Friday, January 20, 2012

Thursday, January 12, 2012

When I fall off the horse...I tend to lay on the ground for a while before I get back up!

So...in true fashion of my blogging history, I took a hiatus (after SWEARING that I would blog more often). What are you gonna do though?

Meh!

I try to get into this whole blogging thing, but does anyone actually read my ramblings??? Probably not, but whatev!

This is just a run down of what we have been up to since September...

...harvesting crops
...expanding the gardens
...dealing with constant sinus infections (B-Real's doctor keeps throwing medication @ him instead of running tests that might present the reason to these infections/migraines...go figure)
...Christmas order CHAOS!!!
...local shows
...putting our items in 2 brick & mortar shops
...tearing apart my studio/office to move it to a larger room...the fact that this isn't done YET speaks to my procrastination, and I'm about to tear my hair out @ the dysfunction that is my new studio/office!!!
...new friendships
...ending of toxic relationships
...Holiday craziness
...fell into a partnership @ one of the brick & mortar shops

What's to come:

...new lines in the shop
...a separation of the shops (yes I know I tried this once before & it drove me crazy, but we need to separate our kids items into a completely different shop...just to keep the shops in a neater order)
...spring :)
...more blog posts (bahahaha!!! I know, I know...I always say this...but for reals this time!)

So that's the rundown for right now. I am also planning on doing a beYOUtiful contest. I was so inspired by the link that I decided to do one myself @ our blog! I can't wait...I think this is the only reason why I am excited about blogging right now, but I'll take what I can get right now! ;) 

Well, that's all for now folks!

Cheers,
Jess
Nutshell Farms

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Keeping with tradition....and other stuff

So in "keeping with tradition"...it has been WEEKS since I last blogged. I had so many good intentions to blog at least ONCE a week, so I may have to try that one again.

But as they say..."the path to Hell is paved with Good Intentions"...or something like that.

So here is what we have been up to the last few weeks:

Log splitting...still not done, and definitely NOT stacked, considering every morning around 5 or 6 a.m. I am stumbling over large trunks of wood on our dark back patio...but I digress...

I have managed to make/can Pear Butter...been thinking long and hard about Caramel Apple Butter. The more I think about it, the more I love the idea! For the Butters this year I am making up Pint jars & 8 oz jelly jars. The 4 oz jars just aren't enough when it comes to the Butters. Also kicking around the idea of some Pumpkin Butter as well....then there is the Jalapenos that still need to be canned. I don't think I can wait for B-Real to do them any longer (the Debbie Meyer Green Bags will only keep those suckers fresh for so long).

You can now find Nutshell Farms items at The Dreaming Tree Photography Studio and Art Boutique in Downtown Bryan, Ohio...right on the square! :)  I am SUPER excited about this! They had their grand opening last Saturday (hence one reason for the blog hiatus...busy little bee creating items to sell through there). Things went really well for owner Kylie Bishop, and I believe quite a few Nutshell Farms items have sold already.

I am excited to see where that business venture takes Nutshell Farms!

Busy, busy, busy....at work...blech!

Chickens are doing splendidly...some of our chicks from this spring have grown enough & are laying!

The 2011 Garden is proving to turn out pretty darn good! :)  We have been harvesting Cauliflower as big (sometimes bigger) as our heads! Broccoli is a constant staple in our house, and the fact that we have been eating our own homegrown broccoli is out of this world! Brussel Sprouts will soon be gracing our dinner table, the squash did well, as did the cabbage, jalapenos, tomatoes, cucumbers, melon, chives, garlic, and red peppers!

New soap will be making an appearance at our farm as well! Batches of Natural (fragrance free), Cinnamon Chai, and Lemon Poppy seed will be on the agenda this weekend! Maybe, oh maybe, B-Real will make a couple more soap molds so I have do all three batches in one day (even one weekend would be nice). He made me one...and we wanted to try it a few times to see how it would work...and the orders are piling up, we are out of soap...and I'm stressing about the curing time. It takes 4 to 6 weeks for cold process soap to dry and cure...just squeaking into our first 2011 holiday season craft/vendor show. And I REALLY want to unveil these treasures of soap upon the locals! We already have a little of a following...thanks to my Mom & her church officers! THANKS MOM, you have been our biggest supporter since day one!

As some may know, my Mom was diagnosed last summer with Uterine Cancer. My mother has been my rock, my best friend, my hero....for a very long time, so the thought of losing her was totally devastating for me.  She is doing great now, she made it through surgeries, chemo, and a couple rounds of radiation...all while keeping her grace, faith, and humor!

My mother has never once doubted my ability to create, and has always encouraged us girls no matter what the endeavor. I will be eternally grateful to my Mom for teaching me how to be a woman, how to be my own person, and for never (at least outwardly...lol) doubting my talents. 

Well...it is now 9 p.m...and as silly as this sounds...my bed is calling to me. I must at least lay down, as my day will be starting again very soon!

Cheers,
Jess

Nutshell Farms

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Seasons They Are A Changin'

It's getting to be that time of year again. . . you know. . . HARVEST Season! While Autumn is my favorite time of year, the last several years have also become increasingly more hectic with every passing fall.  Every year I tell myself that I will be "more organized", "ahead of the game", so on and so forth. 

Well, this season has started off no less hectic/chaotic than any other year. . . in fact, I am already contemplating throwing in the towel! Say 'to heck with it all', and hunker down til the first snow has fallen.

LOL Okay, so maybe that was a little over dramatic, but you get my point!

I am ready for cooler days, crisp evenings, bonfires, fresh baked apple/pear/pumpkin bread, and soup. . . Oh how I long for soup! Since today and the next couple of days will be record-ish highs, I will have to fore go any ideas of simmering up huge pots of steamy belly-filling goodness.  I do see some cooler days on the horizon though, and I am ready (impatient would be more accurate).

