Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My etsy shop helper

This is Momo, a mosaic chinchilla. She helped me post this necklace last night. (I'm liking my new eyeshadow, but it looks funky here. Oh well.) She's such a good helper. She nibbles on my buttons, and makes chilla-poops. If you scratch her behind the ears she makes a cute squish face. My husband and I adopted her a year and a half ago through Petfinder, which is an awesome website. My mom found her dog through them as well.
Yesterday I discovered this shop because the owner has her chinchilla in her avatar:

Buy Handmade

I'm not sure this post has a point, other than chinchillas are cute. Adopt one today!

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I took advantage of spending a holiday at home, and made even more decorations. I wrote up a blog entry about it for the {NewNew}, click to see!
The holiday was really based around food. For Christmas Eve I made veal parmigiana with fresh mozzerella, and cupcakes for the office:
I did use all of the stencils, but these came out the best. Devil's food cake + vanilla frosting...mmm...
On Christmas morning I made challah bread French toast:
And sweetened the coffee with some Bailey's mint chocolate, it's good stuff. Wow, for a craft blog this is awfully focused on food! I'm working on some new designs, including one of a kind pins. So far so good, but I have to let some gloss dry before the next step. I'm very impatient, I just want to finish it now.
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas! Celebrate with pie!

Paula Deen's Peppermint Pie has been a hit with my family for the past few years, and is now requested at the work potluck. It only takes a few ingredients, and is a good way to use up some candy canes! Her instructions are super simple, so here are some photos and notes to help-
See photos & notes

Step 1- Gather ingredients
Step 1- Gather ingredients
Oreo makes the best chocolate crust in my opinion. I used these massive peppermint sticks to cut down on plastic waste.

Step 1a- Pour self a glass of wine
Step 1a- Pour self a glass of wine
House Wine, love the label. The wine itself is just ok. The festive red glass makes the pie taste better.

Step 2- do you see what I see?
Step 2- do you see what I see?

Step 3- smush!
Step 3- smush!
Rolling pins, hammers, and other blunt objects work well.

Step 3- done!
Step 3- done!
Make sure they're nice & small, otherwise it'll take forever to melt.

Step 4- melt!
Step 4- melt!
This is what it looks like when you first add the cream. It starts to take on that great pink color.

Step 4 continued
Step 4 continued
Keep the heat very low, and stir often.

Still melting, but...
You can take the opportunity to make a sandwich and refill your wine glass.

Here we go!
This is a good consistency, it won't all melt completely.

Step 5- secret trick
Step 5- secret trick
It always seems that a few solid pieces persist, so I strain out the mostly melted candy. Let it cool at room temperature, don't chill (the gelatin will make it solidify). Stir every 10 minutes or so while it's cooling, otherwise a skin forms on top.

Step 6- whip & fold
Step 6- whip & fold!
For best results chill your bowl and whisk in the freezer before whipping. I have a stand mixer, so it makes super fast work of this step. (The mixer is also pink...hmm...)

Step 7- Fill crusts!
Step 7- Fill crusts!
Don't worry if you have too much filling, or a few crumbs end up on top.

Sprinkles will fix it!
Sprinkles will fix it! I didn't fill these too high because they had to travel, so...

If you have too much peppermint cream...
The extra filling goes well with hot cocoa or coffee, just be careful not to make a huge mess like I did...

Your tasty pink peppermint pies are done! Voila!

Enjoy, and Merry Christmas to you and yours!
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Monday, December 22, 2008

Upcycling Feature on Etsy 365!

What is Upcycling?

I'm featured on the Etsy 365 blog, which features a new item or shop each day. It's cool to be #7, thanks! The author of the blog runs the etsy shop The Old Oak Tree, which features natural products for babies. (Jen, take note!) Thanks for the feature, and best of luck with your blog and shop!

And I totally meant to do this last week, but I just found out that my sister is selling some of her designs via cafepress-

RUBBISH & Assemblee Line
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Sunday, December 21, 2008

New design!

