Nautical Decor with The Lost Buoy + Giveaway!

As a native New Englander, I definitely have a soft spot for nautical decor. After all, when we redid our older daughter’s room a few years ago, we gave it a Cape Cod theme! And you can’t get much more nautical than a painted buoy - it just adds that quintessential New England touch. That’s why I was so excited to find The Lost Buoy on Instagram and give our space some nautical flair.
| This post contains an honest review of product provided by The Lost Buoy |

Nautical Decor with The Lost Buoy + Giveaway!

The Lost Buoy was started by Katie, who grew up in coastal Massachusetts and has many fond memories of beaches, lobster shacks, and exploring in her grandparents old Ford woody station wagon (really, does it get more New England than that?). Katie has turned all these memories and charm into a great line of coastal-inspired decor, clothing, paper goods, and even wedding accents.

Nautical Decor with The Lost Buoy + Giveaway!

Katie was kind enough to send me one of her iconic Striped Lobster Buoys to add some nautical flair to our home. These lightweight, hand-painted buoys are cute in every room but I think I settled on having it add some coastal charm to our door for the holiday - there’s just something about Christmas greens and red lobsters - you can’t go wrong!

The Lost Buoy offers lots of great designs on their Decorative Buoys too - from different New England places, to nautical elements, and even custom color buoys to show your school spirit. And the wedding buoys would be perfect for anyone having a beachside ceremony.

The Lost Buoy definitely has something for everyone who loves nautical or preppy style!

Nautical Decor with The Lost Buoy + Giveaway!
Nautical Decor with The Lost Buoy + Giveaway!
Nautical Decor with The Lost Buoy + Giveaway!

Keep up with the Lost Buoy


* GIVEAWAY! *

Want a chance to win one of these beautiful buoys for yourself? Head on over to my Instagram for a chance to win a Decorative Buoy of your choice to compliment your home. Just look for this post and follow the directions to enter. Good luck!

  Giveaway ends 12/12/18 at 5PM EST.

Giveaway ends 12/12/18 at 5PM EST.


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New England Maker: Away Up North

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 Glenna Oliver of Away Up North!
| This post contains affiliate links |

New England Maker:  Away Up North

Tell me a little bit about yourself and your business.

My name is Glenna Oliver and I am married with two grown children, living in the western mountains of Maine. I am the owner and creator of Away up North and enjoy hiking, skiing, camping, and many other outdoor activities that Maine has to offer! At Away Up North I create handmade wool fabric Christmas stockings, decorative pillows, and balsam pillows.

New England Maker:  Glenna Oliver of Away Up North

How did you start Away Up North? Had you been making stockings and pillows for awhile or was this a new leap for you?

To me it seems I have always known how to sew and create. When I had children, I made clothes, doll clothing, and quilts. Christmas has always been my favorite time of year to make gifts for family and friends, including Christmas stockings for my family and then stockings for a friend’s antique shop where she started to sell them.
After being a stay-at-home Mom for twenty-plus years, I was looking for work when my daughter suggested making and selling Christmas stockings on Etsy - that was seven years ago.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I am an early riser and do have an exercise routine that helps me keep up with all my outdoor interests and also helps me mentally jumpstart my day. I begin with my work day about 9AM and depending on the time of year, I am either prepping and preparing for my busy season (September through early January) or sewing and making inventory.
During the busy holiday season I am personalizing and completing stockings as the orders come in. Many days you can also find me working on orders well into the evening hours. During the slower times of the year for my business you can find me enjoying the outdoors where I find the inspiration for so many of my designs.

New England Maker:  Away Up North

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

I enjoy the flexibility it gives me - I enjoy using my passion to create and also to spend time pursuing my outdoor passions. An unexpected pleasure I have found with the business is watching families grow as returning customers request new stockings to celebrate the new additions in their families (babies, adult children getting married, grandchildren).
My least favorite part is the administrative side of the business - keeping the books and keeping track of numbers. I much prefer creating over numbers!

New England Maker:  Away Up North

What has been the most exciting moment for Away Up North since you started?

In 2013 I was asked to submit a stocking to Downeast Magazine for their Maine Made Gift Guide. When I received the magazine, I saw my Woodland Bear Christmas Stocking on the front cover! I had no idea it would be on the cover! It was a very exciting moment for me. Since then Away Up North has been in other publications and newspapers, but the Downeast Magazine feature was definitely a highlight for me.

