Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Couch part 1

I am finally covering up our couches. I don't have pictures yet, but I will soon. A couch is way more difficult to reupholster than a chair (of course). The demolotion is the part I hate...the part that makes me want to forget the whole thing! I am just trying to take it step by step so I don't do a mediocre job...the temptation is great because I need my couch back, but I'm just trying to remember not to rush through it. I will post a picture of how it looks at this stage.

The couch in question is a Martha Stewart Everyday couch we bought from K-Mart almost 3 years ago while still living in Virginia. I thought they were soooo cute, and since it was on clearance for $75 each, I bought two. I quickly assembled them, Ikea-style, and was impressed with how sleek and contemporary they looked. A couple of months later I found out why they were on clearance. While the frame itself is okay (you have to tighten the screws every so often), the upholstery fabric didn't fare so well. It was a dark color, which I thought would hide stains farely well, but no, it shows stains quite visibly. The worst part is, it's a very cheap polyester fabric that didn't stand up to just plain sitting, much less kids jumping and climbing on it. Within a couple of months, the fabric started to shred at the seams, so you could see foam underneath, and the surface started to pill a little.

We bought a couch and loveseat set from CL as a replacement, but those started to get dirty shortly thereafter (they were a cream color, and I should've known better, but I was in love). When we relocated to Ohio a few months later, we left them in VA, a decision I still regret to this day. Now I'm faced with either recovering our MSE couches, or buying a new set. Option 2 is not really an option, so here I am, recovering. Thank God for 50% off fabric sale at Hancock!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Si Se Puede....

...AND YES WE DID!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Creative A.D.D ...More craft ideas, I say!

I suffer from sever Creative A.D.D. Here are my symptoms:

1. Whenever I see something really really cute, I say 'I could've made that!'. Yeah, but I didn't, and that bothers me. A lot.

2. I am obsessed with making things. I have enough projects lined up for eternity, yet I continue to add more, or seek out new things to make.

3. I practically live in the craft section of bookstores and libraries. I just can't get enough ideas. More craft ideas, I say!

4. I find a new favorite medium almost monthly. I will full-on throw myself into a new craft for a few weeks, then begin to grow bored and find another. I will rediscover an old favorite craft and then become once more enamored, only to grow bored again. This happens with almost all crafts, except for Knitting/'s just too much work, lol.

5. I own supplies for almost any craft you can imagine. Need a brad awl? I got one! Need some embroidery hoops? I got those too! How about some Gocco ink? Yup, got some!

6. I spend more time discovering new crafts than I do producing something. I just discovered that I hate boring old production work. Who wants to make the same thing over and over again? On to the next item!

I could go on and on, but I think I've hit the major symptoms. Now I want to hear from you readers out there. I need your responses. Do you experience this? How do you cope? How do you stay focused? How do you stay on task and do what needs to be done without being all over the place?
Thanks for your responses/Suggestions.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I'm (sort of) published!

Wow, It is such an amazing feeling to see my work immortalized in "Altered Paper Jewelry" by Jenn Mason. She had approached me through Etsy back in January (I think) about with submitting a piece for her book. Even though I took all the necessary steps, I didn't know if my piece would actually make it into the book. Even when she emailed me about 2 weeks ago about sending a copy of the book, I still didn't really believe that my bracelet would be in the book, and I didn't want to ask if it was. Well, imagine my surprise and delight when I went to the BN today and saw her book on the shelves. I decided to check for my piece, and sure enough, it was in there, with my mini bio and everything! I feel so special! If this isn't validation, I don't know what is.
Go out and get the book, and look on page 109 for my bracelet, and be sure to check the bios!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Polka dotted Pendant Light Project

Disclaimer: The following post was composed after I got off my new full-time job that ends at midnight, so some of what I've typed is probably a little non-sensical. I apologize. I'm just trying to keep up with my posting responsibilities. I hope you get something out of this.

Here's a simple little light project I just did for my dining area. First the before picture below, then the step-by-step follows. Notice the exceptional hideousness of what was there before. I hated this fake candle chandelier thingy from the moment I saw it, but I had to live with it for a while before being able to change it.

