I just love it when a last minute idea comes together! We were invited to a wee Valentines Day Party and decided last minute to make our own instead of travel the 30 min. to the store. Luckily Grandma had recently scored this HUGE bucket of cookie cutters at a garage sale… more than I would ever use! I was saving them for a fun party favor or something, but instead decided to incorporate them into these adorable valentines.
Each valentine contains two cookie cutters. I tried to group them together like a star and a moon, a football and a football helmet, etc. The boys had fun stamping them with little hearts and putting on smelly stickers. It was the perfect activity for an afternoon craft and the boys were really excited to hand them out to all of their friends.
Just look how adorable they are in their matching monster truck valentine shirts from Grandma!
Hope your Valentines Day was filled with something sweet!
From the Farm
No related photos.
This last year has been full of surprises and working with some really awesome clients has been a big part of that. We we’re really excited and honored to be working with a new yoga instructor in town to help her brand her new business. Shannon is such a sweet and passionate soul. When she has a vision for something she goes after it with her whole heart. We see start-ups all the time not willing to invest in good branding. When Shanon approached us, it meant a lot that she valued what her first impression would be to the public and what it would say about her company. After hearing her vision for her new business we narrowed down two mood boards to help us finalize a direction for the brand.
The first mood-board is Natural Minded meets Fun and Fit. We love the bright colors that give yoga a more athletic and playful feel. This board positions yoga as a daily lifestyle that is intimate, while still being approachable and comfortable. Real, down to earth, and not just an exercise for the fancy corporate types.
The second mood-board is Classy, Airy, meets Rustic Zin. It is much more delicate in it’s style and tone. The black and white images portray a since of beauty and wonder, while the soft touches of color invite us to participate in a holistic yoga lifestyle.
We can’t wait to share more of our brand journey with you. The finished product is something we’re really proud of.
Find the links to these images and see what else inspired our branding by visiting our Yoga Pin Board on Pinterest.
From the Farm
One of my goals for 2015 is to connect better with other women in my life. One way I’m trying to do this is by opening up my house for a play date during the coldest season of the year. Thanks to my handy dandy Sharpie I sat down one night after the kids were down and had way to much fun putting this little flyer together.
If you are finding yourself going a little crazy with minions crawling all over you, plan a weekly play date so you can build relationships with other mommies in your area. I’m doing mine through our church and have invited a few other moms I have met at our local library. I promise this time of year every mom is looking for something to do with their kids besides being stuck inside! A weekly play date is a great way to get some adult conversation and interaction for your kids outside of their siblings!
From The Farm
After almost 7 years of marriage and adding two little minions to our family, we decided it was time for some new family photos (since we hadn’t had any professionally done since our engagement photos)! Our talented and good friend Shelley Lowe snapped these up at a wonderful Pumpkin Patch in October and we are just over the moon about them. They make us so happy every time we see them. James loved climbing all over the tractor and even though we don’t own one of our own (yet) it’s something we definitely plan on having in the future… along with pigs, bees, chickens…
Although we are still a year or two away from building our modern farmhouse we are still closer than we have ever been! In 2014 we set some big financial goals and it was very exciting to get to the end of the year and see all the progress we had made. As we begin 2015 we’ve set even more goals and it’s important to remember that every month, every little step, gets us closer and closer to our dream home.
Checkout Meg’s Pinterest Boards to see some of our ideas for the exterior design of our future home!
We’re trying our best to keep up with blog with two little minions, but it’s been a lot harder than we had expected. Be patient with us, and check back from time to time. We’re working on some fun new projects at home and through Green Couch Design that we can’t wait to share with you all!
Hope you are all staying happy and healthy! xoxo
From the Farm
PS Apparently all of our offspring come out as tiny little old men babies!
Cale and I have had the pleasure of collaborating with David Lord for several years now. Together we branded The Wonder Revolution, designed The DOTS Album Design, and more recently hosted a private show on our own front lawn for his solo project; Francis Moss. David is the kinda of guy that you could talk with for hours about music, creativity, and life’s deeper topics. He’s the kind of old soul and free spirit that you just really want to get to know. One of the most genuine people we’ve ever met, David Lord is truly someone we admire. Trained in classical guitar he launched a music academy from his very own home!
