Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Craft Shows

One of the best places to look for really great and unique gifts for anyone on your Christmas list is definitely at a craft show. If you're like me, (and if you're reading this, chances are you probably agree with this!) handmade items can be so much better than then generic "I need to give this person a gift, so I'll just grab this thing" type of present. If you're someone who doesn't give gifts to every person who you say hello to and instead only give to family and close friends, then why not really show those people how much you care about them with something handmade? I love making gifts for the people on my list. Although, there is always those people that you have to get something for that don't really appreciate the time or thought that goes into these gifts.

Anyhow, this past weekend, I was a vendor at a local Christmas craft show. I did this show last Decemeber and was pretty excited for this year's show. I always like doing local craft shows around where I live. You get to know a lot of the other crafty people who participate and even get to know some of the repeat customers. I like having people I know who may not be familiar with my crafts, get to see what I really do and how much time I put into it.

The show went very well and was a fun time getting to see everyone. The building the show was in used to be an old bank, so it looked really nice. However, the ceilings were very high and the heat wasn't really working, so it was quite cold. But aside, from that it was a good show. Kinsey and I were able to take a little time during the show to pick up a few things.

Here's some sauces we got for a local company. We ended up getting a mustard based barbecue sauce, a mild sauce, and a spicy sauce. It even came in this little carrying bag.

We also got some Christmas postcards, too. Not your usual happy holidays type of cards, huh? We ended up getting seven different cards.

This was the last show of the year for us, so it's kind of a nice feeling to have a little break. Now I can focus on getting on those gifts made!


Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving Meal and December Already!

Happy December! It’s hard to believe it’s the last month of the year already! As I talked about in the last entry, Kinsey and I were going to make our own Thanksgiving dinner this year. Anyone who has ever had the experience of having to go to multiple Thanksgiving dinners in a single afternoon knows that it can be a little overwhelming. We’ve done that routine for the past three years, and we were anxious to begin our own traditions with the day. Our dinner turned out to be wonderful and very tasty. Here was our menu:

~Herb and Lemon Roasted Turkey Breast
~Cornbread Stuffing
~Sweet Potato Casserole
~Baked Corn
~Cranberry Orange Relish
~Homemade Rosemary Herb Biscuits
~Fruity Red Wine….(I’m not sure of the name offhand or if a fruity red wine would even be considered by wine enthusiasts to be suitable to drink with this meal, but it was quite good. And I’m not even a big fan of wine usually.)

Anyhow, everything turned out well. This was the first time we’ve ever roasted a turkey, (or actually really any large piece of meat….we’re not really big meat eaters.) and we’re thrilled with the finished golden brown bird. Here’s some pictures from our meal:

My favorite Thanksgiving side dishes are definitely the stuffing and cranberry relish. The relish should definitely not be from the can. I used to like the can molded sauce when I was younger, but of course there’s some tastes you outgrow pretty fast. Here’s my own recipe for the cranberry relish I made:

Cranberry Orange Relish (makes about 3 cups)

* 1 12 ounce bag of fresh cranberries
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 TBSP ground ginger
* small dash of ground cinnamon
* 1 navel orange; peeled and cut into chunks

1. Cook cranberries, sugar, ginger, and cinnamon in a medium pan over medium high heat. Stir occasionally until the cranberries begin to burst; about 6-8 minutes.
2. Add 1 cup of water and simmer until thickened; about 5 minutes.
3. Add orange pieces and stir. Keep on heat for another 1-2 minutes so flavors can mend together.
4. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

This relish turned out really good and I would recommend making a double batch if you’re serving more than four people. Or if you’re serving two people crazy for cranberries.

This is the last day for the after Thanksgiving sales in our shop. Free shipping in the US! Buy two felt ornaments, get the third free! We will be adding a few new items this week, but more will come next week. We have a Christmas craft show this Saturday and are busy getting things ready for it!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving and Holiday Sales!

It’s hard to believe we’re in the last few days of November. Of course this is fine with me, because Thanksgiving is definitely one of my favorite times of the year. I love the sights and smells of the day and anyone who knows me, knows I absolutely have an obsession with stuffing. Turkey is fine, but stuffing and cranberry relish is my main thing. This year will be a little different because Kinsey and I will be cooking dinner ourselves. We’re not having anyone over, so there’s no pressure about everything being perfect or getting done at the same time. We will be going over to our families a little later in the day to visit and such, but wanted to have our own little Thanksgiving for the first time. So we’re looking very much forward to it. We just picked up our turkey from the market today. We opted for just a small turkey breast, because it’s just the two of us and a whole turkey seemed like a bit too much. So we’re busy getting together everything we need.
Of course, Thanksgiving brings along thoughts of the upcoming Christmas season. Doesn’t it seem like everyone keeps pushing Christmas earlier and earlier every year? This year, many stores were decorating and putting their Christmas merchandise out before Halloween. Of course, this Friday is the BIG start to the Christmas shopping season frenzy. We have a few specials going on for this week:


We will be offering free shipping in our Etsy store from Wednesday (the 26th) through Monday (the 1st). This offer will only be good with shipping in the US only. We currently have a few sales on different items, so this is a great time to pick up some great handmade items at a really good price!