Before: Sinfully Ugly Chandelier

And here's what I did to rectify the ugliness. Also notice in the final picture that the walls have been painted, and I've put up some art. Maybe one day I can overcome my perfectionism enough to show a good picture of the whole room, instead of just parts of it. Also let me apologize in advance for my poor camera skills. I try, but I can't always get the PERFECT shot.

I picked up this brand new target lampshade from my favorite goodwill for 79 cents. I loved the rectangular shape, but it was a little boring, being just plain white and all. I wanted to add a little something to it, but without affect its ability to diffuse light while brightening the room a bit. The solution: Polka dots of course!

Step one: cut up a bunch of circles of various sizes. You can use any kind of paper you like, even colored and patterned, but I used white. Cutting the shapes is made easier with the use of hole punchers. I have about 4 of them, in various sizes. I used a lot less circles than I thought I would, so don't punch too much, unless you want a lot, of course.
Step 2: I then decoupaged (Mod Podge) the circles onto the inside of the shades in a random fashion. Again, placement is up to you. It is easier to let the glue dry to the shade just a little bit before going back over the circle with the glue. Tweezers also help in holding and positioning the circles.

Step 3: I then hardwired the shade with my light fixture to the ceiling. The hardwiring portion of this tute is for another day... let's just say that I cannibalized an Ikea ceiling fixture...

Ta-Da! The AFTER: Hideous light fixture is gone!

This same trick can be used on a regular table or floor lamp, so feel free to get creative with your design!

Well folks, the hour is late, and I am tired, so off to bed I go!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Happy Bday to him

Check out the invites I did for my son's 5th birthday party. I am so proud of how his party turned out! I was totally going to do what I always do, which is to schlep something together at the last minute, but thank goodness I went all out. This is a milestone birthday (5), and also, since he's a middler, I wanted him to feel special.
How to do a Character Birthday on a budget:
1. Since he loves Ben10 so much, I did his party with the Ben10 colors of black, white and lime green. I didn't have any actual Ben10 merchandise (damn, they're pricey!) so I did just the colors. I had black, gray and green balloons blown up and taped to the rafters, and taped white, black and green streamers around the ceilings. In addition, I was able to get black plates and white forks, as well as green plastic table cloth. I also made a birthday banner that coordinated with the invites I made.
2. I decorated his cake like an Omnitrix. The cake was almost a disaster because who knew that too much food coloring makes your icing bitter???? Thank goodness no one noticed. I used 2 Box cake mixes for the cake. I was a little scared to frost the cake, but here's a neat trick a cake lady taught me: Freeze the cake overnight. It's easier to frost that way. Okay, my cake wasn't perfect. I think rolled fondant would've been better, but you get the idea. See below.
3. Play theme music from the cartoon (show, character, whatever). I was able to find the theme music online. We really just listened to the music, but another idea would be to do musical chairs to the song(s).
4. Crafts/Activities. I rolled out and taped some paper onto my walls and placed some crayons around for the children to do wall art.
5. Another Craft/Activity we did was to make picture frames out of colorful craft foam sheets. I cut out the middle of half the pack and left the other half as backing. I then had them decorate the 'frames' with precut foam shapes. I went around taking pictures of each child, printed them out at the party, and had them place the pictures into their 'frames', which we stapled together. This doubled as their 'take home'. Grand price: $2 for the 20 frames (thanks dollar tree!)

I spent about $15 on food and about $20 on decorations and plates, etc. for about 10 children. A great time was had by all!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Latest Obsession...Part I

Those that know me know that I'm always off on some new adventure, learning something new to do (as if I didn't have enough on my plate)
I've been obsessed lately with printing by hand, in its many different forms. Screenprinting is holding my attention the most. I started out with stamping, or painting with a stencil, but I find those to be not quite the way to go for me. When I do something, I want it to look as close to "machine made" as possible. Okay, I know that sounds really ridiculous coming from a handcrafter. Let me explain. What I mean is, I want it to look as...oh hell...PERFECT as possible. I want to handmake it without it looking hokey. I want it to look like it came from a store, because ultimately I want it in a store. Okay, as I type this, I think I've stumbled upon my problem. I think deep down I still don't believe that handmade could be as beautiful as not-handmade. Okay, excuse me while I dodge the cyber-tomatoes that are sure to be heading in my direction.

