Thursday, June 28, 2007

Mooooooooooooooo! Cards

My Moo Cards came today.

I am in love!

A little bright spot in an otherwise yucky week (I promise to post more about the yuckiness later - everyone is fine - but not quite ready to write about it.)

Happy, happy little cards!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

One Small Change - Week Six

I am a little late with this - we were in Cleveland all weekend visiting Geoff's family. I don't know what it means that I am desperate to get back to my computer after a weekend away, but it can't be a good sign.

After last week's embarrassingly simple change, I thought it was time for something tough. I found the perfect challenge for myself with One Local Summer. One Local Summer is a challenge to prepare one meal a week that is entirely made from local foods. You then share a description of the meal (and photos if you can) with the other participants. I became interested in the idea of eating more local food after reading two different and compelling blog reviews of Barbara Kingsolver's new book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. One review was by my favorite book blogger, 50 Books and I am sad to report that I do not remember who wrote the other review I read. If it was you, please let me know and I will add a link. My interest in obtaining our food locally has only been increased by my participation in Lancaster's Eastern Market, which is, as far as I know, the only market in Lancaster where the vendors are selling only produce they have grown themselves.

The real challenge in this change is not finding local food, as I am lucky enough to be living in a county that contains "the most fertile non-irrigated farmland in the country."* The challenge for me will be planning a new meal around what is in season, rather than relying on my usual meal rotation which usually involves canned beans, pasta or something frozen. I signed up for this challenge just before it was closed, although obviously anyone can take up this challenge without linking through the Pocket Farm blog.

*This quote is loosely translated from something I read at the local children's museum. My point is that you cannot drive two miles without hitting a farm stand, and if you sit in my yard at 5PM on a weekday, eventually an Amish boy will come by with his little red wagon and try to sell you some eggs and a bag full of whatever vegetable happens to have been picked that day.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


So, I have never had slim ankles. Living in NYC as an intern with a daily food budget of $5, walking miles to the train in Hoboken, and miles across town to the theater I worked for, and more miles scouring the city for props, I lost so much weight I had the waistband of my pants rolled over three times. But still, chunky ankles. It has never occured to me to wear something that would call attention to this area of my body.

So, when Miss Fickle Media suggested I make anklets using richly colored pearls, my internal response was, "anklets? really? do people actually wear them?" But I think our Miss Fickle is a Marketing/Research and Development genious, so I gave it a shot. I wanted to combine pearls with czech glass, which was a knotting nightmare - all those different sized holes! The finished product also seemed too fragile to be worn on the ankle. I thought they would look beautiful wire wrapped, but that is very time consuming and would have required a price that I am not sure would have worked for a summer fun item. So I went with stringing on Softflex. I think they are very pretty and simple. I added two little dangling beads at the clasp for a little extra flirty-ness. I am not sure they really stand out in the sea of strung beads on Etsy, but I am trying out different ways of photographing them that I hope will make them "click-worthy."
So glad that Etsy makes it inexpensive to experiment!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

And the Winner Is......

CraftyMoose and the African Turquoise Earrings!

CraftyMoose (aka: seed bead genius) is a friend from the Creative Challenges run by Jewelstreet Designs. CraftyMoose's beaded flowers, art doll pins and other crafty goodness can be seen in her Etsy Shop or on her blog.

I asked Geoff to pull the name, since I was afraid I might peek. I had a photo of him holding CraftyMoose's slip of paper, but you could not read her name in the photo. His patience with this sort of thing is a bit limited, so rather than ask him to pose again, I will ask you to trust that we were on the up and up.

Thanks everyone for playing along! I had fun doing this - might try it again on my anniversary as a seller in October.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Etsyversary Give-Away

I just realized it is the anniversary of the day I signed up on Etsy. To celebrate, I am giving away a pair of earrings. The game works like this:
Check out this earring section. Post a comment letting me know which pair is your favorite. I will put all the commenters names (along with those who post on my forum thread) in a hat and do a drawing. The winner of the drawing wins the earrings with the most votes. I will perform the drawing on Wednesday at 8PM. Any comments/posts before that time will be counted.

Eastern Market, Lancaster PA

Well, I had a great time selling my jewelry here on Saturday. I shared a tent with Rachel-Marie. And our tent was between a farmer selling cucumbers like nobody's business and a woman selling delicious Ethiopian Food.
There was live music and local produce and six craft vendors. We will have more craft vendors on the second Saturday of every month. The market is only a year old and this is their first year to include the Arts Market. It is very exciting to get in on this at the beginning - it was such a fun atmosphere and Rachel and I had such a good time. I can't wait to do it again. See more photos on Flickr.

I am horribly behind in my blog reading - it will take me a couple days to catch up with all of you, but I promise I will!

Friday, June 15, 2007

One Small Change - Week Five

Look at this terrific shopping tote made just for me by Maia of the Etsy shop Glass Beach. It is upcycled from plastic shopping bags. She used a tutorial on the Etsy Lab's blog. I love the trees and the pink handles. Isn't she clever? It will be perfect for my potentially messy purchases at the Farmer's Market.
In other updates, I have had no problem giving up soda. This is very strange and I wonder what magic has occured, but I honestly have not craved it all week. And I have not really substituted anything - just water.
So, on to the new. Judging from my inability to keep up with my kitchen goal, I have decided to aim smaller on the cleaning front: make my bed every morning when I get out of it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Moms - Have You Seen This?

This pleases me beyond all expression.
Available on a button at Mutha Crafter.

