Thursday, December 31, 2009

Made with Love

Shane likes to have Irish brown bread with a cup of tea but whenever I make it he tells me to make it with love.

He swears he can tell.

So this morning when I made him a brand new loaf, I made sure he knew I put lots of love in it. It was the least I could do since he has been so generous in setting up my new studio; purchasing all the furniture and containers AND spending two days building all of it. The studio benefits him as well since all my mess, I mean creative chaos, will be neatly placed in one room.

The brown bread of love:

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

I won't be sad to see 2009 go bye-bye. It's been a difficult year. I will take with me a few lessons learned. I am talented and creative, the world did not end as we know it, the children are fine without so much "stuff," as a matter of fact, we all are. And the biggest lesson, this too shall pass.

To everyone that has read my blog or is reading it for the first time, I wish you great memories this Christmas and only the best for the coming new year.

See you on the flip side!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mardi Gras in December

Ok, so it's not really in December. I just happen to be working on a new project for a big bash for Mardi Gras. It's all top secret for now but part of the project includes these little miniature mardi gras masks. They have been incredibly fun to decorate...the trimming part, not so much.

I'm hoping they buy into the idea of making each one unique, numbered and signed. Wouldn't it be absolutely fun to see people trading for their favorite the night of the gala? Then they get to take it home as a keepsake.

More to come as the project develops. Got ideas? Leave a comment.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Custom Holiday Cards are Complete!

I've just finished making 200 custom holiday cards! Whew! Did I make any money? I don't think so but the way I look at it, it's 200 new people who will see my work. Look at it as an investment in marketing.

I knew I was offering a very sweet price but there are a few reasons for it.

  1. They were for my sisters.
  2. Like I stated before, an investment in marketing.
  3. I wasn't really sure how much it was going to cost when I priced them.
  4. It's my first holiday season in this business.
  5. At least it wasn't a total loss.
We all learn through doing and I'm hoping that next year will bring me and all that I know much success. Hey, it can't be as bad as 2009!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Super Graphic Coffee Set

I came across this adorable set at Caribou Coffee this morning! Love the graphics! Love the shape! Love the matching coasters! Keep a look out, these will be providing some inspiration.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Holiday Cookie Exchange

This year I was invited to a cookie exchange by Karen Lovely. If you've never participated, everyone bakes and brings a set amount of holiday cookies (we each brought 6 dozen).

Actually, I procrastinated about doing it because of lack of time but Karen, with a little gentle prodding, convinced me to come...cookies or not. The one cookie that always reminds me of baking with mom was thumbprint cookies. I'm sure everyone has their own favorite but the look, the taste and the preparation of these makes me think "holidays."

So after a quick run to the store, I made a mess of the kitchen and even got the kids to help. Okay, they only helped with the first batch then a movie beckoned them to abandon me. They turned out just like I remembered and everyone else's cookies looked fabulous as well.

It was a wonderful afternoon spent with friends, a few drinks and some yummy food. I can't wait until next year!

Thumbprint Cookies (Bird's Nest Cookies)
½ c Butter or Margarine 
¼ C dark brown sugar
1 egg yolk 
pinch of salt
1 egg white 
1 C sifted flour
½ C chopped nuts 
½ tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter and sugar together. Add slightly beaten egg yolk, vanilla and salt. Mix. Add flour and blend. Roll dough into small balls. Dip in slightly beaten egg white and then coat in chopped nuts. Place on greased cookie sheet. Make an indentation in the dough’s middle.

Bake at 375 degrees about 12-15 minutes. Fill depression with preserves when cool.

Yields one dozen cookies.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Caution: I'm Hot!

I was so excited to get these new coffee cozies completed and posted to my etsy shop. I couldn’t wait to share some of the images with you. It just makes me giggle every time I look at them.

Nordlund Holiday Card

I’ve been working on custom holiday cards for the Nordlund family and wanted to share some images with you. The most important thing when starting a new project is communicating with the client. If everyone is to be happy with the end result, you need to find out what their expectations are; color palette, layout ideas, likes/dislikes.
This family isn’t very religious and they have many friends who don’t celebrate Christmas. The first step was deciding that this would be more of a holiday card and can appeal to a larger audience. We choose a winter theme and stayed away from a typical Christmas color palette (red and green) instead choosing blues, purples and whites. I picked an incredible patterned paper by Heidi Grace and paired it with a deep purple (almost looks black in the photos).
They wanted to incorporate a photo of the kids as well which led me to creating the bracket. I die cut these with my new Sizzix Epic Six using a heavy silver metallic paper (thanks to Bramkamp Printing). This creates a nice landing spot for the photo to live. Setting it off to the left helps create interest in the layout and gives room for the holiday greeting. The holiday greeting was stamped using a Stampin’ Up stamp and their metallic ink in Platinum. I am so in love with this ink since it has a really metallic finish and is completely opaque. Plus it dries quickly! Happy Holidays was stamped onto a dark blue pearlescent paper (scraps/cut-offs from Poeme) and will be applied in the upper right corner using dimensional stickers (Hobby Lobby).
The client is providing the photos but I assisted in cropping the image and showing her how it would look on the finished card. Since the photos aren’t arriving until next week, I completed as much of the work in advance so I just trim the photos, stick them down and place the greeting.
I hope you enjoy this and I’d love to hear your comments! I’ll post pictures of the completed cards in a week or so.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Oh, the weather outside is frightful...

Not really but I love a good holiday song; puts me in a great mood! When we talk about the holidays we can't avoid discussing gifts and the shopping of said gifts. This year is definitely different than Christmas' past. For one thing, the economy has really put a dent in my budget. The biggest difference is directly related to my new business venture.

The two really can go hand-in-hand. Since all of my items are handmade and I make a HUGE effort to sell locally, the majority of gifts that I've purchased are either handmade or made locally or both. Every year the family pulls names for the gift exchange since we have so many children now (7 here in Cincinnati) and my pick is my big sister, Lisa. Usually, we just give the other person a list of wants and "off we go a shopping," but I asked if I could choose her gifts and she whole-heartedly agreed. probably because she knows I have exquisite taste. : )

Here's what she's getting under the tree (don't tell her):

All made by FridaWer and shipped from Italy. How European! She has other beautiful things too and feel free to have them shipped directly to my house. Here's the link to her shop:

I custom ordered matching fingerless gloves from SWAK Shop: Couture Accessories by Amina. She's very talented and based out of Atlanta, GA. Check out her stuff at

So, that's everything Lisa is getting this year...not too bad for a $100 limit. I didn't forget the children though and got some adorable things for the newest nephew, Carson. He was just born in late October and we're really hoping they make the trip from Grand Rapids to celebrate his first Christmas. My brother, Jason, and wife, Mercedes are pretty hip and organic so I found this incredible bib set made by local artist, Gillian. We arranged for local delivery yesterday which saved me shipping costs PLUS I got to meet her in person. It makes it even more special to know who's hands created a gift that I will be sharing.

Gillian has a great story, sad but great. Etsy is a really amazing collection of really amazing people so check it out and support handmade artists.

Happy Holidays everyone!