Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fall/Holiday Shows

As the weather turns cooler and I start daydreaming about scarf patterns, it's also becoming the season for holiday craft shows. These are the ones we're already signed up for, and we'll update with additional fairs as they come.

Holiday Indie Mart
Sun, Nov 7
Three Parkside at 17th St and Wisconson, San Francisco, CA

Reclaimed Legacies: A Holiday Vintage Craft Show
Sat, Nov 13
Petaluma Women's Club, 518 B St. between 5th and 6th Sts, Petaluma, CA

Bazaar Bizarre Holiday Show
Sat and Sun, Dec 11 & 12
Sat 12-5pm, Sun 12-6pm
Fort Mason Center (Herbst Pavilion), San Francisco, CA

Monday, August 30, 2010

New Line of Bouquet Necklaces

I had great fun playing with colors, shapes, and sizes of flower cabochons to create this line. These necklaces are bold and impossible to ignore. Each necklace is also one of a kind.

Vintage yellow lucite beads and flowers in coral, grey, seafoam, blush, and white:

A necklace inspired by the rain and clouds of my favorite city, Portland, Oregon. Flowers in shades of blue, grey, and white:

A rainbow array of petite flowers:

Feminine pinks, corals, fuchsias, and creams:

Big, bold aquamarine flowers:

Soft, petite pastels complemented by one or two brighter shades of color:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


     I recently reread Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy and was just as blown away as I was the first time I read it.

     Few authors impress me as much as Sanderson does. His stories have heart and humanity, and are engagingly written with astounding creative plot twists and turns.

     Here's the premise of Mistborn:

     The tyrannical Lord Ruler has been God/King of the world since he defeated the mythical Deepness a thousand years ago. When he Ascended to his powers, he changed the world. The sun turned red, ash started to continuously fall from the sky, and night mists became a powerful, threatening presence.

     The former thief lord Kelsier conceives a plan to overthrow the immortal Lord Ruler, and enlists a team of Allomancers to assist him. Allomancers have the power to burn metal in their bodies for specific powers: for example, pewter for strength, zinc to enflame others' emotions, and iron to pull on nearby metals.

    Kelsier's youngest and only female recruit, Vin, quickly becomes the heart of the story. A child of the streets, at sixteen Vin has been abandoned by father, mother, and brother, and knows not trust nor love. Her latent Allomantic powers catch Kelsier's attention and in grooming her to be a powerful Allomancer and contributor to the team, he also gives her a family and a home that she can trust for the first time.

     The magics of the Mistborn world unfold through Sanderson's words like the best fantasy action movie you've never seen. The characters feel refreshingly alive and whole, unlike so many hack fantasy novel stereotypes. Perhaps the most fun part about reading this trilogy is rereading it and realizing how many hints Sanderson dropped that you missed on the first couple of readings. His crafty, clever style can only be truly appreciated upon repeated immersions in the world of Mistborn.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Salad for People Who Don't Like Salad

I don't like salad and I don't like salad dressing. I'm also not into time-consuming cooking, what with the prep and clean up. How, then, to convince myself to eat healthy?

Start with a big bowl of greens (2 cups is a serving). We buy the tub of mixed greens or baby romaine, and just throw it in the bowl.

Sprinkle cherry tomatoes on top. These are sweeter than regular tomatoes, which make the salad more appealing to my particular taste buds. They also don't require any slicing or chopping!

Rip up some deli turkey breast (honey roasted and hickory smoked are some of my favorites) into bite sized pieces and sprinkle on top. I find that adding some meat keeps me fuller longer.

Instead of salad dressing, which is so fattening it negates the point of eating salad, I cut half an avocado into bite sized chunks and throw them in. They're creamy and tasty, and you won't miss the dressing. Avocados aren't exactly low fat, but they're nutritious and high in fiber, which lowers cholesterol.

A sprinkle of shredded low-fat mozzarella can add a little dairy to your day too.

Shredded carrots, sliced celery, cucumber disks, raw bean sprouts, hard boiled egg whites (throw out the cholesterol-laden yolks), boiled sweet green peas, a sprinkle of chopped peanuts, and so on can all add some variety to salad. Flavor variety is good, but nutritional variety is even better.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


We had a grand old time in Portland last week, and I wrote reviews of many of the restaurants and shops we visited on Yelp. We can't wait to go back!

