Category Archives: crafts

Support the Handmade Industry

Etsy purchasesBecause I’ve started a shop on Etsy to sell my handmade soaps and bath products, I tried to buy as many Christmas gifts as possible on Etsy this year. I found some really interesting items. And of course, I couldn’t help but buy a few presents for myself.


I bought six pairs of earrings from The Peach Tree. Her designs are so adorable and affordable. And I love that she lives in Brooklyn. I lived in Brooklyn for two years and still have a soft spot for that borough.

I also bought two necklaces from Ample Goddess Jewelry. She makes pretty, feminine jewelry and offers some items in plus sizes. That’s rare.

And I bought a bracelet from Meadows Jewelry made of semi-precious stones. So lovely.

Etsy purchasesArt

Artists are selling affordable print versions of their paintings and digital works on Etsy. Here are some highlights.

For myself, I bought a 2010 calendar from The Nebulous Kingdom. Her characters are so beautiful and fantasical. I love looking at them and intend to buy more.

My sister loves Arthurian legends, so from Emily Balivet I bought a print of the Lady of the Lake.

From Robert Foster Art I bought two prints and and got one free. I love the way he plays with light.


For decoration, I bought 18-inch beeswax candles from West Shore Designs. They come in three colors, are nice and straight (which is rare in the handmade world) and burn perfectly evenly.

I don’t know how to categorize the terrarium I bought at Doodle Bird Designs. But it’s so cute. It’s a little fantasy world in a 4-inch sphere. The item I wanted was sold out, but she made a special order for me. So nice.

Buying handmade is a personal experience. So much nicer than going to a large, faceless store. You get the best quality customer service at affordable prices. The products are creative and original.

Support handmade!

Etsy purchases

Fingerless Mittens

fingerless gloves

Bella wears them in the Twilight movie and that’s all anybody needed to know.

Fingerless mittens are IN.

They are warm, versatile and look so cute peeking out from the sleeve of a jacket or sweater. And they leave your fingers free. I tried to crochet my own pair and they came out two different sizes but they still work for me.

I wouldn’t gift them in their crooked state. If I were giving them as a present, I would look on They have a huge selection of fingerless gloves and mittens. Try this search link for the latest.

Or if you’re feeling adventurous, look on for free knit and crochet patterns.

Some have finger holes, some only have a hole for the thumb, some just cover the wrist. All are adorable.

I’m on Etsy


Don’t know what Etsy is?

It’s a place to buy and sell handmade items. I’ve been making soaps and other bath products and have put a few of my products in my etsy shop. I’ll be adding more this week.

My shop name is Blushing Rose. I named it after a character in one of my favorite books, Aristoi by Walter Jon Williams.

Click here to see what I’m selling in my shop.

Have you ever bought or sold anything on etsy?

Low-Fat Holiday Dips


Why start the new year packing on the pounds? Try these delicious low-fat dips at your New Year’s bash.

Green Goddess Dressing and Dip

2 cups fresh basil or cilantro leaves
2 cups fresh parsley leaves
1 cup chopped scallions
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup reduced-calorie mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Enjoy with fresh cut veggies such as carrot sticks or cucumber slices or use as a salad dressing.

Spinach-Parmesan Dip

1/2 pound raw spinach, cooked and drained
1 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
5 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender to desired consistency. This also makes a great sauce for grilled chicken or pasta.

Recipes from

Cure for Chocoholism

chocolate syrup

Remember when I said I was making truffles.

Well, this Christmas I made loads of truffles and boxed them up as gifts. My entire house was filled with the scent of chocolate. This sounds like a bonus, doesn’t it?

Well, if you ever need a break from chocolate, try making tons of it. You end up not being able to stand the cloying smell.

I’m sure I’ll get over it soon enough. But right now, I can’t even think about eating a piece of candy.

Do You Knit or Crochet?


If the answer is yes, or you would like to learn, then join

It’s an online community for yarn lovers. It is still in beta but there are thousands of members already. You need to request an invitation and it will take a few days.

I officially joined today. It took about a week to get my invitation. I’ve already uploaded an Alpaca scarf project I’ve been crocheting and I’m keeping track of my wool supplies.

Give it a try. Here is the URL:

Eggcellent Traditions

Colored Easter Eggs

Coloring eggs is a tradition dating back thousands of years.

According to Paas, the Easter Egg decorating eggsperts, ancient Persians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans used colored eggs to celebrate Spring.

In the thirteen century, Macedonians were the first Christians to use colored eggs at Easter time. The tradition soon spread throughout Europe.

Choose from Paas traditional kits or try one of the funkier ones like, beaded, glow-in-the-dark, tye-dyed, scribblers or egg heads.

Paas traditional egg coloring kitPaas beaded eggsPaas Glow Kit

Paas Tie-Died KitPaas Scribblers KitPaas Egg Head Kit

Buying and Making Future Christmas Heirlooms

Holly and Ivy

As soon as Thanksgiving came to a close I started putting up Christmas decorations.

I decided to make a few crafty things but I also bought some interesting Christmas characters.

The glittery ladies you see above are from The Penny McAllister Collection 2005. I just love their faces. Here they are in detail.

Ivy closeup

Holly closeup

I’ve dubbed them Holly and Ivy.

I also picked up this little drummer boy. He’s signed Lori C. Mitchell. I’ve named him Chuck. Isn’t he darling?

Chuck the Drummer Boy

I love little birds, so I bought this candle holder with three little birdies. It’s not signed. All of these items were purchased at The Corner Cottage in Manhattan Beach, CA.

Birds candle holder

For the crafty part of my decor, I bought this wreath at Michael’s craft store for $2.99 and decorated it with balls and packages designed for a mini tree. Most of them had wires attached so I didn’t need to use a glue gun. I put this whole thing together in about 10 minutes.

Christmas Wreath

Christmas Wreath detail

Are you making any decorations for the holidays?

Holly and Ivy

I Am Not Martha Stewart

Martha StewartA couple of years ago I bought a sewing machine. I was going to learn to make my own things. You know, pillows and clothes and stuff.

It came with an instructional VHS tape. I set up my machine and followed the tape to learn how to sew. It seemed easy enough. Then, I put the sewing machine in a closet to collect dust for a couple of years.

Something possessed me recently to buy some patterns. Aye aye aye. I’ve never had anything I’ve purchased ship so fast in my life. I think I must have been shopping and couldn’t find anything in the stores that I liked so I decided to make my own clothes.

So here I am with three patterns that I have absolutely no idea what to do with. To be honest I can’t even find the sewing machine any more. I wonder if I lent it to someone. I can’t remember.

I have this habit of trying to do everything my self.

So now I have determined to say this 10 times a day, “I am not Martha Stewart, I am not Martha Stewart.” No offense to Martha. I’m sure she’s a very nice lady. I like her TV show and her magazine. But I just can’t do all these things myself. I’ve been crocheting for christssake.

Stress Creator: Crocheting

Yarn Knot

I wrote too soon. Crocheting is very relaxing until you come to a big, frustrating knot in your yarn. Argh.

To prevent this, do a little preparation work:

One end of the wool will be coming from the center of the skein. Pull from this end and roll the yarn into a ball until you have unraveled and re-raveled the entire package. The opposite end of the wool will be wrapped around the outside. But it works easier if you pull from the center.

This exercise takes a little time, but will give you a chance to inspect the roll before you start crocheting.

Then you can start relieving stress as I promised in my previous post.