Monday, December 28, 2009

Better Late Than Never

I have a couple last minute Holiday projects to share. This one is a ginger bread house that my friend Taylor and I made. This whimsical little house took about 5 hours to make and was totally worth it.

It was a kit from Michael's but we added a ton of custom details. My favorite is the candy wreath. I cut up a couple of the spearmint candies, then attached them to a peppermint candy, and lastly added red candy dots as holly berries. We also added a lolly pop lane and coconut snow.

I hope you like the last hurrahs of my Holiday fun.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays

Happy Christmas Everyone


This photo was taken by my friend Victoria J. She took this amazing photo of the Eiffel Tower in 2006 while attending her nieces wedding. Not to get off topic but Victoria took some fantastic pictures of her nieces wedding and the wedding was so beautiful it took my breath away. But back to business.

Happy Christmas and Have a Wonderful New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Okay, I have an confession to make. I'm a huge fantasy story lover, I read any book I can get my hands on, I obsess over fantasy movies when they come out, and yet...I expected Avatar to be so-so. I could not have been more wrong. Avatar was amazing.

I can't remember the last time a movie sucked me into its world so deeply and with such wonder. Well actually I can. Avatar made me feel the way I felt when I saw Star Wars in the drive-in, sitting on the hood of the family station wagon having my mind blown. I was taken to a whole new world, a world that seemed so real so stunning that I felt like I had awoke from the movie, not that the movie had ended.

Now I hate to tell people what to do, buuuuut... you absolutely must see it in 3D, and if you can see it in Imax 3D even better. If you have not seen a movie in modern 3D you must treat yourself and I can't think of a better movie to treat yourself with.

What are you waiting for go to the movies. Happy Holidays everyone.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy - Gift Ideas 4

I realize this is cutting it close on gift ideas, but if you are a wait for the last minute person, there is always fedEx, Express Mail and UPS one day. You may need to convo the artisans and do a little begging but they say humbling oneself is good for the soul. So here are my final Holiday Gift Ideas, it's now or the mall.

$10.00 and under (stocking stuffers)

1. Arcadia Aromatics - These are solid shampoo bars. How fun is that? Give someone a new and fun shower experience, and still remain G rated.

2. The Twilight Shop - This is the second cool use of a fork I have featured, maybe I have a thing for forks. Can you imagine one of these cuties sticking out of your favorite book? Love these guys.

3. Tortoise Loves Donkey - Terrariums are very hot this year. And this little beauty is a fantastic example of simple and cool. You must check out Tortoise Loves Donkey's terrariums you wont be disappointed.

$25.00 and under

1. Elsita - This shop is a must visit on etsy. This artisan is wicked talented so treat yourself to a visit to her great shop. You will be happy you went. She also has 3 blogs you can visit. I don't think she sleeps.

2. Figs and Ginger - is a husband and wife team making Eco-Friendly sterling jewelry. And if that's now enough, look at how unbelievably sweet these little studs are. Great gift for anyone with pierced...well anyone pierced.

3. Multifarious - Not as evil as it sounds. I really enjoy the work of this artisan and the description on her header would make for a good opening for a book, it says....Although this sounds an awful lot like nefarious and therefore makes me sound a bit wicked... rest assured, I'm too dull to be wicked. It makes me want to read on. Check out her shop you'll be glad you did.

$40.00 and under

1. Janny's Girl - Hats, Hats, and more Hats. If you are a hat person you know what I'm saying. If you aren't a hat person, why not? They are fantastic. And Janny's Girl's shop is a good place to start. This artisan makes fun, pretty, warm and casual hats.

2. Village Clayworks - This whimsical pottery is so fun and happy. This artisan has bowls, plates, mugs,and vases that I promise will make you smile. Pop over and take a look, even if you don't need anymore gifts you will get a warm feeling from your visit.

3. Something's Hiding in Here - And sense we're on the subject of whimsy. This maybe the ultimate in whimsical gifts. Yes, you are looking at a "Mustache on a Stick". I doesn't get more whimsical than that. When you check out the shop look at the pictures of brides with mustaches, so fun.

$60.00 and up (The "A girl can dream, can't she?" category)

1. Mara Goti Joyas - I lust after these earrings, so please someone buy them and take them away from me, then I can sleep at night. You would be doing a public service really. But seriously this artisan has such beautiful jewelry if you miss out for the Holidays, Valentines Day is just around the corner.

2. Compulsive Collection - I dream of owning real Adirondack chairs. So I have to include this fantastic example. The design is so stylish and simple, my back yarn needs two of these chairs. This shop also has some great vintage trays and planter boxes.

