Hills & Trails

Now that we're getting closer to our latest addition's due date, nesting is setting in full-force!  I want to clean everything, reorganize everything, decorate everything... if only the near-constant Braxton Hicks contractions would let me!  That's why I was so excited to receive this beautiful screen-printed pillow from Hills & Trails this past week - it's just perfect for curling up with and taking it easy.  
| Pillow was provided for review by Hills & Trails | This post contains affiliate links |

Hills & Trails Log Cabin Pillow

With all the Braxton Hicks I've been having, my doctor advised that I just "take it easy" - definitely easier said than done when you have a toddler and the house isn't ready yet for the new baby!  But in following doctors orders, I've been making sure to take breaks to lay down and relax throughout the day to keep those pesky Braxton Hicks contractions in-check.  

Recently, Kayna from Hills & Trails was kind enough to send me one of their beautiful hand-printed Log Cabin Pillows to share with you all and I just love how at home it looks on our bed! (And just another great reason for me to get cozy and take it easy, right?)

Hills & Trails Pillow is perfect for getting cozy with a cup of tea

All of Hills & Trails products are beautifully designed and hand-printed right in Maine!  They offer a variety of items including prints, apparel, housewares, and even kids items.  This particular pillow features a silk-screened log cabin design that has a hand-drawn feel.  And bonus points to Hills & Trails for adding a zipper closure to make the linen-blend pillow case removable!  - Afterall, with kids around having to clean the pillow is inevitable.  

I just love how all of their products are wonderfully made and fit right in - whether you're "upta camp," decorating a kids room, or just want to bring a bit of rustic whimsy into your home.  

Hills & Trails Log Cabin Pillow
I love the heart detail over the chimney!  

I love the heart detail over the chimney!  

Hills & Trails Pillow / Fair Seas Supply Co. Throw

Hills & Trails handmade products can be purchased on their website and various retailers throughout the Northeast.

Pillow c/o Hills & Trails | Throw is from Fair Seas Supply Co. | Mug is from Falcon Enamelware

- I received this pillow for review from Hills & Trails but all opinions expressed are my own.  Please see our full Disclosure Policy for more information -   

 

WOULD YOU BE INTERESTED IN HAVING ME STYLE, REVIEW, AND FEATURE ONE OF YOUR PRODUCTS?  
Please drop me a note


KEEP UP WITH BIRCH LANDING HOME
|  Etsy  |  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Pinterest  |  Bloglovin'  |  Hometalk  |

Etsy Shop "On Vacation"

Our Etsy Shop is "On Vacation" (ha!) for at least the next month or so while we wait for our newest addition to the family :)  

I'll reopen the shop as soon as I can, but in the meantime if there's something specific you're looking for please let me know!  I should still be able to fulfill some small orders during this time as long as you're flexible with time frames and patient with me answering emails :)  

Thank you so much again for all your support for my little shop!  

KEEP UP WITH BIRCH LANDING HOME
|  Etsy  |  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Pinterest  |  Bloglovin'  |  Hometalk  |

New England Maker: Watts in Maine

As you know by now, I love sharing about companies and products we love on the blog and our Instagram - and most especially those made right here in New England!  I decided to start a little series to showcase some of these great New England Makers and I'm excited to share the wonderful Kylie Watts from Watts in Maine for the first interview! 

Watts in Maine:  The Perfect Catch Cuff

Watts in Maine:  The Perfect Catch Cuff

Watts in Maine is known most for their Perfect Catch Cuff, made from brass lobster gauges. Recently they've expanded and also offer Maine and nautical inspired earrings and necklaces as well as recycled lobster tag accessories which benefit local lobstermen and their families.

Tell me a little about yourself and your business.  

Kylie Watts:  I currently work full time as an Office Manager at a pediatric dental office and do what I can after work and on the weekends with my Watts In Maine business.  My husband was born and raised on Vinalhaven Island in Maine, which serves as a huge place of inspiration for my pieces.  The idea of turning the lobster gauge into a bracelet actually came from our many visits to VH. 
I am also a born and raised Mainer!  I have a love for fashion, accessories, and jewelry. 

Kylie Watts of Watts in Maine

Kylie Watts of Watts in Maine

How did you start Watts in Maine?  Had you been making lobster cuff bracelets for a while or was this a new leap for you?

