Friday, April 30, 2010

To Die For Dark Coco-Lime Cupcakes

We got invited to dinner the other night, and I promised I would make a dessert and bring it. With no money and little options I scavenged the pantry. I found a box of dark chocolate cake mix and decided to use it for cupcakes instead of a traditional cake. I wanted to jazz it up, so I added a few extra ingredients - hoping I wouldn't throw off the molecular structure of the cupcake's integrity. Luckily, it all worked out beautifully, and the results were phenomenal.

I followed all of the instructions on the boxed dark chocolate cake mix.
Then I added the zest and juice of 2 limes.
Finally, I stirred in 1/4 cup of coconut milk.
Again, I just had to follow the baking directions on the box for 24 cupcakes.
(I finished them with a can of on-hand milk chocolate frosting).

Even though these aren't technically homemade, I swear to you these are the fluffiest and moistest cupcakes we have ever eaten. They have such a wonderful flavor and seem surprisingly light. I didn't get any pictures, but they really wouldn't do any justice anyway.

Lovely Ladies

Well, I have to kick this post off with a very heartfelt thank you to Sherri of Komoda. I met with her yesterday and now have cards and headbands for sale in her store downtown. It's an awesome feeling to be featured in a brick and mortar shop. (She's located on the corner of W. Chicago Avenue and Rockwell).

I also wanted to pay tribute to my awesome friends who sport my goods. I appreciate it ladies, and I couldn't have hand-picked better 'models' ;)



Caitlin of Saddle Stitch Studio - awesome modern stationery



Miss Whitney - actress extraordinaire



Laudina, she will kick your booty at design & in the gym



Amy of artschoolgirl - cuteness and craftsmanship at a whole 'nother level



Sam, adorable and good at math! (Sorry, fellas. She's taken).


These are just the lovelies I have pictures of. But again, thank you ladies. It means a lot to me that we are friends, and I am so happy to have you wearing my creations!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I'm In Go Mode

Well, today has been quite the whirlwind. I was happily pumping out more brooches and headbands. I know a lot of these posts may seem like deja vu, but I promise it is all going somewhere. I am actually meeting with Sherri tomorrow morning at Komoda:


Chicagoans, an assortment of my headbands and 
handmade cards will be available in store!










I also made some more eco friendly bird brooches. These little guys
make me happy and are quickly becoming a new favorite.




If anyone is interested I do make traditional style headbands. 
Not everyone likes the stretchy wrap around kind. I made the one
shown above for a good friend. Please contact me here or on etsy for more info.



Thanks so much to everyone! I am finding myself having to replenish stock and make more and more items on a faster basis - which is fine with me. I attribute all of the good things to the support of my friends, family and followers. :)

Into Production Mode

You will have to forgive please the lack of makeup, comfortable pajamas and Photo Booth pics. I promise a legit post soon. I have just been very busy with good things...When I get a chance I will let you in on them. For now, this is what I have been doing the past couple of days:


producing more and more assorted 'feather headbands'



making some more bird brooches since the first one sold in a day :)


There is a variety of feather headbands and bow-related head wear available in my etsy shop. I will also be adding more of the eco friendly bird brooches as I get them made. 

I would love to hear any thoughts on the aforementioned items or any other suggestions that you might have for fun animal brooches or other accessories. Thanks so much, and have a lovely day!


Monday, April 26, 2010

The Rain Didn't Stop Me

It was a pretty glum Chicago weekend, but that just gave me more motivation to stay indoors and create. Being that it's 2 am here, and I have little energy and could be prone to numerous typo's, this will be short and sweet. Here are the other items I made in the last two days:


eco friendly charcoal gray hand embroidered bird brooch



the 'Brig' black bow headband



eco friendly charcoal gray bow headband



eco friendly red bow headband



eco friendly red bow barrette


As always all of these listed items and many more are available on my etsy shop. If you do like what you see please do ♥ my shop. I will return the favor. :)



Friday, April 23, 2010

Bows Are In

I wanted to try to make yet another new, felted item. With bows being so hot right now it just seemed like the logical thing, (plus I adore them). I made a bunch out of my current favorite eco-felt. For now I have headbands, but I plan to do barrettes, clips and hopefully some jewelry too. Here is just a snippet of what's to come:




Thursday, April 22, 2010

Artist Series

I wanted to do a series of my feather headbands that had a deeper meaning. What I came up with is the artist series. I actually got the idea while driving in my car after lunch. Luckily, I had my handy sketchbook with me, and I scribbled at a red light. Anyhow back to the idea -  each of the headbands in the series are inspired by a particular artist and and the art/design work that they did. The color palettes are drawn directly from their famous works - in some cases a specific painting. It's funny because while concepting this project and getting everything together I was totally thrown back into my first year of college and the Fundamentals of Graphic Design course (where I studied all of the major art movements and the people with in them).