No, I don't really believe that handmade is not as good. I think it's better. I just want handmade to be able to compete with not-handmade. If I make it for sale or personal use, I don't want it to look like I was just messing around and not taking it all I'm sayin'.

Okay, once again, I've taken a major sidebar.

Like I was saying before, I've gotten really into printing by hand. While searching for books on the subject, I came on Lena Corwin's brand new book "Printing by Hand". Finally! Someone's written on the subject in a way that I want to learn about it...with great detail. I had previously bought Lotta Jansdotter's book "Lotta Prints :How to Print with anything, from potatoes to linoleum Now, I love, love, love Lotta! For someone who's so obsessed with perfection that she sometimes can't proceed unless the stars are perfectly aligned, her work is a welcome relief. She has made me feel okay about my crooked line drawings, or not being a great drawer. Her drawings are whimsical, and almost childlike. I love the simplicity of her work.But I gotta tell ya, the book was a lot lacking. It was great as a pictorial, but she really didn't go into detail about the processes. She didn't specify what type of inks to use, or any of that. The book is good for someone new to crafting, but not for a seasoned crafter who's looking for more detail. I bought the book just because I love her work so much. I didn't preview it first...I actually pre-ordered it before it came out.
But back to Lena Corwins book. I have taken quite a few trips to B&N to look thru her book and I find that it addresses most of my questions about printing. The only way it could be better is if she actually tells me the brand of inks and paints she herself uses. But I know that's not gonna happen... I will be adding this one to my collection, but until then, I have a few more trips to B&N.
Next post will be about my plans for this medium. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ikea lamp redux

This is so simple I'm almost embarrassed to post it as a bona-fide project. During one of my many trips to Ikea, I spotted this lamp/nightlight that I thought would be perfect for the boy's room. At $4.99 each, the price was certainly right! Only problem is, the picture was not to my taste. Upon closer inspection, I saw where I could very easily take the lamp apart and replace the paper. And that's what I did. My older son loooooves Ben10, and I was able to quickly find a very good high-res pic on the 'net. A quick crop in photoshop and it was good to go. The lamp I used was Tassa Natt, and can be found here


More Chairs

As promised, here are the other two chairs I've done. Can you guess which went into the boys' room, and which went to the girl?
I lucked out and found the same chair on two different occasions! The chairs looked like someone soaked their hands in a combination of mud, grease and grime for weeks, then smeared every inch of the chairs with it! I thought about taking the metal frames to get sandblasted and refinished at an auto painting place but didn't. Because 1) the places I called thought I was crazy (this is ohio, not san francisco, after all..) and 2) really, who am I kidding? I read a very effective tip on bringing your chrome back to life. Simply scrub the chrome with aluminum foil. What was even better? add some baking soda pasted with water. It was amazingly easy and effective in cleaning/shining the chrome. Check the before and after... (A lot of times you'll see my 'before' objects positioned rather strangely. That's because I ALWAYS forget to take the before picture before starting the demo.)

After #1
After #2

Friday, September 12, 2008




I've been obsessed with recovering old chairs lately. Maybe it's because I've been 'finding' so many! I just love making something old and cast aside, new again. I've done about 3 chairs so far, with 2 chairs and 2 couches left to re-upholster. I don't know when I'll get to those, as fabric (at least what I want) is un-cheap! I love the funky, mod fabrics out , but at $18-$60 per yard, that could add up.
The chair in this picture is my craft room chair. It was actually an rolling office chair in its old life. I loved the chair instantly from the side of the road. I cleaned it up nicely, but kept the original upholstery for a few months. I wasn't sure I could recover it, since I couldn't find any screws. I eventually found the screws and proceeded to take it apart. For a second during the demo I considered pitching the whole project because it had sooooooo many staples! Plus, it was really built to last, and I wasn't sure I could do as good a job putting it back together. I'm so glad I kept it and continued to work on it because it turned out so nice! It took me 3 nights to demo and rebuild. I still didn't tighten up the redo as much as the original, but I think it's great. I'm working on my perfectionist tendencies...
The sweetest part of the whole deal? The fabric only cost me $0.88 for all 3 yards (I only used about 1.5 yards). The Wal-Mart I got it from was closing out their fabric section so I was able to pull off a major score.
I have two more chairs that I've done that I will post soon.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Hiking with a purse...only my daughter.

