Monday, August 31, 2009

Etsy Treasury - Autumn's Colors

I curated a treasury on etsy this weekend inspired by the colors of autumn. Yes, I am rushing us toward that season. It's my favorite time of the year. Please click on the link and comment on the treasury. The more views and comments I receive, the better my chances of getting to etsy's front page.

Click here.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Feature Friday

So you all know that I enjoy putting together gift guides and other collections of handmade goods. However, I thought it would be nice if I started featuring some individual artists. We can see a broader range of their work and also get to know them a bit.

b Bunny: Jen, what prompted you to open your etsy shop?

Jen: I was shopping one day and saw the scrapbook paper and thought what can I do with that. I knew about etsy and thought this may be a great way to sell something I love doing.

b Bunny: What have you learned during your time as a seller?

Jen: I have learned that it takes a lot of time and energy to both make and promote your items. I love it though!!

b Bunny: What inspires you? What are your favorite materials and colors?

Jen: I think I am inspired by new paper prints. As funny as that sounds, I see a new print and immediately think what can I do with it. I just love creating. I love paper and my favorite colors are blue/brown and pink/brown combos!

b Bunny: Do you specifically target particular seasons or events?

Jen: I don't really target a certain season, but of course will gear my products towards them. For instance Halloween is coming up and I have begun making Halloween themed products and will do the same for Christmas. I love snowmen, so expect to see a lot of them.

b Bunny: How do you promote your shop?

Jen: My main promotion technique right now is through the forums on Etsy. I recently started a blog and facebook [fan page], but haven't had time to do much with them.

Below are a few of Jen's favorites:

Spider Web and Bat Mini Notecards

Pink and Brown Damask Post-It Note Holder

Flat Matchbook Notebooks

Blue Floral Notecards

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Welcome Baby Girl!

As you all know, I have been anxiously awaiting the birth of my niece! Lillian Tyler Markun was born at 6:05 am Saturday! Tim and I, as well as Tim's other sister Michelle, their mother Robin, Paige's mother-in-law Mila, and, off course, the Daddy, Jeff, all were present for the birth. It was probably the most amazing thing I have ever witnessed. We are so grateful to Paige and Jeff for allowing us to be there. Paige worked so hard and was absolutely gorgeous the entire time. Jeff was a great birthing coach and really supported Paige. Lil did wonderfully. Once Paige started pushing, she was out in 40 minutes. She is so beautiful and alert. I'm sure she's going to be a genius like Mea and Brennan. Speaking of Mea, she is adjusting well to her new baby sister,

giving her lots of kisses and even taking her on a tour of the house when they arrived home. LB is smitten. She talks about Mea and Lil of the time. These are a few pictures from our amazing weekend.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Back to School Gift Guide -

It's time for more of my etsy favorites. I've been seeing tons of stuff on etsy lately that I've wanted to share. I decided that a "Back to School" gift guide is in order. My nephew just returned to school today (third grade!) and my sister returned to her college studies yesterday. I've attempted to include a wide range of styles and gifts for various ages. If you have further suggestions, please feel free to put some links in the "comments."

MacBook Envelope - 13 inch

I just had to include this for my husband's sake. What's better than a handmade envelope for your MacBook. Hmmm...maybe I need one. This is made specifically for MacBooks and MacBook Pros from speckled brown denim cotton and lined with brown and white striped cotton.

my duck duck goose
Turtle Time Personalized Metal Lunch Box

Start out the new school year in an eco-friendly fashion. Give up those paper lunch bags and try out one of these lead-free, food-safe, personalizable lunch boxes. Just think, your child can be socially responsible and stylish all at once.

1 crown 3 tiaras
Eden Ruffle Blouse

I love this beautiful, bright blouse for fall! These colors would flatter any little girl and make quite an impression at school.

an artful agenda
Artful Lesson Planner with Hand-Drawn Art

Any teacher would surely love a handmade planner to start the school year. It's always a good idea to start out on the right foot with your child's teacher, isn't it?

One of a Kind Handcrafted Magnets

These magnets are made with original vintage schoolbook illustrations, super-strong magnets and multiple layers of varnish for long use. I think these would make a great gift for a teacher, useful for hanging your child's artwork on the fridge or super-cute in a child's room.

RW2 Gallery
Speak No Evil, Hear No Evil, See No Evil Pencil Case

I can imagine that some teenage boys would be thrilled to use these pencil cases at school. In fact, it may be the only reason they would ever even consider carrying a pencil case! I'm sure there are some girls that would like them as well, and they would surely be popular with the college set.

Sinem Inugar
Thundercloud Everyday Bag

I think I need this bag for back to school! It would work well as a purse, book bag, diaper bag or shopping bag and would appeal to a broad age range. It measues 13.7" x 13.7" x 18.8."

Britgal Designs
Insulated Lunch Bag

What a stylish and eco-friendly way for you or your child to carry lunch to work or school. The bag is made with 100% cotton Alexander Henry Hollywood fabric and measures 10" x 10" x 4.5."

little fish in a big pond
You Make It Dress Kit

This adorable dress kit comes in sizes 3T to 7Y. It can be worn as a dress and then, as the child grows, a blouse.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

This and That I am, still waiting for my sister-in-law Paige to push out that baby and trying to focus on creating a blog post. It's been a while again, I know. I'm clearly having some difficulty keeping on top of it this summer. Since I am presently so distracted, this post is going to be a little of this and a little of that. Stick with me. I'll be back to my normal blogging self in no time.

