Sweet Peek of the Week: Studio Blake Interview & Giveaway

In this week's sweet peek we are stepping into a world of "all things cute" where old-school bracelets are given a modern twist to become the perfect staple accessory for any wardrobe.

Caroline of Studio Blake creates these little charmers with the mindset that they will become the perfect wardrobe addition for any occasion.  Let us get to know the mind and heart behind the lovely Caroline and her shop Studio Blake.

Hi Caroline!  Could you share a little more abut yourself and Studio Blake?

"Hi! I'm Caroline, I'm 20 years old, and my shop is called Studio Blake. I've always been creative - anyone who knows me can tell you I am constantly doing DIYs, searching blogs or pinterest for inspiration, and generally doing crafty things! I'm studying business at university, and figured mixing my love for all things art, DIY, and design with my interest in business was the perfect way to combine all of my talents and interests. Studio Blake takes old-school camp-style bracelets and gives them an elegant and modern twist, making them the perfect accessory for all occasions!"

Where have your main inspirations stemmed from?

"I grew up on the East Coast of Canada in the province of Newfoundland, and my childhood there has been a major source of inspiration throughout my life. The amount of creativity there is so amazing - from art, to plays, to architecture - it's hard not to be inspired by living there. One thing about Newfoundland that has shown up in my shop is the love of colour. Houses in Newfoundland are known for their bright, rainbow-range of colours, and I've tried to incorporate as many beautiful colours as possible into my bracelets. I think my upbringing there even influenced the names of some of my bracelets subconsciously - perhaps "The Wave" got it's name from the Atlantic!"

Sounds wonderful!  Locating inspiration is obviously not an issue for you, but have there been any obstacles you've faced in the creating of Studio Blake?

"I think the hardest part has really just been finding the time to make my bracelets! They are quite time-consuming to make, and as a student (especially during the summer) I'm always off somewhere, along with an internship I'm doing at a non-profit organization."

Time is always the biggest challenge.  How are you overcoming this and finding the time?

"I've gotten quite good at scheduling and dedicating time to my business. I really do enjoy making the bracelets, and I've been able to find the perfect balance between running my business, doing my internship, and enjoying the summer!"

I am so glad you were able to schedule us in today.  Any words of advice before you go?

"I would say you need to find a niche for your business - something that sets you apart from the others. For me, besides the unique nature of my products, I enjoy graphic design and photography, so I take the time to add that extra visually appealing touch to my shop and social media platforms. Above all else, if you're passionate about what you're doing, it will really show in all aspects of your business, and ultimately (I believe) lead to greater success!"

Couldn't agree more!  Thank you so much Caroline for talking with us today.  I am so excited to share your creations with one lucky reader.

Enter for a chance to win your choice of one Studio Blake item!  Giveaway is open to US & Canadian residents only and closes 7/10!  Good luck!

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Dear Life,

This is about the time of the month when I share a "sprinkle of life" with you but, sadly, things have been pretty chaotically boring.  How is that possible you say?  Meaning, I have been super busy with a lot of projects requested by those around me thus failing to have many of opportunities to get out and do the things I want to do.  Unfortunately, this has left me dragging my feet and compiling imaginary letters to inanimate objects.

Dear Swimming Hole,

I understand with temperatures soaring to record breaking heights people feel the natural need to cool off, but please do not encourage strangers to partake in your waters so I can enjoy a moment of cool contemplation without all of their ruckus.

Dear M&M Sugar Cookies,

This just isn't working out.  It's not you, it's me and my unpredictable exercise schedule that is resulting in you being way to clingy... to my waist line that is.

Dear Steam Cleaner,

Thank you for providing me with hours of therapeutic silence while still allowing me to claim I accomplished something today.

Dear New Water Bottle Design,

I am all about conserving and preventing waste but if you are going to remove 30% of your plastic would you mind removing the 3% water level that ends up down the front of my blouse due to your faulty design?  Thanks!

Dear Bangs,

Please stop growing... you have officially taken over 3/4 of my face and I am starting to feel you are becoming a little selfish and overbearing.  If we cannot come to an agreement I will be forced to take scissors into my hands and no one wants that.  All I am asking is for a little patience until I can scrounge up a free moment to have you properly taken care of.

