Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Flu and other items

Hi folks!  I'm not sure if anyone out there is actually following me yet, but I'm good at pretending.  :)

I've been out of commission for the past few days.  The flu bus hit me at about 4 am last Friday, right before the start to my much-anticipated 3-day weekend.  On the schedule, we had a dinner out on Saturday night, a fun trip to The Children's Museum with my 2 year-old nephew, James, on Sunday and an excursion to IKEA to pick up a much-needed bookcase for Monday.  All plans were dashed.

I've been trying to figure out where I caught the flu and the only thing I can think of was last Monday's trip to Lahey Clinic for my annual blood-work.  Working from home doesn't put me in contact with live, in-person people on a regular basis, so the doctor visit must have been the culprit, ironically. 
 tv table with under-glaze residue and flu supplies

Not to dwell on the nastiness of this particular flu strain, but I had body aches like you wouldn't believe (seriously like being hit by a bus), a fever for two days and now I've been left with chest and upper respiratory congestion!  Next year I WILL be getting a flu shot! 

I'm thankful to have a very caring and helpful husband who was a fantastic nurse.  I kept referring to him as my wet-nurse, just to lighten the mood, but I'm not sure he liked that.  He was on top of keeping the gingerale and Alleve well-stocked.  

On a lighter note, before I got sick, I worked on a few new pottery pieces.  I've been doing some painting at home instead of at Made by Me, just because of hating to go out in the cold and being able to watch The Bachelor and paint at the same time.  Fun!   Here's what I've been working on... keep in mind, these are just with under-glaze.  They still need to be glazed and fired, which I hope to do this weekend.  Under-glaze, when dry, has a very chalky and dull look.  The glazing and firing is what brings the colors to life.
square coaster in my new wave design & ocean color scheme

small soy bowl in grey with purple and yellow dot design

closer-up of the soy bowl; you can see my pencil marks a little bit near the edge - they burn off in the kiln
nesting bowl set in the wave design, ocean color scheme - like the coaster

Also, I was contacted on Etsy about participating in a craft fair at the end of next month!  How very exciting!  My first craft fair.  I've been to a million in my day (my mom used to make lovely shell wreaths and mirrors back in the 80s; that was my first exposure to "crafting") but have never sold my own stuff! 

The fair is at The Sandy Burr Country Club in Wayland, MA on Thursday March 31 from 7-9 pm.  I'll post reminders, of course!  It would be great to have friends attend if you are able!  :) 

I must get back to my "real job"... lunch break is just about over.  I will be back again soon....

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!
I don't know about you, but I'm a huge sap when it comes to V-day.  While I certainly don't expect champagne and chocolate covered strawberries (though that sounds pretty great right about now), I do like receiving flowers and going out to eat.  My husband isn't much of a flower-giver (there's a long cat-related story involved, which I can share another time), so when he came home on Saturday night with a giant bouquet of 4 dozen roses, I was floored!  You would have thought he had just won some sort of pageant. There was a mix of red and white roses all tied up with pretty paper and a pink bow.  He scored some major points for that effort!   

I had to divide up all the flowers because I don't have a container large enough for 48 long-stem roses.   I definitely need a lesson in flower arranging.  Thankfully the flowers alone are gorgeous; they look really lovely in the different rooms of the house:
red & white in the dining room

white in the guest room
red on the bookcase in the living room
Tonight we're going out for dinner at Red Lentil in Watertown.  We're really lucky to have such a fantastic vegetarian restaurant within walking distance from where we live.  There is a special Valentine's menu tonight, which includes vegetable samosas - YUM!  I'm ready for dinner now.  

Yesterday's trip to the Cabin Fever craft show was fun.  We didn't end up spending as much time as we usually do but it was great to see some of our favorite crafts-folk.  I decided on a custom necklace from AG Ambroult.  I'm going to have my initials - ARC- on a necklace like this one:

I'm excited to see how it turns out!  I will let you know, of course. 

