Dec 31, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

My new year resolutions:

1. Spend more time with my family.
2. Keep high expectations of others!
3. Run a minimum of 10 miles at least two days a week.
4. Get out more.
5. Walk with my head up and not staring at the ground.
6. Start drawing again.
7. Start writing again.
8. Learn to block the negative and absorb the positive.
9. Take Yoga in an actual class!
10. Get my merchant license
11. Take it one day at a time. Not like I can go through two at once! :)

I have a ton more, but these mean the most to me. I hope everyone has a great New Year celebration and an even better new year! Peace Out \/

Dec 20, 2009

The creative spirit

I have been so busy at my day job lately that my creative spirit has dwindled. Sometimes I'll be in the passenger seat of our vehicle looking out the window while my boyfriend is driving thinking to myself "what are you doing?" I know the reality is that the bills have to be paid and if I want to have this car, the house, and the ability to buy materials then I have to drag myself to a less than fulfilling job five days a week. So that leads me to wonder to myself, "when does it end?" When is it enough? What are we all willing to sacrifice in order to have what society has formed as the "normal" life?

These everyday sacrifices are just that, sacrifices. I loose myself a little every time I walk into the office and sit at my desk in my tiny cubicle. I become a form of person who drones about like a lemming. So some might and do think, "your lucky you have a job, so get over it!" But think about that, lucky? In what sense? Am I lucky that I bring home a paycheck? Am I lucky that I have health benefits? Am I lucky that I have a 401k that will barely get me by when I do retire? If you consider that lucky than I don't think you realize what life really is.

We slave everyday, in many fashions, to hold on to a life where we have no freedom. Yes I appreciate that I make money in order to have a home, food in the fridge, and gas money to visit my mother and father; but I, we, create this life where there is a need to have a "job" in order to "pay" for these "things". WHY? Why do we do this to ourselves? We can change what has so many of us stressed, tense, angry, and saddened. We can change, by sacrificing what is truly worthless. The things that we pay for are costing us our lives not our livelihood!

Dec 10, 2009

Gift Certificates: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

 

So I thought about offering Gift Certificates in my Etsy shop but after reading threads and articles in The Storque I decided it may not be a good idea.

  • First there is the concern of whether or not you are following all laws regarding Gift Certificates in your state. I only have so much mental capacity and I don't think I could retain whatever book of laws there is on Gift Certificates. Second is the issue there seems to be with Etsy getting paid double for (1) the redemption of the Gift Certificate and (2) the sale of the item(s).
  • You have instances where the recipient may want to purchase one item for less than the value of the Gift Certificate and while it may be easy to adjust the listing price, now you have to create a "credit" for that individual to use the remaining amount. To much keeping track of to many redemption codes etc. 
  • If you set up a Gift Certificate to instruct the purchaser to e-mail you with their selection. You can remove the listing(s) and send them an invoice via PayPal but now you are sacrificing possible feedback.
  • Some states do not allow an expiration date or expiration period on Gift Certificates.
  • Some states may or may not allow an annual fee which would allow you to charge x amount per year that it is not used thereby reducing the value of the Gift Certificate. Again, to much information to log and keep up with and state specific laws to abide by.
  • One Etsian commented: "They're actually an accounting nightmare, too. You show the cash as income for tax purposes, but the gift cert is a liability that just hangs around forever and ever .... or until it's redeemed. And since in my state they never expire, I have some liabilities on my biz books that will never die. (outstanding for eight years now, I don't think I'll ever hear from the holders.)
  •  
    On the other hand I have read good stories regarding Gift Certificates and I do believe they are good marketing.

    • If you have ever received a Gift Certificate you well know that you end up spending more than it is worth because you figure that item that would have cost you $30.00 now cost you $15.00 so why not spend the $15.00 you "saved" and get more items? 
    • Return business to a newly exposed customer.
    • In providing Gift Certificates during the holiday and gift seasons you may increase your usual profit margin thanks to shoppers who aren't familiar with a persons specific taste.


    In looking at the pros and cons, I feel that the costs far out way the benefits. But I would love any comments, stories, or suggestions you may have. Do you think it is worth it, or not, to offer a Gift Certificate through Etsy or even Artfire?