What advice do you have for people just starting out?

Do your research before your begin, but don’t hesitate to take the leap. Surround yourself with resources, not only reading information but good people resources. And always be ready for the “big moment!” No matter how slow it’s going, always create product, always be prepared with photos, samples, and new ideas because you never know when your “big moment” is going to happen.

New England Maker:  Away Up North

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

To develop year-round pillow designs and possibly DIY kits for the stockings. Eventually I would also like to develop patterns for all my stocking designs.

Who’s one of your favorite New England Makers?

Alana from A&E Stoneworks! She and her husband Evan make a great product. They make stone cheese boards, coasters, and other products from stone. I love her cheeseboards and her energy! I personally love prodcuts made from stone and natural materials, they compliment the outdoor environment I love and how I enjoy deocrating my own home.

New England Maker:  Away Up North

A note from Away Up North: Items ordered after November 29th will ship in early January, 2019 - but there are currently three designs ready-to-ship available on Amazon with Prime Shipping: Woodland Bear, Woodland Bunny, and Wolf in the Pines.

New England Maker:  Away Up North

- All photos courtesy of Away Up North -


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New England Maker: Two Little Beans & Co.

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 Kristina Grabarz of Two Little Beans & Co!   

New England Maker: Two Little Beans & Co.

Two Little Beans & Co. is best known for their beautiful bibs, booties, and apparel for babies and small children - and especially their Maine/coastal-inspired designs!

Tell me a little about yourself and your business.

I graduated with a Master’s Degree in Biology. A few years after graduating, I moved back to Maine with my husband and worked in a Microbiology lab for almost 7 years. Shortly after the birth of my second son, I transitioned to being a full time stay at home mom. I’ve always been a creative and around this time sewing grew into the perfect creative outlet for me. Two Little Beans & Co. specializes in handcrafted goods for baby, including baby booties, bibs and apparel.

New England Maker: Two Little Beans & Co.

How did you start Two Little Beans & Co.? Had you been making baby goods for awhile or was this a new leap for you?

When both of my boys were babies, I sewed quilts and blankets for them. When my youngest was little, I took a real need to find him a pair of shoes that fit (and stayed on) and developed the pattern for our booties. The current pattern is based off of his feet and I was able to design the booties to grow with him with a non-slip soft sole to help when he eventually started walking. I started to make them as gifts for family and friends and was encouraged to turn this into a business!

What does a typical day look like for you?

Each day is a little bit different depending on if my boys are in school or not. There are three days that they are both in school and those days start with getting out of the house early for school drop-offs and running back home to work. I try to get as much as possible done during those days so that the remainder of the week can be a little less chaotic (haha!). Depending on the week, it’s finding a few minutes whenever I can find it, always keeping my fingers crossed for a good nap out of my littlest one!

New England Maker: Two Little Beans & Co.

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

I will always love seeing a new baby wearing a pair of booties or outfit that I’ve made. It’s so special that customers believe in the quality and designs of my products enough to dress their baby in them.

My least favorite part is probably all of the behind the scenes bookkeeping and paperwork that goes into running your own business. I don’t mind working on the numbers but I would much rather be picking out new fabric!

New England Maker: Two Little Beans & Co.

What has been the most exciting moment for Two Little Beans & Co. since you started?

It’s been so surreal to have my products featured in a few local magazines and newspapers but when Michael Phelps posted a picture of his son Boomer on his first Christmas wearing my lobster bib – that was definitely exciting to see!

What advice do you have for people just starting out?

I have a quote hanging on my sewing machine that says “nothing in this world is created without passion” and I truly believe that if you love something and put your mind to it, you can accomplish it (with a BIG side of hard work!). I would also say, learn everything you can about what it is you want to do. I went into this with zero experience or knowledge about business. I do a ton of reading, listening to business podcasts and researching every aspect of running a small business.

New England Maker: Two Little Beans & Co.

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

I definitely plan to continue to grow this business over the next five years. Our booties and bibs continue to be the most popular pieces and I want to expand those options but I’ve also been working on some nursery décor items that I would love to put out there over the next year or so. I’ve also brought on another Mom to help part-time with production, which means I can work to continue to expand the wholesale side of Two Little Beans too.