I was playing around with some of my supplies and came up with this necklace. It's just long enough so that the star rests in the center of your collarbone, so cute. The beads are glass faux pearls, and the star has a piece of the NANA logo on it (which is my favorite series of anything ever). I made another one with black chain, and experimented with another necklace design too. I'll be testing them a little, then listing them in the shop. Today I listed two new pairs of earrings- http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6266247&section_id=5750979

I hope everyone had a nice weekend before Christmas. I personally avoided all the stores, but did get quasi-lost in the Bronx en route to a friend's apartment. C'est la vie.
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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Handmade Holidays for my sister

The package arrived yesterday, so I can finally post about these. It's been tough keeping mum, I really like everything I sent her! I cheated and posted them on flickr, which my family didn't know about, but now that's busted. C'est la vie! Onto the goodies-

The best part is that she called when it arrived, so I got to hear her open it. It really made my day!

The snowman is from this pattern, it's free but you'll need to register to see it.
The white and green yarns are my grandma's, but the red isn't. I finally ran out on Snowman #4!

The instructions for the large ornament, called a kusudama, are on folding trees:

The other star ornaments are from instructions that came with a pack of origami paper, but zencrafter posted an exhaustive tutorial here (as well as many variations, like wreaths):

The lucky star garland is about 6 feet long. All of the origami are made with Sephora holiday catalogs. I usually give my sister makeup for Christmas, but the budget is tight this year since DH and I are buying a co-op. I figured this was the next best thing!
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas is coming...fast!


I just listed new earrings, I had two "stocking stuffer" sales yesterday! I got them both in the mail this morning, phew. I'm very happy that my sister's gifts made it to her safely! Currently my peppermint pie filling is cooling. Later it gets folded in whipped cream, then served at tomorrow's office potluck. The DH is out at his school's holiday party (which included a recorder concert!!!)

Amid all the holiday crafting and hoopla I've joined two etsy street teams. I'm very excited to be a part of both of them.

First is the {newnew}, which is a regional group. They're very active, which really appealed to me. The Handmade Holiday Cavalcade they put on was a great show, and I'm looking forward to meeting the members soon. I'm glad that they include Connecticut! I've signed up for a blog post on Christmas day about crafting with holiday leftover (wrapping paper stars, anyone?)

Second is the Eco Etsy team! Shocking, I know. I'm having a little trouble navigating the yahoo group (google is so much simpler) but so far so good.

Not a team, but I did join indiepublic yesterday and twitter today. I haven't had time to really explore them yet, but so far a bunch of people have welcomed me! I feel so loved!
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Earring preview!

The Fire Mountain Gems order came in on Tuesday, and I've been playing with all the new stuff since. I was way low on supplies, it's great to have headpins again! There are also new colors of the tiny swarovski crystals, lots of teals and greens. Purple too...mmm. One of the map earring pairs are for me to keep, but I'll list the other in my shop shortly. I did photograph them individually, but they didn't come out so great. I need daylight!
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Etsy finds- yummy yarn

Handspun yarns always look so delicious. I have no idea what I would make with them, some are pretty enough to be displayed on their own. Here are a few of my faves currently up on etsy:

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

I still have to finish a things using my regular yarn, but it's nice to daydream!
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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Back from the cavalcade!

I had a blast at the {NewNew} Handmade Cavalcade! My mom met me at Grand Central, and a co-worker met us at the Knitting Factory. Two of my friends went as well, but I didn't run into them. I bought a sampler from Dirty Loves Clean, and the most awesomest tote bag in the history of tote bags from Fact & Fancy. The swag in the goodie bag was amazing! I love the earrings from Silver Dot Designs, as well as the uptown / downtown pendant and all the pins, stickers, postcards, and other goodies. I've yet to sort through it all.

After the show my mom and I walked to Little Italy for some delicious pasta, then to EMC2 for a talking Tim Gunn bobblehead. We took the subway back uptown to Bryant Park. The holiday shops are nice, but definitely not diverse. Tons of jewelry, lots of knitted stuff, etc. I did get a second pair of earrings at Momo Glassworks, I wear the studs I bought last year constantly. I also got the coolest keychain / phone charm / doo-dad there:

Don't be jealous. There was a really cool stall selling bags made from chains of candy wrappers, magazines and the like, but it was definitely out of my budget.

