Archive for June, 2011

busy bee

howdy stranger! apologies for being awol, blogwise. i’ve been keeping busy, busy, busy: mostly getting ready for the Sew Funky Marketplace and sometimes painting the garage.

i’ve been crazy busy setting up my display for my booth, and this past week i focused a lot on branding and packaging. after much hemming and hawing, i have decided to use birds as part of my image. {does it count that this decision stems from the business cards i got way before portlandia came about? did you know that my only tattoo is a birdie? and she’s two years old! so i’ve been putting a bird on it for a while now. what i’m trying to say is that i’m not jumping on the bandwagon, baby, i’ve been on the bandwagon. and we’re still accepting new members.}

so this week i printed out labels and stuck them onto my bags…{looking for good, cheap, round labels? check out world label}…

…and i made the sign for my booth using freezer paper to screen print onto fabric {the birds i free-handed}…

…and i made more trays for displaying little objects…

…and i cut up lots of fluff {thick batting} for my handmade boxes…

…and i got my printer tray ready to display earrings.

there’s been lots more, but i thought that instead of overwhelm you all at once, i’d drag it out a few days. tomorrow i’ll show you some of the new goodies that i’m excited to bring the shop. then i’ll show you what we’ve been up to with the garage. {hint: it looks so good i do a little happy dance every time i see it!}.


June 30, 2011 at 10:24 am Leave a comment

in other news…

…the hubby and i continue to paint the garage. it’s going slowly cause we keep taking so many breaks. like when he goes out of town for 10 days. there’s been scraping and sanding and patching {oh my!}. now we’ve moved onto priming and hope eventually to be able to paint. we’ve even picked out the colors!

…we have teeny little tomatoes on the plants i grew from seed this year. we also have three small, hard nectarines and five flowers on our pomegranate tree. {not that we’re counting.}

no, i don't always land on my paws. yes, there is some grunting.

…i did my first ever adult backbend, thanks to tips from my new yoga teacher. looks weird, feels good. turns out the secret is to open your heart. {it’s a lesson i’m constantly re-learning.}

…we watched some dear friends’ belongings being packed onto a moving truck and said goodbye. we’ll miss you dave, kelly, gabby & ike!

…i made gluten-free, dairy-free coconut macaroons that are pretty darn awesome, if i do say so myself. {keep an eye out for the recipe.} even better? top them with melted chocolate…

…i continue to prep for the sew funky marketplace with only three weeks to go. eek! i feel alternately like i have it under control and that it’s not all going to get done. {the fabric i died for my booth backdrop turned out denim blue instead of grey. but then again, i have my trays and display pieces worked out. but then again i still haven’t found my ideal earring display piece. it’ll all work out, right? right?!}

…my lightscoop arrived, as did my divine twine. isn’t it fun to get stuff in the mail? even if you have to pay for it yourself?

…the dust bunnies are breeding, the laundry is piling up and then falling over and making new piles {quit breeding!}, and the mess on the dining room table renders it unusable. as a dining room table, that is. it makes a great place for staging my booth.

June 20, 2011 at 2:53 pm Leave a comment

happy father’s day!

oh, iiiiiiiiiii could tell you whyyyyyy the ocean meets the shore

when i was 10 years old, my brother {then 4} and i found the perfect gift for our dad {well, his dad, my stepdad, an unkind man who certainly did not deserve the unrequited love of two small children.} it was an oil can. i can’t remember why he wanted an oil can, but he did, and we “stumbled upon it” one day, probably guided heavily by our mother.

it was the first time that i ever realized that a gift could bring someone so much joy. you find something they want, and suddenly your whole body is zinging with the yes-ness of it. {how could you have ever gotten them something else? why did not this not occur to you sooner? no other gift can compare to this awesome thing! you are clearly a genius.} it was the first time i understood that giving is better than receiving.

i also learned how important the element of surprise is. my brother, being all of 4, did not appreciate this subtlety, and proceeded to tell our father/step-father, “i can’t tell you what we got you, but it’s an oil can!”

oh, he was so excited. my brother, i mean. oddly enough, i don’t remember a thing about my step-father’s response. i was furious at my brother, of course, in my unrepentant prepubescent glory. {i had finally found the one thing that would make my step-dad like me, i was just sure of it, and now my brother had gone and ruined the whole shiny moment of him opening the most perfect present ever.}

i’m telling you all this as my weird way of saying that father’s day is whatever it means to you and yours. personally, i think of my mom, who taught me how to use power tools and get rid of jerks, especially the ones who will never appreciate the love you put into the gifts you give, material or otherwise. you should celebrate your dad {or dads, or lack of any, or step-dad, or mentor, or whoever has “fathered” you} with all your heart. get him the proverbial oil can, try not to spill the beans, and know that he loves you for it.

happy father’s day!

