Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holiday!

I've been scarce, I know. Partly holiday burn-out and partly just being lazy. We've had a lot of snow and cold weather here in the northwest, not very typical, and it's been fun but inconvenient. Luckily I don't have to drive anywhere for work!
We keep getting snowfall after snowfall and in my area we now have over a foot. Very rare because snow around here usually melts by the next day. I visited my mother in the next town and she has a large lawn....covered in a lovely blanket of snow! We got nostalgic for when I was a kid so we bundled up and made snow people! It turned out to be a community effort. Once folks saw us playing in the front yard they stepped outside their doors to contribute. One gave us a carrots, another had a brush pile for the arms, another came over to help us lift one giant snowball onto another, etc.
We had a blast. And were sore for 2 days! Time for a hot toddy!
But yet more snow was headed our way. Potentially a grand storm with extreme winds and very cold temperatures. We bought a generator, stocked up on kerosene, batteries and booze (well, what else is there to do?) And then our furnace died. You have got to be kidding. How does it know? Well the storm was no big deal and our kerosene heater kept us toasty warm for a few days until the furnace was repaired. $600! Gasp! Figures. But isn't that was Christmas bonuses are for?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

And the Winner is....

Annie from Brooklyn, NY!
She won the Bust Craftacular Drawing and will receive $50 worth of merchandise of her choice.

I had a lot of fun doing this promotion and will be on the look out for other unusual ways to spread the HBIC word!

Apologies for so few posts lately, life just got in the way! I should be back on track asap.

Friday, December 5, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like...

...Complete holiday madness. It doesn't take much to get me rushed and flustered and boy am I in a dither! The promos are done and I'm trying to make sure my shop is all stocked up for the hordes of holiday shoppers (hey, I'm thinking positive here folks. Positive cash flow, that is). But most of my inventory went out to a bunch of new consignment accounts.

So I sewed, and photographed and finished all my half-finished projects and it's all finally coming together! Better late than never! Here are a few of the new items available in my shop (or will be by this weekend).

Ladybug and Bumble Bee pot holders. Ladybugs available now, Bees by this weekend.

Fabric Fortune Cookies. Aren't they cute? Many more to come including little bags of 3.

Oilcloth place mats. Shiny reversible joy! Sets of 4 available now.

Hope your holidays are happy!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Bust Craftacular promos are done!

I did it. Finally. With lots of help. And here they are all finished. Well, 500 are pictured because I already sent off 100 to LA.

These are fabric fortune cookies that I have made for Bust's Craftacular shows in New York city and Los Angeles. They will be distrubuted in the goodie bags. Inside each cookie is a sort of raffle ticket. All you have to do is visit my Etsy shop and convo me the "secret" word inside and what show you went to, for a chance to win $50 worth of HBIC goods of your choice!

I'm a little nervous because I've never done a promotion of this scale before but I'm feeling optomistic and excited. Now I need to get back to work filling my shop with more goodies!

Saturday, November 29, 2008


I'm not much of a baker. I love baked goods but since there are only two of us to cook for and we're not really dessert people, I just don't bake.

All these older cookbooks are going to change my mind. Sure a majority of the recipes are dated and unhealthy but the baking hasn't really changed. It's the fat and heavy cream and loads of sugar that makes baked goods so delectable!

And the smell! I honestly don't think there is anything more wonderful than the smell of something baking. Fresh bread, hot cookies, gooey pies, buttery pastries...mmm, can't you smell it?

Well the previous owner of one of my cookbooks certainly could because she stashed many, many pages of cake and pie recipes inside. This is one of two magazine segments she kept, each from a consecutive year of the same magazine.

For a change the photography is stunning. It's no wonder she saved these. I wish you were able to see them full size!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Stepford Children

These rather unnatural looking children were on the back side of a recipe torn from a magazine circa 1953.
You know I'd steal that girl's little single serving size Jello dessert.

What on earth is she pouring into that Thermos? It looks rather green. Better be soup.

I have no idea what the ad was for...food product, the cookware, Ritalin?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Cooking with 7-UP

"You like it...it likes you!"

Wow, what a stellar slogan. Good thing they followed it up with an even more stellar idea - cooking with it!
"Seven-Up added to a prepared pie crust makes for a flakier crust."

7-UP Salad:
1 pkg lime Jello
1 c apple sauce
1 bottle seven-up
Where do they come up with these things??