Buy Two Get One Free Ornament Sale:

Another special sale we will be having is with our felt ornaments. This offer will be good on all individual listings of ornaments. The ornaments typically cost $6 each, but if you buy two at this price, the third will be free. So you will get three for $12. This isn’t good with the ornaments listed in sets. This special will also be good from Wednesday (the 26th) through Monday (the 1st).

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!


Friday, November 21, 2008

New Ornaments and Clutches

Here's some of the new ornaments I've been working on.

Two Trees Set:


I really like the idea of decorating your Christmas tree in natural, handmade things. Objects like mushrooms, tree stumps and such are all things that can be found in the forest, so it's kind of like you're bringing even more of nature into your house with your trees. The campfire reminds me of nature, too. It's a crucial part of your summer camping trips. This ornaments would really be great on a tree that's decorated with some dried, pressed leaves and some small pinecones.

Another new clutch I just finished is this one:

It was inspired by driving by farmer fields in the summer. The lines and colors are really beautiful and anyone who appreciates
where your food comes would like the clutch.

Here's a close up of the field. If you look closely, you can see little heads of lettuce.

Hope you have a good weekend!


Monday, November 3, 2008

November know what that means....

Can you believe it’s November already? October is probably my favorite month and it seemed to just fly by. It seems like once November hits, thoughts turn towards the holidays. Thanksgiving is within weeks and then of course, Christmas comes super fast after that. With that being said, I’ve started to work on special items for the holidays. First of course, being the felt ornaments I started to make late last year. My favorite new design is the birdcage one. Here’s some pictures of them:

Here's a close up of one:

And here's a group of the fronts, waiting to be all sewed up:

And here's a collection taking over my sewing machine:

I just listed a birdcage ornament and an apple ornament in our Etsy shop and will be adding others hopefully really soon. I'll also be making more of my tree stump and log ornaments, as well as some other new ones for this year. I also have been working on some new winter forest scenes for my clutches, which I'll be showing off soon. In the meantime, here's a perfect fall picture I took the other day:

Enjoy the day!


Monday, October 20, 2008

From Sketchbook to Clutch

It should be no surprise to anyone that lately I've been drawing a lot of trees in my sketchbooks. I love the autumn season and how the trees change their color and their shape. I love seeing tall trees with just a few splashes of their colorful leaves still hanging tightly on. I thought I'd share some images from a recent page in my sketchbook to show how I take my ideas from that stage to the finished design.

This first page shows different kinds of trees I've been drawing. I often don't sketch in color. My favorite writing instrument is using a black or blue gel pen - my favorite being a G2. I usually use different pen strokes and cross hatching to show different colors or texture. The tree trees pictured are a pine variety, a maple, and an oak.

Here's a close up of my idea for a clutch with a pine tree. I want the main focus to be the tree, so not a whole lot of little detail will go into the rest of the clutch. I usually do decorative stitching or embroidery, but I like the simplicity of just the tree and grass. The dark area beneath the tree isn't a shadow, but instead will probably be dirt or leaves from other trees.

Here's the finished clutch. The "dirt" underneath the tree ended up being a burnt yellow hue and I added a small patch of brown and pink flower fabric to the one side. I'm really pleased with how the pine tree turned out and the shape that the needles took.

I have many more ideas for similar clutches in this style. I'm currently in the middle of a maple tree with red and orange leaves. I really like playing with the colors of autumn and incorporating these styles of trees into my clutches. I usually do just the botton trunks, so it's nice to change it up a little bit. Hope you've enjoy this look behing the scenes!


Friday, October 17, 2008

New Felt Pins in Shop!

Just wanted to do a quick post and show off some new pins I've been working on and listing lately.

First in the category of food......

The Carrot!

I did a variation of this pin a while ago and loved the outcome. I really like the leafy part on the top of the carrot. Definitely one of my all time favorite veggies!

The Apple!

My favorite pin I've done has been the red apple pin. Now that it's autumn and apples are surrounding me at every turn (see previous post for exactly what I mean by this!), I decided to do a bright green apple. Turned out beautifully, wouldn't you agree?