A few highlights:

We enjoyed traversing Portland's many bridges across the Willamette River toll-free (a seeming miracle to Californians).

We appreciated the lush, verdant, profusion of nature in and around the city and visible from nearly every spot in the city.

We loved that despite the abundance of interesting things to see and do packed into a small city, it did not feel cramped.

No sales tax is a wondrous thing.

Never have we seen or even heard of a food cart culture like Portland's. In the SF Bay, I doubt I have ever seen a non-Mexican food cart. I didn't know there were non-Mexican food carts. Portland sure did show me what I was missing.

If we lived here we would see live music for cheap or free all the time. The city has a plethora of tiny music venues, which is exactly the kind we love to frequent. And a bustling music scene.

If we lived here we would become bicyclers. Right now we ride our bikes about twice a year. But because everything is so close by in Portland, it's practical to ride one's bike as a mode of transportation and not just as a leisure activity. The frequent rain and bicycling don't really mix though.

Don't try to pump your own gas anywhere in Oregon. It's illegal and gas station attendants will chastise you.

The drive down highway 5 was gorgeous, show stopping, majestic. At least the Oregon portion of it is; when you get to California, it suddenly becomes brown and drab.

We're so happy that we went on this little road trip. It was the perfect celebration for my successful thesis defense and completion of my M.A.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Summer Craft Shows Added

We are delighted to announce a couple more summer shows in our line up!

This Saturday, June 26, we'll be at the Artist Market at the Blue Macaw. Location is 2565 Mission St, San Francisco CA. Time is noon to 6pm. 50 awesome local vendors.

Also Sunday July 18 we'll make our sophomore appearance at Indie Mart at 1600 17th St, San Francisco, CA. Time is also noon to 6pm. Around 75 awesome local vendors, plus live bands, workshops, beer, DJ's, food, and fun.

On Saturday August 7 we'll be at the Knit One One Craft Sale. Location is 3360 Adeline Street, Berkeley, CA. Time is 10am - 4pm. About 12 hand-selected crafty vendors selling our wares at the beautiful Knit One One Studio.

And finally, on Sunday August 22 you can find us at the Rock Make Street Festival. Location is Treat Ave & 18th St., San Francisco, CA. Time is 11am - 6pm. Over 100 crafty vendors, plus lots of live music. 

We'll update with more shows as they get added!

Friday, June 11, 2010

I now have a Master of Arts in Communication

Today I passed my thesis defense. I'm no longer a graduate student working towards my M.A., which I felt like I've been doing forever (it's actually been a little under two years). It's a little surreal. First college, then graduate school: I've been going to university for the past six years. Now I'm done, with two degrees to my name.

Now to travel for a while!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Summer Show Season!

We joined etsy pretty late last June, so we didn't make last year's summer show season. But this year we're all in!

We already did a couple of great shows in the spring: Craft Happy in Fremont, and Artisan Village/Handmade Ho Down in Oakland.

We spent an exhausting 4 day long Memorial weekend vending at San Jose's Fanime Con, which was quite the experience! I'd never been to a Con and seen all the people dressed up and parading around and shopping my booth as if it was all in a day's work.

One benefit of having done such an event is that all other events seem blissfully short and easy in comparison! No matter how long the day or the show, it can't compare to the four day marathon of Fanime Con.

Yesterday we vended at San Francisco's Indie Mart, which was our first time vending outdoors. We learned many lessons, such as:

Be prepared for wind!
All our stuff, including our business cards, tablecloths, jewelry, and jewelry displays, kept blowing everywhere. Thank goodness Tyler brought a huge roll of electrical tape for just in case, as he was able to secure everything pretty well. But we sure had many near heart attacks!

Be prepared for sun!
Poor Tyler got terribly sunburned on his arms and neck. Yes, we did bring sunscreen, and yes, we both applied it every 2 hours. But the sun was fierce and he got painfully burned nonetheless. I was spared the worst of it by keeping my jacket on, even though it was hot.

