Friday, September 30, 2011

Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil Review & Giveaway (US and CAN)

Several months ago, I was excited to win a blog giveaway for a quart of Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil! This was my first introduction to Tropical Traditions!

I had never used Coconut Oil before. My sister-in-law uses it a lot (usually the cheap store brands), so I have had a little exposure to it (she makes the yummiest Parmesan potato wedges baked with coconut oil!), but had never actually used it myself.

Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil one of the highest quality coconut oils on the market, having the highest levels of antioxidants! It is made in small batches by local farm families on Mt. Banahaw in the Philippines, and only the highest quality, hand picked coconuts are used in making this oil.

Are you wondering how this oil is used? Here's what their website says:

"Virgin Coconut Oil is a food, and is one of the best cooking oils you can use. It has been a staple cooking oil for thousands of years in tropical climates. As a cooking oil, its chemical structure is kept in tact and therefore is resistant to mutations of fatty acid chains even when used in higher cooking temperatures, unlike most vegetable oils. Research shows that the medium chain fatty acids found in coconut oil boosts the body’s metabolism, raises body temperatures, and helps provide greater energy which can lead to weight loss. For hundreds of tasty recipes from people who use coconut oil, visit"

We have been using this oil for several months now, and are nearing the bottom of our first jar. My mom especially has been excited to use it nearly every morning in making eggs for breakfast. She likes the fact that this oil is so much better for her than regular vegetable oil. I've also used it to replace the butter in our favorite Oatmeal Coconut muffins with great results! I'm still wanting to try using it in pie crusts, brownies, and so many other things. I think we'll just have to purchase a second jar soon! :)

Would you like to give this special coconut oil a try for yourself? Right now Tropical Traditions has their Gold Label Coconut Oil on a Buy-One-Get-One FREE sale!

Buy it:

2 jars - 32-oz. ea. - Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil - BUY 1 GET 1 FREE!

If you are new to Tropical Traditions and place an order using my referral link, you will receive a free copy of their book Virgin Coconut Oil (retail value $25)!

Win it: 

Tropical Traditions is graciously offering one of my readers their own 32-ounce jar of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil to try for themselves! Complete the mandatory entry below and leave me a comment with your e-mail address so that I can contact you if you are the winner.

Mandatory Entry:
Visit the Tropical Traditions website and tell me one other product you'd love to try or something you learned, AND leave me your e-mail address.

Extra Entries (please leave a separate comment for each one and don't forget to leave me your e-mail address!):
* Subscribe to the Tropical Traditions Sales newsletter (1 entry)
* Follow Tropical Traditions on Twitter @troptraditions (1 entry)
* "Like" Tropical Traditions on Facebook (1 entry)
* Visit Free Coconut Recipes and tell me which recipe you'd love to try (1 entry)
*Follow me on Google Friend Connect (1 entry)
*Blog about this giveaway (2 entries)
*Tweet this giveaway (can be done once a day - 1 entry each)
*Share this giveaway on Facebook (1 entry)
*Share this giveaway with friends by e-mail and let me know you did (1 entry)
*Comment on any non giveaway blog posts and tell me which one (1 entry)

This giveaway is open to residents in the US and Canada . The giveaway will close on October 13, and the winner will be chosen by and notified by e-mail. The winner has 48 hours to get back to me with their address or a new winner will be chosen.

Note: This post contains my referral link.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Just Listed

I have been really busy these last two months trying to keep on top of my custom orders! I'm almost caught up now, and a few days ago I was able to have a photo shoot with a few of my models. I've had a bunch of skirts, jumpers, and dresses hanging in my closet waiting for the opportunity to photograph them!

 My sister (who happens to be a published author and is just about to publish her second book) teaches writing to a few of the girls at church during the school year, and she just started up class again on Wednesday. I often use class time to do modeling with the little sisters. :) They just love playing dress up and modeling for me! This week was even more fun because we added a third model to our party. :)

I'm excited to have 6 new items added to my shop, and I'm hoping to get a bunch more listed soon!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Free 8x10 Collage Print at Walgreens

Today only, Walgreens is offering a FREE 8x10 collage print. Just use the code COLLAGE at checkout. Choose in-store pick up to receive your print completely free.

This coupon is only good today, September 23rd.

Reasonable Ribbon Coupon!

