Trying Keep it Natural for Your Pets

I have a very cute and fun cat with a problem. She only is nice to me, this started about a year ago and I would have never known if one of the cat feeding group ( yes I'm very lucky to have this group in my building) hadn't told me Sugar was acting differently. Shortly after that on her yearly visit to the vet she bit the assistant, broke her skin and HAS A RECORD! They have to report this type of thing.

I forgot to mention Sugar is a polydactyl girl. You can see her thumb if you look closely.

I forgot to mention Sugar is a polydactyl girl. You can see her thumb if you look closely.

After the neighbor and vet incident I started to look into some calming remedies for when she was going to experience anyone aside from me even though I mentioned to her biting or hissing at the hand that feeds you isn't a good idea. First I tried Rescue Remedy a flower essence combination. It apparently worked until my neighbor tried to pet her. The vet suggested Comfort Zone feliway, a pheromone spray for stress reduction. Again a sort of solution as long as no one got into her space . A homeopath suggested Straphysagria which works if given a day or two before if I know in advance. Apparently herbs work but not as quickly as homeopathy or flower essences (be sure to get non alchohol varieties of anything) and they don't taste good. Chinese medicine and acupuncture are also recommended but not along with homeopathy as they are too similar. Unfortunately I still have to give her drugs before going to the vet.

Hey I'm just a normal kitty!

Hey I'm just a normal kitty!

Yesterday in the laundry room I found a copy of Dr, Pritcairn's Natural Health for Dogs & Cats and now have many more things to try. Sugar's diet has for the last 7 years been perfect according to them. She's been eating a raw food diet though I have no idea what she ate before or how old she is.

It seems she may need to play more. During the rest of the years she goes outside on a lead on my terrace. Then she chases bugs etc. Thankfully there are no bugs inside but it's been hard engaging her with the variety of things we do have here..Strings, balls, feathers all are fun for a short period. Suggestions welcome.

For now waiting for Spring to arrive and hoping that this behavior goes as quickly as it came.


I just want to be out here playing with bugs and watching birds fly by.

I just want to be out here playing with bugs and watching birds fly by.


Nostalgic Winter Painting


Inspired by the nostalgia of the traditional winter scenes by Currier and Ives, this painting was completed in one afternoon by mixing only a few paint colors. A wood plaque can be primed with gesso, or a small canvas, or other surface can be used. While these instructions give specific color combinations, feel free to improvise your color mixing and create your own winter landscape. Enjoy!

The dark gray suggests a forest in the distance.

The dark gray suggests a forest in the distance.

You will need:

  • Acrylic or oil paints in white and primary colors; red, yellow and blue
  • 1 or 2 small brushes
  • painting surface (3 inch wood plaque is shown) 


  1. Plan out a simple composition which will include a red barn, a horizon line with suggested tree line in the distance, and a few larger trees in the foreground. Don't be too concerned about fine details.
  2. Working from light to dark, paint in all the white areas, including the snow-covered rooftop. Use small amounts of red, blue, and yellow to create gray, Use this gray to paint a series of vertical lines for the tree line in the distance.   Add white to create different shades of gray.
  3. Mix a purple using red and blue. Add white in desired amount to paint a lavender texture in the sky.
  4. Use a dark gray (mix more if needed) to paint a curved path. Show perspective by widening the path near the bottom of the composition. Blend in some gray to shadow the snow, adding small amounts of blue and lavender for dimension.
  5. Paint the red barn, darkening the window, door and shadows with dark purple/blue.
  6. Using the tip of your brush, gently paint tall tree trunks in the foreground, adding branches with thin shorter lines.
  7. Finally, create a runny mixture of white paint to spatter on snowfall as a finishing touch, if you wish.

Post by: Nicoletta Siccone / ETSY Shop: ArtologieDesigns / Website:


Nicoletta is a lifelong artist and art educator, with an M.A. in Art Education and Administration. She travels the world seeking cultural inspiration for her art, and has worked in fibers, acrylics, oils, and sculpture. She currently teaches elementary art education, adult oil painting and sumi-eclasses in New Jersey.  She is also known for her unique jewelry, inspired by the reinvention of the mundane zipper, featured throughout the NY/NJ area as Artologie Zipper Jewelry.