June 19, 2011 at 11:33 am Leave a comment

the best steak sauce ever

i want you to know how good this is: it’s amazing. it’s tangy, a little bit sweet, spicy enough to make it interesting, and smoky. it makes any steak, burger, chicken, or tofu delicious. {just change the chicken broth to non-chicken broth to make it vegetarian.} this sauce disappears at our house because we eat it with anything off the grill and even use it for basting by diluting it with more chicken broth. some of the ingredients are not found at your average grocery store, but are worth the search; see my tips for finding these ingredients below. this recipe makes about two cups of steak sauce awesomeness.

all you'll need {plus lemon juice, who snuck in uninvited}


2 Tbsp butter
one onion {or a couple of shallots} chopped smallish
4 cloves garlic, finely diced
3 Tbsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp ancho chile powder
pinch cayenne or chipotle for more heat, if desired
3 Tbsp tomato paste
2 cups chicken broth
1/8 cup brown sugar {more if you like it sweet}
3 Tbsp molasses
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, the good stuff
1/3 cup pomegranate syrup
salt and pepper to taste
ground lapsang souchang tea, for smoky flavor

{i get my pomegranate syrup at a mediterranean market, but if you can’t find it, you could also use tamarind paste to give it the same fruity tanginess. i get the lapsang souchong tea, a smoked black tea, at a tea store, then grind it up in a coffee grinder. it’s not necessary, but it is awesome!}

  1. start by caramelizing the onions {or shallots} in the butter. {to caramelize: melt butter over low heat, add onion/shallots and cover to soften for about 5-10 minutes. then uncover and saute over low heat, stirring occasionally.} add the garlic at the end and saute for 30 seconds.
  2. add in the cumin, coriander, and ancho chile powder, adding extra spiciness if you want it {though you could always add it later}. continue to stir over low heat for about a minute to warm up the spices.
  3. stir in the tomato paste until it’s all mixed together, then add the chicken broth. increase heat and bring to a boil, stirring continuously. then reduce heat and add the brown sugar, molasses, balsamic vinegar and pomegranate syrup or tamarind paste.
  4. allow the sauce to simmer until it is reduced to about 2/3 the volume {about 30-45 minutes}, stirring occasionally. then season to taste, adding salt and pepper, adding the lapsang souchong at the end.
  5. cool and spoon into a nice manly jar.
  6. store it in the fridge and bring it out on the big day. slather it on grilled food every day!

steak sauce for father's day {or any day, really}

this sauce should last 6 weeks in the fridge. {though if you love it as much as we do, it won’t still be around in 6 weeks.} bon appetit!

June 17, 2011 at 2:45 pm 3 comments

father’s day gift wrapping ideas

okay, we’ve covered father’s day cards and decorating ideas, now: how to wrap that present? i lean towards the simple, myself, and these tie-inspired wrappings are super cute, even if your dad never puts one on. click on the images for direct links to the tutorials.

i love these cute and simple tie bags {from bliss bloom blog}

more intricate shirt & tie bags {from paper crave}

tie it up with a bowtie {from martha stewart}

make a ribbon tie {from paper crave}

whether you go for simple or intricate, it’s the thought that counts, right? you know he’ll love it if you did it. up tomorrow: my very own mouth-watering homemade steak sauce recipe.

June 16, 2011 at 2:51 pm 2 comments

father’s day decorations

continuing with our father’s day theme {yesterday was cute handmade card ideas} let’s make some fun decorations to celebrate the whole day. how about a bunting banner made from paper? a tie wreath from old or thrifted ties? and don’t forget to set the table! click the images for a direct link to the tutorials.

father's day tie bunting from me and my insanity

tie wreath from good housekeeping

decorate the table with this folded napkin idea from how about orange

no matter how you decorate {or don’t} for father’s day, do it with fun in mind. it’s supposed to be a day for celebrating what you love about the guy! coming tomorrow: ideas for wrapping that father’s day gift.

June 15, 2011 at 2:18 pm 3 comments

keepin’ busy

here are a few updates from the world of getting ready for the sew funky marketplace. i finally found another folding table {a 6 footer that also folds in half, meaning it fits in our car}. i ordered 600 big round labels {to go with the 250 kraft shopping bags i’ve ordered!}. i ordered some divine twine {yay!} from whisker graphics. i’ve been dyeing the $3 a yard fabric so that it will be a nice grey for the backdrop of my booth. i’m working on constructing that backdrop out of pvc pipe. and i finally did a mock up of my booth, sans backdrop.

what did i learn? an 8 foot by 4 foot booth is a lot smaller in reality than it is in my head. viola may not be able to come, because i have a really cool wooden crate that looks good and holds product. sorry vi. but it was good to see it all laid out and in place. i was worried i had too many trays, but it looks like i’ll have just the right amount, once i put them together.

sweet paper birdies // via charcoal & crayons

i like how my little paper birdies turned out! i got the idea from charcoal & crayons, where there is a nice tutorial on how to put them together. i’ll scatter them throughout the display, to tie in with the birdies on my business cards. when i get my stickers printed up, they’ll have little birdies on them, too!

i like how the doilies look on top of the grey velvet. it remains to be seen whether there will be enough time {and energy!} to make the full table runner as planned.

transforming gold into silver with spray paint

pvc pipe is good for so many things!

i've wanted some of this stuff forever!

the pile of stuff is growing!

look at all those boxes! i’ll make tons more in time for the fair. i’ll have my tags, too.

phew! i’m exhausted. but happy.

