August 19, 2010

Never-Ending List of Tutorials to Try

My creation

To say I am a
Jack of All Trades but a master of none isn't really an insult. I used to think it was... I wanted to be a master of something! Now that I have a collection of merit badges for different skills, interests, and hobbies, I've come to realize that I don't want to peg myself into just one area of expertise. I love that my bedroom is cluttered with a myriad of craft supplies, books, odds and ends - that's what keeps me sane! Nothing makes me happier than seeing a tutorial or project around the internet and saying, "Ohh! I can do that... Let me dig out my _____ and that box of ____ and get to work!" That being said, the realization has come that perhaps I have too long of a list of things I'd like to try. In an effort to narrow that list down, perhaps I should post it here and cross things off as I go along. Ready! GO!

Craft Projects


French Macarons - CHECK! Here are mine :)
Lemon Bars (more drool...)

Gift Ideas

Alright! So let's see how many of these I churn through between now and Christmas time... Wish me luck! Also, feel free to leave a comment if you've tried any of these tutorials before, I'd love any tips, tricks, or... Heck! Give me some more tutorials to add to the list!

August 15, 2010

Macar-oh, no!

Recently, my fascination in French Macarons has grown exponentially. Now don't confuse them with macaroons, their equally yummy coconut cousins... These are macarons - one "o" and very French! After seeing them scattered around the internet and never having tasted one myself, I decided it was time I dove into the world of finicky French pastries. I've never needed to meticulously follow a recipe like this before and I don't think I've been so determined to get something right! Not only are these colorful confections delicious, but they are adorable as well.

image: credit

My mission began after reading this recipe. I got what ingredients I lacked and set to work. The directions, I thought, were pretty straight forward. After following them quite closely, I was extremely disappointed when they came out speckled, runny, and gooey.

Macaron: V.1.0 - Failure :(

Mistake #1: While I set my egg whites out overnight as the recipe instructed, I didn't understand WHY I was keeping eggs out and covered them tightly with plastic wrap. Seems logical, right? Wrong! The purpose of leaving your egg whites out is to let some of the moisture evaporate out. Covering them with plastic obviously defeats that.

Mistake #2: I was unable to find store-bought almond flour so I settled to grind my own almonds into dust. That would have been fine had I known to Blanche the almonds and remove their skins first. Not a fatal flaw, but the asthetic is lost when the shiney shells are speckled with almond skin.

Mistake #3: I am pretty sure my proportions were off, causing the batter to be super runny.

After lamenting the loss of my first batch, I set to doing lots of research. Once I read a bit of information from Syrup and Tang, I began to understand what went so wrong. I altered my course and tried it again. This time, I hit the mark... The yummy, crisp, chocolaty mark.

Macaron: V.2.0 - SUCCESS!

Ahh, success!
The only thing I would do differently next time would be to put less chocolate ganache in the middle... A strange concept, I know. Mine aren't quite so perfect, but they are edible and much prettier than the first attempt. Needless to say, but you guys will be seeing some more of these little lovelies soon... Both in edible form and wearable form :)

Moral of the story - Always try to find out WHY you're supposed to follow recipes to the letter.
Also, keep in mind that cooking is an ART, while baking is a SCIENCE.

Have you ever had a recipe turn out TERRIBLY wrong? Comment! I'd love to hear about your trial and error stories :)

July 28, 2010

Summer Time

And the livin's easy...

It's now late July, one of my least favorite times of the year in terms of weather. I severely dislike heat and humidity. I get cranky whenever there is sweat on my skin. Add in a monotonous work schedule, job applications for the upcoming school year, and a plethora of family crises, and so far the Summer of 2010 has been less than favorable.