Recipe: Yule Log

My California Yule Log


Tis the season to be merry, and in my house that means baking a yule log for dessert.  Last year we were at Grandma's house in California to help her celebrate the gathering of the clan on Christmas Eve.  Imagine forty five mostly adult relatives gathering in 1200 square feet of space and then imagine the amount of food needed for the feasting!  My contribution was this large Yule Log. 

Yule logs were an early northern european tradition, where a special log was chosen and brought in from the forest to burn on the hearth to celebrate the Solstice.  The French eventually turned it into a chocolate roll cake called the "Bûche de Noël." Because my children have egg and nut allergies, I don't bake with either and decided to make the decorations of birds and mushrooms out of shortbread instead of the traditional meringue.  Unfortunately, shortbread is not clay and the birds slumped into lumpy teardrop shapes.  In honor of California's forests, I turned them into banana slugs!  All they required was a yellow sugar glaze, splashed with melted, watered chocolate for their markings, and added some sliced lemon peels for their antennae.


T & J's Vegan Chocolate Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • Preheat oven to 350˚
  • Lightly grease 9x9" or 9x5" pan

Stir together all the dry ingredients together, then add all the liquid ingredients and mix until smooth.  Pour into pan and bake for 45 minutes.  Test often and don't overbake! Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Now this is a pretty small recipe and I usually double it.  For the huge log above, I think I did two and a half batches, and lined a large sided cookie tray with baking parchment and spread out a layer like a 3/4" thick and baked for far less time.  Check with a toothpick and take out as soon as your test comes out moist and barely clean, or you will have a dry cake.  Before the cake is completely cool, roll it up with the parchment still attached and let it cool completely in that shape.

Now you can frost the cake in traditional buttercream, but I prefer ganache.

Chocolate Ganache

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 8 oz. semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely ground in food processor

I think I may have quadrupled this recipe for my giant log.  Heat cream in metal mixing bowl or pot on the stove, watch carefully so it doesn't boil over.  When simmering, add chocolate and lower the heat.  Stir until fully melted in.  There will be tiny pin dots of chocolate but no lumps.  Cover with wax paper and chill for 5-6 hours.  Carefully beat ganache until stiff but not granular (too much air, lumpy with holes)  Frost immediately.  Makes about 3 cups.

Unroll the cake, and frost the inner layer.  Now roll the cake up and remove the parchment as you do so.  cut off one of the ends to make the cut branch or knob of the log.  Using two large spatulas I move the cake to it's serving dish, which may be lined with pieces of cut wax paper that can be removed easily after the cake is frosted.  Attach the knob with frosting, then frost the outside of the cake.  For the log ends I make a quick little buttercream with a little chocolate added.  Remove the was paper or clean up the edges of the plate with a wetted paper towel.

For the mushrooms any shortbread recipe will do, and I make the caps and stems separately, then attach them with melted chocolate.  When finished, I dusted the mushrooms with cocoa powder, and placed them on the cake along with an artificial holly sprig.  Lightly dust the log with powdered sugar for snow, and it's done!  

Because ganache is much nicer soft than hard, keep the cake refrigerated but bring it out a few hours before serving. 

Happy Holidays!



No Farm Fresh Veggies Try Hydroponic Varieties

Since hydroponics are not grown in soil the sty fresh in the frig with a little water for a week or more

Read More

Holiday Handmade Cavalcade Sponsored By...

We could not do this without our generous sponsors. So many are such fierce champions of small, local artisans and some are small local artisans themselves. Below is just a taste of what our exceptional sponsors are about. We encourage everyone to check out their websites and promotional pages; so many stories are of folks just like you who took a dream and made it a thriving business.

Dreams can be achieved!


