Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Oh, the things I have to update. But in the meantime, I give you a picture of my brother and my Christmas Gingerbread Duplex and a million good wishes for the season.

Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

First define, then discuss.

This is a response to a blog post written by meganauman and featured on Hello Craft.

I would like to preface all of this, for those that don't know me, with the facts: I come from a long line of crafty women, I am a crafter, I have an Etsy shop, I've been in a craft mafia, I am a founding member of a craft collective, I support crafters locally and on Etsy and I also love making crafts with kids, especially my honorary Goddaughter.

As a crafter who makes things, but doesn't MAKE things, I appreciate what the author is saying, but I don't wholeheartedly agree. I take particular issue with the "ripping off" section of her argument. There is a certain responsibility asked of crafters to be creative, but often creativity is taking a good idea and making it better or cheaper. I would argue that there is very little that is 100% original, especially in a market where we are constantly striving to create something that feeds our soul as well as bring in a little cash. I studied art history for a semester in community college, so I am by no means a well-versed student or patron of the arts. But I do know that throughout time, the evolution of art has been fueled by borrowing.

I have argued in my blog, on more than one occasion, that there ARE crafters (and more accurately, artists posing as crafters), charging an arm and a leg for their handmade wares. I should clarify that there is an enormous distinction between artists and crafters, in my mind, and too often there is a blurred line, especially as it relates to successful businesses and access to selling markets. I do not argue that there is time and effort, nevermind creative vision, required to make something deeply beautiful and unique. However, I do take issue with the amount of wool being pulled over our collective eyes. I am as much a consumer of handmade as I am a participant in its creation. And I get tired of people posing as high-end designers when many of their materials (in my most relevant example, WoolEase acrylic/wool blend super bulky yarn) cost less than $10. And why would that preclude me, or anyone, from teaching myself how to make what they are making using the same yarn for less...and even charging less? Doesn't that make craft more accessible? Isn't that what the DIY culture supposedly encourages? Conversely, I've grown tired of artists posing as crafters and causing the median price point to dramatically increase every year at craft shows and markets.

I come from a long line of crafters. My great-grandmother worked in the Garment District of New York City making hats for women who didn't quite care how much time and creative energy she dedicated to the millinery process. She would walk by high-end department stores and see dresses and accessories in windows, and go home and make them for herself and her children because she couldn't afford to pay the prices arbitrarily slapped on merchandise by money hungry corporations. I don't really see how this is different in the handmade movement. My grandmother was also an amazing crafter. There wasn’t anything she couldn’t make; everything from intricate lacey doilies to dioramas in eggs to pompom hair ties and aprons for me. She even sold things locally now and then, and I don’t imagine she charged more than cost. My mother, too, is a crafter. She’s currently an avid scrapbooker and paper-crafter, but she can crochet expertly, she decorates cakes like a pro, and can also sew with great skill. Many ideas were garnered from craft books, tutorials and their peers. I call that inspiration.

I've taken the time to self-educate on techniques and eagerly wish to learn more about jewelry making. I never went to any sort of design school nor have I spent a second in anything that could be considered a "studio". I didn't have teachers, professors and colleagues telling me the value of my creations, and I don't have a degree to place next to my wares as justification of my hard work and creative vision. Neither did my great-grandmother, my grandmother, or my mother. We just make to make, because my family never had the means to buy things that other people made. I was enamored with the felt creations on Etsy recently, so I went home and bought some felt, taught myself embroidery stitches, and have filled the homes of friends, loved ones and even work associates with delightful felt ornaments.

As far as my crafting and business is concerned, I am 100% committed to making everything affordable. Always. And by affordable I mean less than $50. I refuse to buy any materials I feel are too expensive, I shop around for good and fair prices, and I reuse, recycle and upcycle. I try to buy in bulk whenever I can to cut costs, and I also take into consideration the price of an item before I make it. I do not assume that anyone can readily afford what I make, but I do make sure that it won't cost them a hefty percentage of their paycheck. I've worked full time for $8/hour. And I know that I deserved to feel and look pretty, while contributing to the crafty movement, without having to sacrifice a meal or warm clothing. Sometimes I want to ask high-priced crafters and whom do you think you are catering? It is certainly not people like me.

Is paying for supplies, plus labor, plus creative vision acceptable? Absolutely. Are the only reputable crafting businesses those that have been vetted by some arbitrary crafting authority and deemed 100% original? Absolutely not. I'm sure there are excellent examples, even just on Etsy, of people who are less than concerned about "ripping off" a fellow seller's idea. Sadly, this is business too, and a cutthroat one at that. In order to avoid everything we've escaped by finding our place in the DIY movement...specifically legal entanglements, copyrights, patents and succumbing to the mainstream machine, we must accept that there will always be design thieves and we have to hope that karmic retribution will take responsibility for any sort of lesson that they need to learn. And there will always be people who snub you because what you are selling costs as much as their weekly grocery bill, despite how lovely and expertly crafted it is.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

SALE TODAY, gone tomorrow.

Hey Kids! Head on over to my Etsy shop:!

You'll get 25% off your entire purchase and a priority shipping upgrade on me! Fantastic!

Check out my fabulous wares:

Buy Handmade

Sunday, December 14, 2008

From the QCC

From all of us to all of you...enjoy this festive season! Support the handmade crafters in your area by buying handmade. Buy from the QCC!

Ginger Bucks!

