives. i have never seen them “in public” before, so the dynamic was slightly off and a little awkward (why is that?). the first thing they asked was “so, kid, when ya goin back to work, huh?” they must know i don’t leave the house often, because my car is almost always in the driveway. i replied by saying “oh! i do work! i just work from home!” i tried to explain what i do, how i spend my days, but they seemed confused. “so, you make crafts….? but when will you go back to work?”

i struggled with this for a long time- feeling like i wasn’t doing enough to justify staying at home to work. i don’t feel like that anymore. i am BUSY! i work everyday, all day- often too long! i do sometimes wish for a studio outside of home, only because it would justify my “job” somehow. it would also force be to be home when my work-day was over. working from home is challenging- not only the part where you have to convince people you actually are working your butt off, even though you don’t leave the house- but also the organization of your day, ignoring the distractions, prioritizing, and giving yourself a break!
i’m finally settling into some sort of routine, after a year of operating Opposite of Far from my little studio down the hall. there are some key “rules” i have set up for myself to keep me on track, because working from home is hard! it’s distracting- it can sometimes be really hard to say no to that couch calling my name!

my tips for working from home:

*my tips/rules may not work for everyone, but they work for me!*

1. set a schedule

– i started with a really specific and structured schedule and realized (after 1 week) that wasn’t going to work for me. i have played with several different types of schedules- doing specific things on the same days each week (didn’t work), allotting time blocks for certain tasks (didn’t work). then i realized having rules, but not being strict with the layout of my day was key. rules such as- shower before 10, get dressed in real clothes, no tv unless my hands are busy, house chores can wait until i’m “off”. this is a schedule i can work with! i need rules, but also flexibility!

2. get dressed. every day.

-for me this is KEY! i make sure i am showered everyday before 10 (giving me time in the morning to have a little breakfast, check my e-mail, etsy shop, facebook and catch up on bogs while still feeling cozy and relaxed).

once i’m showered, i restrict myself from wearing sweats or pajamas. most days i just wear my favorite jeans and a tank or t-shirt but some days i wear a dress or skirt (if i’m feelin’ fancy)! i also put my hair up (or at least brush it!) and wear a little make up and some jewelry. this makes me feel more “work ready”, as if i were leaving the house to go to work. i try to pretend my studio is in the outside world, and so i must get dressed to go to work! this greatly helps my mood and motivation.

3. take breaks.

-just like if i were at a workplace, i take breaks. this could be a break to chat on the phone with a friend, check my e-mail/instagram/facebook/etsy, to sit outside and read a chapter of my book, to stretch or get a snack. sometimes i even use these breaks to wash the dishes or start a load of laundry because sometimes those things wear on me if i know they need to be done. doing them during my breaks allows me to feel relaxed about the house chores without detracting me from work. breaks are important because they keep you going! my fried swears by the pomodora technique.

4. EAT!

it can be easy to stuff your face all day long in order to avoid work, but it’s also easy to forget to eat if you’re on a roll! i have a full 24oz bottle of water on my work table at all times-staying hydrated keeps the headaches and drowsiness at bay. it also keeps me from stuffing my face all day long! 🙂 i often take time to prepare a mindful lunch for myself, i find this to be very important for my personal productivity. i stock the house with things that are quick and healthy to prepare and  snack on so i don’t spend 20 minutes trying to talk myself out of a not-so-great snack or lunch.

*want some lunch & snack suggestions? i’d love to hear yours too! send me a message so we can share!*

5. pick an end time and try to stick to it.

this is hard for me. once i start working it is really difficult for me to stop, especially if i have a stack of orders to finish. sometimes i’m guilty of making a quick dinner then running right back to my studio to work until midnight! these last couple weeks, though, i have been trying to reserve the evenings for relaxing and spending time with mike. i try to wrap up my work by the time he gets home so we can visit, cook dinner, then spend the evening together.

6. keep your area clean & organized!

i have made it a habit to pick up/put away/clean my area every day when i’m finished working. this makes it so much easier to start working in the morning! it also keeps the energy in the room open and creative rather than hectic and restrained. for me this includes being stocked up on all my supplies. if i am running low on something, i put it on my list and purchase it as soon as possible, even if it isn’t something i will need immediately. having what you need on hand keeps your work flowing! i also thrive in “pretty” spaces…or at least spaces filled with inspiration. i love my studio- the light, the colors, the organization, and the inspiration surrounding me! i often take pictures while i’m working because i love my space so much! keep your space beautiful, it’ll make you want to create!

…and some things i need to work on

*i need to get better at treating this as a “real job”…i know, i demand others see this as my real job, but sometimes i talk down to myself and don’t respect my work enough. i’ll have to work on that!

*saying “no” to daily adventures with friends because i really should be working! it’s so hard though, i mean i have the freedom so why not? i just need to moderate the weekly outings a bit better!

*internet distraction. i can spend SO MUCH time “taking a break” without even realizing it! yikes….

*still working on the working 15 hours a day issue…sometimes i just have to!

*****

if you work from home, i hope this helps you! or maybe you already have an incredible balance…how do you do it? any tips you’d like to share with me would be most welcome!

most of all i feel incredibly lucky to be able to do the work i love from the comfort of my home. how cool is that? it was literally a “dream” just 2 years ago, and here i am now, typing this blog post from my couch, in my pajamas! and when i sign off, i’m headed to my little studio down the hall to make masks- lots of them- because people from all over the world want them! pinch me!

flying out the door!

As Halloween gets closer & closer the masks & tails fly faster & faster through my sewing machine and out the door! It’s crazy busy over here in the OoF studio, but it’s the best possible busy I could ask for! Stores are being stocked, orders are being shipped, connections are being made…here’s what’s new:

I am making a very special delivery tomorrow!

…little Zeke is getting a new friend! Zeke’s parents, Amanda & Neal run Homespun in Indianapolis and they really wanted their little guy to have a special doll made just for him, so I did just that!

(look for a big ol’ “making of the doll” post coming soon!)

**would you like a custom one-of-a-kind doll like this for your special little one? contact me at oppositeoffar@gmail.com for more details!**

The Green Nursery!

TGN in Bloomington is now *officially* carrying Opposite of Far Masks, Dolls & Wee Owls!

BabyCenter.com L.O.V.E.

The Raccoon Mask by Opposite of Far is featured on the Baby Center website today as one of 14 simple & adorable masks & hats for Halloween! Check it out!

and speaking of babies…

*NEW* Baby-sized Super Hero Masks!

Kids as superheroes are adorable…but babies? oh me, oh my! every baby should have an Opposite of Far Super Hero Mask,don’t cha think?

…and did you hear…

Opposite of Far is in Fargo, ND?!?

If only I could go all the places my masks go!

Unglued– has already sold through their first batch of OoF masks and will soon be getting their first re-stock! Thanks for loving my work, Fargo!

and speaking of going places

Opposite of Far is going to Paris!

(not me, just the masks…but I’m still SO excited!)

La Truite Enchantee, check out Ines’ blog, or just pop in if you happen to be in the neighborhood!

(dream.come.true.)

New Friends of Opposite of Far!

I received this sweet photo of a little birthday girl “Ruby Riding Hood” & her mama from Queensland, Australia!

You know, I LOVE getting photos of kids & adults wearing Opposite of Far masks!

Do you have some photos you could send my way? It would sure make my day, if you did!

and last but not least…

don’t forget to order your mask + tail from opposite of far for Halloween!!!

not only can you get a FOX tail (in any color you want), you can also order mask + tail sets for: raccoons, skunks, beavers, kitties, and more!

***

And in other news…

I’m LOVING this Fall weather and all that a change of season brings to the table! What are you doing to enjoy this new season? I’ll share more about my Fall soon!

growing, or not.

last winter and spring all i could think about was what my garden would look like, what food it would bring to our table throughout the spring, summer and early fall. i imagined the digging and  planting then proudly walking through the soil in bare feet, just admiring my strong plants. and that was just what i did! i dug, sweated, planted, meandered, admired, harvested, and ate in that garden. i loved it and showed it off proudly to friends and neighbors. mike and i would visit the garden together every evening to collect our days bounty.

until.

until the sprinkler was no longer enough water to feed my plants. it was hotter than hot, the rain hadn’t come in too long and our water bill had quadrupled. we were forced to stop watering my precious garden.  the plants dried up and (mostly) stopped producing. then they began wilting…that is one of the saddest sights- rows of plants wilting in the heat, unripened fruit clinging to the last bit of nutrients the soil has to offer. for awhile we diligently collected water from our showers and any time it did rain, there were buckets collecting rain water to use later. but it just wasn’t enough.

just look how pretty my garden was:

(keep reading for some GREAT tips!)

peas just beginning

climbing/growing peas

(i’m not sure the peas liked being in the boxes, next year they will go in the ground!)

strong bell pepperslittle watermeloncherry tomatoes- we ate thousands!

ever-so-useful mint

i am thankful (of course) for the food we did collect from our garden, but it’s so sad to watch so many plants die before they should. i already have plans for how to make the garden better next year. some of those plans start with the way we “close” the garden this year- tilling, laying out compost & straw, etc. but also, this article will help greatly in preparing, planning and caring for my future gardens. including how to prepare your soil, plan your layout, which plants to choose, and a video about the planting technique called three sisters garden. i hope it helps you too!

so now my garden is dry and sad and we count ourselves lucky to find fruit in there. with the little spurts of recent rain, we have still had strawberries and mint  (in containers, so they hold the water better) and some cherry tomatoes (which i think could grow in the middle of a desert)! my basil, however hated the soil in our garden and barely grew or produced at all. next year, i think i’ll put the basil in containers too, since that has worked for me in the past. this article about growing herbs in containers will be very useful to me next year!

what tricks for gardening in unforgiving soil, dry weather (read: drought), unrelenting heat do you have up your sleeve? please share any advice, articles, tricks and/or ideas in the comments below! i’d love to hear from you!

(thank you, allison for the great articles! keep em coming!)

photo a day july- second half.

wrapping up july with the second half of my “photo-a-day” pics:

day 16. sign.

(at the gym)

day 17 addiction.

(starbucks chai…you know this)

day 18. plate.

(veggies for dinner)

day 19. animal.

(milo)

day 20. eyes.

(lola’s eyes melt me…and her ice cream, apparently)

day 21. 9 o’clock.
(ready for leslie’s bridal shower)

day 22. upside down.

(bruce. his favorite sleeping/cuddling position)

day 23. mirror.

(light+ shadows)

day 24. stranger.

(dear rain, we miss you. next time you should stay longer than 3 minutes)

day 25. heart.

(because i heart cool mornings)

day 26. sunshine.

(going down…)

day 27. on the road.

(still feels like going “home”)

day 28. cup.
(filled with sparkling water + fresh mint ice cubes)

day 29. something i bought.

(dollhouse. score.)

day 30. calm.

(a pool with no bodies)

day 31. toothbrush.

(his + hers)

*****

so there you have it! another month of photo-a-day!

and here are the prompts for august, in case you would like to play along!

photo a day challenges come from fat mum slim!

follow me on instagram @oppositeoffar

showering a little sister.

saturday couldn’t have been a more perfect day. it (finally!) rained on friday, so by the time saturday rolled around the sky was clear, the clouds were puffy, the breeze was soft and temperature was cool (meaning 80, rather than 100!) when leslie came up the stairs to see our mom’s porch decorated for her shower, she was all smiles! we had a small group join us to celebrate, but it was just perfect!

happily ever after, made by me

the decorations came from a variety of inspiration that started with leslie saying she liked the idea of having a garden party-themed shower. i knew right away there should be fresh flowers in jars (that has become my signature at all parties i plan!), tissue paper flowers, and white lanterns. i also used my collection of vintage sheets as table covers and found special straws! i originally planned this decor for an outdoor tent, but our mom’s front porch worked out even better- it was shaded, close to the food and drinks and we had music!

invitations + extras by rosie day design

playing love song bingo takes a lot of concentration!

we played 3 games (that i mostly made up). game 1 was love song bingo– i made a playlist of love songs to have in the background while everyone was eating & visiting. the bingo card had words commonly heard in love songs (love, breath, want, need…). winners received a scratch off ticket to determine whether they were truly a winner! game 2 was movie couple match-up. leslie loves love…and she especially loves romantic movies, so this game was perfect! game 3 was 20 questions– i asked bo (leslie’s fiance) to answer 20 questions about leslie. the guests had to guess whether he got the answer right or wrong, without knowing his answer. then i asked leslie to answer the questions and and i shared bo’s answers. it was really fun to see how well he knows my little sis (sometimes better than she knows herself!)

the food was all garden party finger food. lovely little appetizers for a bunch of lovely ladies- cheese puffs, cheesy rice balls,  mini pigs in a blanket, homemade pesto + french bread slices, spinach dip + pita chips, fresh veggie crudites, and so much more!! my favorite part was the make your own fruit salad. we had 9 different types of fruit and 3 dipping choices: homemade whipped cream, homemade whipped lemon cream cheese frosting, and strawberry greek yogurt! in addition to the fruit, i made mini lemon polenta cakes with the whipped lemon cream cheese frosting and a blueberry on top. for drinks i served some of leslie’s favorites: pink lemonade and sweet tea, plus my favorite white wine! (honeymoon wine from trader joes- go buy some!)

for favors, i asked leslie to choose her favorite love songs and i made a cd for each guest. i looked into buying pretty cd sleeves but wow, they are pricey! i decided to make them myself, and love the way they turned out! (the next day, at shower #2 with bo’s family, they played the cd on repeat and we passed out the leftover cd’s all the ladies!)

elliana decided she would also be marrying bo, and so she insisted on helping leslie open all the gifts!

overall the day was a complete success. that success was measured by the beautiful smile on leslie’s face all day long and all the hugs of gratitude i received from her! our guests were also very sweet and gracious!