Here are a couple recipes that I am yearning to try:

I have to admit that I have fallen in love with The Pioneer Woman, she is my super hero! Her recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup looks so yummy! She is so down to earth, and her food is definitely "family friendly" recipes.

I stumbled upon the Use Real Butter blog just the other day. . . and she has my mouth watering for this Chocolate Stout Chili! I LOVE Chocolate Stouts (or any stout for that matter)! I fell in love with them upon drinking my first 'Lion Stout' at my favorite restaurant up at the lake house. . . Shay's Chop House is one of the best places to eat! "You have to chew it before swallowing" would be B-Reals description of it, and since he started low-carb the heavy thick beers are out of the question for him! More for me! :) 

This last recipe is from In Jennie's Kitchen, which I have admired her wonderful recipes for quite some time now. My heart aches for her and her children during the difficult situation that they have faced. Kale, White Bean and Ravioli Soup isn't a traditional "bean soup". . . but the kale gives the soup a nice texture! Come on, who doesn't like Ravioli anyways?!?

So I challenge you, in between the hustle and bustle of the upcoming Harvest/Holiday season. . . try some fabulous new soup recipes (don't forget to share them with us/family/friends)!

Cheers,
Jess

P.S. Hopefully there will be a more consistent flow of blog posts. I really enjoy doing it, but when things are hectic blogging falls to the wayside. So I will be starting slow & steady on this new blogging regimen, trying to complete one blog post every week (no matter how small/large). Are we taking bets on how this will turn out? ;)

This upcoming Labor Day weekend will not go to waste on me! Oh no, while everyone else is enjoying festivities. . . I will be slaving away canning, creating, and OCD style organizing my upstairs rooms (fingers crossed that all 3 rooms get done)! FUN FUN!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Start of our New Collections!

I must admit...blogging regularly is a struggle for me. It's not that I don't spend hours on the internet every week, or that I don't have anything to say...it's just something very easy to procrastinate on!

I have been working away on some new stuff for the shop, and I am so excited about them! Here is a taste of what's to come this Fall/Winter season:



Super soft Merino Wool
More colors coming soon! :)




Acrylic Yarn
Sizes from Newborn to Adult






Acrylic Yarn
Sizes in Newborn up to Adult





Available in different sizes & colorways.



That is just a little sneak peek! :)  More items are available in the shop, and many more designs are coming soon! 


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Getting to know the "us" behind 'Nutshell Farms'

So...it's been a few years now that there has been an "official" Nutshell Farms, and I don't believe I have ever really introduced just who the 'us' is. Well, how about I start right now! If you would like to get to know us, please check out our new tab 'About Us'.

More posts coming in the next few days...I know, I know...I ALWAYS say this & don't post again for 3 weeks.

Since vacation ended, we have been busy tending to the gardens...using very useful information that we have learned, to improve them! Filling orders...decided in the near future I have got to update my office & current system for the shop!

Oliver has been a handful since we got back from vacation...guess that will happen when you leave a cat alone for a week (when he is used to be spoiled EVERYDAY). I need to take him to the groomers & get him trimmed. He has really long hair, and I brush him everyday...being gone didn't help! He now has some out of control dreads & it has been high 90's here...and still climbing...and it is just time for him to have a hair cut. I will post photos of before & after. I get him trimmed, but keep the booties & the mane. :)  He looks like a lion, but he is SOOOO skinny without all that hair. He looks like such a big cat (when he has all his fur), but the fur is deceiving!

I must say though that I do love my groomer! She does a fantastic job with him and every time he comes home from her, she puts a little bandanna around his neck! B-Real & I usually have one good long laugh right after he gets home...at his expense. He does look pretty adorable though when he gets trimmed.

The gardens are coming along fabulously. I am already picking vegetables everyday...time to start working on some new recipes!

We bottled the garlic wine (yes...I really did type GARLIC!) on Sunday! So excited to start using that in my recipes! The other wines need to be stabilized before they can be bottled.

Need to start working on some more soap! B-Real & I are in love with the soap that I have made, and others in our circle of family & friends have had some positive feedback on it as well...maybe coming to the online shop soon! We will have it available at our fall shows...still need to try out some more soap recipes!

Also on the horizon for Nutshell Farms...more breads & baked goods, homemade cheese, some "Tasting Days" (more right below on this), new shop items, even some low-carb items! :)

The "Tasting Days" is an idea that I have been kicking around for our food products. This would be available for local residents only (unless you happen to be making a trip to the NW Ohio area & want to book ahead). It would involve some great food...good conversation...and a chance to sample our items for free! But...like I said...this is still in the "thinking about it" stage. 

We are growing everyday as individuals, as a couple, and as a company! We are so thankful for our family & friends! Hope you all have a blessed evening...time to partake in a glass of wine, some delicious cheese, and some fresh berries!

Cheers,
Jess

Nutshell Farms

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Not enough hours in the day!

I can't believe it is the middle of June already! YIKES!! We have been uber busy here on the farm...planting, weeding, picking strawberries, tending to the chicks (which are all grown now!) and chickens...and the list goes on!

We have new jams & jellies in stock, new items in the shop, and more coming soon! 

We have also been switching up our diets...blech! :(  B-Real is sticking to the low-carb/high-fat diet, and loves the results that he has gotten. I; on the other hand, had to change up my diet due to some health concerns. After many months of pain and being sick...and loads of EXPENSIVE tests later...I am now on a low-fat vegan diet. I wasn't much of a meat eater before this...but I have a love affair with anything dairy! Ice cream, sour cream, cream cheese, cheese...oh cheese how I miss you! I find myself craving things like hot dogs, and brautwurst! I have to say that I feel SO much better! The fact that they didn't have to remove any organs (they were talking about taking out my gall bladder...possible problems with my liver...pancreas...etc) is a plus, I have struggled with the no dairy rule though, and I hope to one day introduce it in small portions back into my diet.

