Thursday, February 25, 2010


So last week when I was having a lackluster day, I happened across Felicia Kramer's blog and she was having a week long "I'd Rather be in Hawaii " event. Since I have been sitting in a snowpacked Utah since December, it sounded like a vacation for my mind and I took the trip. She interviewed Hawaiian artists each day and gave several opportunites to win items from their shops as well as some Hawaiian themed bookmarks/magnets that she had made.

I fell in love with one of the prints being offered as a prize "God Always Leaves A Window Open"

from Dava Shepard's shop Treasures From Hawaii You can read Dava's interview on Felicia's blog. I've laughed when she told us a tiger had once sprayed her.
I went back to Etsy and bragged about how beautiful this print was and how much I wanted to win it.

Yesterday I received an email from Felicia with the subject line "Congratulations" My heart started pounding and I was hoping against hope - I went to check and see what I had won and it was!.... It was the print! This has so made my day,week,month! I am so excited to receive it. I'm going to put it right next to my side of the bed so I can wake up every morning and see it.

And not to leave anyone out, there were also 3 other equally great Hawaiian artists who were featured, and here are the links to their shops and their interviews with Felicia. Take some time for yourself and spend a cold winter morning in Hawaii...
Marionette of kauaiartist and her interview
Schar Freeman of scharart and her interview
Lisa Bongzee of lisabonzee and her interview

And by all means check out Felicia's Etsy shop-AnotherBrightIdea

It was a fun morning I spent reading and dreaming of Hawaii, and now I will have a piece of it to look at all the time. Thank you Felicia for such a wonderful Hawaiian getaway and to Dava Shepard for my wonderful prize! I can't begin to tell you what it means to me♥

Til next time,

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Simple Abundance Update

Wow the time is flying, huh? We are already half way through February and it's time for me to touch base with my journey through Simple Abundance, just in case my SA partner is reading my updates ;)
This month seems to be focusing on keeping in mind that each day is a new 24 hr period in which to experience new adventures, even if they are out of our comfort zone. Many times when we try something different, it opens us up to a creative juice that we would not have found otherwise. This month I have tried listening to different types of music, without complaining :D ...and sharing time with the hubster learning about history, when I really wanted to be chatting in the forums.
There have been a couple of excursions we were challenged to take, that to be honest, I simply did not do because of bad weather. I adapted them to our shut-in situation and completed the task my own way even if it was indoors.
All in all I am still on track and still recording 5 things everyday that I am grateful for.

One of the things I am always thankful for is writing for HandMade News. As of this writing I have 15 of my articles on the 50 Top Articles list. This means that these articles have gotten over 25 votes. I absolutely love featuring shops and sellers! It totally makes my day when I get to send someone the 'Congratulations! You're the Featured Artisan!' message. It makes their day; it makes mine. It's a win win situation.

I would like to share a link with a couple of articles that are only a few votes away from being on that Top Articles list. If you could spare a minute or so, I would really appreciate a green thumb's up vote (located at the bottom of the article, just above the comments section)

Til next time,


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Chili Verde Recipe

It's our tradition here at the Clay's, when a new Survivor series starts we eat beans and rice just like the contestants on the show. This time around I surprised Mr. Clay with some Chile Verde (one of his favs) to spice up the meal, and since there has been talk on some of the Etsy threads I follow about tastey meals, I thought this was as good a time as any to share my secret recipe for chile verde.

Ingredients are:

pork meat- cut into small 1/2 inch cubes(chops, loins, or shoulder blade steak-makes no difference; I just happened to have a 1.25 pkg of stew meat) I seasoned the diced meat with Lawry's season salt.