When I got home I found out that I had a sale, from my husband's cousin, but hey! A sale is a sale, and he picked it up in person! I also had a convo telling me one of my items was featured on this blog- Andee's Designs. Does this mean I'm big in Germany, like David Hasselhoff?

What a good day!

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Friday, December 5, 2008

I lol'd

This is a very cute Colbert Report clip about a crochet / knit artist that makes cosies for SUVs.

NY / NJ / CT area people- tomorrow is the Handmade Cavalcade at the Knitting Factory! I'm nervous about going, since I want to join the {NewNew} etsy street team! Well, I'm more nervously excited.
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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sorta bad day...

So...someone dropped a heavy briefcase on my feet, the subways were delayed, someone else stepped on my heel and knocked my shoe off on a crowded stairwell...yeah. At the end of the day I missed my train and had over 20 minutes to wait. Luckily the kaliedoscope is running, and I had my camera.

From Grand Central December 2008

By taking these photos and videos I lost whatever street cred I had, c'est la vie. I may as well bury it in the ground by sharing this-

View Larger Map

I didn't know you could make custom maps in google! This is too addictive. Here are some of my favorite stores and restaurants on Manhattan's (mostly) West Side. Blue tabs are fabric or art supplies, purple are clothing and other stores. So Mom, that's how far away the Knitting Factory is from Bryant Park. We'll catch the Cash Cab.
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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Shop Update - Charms!

I had my first (paid) etsy sale on Thursday! Thanksgiving indeed. It's all packed up and ready to go in the mail tomorrow. I listed one more pair of earrings and a phone charm tonight. This will be phone charm week, I'll have a new one (or two) listed each day through Sunday.

I hope everyone who reads this had a happy and safe holiday. Mine was filled with family, friends, and lots of food! I made earrings for my mom, sister-in-law, aunt and cousin, and of course neglected to take photos of any of them. Oops. Oh well, they were a big hit, and I'm grateful to have their support.
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tomorrow evening the DH and I are driving to Annapolis for Thanksgiving. The celebration will be at my brother and sister-in-law's house, then moves to Virginia for a day with cousins, then stops back in Maryland to visit (and bake cookies) with friends. For me the baking started on Sunday with pumpkin pie-
I made one big pie for Thanksgiving, and mini pies for hubby (he loves pumpkin pie). I've decided that there's no need to make pumpkin pie again, since it tastes just like the storebought kind. Oh well, it made the apartment smell great. Two of the mini-pies seem to have mysteriously disappeared...

Last night I made oatmeal raisin cookie dough. My favorite recipe is this one from Quaker, just add one cup of raisins at the end.

I saw a blog that used pumpkin quick bread mix to make madeleines. Being pumpkined out, I opted to use a Vanilla spice quick bread mix. I got this super cheap at a Williams Sonoma outlet. They seem to discontinue their new flavors almost as fast as they come out. The results...super tasty! These will not all make it to the car. Four have met their demise next to a mug of apple cider.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Three more pairs!

I'm sticking with my goal of one listing a day all week, these three cover Thursday through today. I really like them all, but the blue manga pair is my favorite. The star on the left features Nana, my absolute favorite manga / best things I've read ever. It's hard to tell from the photo, but it's Nana O's eye, she's looking up at Ren onstage. I made tons of stars from the chapter of the first concert.

The pair on the left is from either a Pier 1 or Pottery Barn catalog. I liked the mix of patterns. None of the earrings match, but they go together. They're among the first stars I folded specifically to make into jewelry. I like this particular design personally, they're the right blend of delicate and chunky, but still very lightweight. Plus the stars have a lot of movement so you can see both sides easily.

The pair in the top right is made from that Japanese Teen type maganze I picked up for $1 at Book-Off. It has the most fabulous quirky stuff in it. Apparently Japanese teenage girls have an obsession with Disney, so I have a lot of stars with Stitch, Mickey, Minnie, Pooh, and other characters. These stars came from a page of tiny pictures and notes. There's a small hand-drawn heart, the word "friend" in English, and hand-written text.