    Dec 5, 2009

    New found friends

    I had the pleasure of meeting a fellow Etsian today. I have tweeted with this fellow jewelry designer for months and she recently purchased two pieces from our Etsy shop. We don't live far from each other so I thought I would suggest personally delivering the pieces. We met at a local bead store (surprised? lol) and she was as lovely as her Etsy shop www.ChickadeeLane.etsy.com She is also a freelance graphic designer.

    The bead store is one she has visited numerous times, however this was my first visit. I fell in love with this store! A great selection and the cleanest and most organized of any I have seen! One of the greatest features of this store are the classes they offer. Metalsmithing, dichroic glass, bead crocheting, and so much more! My boyfriend and I hope to take the metalsmithing very soon!

    Meeting this wonderful Etsian has made me appreciate even more the wonderful community that Etsy provides. How we share knowledge with each other, promote each other, and gain inspiration from one another is something you don't find just anywhere.

    I have gained some wonderful friends through Etsy and through these friendships I have learned so much! I appreciate all of you and our Etsy community!






                                                                              Let it Snow!

    Nov 29, 2009

    Featured Fellow Etsian - TheSpiritedFairy

    The hippie in me really loves this shop! I found it using the search term "amber" and I found the lovely "Amber Sunset" candles.

    TheSpiritedFairy is a whimsical Etsy shop full of spiritedly torch painted candles and beautiful spirit art.


    TheSpiritedFairy is an Eco-friendly Etsy shop. The handmade candles are made from a 100% vegetable base which means they are biodegradable and clean burning. The later is especially important because studies show that paraffin (a petroleum by-product) candles release toxic chemicals into the air we breathe when burned. The candles in this wonderful shop are made with a range of colors making them a perfect gift and a perfect item for your holiday centerpiece. Another favorite are the spirit ornaments.

    TheSpiritedFairy is having a holiday special on candles from 11/27-11/30 marking them down 15% from $8.00 a pair to $6.80 a pair. Only $6.80 a pair! That is a great deal .

    All of the beautiful items in TheSpiritedFairy's shop are inspired by an apparent love for nature and uniqueness. I just love these candles!

    TheSpiritedFairy Stats:
    Etsy community member since October of 2009
    12 sales
    30 items for sale
    27 shop hearts (I'm one : )

    Nov 27, 2009

    BLACK FRIDAY SALES!!

    Spread the word. 50% off and FREE shipping in our Etsy shop and Artfire studio. Check out our shops for details.



    We are also providing free gift wrapping in our Etsy shop. Just send us a convo after your purchase and we will randomly select attractive gift wrap for your item.

    Nov 26, 2009

    Busy Beading Bee

    I have been busy these past few days and I am enjoying it! It is so nice to have a break from the everyday routine and from the lemming lifestyle. One thing I have found is that given enough time, creativity can flourish and blossom naturally resulting in "true to self "pieces. I can create and I am not doing it with the mindset that I should create x amount of pieces in the few hours after work and during the limited amount of hours in the weekend.

    These past few days have inspired me to continue striving for the goal of owning my own business. I can't say that I know how it feels to enjoy or love what I do. Every job that I have had has been just that, a "job". Its time for a change and I won't give up until I can say, with joy and conviction, that "this is what I love and I wouldn't do anything else!"

    So here are some pics of my activities the past few days : )

    Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake and Chocolate Chip Cookies




    Some bead shopping








    The beginning work of a new polymer clay addiction





    New take on earrings





     
    And more to come. I hope to take much needed pictures of my work tomorrow as today was quite overcast and wet. Need to prepare for our "Black Friday" sales.

    Nov 21, 2009

    Buy 1 Get 1 50% OFF!

    This weekend, 11/21 through 11/22, buy one item in our Etsy shop and get the second item 50% off! The 50% off value of the second item will be refunded via paypal after purchase.


    Nov 20, 2009

    When will it end!?

    I am quick to make anyone I talk to aware of the fact that I am not an individual who stays completely abreast of political goings on. I am also by no means the type of person who holds engrossing conversations pertaining to taxes, cost of living, this law or that law. That being said, I have to express what I, as an average working class individual, feel about a story that our local news station covered regarding high unemployment in Florida and how it has depleted the unemployment compensation trust fund.