We also have vacation coming up next week! YEAH! :)  I am so excited to spend a week @ the lake house. There is nothing more relaxing than the lake house in Northern Michigan. It is about a 6 hour drive from our farm, but so worth it! We have our own dock on Portage Lake, and it is about a 15 minute walk to Lake Michigan. Plus there is a fantastic winery about a 10 minute walk from the house...HEAVEN!

Well, I will try to keep up to date more often...things have just gotten extremely hectic! We will also be MIA for that week of vacation. There is no internet service at the lake house, and it is about a half hour drive to any Wi-Fi service....so we will be totally disconnected! :) 

Hope everyone has a pleasant week!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Baking disaster: My Arch Nemesis

Check out my new article, “ Epic Fail: Life After a BakingDisaster.”

There have been MANY fails in my kitchen, not only with baking…but in cooking as well!  While most people don’t get to encounter these fails, they are there…haunting my dreams at night.  Depending on the severity of the fail, my usual instinct is to retry to recipe.  More often than not, there will be two batches of some baked item on our counter; one that is prize winning delicious, and one that is a flop.  Now when I am saying “flop” I mean there is something less than perfect about the recipe, but only minor tweaking is necessary to achieve desired results. 

What does one do when something entirely fails though? 

It has always been my philosophy to totally avoid a particular failed recipe for quite a while, normally setting that recipe on the shelf for months (sometimes years) before there is another attempt.  I have found lately that there have been more fails than successes with the low-carb baking that has been attempted. 

The low-carb diet really isn’t conducive to enjoying baked goods; however, there are many wonderful recipes out there now that are aimed at the low-carb lifestyle.  I personally have found that the synthetic ingredients needed for these treats are expensive, somewhat difficult to locate in a rural area, and somewhat hinky towards my digestive system.  Although I have had difficulty partaking in the low-carb items, B-Real truly enjoys being able to have baked treats that don’t add large numbers to the scale each week.  So for him, I continue to attempt delicious low-carb treats!

One nemesis of late has been the “Peanut Butter Brownie” recipe from one of our low-carb cookbooks.  Several attempts have been made, each time an EPIC failure arises!  The first attempt consisted of a severely undercooked middle, with dust bunny dry edges.  Other attempts since have been just as unsuccessful.  The latest attempt has confirmed (between both of us) that it’s time to move on!  While I am not one to give up on a recipe, it has become abundantly clear that delicious low-carb peanut butter brownies are NOT in our future.  While the brownies cooked more evenly, the middle was still more “fudgey” than the edges, the chocolate portion was very light in color and had a more cake-like texture, and the overall taste was “synthetic” and instantly turned the stomach after eating. 

How does one recover from such an “epic fail”?

Dust yourself off, and try something else! I tend to switch gears & go for a “tried & try” recipe, bringing about some good baking karma.  It can be very discouraging when you have tried a particular recipe numerous times, and each time it turns awry!  I had a 10 minute vent session to B-Real about synthetic products and what they could be doing to a person’s guts (I was really on my soap box for a hot minute).  I trudged along though and tried a recipe for some Low-Carb Pecan Sandies…long story short…not a home-run either.  B-Real promised to eat them, but the texture was very grainy/sandy and when baked they oozed some buttery grease.  BLECH!  I keep holding onto the fact that the Low-Carb Tortillas that I have been making are AMAZING!! The tortillas taste more like flat bread, and there is WAY more flavor in those bad boys than are in regular corn or flour tortillas!
While not everything I have made the past couple days were a fail, it is hard to recover from those kind of blows to my ego.  I guess I will have to try again another day.

Enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend everyone! :) 

Cheers,
Jess

Nutshell Farms

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Wacky Weekends...

So the weekend has come & almost gone already...where does the time go?

I started the seeds for our garden (YEA! I accomplished something more than laundry), B-Real & his dad tilled up the front yard (we had our front yard dug up this winter & had to replace our sewer pipes...blech!), and I am going to be trying my hand at some sugar scrubs...which I am VERY excited about! The first 2 batches of soaps are almost ready to sell; I just need to trim, then weigh, then "package".

Our first batch was an "unscented" style vegan soap. The second batch was Chai Tea with Vanilla & Cinnamon vegan soap...only I don't think I added enough fragrance to them...the natural oils have a pretty strong scent of their own, and I aired on the side of caution...didn't want anything that was too over powering in the scent department. Here is a sneak peek of the soaps:

This is our "unscented" vegan soap...smells wonderfully natural!


Chai Tea with Vanilla & Cinnamon Vegan Soap


The photos aren't the greatest...but the soap is curing in the furnace/wine room. There is only one light in the entire room...but here is a photo of some of B-Reals wine:


From left: Strawberry Wine, Garlic Wine




Now I know what your thinking...GARLIC WINE!!?!?! Actually it is for cooking or marinades, and it is VERY "garlicy"!  He also has a large batch of grape wine (it is to the left of the Strawberry Wine in the brown grocery bag). Now all he has to do is stabilize the wine, and we can bottle it! :)

Hopefully tomorrow I will get my butt in gear & make some gooseberry jam...mmmm...my mouth is watering just thinking about it! I'm sure there are lots of people out there that are thinking...what the heck is a gooseberry??