Today Air House Music Academy has expanded into two East and West locations in Wichita, KS. Hosting classes of mixed genres and instruments, Air House also is a recording studio, and a private venue space. Through his love for music David Lord has created a special place where creativity, music, and good technique is truly celebrated.
Q1) What inspired you to open Air House Music Academy?
I had a vision of creating a music academy and recording studio that promotes creativity. The aspect of music that I fell in love with early on was writing my own music. I also studied jazz and classical guitar in college, so I saw the benefit of learning music theory and learning proper technique. So in conceptualizing a music academy in Wichita, I wanted to include both the creative aspects as well as the technical and theoretical aspects. I saw the need in Wichita for a music academy focused on producing proficient, creative musicians. I also had dreamed of building a recording studio, both to record my own music as well as produce quality recordings for the creative music of Wichita.
Q2) How does your casual “go with the flow” attitude towards life influence the way you run your business?
Haha. That is pretty much the way I run the business as well, for better or worse. Air House feels more like a community of music educators, rather than a business with me as the boss. I like the relaxed, friendly atmosphere. I couldn’t really imagine doing it any other way. I try not to make much of a distinction between the way I approach life and the way I approach business.
Q3) What makes Air House Music Academy different than it’s competition?
It’s the only music academy around town that has such a broad scope. Air House is a music academy, a recording studio, a record label and a music venue. We offer private lessons, classes, ensembles, recording engineering training, recording, mixing, mastering, clinics, concerts, recitals, etc. Also, we have a truly exceptional faculty of teachers, including college professors, teachers with their doctorates and masters degrees and teachers specializing in songwriting and creativity. And our recording engineer and instructor recorded two albums with Bob Dylan.
Q4) What has been the most rewarding part when it comes to teaching kids about music?
When a student discovers his or her own sound and own approach to music, that is incredibly rewarding. It is great to provide the students with the tools to play music, but when they take those tools and create something of their own, that is very rewarding. The times that has happened have been highlights of my life. It is a beautiful thing to see someone use music for self discovery and self expression.
Q5) Most artists are great at being creative, but struggle with the structure needed to run their own business. You seem to have found a great balance. What advice do you have for others who might need help in this area?
Yeah, that’s a hard balance. I personally just do what I need to do for the business, then try to spend my free time with music and working in the studio. Everybody has their own way of doing things. Sometimes the business feels like too much and I fantasize about living in a small house in Sweden, spending all my time writing music and exploring the forest.
Q6) What has been the best tool you’ve found to help promote classes and events locally at Air House Music Academy?
Word of mouth has been the best. I try to bring on established, high level teachers that have a good network of their own. That helps a lot. Then I just promote events through social media and brochures and posters. I don’t spend much money on advertising.
Q7) How do you use your business and your creativity to give back to the community around you?
I hope that our efforts in music education are having a positive effect on the community, both for the students and for the teachers. Also, our record label tries to reach out to talented local musicians and give them a chance to record quality albums. In the past 10 years or so, there hasn’t really been a quality recording studio/record label in Wichita with the aim of supporting creative Wichita music. We are hoping to improve the musical culture in Wichita. We also released a benefit compilation for Muscular Dystrophy and Stem Cell Research that was curated by our friend, Ryan Benton. The compilation included several national bands like Thee Oh Sees, Elf Power and Cave Singers as well as Wichita bands. I also perform around the community frequently with my solo guitar project Francis Moss and my band The Wonder Revolution.
Q8) List three ways you keep creativity fresh in your day to day?
1) I try to work in the recording studio every day. I love making albums and it has become a daily practice. 2) Lately I’ve been writing 15 second micro songs and posting them on Instagram every day. That is a fun way to compose every day. 3) I try to practice or work on my live set every day.
Q9) Between running your own business, producing, and writing and touring yourself you definitely are a busy guy! How do you balance it all, and maintain a happy and healthy home life?
