Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Guest Feature: Inspired by Sisters

Good day, blog friends. I have a special treat for you today! I'm sharing an interview with my good friend, Taryn about the growing business she owns with her sister, Sierra ~ Inspired by Sisters. Read on to learn about their inspiring creativity, and a special promotion at the end of this post.

Sierra and Taryn ~ Inspired by Sisters

Taryn, tell us about Inspired by Sisters and how the company got started.
My sister, Sierra, and I were really craving a way to build more time for creativity in our lives and use it to generate something positive. Our mother had us addicted to arts and crafts at a young age, but we felt disconnected with that part of ourselves through the stress of college and post-college life. We knew that if we could develop a business out of our passions, we would make more time for it and make more time for each other. We chose to paint inspirational quotes because we really wanted a way to spread smiles, inspirations, and our favorite affirmations. We wanted our work to be beautiful reminders of a happier way to live.

Between you and your sister, what are your individual roles?
Sierra, my younger sister, is in school for graphic design and she is truly the brains behind all our marketing campaigns, our branding, and the detailed artistic work. We both share in the painting process, but I have no problem admitting that the more intricate art work (such as the painting below) is done by my very talented sister. I am in charge of all of our social media, customer service, and the Indulge product line. However, we believe in a sense of fluidity within the company, so we are both more than capable of assisting the other with her role and filling in as needed.

What was the inspiration behind your Indulge product line?
Indulge is a line of all-natural body products that I have been perfecting for years. I have always been interested in natural living and had spent large amounts of money on “organic” products and then after doing research, I was discovering that a lot of what I used wasn’t so natural. I wanted to simplify my products, especially their list of ingredients. All of our Indulge items have easy to read, minimal ingredients. In addition, we really wanted to design products that encourage us to spend time taking care of ourselves. We created a line that reminds us to slow it down, soak our feet, lay back in the tub with a glass of wine, enjoy luxurious creams, etc. Indulge really embodies that message and became another way for us to spread the love.

 I know you offer a wide variety of custom orders. How do people order something customizable?
Custom orders are our favorite! For painting, customers will often select a painting they already love, but ask to change colors, font style, or quote. Other times, they will send us some pictures of what they are looking for and we can help them to come up with a design. We are able to design a digital version of what we hope to painting will look like and will not start painting on an actual canvas until the buyer is in love with the design. My favorite custom orders, however, are the Indulge products. We have a large list of essential oils that our customers are able to pick and choose to blend into a truly unique scent or they can choose from one of my favorites. I am always inspired by the fragrances our buyers put together that I never would have considered,

Where do you sell your wares and where can new customers find you?
We have been selling nationally on Etsy for just over a year and have very recently expanded our availability internationally. We do a number of local vendor events in Arizona, including farmer’s markets, holiday events, and house parties. We always encourage our local shoppers to contact us  through Facebook or email to avoid the shipping fees on Etsy, as we do free delivery throughout most of the East Valley and Maricopa, Arizona. We are currently working on a website that we hope to have up by the summer time.

Is there anything else you would like my readers to know about your business?
We are all about spreading inspiration and making new connections. Facebook is one of the best ways we get to interact with our customers, share quotes and smiles. More importantly, social media is the best way to stay up-to-date with our current promotions, take advantage of coupons, and chat with us. We are currently doing an Etsy discount code for Paper Turtle readers! Use the promo code “PAPERTURTLE” for a very exclusive 25% off all orders until March 15, 2016! 
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Visit Inspired by Sisters on Etsy (remember to use your exclusive promo code PAPERTURTLE)
You can email Taryn at:
And check out Taryn's blog here.
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Wishing Inspired by Sisters enormous success!
Big thanks to Taryn for being my guest today.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Outside this weekend

Good morning, blog friends.
Just popping in this morning with a few photos from the weekend. Doug started digging in our backyard space and I planted flower seeds over a week ago, and since then I've been paying close attention to where the light falls, planning where to plant this, that, and the other...

The light has definitely shifted and I can feel spring coming around the bend. Our Arizona weather was gorgeous this weekend.

The best backyard news of all is that my sunflower seeds are sprouting! I have been checking the ground daily for shoots since I planted a little over a week ago. I could barely contain myself yesterday afternoon when I spotted this little fella:

Maybe not a big deal in the eyes of some onlookers, but huge for me. This little sprout symbolizes so much for me! Growing sunflowers in the dirt of our new house makes this place feel even more like home - literally putting down roots. I'm so excited to see this progress!

There's a busy week brewing and I'm working on keeping my attitude in check. Along with the two yoga classes I already teach, I volunteered to sub for a couple of other classes this week too, making my work schedule kind of interesting. And there's a 3-day weekend on the horizon with all kinds of fun planned, so I'm setting my sights on that...

It's easy to float if you stay light-hearted.
Have a great week, sweet friends.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

A foggy day schedule

I've been stuck in a bit of a writing slump these days so, on a whim, I searched the internet for writing prompts and found this list of 365 Creative Writing Prompts. One that stood out for me was prompt #22: Smoke, Fog, and Haze: write about not being able to see ahead of you.

