Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My First ETSY Front Page!

Any etsy seller will tell you the crown jewel of etsy is to be selected as one of the 12 handpicked items that graces the home landing page of etsy.com, and today out of the hundreds of thousands of items I bagged my first front page!

I'm like a proud mamma, I might even frame it. Now lets hope it results in a sale or two! You can see my MERRY banner in the bottom left corner. I would like to thanks RosyAppleVintage for including me in this treasury. I don't know you Rosy, but I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Tale of Book Bindery

My very first little book I binded all by myself! I wish I got a picture of the inner cover, it's orange polka dots!
I have bought at least two books on bookbinding, only to shelf them with frustration. I just can't figure out the stupid little illustrations! So I was very happy when I found that the International Printers Museum only 15 minutes form my house had a guest artist that was teaching bookbinding. I really wanted to learn the coptic stitch binding so signed up for the class. First I have to say the museum is awesome if you ever have a chance to stop by. I have never seen so many letterpress and printing machines in my life! No to mention the drawers upon drawers of antique metal and woodblock fonts, I can see how people get hooked on letterpress, I may have to take a class at some point.
Here is my book from the back. I just love how you can see the stitching. Things I learned: don't poke ugly holes-use wax coated string-pull hard, but only in the direction you are sewing or you will tear your papers-always put your string through when it's hanging in front of you, not behind you, or you will drag all kinds of things off the table-lay your books flat on edge of table to sew, don't sew "up in the air"!
Here is teacher Lucia Farias Villarreal showing us how to attach the first register to the cover. Lucia has a Masters Degree in Bookbinding, so I felt very confident learning from her!
A masters hand at work. During class, as she was teaching she found some paper she liked so she whipped out a book for herself as she taught and used it as an example for us.

Me and Lucia with our books, her binding was so amazing, consistant, tight and beautiful. I hope one day I can be half as good as she is! Below are two of her hard covered bound books. I swear these look bought right off a shelf in a book store. Just amazing. hopefully the next time she is the the US (She lives in Monterrey Mexico) I can take her class and learn even more about the book arts. For now, I think I will just work on not screwing up my coptic stitching!


Thursday, December 3, 2009

It's The Cookie Exchange!

I have been invited by the talented an lovely Scrappy Jessi to her cookies exchange! However, I got my cable changed over I have been off line until now! But I'm back and the recipe for my favorite gingerbread cookies!(Okay so I borrowed it from my friend Martha ;)

What I love most about making cookies though is spending time with my Mom and friends. Here is Mom, she looks like she is NOT having fun, but she really just doesn'tlike her picture taken!

Trees Are my favorite to decorate, there is just sooo many options. I especially love silver dragees. Did you know they are illegal in the state of California? So don't turn me in to the cookie police!

Wait, I am actually the cookies police! I police those "going out of the lines" with their royal icing. I will look over my friends creations, and say things like, "Oh don't worry we can eat that one first!" LOL! I really am a cookie snob!

Here is the recipe, I like it because it is less sweet and more spicy, great for dunking in a latte. Oh and my special hint is to put a little lemon extract in your royal Icing, it matches perfectly with the ginger! Au Revoir! And happy baking!
  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups unsulfured molasses
  • Ingredients

    Makes about 2 1/2 cups

    • 1 pound confectioners' sugar, plus more if needed
    • 5 tablespoons meringue powder
    • Scant 1/4 cup water


    1. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices in a medium bowl.
    2. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in molasses. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture, and beat until just combined. Divide dough into 3 portions, and wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
    3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a generously floured piece of parchment, roll dough to a scant 1/4 inch thick. Brush off excess flour. Slide dough and parchment onto baking sheets, and freeze for 15 minutes.
    4. Cut out desired shapes. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets, and freeze for 15 minutes.
    5. Bake cookies for 6 minutes. Remove sheets from oven, and tap them firmly on counter to flatten cookies. Return to oven, rotating sheets, and bake until crisp but not darkened, 6 to 8 minutes more. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.
    6. Spoon icing into a pastry bag fitted with a very small plain round tip (such as Ateco #0 or #1). Pipe designs on cookies. Let cookies stand at room temperature until set, at least 2 hours (preferably overnight). Cookies can be stored between layers of parchment in airtight containers for up to 1 week.
    7. Royal Icing