Don’t really know about that! Haha. Don’t have much of a perspective of what is normal in regards to a home life. But my preferred way of spending time with friends or relaxing is to work on music or a creative project. So it’s just a constant part of my life. I think the only time that I get frustrated is when I’m not spending enough time working on my music. As far as the effect on my relationships, I’m not sure. You’d have to ask them. Haha. But I tend to surround myself with other creative people that are also doing their own projects. My fiance Lindsay is a creative artist and raw food chef. She likes her space and creative time also, so we’re a good match.
Q10) Outside of music what is your favorite leisurely activity you do at home with your family?
Pet the cats.
David is a true musician at heart with a beautiful creative process that is all his own. Air House Music Academy and Recording Studio has given him the flexibility to pursue his own process on his own time and schedule. Although we are sure there are days where he’d love to run away from the “business side” of running a business… we think it’s just wonderful how he has discovered a creative way to make a living while doing what he loves.
Through your music, your creative business, and your heart you inspire us David! We can’t wait to see what is next for you and all your musical endeavors.
From the Farm
Our Creatives Near You Series is seriously becoming one of my favorites. Month to month I continue to be inspired and blown away by creatives that are doing what they love and going after their dreams. They are everyday people that I get to call friends and can’t wait to introduce you too!
I have secretly been hoping and praying to feature Krysta for quite some time now. When she instantly replied to my email request I was super stoked! Krysta and I met years ago in Wichita, Kansas. I can’t quite remember if it was through our Church, University, or the fact that she was dating a good friend of mine at the time, but either way we became friends. From the very beginning I remember Krysta as a go getter. She might be tiny in stature, but I promise she makes up for it in wit and drive! Right after college I remember her still struggling to find her creative nitch. She always put her whole self into her work, but it just never seemed like enough. Something was missing. It was at that time Krysta decided to throw all caution to the wind, sell most of her possesions, and jump into a new life in Los Angeles! She went in with both feet and no real plan (at least that is what it seemed like to me!) other then a hunger for change and a willingness to do whatever it took.
Krysta’s been in LA for several years now and thanks to the internet I’ve been able to follow along as she’s met new friends, gotten married, and become the CEO of a branding agency called B!G DEAL BRANDING. Through her blog Stilettos On The Rocks I’ve been able to watch her develop her balls to the walls creative voice (which I love), grow as a business owner and a wife, and become the truly confident woman that you see today.
She’s the real deal folks and I’m really excited to share with you some of her story, her process, how she balances life with a husband who freelances in the film industry, and a few lessons she’s learned along the way.
Q1) What was is it about marketing and businesses strategies that made you want to pursue it as a career?
It never seemed right to say, “I’ve been doing branding since I was a kid.” It’s not like singing or dancing. What I can tell you is that I have a journal entry from middle school where I wrote “What they’re saying isn’t what I’m experiencing. Shouldn’t there be some consisistency?” (Yes, I’ve always been this critical and nerdy.) From that point forward, I would dream about being in the center of the action, driving cultural conversation and finding the most compelling way to get them to the right audience. When I got to college and realized I could actually be graded on strategic thinking and talking, I knew this was the right field for me. That was just the beginning of what would evolve into my absolute love for building stronger brands through leadership development.
Q2) What are the most challenging, and the most rewarding parts about being your own boss?
The most rewarding is meeting the people who are attracted to our company. My team is so kick ass and the culture we’ve created brings in a certain kind of clientele that makes my job so much more stimulating. Quite a few of my client relationships turn into close friendships. I love that. The nature of what we do is so personal that it’s easy to pick up at the end of the process with plans to meet in person and just hang out. The challenging piece is being patient. I fully believe in elbow grease and sweat equity. There are just days when I wish I could snap my fingers and be on the cover of Forbes… that’s normal right?
Q3) How has your “no BS approach” toward life shaped the way you run your business?
Well, I can tell you it serves as a great filter. There isn’t a single person in my life who doesn’t challenge me. That goes for my team as well. I never wonder what they’re thinking and am proud that, as a culture, we are honest with one another on what’s working and what isn’t. I think that openness has attributed to our success.
Q4) You work with clients of all shapes and sizes. What advice do you have for networking and building a consistent client base?
For networking, we started with where we had the most connections and chose strategic aliances with leaders in that industry. Doing trades with them in the early days was a win-win. We not only got goods we couldn’t afford, but also exposure on their platform with our ideal audience that filled our docket quickly.
