Sunday, May 31, 2009

Strawberries, Ceiling Fans and Etsy, Oh My!


I know I'm weird, and I think that makes it okay. Doesn't it? We've just wrapped up a wonderful weekend here in L'ville. We had some family visit and enjoyed their company. We also were the beneficiaries of their expertise in a couple of areas. Pam, my stepmother, helped me with some sewing and then repotted all of my house plants. My Dad, Danny, wired in a ceiling fan in our bedroom and wired our generator. It wasn't all work though. We went to a local used/remaindered bookstore and spent a long, long time looking at books, reading said books, including many to LB, and, today, went to visit my sister. She lives out in the country and has a nice garden, so she offered to let us pick strawberries. Yum! Brennan tasted her first warm strawberry fresh off of the vine (my sister didn't use pesticides on the plants) and was hooked. The pic is of the strawberry juice running down her leg. She had it everywhere, her face, hands, shirt, legs and feet were covered with stains. She had a blast!

So I've been barely making it each day with the 10/10/10 challenge. Here I am again blogging at 11 PM. I did list earlier in the day in the hopes of getting more traffic. I haven't had any sales yet during this challenge (The last time I did one, I had four sales.), but have had more traffic and received some hearts. It's been fun, despite whatever sales it might generate. That said, I should move on to today's item.

Small Thank You Note



Today I am featuring jemily, who has a gorgeous etsy shop full of bright and cheery cards that I would definitely enjoy receiving. Here's her most recent listing:

Thinking of You Card



And my current favorite in her shop:

So Thoughtful Card

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Nostalgia



(I couldn't resist including a picture of my garden. I love it so.)

I know that is an odd title for a blog post. However, it relates to the seller I am featuring for the 10/10/10 challenge. Her shop makes me nostalgic for a time that I didn't even experience. Cool, huh? Scroll down to see some of her work.

Here's my listing for the challenge:

Cheery Birthday



Today I'm featuring Percival Road Designs, a shop offering collaged and handmade paper goods. You'll find a wide variety of items in a plethora of styles.

Here's the most recent listing in the shop:

Two Elegant Vintage Girl Gift tags - Sun Burst



And here is my current favorite item:

Sweet Greeting Collage Card - First Flowers of Spring

Belated

I'm sorry that I didn't manage to get this post up yesterday. I did post my item, but I had an ill toddler to contend with later in the evening. I ended up falling asleep with her and awoke this morning to find I hadn't even brushed my teeth! Ick! So, without further ado, here's my listing from yesterday:

congratulationsCONGRATULATIONS!



Today I am featuring Cards and Moore, the site of a prolific crafter and homeschooler. I don't know how she does it all! She recently did some interesting things with wood veneer. I'm waiting with bated breath for the tutorial she's planning. Here's her most recent listing:

Owl Rag Bag



And here's my favorite item from her shop:

Thanks a Hoot Card



It's bright and cheerful and, of course, I love owls. Be sure to check out Cards and Moore.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Just in Time

Ack! I almost forgot to list my challenge item and update the blog. It's been a crazy day, but a good one. My parents are here visiting and LB has really been wound up. My dad made her an awesome kitchen for a Christmas gift, but didn't quite finish it on time. He brought it with him this visit and that is basically all she did all day. It's absolutely beautiful and I am so psyched that she loves it so. I'll post pics tomorrow. For now, here's what I've been up to:

Leaves Fall from the Tree



And here are the items I'm featuring from Pinky Creations, one of the other challenge members:

The image below is of her most recent listing.

Circle Thank You Card



And this one is my favorite item in her shop.

