Sunday, January 31, 2010

Gem show in Tucson

I'm busy making my shopping list for the gem show in Tucson coming up this week. Should be insanely overwhelming :). There is no describing the enormity of this "show". It's not really a show - the whole city is taken over by gems and jewels, fossils and minerals. It's HUGE!! It's just my second year of going, so I still haven't really mastered it yet. Anyway, I'm taking off on Tuesday and will be gone through the weekend. Looking forward to seeing some sun too.

I'm going to leave you with a song that I can't get enough of. Bon Iver is a genius. Much better than listening to Taylor Swift on the Grammy's right now. Yikes. She missed most her notes :). Poor thing. Anyway, I like this live version of Bon Iver's "Blood Bank". Be back next week!

Yay for Sweet Customers!

Oh, do I love hearing from customers! I love when they gush over their new baubles. IT. NEVER. GETS. OLD. Even though an online sale can seem a bit impersonal, Etsy has created this community where feedback is so welcomed and so easily shared. I love it! I wanted to share some words from a recent customer who I don't even know, but if I met her, I would hug her, for sure. She was such a doll.

Throughout the whole process of this surprise custom item I made for someone special, she would have the sweetest things to say. Things like, "Its sellers like you that make Etsy so very special" and that the person she gave the gift to "absolutely loved it!!!! WOOOO HOOO!!" and that it was their "most fav. birthday gift." Just that simple gesture of letting me know how much someone enjoys something that I've made is one of the best things a customer can do for an independent designer. And when she ended her email with: "Im so pleased and wanted you to hear the ending of the story. Thanks again for your collaboration." ...aahhh! So sweet! She wanted me to hear the end of the story and by doing that...she made my day. It's pretty easy to do.

So, here's to sweet customers! Your gratitude makes us artists beam :). Thank you!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


For a very long time I thought that success meant money, a fancy title, and corporate pats on the back. When I was younger I thought when you "grew up" you got a job at a big company, worked 9-5 and never left. I simply didn't know another way. So, that's what I set off to do. I stifled any creativity I felt and majored in business at a large university...because that's what you are supposed to do, right? Fast forward to 2006... After just a few years in the corporate world, (while getting the money, fancy titles and pats on the back that I had fully expected to make me feel good) I realized that I certainly wasn't feeling successful. In fact, I felt unfulfilled, restless, unhappy... Once I really thought about what it would take for me to feel successful, I realized I had had it all wrong. What I actually consider success is having great relationships, living a lifestyle that you want to live, doing the things you love and are passionate about, and most of all living healthy and happy. While these things seem general and even trite, when you apply your specifics to them, it means the world. It turns out I'm not alone.

Tara, from Scoutie Girl and her personal blog, Tara Gentile, has been blogging about success along with some guest bloggers and it's been wonderful reading. Here's a link to all the blog posts.

I'm so thankful to all these lovely ladies for sharing. Perfect timing!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

White Vegetarian Chili

First off, the chili isn't named after me :). It's just not your typical deep, thick, rich, tomato paste-y chili. Much lighter...and whiter. OK, here's where the real blog post starts.....

Do you have any recipes that you've had for so long that you pretty much have it memorized, but you take it out to follow it just in case? They have stains on them, notes all over them...? I do! Actually, just one. In this day and age (this is what old people say), recipes are found online, traded by email, etc... Most of my favorite recipes are saved on my computer, in a web-based recipe book or in a cookbook. But I do have this one... I'm not sure why I think it's so funny, but it was scanned from a magazine and then printed out. Is it just me, or is that totally archaic? If you want, I can fax it to you.

The recipe that I'm talking about is a White Chicken Chili from Cooking Light magazine. It must be 6 years old, or so. I've made it countless times and many adaptations and it was always wonderful. This year though, it's vegetarian. And, I know there are a lot more ways to make this more chili-like, but instead of adding in fake meat (which is something I think is so weird about vegetarians - some seek out fake meat that is supposed to have the same texture, etc...ummm, no thanks) I opted for more vegies which yields a light, fresh, clean, yummy chili.