In other news, two of my new party sets and one of my trays were all featured in Etsy treasuries over the weekend!  I'm excited about that, too.  Slowly but surely, I'm getting some visibility... :)  

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Weekend!

The company I work for doesn't recognize President's Day this Monday, but I'm still excited for the weekend. 

I'm going to work on some new pieces on Saturday while I'm at Made by Me, in Cambridge.  If you're looking for something fun to do on Saturday between 4 - 9 pm, come visit.  One of the perks of working there (even part-time) is that I can work on my pottery, on the job.  Of course there are other job-related responsibilities, but the bonus is sitting & painting. The plan is to work on a serving set for a friend of mine and maybe make a few more plate & bowl sets. 

On Sunday, the husband and I are going to the "Cabin Fever" SoWA craft fair (Sunday, February 13, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm), featuring some amazing New England artisans.

A few of my favorite Etsy crafts-people will be there.  I'll be a goofy dork and tell them I'm a big fan - again.   Here are some of the talented shop owners:
I love this bunny necklace.  My husband surprised me with one the first time we discovered Looka Jewelry at a Christmas craft fair in Worcester.  If you like rabbits, ants, envelopes, fonts or beautifully designed and delicate jewelry, you'll love Looka.
Talk about gorgeous, hand-thrown porcelain.  There are so many beautiful pieces, I couldn't decide which picture to use.  The bright, glossy pomegranate vase, the pretty pink heart nesting bowls or the adorable love birds Valentine magnet - you can't go wrong with any!  On the right are the Red in White Nesting Bowls set.
Stella Marie's soap is a favorite of mine.  The soaps are beautifully fragranced - never overwhelming; they have a thick lather; and they are great moisturizers - my skin feels so soft without lotion!  I also love the body scrubs to keep my skin smooth and soft in the winter.
Jeweler AG Ambroult creates beautiful, organically-inspired pieces in unique textures and metals.  Many necklaces have sculptural, circular wire designs.  Her dramatic earrings can be worn on their own.  This luminous copper ring would make an eye-catching neutral accessory.
I love the whimsical pieces bg2770 design creates. The vibrant colors and bold designs brighten any room.  They make me think of spring!  I have  their calendar and it's really helped me through this awful winter!

There are a ton of other amazing crafters on the line-up for Cabin Fever.  My fantastic husband said I can pick out my V-day present there.  Can't wait! 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Listing New Items on Etsy

It always throws people off when I say I didn't use a computer until my senior year in college.  And even then, it was my journalism professor's tiny-screened Apple with the sticky keyboard.  I can't say I've ever been an early adopter.  When my mother offered to buy me a computer when I went off to college, I shrugged her off, thinking computers were surely a fad.

It's not like using the internet is such a feat.  Technology doesn't totally allude me; I talk about it every day at my high tech job.  I managed to set up a Facebook account a few years ago - and I'm not ashamed to admit I'm proud of myself for figuring out how to create this blog.

With that said, posting my pottery in my Etsy shop is not a smooth process.  I take the photos, adjust the photos, re-size, name and file the photos.  Measure the pieces and figure out prices.  Then hope for some creativity when writing the somewhat dorky item descriptions.  My husband makes fun of them all the time.  Are you 12? he asks. 

It is satisfying once the process is complete.  Last week someone bought one of my pieces the night I posted it.  I was surprised by how exciting that was.  So, I'll get on painting more things and trying new designs.  Let me know if there's anything you'd like to see!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Smoothie of the Day

Maybe the title of this post is a bit of a misnomer; I don't make smoothies every day.  I should, since eating healthier is one of my 2011 resolutions.  Smoothies are such an easy way to have a couple servings of fruit and veggies all at once.  A girlfriend of mine told me she uses kale in her fruit smoothies, which sounded totally nasty to me.  But she assured me you could barely even notice the kale taste and it adds the supposedly important anti-oxidants and other "vital" nutrients. 

