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"

Friday, August 24, 2007

This is what i come up with when i don't feel like cooking

Last night I was on my second day of Allegra D. Now, I've got to hand it to the stuff, it DOES work on my allergies and congestion. It also, however, has the unfortunate side effect of making me feel really funny in the evenings. Sort of like in Labyrinth where Jennifer Connelly is in that weird ballroom dream sequence (see video, if you're not sure what I mean!).
So anyways, last night I was SERIOUSLY not feeling like cooking, but then nothing from a restaurant sounded good to me either so I finally got off me bum and made something. Strangely, it turned out spectacularly . . . I made Cauliflower Cheese with Macaroni . . . or is it Macaroni and Cheese with Cauliflower? Either way, I'm sure the goblins would eat it right up!

Macaroni Cheese Cauliflower . . . thing.

-1 head cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces
-1/2 pound whole wheat pasta shapes (something small like corkscrews or penne)
-1/2 a large leek or 1 small leek, finely minced
-3 tblsp butter
-3 tblsp flour
-1 cup milk
-1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
-1 cup shredded Parmesan (fresh)
-bread crumbs for topping (about 1/3 cup)
-chopped chives for topping

-In a large pan of salted water, boil pasta for 5 minutes less than recommended, then add cauliflower and boil until pasta has been in for a total of 2 minutes less than recommended
-in another large stock pot, melt butter and saute leeks until soft
-add flour and saute a few minutes more
-add milk and whisk over medium heat until mixture thickens
-stir in cheese until melted
-drain pasta/cauliflower and mix with cheese sauce
-transfer into a baking dish and top with bred crumbs
-bake about 20 minutes, until breadcrumbs brown
-top with chives

We'll see if the hallucinogenic properties of Allegra D inspire any more feats in the kitchen this weekend! I'll keep you guys posted!

Listening:  David Bowie (from Labyrinth)- "As The World Falls Down"

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Mexican Themed Stuffed Potatoes

I made a batch of stuffed potatoes last night (and forgot to take a picture, hence the gratuitous photo of a sombrero.) I had a few leftover bits lying around that I wanted to use . . . some homemade salsa and some fajita style peppers and onions . . . so I threw everything together and made these yummy Mexican style stuffed potatoes! Here's a recipe written as if you were making from scratch instead of leftovers :)

Mexican Stuffed Potatoes:

-4 russet potatoes, scrubbed, pierced with a fork, rubbed with olive oil and kosher salt and baked for 1 hour unwrapped
- juice of 1 lime
- a big handful of cilantro, chopped
- 1 onion, cut in a large dice
- 1 bell pepper, cut in a large dice
- 2 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 4 or 5 green onions, sliced
- about 1/3 cup white onion, diced very finely
- 1/2 cup frozen white corn
- 1 cup of shredded cheddar (or other) cheese

- While potatoes are baking, saute diced onion and bell pepper in a frying pan with olive oil and a little salt until onions are caramelized
- When potatoes are done baking, cut off the tops and scoop out the insides into a large bowl, reserving the skins and keeping them in tact in a casserole dish
- Mix potato insides, sauteed onions and peppers, and all other ingredients (reserving 1/2 a cup of the cheese)
- Stuff potato skins overfull w/ veggie mixture and top with reserved cheese
- Return to oven for about 20 minutes, or until cheese tops have browned

Listening:  Ryan Ferguson- "Kill My Confidence"

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Green Bean Casserole


Here's the recipe I recenlty promised to post that is made entirely from things in cans. Its the ultimate in comfort food, and easy enough for anyone w/ a can opener and an oven to make . . . its literally idiot proof.

Green Bean Casserole
-2 cans french cut green beans (this is important . . .regular cut green beans just don't taste right)
-1 can Campbell's cheddar cheese soup (yup.)
-1 can (big or small) Durkee's french friend onions (yup.)

-open cans
-drain green beans really well (press the lid into the beans to drain as much water as possible out)
-layer green beans in the bottom of a casserole
-glop on cheese soup evenly (don't spread, but drop blobs of it all over the top of the casserole)
-top w/ onions
-bake at 375 for about 15 minutes

Listening:  Stars- "Your Ex Lover Is Dead"

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Purses Keep Getting Bigger!


I found this gorgeous silkupholstery fabric as a remnant at F&S and thought it looked vaguely Celtic . . . so I ran it over to the ribbon department and found this gorgeous zoomorphic
ribbon to go with. I added some hardware, an asparagus colored taffeta
for lining and a black and white graphic print to make an interior
pocket and here it is . . . my perfect everyday purse! Until I make
another, of course :)



Listening:  Tom Vek - "Nothing But Green Lights (Remix)"

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Au Gratin Potatoes

I've been pondering how to make these for a while without resorting to boxed mixes (although tomorrow's post will be ALL ABOUT things to make using canned goods, I promise) and I was pleasantly surprised when my first ever attemped came out amazingly. So easy too . . .

