Thursday, June 16, 2011

On a Roll....

OK, now that I've been quasi-obsessively looking for stand-out accessories in my favorite Etsy shops, I can't stop... here are a few more summer accessories you might enjoy...
Harvest Bubble Shawl by Clarice for those cool summer nights
Sunny yellow obi belt by Simone's Rose
Chunky coral necklace from La Marquise des Anges
Summer shrug from ileaiye
Eco-friendly tie-dye bracelets by Under a New Light
I can't get enough of this scarf trend that's going on. I love this lightweight, linen version from frenchfelt
Whimsical Starlette Sparkler hair pin by Giant Dwarf
Wedge sandals by Elena's Designs
Gorgeous robin's egg blue bag by MimsMaine
In honor of the Bruins winning last night's Stanley Cup... by tru.che

Summer Accessories

This past winter, during the endless days of snow and cold, I spent a lot of my free time scouring Etsy for unique handmade items and vintage finds.  Jewelry, pillows, ceramics, furniture... so much fantastic stuff to sort through. 

Since I've been busy working on my pottery this spring, I haven't perused my favorite shops in a while.  This self-inflicted hiatus is a great excuse to go back for a late Spring/early Summer update.  Here's my round-up of awesome accessories you can sport this summer for a swank and sassy look.
Wicker Handbag from Miss Farfalla
Silver hoop earrings by Laurel's Bench
Striped scarf from Bath Style
Clip-in Feather Extension by Hover
Country Fried Leggings by Bayou Salvage
Copper ring by AG Ambroult
Summer thongs by mohop
Sequined weekend bag by Independent Reign
Fossil necklace by Laurel's Bench
Crochet scarf by Ayca
Linen jacket by 13 threads

I don't want to get too carried away but I've found a lot of great items... I will definitely have to do a part 2 - very shortly! 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rain, rain go away

Gaining experience is what's important, I kept telling myself on Saturday as I sat in my misty tent at Festival by the Lake.  The weather forecast hadn't been accurate in their precipitation prediction, unfortunately, and it ended up being a soggy day.  The tent I had brought to cover my space wasn't 100% waterproof, so a delicate mist came in through the ceiling.  I was thankful my pottery is waterproof and wasn't affected by the rain, unlike the watercolor artist who was a few booths down from me.

While it wasn't the beautifully sunny day I had imagined, there were still shoppers braving the weather.  Rain did not deter the fans of Festival by the Lake.  The event being 30 years old certainly helped the situation; the local die-hards would attend, regardless.

Being out and meeting people is what's fun about these shows anyway.  I was able to see a lot of familiar faces from growing up in Wakefield - some of whom I hadn't seen in 20 years!   It was great catching up with old friends and being back in my hometown.  The woman in the booth next to me commented on how nice it is to be a "local girl."  I had to agree!

I received some great feedback from people who stopped by my table to look at my pottery.  (I do realize people wouldn't likely tell me it was crap, either, but compliments are always appreciated!)  Again, it was another great experience and gain a better understanding of what people like.  I know what I'll be focusing on with my next batch of items for my next show in Topsfield on Sunday, June 26 at Absolutely Everything at 30 Main St.
before it got too soggy

Special thanks go out to my husband and my mom for helping me transport and set up all my stuff.  I couldn't have done it so efficiently without you!  (I had forgotten to pack all my table risers and plate stands, as you'll notice in the photos.  Thankfully my mom was able to find a couple in her basement for me to use.  I'm glad she hasn't had her summer yard sale yet.)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Festival by the Lake

Tomorrow is my first big craft show.  I'm a little nervous, but more excited than anything else.  The show is in my hometown of Wakefield, MA; it's an event that's been happening every June since I can remember.  Festival by the Lake is sponsored by the Wakefield Center Neighborhood Association.  The group was started by a friend of my mother's to raise money to beautify the downtown.  Through the years, after many fantastic summer events, downtown Wakefield was brought back to its original splendor.  OK, maybe that's a little melodramatic, but gorgeous flowers and shrubs have been planted, new street lights were installed, and the group of vagrant teens who used to hang out in front of the library have disappeared.  Since moving out of Wakefield 20 years ago, it's always nice to go back and see what else has been face-lifted.  Participating in Festival by the Lake is significant for me because it was something I looked forward to every summer growing up (I used to volunteer at the food tent and the dunking booth) and had never imagined I'd be a vendor one day.  I hope I see lots of familiar faces - and new ones, too.

Enough gushing and now onto my sneak preview of new items...
nesting bowls

small tumblers

teaspoon rests

swirly mugs

round trivet

soy dishes

spring mugs

matching teaspoon rests
Festival by the Lake is tomorrow, June 11, from 10-4 at the Lake Quannapowitt Commons in Wakefield, MA, right off of route 95.  It's a great event - food, crafts and fun for kids.  See you there!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


When I had expressed interest in learning more about Indian cooking - vegetarian, specifically - my pan-Asian chef friend Ram was up for the task.  The first recipe he sent me was my first foray into Indian cooking at home.  I can't say I would have won an award for that dish (I added too much turmeric), but it was definitely a great start.  This next recipe he sent me back in March.  I made it back in March, too, but embarrassingly am only posting about it now.  Since it uses a lot of fresh veggies, it could be a great dish to make on a cool summer night with some selections from your garden or favorite farmer's market.

So, this dish is two recipes in one.  First, there is the amazing Cilantro Paste.  Once the paste is compiled, you then incorporate the chopped mixed vegetables into it, which Ram explains so eloquently below.

Simply Ram’s Cilantro Paste
Required equipment:
Food Processor or Blender

1 bunch of Cilantro
1 whole clove of garlic peeled
- 17-20+ pieces
1 medium size tomato
3-4 jalapenos or 1 medium green pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste

The following can be combined or else used singularly (except the Curry Powder)
- 1 tablespoon Turmeric
- 1 tablespoon Cumin
- 1 tablespoon Curry Powder

This is so easy to prep! Put all ingredients into the food processor/blender and grind carefully into a puree type of paste. Done!

When you cook with this paste it is very important to heat 10” nonstick pot first and then add oil. The paste needs to be lightly browned first before adding any other items.

Ram’s Cilantro Potato & Carrots (Onions)

½ to 1 cup of Simply Ram’s Cilantro Paste
- I have a heavy hand to 1 cup for me!
5-6 Medium sized potatoes
4-5 Medium sized carrots
1 Onion (optional)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Chili flakes (optional)

Dice both potatoes and carrots (smaller makes cooking time faster). Dice onion. After having prepared the paste add potatoes, carrots and (onions). Stir to coat all the vegetables then turn down fire to low. Add about a cup of water and then simmer it to fork tender. You can always add more water, so sometime I find less is more. Serve with Jasmine rice (preferred). Welcome to smell-a-vision!

This dish came out wonderfully, I'm happy to report.  It was so warm, delicious and flavorful.  I'll be making this one again, for sure (and I do still want to try to master Ram's Sai Bhaji – Sindhi Saag, too.)  Since I'm also trying to stick to a somewhat gluten-free diet, this dish is perfect in meeting that requirement, too.  Of course, I can't have a food post without some action photos.
I had an orange pepper on hand, so I used that instead of a green one

chopped ingredients into the blender

the completed cilantro paste before added to the hot oil in the pan

everything simmering together

viola! served atop some quinoa for extra protein - YUM!
Thanks, Ram, for another awesomely amazing recipe!  What's next?