So, we commemorated Labor day by hiking at Charleston Falls Nature Preserve. We went early in the morning before it got hot, and a great time was had by all. Though, the brochure l-i-e-d! It is decidedly NOT the Niagara Falls of the midwest, lol The Thorny Badlands were also neither thorny, nor bad. All in all, a great time was had by all.
I'm the one in the corner right with my braids hanging out, and my girlfriend V is the one with the Dora backpack (mommies unite!)
Here's is my lovely Princess Snaggletooth, hiking with her pink sparkly princess purse. Only her, I tell ya!

Oh my Wordle!

Get your own:

Monday, September 1, 2008

Slowly getting back into the swing...

Sorry folks, for the extended absence. I've been busy ripping up carpet and tacks, taking down wallpaper, painting walls, and moving...all with 3 children in tow. No, I didn't do it all myself, but I did a lot of work, as the hubster had to work during the day. But kudos to him though, he'd work daytime and go right into the house-work at night.

We had to do the most important things first, of course, and had to move in lightning fast. You see, we underestimated how much work we had to do, and set up to have our utilities turned off at the old place just one (very) short week after closing. I really wanted to at least get the painting done and the carpet up before moving in. I will live with ugly floors before I'll live with pissy carpets. (Previous owners had pets) The boys' room was a labor of love for me. I practically did the room myself. I ripped down all 4 layers of wallpaper (thankfully the first 3 came off easily, the 4th with vinegar and water), had to TSP-wash down the walls to remove the glue, primed, painted (2nd coat) and removed carpet tacks and staples...I harp on the tacks because, man, those things are a pain to remove! Hubby missed out on the distinct pleasure of wallpaper removal. Thanks to my hard work, the walls look awesome! Now the floors are another story. The hardwoods will have to be refinished at a later date.

I won't bore you to much more with the gory details. We got 'er done and are now settling in. There are still soooo many projects to be done (removing awnings, anyone?), but we can take our time with the rest of the projects.

Now I'm slowly getting back into posting and creating for my etsy shop. Please stay tuned for new and exciting products coming soon!
In the meantime, I'm getting ready to start making my own laundry detergent. Here's a great recipe I found on Woman's Day's website. I'm excited and can't wait to try this and see how well it works. My detergent buying days are about to be over if it washes as clean as they say it does. Now you might wonder why I'd make detergent when I could easily buy it. Here are my reasons:
1. I want something simpler and more natural. My son suffers from seasonal allergies. I, as well as all 3 of my kids suffer with hives. I want to eliminate as much chemicals from our lives as possible.
2. Detergent is expensive! This recipe will end up costing pennies per load.
3. I love the self-sufficiency aspect of it. Plus, I can customize with essential oils/fragrances that
I love.
4. It's fun! Yet another thing I can make!
I will make it this weekend, try it out and report back on my findings.

With no further ado, here's the recipe, courtesy of Mary Hunt of and woman's day.

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

3 pints water
1/3 bar Fels Naptha Soap, grated
1/2 cup Washing Soda (not baking soda, please!)
1/2 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
2-gallon bucket to mix it in
Additional hot water

Mix Fels Naptha soap in a saucepan with 3 pints hot water and heat on low until dissolved. Stir in washing soda and borax. Stir until thickened, and remove from heat. Add 1 quart hot water to a two-gallon bucket. Add soap mixture, and mix well. Fill bucket to about 3 inches from the top with additional hot water, and mix well. Set aside for 24 hours, or until mixture thickens. Use 1/2 cup of mixture per load. Note: This detergent will not make suds, which makes it perfect for front-loading HE washers.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I feel so special...

At the risk of coming off self-congratulatory, I made another treasury! And this one made front page yesterday! I totally missed my 15 seconds of fame though, due to the ongoing house project. I have not been in front of the computer as much. Making front page was one of my goals, and, wow, I made it! I wasn't even aware I was in this treasury because the curator didn't notify me (It's nice if they do, but they don't have to.)
Thanks to thepairabirds for her lovely treasury, and for including my votive shades once again. I can't wait to get back into creating more items for my JesPlayin shop.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Put some panties on dem windows...

