Saturday, July 19, 2014

When I was growing up, my mom had a huge garden. My sister and I would help out with planting tomatoes and beans. Planting always seemed like the easy part. At least compared to picking beans which always seemed so back breaking when I was little. We used to watch The Victory Garden on PBS and get lots of tips for the garden.

I wanted to design some different garden labels on Kraft paper that had an authentic vintage feel...something along the lines of the Victory Garden advertisements during WWII. So I came up with these red, white, & blue patriotic Kraft paper labels.

New to my Etsy shop are From the Victory Garden, The Fruits of Victory, Grow What You Eat, and I/We Put Up. Some families like to preserve together! So you can choose either "Of course, I Put Up" or "Of Course, WE Put Up" on this label.

There's a series of new salsa labels available too that are available in 4 styles: Mild Salsa, Medium Salsa, Hot Salsa, & Fire-Breathing Salsa. Each are color-coded by the style, so either green, yellow, red, & fire.

I also created a new vintage honey bee canning jar label. This can be used on fruits & veggies, not just honey.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Uh oh, my garden is out of control. And that wasn't a zucchini plant. My bad.

OK, so this year's garden doesn't look anything like I've ever had before. It's a chaotic jungle. I've never seen so much green least not in my garden bed. Things often start out green, but they don't tend to get all big & bushy...and live. I definitely have luck with some veggies. Lettuce, no problem. Green beans, yep, I can do those. Why doesn't everything else do as well as beans? Tomatoes...sometimes I do alright. Green Peppers, Corn, Zucchini? Forget about it. I stopped planting zucchini years ago because it's always a big dud for me. My zucchini plants have never gotten larger than a dinner plate before they start to rot at the stems and die.

So imagine my excitement when I had 3 volunteer plants that I thought for sure were zucchinis? I was elated. I was already planning on making bread, cooking veggie soup, breading & baking it. The plants kept getting bigger & bigger & bigger. My mom & grandmother-in-law often have enormous zucchini plants that come up to your waist and travel 8 feet or more. So I had no reason to believe that what I had wasn't zucchini. Until they kept growing, started vining, and developed little round balls under the blossoms. Crud, this isn't zucchini. It's either pumpkins or those little decorative gourds. I would prefer pumpkins since we carve them at work every year, so they'd be useful. But I'm betting they're little gourds. Dangit.

And all the volunteer tomatoes that I didn't pull up appear to be cherry tomato plants. yea. We like cherry tomatoes, but one plant is always sufficient.

The worst part about my garden is that it's incredibly difficult to get in & out of it with these crazy vining plants because of my electric fence. The vines are going around the fence, so it probably isn't working, and I have to step over the enormous plants which come up to my waist in some areas. They're currently maneuvering their way in & out of my slotted wooden fence too, so I'm sure my neighbors are going to love this.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Custom vintage honey, tomato juice, sauce, and salsa labels now on Etsy

I get a lot of requests for custom honey labels, so I finally added one to my shop. I have several more honey designs that I'll add later this season as well. The first one available is a fully customizable vintage honey label. You can customize the label with your name, type of honey, season, and can even add a pre-printed date or size.

Sometimes it's hard to tell if you have a jar of spaghetti sauce or salsa, so that's why these new tomato canning jar labels are a must! They come pre-printed with Tomato Sauce, Tomato Juice, Spaghetti Sauce, or Salsa. No need to guess what's in the red jar anymore :)
Fully customizable honey bee label. 

What's in the red jar? Now you know :)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

My Garden is Pure Chaos This Year, and I LIKE it

In years past, I always got very excited with gardening. I would start planning what I was going to plant in the winter months, picking out different varieties, trying to figure out succession gardening, and also planning for the inevitable varmint invasion. But the last few years I've been pretty busy with my etsy shop during the summer, so I've had less time to spend in the dirt. I was also reluctant to get a big garden in because we were thinking of moving.

This year I decided to do something different. I didn't get my garden chart out until the day I planted. I decided on a whim where I was planting everything...and I wasn't going to be planting much. Well, that was the "non-plan" plan at least.

