Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Exhausted, But Giddy

When I opened my Etsy shop on February 28th of this year, I NEVER imagined that I'd be sitting here the week before Christmas, on the tail end of the online holiday shopping season, having sold 142 items.

I came to Etsy first as a shopper. My first purchase was an AWESOME pendant by Adorapop called The Untidy Princess. I loved the idea of buying from individuals. Being a crafter myself, I knew that handmade items were often of even higher quality than store bought ones . . . and as for the unique, one of a kind, "wow! where did you get that?!?!" factor that I love in jewelry and accessories, Etsy is second to none.

As my interest in crafting and my crafty abilities grew, I started to seriously consider opening a shop of my own . . . mostly just to try to make a bit of the money I was spending on crafting supplies back. I spent most of last holiday season making gifts for friends and family, and shortly thereafter started the process of getting ready to open a shop. I spent all of February working on developing items, setting up my seller Paypal account, researching tax laws and shipping rates. On the 28th, I listed my first item. A pair of fingerless gloves accented with vintage buttons and appliqued on the inside with a felt cupcake. They sold in a matter of hours and I was so shocked to see the little "1 item sold" logo that I called all of my friends to make sure none of them had bought the gloves as a joke. They were bought by someone I didn't know though, someone who now has her own VERY cute and very successful Etsy shop.

Over the next few months I devoted tons of time to developing new items, seeking out promotional opportunities like contributing to The Sampler and being active on the Craftster message boards, improving my photo taking setup and skills, and learning new crafts.
Running my shop has been a ton of work; and there have been a few down moments, I won't bore you with the details of those though :) But let it suffice to say that the ups have been far more prevalent than the downs, and for that I'm honestly grateful. It is so immensely gratifying to know that so many people have liked my work enough to buy it. To wear it! The response I have had is so much more than I was expecting or even daring to hope for.

Aside from the satisfaction of knowing that there are girls out there wearing my jewelry, purses and crocheted items (in Norway! in Spain! in Australia and London and Italy!), I have also been able to put aside every penny that I've made from my shop. That little account is actually growing quite big, and the money in it is going to be used for something very special that I'll be able to share more about in the new year ;)

I'm so grateful to Etsy, both Etsy admin and the Etsy community, for building a place where I'm able to take my little, fledgling creative ideas and actually DO something with them. I'm absolutely going to be continuing to work on my shop next year . . .I've got a few ideas up my sleeve that I'm really excited about. I can't wait to see what my second season on Etsy will bring!

Listening:  Goldrush - "Wait For The Wheels"

Monday, December 10, 2007

If Only I'd Done This Sooner!!!!

I'd heard that switching from chemical housecleaning products to steam cleaning could help with allergy symptoms. I'd filed this info away in my head and hadn't thought much about it until lately. My allergies have been at an all time low (high?) (yep, in December . . . they're year round) and simultaneously, I'd hit my breaking point where scrubbing floors on my hands and knees was concerned. I went online browsing for a better solution and saw a bunch of steam powered mops listed with great reviews.

So, I picked one up at Target for $80, went home and cleaned my hardwoods, bathroom tile and kitchen laminate. The difference was astonishing. Within hours, my head felt a bit clearer. So much so that I ran right out and bought a steam sprayer for cleaning the rest of my home surfaces.

I'm still working out the kinks with how to use the steam and where it works best, but I love this new method . . . I spent $80 on the mop, $30 on the steam sprayer and $10 on a stack of 12 plain washcloths for wiping. Now, for the immediate future, I'm not going to have to buy paper towels (for cleaning at least), floor cleaning solvents, spray cleaners, tile cleaners, windex, upholstery cleaners, bleach . . . any of that. Its better for the environment twofold since I'm a) not using chemicals that can seep into the ground water and b) not using disposable products or packaging.

Best thing of all was how EASY the whole cleaning process is now. Steam mopping involves no bending over or kneeling down . . .the steam dries almost instantly and all of the bits of grime and slime are immediately lifted from my floors . . . like, immediately.

Cleaning is a huge pet peeve of mine . . . I'd rather do pretty much anything else. Dentist included. So for me to wax on about a cleaning method is pretty bizarre . . . but I almost want to go home and mop some more!!!

Listening:  Tom Vek- "If I Had Changed My Mind"

Friday, December 7, 2007

Whats A Girl To Do?