    Florida is by no means the only state to suffer from large unemployment rates and I'm sure the light at the end of the tunnel is farther away than we would like it to be in any state. But I cannot seem to see any logical justification for Florida effectively raising unemployment compensation taxes by as much as twelve times what business owners already pay in order to replenish the unemployment trust fund. Why is the solution always to pull from the pockets of the people working hard to survive in a unstable economy.

    The truth behind this tax increase is that the business owners who are going to be paying this exorbitant tax will have to make unsavory decisions in order to stay afloat. These decisions will range from increasing the costs of whatever services they provide which will result in less business (not like a lot of business is going around these days to begin with!), pay cuts or a reduction of hours for the employees they staff resulting in less money being put into the economy because people just can't afford to buy that car or the house they need for their growing family, and of course MORE LAYOFFS which will only increase the unemployment rate in turn raising the amount coming out of the fund this tax increase is supposed to be replenishing! Its a constant and ridiculous cycle.

    I am not devoid of common sense and I realize that their is a process of checks and balances and that certain laws exist to create that balance. But when will it end?! When will the monetary sacrifice not be forced upon the citizens. I don't care who you vote for or if your vote at all, its all the same "if you elect me to be your President, Governor, Mayor, foreseer of all wisdom. I will blah blah blah and so on." Its over, our faith is shattered and your words only convey that you know we aren't idiots and that you choose to ignore the problem because you don't have a solution or your not willing to make the monetary sacrifice yourself.

    So there is my rant for the day. Like I said, I am no political guru nor do I claim to be. But what I am is a part of the working class who is affected by every decision that our government makes and the taxes I pay out off my paycheck, for my house and hopefully someday in my own business ( I must be crazy right!) gives me the right to voice my opinion. P.S. the title of this post is a link to the story regarding the tax increase.

    Nov 19, 2009

    Two more days and a taste of the good life.

    I am ├╝ber excited about having next week off from my lacluster "job"! I have so many ideas for new pieces I want to create and new found interests in polymer clay, resin, and knitting. In planning for that highly anticipated week I bought a lot of polymer clay during a BOGO sale, and some findings for jewelry pieces. I was hoping to purchase some knitting needles and yarn but I had no clue where to start. What needles to buy, what gauge yarn! Needless to say that endeavor will have to wait.

    So I have spent the last week compiling notes, pictures, making to do list and things of that sort so that there is a bit of order in my obsessive compulsive world. I have to rank what is most important to me to accomplish during that week or I will do everything half way and never finish it. At the top of my list is making a polymer clay pendant with delicate flower petals and maybe glass beads placed in their centers. This was the inspiration for this goal....


    Next goal is  to hammer out some sterling silver for earrings and pendants. Then hopefully to sew the curtains for our bedroom. The street light just blinds me at 2 in the morning and I think  its 6am. After I have a "oh my god I am going to be so late" heart attack, I realize its only 2 am but by that time I am wide awake and telling myself for the tenth time to make curtains already!Then my final goal is to bake 'till I can't bake any more. I have a recipe for French Toast Cupcakes and Cherry Cola Chocolate Cake. The French Toast Cupcakes will have cream cheese frosting and will be sprinkled with bacon. Odd but right up my ally.

    On the list of non-creative goals is to watch "Twighlight New Moon", read "Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil" for the third time (love that book!) and to spend time with family of course. Ahhh a week to taste the good life!

    !!****** Oh, keep in mind that I will be running great sales in our Etsy shop and Artifre studio the week I am off which is Thanksgiving week (11/23-11/27). The best sales will be on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Visit us at www.shapedbyhand.etsy.com and www.artfire.com/users/Shapedbyhand*******!!

    "The irony of commitment is that it’s deeply liberating – in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life." ~ Anne Morriss

    Nov 4, 2009

    Featured Fellow Etsian of the Week



    "CAN YOU DIG IT!"

