Friday, May 31, 2013

The Art of Healthy Eating

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the food I am eating and the food I should be eating.  As I have gotten older I have become much more concerned about whole foods versus processed foods and what effect they can have on us. I am working towards making great changes in my life to ensure I am being as healthy as I can be. 30 seems like a good year to start thinking about this. It is definitely hard. I am writing this while eating a lean pocket... My husband is the cook in our house but I am also trying to step up and make meals where I have control over the ingredients and can take pride in making a nourishing meal.

I feel like our world is so fast paced that sometimes just stopping and cutting up vegetables can seem daunting -- to me at least. I want it now! Not in the two whole minutes it's going to take me to cut up and prepare!

So I am opting to slow down and take time to make the right food choices.  Summer is a good time to start because nothing is yummier than cold veggies on a hot day.  This sandwich was perfect and has become an almost daily staple.

I am also paying more attention to Pinterest. I, like most people, am guilty of pinning like crazy but never going back and investigating the things I have pinned.  Lately I have been scouring my food board for yummy healthy food recipes.  This one one pot pasta has been popping up a lot lately and since we love pasta in this house I thought it would be fun to try.  Look how beautiful it is!
Recipe and picture source.

As most real life scenarios typically are, my pasta was not really as beautiful or well-lit as the original source but that didn't matter.  I was cooking!  I had to tweak the recipe a hair but not enough to make a huge difference.

It didn't even occur to me to take an after shot but probably because it wasn't nearly as pretty as the before.  This was a good dish though wayyyyy too salty.  The recipe calls for four ounces of vegetable stock and has a real emphasis on not using the low sodium kind. I'm not sure why it's so important not to use that kind. I noticed in the comments she told someone if they needed lower sodium they should just use water so that's what I will do the next time.  

If you haven't already pinned this click the link from the original picture to get the recipe and give it a try.  

Wish me luck as I continue on this healthy food journey.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

How To Make Party Poppers

I have never seen a party popper or a cracker before but I kept hearing about them and was super intrigued. I love party anything and the idea of bundling little gifts into a sweet gift that you have to pop open seemed like the bee's knees!  I looked around online to see how people were making them and then I got to work. Mine does not have a cracker in it but that is something I would like to try further down the road.

I put out a call to friends for toilet paper rolls and they are still coming in! I am always excited when I can recycle products that normally get trashed.  The supplies I started with are:

Tissue paper in two different colors, a strip of streamer paper, ribbon, some washi tape, a pom pom, toilet paper roll, and of course, little treats. (And some glue!)

First cut the tube in half so it will help with the popping later.
 Carefully dab a bit of glue along the tube.

 On the larger sheet of tissue paper carefully roll the tube all the way to the end making a long cylinder.

Dab the last bit of paper with some glue to help hold it in place.

Tie off one end with some ribbon.

If the end is super long trim it down until it is the desired length.

On the open end carefully fill your popper with little toys and treats.  It can be anything! Think of fun themes or fill it with a bunch of feathers!

Tie the other end.  This is what it should look like.

I have a pair of Martha Stewart fringe scissors and they are rocking my world.  Cutting fringe has never been easier or looked better.  With a sheet of tissue paper that is about the width of my tube and the length of a full sheet, I used my scissors to cut some fringe.

Again, dab a bit of glue and carefully roll.

A bit more glue at the end will hold it together. Don't worry if your roll isn't tight. The tissue paper can be too fussy to pull tightly and by having it a bit looser it makes it easier to pop it open.

With my streamer I cut fringe on both sides and rolled it over my second layer in the middle of the roll.

I then used a strip of wash tape in the middle of the streamer layer for a bit of pattern and a color pop.

To hide my seam I glued a small pom pom on it.

And now you have a sweet little popper to give to a friend!

I have found by using this method with the different layers you really have to work with the roll to get it to pop but it will pop open. If you find you are struggling too much, cut the length of the tissue paper down a bit and roll it less.  The more layers the harder to pop.

And now you have treats!

I hope this inspires you to get to popping! I am going to be adding a bunch of these in my shop soon. I love making them and have a million more paper rolls to use up!

Here are all my poppers from my last sale.  This was one of my favorite displays!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Lazy? Yes No Maybe.

Good morning! 

I was going to start by saying I think I have been a little on the lazy side since my last sale but maybe I haven't been.  I had a few days where I lolly-gagged around and enjoyed other things in life besides constantly making things so I suppose that's not lazy. Sometimes it's all or nothing with me. If I'm not continuously churning out work I feel like I'm wasting time.  I suppose that's a good and  bad way of thinking.  I have to learn to stop and enjoy other things in life. Like reading a magazine in the sun.

