Archive for February, 2011

etsy finds: put a bird on it!

Have you been watching Portlandia? Well, you should because it is the funniest show at the current moment. Well, perhaps it's only funny for people that understand the hipster culture or went to art school or actually live in Portland, but I think it's pretty dang hillarious. After their sketch "Put a Bird on it" aired, I was sent a link to watch it by a couple of people. Were they trying to tell me something? Do I put birds all over things or would I just appreciate the humor? Either way, my bathroom is full of birds, so I suppose that is it. In case you are unfamiliar with this growing phenomenon: My bathroom is the one neglected place of decor. I've thrown up a birdy shower curtain and have matching towels...but the walls are so BORING. So, this week's etsy finds is inspired by Portlandia and by the need to put something on my walls! 1. Blue Jays from Bee Things (I actually already own this print and LOVE it...I suppose I should move it to its appropriate room!) 2. Icy Bird Pin from Moloco (I'd put this on a shelf so that every time I saw it, I would say "Aww! So cute!") 3. Love Bird Necklace from Spunk and Sass (Ok, so I don't need this for my bathroom, but it's cute and they are local!) 4. Love Birds Ring Holder from Darrielle's Clay Art (I would actually use this as an earing catchall.) 5. Little Bird Print from One Sweet Orange. (Love the colors in this!) All images courtesy of the artist's etsy shops.

in the kitchen: cheesy, butternut squash quinoa bake

Have you ever visited Spark Recipes? It's my new favorite recipe site. Every recipe comes with nutritional information and you can easily search with diet restrictions (vegan, gluten free, sugar free, etc.) It think it's pretty great. I stumbled upon a recipe for Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese. Though, desperate to find a recipe to try out quinoa, I adjusted this slightly to make a delicious cheesy, butternut squash quinoa bake. Ingredients: 2 1/2 cups diced butternut squash (I used 3 very small squashes, you could probably get this out of one big one) 1  cup veggie broth 1 1/2 cups milk (I used plain soy milk, since that is what I keep on hand) 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (plus a little extra for topping) 1/2 cup low fat ricotta cheese 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg 2 cooked cups quinoa Directions: 1. Cook quinoa according to directions 2. Put squash, broth and milk in a pot. Bring to a boil and let cook until squash is tender. ( I really don't remember how long this took, but just keep poking the squash with a fork to check.) 3. Pour out most liquid into separate dish. Puree squash and about 1/4 cup of liquid until desired consistency. You can also just mash up the squash if you like chunkier textures. 4. Mix all ingredients together (Quinoa, squash puree, remaining liquid, cheese and spices) 5. Pour into medium sized casserole dish and top with extra cheese (I used extra cheddar and a little Parmesan.) 6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes and enjoy!

renegade craft, here we come!

I was beyond excited last week when I received word that emilee rose was excepted as a vendor at Renegade Austin in May! I feel like Renegade is the equivalent of going to the National Stationery Show or something. It is THE craft show to participate in and I get to go! I'm sharing a booth with my favorite boothmate, Lora from b bags. Having someone to share a booth with is the best way to go...booth fees are cut in half, you have someone to talk to during the slow times (unless it's that great of a show that you are talking to customers non-stop!) and you have someone to watch your booth while you visit the restroom or other booths. Even though the show is not until May, I'm getting ready now! I'll be going to New York the week before for the Stationery Show, so I want all of my ducks to be in a row so that I'm not all frantic in May. Let's face it, I get crabby when I'm stressed! So, what will be new for this show? I want to make a slew of original paintings on wood. I haven't decided how many to make. 15? 25? Who knows! I think once I come up with my final designs, it will be easier to determine how many final paintings to bring. Digital coloring versions of my paper dolls. I LOVE my dolls, but I get a lot of "I don't know any kids" or "My daughter is too young/too old for paper dolls." It is a very small niche to get into and I just can't use my dolls as my main "thing." So, I've come up with the idea of using my illustrations as coloring sheets. And rather than me spending the money/time/effort printing out a million and ten sheets, I'll put them on a CD (adorably packaged, of course!) so that the mommy/daddy/kiddo/whoever can print out as many coloring sheets as they would like. Good idea, no? And perhaps some new paper goodies...recipe cards? bookmarks? book plates? new thank you notes? I'll be sure to keep you posted on new products! In the mean time...back to work!

mini paintings in the shop!

