Friday, February 26, 2010


Hi there, Folks!  I've got some news, but first I want to apologize for being so quiet this week.  Kitty's been sick all week, and I haven't felt all that great myself, so most of our time has been spent curled up on the couching watching CSI.  =P  Hopefully, next week we'll both be feeling better, and I'll get back to my regularly scheduled posts.

Now, then.  About that news...

I got my first blog award!  :D

The love Kate of Ramble on Rose - who makes unique, one-of-a-kind (and very cool!) clothing and accessories - was kind enough to honor me with the Sunshine Award!

The Sunshine Award is awarded to bloggers whose positivity and creativity inspired others in the blog world.

And now I'm passing it on to the following sunshine-y blogs:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mostly Wordless Wednesday

After toying with the idea for quite some time, I finally got around to trying my hand at book-binding.  Conclusion: totally hooked and definitely shall be making more of these.  More info here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Challah

I've been wanting to make bread for a while now, and after lots of wiffling and waffling about precisely which recipe to try, I decided on challah.  This is the (half-eaten) result.  

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tutorial Tuesday: Wine Bottle Lamp

We've been doing a lot of work around the house lately - moving things around and organizing and decorating.  And cleaning.  Which is... interesting, because I'm a bit of a hoarder pack rat, and I hate to get rid of anything that might be useful in the future.  But I have acknowledged that I have a problem, and I'm making a concerted effort get better.  I've instituted a rule when it comes to items that could be recycled/upcycled.  If I already have an idea for it, it's a craft supply.  If I don't, it's trash, and off to the dump it goes. 

One of the things I find it most difficult to part with is glass bottles.  I'm not sure why, precisely.  They just seem to hold so much potential...  So, when my Mom told me about a lamp she'd seen that was made with a wine bottle, I was both impressed by the idea and excited to have a good excuse to keep my wine bottles. 

The idea's been floating around in the back of my head ever since, but I've never gotten around to trying it.  Mostly because I just wasn't entirely sure how to proceed.  Well, lo and behold, as I was perusing Totally Tutorials today (which, by the way, is an awesome blog and you should go follow them now), I just happened to come across this tutorial for a wine bottle lamp.  How cool is that?  I especially love the way they've set the whole thing up with the glass and the grapes.  Bonus:  This would give me an excuse to buy some of those awesome frosty/sparkly grapes they have at Walmart.  Yay!

I think it might also be possible to make an oil lamp with a wine bottle.  Which would, in my opinion, be even cooler.  Anyone know anything about this?  Or have you made anything else with bottles?  Leave a comment!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Featured Blogger: TiLTcreations

Howdy, Folks!  After a brief blogging break (I was so busy I completely forgot!), I'm back.  And taking a bit of a departure.  This weeks dose of Monday motivation comes to you in the form of the Etsybloggers Team's featured blogger for February: TiLTcreations!

If you're looking for a bag of any sort - be it a clutch or tote or anything in between - TiLTcreations is the place to go.  She makes awesome bags in so many shapes, sizes, and styles that anyone ought to be able to find something to suit them.  I've found many things that suit me.  So many it was hard to choose a favorite.  But I think I've got it narrowed down...

How awesome is this?  Ok, so if you're not a crazy-huge Buffy fan like I am... I guess it might not impress you quite as much.  Me?  I think this is awesomesauce.  Especially because it's hand embroidered.  And it has a nice, cushy, quilted lining that would make this especially great for carrying around your laptop.  Or your ancient tomes.  And really, how often do you find a good tome bag?

What's that you say?  You're not looking for a tome bag?  Well.  That's okay.  TiLTcreations has other messenger bags and backpacks too.  Or maybe you're looking for something a bit less... utilitarian.  A bit fancier.  Something to match your shoes.  Well, if your shoes happen to be red (I swear, I didn't set out to make this a red-themed post), you could carry this little baby:

Ain't she delicious, in all her cherry, floral glory?  I believe we talked about how this is my favorite color combination.  But if it's not yours, not to worry.  This style comes in plenty of other colors and prints, as well. 