KW:  In the fall of 2014, I told my husband I wanted him to make a brass lobster measure into a bracelet.  I had mentioned it before, but we didn't follow through on it.  We bought a couple and started forming them and refining the process over a few weeks.  By November we had secured our first store, k colette, in Portland's Old Port.  I was flirting with another nautical idea before that, but it never made it out of its initial stages. 

Watts in Maine - works in progress

What does a typical day look like for you?

KW:  I work from 7:15am-5:30pm at the dental office.  On my lunch break and after work I read and return business emails.  My evenings are spent printing invoices, preparing orders, updating social media, and trying to fit in normal daily living tasks. 

Perfect Catch Cuff from Watts in Maine

What is your favorite part about owning your own company?

KW:  I love having the freedom to do and create what I want.  It's so exciting!  I also love connecting with other local small businesses.  It's nice to build relationships with others who are going through similar situations/struggles.  

And least favorite part?

KW:  The financial part!  Keeping track of the business side-ew.  :)

Packaging up Perfect Catch Cuffs

What has been the most exciting moment for Watts in Maine since you started?

KW: I was really excited to be included in DownEast Magazine's "40 Maine Made Gifts". I couldn't wait to go to the bookstore to snag it and see it in person.

Watts in Maine Earrings

What advice do you have for people just starting out?  

KW:  Spend time building your social media following, find a mentor or someone who can show you the ropes, and build your business at your own pace.

Anchor Necklace from Watts in Maine

What is your long-term goal?  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

KW:  My long term goal is to be able to focus on my business full time and only have one job.  I'm hoping to expand upon what Watts In Maine offers and could be doing that in the very near future!  Stay Tuned :)  
I'm not sure if I want a store front down the road, or where I see the business going.  To be honest, I take it one day at a time. 

All photos courtesy of Watts in Maine.

 

Do you own a New England-based business and would like to be featured in an upcoming interview?  Or would you be interested in having me style, review, and feature one of your products?  
Please drop me a note.  


KEEP UP WITH BIRCH LANDING HOME
|  Etsy  |  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Pinterest  |  Bloglovin'  |  Hometalk  |

Instagram Auction to Benefit the Travis Roy Foundation

Our friends Seagate Studio have been very involved with the Travis Roy Foundation for years, and we're honored to donate a set of three Hand-Etched Birch Snowflake Ornaments for their upcoming Instagram Auction to benefit this very worthy cause.  

IMG_2713.JPG
The Travis Roy Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to enhancing the life of spinal cord injury survivors and their families by providing special adaptive equipment grants and funding research.

It is an organization that is near and dear to my heart and one that I have been heavily involved with for over 10 years. Travis Roy (a native Mainer), is my husband’s cousin and also my close friend. In 1995, Travis was a highly recruited Division I hockey player starting his collegiate career at Boston University.
Eleven seconds into his first shift of his first game playing for the BU Terriers, he slid head first, awkwardly into the boards, cracking his 4th and 5th vertebra and leaving him a quadriplegic. His story could have stopped right there, but instead he has dedicated his life to helping other spinal cord injury survivors and inspiring all who meet him through his motivational speaking career. He graduated from Boston University, taking just an extra year and started the Travis Roy Foundation while he was still a student. Since its inception, the TRF has raised over $9 million, consistently raising over $1 million per year in its most recent years. 

The biggest fundraiser event for the TRF is not some glamorous gala that only the elite can afford to attend, but rather a summer back yard Wiffle Ball tournament that takes place every year up in rural Jericho, Vermont. This tournament which hosts over 24 teams from across New England is played on 3 fields that are modeled after major league ball parks and a field from a popular baseball movie, aptly named Little Wrigley, Little Fenway, and Little Field of Dreams. It is an incredibly moving and magical weekend and by far my favorite of the whole year.
And THIS is what I am fundraising for.
— Samantha from Seagate Studio

The Auction will take place on Seagate Studio's Instagram (@seagate.studio) from July 31st - August 3rd, 2017.  Please check their feed frequently during this time and consider bidding on one of the many great items that have been donated.  

If you would like to learn more about the Travis Roy Foundation or donate directly, please see their webpage HERE.  

KEEP UP WITH BIRCH LANDING HOME
|  Etsy  |  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Pinterest  |  Bloglovin'  |  Hometalk  |

DIY Teacup or Dish Bird Feeder

You might remember a previous post where I reused a repaired coffee mug as an herb planter in the kitchen.  Well this year I decided to transform that mug one more time into a little bird feeder for a focal point in the flower garden.  