In working on This Old House, I came to the realization of why it's so dark inside. Metal Awnings. On every window. The awnings are leaving the scene as we speak, courtesy of the hubster.
In addition to the awnings, there are light-blocking curtains on every window as well. I somewhat understand this as there are many large windows in the house. I on the other hand, love light. Lots of it, but I also understand the need for privacy. On an episode of some random HGTV show (I watch so many, they start to all blend together in my mind), I saw where they used something called 'Privacy film' to keep outsiders from peeking in. I thought this was genius, so I went and priced it. I can't remember how much you get per package, but I know it came to something like $30. This could add up! I had started trying to figure out how else to cover the windows but still have light. It suddenly hit me. Clear contact paper!!!
I remembered that I had some so I quickly gave it a try, and sure enough, it works! It's a very light adhesive film, so it doesn't leave tacky goo on your windows. I'm almost willing to bet that it's the same material marketed as 'privacy film'. Pffftt. At $3-5 a roll for a lot (I don't remember how much, but I know it was more than the 'privacy film' package) It is a substantial savings. I'm looking forward to doing this!
Oh, it's also useful for other projects such as wall art. Check out this instructable (not mine).

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Another Treasury, Yay!

Thanks to Tennekka of MODNAROS for featuring my votive shades in her lovely treasury. I've included the screen capture for your viewing pleasure. This is my third treasury, (each time with this votive shades). It never occurred to me to save the first two via screen capture until I saw someone do it for their flickr. Now I wish I had memorialized the treasury in a picture. Oh well, there's always next time (I believe)
One day I hope to get around to doing one too...there are some really amazing creations on etsy.

Friday, August 8, 2008

This old house

So we've gone and done it, bought ourselves an old house. The sweet old couple that sold it to us had lived there for 60 years! yes, almost twice as long as I've been alive. We fell instantly in love with the old world charm and huge family room. Dreams of an expansive crafting area, built-in bookcases and shelves, cozy atmosphere, and lovely hardwood floors prompted us to make an offer. Never mind the too small bedrooms, 1 tiny bathroom, and country decor and the knotty pine paneled walls and cabinets in the kitchen . When you're in love, you're in love!
Now it's ours, and the real work begins.
I've been ripping down wallpaper, which thankfully is coming down quite easily. What is it with elders and wallpaper anyway?! I also have been working to get rid of the country decor. The previous owners were heavy antique collectors, and they left us a lot of stuff. A lot of useful stuff, and a lot of stuff I have to get rid of. They did leave me a very nice round coffee table, and a nice buffet that I've been wanting for the dining room. They also left a lot of antique country style chairs that I'm not interested in. I'm sure these would probably sell well at a flea market or antique show, but I don't really have the time or energy or the space to store it. I do also feel bad selling certain things, like the rugs the old lady hooked about 50 years ago. Not only is it not really my style, but it I'm sure it's very cat- and dog-pissy. They're nice and huge! just not the right colors. I somehow feel that I'll wish I'd kept them in the winter cold.
Speaking of floors, I'm dying to un-earth the lovely hardwoods under the cat and dog-pissy carpet.
This old house is going to be fun to make into my fabulous new home, and I'll be sure to post pics.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Moving, Moving, Moving...

So it looks like we are moving. I didn't want to broadcast this till it was more of a reality. Even now that it's looming ahead (closing's in 3 days), I'm still hesitant to talk about it. Excitement is not the word for what I feel. I can decorate to my heart's content! I've been accumulating my furniture, freegan-style, for the new digs. In true JP style, I love to take something old and cast aside, fix it up and have friends 'ooh and aah' over how wonderful it is. Thanks, pre-owners! Even if I was well-off, I'd still do this. It's just too much fun. Once I get a chance I will post pics of some of my refurbishments (is that a word?). I've scored some major coups, including a pair unbelievably funky french-style chairs...Stay tuned.

Monday, July 28, 2008

2nd post of the night - featured!

A mere 1 hour after posting my Instructable, I am featured on the FRONT PAGE!!!
Check it out here:
Here's a direct link to my instructable:

Love is hard work.

