Archive for March, 2012
If you are someone looking for a real agricultural adventure away from the “main land” WWOOFing maybe just your thing! WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) is a volunteer organization that connects individuals with organic farmers from around the world! You can choose your location (as long as they have a spot open in the time frame you are available) and spend anywhere from a few weeks to several months helping an organic farm take on their daily tasks.
“WWOOF is a world wide network of organizations – We link volunteers with organic farmers, and help people share more sustainable ways of living.” – WWOOF Website
“WWOOF is an exchange - In return for volunteer help, WWOOF hosts offer food, accommodation and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles.” – WWOOF Website
“WWOOF organizations - link people who want to volunteer on organic farms or smallholdings with people who are looking for volunteer help.” - WWOOF Website
Our friend Chelsea spent a summer on an organic farm in Hawaii and shared some of her adventures in our series; Hawaiian Farm Girl. She learned all kinds of things but mainly enjoyed the hands on experience and falling in love with the land.
If you are interested in participating in WWOOFing please know it’s definitely not for the faint at heart! You have to be willing to do chores of all shapes and sizes including cleaning the chicken coop! Not everything is as flashy and pretty as planting seeds but it’s definitely a great experience to learn what it truly takes to run and organize a working farm.
Somethings to consider (from Chelsea’s experience):
CASH ON HAND: As a WWOOFer you are strictly a volunteer so your time is in trade for free lodging and food (whatever the farm grows). You’ll need to make sure you have saved up money to purchase your plane ticket to and from your location as well as any extra spending cash you might want to travel around the area you are saying in.
TRANSPORTATION: If you are wanting to do a lot of site seeing around the area of your farm location you’ll need to consider transportation. Chelsea had access to a car but it was shared among the other WWOOFer’s and it was only available certain days a week.
FRIENDS: Most WWOOFing farms are typically located outside of town and away from other people. You may want to talk a friend into sharing the experience with you so that you don’t get to lonely. Obviously there are other WWOOFers around but you don’t always know their personality types, if they will even speak the same language as you, and how long they plan on staying. You may like the idea of being secluded but others may want to bring a friend!
FREE TIME: The farm Chelsea stayed at required each WWOOFer to work 5 hours a day. This may sound like a lot but chores where done quickly leaving a lot of free time to roam the land. Make sure you bring books to read or other things to help you occupy your time. Depending on if you have access to a car or not you maybe confined to the farm grounds a lot more than you would like. Also, don’t forget to ask about internet access, etc. Depending on the farm location access maybe sketchy and hard to keep in touch with family and friends (if you care to do that!).
EQUIPMENT: Find out what type of cooking equipment is available for the WWOOFers. Chelsea was able to take a isobutane/propane stove that was extremely lightweight and compact. It allowed her to fit a single pot, pan, or teakettle at a time to cook a number of things. Since you are typically confined to eating what the farm grows you may want more options when it comes to preparing the same foods over and over again.
With summer quickly approaching WWOOFing is a great hands on agriculture adventure! Not only does it teach you life skills but you’ll gain a better appreciation for the land and what it takes to grow your own food.
Visit WWOOFing today and find out how you can volunteer at an organic farm near you or across the globe!
From the Farm
No related photos.
This past Monday we took a little road trip and dropped off our first batch of concrete jewelry at Dwelling Spaces in Tulsa, OK. We have heard amazing things about this store and it’s owner, Mary Beth, but had no idea just how wonderful it was until we we’re able to visit in person. Not only is the store aesthetic eclectic and fun but it’s got all the heart and soul we could ever ask for from a store carrying our products.
“Meet Mary Beth Babcock, the thirty-nine-year-old geek-chic cheerleader for all things Okie who makes you want to wear state pride like a party dress.” – Oklahoma Today: Mary Beth Babcock named Oklahoma Today’s 2011 Oklahoman of the Year
For the past six year Mary Beth has created not only a store but an art district and culture born out of a genuine passion to support local art and artist.
“Art feeds the soul, so she would feed the art.” - Oklahoma Today: Mary Beth Babcock named Oklahoma Today’s 2011 Oklahoman of the Year
We only spent 30 minutes with Mary Beth (and mostly that was us talking), but instantly we found a friend that loves pushing boundaries and is not afraid to take things to the next level. Her passion is truly contagious and something we hope you’ll support by checking out her wonderful store; Dwelling Spaces.
From the Farm
I first met Ryan and Chelsea this past January at a special dinner prepared for ALT Summit attendees. They arrived all sleek in their New York attire and to be honest it made me wish that Cale could have attended the conference with me. It’s always amazing to me to see other couples who work together creatively. I love hearing their process and how they balance work and life.
When Ryan and Chelsea first met, they were both full-time actors; actually they were doing a national tour of a show. Since then, Ryan has mostly left the acting business and started his own web design company, called Roundhouse Designs. He specializes in designing websites for actors and creatives while Chelsea has continued acting and has added blogging to her plate. Together they take on DIY projects, designing and re-designing Chelsea’s DIY blog; Lovely Indeed, auditions, and all that a New York City life has to offer!