Well, it is a SUPER tart berry, and the only reason I love them so much is because my Grandma & Grandpa Z had two huge bushes of gooseberries...and Grammy Z would make the most DELICIOUS gooseberry pie! The crust was melt in your mouth, with sugar sprinkled on top, then the juicy plump gooseberry sauce in the middle....sweet yet tart...  Oh how I miss my Grammy Z & her AMAZING baked goods! She would bake things from scratch, with NO recipe, and I never learned how to make her pie crust. I am however a 'Champion of Jams' (I gave the title to myself), and my gooseberry jam on a fresh baked biscuit is as close I will every get to Grammy Z's legendary gooseberry pie!

But I digress...I have begun to ramble. Well, I really should get back to the grind & finish at least today's to-do list. :)

Oh...for those of you that have stuck in there throughout the rambling, and have found yourself at the end of this blog post...here is your treat! Each weekend (til the end of April) we will be offering a coupon code...all you have to do is enter  TGIW20  in the coupon code section @ checkout @ you will receive 20% off your entire purchase! :) 

Have a wonderful day!

Cheers,

Jess

Thursday, April 14, 2011

"Urban" Farming

So we have "officially" drawn out the gardening plan! YEAH! We are much more prepared, and organized (thankfully) this year! Each year that we have had a garden; or grow anything here on the farm, we have learned something new...mostly through trial & error...and some research.

We have our Heirloom seeds (this will be the very first year we use ALL heirloom seeds), and the garden is mapped out on paper. Now all we have to do is: start the seedlings, make the paper planting pots, till the gardens, lay the brick walkways...and plant away! :) That seems like a LOT of things to do, but we have a few weeks before we will be putting everything in the ground.

B-Real & I have stumbled across some excellent articles on the "Urban Farming Movement". While we do call it "the Farm"...Nutshell Farms is found with in the city limits of our small Northwest Ohio town. We have huge stacks of cut wood for our wood burning stove (which we heat our entire house with), 2 large garden spaces, a strawberry patch, apple tree, pear tree, and at the back of the lot we have a palatial chicken coop with an outdoor run. So as an homage to the Urban Farming Movement, and to all those self-sustainer's out there...here are some of my top picks from Etsy today! :)


Herb Barn   $475.00
created by: ECOGRO



created by: Urban Cheese Craft



created by:  Fenster Blau Studio


Seed Bombs  $21.00
created by: Visual Lingual


Well, thanks for stopping by, and don't forget to check out todays featured shops for more great products! :)

Cheers,

Jess
Nutshell Farms

WFH - Trying to make this work...

So it's been another couple of months since I have last posted. I have all these grandious ideas of blogging, and blog ideas/topics/etc...but I just haven't been putting them "down on paper" so to speak. Since I am trying this WFH (work from home) thing, maybe my delusions of grandure will actually come to fruition!?!

Since I am home so much more now (and spend ENTIRELY too much time online), I will be trying to maintain the blog at least every few days. We have loads of new items in the shop, more items coming soon, craft & vendor shows lined up, and tons of ideas for great blogs! :) 

Won't you join us on this adventure that we call life...and possibley buy some great handmade items? ;) 

Here are some of our newest items:










Those are just some of the newest items listed, more everyday! Thanks for having a look!

Cheers,

Jess
Nutshell Farms

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

An almost completely unproductive day...

It's been a while...again. When things get hectic around here, the blog is the most likely to suffer! :)  A lot has happened in the last few months...hopefully within the next couple days we will post some of our newest items in the shop.

Mom is almost done with her last round of radiation for now. I've been working on LOADS of new items for the shop. Jeff has slacked on the wines. School resumes in June. The holidays were stressful...and not very "holiday sparkley". How is it the day after Valentine's Day already? Work has been....well...work. Winter has made me a hermit. We are this close to having all the needed supplies to make our own soap. Jeff & I have both lost 30 lbs. on our new diet. Oh so MANY project ideas...and so LITTLE time to complete them in.

Well...that sums it up for right now...I think. I feel more accomplished now, than when I started this post. :)  The most productive things I have done since I got off work @ 8am this morning is add wood to the stove, and get a shower...I love unproductive days! :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas is in the Air!

Christmas is a little over a week away! We don't have all our Christmas shopping done yet, plus we have loads of orders to fill up! FA LA LA LA LA! I wish I could say that we are all in the Holiday Spirit around the farm...but there just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to get all the things done! :)  We will pull it out as we always manage to do! Happy Holidays everyone!

Jess & Jeff

Nutshell Farms

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Done & DONE!

Hello there! The 1st Annual Autumn Harvest Extravaganza was a smashing success! Thanks again to everyone who participated in this event! We still have the listings of everyone who won the prizes, and we are busy packaging up the items we gave away...along with the sales from the shops. If you didn't win this time around...have no fear, there are more give-away coming up in November...and we are hoping to do a large give-away early December. Nothing as big as this one, but hopefully some fun Christmas gifts! :) 

Thanks again to everyone! More posts coming this week...once we catch our breath!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Our newest items!

We wanted to share a few of our newest items in both our shops.

First we have a smattering of some of our Halloween inspired mini cards from


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Next we have a few of our newest cowls @ Nutshell Farms


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We have also added some more jams/jellies/butters to our Pantry section @ Nutshell Farms. We have more flavors coming soon! We also will be having flavors of the month, and gift sets for the holidays.

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Don't forget about our Autumn Harvest Extravaganza coming up on Oct. 10th-17th. We will be listing all the great give-away items by the end of this week...don't forget to sign up for your favorites! Loads of ways to enter to win. Plus sales at some wonderful shops on Etsy, and great tutorials coming your way!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Working through some details...

Just got done munchin down some broiled Parmesan-crusted Perch & some steamed broccoli...yummy! We even rode our bikes out to the park to watch the end of Zach's soccer game, and I got to play with lil Max for a while! :) Love that kid!

