Wednesday, December 30, 2009

One More Nutcracker Post. Promise

If you know me, you know I have a love for Nutcrackers. I explained it in a post way back in 2006. And I also posted about my Nutcracker obsession, I mean love on Rare Bird Finds Blog this December. Did you Read each week? I felt I couldn't pass 2009 up without sharing a couple of my latest Nutcrackers. See this guy up on top? The closest one? He's holding a sign that says "Santa Cruz". I got this Nutcracker in honor of my daughter who's only wish in life right now is to get accepted to UC Santa Cruz. So only fitting to get a hippy nutcracker with brown hair like her. The other hippy with the guitar I got last year. (I totally forgot I got him until I unpacked him this Christmas. me bad).
Here are a few Nutcrackers that line the fireplace mantel. I have about 50 total now. I just got a couple more for Christmas and during the after Christmas sales. My funniest one is an M&M nutcracker that you can actually put m&ms in and push a button in the back and it spits them out. Awesome!!!
So as you can see, we don't celebrate Christmas around here, we celebrate Nutcracker. We don't have a Christmas tree, we have a Nutcracker tree. About 70% of our ornaments now are Nutcracker themed I'd say. Love it.
I got the wreath and hot glued little nutcrackers and red balls. I think it may be missing some on the one side there. hmmm.
Ok. for a little breather. We do have other things. This idea came to me with the excess stuff I had around. I think I shall improve the idea with lights with a white cord next year but this is what I had. Good concept, not great visual, but you get the idea.
Same with this candelabra. I had the candelabra and found these little ornaments at a discount store and attached them to make it more festive. I love the colors.
I made this last year and added the topper this year. Had to take another picture. Don't make one. I don't suggest it unless you have nothing to do for about a week. It takes for-ev-er to do. Tons of pins, Tons of buttons. But it's adorable and it's my heirloom to pass on.

One of these days I'd like to re-work a Nutcracker. I just need the guts to ruin one and change it and make it mine. I just haven't found one I want to mutilate yet. But I always have my eyes out for Nutcrackers to collect. Always.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

An Abundance Pretty Much Sums it Up

Abundance of food. We probably have already have eaten and will eat some more.
Abundance of love. We hope to have for one another and family and friends.
Abundance of laughter. The most important thing I think.
Happy Holidays and we'll see you back in 2010~

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Gift I want to Show off

Since my sister rarely goes to her Facebook, doesn't read Twitter, or my blog, I felt it safe to show off what I made her. Or actually her doggy. I have to say that because my sister doesn't want a gift for the holidays. So this is for her rescue Lab, Rupert. So for you Rupert. I feel even safer since I never see YOU on the computer. I used the same technique I do for my mixed media photo jewelry art pieces, but did it for a doggy and I love how it turned out. I hope Rupert likes it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

National Cupcake Day!

It's National Cupcake Day today, Dec. 15. And to celebrate, because being of the cupcake lover and friend of cupcake makers that I am, I must celebrate, I am having a SPECIAL.

ALL cupcake necklaces and rings in my shop today and today only are 20% off. And you know I offer FREE shipping. You WILL get it by Christmas. No code needed.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

What I've Been Up To This Weekend -The Dooce Gift Guide Results!

Imagine my surprise on Friday when all of a sudden all of these orders for Flower Ring Sets start coming in. On the third one, I contact the customer and ask her how she found me. She responds simply " :D " and I knew right away it was a good thing my weekend wasn't jam packed because I would be needing to be available to manage my Etsy orders. And good thing I have been. It's been amazing. You see, I am on the Gift Guide for her in the Accessories. See my Yellow Ring? Yeah, lots of those are now on their way to many homes across America.

Do you know about Dooce? Heather Armstrong? She's the first blogger that got fired from her job for blogging and now blogs full time. Read her story. It's beyond words. She has a bazillion followers and she's fascinating.

