Enough Already!

This is how I felt for the entire month of May, and things haven't gotten better now that June has arrived. If memory serves me, it rained every weekend in May (except the first weekend.) I don't know about other crafty folks, but I make most of my money during the month of May (except for the Holiday season.) This was not the case this year. I mean, who really wants to go to a craft show in the pouring rain? It turns out that most do not like strolling through a rainstorm....just to get some handmade goodies.

I try to look at the bright side....at least I had my tent this day at the 5th Ave Fair in Brooklyn. I felt kind of bad for this girl that was set up across the street selling little blow up toys for kids. Sure my tent was leaking, my shoes and jeans were soaking wet, and it was FREEZING...but I was trying to stay encouraged and celebrate the small things....like the fact that my tent did not blow away in the 20-25 mph winds!

So, please join me as I do my anti-rain dance this weekend. I am just so tired of the rain!

Until next time....happy crafting!



Crafty Inspirations

Before I started crafting, I frequently visited craft shows to marvel at things that I thought I could never create. Fast forward years later, I am actually making and selling handmade soaps in my etsy shop Nordea Soaperie!

I always wonder what drives a person to choose their craft, and what inspires them to create on a daily basis. I know that I am inspired by my love of food...as strange as that sounds. I LOVE food, and I love to cook. Making soap is simply following a recipe, and I am always thinking of different ways to incorporate food and beverages into my soaping projects. Many of my more popular soaps include fruit purees or liquids like aloe juice and beer.

I asked another member of the EtsyNY team what inspired their crafty creations, and Alison from Koto Designs gave me the following answer:

"I would say that I'm inspired by what I encounter in my day-to-day life. I always have an eye out for anything with a simple geometry that would translate well into embroidery. For example, my brother is a huge bike fanatic and for his birthday I made him a card featuring his super customized bike. I made another (more generic) version for my etsy shop for all the bike lovers out there."

To see the beautiful work from many more members of the EtsyNY team, make sure you come to the annual Holiday Handmade Cavalcade which will be a two-day event kicking off the Holiday shopping season! This show will feature artisans from all over the tri-state area. Don't forget to mark your calendars, December 1 & 2 in Brooklyn, NY....Hope to see you there!



Look Ma, I Can Sew!

This blog post is not so much a tutorial, but more of an inspirational story. I often have big ideas, but sometimes I don't follow through for fear of failure. This time around...I did it!

I purchased an iPad for my birthday last month. I was a bit nervous spending so much money, but it was my birthday after all! While I was checking out, the cashier asked me if I wanted additional screen protection insurance (or whatever it's called). I thanked her, but declined. She shook her head and clearly expressed her disapproval at my decision. I couldn't shake that feeling of dread as I walked back to the subway.

I immediately went online and purchased a hard magnetic cover, but my iPad still felt "exposed" as I carried it around in my purse, so I decided to make a padded sleeve for additional protection. I did a lot of research and found a tutorial that didn't seem too difficult. I have a sewing machine, but never really made something like an iPad sleeve.

I ordered some fabric, batting, a rotary cutter, a cutting mat, a clear acrylic ruler, and got to work!

I cut out my fabric carefully, measuring everything with precision. I learned about tacking, squaring up fabric, pinning my hems...lots of things!

I did have a few issues with finishing the hem, but worked it out. The velcro tabs didn't stick, so I ended up stitching them by hand. I showed the cover to a friend (an experienced seamstress,) and she was impressed with the work I had done. I won't lie and say it was easy. It took me about 5 hours to do, and there were times of frustration, but I didn't give up!

Now, I take my iPad everywhere! Of course, this doesn't guarantee that an accident won't happen, but I feel a bit more relaxed about taking my iPad on the go. My mom just bought an iPad, and I had her pick out fabric so I can make her a sleeve too!

So, I hope you are inspired to attempt a project of your own....happy crafting!


Artful Embroidery

So, I admit to being a bit obsessed with embroidery. The act of creating art out of thread is very appealing to me. Especially since my drawing skills are not much advanced past stick figures.