Second, in the category of nature....

Growing Sprouts!

This is probably my most popular design at the past couple craft shows I've done. The perfect pin for any gardner!

Winter Trees!

This one definitely has a winter vibe to it. It's the only one mentioned that has not been listed in our etsy shop. It will make its appearence very soon!

Well hope you've like this little ode to felt pins! Lots new in our shop today, check it out if you have the chance! Have a great weekend!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Apples, apples, and even more apples....

One of my favorite things about the autumn season is fresh, crisp apples from the local orchards. In the past week alone, we've bought about 42 pounds of apples....which sounds like (and is!) a lot. Possibly the only place with more apples than we currently have is an orchard itself! Here's a shot of our crisper drawer in the refrigerator.

Notice how the spill onto the other shevles as well. (And this is only HALF of them!)

When sour cherries were in season, we tried our hand for the first time at drying fruit. The end result turned out pretty well. We got this old dehydrator from my parents, which had never been used, but also had no instructions. The dehydrator itself is pretty straightforward. There are no buttons or knobs and no way to adjust anything really. Essentially you just plug the cord in and let it go.

With that said, I've been relying on different websites I come across with hints and information about the process. The amount of time it takes is a little tricky because there's really nothing to go by. The cherries took about 8 hours to finish completely. The apples took much longer. Much, much, MUCH longer...... Here's two shots of them in the dehydrator dying away.

In the end, it took 18 for the first batch to be done and over 24 hours for our second batch to be finished. This of course also involved getting up multiple times in the middle of the night to check on their progress. The final result was wonderful, but it just took a little longer than expected. Needless to say I'll be making a lot of crisps/cobblers and desserts in the upcoming days!

I also just updated our Etsy shop with three new items. A few new things will also be added sometime tomorrow. Happy Thursday!


Monday, October 13, 2008

Newest Crafts and my Birthday!

Today is my birthday and lucky for me, it also happened to be a Monday, which meant I was free to craft for most of the day. I look forward to Mondays all week long because it gives me a good chance to work on new craft ideas and get caught up with craft related things. This morning I worked on some new felt pins and finished a few fall inspired clutches. Here's two finished products from my craft birthday morning.

Newest Craft #1:
Lately, I've been really into old, wire birdcages. I've always been a lover of flea markets and antique stores, and have often seen birdcages, but never really gave them a second thought. I epecially have been interested in the simple, but really old, almost dilapidated looking ones. The different shapes and gauge of the wires and the finished form is all really interesting to me. I've been sketching and looking at different vintages birdcages online a lot and got inspiration for this pin:

It's completely handsewn and embroidered and features a birdcage with the door open and a line swooping out, symbolizing that the bird has flew out. I have a lot of ideas for different variations of this design, so hopefully I can get some more done soon. Here's a closer shot of the embroidery:

Newest Craft #2
Now that it's October, fall is really starting to become apparent all around. As I'm writing this, I'm looking out a window to a huge orange and yellow maple tree. Who doesn't love seeing the trees change colors? I've been getting tons of inspiration just by looking outside my living room window lately and seeing the trees changing. I've also been playing around with different fabric combinations and colors that remind me of fall. This is the newest clutch I made with a fall inspired feel. I'm calling it "October Tree on a Hill" clutch.

I'll be posting a few items today and then some more tomorrow. I still have no internet connection at my apartment, so I'm relying heavily on the library to do my listings for Etsy and such. The only days that new listings will occur is on Monday, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Obviously, though usually not on all those days every week! Hope you like this little sneak peak of new items! Have a good fall Monday!


Monday, October 6, 2008

Maine, Maine, Maine

Our recent trip to Maine was very inspiring for us, especially in terms of crafting! If you've never been to Maine, I highly reccommend making a trip there. It's a beautiful state and the rocky coastlines are amazing. On our most recent trip, we spent time around Portland, visited various parks along the coast, and of course ate the best lobster roll in the area. Here's some photos from our trip:

This is the house that we're planning to buy. Well, at least the house we would like to buy. It's in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and is part of the Strawbery Banke area, which is the oldest neighborhood in New Hampshire. And it's actually for sale! It's from the 1700s, so I imagine the price to be quite high, but it's a gorgeous house!

Here in the best lobster roll in the Portland area. It was delicious and the size of the pieces of lobster were gigantic! We ate these at a place called Two Lights Lobster Shack, which is located in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. There's a ton of picnic tables outside which is right by the rocky coast. A perfect way to enjoy a local treat and the amazing scenery! Sadly, we only made it here one day for the lobster rolls, but we plan on going back the next time we're in Maine.