Be prepared for dirt!
Everything got dirty. Little grimy black specks of dirt (or worse, who knows) blew onto everything all day long. Keep everything covered and sealed throughout the day as best you can. Of course, what's on display will inevitably get dirty. We have to clean everything now.

Be prepared for lack of bathrooms!
Luckily Whole Foods was only a couple blocks away, so we ran over there every time we had to use the bathroom. We didn't want to frequent the Porta Potties that were surely getting all torn up by the street fair peeps. I know there won't always be a handy Whole Foods nearby every outdoor event we do, so we'll have to bring paper towels, toilet tissue, hand sanitizer and wet naps to future shows.

Bring lots of water!
I didn't even know San Francisco got so hot in the summer. We downed all the bottled water that I packed, and probably could have drank 2 more bottles each. More is better when it comes to packing, as my mom taught me. If you have extra and you don't use it, it's no big deal. But if you need it and you don't have it, you're in trouble. You don't want to dip into your profits to buy overpriced bottled water.

Bring a change of shoes (and maybe clothes)!
I wore sneakers to the show, which was great for the cold, foggy morning. When the fog suddenly burned off and the temp spiked, I switched to sandals. At 6pm the breeze grew stronger and the weather cooled, and I put my suddenly chilled feet back into sandals. It also lessons the inevitable ache in your feet from standing for so many hours to switch up your shoes.

I also brought a light jacket and a heavier one, and was thankful for both. And mishaps do happen: a customer spilled coffee right in front of our table, and while it didn't get on the merchandise, it did get on stuff we had stored under the table. Be prepared for people (maybe even you) to spill, and bring a change of clothes.

Be prepared for children and animals!
These little creatures want to mess with your displays (one toddler took a necklace and ran off, and Tyler had to run him down). Keep a close eye out for them. Try find a way to secure your displays and merchandise to protect them. We're going to put our tables on PVC pipe risers so it's harder for little creatures to get to them.

Children and animals seem especially attracted to our merchandise because it's shiny and sparkly. Our neighbor sold notecards and said she never had a problem with little creatures.

That's all I can think of now. Hope my experience helps someone out!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Unusual wallpaper

I'm all for inexpensive interior decorating. This is a slightly ironic take on wallpaper, using paint swatches. Lots of them.

They're all so level! The OCD in me want to try it, but I'm afraid it would soon take over my whole life! In any case, it's a beautiful idea.

Friday, May 7, 2010


Over the last year I've lost 45 lbs and become much stronger. I'm no fitness expert, but I have learned a lot through this journey.

-Switch up your workout routine at least once a month. This principle is called muscle confusion. If you keep springing new workouts on your body, it will never get used to them and you will avoid the dreaded plateau.

-Weight training is BORING. I used to mindlessly use the weight machines and free weights at the gym. It wasn't terribly effective. It was only when I started working out to videos that coached me through the process, taught me new things, and motivated me, that I got my muscles to get stronger.

-Train your abs every day. Just 15 minutes a day will strengthen your abs like crazy. I think this is especially important because I hurt my back a little over a year ago, and I could have prevented it if my abs had been stronger.

-Vegetables are you best friend. Super low in calories, super high in vitamins and whatnot, and they can taste good if you try new recipes. Ideally, I would eat vegetables with every meal. Of course, I fall off that wagon all the time. But nothing will make you healthier.

-When your workout starts getting too easy, you're plateauing. Try wearing wrist weights (I use 2 lb ones) during your workout. Try wearing a weighted vest (I have one that's adjustable from 5-20 lbs) during your workout. By adding weight to your body, you'll make your heart pump harder and you'll burn more calories.