I put in my usual row of lettuce mix, a short row of Endive, Kale, & Swiss Chard. Then carrots, parsnips (which I never planted before, and which didn't germinate), and green onions. I put 2 long rows of green beans in using seed I saved from last year's bumper crop. And the other new thing I put in was potatoes. I've never planted potatoes before so I wasn't sure what to expect. They are big & my garden looks like a big green jungle, especially with the potatoes right next to the beans.

I was determined not to plant any tomatoes because I still have a lot of salsa left over from a few years ago, so I wouldn't be canning them. But, it's always nice to have a ripe tomato from the garden, so I let the volunteer plants grow up. I knew what I might be in for when I made that decision...possibly dozens of cherry tomato plants. So far I know there are about 5 cherry tomatoes, but I'm hoping at least one of the other volunteers is a Black Krim, the best tomato I've ever planted!

I have at least 5 tomato plants in between the beans & potatoes. I have no idea how I'm going to get in there & pick those. One of the benefits of having a raised garden bed is that you can plant a little closer together. But the mistake I made with my raised bed is that it's a bit too wide, so it's hard to reach into the center.

The awesome surprise volunteer is an enormous zucchini plant. What's funny is that every year I would plant multiple zucchini plants & all would fail miserably. The plants would be puny, about the size of a dinner plate, then start to yellow & then rot at the stems. I usually would only get 1 tiny zucchini before the plants would die. I stopped planting it several years ago out of frustration. This volunteer is about 2.5 feet high & probably 100 times bigger & stronger looking than anything I ever planted. The stems are enormous & filled with blossoms. So I guess I just had to have Mother Nature plant zucchini for me.

I also seem to have 2 pumpkins or gourds. One is under the potatoes, which is covering the green onions, and some of the tomatoes. I seriously didn't weed or thin out anything, as you can see from my photos!

Beans, tomatoes, and potatoes, OH MY. 
Volunteer Zucchini... it's covering a row of carrots,
but I was too excited to have zucchini, so I don't mind. 
On the left is Kale, not the curly kind, lettuce, swiss chard, and also
volunteer dill from  5 YEARS AGO! Dill is hard to get rid of. The one blank dirt spot is
from my swiss chard also not germinating. Too bad, because we love chard!
And our raspberries :)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

New vintage style canning jar labels on Etsy!

I just finished a bunch of new vintage canning jar labels. I've gotten a lot of requests over the years to customize the popular Vintage Enjoy style label, so I finally decided to have a completely Customizable Vintage style label. You can customize it with your name, special canned good, and can even add a pre-printed date if desired. This would be great as a gift, for giving or receiving.

Vintage Checkered is a blank label with the same vintage style, and it has lots of room to write your canned goods name.

Love is Sweet is a customizable wedding favor canning jar label. It's available in 3 sizes: 2" for regular mouth lids, 2.5" for wide mouth lids, or 1.5" for small 1 oz favor jars lids.

"Yes I Can" is available in a Vintage style as well as a red, white, & blue Patriotic version. Also, since some families like to preserve together, you can choose either "Yes I Can" or "Yes WE Can" for both of these label designs.

Fully customizable vintage style canning jar label.
Add your name, canned good, pre-printed date, or any special text. 

Love is Sweet Wedding Favor Canning Jar Labels 

Vintage Checkered Mason Canning Jar Label 

Vintage "Yes I Can" OR "Yes We Can" Canning Jar Labels 

Patriotic "Yes I Can" OR "Yes We Can" Canning Jar Labels  

Friday, April 25, 2014

Canning Jar Label and Cloth Topper Size Chart

Canning Jar Label Sizes
I often get asked what label size will fit a certain ounce canning jar. Mason Canning Jars can have either regular mouth or wide mouth lids. Please refer to the chart below to determine what size you need for applying my adhesive canning jar labels to your lids.

If you want to add the label to the front of the glass, a 2" or 2.5" label will work on a anything over the standard (taller) 8 oz half pint jelly jar. A 1.5" label will fit on front of a 4 oz quilted Ball Jars or on the lid of a 1.5 oz favor jar. The 1.5" label will NOT work on the front of the small 1.5 oz favor jars because it will be too large.