So, obviously, I love to cook. And obviously, I love to make things. But realistically, there are really only so many hours between getting home from work (6:30 on a good night . . . . much much later on a bad night) and getting into bed (12 or 1 is usually the latest I can muster!).
In this busy holiday season (crafting gifts! crafting Etsy store stock!), I haven't found as much time as usual for cooking. I've become something of an expert at throwing dinners together for myself in very little time, this is one of my favorites:

15 Minutes to Veggie Fried Rice (honest, 15 minutes)

1 package pre cooked brown rice (they sell these in most grocery stores now. They come in plastic packets which are meant to be tossed in the microwave for 3 minutes or so)
Veggies (I use whatever's on hand, but a mixture of frozen corn, frozen peas and finely chopped up carrots, celery, onion, snow peas and broccoli is a winning combo)
Chopped green onion
Soy sauce
Ginger powder and garlic powder
Olive oil for frying
1 egg

- Coat the bottom of your wok w/ olive oil and crank up the heat
- add frozen veggies first
- then the rest as you chop them (I try to chop the ones that take longer to cook first, like onions and carrots)
- as veggies are cooking, in a separate small frying pan, quickly scramble 1 beaten egg, breaking it up into small pieces
- once veggies are softened (frozen veggies are warmed through and onions are becoming transparent) toss in the rice
- stir fry until rice is warmed through
- toss with scrambled egg, soy sauce and green onions

Dinner is done. Twice actually; this makes 2 portions big enough to fuel anyone through a night of crafting . . . or whatever it is you do!


Listening:  Ravens & Chimes- "January"

Friday, November 30, 2007

Various Sundry Matters

Its gotten to that point in the year where much that I craft isn't postable (holiday gifts!!), so I've got quite a few things I'm REALLY excited about, but they'll have to wait to see the light of day (er, light of the internet?).
Lately, in addition to making holiday gifts, I've been working my butt off on my Etsy shop. Its paid off, I'm up to 109 items sold!! One of my most newly listed items is the hat pictured here. I made up the pattern to match my crocheted brick stitch neckwarmers. I love these hats . . .they're not quick to make, but the added texture of the brick stitch makes it worth the effort I think! I might try to write out the pattern and post on Craftster soon, I'll make mention of that here if I do!!
Tonight is the night of my "100th sale celebration" dinner with the boy. I'm excitied to have hit 300 hearts today, so we'll have two things to celebrate!!!! Also, I checked the Indie Craft Documentary flickr page and I see that they took the bag I made for them to the Chicago Trunk Show craft fair to sell. I'm super excited that one of my bags was up for sale at such a cool fair!! I hope it sold and made a bit of money for them and their film :)


Listening:  The Cure- "A Letter To Elise" (Live in Australia)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What Do You Eat For Thanksgiving?!?!?

I get this question a LOT, so this year, I took a picture!!!

Clockwise, from upper left corner:

-Quorn cutlet with veggie gravy: I LOVE quorn products! They've got the same texture exactly as chicken (mind you I haven't had chicken in a decade, but still, they fool me!). This year I grilled the cutlets with some olive oil and poultry seasoning. Veggie gravy comes in packets sold at natural food stores. My dad actually admitted last year to PREFERRING it over turkey gravy.

-Green Bean Casserole: Made with 2 cans of french cut green beans, 1 can of Campbells cheddar cheese soup and 1 large can of Durkees french fried onions (assemble and bake, thats all!)

-Champ potatoes w/ veggie gravy: Champ are mashed potatoes Irish style, with lots of Kerrygold butter and sliced green onions

-Corn

-STUFFING!!!: Made in a casserole instead of a bird and using veggie broth, stuffing can be completely vegetarian. Stuffing is pretty much my favorite thing ever, with LOTS of celery and onions!

Then, after we eat our Thanksgiving dinner, we vegetarians crash on the sofa and nap until its time for pie . . . just like the rest of you lot :)

Listening:  White Christmas

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving . . . and FREE SHIPPING at My Etsy Shop!

Happy Turkey day folks!!! (yeah, I know, I'm a vegetarian . . .but wishing people "Happy Turkies" is just the kind of irony I love :))
To celebrate, I'm offering Free Shipping (even international!!!) on ALL my items through next Wednesday! :)

Listening:  Failure- "Enjoy The Silence" (Because I'm thankful for Failure AND Depeche Mode this year.)

Monday, November 19, 2007

My 100th Sale!!!!

8 1/2 months in and I've finally made my 100th sale on Etsy! When I opened my shop back at the end of February, I thought maybe I'd sell a handful of items. The response to my necklaces, purses, and lately neckwarmers though has been really overwhelming. I'm so excited to have hit this important milestone . . . I feel like I have a legit shop going now!
To celebrate, the boy and I are going to go to Luna Park for dinner next weekend. S'mores, here we come!!!
Even though I've hit a big milestone, this is no time to slow down! The holiday shopping rush is upon us and I'm trying my hardest to make sure my shop is in shape to take advantage of it! Over the weekend I listed 4 necklaces, then I did a custom order of 2 neckwarmers (my 99th and 100th!), then I made up 3 new neckwarmers to list today, one of which has already sold! I've got an order of new jewlery supplies in so I'm planning on making up a few necklaces tonight . . . along with a few more of those ever popular neckwarmers!