I've added a new section to my Etsy shop...ginger bucks! These are my own version of a gift certificate. I'm really proud of the photos and the general marketing presentation I've created. They're redeemable at any time, and they don't expire so long as I'm in business. They're a great way to let your friends and loved ones pick out their own design rather than mulling over the multitude of divine choices endlessly.

I've devised a whole plan too for managing these. It'll require some more bookkeeping and organization, but I hope the rewards will be plentiful. I'll have some available at Rock 'n' Shop too so that people who live a cash-only lifestyle can purchase them and use them online without the need for a credit card or Paypal. I'm a genius!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Busy busy busy!

I have a horrible habit of never remembering to take pictures until it's too dark to take advantage of natural light. So all of these shots are kind of blurry, but you'll just have pardon all that.

Here are my three biggest project of late!

The Earring Tree Prototype - my attempt at organizing the earrings I've made so they are available visually but not a mess all over my desk. I'm going to work on streamlining this and I'll probably make a few to sell at Rock 'n' Shop.

The Massive Assortment of Button Barrettes - just a whole bunch of fabulous and funky barrettes to sell at Rock 'n' Shop or Chop Shop. They'll probably be $2 each. So easy, so quick.

The Christmas Tree - self explanatory. Santa has already arrived.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Where in the world is Meaghan Sandiego!?

OMG guys. Where have I been? Do you feel neglected? Need anything? Can I refresh your drinks?

I don't know if you use Google Reader as a blog feed aggregator, but they have this nifty feature wherein you can look at details for blogs that you subscribe to, and it'll tell you how many subscribers have connected with that blog. Well, despite my hopes and dreams for guns-blazing infamy, I only have 15 subscribers. But also...I HAVE 15 SUBSCRIBERS! Hi guys!

Moving on. I've missed TWO, count 'em 2, Recipe Tuesdays. And probably a ton of other stuff. So I'm going to give you two "recipes" right now and then get some gears cranking and fire off some other fancy stuff to keep all 15 (+ ?) of you entertained. I am nothing if not a good hostess.

Recipe Number One

We begin with a recipe...of sorts. See, I found out through one of the food blogs that I subscribe to via Google Reader that there is this new fandangled site called Food Gawker. Being the gawking fan that I am (I admit here, fully, that I have a staring problem...specifically when it comes to peoples' butts...but I digress), I thought it would be ideal...FOOD + GAWKING = nom nom nom. Well, this site rocks my socks off. Food Gawker is basically a recipe aggregator...they've set up some sort of web scraping algorithm or something that searches for beautiful photographs of food AND recipes, together, and then posts the picture with a brief explanation on their site. From there you can click directly to the blog that posted the picture/recipe. It's that simple! There's a wide range of recipes, too. Everything from Potstickers to "Do you know what the heck this is and what I do with it?". They are also being bombarded with a slew of holiday cookie recipes, which is AWESOME. These are recipes from high-fallutin' chefs or homemade cook-bloggers who fiddle with old recipes and post them for their friends. So like I said, while not a recipe this website provides access to more recipes than you could possibly need.

Recipe Number Deux

This is a Food TV recipe that I "modified". Essentially, I modified it by neglecting to apply the icing. I'm not a big fan of frosting/icing so it just seemed superfluous to me. These cookies are delicious, fluffy and almost cake-like on their own. The spice combination is reminiscent of a pumpkin pie, without the gooey sweetness. They're a great tea cookie, or a light dessert after a heavy meal. I would, and do, make these year round because I love pumpking and cinnamon so much. But they're a great addition to a holiday cookie tin. I've included the icing ingredients in case you want to make it. You can also garnish an iced or un-iced cookie with a pecan or some cinnamon/cinnamon-sugar.

Oh, and trust me, while I could care less about the intricate growlings of a man's stomach, I can assure you that no man can resist these. I have no idea why. I heard once, though, that men are incredibly attracted to the smell of cinnamon. OMG. Since when did this because Cosmo? Enough of that. Make the cookies.

Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting (

For the cookies:
1 c. sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 tbls. Maple syrup (if you’d like)
2 eggs
1 c. canned pumpkin
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground all spice
¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
2½ c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt (not necessary if you use salted butter)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the sugar and the butter until light and fluffy. Add the maple syrup and eggs. Mix to incorporate. Add the pumpkin and mix to incorporate. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, spices. Add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix well. Drop rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly golden brown around the edges. Cool on racks. OPTIONAL: When cool, ice with cream cheese frosting.

For the frosting: (the cookies are great without, but if you wanna)
2 (8oz) packages cream cheese
1 c. confectioner’s sugar
¼ c. milk
1 tbls. vanilla extract
zest of one lemon

Frosting: Beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy in a mixer. Beat in the powdered sugar until smooth. Add milk and vanilla, beat until smooth. If frosting is too thick, thin with a little more milk. Fold in the lemon zest. Spread!

For garnish: whole pecans or a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Recipe courtesy Food Network/

Monday, December 1, 2008

Hopelessly devoted.

I've done a fair amount of search-and-click for great prices on promotional materials. I found a great seller for paper products (business cards, merch cards, etc). And I tirelessly searched for a company or person who made and sold reasonably priced buttons. You know the type...the 1" hipster button (as I like to call it) that you find pinned to the hats, bags, shirts and fanny packs of the world's cheapest roving publicity devices...human beings with a penchant for the left-of-center, homemade, next-door neighbor kind of merchandise. Well, folks, I've found them. And like the subject of this post indicates, I'm hopelessly devoted.