And so does the banglet.  What the heck's a banglet?  This is a banglet:

Part bangle.  Part wristlet.  Entirely awesome.  I don't know how many times I've looked at a really cute teeny weeny bag and thought, "Hey, that'd be great for carrying the bare necessities" and then decided against it because there was simply no hands-free way to carry it.   TiLTcreations has solved that problem, and done so in an innovative, stylish way - by giving this little purse a handle that's also a bracelet.  Or maybe it's a bracelet that's also a purse... 

I'll leave you to ponder that deep question yourself, Grasshopper.  I'm off to check out Tilt Too and see what sort of destash goodies await.  Ciao!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday: unBoring Brown

Just used this photo for my first post over on  Ideas of Inspiration, so I thought I'd use it for my first (Nearly) Wordless Wednesday too.  I'll probably be doing more of these.  I love doing my Wicked Wednesday features, but there are some weeks when I just need to lighten the workload a little...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Techno Tuesday: Evernote

Did you ever wish internet was more like a magazine? Then when you came across an interesting article or picture, you could just cut it out and stick in a notebook or a folder where you could easily find it later. Sure, you can bookmark a page, but then you have to go looking through all your bookmarks to find it again. And you don't always want the entire page. Maybe you're only interested in a single picture or a single paragraph. What then? You have to look through the whole darn page to find it again.

Or do you?

Not anymore. Not with Evernote. Evernote allows you to "clip" and save portions of web pages, as well as documents and photos, to a series of "notebooks," helping to stay organized and integrate your online activity with your offline life.

How does it work? Well, first you have to head over here and sign up.

The next thing you need to do is decide whether you want to stick with the online edition of Evernote or install the desktop version.  Personally, I think it's totally worthwhile to download the desktop version.  Then your notes are always available--if your internet service is out, if you're traveling...  And what's extra awesome is whenever you open the desktop application, it automatically syncs your offline and online notes.  So you can still access everything online. 

So because it's what I use, I'm going to focus on the desktop application, which you can download right here.  Just choose your platform and follow the instructions (or you can install the web clipper if you want to use the online version).  Once you've got it downloaded and installed, you'll be asked to log in so the program can sync up with your online account, and then here's what you'll see:

Only yours will be far emptier.  You'll have just the default notebook to start out, but you can easily create a new one by right clicking on "Notebooks" on the left-hand side of your screen.  You can create as many notebooks as you like so, if you're like me and like to keep everything in it's own place, you'll wind up with a bunch.  
So how do you get stuff into your notebooks?  Well, for starters, you can choose to create a new note, which will open a text editor where you can type whatever content you wish--your to-do list, links to your favorite blogs, recipes, notes, memos, whatever.  You can even insert check boxes so you can keep track of your to-dos and have-dones.  And you can insert hyperlinks so you can move from Evernote right to the relevant website with a single click. 

But what about that "clipping" thing?  That's where the real fun comes in.  When you come across something you'd like to save--this How-Tuesday article, for instance, all you have to do is highlight the relevant portion...

(in this case, I've highlighted just the tutorial itself), and then right click on the little Evernote icon in your taskbar and click on "clip current selection."

Or you can use the shortcut, Win (that annoying little windows button that opens your start tab that you only ever seen to accidently hit) + A.  And here's what you'll get:

Neat, huh?  And there are still more ways to save things to Evernote.  Aside from entering them manually and clipping web content, you can also email notes, including attachments (if you have a cell phone that has a camera and email capability, this means you can snap a picture of something while you're out, email it to Evernote, and have it waiting for you when you get back) and you can even use Twitter to send yourself notes.  How cool is that?
And I'm really just scratching the surface of what Evernote can do.  Be sure to check out the website for more suggestions.  And if you decide to give a shot (or you use Evernote already), let me know how it works for you! 

Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday Motivator: Heart Health

Did you know that February is Heart Health Month? I didn't either until I read the topics for the latest Etsy Bloggers blog carnival. And then I thought, "What the heck am I going to write about heart health?" I could share my favorite Valentine's tradition from my childhood, but I really wasn't ever all that fond of the holiday, so that seemed doomed to be a short and rather boring post.