As we’ve matured, we’ve been more intentional about investing in clients who have networks that will take us to the next level. We’ll do in-person meetings instead of Skype and do what we can to go above and beyond. The more time we spend in their space, the more apt we are to meet their friends. I usually offer to do a free workshop for a handful of their industry colleagues to add value. This is such a natural crowd to step into since our common denominator is my client. They’ve already heard about the process from someone they trust and have seen the transformation first hand. Our clients are great at filtering who they introduce us to, so I’m always honored to be a part of their community. It may be a slow way to fill the pipeline, but we get to be more selective and I feel the experience overall is more transformational.
Q5) You and your husband both work for yourselves. How do you balance running two separate businesses while maintaining a healthy and happy home life?
Uhhh. Great question. I’m pretty good at not checking email or answering the phone outside of business hours. I’m terrible at letting my phone be a distraction though. Hellllooo Instagram! Vince’s career is a little more tricky. If he’s working for a network on a tv show, then he has to use nights and weekends for his other projects. I can say that having scheduled date nights have been so helpful. All of our friends know that Fridays are off the table. That’s a sacred time slot for us. Right now, our motto is quality over quantity when it comes to time spent together.
Q6) How does Vince’s career in film influence yours?
I think it greatly influences the way I think and perceive the world around me. He is highly creative and strategic which helps me see things in an entirely new way. I appreciate his feedback and love the opportunity to get his input on how to craft our message with more clarity. His expertise in that area overlaps what we do in such an interesting way. The unique perspective keeps me from getting tunnel vision and challenges me to the point of ugly crying. True statement.
Q7) How does your business culture and your lifestyle tie you to your home city of LA?
It has been said that L.A. has a way of bringing out who you really are. I never thought I was the entrepreneur type. Disgruntled employee constantly fighting the status quo … totally. Run-my-own-business? Never. I like complaining too much. This city … man … it gets you. There’s a scrappy nature to it that I really connect with. People are constantly hustling and pushing themselves in ways they never anticipated. What I think makes this city different than say, NYC, is that people here know how to relax. The hustle is met with some sort of outdoor activity: beach time, hiking, running, eating at an outdoor café, etc. I’ve come to appreciate that cultural value for balance in this town.
Q8) List 3-5 ways you keep creativity alive in your day to day?
Running is huge for me. It helps clear my brain and lets me go uninterupted for a chunk of time (at least until I get the iWatch!). I also love exploring new parts of the city. I have a colleague I meet with once a month to set goals and explore a new parts of town that we’ve never been to. It’s often centered around architecture, food, coffee and/or some kind of physical outdoor activity. For Vince and I, we absolutely love to travel. Both of us are fueled by weekend getaways. The best combination is a trip to NYC for work and play. It’s a sweet spot of ours.
Q9) What is your favorite leisurely activity you do at home as a family?
When Vince is working for a network, we love our mornings. We get out and run together and then come home and have coffee on the couch with our pups while we catch up on the news. Surprise lunch dates are super awesome when our schedules permit. And when we’re both working from home we shut down at 6, have happy hour and cook dinner together. If it’s not too hot, you’ll find us in the jacuzzi after dinner; Vince with a cigar and whiskey and me with an Old Fashioned.
I love that even with Krysta’s kick ass and take names approach toward life she’s still found a man that can make her “ugly cry”. It just goes to show that there is a piece of realness and vulnerability in us all! Even those so called “tough gals”.
Krysta, I can’t thank you enough for sharing your story, advice, and piece of your life with us. Keep it up girl!
From The Farm
It’s always much later in life, as a young adult, when you are stranded with your first flat tire, that suddenly you find yourself wishing you had a few more tools in your life skills’ tool belt. You can read the instructions all you want, but actually doing the dirty work of changing your first tire, is the only way you’ll really know how to do it.
When Cale was growing up his parents were very intentional about how and what they taught their children. Before I was married I never considered life skills as something to look for in a husband. 6+ years of marriage later, I have to say… Cale’s been quite the catch! Not only in appearance, but the guy can actually cook (better than me when we first met!), assemble furniture out of a box, and even sew on his own buttons! Of course he’s naturally better at some things than others, but at least he’s familiar with the basics! Looking back, I’m so thankful that Cale’s parents took the time to teach him some basic life skills that have helped shape him into the amazing, well-rounded, handyman that he is today.