Mod Buttons, operated as a side business of Poseur Ink, is a fantastic online business dedicated to the production of 1" buttons! YES! Their prices are FANFREAKINTASTIC and their production team, which consists of a totally sweet Rachel and completely helpful Mike (there may be more, but these folks have been my contacts), are top notch. I've e-mailed them three times over the past four months, and received two shipments of high class buttons. They are attentive every step of the way, including helping me with design assistance, and their casual approach to communication is really fantastic. They work with a multitude of different types of people and groups, from bands to non-profits to folks getting fancy for their bar mitzvahs!

So if you've got a small business, or a music festival, or a crafty organization to promote, I highly recommend Mod Buttons. You won't be disappointed.

I'm a mover, a shaker, a felt ornament maker.

So, whoa. Who knew I'd go from lazy, working drone to this magnificent busy lady with a crafty business and a crafty collective and a crafty nook and one of those spot lights that follows me around and highlights my eyes just like leading ladies in some of the smokiest, sexiest movies of all time. I'm talking ridiculously awesome here, people. I'm practically famous.

Ok, j/k. Totally not famous. But busy? Yes. And feeling fulfilled? Oh hells yes. I've managed to put into action a lot of fantastic things this year. This is the stuff that makes you look back at your life and feel content and proud, I say. Here's what I've done this week:
  1. Put together a fantastic Sweet Stocking Workshop for my kid friends at Rock Candy Baltimore. It should go without saying, however, that the person to exclaim, "God, I wish I could just cover everything in my life in glitter" was not a child. The stockings were magical, cute, wacky avant-garde terrifying, and soaked in the stuff of legends...namely, glitter glue. I think the kids had a great time. Here is the fruit of their/our labors. Candy Claus (who Ruby TOTALLY knows, and she can't tell you who it is but SHHHHHHH, she might later) will return to Rock Candy on Saturday December 20th to fill the stockings with candy treats for all the participants. DUDE! SWEET!

  2. Met with a fellow crafter, Michelle, and hit the ground running with our Queer Crafter Collective. This was a group imagined in the sticky heat of Phasefest 2008, where Lara, Michelle and I spent numerous hours on the back patio of Phase selling our wares and fighting over the smallest of small oscillating fans. We decided that DC has way too many crafty queers and that we should have a collective for all of them, where we can get together and host meetings and crafty sit-ins, sell at awesome events like Rock 'n' Shop at the Black Cat, and spread the joy and fun that is the DIY movement. Right now we have five members and we're presently recruiting. Applications due January 1st, 2009! Get 'em in! Tell your friends! And see you at Rock 'n' Shop.

  3. I took all the extra felt from the Sweet Stocking Workshop and sat down for most of Saturday and Sunday creating hand-stitched felt ornaments for friends and loved ones. I used cookie cutters (and a funnel; needed a circle shape) for fun shapes, blanket stitched the edges, stuffed them with poly-fill and added cute ribbon so they can hang from trees, doorknobs, or even the knob on your dishwasher. I realize the picture isn't great, but it rained all day yesterday. Good pictures were hard to take. I also made a special ornament for my Mom and a tooth fairy pillow for my favorite kid of all, Ruby. She's been losing teeth like it's her job these days. She's also been losing them in her backpack. I told her that the tooth fairy doesn't rifle through your personal belongings. Gotta keep these things organized!

  4. I celebrated my first dairy-free Thanksgiving and was thoroughly fulfilled. Em's father was kind enough to cook all the primary food products with Earth Balance buttery sticks instead of butter, so I even got to have stuffing! I made pumpkin pie and apple pie. I devoured the apple pie a'la mode with some awesome Soy Dream French Vanilla. It's been so long since I've had anything remotely close to a pastry, so that pie was a dream come true. My next quest: dairy free cut-out cookies for the holidays!
  5. Oh yeah. If you haven't traveled that way yet, head to Patch Ink for my store closing sale. I'm might reinvent Patch Ink as a supply selling kinda place, but in the meantime I want to clear out that stock and also give you a fantastic deal.
All in all, I'm busy as all get out but I really love every minute of it. I'm even having a great hair day. Unbelieveable. Not even the dribble of ginger ale I just spilled on my shirt can bring me down. Hahaha. I'm ridiculous.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Head on over to Patch Ink. and save on all remaining designs! Everything is $5 off! Just select your items, head to checkout, and instead of paying wait for a revised invoice from me! Or, if you don't want to wait, I'll refund the amount to your PayPal account as soon as I get your payment. It's that easy! Shop for coworkers, friends, sisters, brothers, moms, nuns and even priests! Any questions? Shoot me an e-mail:

Sale extends from TODAY (Nov. 25th) through Sunday Nov. 30th.

Buy Handmade

Monday, November 24, 2008

I have a thing...for commercials.

Check out this awesomeness!

I love Taffy too much too.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Before I hit the hay...

I just wanted to show off a picture of my newly completed CRAFT NOOK! We worked like crazy this weekend getting the new apartment in tip-top shape, including boxes unpacked, laundry finished, dining room chairs purchased and built AND the organizational tools needed to make my crafty nook fanfreakintastic! it is! Arrows and notes point to the more interesting parts. Oh, and pardon the crappy quality of the picture. I think I was shaking with excitement.

Click to embiggen.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I'm an elf! Lifelong dream realized!