Reasonable Ribbon has just released a new coupon! Actually there are two coupons - the more you buy, the more you save! These coupons are good through midnight September 25.

If you've never heard of Really Reasonable Ribbon, check out my review here.

Order subtotals from $.01 to $39.99 SAVE 10% using code RAINYDAY10

Order subtotals $40 and up SAVE 15% using code RAINYDAY15

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

FREE Shipping at Land's End

There is a new Land's End coupon out that not only gives 25% off your entire purchase (including sale and overstock items), but also includes FREE Shipping with no minimum order!

Just use the code DISCOVER and the PIN 6956. Offer expires September 27th.

Check out the good variety of Overstock items starting at just $2.97!

Make your purchase through Shop at Home and receive 4% cash back on your purchase! You'll also receive $5 FREE when you sign up for the first time.

Note: This post contains my referral link. Thanks for supporting this blog!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

AJ's Country Cottage Feature

This morning I woke up to a chilly 45 degree morning. The sun is shining brightly, but the summer heat is gone for today. Two days ago, the temperature reached 102, but not today. There's a hint of Fall in the air! With the return of Autumn comes more baking, hot rolls and breads, apple pies, pumpkin pies... Soup is once more on the menu, and we rejoice in the crisp, cool days after the intense heat of the summer. Autumn also brings out the candles at our house! We love having candles burning especially during the long evenings of Fall and Winter! There's something so comforting and homey in a burning candle!

And speaking of candles, I'd love to introduce you to AJ's Country Cottage and the  lovely lady who run it!

How and when did you become interested in your craft? 
I’ve been fascinated by candles since I was a kid, and poured my very first candles when I was about 13 or 14 in my parents’ basement.  I not only collected but also made my own novelty candles at that time and experimented with whipped wax creations.  Mom was a trooper; she let me use her electric hand mixer.  I was really pleased with my ice cream sundae candles.  Wish I still had one of them!

What inspired you to open your shop? 
As an adult, I became interested in fragrance and decided to combine this interest with my love of candles, which add such a warm glow and cozy feel to a home.  Scent is a powerful and fascinating medium; it also creates atmosphere and warmth.  A certain aroma can bring forth long-forgotten memories.  Fragrance is universal, yet so personal.  But the commercially-produced candles I bought failed to scent even one room of my home, and I wanted more.  I figured there must be a way to make a candle make the air smell good while burning, so I began experimenting with scented jar candles designed to fragrance a room.  When I succeeded, I found I soon wanted and needed to sell some of my candles because I not only do I have a creative temperament, but I also have an entrepreneurial bent.  I love to create, but in a practical sense, I can only make so many candles and soaps to give away to friends and family, and I need to bankroll my work! :)  So I opened up a shop to give all my babies good homes.  To satisfy both my creative drive and business bent, I must make LOTS!  I don’t do things half-heartedly very well.  It’s all or nothing for me, so I go all out.  I’m a classic firstborn overachiever.  :)

Where did your shop name come from? A favorite uncle nicknamed me AJ, after my initials, when I was little.  I live in the country, and often draw inspiration from the peaceful, green countryside.  And I live in a small home, but “cottage” evokes comfort, warmth, and cheer better than “little house,” doesn’t it?  :)

What inspires you to create your work?  Why do you do what you do? 
I’m a homebody at heart, and I desire to make my home a peaceful haven for my family and myself – a refuge from the sometimes-harsh realities of living in our modern world.  My handcrafted candles and soaps help make our home warm, inviting, and personalized, and I enjoy pleasing everyone with their favorites.  It’s my desire to help others also achieve this tranquil, cozy atmosphere in their homes.  I like to treat myself to new fragrances now and then and want to help others do the same.  I feel just a bit pampered and indulged, like I’m getting a little reward for all my hard work when I carve out some “me” time!
Have you taken any courses or classes? How did you learn your craft?
 I’ve always loved to learn new things, so I scour the internet for information and read books like a librarian.  You should SEE how many books we have here.  (blush)   I seem to learn best by reading and researching independently, along with the self-discovery method.  Once I’ve done my homework, I like to just dive in and DO it!  I practice a LOT and have literally made hundreds and hundreds of candle and soap batches.  I learned soapmaking primarily from reading books then just trying my hand at it and getting advice from seasoned soapmakers via internet forums and chat rooms. I’m a meticulous detail nut.  And as I mentioned before, I’ve been playing with wax since I was a teenager.  When my own two children got old enough to craft, they wanted to learn candlemaking as well, so I started by teaching them how to make votives.  They were so thrilled with their colorful little creations!  The fact that they made something useful gave them a great sense of accomplishment.