    This weeks featured fellow Etsian is doti. This is on of my absolute favorite shops! I am an absolute music fanatic! I remember my father sitting me in front of his Cerwin Vega speakers with his JVC amp and cassette player pointing out the timing in each song he played, pointing out the lyrics that meant something to him, and teaching me how to listen to the entire compilation of a song and not just the words. From those moments a monster was created and now I can't hear a song without blurting out who sings it, when it was released and what album it was released on. And if I don't know it then I will find out. Any way, enough about me! :P

    doti takes what is a love for many of us and combines it with the peace of mind that you are purchasing an up-cycled item and not wasting precious album artwork. What's more is the prices are so reasonable! Some great features of doti's work is the authentic vinyl album separator used in the notebooks, the slip pockets and the fact that you can add more paper to these totally cool notebooks since doti uses loose leaf rings.

    doti has a 100% feedback rating, 63 sales, 250 shop hearts (I'm one :), and has been a part of the Esty community since March of 2009.

    Nov 2, 2009

    Poem of the Day - Pablo Neruda Sonnets XVII-LXVI

    Pablo Neruda was a Chilean poet who's writings span from the 1920's to the 1970's. I have loved Pablo Neruda's work since I was about 15 years old. The sonnets below are by far my favorites and two of his most famous. To me this sonnet has always embodied the true meaning and feeling of a passionate love. A lost love. A love consumed by another's existence that it cannot find its way back but has found its home.

    Pablo Neruda conveys such intensity in his work as if he is calling out to others to say, you are not alone, the feelings that overcome you overcome me as well. Reading his work made me feel accepted by my compulsive nature which leads me to never be satisfied. From his writing I have learned that this compulsive nature is my thirst for life and all that this life has to offer me while I live it. While others may judge my consistent inconsistencies in a negative light, I embrace them as this makes me want and without wanting I am nothing.



    XVII

    I do not love you as if you were a salt rose, or topaz
    or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
    I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
    in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

    I love you as the plant that never blooms
    but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
    thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
    risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

    I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
    I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
    So I love you because I know no other way

    than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
    so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
    so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep. 

    LXVI

    I do not love you except because I love you;
    I go from loving to not loving you,
    From waiting to not waiting for you
    My heart moves from cold to fire.

    I love you only because it's you the one I love;
    I hate you deeply, and hating you
    Bend to you, and the measure of my changing love for you
    Is that I do not see you but love you blindly.

    Maybe January light will consume
    My heart with its cruel
    Ray, stealing my key to true calm.

    In this part of the story I am the one who
    Dies, the only one, and I will die of love because I love you,
    Because I love you, Love, in fire and blood.
     

    Oct 30, 2009

    Apple Pie Goodness!

    I love apple pie and yet when I bake it I don't eat any. I guess the constant mixing and aromatic smells of butter, cinnamon and apples is enough to fill me with satisfaction. I think apple pie is a great classic desert that few people don't like or love. Any pie is even better when you make the crust from scratch. Although it can be time consuming, nothing beats from scratch! That being said, here is my favorite recipe for apple pie. I hope you let me know how you may have adapted this recipe to make it even better or unique.


    Basic Dough Ingredients:
    2 1/2 cups flour
    1 tsp. salt
    3/4 cups sugar
    2 sticks unsalted butter cut into pieces
    1/4 cup ice cold water


    Basic Dough Directions:

    Mix the dry ingredients. Add the cut up butter making sure to keep it cold and refrigerated until you add it to the flour mixture. 


    Using a dough blender mix and cut through the flower and butter. Sprinkle the ice cold water into the mixture and whisk with a large fork. The mixture should look like coarse meal. Be careful not to overwork the mixture or to allow it to warm to much as this will reduce the separation of the cold butter from the flower and cause a less flaky crust.


    Take half of the mixture and put it onto a sheet of clear plastic wrap. Form a 3/4 inch thick disk slightly kneading the dough to help it stick together then tightly wrap the dough in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour. Do the same for the other half of the dough mixture



    Remove the dough discs from the plastic wrap and put each onto their own sheet of wax paper sprinkled with flour. Sprinkle flour onto the top of the dough then lay another sheet of wax paper on top. Roll each disc out to about 11-12 inches around. Refrigerate for another hour. 