Purl Soho

Since 2002, Purl Soho has been sharing their passion for beauty and exceptional design, for natural fibers and crafting traditions. They are a beloved resource for needle crafters of every ilk, from knitters and crocheters to quilters and embroiderers.

Social Ink

Social Ink started 10 years ago as a way to bridge existing connections between social justice, education, and the arts. From coffee shop-cubicles to their current DUMBO offices, they’ve maintained this commitment to their founding mission to work with a select group of clients and ensure a direct line of communication with their principals.


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Etsy, Inc.

Etsy is the global marketplace for unique and creative goods, connecting millions of people around the world both online and offline with a mission to “Keep Commerce Human.” Additionally, Etsy offers a wide range of Seller Services and tools to help creative entrepreneurs start, manage, and scale their businesses.

Blick Art Materials

Blick Art Materials supports the Visual Art Community by providing the widest selection of art supplies at the lowest prices and with extraordinary service and integrity.



Fine & Raw

FINE & RAW was started in a notorious Williamsburg, Brooklyn artist loft by Daniel Sklaar, who is dedicated to fine craftsmanship and mastering the art of raw chocolate.

Rubin Museum

The Rubin Museum of Art is an arts and cultural hub in Chelsea NYC, that inspires visitors to make connections between contemporary life and the art and ideas of the Himalayas and neighboring regions including India. The Rubin is a space to contemplate ideas that extend across history and span human cultures with its diverse array of thought-provoking exhibitions and programs.


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Moo is passionate about great design and the difference it can make to their customers and the world. Moo launched in 2006 with the aim to disrupt the trillion-dollar global print industry and make great design available to all by combining professional design with the accessibility and reach of the web.

Driftaway Coffee

Driftaway Coffee started with an espresso machine and grinder given as a wedding gift and not much coffee knowledge or appreciation. After weekends of making cappuccinos and cortados and buying whole beans, the owners combined their budding love of coffee with a desire to start a company together. Driftaway Coffee was created as a freshly roasted coffee subscription company that has grown into something much larger and meaningful for employees, customers, and the two owners.

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Funky Finds

Established in March 2006, Funky Finds helps business owners make a living doing what they are most passionate about while enhancing their local community, and has remained dedicated to promoting the lifestyle of Shop Local, Shop Small. What began as a blog showcasing independent artists, crafters, designers, authors, and food makers has grown to include handmade shopping events in Fort Worth, Texas, as well as online resources aimed at promoting independent business.

Meg Pies

Megpies debuted in 2012 at Smorgasburg in NYC, but has its origins as a weekly bake sale on a Brooklyn stoop. Catering to busy commuters on their way to the subway, they created a hand pie with a flaky, buttery crust that didn't crumble when eaten, filled with specialty jam and topped with colorful icing-- perfect for an on-the-go snack. Now available nationally, Megpies are still available in local cafes and shops around NYC.




ReachNow is the best way to get to the people and places they love. With their app, customers can easily get from point A to B whether they want to drive or ride. Powered by a fleet of more than 1,300 BMW and MINI vehicles, ensuring that customers always travel comfortably and in style.

Joann Fabrics

For 75 years, JOANN has inspired creativity in the hearts, hands and minds of its customers. From a single storefront in Cleveland, Ohio, the nation’s leading fabric and craft retailer has grown to include nearly 900 stores across 49 states, and an industry-leading e-commerce business. With the goal of helping every customer find their creative Happy Place, JOANN serves as a convenient single stop for all of the supplies, guidance and inspiration needed to achieve any project or passion.



Textile Art Center

Textile Arts Center (TAC) is a NYC-based resource facility dedicated to raising awareness and understanding of textiles through creative educational programs for children and adults. At TAC, we aspire to unite the textile community and advocate for the handmade by providing accessible, skills-based classes that reinvigorate engagement with traditional crafts. Techniques like weaving, sewing, and dyeing are practical, connective, and process-driven -- common denominators for designers, artists, and creative practitioners around the world.

