Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Here's what I'm thankful for today.

1. Nice coworkers. It makes the long work days so much more palatable.

2. Chain restaurants with at least a few veggie options. Cheesecake Factory ain't exactly a culinary heaven, but I was able to get a vegan lunch there with no trouble. It may have cost $16, but at least I could eat it.

3. My new camera. I still love it! It's so tiny and takes great photos. I feel like a permanent tourist.

What are you thankful for today?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thankful Thursday

I had an easy time thinking of things for which I'm thankful today. :)

1. Tom Petty! Oh, my dear friend, thank you for canceling your Dallas show and coming to Tulsa. I hope you make it last all night.

2. A supportive network of crafters. I think you know who you are. Knowing you is a privilege. Thanks for everything!

3. The library. Since overcoming my outlaw status, I've become a constant user. I love how they forgive and forget, and how they keep me knee-deep in great stuff to read.

Now I'm off to get ready to see my friend Tom rock it out. Love you all!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

WOW! Giveaway and logo winners

Last week, I asked you to vote for my logo in this post, casually joking that I’d be open to someone making me a real logo.

Along came Matersum, one of my Twitter friends, and, apparently, an incredibly sweet and talented lady. She took my little problem and turned it into a logo. For free. From the kindness of her heart. Check out the banner-style:

And the little square logo that is exactly what I needed for Indie Emporium:
Can you believe it? Thank you, thank you so much! You are such an incredible person to do this for me. I would be more than happy to send you a gift package if you are interested. Just let me know.

Now, in the interest of the original post, the winner was photo #1.

Thank you everyone for voting! And I promised a giveaway, and darn it, I meant it! picked comment #6 as the winner and that is . . .
Yay! Liz, I will put something together and have my taller half bring it to you on Monday.

Thanks again for everyone’s feedback and especially to the thoughtful person who went out of her way to make something so wonderful for me.

Happy Tuesday, all!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Indie Emporium 2010

It's official: I will be a vendor once again at this year's Indie Emporium!

I can't wait! Indie Emporium is one of my favorite shows ever, and if you attend, it'll be one of yours, too. Make sure to "like" it on Facebook. Here's my recap of last year.

In the meantime, I need your help! I have to submit a photo to represent my business by September 30, and I still don't have a logo. Someday, I keep saying. Until then, please vote for your favorite of the bottom four photos. To sweeten the deal, I will choose one commenter and send them a small surprise package. Just leave your vote by midnight on Monday, September 20.

1. Dappled in Sunlight Earring

2. Gilded Pachyderm Necklace

3. Lucky Turtle Bracelet (I used this one last year, too.)

4. Alice Ring

What do you think? Leave your vote in the comments section by midnight on Monday. And if someone is just dying to make me a real logo, I wouldn't turn them down. ;)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thankful Friday

I'm a big (well, little) stinky liar. I promised the return of Thankful Thursdays, and then poof, it was gone again. My intentions were good, but my memory was not, so I present a make-up Thankful Friday.

1. A sense of humor. Sometimes life sucks. Sometimes things don't go your way. I try (try being the operative word) to take it all with a grain of salt and a much larger grain of humor. I need to buy more of this:
2. Vacations! Have I mentioned my upcoming trip to Italy? I can't wait! Here's a shot of me in Rome in 2005 wearing something completely ridiculous:

3. A nice dose of sugar first thing in the morning. I know how to start my day off right. (You can read about my homemade peanut butter cups here.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Gettin' cozy

I think I will officially have my cool crafter card taken away for admitting this, but I'm dying to make a tea cozy, irony-free. My search has begun for a knit or crochet pattern that is attractive, within my skill set, and fits my needs. There are a lot of choices out there, but most are, well, not quite me. Check out this crazy one:

My taller half suggested I make it a Cheshire Cat one to go over my Alice in Wonderland teapot. Cute idea, but I just can't see myself crocheting anything feline. Also, the spout comes out its, well, you know.

I am loving the look of this one:

But, again, I don't want an opening for the spout. Doesn't that defeat the purpose? The heat can still escape from there.

If I could felt, I would die to make this one:

Given my pickiness and skill set, I may be better off just topping my teapot with a hat, eh?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tea party birthday extravaganza!

(I apologize in advance if you see this post on Vegging out in T-Town, too, but I wanted to share it both places.)

Wow. My tea party birthday was such a huge, amazing pile of fun that I'm not even sure where to start. I guess I'll go chronologically. Beware: this is a long, photo-heavy post. And there's a lot of sugar and caffeine to go around, too.

I started drinking tea a lot more often in the past few months. I was interested in learning to dry my own mint leaves and such to make tisanes, and my research led me to look for a particular book on tea that my local library didn't have. Instead, they had Victoria magazine's The Essential Tea Companion, which is full of information on steeping tea, using fancy dishes, and throwing tea parties. My brain went, "click." This was May or June, I believe, and I quickly started searching my mind for a good reason to throw a tea party. I decided my birthday was a good choice. It was far enough away to plan, and I knew people would indulge me in honor of my ability not to die before I could ring in another year.