      Makes about 2 1/2 cups

      • 1 pound confectioners' sugar, plus more if needed
      • 5 tablespoons meringue powder
      • Scant 1/4 cup water


      1. Beat sugar, meringue powder, and water with a mixer on low speed until smooth. If icing is too thick, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time; if too thin, beat icing for 2 to 3 minutes more, or add more sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Use immediately, or store in an airtight container at room temperature overnight; stir before using.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Patchwork Indie Craft Show- A beautiful Day

It was a great day at Patchwork, starting with the show being in my own backyard! The day was beautiful and I got there early enough to pull my car right up to my area, but when I got there, my area was looking a little tight! It seems there was some confusion about what a 5X5 space was. One of the vendors had called the organizers and said,"there is no such thing as a 5 foot table" and the organizer told her there would be a little extra space so that a 6 foot table would fit. However when we got there, we were packed liked sardines and there was only 5 feet of space! Anyway, there ended up being a last minute vendor cancellation and I got to move to a 10X10, so I was happy! I mean my hubby Tyler created this whole 5X5 booth set up for me, and there was no way I was not putting it up! So here it is in all of it's glory, my baby booth! Isn't it the cutest!?

I was interesting to see what sold differently at this event, as compared to my last one. At this event I sold all of my big pieces. Like this cool upcycled Starbucks display Christmas tree, that I decorated with vintage blue chip stamps and german glass glitter. The lady who bought it was a collector of Christmas trees and she really scrutinized this baby before she bought it! I was happy to see it go to a very cool mantle in Belmont Shore! I also sold several of what I call my Vint-cycled gift boxes. I Just rescue discarded gift tins from the thrift store and use vintage pieces I get at the antique and flea market or ebay, and put it all together. Then the box can be used as a gift box and a decoration. Like this cutie to the left, I made her with a vintage jewelry box found at a thrift store in Colorado. Why is it that it always seems like you find cooler things in another state?
I will hopefully be getting back to Colorado in January to get in some skiing and thrift store shopping!
Another of my most popular items was my Clothespin Angel Kit. I created a kit that makes 8 angels. What I love about the kit is, that a lot of Moms and daughters pick them out to make together. That of course is that is how I became crafty, doing things with my Mom! It is such a good feeling to see that craftyness being perpetuated. I did have a request to post a pic of a made angel so here it is:
What's great about this little kit is that you can make it as simple as the one above, or really go all out and paint the clothespin, glitter the wings, put jewels on them ect. The tassel hair is just to die for!! And the ideas endless.
I also had a few friends stop buy. The lovely and talented silk scarf painter Becke from OveanAvenueSilks at etsy, came by to say hi, and even bought one of my upcycled trees! We are members of an esty team called California Crafters of Etsy (CCCOE). And here Becke holds up the most adorable little shirt she bought at another CCCOE members booth, I can't remember the name though, let me know Becke!(Kate Emerson Designs) Wendy from Pup and Pony and her beautiful daughter also stopped by.
I also saw Kelli Johnson who runs the Sunday Farmers Market in Long Beach. They are going to start having crafters there, so I am very excited about being a part of it! There were also some other team members at the event. The lovely Amanda from Amy May Design at etsy, she was one of the squeezed in booths, but she stood her ground and the other vendor ended up moving!

There was also the lifsaver from LuckyFindDesigns at esty, Kayte! She is also a member of CCCOE and I didn't even know it! It was a wonderful day with wonderful people and I really want to thank my Mom for helping me. She lived the greater part of her life selling appliances and now that she is retired she comes and helps me sell my goodies (and hers too!) Thanks Mom!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Anniversary to my Honey

Although we've only been married two years, this marks our 9th year together. My husband Tyler is my best friend. We both have our good and bad qualities, but together we just seem to work. Total independent spirits that embrace our need to "do our own thing". Regardless of our independence we have this indelible need to be together... no matter what.
Me and Tyler in Thailand, I nearly killed him on this trip for disappearing for like 12 hours!! But cooler heads prevailed and we survived!
Our favorite together, but separate pastime. I hit the blues, he hits the double black diamonds. We meet for lunch, a perfect balance.
In Colorado at a concert in Breckenridge, we both dream of moving to Colorado and having some land....someday....
At the Summit of San Jacinto, we both have a love of the outdoors, and he has a garage full of gear to prove it.
At James and Angelicas wedding... look at that grey beard coming in, yes we are "growing old" together!