Oh, fog...

I grew up in California's San Joaquin Valley - an area located inland from the west coast of the USA, rich with agriculture, canals and irrigation ditches. During the winter months, fog would roll in at night, blanketing everything in the early morning hours.

I remember looking out at the fog from our front window as kids, not being able to see past the front yard and fingers crossed for a "foggy day" schedule. On foggy school mornings, we'd tune in to a local AM radio station to listen for delayed bus schedules. If the fog was thick enough in our area, school buses were delayed by an hour or two to allow the fog to lift enough that driving conditions were safer. Even then, our bus driver was strict about having us wait on the church steps until she had come to a complete stop before we approached the bus. Visibility was that low.

As an adult I hated the fog. Actually, I only really hated driving in it. It's scary to be behind the wheel of a car and not be able to see past the front end of your vehicle! Driving was slow at best. My mom drove 45 minutes each way to work in foggy conditions every winter. I hated that for her - worried about her driving in the fog every winter! But hey, driving in the fog is not what ultimately claimed her, and cancer was something that had never crossed my mind for my mother. I totally worried about the wrong thing for her!

And so it is with me, that the subject of fog presents itself in a writing prompt - the perfect metaphor at this point in my life. These days I feel as if my life is on a foggy day schedule; delayed just a little until I can see my path more clearly. The things I worry about on the path before me are most likely not even there. And like my mom, the fog will not be my ultimate demise. It's just there to provide a little buffer - a gentle reminder to be patient and not rush things.

There's nothing wrong with a little self-imposed foggy day schedule once in a while.
Besides, I've always been an excellent driver.

Monday, February 1, 2016

A weekend of mandalas, gardening and yoga

Good Monday morning, blog friends.

Rinda commented on one of my Instagrams yesterday, saying that my "mandala muse was on fire this weekend." She was right! There's a shift happening in my life and I poured my heart and soul into mandalas over the course of the past few days. And I marveled at how different these recent mandalas appeared to me. I used a little different approach and some new shapes materialized for me.

Big news is that Doug made a big dent in our backyard over the weekend. He removed two old oleander bushes and that was no easy feat. And he started digging up the old sprinkler system, preparing  for new lines to be laid. And he removed a bunch of the old and rotting railroad ties and hauled them to our local dump. Busy, busy weekend for Douglas!

And! And!!! A small patch of dirt was cleared in the back corner where I planted some sunflower and hollyhock seeds. Ah! It felt so good to have my hands in dirt for a little while. Thanks, Doug! I needed that!

I taught my regular two yoga classes on Saturday morning, then attended my monthly yoga teacher training workshop in the afternoon (and on Sunday too). When I wasn't practicing yoga, I was drawing more mandalas...

And this one...

Plus two others that are still in black-and-white stages and not photographed. It was awesome, and I'd give just about anything for another day off work today. I'd sit in chair on our back patio and draw more mandalas, with the dug-up backyard as my backdrop. But now I'm just dreaming...  ~sigh~

Time to hit the yoga mat and adjust my Monday morning attitude. Have a lovely week, my friends! Do something that soothes your soul...

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

This week in our {new} garden

Well hello lovely friends.
Even though we haven't begun serious work in our new backyard, I am starting at square one and watching where the light falls. I snapped a few photos (with my iPhone) last weekend and thought I'd share them today.
We've been throwing around a few ideas for our backyard design and, slowly but surely, they are starting to stick. I think both Doug and I are still overwhelmed at the enormity of this backyard project. So much needs to be done in terms of clean-up and clear-out before we can actually start to make it look the way we want.
This orange tree is our only backyard tree so far. We'll eventually add a few more trees back here for shade, and I really, really, really want a lemon tree. I'm pretty sure Douglas will make that happen for me. :o)
Lucky doesn't seem to mind the dirt. He's digging a few holes to China so he's still up to those shenanigans. And all's quiet at the turtle corral. Rex and Cas are still hibernating...
As winter progresses, the sun is starting to shift and shed more light on our backyard. I can't wait to have more plants and some color back here to photograph! Can't. Wait!
I took a few shots from this angle, and every one of them had that little heart-shaped orb floating around on the right side of the photo. {Hi Mom!}

It made me super happy - and a little giddy - when I completed this post and added my label "How my garden grows."'s been too long. I needed that! :o)
I hope you're all having a great week so far!

Monday, January 18, 2016

A bit about my weekend...

Good morning, blog friends!
Didja' miss me last week? ;o) I managed to put up a weekend recap last Monday, but the rest of the week blogging took a backseat to other pressing matters. At one point I wrote a big ol' long blog post about how I don't have time for blogging right now, and ended up deleting it because in the long run it seemed kind of lame. A blog post about not having time to blog? Nah.

Anyway, regular readers already know I have a full plate these days, plus I realized one of the things that's making blogging somewhat challenging for me lately is the lack of photos. I have always loved having a few cool photos to share here, but lately I haven't been taking as many photos.