I spent a couple of months hitting up estate sales and thrift stores here and there in search of a hodgepodge of tea cups, cloth napkins, and other accoutrements. I had some early successes, but my search lagged towards the end. Luckily, the day before I had a great score at CMCA Thrift Shop (I would link you, but their website may be compromise at the moment -- the store is on Utica, right by Hillcrest). I ended up with 18 beautiful tea cups all within the basic color palette I had chosen (pink, blue, purple, and gold).

Taking a much-needed, pre-party bath.

That's enough background. On with the party!

My taller half and my mother helped me set up an hour before guests were due to arrive. We held the party at Chandler Park's gorgeous new community center. The room was perfect!

My major task the day before and the morning of was cooking and assembling food. Here's the result:

The rundown (from left to right): paper plates (more on those below); plastic cutlery, a stack of vintage cloth napkins; tea sandwiches: white bean (with chives, basil, garlic and onion) on top, herbed cream cheese (with chives, garlic, onion, paprika, and chili powder) below, and peanut butter and banana on gluten-free bread on the silver platter; two veggie trays, one with hummus in the middle and the other with ranch dip; berries; two boxes of cookies brought by my cousin; sugar cookies; pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes; tea cups; lemonade; assorted tea bags; honey; creamer; and the electric kettle (well, and the boom box).

Here's a close-up of the dessert/tea area:

I want to take a moment here to talk about the lemonade -- yes, the brown stuff in the pitcher is lemonade. Why is it brown?, you may wonder. Did you serve your guests rotten juice? Yes, we did! No, wait, no, we didn't. Here's how you take freshly squeezed lemonade (or any other lightly colored, homemade juice) and make it look like tea: when creating the sugar syrup, use raw turbinado sugar instead of the processed white stuff. Isn't that ingenious? No matter what everyone was sipping at the party, we all looked like we were enjoying tea. I dislike lemonade, but I heard tons of "yum!"s from the crowd, so I will let you know that the recipe came from The Joy of Cooking. The raw sugar was entirely our idea, however. The lemonade was lovingly squeezed by my gorgeous taller half.

Both of the desserts I baked were entirely vegan. The sugar cookie recipe is from the Joy of Vegan Baking, and the cupcakes are my favorite still from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

Beside the desserts, I placed the tea cups so guests could choose their own. Then they could either enjoy the brown lemonade or one of the varieties of tea:

The electric kettle on the far right, barely visible, supplied the hot water. I also placed (coconut milk) creamer and honey for flavoring, but I apparently forgot to photo them. Here are the adorable containers:

In front of all the food, I placed little signs denoting what was available. I also placed an informational piece on how to make tea. Here is that and one of my favorite food labels:

My love set out three eight-top tables, at which we seated five each, and cushy chairs, all of which were included in our incredible reasonable facility rental. I didn't have appropriately sized tablecloths, but we made do. My mother did three gorgeous, springy flower arrangements. I know it's nearly fall, but tea party just doesn't scream deep oranges and reds to me.

When guests arrived, I asked everyone to wear a name tag since I had a variety of people there who didn't know each other: my family, my love's sister, high-school friends, and Tulsa Craft Mafia gals. After about 30 minutes of mingling, I unleashed everyone on the food. We ate and sipped our tea for about an hour.

This is Kayla, my friend since 9th grade. She is beautiful. She has a 17-month-old daughter who will one day be named the most drop-dead gorgeous creature that has ever lived on this planet. Kayla also knows how to pretty up some tea. Also, don't let that "Miss" on her name tag fool you. She's a married lady, so hands off.

This is my love with his sister. Check out her amazing hat. Can you believe my dark Greek man shares so much DNA with this fair redhead? Totally. Just look at their matching smiles and gorgeous faces.

Another reason I asked everyone to wear name tags is because I held a best-dressed contest. Everyone voted for their favorite outfitted party attendee or attendees, and I added up the votes. The winners were:

Holly, the crafty hottie behind Hollyrocks, in second place, and my little cousin Diana in first place. How amazing do they both look? For their efforts, Diana went home with a rubber ducky tea infuser, and Holly got a gift certificate to Tulsa's Dragonmoon Tea Company (which I'll have to review someday).

Let's check out Diana's full ensemble once more:

No wonder she won with 50% of the votes.