Who’s one of your favorite New England Makers?

Erin Flett – Love her bright, bold colors and designs!

Keep Up with Two Little Beans & Co.!

New England Maker: Two Little Beans & Co.

All photos courtesy of Two Little Beans & Co.


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New England Maker: Sara Fitz Studio

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 the Sara Fitzgerald O’Brien of Sara Fitz Studio!   

New England Maker:  Sara Fitz

Sara Fitz is best known for her beautiful coastal-inspired watercolor prints and stationery. More recently they have expanded to carry fabric and wallpaper as well as home goods such as pillows, plates, and more!

Tell me a little bit about yourself and your business.

New England Maker:  Sara Fitz

I'm the mom of two beautiful little boys and the wife of a super sweet guy named Miles. We've been married for almost 11 years.  I'm an artist and designer with a Master's in architecture and minors in visual arts and painting. I've been in the creative industry since about 2007 (on and off around having babies). Our family lives along the coast of Maine and frequents Nantucket Island. I'm constantly inspired by the beauty around me. We spend a lot of time at the beach, exploring seaside towns, and feeling grateful to love where we live. Together with Miles, I own Sara Fitz. Our company is a New England-centric lifestyle brand, launched in 2016.  Sara Fitz incorporates my watercolor illustrations onto a variety of goods; various lines including wallpaper, textiles, gift wrap, and other small-batch collections. The aesthetic of our brand is coastal and clean, yet detailed, colorful... with a bit of whimsy. My goal as an artist is to celebrate those simple everyday things that one comes across when they're in New England, like a vintage life jacket or a vase of hydrangeas. 

New England Maker:  Sara Fitz

How did you start Sara Fitz Studio? Had you been making watercolors for a while or was this a new venture for you? How did you make the leap into offering home goods as well?

Back in 2007, prior to having our boys, I founded a custom stationery studio. It was focused solely on weddings and events, and the papers were designed around my watercolor artwork. I very much enjoyed my day-to-day and ran the studio happily for quite a few years.  When I found out we were having our second baby, I decided to take a step back from the industry to soak in all the amazing mama moments. I stayed home full-time with my kiddos (and loved every second, knowing it was a fleeting time). There was always the intent and desire to re-enter the industry in one way or another when the time was right. And Miles and I had dreamed of one day working together -- designing a family business. In 2016, our dream became reality and we officially launched Sara Fitz. In many ways, the company is a rebrand of my original studio, in that we continue to offer custom wedding stationery, as well as our lines of home goods. 

As far as watercolor goes, I've been enjoying the medium for as long as I can remember. Most people think of watercolor as lax and unbound. Funnily enough, what I thrive on is my ability to control it, to give it shape, detail, and crispness. I love the range of color one can achieve, the lightness, and the transparency. There's an authenticity to watercolor that I gravitate toward.

Expanding Sara Fitz into the lifestyle arena came somewhat gradually, but very intentionally. Both Miles and I grew up around interior designers (our moms) and find ourselves drawn to many aspects of design in our daily lives. It felt very natural to branch into collections that encompass what we enjoy most about design: simplicity and color, a coastal casual look. We began by introducing framed art prints and then gift wrap. This past summer we announced lines of wallpaper, textiles, pillows, dishware and a few other fun goods! It's been an exciting road!

New England Maker:  Sara Fitz

What does a typical day look like for you?

I tend to be an early riser (when you have little ones, there's not much of a choice!). We start our day at about 6 a.m., taking our time with family breakfast and chatting about the day ahead. The boys head off to school and Miles and I have a quick work meeting to get on the same page. Often I'll spend some time in my studio painting (either a commission project, custom wedding or new design for the brand). I'll likely be on the phone quite a bit, and answering emails. When we're introducing a new product, there's a prototyping period that I really enjoy, including testing out/tweaking designs. Each day looks a bit different, and some are more creative than others, but I love so many aspects of running Sara Fitz and feel incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to pursue my goals for the company.  

New England Maker:  Sara Fitz

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

My favorite part is the creativity... turning my ideas into reality. To see our products used and enjoyed by our clients is so satisfying. It brings me a lot of happiness. It means a lot to me and Miles that our boys can witness our hard work and determination, as well... and they take pride in Sara Fitz. That's quite special for us. 