You Are the Light of My LIfe



How cool is this card? It's such a unique idea and executed so well. She makes being green appear so elegant. Check out her shop for some great ideas such as this one, as well as some beautiful gift tags.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

This and That

I've been doing a bit of this and that today, laundry, reading, sewing, listing, blogging and on and on. I'm sewing a rag quilt bag for my stepmother for her crochet supplies. She enjoys taking her work along when she travels or just goes to the doctor, so I thought it would be nice if she had something nice to take along with her. This was supposed to be a birthday gift in March and then a Mother's Day gift this month, but, as usual, I am woefully behind. Although, fortunately, I am not full of woe. I am feeling jealous this week. My sister/brother-in-law and niece are at the beach. LB hasn't yet been and I would love to take her. However, we've dedicated all of our vacation time this year to camping and home repairs, renovations. We still have yet to finish the stairs or the playroom. We've been doing a lot of work outside and neglecting the projects we began inside. This is normal for us; we are easily distracted. We are planning to go to Blackwater Falls for our camping trip this month, Mammoth Cave in July and Cumberland Falls in August. We love Blackwater and would move to Davis if we could, but haven't yet been to the two other places. BTW, the picture is of Paige, Jeff and Mea at the beach. Paige is seven months pregnant and looks at least 10 times better in a bikini than I do right now! Mea loves it and is often heard screaming, "I love the beach!"

On to other news...the 10/10/10 challenge is going really well. Everyone seems to be sticking to the parameters. I have really enjoyed getting to know some of the members of the Etsy Greetings Street Team and seeing all of their work. There are so many people on etsy that it is impossible to view everything. I posted my item of the day this morning:

Fabric Thank You Cards



Today I have decided to feature Cara's Scrap 'N Stamp Art. She has a huge selection in her shop, with a variety of products. This is her most recent listing:

Baby's Christening Card



And this is my favorite listing in her shop:

Premade Baby Boy Onesie Scrapbook Album



Please take the time to check out her shop, as well as the shops of the other challenge participants!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

10/10/10

Ten Etsians for Ten Days with 10% off...

That's even more dramatic, don't you think? Some of us in the challenge have decided to offer ten percent off. You'll need to see the original shops for details, as everyone is handling it a bit differently. I'm giving 10% off any of the cards that I list for the challenge to anyone who posts a comment on this blog. Just convo me on etsy and let me know you have done so. Since the challenge runs through June 3, I'll honor this offer for anyone who comments by midnight on June 4.

Here's today's item for the challenge:

Repeating Congratulations



I also want to point you in the direction of another challenge participant, "Scrapbook Completed." This seller is also offering 10% off on the items she has listed during the challenge and has a section for these cards on her front page. Here is her most recent challenge listing:

Flower Girl Card



This is my favorite item in her shop:

2 Card Collection, Spring Trees



Check her shop out!

Monday, May 25, 2009

New Challenge - 10 Etsians/10 Days

Does that sound dramatic? I was imaging music from Star Wars or was it Star Trek? I don't know, it was one of those star movies. Anyway, ten members of the etsy street team, Etsy Greetings, myself included, have decided to list at least one item for ten days on etsy.com. We will then post a link to that item on our blogs, as well as a link to an item of one of the other participants. We're going to be holding each other accountable, so we'll also be checking each other's shops and blogs daily. Whew! Sounds like a lot of work, huh? All in the name of marketing! Links to the etsy shops of each participant are to your left. From there you can find information about their blogs and other etsy shops (if they have either, not all do). I'm offering 10% off on the cards I list in the challenge to those who comment on this blog. This offer expires on June 3rd.

Here's my item for today:

Blue and Orange and Brown...Mmmm (Blank Greeting Card)



This is the challenge member I am profiling for the day:

IsabellaFlora Elegant Greeting Cards
By a Father and a Daughter

Isabella and her ninety-one year old father find inspiration from flowers and botanicals. Together they make classically beautiful greeting cards. Isabella is a watercolor artist and her father is the photographer. Below I posted links to both her "item of the day" and my favorite item in her shop.

Pink Petticoats Card



Oak Leaves Card



Please check out her shop, as well as those of the other challenge participants!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Father's Day Gift Guide

You may not be thinking about Father's Day yet, but it will be here soon enough. I wanted to share a Father's Day gift guide with you and needed to give you plenty of time to place and receive orders. I hope you will all consider buying handmade for this holiday.

Continue reading below to see my item of the day. This is the final day of my individual challenge. Tomorrow I begin a challenge with ten other members of the Etsy Greetings Street Team. I'll post details tomorrow when we begin the challenge.

simply blue recycled bike clock



I guess this guide is a bit skewed toward things my husband would like. Unfortunately for him, he has already received his Father's Day present. He got early gifts because he needed them to work on his honey-dos. LB and I bought him a belt sander and a router. I don't think that he has yet gotten to use the router, but he did use the belt sander on the stairway project. He'll get to use it quite a bit in the upcoming weeks!

