Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday Spotlight - Tenae Stewart of Strawberry Moon Books

Today's Sunday Spotlight is focused on Tenae Stewart of Strawberry Moon Books - gotta love that name!

My name is Tenae Stewart and I’m a 20-year-old art history student in Northern California. I own Strawberry Moon Books & Boutique, an Etsy shop where I sell vintage books and handmade items including watercolor bookmarks and decoupage pieces made from recycled book pages. I’m inspired by the beauty of books and the smell of old pages, especially in our modern e-reader world.

Watercolor Bookmark

My store is quite new, having only opened in April 2013, but it has always been my dream to own a book and gift shop. When I was 12, my mom bought the local flower shop and through the years. I've become more and more involved in the gift portion of our store, particularly working with small American-made companies like those found on Etsy. Someday I hope to expand Strawberry Moon into a brick-and-mortar location where I will be able to sell new and used books, my own creations like those found in my Etsy shop currently as well as unique gifts from American artists.

Decorative Pink Book Page Birdhouse
My shop is a combination of new and vintage items, all focused on books for a sense of consistency throughout. My watercolor bookmarks, for example, are quite unique; although there are innumerable shops that sell bookmarks, mine are all guaranteed to be one-of-a-kind. First I paint recycled book pages with abstract watercolor designs and then I use the painted pages like scrapbook paper to decorate paper tags, along with glitter tape, buttons, ribbon and more. I like the romance of handmade pieces that are all unique!

Old Book Pages Blue Bird
The hanging wall plaques in my shop were a pleasant surprise – I didn’t expect them to turn out so well! They’re really quite simple to make but they make a big impact in any room and each one is unique since they’re made from a recycled book page. The pink “dream” piece in particular is my favorite.

Dream Pink Hanging Wall Decor
I don’t typically do custom orders simply because the majority of my pieces are one-of-a-kind based on what book page is used or how the watercolor painting turns out. However, if a customer is looking for a certain word to be printed on a wall plaque or a box, I’d be happy to accommodate!

My products are almost exclusively found on Etsy but I do have a small display in my mother’s shop, Middletown Florist & Gifts.

Watercolor Bookmark
Outside of Etsy, I work part-time as a manager at my mother’s flower and gift shop as well as attending college as an art history major. I also volunteer at a private school teaching art which I absolutely love!

Please follow me here:

Tenae has graciously offered a 15% off discount to readers of my blog. Use coupon code DLITE15 now - coupon expires September 21st! 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tips to Make Your Candles Burn Longer

Did you know there is actually a right way to burn your candles? Let's focus on step #1: the first burn:

The first time you burn your candle is the most important. Wax has a "memory" and will behave as you "tell" it to during the first burn. 

For the first burn, you should allow your candle to remain lit until the wax pool is melted completely across the width of the container. An easy way to estimate the amount of time this will take is to measure the diameter and to calculate approximately one hour per inch. So if you've purchase one of my 12 oz. Interlude jars, the diameter is 3 1/8" across the top, and you'll need to allow just over three hours, depending upon the fragrance and other conditions such as draft, for your first burn. 

This is what creates the "memory." Wax becomes softer with each melt and will burn the softest wax first. You'll notice that in subsequent burnings that this wax pool melts much more quickly. If you've allowed your first burn to melt correctly, you'll see your future burnings will melt this memory pool more quickly.

If your candle does not burn completely across in the first burn, you'll notice a "shrink pool" develop. And since melted wax is softer than its surrounding wax, this shrink pool will burn first, leaving a rim of stronger wax around it. It becomes more and more difficult for this wax rim to burn because the heated wax will burn what is surrounds it. As the wax pool increases in depth, it becomes easier for the wax to melt what is under it than what is around it.

Wick size can also be a factor, and in all candor, I've noticed that some of my earlier produced candles do not burn as well as those I currently make. I stand behind my product, and if you feel you've received an inferior candle, I will replace it at my cost.

But for now, take a look at candles you've recently burned, and pay attention to the next ones you light. Your candles will start to last longer!

Have a question about candles or home fragrances? Email me - I'll answer all questions!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sunday Spotlight: 90 Degree Angle

Today's Sunday Spotlight is focused on the fun art of Caitlin Wilson of 90 Degree Angle. Get inspired by her art, then go shopping!

I aspire to be an inspired environmentalist in my work, I worry a lot about the planet and although not all of my products are completely up-cycled/recycled/have an environmental goal (although right now I'd say a majority do/are) I'm trying to gear myself into a direction that they all will be soon!

Hand Painted Jewelry Box
It is very important to me that I'm not just making more clutter that will someday reside in a land fill.

Summer Tea Cup Bird Feeder With Watermelon and Greenery

I also greatly believe in gifts with a function and always love solving a problem/ answering a challenge a  customer may have!

Hand Painted His and Hers Coffee Mugs
My store is actually fairly new, and right now still ironing out which products people love! I really enjoy making the products and searching for the resources to reuse and up-cycle for the products.

Right now there is just one of me making the items, although I am always happy to do custom orders and try to be as speedy and helpful as possible, I am proud of my environmental goals with in my shop and products and although not everything is quite an up-cycled item, I try to always use recycled materials for packing as well as include a little reduce reuse recycle message!

Personalize Your Family Tree

I'd say right now I'm really proud of my coffee/tea (glass)mug candles, I think they are really cute and original-I worked really hard coming up with them/and perfecting them--and I love that the customer can reuse the glasses for drinks after they finish their candles.

Apple Pie Scented Candle In Dessert Glass

I do any kind of custom order you can imagine whether custom from an item I already feature or something new-- including problems solving gifts--customer posses a problem and I make suggestions of gifts I could make until we are both happy with the out come--really in this process I just ask for patience and that the customer see it all the way through :)

I have many trades :) Right now I have a degree in Journalism and Photography, I do some nanny-ing for a very special little girl who inspires many of my gifts, and I am currently in grad school for a world conservation degree in zoology--which will hopefully greater inspire and help my ideas for my Etsy shop.

I'd be happy to do a free shipping offer on any jewelry purchases to readers who mention this article within 2 weeks of the posting--if they message me about it I'll alter their order so there is no shipping charge!

You can also find me here:

Are you interested in a review of your Etsy shop? Click here for my interview questions and guest writer guidelines!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Keeping the Mosquitoes Away

It's Sum-Sum-Summertime, which means time for those not-so-lovely pest mosquitoes! Citronella candles have become a popular, low cost, and natural way to keep those pests at bay, but what do you really know about the fragrance?

Citronella is actually an essential oil from a plant cousin to the lemongrass. The EPA considers Citronella to be a plant based, non-toxic bio-pesticide; in fact, Citronella has been used for thousands of years as an insect repellent.

Research as shown the oil to have antifungal qualities and has historically been used for acne, anxiety, colds and other respiratory infections. The citrusy aroma is used as an essential oil for its calming effect. It was used by the Chinese as a cure for rheumatoid arthritis and menstrual cramps. 

A little bit of Citronella goes a long way, and I have added a touch of summer herbs to my candles. All July, Citronella candles are 20% off as the fragrance of the month:

Shop for your favorite style here!
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