So, heart health. Well, I do my best, in general, to stay healthy. I eat plenty of vegetables, I've taken up yoga, I drink a lot tea... But what do I do specifically for my heart? Well. Nothing, really.

But something I do do is cook. And eating right is one of the major things you can do to keep your heart healthy. So I thought I'd share my favorite heart-healthy recipe. Just as soon as I figured out which of my favorite recipes were, in fact, heart-healthy.

Well, according to Web MD, tofu is one of the top 25 heart-healthy foods. Aha! Tofu! I love tofu. I'm sure a lot of you are wrinkling your noses right now. I can sympathize. The stuff doesn't look pleasant. It doesn't smell great. And on it's own, it doesn't taste very good either. But you can work magic with tofu.

A simple marinade turns it from a bland, flavorless lump of soy goo into a delicious chunk of awesomeness that's just as good and just as satisfying as meat but far better for you. I've only just begun to experiment, but thus far, my favorite recipe is Pan-Fried Tofu with Caramelized Sauce from The Complete Book of Japanese Cooking.

Now, to keep things heart-healthy, you would probably want to use a low-sodium soy sauce (I'm pretty sure those are available.... Also, it takes some time to prepare because you have drain your tofu for 30 minutes, let your marinade sit for 15 minutes, and then marinade the tofu for another 15 minutes. But once that's done, it's fairly quick and quite easy to cook. And all of the ingredients are easy to find, even if you aren't a big fan of Asian cooking and don't already have the stuff lying around.

So why not give it a shot? And if you do, be sure to let me know how it turns out!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Follower Feature Friday: KMstudioDOTcom

Happy Friday, folks! Now, before I get on with my follower feature, I'd like to take a moment to share...

I got a feature of my own! I'm in this treasury! Isn't it lovely? My first treasury. I'm so excited!

But enough about me. Today's featured follower is kmstudiodotcom, who makes awesome items, both ornamental and functional, out of recycled aluminum cans. How cool is that? I always love to see crafters making nifty stuff and helping the environment at the same time. And KM Studio does just that with beautiful items like this magnet:

Hard to believe it's made from a plain old soda can, isn't it? And what a lovely way to dress up your fridge. Or your favorite jacket! Because you have the option, when ordering, of having this little lovely made into a brooch rather than a magnet. And there's no need to worry about sharp bits snagging you or your clothes, as each piece has a foam backing.

Are you more of a bookworm than a pin-wearing fridge-dresser? That's cool. KM Studio's got you covered too. Check out these bookmarks!

Nifty, no? I love the clip-type bookmarks, but a lot of the ones I've used have been a bit cumbersome - a bit heavy or oddly shaped. These look just perfect. They're small and simple, and they're made of aluminum, so they'd be light too. And again, they have a foam backing to protect you and your book. My only complaint is that I didn't see a Coke version. It's all about brand loyalty, y'know.

Ah, but KM Studio doesn't just recycle aluminum cans. She works with polymer clay and paints too! Take a look at this gorgeous polymer clay rose magnet:

So pretty! It reminds me of one of those lovely little miniature rose bushes. Looks like it was just picked!

And I just love this painting of a pair of lovebirds:

Such beautiful, vivid colors! Makes me think of the sunset.

And this is just a taste of what KM StudioDOTcom has to offer. Be sure to check out the rest of her shop!

I'm off to kick back and enjoy the rest of my birthday. See you Monday!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thursday Threads - Zen and the Art of Fashion Maintenance

As part of my reasonably-close-to-New-Year's resolution to get back into a more active routine (winter forced my walking routine into hibernation - I'm just not dedicated enough to go out in the cold), I have recently taken up yoga. I'm just doing it in the privacy of my own home, at the guidance of some great videos I've found (thank you, internet), with no one around to laugh at me when my warrior wobbles or my down dog can't get up. I've even been known to do it in my pajamas. Obviously, I'm not too worried about how I look.