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Anywho...a quick update on the Autumn Harvest Extravaganza...things are going great! :) I have heard back from many people...and it looks like this is going to be a really great week long give-away! I am so excited, I was about jumping up & down while reading the convos back!

So, I am trying to get things organized & I will be chatting back to all those great Etsyian participants that are so graciously donating some swag to give-away! I am going to get some stuff knocked out on paper of how things will go, and then I will send out a mass convo with a blog posting about this in's & out's of the week long events. I am still looking for some kick-ass tutorials to share with everyone...have a couple in the works as I type.

I am also looking in to how to set up the give-away items. I could do this several ways:

1.) Do separate blog posts everyday on that give-away item...then you will be able to choose which item you would like to be entered to win (no limit on items to enter to win of course)

2.) Blog the give-away items...and randomly select people to win an item...which would give the winners no choice on the items they would win.

I am leaning toward Option #1...

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I will be in touch with all the sellers that are participating in the next couple days to share the lineup of that week! :)

Well...another night shift quickly approaches...time to don the scrubs of my boring "day job" life.

Happy Harvest,
Jess Potts

Nutshell Farms
Hidden Gate Designs

Friday, September 17, 2010

Autumn Harvest Extravaganza...

So we had a brilliant idea the other day...what is new right?? :)

Our favorite season is autumn; with all the cooler weather that Ohio has FINALLY had lately, it has really thrust us into autumn harvest mode! Halloween (favorite holiday hands down!) is just around the corner in October, cool & crisp air is circulating about, and our pear tree has already dumped two huge loads of the most delicious pears we have had in 6 years!

So...onto this brilliant idea then...

We want to host a week of fantastic giveaways, new rollouts of holiday season items, great sales, maybe even some tutorials....all autumn harvest inspired! The events will start on October 10th and run until October 17th. There will be a giveaway everyday (possibley more - depending on how many store participants we get) starting October 11th, with a Grand Prize Giveaway on October 17th. All items will be handmade, and I will be posting photos of the prizes as the date gets closer.

And...We will be entering our own items as giveaways as well...not just other shops! :)

Advertising for this event will be done (mercilessly) on Facebook, Twitter, Etsy Forums/Chats, as well as here. We are giddy just thinking about all the fun that can be had! :)

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How can you enter to win?

* Followers of our blog will automatically be entered to win the giveaways

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How can you participate in this event?

* We have opened up a thread on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6629870

* Convo us through nutshellfarms.etsy.com to set up the giveaway items you would like to send

* Comment here & we will figure things out :)

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We would like other shops to participate in this event by:

* Send us some Autumn Harvest inspired tutorials that we can share with our crafty viewers

* Send us some giveaways for the week (we are adding our own items for free as well into the giveaway)

* Have some sales or promos that week that are going on in your shop? Let us know & we will share the details here!

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We would really like to get the ball rolling on this...a little of that OCD thing kicking in now. :) Anyone interested feel free to contact us at our Etsy shop nutshellfarms.etsy.com, e-mail us at nutshellfarms@live.com, come chat in the thread above, or post a comment on here...we would LOVE to hear from you all! (Even if it is to tell us how excited you are about the event!)

Happy Harvest,

Jess
Nutshell Farms
Hidden Gate Designs

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Vacation fast approaching!

Hello hello...another week is fast approaching...which means there are only 5 days left until vacation! Me & the Mister will be heading 7 hours north to the lake house for 5 days of alone-style bliss! We haven't taken a vacation since we flew the plane down to Key West last summer. Well, enough rambling...

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These are a few of my favorite items that I have been dreaming about for my trip to the lake!

Cottage Carries has some amazing clutches and bags...and I personally own one of her fabulous coin purses! Here is mine...but there are plenty to choose from in the shop!



Order your own special treat @ http://CottageCarries.etsy.com

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You will find wonderful handmade accessories from Judy @ The Toastory!

The Floral Bracelet Belt is a fantastic edition to any outfit...casual enough for a day trip to the local winery, but dressy enough for dinner out.



You can find this listing here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/49525441/moonlight-floral-bracelet-belt

More great items: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Toastory?ref=seller_info

What are the inspirations for your designs? My inspiration came from everywhere of my life, such as visual objects, garment components. I love deconstructed pieces, and apply to accessories, then try to make them wearable.

With all my creations, I started with hand-stitching when I was little. I remember the first bag I made is a small little jeans handbag with a little patchwork. Soon thereafter, I have learned the most practical skills I ever felt, which was sewing.

How did you stumble upon Etsy? Before I started toastory from etsy, I was thinking about flea market, or some market fair. However, I pick etsy at last because I think it is efficient for my business, and easily to meet my target audience.


-Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/toastory

-Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/toastory/

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I love a good coffee shop...and bakery. There is an amazing coffee shop, with some of the best bread & baked goods I have ever tasted up near our lake house. These goodies from greinerj23 remind me of some of the warm goodness from the lake.



Lemon Polka Dot Cakes can be found here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/49094757/one-dozen-lemon-polka-dot-cakes-gluten

Find more fresh baked goodies here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/greinerj23?ref=seller_info

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One of the best things about the lake...it is super laid back! These pants are great for bummin' around town, or conquering the Sleeping Bear Dunes...and the best thing is...Conscious Clothing is from Michigan (where our lake house is)!



Listing for Hemp Linen Drawstring Pants: http://www.etsy.com/listing/53242585/hemp-linen-drawstring-pants

More great items from Conscious Clothing: http://www.etsy.com/shop/consciousclothing?ref=seller_info

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So...I must admit that Conscious Clothing is one of my favorite clothing shops on Etsy... :)

Here is another great item from their shop! This great Hello Summer dress, is perfect for tooling around town, or even as a beach coverup.