-Some workout videos that I have tried and loved (but remember to keep changing them up):

Chalean Extreme

The Bar Method Body

The Lotte Berk Method


Callanetics Evolution and Cardio Callanetics

Turbo Jam

Slim in 6

10 Minute Trainer

Crunch Super Slimdown Pilates Yoga Blend

Jillian Michaels: 30 Day Shred, No More Trouble Zones, Banish Fat Boost Metabolism

-Exercise 5-6 days a week, combining strength training, cardio, and flexibility training (yoga, pilates, etc)

I know how hard it is to stay motivated. At first the only thing that kept me going was seeing the results: the numbers on the scale kept shrinking. But now I do it for my health. I want to be a strong, capable woman forever.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Yummy Chocolate Chip Cookies Loaded with Sneaky Healthy Ingredients

Seems like I've been writing about food a lot. It's not intentional, I just love food! And ever since I bought the sneaky chef recipe books, I've been able to bake again. I hadn't baked in ages because it was too unhealthy. But her sneaky recipes are healthy and delicious, and even more so with my modifications.

I know it seems like you have to buy a lot of specialty ingredients to make these, but I think it's worth it because they're so healthy. Also, they're useful in tons of other healthy, yummy recipes so it's just an investment in transforming your baking and cooking into a healthier routine. And last, you can buy whole wheat flour, wheat germ, oat bran, and almonds from the bulk bins at grocery stores like Raley's, so you could conceivably just buy the amount you need for this recipe, and it won't cost too much.

I recommend doubling or tripling the recipe and freezing the extra batter for later (or bake them all at once and freeze the extra cookies for later. You'll just end up making them again because they're sooooo yummy!)

Light Chocolate Chip cookies (makes 2-4 dozen, depending on how big you make them)

1 cup flour blend (1/3 white flour, 1/3 whole wheat flour, 1/3 wheat germ)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt (omit if using canned white beans, which are already sodium-laden)

1/4 cup oat bran

4 tblsp unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

2 egg whites (her recipe called for 2 egg yolks, but I don't eat egg yolks anymore since they're high in cholesterol. Of course, use whichever you want)

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup white navy bean puree (either drain, thoroughly rinse, and puree canned white beans or soak, cook, and puree dried white beans)

1/2 cup plain non-fat yogurt (I just used a whole 6 oz single serving container, which was a little more than 1/2 cup)

1/2 cup (or so) ground almonds (I pulsed slivered almonds in my mini food processor until they were crumbly little bits. Next time I would add even more. This was one of my modifications. Optional)

3/4 cup milk chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli because it cost only slight more than Nestle [$2.69 vs. $2.04 at Target], but tastes so much better. Original recipe called for 1/2 cup, but that didn't seem like enough to me!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover 2 baking sheets with wax paper, then spray with cooking spray.

In a bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (remember to omit the salt if using canned beans).

In a separate large bowl, beat together butter and sugars (easiest with an electric mixer). Then beat in everything except the chocolate. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, mix until just combined. Lastly, mix in the chocolate chips.

Drop rounded teaspoonfuls (or bigger, depending on your preference) onto the prepared baking sheets, and flatten with a fork. Bake 12-16 minutes (depending on size of cookies) until golden brown. Let cool on a rack (but make sure to eat one while they're still warm and gooey!)

Nutrition facts (original recipe) per 1 heaping teaspoon-sized cookie: 44 calories, 2g fat, 6g carbs, 3g sugar, 1g protein, 39g sodium, 10g cholesterol, 10mg calcium.

Not bad for home-baked chocolatey goodness!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Honey & Hay Fever

This is just folk medicine, and it's not backed by any science. But I've had encouraging results from it, so I wanted to share. If you do a search, you'll find other anecdotal accounts that say it's helpful.

Apparently if you eat a little local honey every day, the small amount of pollen present in the honey will strengthen your immune system against local allergens. I've tried a couple kinds of honey, bought from the local farmer's market and flea market, and I think they both helped me.

Even if it's a placebo effect, it still gives me some relief.

I know that now, especially, is the time when we allergy sufferers are suffering the most. And I feel better ingesting something natural for my allergies than taking little white processed pills made of who-knows-what.

The more local the honey is to where you live or spend most of your time, the better, because it will contain the pollens that are around you. Hope you can find some relief!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My very own craft space

What crafter doesn't dream of having a craft room devoted solely to creating? I'm years away from having that blissful paradise, but in the meanwhile, my industrious boyfriend built me a craft table/shelving unit so I could stop taking over the kitchen with my jewelry supplies.

