Monthly Archives: February 2012
Do you ever have one of those weeks where you feel like things are spiraling out of focus? You know, the times when all kinds of uncontrollable things in your life come to a convergence and drain all of your mental and emotional energy, and you decide that staying on top of everything is just too much…so you decide to drink a glass of wine and watch Netflix all evening to distract yourself.
And then someone comes along and decides to judge you without knowing you at all and bring you down some more…well I’m definitely in the middle of one of those weeks.
I finally stopped stressing that I wasn’t getting my whole to-do list accomplished and decided to go on a long run, which turned into a long walk because I was noticing all kinds of things I’d never noticed in my neighborhood before…
like how many decaying structures there are
or how many people have sidewalk planters
or how many houses have shades of green in them. (Ever since I compiled my Etsy treasury, I’ve been noticing it more and more!)
I can’t believe it’s already the end of February….leap day! I’m taking this extra day of the year to get a run in and get some extra crafting in. I don’t work till the evening, so I should have plenty of time for both! Are you planning to do anything special? Wear blue & yellow like the characters in 30 Rock perhaps?
Well now that this month is winding down, I thought I’d share photos I’ve taken over the month to give you an idea about some of the things I’ve been up to (both business and non-business related). All photos are taken on Instagram with my iPhone 3GS.
At the beginning of the month, I ran in the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco 5K. It was my first race of 2012! My goal is to run a 10K in the spring and hopefully a half marathon in October. I am very injury-prone due to some old injuries and the general composition of my body, but I have come to enjoy running. No courts or balls needed, just some shoes and some sidewalk, fields, open roads, etc…
The 5K ended down at Ocean beach, and it was actually a really warm and sunny morning. (Did I mention I PR’d?) I got a chance to snap a photo of these windmills…it reminds me of this Danish village near where I grew up.
I spent a lot of time cutting up paper this month. I finally did invest in a paper trimmer last week, but for a lot of things I don’t really like the quality of the cuts it makes.
Oh hey it looks like I painted my nails at some point as well!
I drank a ton of coffee this month…as I do every month. I love this little cup from Crate & Barrel – the typography is so fun!
In my quest to nail down how I am going to deliver all my handmade goods to paying customers, I decided to locate the nearest post office to both my house and my workplace. There’s a U.S. Post Office a block from where I work…in the basement…of a Macy’s. I almost didn’t find it, and once I did I was totally distracted by all the Martha Stewart housewares.
I met up with a friend in North Berkeley last week, but she was running wait so I had to wait for her at the BART station for a few minutes. I saw these delicate little flowers growing all over the place and was intrigued by the tiny-cute factor as well as the clean lines that framed them (aka the stair railing).
Some of the paper that I cut up actually turned into cards…this is a sneak peek of what I’m going to have in my shop!
On my last day off of work, I spent most of the day making cards…but I just had to get outside for a little run. I thought I was pretty fierce, so I wore my customized nike running shirt. SWAGGY!
I hope that you had a productive and enjoyable February like I did! I’m looking forward to March as well!
Hello friends! How’s your weekend going? In my never-ending quest to find the balance between nutrition and time, I’ve decided to use the CROC POT for the first time….ever. I’ve hesitated to use it before because a) I don’t usually need enough food for 6 people and b) I’m mildly intimidated by the prep work involved in cooking that much food. I hate recipes that tell you to brown the meat first, oh and chop up half a garden, and add a whole bunch of spices that I don’t have. Puh-lease.
Enter: a little post by Yellow Heart Art. (Yellow Heart Art, or Leonora as the woman behind it is called, also has a shop on Etsy, where she sells cool prints and “squishable art” that I really like!)
She made croc pot cooking seem so easy! And apparently, it saves you time…without using the microwave. What a revelation. I am totally guilty of buying those $2 lean cuisine type things for the days when I just can’t be bothered to cook/assemble a sandwich.
So anyways…I took a bunch of pictures, but they are kind of boring. There was a box with a croc pot in it, and I opened it, and then I put some stuff in. I started out easy and made a “mexican” pulled chicken dish:
- 4 chicken thighs (Leonora used breasts but the thighs were on sale for 99 cents/lb. Couldn’t pass that up!)
- 1 jar (16 oz) salsa (I used Herdez. It’s pretty basic.)
