Friday, January 30, 2009

TTFN and Where the Hats Went

I'm going on vacation tomorrow (I hope), so anything you order from my store won't be shipped until I get back, February 16th to be precise. And I probably won't be blogging much until then, because for part of our vacation, we're going on a cruise!

At least, I hope we're going on vacation tomorrow. On Tuesday, Daniel came down with the stomach flu. He was better on Wednesday, but I got it. Then on Thursday, my hubby and Daniel both were sick. Today, my hubby and I are both feeling better, but Daniel is still sick. We're supposed to fly to NC tomorrow, but if he's not better, we'll have to try to change our tickets.

Anyway, I'm also unlisting all my crocheted baby hats for the time being, due to a law called the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) that goes into effect on Feb. 10th and says any merchandise -- including handmade -- aimed at children 12 and under must be tested for lead and phthalates. Now, you and I both know this law is aimed at toy manufacturers in China, and that hats crocheted out of yarn bought at commercial stores like Wal-Mart. Michael's, and Jo-Ann's Fabrics isn't gonna harm your baby... but I don't want to break the law, so until they amend the law, my baby hats are off the market.

If you want to learn more about the CPSIA and what you can do to tell lawmakers to clarify this vague and broadly-worded law, click here.

Ta-ta for now!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Sweet Deal

Knitsational is doing her very first giveaway! You could win all the above items absolutely free. Check out this blog post for details. Bon chance!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Me Me Me

I've been tagged by The Bird Lady on her Kaleida Eclectic blog to list 8 random things about myself. Don't have anything more interesting to blog about today, so here goes:

1. I've written full first drafts of three novels, and half of a fourth.
2. I don't like the color pink much, but I love the Pink Panther.
3. My favorite book of the Bible is Ecclesiastes.
4. I prefer silver jewelry to gold.
5. I've read all of Raymond Chandler's novels and short stories.
6. I love thunderstorms.
7. My favorite Lord of the Rings character is Boromir.
8. I name my cameras. (Gabriel, Marlowe, Haldir, and Yakima.)

I duly tag these 8 bloggers:

1. Cherry's Creations
2. Tialey Vintage
3. Michelle Johnson
4. freestargirl
5. Back at the Ranch
6. Dano's Grammy
7. Magenta Fire
8. Tamara Hensley

Play if you want to!

Friday, January 23, 2009


I've learned a lot about photography in the three months I've had my Etsy shop, about good lighting, sharp focus, how to use props, and how to crop my photos to make them even more attractive. I know I have a lot more to learn yet -- when I look at other shops that have really awesome photography, I sometimes despair a little. But I keep trying, nonetheless. In fact, I'm starting to take new photos of some of my earlier listings, so that they look more interesting and appealing. For example, here's a comparison of an old photo and a new one for this hat:

See? I'm improving a little, anyway.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tuna Linguine

Sorry I haven't posted in a while -- my brother and his wife spent the long weekend here, and I was busy last week getting ready for them, then having fun during their visit, and just never got around to posting anything on any of my blogs.

Anyway, I made Tuna Linguine for supper tonight, and it was so yummy, I decided to post the recipe. It's fairly simple and a nice change from a red or cream sauce for your pasta.

Tuna Linguine

3/4 cup onion -- chopped
3 cloves garlic -- minced
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp basil
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
3 cans tuna -- undrained
1 lb linguine -- cooked

In a medium skillet, saute onions, garlic, thyme, and basil in olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add white wine and tuna, and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve over linguine.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Knit 5, Purl 5, Repeat Forever

You may have been wondering how my attempt to learn knitting has progressed. Or you may not, but I'm going to tell you anyway.

After a dozen false starts, all of which I abandoned because of dropped stitches, mysteriously added stitches, or forgetting to switch to purling or knitting at the appropriate time, I finally have the hang of it. Sort of.

I decided to make a little toddler-sized scarf for Daniel, because that's a nice, small, do-able first project. And I decided to both knit and purl so I could practice them both. So I began to knit 5, purl five, on and on, twenty-five stitches to a row. That was two weeks ago. I do at least one row a day, and usually more, but it's hard to work on it when Daniel's awake and I have to keep saving him from jumping off the couch or coloring on the TV or dragging clean laundry all over the apartment. So I mostly work on it while we're video-chatting with my parents, because he loves doing that and remains relatively danger-free while we talk to them. So it's only about a foot long so far, but here's what it looks like:

As you can see, I'm learning something from this project. If you do sections of knitting and purling like this, then switch on the next row and do the opposite stitches, your end product will curl up into little tubes. Which actually makes this scarf really warm because of all the layers it creates, but looks dumb.

I figure at this rate, I'll be done by March. And then he won't need it anymore.

Friday, January 9, 2009

"Revolutionary Woman" Journal

I just uploaded a new journal to Huggermugger. As you can see, it's covered in pictures of the character Amidala from the three Star Wars prequels. I think Natalie Portman is lovely, and her character is a strong, spirited woman, so I thought she would be a good subject for a journal.

I did something new with this journal. Instead of covering it with contact paper, I used a water-resistant sealer called Collage Pauge that I found at Jo-Ann Fabrics last week. I had been considering switching from contact paper to Mod Podge, because I thought it would look more professional, but I knew Mod Podge isn't water-resistant. I've used it on tables I've collaged on in the past, and I found I had to spray it with an acrylic sealer after the Mod Podge in order to make them water-resistant. I didn't want to do that with journals, because the acrylic spray would get on the pages too and that might make them weird.

But I discovered Collage Pauge last week and tried it out on a journal I made for a friend, and it seemed to work really well. Two coats make them as durable as contact paper, as far as I can tell, and they look much more professional. I'm so happy with this discovery!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Not-so-skinny Dipping

Once in a while, I want to give a batch of cookies a touch of elegance. Dress them up a little, especially if I'm giving them as a gift. What do I do? Why, I dip them in chocolate, of course! They turn out looking seductively tasty... probably because they are! For example, I transformed these humble pistachio sugar cookies into ambrosia:

If you'd like to try this yourself, here's my recipe:

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 (1.55 oz) bars Hershey's chocolate -- broken in pieces
1 Tbsp shortening

Stir together over low heat in a small saucepan or double boiler. Stir continuously until melted. Cool for a few minutes, then dip desired items and place them on waxed paper to cool.

You don't have to stop with cookies, either -- I've dipped dried fruit and pretzels in this too.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

$25 in 45

While driving to meet a friend for lunch on Saturday, I discovered a Jo-Ann Fabrics. So I simply had to stop in on my way home and scope it out. Forty-five minutes later, I got back in my car, $25 poorer. But look at the awesome stuff I got!

They had some nice sales on yarn, and I got these wool/synthetic skeins for less than $2 each --they're made in Italy and amazingly soft. I might try to knit something with the blue yarn if I ever finish the scarf I'm attempting to make for Daniel. The russet yarn... I'm so making myself something from it, I just adore it. If there had been more than one skein of it, I would have gotten more. I'll have to go back and see if they restock it! As for the orange... dunno yet. I'll think of something!

I also got these fabric quarters for 99 cents each! I've got an idea for a new product for Huggermugger, and this fabric will be perfect for it. More on that new idea as it coalesces.

Yay -- another craft store not too far away! Me happy.

And in other news, Jenn of TheOldOakTree featured me on her blog, 365 Days of Etsy! I haven't had a sale since November, so maybe this exposure will help business pick up a little.