So it looks like 7-UP's secret is to replace any liquid in a recipe with....7-UP?

Get your kid to drink milk by adding 7-UP to it!

"Mothers know that this is a wholesome combination. The addition of 7-UP gives milk a new flavor appeal that especially pleases children." Duh. It's soda.

I love product-specific recipes. I always feel sorry for all those cooks who had to slave away in a test kitchen with odd products to make an entire book of recipes. Think of the desperation as they started to run out of ideas.

Just wait til I share the Kraft Foods Cookbook! No shortage of products but a huge deficiency of nutrition!

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving everyone! To be sure, I am eating plate-fulls of food that I will look back on in revulsion in 30 years time. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

More Mid-Century Cooking

Aspic, apsic, who's got the aspic?

Apsic is basically any kind of molded gelatin food that is not sweet or a dessert. Usually vegetables or meats. It's just gross.

Now don't you wish you could read the recipes more easily so that you could wow your friends and family with your culinary marvels?

More fantastic foods to come!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Nothing left but the wishbone

This little gem was another piece of 1950's cooking ephemera tucked away in a cookbook. Courtesy of the San Diego Gas & Electric Home Economics Department!
I still don't fully understand the idea of using spagetti (especially left-overs) in casseroles.
"Contrary to popular opinion, hot foods placed directly in the refridgerator will not spoil" You mean there was a time when that was popular opinion??

Ok, the last recipe lost me at the pimento and killed me with the toasted coconut and pineapple garnish. With turkey. And the fact that it's a soup?...what is that anyway?

So who's ready for Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mmmmm, delicious?

Since Thanks-for-giving-me-a-bellyache Day is near and I finally got a working scanner, I thought I'd share some authentic 1950's recipes this week.

I hope you ate already!

Main Curse! I mean, Course.

I'd actually eat this one. Accept I hate bananas.

This sounds like a great way of ruining perfectly good ice cream and Fig Newtons.

Big surprise that this is my favorite. I have a strange attraction to gelatin molds and desserts.

These just a few of the many items tucked into the pages of a 1938 cookbook. The most recent clipping I found was from the late 50's. Looks like this book had been well used for some time!
Stay tuned for more!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's a go!

I'm committed. I'm going for it. As my sweetie says "Go big or go home", so I'm going big! Of course that's easy for him to say, he's going to be out of town for the whole ordeal.

So I've pressed my family into service, additional supplies are on the way,and I have back-ups of all my blades and circle cutting gadgets.

All I need is a really cleverly worded teaser to put inside each cookie!

Well, then there's the hammering part but I'll give myself a headache if I think about that now.

I'll post some pictures later. I've never done this type of volume before so I'm ready to document the process.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Promo Dilemma

Here's the scoop. Just like many others, I just got an email for sponsorship of any/all of the 3 Bust Craftacular shows. I am contemplating the lowest level of sponsorship which includes business name and website on the program and Bust website as well as contributing promo items for the gift bags. I would have to contribute 500 items for the more established NY show and 100 to the new LA show. Have any of you done promotions with such volume before? What sort of items or coupons did you contribute? Did you see any noticeable traffic/sales. I was only going to try the LA show but reading about the success of the NY show makes me wonder if I should do both. 600 items by early December.

So I was thinking numbers here...2 ways to look at it;
1- I would be reaching 600 people for just over $1 (my promos cost me a buck). Where else will you pay that little and reach so many?

2- If only 10% of those people (60) actually visit and buy something, at say, $10 (my average price) that's a $600 return. Not too shabby. And even if only a few of those become repeat customers it will balance out.

Doesn't sound too bad, right? I want to use these fabric fortune cookies. I think they will stand out well against all the buttons, key chains, magnets and lip balms and they beg to be opened. Inside I will make a special....well, this is where I'm stuck. The cookie gets their attention but what's inside has to get them to come to Etsy. So it has to be something they'll keep once they've opened the cookie.
Now I'm thinking of turning it into a raffle or drawing What if I offer a gift valued at say, $75 if they come to Etsy and convo me to get their name in the hat. Would that be enough incentive for them to hold onto their freebie and actually come visit?

This is a huge risk and I want to take it but I need to approach it smartly. I would love any ideas, suggestions or feedback. Please!
I have until Monday to decide (last chance to get supplies in time). Please advise! Pros and Cons, let me have them!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Garlic & Bananas

Since I've been working so hard the last few days I gave myself the afternoon off. What that really meant was cooking and cleaning. I've been reading a lot of cookbooks lately so I was really looking forward to baking something. But what?

