June 30, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up

I've been slightly more productive since my last WIP post. Besides the regular shop stuff, I reorganized my supplies (in a haphazard sort of way, so I'll have to do a better job next time) and finished two custom patterns. I've also made a teeny, tiny dent in the huge "Patterns To Be Finished" list and managed to squeeze in a little stitching.

Here's what I'm working on now:
A little QR Code love  :)

June 29, 2012

Craft Wars on TLC

Craft Wars is a new competition show on TLC that pits crafters against each other in two phases of craft trials. The show debuted this past Tuesday, but I didn't get a chance to watch it until this morning. Tori Spelling hosts the show, and Stephen Brown (Glitterhouse Studios), Jo Pearson (Creative Expert for Michaels), and Erica Domesek (P.S.-I Made This) are the judges.

I don't really know how I feel about the show yet. I like the show's concept, but the way the judges speak and the things that they say to the contestants seem really fake and forced to me. Overall, the show was fun to watch, so I'll give it some more time.

Have you watched the show? What do you think?

June 28, 2012

Happy New Wallpaper

I feel like I am in a funk and in need of a little inspiration. So, I've been getting caught up on reading my favorite blogs, hoping that something will light a spark. I think I found it!

Mollie from Wild Olive is sharing this sweet cloud wallpaper with her readers. Catching a glimpse of a smiley cloud is the perfect little pick-me-up.

Cloud wallpaper from Wild Olive

June 25, 2012

Design Block! Grr . . .

I have been working on a pattern for a week now and have found myself blocked, mega-blocked even. I make myself take breaks when I start to get frustrated so I don't just give up on the pattern entirely, but I really need to get it done to meet my deadline.

Any advice?

June 21, 2012

The "C Word"

So . . . the "C Word" has plagued me for years. I don't know why I give it any place in my life and why I can't let go of it.

Clutter! Clutter sucks. I hate clutter. But, I hate thinking about clutter, trying to get rid of clutter, and actively preventing clutter even more. I am the kind of cleaner/organizer that makes semi-organized piles of stuff and then moves that stuff around from room to room and then eventually hides it in a box and hopes it goes away. I would post photos of said clutter, but I can't even bring myself to document its existence (other than in this post).

My In-Laws are visiting for a week and are getting here tomorrow. I have spent the last two days cleaning. Every time I try to get the house cleaned up for company, I wish I were better at keeping things organized and clutter-free! It would be so much easier if the house was cleaner all the time. {If my husband is reading this, he is nodding his head vigorously at this idea.}

What do you do to stay organized and keep clutter under control?

June 18, 2012

Longest Weekend Ever

This past weekend was the longest weekend ever. It started Friday morning and ended Monday afternoon.

1. Did a lot of driving
2. Partied hard at a BBQ / college graduation party - Yay, beer pong!
3. Rooted my sister on at her grad ceremony
4. Took a bazillion pictures
5. Ate a lot of food
6. Spent lots of time with dad for Father's Day
7. Did some more driving

I'm tired.

June 12, 2012

Great Opportunity: Blogging for Your Creative Business Online Course

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Click HERE for more info on the course and HERE for info on how to get this awesome course for free!

June 11, 2012

Reading List for Etsy Shop Success

I know I will probably never make enough money from my Etsy shop to make up for the teaching job I left to stay home with my son, but that won't stop me from trying my best to have a successful business.

I've read the Etsy Seller Handbook and read and actively participate in the Etsy forums and teams. While the advice I have gleaned from the Etsy site is extremely useful, there have also been numerous books published in the last few years to aid people in their crafty business pursuits that I'd like to check out. I did some searches for books on the topic and have gotten some book recommendations from other Etsians. I shortened the list to the most recently published books (between 2010-2012) that are also available from the library (because I love the library and free reading!).

I'll be pouring through this list as quickly as I can, writing book reviews to share with you as I go.

Reading List:

  1. How to Make Money Using Etsy: A Guide to the Online Marketplace for Crafts and Handmade Products (2011)
  2. How to Sell Your Crafts Online: A Step-by-Step Guide to Successful Sales on Etsy and Beyond (2011)
  3. The Handmade Marketplace: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and Online (2010)
  4. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Selling Your Crafts (2010)
  5. The Right-Brain Business Plan: A Creative, Visual Map for Success (2011)
  6. The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future (2012)
My Etsy Shop Owner To Read List

June 10, 2012

Herp Derp

Last weekend's work in progress was actually completed on Monday, but I didn't get it stretched and photographed until Friday morning. Then, we were gone most of Friday and pretty much all of Saturday for my sister's graduation ceremony and party (Congrats again, Allie!).

It's meme-tastic!
Memes are interesting things. Who knows why some of these things get so popular, but it's hard to avoid them. This is the first of the memes I plan to stitch up.

I just added this pattern to the shop today. Hopefully I can get the kit up tomorrow.