1-2 red onions- diced

garlic-I use 1 whole bulb chopped into tiny bits

anaheim chilis-I used roasted and peeled from our garden, but canned green chilis will be fine

jalapenos to taste-some like it spicey, these can be added to suit your taste

Salsa Verde sauce- for this recipe I used 4 - 16oz jars of Herdez Salsa Verde

1/4 - 1/2 cup olive oil

flour -for thickening

2 cups water

1 Tablespoon lime juice - my secret ingredient ;)

Here's some shots of the ingredients:

I showed the teaspoon for size; I chop/dice my ingredients pretty small

Anaheim chili peppers:

The salsa verde,which is mostly tomatillos:
I make mine in an electric wok, but any pan will do. Sautee the meat, onions, garlic and peppers together in olive oil. I used a little over a 1/4 cup of olive oil for the amounts I listed:
Sautee for 7-10 minutes until meat is cooked, then add flour for thickening. At this point I add a little more olive oil so the flour doesn't scorch. For the amounts I listed, I used about 2/3 cup flour. It's important here to stir and let the flour simmer a bit on the meat mixture; this will remove the pastey flour taste in your sauce (it's also a good tip when making any flour based sauce or gravy) All that's left to do is add the Salsa Verde sauce and water. Keep stirring as it thickens. If you prefer thinner sauce add more water. After it has simmered about 10-15 minutes, I add the lime juice at the end to make the flavors pop.

Chili verde is good with beans, rice, in burritos, as a topping for most any mexican food dishes. The amounts I listed makes a very large batch (12 cups). I freeze in tupperwares and defrost as needed. It tastes just as good after freezing too, maybe even a little better.


Until next time,



Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Just a few thoughts for your Thursday

When one is a shop owner, they usually consider advertising. Here is a few thoughts that I try to always remember:

Word of mouth is either your best or your worst advertising....

A happy customer will bring in 10 more; an unhappy one will scare off 300....

And now because you KNOW there must be some kind of story coming on the subject, this is one situation I went through years ago...

We have a local radio show down here called "The Shopping Show" where local shops in the area donate gift certificates and we (the public) can call in and bid on these GC. It gives the radio station some revenue and the winning bidders typically get a GC half price for local eateries and mom/pop shops. So I picked up a $10 GC one day to a scrapbooking shop. Now I have NEVER in my life scrapbooked, and I didn't intend to. But I was thinking maybe I could pick up some tools that I could use with my polymer clay work.

I spent a good deal of time in the scrapbook shop trying to decide on some rubber stamps or a ball stylus and various other things I was interested in. I chatted with the man who was there and he told me about different products that would be coming in the future. I finally decided on a few rubber stamps and a pkg of stickers for the stepson. I planned on going back to the shop when I could afford to buy the remaining items I was interested in. When I checked out the total came to $10.10, leaving me to pay 10 cents after my gift certificate.
Now, I am not one to carry cash because we pay everything with check or debit card. I searched through my entire purse and wallet for a stray dime, knowing I was not about to find one. Meanwhile the checker (the man) is NOT believing that I don't have a dime in my purse. He's even commenting those exact words! I ended up having to write a 10 cent check! all the while I was saying how ridiculous it was that I was having to write it at all! He was not about to budge on that 10 freakin cents!!!!
A few days later (after the check had cleared my bank) I wrote a scathing letter to the shop owner. With the letter I sent a $1 bill and told them to start a penny jar for others who may be in my situation. I signed it with my full name and phone # and told them I was not ashamed to sign my name, as they were not ashamed to cash a 10 cent check. I never got a call or acknowledgment from the shop. And I found out later that the man who had checked me was one of the shop owners
I NEVER went back again and within 6 months the shop went out of business. Guess I wasn't the only one who was dissatisfied there.

And my last piece of shop owner advice:

Don't jump over a $1000 bill to pick up a dime.

Not sure why this was pressing on my mind to get it out there, but there you go.

Until next time,


All that and bag of chips...and Salsa!

Well I told you I would show you my salsa bowl and how I made it, and here it is...Before you go thinking "when did she say that?" It was last year sometime, and I have had this post saved as a draft waiting on me to upload pictures.

I saw this salsa bowl at WalMart and thought to myself, "Self, do you think that will hold up in the oven?"

Since our salsa is soo spicy hot, I thought it would look cool to have flames coming up the sides of the bowl. So I bought one and took it home to try, and it passed the 10 minute test bake. I applied a thin layer of black clay in random spikes to make it easier to apply my 'flames.' Here is a shot of one of the flame canes I made:
I sliced very thin sheets of my flame cane and then began to apply them to the thin black layer already on the salsa bowl. I worked my way around and down ....