I'm talking about my love of thought I was about to dish, didn't cha? Sike!
Anywhoo, I made my first instructable tonight, yippee! I did my instructable on liquid soapmaking. One might wonder why I would give away my secrets, if I'm selling the soap....
Don't worry, I'm no fool, I didn't give away any secrets. My process is just too great not to share with the world. The instructable is really just meant to serve as a pictorial. I know lots of people who won't try something until they see how it looks first. I'm thinking of developing this into a full-fledged e-book for sale. Keep your eyes peeled for more info.

Monday, July 21, 2008

It's the simple things...

For tonight's workshop with the wee-ones, we made cardboard flip-flops. I found this on family fun's website, and thought it was such a wonderful idea! It's simple, easy and the kids can customize to their hearts content. We actually started last night. I traced their feet onto the cardboard, and cut them out, then had them paint the bottom part of the flip-flops. Then tonight we came back and decorated the top using 2 inch wide strips of cardstock and various paints, appliques, glitter, markers and whatnot. The kids had a great time, and they are so impressed with their creations, they insisted on wearing them around the house. The trouble came when #3 (who didn't make one) flipped out because he wanted a pair. So you guessed it, I had to quickly make him a pair too. He literally did not stop wailing till they were on his feet. You would think they got hundred dollar presents or something. Proof positive that kids don't necessarily need all those fancy toys with the bells and whistles. Sometimes it's just just the simple things...

Here is Prince Focused decorating his flaps.

And Princess Snaggletooth decorating hers...

Meanwhile Prince Rawkus scribbled and marked up my craft table...

Here is the finished product....

Here are Prince Focused and Princess Snaggletooth modeling there creations.
And a great time was had by all!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

At the market

The Soap Queen in action at the Yellow Springs Farmer's market. I did okay.
I've got a frienemy at the market that I need to keep a close eye on. Competition is fierce! That's all I'm going to say about that.

In other news, I had my first international etsy order to Australia, yay!

Friday, July 18, 2008

My latest Etsy Listing

You would think my kitchen looked this good all the time. Check out my new item on etsy: Votive Shades Pattern E. The surface design is loosely based on the Adinkra symbol "Ananse Ntontan" which stands for wisdom and creativity. How divine!
The shades are great for dinner parties, and will softly illuminate your space to give a cozy bistro feel. Speaking of which, while in NY in February I met up with my dear friend S.W at a restaurant. Of course I don't remember the name of the place now, but I remember it was in the village, below street level and illuminated entirely by the candles on the table. They could've used these shades...hey, maybe they'll wanna buy some? idea!
Anywhoos, these shades are also great as wedding reception centerpieces. Check them out!

Friday, July 11, 2008


Excuse me if this post is a little rambly. Sleep is seriously in short supply. This time tommorrow, I should be passed out somewhere after this whirlwind of a weekend. I'm trying not to fall off, trying to stay focused.
I'm off to bed for the next 3 hours before it all starts again.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

One Day I will laugh about this...

Tonight I was in the process of bottling my fresh batch of soap in preparation for this weekend's farmer's market, when in strolled my older two who are age 7 and 4. Of course they wanted to help. Of course my first inclination was a to scream a big, fat, NO. But of course, common sense, compassion, and a desire to be a good parent prevailed. I agreed to let them put the caps on the bottles for me. Everything was going swimmingly well, when inevitably, my 4 year old drops a bottle on the floor, spilling half its contents! I guess he lost his grip on the bottle because of drips on the side. Have you ever tried to mop up concentrated liquid soap off the floor??? You simply haven't lived! Of course I was vexed and wanted to have a screaming fit, but once again, I had restraint. All I could say was 'It's okay son, I know it was an accident.'
I wonder if there's been any sort of research statics on the amount of stress induced on parents from having to have so much restraint?

*On another note, my fabulous Votive Candle Shades made someone's treasury! Yay! I hope this translates into sales.

