Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Let's try again

Thanks to Linda GJ, I finally got the treasury page uploaded. Yay, me! Yay, Linda (and thanks.)

I'm sure there's a way to trim it to just the pictures but the next step in Linda's process wasn't available on my computer. So, for now, this will do.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Another Treasury!

And I still don't know how to upload the pic, in spite of Sara's kind directions. (I think it may be because after my computer crashed several years ago, I never got everything loaded back on.) But y'all can see the treasury with this brooch in it until it expires at 4:40a Thursday here

I almost didn't log onto Etsy today. The day hasn't been one of my best--I won't even go into why--but this afternoon thought I'd sit at the computer for a few minutes before heading outside. And decided I'd best go ahead and check Etsy. You never can tell when someone might want to wheel and deal. I found a convo from Winemaker's Sister, the nice lady who sneak attacked me last fall. (You should check out her shop. She does some cool handcarved stamps.)

Made my day a whole bunch better! Now I'm off to put some pizza in the oven. 

Ta, y'all.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ohmigosh! (Just a note)

Last November, I was Sneak Attacked! What is a Sneak Attack? "It's a way to support independent artisans who are trying to sell their wares online. Three days a week at an appointed time, an Etsy shop with few or no sales is announced on this site. As many people as possible then buy items from that shop, resulting in a frenzy of surprise business to the unsuspecting shop!" 
Back then, I was flabbergasted, and today I was gobsmacked when I got a convo from Comfy Home, saying she'd included me in a treasury of former Sneak Attack "victims".

I haven't figured out how to picture the treasury here, dang it, but until mid-day Sunday yoiu can check it out here.

So, all my thanks to this wonderful group and Comfy Home both for the initial "attack" and for today's treasury.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Umm umm good!

I don't consider myself a cook and I have lots of excuses for not being one: Tom is super picky, and we're both diabetic, and I'm too easily distracted from the task at hand so things often burn. But I found a terrific stir fry recipe that even I can't mess up--it has become one of my fave dishes--and I wanted to share it with y'all.

And no, this isn't what mine looks like when it's done. (Actually I think mine looks better--more Chinese-y, or rather more like what one would find in a Chinese restaurant here in the states.) The above is a pic from the site where I found the recipe: the Reluctant Gourmet's Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry.

Chickent and Broccoli Stir-Fry
Serves 4

Marinade Ingredients:
1/4 c. chicken stock
1/4 c. dry sherry or rice wine
2 T. soy sauce
2 T. Oyster Sauce
1 T. cornstarch
1 tsp. sesame oil
3 boneless chicken breasts, sliced into thin strips

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. ginger, minced
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Other Ingredientes:
3 T. oil
1 bunch of broccoli, cut into florets
1 red pepper, julienne
1 large onion, cut into chunks
1/4 c. halved cashew nuts

Prep Work:
Combine the marinade ingredients, cut the chicken into strips (we like boneless skinless chicken thighs), then marinate the latter in the former. (I start with this step before I move to the next, so although the Reluctant Gourmet says "for a while", that's my while.)

Next cut up your broccoli and onion and julienne the red pepper.  (Tom won't eat broccoli--remember the "picky" reference?--so I use whatever veggies I have in the fridge. Last night that was carrots, celery, green pepper, all of which I julienned, onion, and green beans leftover from Sunday dinner.)

How To Make At Home:
Preheat wok or frying pan over high heat. (I use a flat bottom Calphalon Everyday pan. I tried to find a pic on the 'net, but I've had mine so long I guess they no longer make that style.)

Add 2 T. oil, then add chicken, reserving marinade. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes until chicken is no longer pink. Cook in batches if necessary. Remove and set aside.

Add remaining tablespoon of oil and stir-fry the aromatics for 10 seconds or until fragrant. (Unless I know I'm making this beforehand, I rarely have ginger, but it makes up pretty terrifical with just the garlic and pepper flakes, the latter of which aren't enough to make it uncomfortably hot, just gives it a bit of a kick.)

Add veggies and stir-fry 3-4 minutes.

Add reserved marinade and reserved chicken and cook until sauce thickens, stirring frequently. (Since I never manage to time my dishes to finish at the same time, I usually have to add extra chicken stock to this while either the rice or the egg rolls finish, which maybe is why mine always looks browner than the pic at the beginning. Or maybe it's cuz I use cooking sherryin the marinade instead of rice wine.)

Toss with cashews and serve over white rice.

Honest, this is such an easy dish to make that when I'm done even I almost feel like a cook--and a good one at that.

Enjoy, and ta, y'all.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Thrift Store Finds and other Miscellanea

I took a step yesterday that I'm not sure was wise: I opened two new Etsy shops. Because I had such a variety in the original Sumpn Sassy--okay, three categories isn't that wide a variety--I thought it might be better to separate them. SumpnSassyTassels is of course where my tassels will be. I've moved three over, still have a few more to list. And SumpnSassyOldStuff is my vintage shop with right now just one item.  