Until my black clay spikes were covered with flames
I left the very bottom covered with the plain black clay so that I could stamp it with "Not safe for dishwasher or microwave use."
And I couldn't resist making a matching spoon.
I very rarely use shiny coatings on my clay items, but because I know how sloppy we are with salsa, I used clear nail polish to thoroughly coat the flames to protect any salsa dribbles from getting underneath the clay flames.
One year I made 17 of these sets for the hubster's fellow employees at work, and then wrapped them up with our homemade salsa made from our garden....hence the reason for my delay in completing ours. 18 of any one thing is alot for me to do.
Well, there you have it...our sizzling hot salsa bowl
Til next time,

Monday, February 1, 2010

Simple Abundance

Well it has been a month now on my Simple Abundance journey. For those who are new to my blog- I saw a post on FaceBook from one of my fellow Polymer Clay Guild members asking if anyone had the book 'Simple Abundance' and would they willing to go through it this year. It is a type of daily confirmations book with one page for everyday of the year to read and perhaps to do a simple task.
For me, so far it has been about becoming conciously aware of everything in my life that I am grateful/thankful for. We were challenged to begin a gratitude journal. Everyday I write 5 things for which I am thankful for - sometimes it is something as mundane as "I am thankful I got the laundry done" or something exciting as a creative idea hitting me like an epiphany while taking a shower. It seems like the more thankful I am, the more I find to be thankful for. So far I am glad to be on this quest.

With all this talk about thankfullness, I would like to thank two Etsy sellers who I made some special purchases from this month. The first is Rhonda of RoseRidgeCreations who makes these incredible fleece socks.
I've got to tell you we keep our house fairly chilly (62 degrees @ night and 65 during the day) and so I ALWAYS have cold feet. During December I saw Rhonda talking about how warm and toasty her feet were with these socks she was making. and I thought "yeah yeah sure they are." Well after Christmas she had a sale and so I thought 'ok I'll bite' and I bought a couple of pair...and OMG!!! These socks ARE the warmest things I have ever had in MY LIFE! I have tested these socks over and over with all kinds of extremes and everytime they have kept my feet toasty warm. I have worn them when wearing my cheap snow boots that have NO lining or insulation whatsoever...and the result? toasty toes! (And you know I've been shoveling snow for hours this year) I have worn them on my freezing cold cement kitchen floor...warm piggies! I have waited til my feet are so cold they hurt and then put the socks on...within minutes they are warm. I would never have believed that these socks would be so warm, but they are.
So the hubster one night says 'let me try a pair' (yes we have almost the same foot size) and within 5 minutes he says 'these socks are really nice and warm'. So he has me order more for his friend who suffers from cold feet. How many men do you know buy socks for their friends? That has got to tell you something!
If you always have cold feet, your toesies will thank you when you get a pair of these fleece socks. In fact right now she has reduced the price on alot of the different varieties. Here is a link to her sock department. Trust me on this one, you won't be sorry on this purchase. I have not ever pitched a product like I have these socks. Bottom line-they are a superior handmade item.

Next up is Linda of WarmTouchCreations who makes beautiful handmade cards with heartfelt sayings on them. I searched for hours 1 day trying to find the perfect card for a friends' sick mother. And when I happened upon her shop it made the long search so worth it. She seems to have all the right words on just the right card, and because it is handmade ..well so much the better. She has sympathy, wedding, birthday, a card for any occasion you can think of. And if she doesn't, she is happy to make one for you. She has Thinking of You cards that make you WANT to send a card.
If you haven't yet bought your valentine a card, I highly recommend her shop.
I have bought a few cards from her and I have one now waiting to give to the hubster on Valentine's Day. Check out her shop on Etsy. She just seems to have that special card that says exactly what you want to say.

So there you have it- two great products, both handmade and both absolutely superior. I hope you visit their shops and find something for yourself or a loved one.

Til next time....