In your opinion, what sets you apart from the rest?
I offer a wide variety of fragrances, so there’s something for everyone.  I love variety!  We test each fragrance diligently.  We do our homework.  We can’t account for the variables in how people burn our candles, such as the length they trim the wick, weather conditions, airflow patterns in various homes, vaulted ceilings, drafts, and so on.  But we work carefully to make the best possible product that will burn well and fragrance at least one average-sized room under normal conditions.
Describe your creative process.  What inspires you? Nature inspires.  How I aspire to capture the colors of a lovely sunset or a beautiful flower’s fragrance in my work!  The scent of fresh rain cooling a hot pavement – I love that.  Sometimes I smell a gorgeous aroma in a bakery and try to re-create that in a candle.  I must admit, the kitchen is quite often the source of my inspiration!

What are 5 things that you could never do without in your craft? 
1.   Thermometers.  Temperatures are crucial in working with hot wax and fragrance. 
2.  Wick setters.  What a wonderful invention.  They keep the wicks centered as the wax cools and wants to pull the wick askew. 
3.  Silicone soap mold liners.  Ah, I absolutely refuse to pour soap without these godsends.  The soap unmolds with ease.  Technology rules.
4.  The internet and libraries!  Great places to research trends and learn about new techniques and products.
5.   Most importantly:  my teenaged daughter!  She loves to craft with me and is my partner in this venture; we make a great team and support one another.  We adore what we do.  In many ways, she is a slightly shorter version of me.  :)

What is your favorite item in your shop? 
This is like asking me to choose a favorite child!  But  I do love vanillas and citrus scents best.  Vanilla is so comforting and calming to me, and citrus just makes me feel energized and upbeat.  So I’d have to say my vanilla blends and citrus blends -- Satsuma Citrus candles for the warmer months, and Vanilla Bean Noel, which is a sweet caramel and vanilla duo, for fall and winter.  In soaps, I love my goat’s milk soaps for facial use, but in the shower I always have a lemon bar or a patchouli bar going.  Actually BOTH at this time, if you must know!  :)

What is the most exciting thing that has happened since you've started? 
When I was a girl just starting out, the wax options for chandlers were paraffin and paraffin.  With the advent of vegetable waxes such as palm and soy, we have whole new worlds opening up to explore!  I have an adventurous streak, so once I had paraffin waxes under my belt, I tackled the new vegetable waxes, which can be a real challenge to achieve good results with.  There’s quite a learning curve, and lots of homework to be done before starting.  Working with wax, color, and fragrance takes lots of practice, and although I’ve had plenty of that, I feel there are always new things to learn and paths to explore along the way.  I love learning and trying new things!

What’s the best advice you’ve been given in regards to what you do? 
Channel your passions constructively to make life a bit better for others.  This world can beat us all up a bit now and then; purpose to be a light rather than increasing the darkness.  Treat others with kindness and empathy, the way you’d like to be treated.  There’s a very good reason that rule is called GOLDEN!
Besides crafting, what else do you do?  What are your other interests? Biking and camping with my family and friends.  Missouri has some great bike trails and campgrounds!   And I love to play with yarn, whether it’s knitting or crocheting.  I need 2 or 3 lifetimes to try all the crafts and projects I’m motivated to try!  I also love to read, love music (especially hymns and contemporary Christian music), and my guilty pleasure is playing a few selected video games when I have time.
How do you make time to craft?
I am blessed with a husband who is absolutely fine with me being a full-time crafter and home-based businesswoman.  Staying at home doing my thing – what a guy!  We also homeschool and are part of a local home church, so we are pretty much a homespun kind of family. 

What advice would you give someone new to online selling? 
Make sure you offer a product or service that is marketable, then work your tail off.  Research, research, research.  Don’t give up on your dream, but do work SMART and be aware of your limitations. 