So, I worked retail for approximately 8,000 years (that's 10ish in human years) and spent just about every Black Friday and Christmas Eve covered in register tape, sweat and with the distinct "cha-ching" of a register opening echoing through my brain. My transition into desk work was a blessing. A sweet, sweet blessing from the Baby Jesus. Now I can enjoy Black Friday for the hellish day it truly is and stay home warming my tootsies on Christmas Eve like "normal" people. This coming Black Friday, however, I'm high-tailing it up to Baltimore to my favorite candy shop and hosting a workshop for kids (and adults, if they behave) filled with ho-ho-hos, holiday spirit, and glitter. Please check out the flyer and let your friends know awl 'bout it, hon.

(click to embiggen)

Open for Business!

I'm still in the process of transferring things over and making new stuff for my latest crafty endeavor, but I wanted to let all of you know that oh ginger, my new Etsy shop, is open for business!

Please stop over and check things out! Come back here and let me know what you think!

Buy Handmade

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Everything's coming up ORANGE

I've graduated to enjoying a more diverse color palette recently (as it relates to my person), including vibrant pinks, greens and even blue. In high school, I spent most of the year wearing white t-shirts and jeans. I think I endeavored to be as plain (read: invisible) as possible. But as my confidence grew, my color palette expanded. For many years, if you asked me what my favorite color was, I would exclaim ORANGE! But then a few years ago I added red, and now I just can't choose. But in homage to my original favorite color, and the vibrancy it brings to autumn every year, this post is a Etsy find extravaganza dedicated to the color orange (which is the same in many languages, but of course!).

LunasaDesigns' Bumpy Road Ring - $38

rikrak's Christmas Orange & Green Tree Felt Stocking - $18

kpglassjewelry1's Stem Necklace in Tangerine Orange with Oxidized Sterling Silver - $92

BeckyM's Pumpkin Pie Felt Food - $8

CableGal's Braided Cable Scarf - Orange - $40

jessgonacha's you are my sunshine unframed gocco print - $8

dandelionblu's Tiny Maple Dangles - $34

2ReVert's Recycled Skateboard Bangle (Smooth) - $22

prettylittle's Pumpkin Baby Booties (Felted Merino Wool) - $28

lupin's Little Poppy Pin, orange - $14.50

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Recipe Tuesday: Aunt Tootie's Carrot Cake

This is a pretty traditional carrot cake recipe, provided by my Great Aunt Tootie. She is one of the most energetic older ladies I've ever known. I remember my Mom making this now and then when I was a kid. It was divinely moist and the icing was just creamy enough to mask the sweetness that powdered sugar can create. This is the perfect cake for a decorative cake stand...I've been eyeing the Laurie Cake Pedestal from Crate & Barrel, specifically. Dress it up with a few autumnal embellishments, and this is a great cake to bring to a Thanksgiving celebration, or as a welcome gift to a new neighbor.

Carrot Cake
1 ½ c. oil
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
3 c. grated carrots
2 c. flour
1 15 oz. can of crushed pineapple
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. nuts (pecans are best)
1 c. raisins

8 oz. cream cheese
1 stick butter
2 tsp vanilla
1 box confectioners sugar

Drain pineapple; use finely grated carrots if possible. Mix all ingredients. Bake at 325 degrees.

9” tube pan = 1 hour; 9x13” pan = 45 minutes

By order of the management.

"Eighty percent of Americans think rudeness is a serious national problem, but 99 percent of the same people say that they themselves are not rude."

That is an alarming, yet surprisingly not shocking, statistic. CNN recently posted an article, via, discussing the degree to which America is rude. I know, I know. Shocking and horrifying that our Great Nation could possibly be a haven for aloof human disregard and, as Jerry Seinfeld put it on a recent Oprah show, and ever increasing "lack of civility". My mother raised me with certain rules and regulations in regards to politeness and general social decorum, and I'd like to think that I've turned into a polite and kind person. I stand up in the bus when an older person boards so they may have my seat, I say "please" and "thank you" and "have a nice day" to just about anyone who crosses my path, and I even look people in the eye who are begging for money on DC's streets and apologize for not having anything to give them. I am not a model of politeness, but I try.

What I often run into is a deep-seated frustration with anyone who isn't polite. And in turn, I generally attempt to give them a "taste of their own medicine". I can be gruff, aloof and even downright insolent when the occasion suits. My message doesn't always translate, but I always feel vindicated (to some degree) that I've shown the offender the error of their ways. Also, having worked retail for close to 10 years full-time, and sometimes even double-time, I'm keenly aware of how pervasive and ingrained rudeness is in American culture.

Dr. P.M. Forni, a professor at Johns Hopkins University and author of Choosing Civility: The 25 Rules of Considerate Conduct and The Civility Solution: What to Do When People Are Rude, notes that "everyone can improve the quality of their relationships and lives by choosing to be more considerate, courteous and polite." In the age of earbuds, iPods, scurrying to work, alarm clocks, cell phones and a distinct lack of sleep, I realize that this sounds like judgmental overkill. Who is anyone to impose their Miss Manners approach to life on you? Do I have any idea of what your life is REALLY like? Well, honestly, no I don't. But I do know that despite the many hurdles I've faced in my own life, which include long commutes, early wake ups, late nights, lack of sleep, lack of food and even drastic temperature changes while on the job, I still have managed to meander through life minding most of my Ps and Qs. It has brought me great relief in situations that would be otherwise challenging. And these are mostly situations where I'll never see the person again. It's my own little attempt at paying it forward.