Meet Holiday Handmade Cavalcade Sponsor Purl Soho

We are incredibly fortunate to have Purl Soho as a Platinum sponsor of this year’s Holiday Handmade Cavalcade. Our next festive event will be held December 16-17 at the Brooklyn Historical Society in downtown Brooklyn.

Beloved by countless Etsy shop owners, Purl Soho supplies top quality materials for sewing, knitting, crocheting, and all embroidery needs. At its Soho store you will find an amazing array of pure and natural fibers and patterns for your next needlecraft project.

Since 2002, Purl has been sharing its passion for beauty and quality designs in its extremely customer-focused business. “At Purl Soho we have always worked to create a friendly and comfortable place for everyone: locals and tourists, beginners and experts, regulars and one-time shoppers,” says Purl’s Executive Assistant/Studio Manager, Laura Enos. “We foster an environment where customers become friends and our place is yours,” she adds.

Purl began as a tiny yarn shop on Sullivan Street, in the heart of New York City’s Soho neighborhood. Four years later in 2006, it opened a fabric store, Purl Patchwork, just a few doors down. And in 2010, the founders’ dream became a reality, when the present large and beautiful Purl Soho location opened its doors, furnishing all needlecraft materials under one roof.

Three co-owners, sisters Joelle and Jennifer Hoverson, and close friend, Page Marchese Norman, envision Purl as a home for crafters near and far, from around the corner and around the globe. Makers visit the Soho location as well as its online website. “We love to answer questions, share accomplishments, research solutions, and exchange inspiration,” say the owners, who are former editors and stylists. “It’s why we do what we do!”

In 2012, Purl proudly launched its own Purl Soho brand yarn, a super soft merino. They now boast nearly 20 yarns in their exclusive collection, plus linen fabrics, notions, and dozens of boxed kits.

And one of these learn-to- knit boxed kits could be yours, if you are a lucky Purl Soho raffle winner at this year’s Holiday Handmade Cavalcade. Every shopper at the holiday market will receive a raffle ticket with each purchase. Purl is also giving out a selection of its gorgeous super soft merino yarn in the Cavalcade goody bags this year. On any day of the Cavalcade, be one of the first 25 people to make a purchase from one of our talented local vendors and bring home this exceptional yarn in one of the complimentary Goody Bags!

Purl is excited to be such a large part of this year’s unique holiday event, and hopes you will visit its store online, or in person. They can’t wait to meet you!

Meet Holiday Handmade Cavalcade Platinum Sponsor Social Ink

We are thrilled that Social Ink has signed on as a Platinum sponsor in this year’s Holiday Handmade Cavalcade, which will be held December 8–10 at the corner of Broadway and Great Jones St. in Manhattan and December 16–17 at the Brooklyn Historical Society in downtown Brooklyn. “Social Ink is proud to sponsor the hard-working, small businesses of the NY Handmade Collective’s Holiday Cavalcade,” says Matthew Pinto, Social Ink’s Principal, Lead Design.  

Social Ink is a web design and development business with a social conscience. “We believe in working hard to make the world a better place,” Pinto says.

And for over a decade, the web design company has been doing just that. From its base in DUMBO, Brooklyn, the experienced and committed staff works closely with non-profits and foundations, community organizations and educational initiatives, and select small businesses to achieve specific activist pursuits. From social justice to environmental issues, Social Ink is dedicated to working with local individuals striving to improve the world around them. 

The web service excels at customizing its work to reach the goals of each unique client. “If you work hard for an organization doing good work, we’d love to help,” says Pinto, who sees Social Ink as a soup-to-nuts website service. It specializes in all web needs, from initial design to brand overhauls, from digital communication strategizing to specific web campaigns, always with a clear and overarching passion for improving the quality of our lives. 

As a Platinum sponsor, Social Ink will be raffling off one hour of its web consulting service at the Cavalcade. The winner will be lucky to take advantage of Social Ink’s discerning ability to transform aims and ideals into a high performance, goal-oriented website.

Social Ink is excited to be a part of this year’s Cavalcade, and wishes all the best to the local handmakers who showcase their unique work at this special holiday market.