Listening:  Track Star- "Feet First"

Thursday, November 15, 2007

20% off of The Victoria Collection!

So, I'm at 98 sales at my
Etsy shop and I really wanna hit 100 soon cause when I do the boy and I are going out for dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Luna Park . . . and the biggest shopping day of the year is coming up next week, so because of and in honor of all that I've put my ENTIRE collection of Victorian coin necklaces on sale at 20% off!
Hopefully that will spark two little sales so I can have s'mores for dinner over the weekend ;)
In other news, I just got a HUGE pile of new rocks that my dad picked up for me at TINTAGEL and drilled holes in (how is it that sometimes things you get for free are the best things to get?) and I'm very excited to work up some jewelry incorporating those. I've also got an amazing new stash of tea towels from my parents' trip to Ireland, England and France to make purses from, so I hope to get some of those done and listed soon! And did I mention the fossil beads they brought back for me?!!? Yep, fossil beads. Check the Etsy for the first of many necklaces to be listed using those.
I'm going to see
Division Day at the Echoplex tonight, but hopefully I'll get some major crafting done over the weekend so I can list lots of new goodies next week!

Listening:  Division Day- "Plowed"

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I'm Baaaaccckkk!!!!!

I had a fantastic time on my trip and promise to blog about all of the crafty goodies I picked up soon! Also promise to blog about the MARVELOUS stone beads my parents picked up for me in Ireland! Really, I've got some absolutely yummy stuff and hope to get LOTS of fabulous new jewelry up in my Etsy shop soon!
For now though, Check out my NEW collection of Archaeologically inspired jewelry!!! The first piece is up, pictured. A long chain necklace featuring a GENUINE ancient Roman bead dated to 100AD. Woah! I've got lots more coming too, including necklaces featuring Celtic ring money, ancient British barbarian tribe coins, FOSSILS (!) and more. So excited about this new line!
Off now to make more jewelry and try desperately to catch up on the sleep I lost while on vacation . . . I've been taking about 10 hours a night since I got home and honestly, I could do more! Its a toss up . . .sleep, make jewelry, sleep, make jewelry ?!?!? If only I could better harness my sleepwalking tendencies! ;)

Listening:  Goldrush - "Can't Give Up The Ghost", Truck Festival Flood Video

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Off To London!

I'm leaving tomorrow night and I won't be back until midday the 9th . . .wheeee!!! I'm a little concerned about leaving my Etsy shop for a week right before the holidays, but we'll see how it goes! I tried to make it very clear that I'm on vacation and orders will ship on 11/12 (crosses fingers and hopes everything goes well!)
So, not that you'd want to take packing advice from someone who almost caused major physical damage to themselves by lugging their massive suitcase up 2 flights of stairs at Waterloo last year (see pic), but I thought I'd share some of my favorite packing tips, picked up over years of travelling to the UK pretty much yearly. Use at your own risk! ;)

1) Socks and Underwear: These take up a lot of space in your luggage, not to mention the fact that its kinda gross lugging around used undies in a pocket of your suitcase for 2 weeks or however long you're on vacation for. A great solution is to sort through your undergarments right before a trip and pull out all the ones that still fit but, for various reasons, you intend to toss anyhow. Elastic on its last legs, dyed pink in the wash, tears and holes . . . you name it. Pack all of those socks and underwear and toss them out at the end of every night. This has the added benefit of a) creating less laundry for when you get home and b) giving you a bit more room in your suitcase on your return than you had on your departure. It Win win! This trick works for PJs too!

2) Rolling vs. Folding: Rolling ALL THE WAY on this one, it allows you to pack your clothes in tighter minimizing wrinkles, saving space, and creating a better cushion for any breakables that you may want to pack in the center of your bag.

3) Layering: Coming from someone who usually vacations in the fall in London, I can't stress enough how convenient it is to pack clothes that can be layered. I usually take tank tops, tees, long sleeve tees, sweaters and coats - and when worn in combination, the number of outfits i can put together is almost endless, a great space saver if you're travelling for a long time!