DIY Teacup or Dish Bird Feeder
IMG_1642.JPG

Supplies & How-to:   

The supply list really couldn't be more simple - all you need is a mug, bowl, or plate, a wooden dowel, a rubber cap, and some super glue!  That's it!  

I had my husband paint the wooden dowel with a couple coats of white outdoor paint first (normally I would have painted it, but the outdoor paint isn't recommended to be used by pregnant women).  I wanted it painted to give a bit more of a finished look and to help make sure the dowel lasts longer outdoors.  

IMG_2348.JPG

Then with a little bit of Super Glue, I attached the rubber cap to the bottom of the ceramic mug.

By having the mug be removable from the dowel, you can easily pound the dowel sturdily into the ground with a small mallet or hammer then add the feeder once the dowel is in place.  It also makes it easy to clean out the feeder regularly.  

IMG_2351.JPG

Since we've had bears frequent our neighborhood lately, I will just be filling the mug with water for now for birds and butterflies to drink from.  Once the bears go into hibernation again I will be able to safely fill it with bird seed for our feathered friends.  

Overall I'm happy with how this simple project came out - it adds the perfect touch to our flower bed!  

IMG_2354.JPG

KEEP UP WITH BIRCH LANDING HOME
|  Etsy  |  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Pinterest  |  Bloglovin'  |  Hometalk  |

Amazon Prime Day Sales Start Tonight!

Amazon Prime Day deals start tonight at 9PM! I'll be sharing some of my favorite deals here over on Facebook so stay tuned!  Prime Day is a great time to get ahead on Christmas and birthday shopping and to finally get that something special for yourself too.  

 

Not a Prime Member? Sign up for a FREE 30-day trial HERE (affiliate link) and take advantage of all the sales over the next two days.

KEEP UP WITH BIRCH LANDING HOME
|  Etsy  |  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Pinterest  |  Bloglovin'  |  Hometalk  |

Creating and Maintaining a Monthly Budget {Free Excel Spreadsheet}

With baby #2 coming, we've been more mindful than ever about where our money is going and working hard to stay on-budget.  By closely keeping track of everything we're getting a better idea on where everything is going and where we can shave off a few dollars.  With only one income and a lot of expenses (both expected and unexpected) it can make it very challenging to stay on-budget each month.  

Creating and Maintaining a Monthly Budget - FREE Customizable Excel Spreadsheet

Here I've shared a more simplified version of the spreadsheet we use (since we're self-employed we also need to set aside money for quarterly taxes and other expenses).  You can change the Expense titles in the left hand column to fit your needs, but I've tried to include all the basic expenses that most young adults will have.  

Next replace the monthly Income in the example with your own monthly income (I had to put in a number here as an example so the formulas wouldn't result in error).  Then go down the Budget column and fill in what you expect or budget your bills to be.  As your bills come in, put in these figures in the Actual Spent column.  All of the percentages and totals will auto-update as you fill in the chart.  

Over the course of the next few months, you'll see how your expectations (Budget) line up with reality (Actual Spent) and will be able to identify trends.  Maybe you spend more for Gas than you thought you did.. or maybe you realize that you spend too much on Entertainment and should put some of that towards other bills...?  Keeping track of where everything is going is very eye-opening and will help you stay ahead.  The most important thing is writing everything down and sticking to it!  



KEEP UP WITH BIRCH LANDING HOME
|  Etsy  |  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Pinterest  |  Bloglovin'  |  Hometalk  |

Amazon Prime Day is Coming!

Amazon Prime Day has been announced for July 11th!  | This post contains affiliate links |

If you're not a Prime Member yet, sign up now so you don't miss all the very best deals and perks. During Prime Day (which is actually 30 hours long), Amazon will be having super sales and flash deals on tons of items from every category.

 

Prime Day is a great time to get a jump start on Christmas shopping, buy presents ahead of upcoming birthdays, and to get a great deal on something you've been wanting for yourself too of course.  Besides the amazing deals on Prime Day, your Prime Membership entitles you to FREE 2-day shipping on most items, a great selection of free streaming movies and tv shows, and more every single day of the year.  

We've been Prime Members for years and take advantage of the free shipping and streaming tv constantly.  Living out in the boonies, Amazon has really become a necessity for us.  We especially love Prime Day because it gives us a chance to get a jump start on gifts for the rest of the year without having to make the long trek out to the Outlets and hunt around for a deal.  

KEEP UP WITH BIRCH LANDING HOME
|  Etsy  |  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Pinterest  |  Bloglovin'  |  Hometalk  |