Hello Summer Dress Listing: http://www.etsy.com/listing/45241262/hello-summer-dress-soy-and-organic

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So there you have it! These have been some of my "wish I didn't have to live withouts" for my vacation at the beach! Thanks for all the wonderful selections on Etsy!

Cheers,
Jess

Nutshell Farms
Hidden Gate Designs

Monday, August 2, 2010

Baby Boomers!

It's been another busy week here at the farm...and with harvest season quickly approaching...the pressure is on to complete the ever-growing to-do list.

Even though we don't have any little ones at home, I still LOVE looking at all the wonderful baby inspired items on Etsy.com! Here are a few of my favorites & the sellers are sharing a little bit about themselves also.

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Halloween is just around the corner...and what better way to celebrate than an adorable dress for your little one? This little dress is ready to wear, and at $20 is a real steal!



What are the inspirations for your designs?
You'll notice a lot of little girls' things in my shop, but I have no daughters (and hence no models!). I am mommy to one very energetic little boy, but I'm also an aunt to 5 little girls. My inspiration comes mainly from them and the daydream of a baby girl that I may have one day. She'll be very well dressed!

How did you stumble upon Etsy?
I'm not sure I remember how I originally found Etsy, it may have been when I was planning my wedding, but I've only just started selling on Etsy. I've been sewing for about 10 years when I can- I teach 5th grade full time, so sewing is reserved for weekends and vacations while my son naps. I've found sewing to be a form of therapy... when I stitch I can just zone out everything else. I made a few dresses for friends, which led to a small craft fair, from there I joined forces with other local crafters to do bigger craft shows, host in home trunk shows and now sell on Etsy.

What is your favorite handmade item you have ever received/bought?
My mom has been a long time collector of handmade artist teddy bears and I've always taken an interest in these works of art, going with her to shows, meeting artists, attending workshops, etc. As her taste in teddy bears has matured, mine has as well (and become a little too expensive!). For my son's first birthday, my mom worked with my favorite artist for a design your own teddy bear in which she chose the fur, eyes, clothes, everything. She presented him to me with a note from the artist declaring the bear's name to be Wyatt, he was named after my son.

Pictured Listing: http://www.etsy.com/listing/52515811/vintage-inspired-halloween-pillowcase
See more great items from this seller @ http://megmcd423.etsy.com

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Chunky Chooky must have a fantastic imagination! The items in this shop are extremely imaginative & full of fantasy! Just what little ones need in toys. Wabbit Joe would make a great friend for life for any little one toddling around.



Pictured Listing: http://www.etsy.com/listing/25742449/wabbit-joe
See more great items from this seller @ http://chunkychooky.etsy.com

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Petra of Mami Made It has a great eye for design! Her items have a very vintage romantic feeling to it. Her bunnies remind me of items my grandmother used to make. Any mother-to-be would be lucky to receive a bunny for her little bun in the oven!



What are the inspirations for your designs?
I see things in shops or in the net which are nice and lovely but wouldn’t it be better to change this and make it upside down and the inside out. I always want to improve things. After some time of drawing patterns and making notes, I ask myself if I would want to have such an item and if yes i try to make it.

How did you stumble upon Etsy?
A friend of mine makes jewelries and asked for my help to open a shop at etsy because she is not so good with computers. That’s the first time I heard about this platform.

What is your favorite handmade item you have ever received/bought?
I remember my mom made a nightgown for me which looks like a princess dress. I got it at christmas when I was 10 or 11 years old and I wore it for 2 weeks till school began after the holidays.

Pictured Listing: http://www.etsy.com/listing/34125372/pinky-bunny-with-bow-bag-and-heart-pink
See more items from this seller @ http://MamiMadeIt.etsy.com

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Little Toad has some amazing talent for design! Planning a baby shower or are you in need of some great baby announcements? Little Toad also does Save the Dates, Wedding & Engagement cards, birthday...and everything in between.



Seymour the Stork Shower Invites are only $40 for a pack of 20!

What are the inspirations for your designs?
Most of my designs come from friends and family. They tell me what they want cards for and can't find in the stores.Plus they are the best focus group you could ask for if they like it it sells, if they don't they'll tell you:)

How did you stumble upon Etsy?
My friend (who runs the great shop uglyclothes) found it first and was selling a few months before I joined in!

What is your favorite handmade item you have ever received/bought?
Oh don't make me choose:) I love all things handmade especially when it's a freind that makes it. But if I choose my favorite Etsy item I have bought it would be the yeti's from this shop they look over me while I create!http://www.etsy.com/transaction/28077643

Pictured Listing: http://www.etsy.com/listing/48306031/special-delivery-baby-shower-invites-set
Find more great items by this seller @ http://littletoad.etsy.com

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Little Sapling Toys are not only wonderful (a lost art of woodwork toys!), but eco conscious as well! They plant a tree for every toy sold. It was hard to choose my favorite toy from their store to put in this feature! So here goes...The Off Roading Toy set really grabbed my attention! At $30 for a set of 2 trucks & 3 boulders...this is the DEAL OF THE DAY!



What are the inspirations for your designs?
The inspirations for our designs come from the natural beauty of the wood itself and watching our own children develop.

How did you stumble upon Etsy?
I stumbled upon Etsy while searching online for handmade Christmas gift ideas. I found my first craft blog which linked to this inspiring craft community and Etsy. It was an overwhelming discovery of possibility.

What is your favorite handmade item you have ever received/bought?
I love to trade with other artisans on Etsy, so I love all the items I have received from that.

Pictured Listing: http://www.etsy.com/listing/52485758/organic-off-roading-toy-two-trucks-and
See more great items from this seller @ http://littlesaplingtoys.etsy.com

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At Blue Elephant Stitches, you can find items in any price range that will fit perfectly in your little bundle of joy's nursery!