I have scads of old things to list but the kicker is that as I pull them from storage I fall in love all over again. How am I ever going to get rid of them? Somebody needs to kick me in the backside!

Here are a few things I pulled out this morning and not one single one do I intend to list. So sue me.
This Fenton individual creamer sugar set is from the '40s-'50s time period and was a gift from a dear friend. They were on display on a breakfast room sideboard in my Plano home, moved to a display cabinet in our lake house and have been stored ever since we moved here. They don't take up much room so even though I have no place to use them, I'm keeping 'em! Maybe I'll use them for sugar packets in my kitchen. Or Q-tips in the guest bath. Or....
In Plano I used a lot of plates for decorations in my home. This one didn't hang on the wall but rather sat in an arrangement on my mantel. It's German porcelain from the deco period (or is that Art Nouveau? Now that I'm looking at it I think it might be.) and I do love it! It's wafer thin, beautiful fine china. I paid $20 for it at an Oak Cliff antique store back in the late '80s. Cool, isn't it? (The glass thingy holding it upright is a decanter stopper I got at an antique store in east Texas several years ago. It has a screw on the stopper part.)

This was a true thrift store find. Love the look of it. When we moved here, I gave away many of my platters but this one I hung onto. Still can't get let it go. (And Billie, I'm rethinking all that stuff I gave you. Just because I said you could have it doesn't make it yours!)
And this one--back in the mid '80s, items from Russia were just beginning to be offered to the general public. At the time, I was working on a semi-spy novel--this was before I ever sold a book--and since the cold war was over I wrapped my plot around a Russian fairy tale, the Firebird. When I came across this plate with the Firebird illustration, I had to have it. And I still love it.

That's as far down as I've dug in my drawer of goodies and I still haven't found anything to offer in my new shop. And now I need to dig in the dirt so the drawer will have to wait.

Later, y'all.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Pretty Packaging

How important is packaging? Whenever I sell an item--which, truth be told, isn't that often--one of the first things I do is create a box. I've tried all kinds, but my latest begin with a cardstock outer shell, then, for support, I wrap thick cardboard with scrapbook paper to fit the bottom and sides, which I hot glue in. I'm thinking I may perfect this technique in another hundred years or so.

Since I've been making hair ornaments, though, I decided they'd be better suited with a card. I started with this.
Then I checked out the shop of another another seller whose cards look oh so professional--they probably are professionally done--and I thought, "I can do that!" Here's my version.

So...overkill on the sassy part? I'm thinking it might be. And I'm thinking the slots that hold the clip in place should run so the ornamentation is centered. Any thoughts? I'd appreciate any input you can give me.

Thanks and ta.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Bella Violetta--Etsy Featured Seller

I joined the Etsy Texas team some time back, and though I've never gotten deeply involved I have superficially. I recently took part in a promo swap with several other members. It was like Christmas when the items arrived! There were cards and tags and bookmarks and earrings and magnets, And no they're not for my personal use but rather to be sent out with purchases. Still they're cool and I get to choose who they go to. 

One member's story sort of mirrored my own. You know, mirrored as in the same but opposite? BellaVioletta grew up in Pittsburgh, Pa, met and married a Texan and now lives in Late Whitney, which is sort of to the north and east of where I am. (For those who don't already know, I was born and raised in Texas, married a Pittsburgher when we were both babies and lived in Pittsburgh for eight years. We came back to Texas a long time ago and bless his heart he's almost become a Texan, but he's still a Yankee at heart!)

Kimberly's a great recycler, which I love. She says, "I believe in reusing materials from everyday life. I never toss out a scrap of fabric." She makes fabric postcards of leftover fabrics, uses cereal boxes and dry food packaging for her Doe Doe Birds. Her ATCs are created from used playing cards. She saves wrapping paper, boxes, unusual drink cans, gift bags. Like a magpie, she's attracted by bright and shiny and uses whatever catches her attention to create it. 

She makes her Doe Doe Birds from cereal box cardboard, fabric, bits of paper and cardstock and other embellishments.
On the one above she used thrift store fabric with card stock wings. Can't you just see it as a gift embellishment or perched in a flower arrangement? 
I love this one, probably because of the printing on it. The power of the printed word, who can deny it? (I also like how she has it displayed on the sheet of music.)
A set of three, with diversity in the wings. I'm enchanted by these birds!
And a final one. Gotta love it! 

Now...back to me. Nobody--not one single solitary reader-person, not even my family! Come on, you guys--left a comment on my valance post. Oh, well! I decided without y'all.  Check this out:

I really like Nester has set forth for window mistreatments. She says it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful and uses upholstery tacks to hold things up. I'm thinking a straight length of fabric, pinned up at intervals and with fringe hot glued on the bottom might have a similar feel as the pic above. 

Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

My button pillow...and more

Now that I've made one, I'm thinking Letter Perfect Design's $35 price tag is more than worth it!
Mine took several days just to fill in the buttons. (The pillow cover was already made.) First, I drew the G on sorta kinda freehand with a water-soluble pen. Smart, right? Not! Once the pillow was finished, you could see bits of ink here and there, so I sprayed it with distilled water, which left a wide circle on the linen. Probably because the pillow cover hadn't been washed this century--okay, not quite that bad, but almost.