What I did that was very important was get some new work in my shop.  I made these dreamcatchers in the last few days and was so excited about them I had to hurry and get them posted.  I'm excited with these new color schemes and can't wait to make more and more.


See more here.

Details here.
I have also decided to apply to the Renegade Craft Fair super last minute so cross your fingers for me. It would be a dream to be part of that festival. I am also looking for other indie type craft fairs where my work will fit in.  I am really feeling motivated.

Now that my lazy days are over I have some custom orders to get started on and a few more Arrested Development episodes to watch.  Can you believe I haven't watched them all yet? I'm taking my time and trying to savor them. It's crazy that the show is even back on to begin with. I know a lot of people have mixed feelings about the new episodes but I am trying to let them be what they are and figure out my feelings later.  What are your thoughts? (The internet has made me feel like EVERYONE is watching it so if this doesn't apply to you, my apologies. But seriously, check it out, it's soooo good!)

Here are some neat things happening in the blog universe right now:

Hannah is working on a cool project where she is drawing all of her facebook friends. I spy me in there!  See it here

Cassie made a really neat time lapse video of her painting.  She usually posts a lot of great in-progress works but this video takes it to a whole other level. Check it out here.

Rachael's new blog look also comes with lots of great explanations and insights to her paintings and how she works. Be sure to follow her here.

This commissioned drawing by Jane will make your heart skip a beat.

Bryanne is always killing it with her photography.  See here.

Jessica's tumblr is the best!

Alright, there's is a Wednesday link roundup for ya!

Have a great day today!

Monday, May 20, 2013

I did it!

I made it through the weekend!  I had such a wonderful time at the Na-Da Farm Sale this Spring and am happy to have met so many new people. 

This year we were allowed to come to the farm a day early and start setting up. This made a huge difference for me because I didn't feel rushed and panicked about getting it all up in time. If you have been following my blog you saw what a humungo mess I had it my studio so there was no way I could practice styling there.

I really took my time while I worked.  There was a lot of wind so that was the only thing making it hard on me but I had walls for my tent which I was grateful for.  See those house shelves in the bottom left? My husband and I worked on those together. We made 9 of them and it was a nice collaboration project.

This was a sweet area set up on the farm where anyone could get their face painted.  Isn't it so sweet?  This is the only picture I took besides my own booth! I am the worst at documenting things. I forgot to take my real camera so it's all from my iphone. My new year's resolution (is it too late? too early?) is to start taking more pictures.  If you want to see more I will post links here as new pics are posted on other blogs.

And now!!! A Beautiful Party is open for business! I was happy with how it turned out.  It felt packed and open at the same time.  I had one of my giant balloons but because of the wind I couldn't tie my tassel on it. On Saturday the wind had died down so I tried to tie the tassel on but I knocked over the bike in the process and the balloon broke off and went soaring.  I have no grace. None.
 Here are some detail shots.

Please ignore the lunchbag on the table on the right side. This was before the sale started and I was still finding things that needed to be hidden.

These jars with flowers were a collaboration I did with my sweet co-worker/boss friend Bryanne. She has an impeccable sense of style and I knew I wanted to work with her.  Lately she has expressed her interest in working with flowers so I thought it would be neat to do a line of animal-lidded jars that come with a bouquet designed by Bryanne.  She had full control over what to order and she chose well. The color palette was gorgeous and fit right in with the rest of my stuff.  Check out Bryanne's blog for lots more inspiration.

This was my collection of faux terrarium jars.

I was excited to see all my party poppers together in a collection. I love making these.  I can't wait to get them listed in my etsy shop.

 This was my set-up at my register.

Now that I'm all finished with the sale I took the flowers that were left over and hung them up to dry. I am hopping Bryanne will make a beautiful garland out of them.

This was my fun handmade flier (flyer? no flier, I think) that I drew up.  I thought a handwritten flier would be a little more personal.  I hope to start doing my parties in the future.  Being inside my little party tent made me yearn for a storefront of my own someday. I'm dreaming and dreaming!

Be sure to check in with the Na-Da Farm blog as I am sure she will be posting lots of pictures in the days to come.  Also check in with my friends Robyn and Courtney who will undoubtedly be sharing their story soon as well. Follow Cracker Jax on facebook for many more pictures of the farm. 

Thank you all for hanging in there with me during all of this.  I have appreciated all the sweet feedback on my work. I can't wait to do more of these sales. I think it's going to be a fun summer!

Have a sweet sweet day today. ( :

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Giveaway Winner

Good Morning! I just used the random number generator to pick a winner for my Dreamcatcher giveaway and the winner is lucky number 2!  
 Julisuz... or Suzi... wins a dreamcatcher of her choice plus free tickets to Na-Da and coupons for cupcakes!
 Thank you to all those who participated.  In a few weeks I would like to have another giveaway open to all.