It's all about social networking people! My husband nags me about being on Twitter all of the time and I tell him I'm working...well I am...well some of the time. But this time it was about my friend Kristin, who owns Meringue Bake Shop and makes the yummiest cupcakes and surprises me frequently with them(oh, don't even get me started, just check out her blog and website) and our little twitter to each other. She says "hey did you see that @dooce is looking for products for her gift guide? You should email her." (in 140 characters or less) So I did. I emailed Heather some of my products that I thought might fit her aesthetic and she liked the images I emailed her and now I am just running back and forth to the store for more and more padded envelopes and to the post office to drop of shipments. I could certainly get used to success and my husband will never diss Twitter again.
Thanks again Dooce. You Rock!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

My Unique LA Experience

This was my first big show. I never had a booth. Typically only a table to contend with so walls were a whole new ball game. Jenn of justJenn Designs and I shared the booth and she made the poster in the back with my cupcake ring. I love it! Thanks again Jenn. So I took one side of the booth.
And Jenn took the other side of the booth. Her stationary items were a hit! Snarky is the way to go. They look so pink and demure from a distance, but up close, watch out.
This is how I displayed my mixed media jewelry photo art and feather-flower hair barrettes. Very colorful!
My couple earrings were a big hit. They got lots of laughs. See the pair on the top left, the wedding couple, this guy bought his fiance that was there with him these. It was so sweet. I melted. That's how it was supposed to be. Whatever's left will be listed in my etsy shop this week.
Here's my cupcake necklace and ring display. They got lots of giggles and oohs and aahs.
My flower rings are always popular. I added lots of new colors that also will be added to my shop this week.
The fun thing about shows is that I beg my friends to come and visit me and they do. Lisa came all the way from Santa Barbara with her husband, Rudy. Love them. She's wearing my red flower ring set. I unfortunately got overwhelmed and forgot to take pictures with all of my friends. Duh!
This is Ren. I finally got to meet her. She's a writer also for Rare Bird Finds. She finds "Cool Guy Things". The funny thing about Ren is that she's a good friend of Jenn and came to our booth to see Jenn and realized I was here too. Small world or what! I hope to see lots more of Ren, and Jenn. I think I need to change my name.
This is a sampling of the crowds at the show. Lots of people. Some overwhelmed. They seemed to forget how to walk or open their wallets.
I loved this lady's look. No offense but she had to be over 50 and she was rockin' this look. She was more indie than most other people there!

All in all I would have to say it was a fun weekend. Somehow food and baked goods kept popping out of nowhere to Jenn's side of the booth and so I never had to starve. Thanks again for that too Jenn! Normally I starve myself into a migraine. Also, I realized that the type of product that I have was at the right type of show because of the feedback that I got from customers. I will continue to do more shows. I would like to do more local shows however because I really want to establish a local following in Orange County as well. So that's a goal for 2010!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Cupcake Gift Sets- This Weekend Only!

What could be a cuter gift than a pack of Cupcake Crumbs cards with envelopes by justJenn Designs with a handmade cupcake ring by Bonnin Designs all together in a bakery box. These are going to be available this weekend only in our booth (719) at the Unique LA Holiday Show so we hope you'll stop by and pick up a couple for gifts. The website has directions and all you need to know.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

I'd Love To See You This Weekend at Unique LA

It's finally here; my first big independent artist show. This weekend, Dec. 5-6 from 11-6 at the California Market Center Penthouse, is the Unique Los Angeles Holiday Show and I'm a vendor. I'll be sharing a booth (719) with justJenn Designs who has the coolest stationary and paper products and we can't wait! If you click on the poster above it will bring you to the Unique site with more details like directions.

I've been preparing since September actually.

I've made new products, made new displays, got a new banner, and have lots of fun promotional deals just for the show, so you must come. I really need your support. I'm super nervous too, but don't tell anyone. I'm sure once I get set up and going I'll be ok. I just really want to do well. I think I have some cool stuff, I just hope other people think the same thing. Please stop by and at least say hi.

I would love to see you and know you're supporting independent artists. We really appreciate that!

Plus, if you stop by my booth and say you read this blog post, I'll give you a FREE gift. (small bribe) It's worth it. Don't feel shame.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I Cooked Our Own Thanksgiving This Year

This year Thanksgiving was at my house with my own little family of 4. I had my daughter make the cranberry sauce and I made everything else; a first. I want to share what I made so I can make it again next year for maybe more people because it was delicious and it wasn’t all done out of recipes and if it was, many were modified. Typically, my mother and I have a tradition where we make Thanksgiving using recipes from the newest Bon Appetit magazine. This year, I went through all of my old issues, which I save (and are now online as well on ) as well as other resources that popped up.