Although both of our boys are still in diapers, we believe that we are laying the foundation today for the young men they’ll become tomorrow. It’s important for us to think about ways we can use everyday responsibilities and mistakes as teaching opportunities while they are still under our “parental-umbrella” so to speak (just made that word up!). I know as parents we say we are going to be tough and make our kids help out around the house, but often times it’s just “easier” if we handle it ourselves. Involving our kids in the daily tasks like the laundry, the sewing (yes… boys needs to learn this too!), and the cooking provides them with key learning opportunities they’ll be thankful for later on in life (along with their girlfriend/boyfriend, roommate, and spouse).
Here is our list of life skills we plan on teaching our kids (male or female):
- How to… Change a Tire.
- How to… Boil Water (so they can cook a basic meal like pasta, potatoes, boiled eggs, etc!).
- How to… Wash and Fold their own Laundry.
- How to… Hammer a Nail.
- How to… Start a Fire.
- How to… Read a Map (the old fashion paper kind!).
- How to… Balance a Checkbook.
- How to… Store, Clean, Load, and Shoot a firearm Safely (and accurately)
- How to… Sew on a Button.
- How to… Drive a Stick Shift.
Whether we like it or not we’ve all had to learn some of these skills a bit later on in life. Even if our parents taught us we were too “cool” (or bored) in the moment to pay attention. Truth is providing our kids with life skills won’t guarantee they’ll land that amazing job or make the best financial decisions. Our goal in teaching life skills is bigger than just checking them off a list. Our hope is that through them our kids will learn how to transition better as they take on more responsibilities, not be as afraid to try new things, and remain motivated to become the best versions of themselves as possible.
And yes, that includes knowing how to drive a manual sports car so you can give your mom a joy ride or at least be able to haul sheep shit in the farm truck (whichever comes first!).
What life skills would you add to our list? What life skills will you teach your kids? We’d love to hear from you!
From The Farm
These days our family has turned into a little zoo! That’s why for Halloween, instead of tying the kids down, we thought we’d let em run loose and enjoy being monkeys for a day! Or at least an evening. We may have bribed them with a few pieces of candy to keep them close by, but it did work (at least for the first hour or so)!
This is the third year that Cale and I have been involved in the Trunk or Treat at our church. Every year we try and come up with an original theme that includes a large group of people; typically all 5 of Cale’s siblings, spouses, a few friends, and nieces and nephews! Since we have all been busy having more babies it’s been harder to get everyone involved and on the same page. We know we could always just go with a trunk based on the latest popular kid’s movie, but coming up with an original theme is always way more exciting!
A few brown thrift store hoodies, sheets of felt, and some fabric glue and we were good to go! Using this DIY for a monkey hoodie costume we were able to simply repeat it for all the kids involved. Plus, we got to sit on a comfy bed and pass out candy to adorable children the whole night!
This is our littlest monkey Hardy Boy. He’s nearly four months old now and if you don’t watch out he will steal your heart (and your Snickers)!
We had a few surprise monkeys show up too! The sock monkey’s from another trunk didn’t want to miss out on the party so we invited them over.
The tails were my favorite part! We actually just bought them as-is at a local craft store and attached them to the back of the hoodies. ADORABLE!
Of course we wouldn’t give the book justice without representing The Doctor and The Momma! I love that my little nephew (monkey #2) and I have the exact same facial expression. Let’s do this candy thing!
Girl monkeys gotta represent!
Hard to believe our oldest Monkey, James David, turned 2 this past September (tear)!
Of course my costume was really annoying to have to wear all. night. long. But, I suffered through.
Our No More Monkey’s Jumping on The Bed Trunk was a huge hit! It was so much fun seeing families walk through our candy line and immediately get the theme. Hearing everyone comment on how cute our little monkeys were made it all worth it. And honestly, it was super easy! We spent one evening going through thrift shops looking for hoodies and buying supplies and another hour or so creating the actual costumes. The rest of the time needed was just gathering up a few pillows and blankets, a head board, and a few toddler mattresses and we were good to go!