Anyway, he would absolutely love this clock. I bought him a bottle opener made from a bike chain at a local gallery and he thought it was amazing. This item may have to stay on a gift list for the future. The chain ring from which the clock is made is recycled and the textile is reclaimed. Handmade and truly eco-friendly. A metal hanger is attached to the back. It measures 7" in diameter.

You Are So Manly - Gocco Greeting Card



The designer of this card mentions in the listing that it started as a joke. I can see how that could happen, but I think it's fabulous. I always love giving funny cards and this one takes the cake for the occasion. It was drawn and gocco printed by the seller and comes with a coordinating blue envelope. It is also available in reverse colors.

Mac Lovers Pillow



Okay, here's another one for my honey. It's a pillow made using mac keys! How cool is that? I know there are a lot of mac lovers out there (there's an entire book devoted to mac nuts), and this would make a perfect gift for one of them. It's made from polyfil, covered with a soft cotton, and the appliqued with fleece. They measures 12" x 16" and 12" x 12." You may choose a letter other than "z."

Blondies



Mmmm...vegan blondies...and you can request chocolate chips...mmmm. I know what I'll be dreaming about tonight! These look delicious. I don't think I've ever had a vegan blondie. I know all the fathers in my life would go crazy for these, even the non-vegan ones I'm sure. Your loved one will receive nine blondies with your order. You should try to hide one for yourself if you're hand-delivering them.

Shirt Stiffeners-Sterling Silver



This is a nice gift for a father or grandfather who enjoys dressing well, handmade in the UK by Chris Parry. You can have these engraved with just about anything. I think it would be nice to put a child's birth date and name on them. You should also keep these in mind for future gift-giving occasions. They would make lovely anniversary or wedding gifts.

5 Letters or Less on Wood



I think this is really cool and summery. I'm always hearing about "man caves" in the news, and wouldn't this be perfect for one? However, I have to say, I like it so much I wouldn't relegate it to the "cave" if my husband had one. This seller will spell out whatever you like and will exceed the five letter limit if you place a special order. The photographs are heat pressed and sealed to the wood. The wood has a black beveled edge and recessed mounting block. You don't need a frame. Each letter measures 4" x 6." Shipping is free.

Men's Rich Lathering Shaving Cube with Chrome Stand



Tim uses an electric razor, but my dad uses a razor and my maternal grandfather did as well. I remember watching my grandpa lather up with his brush and then slowly shave off his stubble and the foam in long strokes. I was always fascinated and wanted to shave my face as well. Now I'm glad that I don't need to! Red Leaf recently won the indiefixx.com specialty soap competition. Here's an excerpt from their review: "Red Leaf Soap & Shave Cube- This is the best shaving soap I’ve tried by far. Made with a mix of glycerin and coconut oil, it lathers well and has a really nice consistency for shaving…sort of like a lotion, but nice and soapy. I recommend getting the holder to keep your cube nice & dry between use. It’s available in scents that appeal to both guys and girls". I believe that says it all.

Hand Stamped Sterling Silver Guitar Pick



What a cool gift for Dad! You could have "My Daddy Rocks" stamped on the pick or the child's name. I can't wait for the next time I need to give my professional musician brother-in-law a gift. He's gonna love this! These are made by KMW0014 in Tucson. Upon your request, the pick can be made into a necklace.

The rest of this post is all about me! You know I couldn't resist. Here's my item of the day:

Wedding Flowers



Also, I was featured in a treasury on etsy. Here's the link: Whatta Card



It won't be there forever, so please check it out soon.

BTW:

Brennan of the Day: LB told Tim, "You're one crazy dude."

Saturday, May 23, 2009

What Do Vegans Eat?


