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.