Our Morning at the Circus

Tuesday, December 28, 2010
I have been hard at work finishing the Finley and Oliver Spring 2011 line. Originally, I had scheduled to shoot the line in February with my dear friend Laura of Laura Winslow Photography. However, the line is inspired by the circus so when we heard that the Zoppe Italian Family Circus was in town, we were all over it.

We packed up our kids early yesterday morning and headed over to the circus. I had emailed the circus folks to ask for permission but we never heard back so we had no idea if we'd be allowed to shoot or not. We were fully prepared to sneak around and take photographs under the radar.

However, as soon as we arrived a woman came up to our cars and invited us inside for a little performance that they were putting on for our local news channel. We were so stoked and the kids were in heaven. After the performance, Laura asked the folks in charge if we could take some shots in their circus tent. They were happy to give us permission and let us have free reign. This tent is the coolest little circus tent I have ever seen. So intimate, charming, and vintage - it really transported us to a different time. 

Once we finished up shooting inside, we moved outside and were honored with the presence of Nino the Clown. Nino is played by Giovanni Zoppe who is a 6th generation circus performer and runs the circus with his siblings. I used to have major clown phobia until I met Nino.

Giovanni was so incredibly gracious and actually brought me back to his trailer to meet his wife Amy who did an incredible performance up on some crazy high ropes that morning. We also got to meet his son Julian who is just 14 months old and the cutest little clown ever. The fact that I got to go into the trailer of a family of circus performers is probably the highlight of my year. I read "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen this past summer so I'm a bit circus obsessed lately.

They even offered to have us back to shoot some more photos with the kids on ponies and on tight rope platforms. Unfortunately, none of us have the time to make it back as the circus leaves at the end of the week.

If you are local to the Metro Phoenix area, you should definitely check out the Zoppe Italian Family Circus in Chandler. They have performances twice a day through January 2nd. We have tickets for the New Year's Eve performance and can't wait! (And a note to other animal friendly folks like myself, the only animals involved are some very lucky dogs and a happy little pony).

A huge thank you to Laura Winslow for being so amazing to work with - not to mention up for anything! Thank you also to the Zoppe family for allowing us to shoot and creating some really fun memories for our kids! Lastly, thank you to Mia of Dolce Vita Mia for letting me borrow your little model :)

We still have several more pieces to shoot so these will be available in the shop in a few weeks.

Flower Headband - Dolce Vita Mia 
Pink Hat - Gracylu Originals

Choosing Our Newest Flock Members

Saturday, December 11, 2010
The crazy chicken lady in me has emerged again so you might be seeing a lot of chicken posts in the near future. Apologies in advance. Anyhow, we have decided to add four more chickens into our little backyard flock. Orders for the February hatch through My Pet Chicken will open up any day now so I've been busy reading up on different breeds and determining which would be a good fit for our family. I think we've narrowed it down to these four breeds.

image via mypetchicken.com

We knew without a doubt that we would want another Buff Orpington. We had the sweetest Buff named Ramona but sadly we lost her this past August. She was the friendliest chicken, a great layer, and was wonderful around the kids. 

image via mypetchicken.com

I've always been captivated by the gorgeous feathers on Wyandottes so we've chosen to add a Silver Laced Wyandotte to the family. They are good layers, friendly birds, and are hardy to the heat.

Buff Orpingtons and Wyandottes are good layers. Add those to the three layers we have now and we will be rolling in the eggs. As it is, we get plenty for our household of five. Because we'll be getting more than enough eggs with these breeds, I've decided that it would be fun to add chickens of the ornamental variety to the flock.

via mypetchicken.com

This little fluff ball is a White Cochin. While not the best layers, these little chickens are easily handled, friendly, and super docile. Not too mention they are crazy cute and get fuller and fluffier as they get older (the one in this picture is a pullet - female chicken under a year old)

via mypetchicken.com 

I saved the best for last. This ornamental oddity is called a Polish. I haven't decided which variety of Polish we'll get but I promise you that they all have that fabulous crest of feathers. Never a bad hair day with these girls.

Once we place our order, I'll have to impatiently wait until the chicks hatch sometime in February. Once they have hatched, they'll be packaged up at a day old and sent via USPS to us. 

This is how our girls arrived last February. So cute, right? I can't wait to have little chicks in the house again!

On Sale and Ready to Ship!

Friday, December 10, 2010
I've just added a bunch of my most popular items to the sale section in my shop. I've adjusted the inventory listed to stock on hand. All items in that section are already made and will ship within 24 hours of purchase. Just in time for Christmas! 

Here are some of the items I've added:

If you're still looking for a unique gift for a baby or toddler, pop on over to my shop to see all the items I've included in the sale. Once the sale is over, some items will go back to the original price and others will be discontinued to make room for my spring/summer 2011 line.

Tour de Coops Recap

Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Well, we had the big Phoenix Tour de Coops this past Saturday. So incredibly fun and ridiculously exhausting. Those of you who have no clue what I'm talking about can read my last blog post on it here. In short, the Tour de Coops is a tour of the metro Phoenix area's coolest urban chicken set ups. This year we were honored to be a stop on the tour and loved showing off our coop and our girls. 

When the tour goers arrived, they put on a pair of blue booties and spritzed their hands with sanitizer. Chicken diseases are easily transferable and in the rare case that there were any sick birds on the tour, this ensured that all the other birds remained healthy and diseases weren't transmitted from coop to coop. A bonus is that those booties kept the chicken poop off of everyone's shoes!

We had about 200 people visit our coop over the course of the day. It was a great mix of people who already owned chickens and people who were thinking of taking the plunge. What a blast I had talking to them - it was fun giving tips to those who knew nothing about chickens and getting tips myself from old school chicken keepers. 

Showing this couple our "brooder"

The girls were a little bit nervous at first with all the people. Lucy and Effie stuck to the patio with the familiar faces of my mom and my sister and Flo hid in the bushes. Eventually, they warmed up and visited with the other folks. (Effie is molting which explains her wonky feathers right now).

In addition to learning about our chickens and our coop, a lot of the visitors wanted to learn more about our raised bed vegetable garden. Fortunately, my sister who is an Arizona gardening guru, was there to answer questions for us since we were so busy talking about the chickens.

Even Finley and Oliver had a great time. Finley managed to wrangle some kid into pushing him on his "tractor."

Talking all. day. long. seriously tired me out. I even fell asleep before the big USC/UCLA game (gasp!!). But it was so worth it - we had a fabulous time and are already looking forward to next year's Tour de Coops (but as tour goers next time around).

Crafeteria 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010
This past weekend I had the pleasure of participating in Crafeteria 2010 at Frances Vintage in Central Phoenix. Wow. What an absolute honor to be included among the 40 incredible vendors. I was so impressed by the level of artistry and craftsmanship.

One of the highlights of the evening was being parked right next to my good friend Erica of Parkside Harmony. There was a steady crowd all night but we were able to sneak in a quick chat here and there.

The vibe for the evening was incredible. There was great live music, tasty treats, and an amazing crowd. The shoppers were so friendly and very supportive of the local handmade scene.

A huge thank you to Georganne of Frances Vintage and Smeeks for putting together such a fun show. We are looking forward to next year!