The National Archeological Museum: Athens, Greece

The Mask of Agamemnon

The Mask of Agamemnon

On a recent trip to Athens, seeing amazing Greek art was on the top of my list. While it's hard to miss the wonders of the archeological ruins on the Acropolis, Greece's most important archeological discoveries are located just outside the tourist center in one of the world’s greatest museums. The National Archeological Museum, north of the city center, houses ancient finds from all over Greece in a beautiful 19th century neoclassical building. Here you will encounter the stories of Greek mythology, brought to life through pottery, paintings, and sculpture thousands of years old.

The vast collection of ancient Greek art (numbering more than 11,000!) chronicles the history of Greek civilization from its prehistoric beginnings. It houses five large permanent collections:

•   The Prehistoric Collection, which includes works of the great civilizations that developed in the Aegean from the sixth millennium BC to 1050 BC (Neolithic, Cycladic, Mycenaean), and finds from the prehistoric settlement at Thera.

•   The Sculptures Collection, which shows the development of ancient Greek sculpture from the seventh to the fifth centuries BC with unique masterpieces.

•   The Vase and Minor Objects Collection, which contains representative works of ancient Greek pottery from the eleventh century BC to the Roman period and includes the Stathatos Collection, a corpus of minor objects of all periods.

•   The Metallurgy Collection, with many fundamental statues, figurines and minor objects.

The Vaphio Cups

The Vaphio Cups

Myceneean Vase

Myceneean Vase

Marble statue of Poseidon, from Melos, Cyclades 125-100 BC

Marble statue of Poseidon, from Melos, Cyclades 125-100 BC

While the size of the collection is staggering, the museum’s chronological layout allows visitors to seemingly travel through time to experience the development of Greek civilization through its amazing archeological discoveries.

Artemision Jockey, ca. 140 BC.

Artemision Jockey, ca. 140 BC.


Even if you tend to shy away from museums, the National Archeological Museum is not to be missed if you are in Athens. Plan on spending about 2 hours, and go early if you want to  avoid crowds and school groups. For more information and upcoming exhibits: The National Archeological Museum.


Post by: Nicoletta Siccone / ETSY Shop: ArtologieDesigns / Website:


Nicoletta is a lifelong artist and art educator, with an M.A. in Art Education and Administration. She travels the world seeking cultural inspiration for her art, and has worked in fibers, acrylics, oils, and sculpture. She currently teaches elementary art education, adult oil painting and sumi-eclasses in New Jersey.  She is also known for her unique jewelry, inspired by the reinvention of the mundane zipper, featured throughout the NY/NJ area as Artologie Zipper Jewelry.


“Making New York-A Hands-on History & Shopping Experience” at Chelsea Market is a Must for Holiday Gifts and More!

NY Handmade Collective artisans are back at it this holiday season in the beloved and coveted Chelsea Market, November 27-December 3, in the event space, with their “Making New York-A Hands-on History & Shopping Experience."  This holiday market has been picked by "Time Out New York" as one of the top five holiday markets to shop this season!

This highly curated week-long market will showcase the history of handmade makers/settlers to our team members today, bringing together some of the best brands in local handmade and will include some hands-on workshops/demonstrations.  A list of available workshops and times are below:

Monday, November 27th - 3pm-6pm

Cor Garcia-Held of Cor Pottery/Bklyn Kiln will bring her potter's wheel and demonstrate how pottery is made.

Tuesday, November 28th - 3pm-4pm

Joanie Brittingham of LittleJoanieSoaprano will give an introduce to how soap is made.

Wednesday, November 29th - 1pm-2pm

Watch Cindy Peng of Cindy Penguin Jewelry show her crocheted jewelry process.

Wednesday, November 29th - 3pm-4pm

Elena Kanidinc of SimplyNu will show how to make felt holiday ornaments.

Thursday, Novmber 30th - 11am-1pm

Cor Garcia-Held returns for another pottery demonstration.