Happy Anniversary to my honey

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Top Chef comes to Pavilions

Okay so I could hardly contain myself! You see Bravo and the creators of one of my very favorite TV shows, "Top Chef" created a wine inspired by the show. And being that I have a tasting bar at my store they decided to do a promo with one of the Top Chef contestants. I was curious as to which one I would get. I was thrilled to get chef Stefan Richter from season 5 New York. He was definitely one of the most outspoken and arrogant chefs on the show. Arrogant in a way that still made me like him though. He also has a shaved head and blue eyes, like I like my men!
Chef Stefan arrived early for the tasting and there was some confusion. Another chef showed up to assist him in making a recipe. He didn't even know he was supposed to cook! He took one look at the recipe and went, "canned pineapple, and sprite? What is this shit?? I am not making that shit!" So he grabbed a cart, headed for the produce department and whipped up one of his own recipes from a quickfire challenge..a goulash.

The store smelled so good as the aromatic herbs and onions filled it up. He chatted with fans and sold a bunch of quickfire cookbooks and wine. But not before he snacked on one of his favorite things to eat: Barbeque sausage and jo jo potatoes from my service deli!! I kid you not, he lives right down the street from a Vons and says he eats this all the time with a glass of non fat milk! Are you kidding me!? He even said that he likes it especially when its been in the case for hours! Too funny! He was very sweet, and came to say goodbye and gave me a kiss on the cheek. I really have a lot of respect and admiration for chefs. They are artists themselves and get to delve into mediums that I could never imagine, taste, texture and smell. Stop by Stefans new restaurant if you are ever in the Santa Monica area, Stefans at LA Farm. Here are a few pics:

Monday, November 16, 2009


well My first show ever is under my belt! I didn't feel like it was a huge success, but then I counted our sales and was pleasantly surprised! The booth across the way told me what she did and she considered the day a success, and I did almost as much as her. So for me I feel like it was a big success! Here are some booth pic. I only had a small space to work with, so it suited me well for a first show. On the down side, it got so dark whenI was breaking down that I forgot my logo banner on the wall! I hope one of the organizers picked it up for me! Pics:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Patchwork Preparations

New Birdie Swag:

The Subie is cleaned up, her Yakima sky box is filled with booth makings and I am finally as ready as I will get for my very first Craft show. I think I have everything. I can't believe it's only 3 days away. I finally made some of my signature glitter banners. I still feel like I have so much more in me to make. Luckily I got into the Long Beach Patchwork too. Hopefully though I will sell everything and have nothing left for Long Beach! Somehow I doubt it though.... here are a few goodies I will have for sale:

That's all for now....Denise

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Home- for a wayward birds nest

While at work one day (if you don't know already I manage a grocery store) My floral designer came and showed me a little surprise that came on her flower delivery. A lovely hydrangea, with a little secret hiding place inside... a real birds nest!! Carefully weaved right on to the center, we were all so surprised and amazed! I just had to have it, so I bought the plant and carefully dried the "nest flower". Now what to do with it? I wanted to incorporate the nest with the flower somehow and this is what I came up with.

I carefully picked each of the dried petal off and carefully glued them to the backer board. I then attached the nest in the center. It needed something else though....

So I created the work HOME and glittered it in german glass glitter, and then used a cool hat pin I got at French General (with my own glass glitter birdie addition) and voila! here it is in it's new HOME, my built in corner hutch.

Back to working on prep for my upcoming show at Patchwork!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Fun-Raiser Event Pics!

Well I had a very successful Breast Cancer Fundraiser. I was going to have it at The Vintage Emporium, but I wanted to feed everyone and Julie just doesn't have the room amongst all of her treasures! Thank you to those who attended, we had a great time sipping wine and making little mini books!
Here's my MOM- survivor herself!

And the Wonderfully talented Marilyn of Cigarboxbeads.etsy.com

Stephanie, she likes to hoard supplies! If you need something, just look in front of Steph!

And Paula, her first time, how cute!

Here are some of the cute mini books we all made: