My first sewing machine arrived a few weeks ago, and things have turned quite domestic around here. It took me an entire evening to figure out how to spin a bobbin and another to thread the needle. (Those diagrams are a nightmare!) Then I got to work on the most basic project I could think of: tea towels.
But let me back up for a moment. Remember that sweet little lavender farm we visited a few months ago? Well I bought a few lavender-themed birthday gifts there and decided to design a tea towel to go along with them. I sketched the design on my iPad, finished it in Photoshop and uploaded it to my (new-ish) Spoonflower shop.
To make your own lavender tea towel: order one fat quarter of the design here in cotton-linen canvas (27 x 18 in.), trim and hem the edges.
Thanks to our high-security raised beds, I finally have my long-sought-after black-eyed Susan patch! It only took five years to outsmart those cute but conniving little bunnies.
Our Asiatic lilies, planted in honor of our niece named Lily, are finally well established and just finishing their stunning blooms. I found a few surprises amidst them when I went out to take some photos.
The side of the house you see when you drive into the neighborhood is bursting with color right now. Below are two varieties of hibiscus. (The burst of yellow in the background of the image immediately below is the black-eyed Susan patch.)
I hope your gardens are brimming with flowers, too!
Click here for more posts from the Around the House series.
I'm excited to introduce new (old) work today. I took this photo, Red paintbrush with mountain view, two years ago at Vail Pass overlooking Colorado's Tenmile Range. It's now available here as a print, framed art, stretched canvas, stationery, pillow or iPhone/iPod/iPad/laptop case or skin. As always, please contact me for custom sizing.
Now through Sunday, get FREE SHIPPING when you make a purchase from Calm Cradle Photo & Design.
Last week I announced the opening of my new photo shop on Society6. I've been steadily adding photos and will be featuring some of the new additions here. This gorgeous blue morpho butterfly is one of the stars of my Counting at the Museum board book. Can you guess which number it represents? That's right: seven.
I took this photo several months ago at the Museum of Life + Science in Durham, NC, but I've got butterflies on my mind again this week; we just attended an incredible fundraiser for the museum's butterfly house. How lucky we felt to stroll around and observe such a fascinating place while it was empty of other people and we weren't chasing kiddos around.
This blue morpho photo is available here as a print, framed art, stretched canvas, stationery, pillow or iPhone/iPod/iPad/laptop case or skin. As always, please contact me for custom sizing.
It's been an uncharacteristically rainy summer, so I'm constantly looking for activities to keep the girls occupied indoors. This sweet little DIY chalkboard tablet caught my eye as a fun way to switch up our usual crayons-on-paper routine. You can find simple instructions to make the tablet here. The only change I made was to use that classic 1980's classroom chalkboard green paint instead of black. I made one tablet for Cricket (Nora still prefers to consume chalk instead of draw with it) and one for me to prop up on my desk and use as a to-do list. I just love the bark around the edges. Now I'm thinking of a million other excuses to make more...
Looking for more DIY ideas? Check out my DIY blog posts and Getting crafty Pinterest board.
I'm thrilled to announce that Calm Cradle Photo & Design has just opened a shop on Society6. Now you can purchase not only prints but framed art; stretched canvas; stationery; pillows; and cases and skins for iPhone, iPod, iPad and laptop. Society6 does all the production work, which translates to lower pricing for you. Yippee!
I've been busy filling the shop with older work as well as new photos, but it will take some time to post my entire collection and rework this website. I hope to keep the shop dynamic by continuously adding new work, so check back often. As always, please contact me if you are interested in custom-sized prints or stationery or would like to purchase one of my photos that has not yet appeared in the shop.
From now through 7/14/13 you'll get free shipping on most products in the Calm Cradle Photo & Design Shop. Click on any shop link in this post to receive the discount. (You must order through one of these links to activate the discount. This offer excludes framed art prints, stretched canvases and throw pillows with insert.)
When I hear lavender, I think Provence. Well it turns out there's a lavender farm just 45 minutes from our house, despite the fact that our climate in good old Zone 7 makes growing the plant a challenge. We met the owner of Sunshine Lavender Farm a few years ago at a local farmers' market and bought several lavender plants from her.
Since then we haven't been the best lavender nurturers. So when we received an invitation to attend the farm's Lavender Harvest Celebration the first weekend of June, we were eager to investigate a successful operation. Plus it sounded idyllic.
And it was just that—amazingly idyllic. The farm is a private family home open to the public just a couple days each year. My entourage enjoyed wandering the field and smelling the lavender.
Lavender hung in the barn loft to dry, while horses, dogs, chickens and kittens enjoyed the good life below.
Lavender spilled from vintage bicycle baskets and every other type of container and garden bed.
Adjacent to the lavender field sat the sweetest garden shed you'll ever lay eyes on, brimming with products like lavender honey (the bees live here, too), dried lavender for baking and fragrant soaps.
Outside the shed, vendors sold lavender ice cream from a local dairy, along with lavender lemonade and other delectable goodies.
One day my window boxes will look like this, but until then I'll just have to get my fill of them the next time we're invited to the farm.
Planning your next adventure? Click here for more inspiration.
It only took about 13 months, but I've finally managed—on really, really good days when all the stars align—to get the girls to overlap their naps for about an hour. Then I race around trying to finish all the things I started the last time they performed this blessed nap miracle.
Nora usually takes a shorter snooze, which means I have my work cut out for me trying to keep her quiet so Cricket can sleep. Lately Nora and I have gotten into the routine of sneaking outside for a few minutes when she firsts wakes up to sniff flowers and find bugs around our little yard. Here are a few things we've had our eyes on lately.
Our purple coneflowers are loving the overabundance of rain this season. (It's been pouring for days on end.) They remind me of the garden at my childhood home.
Our poor lavender is recuperating in a large pot on the back deck. It turns out lavender plants do not appreciate living next to a downspout or being dug up by a dog or two. Lesson learned.
The plate hibiscus is growing so large in the bed around our mailbox that I fear it is actually going to gobble up the mailbox. But that's fine as long as it finishes off the bills in there, too.
This shiny little beetle exploring the hibiscus entertained Nora for several minutes...until she attempted to squish it.
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I'm Julia Soplop. I've spent my life documenting the world around me in writing and photography. I believe there is something profound in bearing witness to moments of joy and pain in others’ lives. My husband, three girls and I live outside of Chapel Hill, NC. You can read more about me here.