**thank you to everyone who took part in this special day…even if you couldn’t be there in person!**

sunny the little yellow neon.

there was a time i would only buy white shirts. white shirt + jeans (or overalls) was my uniform. then i moved on to black (cause i kept spilling food on all my whites, probably!) but a slight shift in clothing choices turned to an all-encompassing shift in me (or, most likely, a shift in me turned to a shift in clothing choices….). eventually everything i owned was black, brown, or grey…basically i lacked color in a big, big way. i didn’t realized it then, but my lack of color was a little more profound than simple wardrobe choices. i had lost my color in other facets of my life too. maybe i smiled & laughed less frequently, less easily. people who were close to me noticed this shift, but i, of course, did not. apparently my clothing choices were mirroring my overall mood. choosing non-colors was easier than standing out, being bright, feeling cheerful when i was very much in a dark place.

in high school my nicknames included “smiley” and “goofy”. 10 years later, those words seemed far from my list of personality traits. my mom used to nag (yes, nag!) me all the time to wear color. she was convinced this would elevate my mood, change my outlook. at one point i was searching for a car and she showed up in california in a bright yellow dodge neon. (she bought it, drove it from ohio to santa cruz, changed the tags/ title/bank info to my name and…i had my new car, just like that) i was actually pretty annoyed. yellow? i didn’t choose this car! i didn’t want yellow! it was so loud & bright….so cheery!

flash forward 6+ years later…that little yellow neon is sitting in my driveway, smiling at me (it now belongs to my mom, but i’m borrowing it for a few months.). not only do i now appreciate the gesture of my mom forcing a bright-ass yellow car on me years ago (because in some weird way, she just knew it would help), but i appreciate the pop of color everyday. yellow is now my favorite color. color is a part of my daily wardrobe. “smiley” and “goofy” have made it back onto my list of personality traits. sure, a car didn’t cure me in any way, but i am positive that getting into a bight yellow car everyday for years has altered something in my brain (how can it not!?). by forcing color on me, my mom shifted my focus from the dark to the bright, light, cheerful colors of life.

*obviously, there are and were many, many other supports and factors that aided my “shift” in outlook/mood/emotional well-being. i am not recommending yellow cars as a cure for depression, though, really it couldn’t hurt!*

there & back.

last week i flew to dc. i enjoy going to the airport, reading while waiting for my flight then getting on a plane with people raveling for all different reasons. what i don’t like so much is the motion sickness i get when flying…when did this come about? i’m getting old, i guess. i never used to get the least bit sick/uncomfortable on planes. i try to enjoy as much as possible about the traveling part while still excited to get where i’m going!

indianapolis airport.

taxi ridin’.

lincoln memorial from the taxi’s back window

washington monument

waiting in the security line from dc to indiana. i had to be frisked.

up

up

and away.

*****

alley art: district of columbia.

one of my favorite things about cities is graffiti- the grittiness, the precision, the often overlooked paint that becomes part of the landscape. DC is filled with beautiful and artistic graffiti. but i’m i big a sucker for the beautiful-ugly cover-up graffiti too. ugly things sometimes move me more than beautiful things. for years i documented/photographed deserted shopping carts. it was an obsession, i loved them dearly and felt giddy every time i found a new cart full of found items & objects of improtance. to someone, that cart once carried very precious items, and maybe was even considered “home”. the carts were often wrecked, or at least dirty and had been left behind for one reason or another. most people overlook them because they end up blending in, becoming part of the drive or walk home. and if they disappeared no one noticed. except me. those carts were a lot like the graffiti i saw last week in DC. left behind, marks of something + someone that has passed through. overlooked and under appreciated. the gravity of it lost on the passers-by. the expression + meaning misunderstood, ignored, or simply unnoticed. i looked, i noticed. i found beauty in it.

remember my post a couple weeks ago, wandering around cincinnati, finding beauty in the city!