Au Gratin Potatoes:

-4 or 5 mini white creamer potatoes, sliced very thinly
-about 1/2 a cup of sharp shredded cheddar
-about 1/2 a cup of milk whisked with 1/4 tsp salt, 2 big tblsp flour, a little handful of parmesan cheese and some black pepper

-layer the potatoes in a single layer on bottom of a 1 qt casserole. top with cheese. repeate until all potatoes and cheese are used (about 3 layers)
-pour milk mixture over casserole
-cover and bake about 30-40 minutes, or until potatoes are tender

Seriously. That easy.

Listening:  PIRATE SONG!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Tote-Torial!

How to make a lined tote bag! Its easy, I swear!


1) Assemble your pieces. You'll need two equal rectangles for your exterior, two of fusible interfacing, two of your lining and one long skinny rectangle for your strap with a matching rectangle in fusible interfacing.

2) Using an iron, press your interfacing to the backs of your exterior pieces and your strap.



3) Fold your strap in half lengthwise, right sides facing and sew up a seam (the width from edge to seam will be the width of your strap)


4) Cut off excess from the side of the strap seam and use a saftey pin clipped to one end of the strap to invert it so the right sides are facing out. Press.


5) Place 1 panel of your exterior fabric right side facing right side to a panel of your interior fabric and sew a seam up the top. Repeat with second set of panels.


6) Flip the panels over at the seam so right sides are facing out and press.


7) Lay out your seamed panels right sides of exterior facing and right sides of interior facing. Pin right sides to right sides, being especially careful to pin up the seam area (the top of the bag) so it will match up when you're done with the next step.


8) Using a template cut from cardboard and tailor's chalk, trace one tote bag sized rectangle on the back side of the exterior fabric (you will essentially be tracing on the interfacing) and a matching rectangle on the back side of the interior fabric.


9) Sew along the chalk lines, leaving a few inches unsewn on the bottom of the interior fabric panels.


10) Trim the excess fabric outside the seams closely, leaving a bit more excess along the unsewn bit of the bottom interior panels.


11)Flip the whole lot inside out (which will end up making it all right side out!) and press where needed. Sew up the gap at the base of the interior lining panels with matching or coordinating thread.


12)Cut the ends off of your strap piece so they're nice and clean and clip the corners. Fold about 1/2 an inch in and press the fold.


13) Sew the strap down on the inside of the bag in a nice square (the stitched square will show from the outside of the bag, so make sure its a neat one!)


14) Wear bag out. Some useful phrases are "What, this little thing? I just whipped it up last night" and "Hm, I suppose I could make one to match every outfit!"

Listening:  Small Faces- "Itchycoo Park"

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Pesto

Also, In Mexico, I picked up a bottle of the most amazing olive oil ever. We tasted it at a winery that we visited during our day in Ensenada . . . just by itself on bread it was amazing, so much so that everyone I was with bought bottles of oil to bring home instead of bottles of wine! I wanted to try it out immediately, of course, so I tossed together a quick batch of pesto. Even mixed with garlic and basil, the olive oil tasted especially good.

Pesto:

1 big handful basil, cleaned
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and w/ the hard bits cut off
handful of parmesan cheese
handful of pine nuts
a few tablespoons of olive oil
kosher salt to taste

In a food processor (I use a mini one), crush garlic. Then basil. Then pine nuts and parmesan. Stream in olive oil while blending then salt to taste. You can add a teensy bit of lemon juice to brighten up the flavor, if desired.

Pretty darn easy, isn't it? Hardly qualifies as a recipe even! And aside from the pine nuts, its all pretty much stuff you'd have on hand anyhow. Seems silly to think of buying pesto in jars now, doesn't it?

Listening:  Radish- "Little Pink Stars"

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

I've Been In Mexico!

. . . which is why I've been ignoring my blog. But to make up for it, I've got a bunch of goodies brought back from my trip to write about! For starters, I picked up a bottle of Mexican vanilla on our port stop in Ensenada. I'd heard that Mexican vanilla was supposed to be superior to the American grocery store stuff, but I'd never tried it first hand. Regardless of quality though, the HUGE bottle pictured was only $3.95 which is a great value for any type of vanilla. I tried it in a batch of my usual chocolate chip cookies and they came out phenomenally. Like, seriously. I brought a batch to the office and you could smell them down the hall. And (dirty secret here), I don't actually like cookies (even my own) but I ate four of these. Ok, five. You caught me.

Listening:  Ryan Ferguson

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Shawl of Doom

I found this insanely cool pattern via Craftster several months ago and made myself a blue shawl. Then I made my mom a green one. I just finished a black one (also a gift) the other night. Every time I finish this pattern I tell myself I'm NEVER going to do it again . . . its a HUGE project (about 1,000 yards of yarn) and I'm more of a "finish it in a night" kind of girl. The results are really so spectacluar though that I can't help but think of this pattern whenever I'm brainstorming nice gift ideas. The picture above is a bit wonky (you try taking a photo of yourself in a mirror wearing a shawl!), but see the Craftster link for lots of great photos! I've always done this pattern in acrylic since the overall weight of the shawl is heavy anyways and I wouldn't want to tempt fate by using thick wool (I'm picturing the results being too heavy to wear and walk at the same time), but perhaps it would look nice in a mohair or angora . . . see . . . here I go again.