Reading the "Passionate Vegetarian" got me in the mood to post some recipes I have been planning to share for a little while. I made this meal last week. It's a favorite in our household and isn't difficult to make. The tempeh recipe comes from the Candle Cafe Cookbook by Joy Pierson and Bart Potenza. The Candle Cafe is an awesome restaurant in New York City that Tim and I were obsessed with while living there. It was small and sometimes required a wait, but it was totally worth it. The seitan chimichurri was our absolute favorite. It's out of this world. If you're ever in NYC, be sure to check it out. The recipe I used from the cookbook is "Cornmeal Crusted Tempeh" and can be found on page 121 of the cookbook. I also made steamed kale and smashed sweet potatoes, which are my own very simple recipes. The recipes for all three are at the bottom of this post. Yes, I ate that much kale. I love kale, but probably not as much as my friend Erin. She rhapsodises about kale on Facebook frequently. She's headed to Tbilisi next month. I hope she'll be able to find plenty of kale while there.

Update on "First Darling of the Morning:" I've read two chapters and it is breaking my heart. I had to make myself put it down.

The etsy challenge is almost to an end, but, alas, there is no reason to worry. I'm starting a new challenge Monday with quite a few of my etsy street team, etsygreetings, members. We will all be posting items every day and keeping our readers updated every day. We will also be featuring items from one another's shops. Here's my item of the day, just posted in my etsy shop.

A Gift


Cornmeal-Crusted Tempeh (Serves 4)

2 8-ounce packages, tempeh, each cut into thirds
1/2 c shoyu or tamari sauce
3 T maple syrup
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 slices of fresh ginger
1/2 cup medium-to fine-ground cornmeal

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teasoon ground cumin
pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

2. Place the tempeh in a baking dish. In a small bowl, whisk together the shoyu or tamari sauce, 1/2 cup of water, the maple syrup, garlic, and ginger and pour over the tempeh. Cover and bake for one hour. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Drain and cut the tempeh into halves or triangles.

3. In a large shallow bowl, mix together the cornmeal, red pepper flakes, thyme, oregano, cumin and sea salt. Dip the tempeh pieces intot he cornmeal mixture to coat.

4. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Cook the coated tempeh until golden brown, about a minute per side.

5. Remove from the heat and serve at once.

Steamed Kale (Serves 4)

2 bunches of kale, cleaned and chopped
1/4 cup of water
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
oil and crumbs left at the bottom of the pan the tempeh was fried in

1. Place the kale in a large pot with the water and cover. Steam on medium heat, turning often with tongs. You must watch it carefully so that it doesn't burn.

2. As it begins to wilt, add salt and pepper.

3. Once the kale is fully wilted, drizzle the oil and crumbs over the top of the kale and serve.

Smashed Sweet Potatoes (Serves 4)

4 medium yams or sweet potatoes, quartered
water
soy margarine to taste

1. Fill a large saucepan with water and add sweet potatoes. Cook over medium-high heat until fork tender.

2. Drain potatoes and smash, using a pastry blender.

3. Add butter and stir until well-combined. Serve.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Books I'm Reading

Yes, I'm reading a cookbook. I love reading cookbooks generally, but this one is full of stories that are associated with each recipe or section of recipes. Most of them relate to the origins of the recipe or to the small town where Crescent Dragonwagon once ran a Bed and Breakfast and developed many of these recipes. I haven't read enough to justify a full on review, but, so far, the book is really entertaining and the recipes look wonderful. Most of them are simple and don't require specialized ingredients. I can't wait to try her version of wilted lettuce! Here's an excerpt from the publisher's comments:

"Introducing a new voice in vegetarian cooking. Packed with 1,000 recipes that are seductive, sexy, and utterly delicious, Passionate Vegetarian covers all the bases of meatless cooking, from east (Stir Fry of Asparagus with Black Bean-Ginger Sauce), west (Talk of the Town Barbecued Tofu), from the Mediterranean (Swiss Chard with Raisins, Onions & Olives) to the American South (Black-Eyed Pea Ragoƻt). You'll find lush lasagnas, plump pierogies, bountiful burgers, beans, and breads, pleasing pasta and pies. You'll spoon up soups and stews, and delight in desserts from simple to swoonworthy."