Q1) What was the inspiration behind starting your blog Lovely Indeed?
A1) When Ryan proposed, I knew that I wanted our wedding to be very DIY, so I started reading DIY and wedding blogs regularly. After a while, I realized that I had a lot to share, especially while planning our wedding, so I put together a blog of my own. We documented all of our wedding projects and planning stages. I’m so grateful for it now; it’s almost like looking at a scrapbook of our engagement. I’m still so surprised and grateful at how it’s taken off – even though our wedding has passed, the blog has grown and transitioned into something that I hope is long-lasting.
Q2) What about your lifestyle inspires your work or makes it better?
A2) We’ve been so blessed during our time in NYC. While Ryan was still acting, we had the opportunity to work together on two U.S. tours, and to work together on a job in China. That kind of travel is so inspiring and eye-opening. In each new place, we’d be sure to try new foods, hunt down local shops, and go on photo tours. Those are memories that we both absolutely treasure, and seeing so much of the world together has exposed us to so many beautiful, inspiring things.
Q3) It seems you and Ryan work very closely together. How do you balance a healthy home while running a blog, graphic design clients, auditions, shows, etc.?
A3) For us, everything sort of runs together. One day may be filled with three auditions plus two client meetings and seeing a show in the evening; the next day might be staying home to get the laundry finished before we go to a rehearsal for something. To be honest, we know that it’s not necessarily something that’s a long-term lifestyle; but in the theater world, you have to somewhat roll with the punches and fit the puzzle pieces together however they will fit! And while we’re living in the city, we’re trying to soak up as much of it as we can.
Q4) In your opinion, define what makes a great DIY Project?
A4) To me, photos are key. If the project is attainable and the photos are quality, there are times when you almost don’t need instructions. I think that it’s easy to want to push through a project without taking the time to make sure the photos are beautiful and descriptive; but the truth is that much of the blog world is image-driven, and people want to see beautiful things – even if it’s a DIY tutorial.
Q5) What advice do you have for others interested in starting a DIY blog?
A5) Be ready to invest the time to make it great! DIY blogging is extremely time consuming once you add everything up – you have to conceive the project, shop for materials, do the project (do it again if you mess it up), photo it, edit photos, and put the post together. And that’s just one project. So you’ve got to be ready to work. But on the flip side, it’s so rewarding to share ideas with people and see your work making the world a little more beautiful!
AND NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF!
Q6) If you could co-star with your husband in any show what would that be? Why?
I’d probably go with us playing Robert and Janet in The Drowsy Chaperone (even though I’m so wrong for that role!). The show is kind of old-school, and Ryan comes from an old Vaudeville family, so he’d be hysterical in it. That, plus I’d get to wear lots of sequins!
Q7) What is the DIY project you are the most proud AND the one you will NEVER do again? Why?
When was the last time you spent sometime in the baby aisle at your local retail store? Have you really looked at all the stuff they tell you that you will need for your new Little Noodle? Recently, Cale and I were purchasing items from a baby registry and I swear we could have gotten lost in all the gismo and gadgets (who knew there were so many options for a pacifier?)! I realized then and there that if we got this child all the “stuff” that they say you need our little farm house would only have room for one baby! I’m not saying essentials like diapers and bottles are not important, but seriously how do you even know where to start? How do you know what really is the right stuff?
I don’t know if this makes me a bad parent or not but I kinda figure the Little Noodle’s necessities will be met one way or another (the Grandmother’s are already bringing stuff over); but, the part that freaks the hell out of me is how do you as a parent provide the other stuff? The life stuff? How to create a since of hope and adventure? How do you cultivate an explorer instead of someone full of fear? These are the questions I’m more worried about. I know the Little Noddle will have plenty of toys and as far as the breast feeding equipment goes, well… I’ll figure it out! But what weights more on my heart is establishing a safe place for our child to dream big. A place that cultivates new ideas and a since of wonder.
Below is a list of images that have inspired us as we create a space for our Little Noodle.
Green Couch Design started from a place of dreaming big and that is exactly what we want to instill in our children. Call me crazy but I think the right stuff starts with the nursery decor. I’m more of a visual person anyway so we’ll get to the gismos and gadgets later.
First, let’s create a space that speaks to the heart and soul behind our vision and love for family.
That’s my kinda stuff.
From the Farm
PS See more of my nursery ideas on Pinterest.
It seems lately we’ve been doing a lot of waiting.
Waiting for spring.
Waiting to find out the sex of our Little Noodle.
Waiting for checks in the mail.
Waiting for our next vacation (1st week in June!).
Waiting for the rain to pass.
Waiting for the asparagus to grow.
Waiting for parenthood to begin.
Waiting for this project to end.
Waiting for the fabric to come in.
Waiting for an email.