The original recipe calls for 2 pounds of chicken breast, chicken stock, no black beans, zucchini or cabbage and less chili peppers - just in case you want to make the original. The zucchini and cabbage give it more substance instead of that fake meat stuff I keep talking about.

Well, enough chatter already! Here's the recipe:

White Vegetarian Chili
3 small zucchini - diced
1/4 - 1/2 head of cabbage, thinly sliced
2 cups finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp coriander
3 (4.5 oz) cans chopped green chiles, undrained
1 cup water
4 cups vegie stock
2 cans cannelini beans (rinsed and drained)
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can black beans (rinsed and drained)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Olive oil
1 lime
Yogurt (optional)
Salt and pepper

Heat 1 tbsp, or so, of olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onions and saute for 6 minutes - stirring frequently. Add garlic; until fragrant. Add cumin, oregano, and coriander; saute 1 minute. Add zucchini and cabbage and saute until the cabbage starts to wilt and the zucchini gets soft - about 5 minutes. Add in chiles and tomatos. Reduce heat to low and cook 10 minutes, partially covered. Add the water, stock, and beans; bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add juice from the lime, salt and pepper to taste. Serves 8. Top with cilantro and yogurt.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Random stuff

Definitely can't think of a "title" for this post. Just some stuff. Have you already noted my sour and woe-is-me mood? If not, it's really bad - so excuse my ho-hum-ness. I've been working on some more men's accessories which has been fun. Yay. I also did a custom double sided money clip, which I really did have fun with.

How am I doing so far? Am I fooling you at all?

Other than that my mind has been pretty scattered and I can't stop thinking about Haiti. I've been so down! Ugh. I won't go in to how helpless and worthless I feel. I did donated a pair of earrings and a necklace to Craft Hope for Haiti. All the proceeds go to Doctors Without Borders. They have been swamped with donations and sales - which is fantastic, but I believe it's 2 or 3 gals running the show and I'm sure they are exhausted. Anyway, they have a bunch of fun stuff, so go and check out the shop.

And, I promise not to be such a downer next time... :) See? A smiley face...I'm already feeling better.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mustard Greens Pesto and Mushroom Pasta

Yum. I've made this a bunch of times this winter and make it a bit differently each time and it just gets better with every adaptation. It's adapted from this Bon Appetit recipe. The original calls for butter (just a little olive oil will do) and smoked mozzarella. Don't get me wrong, I love smoked mozzarella - but the pasta was too rich and deep for me. I need some freshness and tang. Here goes:



1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup pecans (I've also used walnuts, almonds - all good options)

2 garlic cloves, peeled, quartered

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

3 cups (loosely packed) coarsely chopped mustard greens


2 TBSP olive oil

1 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, thinly sliced (Shiitakes are expensive! Add some button mushies or cremini in too)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 pound fusilli or rotini (spiral shaped)

6-8 oz goat cheese

optional - The rest of the mustard greens from the head you used for the pesto - roughly chopped



Blend nuts, mustard green, vinegar, parmesan and garlic in processor - process to blend. Add oil while processing andblend until smooth. Season pesto with salt and pepper. Transfer to small bowl. DO AHEAD Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover; chill. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before using.


Add oil to large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sage and sauté just until mushrooms wilt, about 3 minutes. Add mustard greens and wine and sauté until mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Return pasta to pot. Add pesto, mushrooms and crumble in goat cheese; toss to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer pasta to bowl and serve.

OTHER ADAPTATIONS - try this in the spring time with arugula instead of mustard greens. warm leftovers and place on a bed of watercress, arugula or spinach for lunch.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Some blog love

I just got a little note from Muse Silking Paintings that she featured me in a post of hers'! Thanks so much! Here it is - my earrings are #4:

Monday, January 11, 2010

Quiet weekend

I can't believe it's over!! I did all the things that you should do during a lazy weekend:

1. Read a book
(not pleasant - lots of tears and cringing and heartbreak, but necessary - seriously - you need to read this)

2. Played cribbage
Totally random - we found a board Saturday afternoon and learned how to play Saturday night. I won :).