Okay, so I haven't officially started this book, but I'm going to start today. It looks really good and I haven't read something like this in a long while. I'll try to keep you updated as I get into it. Here's a publisher's comments excerpt:

"First Darling of the Morning is the powerful and poignant memoir of bestselling author Thrity Umrigar, tracing the arc of her Bombay childhood and adolescence from her earliest memories to her eventual departure for the United States at age twenty-one. It is an evocative, emotionally charged story of a young life steeped in paradox; of a middle-class Parsi girl attending Catholic school in a predominantly Hindu city; of a guilt-ridden stranger in her own land, an affluent child in a country mired in abysmal poverty. She reveals intimate secrets and offers an unflinching look at family issues once considered unspeakable as she interweaves two fascinating coming-of-age stories—one of a small child, and one of a nation."

I just started this one yesterday. I love Heather Armstrong's blog, "dooce." She's irreverent and goofy and doesn't hold back on any subject. The book is a collection of essays she edited. She asked other bloggers to write about fatherhood. Some wrote about their fathers, others wrote about their experiences as fathers and the remaining ones wrote about their husbands as fathers. I think many of us tend to forget that fatherhood is a journey and an adjustment for the new father.
I'm not so much reading this book "Bend the Rules Sewing" as I am perusing it intently. I have many projects marked, but we'll see if I get to any of them. Hopefully, I will! I'll let you know if I try any. I suggest anyone with an interest in sewing check out this book. It is full of relatively simple projects with clear instructions.

I am sticking with my challenge, thanks to my husband. Last night close to midnight he photographed three more cards for me. Whew! Here's today's listing:

Grumpy Owl on a Branch

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tomorrow's Item

This is the card I just posted for the challenge. It is actually for tomorrow, but I am going to Lexington for the day and won't have a chance to list it. I'm going to go see my brilliant and beautiful friend Erin who teaches at UK and, later in the day, my equally brilliant and beautiful friend Sameena and her sweetie-pie husband will join us on their way to Milwaukee. LB is psyched. She must sense the amount of attention she will be getting tomorrow.

Quilled Flowers Birthday Card

Books Worth Reading - to Your Children

I read a neat little book to Brennan last night that she absolutely adores. It was my husband's favorite book as a child as well. In fact, I don't know a child that hasn't loved it once it was read to them. I decided that I should share this lovely book with you all, which prompted me to think of a couple of others that are worth a read. I hope reading is as big a part of your day as it is ours. We all love to read around here, and enjoy a variety of genres. I was so relieved to discover that LB loves reading as much as we do. Not only does she love to be read to, but she also enjoys "reading" to herself. She'll sit for ages flipping through books and narrating them to herself or whatever stuffed animal or doll happens to be around.

This all just reminded me of a conversation I had while teaching an intercession enrichment course at an elementary school in Alexandria, VA a couple of years ago. The class was called "Book Cooks" and was open to kindergarten and first grade students (If you didn't know it by now, you should have just come to the realization that I am insane.). We read a few books, completed a lesson or craft relating to the books and then "cooked" a recipe that followed the theme of the stories. For instance, we read "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and then made butterflies from celery, cream cheese, pretzels and licorice. This class was so much fun for me because it encompassed quite a few of my favorite things. We cooked, read, crafted and even learned a bit along the way. Anyway, while it was all so much fun, there were days when they sped through the activities and we ended up just reading a few more books to finish out the morning. I was feeling a little guilty about it, like I was cheating them out of an education or something (I know, this is not something that normal people would be concerned about. I mean, we were reading.). One of the reading specialists at the school stopped by after a class to ask how things were going, and I shared my concerns. Of course, she almost laughed at me! She gave me a mini-lecture about the importance of reading to children, about the impact on their intellectual, social and emotional development, and about how most of these kids weren't read to at home. Of course, I knew all of this, but needed to hear it from someone else. I'm stubborn and deluded like that. Anyway, I suddenly felt wonderful about all of the reading we were doing and felt like I was on some sort of mission. That's still how I feel about books. If you haven't read to a child today or read something yourself that really satisfies you, please go read right now (well, after you finish reading this blog post!).