I taught myself how to embroider by buying a couple of books and practicing. There are so many different stitches that can be used to create beautiful pieces of art.

I love this card which spells out a cute & clever message with thread. I also love how there are different colors used to create contrast on the white background.

This beautiful flowering tree is a stand alone picture. The embroidery is fantastic, and becomes its own picture frame by hanging it with the hoop! It would be great to hang a few of these clustered together on the same wall.

The holidays are right around the corner...these little Christmas tree ornaments are super cute!

I hope you have been inspired as much as I have! Embroidery is pretty easy once you get the hang of it. What I love most of all, is that it is easy to do on the go....something to pass the time while commuting to work.


Drink your daily dose of veggies!

Ever notice people walking around sipping on green juice? It always looks so unappealing, but they are getting so many health benefits from drinking their greens. If you use the right combination of vegetables/fruit, the juice actually tastes really good!

Some benefits to juicing:
Juicing helps you absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables
Juicing allows you to consume large amounts of vegetables in an efficient manner
You can add a wider variety of vegetables in your diet

I always have the best intentions...I buy lots of vegetables, and plan to cook them, but somehow they always end up moldy in my fridge. I have a hard time committing to veggies. A couple of years ago, I was able to snag my mom's juicer, they can be a bit pricey, so I was glad that she didn't protest as I packed up her juicer and took it home with me (thanks mom!)

My favorite juice combination is kale, carrots, and apples...sometimes with a little fresh ginger thrown in. Today, I am going to try out some spinach instead of the kale. I like to add the carrots and apples to offset some of the bitterness of the greens, and also to add a bit of sweetness to the juice.

The great part about juicing in the summertime is all of the fresh produce! When I have time, I like to go to the farmer's market to get some really great produce straight from the farm.

You can juice just about any vegetable, but popular choices are kale, carrots, celery, spinach, lettuce, beets, cucumbers, collard greens, mustard greens, and you can throw in herbs like cilantro, parsley, or ginger to spice things up a bit.

Some important things to consider before juicing:
You really have to clean the juicer right away...scrubbing dried up pulp hours later is no fun!
Ideally, you should drink the juice immediately. As the juice is exposed to air, it oxidizes and the benefits start to diminish.
If you don't have a juicer, you can puree the vegetables in a blender and strain. This is a bit more time-consuming, but it works fine.

So, I have to say, I may prefer the spinach to the kale! In any case, I feel better getting a good dose of veggies first thing in the morning. And enough spinach left over for a nice salad later on. Even with juicing, it is still a good idea to try and eat some vegetables too....you can never have too many vegetables!


Pretty Planters

I come from a family of green thumbs. My dad was famous for his vegetable garden (corn, tomato, beans, etc.)and my mom was always in the garden (despite her allergies.) We always had many different plants growing all over the house.

I questioned my ability with plants when I first tried to grow some in my old apartment. I blame it on the lack of sunshine (basement apartment.) My current apartment has sunshine all day, and my plants are thriving! I am always on the lookout for some nice planters. The plant pictured below has been sitting in a chinese food plastic container for at least a year. I finally decided to replant it before it died on me.

I got some paint, a terra cotta planter, glue, and some pebbles left over from my fish tank, and got to work. I decided on yellow paint, and applied two coats. I did not paint all of the inside...just enough for the paint to show if the dirt did not completely come to the top of the planter.

After the paint dried, I carefully glued the pebbles to the outside of the planter. You can pretty much glue anything...I almost decorated the planter with some plastic sea shells I found in Michaels. I decided that they might look better on a blue planter, so I will save them for the next time.

I transferred the plant to the new pot, and all was fine until I woke up this morning. For some reason, the pebbles were starting to come off, and the glue that had dried clear last night, looked white as if I just applied it. I used an all-purpose glue, and that might be my mistake. I think that the water in the plant may be seeping through the terra cotta. So, if you are going to try this, research different types of glue so that you don't make the same mistake I made. Now, I have to figure out how to fix this and hopefully save my little plant. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know!