What Do Vegans Eat?

We eat well. I realize this isn't such a great picture. I'm embarrassed about the Gladware shot. However, we were so hungry when we originally ate the meal that we didn't get a shot of our plates in advance. I took this one the next day. I didn't even manage to get a photo of the rest of the meal. You'll have to use your imaginations. The recipe for the potato salad came from one of my favorite cookbooks, Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson. There are loads of amazing recipes in this book. I haven't even managed to scratch the surface. This was my first time serving this salad. I was skeptical at first. Green olives in potato salad? That sounds like something my father-in-law would do. I mean this is a man who once tasted a mimosa blossom! I'll say it again. Green olives in potato salad? It totally rocked. I encourage you to try this served over a bed of fresh baby field greens. As with all potato salads, this is ridiculously easy to make and, of course, tastes even better the second day. As usual, I was unable to completely stick with the recipe. My changes are in parenthesis. Enjoy it! (That's a command, by the way.)

"Close to Mom's Potato Salad"

1.5 lbs red or white waxy potatoes
1 inner celery rib, minced (I used 1.5 outer ribs.)
2 tablespoons grated onion (I used an entire small onion, minced.)
1/4 cup sliced pimiento-stuffed green olives (I added a few extras.)
3/4 cup soy mayonnaise (I used Vegannaise.)
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
salt and freshly ground black pepper
paprika (I forgot this ingredient.)

1. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan with salted water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and continue to boil until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and allow to cool.

2. Peel the potatoes (I skipped this step.), cut into bite-sized chunks, and place in a large serving bowl. Add the celery, onion, and olives and set aside.

3. In a small bowl, combine the soy mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and add to the potato mixture, stirring gently to combine. Sprinkle the top with paprika. Serve right away or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. This is best eaten within a day or two of being made.

Serves 4 to 6.

We had another of our favorite dishes with the potato salad. This one was created by the aforementioned sister-in-law. Since I don't have a photo of the dish, I thought I'd share a picture of her. This one was taken at an art/music show in Huntington, WV, where I was born. My brother-in-law, Ben, aka Bengineer, aka the Solo Buffalo played a set early and we were able to take LB and Mea. Paige, as usual, was the snack master. However, instead of her typical bag of fruit, she bought some chips and cookies. I thought she looked pretty funny packing junk food around in her current state. Anyway, she's a vegetarian and wanted to create something like a barbecued chicken pizza. She then used the same recipe to create what we refer to as "Barbecued Chickie Sandwiches." They are good served with a lettuce leaf, tomato slice and vegannaise or a generous portion of vegan cole slaw. This is so easy to make that you just can't not try it.

"Barbecued Chickie"

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 package of seitan or Morningstar Farms Chick'n Strips
Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce, to taste
K.C. Masterpiece Barbecue Sauce, to taste
lettuce leaves
tomato slices
whole wheat buns, toasted

1. Heat oil in an oven-safe pan on medium heat and saute' the garlic until it starts to brown. Add the chik'n and brown. Once the chik'n is evenly browned, add both barbecue sauces to taste (I usually coat it well and then add a little extra.).

2. Place pan of barbecued chik'n under a broiler and watch closely. Broil until slightly blackened.

3. Serve with toasted buns, lettuce and tomato, or your favorite toppings.

Serves 4-6.

Current Projects

I've got some projects that I've been working on for a while and am about to finish. Finally! My mother-in-law's patchwork porch throw is almost bound! This is the most tortuous part for me. I hate to bind! It is sooo tedious. It's worth it though. The finished product makes me forget the torture I just endured! Here's the throw now. You can see part of the completed binding. I'm really liking the way this turned out and wish I could keep it for myself. Alas, it is Robin's birthday/Mother's Day gift (I know, I know...I'm always dreadfully behind).I'm also about to finish an afghan for someone else, but I can't yet divulge the recipient. It's top secret. I'm using three colors, as you can see. One is chocolate brown and the others are shades of blue. This is my first attempt at making granny squares. I found an awesome site some time ago called crochet cabana. She explains different stitches and shapes step-by-step. I believe you could teach yourself to crochet using her site alone.

Look for a new etsy "Back to School" gift guide in the next day or two.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Catching Up - blog entry

Well it's been one crazy summer.  I (obviously) haven't been keeping up with the blog here.  I intend to change that!  This summer I have been crafting, camping, cooking, writing and being a mommy and wife.  For details, you can visit my personal blog at  I also have some great gift guides and features of other artists.  There is a ton of beautiful handmade work out there and I try to showcase as much as I can.  Speaking of handmade, I have added many, many items to my shop since I last posted.  One that I love (and that was a big risk for me) is a pre-embellished scrapbook for a baby girl.  I used a Paper Chase archival album and embellished all 50 pages.  It took quite some time and a great deal of materials.  I had to price it rather high ($100), as a result, hence the "risk" statement.  It really turned out nicely and is a bargain if you consider the time it took to produce.  However, I am not sure if it will be well-received.  There's an image below.  You can check out the shop for more views or email me and I can send many more to you.

I've got some additional projects in the works and will be posting more pictures soon.