Waiting for the grass to get just a tad bit taller (so we can mow it AGAIN!)
Waiting for a new car.
Waiting for a free weekend to catchup on the “house”.
Waiting to get our products in more stores.
Waiting to make our next BIG move with the business.
Waiting to find a photographer.
We’re learning a lot about waiting and it’s kinda hard.
From the Farm
This week we’re sharing lesson #2 in our series about running your business around your home life instead of letting your business run your home life. Figuring out how to work smarter not harder (thanks for the title James!) has been a very important lesson for us and something that we are still working on implementing. In order to work smarter not harder you first have to recognize that even though the marketing world would tell you something different there is no right or wrong way to do this. It honestly starts with knowing your own lifestyle and business perimeters and setting up tasks to help you stay within those boundaries. This will look different for every person, every family, every business. If you are single you may not mind working late into the night and if you are a mom you may find that you get your best work done early in the morning before the kids are up. Either way, you figure out how to work smarter by first recognizing what daily tasks are foundational elements to establishing a satisfying home life for you and your family.
Start by asking yourself what are the day to day tasks that have to be done in your home life? As fun as it is to dream up the perfect home life at the end of the day what stresses us out is the stuff that everyone has to deal with; chores and all that responsible adult stuff! More often times then not it’s the daily tasks of running a household that can easily distract you when you work from home so it’s important to figure out what those daily tasks are and how they align themselves up with your preferred lifestyle.
For me (Meg), my list looks like this:
Based on the list above there are four categories that are important to me and the home life I desire to have:
- Marriage/Immediate Family
- Social/Friends/Extended Family
By going back through the individual pieces that make up each category I was able to establish simple, everyday tasks that have helped me meet and maintain a healthy and realistic balance to my preferred lifestyle:
We’ve been following Dolan Geiman’s work for the past three years. He and his business partner, and wife, have been an example to us as small business owners trying to make a living while being creative. It’s been really fun watching Dolan’s work take shape and move from his original one-of-a-kind construction pieces to these petite 8″ x 8″ reproductions of original collages and illustrations printed directly onto poplar wood blocks.
It’s that time of year where our twitter feed becomes all a buzz with the latest happenings from one of the coolest festivals around the country. In case you have been living in a hole (or WAY out in the country ) South by Southwest (SXSW) is an annual music, film, and interactive conference and festival held in Austin, TX.
The last few years it’s been really exciting to see Oklahoma art and music represented at SXSW and one of the ways this has been able to happen is through The Buffalo Lounge, presented by The Oklahoma Film & Music Office:
“The mission of The Buffalo Lounge is to promote Oklahoma’s film, music, and interactive industries to a statewide & nationwide audience. The vision is to be the premiere event and outlet for filmmakers, musicians, and interactive companies to connect with their supporters and attract a new audience, including the chance to gain national attention.”
Well it’s that time of year again… in spite of the cold and dreary weather it’s time to pull out the gardening tools and get things moving. I’ve been prepping new raised beds and setting up cold frames. A little work now will make for a really wonderful gardening experience as the days get longer and warmer.
Hope these suggestions help kick start your green thumb this spring. Send me pictures, cale(at)greencouchdesign(dot)net, of your gardening adventures and fruits as things take shape. Some good friends of ours recently purchased 20 acres and planted their first batch of fruit trees! We’d love to see how things are progressing in your neck of the woods and get ideas back from our readers. It’s looking like it’s going to be a great year for gardens, so I can’t wait to share more with you as the adventure develops.
From the Farm
PS Don’t forget we’ll be posting a week of spring gardening tips on Curbly Monday, April 16th-Friday, April 20th 2012. Stay tuned!
The last few months we’ve been determined to get our priorities straight and run our business around our home life instead of allowing our business run our home life. As we have continued to get re-focused and better organized we thought it would be helpful to share some of the key factors that have helped us find and maintain balance. Lesson #1 is a really honest post featuring some of the cool and really awful home offices we’ve established over the past three years.
Recently, the biggest thing that has helped us maintain the separation of our home and business is the realization that we had to STOP using our kitchen table as our home office! You might be wondering… don’t you have a home office? Why, yes! Yes, we do indeed! But… my architect in training husband built it in the laundry room (which you should take note of) and didn’t think about the fact that our old dryer could quite possibly and did fry our hard drive (even though that was the same computer he had in college?). After that catastrophe Cale refused to let our new iMac take up residency in our official “office” so it quickly became the
dumping ground place of storage for all things business related; thus, turning our kitchen table into our actual work space.
Sounds like a mess doesn’t it!? Talk about being stressed out! No wonder our business was taking over our life! It was time to make an executive decision about the space available and needed within our home and completely give up our guest bedroom. We had been using half of the room for storage anyways, so we moved the entire “office” into the guest bedroom and opened up the laundry room as the future baby’s room. I know, I know… we are sticking our poor child in with the dirty laundry, but we promise to decorate it and make it look real