That being said, I still wouldn't mind having some of the awesome yoga goodies I found on Etsy. Like this fantastic hoodie from FunkyQuail:

This makes me want to try and combine knitting and yoga. Maybe I could knit it lotus pose? Or throw some meditation in and chant while I knit - knit, om, purl, om...? I don't know. What I do know is I love this shirt. And it looks like it would be just as comfy during yoga practice as it would be sitting on the couch knitting your way to Nirvana.

And while we're on the subject of comfy, check out these pants from Ahpeele:

Don't these look like they'd be just wonderful to wear? And they just look wonderful too! I love that vine-y, leafy pattern. And the colors - calm and subdued. Just like yoga pants ought to be.

But as much as I love these, I have to admit, I actually prefer to wear leggings for my yoga practice. And I'd be hard pressed to find a lovelier pair than these from prettypennydesigns:

These, too, look super-comfy. And I just love the little birdies! But if birds aren't your thing, Pretty Penny has some other awesome leggings too. So be sure to check 'em out!

Me? I'm going to go enjoy my inner tranquility. And maybe a cup of coffee. It's cold!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wicked Wednesday: Red and Black and Undead All Over

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and it's got me seeing red! Seriously, it's everywhere. Fortunately, I happen to like red. In fact, it comprises half of my favorite color combination. There's just something about a bright, blood red paired with deep, dark, doom-ly black...

Obviously, I am not alone in this opinion. There is certainly no shortage of awesome red and black items floating around Etsy. Here are just a few of my favorites...

This ravishing raven pendant from The Gilded Lily is actually made from a Scrabble tile. I'm a big fan of Scrabble, so I think that's pretty darn cool. And even if you're not a Scrabblephile, you can't deny that this pendant is gorgeous. Unless maybe you just really don't like big, black birds. In which case you should check out the rest of the shop, which is chock full of Scrabble tile pendants. There is seriously something here for everyone--from pretty flowers to retro flamingos to phrases such as "Keep Calm and Eat A Cupcake." Very cool.

Moving onward, I love armwarmers. They're such a great accessory--especially for folks like me who have ickle bitty hands. I love gloves, but they're always too long in the fingers. With armwarmers, that's not an issue. And, like gloves, armwarmers can be both practical--like the knitted variety in warm wools--or decorative, like these little lovlies from Estylissimo.

Aren't they just fabulous? The lace, the lacing, the subtle pinstripes... Beautiful! But if you don't have anything in your closet to match these, don't worry. Estylissimo has a wide range of armwarmers in a variety of styles and colors, as well as a selection of gorgeous chokers and headbands. Do pay them a visit.

And finally, what good are awesome accessories without a beautiful dress? It's like potatoes without the meat. But fear not. I found this beauty for you:

Say "hello" to the Olivia gown by KMKostumes. Actually, it's three separate pieces--the corset top, skirt, and big ol' fluffy petticoat. So if you really wanted to, you could wear the pieces separately. I love options like that. And I love the rest of KMKostumes's offerings, as well. They've got lots of other beautiful dresses--in a range of prices from quite affordable to gonna-have-to-save-your-pennies-for-a-while--as well as skirts, tops, and a whole host of awesome accessories. Be sure to take a look!

There's my picks. Now let's see yours!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tutorial Tuesday: Cereal Gift Box

I'm always on the lookout for inexpensive packaging ideas--envelopes, gift boxes, etc.  If it's something I can make myself, even better.  And if it's something I can make with recycled materials, I'm all over it. 

Which is why this tutorial caught my eye.  What a great use for all those cereal boxes!  I haven't tried this one myself yet, but when I do, I'll let you know how it turns out.  Or if you beat me to it, let me know! 

Gift Box from a Cereal Box - More DIY How To Projects

Monday, February 1, 2010

Monday Motivator: New Design

Bit of a late post. Just didn't have any energy today. But we all have days like that, right?

I'm still excited about the week ahead. I've got lots of things planned, and I'll be listing a new design! I've been planning on doing more headbands from the start, and I've finally finished my second design. Here's a sneak peak:

New designs, new listings, and new opportunities.  That's what's motivating me this week!  What about you?