My least favorite part? I think when you run your own business you want to do all the things. While wonderful, working for yourself can certainly be exhausting and stressful. It is definitely non-stop.  I struggle with feeling like I'm not accomplishing as much as I'd like.  (I'm a perfectionist, for sure -- so keeping that in check can be a challenge).

New England Maker:  Sara Fitz

What has been the most exciting moment for Sara Fitz Studio since you started?

Honestly, there have been so many moments since we launched that have felt surreal. We've had the chance to work alongside some very inspiring people, which is always a treat! I'd say our recent home goods launch will stand out to me as an exciting achievement! There was a tremendous amount of effort put in behind the scenes, a team of people coming together, a lot of balls in the air. I'm proud of the direction we're headed.

New England Maker:  Sara Fitz

What advice do you have for people just starting out?

I think the most important thing I'd say is to keep your eyes on your big picture. Remain authentic and true to your vision. I believe it's important to emphasize what makes us unique. Believe in yourself and your ideas and know that everything takes TIME... more time than you'd think, and a ton (a ton) of hard work. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Guidance and advice from others can really go a long way. Roadblocks will happen often, you've just got to stay motivated and push through. 

New England Maker:  Sara Fitz

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

We have quite the long to-do list over here! Over the next few years, I'd be thrilled to continue doing what we've been doing, branching into the interior design arena with our product lines,  exploring new designs, and enhancing our existing collections. I love the idea of collaborating with other brands on creative projects and hope to do more of that in the future. Perhaps at some point, we'll have a small flagship shop that represents our brand.

New England Maker:  Sara Fitz

Who’s one of your favorite New England makers?

There are so many talented makers in New England! One that never ceases to inspire me is Erin Flett. You know what she does that I just love so much? She cares. She sincerely cares about encouraging others, putting out positivity, and creating beautiful, happy products. I really appreciate and respect that :)

Sara Fitz Logo

Keep up with Sara Fitz Studio!


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LL Bean Boots Buying + Styling Tips

Those iconic L.L. Bean Boots - everybody's wearing them and everybody wants them, but they can be hard to find!  Last year they were backordered for quite a while - this year I'm sure L.L. Bean will be well prepared and they will be a lot easier to find, but I'd still recommend buying early so you don't risk having to wait.  But before you order, be sure to read our review because there's some things you should know first!  | This post contains affiliate links |

Tips on Buying Bean Boots

Sizing

The sizing for L.L. Bean's "Bean Boots" is definitely kind of tricky and I'd highly recommend trying them on in-store before purchasing, even if you're going to order them online. Bean Boots only come in whole sizes and run BIG. For example, I typically wear a size 8-8.5 (sometimes even a 9) shoe but in Bean Boots I'm a size 7 and they still feel roomy. When trying on the boots make sure to wear what kind of socks you're planning on using them with (whether it's regular thin socks or thick ragg socks ), to get a better idea of the fit.

Women's Bean Boots come in two different rises too - 6" rise or 8" rise.  Try both on to see what's more comfortable and what style you like better.  I personally prefer the 8" rise - here in New England it's a bit more practical with the deeper snow in the winter and I also feel like it's the more classic style. 

L.L. Bean also makes Bean Boot Moccasins and some limited edition styles with fun colors and linings - there are so many options!  

IMG_6043.JPG

Where to Buy

During Fall and Winter when there's a big rush on Bean Boots and it may be very difficult to find the exact style and size you want in-store or even online.  You may need to shop around a bit to find what you're looking for.. or wait for your backordered item to come in.  L.L. Bean Outlet stores can be a great resource too!  Boots and other items that were ordered online and returned often end up at the outlets - and at a discount to boot!  (Ha, couldn't pass up a boot pun.)  In fact, I got my Bean Boots for 40% off at the outlets - now that's a great deal!  

One thing to keep in mind about outlet shopping is that they will likely have a large selection of bigger sizes of Bean Boots, and less of the smaller sizes... this is because so many people mistakenly order their normal size without realizing how big they run.  When I bought my Bean Boots at the Outlets, they had tons of sizes 8, 9, and 10 - and the ones I bought were literally the very last pair of size 7's.  