June 14, 2011 at 9:08 pm Leave a comment

father’s day cards

it’s around the corner! father’s day is this sunday, june 19th so i thought i’d share some cute cards that you can make. just click on the image for a direct link to the tutorials.

last minute father's day card from little birdie secrets

shirt-cuff card from martha stewart

pocket square card from martha stewart

even if you’re not giving dad a pocket square or cufflinks, i still think these cards are super cute! tomorrow i’ll put up a few decorations that have caught my eye. thursday you’ll see some cute gift wrapping ideas. and friday i’ll share with you my very own recipe for the most amazing steak sauce ever. {evereverever.} even if your dad’s a vegetarian, you’ll want to whip this up for his tofu! plus, homemade gifts are the best, don’t you think?

June 14, 2011 at 2:16 pm 2 comments

what the fuss?!

here’s all the info for the sew funky marketplace! hope to see you there! {if you’re nowhere near southern california, i’m willing to accept a rain check until i’m closer to you.} someday soon i promise to bombard you with father’s day ideas, recipes, and cards instead of all this craft fair stuff. pinky swear.

June 10, 2011 at 10:25 am Leave a comment

vintage-y finds

putting together my booth for the sew funky marketplace has been stressful but fun. choosing the colors was easy, but what about the tone? what do i want to say? {i know, i take myself too seriously.} but you know that sensation when you walk into a room or a store and everything goes together and evokes a feeling? that’s what i’m going for.

to that end, i am trying for a nature-inspired, simple-but-not-boring, vintage-but-not-thrift {or worse, antique-and-stuffy}, classic-and-timeless-but-not-dull, open/airy/fresh kind of a thing. yeeeeeaaaaaahhhhh. we’ll see how it goes. but i thought i’d share with you some of my finds from this week’s raid of all the area thrift/vintage/antique stores. maybe it’ll give you a sense of where i’m going.

they had almost all the right letters

i’m super excited about this find: wooden printers’ letters that spell out dogwood & poppy! {i know, i know, these would actually spell bogwoob & poppy, but it looks better this way. trust me}. they were a buck a piece but i had to have them anyway. they were missing another “o” so i’m thinking of making a crepe paper dogwood to stick in its place. and the printers’ drawer?

sweet display items, both a steal

that was only $18. i know, right?! and this after i was kicking myself for not buying the $45 one i was saw last month. and that cute little wooden box with the cute little wooden closure?

reduce, reuse, recycle, drink whiskey

it’s made of old whiskey boxes. awesome. it was a bit of a splurge at $10, given that no one other than us will get to see this important detail. i’m still on the prowl for old wood crates {i wouldn’t pay $25 for them at the shi-shi antique store} to add some height to my display, and some tiered wire baskets to hold my handmade boxes, but i’m well on my way.

i'm all set for mirrors

don’t you hate it when you go to a booth or store and there’s nowhere to check out how fabulous you look in something? me too. i got these three lovely mirrors for a song {$20 for the standing/swiveling one, made out of brass/bronze and working on a nice patina; $8 for the hand mirror, which is silver plate; and $5 for the mirrored tray, which will probably get a spray paint face lift to make it look a little older.}

more doilies!

i think i almost have enough doilies now to do something like this lovely table runner for my booth. these are all painstakingly made by human hands, old enough to be stained and a little worn, and all less than $3 a piece. most were only $1.

oh yes it is

and–i’m sorry–is that a dogwood blossom?! i didn’t really need this pressed aluminum bowl, but it does kinda go with the theme. $4. maybe i’ll put a few rings in it.

oh my heavenly goodness

and while i wasn’t looking for anything for myself, i found it of course. i’ve been wanting a seth thomas wind-up clock from the 20s/30s but don’t have the spare $500 lying around. today i found this electric guy for $12. i’ll re-wire it, get a piece of glass cut for the front, clean it up a bit, and put it on our mantel, where someone thoughtfully installed an outlet howevermany years ago. and that book? polyanna from 1913. i paid $2.75, which ought to be illegal, but i’m not telling. it’ll go with my small but growing collection of old hardback children’s books that were my faves growing up.

phew, that was long! that’s a lot of stuff, huh? do you have a favorite thrift/vintage/antique find of late? do share!

June 9, 2011 at 9:18 pm Leave a comment

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