    Spray a pie tin with floured non-stick cooking spray. Lay one disc sheet onto a 9 inch pie pan. Lift the edges allowing the dough to lay in and hug the inside of the pie tin. Cut any dough overhang with a pair of kitchen sheers. Fill with the apple filling (recipe follows) being careful not to create a mound of apples. Lay the second dough disc on top of the fillings and use the edges to create a ridged raised edge on the pie. Cut four small slits into the top of the pie radiating from the center.











     
    Apple Pie Filling:     
          

    4-6 Gala Apples
    1 tbsp. lemon juice
    Tbsp. ground cinnamon
    1/4 tsp. salt
    3/4 cup sugar
    2 tbsp. butter


    Apple Pie Filling Directions:


    Peel and cut the apples. Cut slices 1/4 inch thick and then cut slices crosswise. Place in a bowl and mix with lemon juice. This prevents the apples from browning. Add the remaining ingredients, except butter, and mix to coat. When you fill the pie add the butter to the apple filling. Bake the completely assembled pie at 450 for 20 minutes. Lower the temperature to 375 and bake for an additional 50-60 minutes. If the edge of the pie starts to brown to much cover the edges with aluminum foil. Remove and let cool at room temperature for an hour. Refrigerated the pie will be good for up to three days.  



    Oct 27, 2009

    Featured Fellow Etsian of the Week



    This weeks Featured Fellow Etsian is 5 o'clock crows. This is a great shop that offers wonderfully hand dyed linen and cotton tea towels, fabric coasters, dinner napkins, cocktail napkins, and fat quarters. 5 o'clock crows uses hand dyeing, batik, and shibori processes to create beautiful patterns in it's pieces.


    The photos in this shop remind me of pages in some of my favorite Martha Stewart magazines. Abundant purple grapes on a lovely plate with a slice of cake loaf, a refreshing cocktail, and beautiful yellow peppers adorn photos where already gorgeous napkins and towels are wonderfully displayed. To me, photos like this show a love for your work and a joy in providing that work to others.


    I can just imagine our dinner table lavished with linen and cotton hues of turquoise, lavender, and pink. And if you enjoy quilting this is a great shop to purchase your fat quarters from!


    5 o'clock crows has a 100% feedback rating, 10 sales, 225 shop hearts (I'm one), and has been a part of the Esty community since April of 2006.

    Slacker

    I have been slacking! I haven't posted anything on our blog in days and when I thought of something to post I decided I hated the blog layout. Soooooo, the past two days have been spent trying to find a layout I like. Now this is no easy attempt when you have OCD and are a perfectionist. Reality tells me no one sees things the way I do so just let it go. But unfortunately reality is not something I understand...lol. 

    Along with not being happy with the blog layout, I have not been truly inspired these past few days to create anything. But, this to shall pass and I hope you like the new layout. I was going for a cleaner brighter look as opposed to the darker layout we had previously. Please comment and share your thoughts. Ooh, ooh, and check out the Chat Box to the right! Would love for you to leave a message!  Peace Out \/

    Oct 15, 2009

    Featured Fellow Etsian of the week

    I thought it would be a great idea to feature a fellow Etsian every week. As our first feature I chose The Cupcake Mint "Vegan Cupcakes Made Fresh to Order". This has been one of my favorite shops since joining Etsy and I routinely visit this shop to adore with longing the Amaretto Lemon Buttercream Vegan Cupcakes and the Massive Oatmeal Raisin Spice Vegan Cookie Cream Sandwiches.

    It should of be no surprise that I featured a consumable product shop as our first feature. I LOVE FOOD! I love cooking it and eating it! Baking is one of my many hobbies and when I stumbled upon The Cupcake Mint I fell in love.

    Other than the obvious luscious deserts, I love this shop for their photos as well. The photos are clean, sharp, detailed and vibrant. Food is something that people are going to be more critical about since your not going to just wear the product, your going to put it in your body and you want to feel good about what you eat. I think they capture the product in a manner that creates a sense of trust and that causes you to drool over it. These are both really good things if your selling food!!


    Most of their goodies, like the cupcakes, are shipped with the icing, sprinkles and adornments on the side. This is great as it ensures that you don't receive smeared products, but it also makes the experience fun because you get to decorate them yourself. What a great gist idea! Some orders will include a piping bag for you to beautifully decorate the icing onto the cupcake or you can request a piping bag and they will provide one for free. Their listing also advises you to convo them if you have any allergy concerns, would like a different icing for a particular cupcake, if you want more than what is supplied in the order, or if you would like to arrange a local delivery (you must be within a 25 miles of the shops location).