While working at Trader Joe's many years ago, I went through a FISH! training. The basic tenets of FISH! suggest that you choose your attitude every day. Whether you're home watching cartoons, at work dealing with coworkers, or out shopping for holiday gifts, pick the person you want the world to see. It sounds corny and unnecessary, but the rewards are sweet. Not only do you have charming and sweet mini-relationships with people who know nothing more than your name or your preference in dishware, but you actively choose to increase the quality of your life.

"The bottom line? Going through life rude and angry can make you sick."

Mind Your Ps & Qs poster from John W. Golden @ Etsy.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Recipe Tuesday: two days late...

Sorry folks. I'm a little tardy with this week's Recipe Tuesday. You'll survive, though. Especially if you make these cookies. By George they are fabulous! I made these first about five years ago for a cookie party and have loved them ever since. I'm stealing this week's recipe from everyone's favorite Contessa, the Barefoot variety, and sharing Ina Garten's recipe for Jam Thumbprint Cookies. Also, be sure to check out her latest book Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics which has received great reviews and features new and old recipes that are classy, delicious and simple. I love Ina Garten more than I should, because her voice often annoys me. Her recipes are accessible to most anyone, she loves gay men as much as I do, and she's created an empire based on the simple love of delicious food. I can get behind that.

Jam Thumbprint Cookies - Ina Garten
  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
  • 7 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
  • Raspberry and/or apricot jam
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until they are just combined and then add the vanilla. Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together. Dump on a floured board and roll together into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. (If you have a scale they should each weigh 1 ounce.) Dip each ball into the egg wash and then roll it in coconut. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and press a light indentation into the top of each with your finger. Drop 1/4 teaspoon of jam into each indentation. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the coconut is a golden brown. Cool and serve.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Etsy find o' the week!

I have been "collecting" stationery for over 12 years. Collecting stationery basically means that anywhere, anytime if there is a rack of cards, I will be near it picking out a handful of treasures to take home. I love scouring through the clearance bins at big box stores, going to little knick-knack shops and checking out the irreverent and hilarious, and more than anything I LOVE stationery stores...stores dedicated to my junkie-esque habit. There was a fantastic store in Basel, Switzerland that was a multi-level heaven on Earth. It was tucked away in one of the commerce districts, where the stone nubbly streets still exist. Le Chat Noir was fabulous. I would spend hours there almost every weekend spending my very limited au pair stipend on cards to keep and send home. It was divine.

Anyway, Etsy has turned into Le Chat Noir for me. Aside from my mother's adorable scrapbooked and handcrafted cards, and the stuff I make on my own, I've found that Etsy is a fantastic place for high quality, handmade stationery. I recently discovered farouche, an operation based in "sunny California", and I must say...I'm in love. Here is a delightful assortment of farouche finds, all of which will be added to my collection at some point or another.

Personalized Craft Room Tags - $15
30 tags in 10 different styles, measuring 2"x4" each. Personalized just for your crafty creations!

Personalized Baking Tags - $15
A unique and vintage-inspired set of 30-2"x4" tags for all your baking needs! There is also a Christmas themed set too!

Rocket Woman Note Cards - $25
A set of 20 personalizaed kick ass rocket woman cards. I know EXACTLY who is getting these for Christmas.

Drunken Tags - $4
A set of 8 drunk-themed tags to attach to birthday gifts, housewarming gifts, or tokens of sincere regret [for inappropriate behaviors and/or actions].

Ten Worst Pick Up Lines - $5
10 cards in the set. I quote the artist: "Hey Baby! These cards are little larger than a business card so they can easily be kept in a wallet for that special situation when your own words are not enough. They also make a fun alternative to a gift tag."

The items I've selected are my personal favorites. farouche also has an incredible selection of notecards including peacocks, typewriters, trout, hearts, deer, revolvers, and women extraordinaire. They've got gift tags out the wazoo, including signature dandy tags, pulp fiction tags, and yee haw tags. Basically, farouche has just about everything anyone could need to outfit their stationery collection. I'm definitely going to use their shop as a jumping off point for the bulk of my holiday shopping.

Monday, November 10, 2008

But it's art...

Earlier this year I posted about the scam that is overpriced crafts. I'm no fool, and I won't buy something I know I can theoretically make for much less than the marked price. With the abundance of patterns splattered all over the internet, in craft stores and in the recesses of the brains of folks with a generational history of crafting. it is really difficult to convince me of the need to pay more than face value for a lot of stuff. This year, my pet peeve is knitted scarves, hats and doodads available on Etsy. I started to collect a list of people, but I don't want people tracking URLs back here and screaming at me for not knowing what real art is...or that whatever they're making is "real art". Because frankly, if I can knit it on a loom that requires the attention span and conceptual capabilities of a ten year-old, I'm not going to pay some hipster with a penchant for Urban Outfitters prices to make it for me.

My specific gripe is with the proliferation of the soft, knubbly, and elusive "wool and acrylic" blend that so many people are using for hats, scarves, shawls and other knitted items. The colors they use are so hip and fresh, they couldn't possibly be that wacky grandma yarn from Michael's or AC Moore. AH HA. It is. Lion Brand makes a delightfully easy-to-knit yarn called Thick & Quick, and hipster knitters are using it for their creations. I've even seen certain knitters, featured on Etsy, have pictures on the web of their "studio" which consists of skeins of this stuff with the WRAPPER REMOVED.