This baby quilt is by far my favorite! And at $110, you won't find anything in stores like this gem!



What are the inspirations for your designs?
I'm often inspired by the bright happy colors of the fabric and try to find simple yet effective designs. Flickr and many quilting blogs are a great source of inspiration as well.

How did you stumble upon Etsy?
I stumbled upon Etsy through a link from another blog. It's been a few years so I don't know where it was. I shopped on Etsy for a long time before I began to entertain the idea of starting my own shop. Once I realized how easy and risk-free it was, I decided to jump in and haven't looked back since.

What is your favorite handmade item you have ever received/bought?
Hmmm... I haven't received or bought that many handmade items since I make lots of things myself. One that comes to mind right now would be the quilt that my mom made for my first child.

Pictured Listing: http://www.etsy.com/listing/49065108/handmade-modern-baby-quilt
See more great items from this seller @ http://blueelephantstitch.etsy.com

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Cold weather will soon be here...so why not dress your little ones head is something that will stop traffic?! This cupcake hat will not only keep your little ones noggin warm, but will definately attract a lot of "oohs & ahhs".



What are the inspirations for your designs?
I work with children and get a lot of my inspiration from them. Their role play, spontaneous interactions and imagination can be drawn on as inspiration.

How did you stumble upon Etsy?
I found etsy many years ago and became a buyer. I purchased a few supplies, but time did not allow for any more exploration, although I was very involved in crafts and craft sales. After having a car accident and being off work, I returned to Etsy as a seller. I still continue to do craft sales, festivals and fairs as well as Etsy.

What is your favorite handmade item you have ever received/bought?
My favorite/ most cherished handmade item is a unfinished afghan that my grandmother was working on and was unable to finish before she passed away.

Pictured listing: http://www.etsy.com/listing/29830296/cupcake-hat-with-pink-icing
Find more great deals @ http://rockybird7.etsy.com

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There are so many great sellers on Etsy.com It is my pleasure to spread the love, especially when they are such great items! Thanks to everyone who was willing to participate in this blog feature!

Cheers,
Jess

Nutshell Farms
Hidden Gate Designs

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Wonderful Day!

Another lazy morning, I just don't seem to have the get-up-and-go the last few days! So I am sitting here blogging...VERY PRODUCTIVE...lol. I had stumbled across a new Etsyian earlier this morning, thanks in part to a "Quit Your Day Job" Article on Etsy.

Kelle Dame : The Shop is our featured Etsyian of the week! She has some incredible pillows, and I can't wait to see what she will be coming up with next! Here is a taste of what she has to offer:



The "Highs and Lows Pillow" is a beautiful and beachy style accent pillow for any beach cottage!



The "Flower and Ring Pillow" is just simply fantastic!

If you are interested in these items or a custom order, you can find Kelle at kelledame.etsy.com

She also has a blog: http://kelledame.blogspot.com

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I also just joined a Crochet Etsy Team! YEAH! Things are still in the works but I am excited about being a part of a REAL Etsy team...this is uncharted territory. Some of the teams require so much time & involvement to maintain membership. One thing I am short on is time (even if I do dilly-dally on my mornings off)! If you are interested in joining or just curious to see what an Etsy team is like, you can find the blog here: http://crochetdreamersetsyteam.blogspot.com/

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Well...I really do need to go. I hear my laundry is ready to be changed over...plus some bathrooms are calling my name to clean...BLECH! :) Have a wonderful day everyone!

Cheers,
Jess

Nutshell Farms
Hidden Gate Designs

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Brand New Day!

Ahh...sitting around in the AC is wonderful! I really should be doing about a million other things right now...but I am sitting here blogging!

I was productive so far this morning though...I got Nutshell Farms back up for business! Plus I will be adding things throughout the day/week. We have a really great sale going on right now. A Christmas in July Sale! YEAH! I know, I know...it is the END of July...but we were gone for a huge portion of July...sooooo.

I have also finally gotten up some AMAZING photos taken by Trina Gueck! She took some really great photos of our Chunky Baby Egg Bowls.



ADORABLE! :)

Hidden Gate Designs should be back up & running within the next couple days...so stay tuned for that.

Alrighty...I need to get back to work...so many things to photograph...and put up on the store...and cleaning...blargh! Have a good Monday everyone!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

And so we move forward...

So I have taken a much longer hiatus than expected...but have managed to fill my time. My mother was recently diagnosed with uterine cancer, and we have been dealing with a total hyterectomy, and now the beginnings of chemo. She is a strong woman, and she will get through this.

On to better news...the shops will be back up and running after an almost month of being down. We just needed some time to wrap our heads around what was going on at home. I have been working on the winter 2010 line of cowls and am so excited to be unveiling them in mid-August. There will be loads of new listings coming up once we start back up the shops. We still have a couple pieces from our childrens line from Winter/Christmas 2009. Those items will be listed at a DRASTICALLY reduced price!

We have also been kicking around the idea of creating our own catalog to send out with our packages...something that I wasn't even thinking about until Jeff mentioned it. He has some good ideas every once in a while! ;)

We also have listed our granola and one of our jams...more defiantely coming in the next couple weeks. I love creating new recipes and sharing them with people...now just to get the photos right! lol I have been struggling with my photos for ages, and I just need to buckle down and get them perfected!

Well, that is about all for an update. We will be restarting a featured Etsy seller, and the giveaways...it has just been difficult to keep up with those since the first of the year. Check back for more updates and deals!

CHEERS,

Jess Potts
Nutshell Farms
Hidden Gate Designs

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Getting back in the groove...

So I have been a several month hiatus from really doing anything remotely creative...and I have been miserable! ;) I love being creative, and it puts me in a happy place! And let's face it...the boy likes me better when I'm in a happy place!