I have finally added a few mini paintings in the shop and will try to add more later this week (how is it already so late?!) I'm super excited about these paintings and I'm super excited about painting again. For those of you that might not know, I've been painting for years. I started getting really into it in middle school, where I took 2 art classes (not something that everyone gets to do.) And then I went to a specialized high school and majored (yeah, we had "majors" in high school) in visual art, where most of my pieces were paintings. Once I went to college, I started focusing all of my energy on architecture and really stopped making art. So these paintings are FUN! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. And maybe next time, I can figure out a way to photograph them without the help of Tilly!

a weekend in wisconsin

Last weekend I was lucky enough to take a little vacay in the beautiful Milwaukee! Perhaps the middle of February was not the best time to go visit, but I was getting to the point that I really NEEDED to see my friends and really needed to get away. I am so glad that I did, even if it made me even more homesick for my Milwaukee life style. These two ladies are my besties. I seriously love them so much and wish that I could see them more often. They were my favorite part of my trip. I do love the city and all of the great things it has to offer, but if I didn't get to do it with one of these gals, it just wouldn't be the same. After putting on about a million layers and yelling "I can't put my arms down!", we trekked to the park for some exercise for this pup. Running and jumping through untouched snow is pretty darn fun. The last day that I was there was GORGEOUS! It warmed up quite a bit, but the city was still pretty and white. I thought I was ready to go home by the last day. I missed my house and my bed and my kitty, of course. But after I got to go home and hug the little one, I was ready to go back. It's a strange thing to have two places that now feel like "home." At least I get to go visit every once and a while and catch up with friends and see my favorite city.

st. arnolds: a houston gem

After living in Milwaukee for a few years, I grew to love local microbrews, specifically New Glarus beers. Back in Texas, my go-to beer would always be a Shiner. Good. Texas. Beer. And while I might be the last to jump on the bandwagon, I have a new place in my heart for St. Arnold Brewery, brewed just north of Downtown,  conveniently 5 minutes from my house. What's better than locally brewed beer? A brewery that offers you 4 (decent sized) tastings for $7.00 every Saturday. The beer hall is always packed by 11:20, so this time I knew to get there early to stake out a spot to sit. A few friends and I met up to enjoy a beer and company. Eva graciously brought some game, but none of us had the energy or know how to actually play the game. Thank goodness someone else had a deck of cards. And we might have brought a little bit too much food for 7 people... The longer I live here, the more I discover in Houston. It's really not that that bad! We may not have numerous breweries, but we definitely have one really good one to keep us going.

hello granny: an update.

Trying to crochet a new afghan is somewhat difficult with a playful kitty around. Every time she sees the yarn dangling from my hand, she thinks that it's playtime. But when she is not playing, she does find comfort sleeping on the squares. I am shocked by the progress that I have made on this project! My last afghan took me about a year to complete, if I remember correctly. My only goal is to complete this one by next winter, but it looks like that shouldn't be a problem. My mother asked if I was making one for her, too. So, at this rate, perhaps I can. At first, I was just going to wing it with the pattern. After about 5 squares, I realized that I couldn't keep mindlessly crocheting and that I needed a plan. Thank heavens for Illustrator! I played around with a few options and settled with the pattern below. Each square is about 12" x 12", so the finished blanket will be around 6' x 8'. Sounds good to me. I really like how it's turning out, though I did not know exactly how much yarn this would take! I'm already on to my second ball of light blue and just ran out of the gray. Thanks so a Michael's coupon, I stocked up on what should finish the project. And now, back to crocheting!

coming soon: original paintings

I've been working on some new product for the shop, and decided that I could start selling original paintings. I thought that some of my illustrations would be great at wall art. Each painting is about 6" x 3" and is painted in acrylic on a wood block.These paintings are technically done, but I want to finish the backs and add hardware for hanging before I list them on etsy. I'm also wondering if I should send as-is or if I should put a couple of layers of polyurathan on them to protect them. Thoughts? Suggestions for other paintings are always welcome!

ice day 2011

Last Friday, the City of Houston shut down. Like, completely shut down. There was only 1 day in my five-ish years in Wisconsin that something that that happened, though it seemed to be with a little more reason (like lots of snow?). But no, the 4th largest city in the United States shut down BEFORE anything had even happened. It all started last Thursday, when the meterologists told us to go home early because of a winter storm that was going to bring in 1" to 3" of snow and lots of ice. I did not go home early that day, but I did enjoy the light traffic on the way home. That night, the news announced that schools would be closed the following day and the mayor made a statement that the city would be closed. (Funny, I still got my mail, so not ALL government employees got the day off.) I actually woke up in the middle of the night to check for the snow out of my window. Nothing. Then in the morning I thought to myself, "there HAS to be snow now!" Nothing. But then I turned on the TV to the news to learn that most of the streets in Houston were covered in ice. People were getting stranded on overpasses and bridges. Knowing that I would have to cross at least 2 bridges to get to work, I knew that would not be possible. I did venture out eventually and really couldn't see much evidence of a huge freeze. Luckily, Erin, was kind enough to post some photos from that day.
More of Erin's photos from the day can be seen here.
It may not look like much and it really didn't seem like that much, but it was dangerous. People in Houston have NO idea what to do with wintery weather. We can handle hurricanes, but not icy conditions. So I listened to the weather people and stayed home (almost) all day. It was nice to have a 3 day weekend and the chilliness was a nice peview for my following weekend in Wisconsin!
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