If you decide to purchase your Bean Boots online, keep in mind that coupons or regular L.L. Bean sales may not apply to them because they're such a popular item - you may have better luck earning some rebate money back on your purchase with a program like Ebates.

Styling

What doesn't go with Bean Boots?  Seriously - just about anything goes with them (I've even seen people wear them to their wedding!).  But really you can't go wrong with some fitted jeans, ragg socks, and a cozy pullover.  I've linked to some of my favorite L.L. Bean looks below and all would look great paired with Bean Boots.  

L.L. Bean Style

Scroll sideways to see more ->

Related Posts:  

Originally published 11/1/17

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New England Maker: Simply Equine Design

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 Jennifer Fisher from Simply Equine Design!   

New England Maker:  Simply Equine Design

Jennifer Fisher is the woman behind Simply Equine Design - she is best known for her incredibly realistic, hand-painted horse stall portraits and signs.

Tell me a little bit about yourself and your business.  

Jennifer Fisher:  I am a graduate of Colby-Sawyer College and have been a full time graphic designer for the last 13 years.  I've been running Simply Equine Design (SED) on the side officially since 2012.  Through SED I've branched off into photography — I often would travel to people and photograph their horses for painted portraits.  From there, I frequently received photo requests so 2 years ago I decided to split the two and keep SED strictly for art.  So currently, I quietly run the two simultaneously alongside working full time and being a mom — it's crazy haha.  Holidays get hard, as my turnaround time often takes 4 weeks from start to finish, but I'm very strict about deadlines, and once the order deadline for holidays is up, that's it.  I generally will close the shop after the cut off to reduce the number of requests I continue to receive.  But it's fun.

Jennifer Fisher of Simply Equine Design

How did you start Simply Equine Design?  Had you been making stall signs for awhile or was this a new leap for you?  

JF:  I made my first sign in 1999, for the horse I was leasing.  I wanted him to have a fancy sign, but I couldn't afford one, so I hand carved and painted one myself.  It wasn't long after that I was asked by other boarders to make signs for their horses.  I ended up painting signs for the entire barn that summer.  Ten years later, when I bought my first horse, I revisited my signs and due to the amount of interest, I decided to open up my Etsy shop. 

What does a typical day look like for you?  

JF:  Currently, SED is a weekend job so weekends can be a little chaotic.  There is no typical day for me, I grab a time to work wherever I can find it — thank goodness for nap times!  

New England Maker:  Simply Equine Design

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

JF:  As what I do is completely custom, I love connecting with clients and learning their stories.  Each portrait is very personal to the owner.  Whether it be a simple stall sign or a memorial portrait.  Knowing their stories is part of my process and makes each portrait a little more personal. 
My least favorite part?  Finances. 

New England Maker:  Simply Equine Design

What has been the most exciting moment for Simply Equine Design since you started? 

JF:  The majority of my business comes from word of mouth, even now as I don't do any sort of advertising.  So I would say one of the most exciting moments was to receive my first international order. 

FullSizeRender.jpg

What advice do you have for people just starting out with a handmade business?  

JF:  Work hard, and keep pushing on.  Small business are HARD and a lot of work.  

New England Maker:  Simply Equine Design

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

JF:  I see myself expanding my product base to include a handful of non-custom products.  I'd love to be able to attend some larger events such as the Equine Affair in Springfield, MA.  

Who are some of your favorite New England Makers?  

New England Maker:  Simply Equine Design

Keep up with Simply Equine Design

Simply Equine Design

All photos courtesy of Simply Equine Design


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?  
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New Etsy Listing: “Gather” Sign

New sign design in our Etsy shop!  And I think this makes for the third new listing/design in the last week!  (I have a been a busy bee, haha.)  This farmhouse-inspired "gather" sign would make the perfect finishing touch to any gathering spot in your home!  Shop this design and our others at our Etsy shop:  

Farmhouse-inspired "gather" sign by Birch Landing Home

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New Etsy Listing: Rustic CAMP Sign

New sign design in our Etsy shop!  These distressed CAMP signs are just what you need to bring some rustic charm to your cabin/lakeside retreat or your everyday home.  This sign has a hand-painted, antique feel to it and is just what you've been looking for.  Shop this sign and more in our Etsy shop:  

Rustic CAMP sign by Birch Landing Home

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