If you want to charge $75 for a scarf that cost you MAYBE $15, be my guest. There is always the need to account for labor and creativity, I guess. But when you're making and selling handmade things, don't think that we're all so easily duped. I worked retail long enough to spot frauds and I'm not going to give the handmade market some sort of pass just because they're doing it the old-fashioned way. It goes without saying that handmade crafts would have even more universal appeal if the price points were more attainable. Sometimes you have to sacrifice the incalcuable cost of labor for the reassurance that whatever you are making and selling will advertise itself and you'll recoup your loses times 10 in no time.

Happy crafting.

Holiday Heap!

Baltimore is one of my favorite places to be. I find myself missing its irreverent spirit, invigorating personality and relaxed atmosphere. Fortunately, my BFF lives there so I have a futon at my disposal, as well as a delectable candy store. Additionally, Baltimore also boasts the famed Charm City Craft Mafia and this weekend is their annual Holiday Heap! I'm going to head up there Saturday for my fill of the mid-Atlantic best crafters. Hope to see you there too!

The event, featuring 50+ crafty vendors, will be held indoors at St. John’s Church located at 2640 St. Paul St, Baltimore from 10AM - 5PM (at the corner of 27th and St. Paul Streets in beautiful Charles Village).

Friday, November 7, 2008

Felt Balls!

I bought these fantastic felt balls from Etsy seller HandBEHG and I'm in love. They're so bouncy and soft and in such amazing colors. I made this pendant, which should technically be worn around the neck and not like the medallion on the forehead of the Childlike Empress from The Neverending Story. But to each her own.

Look for fantastic felt ball creations in my Etsy shop soon!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Inexpensive advertising in the DC Metro Area

From Baltimore by Hand

Looking for an inexpensive way to advertise for the holidays? Patuxent Publishing Company [they publish community newspapers in MD] is offering local artists and crafters the opportunity to advertise in their Holiday Listing, which publishes Thanksgiving week (Nov. 24-28). For $50, you can have your shop name and/or Web site placed on a full-page ad that will circulate throughout Maryland to more than 130,000 readers.

For more information, contact Mollye Hubbard at Deadline is Nov. 14.
Just FYI!!

HUH on Prop 8!?!?

As a gay person writing for a gay blog, no matter the intended content, I feel obligated to write something about Prop 8. I didn't do it before the elections because I was not, honestly, particularly moved to do so. I had an inquiry from a company selling gay jewelry, and I honestly pondered a link-up post between their products and the concept of Prop 8. But then my thinking straightened me out (no pun intended). There are two things, at present, that I won't buy into:
  1. Gay jewelry - I think jewelry targeted to gays is kind of ridiculous, regardless of their cause marketing tactics. The end.
  2. Prop 8 Hysteria - because the majority of it contains faulty and flawed gay rights rhetoric and is laced with both thinly-veiled and completely unveiled racism
If I stand beside my fellow queers and cheer on this mentality that belittles (not strong enough of a word, sadly) an oppressed group to bring validation to another oppressed group's fervent efforts for justice, I am a hypocrite. I think we need to consider a great number of variables BEFORE we, as queers, start lashing out at a population who has faced significant hardship and frequently fatal consequences at the hands of white people in this country, including gays. It was written into our legislation, it was sanctioned by our government, and the people you are bashing are the people who helped (without justification or free will) to build this country. I've had enough, really.

As far as Prop 8 is concerned, it's laughable how much press, money and attention has been thrown in its direction. Despite my pseudo-anarchist preferences, we have a system of government in this country that forces us to elect individuals (who then make appointments) and it is the responsibility of those people to make decisions on our behalf. I know, I know, it sounds overwhelming unfair but that's how it works. And it is both the privilege and the responsibility of those elected officials and appointees to legislate and uphold the basic tenets of our Constitution. All that stuff that our forefathers wanted for everyone should, for the most part, not be in the hands of the people. OH BOLLOCKS, you say. And I say so too, because I believe that people shouldn't have to operate under such an oppressive structure. But we do. Look at how special interest groups, lobbyists and money affected the voting for Prop 8. It is the responsibility of people like Obama and Supreme Court justices to say, "regardless of the popular vote, regardless of lobbyists and special interest groups, regardless of the hate and bigotry that has infected our country down to its roots, and regardless of any sort of faith-based legislating, denying any American rights afforded to another is NOT RIGHT." And this is where I praise the baby Jesus for inspiring this nation to vote for Obama. He gives us real, palpable hope. And I believe that he will appoint justices that will find any legislation, such as Prop 8, to be unconstitutional. This statement made by the highest of the high courts will allow ALL LGBTQ Americans to live as they wish, and access the rights they are currently being denied. THAT is the point.

Dan Savage was quoted at Joe.My.God yesterday and, without pause or hesitancy, he blamed African-American voters in California for not standing up for "us" like we did for them on a National level. As though we negotiated some sort of swap with Black vote for us, we vote for you. He quoted an accurate statistic, from what I can tell. He said that 70% of African-American voters, at exit polls, said they voted Yes on 8. What he failed to mention was that ONLY 6.7% of voters in California are actually African-American. That means 93.3% of voters in California are NOT African-American and completely disregards the estimated 58.9% of white voters who took to the polls on Tuesday and contributed HEAVILY to the Yes on 8 initiative. And he also fails to critique, in any way, the very white religious right (specifically MORMONS), who made it their Lord's Work to raise millions of dollars and innumerable units of HATE in order to have this initiative pass. White gays are seething about the injustice leveled at them by Black voters when, in reality and based on simple mathematical equations that can be completed in one's head, it was white people who fucked them over. Got that? Our white brethren did this.

