Getting to Know You.....

I recently did a produce review for my Tuesday Green Tip on Tricia of The Green Market on Etsy. I wanted you to get to know her more and thought she would be great for this months Getting to know you.

Tell us a little about yourself and your family.

I am a wife to a wonderful executive city boy and mother to 8 children ranging in ages from 16 to 4 months old. I was born in NY but raised in Miami, Florida and have been planning my escape to the country for 10 years. We finally realized our dream of owning a small hobby farm on 3 acres 2 years ago, called Moss Flower Farm. My J.O.B is cake designing. I can make any cake that my client can dream up, I love challenges. My favorite hobbies include painting, crochet, quilting and designing. We have a very structured but fun family and there never seems to be a shortage of hugs around our home.

My blog is about my life on Etsy but also about my family and living green, so what does GREEN mean to you and your family?

We have been "green" for so long that it is just the way we do things. Being green to me is taking a step backwards. A step backwards is a step forwards. I try to do things like my grandmother would have done it. We do not use reusable or throw away items. If we have an event we use compostable plates or cups. We use cloth napkins, diapers, cleaning cloths, reusable shopping bags, produce bags, all paper goes into our shredder and is used to line our chickens nest boxes, any food scraps go into our compost or earth worm bins (vermiculture). We are in the planning process of going solar powered by installing solar panels to hopefully be mostly off grid. We have a solar oven which we built and are still working on to cook our meals with the sun soon. Water is conserved in any way we can and keep a mind of being wasteful with any resource. We don't have many chemicals in our home, we make our own cleaners, laundry detergent, tooth powder and hopefully soon our own soa
p. We make laundry soap out of greener ingredients and make most things from scratch. For such a big family, I would say that our carbon footprint would be equal to that of a 4 person family.

We are now in summer and gardens are the new/old thing to have, What do you grow and/or raise on your property?

On Moss Flower Farm we raise chickens (Rhode Island Reds, New Hampshire Reds and Araucanas) White Drake ducks (Aflac), we have a huge stocked catfish pond and are planning to add a Dexter cow very soon for raw milk. Dexter cows are as big as a big dog and are very gentle, because of their size they require little pasture. We have fruit trees including, peach, persimmon, plum, pomegranate, fig, loquat, all kinds of citrus, apples and mulberries and bananas. We grow tomatoes, peas, squash, potatoes, green beans, all types of lettuce and microgreens, many herbs, strawberries, black and raspberries, garlic, chives and onions. We have a blueberry orchard and are picking wonderful blueberries at the moment. We will probably be done with the blueberry season in a few weeks. Growing food is powerful, if you can grow food you can become free.

When did you start on Etsy? How did you get started crafting?

I opened my shop in June of 2008 and am coming up on my 1st year anniversary on the 20th. Crafting has always been a part of my life. When I was little (I am 36 now, shhh very priviledged info) my family would go to the library and I would go straight to the sewing, crafting section.

What do you make and sell in your shop?

I make all sorts of reusable products, ReYOUsable dusters and sweeping cloths to replace the displosable one in Swiffer products, reusable napkins, baby wipes, sandwich wraps, cleaning cloths. Shopping bags from wonderful designer fabrics such as Amy Butler and Heather Bailey, resuable bulk food bags for grains and flour and produce bags to replace those flimsy little plastic produce bags at the store, they are also great for keeping lettuces from drying out in the fridge. Even though most don't make it to my store because of procrastination on my part, we sell all of our items at the Farmers Market in town and love custom orders on Etsy.

What do you wish you had known when you started out selling your craft ?

That a serger is not an evil monster which should be kept covered in the corner of the sewing room for years before being brave enough to attempt using it.

What are some of you favorite projects that you have done?

I love to paint little people families. Seeing the little wooden dolls come to life and look like the people who will own them is fun.

What would be your best tip for someone starting out?

Think creatively and out of the box. Keep a notepad of ideas as they come to you.

Tell use about your day and how you "do it all" with homeschooling and running your own business?

As I said before, we are very structured. Children thrive on stucture (with flexibility) and discipline. The key to our family being able to "do it all" is going to bed early. My children's bedtime is 8 PM which means that they go to bed while the sun is still out. This helps the next day to be fruitful, fun and pleasant. School work is part of our life and my children have never know another way so they love to learn. My studio is where I create and run my business and my children respect that. I do not waste time with TV (not much : ) or phone and unnecessary outings so I have time to work on my ideas. We also schedule quiet time so we can all get to our favorite activities like crochet, reading or whatever.

What tips do you have for parents trying to run an at home business while raising a family?

Moms cannot and should not do everything themselves. Each one of our families members has their jobs which they are responsible for which we keep on a list and it ensures that everything that needs to get done, gets done. Even little children can help mom put the laundry into the washer and use a brush to sweep up crumbs in the kitchen. Children need to know that they are valuable and necessary parts of their families. Home businesses are a wonderful way to involve children and teach them business skills for their future. In our cake business my daughters start by punching out and creating flowers and passing ingredients. My 16 year old is now my soux chef and is getting quite good at baking. Children can help to package items, stamp letters and organize supplies. My kids love our booth at the Farmer's Market. They love to talk to customers and educate others on living simpler, greener lives.

Where do you see or hope to see you business in the future?

We have provisional patents and patents pending on some of our items and I would like to see them in stores outside of our town. It would be wonderful to have a business we can work on as a family when my children are older.

Last but not least, if granted super power what would you pick?

I have always wanted to be able to go back in time and create the things I make now back then. Imagine coming up with Reusable swiffer type products before Proctor and Gamble got us all used to the use and throw away mentality.

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