4) Neckwarmers!: Shameless self promotion, but my neckwarmers take far less room to pack than a traditional scarf! They're also easy to toss in your purse if the weather changes over the course of the day. And they're quite reasonably priced too (although they can't ship until 11/12, of course ;)). Available at
Mixtape

5) Crocheting On Board!: Ok, maybe not applicable to everyone, but for those of us who like to do needlework and who are totally unsure of what kind of tools are allowed on airplanes in this day and age (when even toothpaste is an iffy proposition), listen up! There IS in fact one great yarn and thread cutting tool that is 100% plane safe, approved, and guaranteed not to cause so much as the bat of an eyelash from your luggage inspector. This secret weapon is . . . Dental Floss. Not the floss itself, but the case it comes in. The teensy little metal cutter slices right through every type of yarn and thread I've ever tried it on, quite cleanly too! Pack a little project bag w/ some yarn, dental floss, a printed pattern, plastic hooks and darning needles and you'll be crocheting quite happily at 30,000 feet.

Promise to miss me while I'm gone!

Listening:  The Clash- "London Calling"

Monday, October 29, 2007

While My Parents Are In Ireland . . .

. . . bashing their noses on the Blarney Stone (note, pic not theirs!) and emailing me about all the amazing potato dishes they're eating over there, I was inspired to attempt a potato dish worthy of being served in an Irish restaurant. I think I came close!

Potato and Corn Chowder:

2 large russet baking potatoes,whole, scrubbed and punctured with a fork and rubbed with olive oil and salt
1 large yellow onion, finely minced
3 or 4 stalks celery, from the heart w/ greens, finely minced
2 tblsp butter
1 can creamed corn
2-3 soup bowls full of vegetable broth
2 cups whole milk
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar

-Bake potatoes in a 375 degree oven for about an hour or until done
-Meanwhile, sweat onions and celery in butter until soft
-Add creamed corn, broth, and milk and simmer on low until potatoes are done
-Scoop baked potato flesh into soup and stir in cheese
-Serve potato skins alongside soup

So there.

Listening:  Ravens And Chimes- "January"

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

OHMYGOSH!!!!

See that black neckwarmer in the upper right corner of the FRONT PAGE OF ETSY?!?! Thats mine!! I got home from dinner with the boy and my parents last night (at which I whined quite a bit over the fact that I hadn't really had a sale in a few days) and I logged online only to discover that my neckwarmer made the front page!
Over the course of the night I sold SIX items! My biggest night EVER, and recieved a custom order to boot. I'm sooooooo excited! This was just the kick in the pants my shop needed to put me on track to hit my holiday goals.
Woooo hooo!!!!

Listening:  Ken Andrews solo playing "The Nurse Who Loved Me"

Monday, October 22, 2007

Spaghetti and Meatballs!

As I try to clean out my cabinets for my upcoming trip to the UK, I'm bound to come up with a few interesting recipes! On Saturday night I managed a fair approximation of spaghetti and meatballs . . . good enough that I think this one might make regular rotation!

Spaghetti and Meatballs:

Sauce:
1 large (28oz) can of diced tomatoes
1 small (12oz) can of tomato sauce
2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, finely diced
olive oil
salt
a few handfulls of basil, torn
1 tblsp dried oregano
2 or 3 bay leaves
1 tblsp tomato paste

-sautee onions and garlic in a bit of oil until they soften (5 minutes or so)
-add remanining ingredients and simmer until sauce becomes thick (30 mintues or so)

Meatballs:
1 package of refridgerated veggie 'meat'
1 egg
1/4 cup of italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan
salt, pepper and italian seasoning to taste

-mix all ingredients in a bowl and form into balls (I got 11)
-grease a casserole dish and lay balls in a single layer along bottom
-bake at 350 for about 20 minutes (balls will begin to brown on top)

Pasta:
Cook according to package instructions

I think the next time I make this I'm going to add a bit of shredded mozzerella in with the meatball mixture, the boy insists they're fine as is though. Either way, its nice to know the meatball technique I'd been imagining for a while works!!! Fake meat can be a bit of a pain to work with as it has no fat and doesn't crisp up the way real meat does, but the oven baked technique really does help the meatballs keep their shape.

Listening:  Stars- "Your Ex Lover Is Dead"

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Victoria Collection Is Here!

I'm so unbelievably excited about this that I don't even know where to start! As some of you may have noticed, my Etsy shop has a distinctly antique vibe lately. I find history to be endlessly inspiring, so its really no surprise to find myself gravitating towards historic elements in my work.



This new collection is, so far, the ultimate expression of my history obsession. I managed to come up with a handful or so of Victorian coins, mostly pennies and half pennies. They're genuine, they're worn and used, and all are over 100 years old. I had my dad drill holes in them, which I think might have offended his sensibilities a bit; but in the end I'd rather have a beautiful old thing that I can wear and have with me every day than a beautiful old thing that I keep in a drawer. So, pendants they are!



