Saturday, January 29, 2011

Some serious Treasury Love

Neville, my love, was featured in - not one - but TWO great treasuries today.  Check 'em out if you get a chance.  I'm actually checking out the other shops right now.  While posting.  And while trying to figure out how to embed a treasury on my blog.  (...gosh I'm clueless sometimes...)  Multi-tasker extraordinaire!



Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Making pizza - second attempt

K.  So this time, after chatting with my pizza sensei, I decided to roll the dough out instead of pushing it out by hand like last time.  (See dough recipe here.)  So roll and roll I did.  I made this one as thin as I could with the size of the pan I had to work with.  And when it fell over the edges, I just folded it back on with my fingers making for a nice little crust around the edges. :)

I really wanted to try a veggie pizza this time - so I quick steamed some broccoli...


...and added tomato and crumbled feta cheese.  Drooooool.

Before:

After:


Absolutely delicious.


How do I know?  "Wow, this is much better than your last one!"  And he helped himself to seconds. :)  It really was a lot better.  Thinner crust is the way to go.  And I used about 16 oz of shredded "pizza" cheese.  Which had a delightful chew to it - and an especially rich flavor around the edge where it was well done.  So so good.  I'm definitely doing this again.  So easy.  Like I said - if you are scared of "dough from scratch" like I was - try this.  You'll be a pizza master in no time.

Incidentally...some visitors we had this weekend.


What's funny is, I have never, in the year since Jon moved in, ever seen mourning doves around here.  And about a week or so ago, I saw three of them under the feeder.  Then Sunday, there they were, all fluffed up in the tree.  (It was really cold that day.)  I betcha it's the same group.  Aren't they adorable?!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Suits Me Perfectly

Today I will be dismantling a few suits I picked up the other day from the thrift.


I actually already started on the brown one.


I'm hoping to get both that beautiful grey one (don't you love the elbow patches!?) and the plaidish one in the foreground done.


It takes quite a bit of time.  I was hoping to get more efficient at doing this each time I tackled one.  Truth is - there's just a whooole lot of stiches in a suit jacket and there's no getting around it.

Notice my little wool addict keeping close tabs in the background...
So it's time consuming.  But worth it:

  • I get them super cheap.  
  • They're usually wool.  
  • Vintage wool at that!  
  • They make beautiful beavers!!  
  • I love the upcycling factor.
  • And for the size plushies I work with, you get quite a bit of fabric.

Anyway.  That's my day in a nutshell.  Oh, and tonight we're going to a ritzy little party hosted by Jon's work.  I get to wear my new ModCloth dress my sister got me for Christmas!!  I'm super excited for that part.  :)

OH!  And, speaking of Christmas, I just realized I never shared with you one of my absolute favorite Christmas presents of all time!!


Isn't she beeeaauuuuutiful?!  I love it.  I love it I love it I love it.  And it was a total surprise.  (Jon's a very good sneaky present giver.)  I've been wanting a vintage Schwinn to fix up and ride for a while now.  However, with the mountain of other projects I've got on my plate, it really wasn't feasible.  So, instead, now I've got a "new vintage" Schwinn!  Ready to ride this spring!  I've already got it all planned out - I'm gonna get a basket and everything and ride around the countryside channeling Zooey Deschanel (b/c, come on, she's seriously the coolest) taking photos of old barns and cool trees and it's gonna be wonderful!

Photo credit: http://fterritory.blogspot.com/2010/11/girlcrush-zooey-deschanel.html 
I can't wait. :)

PS: "She" doesn't have a name yet though....any suggestions?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Home Sweet Home


I just got an email from Shawna letting me know that Clarence and Pippa made it home safely.  And that they are all wonderfully happy over there.  And that makes me happy.  Giddy, really.  I'm just so glad that someone (especially someone as lovely as Miss Shawna!) not only understands, but loves and appreciates what I do. Sometimes when I tell people I make plushies, I feel like they don't always know exactly what to say...maybe it's all in my head.  But I haven't yet met a lot of grownups who feel the need to collect stuffed animals.  (Even though they're not just stuffed animals - they're mini works of art, really.)  Or maybe they're just not aware.  I tend to be submersed in the handmade community on a daily basis and a lot of my favorite artists make plushies/softies as well.  So this world is a lot bigger to me, even from what I knew 6 months ago.  But I'm sure a great many people out there still have no idea that we plushie lovers exist.

This one is hilarious to me, btw, Shawna - I told you he's a ham!
Anyway, it's so satisfying when you come across another person who gets it.  I'm really feelin proud today!  I love what I'm doing and if for no other reason than that, I'm gonna keep on keepin on!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Miss Pippa

Introducing.....Miss Pippa the Beaver.  


And do you know what that means?  It means that as of this post, ALL of my outstanding custom orders are now complete.  Good job, me!

PS: If you love Pippa like I love Pippa, although she's personally spoken for already, you can find a small colony of beavers in my shop here.