The Turkey

As my mother does it on the barbeque, I do as well because it delivers a moist and flavorful turkey. (I always make sure I have a gas grill big enough for a turkey when covered.) I prepared the turkey by putting it in an aluminum roaster on a roasting rack. I squeezed navel oranges on it and brushed it with melted butter. I sprinkled salt, marjoram, and tarragon on it. And then I poured about a cup of chicken broth in the bottom of the roaster and covered it tightly with aluminum foil. I grilled it on low under the turkey and med-low on the side burners for 2 hours, uncovered it, brushed it with more butter and grilled it for almost 2 more hours. This was a 14 lb. bird. It was fall of the bone tender and juicy. (I modified a recipe from Sarah Moulton)

The Necessary Kitchen Tool (used for carving the turkey)

Turkey Broth

I followed a recipe from Sarah Moulton Then I was able to cut the giblets, heart and neck meat for the gravy and save the broth for cooking another meal.


A wing and a prayer basic gravy with pan drippings, flour and wisking wildly and then I added a little sage and vermouth. And reduced it.

The Cranberry Sauce

The kids LOVE cranberry sauce. They eat it for 3 meals a day after Thanksgiving so we made plenty this year. My daughter made it according to the recipe on the bag x 3 because we got 3 bags but added chopped up orange pieces and “lots of cinnamon”. She cooked the cranberries just long enough so many were still whole. Perfect!

Mashed Potatoes with Celery Root

Nothing is exact in my world. So I can’t tell you exactly how many potatoes but I used about 9 medium size Yukon Gold potatoes that I half peeled and cut up in half, celery root, cleaned and cut up in pieces. Boil in salted water until tender. Drain water. Mash and add ½ stick butter, 1 Tbs minced garlic, about a cup of Half-Half and pepper and salt to taste. If you want it softer, add regular milk to your liking as you mash more. (my recipe)

Artichoke, Bacon, Chestnut, and Parmesan Stuffing (modified from

I’m not a sausage lover and I don’t know why all stuffing either has sausage in it or is made of cornbread. So I made this stuffing to my liking. And my liking includes bacon!

Considering the fact that I had to do all of my shopping like a week in advance for the most part and I was doing the cooking myself, I did have to take shortcuts. This stuffing had one of the shortcuts. Next year, it may not. I used boxed bread cubes.

The modifications. I used a package of bacon and cooked it crispy and broke it in pieces and added it to the recipe when sautéing the vegetables. I also used some of the bacon grease as a substitute for some of the olive oil for sautéing for flavor. I added a package or 5 oz of steamed chestnuts that I got at Trader Joes. I cut them up in pieces. And one box of bread cubes. Otherwise I followed the recipe as it states.

Green Beans with Pepitas (pumpkin seeds).

I can’t remember where I saw something similar, maybe it was on a Thanksgiving Challenge tv show or something but I thought this idea was a good one. I sautéed in olive oil, the green beans and pepitas on med-high and covered them on low for a couple of min. until the green beans softened a bit. I like when I get a little burned-ness on the green beans. I seasoned them with salt and onion powder. Easy.


We ended up going to the neighbors to share desserts. I brought a Pumpkin Tiramisu and Rocky Road Fudge. Here are the recipes.

Rocky Road Fudge (no picture, sorry. It got eaten way too fast)
I made this fudge with 1 ¾ packages of semi-sweet chocolate morsels and 1 tsp cinnamon, ¾ c chopped pecans, 1 c mini marshmallows, 1 can condensed milk. Since it’s not Christmas, I put it in a square baking pan and cut it into small cubes.

I follow this recipe always and modify the ingredients to my liking.