3. Ekaa - I think by now we all know I'm loving the color blue. So is it any wonder I love this ostrich purse? I should hope not. This shop is full of great stuff it would have been impossible to pick just one item if not for the beautiful blue on this particular bag. Go check out this shop, I'll wait for you here.

Go check out Such and Such. Lora added a fantastic Weekend Eye Candy. It's really beautiful.

Happy Holidays everyone.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

An Oldie but a Goodie

I know "elfing" is old but it still makes me laugh until tears stream, so I must share. If you haven't seen this you have to check it out at JibJab, so fun. Enjoy.

These little cuties are my niece and nephews.

Okay my first attempt at adding video was a total flop. Here's another option. Let's see if this works better.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy - Gift Ideas 3

Here are some more gift ideas. It's getting close, time to shop shop shop. So check out the following shops and see if they have what you're looking for to fill out your Holiday list.

Gifts under $10.00

1. Leo and Company - These guys make fantastic organic dog treats. They are healthier than anything I eat, I can tell you that.
2. Chic Earth - "Who knew saving the Earth could look so chic" is this shops motto. Really fun stuff, green and beautiful, check them out.
3. Pretty 'n' Preppy - This artisan makes really nice quality accessories. And I love a good lavender satchel so I couldn't resist.

Gifts Under $25.00 (the Patchwork Long Beach addition)

1. Corrie Hill Design - I met Corrie at Patchwork Long Beach and her baby cloths are fantastic. She is a super nice person, so excited about her work, and the designs are even cuter in person. Check her shop out you won't be disappointed.
2. Chocolate and Steel - Was also at Patchwork. You know how much I love Christine's work so I won't go on and on. But if you're looking for simple and modern Chocolate and Steel is the place to shop.
3. Done by Digits - Graziella was my neighbor at Patchwork. Her hand crocheted stuffies are so nice. They are unique, adorable, cheerful, sweet, and so inexpensive you should snap one up now before she comes to her senses and raises the price.

Gifts under $40.00 (jewelry addition)

1. Copper Frog Studio - Really beautiful jewelry. There is so much great work on this site, I hope you enjoy looking around this shop.
2. Zeal Creations - This is a brand new seller on etsy and the work is really beautiful. Take a look at this shop.
3. Naftali - This artisan makes beautiful polymer clay and sterling jewelry. This is one of first shops I hearted on etsy.

Gifts $60.00 and over
1. Gabriela and Catalin Art Gallery - This art work is really stunning. You have to look at this shop.
2. Darrielle's Clay Arts - I love love love these tumblers. The glaze is so beautiful, the color is wonderful and the tray is super cute. Who could ask for anything more?
3. Jenni Brant's Ceramica - I have a thing for tea cups. I know, who would have guessed it, but I love delicate beauiful tea cups. I love this artists work and hope you enjoy it also.

Check out Lora's blog if you need a bit more Weekend Eye Candy. Have a great one.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My only Holiday Bah Humbug

Since my family and friends are visitors to my blog, thanks guys, I can't share all the Holiday gifts I'm making. But I can share some of last years little gifties. So here are a couple of last years handmade goodies.

Soap, lotion, lavender satchels, and face masks for most adults

And the kiddies all got Hand Felted Slippers. They were a chore to make but they turned out great.

This was my nieces' pair.

I'm taking pictures of this years gifts and I'll show you all the fun when gifts have been opened and no surprises can be ruined. I hope your hand made Holiday creations are coming along nicely.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Stocking Stuffer Giveaway

I have a fun giveaway to share with everyone from Michelle over at Cafe Boulet. I featured Cafe Boulet two weeks ago-ish on a gift idea post and Michelle sent me a fantastic coffee cozy to share with everyone for a giveaway. How cool is that?

First I want to show you a few of the great items at Cafe Boulet

Now what will you win? This little beauty.
Michelle's coffee cozies make a great stocking stuffer. We all like to indulge in a little white cup of goodness from time to time. Now you can skip the cardboard cozy, express your personal style, and be green with one of Cafe Boulet's creations.

