Hey, Hey it's Prime Day!

Amazon Prime Day is HERE! 

You can shop all the sales through my link below - now is a great time to stock up on household staples, get ahead on Christmas gifts, and maybe treat yourself to something special that's been on your wishlist.  Don't miss out!  

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DIY Slate Garden Markers

I've been eyeing slate garden markers for our herb garden for awhile now, but buying pre-made ones are soooo expensive and they never have all the varieties I want.  So I decided to take matters into my own hands and make my own.  Because I have the world's worst handwriting (it's true, ask anyone) I used a Cricut to cut the text for me, but if you have half-decent handwriting you could easily do this project with a paint marker too.  | This post contains affiliate links |

DIY Slate Garden Markers

Materials:  

How To:  

1.  If using your Cricut to make the text, measure your garden markers and make each "label" in Design Space the appropriate size.  I chose a font with a handwritten feel, but you can use whatever font you prefer.  You may need to play around with the scale of the lettering to get it to fit.  Use 651 Permanent Vinyl to cut your text.  

Making the labels in Design Space for Cricut

2.  "Weed out" your text, removing any pieces of vinyl you don't want to be in your final design.  I find a dental explorer to be super useful here to get rid of the pieces inside of letters, but it's not necessary.  The finer-point text was definitely a lot harder to weed (which is why you'll notice the dot on the "i" in garlic chives isn't in the right place).  

DIY Slate Garden Markers in progress

3.  Next use contact paper or transfer tape to put over your final vinyl design and rub well to make sure it's on there good.  This will "carry" the vinyl once the backing is removed.  

DIY Slate Garden Markers in progress

4.  Carefully peel the backing off your design.. this can be tricky.  My advice is to go slowly and have your dental explorer handy if you have one!  It can help hold letters down as you peel off the back.  

5.  Once the backing is removed, carefully place on a clean and dry slate marker.  Rub the design on well (I use an old gift card like a squeegee).  Once it's on there good, carefully peel off the contact paper.  
Alternatively:  If you don't have a Cricut or want to do this project by hand, you can skip steps 1-5 and just write your text freehand with a white paint marker and allow to dry.  

DIY Slate Garden Markers in progress

6.  To make sure the vinyl doesn't peel or come loose, I use a spray acrylic sealer to seal them.  Just put the markers on a scrap piece of cardboard, give a light coating of the spray sealer, and allow to dry (make sure you're in a well-ventilated area). 
If you used a paint marker instead I would also suggest sealing them.  

DIY Slate Garden Markers in progress
DIY Slate Garden Markers

7.  Hang your new garden markers!  You can buy special hangers for them if you like, or use sticks and some twine or wire.  In my case I wanted them on the barrels in our herb garden so I simply used some thin copper wire and "flossed" it through the slots in the barrel, tying it off with a large washer at the back so they don't pull through.  

It has been SOOO abnormally hot in New England these past few weeks that my herb garden isn't looking too wonderful at the moment (hence the limited "after" pictures).  We have six wine barrel planters on a small patio; four of the planters have perennial herbs (chives, garlic chives, sage, and peppermint) that come back each year and the other two planters I switch up each summer.  Currently my poor plants are a bit sun-stressed and I'm far behind on weeding, but I hope you'll get the idea of the final install below.  I think it really helps finish the space and I love that things are finally labeled.  

DIY Slate Garden Markers
DIY Slate Garden Markers
DIY Slate Garden Markers

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New England Maker: Wolfeboro Candle Company

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!  Next in our series of interviews from New England Makers, we have Carrie Meier from Wolfeboro Candle Company! 

New England Maker:  Wolfeboro Candle Company

Wolfeboro Candle Company is best known for their New Hampshire-inspired wooden wick soy candles. Each scent is developed by Carrie to capture the essence of New Hampshire's diverse regions, and each candle is hand-poured and made by her right here in New Hampshire. Recently Carrie has expanded to offer scented soy wax melts in addition to candles, and will be expanding the candle line in the future.

Tell me a little about yourself and your business. 

Carrie Meier:  I'm a wife, new mom, and creative person living in rural New Hampshire. 

How did you start Wolfeboro Candle Company?  Had you been making candles for a while or was this a new leap for you?