I have been working on a few new projects that I am excited to unveil...well...SOON I will be unveiling the new products for the store. I will give you some hints though!! I have been working on some new baby products, and we will FINALLY be listing jams/jellies and our infamous granola. Lots of people have been asking me to put it up...and I have been stalling. Not exactly sure why...could have been the lack of time.

It is spring, and the rain has finally stopped (it rained for about 2 weeks straight!) here in the Black Swamp. It is 77 and sunny...clothes hanging on the line to dry...FINALLY got the garden planted. I am going to take some photos & post the progress...maybe this will keep me motivated with the pulling of weeds & such.

I have also started an extremely motivated work out schedule...trying to lose those 15 extra pounds I have been carrying around with me the last year. Damn you emotional eating! ;) I want to be in a happier/healthier place for my 28th year! Yes, you heard me right...I turned 28 at the end of April...downward slope to 30! But I will ALWAYS be younger than the boy, this is my saving grace!

I am also doing a strict regimen of one product a day (at least). I have been able to get two done today, and I am quite proud of myself! Photos will be going up this weekend of some of the new products we will be featuring in BOTH our shops. I will also be bringing back the "featured Etsy seller" posts. There are so many great products out there on Etsy, I just feel compelled to share them with all of you. :)

Well, that is enough of my rambling...the clothes aren't going to bring themselves in from the line...nor will the toilets clean themselves....can't someone out there invent a toilet that cleans itself??? hmm...maybe that will be my next project...doubtful!

HAPPY SPRING EVERYONE!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Delay...

Hello all! It has been several months since I have blogged...life has been really hectic. We opened a second shop! YEAH! http://www.hiddengatedesigns.etsy.com Check it out!

Also, in between work & school....I want to pull my hair out! :) Lot of studying & late nights. So, we will be starting back up with the blog giveaway in May, as well as the featured sellers. There just hasn't been enough time to do everything, and the blog & shops were the ones to suffer. :(

We are getting back on track though, and have some great new items listed in our original shop http://www.nutshellfarms.etsy.com We still have our 'After Christmas Sale' Section up & are hoping that we can liquidate those items.

Lots more items are going to be listed through out the next couple months. We have had many people ask us what the 'Pantry' section is all about...well we will be listing items in there in the next couple weeks. Included in this section will be: jams, jellies, homemade granola, scones & sconettes, food of the month club, and much more! I am really excited to get these started!

Well, that is about all I have time for, so I hope it has peaked your excitement about the shops & what is to come! ;)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

About the Delay...

Sorry I have been MIA for so long! Life has literally gotten away from me. I just wanted to write up a quick note to all that have been waiting so patiently! :) I will be back up into the swing of things within the next couple days. I am not going to even go into all the craziness that has previously ensued...yikes. I DID do the drawing...now I'm going to post it! ;) I decided to draw two names....drum roll please?!?!?
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DECEMBER BLOG GIVEAWAY WINNERS!!!
JacBer Kitsch (blog follower winner)
luvingmyson (purchase from the shop winner)
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If you are a winner, please e-mail me @ nutshellfarms@live.com or feel free to convo me through the shop on Etsy. If I don't hear from you by the weekend, I will send out a little convo myself. Thanks again, and more blogs to come soon!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Blog Update...

Hello all, just wanted to give everyone a little update. The blog has been on hiatus the last few days & unfortunately will be until Saturday. Life has become VERY hectic this week.

I have about 7 custom orders right now (no I'm not kidding), family coming in, cleaning to do, baking to accomplish, gifts yet to be completed, and work.... Not too mention that my 84 yr. old grandmother took a spill on a concrete sidewalk last night! We took her to the ER & she has a HUGE lump on her head, a banged up wrist (no fracture thankfully), & a dislocated left knee prosthetic (she has had her right knee replaced twice & her left already done once). She is a trooper though!

I will be back on schedule with the Featured Seller blog on Saturday...with a vengeance! ;) I am going to (hopefully) featuring around 10 Etsy sellers. Showing my favorite item from each of their shops...in hopes that this will make up for my absence.

Well, it is WAY past my bedtime & their are doctors visits in the early morning & holiday mailings that go out as well. Time to catch some zzzz's. Thanks again to everyone who has been so supportive!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday Greetings

Hello all! I have been working away like one of Santa's elves. Lots of orders coming in, still many more to complete. I have been so busy with the shop, orders, and posting feature blogs...that I realized I haven't updated our own info! ;)
We are still chuggin away towards the holiday season, and I'm excited to say that it will be the first time in 8 years that all of my family will be together! YEAH! Watch out people, all three of the Potts girls in one town! HA! It's exciting that my oldest sister will actually be home for Christmas, instead of just a phone call from New Mexico.
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I am working on some ideas for this spring. I will be rolling out my paper line (scrapbooking, cards, etc), and I am in the works for some jewelry design. I have been really inspired by 'Alice in Wonderland' lately & the jewelry will have a surreal flavor to it.
Here is a sneak peek of our embellishments: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=36848439





More where that came from! ;)
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We will also be rolling out in full force our 'Pantry' section. I have had several comments in the forums about needing to fill this section in, because people are very intrigued by it!

Pantry selections to come Spring 2010: homemade granola, breads, other baked goods, & plenty more. Our granola has gotten a lot of great reviews locally, and I think it is time to unleash it on the rest of the world. ;) I have been working on some new flavor combinations the last few months.

I will also be bringing out a new line in 2010 with quilts, as well as handmade mobiles. I have lots of ideas brewing, and I can't wait to get started!


Well, there are orders to finish...cleaning to do...decorating to be completed...baking to be done. Enjoy your holidays!


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HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM NUTSHELL FARMS!!