When I walked into the kitchen I was greeted with the scent of very ripe bananas. Aha! Banana bread coming right up! I can't stand the smell of bananas and I can only eat half of one before I gag. But throw a banana into a baked good and I'm in love. I mashed and mixed and popped it in the oven. Because it's such a wet, heavy batter it takes forever to bake. It was torture! And hour of delicious, warm, vanilla-banana scented joy wafting up the stairs while I cleaned. Even worse is that the recipe calls for an hour cooling time before eating. What?! I had it slathered in butter and popped in my mouth as soon as I could handle the loaf. Heaven.

But I wasn't finished yet! I wanted to bake more! I eye-balled the big fresh loaf of french bread on the counter and remembered I saw a recipe for making your own croutons. Why the hell not? Sounds like fun. Mix a little olive oil, salt, fresh garlic, fresh grated Parmesan and the cubed bread. Bake for about 25 minutes.

More heavenly smells! I adore garlic and again, I was eating my crunchy cubes of baked yumminess as soon as it was cool enough to handle. And later again on my salad. Mmmmmm, perfection.

I just wish I hadn't baked them both within a few hours of each other. When tell people I just baked banana bread and garlic croutons the first reaction is, well...eewww. Two tasty but very disparate flavors that would do well to have their own day of glory.
Wow, I'm hungry now. Think I need a slice of warm banana bread. And no croutons :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

But who's counting

Number of;
Fabric fortune cookies cut..............................................................268
Snaps hammered onto cookies before splitting
- headache forced me to halt..........................................................186
Aprons finished.................................................................................18
Packaging assembled.......................................................................24
Dish towel blanks ordered..................................................5 dozen
Prayers that my dying camera will work
- just one more time ........................................................appx 30
Times I cursed my dying printer that needs
- to be unplugged after each page.................................. too many
Times the dog nudged me trying to convince me that
- my hands could be of better use somewhere else....... ...1,657
Household chores completed........................................................0
Cups of coffee..............................................................................unkown
Days to complete.............................................................................2

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Never stagnate, always innovate

I always knew I couldn't rely on the apron trend forever. When a trend peaks it usually means it's time to move on to something else, you are no longer unique or an innovator, you are just one of the pack.

I went in to Joanne's last week with my mother. Honestly, I've become a fabric snob. I don't like Joanne's and have begun to look at it like the Walmart of crafting. I'll go there in an emergency but I don't rely on it for supplies.

And I saw this. Something many of you have probably seen for a while but it was new to me. A pre-printed apron kit. The apron is printed right on the fabric. All you have to do is cut it out along the lines and sew. And all those beautiful books by Lark publishing (I have even submitted to them before) on sewing potholders and aprons. Ack! That's my livelihood!

I've been wanting to expand my product line for more than a year and now is the time! If I had been up on my market research I would have known this a lot sooner. Don't forget kids, get out there and never stop scoping out the competition! This was the perfect reminder of that for me and has lit a fire under my keister to diversify.
It's just unfortunate that I happen to be working on a fresh, big, new stack of aprons right now!

Thursday, November 6, 2008


We have an unhealthy addiction to agate hunting. We spent 2 hours in the driving rain and incoming tide looking for rocks that end up in a jar. We're going again today!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pears, Pelicans and Presidents

I'm at the Oregon coast for a week, relaxing in a house with no tv or internet. It is a joy! I thought I'd walk down the street to an internet cafe each day but I haven't. Time moves differently here and I'm just savoring it.

I'm taking long walks with the dogs on the beach. It has rained non-stop but we don't care. Pelicans are migrating so we stop and watch modest groups of them hug the coast on their trip south. I don't know if hummingbirds migrate but we've been seeing a lot og them too.

Before leaving for the beach I picked the pears off our tree. The first decent harvest off the little struggling tree. As the temperature has gone down my need for baked goods has increased so we baked a pear cobbler that filled the whole house with the smell of cinnamon while a hail storm raged outside. It will be breakfast this morning!

And lastly but certainly not last...the election! I'm not very politically active or aware and I'm ashamed to admit I don't vote often. I was very invested in this election. Imagine my dismay when I realized I'd miss the election, being out of state! So we opened a bottle of wine, played cards and listened to the radio. Oh Joy Obama! Thank goodness!