CM:  I started Wolfeboro Candle Co in Spring 2016.  At the time, I owned a small gift shop in downtown Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.  I couldn't find exactly what I wanted for the store (locally made wood wick soy candles), so my supportive husband suggested I start making them myself.  I had never made candles before, but I've been a creative person most of my life and decided I would give it a try.  We ordered supplies, wax, and a variety of containers and fragrances to mess with.  After lots of reading, and trial and error, I figured out the best technique for me and the best temperatures for different stages of the candle making process.  Next came figuring out the branding side of it - what do we call ourselves?  What fragrances/blends, and fragrance names will work best for the image we want to create?  Being also on the retail side of the business, I came up with the names and fragrances that I thought would sell best not only in our store, but for potentially other stores in the future.

Wolfeboro Candle Company - candles in progress

What does a typical day look like for you?

CM:  Well a typical day doesn't doesn't necessarily involve making candles (we aren't to that demand - yet!), but I also try to make large batches at a time as the set up, warm up, and clean up processes can add up doing lots of small batches.  In addition to making candles, I have also recently been setting up a new website, updating my Etsy site, creating our new wax melts, and testing out new containers and fragrances for a new line of candles.

What is your favorite part about owning your own company?  And least favorite part?

CM:  I love being able to be creative, with the additional reward of selling a product and having feedback from people who use what I have made.  I suppose if there is a downside to this project, it's moving all the 50 pound boxes of wax around!

  A custom-branded candle - Wolfeboro Candle Company also offers custom scent and label options for buisnesses, wedding favors, and more!  

A custom-branded candle - Wolfeboro Candle Company also offers custom scent and label options for buisnesses, wedding favors, and more!  

What has been the most exciting moment for Wolfeboro Candle Company since you started?

CM:  I think the most exciting moments are obtaining new retailers, coming up with new products, and receiving positive feedback.  Positive reviews from customers never get old!

Wolfeboro Candle Company at Lupine Home & Gift

What advice do you have for people just starting out? 

CM:  Ask yourself - what are your goals?  If you want to have a side business that is more about an enjoyable hobby that you can profit from, rather than just a job and business, then stick with what you can see yourself doing over and over again but still enjoy.  I say that candle making is both an art and a science, which is what makes it enjoyable for me, in addition to coming up with new ideas and having the ability to add on new products when I'm able to.

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

CM:  I'd like to continue growing the business and make our way into more retailers both in New Hampshire and in neighboring states.  I'm working on a new candle line with a slightly new look, different sizes and fragrances, and that are not based on our state of New Hampshire in order to reach a larger audience. 

Wolfeboro Candle Company

Who are some of your favorite New England Makers? 

CM: Well Birch Landing Home, of course! (Awww, shucks.. thank you!) I'm also a big fan of A&E Stoneworks, Payne & Comfort, Art by Alyssa, Seagate Studio, Beedandy, and Fiber & Water, just to name a few.

Keep up with Wolfeboro Candle Company!  

All photos courtesy of Wolfeboro Candle Company


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.  


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Shop Small - and Secondhand

I'm a big fan of supporting small/local companies as well as shopping secondhand when I can.  I consign a lot and often use the money earned from the consignment shop towards new items - that way in a sense we're just "trading up" and not spending a lot out of pocket.  

I thought I'd share some outfit details from a recent wedding we attended to show how you can pull these things together. This dress is Lauren by Ralph Lauren (I couldn't find the exact one to link, but here is a similar one - affiliate link), and I bought it second-hand at a NH-based consignment store called M&C. Because I had store credit from consigning some things there, I only had to pay a whopping 62 cents out of pocket for it! The leather "Buoy Block Clutch" is from Maine-based company Eklund Griffin, and while it can be considered an investment piece it's definitely something that's well-made and timeless and will get a lot of use for many years to come. Finally the gold necklace is from The Silver Wren on Etsy - a small shop that makes beautiful hand-stamped jewelry. I had this necklace made with our daughters' initials and love that I can wear it dressed up or down.

By spending your money wisely, you can get the most impact by saving big shopping second-hand and supporting small and local companies when you can.  Happy shopping!  

Save big and invest in small business by shopping secondhand and shopping small.

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Daytrip Ideas

Alright friends!  We’re trying to plan our summer day trips - where should we go? We love visiting the White Mountains and the Maine coast especially.  

Any hidden gems or places in New England we should visit?  Drop your recommendations below or chime in on my Instagram post.  We’re up for anything!