PPS: Since I had to google what a group of beavers was called (definitely not a herd...or a gaggle...and those were the only two my Sunday brain was coming up with...) I found this awesome article on beavers.  Points I found pretty interesting: Native Americans called the beaver "the sacred center" b/c they had such a large impact on the habitat and affected so many of their fellow critters (in a good way).  On that same point, according to this article, only humans and elephants have as big of an impact on their environment as beavers do.  Busy little beavers is right!  Also, they're one of the members of the animal kingdom that mates for life.  How cute is that?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

So Stylin'

Guess what?  I was recently honored with the "Stylist Blogger Award" by the sweet Debbie, aka: PoetessWug over at The Wug's Backyard Blogspot!!   So I must be doing something right over here. :)

It is a very nice thing to be noticed like that.  It really is.  When I started this blog, I worried, probably like many new bloggers do, that no one would ever read my ramblings on here.  First off, would anyone even find my page?  Would anyone care what I was doing or had to say?  Would I connect with anyone?  Well, they did...they apparently do...and I have!  As of today, I have 23 beautiful followers (which usually means I probably have a couple more lurkers) and at least one of those wonderful like-minded people thinks I'm great.  So thank you, Miss Wug, and now on to take care of my duties as Miss StylishBlogger.


The 4 duties to perform upon receiving this award are:
1. Thank, and link back to, the person who awarded you this award
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award! 

#1: Check.

#2:  Seven things...hmmm....I'll try to pick things that I haven't yet or maybe wouldn't normally share on here.

Ha...like this.
1.)  My first car was an '85 Ford Thunderbird.  It was red. It was a pile.  But I loved that car.

2.)  When people ask me where I grew up, though I've now spent the majority of my life in Michigan, I will usually reply Connecticut and upstate New York because I feel most of what makes me who I am today are those two places.  
When I was about three, my parents designed and built a beautiful home on our family's land in rural Meridan, CT.  We had a huge property.  I had a pink playhouse with a porch and a full sized swingset complete with lookout tower.  We had a pool.  And we had a small lake where we fished and caught turtles.  
When we moved to NY (I was about seven), it was also a very rural area.  I had a close friend who lived on a dairy farm where we (we = my sister and I) spent a lot of time.  As a child, if I was not day dreaming/drawing/writing in my room, I was outside "exploring" or playing on the farm.  I did not see a video game until I was about 12.  (We got a Sega.)

3.)  I'm deathly afraid of swimming in lake water at night.  Can't do it.  Don't know why.  Freaks me out.

4.)  I broke my collarbone when I was about eight.

5.)  On our property in CT, we raised chickens.  I loved them very much.  We hatched them, and raised them, and those lovely ladies kept us in steady supply of eggs which I gingerly collected every day.  It is my dream to have chickens again someday. 

Me...probably about 4? with one of the baby chicks.

6.)  I collect Breyer horses.  (I actually entered a show once too.  One of my entries won "Best in Show".)

7.)  I can't play any instruments.  (And that one is actually pretty sad to me.  I'd love to learn.)

#3:  I'm stretching the rules a bit here.  These bloggers are not all recently discovered.  Some of them were actually why I started blogging in the first place - they really inspired me so I've known of them for a while.  Some of these, although they might not know me at all (and this sounds kind of weird...) I could tell you what they do for a living, their husbands/boyfriends names, if they have kids, if they have pets...I just really relate to them and truly enjoy "following" their world so I've come to "know" them pretty well.  And some, I have just recently discovered, and I don't know them well at all, but I really like what I see already so they made the list. :)  If you get a chance, each one of these is 100% worth checking out.  Oh! and a lot of them also have Etsy shops - so look for those too.  Enjoy!  (in no particular order...)
Off to take care of #4!  

Just a little treat for those of you who made it to the end of this ridiculously long post. :)

Dough making & pizza - a first attempt

So one of my goals for this year is to learn to make a few basic items from scratch, namely breads.  And after talking with one of the attorneys I work with, who is also a wiz in the kitchen, she recommended I start with a pizza dough because it's super easy.  And it was.  So if you're scared of bread - like I am ;) - this is a great, easy way to throw your inhibitions to the wind and dive in.


To make the dough you just start with one of those packets of yeast (I used the quick rise, although she said the kind isn't super important), add about 1 & 1/2 cups of "very warm water".  I don't know what that means really - mine was almost hot.  I know it has to be warm enough to activate the yeast - but I don't know what the actual temp is.  Then you add 2 tsp of sugar.  Now, at this point, something is supposed to happen.  I think.  Like bubbling or something.  I don't think mine ever did that - but I still got dough, so, um....I don't know what to tell you there.  (All brand new to me people - so bear with me.)  Then you add 2 tsp of salt.  And gradually stir in about 3-4 cups of flour until it just becomes unsticky.  I used a mixture of all purpose flour and whole wheat.  (That's one of the reasons baking is so intimidating to me - the basic ingredients are not that crazy, but the variety available of each ingredient is insane.)