How to Play;

Go to Cafe Boulet and then come back here and tell me which item in the shop you can hardly live without, and your in. Blog about these fantastic little gifties and come back and comment. You could tweet about it, come back and comment. I think your getting the idea. I will sign you up for the giveaway for everything you do to help get the word out about Cafe Boulet. Make sure you give me your email address so that I can contact you if you are the winner. The giveaway will end on December 10th, I will announce the winner on December 11th, and mail the cozy anywhere in the world.
Good luck and Happy Holidays.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Up-Cycling at its Very Best

Ken over at Stave Creations up-cycles oak wine barrel staves into beautiful home decor. The wood of the stave is full of character, the color is a rich contrast of deep oak grain, and the history just seems to reach out to you as you hold it. I couldn't help wondering what kind of wine this stave protected, for how long, and I wished I could taste the wine. And all this beauty is green. Ken is an amazing artisan, he has a passion for up-cycling, and he is extremely generous.

Ken's fantastic work:
So if you have a candle lover, wine drinker, or just someone who loves beautiful home decor on your Holiday list get over to Stave Creations you will not regret it.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Wow what a weekend!

Hello my friends. What a crazy, long, fun, productive, and wonderful weekend. I have so much to talk about I actually don't know where to start. So for want of a more creative way to organize things I will start with Thursday.

My Honey and I had a great day. It was just the two of us this year and we had a great time. We laughed our way through cooking a huge turkey and some of our favorite trimmings. Now I'm not going to lie I did miss my Thanksgiving family a lot and kept calling to see where they were in their celebration; Is the turkey in? Is the table set all beautiful? How was your meal? What movie are you watching? But it was fun just the two of us.

Then came Black Friday and Saturday.
Friday and Saturday the New Metal Artists, the Los Angeles chapter of the PMC guild, had a boutique Sale. We had a lot of fun, the jewelry was beautiful, and the sale was very successful. Congratulations to all the New Metal Artist members who participated. We did it!

Than I had a Black Sunday also.
Sunday I did Patchwork in Long Beach and it was great. The view in front of me all day was a show packed with people. And if I turned around this was the view behind me...

Beautiful right? I really can't recommend a Patchwork sale to strongly. The artisans were all of a really high quality and super nice to chat with all day. I have some fun stuff to share on Friday regarding the amazing work of my Patchwork sale neighbors. Whether you're a seller or buyer Patchwork puts on one hell of a show. Thank you Nicole and Delilah for putting on a really wonderful show. They even provided the best weather anyone could have asked for, sunny with a mild breeze.

My weekend was jam packed with fun, friends and sun shine. I hope your Thanksgiving weekend went as well.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy - Gift Ideas 2

I'm making another bid for buying handmade this Holiday Season with my weekend eye candy. Why buy a gift the recipient can get at the Gap near their house when you can get them a handmade something? And because the answer is "So true" here are some more handmade gift ideas.

$10.00 and under

1. Whimsy and Spice - It was hard to pick one goodie over another but in the end I had to go with the brownie, although a close second was the chocolate marshmallow.
2. Bead Siam - I really love the cool and simple leather bracelets on this site. Click over and check them out.
3. Vervain Savon - These soaps are so beautiful you don't need wrapping paper, just put on a bow and you have a beautiful gift.

$25.00 and under

1. Nature Design - They have all these wonderful wooden items. I featured their great coffee scoops a couple weeks ago.
2. JJ Evensen Art - I love these fork hooks, and check out the Peace, Rock On, and Fork You hooks, hilarious.
3. Dee Beale's Hand Pulled Prints - I love these prints so graphic, simple and elegant. I had a hard time picking just one, so I'm not, I also love the Cornflowers.

$40.00 and under

1. Granny Purse - The clutches available from this artisan are really fantastic. A can't miss gift.
2. Foxy Girl Boutique - Isn't this ring sensational. Anyone would love it.
3. Darrielle's Clay Art - I don't knit but this bowl is killer. Their sponge holders are pretty sweet also.

$60.00 and over

1. Eight Seasons - Okay you are going to love these bags, they are out of this world fantastic. Because I can't pick just one you have to check out Pod Pouch in black also. You won't regret it.
2. Chocolate and Steel - Christine's work is so well made and her finish work is impeccable. And if that's not enough she is having a great Black Friday thru Cyber Monday SALE. Really it's amazing; FREE shipping and a FREE stud earring with purchases over $75.00, you must check it out.
3. Hydra Heart - These shoes are so cool. I want at least three pair but I had to go with the Lotus Mary Janes but the Flora Flats were a very close second.