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Why I Love New Hampshire - with The Home T

I'm a born and raised New Hampshire-ite.  I love this state and everything it has to offer - from the mountains, to the ocean, to the historical cities and villages - I feel like NH is just the perfect mix of everything and I'm honored to wear my NH pride.  | This post contains affiliate links and features product provided by The Home T |

The Home T - New Hampshire
  Sugar Hill Lupines - by Adrian Pelletier

Sugar Hill Lupines - by Adrian Pelletier

This weekend I was excited to wear my new New Hampshire Home T t-shirt to our annual pilgrimage to the Lupine Festival in sleepy little Sugar Hill, NH. The whole town is sprawling with the colorful blooms and getting up early to drive around and see the flowers (and of course grab some breakfast at the famous Polly's Pancake Parlor) before heading home was a must. I was excited to sport my new shirt to one of our state's fun annual events.

The Home T - New Hampshire
The Home T - New Hampshire
The Home T - New Hampshire

My Home T t-shirt is probably the softest shirt I have by far.  It's super comfortable and perfect for everyday adventures in-state and afar.  The Home T offers shirts, other apparel, and home goods for every US state and some international locations, as well as fun novelty shirts for Disney, regions of the US, sports, and more - and they're made in the USA.    

My favorite part about The Home T? 
They donate 10% of profits to Multiple Sclerosis research.  I love any company that makes it a priority to give back and the Home T does just that.  

I got plenty of compliments on my NH Home T shirt on our Lupine Festival adventure and I know this super-comfy shirt will be on regular rotation for my day-to-day wardrobe from now on.  

The Home T - New Hampshire
The Home T - New Hampshire

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Shop my Amazon Favorite Finds with Ease!

Amazon Influencers now have categories which makes browsing my Favorite Finds so much easier!  Check out my lists and let me know if you have any questions on the products - I have different lists for Home, Kitchen Favorites, DIY Supplies + Tools, Fashion + Beauty, Outdoors, and Baby + Kid Items. 
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Shop Birch Landing Home's Amazon Favorites with Ease!

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Pain-Free Childbirth: My Hypnobirthing Experience

When you're a first-time mom, the idea of childbirth can be pretty terrifying.  Of course it doesn't help that everyone is always quick to share their horror stories with you which just adds to the stress and the fear of the unknown.  The bottom line though is that everyone's labor and birth experience is different - and yours doesn't have to be stressful, painful, or scary.  It IS possible to have a pain-free natural labor and delivery.  | This post contains affiliate links | 
Disclaimer:  This post shares my personal experience - please always consult with your doctors for what's best for you and know that everyone's birth experience is different. 

Pain-Free Childbirth:  My Hypnobirthing Experience

For our first baby, I was induced (she was a week late) and through guided relaxation and trusting my body to do it's job I can honestly say I felt no pain during labor or her birth.  The whole experience was still absolutely exhausting, draining, and overwhelming at times - but I never felt anything I can describe as pain.  In fact, towards the end of my labor I stopped feeling the contractions and even dozed through some of them.  It's incredible what a woman's body is capable of, and how much you can control mind-over-matter.  

Here is how I was able to have a pain-free, natural delivery:  

Do Your Homework

During your pregnancy read up on labor and delivery techniques. Know that anything is possible and learn all your options, but really focus on learning and practicing all of the relaxation techniques. I particularly liked The Pregnancy Book and The Birth Book. Both books had overall very positive messages and covered everything from natural birth to epidurals to c-sections, but The Birth Book especially talked about natural birth coping techniques. Doing this homework really lays the groundwork to mentally prepare yourself for labor and birth, and being mentally prepared is most of the battle.

Tune out Negative, Seek out Positive Stories

When you're pregnant, everyone will give you unsolicited advice - from your friends and family to total strangers in the grocery store - and probably 95% of these stories will be negative.  It's hard not to let all the horror stories get to you after awhile but really try to tune these out because your birth experience doesn't have to be like that.  When someone has a positive story to share, pay attention - viewing the whole process with a more positive mindset will help you see that a wonderful birth story can be possible.  

Take a Hypnobirthing Class

This was something I actually did not do... I lucked out being able to hypnobirth without formal training (being mentally prepared, having wonderful support people, and a little luck allowed me to be successful without training, but I'm probably an exception).  By taking a hypnobirthing class you will learn about all the natural coping techniques and be given time to practice and visualize how you hope your birth to go.  All of this will help you be more mentally and physically prepared for delivery day.  