After I announced those winners, we briefly did some birthday things. My taller half kicked it off with a game called, Do You Know Brigid? Ten trivia questions separated the knows from the know nots. My mother won. I meant to exclude her, but my love didn't want to. She took home a prize she brought to give out to a winner. Speaking of Mom, here I am with her and her mother, too:

We don't look alike or anything. Afterward, everyone sang to me and I opened a few gifts, which included:

An amazing Alice in Wonderland teapot from my friend Nichole and these way-too-awesome cupcake baking molds from my cousin Charity. Yes, I put them to good use this morning and enjoyed a leftover cupcake and Earl Grey Lavender tea in one of my tea cups for breakfast. My love's sister also gave me a subscription to the awesome Ready Made magazine. My dad's girlfriend gave me a gift basket of homemade apple butter, peach melba jam, and a gluten-free, vegan pancake mix. So thoughtful. Holly gifted me one of her terrariums for my desk at work, which I've been dying to have. Uber-crafty Tara gave me Loop-d-Loop Crochet. Speaking of my Mafia gals, check us out:

Yes, it is hard work being this hot AND crafty.

And after two hours of eating, sipping, chatting, and playing, it was all over. Mom and my love helped me clean and pack up. We ended up with some leftovers, which is fine by me. We ran out of plastic containers after I threw a bunch away, so Mom took the rest of the baby carrots and broccoli home in a vase:

Clever and weird.

It runs in the family.

I want to thank all of my 14 guests, including my two super-duper helpers, for making this party a reality. I couldn't have had more fun dressing up and just hanging out with some of my favorite people ever.

Now, for a little honesty: I had planned to include a few things that I had to scrap after running out of time and money. First, I intended to use real plates instead of Chinet. However, not all of the tea cups came with saucers, and eventually I had to give up on finding enough that matched my color scheme and vision. I hate to be wasteful, but it saved my sanity. At least I bought plates made from recycled materials. I also intended to make flavored honeys and put out sugar cubes. These things didn't happen, and it was OK. I ended up with a nearly vegan tea party that fit my fancy fantasies without breaking the bank.

Speaking of nearly vegan, of the things I made, only the cream cheese sandwiches were not dairy-free. The cookies my cousin brought and the ranch dressing that came with the veggie trays weren't either, but I ate vegan during the party (with the exception of the honey, but I don't exclude that from my diet). I'm pretty proud!

And though this concludes the food portion of my food blog, I will now parade a few more vanity shots:

Me with Kayla and Nichole, two of my oldest friends and favorite gals. (I was wearing really tall shoes. In real life, I'm only about 1.5" taller than both of them.)

Cousins! That's us in age and height order. Notice that Charity is not wearing heels and towers over us anyway.

Me with my stepsister Kaity, my little sister Sarah (who is an 11-year-old giant), and Dad's girlfriend Jo.

And me and my love, AKA the best tea party co-host in the world.

I wish you a Sunday filled with peace, love, and half the amount of sugar and caffeine on which I ran yesterday.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The return of Thankful Thursday

It's been a long, long time, but I'm reinstating this uplifting blog feature. Yay! So here's what I'm thankful for today, on this eve of my 26th birthday.

1. My taller half. I'm a little more freaked to be leaving 25 behind than I expected. Luckily, I have an understanding -- and decade-0lder -- man to put things in perspective for me. As Trudy said to Peggy, however patronizingly, on this week's Mad Men, "you know, 26 is still very young."

2. Silliness. I'm ringing in my second quarter of life with some tea-party fun. Expect a post full of pictures soon.

3. My bike, Marcello. I've been riding him a lot lately and having a wonderful time. I'm down a couple of pounds, and my legs have never looked or felt better. So if I start to feel aged, I can at least remind myself that I'm in better shape than ever.

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Songbird in training

Last month, I decided to enroll in private voice lessons. I’ve never been much of a singer, but that hasn’t stopped me from chirping my little heart out. In the interest of noise pollution, it only makes sense for me to learn how to do the thing I enjoy properly.

Tomorrow will be my fifth lesson, and it’s amazing to hear the improvement in such a short period of time. I’m tackling some Patsy Cline head on right now. I still feel nervous in class, as if the teacher would rather be working with someone a lot more talented than me. And honestly, that may well be true, but she’s kind and patient and always encouraging. I already feel a bit more confident, though I still have a ways to go.

I’ve wanted to take voice lessons since I was about 19 or 20 but was always too afraid. Same goes for pottery, painting, dance, sewing, and tennis lessons. In the past two or three years, it has been my goal to eliminate those silly fears from my lifestyle. None of these things could possibly kill me. In fact, in one way or another, they can only fulfill me and make me stronger. So what if I crash and burn? At least I tried. I will probably never be a professional singer, a ballerina, a seamstress, a ceramicist, or a painter, but I would rather fail at something fun than never try. I guess that leaves tennis on my list of things to attempt.

And there’s always the chance that I’ll find my calling. Look for me in soft focus on the cover of a CD, keytar strapped around my shoulders, and a wistful look on my face.

What have you always wanted to try? Have you been brave and gone for it?

About Me

My photo
Tulsa, OK, United States
Hello! Welcome to my blog, which I run in conjunction with my Etsy shop, Here, I'll track things I'm working on, do reviews and interviews, and offer advice and information. Thanks for stopping by!

Your humble blogger

Your humble blogger