My first three pendants have been listed, I expect to make at least 5 or 7 more using my current stash. I'm not sure if after that I'll seek out more pennies or start on an Edwardian Collection, as I had to buy quite a few Edward pennies to get to all of my Victoria ones! For now though, I'm so excited about this new line. I'm wearing a prototype necklace that I'm keeping for myself now. I find myself doing a lot of daydreaming and staring into mirrors when I've got it on!

Listening:  Division Day- "Enjoy The Silence"

Monday, October 15, 2007

No Sooner Do I Finish October . . .

. . . than its Sampler time AGAIN for November!

After a grueling marathon session sewing last night, I'm ready to send my contribution for the November Sampler. This month I'm contributing 40 gemstone chip pendants and a very special 10 hand made coin purses! These samples also feature my brand new, professionally printed, self designed business cards! So glossy! I'm going to take a small break from The Sampler for December, as I'll be on vacation in the UK for a good week next month, so I wanted my November contribution to be really killer. I think they turned out well!

I think if I contributed the same thing month after month I'd go insane . . . and I plan to be a part of The Sampler as many months out of the year as possible! So I'm already tying to come up with ideas for my upcoming contributions. I've got a few brewing . . . so hopefully my January contribution will be even better.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Sampler!

My first round of The Sampler has come full circle! The Sampler is a great indie company that collects samples and promos from indie businesses and redistributes them to the donors as well as to Sampler subscribers and media contacts. I contributed 50 business card/magnet sets and in return, the other night I came home to a lovely fun box of samples all for me!! Some of my favorites are pictured below including a set of tags from MaryLou's Art, a claddagh themed soap from Disquieting Designs and a super awesome letterpress notecard from Flora and Fauna Press.



I'm getting started on my round 2 sampler items . . . I've designed new business cards and this time I'm going to contribute a combo of coin purses and gemstone chip pendants. I'm also going to step up my packaging using ideas i picked up while rifling through my sampler box . . . so next month promises to be even more fun!


Listening:  Division Day- "Tigers"

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Historical Figures Swap!!!!

The Craftster Historical Figures Swap that I participated in is finally complete!!! For this swap, I sent in a list of historical figures I was interested in and my partner did the same. We made each other 3 items or so each based on those figures. My partner did all of her crafting for me based on Anne Boylen. I almost squealed when I opened my box and saw a FRENCH HOOD of all things. It was literally all I could do to not rip it out of the box and wear it at the office! She also put together a little purse holding a collection of 'Anne's things' including a B necklace, pearls, a mirror, a hankerchief, tons of fun stuff! And lastly a gorgeous sparkly stole and a bunch of Crunchie bars!
My package to her included a pirate-y Anne Bonney themed tote bag, a necklace featuring a photo of Hampton Court, a print of that photo, a red brick stitch neckwarmer with Tudor rose buttons (!) and a slew of Reeses Pieces mini bags.
A fantastic swap all around! I'm swapless right now for the first time in a while . . . I think I'll be on the prowl for a new swap soon!


Listening:  Ravens and Chimes- "January"

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Cleaning Out The Freezer

Over the last few weeks I've realized that I can no longer accurately identify some of the stuff from the back of my freezer. Basically, I had a few containers of "pasta and I don't effin' know what" and seeing as those aren't usually my first choice for lunch, I decided to clean out and restock.

I tossed everything I couldn't identify and everything I could that wasn't good the first time around (my sad attempt at bubble and squeak . . . a tofu stir fry that had gone awry). Then I made a big batch of veggie bolognaise (see below!), a batch of lentil and barley vegetable soup (recipe is in here somewhere, I swear), and a nice batch of stuffed peppers, but done casserole style. Instead of stuffing the individual peppers I cut them up and put them at the bottom of a casserole dish then topped the whole lot w/ rice/fake meat mixture and cheese. It tasted just as good and was less messy to make and eat. I'm of the opinion that getting a casserole dish out is always a good time, but this totally proved it all over again!

I'm ready to settle in for a few weeks of being able to ID my lunch!

Listening:  Goldrush - "Heaven Is My Destiantion"

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Holiday Gift Sets!

I wanted to put together a few gift options for my shop for the holidays. This is the first of them! Its a matching bracelet and lariat set with a mini coin pouch . . . no need to wrap even! Sales seem to be picking up for the holidays already, so it will be interesting to watch and see how this sort of item does!

Listening:  Division Day- "Tigers"

Monday, October 1, 2007

The most insanely amazing pasta ever. Like, seriously.