It was a labor of love, but I came home, took care of the kids and got started. Once I had my artists picked out I assembled the color palettes. From there I made each headband. Afterwards I photographed them as best I could with my equipment on-hand and updated my etsy store. For this particular project I tried to do a photo vignette pertaining to the artist in addition to the normal 'headshot.' Here are the results along with a side by side comparison:





inspiration: Alphonse Mucha






inspiration: Piet Mondrian






inspiration: Henri de Toulouse Lautrec




I'm actually really pleased with how these turned out. I feel that the palettes utilized compliment and pay homage to the original artworks. I do plan to continue with this series and shown an appreciation for more artists and designers.

All of the headbands are currently for sale in my etsy shop. Please be a dear and take a peek and share. I appreciate all the word of mouth my friends have given me so far! I'm so fortunate to have such amazing support and to be able to do what I love to do on a daily basis. :)


Garlic Lime Chile Chicken Salad

Ok, so I posted what I was making for dinner tonight to my Facebook page, and it got quite the response. So for those of you curious as to how I put the ingredients together, here is a little help:

For the chicken:

8-10 white meat chicken tenders (that's for two people, add more for a family serving)
Mexican Chile Lime marinade (we have Lawry's, but easy enough to make with raw ingredients)
zest of 1 lime
1 tbsp garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Let marinade for an hour or two before pan frying - the longer the better! (I also take a fork and lightly poke holes throughout the tenders so the flavor is also inside the meat).

For the dressing:

zest of 1 lime
juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup of olive oil
a tiny splash of vinegar
1 tbsp of honey (we had clover, but any is fine)
salt and pepper to taste

I combined all of the ingredients into a mason jar. It is perfect for shaking as well as storage. (You can always use a bowl and just whisk everything really well together). Again, adjust the recipe for more than 2 people.

I have even had this yet, lol. However, my intent is to pan-fry the chicken tenders, toss a mix of spinach leaves and lettuce with the dressing and serve with a side of brown rice. I hope this has your mouth watering. ;) Let me know if you try and enjoy it!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Full Speed Ahead

Today has been another pleasantly productive day. In the past couple days I have had a couple of friends request some custom orders. My first friend, Sam, asked for a headband to go with her dress she will be wearing at graduation. My second friend, Megan, asked for a neutral headband to wear at work. Needless to say, I got really excited and went to work right away on their headbands...and here they are:


to the left is Sam's - accented with the teal (stretchy elastic headband)
&
to the right is Megan's neutrals with a silverish hue (satin-wrapped traditional headband)


I also have to report that the first of my craft trade items came in the mail today! I was super pumped. Not only did I get my exquisite necklace from Rachel-Leigh, but it came packaged in the cutest little way. Here is my new, crocheted chain necklace:



I love this necklace, and the taupe is a perfect neutral.



(close up of detail and texture)


In addition to these crocheted charmers, Rachel also does some incredible embroidery projects. Don't take my word for it, be sure to take a peek: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rachelgropper/sets/72157623544129322/


That's all for now. Luckily, I have a few more orders on the horizon to fulfill. I like making things, and I like to be busy so life is pretty awesome. I am in great anticipation of more crafty arrivals and trades!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Hella Good 'Greek' Burgers (2 Recipes in 1)!


Last night we had Phil's parents over for another one of our game nights. We knew that we wanted to grill burgers - it was just a matter of what seasonings to do. I decided I was going to do a spin on Greek. Here are the recipes/ingredients that I used:

For the meat I combined:

1 package lean ground beef
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 egg
a little milk (no more than a 1/4 cup)
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
a good shake of both parsley and basil
a dash of ground mustard
salt and pepper to taste
and a sprinkling of grill seasoning

I made fairly plump patties and let them sit in the fridge all day to 'marry.' I pulled them out about one half hour before serving so they would come down in temperature a little bit and cook more evenly on the grill.

Instead of mayonnaise I served my homemade feta dip. (I usually use this dip for crackers, toast and bagels, but it stood up just as well as a condiment. It also gave the Greek spin to the burgers).