Dear Yahoo News,

Would you mind writing about something that is even slightly intelligent?  I am not asking for much just anything that is not going to leave me feeling like my brain cells have been fried.  I understand that you enjoy writing about things that you feel will create a "stir" but articles like "Size 6 is Now Plus Size" is just ridiculous and frankly I will be completely ignoring you until get you act together!  

What would your "Dear Life" letters consist of this week?

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Baking Confessions: Sunday Morning Baked Apples

I am not much of a breakfast person so I like to try recipes that are not the "typical" bacon, eggs, and pancakes type of meals.  Today I will be sharing a fun, easy, and adorable recipe for Jessa's Sunday Morning Baked Apples.

What You Will Need...

Four Apples
3/4 Cup of granola, oats, raisins, & almond flakes mixed
4 tsp of fruit jam
3 tbsp of butter
2 tbsp flour
3 tbsp brown sugar
Drizzle of honey
Dash of nutmeg
Pinch of Salt
Cinnamon Sticks

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.... 

Cut of tops of apple exposing the flesh and creating a flat surface.  Using an apple corer hollow out center of apple removing all seeds.

Apply a teaspoon of jam into bottom of apple.  Time to make your mixture...

Combine oat mixture, butter, flour, brown sugar, honey, nutmeg, and salt into a large bowl.  Combine well. 

Place apples into a baking dish.  Spoon mixture into the center of apples and covering exposed apple flesh.  Insert your Cinnamon stick. 

Add a shallow layer of water to bottom of baking dish just deep enough to cover.  Place into over and set your timer for 30-45 minutes until apples are tender and tops are golden.  I cooked mine at 35 minutes and found it had a light crisp still remaining to the apple... which I love!

Plate and serve with whipped cream or add ice cream for a dessert treat!  The slight sweetness of any cream is the perfect combination for this earthy tart treat!  Enjoy!

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Manic Monday #31

Duck, duck, umbrella...
(via: ModCloth)

Momma and three ducklings print...

Tin toy tea cups...

Duck, duck, cute shirt...
(via: ModCloth)

Vintage woven purse...

Flying ceramic ducks...

Take a quack at it necklaces...
(via: ModCloth)

If you follow me via Instagram or Twitter then you probably already know that we have been spending a lot of our free time playing down by the river.  Our favorite spot is just gorgeous this time of year and the wildlife is spectacular!  The ducks have to be one of my favorite sights...

What are you Manic for this Monday?

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Sweet Peek of the Week: Happy Place Products Interview & Giveaway

Last week Christopher Robin and I had the pleasure of sampling some of Happy Place Products brittles.  Christopher Robin is a cashew fanatic which made for an easy sample selection.  He chose the Close to Classic Cashew Brittles and was tickled to discover that the sweet treats did not disappoint by being pack full of the tasty nuts. 

Typically I am not the largest brittle fan as I find the creamy texture always ends up lodged in my teeth.  I was more than pleased to find this wasn't the case with Happy Place Products, minus a couple tiny stubborn pieces that were well worth it!  The texture was creamy but light leaving a warm buttery taste lingering on the tongue.  I couldn't resist a late morning tea in the grass ravishing more than my fair share of the delectable treats.  We are very satisfied customers!  So much so I had to get to know the lady behind the tasty tid bits a little better!

Can you tell us a little more about yourself and Happy Place Products?
"I just moved from my home in beautiful Alaska and relocated in Maine. I'm still getting used to it. I love to bake and make sweet treats so Happy Place Products is where I can do that so that other people can enjoy. My dream is to own an actual sweet shop of my very own but that might be a few years out. I have trouble narrowing my focus and like to make other things too... I have several ideas for shops on etsy but I might just lump them all together. Someday soon I could be selling my brittles, cupcakes, paintings, vintage dresses, herbal wreaths and handmade jewelry on Happy Place Products. Why not, right? It's my happy place."