I had intended to make a veggie Bolognese sauce on Saturday night, but instead of picking up veggie ground meat I accidentally picked up a pack of veggie deli slices (is there a pattern developing here?). Instead of scrapping the whole pasta sauce idea, I thought I'd try making a veggie sauce. I remember having read somewhere that finely grated carrots could mimic meat texture, so I dug around in the crisper and came up with this:

Veggie Pasta Sauce:

3 carrots, shredded on the finest grater space
1/2 a leek, cut into a tiny confetti
2 small yellow onions or 1 large one, cut into a fine dice
1 bell pepper, cut into a fine dice
2 celery stalks, fine dice (slice lengthwise a few times, then dice crosswise)
3 garlic cloves, smashed then minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large (28oz) can of diced tomatoes
1 regular (12oz) can of tomato sauce
1 tblsp tomato paste
about 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
about 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tblsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf

- place all ingredients up to and including olive oil in a stock pot and sweat until they begin to soften (about 10 minutes)
-Add remaining ingredients and simmer partially covered for an hour

I served the sauce mixed with whole wheat pasta, topped w/ Italian cheeses and broiled. It was insanely good . . . and I'd imagine this would be an excellent recipe to sneak vegetables into children. For all the veggies contained in it, it didn't taste remarkably "vegetable-y".

I think I might actually make more tonight. It was THAT good!

Listening:  Division Day- "Reversible"

Friday, September 28, 2007

An Accidental Bracelet

Last weekend I went to Joann's craft store during a freak torrential downpour. The roof was sort of warehouse style metal and the rain pounding on it sounded like billions of Irish dancers stomping around aggressively above my head. Needless to say, the whole thing was a bit disconcerting. And as a result, I accidentally bought a package of coiled bracelet wire instead of the flexible beading wire I wanted.
Last night I pulled the wire out and thought I'd give it a go. The cuff pictured above is what I came up with. Its made of genuine onyx, rose quartz and garnet beads along with a few glass pieces. Pretty darn cool, for an accidental bracelet!

Listening:  Goldrush - "Can't Give Up The Ghost" (Truck 2007 Flood Video)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The most gorgeous leeks ever!

Bought at Gelsons yesterday and used last night to make Yukon Gold potato and leek soup. Soup came out a bit garlicky . . . but the leeks were spectacular!

Listening:  Failure- "Enjoy The Silence"

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Obsessive Beading

I held out on trying beading for a while because I just knew it'd be one of those crafts I'd get obsessive about. Sure enough, I have! I've been beading lariats using vintage keys, coins and glass and stone beads and chips. They're totally fun to make, really relaxing and I can get as creative as I want. I love how I can incorporate some of my existing favorite materials too, like coins and keys. And don't even get me started on gemstones! ;)

Listening:  Voxtrot- "Start of Something"

Monday, September 24, 2007

My 100th Post!!!


Seems like a good excuse for an Etsy shop sale, no? In honor of my 100th post, I'm offering 50% off of any one item at Mixtape for orders placed before 9am Pacific time tomorrow, September 25, 2007. Just type the code "indiehomeec100" in the note to seller field and wait for your revised invoice. This offer is good for one item only per buyer. You can use your 50% off coupon on one of my awesome new beaded lariats, pictured above, or anything else in my shop. Happy shopping!

Listening:  Catherine Wheel- "Black Metallic"

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Lest you worry . . .

. . . that lack of posting of new projects means I haven't been very crafty lately, allow me to assure you that I totally, completely 100% have been. I'm taking advantage of the lull before the holiday shopping storm to seriously stock up my etsy shop. Since Sunday I have listed TWELVE items! 7 necklaces, 1 tote, 2 zippered totes, a wristlet and a neckwarmer.
I've also mailed a package to The Sampler to be included in their October mailing and I've got a package ready to go tomorrow for Etsy's Fall Festival grab bags (50 promos each!) . . . oh and I've got a swap package that I'm going to send tomorrow and I'm DYING to post about but can't for obvious reasons until my partner receives.
Very crafty, indeed.

Listening:  Pixies- "Tame"

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Business Card and Promo Item Swap #2!

The swap packages are just rolling in now! This round of the swap, which I organized, had 18 participants! Most of us sent to 12-14 of those, and sent out an equal number of packages of our own! So the ammount of fun stuff coming in with this swap has just been staggering.
The pics in this post were shamelessly ripped off from Modus Operandi's etsy shop since she took such great pictures for our craftster gallery.
The goodie bags I've put together for my customers from this swap are awesome. As a buyer, I'd love to get one! And the goodies keep on rolling in . . . I'd say I'm only about halfway to recieving every package I'm slated for. Squeal!

Listening:  The Cure- "Lovesong"

Monday, September 17, 2007

Fun With Coinage!