Don't they look lovely! AJ's Country Cottage has SO many different scents! I'm so glad I found this shop. My mom loves candles and Christmas is coming up... :) This is definitely a shop I'm keeping in mind for gifts!

I didn't have nearly enough room in this post for all of the many candle choices at AJ's Country Cottage, so I'd encourage you to head on over to her Artfire or Etsy shop. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

$20 Whole Foods for Only $10! HURRY!

Here's a Living Social deal that was too good to pass up! $20 to spend at Whole Foods for only $10. 50% off!!

We love shopping at Whole Foods although we don't have one in our area. There's one in KC where my grandparents live though! :) Nearly every time we visit them, we make a Whole Foods stop and stock up on things. :)

This deal is only good for about 20 more hours, so HURRY and purchase yours today! The voucher itself doesn't expire until the 13th of December, so you have some time to use it. (It does have to be printed before then though!)

Note: This post contains my referral link. Thank you for supporting this blog!

Walgreens Photo Deal - $5 off $5 or More

Walgreens has a new photo gift coupon. Use the code 5OFFANY to get $5 off your purchase of $5 or more at the Walgreens Photo Center.

This coupon expires Saturday September 17th, and can be used up to five times per account!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Helen's Corner Feature and Coupon

Are you looking for a baby gift? Do you want something unique to give to a new mama for her little blessing? Or maybe you need a gift for a special little girl. Well you've come to the right place. I want to introduce you to another Etsy shop and the sweet lady who runs it. Step right into Helen's Corner!

Please tell us a little about yourself. 
My name is Helen.  I’ve been married to my wonderful husband Joel for a little over 5 years, and we have 2 wonderful children, Joshua (2) and Elsie (born in July 2011).  Besides being a pastor’s wife, a pastor’s daughter and granddaughter, I find my true identity in being God’s unconditionally loved child.  I believe God created me to not only enjoy a true and intimate relationship with Him, but also share His love with others around me.  

What inspired you to open your shop?
When my son Joshua was born in June of 2009, he was given a lot of clothes that despite being functional, lacked character.  Most of his bodysuits were plain, so I thought to myself “these onesies need SOMETHING!”  I found myself nursing him while sitting in the glider chair of his room, and having lots of time to think about how I could generate some additional income from home.  That’s when the idea of screenprinting his plain onesies came to be.  And to take a step further, I thought “How could I share God’s love for people, especially little ones like Joshua, in a creative and unique way?  Would people buy them?  Would they be interested in something like this?”  I knew Etsy was one of my personal weaknesses (I used to spend hours and hours just browsing around the different shops).  So I decided to open a shop and… the rest is history.

Where did your shop name come from?
Helen’s Corner was literally the place in my house where my creativity was put to use.  I had my screenprinting machine, my sewing machine, and my craft supplies all in one CORNER of my basement. The name was a natural choice.  Everything in my shop was first created in my corner, there in that basement.  I have since moved from that house, but my ‘stuff’ continues to rest in a “corner” of my new craft room.

In your opinion, what sets you apart from the rest?  Is there something that you do differently than other people in your craft?
I’m not afraid to share God’s love and His promises from Scriptures in my creations.  Whether it’s a reminder that we are LOVED, BLESSED, or Wonderfully Made, I point people to the Source of these truths.  The Bible says that we were each fearfully and wonderfully made, unconditionally loved, and blessed by our Father and Creator (Psalm 139: 14, 1 John 4:19 and John 3:16, and Mark 10:16).

 What is the most exciting thing that has happened since you've started?
One of the most exciting things has been providing Christian faith-based apparel to parents who are excited to welcome their newborn babies.  There was one particular mother who contacted me, sharing that she was pregnant with a miracle baby.  The baby was born healthy, and she let me know by sending me her baby announcement picture, where her son was wearing one of my bodysuits that said “Perfect Gift” from James 1:17.  What a joy it was for me to be a part of this miracle!  I still keep that picture, as a reminder that  God is behind this business… which is more than a business, it’s a ministry.

Do you take custom orders? If so, how do they work?
Custom orders are welcome.  I’m unable to customize sayings/verses, but I will work with you on different sizes, colors, and shirt styles (short/long sleeve).  Bulk orders are also welcome.  Prices vary.

Besides crafting, what else do you do?  What are your other interests?
Besides crafting, I spend a LOT of time with my children.  I like to read, bake, shop, and play with makeup.