I hope to see you at the farm!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

These Days

Good morning, y'all. I have to say I'm sorry this blog has become a bunch of posts of me just saying, "I've been busy!!" but man oh man have I been busy. My first big sale of the summer is just days away (aaacckkk!!) so I have really been working around the clock while also working on custom banner and party decor orders. I'm super grateful for the work and am happy to be spending my days crafting but I really want to find more balance for my blog. I miss writing about other artists and sharing different inspirations here.  Right now it's so me-focused and I am ready to turn the spotlight on others!  But for today... one more me-post. ( :

I have been asking people to save their empty toilet paper rolls for me because I have been wanting to try making crackers.  I found some great tutorials online and have been enjoying decorating these cuties.  I don't have crackers in them so when you pop them open it's more like popping open a can of crescent rolls but I think that's ok. I'm calling them Party Poppers. My husband gave me the great idea of selling them empty so that the buyer can personalize their popper with their own treats and treasures. I'm excited to see if this is a hit.

 Another fun thing I have been doing is decorating balloon sticks. I love the huge balloons with decorations on them but they are pretty pricey and do not last very long.  These sticks are reusable and sort of look like fairy wands.  Is it clear how much I love party supplies?

In these final days I'm having the usual anxieties of second-guessing everything I am doing and worrying that it's not enough or it's too much or it's the wrong idea or it could have been better. Putting yourself or your work out into the world is such a scary thing.  All I can do is do it but I might have a little tremble in my voice or shakey hands until it's all over. Excitement and nerves has me twisted up in knots but I'm finding ways to laugh at myself and let the excitement win.

I am going to wrap up my giveaway early because I want to have plenty of time to contact the winner.  I have lots of dreamcatchers to choose from and am also happy to whip a new one with colors the winner chooses.  Enter my giveaway here.  My friend Robyn, who will be my tent neighbor, is also hosting a giveaway where the winner chooses a piece of jewelry. Enter here.  She did a great write-up of the sale that should get you excited to go!

See you tomorrow with a dreamcatcher winner!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Studio Clutter

I am currently drowning in my studio! I know the smart thing to do would be to stop and clean it up and then jump back in but I have this frantic feeling that there is no time to clean. I would like to say that this is due to our basement being flooded but no... that is not why this place is a disaster.  The next big hurricane that hits will likely be named after me.

I got great news that I have been accepted in our farmer's market here in town!  I will be setting up a little booth every Thursday and will have tons of fun things to sell. I'm excited to be part of this and hope this is only the beginning.

Now, it's back to work.

Don't forget my giveaway going on here. My friend Courtney has just announced her Na-Da Farm giveaway here.  Be sure to get signed up!

Enjoy this weather today!

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Have you ever had an idea for a project and then once you started it had a huge "What have I done?" moment?  I  am feeling that right now. As I mentioned in the last post, I bought this beautiful train case last weekend and decided to give it a facelift.  I spray painted this and another small suitcase white to prime it and immediately felt regret.  What was done was done, however, so I started painting this on pink. I want to use it as a fixture in my booth so the color seemed appropriate to me.  I would like to reupholster the inside with pretty fabric but I honestly feel a little in over my head. If you notice in the picture I am using cheap paint so.... I think I am making many mistakes. But I'm not going to give up and maybe I can pull it together. Cross your fingers for me.

On a more positive note I had a great moment yesterday where I finally figured out how to make these tissue paper tassels much quicker.  The production of these were making me crazy because it took so long and became so tedious.  Yesterday I set goals for myself and I was able to meet them with my new technique which was a simple one.... roll them up quicker. Who knew? ( :

Last night I was reminded how much I miss being in school and having critiques and constant feedback.  My friend Janey was looking around my studio and picked something up off my table and set it down on one of my unfinished dreamcatchers and I had one of those moments ( I don't want to say a-ha moment) where a million ideas came to me.  It just took one new set of eyes to make a major change. It got me thinking about critiques and how they can be so daunting for some but I always loved them. I loved getting fresh ideas about my work. Sometimes you get so stuck on something and you can't get enough perspective to make changes that can be very necessary.  I had a teacher once say that you can be so in love with your work that you don't see the bad things.  I can be guilty of that. Having an art community is so important. Lately I have been finding that community again and I am pretty excited about it and anticipate what that can mean for all of us creatively.

I would love to hear what you are doing.  Any crafting mistakes you wish you could turn back time on?    Please share so I feel better about painting this suitcase!