- 1 packet taco seasonings (Or some cumin powder, chili powder, and oregano)
- Throw it all in the crock pot, and set it on low for 6-8 hours. (I went for about 6.5 hours.)
- Remove chicken, tear up with fork and discard bones.
- Spoon some of the salsa-sauce on top and let rest for 5 minutes or so.
- Serve it as you wish. BOOM! You are now eating dinner. (And in my case you now also have 3 more meals. Yeah-yuh!)
I just threw my chicken in some sturdy “hand made style” tortillas (because this recipe is kind of juicy and messy) and topped it with shredded cheese and sour cream. (I know I mentioned that I’m lactose intolerant, but I CAN tolerate small amounts of certain forms of dairy.) In the future I might add any of the following: sliced olives, shredded lettuce, guacamole, black beans, corn…and pretty much anything else that you want. Think Chipotle’s toppings.
You could also sneak in some veggies and throw celery, onions, corn, bell peppers, etc into the croc pot at the beginning.
Other ways to eat this, besides tacos:
- Over chips (nachos!)
- Over rice (can someone teach me how to make mexican rice? I def just ate this over plain white rice.)
- In enchiladas
- …you get the idea.
I found that overall this recipe was satisfactory and has successfully cured me of my phobia of croc pots. I’d probably jazz it up a little more next time (or find a different salsa?) because the flavor wasn’t all that dynamic. (Look at me! Talking about food as if I actually know anything about it.) Like I mentioned before I would throw in some veggies so that I wouldn’t have to make a side dish of some sort of vegetable…my dad’s a produce farmer so I’ve developed a compulsion for eating veggies with dinner.
Unless dinner is at In-N-Out, then I have to declare potatoes vegetables…
So um..yeah. Next time you don’t feel like cooking, try this out! Thanks again Leonora for the inspiration! If you have a great croc pot recipe, send it my way!
Also, for those of you that use Bloglovin, you can now follow me there!
And if you don’t use Bloglovin, there’s always Twitter!
It’s been said that there will be many unexpected things that come up when you start your own shop. I’m all for rolling with the punches and reacting accordingly, but I never dreamt that this would expand into even the most mundane things. I’ve been crafting at my desk but after the sun goes over the hill around 4pm I have a hard time seeing things…especially clear embossing ink.
For some reason I got rid of my task lamp in one of my post-college moves and never bothered to replace it. So I pulled out a camping lantern that I had in the hall closet as a short-term solution.
Last month I went with a friend to Target to find an inexpensive task light…I really didn’t want to spend a whole bunch of money because most of my disposable income is currently going toward the startup cost of Paper Gatti. We arrived at the store only to find that the cheapest one in stock is $50. And it was REALLY ugly. I made the mistake of visiting the Target nearest to UC Berkeley the week that spring semester started…all of the $15 lamps had sold out. (Fun fact: currently there is no Target, or WalMart, or Michaels, or several other retail chains, within the city of San Francisco.)
We went to Bed Bath and Beyond and there were literally zero lamps in their lighting section. Strikeout at store number two.
Then I thought to look for a vintage lamp on Etsy. I love love love mid-century modern design (even though I think that the term “mid-century modern” sounds kind of lame) and was overwhelmed by the sheer number of lamps to choose from. I was also overwhelmed by the cost of a lot of those fixtures. And the cost to ship them.
I am especially fond of drafting lamps because I studied architecture. My current desk setup won’t allow me to buy one of those lights that clamps to a tabletop.
One of my college roommates works in the energy auditing industry, and pretty soon after a chat with her I found myself wondering what a vintage light would do to my energy bill. Ever since I’ve been able to see my energy usage per-hour (thanks, PG&E Smart Meter) I’ve been more conscientious about using less energy at home. By this point I had convinced myself that I should buy a newer, more efficient light. Inefficient lights get really hot and I work with a heat gun and paper…I’m not sure how safe that is.
So, the search continues. I don’t have a car so going to a place like Lowe’s (I would imagine I would be able to find something that pleases me aesthetically and doesn’t hurt my wallet there) is really inconvenient at the moment.
What do you think? Should I just bite the bullet and buy a cute vintage lamp, energy and costs be damned? It really would be nice to be able to see again!
PS — HAPPY FRIDAY FRIENDS! I hope you Californians are enjoying the sunshine!