I ordered a pound of out of circulation coins from a seller on Ebay a while back. Coins make gorgeous jewelry . . . aside from being unique, detailed little works of art, they've also got a feeling of history to them (especially now that the Euro has standardized currency across Europe). I convinced my dad to drill holes in a bunch of them for me (coin collectors, don't look!) and I've been using them along with an assortment of vintage keys, chains and beads to make assemblage necklaces. I adore making and wearing these necklaces. Its a bit of a new obsession, which is good because my sewing machine can use a break every now and then.


Listening:  Ravens and Chimes - "January"

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Best Cauliflower Cheese Ever


Like, woah. Seriously.

With my trip to to the UK is coming up in a month and a half and fall struggling to fall in LA, I'm seriously starting to crave pub food. After having spent half the week daydreaming about cauliflower cheese, last night I finally decided to do something about it. And Oh. My. God. It was amazing!

The Best Ever Cauliflower Cheese (tm):

-1 head cauliflower
-1 narrow leek, cleaned well, white and pale green parts cut into a tiny confetti
-1 tblsp butter
-1 heaping tblsp flour
-3/4 cup milk (I used 1%)
-1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, VERY sharp-black pepper to taste
-handful of bread crumbs
-handful of grated parmesan/romano

-Boil cauliflower for about 5 minutes (until still slighty crisp) in salted water, drain
-Meanwhile, in a saucepan, melt the butter and sweat the leeks for a few minutes
-Add the flour to the buttery leeks and cook for a few minutes
-Add the milk and whisk, cook for a few minutes or until mixture begins to thicken. If it isnt' thickening, add a bit more flour and whisk
-Stir pepper and cheddar into milk mixture and remove from heat, stir until cheese is fully melted
-Transfer cauliflower to a casserole and pour cheese sauce over
-Top with bread crumbs and parmesan/romano and bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until topping browns.>

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Rachel Ray Has A Way With Pasta


I saw a dish like this made on her show the other night and thought it was one I was gonna have to try. The sauce is a brown butter and sage, something I'd never tried before. Fresh sage acutally was an entirely new ingredient to me. I adore cabbage and potatoes, must be the Irish in me! They went surprisingly well with the pasta too . . . the boy had seconds, which is usually a good sign. Below is an approximation of the recipe, I watched Rachel do it on TV but didn't write anything down of course . . .or measure for that matter.

Pasta with Sage Butter, Cabbage and Potatoes:

A few handfuls of white creamer potatoes
about 3/4 lb of whole wheat pasta
about 1/2 a head of white cabbage, cut into a medium-ish dice
3 heads garlic, smashed
about 8 sage leaves, sliced into little confetti ribbons
about 6 tblsp butter
A big handful of grated parmesan/romano
salt

-boil a big kettle of salted water, add potatoes and wait 7 minutes or so, add pasta and wait 7 more, then add cabbage and cook until everything is done (about 7 more minutes, by my estimation, but I kept tasting to check)
-Meanwhile in a wok, melt butter and add sage and garlic. Cook over very low heat for about 10 or 15 minutes or until sage is crispy. Remove garlic.
-Reserve 2 ladels ful of the cooking water from the pasta and veggies and drain. Toss pasta w/ brown butter and sage, cheese, and enough cooking water to coat all pasta and veggies.
-Run around the house saying "Yum-0!" and "EVOO" and other Rachel Ray-y things.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Taco Salad

I made a really yummy taco salad last night, but I was too busy watching Rock Of Love to take photos of it. Also, fake veggie taco meat doesn't exactly photograph well and a picture of Bret Michaels might actually rightfully be better looking than a picture of my salad. Suffice it to say though that the salad tasted FAR better than it looked!

Taco Salad

-1 package veggie ground 'meat'
-1 packet taco seasoning

-1 bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
-1/2 a large onion, sliced
-handful of frozen corn
-olive oil

-1 heart of romaine, finely shredded
-about 1 1/2 cups shredded white cabbage
-3 green onions, sliced
-2 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
-handful of cilantro, chopped

-juice of 1 lime
-salt to taste

In a large frying pan, prepare the taco meat w/ the seasoning packet per the packet instructions

In another pan, grill the onions and peppers with some olive oil until they are caramelized, add the corn towards the end of the cooking to defrost

Mix all other ingredients in a large bowl, adding the grilled onions/peppers and corn and toss well

Top individual salad bowls with taco 'meat'

Makes 3 dinner sized salads

Listening:  Poison- "Fallen Angel"

Friday, September 7, 2007

I Just Applied For Felt Club Holiday XL

EEK!!! I'm going off now to run and hide until September 28th when the vendors are announced.
I'd love to do this faire . . . I've gone twice: once as a shopper, once as a volunteer . . . hopefully next time I'll be there as a vendor! Felt Club always pulls together such a unique, diverse group of crafters. I've picked up everything from a Bacon Angel Christmas Tree Ornament to a handsewn apron there. I'd love to set up to sell my wares among such a creative group of crafters! Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Listening:  Hum- "Coming Home"

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Its 3,000 Degrees in LA So What Do I Do?