The dip:

8oz of soft cream cheese
1 cup of crumbled feta (I just take a fork to a 'brick' of cheese for this. It's cheaper than buying crumbles).
2 tbsps sour cream
1 tbsp minced garlic (I use the wet kind)
1 tbsp parsley
1 tbsp basil
a drizzle of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

We just spread it across our buns, and it tasted amazing with the juicy burgers!

Then the only other thing I did was substitute baby spinach for lettuce leaves. 

Unfortunately I was a dum-dum and forgot to take a picture of the finished product like I normally do. Honestly though, if you like the above ingredients you have to try these things!...and let me know what you think. ;)

Some More New Cards for Mums and Dads


This post will be a shorty. It is more of a notification than anything else. I have listed a few more new cards that would be ideal for Mother's and Father's day:






Please take a peek, and ♥ my shop if you like what you see! :)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Going Digital

Today I decided to take a break from the handmade and get acquainted again with my lappy t. I have had ideas swimming around in my head for a while now for some digital illustrations and prints.

With Mother's and Father's Days coming up, I wanted to be sure to add some new items to my etsy shop. I have only listed a couple so far, but there will be more with the upcoming days and weeks. Here it what's there now:


it reads "you're the heart of this family."


I made the card into a larger poster print too (11 x 17):





I also found an old illustration I did on one of my portable hard drives. It has nothing to do with either holiday, but I thought it would make a mighty fine poster as well. Consider it healthy propaganda.



it reads "you take my breath away."

many color options available (20 others to be exact):
That's all to report for now. Like I said...lots more to come. If you have any ideas or suggestions of things you would like to see illustrated for holidays or otherwise just let me know :)






Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Feels Like Forever

Hello again, friends! I am finally back and settled in from our week long trip to Missouri. We drove down to Branson and stayed with my grandparents. You wouldn't even know that they were 75 and 77. We played so many card games and went around town. It was amazing to be able to escape as a family and have some much needed down time. It went by so fast, but it was nice to come back home.

I have been busying myself with fulfilling promises. I had put out a call to some very crafty and talented friends. Since we are all sort of strapped for cash, I thought it might be fun to barter goods. My friend Caitlin of Saddle Stitch Studio - http://blog.saddlestitchstudio.com/ has some custom recipe cards in the works for me. Rachel Leigh of spotted fawn - http://www.rachelleighgropper.com/spottedfawn.html offered to make me an ├╝bercute crocheted necklace. Needless to say, I am thrilled for our trade and have created a headband for each of the ladies.


each lady gave me a few choice colors, and these are the results.

I am super pumped to receive my goods and will definitely post them when they arrive! In the mean time, if any other creatives out there want to do a similar swap just let me know. You can message me on  Facebook or dm me on twitter! :)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Experimentation in Leather

One of my good friends, Nick from http://trashonrubbish.com/ gave me a great suggestion. He liked what I was doing with the 'feather headbands' but proposed that a leather one would be super cool. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to make one due to material costs. Felt is very wallet-friendly when it comes to sourcing fabric. Luckily, I happened upon some really decent scrap packs in a local store. They were all discarded remnant pieces of 100% genuine leather - most had been dyed to various colors.

I decided to use the same approach as the felt headbands. While the leather was a little more challenging to work with, I believe the outcome is just as quality. It also made the structure much more firm. For now, I have just completed the one. However, I do have many more colors of leather to still play with in future endeavors.


I like the uniqueness and texture that the different leathers brought to the table. Some are more subdued in nature, and others have a snakeskin - almost reptilian feel. (photo from my etsy)


I haven't yet decided if I will be crafting next week or not. We are taking a week away to go stay with my grandparents at their home in Missouri. We'll have our computers in tow, but I'm not sure if I'll lug the other supplies along or not. 

At any rate, I definitely have some new project ideas cookin' up, and I will keep you all posted as they come to fruition. 

Have a happy and healthy Easter weekend everyone! :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

1 Line, 1 Photo

Here are the results of my craft night with Stephanie (aka opposite day shop on Etsy):


a new large format rosette brooch pack & 2 headbands...1 of which I decided to keep ;)



Moo!

A bit ago Moo was doing a cross promotion with Etsy. As a seller, you could receive 50 free business cards featuring your Etsy items for sale (you just had to pay the shipping). It seemed like a great thing for self promo, so I spent a day editing and cropping images for my cards.

They arrived over the weekend, and by that time I had completely forgotten about them. Needless to say I was super pumped, and it was like Christmas! Not only did the cards look great, but they came in this super awesome interactive package.


my sentiments exactly



bundled up all nice-like



just a couple of the cards to show



They made a purdy stack.