Did you have any monkey’s running around this Halloween? Or maybe a princess, a dinosaur, or a mini Captain America (those fake fabric muscles are so awesome!)?
Happy (belated) Halloween friends!
From The Farm
Get inspired for next year by checking out our roundup of 8 Easy and Adorable Halloween Hoodie Costumes.
For months now we’ve been looking forward to actually meeting our new friends the Nabors in person. Several months ago Craig and Michelle Nabors reached out to us via email and we instantly hit it off. An adorable family of four their dream is to farm their 30 acre plot full-time along with building their own modern farmhouse. Aiming to break ground sometime next year, they are in full design and planning mode as they layout their future homestead (sound familiar!?) We recently spent a drizzly fall day walking their land, chatting up a storm about house plans and farming techniques, and even shared a bowl of homemade corn chowder (which we have been craving ever since we left!).
Of course, James had no problem making himself right at home and running around like one of the big kids!
We even got to tour Craig and Michelle’s adorable Cob House that they built with their own hands! An experiment in sustainable building materials it is truly a labor of love. Simple and quaint it has two bedrooms, running water, and a compositing toilet. A wonderful retreat and cozy guest cottage it helps them serve the basic needs of the land until they can live their permanently.
It was the perfect kind of day that went by not to slow and not to fast. Time felt calm and easy as we enjoyed each other’s company and shared our dreams of family and simple living (outside of the sheep getting out of course!).
We are always amazed and truly grateful at the wonderful connections we’ve made by simply sharing our life online. The genuine friendships we’ve made over the years are simply priceless. We are looking forward to the next time we get to spend some quality time with our new Nabors (sorry, had to do it!).
From The Farm
Visit The Nabors blog to see more photos of their Cob House from start to finish!
When I was a kid my grandma would make us the best Halloween Costumes. She’d take us to the fancy fabric store and we’d spend hours looking at all the books with samples of the different patterns. It was always really hard, but eventually we’d narrow it down and she’d make our costumes completely from scratch. Now these were not your flimsy Big Box Retail Costumes, these were handcrafted, tailored, pieces of art that were made with lots of love (and blood, sweat, and tears I’m sure!). Back then we actually got to wear our costumes to school, which was always my favorite part. For a whole day we’d get to prance around in our homemade garb as a pretty witch, a silly clown, or for my brother; Captain Planet (which included a fabric six pack of course)!
Unfortunately my kids won’t have the same quality handmade Halloween Costumes I had as a kid, but I’m gonna do my best to make something a little crafty and original. The last few years we’ve participated in our church Trunk or Treat. As a family (including Cale’s five brothers and sisters and children!) we’ve done everything from the Super Mario Brothers to a Bakery complete with the most adorable cupcakes and cookies! This year everyone’s schedule is a bit more crazy than usual so we are trying to keep things fairly simple (although we say that every year!). I love a good hoodie costume cause you can buy the base at a thrift shop, purchase some felt for simple handmade add-ons, and finish with some fabric glue baby and you are good to go! Even if you’d don’t have a sewing a machine you can still create something unique and fun for your little minions that’s simple and one-of-a-kind.
Below is a roundup of links to some of my favorite easy handmade costumes. I’ve been searching for a particular hoodie tutorial myself, but you’ll have to wait until after Halloween to see our final costumes and theme this year!
- Care Bears by See Vanessa Craft
- A Minion from Despicable Me by Not So Idle Hands
- Octopus by dollarcraft on Instructables
- Unicorn by Fiskars
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Vanilla Joy
- Knight by fjnorm on Instructables
- Shark by Fiskars
- Little Red Ridding Hood and The Big Bad Wolf by Martha Stewart
A little bit of forethought goes a long ways! Halloween might be a week away, but I promise you’ve still got time to create you own costume that is way cooler than something from the store (and probably a lot less expensive too!). Get together with some of your friends for a craft night, and cut and glue your own hoodie costume together. Who knows, the materials you need may already be in an old box just waiting to be used.
What’s your favorite handmade costume? Leave us a link in the comment section.
From The Farm