However, one fabulous thing has happened so far this summer. I had the chance to participate in a really neat outdoor craft fair! The Handmade Faire held its fourth gathering on Saturday, July 17th and I was so honored to be a part of it! Put together by the amazingly organized and talented Abbie (Original Abbie, that is), the Handmade Faire brought together a myriad of talented individuals! My booth was surrounded by friendly folks - Green Cow Studios and their fabulous handcrafted soaps to my left, The wonderful Kim and Denise of 1 Oak Handbags to my right, and a very talented clay artist, Kathy in the booth directly behind me.

Shoppers cycled through from the wee hours of the AM until the afternoon was ripe! I saw so many happy faces and got to talk to so many really great people. I look forward to more Handmade Faires in the future and I hope everyone can experience great handcrafted events like this one. Shout it from the rooftops, people... BUY HANDMADE!

---me & my booth---

June 20, 2010

Etsy Craft Party!

On Friday, June 18th at approximately 4:45pm, I set out on an adventure with a good friend of mine, Alex.

We left our boring Central Jersey suburb and hopped on a bus bound for New York City. Typically, the bus ride would last about 45 minutes... Well, two hours later, we arrived at Port Authority in NYC.

That would not deter us... We then hoofed it over to the subway station on got on the A train to Brooklyn. What we thought would be the most harrowing portion of our journey ended up being the most relaxing. Ahh, New York subway, I'm impressed.

Alex and I climb up the steps onto the streets of Brooklyn, the sun still shining and our destination only a few blocks away. I pull out my handy, dandy iPhone and punch in the address to get walking directions. Well, folks, technology is only helpful when the user fully understands it.

After heading in the wrong direction two or three times, we finally were on the right path. Number fifty-five Washington Street. Not too difficult, right? Try standing on the corner of Washington and Front looking up and down the street for ten minutes not seeing the building you're supposed to be in. We did get a good look at the Brooklyn Bridge, though!

Wait! There it is!! Get to the fifth floor! Hurry, hurry!

Do you see it? Off in the distance... AHhhhh!


Visiting the Etsy Headquarters in Brooklyn has been on my list of things to do since I first found out Etsy was IN Brooklyn! Work schedules, cruddy weather, and lack of funds prevented the trip earlier, but we would not be discouraged! The Etsy Craft/Birthday Party was the perfect excuse to request off of work and make that journey!

There was screen printing, snacks, silly phone booths, glass painting, button making, photo ops, a DJ, and creativity GALORE! I expect to be making a trip to Brooklyn more often now that I know how great this place is. You should, too!

Check out Etsy's weekly craft nights, I know I will be there a few times this summer! They also have many other events coming up, so be sure to give it a look!

Was anyone else at the Etsy party? We got there a little late and didn't have too much time to socialize. Leave me a comment here!

June 17, 2010

June 2010 Market Table and Goodies

This past Saturday was Flea Market table #2 for Liz and I. We fared MUCH better than the last market. Our canopy worked perfectly and we stayed shaded and happy. I think that definitely helped our sales... Being in a better mood surely drew in more browsers!

I tried a few new things with my table set up and I really liked how it turned out. I've been searching and applying to more and more craft shows for this summer and I'm really excited about all this! Wish me luck, fellow crafters.

Oh! And as usual, I got a request for a custom item at this month's market. Woohoo! I really do love custom orders, they're so satisfying and fun to do! This one came from a very friendly mother who remembered us from last month and wanted some Little Mermaid inspired necklaces made for her two daughters. I hope she likes them!

So for the other artists out there... Do you like custom orders? What's the most interesting order you've taken? Any horror stories you care to share?

June 3, 2010

Strawberry Pie

I hope everyone out there in blogland had a safe, happy, and patriotic Memorial Day celebration this past weekend. I know I did! The first part of the weekend was spent with a very good friend of mine from college, Cassie! She lives on a lake in my dream town and I was so glad to spend some chill-out time with her. During our reunion, we explored her town, checking out a neat little bookstore an a local farm market. Cassie ended up with 8 pints of fresh, local grown strawberries. DELICIOUS strawberries! So we made a strawberry pie. It was so yummy and just plain nice to look at. I will have to make something similar from clay, why not?