Hire a Doula

When you go to the hospital to deliver, you have no choice on which nurse you will get.. and for all you know you might get the one that will just rub you the wrong way.  The L&D nurses also tend to come and go throughout your labor.. they will check on you and stay with you if necessary, but otherwise you'll labor a lot on your own especially in the beginning.  A Doula is your own personal labor support person - someone who has experience and training attending births and helping the laboring mother.  A Doula is not a doctor or a nurse, and will not make medical decisions, give medical advice, or deliver the baby.  She is strictly there to be your personal cheerleader and coach you on ways to make your labor more comfortable.  By choosing your doula, you decide who will be there to support you and can pick someone you feel comfortable with and enjoy.  

Our Doula came armed with a bag of "labor tricks" - which included aromatherapy, relaxing music, spiky rubber handles for you to squeeze (the discomfort of squeezing them with your hands is supposed to help distract you from the discomfort of your contractions), tennis balls to massage your back, and LED candles to give the room a relaxing atmosphere.  She also was a certified lactation consultant and had a certificate in hypnobirthing so she knew all the relaxation techniques.  

Create a "Birth Wishes" List

I say Birth Wishes instead of Birth Plan here because nothing about your labor and delivery may go "to plan."  If you have a "plan" that tends to fall in the mindset of expecting your birth to go exactly a certain way and that's almost never the case... but by having "wishes" you set yourself up to be more flexible with the whole situation.  When you write your Birth Wishes list make sure to phrase it all as wishes too, in order to keep that flexible mindset (for example, don't write "I will not have an epidural" or "I will do skin-to-skin", but instead say "I would like to labor all naturally for as long as possible, hopefully the entire time.  I hope to have a natural birth" or "I would like to do skin-to-skin immediately after the birth").  

Definitely write out a "Birth Wishes" list as it will help you visualize how you'd like things to go, and will give your medical team an idea of what things you do/do not want to do - but keep in mind it can all change at any time, some things are just beyond your control.  

Start Relaxing from the First Contraction

In the beginning of labor your contractions can start out slow and not bothersome.  You may be able to move and talk through them at first or at least stop and easily let them pass over you.  Even if they're easy to deal with in the beginning it's important to set yourself up for success for the remainder of your labor and start relaxing now.  Relaxing when something hurts seems counterintuitive (after all, if you stub your toe you tend to tense up, right?), but by totally relaxing during contractions they will actually hurt less because you're not fighting it and you're letting your body do it's job.  The best way I can describe this total relaxation is letting yourself "melt."  When you're having a contraction just let yourself become a puddle on the bed or in your chair, etc.  And if you're standing, have your husband support you and just let yourself melt.. let your knees go soft and your arms and head drop and have him hold you.  It's so important to not hold any tension anywhere in your body during the contractions, and the more you're able to relax the easier it should be.  Having a Doula really helps here because she can help coach you through the relaxation ("relax your jaw, relax your fingers, let your shoulders drop...").  After a few hours of coached relaxation, my body went on autopilot and I honestly didn't even feel the contractions anymore and was even able to doze through some of them.  

Don't Watch the Clock

Once you're safely laboring in the hospital, put your phone away and pay no attention to the clock.  Time means nothing in labor... some women labor for minutes, some for hours, and yes.. some even labor for days.  The important thing is to take each contraction one at a time - it doesn't matter how many contractions you've had or how many more are to come, all that matters is the moment you're in now.  Taking it one contraction at a time is the easiest way not to feel discouraged or overwhelmed, just take it one step at a time.  

Save the Tub as your Last Resort

If you have access to a labor tub, it's heaven.  The warm water and being able to let yourself float during contractions is just such a huge relief.  However, you don't want to play that card early in your labor since the relaxing effects of the tub tend to wear off the longer you're in it.  Instead save the tub until you just can't take the contractions anymore (like during the Transition Phase of labor), then savor all the warm relaxation the labor tub has to offer - it'll feel like heaven.  

Realize that Sometimes Decisions are Made For You

Above all, go in with a positive mindset and ready to relax yourself through labor but understand that ultimately sometimes decisions will be made for you in the best interest of you and your baby's health.  For us, I was lucky enough to successfully hypnobirth our first baby and have the incredible all-natural birth experience I always wanted.  However, for our second pregnancy baby #2 stayed breech and just would not turn.  For us this time, I did not get the opportunity for an all-natural birth but instead had a planned c-section - and guess what?  It was still incredible!  No matter how your baby is delivered it's an amazing experience - enjoy and savor it.  

Best of luck, Mamas!!  

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