Remember last week when I said I was trying to clean out the pantry? Well most of the details of that are kind of boring, but I did find a way to use up some of the jam I had lying around. And after a week my pantry didn’t look all that much emptier so I did eat out a few times with friends, but I still haven’t been to the market in over 10 days. The only thing I’ve run out of that I can’t live without: soy milk. Which brings me to the more exciting part: STRAWBERRY-GUAVA “CHEESECAKE”.
By the time valentine’s day had hit, I had already eaten up the remaining part of my chocolate stash (it doesn’t ever last long in my house) so I decided to make one of my favorite desserts: cheesecake. Minor detail: I don’t own a spring form pan. Also: I’m lactose intolerant.
Enter: Jell-o no-bake cheesecake that I picked up for $1.50. You can use soymilk with it and it still sets!!! All I added was about a half a stick of butter, a few tbsp of sugar, 1.5 c of vanilla soy milk, and 4ish tbsp of strawberry-guava jam.
I picked up this jam at this local Japanese market that stocks some great little hawaiian items…it closed down after being in business for over 100 years so I stocked up on a bunch of staples (and this “frivolous” jam) a few months back.
To make: follow the directions on the box to prepare the cheesecake and let it chill in the fridge for an hour. Here’s the tricky part! After you let the cheesecake chill for at least an hour (do the dishes and then watch an episode or two of 30 Rock) take a few giant spoonfuls of jam and mix it with some water (4:1 ratio if I had to guess) and then microwave it for 30 seconds to get it nice and runny.
Pull the cheesecake out of the fridge and spoon/drizzle the jam over the whole cheesecake…return to fridge for another 40 minutes…and you are done!Ta-da!!! Easy peasy dessert.
Did it taste like cheesecake factory? Nope.
Did it make me sick? Nope!!!
Did it satisfy my sweet tooth? Yes!!
My dinner companion didn’t even realize this was a box mix because I had added the layer on top
(Apologies for the terrible photos. I took them all with my iPhone 3GS…my camera broke and I haven’t replaced it yet.)
Other things I’ve done with this jam: make a vinaigrette and tossed that with salad, make “uncrustables” type PB&J sandos…and of course enjoy over toast!
What are your favorite thing to spread jam on?
Happy Tuesday, lovely friends!
I am currently obsessed with “mint green” or “seafoam green”. I have been having a hard time finding things in stores of the exact color and style I want, but I have of course found a ton on Etsy…so I decided to put together a little “Treasury”.
For those of you not on Etsy (which, by the way, you should get on now so that you already have an account when you buy cards from me in the future!) a Treasury is basically just a visual list that you can compile and share with people. It can be a wish list or it can have a theme…in this case my theme is a color. Click on any of the items if you are interested in buying them!
Minty shades of green have a vintage feel with a fresh, spring-like twist. I’d love to infuse all of these items into my life!
Mint green vintage draw…
Crochet Lariat Necklace…
Mint Green Sand Dollar …
Melamine Bicycle Plate …
Rug Mint Green and Khak…
Tiny Mint Green Rosebud…
Mint 1962 Rand McNally …
Mint Green Vintage AM/F…
Vintage Mint Green Pear…
Vintage Mint Green Plan…
100 yds of Mint Bakers …
SALE. Vintage. Thick …
Side note: if you have never heard of Etsy, it is basically a handmade marketplace. Sellers can set up storefronts (Shops), and everything they sell must either be: handmade, vintage (20+ years old), or craft supplies. Etsy takes care of the web work like setting up PayPal payments and web formatting so that I can spend my time making and promoting things! The other fun benefit of Etsy is getting to know the community of hand-made crafters from around the world who also occupy their own little stores on Etsy. There’s a whole lot of cute overload going on over at Etsy.
I am blessed with some really supportive friends.
The same day that I went public with my blog and my card-making dreams, a friend of mine contacted me and asked if I would make a card for him to send to his uncle. I won’t get into what it is for because it’s personal but of course said YES and THANK YOU for the opportunity…and then I got to work thinking of ideas. I delivered the card yesterday and he loved it…so within a week of starting this blog, I’ve had my first sale! YAY!!
Making this card for my friend brought to light a couple of things for me.
1. Your first idea may not be your best. I went through a few ideas before I had two prototypes that I felt comfortable sending to my friend to review. I’ve been making cards for people for a while but to make something that people find value in is different. Luckily I’ve always been a pretty persistent person so I kept working at it till I found something.
