Sunday, March 30, 2008

Tortellini Soup

This is a really yummy soup that is cheap, fast, and very tasty. Instead of boiling the tortellini in water boil it in stock, beef stock, chicken stock, veggie stock, mushroom stock, whatever kinda stock you have in your pantry. We like it with beef stock or mushroom stock. So follow the directions on your package as to how much liquid and for how long. (I use two cartons of stock for one small pack of tortellini.) While the tortellini is boiling sprinkle in some steak seasoning (I use McCormick Montreal Steak seasoning). Slice up some roasted red peppers from a jar. If you have some marinated mushrooms slice them up too. When the tortellini is tender crank the heat down to low and taste the tortellini and broth. Add more steak seasoning if you want. Throw in as much of the peppers and mushrooms as you like and ladle it up into the bowls. Sprinkle in some shredded parmesean and cut up some crusty bread for soaking up all the yummy broth. This soup tastes great left over also. If you use the chicken or veggie stock it will taste lighter so I'd probably leave out the steak seasoning and use some fresh basil torn up or whatever Italian Seasoning blend you have in your pantry.


Originally uploaded by dcdesigns
I stole an egg today that had fallen from a nest in the tree in my backyard....

I dropped the egg I stole

It cracked really bad after I dropped it

Hidden Inside

Originally uploaded by dcdesigns
I gently opened the egg up and hidden inside was a tiny Mama bird! Three of her eggs had been stolen and were trapped in a bird cage!

Well okay, actually this is my entry for the Polymer Clay Guild of Etsy's April Challenge. The theme for April is "Covered Eggs." I wanted my egg to look like I had stolen it from a nest, dropped it, and caused it to crack. I never do anything realistic so it was a fun challenge to try to get my egg as realistic as possible. Trying to get a real looking crack and not just a cut was the most challenging part. Since the plastic easter egg I covered came hinged I knew I wanted to keep the hinge and hide something inside. I just couldn't resist the temptation and I had to do a bird. I thought the copper would look good with the pale blue and then I remembered I had some vintage copper birdcage beads. I pried the cage open with my pliers and put three tiny beads of turquoise dyed jasper. I like to think the mama bird's eggs have been stolen and put in the bird cage.

You can see the making of this piece documented in this set of photos in my flickr photostream.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

getting ready to egg it up, but I should probably clean up this mess

Every month the Polymer Clay Artist Guild of Etsy has a challenge. For April, it's to cover an egg. I've never covered an egg before so it should be interesting to see what happens. I went to the fridge this morning and pulled out a real egg, but I just couldn't bring myself to poke the hole and blow the egg out. I don't like eggs. I can't stand the way they smell. Then I went to Walgreens to buy some Advil (darn those cramps) and I came across some hinged plastic Easter eggs. So I thought, why not? The bag came with lots of different sizes and I figure I have 14 opportunities to mess up so hey, for $2.50 and no yolks that isn't too bad. I have a feeling that I'm going to plagued with air bubbles. I haven't tried covering an object in years. Not since that Christmas with the infamous snowflake covered box that cracked and drove me mad. Of course that was over 3 years ago at the least. I'd like to think my clay skills have evolved since then and hopefully I'll be more successful this time. Or I'll just to a highly textured and antiqued egg so that the air bubbles are very sneakily disguised. hehehe, let the eggy claying begin!

Friday, March 21, 2008

The wind is my new enemy.....musings on my first craft show experience

The alarm rings at 5am. I run from the office/ clay room into the bedroom, flick on the lights, and jump on the bed. “Wake up! Wake up!” I shout as if it were Christmas morning and I were only 6 years old again. “Okay, Okay calm down please.” Says the no longer peacefully sleeping hubby as he rubs the sleepies out of his eyes and actually gets out of bed without hitting snooze once. He loads up the car as I run around the house frantically trying to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything. The car is packed and off we head to Austin at 5:35 set to arrive at the Crafty Mama’s Market right on time for set-up.

In the car I try to fight off the urge to close my eyes after an all-nighter in the clay room. Seriously, I tried to go to sleep. Honestly, I really had every intention of sleeping, but I was just too gosh darn excited. I mean seriously it is my first time bringing DC Designs out to a craft show. Who wouldn’t be so excited!