"Donkey-donkey" (copyright 1940) by Roger Duvoisin is the book I referenced above. No, Tim isn't so old that he was a child when this book was written. It just happened to be around when he was growing up. Perhaps it was his grandmother's. I'll have to ask his mom. Anyway, the picture shown here isn't the original vintage cover, but you get the point. The book is about a donkey that becomes jealous of a horse's small ears and, relying on the advice of various barnyard friends, tries "wearing" his ears differently. Each time he makes a change, something happens to make him reconsider. By the end of the book he has realized that he is beautiful just as he is and has come to accept his large ears (yes, it really was written in 1940). The book has adorable illustrations, although my niece became obsessed with some drops of blood on one page (Donkey-donkey snags his ear on a nail.). The book is witty and just as entertaining for adults as it is for children. Some of it is just off the hook. Here's a sample of my favorite: "Donkey-donkey agreed that he did look dainty. Naomi, the hen, said the mirror flattered him. But she had a bad disposition and of course she would say that. So Donkey-donkey went away again, happy although somewhat doubtful, as you can see by his expression" (Duvoisin 22-23). How funny is that? The book is chock full of such priceless narration. The only criticism I have of the book is its treatment of pigs. A sow in the story gives advice to Donkey-donkey, but is described as having a slow mind, as, according to the author, all pigs do. Of course, pigs are actually quite intelligent. They generally rank fourth in intelligence lists, coming just behind dolphins and before dogs or horses. I have, however, decided to forgive Mr. Duvoisin for this error in judgement as he wrote the book in a time when the intelligence of pigs was likely not as fully explored as it is today. This book is available on powellsbooks.com, as well as amazon.com. However, please first check your local used bookstore or public library.

Tim and I found "Goodnight Opus" by Berkeley Breathed (copyright 1993) on a bargain table (75% off) at WordsWorth Booksellers in 1999 while living in Atlanta, Georgia. Did we ever get a deal. This has become a favorite around here. As with Donkey-donkey, it entertains us as much as it does LB. It's basically a parody of "Goodnight Moon" by Margaret Wise Brown, a mainstay of the bedtime routines of many children. Opus gets into his pink bunny jammies and is read a story by his grandmother who tells him not to "depart from the text." Soon enough, she falls asleep and is placed under a pile of cucumbers in the cellar while Opus, the monster under his bed and Opus' pillow go on an adventure that doesn't come anywhere near staying within the text. It is fanciful, articulate and smart, just as Berke Breathed always is. And how ironic is it that Breathed ended the Opus series with an illustration of Opus sleeping in "Goodnight Moon?"

The final book I'd like to mention in this post is one from my childhood. Several months ago I was visiting my grandparents with LB, and my grandmother pulled out some books from my childhood to entertain her. I hadn't thought about any of these books in years and years. It was surreal. When she saw I was excited, my grandmother offered them all to me. I took a few, but left some for my siblings and cousins. One of the ones that I kept is "What Lily Goose Found" by Annabelle Sumera (copyright 1977). It's a simple, beautifully illustrated book about a goose's attempts to find something special for her friends. I remember wanting to read it again and again. I loved the pictures and thought Lily was so sweet. This book now resides on my book shelf in the upstairs hallway. If you'd like a copy, check out Gopherella's vintage shop on etsy. She allowed me to use her image of the book's cover for this post. Mine is somewhat damaged, both by time and the love of at least six children. By the way, did you see the price on the cover of the book?

Challenge Revision

At the last minute, I invited the members of the etsygreetings street team to join me in my challenge. It was too late for most of those who responded, so I have decided to revise my original plans so that more people can participate. I know, I know, I'm so kind, huh? Anyway, for the rest of this week, I'm going to try to stick to my original plan and post an item a day. However, I'm not going to freak if I don't. In the meantime, I hope many etsygreetings street team members are preparing to officially start the challenge next Monday. I'll also have a giveaway during those 10 days, so keep an eye on us! I'll be posting links, as well as my faves from the challenge participants throughout the week. Please check out their blogs and shops, if you get the chance.

Here's today's item:


Gratitude Blooming

Monday, May 18, 2009

10 Day Etsy Challenge

I'm embarking upon another self-challenge. Beginning today, I'm going to add one item to my shop each day. The last time I did this, I barely made it, but I've already posted today's listing.

Dad's Day




I also posted two other items this weekend, but I'm not counting them toward the challenge.

my Dad



Father Tree