Thursday, Novmber 30th - 3pm-5pm

Staff from Blick Art Materials will demonstrate a DIY craft

Friday, December 1st - 3pm-4pm

Meredith Stein of Private Picassos will demonstrate DIY stamp-making.





Dia De Los Muertos: A Primer


Over the past few years, around Halloween time, you may have seen festive, brightly decorated "sugar skulls" proliferating; and it's easy to see why - they're unique, colorful and detailed.  But to appreciate these emblems, it's important to learn about the holiday with which they are associated - not Halloween itself, but rather the Mexican holiday of Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead). 


Dia de los Muertos is a holiday for people to celebrate and honor loved ones who have passed away. Celebrations for Dia de los Muertos take place from midnight on October 31 through November 2. 

While Dia de los Muertos coincides with the Catholic holidays All Soul's & All Saint’s Day, it's not simply a Catholic celebration: the indigenous people of Mexico have combined these significant calendar days with their own long-held beliefs and traditions, to honor their deceased loved ones. The multi-day holiday gathers of family and friends to pray for and remember loved ones who have passed away, and to support the spiritual journey of the deceased; Dia de los Muertos is a time to celebrate the dead temporarily returning to Earth, and to celebrate life. 

It is believed the origins of the modern version of Dia de los Muertos that is celebrated today in Mexico, by Mexican people living around the world, and embraced internationally by millions can be traced to indigenous observances hundreds, or even thousands, of years ago as part of an Aztec festival dedicated to the Aztec goddess, Mictecacihuatl. The holiday, and particularly the associated skull motif, has become a national symbol of Mexico. Dia de los Muertos shares some characteristics with celebrations and observances in other cultures around the world for honoring and celebrating the dead. 

Dia de los Muertos begins with the belief that the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31.  The holiday has developed such that over the last century, the most common interpretation is that the spirits of deceased infants and children reunite with their families for 24 hours, on November 1. Then, on November 2, all other spirits of the adults come down to enjoy the festivities that have been prepared for them.


Toys are often brought for dead children (referred to as "the little angels" or los angelitos in Spanish), and alcohol is sometimes gifted to adults. Families will also offer other gifts, or favorite snacks or sweets of the deceased, which can be placed on their grave. Altars are sometimes set up in homes either in place or of in addition to celebrations at cemeteries, or graves themselves are intricately decorated; in each case, these offerings are meant to encourage the dead to visit.

The most common and well-known symbol of the holiday is, of course, the skull (calavera in Spanish).  So-called 'sugar skulls' came about because foods such as chocolate and sugar in the shape of a skull, decorated with colors and patterns, and sometimes the name of a recipient marked on the forehead, are often presented during the holiday. 

(not historically accurate representations of the original sugar skulls, but delicious nonetheless!)

(not historically accurate representations of the original sugar skulls, but delicious nonetheless!)

This theme is also commonly represented in the form of decorated skull masks (called calacas in Spanish). 

(Dia de los muertos symbols have become so widespread that even craft stores sell ones you can decorate yourself)

(Dia de los muertos symbols have become so widespread that even craft stores sell ones you can decorate yourself)

It's also important to remember that the traditions and annual activities celebrating Dia le los Muertos vary, depending on family traditions and sometimes changing from town to town; it was not celebrated in Northern Mexico until the 20th century. The holiday currently has great national importance; some families will prepare all year for the celebrations, and may spend several months' salary on decorations and preparations.

This year, huge parades have also taken special care to celebrate those lost in the earthquake that hit Mexico earlier this year, paying special tribute to the victims with huge Dia de los Muertos parades.


I have always found this holiday and its traditions to be poignant and powerful, and have celebrated in mixed media paintings showing vibrant calavera motifs atop watercolor images.


As this holiday becomes increasingly popular around the world, it's wonderful to join in and celebrate, and to honor your deceased loved ones and celebrate life as part of the Dia de los Muertos tradition; it's also important to always remember the meaning behind the symbols.  And now, as the clock strikes midnight, feliz Dia de los Muertos! 

                                               Lauren // Wandering Laur Fine Art