June 5, 2012

Lime Grilled Chicken with Black Bean and Mango Salsa

First of all, I apologize for the awful, blurry photos in this post. They were taken with my old digital camera, before I knew how to take pictures of objects close up. The next time I make this dish, I'll take some new photos. The food may look blurry here, but it sure is tasty!

I found this recipe online a few years ago. I wish I could remember where so I could give credit! It has become one of my favorite summer time meals.

The recipe is easy to make and very flavorful. Sometimes citrus marinades are too strong, but this one is nice and light. I tend to make more of the salsa than I really need so I can snack on it while waiting for the chicken to grill. :)

I usually slice the chicken into strips after grilling it, and I serve it with some brown rice.


Lime Grilled Chicken with Black Bean and Mango Salsa


1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed well
1 ripe mango, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1/2 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (optional)
Juice of one lime

Chicken Marinade

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp grated lime zest
Juice of one lime
2 tsp olive oil

To make the salsa:

In a medium bowl, mix together the black beans, mango, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, and jalapeno pepper. Set the salsa aside while you prepare and grill the chicken.

To make the chicken:

Preheat the grill or broiler.

Place the chicken in a shallow dish. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken. Add the lime zest, lime juice, and oil. Rub the mixture into the chicken. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes.

Place the chicken on the grill rack or broiler pan (4" from the heat). Cook, turning once, until the chicken is no longer pink in the thickest part (10-12 minutes).

Serve the chicken with the salsa.

Makes 4 servings

June 4, 2012

Food Rut

I'm in a food rut. I get this way every now and then. I'll realize that I've been making the same ten things over and over again, I try some new recipes in hopes of breaking the rut, I find a few I like, and then I end up just making those new recipes over and over again and the rut returns. My husband is probably going nuts with this cycle.

I always seem to get some renewed interest in changing things up and learning new recipes when summer time comes around. Maybe it's weather. Maybe it's the excitement of knowing that the grill is going to be fired up more days than not. Who knows? No matter the reason, I'm ready to get out of this food rut (again). I'll be posting about some of my tried-and-true favorite recipes and some new, trial-run recipes too. Hopefully I find at least a few winners to add to the rotation.

Any suggestions?

June 3, 2012

Weekend Work In Progress

I keep finding myself getting stuck on new cross stitch patterns. I get an idea, start charting it out, and inevitably get stuck on a minor detail (How big should this part be? What color combo looks best? Where should I put this thingy? etc.). All work stops on that pattern and I end up starting work on another new idea so I can feel productive.

This has been going on since I opened my shop in February. So, four months later, I was looking through my in progress pattern files and realized that I have upwards of twenty patterns I have started but haven't finished.

I'd love for my shop to keep growing, so it would really be nice to get more patterns finished and listed. I am always thinking about how to improve and add to my shop, but the saddest part of this work-halting routine I have gotten myself into is that with so many unfinished patterns, I haven't been able to do the thing I enjoy the most, actually stitching up new pieces.

So, I vow to buckle down and finally finish some of my in progress patterns. I finished charting one yesterday and started stitching it up last night. Here is a sneak peek at my work in progress:

June 2, 2012

A Perk of Summer

I really, really dislike feeling hot, BUT hot days do have their perks. Today's hot day perk was a nice, refreshing afternoon cocktail. After being pregnant for what felt like a lifetime and then nursing for a year after Mr. Baby's arrival, an afternoon cocktail was a distant memory. I know it's silly, but it was really nice to finally be able to have a drink in the middle of the afternoon if I wanted to!

Today's cocktail was a Skyy Vodka invention called a Cherry Patriot. It's strong, but still easy to drink.

Cherry Patriot

1 1/2 oz Cherry Vodka (Skyy Infusions)
1 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
3/4 oz Rye Whiskey
2 oz Club Soda

Mix all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass.

Garnish with a cherry (or two). Because they're pretty . . . and yummy after they soak up a bunch of booze.  :)

June 1, 2012

4 Monthaversary!

I cannot believe that it has already been four months since I opened my Etsy shop. I dreamed about it and researched and planned for what felt like forever before opening the shop. I held off for a very long time (even after becoming a stay-at-home mom) because I was worried about whether or not the time I put into my shop would pay off.

I'm pretty sure that I will never make a living selling cross stitch patterns and kits or my hand-embroidered art and jewelry, which isn't my intention anyway, but I am really enjoying the challenge of running my own business. The shop eats up more time than I ever imagined, but I don't want to half-ass anything, so I feel like it is time well spent.

Every time I see a message pop up on my phone alerting me to a new sale, or I realize that I have new feedback from a customer, I get butterflies in my stomach and want to do a happy dance. There is one thing that tops that feeling - realizing the reach of my work. In my first four months, I have had 37 sales. My patterns, kits, and finished stitched art have been shared with people in 16 U.S. states, plus Australia and the UK. I really love seeing this map fill in more.

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