His original plan was to build it with PVC piping because it's cheap and strong. But none of the hardware stores we scoured carried the right connectors for the project. So he decided to just built it out of wood, which was not as cheap but at least didn't require special parts. (He estimated the project would cost $50 using PVC, but because he used all wood it came out to well over $100. Budgeting is a tricky skill that requires a lot of leeway.)

It's six feet tall, four feet wide, and three feet deep. It's mammoth. It's on steel rollers and has five shelves. The middle one has two feet of space between it and the shelf above it, so it can act as a work space. All the wood doesn't fit perfectly together, but that's because the dude who cut the wood at the hardware store was sloppy and didn't cut everything in straight lines. At least it's close enough. (If I were a guy, I'd take the wood back and demand that they cut me some new wood in straight lines. Since I'm not a guy, I'm not going to go around loading and unloading wood.)

After building and sanding it, we set out to find wood stain/polyurethane to seal it and prevent splinters. He chose a very dark color, but hilariously enough there wasn't enough in the can to cover the whole unit. So he stained the most obvious parts, and a few areas unfinished unfinished. The end result is a little funny looking; an obvious amateur's first attempt. But it's functional. Or will be.

Now the last obstacle: we can't get it into the house. It's too big. He's going to have to disassemble it, bring it in in pieces, and reassemble it in our room. This project started weeks ago, and I don't know when I'll ever get to use my new craft table. It's sojourning in the garage until he gets around to breaking it down and rebuilding the monster inside. Then it'll all be worth it, right?

I don't know if he'd want me to post pictures of it, since it looks funny. But I might, since a visual will really help this story.

There really is no substitute for trying things for the first time!

Monday, April 26, 2010

books, books, books

I have a voracious appetite for the written word. I recently started the book Generosity: An Enhancement by Richard Powers. The setting is a mildly dystopian future Chicago. The protagonist is a community college creative nonfiction prof with a haunted past. The object of his fascination is his student, an Algerian refugee who just radiates happiness. So far, an engaging read.

Before that, I read Indigo Springs by A.M. Dellamonica. A partial amnesiac discovers a magical spring running through her fireplace, and harnesses its powers into lucky objects. Of course she can't control the magic she unleashed, especially as regards her best friend, who gets pretty crazy with the magic fluid. Told in partial flashbacks in an exciting, hyper, bewildering, narrative. Thoroughly enjoyed it!

Insanely Addicting Healthy Low Fat Brownies/Blondies

I modified a recipe from the Sneaky Chef cook book to make these, and I can't stop eating them. Offer these to peeps and try to make them guess what healthy ingredients are hiding inside. They'll never know there are white beans, oat bran, wheat germ, & whole wheat flour in these goodies!

8 tblsp unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup white bean puree (either drain & rinse canned beans, or soak & cook dried beans. Puree with 1-2 tblsp water)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp butterscotch flavoring, optional (I didn't have any)
3 eggs (Modification: I used 6 egg whites instead)
1/2 tsp salt (since I used canned beans, I omitted the salt. canned beans come packed in sodium already)
3/4 cup oat bran
1 cup flour blend (1/3 white flour, 1/3 whole wheat flour, 1/3 wheat germ. I keep a lot of this flour blend on hand)
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, toffee bites, walnuts, pecans, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, or whatever you want (optional; I used toffee bites because that's what I had on hand)
Modification: I also added 1/2 cup cocoa powder, which made these a cross between a brownie & a blondie. Cocoa powder is highly recommended! I'd put in even more next time.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Butter or spray the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking pan (I laid wax paper on it so I wouldn't have to use butter or cooking spray)

In a saucepan over medium0low heat, melt butter & sugar (stirring frequently). Remove from heat, let it cool a bit.

Then right into the saucepan whisk in white bean puree, vanilla, butterscotch (if using), eggs, & salt (omit if using canned beans). Add oat bran, flour blend, cocoa powder (if using), mix until just combined but don't overmix. Add in chocolate chips or whatever additional goodies you want. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan.

Bake 30-33 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool, then cut into squares (although I did that step while they were still warm, and was I ever glad I did! Warm blondies were so delicious...yummm.. .)

Keeps in the fridge, covered for a week. You can also freeze extras for later; they thaw quickly since they're small.