UPDATE: She has a maternity Tee listed now too.

Up Coming Art Market

So, I have my first Art Market coming up, and I am as nervous as can be. The last time I did something like this was five years ago in some horrible Rotary fundraiser type event that my items were completely ill suited for.

Any tips from the pros out there?

Monday, June 11, 2007

The "Recipe" for Meadow Tea

Tracey asked so nicely. Here goes - it is not a recipe so much as an assortment of ingrediants that I throw together as the mood strikes:

about 5 quarts of water
a large bunch (as much as you can hold in your hand) of apple mint, trimmed 4 to 8 inches long, rinsed well
1 to 2 cups of sugar
5 or 6 lemons, scrubbed and sliced - make your life easier and pick the seeds out when you slice the lemons
lots of ice cubes

Bring the water to boil in an 8 quart stock pot. Once you have a rolling boil, turn off the heat and add the mint. Cover and allow to steep. I am not sure what a minimum steeping time would be, I let mine steep for more than a half hour. While it is steeping, combine lemon slices and sugar in a large bowl or pot and mash together until you have the lemons juiced and that juice has combined with the sugar to make a syrupy goo. (You could probably just use a lemon juicer and mix the juice with the sugar and save yourself some mess. I do it this way because nothing makes the kids happier than squishing the lemons and sugar with a potato masher.) When the tea has steeped for awhile, pour it through a strainer, over the lemons and syrup. Ideally the tea will still be warm so the sugar will dissolve nicely. I stir it around for awhile to make sure the sugar has dissolved and then remove the lemon rinds. You might want to save a couple to put in the pitcher for a pretty effect, but you don't want to leave them in there too long or they will make your tea bitter. When I am ready to serve the tea, I fill the pitcher with ice and pour the tea over the ice - the ice serves two purposes - to dilute the tea/lemonade mixture a bit and also to cool down the tea which will probably still be warm. This makes a ton of tea. We had 15 people at our house all day and I just kept taking the pitcher in, filling it with ice and ladling more tea.

Hope that helps get you started and wasn't too rambling - you can see that no one is going to ask me to write a cookbook anytime soon......

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Making the First Batch of "Meadow Tea" of the Summer

Perfect drink for Mom's birthday party.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

One Small Change: Week Four

Okay, this is the tough one.
No more soda. (Oh Coca-Cola, how I love you......)
It makes a huge difference when I give it up, but it is nearly impossible for me to stick to my guns on this one.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

The List As I Originally Made It

Blog Pals treasury list, originally uploaded by msbellee.

Thanks Ginger, for getting a screen shot for me!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A Treasury for You

I think I managed to get most of my regular commenters into this treasury:

Blog Pals

I know I missed some people, so I will be changing it out tomorrow.

Go look! I think it turned out pretty well considering I didn't go in with a plan other than to promote my friends.

Hugs to you all.

I Am An Idiot

So a week or so ago, I was lamenting that none of my bloggy pals had a bag I could use for shopping, when it turns out that the sweet and lovely Sara of Girls Can Tell had a PERFECT one. The perfect size and shape and greeny/blue! How did I miss that?!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Happy Anniversary?

So, apparently, our wedding anniversary came and went and we barely noticed. I have a vague memory of him leaving for work and whispering "Happy Anniversary" in my ear (I was still sleeping - he leaves at 6am), but that was the sum of the Anniversary revelry. No cards, no flowers, no presents, no dinner out.

Hmmm. Do you think it is time for Mommy and Daddy to take a wee vacation alone?

Saturday, June 2, 2007

One Small Change: Week Three

Okay, the kitchen thing - not so much. Better than before I publicly announced my good intentions, but still, anything that I don't really feel like doing is probably not going to happen once the kids are in bed.

Now, Change Number Two - shopping for a new shopping bag. There is a challenge made for me! "Oh no, please don't make me go shopping on Etsy! And you want me to shop for BAGS?! Oh the horror!"

So, I found lots of stuff I loved, and ended up buying the bag you see here, made by zerkahloostrah. Isn't it sweet? Can't you just see a baguette sticking out of there? And I am hoping Maia might be working on a bag for the potentially messy purchases - a fused plastic bag made from recycled grocery bags. How terrific is that?

And for this week's change: I joined the gym!

This is something I have been wanting to do since we moved here. There is a really great gym nearby that has wonderful kids activities, so I can go and exercise while my kids have fun and get exercise too. Because, as I mentioned above, I can plan to exercise after they go to sleep but it WILL NOT happen. We have not been able to afford a membership, but starting this month I am adding a baby to my little home daycare (2 days a week I watch my cousin's daughter, and now she is a big sister, so I will have 2 of them under age 2, plus my own kids - I must be nuts!) and the extra income will cover the membership. Whoohoo! I am so excited!

The plan is to go at least 3 times a week.

And it occured to me that these "One Small Change" posts could have a new name: "Steph: Cleaner, Greener and Leaner!"

(please don't throw things.)

Friday, June 1, 2007

History of a Garden, Part Two

This mock orange is actually rooted on the neighbor's property and is cascading over a four foot fence. It makes a wonderful screen between us and the neighbor's pit bull. All I do is trim the bottom branches a little to give some light to the lilies just below.

The photo does not really capture the scale of this shrub, but it is magnificent. Before the pit bull came along, the kids could play (standing!) back behind/underneath it. (Tracey: it is grotto-like!)

I cannot fully express my love of this plant. Our back yard would be completely different without it.