I completely understand the focus issue!  You seem to be inspired by many things, what is your main inspiration?
"My Mom always inspires me because she's so creative and crafty. She can never just sit and do nothing. I'm also constantly inspired but other lovely ladies with their own blogs. I can't help but want to create when I'm done reading about their lives. Music is also a constant source of inspiration - I always feel so ambitious when I'm listening to a good song... Also Martha Stewart - That lady is insane."

Other than finding your focus have there been other obstacles you've faced with your business?
"Lots. moving across the country, creating new and interesting recipes because there are a lot of similar shops to mine on etsy, earning enough money to go into my candy shop fund. There are always obstacles but that's what makes it worth it."

It can be hard to stand out above the crowd.  How are you overcoming these things?
"As long as I enjoy what I'm doing then I don't notice any obstacles. I'll get there eventually because I love what I make so I know that other people will too. I'm honest with what I put out there and I'm willing to stand by what I sell. It's difficult to mail hard candy and sometimes things happen but I'll always make it right because the best part of selling what I make is knowing that someone out there is enjoying it."

Such a wonderful outlook!  Any advice you'd like to give us about chasing your dreams?
"Just keep plugging away I guess. I'm certainly no success story so I'm not sure how much my advice is worth but I've learned to just keep at it and to keep making friends along the way. That's really what it's all about."

 There is no greater success than finding and doing what you love!  I am sure there will be great discoveries and adventures in your future!

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us and offering our readers a chance to enjoy your brittles, of their choice, from Happy Place Products!

Giveaway is open to US & Canadian residents only and closes 7/4.  Good Luck!

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Life on Two Wheels...

One of the toughest debates a couple faces is choosing means of transportation.  With the sale of Christopher Robin's truck official we stand as an one vehicle household.  Currently our discussion rests on on four wheels or two.  I am on the two side...

A Vespa is an Italian scooter known for their painted, pressed steel unibodies.  I love them for their continuing retro designs that make them stand out from the crowd.

Currently I am smitten with a powder blue 1976 Vespa...  I am already daydreaming of zipping around town in my summer frocks, but for now the debate continues.  

What is your dream means of transportation?

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11 // 12

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Where you think you're going, baby...

Last Thursday I was forced, against my will, to put my Love onto a train northbound to Oregon.  Christopher Robin's father lives there and our visits are not as often as he, or we, would like.  It's rare, that with all our fur babies, we can schedule an opportunity to get away together to make the ten and a half hour journey north.  This is a trip my Love would have to make alone this time...

After lots of kisses he jumped on his train and I headed for home.  My original intent was to take my outfit photos in the city at the train station, but with our late arrival I wasn't going to be getting an assistance for my rushed hubby.  I am typically not scared, paranoid maybe, but not scared of being in the city alone.  I tend to stick to populated areas and tell myself "it's not like you are some little girl".  This was the same inner discussion as usual until I looked down and realized todays ensemble represented one of a school girl!?!  Hmmmm...

In the end I decided to play it safe (to Christopher Robin's relief) and head back home.  In transit I received a call from a good friend and old roommate.  She was working!  Which meant wine, cheese, chat, and a wonderful location for some VERY quick photos.  

I love the atmosphere at the Queens Inn.  Everything is warm and rustic with little twinklies everywhere....

It was just the relaxing night I needed after a long hot day!  And the best part?  My Christopher Robin is coming home today!

♥ All in the Details ♥
Dress - ModCloth
Shirt - Vintage
Necklace - Vintage
Shoes - Forever 21
Tights - Vintage
Sunnies - Downtown Boutique
Floral Crown - c/o Jenni of Bows, Bangles, & Bakes

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Manic Monday #30

In flight clutch...
(via: Paulownias)

Colourful balloon...

Hand painted Toms... 
(via: TKDealShoes)

Oh my deer necklace...

Hummingbird a happy tune dress...
(via: ModCloth)

Espresso cup...

Twisted headband...

It's Hummer Time up in the Thousand Acre Woods!  I love hummingbirds for many reasons but my main enjoyment of their pint size adventures comes from their shear determination.  We have a large tree beside our front porch and when it blooms it's hummer derby full force!  Each little feathered friend instantly becomes a feathered foe in a branch beat down of who gets the best blooms.  It's by far the most entertaining spectacle of the season and Christopher Robin and I have the best seats in the house!  