Orange was the theme this morning.  Looking in our freezer, I noticed the frozen mango chunks were starting to show signs of frost.  While I usually toss frost-bitten foods, I figured the other ingredients would mask any weird flavor.  Is that gross?  (Thankfully my assumption was correct!)  The bag of frozen peach slices was nearly empty so I grabbed that, too.  Unfortunately my husband chucked the last over-ripe banana.  (Over-ripe bananas add a nice extra sweetness to smoothies, I find.)

To the mango and peaches, I added carrot juice, almond milk, non-fat vanilla yogurt, milled flax seeds and some ground cinnamon.  After a few minutes in my amazingly sturdy Cuisinart blender, I enjoyed a delicious, frothy, fruity, orange treat.

I couldn't really discern the specific fruits, but the almond milk and cinnamon combo added an interesting but subtle, spicy warmth.

Perhaps I will shoot for a smoothie a day.  I guess that means a trip to the grocery in the morning before storm #57 hits tomorrow afternoon.  I'd better stock up on more frozen fruits - and maybe I'll give that kale a try.  I'll certainly let you know if I do.

new items! party sets: plates & bowls

This winter has been giving me cabin fever.  Each week - a snowstorm.  We've had so many, there hasn't been any time for the snow already on the ground to melt.  So it's snow upon snow upon snow.  I actually left the house today (after being a recluse since Sunday) and noticed the snowbanks at the end of our driveway are taller than I am!  The snow on the left half of our front yard would bury the whole Duggar family.  I'm dying for Spring, already! 

All this grey and snowy weather inspired me to create a spring-y set of plates and bowls.  I envisioned them being used for an afternoon party with girlfriends - eating snacks & drinking some fruity, chilled white sangria.  Yum! 

Take a look & let me know what you think about the designs, not the wack-o photo spacing. I can't align them - ack!  (all designs are copyright ARC Housewares, 2011)


Thursday, February 3, 2011


One of the Etsy features I really like is the Treasury.  It's addictive - both creating them and ogling them.   If you're not familiar with a Treasury, it's a feature that allows you to curate a list of 16 items.  Sometimes there's a theme, whether it be a color, subject matter, or materials used.  There are no rules with Treasuries, so you can be as creative as you want.  It's fun.  I was queen of the mixed tape in college... creating Treasuries is kinda similar.

Here's one I made in December that was featured on the home page of Etsy.  I dorked out and was so excited when that happened.  

I stuck a few of my Treasuries at the bottom of the home page, so please take a look if you're interested!

Buenos noches.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cooking Indian at home, attempt #1

Part of what inspired me to start this blog was my encouraging a friend of mine to start one.  He is an amazing cook and makes incredible Indian and Chinese food.  Probably because his mom is Chinese and his dad is Indian - must be in his blood or something.  Anyway, he had sent me a vegetarian recipe to try because I recently went veg, but also partly to make sure the recipes he's so familiar with in his head are easily translatable to someone like me, who has never made Indian food.  I love to try new recipes and volunteered as an eager guinea pig.

I was sent a recipe for Sai Bhajji - Sindhi Saag.  Since my friend is starting his blog as I type, I don't want to steal his thunder and give too much away about the dish.  I'll update my post with a link to his blog so you can get the recipe there.  In the meantime, take a look at the photos I took while chopping and cooking.

sliced potatoes

diced onions and orange pepper

more potatoes and some carrots
roughly cut plum tomatoes


into the pot

after some time on the stove

my favorite salt shaker and hand-painted spoon rest

simmering away

brown basmati rice... mmmmm...

the finish product topped with a dairy treat

Doesn't it look good? And easy??  Yes to both.  It was very tasty, though I think I added a little too much turmeric, which is the key ingredient.  I'll know better for next time.   The good thing is that I've finally tried making Indian food; it's something I've always been curious about.  It's so delicious but seemed intimidating to replicate.  Thanks to my super talented cooking pal, I'm looking forward to trying those vegetarian dumplings he mentioned the other day.  YUM!