2. I may have some anxiety about putting my work out into the world to be viewed. It seems a little strange, considering I just started a blog…but knowing that my cards are now an extension and a reflection of my creative self has the potential to eat away at my self-confidence. There are so many talented artists out there. I sometimes do not feel like one of those talented people. Then I just tell myself to dig deeper and trust myself.
3. Making a product that *other* people want to use in their lives means expanding your imagination a little bit. Not everyone is going to need a whole bunch of “Congratulations on your Sweet Angel Baby” cards, even though a few of my friends have had kids recently. (My mom, for example, really likes “Thank You” cards. I know this because she keeps telling me I should make them.)
Thanks again Haruka for giving me the opportunity to add a personal touch to your uncle’s gift!
(If you like the bracelet in the picture above, go check out Wyoming Creative‘s Etsy shop! I stumbled across this last night and once I get paid I’m ordering it. Sometimes you just need a little secret reminder that you are, indeed, AMAZING.)
I go through phases with how I approach food, especially my cooking. Over the past year: a Glamour diet (that was thwarted by a midnight run to In-N-Out), refusing to buy pre made baked goods (I own a ton of flour now), trying to be super healthy/gourmet (so much work), cooking more Japanese dishes from a church cookbook, shopping “euro” style aka hitting the market 4 days a week, going coupon crazy/studying the weekly food fliers (and turning a semi-blind eye to nutritional content), and most infamously, *trying to stop going to Starbucks.*
Last Friday was pay day…so I paid my bills…and after doing that (yay for online bill pay) I had to leave the computer screen to keep from getting sad about my lowered bank balance. So I wandered to the kitchen to have a snack. I opened the cupboard and did not immediately find something delicious to eat…but I did find that my pantry is almost FULL.
Of food I haven’t eaten yet.
That I bought a while ago.
That, if I were to move next week, I would have to throw out or pawn off onto someone else.
That (most importantly) I have ALREADY PAID FOR.
So instead of doing what I usually do when I’m feeling cash-poor and trying to see how many “no-spend” days I can rack up in a week, I decided that I was going to make a dent in that pantry.
Coincidentally I saw that a friend on the Facebook had started posting photos of her $25 food week. And because I figured I couldn’t just eat scones for a week straight (although that’s an experiment I wouldn’t mind trying) I wrote down everything semi-appealing that I owned and then came up with a list of things I might need to make myself actually eat these things. And then I set a $20 limit with an extra $5 throughout the week in case I needed something.
I am on DAY 6 of this thing and it has turned out pretty good. I’ll post more about what I actually ate, but for now I will tell you that:
- I decided that I had to buy groceries in the first place because I did not want to be in a cruddy mood or feel deprived all week. I live in a city full of restaurants. Not eating out is hard enough. Especially restaurants are my main source of social interaction.
- I initially spent $21.87 (Safeway) + $2.35 (Big Lots) on groceries. So I came in at $24.22 to start.
- I had to make something for Valentine’s Day. More on that later.
- I had a bit of a meltdown yesterday so I forked over $4 for a Jamba juice. Sugar AND vitamins? Yes please!
As a kid, my mom always bought me and my sister some sort footwear for Valentine’s day – a pair of shoes, some flip flops, or if I was really lucky a new pair of jellies. (I don’t know I wanted plastic shoes so badly, but I did!)
I like to think that she was trying to teach us that how we feel about ourselves doesn’t have to be directly tied to whether or not you have that special valentine “dude”. Or maybe my mom didn’t want more candy in the house where she might be tempted to eat some…and deal with me and my sister buzzing around on a sugar high!
I moved out of my parents’ house over six years ago, but my mama didn’t forget about me…I texted her a photo of these shoes last week when I was browsing at DSW, and she offered to buy them on the spot. Score!
I have been searching halfheartedly for a pair of leather boots in this color since Christmas but came up short…now that spring is here I thought an ankle boot might be cuter. The heel isn’t too high for me…I even walked to the grocery store in these the other day!
These shoes have started an avalanche of fashion items that I think I “need”. Boot cut jeans. Vintage mint green necklace. Peplum tops. Flowy tops. And yet, all the clothes that I currently own won’t fit into my dresser….