What are you Manic for this Monday?

Sweet Peek of the Week: Torc Emporium

It is rare that we have the chance to pick a man's brain in our Sweet Peek of the Week, but I have to say that they are usually some of my favorites.  I find that men and women can think so differently at times and the advice I have received from my male mentors is some of the most helpful.  I usually find that the perspective is just slightly different than that of my own.  I like to see and understand the world from all angles.... let's get to know Josh of Torc Emporium.

Can you tell us a little more about yourself and your business Torc Emporium?

"I launched Torc Emporium on Etsy just a couple of months ago - and it's been a humbling and inspiring ride since then! My work focuses on creating amazing pieces of jewelry for men (even though they look super good on ladies, as well!). I work with natural elements like gemstones, metal, glass, rock, hemp, bamboo fiber, cotton, wood, and silk to build jewelry with a playful energy and meaningful message.
I am a professional copywriter and ghost blogger as my 'day job', and feel that Torc Emporium is another level to the creative flow I get to play in all day long. I live in Utah, spend lots of time reading, urban exploring, cooking, and networking with other artists on Etsy, Twitter, Pinterest, and with local crafting groups."

I love that you create your pieces from nature's ingredients.  What continues to inspire you?

"I would love to say that being a fashionisto is my inspiration, because that sounds so good, but it's not! I am really inspired by the natural world, good thoughts, positive intentions, and the works of art that individual people are. I think that jewelry was the next progression from the canvas and board art I used to create because it takes it to a whole new personal level. I am inspired by making pieces that will look good, feel good, and act as little reminders for people to be joyful and choose good things for the world. Each piece I create is given a unique name - and this is the 'energy' I focus on and keep in my heart as I tie each know, make each wrap, string each bead, and work with the piece to its completion."

Love that!   Creating the pieces seems to come natural to you but have there been other obstacles you've faced?

"I would have to say that like many artists, my own fears and worries have been my biggest challenge in creating Torc Emporium. Like many creatives, I worry about how good my work is, how people react to it, how stable the process is, and how 'well' I'm doing overall. Dealing with second-guessing, not jumping in fully to the creative flow, and fearing judgment have definitely been my biggest obstacles thus far."

Yes, I think we can all relate!  How are you overcoming this common obstacle?

"It's funny how we get stuck in these cycles of expecting the worst or wondering how we're being judged by the world - when in reality our authenticity makes us shine!
For the first few weeks on Etsy, I kept waiting for the floor to drop out from my 'beginner's luck', but it never happened. I realized that my fears and worries from past challenges in my life got carried over to Torc, and that if I wanted to continue creating and sharing, I needed to ditch the baggage. I chose to spend time in meditation and creative visualization each day just seeing the value, energy, and love of each piece in my Etsy shop and in my portfolio (www.TorcDesigns.com). I wouldn't let myself move on to the next piece until I felt really infused with good vibes!"

That is great advice!  Any other advice you'd like to leave us with?

"I have learned that being the best, most raw, and most authentic 'you' that you can possibly be tends to either get rid of all challenges, or make them so insignificant that they really don't appear on your radar anymore!
If you simply plug in to the 100% organic, pure, and intentional individual that you are - there is no possible way you won't shine. You're one of a kind, and the world loves it!"

Perfectly said!  Thank you so much Josh for taking the time from your creative endeavors to chat with us today!  I think it's safe to say we are all wishing you great success in the future!

Want More Torc Emporium?

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Follower Appreciation Day #5

Thank you to all my beautiful supporters!  Caked Vintage met another milestone thanks to your love and continuous support!

So what does that mean?  Another Follower Appreciation Day!  All my followers will have the chance to win a custom design package for either their Etsy Shop or Blog Buttons designed by me!  They will also have their ad displayed in my sidebar for a month as a medium space!

Thank you all so much and good luck!  I will be announcing one winner tomorrow on Saturday the 16th!

Love & Lollies...

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