    The Cupcake Mint has a 100% feedback rating, 238 sales, 1,843 shop hearts, and has been a part of the Esty community since December of 2008.


    Oct 10, 2009

    Fontina Stuffed Chicken Breast

    I love cheese! Fontina cheese melts so well and has a great taste. It is compared to Gouda cheese however it is a bit fruitier in my opinion. I created this simple recipe combining some of my other favorite foods.

    Ingredients

    Mix

    Directions

    1. Rinse the chicken breast and pat dry with a paper towel.
    2. Cut a slit along one side of the chicken breast with a sharp non-serrated knife being careful not to cut all the way through. Keep the cut as center as possible. Set chicken in the refrigerator.
    3. Heat 1 tablespoons olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat and saute the sun dried tomatoes for 2 minutes. Then add the spinach and saute for 1 minute stirring continuously so the spinach doesn't burn. Remove onto plate and let cool.
    4. Using your fingers stuff the chicken with the Fontina cheese then the sun dried tomato and spinach saute.
    5. Heat 1 tablespoons olive oil in the same deep skillet over medium heat.
    6. Coat both sides of the chicken breasts with the herb blend and set breasts in skillet. Cover.
    7. Cook on each side for 8-12 minutes, covering throughout. Adjust time according to thickens of chicken and type of cooking range.

    Oct 1, 2009

    Are they real?

    Click image to enlarge
    These flowers are made of clay in a form of craft art called Deco Clay Craft. This craft is the product of Kazuko Miyai from Japan. She began working with a chemist to create the perfect clay for these masterpieces. Thanks to DECO Clay Craft Academy which was founded by Kazuko in 1981 there are well trained students of this craft art. I have featured the work of one of these artist below. DK Designs Hawaii on Etsy is a great shop! I can just see purchasing one of these bouquets for my hopeful wedding :) I just had to share this beautiful work.

    Sep 27, 2009

    Thank you Yoga!

    Kapotasana (King Pigeon Pose)

    In the past year I have become a firm believer in the power of yoga! I am by no means an expert or even close, however the limited amount of poses I am able to do thus far have helped my lower back pain, my right hip contusion and the foot spasms that I get. In addition to this and of even more importance to me is the mental peace it gives me when I practice yoga and the mental center it provides when I have to deal with the struggle life can be. I feel as though I have gained a greater appreciation for life and a better understanding of how temporary anger and stress can be if you focus on the positive. I am not by nature a "glass half full" type of person but yoga has given me a tool to cope with and grow from the moments that weigh heavily on me. Another thing I have gained which is priceless to me is an acceptance, a slow acceptance, of who I am. It isn't easy to accept who you are when you spend your time breaking down everything you do and say and think. I read an article in a yoga magazine a few weeks ago of a women who had been going through difficult times in her life and coming in and out of yoga practice. She said "I have learned how to look at myself with kinder more forgiving eyes." Yoga along with God, my loving family, and my patient boyfriend have shown me how blessed life can be if you open up to yourself with gentler eyes. Namaste.

    Sep 19, 2009

    The Great Gatsby - A great literary piece!


    One of the best "era" novels I have had the joy to read over and over again. F. Scott Fitzgerald captured an era that so many of us now find romantic. When I read this book, I find myself entranced with images of Daisy and Gatsby starring at each other across the room while Nick looks on in wonder. Images of glowing lights, champagne filled glasses, and petite flirty women in flapper dresses laughing and hanging on the closest well to do man. What must it have been like to have been part of a time after the hardships of World War I when people and society were reveling in economic success and high spirits. The speakeasies, the fashion, the movies and music. Oh what I would give to experience the Jazz Age first hand. I can't help but be mystified when reading this wonderful piece of literary art.