Pumpkin Tiramisu

I followed this recipe to the letter. I will definitely make this every year or even everytime I want to make a tiramisu. I think the hardest part about this recipe is trying to find Amaretti cookies. World Market is your best bet besides an Italian market. Loved this.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Making My Jeans...Wearable (super simple Tutorial)

Rip...devastation. My favorite jeans ripped at the knee. It can't be. I hate buying new jeans. I hate trying on pants. I must save these. I must revive these. I must. I must use hot pink yarn! Yes.
The devastation up close
Using pink cotton yarn (Sugar 'n Cream) that you can get at any craft store and a yarn needle I did a cross stitch across. Took about a minute. Tied a knot. Then I added a little bird iron-on patch I got gratis from Polly Danger at a craft show. I like how it turned out. At least people won't be staring at my big hole. They might be staring at my questionable knee but who cares. At least I did something about the hole.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

More Indie Talent to Add

Last weekend I met my friends Carrie and Kelley at the Handmade Brigade show in Costa Mesa. Hanging out with them is always fun and they even took me out for an early birthday lunch which was so sweet. It was also really special seeing my pals Mincing Mockingbird, Frantic Meerkat, and Steph of Hearts and Laserbeams selling at HMB. I don't get to see them much and I always need a laugh or 10!

Also, I did a little bit of shopping. Not much, but a little bit. I was delighted to meet Nan Lawson . The cool thing about living in the Orange County/Los Angeles area is all of the amazing talent. I've seen Nan's work on Etsy and never thought she'd be at a small show in Orange County, and there she was inside the building, in a little corner, with her partner in crime (that's what she calls him). So I had to buy this print. I have to admit that I do have a soft spot for Max and always have (Where the Wild Things Are). And now that the movie is out I am so glad I nabbed one of these before she had none left.

You know where this is going to go in my home. And I had to make sure when I bought it. "Nan, do you have a problem if I hang this in my potty room?" I explained "It's actually my Indie art gallery room. We can sit there and appreciate it for a while. People ask to come in and check it out too. Not when we are occupying the room of course." She stated "Not a problem." Whew! So I got the print and it's hanging up now in a place of distinction.
I also made this one of Summer using the techniques of my mixed media jewelry photo art pieces and it is hanging in my bathroom as well. it's 3 x 3.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Cupcake Earrings!

Cupcake Earrings!, originally uploaded by kristin_a.

My friend Kristin Ausk owns Meringue Bake Shop. She makes the most amazing cupcakes and so I made her some cupcake earrings to match her logo that she can wear when she's on the job. What do you think? Custom cupcake earrings.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Another Win for My Team!

One day I was reading my Twitter and I saw that one of my contacts, Lisa Pijuan-Nomura was having a giveaway on her blog, Girl Can Create. I went to check it out. I had never seen her work and was just blown away by the talent that this girl has. She is a mixed media artist that uses vintage photos and different papers and color to create art collages that are simply magnificent. I hurried and entered her giveaway for the Starling Limited Edition Fine Art Print (which is available). After all, I have the perfect room to hang it in. A few days later I received an email stating that I had won her giveaway. I rushed over to her blog and there was my name. Sure enough, I had won. I can’t believe my luck lately. But believe me, I appreciate it, I really, really do!!! So Thank You Lisa. Please visit her blog and go to her Etsy store and see all of her work available. Support her. She deserves it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I Wouldn' t Call Myself Lucky, But...

Melissa Contreras of Axelhoney is one of my all time favorite indie designers. If any of you remember the adorable sculpted Berrs from a few years ago, that's what drew me straight to her. She is an accomplished painter, illustrator, sculptor, ceramicist, and now silver smith. And guess what, I won a double headed snake necklace of hers! Yup, that's right! It was a giveaway on the OC Weekly Column of Steph Calvert's Gettin' Made that she did on Melissa's fine work a couple weeks ago.
But you should see her paintings these days. They are magical. Head on over to her shop and see for yourself. Melissa of Axelhoney, don't forget this girl! She'll be around.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Found A Way

I love when an original idea finally makes it out of my puny brain. It's been so long and let me tell you, it feels so good. I always wanted to hang art of jewelry, but I couldn't paint or draw, my current photo editing program is the pits, and I don't know Photo Shop. So it wasn't until I started doing research for another blog article on photography techniques for The Succulent Wife Blog, when I came across many websites that did photo enhancement in easier ways than Photo Shop ever could. I was half way there. I finally figured out how the woman who loves jewelry, but doesn't like to wear it, can still have it as art, in her home, hanging on her walls.
I've taken my favorite pieces of original jewelry that I've designed and used the photos of them to come up with what I call mixed media jewelry photo art. I apply the enhanced photos to hand painted canvases and then embellish them with paints and sometimes with other things to result in a one of a kind art piece. Aren't they fun. There are only 5 introductory pieces currently available in my shop now.