3. Made delicious meals
Vegie Thai Spring Rolls and miso soup from my new favorite cook book by Deborah Madison.

4. Went to a movie.
Yep! I'm on the bandwagon. I never want to see a movie that isn't in 3D ever again! AMAZING! Even the trailers were blowing my mind. Can't wait to see Alice in Wonderland.

Does that even sound real??!! I can hardly believe that the hubs and I got to just enjoy each other's company and have such a nice, quiet weekend. Can we do it again??

Just for funsies - here's the trailer for Alice in Wonderland. Just try to imagine it in 3D :)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Jewelry in my shop!

I've been adding some new jewels in my shop the last couple days. Here's what's new...more to come too!

Oh! And, I also listed the cuff links and money clip that I blogged about a while back. Can't wait to do more men's accessories. So fun.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


SMARTFISH is getting some blog love today. I first saw these adorable shoes via Mixed Plate and thought... "How perfect are these??!! I want to blog about these too!" Their shoes are handmade, sustainable and vegan. I love seeing CUTE leather alternatives for handbags and shoes.

So, after seeing them on Mixed Plate, I also saw them featured in the Etsy Finds email today. It looks like they are a fairly new shop, so I hope they have fun with their recent press!

I think these flats with the bows are my favorite...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Wheee!!! Tiny Etsy front page feature!

My Crescent earrings made it to the front page...sort of! In one of the scrolling Storque Articles at the bottom of Etsy's home page there is an article called "Basic Skills" and my earrings are featured! Hooray! It's so fun to see the amount of eyeballs that see your product if you are on the home page - it's overwhelming. New views and shop hearts come flooding in. I love it! There are so many Etsy lovers out there. Anyway, here's what the little article looks like. Click it to see all the products featured. My Crescent Earrings are shown again waaaay at the bottom of the article.

Monday, January 4, 2010


I need some opinions and I know you have them... :). I've been (slowly) working on some brand updates and am stuck on step one and the most important - my logo. I wanted to get away from the big, pink, tropical flower. When I first created my brand, the flower was more appropriate. My jewelry has evolved so much and it's time my brand did too.

I love the script font and I would like to keep the logo somewhat recognizable - so the flower goes and the fonts stay. Here's where I need help. I've narrowed my options down to these 2 logos. I like them both - the first one a bit more, but I think the second one might lend itself to more applications in a better way. Business cards - blog and etsy banners, stickers for boxes, earrings cards, I am confused!!

What do you think? Leave a comment or email me - erin(at) I'll also post them on my Facebook page if you want to leave a comment there. Here are the new beauties:

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Welcome 2010!

I wouldn't say I'm glad 2009 is over, but I'm definitely OK with it. It wasn't a bad year by any means, I just think 2010 is going to be a good one. My theme for this year is to enjoy. I have a blessed life and want to enjoy all the wonderful things in it and remind myself everyday how lucky I am. I want to enjoy my home, cook wonderful meals, snuggle up with my dogs and hubby, take advantage of the fantastic city I live in, grow and find fresh, local, healthy foods and share them with friends and family. I want to make jewelry!! Because I love to. Doesn't all of that sound fun??!! What are your resolutions this year? Here are some more of mine:

1. Organize one room in the house every month
2. Run another half marathon
3. Master vegetarian cooking
4. Take a trip with my sweetie to Italy
5. Take a road trip to Minnesota for some cabin time with the dogs
6. Become a better blogger
7. Take more photos
8. Be a more mindful buyer*
9. Double my garden space
10. Make lots of jewelry! Did I already say that??

*Yesterday after erasing any signs of Christmas from our house, I decided to go through the cabinets under our bathroom sinks and all of our bathroom drawers - haven't done that for years - gross, I know. I cannot believe the amount of cosmetics and other junk I had accumulated over the years. All garbage. I felt terrible throwing all of it away. Some was unused and will be donated, but most just garbage. So sad to think where it ends up. I resolve to be more careful!!! Do I really need 8 different blushes?? Nope.