How do you make time to craft?
Since giving birth to Elsie in July 2011, finding time to craft has been a true challenge.  Nap time is precious, so I pick and choose my chores.  Crafting these days has been a luxury, I won’t lie!!

What advice would you give someone new to online selling?
Be intentional about developing relationships with other online sellers, through team forums, discussions, and all the social media venues (Facebook, Twitter, Blogs…).  It’s important to “put yourself out there”, letting people know you exist and learning from others in this field.  Also, it’s a wonderful opportunity to make new friends!  If you’re just starting your online business, don’t forget to have fun with your craft.  If you’re doing it without passion, your heart won’t be in your efforts, and your business can easily die with your lack of energy overtime.  If you have a heart for what you do, the Lord will honor your perseverance and hard work.  Remember to do everything to honor your Creator, and He will delight in your efforts.

Aren't they sweet? What a great way to celebrate the blessings the Lord gives including the blessing of children! I love the way Helen views her work as more than just a business - rather it's a ministry. I'd encourage you all to go check out Helen's Corner on Etsy and shop around among her special onesies, shirts, and purses, as well as her other items! You can also find her on her blog as well as on Facebook.

Helen is graciously offering all of my readers a coupon code to use in her shop! For the next 30 days you can use the code SARAHFREESHIP  to receive free shipping on any domestic orders.

Half Price Girls Peasant Skirt [SOLD]

Everyone likes a bargain, right? :) I have a girls size 6/8 brown floral peasant skirt here for sale.

This skirt is really pretty, and I thoroughly enjoying it as I cut and sewed it up thinking how perfect it would be for Fall for some little girl. I was almost finished with the skirt and was checking the gathers when I noticed something. This fabric had a flaw in it!! I hadn't seen it when I was cutting it out. I hadn't seen it when I was sewing it, but there it was. A little row of holes in the fabric! There was no way I could cover this flaw up like I did here. There was also no way I was just going to throw this skirt out!

I went ahead and finished the skirt and decided to offer it for sale here on my blog. I'm offering a 50% discount on this skirt since it has a flaw in the fabric. Just looking at the skirt you do NOT notice the flaw. You have to be really looking for it to even be able to see it most of the time, but of course I can't sell the skirt at full price with the flaw!

So here's your chance to purchase this brand new rich brown floral tiered peasant skirt for your daughter for just half price! Normally these skirts are $25 plus shipping. I'm offering this one for $12.50 plus shipping ($5). If you are interested in purchasing this, please contact me joyfullysewn at gmail dot com. I only have one half price skirt, so the first one to contact me will get the skirt.

I also have a size 8/10 matching skirt that will soon be listed in my shop (full price). If you have two sisters who would like matching skirts and want to purchase it with the half price skirt, just let me know. :)

Sunday, September 4, 2011


For the beauty of the earth, 
for the glory of the skies, 
for the love which from our birth 
over and around us lies; 
Lord of all, to thee we raise 
this our hymn of grateful praise.
Find the entire hymn here. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Irazoo - Search and Earn

Have you ever heard of Irazoo? Funny name, huh? :) Irazoo is a site that awards you points for searching the web! You can also earn points by completing tasks, taking surveys, and other things, but the easiest way to earn points is just by doing what we all do regularly - internet searches. :) Once you've accumulated points, you can redeem them for all kinds of prizes ranging from $5 Amazon gift cards to laptops! :)

I just signed up for Irazoo less than 5 days ago, and I already have over 700 points! I'm well on my way to my first $5 Amazon gift card. With Christmas coming up, these cards will be great for buying gifts! You can find SO many things on Amazon!

Irazoo makes doing web searches so much fun. Not only can you earn points by rating and commenting on the websites you click on in your searches, you can also earn instant win points. Every once in a while after you've typed in your search term and hit enter, a page will pop up saying you've just won points! I've won anywhere from 10 - 20 points at a time with the instant win points. You just never know when you're doing your web searches how rewarding that search might be. :)

Want to try out Irazoo for yourself? I figure if I'm going to do online searches anyway, I might as well have fun doing it and earn gift cards at the same time. :) If you haven't tried Irazoo out yet, come check it out. :)

Note: My referral links are included in this post. Thanks for supporting this blog!