So the hubby and I get there right on time even after stopping for breakfast at Chick-fil-a. Let’s all pause for a moment to appreciate the deliciousness of the Chicken Minis. Mmmmmm Chicken Minis. So we pull in to the parking lot, I meet Traci the organizer, in person. She is as sweet in person as she is on email. And I find my spot labeled, “DC Designs.” The hubby and I set up the tent (which a bar snapped on during the practice run so we had to duck tape it.). So begins the first problem. I can’t get my side up at all. I’m a wuss, what can I say. I have no upper body strength what so ever. Luckily, the really nice ladies next to me have some burly men with them who run over and help the hubby out. Gotta love that DIY spirit.

I throw up the folding tables and we get the tent weights my big brother made (my sister-in-law was doing the show too) and begin setting up. Somehow when the hubby put the vanity in the car and unscrewed the legs something happened to the molly bolts and the legs won’t screw back in. Luckily I’m able to prop the legs up and get it to work. We roll out the gorgeous banner my Dad made for me and I start making signs with prices on them.

Then we notice the wind! The tent is blowing like crazy and displays keep falling down. So my big brother decides to go get cinder blocks and I take down the easel displays I just bought and put things down flat. My display is now way less interesting. It’s about 11:00 and we still haven’t seen any customers. Vendors start walking around and peeking at other people’s stuff. The tent is blowing forward inch by inch and seems like it’s going to blow away at any moment. Two people’s tents actually tumble and blow away. Necklaces fall and blow off. It was crazy. The hubby starts guessing whether people are customers or just coming to see a friend’s booth. By the end of the day the hubby counted only 18 real customers. Hardly any of them bought anything from any of the 40 vendors assembled in the parking lot.

My brother and his wife and son come up from Georgetown to check out the show. The first thing they said was that there was only one sign and it was on the gate. They had trouble finding it even though they had directions. They thought for sure there would be signs of the main streets. My sister-in-law and the nice ladies at the booth next to me give some names of some well-established markets that always have great turn-outs. Looks like I picked a bad venue.

But all wasn’t lost. I learned that my tent is crappy and I’m going to exchange it for the one that has supports in the middle. Whatever you do don’t buy an EZ up Embassy II. The winds were only up to 15 mph. The EZ Up couldn’t handle it at all. The people next to me had an EZ Up with the trusses across the ceiling. This one didn’t move an inch and it was weighed down by only three bricks on each leg. I believe it was the Express. Apparently at Sam’s there is one for $149.00. That’s the one I got. Then there is one for $194.00. That’s the one they had. This is a circumstance where it is worth the extra money to get the better model. I also learned that my displays need to be heavier. I bought the most adorable antiqued copper racks. But they were easily blown over. I finally weighted them down with the hubby’s Stephen King novel once he realized he couldn’t read as he was going to have to spend the whole day holding the tent. He certainly gets a gold star.

So I learned a lot my first time out even though I didn’t sell a thing. And the best thing was right before we were getting ready to pack up I got to meet my friend Sam from Old But New live and in person! I have a great group of Etsy buddies online and we have been chatting it up together for almost a year now. We help each other out with promoting our shops through treasuries and bumping forum threads. It’s great to have people to go to who can help you out with crafty business questions. And quite frankly we just hang out and chat quite a bit. They are a great group of friends and I’m so lucky to have them. Sam and the boy and the hubby and I went out for some Chinese food afterwards and had a great time gabbing away. So even though the craft fair wasn’t profitable financially it was a great experience.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Busy little Beader

I 've been beading and claying as fast as my little hands will let me go. The Crafty Mama's Market is this Saturday the 15th and there is still so much I want to finish! Another tray of clay is curing in the oven and I decided I had to snap a shot of one of my earring racks. I've never made anything without polymer clay components before. It's been really fun to just sit with my box of brass and my box of beads and just go crazy making earrings. I decided since I'm short on time to focus on polymer clay necklace focals and mirrors and then make the earrings out of vintage beads. I got a ton of yummy glass vintage beads that complement the colors that seem to predominate my work. So here's a sneaky peeky!