Small Town Living

My friend Tina and her husband Paul are producing a WONDERFUL on-line magazine called Small Town Living.  This magazine comes out every other month and is full of all kinds of wonderful stories, tutorials, travel information, farming news and so on.  This months edition contains articles on pumpkin carving, the benefits of bats, making natural dyes and much much more!

Small Town Living

If you have not yet had the privilege of reading this great magazine I highly suggest that you do.  You can view it at www.stliving.net and best of all it is 100% FREE!  Paul and Tina would really like to go to a print version within the next year. If you like what you read, PLEASE pass it on to a friend, blog about it, talk about it, do what you can so we can help them make their dream a reality!

P.S. Just as a side note – I wrote an article about my parents bed and breakfast, the Orchard House, and it appeared in the Dec 06/Jan 07 issue of Small Town Living.  So check it out while you are reading all of the other really great issues.

The Name Game

I found this on my friend Jenny’s Blog and thought I would play along too!

The Name Game

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car),
Scruffy Wrangler
2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie),
Mint Chocolate Chip Double Stuff Oreo (That’s a mouthful!)

3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name),
J-Koh

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal),
Yellow Sheep
5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, favorite city),
Diane Boston

*This one originally said “city you were born in” but that was too personal so I changed it

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first),
Koh-Ju
7. SUPERHERO NAME: (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink),
The Blue Beer

8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers),
Richard William
9. STRIPPER NAME: ( the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy),
Polo Twizzlers
10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names ),
Jean Joseph
And a few more…
11. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter),
Farnsworth Fairfax

12. SPY NAME/BOND GIRL: (your favorite season/holiday, flower).
Autumn Peonie

13. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” Nectarine Tankie
14. HIPPY NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree),
Slim Fast Willow

15. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”),
The Sewing Rain Tour

Who doesn’t love cupcakes? {In the Kitchen}

Who doesn’t love cupcakes?  Apparently some people! The following article appeared in the Ideas and Trends section of the NY Times.

Cupcakes

Don’t Even Think of Touching That Cupcake

Published: September 23, 2007

THE cupcake is at something of a crossroads. Edible icon of Americana, frosted symbol of comfort and innocence, it may not have faced such an identity crisis since first appearing in cookbooks sometime in the 18th century.

As we know, cupcakes have had a whopping resurgence: they are retro-food chic, the thing to eat for people in the know.

But cupcakes have also recently been marched to the front lines of the fat wars, banned from a growing number of classroom birthday parties because of their sugar, fat and “empty calories,” a poster food of the child obesity crisis. This was clear when children returned to school this month to a tightening of regulations, federal and state, on what can be served up between the bells.

And it has led some to wonder whether emotional value, on occasion, might legitimately outweigh nutritional value.

Schools trying to bring parents to the table in efforts to root out fat and sugar have faced what Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition at New York University who strongly supports limiting sweets in schools, calls “the cupcake problem.”

When included on lists of treats that parents are discouraged or forbidden to send to school — and when those policies are, say, put to a vote at the P.T.A. — “cupcakes are deal breakers,” Professor Nestle said. “It sounds like a joke, but it’s a very serious problem on a number of levels. You have to control it.”

While the merits of banning goodie bags filled with Reese’s and Skittles seem obvious — especially at a time when the risk of childhood diabetes is high for American children — many parents draw the line at cupcakes.

This could have something to do with the fact that in the modern age, the cupcake may be more American than apple pie — “because nobody is baking apple pies,” Professor Nestle explained.

The confection is so powerfully embedded in the national consciousness — and palate — that its future is quite possibly the only cause to unite Texas Republicans and at least some left-wing foodies behind a singular mission: keep the cupcake safe from harm.

“I think the wholesale banning of parents’ bringing cupcakes as a legal issue is over the top,” said Rachel Kramer Bussel, a former sex columnist for The Village Voice who founded the Web site “Cupcakes Take the Cake” three years ago.

The Texas Legislature agreed, in spirit, when it passed the “Safe Cupcake Amendment,” in 2005, in response to new federal child nutrition guidelines and lobbying from parents outraged by the schoolroom siege on cupcakes.

After the amendment passed, a blogger on Homesick Texan wrote: “i don’t think it necessarily warrants all the hubbub, or the intervention of legislature to intervene on behalf of the cupcake. … but then, another part of me is screaming ‘CUPCAKES!!!’ because they just make people happy.”

Hillary Clinton perhaps was aware of this when on David Letterman’s show recently she listed as No. 9 of her Top 10 campaign promises, “Each year on my birthday everyone gets a cupcake.”