There are different styles and brands of canning jars, so sizes vary slightly on height and width of the glass. The canning jar lids will either be regular mouth or wide mouth. There are also many jars available that aren't specifically for canning, so please measure your jars to know which label size you need.

This is a breakdown of how many labels come on each printed sheet in my shop. Kraft paper labels are only available in the 2" size at this time.
1.5 inch (30 labels per sheet)
2 inch for regular mouth jars (20 labels per sheet)
2.5 inch for wide mouth jars (12 labels per sheet)

Canning jar label size chart for mason jars

Canning Jar Cloth Topper Sizes
My fabric cloth toppers for canning jars are pre-cut to 6" circles since that works on most canning jar sizes. The 6" toppers will fit on wide mouth jars, but about half of the fabric will show around the edges of the lid compared to a regular mouth canning jar. Please refer to the chart below showing how toppers look on various jars.

The 4 oz jars are short, so while the 6" cloth topper will fit, a lot of the jar's contents will get covered up with the fabric. Some people prefer to have a 5" cloth topper for the shorter jars so they can see more of the jam. A 4" cloth topper works well on the 1.5 oz favor jars.

Occasionally I'm able to fulfill special orders for smaller cloth toppers depending on which fabric you need and how soon you need it. I precut most of my fabric to 6", so I may not have extra fabric in stock to cut down.

My cloth toppers won't work on hermetic style jars (jars with glass lids and clips).

Canning jar cloth topper size chart for mason jars.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Our Desert Rose Dragon print will be in the Pinchflat Bike Poster Show in Columbus!

Our second print, "Desert Rose Dragon" will be at the 2014 Columbus Pinchflat show in May. Pinchflat now spans four months and will have posters on display at Paradise GarageRoll: BicyclesBaer Wheels, and Cafe Brioso in Columbus, Ohio. The opening party is at Wild Goose Creative on May 3, 2014.  Pinchflat is an original bike poster show in Columbus that chooses 30 artists who create 30 prints each that sell for $30 a pop. We're excited that we made it into the show again this year.

"Desert Rose Dragon" is a 12" x 24", 3-color silkscreen print on French paper. This year we had Shout Out Loud Prints silkscreen them for us. We're really happy with how much of the detail was retained on the printed piece. Thanks for the awesome print job Pat!!

The bicycle in the print was my first bike as a kid, a Huffy Desert Rose with a super cool and comfy banana seat. My sister and I got the same bike that year for Christmas. My parents had this weird notion that if we got the same exact toys that we wouldn't fight over who got the coolest doll, game, or bike. That plan ultimately backfired on them when one of the identical items would break & we fought over which one of us it belonged to :D To this day I still put my name on everything I own :)

I had to wait until Spring to ride my pretty pink Desert Rose bike, which felt like an excruciatingly long time since I was a kid. I had never ridden a bike before, so I thought my parents would give me more of a lessen than they did. They pretty much said "Get on and peddle." That seemed simple enough. I managed to spin the wheels once before I fell off into the ditch in front of our house. That wouldn't have been so bad except for the fact that we lived in the country where everyone had septic tanks and smelly ditches that were quickly dug by backhoes. So I had to crawl out of a 3 foot deep ditch, covered in black gunk. My parents found this surprisingly hilarious, so I stormed off and said I was never getting on my bike again. After soaking in our retro pink bathtub with my clothes on, I put on a clean pair of pants and went back out to give it another go. So "never again" lasted about 10 minutes! I hopped on and rode all the way down the street without falling off (my parents skimped on training wheels). I think I was determined to not have my parents snicker at me again. 

I recently recounted that story to my dad who not surprisingly didn't remember it at all. Maybe he would've remembered it if he fell into a ditch and had someone laugh at him?

So why the dragon? We thought it would be neat to have a dragon doing a BMX style bike trick. I didn't think about how long it would take to draw the scales on the dragon. It was exhausting. And 42 hours later, our second print was completed :)

Keep up to date on the show with our art blog:

"Desert Rose Dragon" silkscreen print 

Alison's initial sketch... I got tired of sketching the dragon's scales too!
Jason did a sketch too. I ended up combining elements from each sketch for the final print. I create the art digitally in Illustrator using a 10-year old mouse instead of a tablet ('cause I'm old skool and stoopid).