*My Taiwosoaps Etsy shop opened today, yay! I will be adding more items as I see fit, so stay tuned! Oh yeah, and shop too!
I'm equally passionate about both my product lines, but I didn't really see how to mesh the two in the same shop, so I opened a separate shop for the soaps.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Liquid Soap Pictorial

Here are my steps, documented in pictures. This should in no way be taken as a tutorial. If you need some info on where to get a bonafide tutorial, send me a comment and I'll point you in the right direction. There are so many tutorials out there, but most don't have step-by-step pictures.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Yellow Springs Farmer's Market

So much happened this week on the liquid soap front. I was so happy with the soap I made I decided to sell it! I remembered suddenly that the Yellow Springs market is a free setup, and the village is full of the kinds of folks that would appreciate this, so I thought it'd be a great place to start. I had been by the market about 2 weeks before to scout it out and saw they had 2 soapmakers selling there. I think my product is different enough to stand apart from the others, so I decided to go for it. This meant, chaos...especially since I had NO in labels, biz cards, display etc. It really wasn't too bad though. I had only 6 20 ounce bottles of the soap on hand. Usually I wouldn't even do a show with that few products, but I figured I had nothing to lose, and it was a great way to test the market. So I set about designing labels, cards, and a display. It was wonderful that I didn't have so many products to outfit, so I was able to focus on the look I was going for: Earthy, Natural, and Green...literally. My labels were green. I can't give you all my secrets, but lets just say, I had to do some pretty creative upcycling and repurposing to end up with what you see before you.
So how did I do? I sold 4 out of 6 bottles, which is great, considering that I was only there about 2 hours. You see, it started raining and thundering really hard,. I didn't have shelter, and Princess Snaggletooth is terrified of rain, thunder and lightening. For some reason she's really worried about hurricanes and tornadoes. I think if I'd stayed the whole time I would've accomplished my goal of selling everything. I will return next week, because it was a great experience.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Buttons & Bows

So tonight my daughter asks me if we can have workshop. I am dead tired, I mean, so sleepy I can't see straight. But I go ahead and say yes because I've been blowing her off about 'workshop' for the past few weeks. There just never seems to be enough hours in the day between all the things that need to be done, and the stuff that has to be done. Anyway, tonight we have time, but I'm just tired and chronically sleep deprived. All I wanted was to crawl into my bed and watch TV till my eyes fall out, or I pass out...probably the latter. I say yes anyway.
'Workshop' was my brilliant solution to the 'mommy-can-I-helps' that inevitably happens when I'm in the studio trying to create. This would usually lead to frustration as I can't get anything done because a little person wants to 'help', or needs supervision. So I decided (rather ambitiously) that twice a week I would let them come in the studio and create. Of course, twice a week is a lot, especially during the school year. Workshop almost became obsolete during the 'Annie Jr. months', when she was in late rehearsals for the play.
So tonight, I say yes, sleep be damned, and I had a great time! She ended up making a bracelet out of some cute buttons I've been saving for the right project. As I found out, the right project is what you make it. She made a button bracelet, and I made a bunch of button barrettes, and one bow-rette. At the Mocha conference in Chicago I attended a couple of weeks ago, I saw a lady that makes and sells these, and I was like "hey, I have those same EXACT buttons!". Now why didn't I think of that??? They were quite simple to make too.
No, I will not be selling these. I just made them for fun, and for my girlfriend's daughter's birthday this weekend. SJ really loves these bows, so I'll make a couple more as a present.
I will try to get the pic of the bracelet that Princess Snaggletooth made. She went to bed before I could get a picture.
Here are the pics of what I made, and a picture of my generally always messy worktable. Also I've added another picture of my liquid soap with my working label. Please critique if you'd like. Okay, I will now find my way to bed.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Eat To Live

Here is a picture of tonights dinner above. Isn't it just gorgeous How the red 'pops' off the green? That would be the graphic designer in me talking. The dish you are looking at is Basil Pesto 'Pasta.'
Look closer. That's not the traditional pasta you are looking at. You are looking at thinly shredded fresh zucchini coated in a basil pesto sauce and topped in fresh chopped tomatoes tossed with some seasoned rice vinegar (my favorite!). And yes, it's all RAW. And deelish!
Anyone who knows me knows I love food. Chicken, Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw. If it tastes good, I'll eat it. I'll try just about anything once (as long as it's not bugs or strange creatures, yecch!). If I don't like it, I never have to eat it again, is my motto. I was a vegetarian for about 5 years, and it was great, I felt healthy, and good, but I just couldn't bear the thought of phasing out a whole food group altogether. As long as good food exists, I can't phase out a whole segment of food just as a general policy.
Now, that being said, a good portion of my family's diet is still vegetarian. The husband is still staunchly vegetarian, which leaves me either cooking vegetarian, or cooking two meals for dinner. Since I don't want to spend my whole day in the kitchen, I usually cook what everyone can eat, most of the time.
I went to the farmer's market yesterday and stopped by the Raw Passion Bistro and they served this dish. As I always do whenever I sample a great dish, I did the copycat at home, and the results are above, right. I think I pretty much got it dead on...after all, there's no cooking involved. Bon Appetit! The dish is tasted even better since I got my ingredients from the farmer's market.
Oh, and the cooked pasta dish on the right is what the kids ate, since I know they won't eat the food (except for the oldest, she leans vegetarian.) I used Gimme Lean Sausage style in this, but I used real mozzarella and Colby-Jack cheeses. It was all good.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Liquid Soap, Yay!