I said to my BFF the other day that I was going to be THAT white girl and quote a prolific Black writer/activist about this struggle that LGBTQ folk are facing. Audre Lorde is quoted as saying "The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house." LGBTQ people have, as a matter of practice, utilized the rhetoric of the civil rights movement in order to draw attention and em/sym-pathy to their cause. "I'm not going to move to the back of the bus on this issue", "Separate but equal doesn't work for me", "Shouldn't Black people understand what it's like for US" and the unapologetic quoting of Black historical figures to draw comparisons between our struggle and the struggles that occur along racial lines in this country. My BFF then said, "wouldn't it be great if we used the tactics of the civil rights movement and gave up stealing the rhetoric?" YES. And that is why I quote Audre Lorde. Using the master's tools, which in this case are money, government, hate and violence to dismantle the master's house is an effort in futility. Cheering about the money we raised for the No on 8 intiative, or raising money at all, is a master's tool. Aren't there better, more effective and righteous ways we can go about our fight for equality?

My final point centers on this ridiculous fight, in general. I believe in marriage. My parents have been married for over 30 years. I think it's lovely that they found love and have stuck with it so long; that they sealed their commitment under the eyes of God and through paperwork provided by the state of Virginia. I believe in marriage for anyone who wants to get married. I do not believe, however, that marriage should afford anyone special rights. That is the injustice here, in my opinion. Beyond the debates about marriage being a religious institution and civil unions being what the government really provides, marriage is simply a privileged institution intended to only validate the individual when paired with someone else. Our fight should not be for marriage rights. It should be aimed at abolishing marriage rights altogether and extending those rights to all individuals. And it is because of that philosophy the fight for marriage rights, and the rhetoric surrounding that fight, boggles my mind. We are second class citizens because we are denied rights as individuals, not because we are denied rights as couples. Anyone who does not have the rights provided by marriage is a "second class citizen" under these terms...that includes single heterosexual people.

I am in a deeply loving, committed long-term relationship. I would love to, one day, be joined in marriage with this person under the eyes of God (and I know a gay priest who is going to do it!). However, my relationship does not cancel out my individuality. I want the rights I deserve whether I am in love or not. I also want to not have my love sanctioned by the government. They don't need to be involved. The religious right doesn't need to be involved either. I told my BFF that this Prop 8 situation was as much an issue of politics as it was an issue of semantics. We need to step back and figure out what is right and fair, for everyone, and not just for us. Issuing threats and invoking racism is not a means to an end. It will only serve to erode any possibility we have, as an oppressed group, to achieve the goals we have for our community. Our President-elect does not believe in withholding rights to individuals that the Constitution explicitly states belong to them. I believe him. And I believe that any person who has experienced oppression in any small or big way has a concept of what needs to be done in order to deconstruct and eradicate bigotry from the social and political landscape in our country. Finally, white LGBTQ folks: I ask you to have faith and to think, carefully and thoroughly, before you speak.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Recipe Tuesday - Pumpkin Bread

ETA: I totally missed important parts of this recipe; I've edited it. D'oh.

Em made this pumpkin bread for me when we first started dating. Well, actually. The pumpkin bread was made and I was fortunate enough to have a slice. I didn't really appreciate the fantasticness of this bread until I found out that I had a dairy allergy. It's dairy free! Stick to the recipe, including the vital "make a well" step, and you'll have two loaves of spectacularly delicious pumpkin bread. If you have local apple orchards within a reasonable distance, I highly recommend you pick up some apple or pumpkin butter and spread it on top. DIVINE.

Pumpkin Bread (Em's Mom)

4 cups flour
3 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
½ tsp ground cloves

Mix together dry ingredients and make a well in the center. Add 1 cup Wesson oil, 1 can (14 ½ oz) pumpkin and 2/3 cup cold water. This seems like a silly step, but it's very important for some reason. Make that well!

Blend this well with beater.

Add 4 eggs – 1 at a time – beating well after each addition.

Pour batter into 5 small or 2 regular size loaf pans (greased & floured).

Bake @ 350° (small – 1 hour; Large – 1¼ hours).

(We've made it with Splenda before, and I will warn you that it is not delicious. The bread doesn't rise and it has a funky aftertaste.)

Weblog Awards - I just nominated myself

I nominated myself for a Weblog Award...Best LGBT blog and Best Hidden Gem (low Technorati rating). To be honest, while my blog is not outwardly gay-gay-gay, all the time, with blinking lights and rainbow flags, I do my best to write about and think about domestic life, crafting and all things through a queer lense. And because of that, I think I would be a valuable addition to the list of nominees. I don't exactly know, or care, what a Weblog award does, beyond increase traffic. And I would love to increase traffic to my blog. Not because I have targeted advertising, because I don't, but because I would love to have a really hearty audience and a constant stream of comments and opinions. It will also probably help inform my posts and increase my writing.

Anyhoo...if you'd like to second the nomination I gave myself, head on over and click the small green circle with the + in it, next to my comment. Otherwise look for more information from me when the voting process commences. And if you're reading this, thanks for reading!!

Free stuff for voting!