As Ms. Kramer Bussel, who organizes monthly cupcake meet-ups in New York City, said, “If you bring cupcakes to a party, you are so popular.”

Until the late 1990s, the cupcake often shared the mental dessert pantry with canned peaches and ambrosia; it was nostalgia food, mom-in-an-apron food, happy food.

But then cupcakes took a very chic turn. Trend-setting bakeries like Magnolia, the Greenwich Village cupcake empire, arrived on the scene; by 2005, a parody music video on “Saturday Night Live,” which was later viewed more than five million times on YouTube, included the lyrics, “Let’s hit up Magnolia and mack on some cupcakes.”

And now the new cupcake, having drifted so far from Betty Crocker, is facing fierce competition from the retro cupcake, which is the new, new cupcake that is really the old cupcake.

Americans still find time to whip up some batter and slide a tray in the oven. It’s easy, and the appeal is multifaceted. Cupcakes are portable, cute and relatively inexpensive. They are also “feminine and girlie,” Ms. Kramer Bussel said, so the majority of cupcake bakers and fans are women.

Cupcake is a term of endearment, but it can also be a rather mean-spirited word. “Cupcake teams” in sports are said to be soft and easily crushed. As food, though, cupcakes are democratic; everyone gets one. And they are libertarian; individual and independent compared with communal cakes, which may not have enough slices for everyone.

Across the Atlantic, where cupcakes have become increasingly popular in the last few years, some bakers said they were perplexed by word of an American cupcake crackdown.

“Over here people think it’s a bit like this innocent cake,” said Jemma Wilson, owner of Crumbs and Doilies, a new cupcake bakery in London. “And it seems more dignified and civilized to eat one portion, unless you kind of eat 10, which obviously happens a lot.”

A sub-debate within the cupcake debate has revolved around whether the meaning of cupcakes has been lost — and it’s not pretty.

Can the cupcake loyalist support the sale of a chocolate Guinness cupcake with green-tea cream-cheese frosting? Has the cupcake been stolen from the people by the baking aristocracy?

For a sense of how charged the subject is, consider what happened in July, when Magnolia Bakery, having vaulted to fad status by an appearance on “Sex and the City,” was briefly shut down by the city health department for not having enough sinks at its Greenwich Village establishment.

“At last!” said a blogger posting on Eater.com. “We neighbors get relief from cupcakistas who don’t realize Duncan Hines makes better-tasting cupcakes.”

After a long debate thread, another blogger wrote, “You people need to go back to the suburbs … Seriously, bunch of grown up New York City residents obsessing over a cupcake shop. I miss the gunfire and crackheads.”

I thought I had seen everything but this take the cake…er…CUPCAKE!

Looking for more of what I have been up to {In the Kitchen}? Click the logo below for more!

Yo-yo’s

When I first got back into sewing about a year ago I kept hearing about yo-yo’s. I was wondering what in the world all these sewers were so interested in yo-yo’s for.  What does two wooden disks and a string have to do with sewing?  Boy did I feel dumb when someone finally answered this question for me!

These are YoYo’s

//bleulune.typepad.com

I had seen them as a child in my Great Grandmothers house.  She had pillows covered with them and blankets and dolls made out of them. I was always intrigued by them but NEVER knew them as YoYo’s!  How dumb of me!

Well as it turns out, yoyo’s are VERY popular in the sewing world and are incredibly fun and easy to make.  They are great for using up all those scraps of fabric you have laying around.  Flickr even has a few groups devoted to the YoYo! Here is a link to one: http://www.flickr.com/groups/yoyogaga/ .

My friend Sunshine from MaryJanesFarm is probably the QUEEN of yoyo’s! I think she probably make about 200 of them a day!  Sunshine loves making the things and often has great yoyo related posts over at her blog.  Currently she has a tutorial for the “Squared Up YoYo”.  Here is a preview:

 

Please visit Sunshine’s blog and check out her great tutorials!

http://sunshinescreations.vintagethreads.com/

P.S. Did you know that yoyo’s were Fashionable?  I found this picture in the fall issue of Adorn Magazine!

CROQ Zine

Zines are like magazines only a little smaller and they are usually independently written and published. CROQ zine is probably my favorite! It is ” For Crafter. By Crafters.” and every issue is chock full of crafty goodness.  At only $4.00 these little issues are well worth the price. Each issue contains article on relevent issues for crafters, tutorials for craft projects, recipes, funny stories and lots of other stuff.  You can order CROQ online at www.croqzine.com or www.croq.etsy.com .   The new October issue should be out any day now. All back issues are also available for order.