I hope your Holiday shopping is going well.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

It's just my honey and me, in Culver City for Thanksgiving this year. And I can't believe I'm saying this but I'm actually looking forward to cooking thanksgiving dinner. I almost never cook and by that I mean I almost NEVER cook. So don't worry this will never be a cooking blog. I'm sticking to very traditional dishes; Turkey, mash potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and an experimental stuffing. No green bean casserole because I'm from MN, the only state to have its own word for casserole "Hot Dish", and if I never eat another "Hot Dish" in my life I will die happy. Macaroni and cheese and lasagna are exempt from this hot dish ban. And the honey thinks peas go with mash potatoes so there will be peas. Am I the only one that finds that strange?

I usually spend all my holidays in Stockton and I'm going to miss the French/ Italian/ American fusion thanksgiving my dear friend V puts on. If you think that's not possible, your totally wrong. The turkey is cooked with these amazing Provence spices, there's this, dream about all year, risotto, and a very traditional fruit salad. We all dress up, not too fancy, but just fancy enough to make it special. And in true European style yummy wine in the kitchen, on the table, and in front of the fire after dinner. I'll miss this dinner so much, people and pageantry, but I'm looking forward to spending the day just the two of us.

I hope your Thanksgiving is special, happy, and full of love. I also hope your turkey is juicy and fully cooked.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I love to Gift Wrap

I honestly think one of the best parts of giving gifts is wrappping them. Today I'm off to get my gift wrapping supplies for my Holiday gifts. So I thought I would share some gift wrapping inspirations. Most are from last year. I think I maybe the only person already wrapping gifts.

The blog Bugs and Fishes has a lot of fun ideas check it out if you can and Wuhao has information on cloth wrapping gifts, very eco friendly.

And can I say gift tags?
I love them. You can find these amazing tags and many many more on etsy;
1. Fancy-Schmancy Letter Press from - Old Tom Foolery
2. Paper Eclectiques
3. Muddy Feet
4. Shim and Sons - also one of my favorite blogs by the same name.

I hope this helps get you in the mood. I know I'm already wrapping and listening to Holiday music 24/7 on Pandora Radio, much to my honey's dismay.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy - Gift Ideas

For the next few weeks I'm going to use Weekend Eye Candy as a way to share my Handmade Holiday Gift ideas. I hope you see something you love or get inspired to buy handmade.

$10.00 and under

1. Cafe Boulet - They make great green coffee cup sleeves and other accessories for the trendy café goer.
2. Studio Petite - Jennifer Lambein has these super fabulous mini prints for just 5.00. Can you image, art as a stocking stuffer.
3. Intentions - Soap that looks good enough to eat. Intentions makes such beautiful soap, if it looks this good can you imagine how good it must smell.

$25.00 and under
1. Made by Swirly Girl - For the dancer in your life this is a beautiful set of cards. She also sells really great prints.
2. MaReRi - Mareri makes amazing bags and purses. She also has a cool blog by the same name.
3. Pinkkiss Pottery - I love these whimsical striped vases. The pottery in this shop is whimsical and yet classy, really great work.

$40.00 and under

1. Designs by Maya*Made - These are the cutest burlap buckets ever. This shop has a lot of truly original home decor, you will want it all.
2. Pelpa - This London based artist is making the perfect gift for the person who has everything; a handmade, hand painted, one of a kind; finger puppet. Who could ask for anything more?
3. Stave Creations - Talk about beautiful up-cycling. This artisan takes oak wine barrel stave's and makes them into beautiful home decor.

$60.00 and up
1. Ivar's Design - These up-cycled barn wood frames are to die for. The wood in these frames is estimated to be 100 years old.
2. Pink Perch - This is the cutest monkey mobile ever. This shop has the cutest mobiles, there I've said it, the cutest.
3. Bure - Bure Felts - Can you believe these felted slippers are in my shop's colors? I love felt and this shop has some amazing felted products.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Craft Sale Cash Wrap

One of the things I learned at my first show is that check-out can get a little chaotic. To make the process simpler I created a handy cash wrap station for myself.

I found a vintage box, in this case an old steno machine case.

Then I cut dividers out of card board and covered them with fun fabric.

And voila, looks and works great.
The only thing the images don't show is that I have a clip board velcro-ed to the top with of the case to hold the receipts while I write them out.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Take the Hand Made Challenge

Now that we are all on the hunt for that perfect Holiday Gift I would like to issue the Handmade Challenge to my friends and family.

I Took The Handmade Pledge!
With money so tight and the economy so scary we are thinking more about, not just what we want to buy, but who we want to buy it from. If you go to, insert big box store name here, and buy something you are a drop in their huge pile of gold. But if you buy from, insert name of individual artisan here, you are helping that artisan make a living, stay home with the kids, or helping them support their crafting habit. If you buy hand made you are that artisan's customer and supporter not just a consumer. I hope that sounds as upbeat and fun as I mean it to sound. Take the Challenge, truly unique and one of a kind gifts are in your future.