Americans rarely do anything without incentive. Apparently you can get some pretty sweet stuff just for voting and/or wearing your "I voted" sticker. Here's what I've found so far:
  • All Krispy Kreme customers with an "I Voted" sticker on will receive a complimentary star shaped donut with red, white and blue patriotic sprinkles. Dammit if I can't have donuts.
  • From 5-8pm (your local time, I suppose), walk into any Ben & Jerry's and receive a free scoop of your ice cream of choice (Cherry Garcia, ahem). Dammit if I can't have this too.
  • Head into your local Starbucks and receive a free tall-sized (12oz) cup of coffee after you vote. Can I get a splash of soy milk?
  • MOST IMPORTANT:My lovely Bucko and her family, who own Rock Candy in the Lauraville neighborhood of Balitmore, are offering a fantabulous discount for any vote-enthusiast (all ages!). Come in wearing your "I Voted" sticker, paraphernalia from your favorite candidate, or invent some sort of fantastic cheerleading routine (ask for Joel specifically if you plan to do this) and perform it in the store! You'll get 15% off your purchase TUESDAY November 4th.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Glue guns > Real Guns

Having been present when my grandfather shot a hole through his kitchen ceiling with a BB gun, narrowly missing my brother's face, I can say with great certainty that I am anti-gun. But hey, I've got a partner that likes to go shooting now and again and I'm just smart enough to know that they probably aren't going anywhere anytime soon. That doesn't mean I can't advocate on behalf of the GLUE GUN, however. This shi[r]t is friggin' awesome.

Hello Craft

Crafting "colleague" (if you will) Tina Seamonster and some crafty pals have created Hello Craft: The Future of Making Is In Your Hands. She told me about this endeavor a few months ago and I have waited breathlessly for it to finally be born (excuse any grammatical nonsense in there).

What you have with Hello Craft is a lovely website, a blog, and a podcast. Now, I'm not hip to podcasting as I often find it difficult to process information aurally...I'm just more of a read-and-retain kind of learner...and I only subscribe to one podcast right now, Craft Mentality. But Hello Craft's podcasts (subscribe to them through iTunes here) are participant-driven and kept short...between 5-7 minutes each. Thus far there have been two podcasts, one from this chickadee and one from Tina Seamonster herself. It's absolutely amazing and beautiful to hear how crafting is, in so many ways, a genetic compulsion. I've found that in my craft-socializing, that most people cannot NOT craft. It's right up there with breathing. And so this site is dedicated to advancing and highlighting people who need to craft/make to live. I love it.

I'm going to work on a "script" to tell my crafting story, or about how crafting has been a part of my family for generations, or even just a story about my grandmother. In the meantime, I highly encourage my [limited] readership to head on over to Hello Craft and read, listen and enjoy this fantastic project. And look forward to an exciting event hosted by Hello Craft in 2009!

Good Morning!

So kids...I've finally moved! While it wasn't without common trials and tribulations (freight elevator was stuck on the 7th floor, we needed it on the Lobby level and we lived on the 3rd, moving truck had wacky alignment and made backing up virtually impossible, and so on), we did it. FINALLY. The fire alarm going off at 10pm last night didn't even bother me! Oh, and pictures forthcoming of my brand new fancy crafting nook!

While I get my Etsy sale organized this morning, I'd like to ask you, my [limited] readership to hop on over here and say hello. I haven't figured out how to track feed subscribers using Google Analytics, so I really have no idea how many people read my blog, just people who visit it directly. If you have a spare moment, leave me a comment and tell me what you like and don't like about Queering Domesticity.

And keep your eyes open for news involving my forthcoming pre-holiday insanity sale on Etsy.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Flustery Blustery

Yesterday we had wind gusts up to 45mph and they said that the temperature last night approached the low 30s, with wind chills in the 20s. While we're progressing back to seasonable and more mild autumnal weather at this point, all of that wacky weather does indicate that things like mornings and evenings are going to be CHILLY. And coincidentally, any day of the week Monday through Thursday, that's when I'm going to be outside. My scarves are currently holed up in storage and my yarn is packed. I found a random pair of gloves in one of my suitcases this morning, which was a blessing while waiting at the chilly bus stop before work. But it got me thinking about delightful patterns and purchases designed for this blustery thing we call "the swift progression from fall into winter". Ok, we probably don't call it that. Hell, I don't even call it that. But that is what's happening, so we better all be prepared, eh?

Here you will find a collection of patterns and possible purchases to keep the chill off this winter, and perhaps one or two yarn oriented crafts that might not keep you warm but are flippin' cute!

Yarn Harlot's "An Unoriginal Hat" - pattern

dlknit's Comfy Scarf Wrap - $45

Liquid Paper's "pom pom pumpkins" - project

CrazyAuntPurl's "Reversible Knit Halloween Beanie" - pattern

misshawklet's Jeans Girl handspun yarn (A) or (B)- $28.50

Bella Knitting's "Viking Hats Patterns" - pattern

joliem6201 Lil' Pumpkin Cocoon Wrap Snuggler - $60

Pink Argyle's "Mini Mitten Ornaments" - pattern

yearofthegoat's Hand Knit Mascu-mitten (pea green) - $48

Kis*Knit's "Twisted Drop Stitch Scarf" - pattern

sewlutionsbyamo's Ashley Reversible Neck Warmer/Tie Scarf - $48

The Purling Sprite's "Aran Afghan" - pattern/tutorial
Part of a series on how to knit cables using KniftyKnitter looms

tinyhearts' Rosey Cozy Alpaca Cream neckwarmer - $35

knitting school dropout's "Really Warm Hat" - pattern

dollyknits' Beautiful Teal Handknit Neckwarmer with ribbon - $28

Sweater Surgery's "Double Sided Cable Scarf" - pattern

All images are courtesy of their respective owners. I think it's fairly obvious that I haven't knitted anything myself recently. Hopefully soon, though. In the meantime, enjoy!
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