Enough babbling from me... Enjoy your Thursday!

May 20, 2010

Silhouettes and Cupcakes

Once this summer ends, I will officially be the only grown woman in my family who does not have any children. Not that I'm complaining or anything, (trust me- not complaining!) but that fact keeps me out of that exclusive motherhood club while each of my cousins has their own little baby to fawn over 24/7. Luckily this leaves Aunt Jessie with plenty of time to shower these children with handmade gifties!

My oldest cousin has two little'uns... Kay, a four-year-old girl who frequently reminds me that I am her best friend, and Jay, a two-year-old boy who rolls his eyes just as well as the high schoolers I have in my classes (he definitely gets that from his Momma).

This year for Mother's Day, I got a bit of help from these kidlets when it came time to make their Momma's gift!

Here are a few tutorials from around the web if you'd like to take on this craft yourself.

This one is closest to the way I created my silhouettes. You'll need PhotoShop or a similar program.

This is an alternate process that relies on hard copies of the photos if you prefer a more hands-on method.

Here's a third option that uses fabric and fabric paint.

My two little models were quite patient and cooperative. They even brought by some cupcakes in return!

Perhaps I should make some cupcake silhouettes, eh?

May 19, 2010

May Flea Market Report

Allow me to fill you in on how the first 2010 table at a craft show/flea market went the first Saturday in May for my partner in crime (Liz from Coffey Shop Charms) and myself...

Alarm goes off... I grumble and groan and lift my already tired body out of bed.

Tables- check
Chairs- check
Canopy- check
Put the last box in the car and head down the road.

Arrive at the market, wait in line to get a spot. Unload the tables, chairs, canopy, and boxes of goodies to sell.

Realize the canopy we brought is broken and missing pieces.
The fellow at the neighboring table informs us it will be around 90 degrees today without a cloud in the sky.
Realize we have no sunblock.

Finish setting up our tables, drink our coffee and tea and gobble down our breakfast sandwiches.

My half of the table

Liz's half of the table

Sun gets hotter as people wander by our table. Many browsers give lovely compliments to our work while others are compelled to point out the fact we have no canopy and the sun is baking our pale skin. Really? We didn't notice...

Found sunblock and pretty Asian style parasols at other tables selling at the market. Our delicate skin now stands a chance!!

Liz and Me

Comments now turn to our feeble attempt at staying shaded by our little parasol umbrellas. For the most part, they worked. And they were cute. Cute is always a plus!

Break down the tables and pack up the car. Run to a few tables I spotted earlier in the day to purchase a few things. I got a new mascara, some lovely buttons, and a ducky geisha! She now sits happily on my desk and watches me as I work.

All in all, we covered the cost of the table and pocketed a couple bucks. Most importantly, we got fabulous feedback, handed out a ton of business cards (one of which turned into a custom order!) and enjoyed a heaping helping of this...

Funnel cake!

I hope the craft/flea market season is starting out well for the rest of you out there!!

Any tips to share? I'd love to share them in a future post!!

May 4, 2010


Thought I forgot, ehhh??

I didn't, I promise! Blame the wait on work schedules, springtime allergies, flea markets, and nieces and nephews...

Anyways, here is your winner of the Spring Fling Giveaway!

Number 9... Number 9...


And since it took me so long to post the winner... I have a second prize to give!

You submitted the most entries, so you definitely deserve a prize :) I'll be sending you a different cupcake, but I promise it will be just as cute!

I will be e-mailing you both today :) Congratulations again and thanks to all the readers who entered!

April 28, 2010

iPhone Test

Just testing this out... Anyone know of a good iPhone app for blogging with blogspot?

Let's throw in a photo... Here's my dog Gizmo looking rather pathetic on the couch.

Oh! Yeah... Giveaway winner coming later today :) I didn't forget... I've just been running around like a crazy person lately!