So, I washed it. Of course, I did. It was an old linen dishtowel that had been washed many times, a lot of them by me. And it came out of the gentle cycle fine, wrinkles notwithstanding, but the dryer put a real strain on it. I know; I should have used gentle there too, but I was thinking dishtowel, buttons, how delicate is it? I lost two buttons in the dryer, and it came out really wrinkled. Ironing was a pain in the backside. Very hard to get into the center area, especially using the water I began with--same distilled water I sprayed it with in the beginning. This time though it didn't stain, just didn't get all the wrinkles out. Sizing did, mostly. 

I still think it looks pretty darn cute!

Here's a closer look. 
I made the base pillow several years ago. Here's a fuzzy picture of the before. If you can't distinguish it, it started as a white linen towel with three red stripes along each edge. 

So much for the button pillow. And yes, I will make another, in spite of my opening statement. I just won't do it immediately. 

What's my next project? Read on.

This morning, Tom had to go to the dentist so I piddled at the thrift store while waiting. Found this fabric--7 1/2 yards for $10!

You really can't tell what a good bargain it was. Looks like silk, though I can't tell for certain. But hey, for less than $2 a yard, who's quibbling? And it'll look terrific in my guest bedroom where I want to do a Nester-type mistreatment for the windows.

This is one Kimba of A Soft Place to Land did. 
I really like this one and think I could mistreat it even more than she did. :) Here's her before windows: 

Notice the difference between her window-top to ceiling measurement and mine below. 

Hers look maybe 18" to ceiling, mine are more like 2 feet. And I don't think those kind of valances should be longer than 18". I wanted my mistreatment attached to the ceiling, as is hers. I'm sure the ceiling attachment made hers easier. But what if I didn't do mine that way?

I thought I'd try making mine of foamcore, sort of in the style of the one Kimba did in her post here except instead of attaching it to a 2x6 I'd use a double layer of foam core cut to the same dimension. (I found some at Dollar Tree for a dollar a sheet.) I'd have to attach several together to get something long enough but I figured I could attach the layers in different locations--does that make sense? Yunno, top layer would have two pieces glued together end to end in one place, bottom layer end to end in another. 

Then, after the fabric's attached--I'm still thinking about how to do this; duct tape doesn't work so well--I can use something lightweight to hold it up. (Tom hates putting holes in our walls. He had so many to patch when we sold our last house, and one of the patch jobs wound up with him having to completely repaint a room he wouldn't have had to otherwise. Made him grumpy, to say the least.)

What say you? Am I on the right track? Any ideas on the "lightweight" thing I'd use to hold it up? I'm thinking the foamcore would be so much lighter than wood that I wouldn't have to use the braces Kimba did. Am I totally off-base?

Thanks, y'all. Ta.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Spring has sprung

I don't know what the weather's like where y'all are but it's beautiful here. Started a little nippy this morning but the sun is shining now so I took some pics of my backyard. It's definitely a work in progress, and I should be out there working right now. I have summer bulbs to plant and some things I bought last Saturday that still need to go in the ground. But I'm waiting in here for a telephone call so the backyard will have to wait until tomorrow. In the meantime...
This coral vine is what got me in the mood to share with y'all. Isn't it lovely? What you see in the background is Packsaddle Golf Course. 

And the bottle tree Tom put up last week! I think it looks terrific. We'll be soliciting blue bottles from friends and family for a while cuz I like those the bestest. Meanwhile, though, I still think the green and amber are pretty cool.

Another view of the golf course in the far and my post oak tree in the near. Also a shot of my blue totem, which needs a good wash. (I'll give it one once we get all the mulch down.) In those four big pots I always plant caladiums--Florida Cardinals when I can find them, which put on quite a show in the summer. (The pic below is the online version of Florida Cardinals, but a very good representation. Just imagine that times four.)

The next pic is my herb garden, which is also waiting for mulch.
Have you ever tried salad burnet? It makes a good addition to a bagged salad with kind of a cucumber-y taste. It's looking gorgeous right now. Oh, and there are a few chives edging into the photo there. Photo hogs, they are.
This is Tom's baby, again a work in progress. He only set it up a week or so ago. We'll be putting those tiles on the right side all around with creeping thyme tucked in between. 

As I said, the whole herb bed is waiting for mulch. Tom hated what I put down last year--I rather liked it because it was big chunks of bark that don't have to be put down yearly, but the wind catches it and blows it into the yard and it gets caught in his mower. So he raked it all up and we're putting down a lovely dark bark mulch, which looks a lot like compost, which is better to mulch with anyway only more expensive. (Boy, was that a run-on!)

That's the last of my pics today. Tom's playing poker--yay!--and I have some errands to run. I'm thinking now I won't get that call this afternoon so I may just head on out.


P.S. That first photo is crossvine, not coral. Sometimes my rememberer breaks!