This is the Portland Head Light, which is the most photographed lighthouse.

Here's another lighthouse we visited, although I can't remember the name. The walk out to the lighthouse was really pretty because the walkway was made of granite rocks all put together. Here's a close up of the walkway.

This was at a little beach we found next to Southern Maine Community College. I love the red/orange color of the rock.

Of course, being in New England and at the coast, you're never at a loss to see boats. Here was my favorite boat I saw.

Well that's all for now. Check back tomorrow to see some new projects we're working on!


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

We're back from Maine!

Well, we're back from our anniversary trip to Maine/New Hampshire. It was a wonderful time (as it always seems to be when visiting Maine)! Unfortunately, we do not currently have an internet connection in our apartment. So, that being said, it may be a little harder to post and update our shop as frequently as we would like. Luckily, we live within two blocks of a wonderful library that has we'll see hope things go. I was able to post a new forest clutch in the shop, so please check it out. I'm hoping to have a number of things up by the end of the week. This will be a pretty short post, as the library is closing very soon, but I thought I'd share some pictures from our trip. (I'll have more details and photos in the next post!)

I love this boat so much!

Friday, September 19, 2008

New Fall Items in Shop!

Who doesn't love this time of year? The days are getting cooler, the trees are hinting at their autumn colors, pumpkins are popping up all over the place, and so much more. The weather lately here in Pennsylvania has been in the mid to low seventies, and while that's not exactly cool, it definitely is a great change from the hot and humid summer weather.

The first offical day of fall is this Monday at 11:44 am. (This also happens to be Kinsey and I's first anniversary!) That being said, I've been thinking of lots of things fall related recently. Hot apple cider, soup, pumpkins, collecting leaves, sweaters, autumn walks, apples, and more. Fall is my favorite time of year and nature is definitely in it's best.

I just finished the first clutch for fall in my forest floor series. It's called Fall in the Forest Pt 1. I like the contrasting colors used and I've been really inspired by the sharp angle of the tree on the far left of the clutch.

Stitching close up.

It reminds me of fall nights and how beautiful everything looks. The composition of the changing colors and smell of leaves is completely refreshing. I plan on doing a number more of fall scenes in the next couple days. I like the idea of focusing on the changing seasons with the forest floor clutches. I alreadly have some really great ideas for winter.

Another new item in our shop, is pincushions. I've been making these to showcase some of the really great fabrics I've been gathering. I will probably be giving a lot of these out as gifts for the holiday season this year. They're really fun to make and I like the combinations of buttons on the top of the pincushions. Here's some pictures:

On a side note, as I've previously mentioned, Monday is our anniversary. We will be taking a little vacation to Maine/New Hampshire again. This time we're not going to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park (hopefully we will again in two years!), but are instead planning to spend more time in Portland and the surrounding areas. Last year when we went, we found ourselves passing through on a Monday, and a lot of the places we wanted to check out were closed. This time we're going to be the Wednesday through Friday, so we're really excited. We're also planning to stay a few days in Portsmouth, New Hampshire again. So that being said, next week there won't be any new listings until maybe next Sunday evening (September 28). I'll be posting a few more new things tomorrow and Sunday. Happy Friday!


Friday, August 1, 2008

I was on Etsy today, looking at the treasury on the front page and found this gem:

It's by JaredKS and is a beautiful photograph of Yellowstone National Park. Kinsey and I are both wanting to go there so much! Hopefully, soon we can. Anyhow, their shop is full of stunning photos. Isn't it always a good feeling when you just stumble across a shop full of great finds?

Since I'm thinking of National Parks now, here's a photo of Jordan Lake and the "Bubble Rocks" I took in Acadia National Park in Maine:

On our recent trip to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia last week, we picked up this window cling:

Who doesn't love national parks? Anyhow, I wanted to share these photos from yesterday. One of my favorite things about summer is all the fresh produce available. The difference of the taste in vegetables, especially ones that you grew yourself is tremendous. The taste and smell of fresh tomatoes right off the vine is fabulous enough for me to usually only really eat them fresh in the summer months. Fresh cut tomatoes with a little salt and pepper.....a great lunch! Here's my favorite way to make zucchini:

Cut and drizzled with a little olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper.

Also, corn is wonderful on the grill and the only way to eat it in the summer.

For dinner last night, we made some delicious vegetable lasagna. We used some fresh zucchini and yellow squash:

Also, we chopped up some of the million Hungarian peppers we have. It was the first time we've made vegetable lasagna and it turned out really nice. Here's a photo of the side of a piece:

Fresh veggies, melted cheese, tomato sauce....what's not to love?