So I may or may not post again while down here. I intend to but the beach and this cozy old house have a funny way of bending time and rearranging priorites. And right now that priority is another cup of coffee and some pear cobbler!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Treat!

Oh Joy! How could I have forgotten to mention it yesterday? Delivered fresh to my doorstep- new fabric!

Receiving new supplies is always exciting but for me there is no greater pleasure than getting new fabric. Even the touch and feel of a new bolt if wonderful.

I spotted the cute red and blue fabrics in a shop and knew I had to order my own. When I got online I found the fantastic chicken print. Just what I needed as I'm all out of my old chicken fabric. And nothing says retro kitchen quite like chickens!

But look at the size of the print! It's HUGE. The squares are almost 5" across. I'm almost afraid it's too large for an apron. I'll make a tester and see what reactions I get from it.

Another risk when buying new fabrics is whether or not they'll match any of my other fabrics. I have some fantabulous prints but the colors just don't go with anything else. So they sit and wait for the perfect project or a good match. These fabrics are great! I love the colors and they play well with my existing palette.
Yay! Off to play!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Featured Blogger - Baby Friendly Beads

I'm under the weather today and would rather be back in bed but I really wanted to share with you this month's EtsyBloggers featured blogger. She has two Etsy shops; Baby Friendly Beads, Mama's Magic Studio, and a blog, Mama's Magic.
(Apologies for not having more photos! Jen's photos are quite large and in my flu-state I cannot figure out how to shrink them. Jen, I'm so sorry!)

Baby Friendly Beads is a wonderful shop of jewelry for nursing moms.

"Baby Friendly Beads are beautifully functional nursing necklaces and bracelets. Breastfeeding jewelry gives baby something else to focus on and play with, instead of pulling mom's hair or pinching her skin. Reminder bracelets track nursing sessions."

(I had a lovely pic here of this necklace)

This is a pretty clever idea, and beautiful pieces to boot. Take a look through her feedback to see how much moms and babies adore her work!
But who says you have to be nursing, or even a mom to wear this jewelry. I often have to remove my jewelry when I'm doing any kind of physical work that might break it. Buying something sturdy would fix that problem!
(I love this bracelet)

Her other Etsy shop, Mama's Magic Studio, is beautiful. I only wish there was more to see! Great pictures on a lovely serene green background. Clever paired earrings, very reasonably priced. See for yourself! The above earrings are from this shop.

The blog, called Mama's Magic, is full of the same green serenity as the shop of similar name. Sweet musings about family life, creativity and creative writing are a treat as she's a poet and her eloquent posts make that evident. But you have to go see for yourself!

All mommas and friends of mommas will be happy if you do!

Now I'm going to make myself a mug of hot, soothing tea, curl up on the couch with the kitty and hang out in my pyjamas all day :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Craft Show Recovery

Once again I had a fantastic time at this event. And it is and event, not just a show. Belly dancing, raffles, and cake walks went on all day. And they had food and wine for sale. And music.

I got the same space as last year, which was perfectly positioned between the food and the restrooms. Everyone came my way at one time or another. The down side was a large couch blocking a major traffic lane. And my neighbor stuck her table out so far that people had to move single file between her table and the couch to get to me.

But I had a new weapon with me- my bright red kitchen display! And, I have to say, I looked really cute in a black 1950s dress with bright red heels on. If the display didn't draw them over, my outfit did (whenever it got slow I would wander out into the center of the room to act as a walking billboard. Shameless, I know, but very effective!).

I only had time to snap a few lousy pictures as my old battery was dying again. I'm really pleased with how my display is evolving. The red play kitchen is a fantastic focal point and draws crowds from a distance (it's terribly awkward to move but c'est la vie!) I'm finally getting some height and the theme is apparent. And I finally settled on some gift packaging that looks great and ties into the theme perfectly too. More on that another time :)

What the photos show me though, is the dead space the table cloths create. From the waist up it looks good. From the waist down it's blank. My next project will be to make new table coverings from canvas and paint kitchen cabinets on the front. I even have some awesome Formica picked out that would make for the most swell counter top!

I had a great time, sold about the same as last year (not too shabby) and am looking forward to next year's show. But it's amazing how exhausting it can be! I ended up getting a little sick and run-down after this one, and I was actually sore from lifting and lugging my booth and inventory (doesn't help that my studio is up a flight of stairs) .

Now I'm unpacked, inventory taken and the holiday sewing rush begins!
How have your shows been going?