Crochet a Peruvian highland wool neckwarmer. Duh.

It was too hot to cook all weekend. It was too hot to sleep. It was almost too hot to breathe, but fortunately I did manage that much.

Of course it occured to me that during a heat wave probably isn't the best time to be messing around with highland wool, but I had this idea for a neck warmer that couldn't wait. And listing wooly winter items in my Etsy shop has to start back up sometime. Its cold SOMEWHERE right? Someone in Alaska could end up buying it now. Or Russia. Or very northern bits of Scotland. What if Alaskans or Russians or very northern Scots spend all summer bemoaning the fact that nobody is selling cute, fashionable, warm accessories? They should come to my shop; I've started!

Listening:  Sunny Day Real Estate- "Every Shining Time You Arrive"

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

A Tote Bag for a Good Cause!


I've been making bunches of these corset front totes lately, they're so fun! They're fidgety and involve lots of pinning and tracing stitches, but since I'm into that sort of thing it suits (my big hobby as a toddler was peeling the labels off of crayons).
I've been wanting to donate an item to the Indie Craft Movie Etsy Shop for so long, and last night I finally sat down to make them something. The shop is a way to raise funds for the eagerly anticipated documentary on the indie craft movement. I sent them the bag free of charge, and whatever $20 or so they make on the sale will go to help with production costs for the film. I'm happy I was able to contribute an item to them, and one that I really like too!

Listening:  Division Day- "Every Shining Time You Arrive"

Thursday, August 30, 2007

New Yummy Damask-y Purses


I've had the great fortune to come across some truly spectacular fabric lately. As a result, I think the last few purses I've listed in my Etsy shop are some of the best work I've produced period.
In fact, they've come out so spectacularly (and the photos themselves have come out pretty darn well too!) that I decided to print up magnets featuring the three photos listed in this post to use as promos for my Craftster swap (see most recent two posts below).
These purses have been getting a lot of attention, more views than I've seen for any item! No sales just yet, but I'm hopeful that those will come soon. And, if not, in four months when these listings expire I'll be thrilled to keep these for myself! Although something tells me they're going to sell soon . . .


Listening:  Old 97s- "Wish The Worst"

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Promos are done!!! (Again!)



After pretty much everything that could possibly go wrong had (printer out of ink, can't find images, hot glued fingers together, you name it!) I have FINALLY finished and packaged up my promos for the Craftster Promo Item and Business Card Swap 2. I organized the swap this go around which has been quite a bit of work, but fun as well. With the organizing, general running of my Etsy shop, and participating in the Historical Figures Swap, I started to worry that I wouldn't be able to finish all of my promo items in time . . . and honestly, the sending of the promos really is the entire point with this swap. The more promos I send the more chances I make to get my name into a potential buyer's hands . . .so these not only had to be good, there had to be a lot of them! (Did I mention, they're handmade?).

In the end, I put 8 promos, 2 solo business cards, 3 Meho Plaza EPs and 10 Division Day fliers in each package (I figured if I'm already sending on behalf of Mixtape, I might as well get some music into a few crafty hands while I'm at it!). Did I mention there are 14 packages? Yep. Thats right. 112 fully handmade promo items (not to mention the 25 or so I kept to include with my own orders and to give out to friends).

Phew.

Listening:  Division Day

Listening:  Meho Plaza

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Full on Craftster Promo Item Swap . . .


. . . sweat shop mode. Hence the half arsed post. Ugh.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I can finally post pictures of my mom's birthday presents!

For my mom's birthday, among other non-crafted gifts, I included 2 crocheted shrugs and a large zippered tote bag. The tote bag I did in a green print that matches her winter coat. I added black watch tartan accents, an embroidered Tudor rose and red brick print lining. The overall look was VERY Tudor!

The first shrug I did in Knitpicks Shamrock yarn (Irish themed!). I did a modified version of the Knot Ugly shrug from the Happy Hooker book. I added about 2 or 3 inches in length to the body and nixed the ties in favor of a rhinestone vintage button closure. The shrug came out so well and so quickly that I immediately started on a second one, the Short and Sweet (shown in mustard yellow), also from the Happy Hooker. This pattern was more challenging, but still not what I'd call "difficult". I love the outcome . . . relief stitches are just gorgeous! In fact, I've already started on another one of these for me!


Listening:  Cut Copy- "Future"