Those who know me know that I used to sell my handmade soaps and lotions. I've made both bar soaps and liquid soap using the cold process method. I'm considering selling it again, but I have to see how I'm going to make it all happen. I'm way too talented for my own good! This is my blessing, and this is my curse, a la Spiderman.
Anyway, I took a loooong hiatus from Soapmaking. In the interim I've used both bars and shower gels, but nothing compares to my handmade soap. Last night I made a batch of the most delicious, richest, most soothing batch of Liquid soap! I'm so excited at how easy it was, and how well it turned out. The whole thing took approximately 4 hours, but about 90% of that time was oven time. I didn't take pictures this time, but next time I definitely will. I might even do a tutorial for anyone out there who is interested in making some. If there's enough interest I will sell it.
The batch I made used cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut & corn oils. Can you say rich and soothing??!! I used it this morning and my skin is loving it. Washed my hair with it, and I didn't even use conditioner. Awesome.
Like I said, I didn't take pictures of the process, but I will put up a picture of the pot, and the bottle below.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Boite Nouvelle

I just love surface patterns. Fabrics and papers, etc. I love creating new patterns. I guess more than anything I consider myself a surface designer. The dream is to one day design fabrics and paper. Until now, I'm happy selling my 'one-off' pieces on etsy. Check out my new pencil cups on your right. Peace.

Monday, June 16, 2008

This RePurposed life

In my ripe old age I continue to find ways to recycle items around the house. For instance, I've converted a dresser into a kitchen island, amongst other things. Lately, I've been focused more on making smaller scale items. Check out my new line of Pencil cups at my Etsy shop. The humble soup can is one that piles up rather quickly, and is quite versatile. Anyone can do this at home, but not everyone has access to my lovely adinkra-inspired designs. For those who are less crafty, I offer my creations. For the rest of you, please remember to reduce, reuse, recycle!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

When I was a young (crafty) child fresh off the plane from Nigeria, I was amazed at how much useful stuff people would throw out. This led to me saving a whole bunch of those styrofoam trays from the grocery store. I just knew they could be turned into something. I made lots of picture frames, but after a while, I had to let them go because they were rapidly piling up. This was a pivotal point in my 'junk to treasure' attitude. Today, I still love to save little bottles, cans, boxes, etc to be used for something later. More and more lately I'm finding things that can be reused. This goes with the whole GREEN movement, but hey, I was Green before Green was green!

It is my aim with my etsy shop to use as many 'upcycled' items in my work as possible. I am really impressed with the things I've been able to make from household discards. Following is a tutorial for a small shipping box.

Small Shipping box from a drink carton.

If your household is anything like mine, you go through a lot of containers: Cereal boxes, soup cans, soymilk cartons, jugs, etc. It kills me to throw these things away, so I've been saving them to use. Here's a pictorial of me making a small shipping box with an empty juice carton (you know, the dole/welch's juice kind)

You will need:
-Craft Knife with a fairly sharp blade (I used my trusty 10 year old X-acto)
-paper to wrap the box in (as USPS won't allow you to use any old box)
-small item to be shipped.


Step 1. Cut off the triangular shaped top of the box.
Step 2: Slice each of the four corners to the desired depth toaccomodate whatever object you're sending. I just eyeballed it, but if you're anal about this type of stuff you can measure.
Step 3: Fold down each of the four sides, and crease.
Step 4: Place the object to be mailed in the box, fold down the flaps and secure the box with tape.