So stir and stir and stir until your arm's about to fall off then knead it til it's nice and smooth and you get this:


A happy little dough ball!   Then let it sit for, um, about an hour or two until it rises to about double it's size.  I read online that it's supposed to feel "alive" when it's ready.  That's a little creepy, but I kind of know what they mean.  You just have to feel it.


Here's my dough ball, all grown up.  ^  Then you take it and roll it, or just smoosh it like I did, until you get the size you want.  I did it right on my pan - before you put it on, sprinkle some flour down first.  


Then you sauce it (took one 15 oz. can), and cheese it, and load on whatever toppings tickle your fancy.  I did ground turkey, which I cooked together with the onions for flavor, and mushrooms.  And that's two bags of mozzarella cheese.  Yes - I live with a cheese addict.   


Be ready to fend off said lurking cheese bandit.  He's especially good at popping up from nowhere when I'm  taking pictures.


Get super duper excited when it's aaalllmoooosttt done... (cook at 475 - our oven runs a little hot, so I didn't go for the 500 - for about 15-20 minutes)


And voila!  Your very own first pizza from scratch!  (Well, not counting the sauce.  Or the cheese.  But we're not worrying about those for a while...)


It was pretty good.  Not bad at all.  And definitely better than our usual frozen jobbies from the store.  Next time I make this here's what I'd do:
  • I'd cut the dough recipe almost in half and make the crust a lot thinner.  The crust was cooked, but it was just cooked, and didn't have a nice crisp to it like I like.
  • I'd use either a different meat or flavor the turkey differently.  Although I prefer it, there's a lot less bite to ground turkey compared to beef or sausage.  It sure is easier on my tummy, but it was hard to taste it.  
  • I layered cheese, toppings, cheese - so next time I think I'd just do cheese, then toppings to allow them to crisp a bit.
  • And I'd looooove to try a broccoli, feta, tomato pizza next!  Especially with the thinner crust!  Yum!






Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Miss Petunia Merryfeather

Check out my latest custom order, y'all!


Miss Petunia Merryfeather - a custom request by the lovely Katie.  Not only is Petunia the sweetest...Katie is the sweetest!  Thanks Kataaay.  I hope you and the girls love her!

Now off to work on another custom request for Shawna!  I'm really feeling the love lately.  With customers like you guys, I won't need any other ones!  Well...I mean...if anyone has some custom plushie needs - I'd be super glad to whip something up with you.  That'd be cool too.  The more the merrier, right?  Anyway, Miss Pippa has got most of her parts ready to go.


A scrumptious wool coat, a cute little floral bum, some great fuzzy ears and a cute pinky tummy.  (Hmm...fyi, Pippa's showing a little more purply on my screen than real life I think.)  Now, where to find just the right buttons...


(And Cooper is definitely ready to help with such serious business as button eye choosing.  So don't worry.  I know you were all worried.  But don't.  Cuz he's on it.)  :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Couldn't help myself

Look who flopped himself out of my favorites and into my recent purchases!  (See shop here at NomadClayworks)




Isn't he gorgeous?!?  


I can't wait to see him in person!

And in case you need one for your very own (or some other beautiful clay work), their whole inventory is on sale right now so head on over!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Reflecting on 2010 - 12 Months in 12 Photos

The very talented chica over at PaperCrane recently did a blog post similarly titled.  (I love her blog - you should check it out if you don't already know it.) It inspired me to do the same here.  Without further ado...













2010 was most excellent.  There was tons of crafting, house/yard work and antiquing.  I passed my math class.  :)  It was a year of many firsts and of new beginnings.  I had my first sale on Etsy and started my blog.  I received a big promotion at my day job.  I got to see my sister and nephew whom I hadn't seen in years.  :')   Jon bought his first home - a beautiful home - and he and I moved in together.  That same generous, supportive man gave me a room my very own to turn into my first craft room.  I sewed my first owl, and my first beaver.  I had my first art show!  And we hosted our first Christmas, like real live adults, at our place this year.  

I have so much to be thankful for in my life.  Even though I'm not exactly where I want to be, I'm working toward my goals everyday.  And I'm rich.  In spirit.  In love.  In family.  Thank you, truly, for being a part of this year with me.  So here's to 2011 and the endless possibility it brings!  Cheers!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Clarence completed!!

Happy New Year my lovely readers!  I hope you all had a safe and fun holiday.  (I go back to work tomorrow...*sniff*)

Just stopped in to tell you I finished Clarence!  I'm pretty happy with him.  He's (almost) exactly as I imagined him.  Things sometimes have a way of making themselves around here...so he added his own flair along the way.  I think he's a pretty handsome fella and one cool cat - er, crow.

He's so squishy, soft and huggable!

I love his wings!

Oooooo yeeaaaah.
Now I have a custom beaver to work on!  I need to locate some brown wool stat.