    Sep 12, 2009

    Easy Bourbon Chicken

    Ingredients
    • 2 lbs boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
    • 1-2 tablespoon olive
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed
    • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
    • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1/4 cup apple juice
    • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons ketchup
    • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1/3 cup soy sauce

      Directions

      1. Heat oil in a large skillet.
      2. Add chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned.
      3. Remove chicken.
      4. Add remaining ingredients, heating over medium Heat until well mixed and dissolved.
      5. Add chicken and bring to a hard boil.
      6. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
      7. Serve and enjoy!

      Sep 7, 2009

      Social Networking

      OK so I have to admit, I started using Blogger, Twitter and Facebook for the purpose of getting awareness of our Etsy shop out in the open. But now I find myself hooked. Yes, just like the rest of us I'm sure, I thought anyone who uses these social networking sites must have no life. But here I am, I hold a full time job, have a two hour commute to and from work, I take the few hours left at the end of the day to make jewelry to sell on Etsy, I exercise, make baked goods for my family to sell at their place of business, cook, clean and have the typical reminders for bills to pay and appointments to keep. The list goes on, but still, I have to make it to the computer not just to upload pictures for new jewelry to list, but also to tweet, blog and Facebook until its time to go to bed. I find myself intrigued by comments and blog post from people I don't know and who don't know me.

      While times are ever changing and there is always a new "thing" out there that everyone is doing or talking about. I have learned not to judge before you are in a position to realize.

      Aug 26, 2009

      Virginia Vacation

      The trip to Virginia was wonderful! It was my first experience with such wonderful historic architecture and ambiance. I met more members of my boyfriends family, had great lunches, dinners, and ice cream . We actually spent 2 hours one night just walking the streets of downtown Alexandria VA. I was consumed by the history and imagining the family's and people who once walked the same streets that I was walking. Who once lived in these houses of brick? Where did those who lived here in the 1700 and 1800's come from? Night had fallen and I just couldn't pull away from the romanticism of this historic city. I didn't want to leave and I now find myself wanting to take in more of this world and its history. My boyfriend finds funny that I now want to move to VA. I just couldn't take the cold in winter time.

      Aug 18, 2009

      "Just another day"

      Love Paul McCartney. Today was a typical day, nothing of interest to note. We are leaving in three days to Virginia. I have to fly so I am a little nervous as I am not a fan of flying. I may have to drink a sangria or rum and coke before we board to calm my nerves =-) We plan on taking plenty of pictures and I look forward to sharing them with you. I have never been to Virginia so I am excited to add another place to my list of travels.

      Aug 15, 2009

      Shopping Day

      Today is bead and material shopping day. We hope to be done by mid-afternoon so our hands can get to creating.I have so many ideas not only for new pieces but also for how to organize my crafting room. I need to get some of the metal pegboard that my boyfriend has in his "man cave". And I love the new trend of magnetic spice rack.....they would be perfect for all the findings and smaller materials. We need to figure out how to grow money on trees!

      Aug 14, 2009


      My boyfriend took this photo. I just love this photo! We love photography and we are trying to strengthen our picture taking skills. It is definitely not a cheap hobby!

      CSA (Support local agriculture)

      I do a newsletter for my current job and I research stories and news that is relative to anything but work. I want to get peoples minds off of their job for a moment when they read my newsletter. In my researching I found an article on National Geographic that pertained to "sustainable agriculture" and how the manner in which the world grows and ships it's produce is having a big effect on our land. The article commented on how some people argue that produce not native to your country is brought to you using various shipping methods allowing us to think these fruits and vegetables are available to us year round. But this commodity is hurting us in the long run. The article had me thinking, why am I not supporting my local farmer? The link above will take you to a site where you can enter your zip code or city and state to see what local farms are around you. There is a fee for each season and some farms might require that you pay the fee and work a few hours as part of your membership. Get off the couch, stop giving the grocery store the money that should be going to the hands that grew the apple you just bit into. Lets get back to basics and appreciate that how we treat our planet is how it will return the favor.

      Aug 8, 2009

      The Weekend

      The weekend is here! A lot to do this weekend.....sewing, jewelry making, learn more about how to add content to our new blog. It's a beautiful day, I may see if Handyman wants to take a drive down by the bay. There is a historic area of our town where large, 100 year old houses face the bay. It's a pricey area, but driving by the houses makes you wonder, who lived there? what happened in that house? The architecture of older homes is beautiful! Where it takes the imagination is endless.