In life news, I got to show my parents around the park I work in yesterday. It was freezing, but still a lot of fun. Afterwards we ate sushi at Chelsea Market. I love that I have parents that love sushi. Today the DH and I met up with friends to see Twilight, which pretty much met my expectations. Cheesy, but fun to watch. I'm optimistic that the sequels will be better since they won't have to introduce so many characters. Tomorrow I'm going to continue holiday crafting, hopefully I'll have a lot of finished pieces to give away by Thanksgiving (then I can right about them here!)

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Oh Noes Vampires!

Maybe it's the impending premiere of Twilight, but I felt like today was a good day to list my vampire stars. These were made with promotional materials from Dark Horse comics and feature Hellsing and Blood the Last Vampire. Alucard is centered on one, and Saya peeks out from another. More detailed shots are in the etsy listing.

The beads are Czech crystal, I bought them from a really spiffy shop in Martha's Vineyard last summer. I could have blown a whole paycheck in that bead store, it was incredible. The findings are a great gunmetal finish, I lucked out and got those on sale at the local Michaels. I do love Fire Mountain Gems, but sometimes actually seeing and holding a product is nice.
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Let them wear cake!

I say it about a lot of stuff, but I love these stars! I hope they find a good home on etsy. I've been working to update the shop consistently, and have posted a new pair of earrings each day for last three days. The digital macro function on my camera is amazing, I want to go back and reshoot the cards.

In good news- Ikea called, and our new table is in! We don't have the co-op yet, but I worked with their office today to send over more paperwork. What I'm most looking forward to is all the extra space! *keeping my fingers crossed*
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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Shop update!

It's a small update, just two pairs of earrings. I'm focusing on getting some giftware in the shop for the holidays. I'll post some more generic stars in the coming days, but in the meantime there areAvatar and Bleach pairs for sale.

I've been working on a lot of holiday ornaments, too bad I can't post pictures of those here yet!

My good friend Beth helped me set up for photos. We were very limited by the amount of daylight today, but I still see a big improvement. I really appreciate the help, let's see if it translates into sales!

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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Keeping my fingers crossed

My husband and I recently put in a bid for a new place, and it was accepted! Unfortunately, it's a co-op, so we have to go through board approval. While our entire financial history is in their hands we just get to daydream and plan for our new, and much larger home.

We made a trip to Ikea this weekend, and now have a rain check for a dining room table. My parents met us there (since they have an SUV, essential for Ikea) and the basement that the table would live in until we moved. It was a bit of a letdown, but Crate & Barrel was much better. My mom spoiled me with holiday baking goodies- like the cupcake wrappers and stencils above. I was inspired by the decorations and ornaments, and have a lot of ideas for handmade gifts (other than stencilled cupcakes). My good friend Beth joined us for shopping and lunch, afterwards we headed to the nearby Pearl Paint. The NJ location is laid out much, much better than the Manhattan one. I picked up a jar of glass etching solution in the hopes of dressing up the usual jars of cookies I send out to family members each year.
Waiting for the co-op is a bit nervewracking, but in the meantime I have plenty of Christmas craft ideas to keep me busy.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

So...somehow Election Day was a floating holiday for certain government employees today. I voted, got my free Starbucks coffee, supported the economy by purchasing socks, played copious amounts of Rock Band 2, and printed up some Sugar & Spice cards.

In addition to the one that sold in my etsy shop, one of my husband's co-workers bought 5. This is my first time reusing a gocco screen. I took it out of the freezer two days ago, and ran some test prints. I had to clean coagulated ink out of some of the letters, but it turned out pretty well. I did a better job cleaning it and returned it to the freezer for another day. I have about 49 cards here. Six are flat, which was a purchasing error on my part. I'll package them together and put them in the shop. I think I'll sell the rest in sets of five. With the exception of the flat cards these were cut and folded by hand.

After snapping photos of the card lab my DH turned the camera on our chinchilla. Her name is Momo, but we mostly call her Chilla.

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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Breaking news!

This just in- my first etsy sale!

Hooray! One of the Sugar & Spice cards sold! I also have to take those out of the shop, since one of my husband's co-workers asked to buy the rest. I'm so excited. Maybe this news will make the front page of the Daily Planet.

I hope everyone had a Happy Halloween!
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