Saturday morning I was out the door early to head to the yoga studio where I teach a 9:00 a.m. kid's yoga class and at 10:15 restorative yoga class. Gosh, you guys, I have a lot to learn about teaching kid's yoga. Some things went right, some things not so right. And of course, as human nature will have it, I spent the rest of my day {weekend} ruminating over the things that went wrong and judging my teaching abilities in a not-so-kind way to myself.

After yoga classes I had an opportunity to have lunch with my friend, Barbara. It was so nice to sit with her for a while and talk about some things that have been on our minds. I had time after lunch to hit the grocery store, brought groceries home and put them away, noticed how yummy the light looks in our house around 2:00 in the afternoon, grabbed my keys and headed back out the door for a 2:15 hair appointment.

I did catch this beautiful sunset on Saturday evening...

I know it's only mid-January, but I can feel spring coming. I am itching to dig in some dirt! And when I look at the current (original) state of our new backyard it's easy to be discouraged about how much still needs to be done back there before it feels like a fun place to play in the dirt.

Ladders (#painterswifeproblems), antlers, turtle statue, weird fence blocks and an unfinished section (Why, previous owners? WHY?!), rotting railroad ties, weeds/no grass... I know it's overwhelming to Doug too. Practicing patience feels really challenging right now, but I digress. Back to that sunset...

Carrie and I had tentative plans to meet for lunch and pedicures yesterday, but when we were honest with each other, neither one of us felt like leaving our houses. Lol. She'd had a busy week too, and so we postponed our time together for another day. I managed to make a big crockpot of chili yesterday afternoon, so Carrie swung by our house for take-out. A brief visit, but I still got to see her sweet face and give her a hug.

And now the beginning of a new week and a full calendar to make my way through. I have something planned every night after work this week, and I'm hosting my next yoga/mandala workshop on Saturday afternoon. Need to finish assembling my kits and prepare for new mandala students (yay!).

I know my tone sounds a bit out of sorts (frazzled?) this morning, but I'm fine really. I'm happy and grateful for so many wonderful things to be busy with. I do miss the luxury of relaxed blogging! And honestly, I'd rather only blog when it feels right and light and happy. Why else would you come here to read my words. Right?

So when you don't see a blog post from me for a while, know that I'm probably walking through my kitchen, on my way from one activity to another, admiring how the light looks in there and longing for my camera... When I remind myself that this busy phase will pass and eventually morph into something else, my heart feels happy and hopeful.

In the meantime, I'll keep on keeping on. I remind myself that PaperTurtle as a fun hobby, not a commitment, and you never know when I'll pop up in your feed.

Until then, sweet friends, take good care.
Longing to dig in the dirt...
~ Deb

Monday, January 11, 2016

Weekend Snaps

The Monday's just keep rolling around.
Good day, blog friends. I hope everyone had a great weekend. Mine was nice and relaxing compared to weekends past. I taught my first kids yoga class on Saturday morning and as usual when I teach, I learned some new lessons myself. ;o) I have a bit of preparing to do before the next class this weekend, and I'm up for the challenge. On the flip side, it was my fourth week teaching restorative yoga, and that class is feeling so comfortable for me. Teaching restorative yoga might be my new favorite.

My gosh. It rained every day last week! Our ground is wet and soggy and there are so many weeds in our yard! Doug pulled a bunch in the front yard, and I worked on a little patch in the turtle habitat. See the painter's drop cloth in the upper right corner of the next photo? It covers the small hut that Rex and Casper are currently hibernating under. And all the green in the photo = weeds.

The rain stopped long enough on Saturday evening that we were able to have Carrie & Andrew over for grilled sliders. We had a fire in the fireplace and roasted marshmallows for s'mores for desert, and the kids accommodated my request for a few rounds of Scattergories.
I was going to say that I did nothing yesterday, but my photos reveal otherwise. I made a big pot of chicken soup for dinner, and for whatever reason I got in my mind that I wanted to make homemade saltine crackers.

They aren't all that photogenic, eh? And by the time the browned ones came out of the oven the light for more photos wasn't great. End result is that Doug liked them ok, and IF I ever make them again I'll use butter in the recipe (instead of shortening) and roll them a lot thinner. Anyway, if anyone ever asks? Sure! I've made saltine crackers before! ;o)

Finally, a little sun poking through the clouds - albeit brief - lighting up my craft room. That wall mandala hasn't grown since the last time I posted a photo of it. It's just not thrilling me as much as I'd imagined it would. New plans are to have Doug paint that wall a light purple, and I think I'll paint a mandala shape using white paint only. We'll see...

My next yoga/mandala workshop is coming up next weekend and I spent a little time drawing mandalas yesterday afternoon. Whiskers loves when I draw mandalas and makes himself right at home on my table. I snapped the above photo and then scooted his furry self off of my work. He's so needy sometimes!

And now a new week. Sweet prayers for Doug this morning as he has eye surgery. It will be a partial work day for me while I provide transportation for him, to and from the surgical center. My calendar is full all week. On one hand that thrills me, on the other hand I feel tired, quite frankly. Oh well! No sense fretting about's nothing that yoga can't help me handle.

Wishing you all a week filled with deep breaths and blessings.
Let's do this...
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