And don't worry I'm not going to abandon you to the wolves of finding hand made gifts. I have some ideas for you and I will be sharing a ton of them over the next month and a half.

A great place to start your hunt is on etsy, Paper Stitch, 1000 Markets, or one of the other handmade market places. I will share more in the next post.

okay now for the gift ideas. I have 4 categories: $10.00 and under, $20.00 and under, $40.00 and under and $60.00 and over. I hope you enjoy them and get inspired.

$10.00 and under from Nature Design
Standard size coffee scoop to measure the quantity of coffee to coffee machine. These may also be used for simple decoration or as a souvenir. 15g (4.5 x 1.5 x 1.2 inch). These super cute coffee scoops would make a great stocking stuffer or teachers gift.

$20.00 and under a print by artist Elle J.Wilson
All her prints are individually printed by the artist. They are printed on Specialty Bockingford Watercolour Inkjet paper, which gives the print the look and feel of an Original watercolour. Each print is hand-signed, titled and numbered by the artist Elle J. Wilson and comes with a Signed Certificate of Authenticity.

I have one of these prints and I absolutely love it.

$40.00 and under a sweet ring from Chocolate and Steel
Christine's work is really lovely, impeccably finished, and loved by many. This ring is made of reclaimed fine silver. It is a beautiful pure bright silver. The ring band is roughly 1/8" wide and has a hammered texture on the outside. The tiny heart is stamped deep into the organic shaped metal, oxidized and measures about 3/8" in diameter.

And on a personal note Christine is a warm, giving, and inspiring person who I'm glad to call a friend.

$60.00 and over this sweet bag from Thongbai Tatong

This item ships free, all the way from the Netherlands, to anywhere in the world!

The exterior of the bag is made of dark grey home décor cotton with floral print in camel color. The middle part, the top and the straps are made of medium weight cotton canvas in coordinating camel color. The three appliqué flowers in the middle are made of black cotton canvas. Contrasting red hand stitches around the applique and red machine stitches on the exterior, including the straps, are added to give some fun and unique look to the bag. The lining is made of natural unbleached cotton. There are five interior pockets of different sizes and one pen slot. They are made of unbleached cotton and lined with beautiful home décor weight floral cotton print.

I hope you liked my first four ideas. You will see many many more.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I'm an Ad Man - And Give Away Alert

This is just a quick post to do a little bragging and pimping.

Chocolate Ad003
The pimping is to tell everyone that Christine of Chocolate and Steel is having a give away hosted by etsy stalker, one of my favorite sites. You can win the fantastic heart ring featured in the above ad. She is showcased and gave them a really fantastic interview. Christine is upbeat and inspirational, the interview is a must read. So go check it out.

And the bragging is that I created the above ad for Christine and I think it turned out really nice, if I do say so myself.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Display is Born; last entry

As you all know, I've been obsessed with creating my display for craft shows. See Parts 1, 2, and 3 if you doubt me. Well this Sunday I put the display to the test at the Rose Bowl Flea Market/ Arts and Craft show and it was a success. I got several compliments on the display from other vendors and Christine of Chocolate and Steel said the colors really popped. I really value her opinion so that made me happy.

I think the only things you haven't seen are Table 2 and any of my work on the displays, so lets start there.

Here's table 2. I'll be tweaking it a little but I'm mostly happish.

And Here's table 1 all dressed up with my work.

And last, but not least, here's how are booth looked all together.

And now you probably want to know if I hit my target budget...Yes. WhooHoo. So the final tally is thus:

Table clothes; Michael Levin Loft 2.00 a lbs cotton fabric. $10.00
Frames; Michael's Arts and Crafts 1.00 pine frames. $10.00
Floral Foam; Michael's Arts and Crafts $8.00
Potpourri; Michael's Arts and Crafts. $10.00
Blue Craft Paint; Michael's Arts and Crafts. $2.00
Grand total $40.00

I'm so excited. Now, full disclosure, before the SD show I did buy a cool sign for $25.00. And I bought a vintage box for $8.00 to turn into a cash register, which I will show you soon. So at the moment I have $73.00 invested in my booth. But I think I have done a good job not braking the bank for this part of my new business. And although the frames may be an obvious choice, I really like the way the whole thing has turned out.

Tell me what you think of the final product. I would love to here your thoughts.