Coming Soon…NEW CURTAINS!!!

Or I should just say…CURTAINS because there aren’t any old ones!  I have never put curtains in the living room.  When Richie and I got married we were both still in college and were dirt poor and living off loan money.  Since the only thing I brought into the marriage was dishes (I worked at a pottery store before we got married) and the only thing Richie brought was a car and a house (okay I guess that is a lot) we depended on family and friends to loan and/or give us most of the furnishings for our house.  Every thing was mismatched and it wasn’t our goal to hang onto the stuff for a long time.  About 4 years ago we were both finally employed and we purchased a really nice brown bomber leather couch and recliner and gave back or passed on all the furniture we had aquired.  It was nice because it finally started to feel like our house.  I began thinking about curtains.  I wanted some curtains I just couldn’t decide which color was best.  We have a red recliner as well so I thought maybe red.  I looked and looked for fabric but just never found anything that “spoke” to me. So we continued to be curtainless.  Well last week I was browsing purlsoho.com the online market for the legendary fabric and yarn store in New York City and I found the PERFECT fabrics for my living room curtains.

I ordered a couple yards of each and they just arrived today! They are so beautiful.  I washed the fabrics and while they were in the dryer I sketched out what my curtains would look like and figured all my measurements.  After I pressed them I cut out all my pieces.  I need to go to the fabric store to look for a trim I have in mind before I can finish them. I am so excited though.  I even have enough extra fabric that I will be able to make some pillows for the couch.  I hope to have them finished and in place this weekend. I will be sure to post before and after pictures!

In the Forest

My fall line of iPod  Covers and purses is going to be “In the Forest”.  I posted my first fall item into my shop today. It is a mushroom iPod cover.  I have some really cute things in the works so keep checking back!

Giving and Donating

Giving time and donations to people and organizations that are in need is a really great thing.  My husband and I have been really blessed in our lives and we try to “give back” as much as we can.  Donating can be done in a variety of ways. Clothing and household items can be given to stores such as the Salvation Army and Goodwill.  Churches and women’s shelters also often look for items such as these.  There are a lot of organizations that will accept food donations from food pantry’s, shelters and churches.  Many businesses run food drives during the holiday season or in the summer when children are no longer being provided meals at school.  There are thousands of organizations that will accept monitary donations.  But we can not forget that donating time can also be very valuable.  Finding a way to be involved in your community will give you great feelings of joy and purpose.

Last year I had a close friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Although I had known many women in my life who were affected by this disease this woman was the first whom I truly considered to be a friend.  My friend was one of the lucky ones.  Early detection was helpful.  She chose to have a masectomy and reconstructive surgery rather than deal with chemo and other harsh treatments.  They were able to remove all of the cancerous tissue and today she is cancer free.  While the outcome was good for her the scars are still there.  Reconstructive surgery helped ease the loss of her breast but it has still been a difficult road.  My friend shouldn’t have had to suffer and neither should the thousands of women who walk this same road each year.

October is traditionally known as Breast Cancer Awareness month. I have decided to get the ball rolling a little early.  I just signed up for the Race For The Cure which will be held in Little Rock in mid October.  I have also designed a special iPod cover for my shop that supports breast cancer reseach.

Susan G. Komen

Right now in my shop you can purchase the Susan G. Komen Benefit iPod Cover for $12.00.  $10.00 of the sale will go directly to the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the remaining $2.00 will go to cover my production and shipping costs.  If you are intersted in purchasing one of these iPod covers you can go to http://willowartist.etsy.com .

Gettin’ Serious About Business

School has now been in session for two and a half weeks.  I LOVE my job. I teach art and it is a blast. It is also very stressful. I love to create things on my own but I find when I am teaching I have no energy left when I get home.  I come home dog tired and barely get dinner on the table before I collapse on the couch.

I love sewing and I love making things with felt.  I also enjoy drawing, painting and lots of other things.  I have been selling things online for just about a year now. I have done okay but I haven’t really pushed sales, advertised or even consistently added inventory.  These are all things I REALLY need to be doing if I want to get serious about this business.

If I were to quit teaching and go full time at my crafting business I would have to make a profit of 75 to 100 dollars a day in order to be able to afford it.  I am not looking to get rich but my school loans are a BEAST!  Currently I make an average of about 50 dollars a week!  Basically I make just enough money to support the purchase of more felt and fabric.

I recently came across this book.

This book is amazing and has really got me thinking about focusing my direction and getting more serious about my crafting business.  This book has answered some really important questions about starting a business.  Since it is geared toward crafting it was a perfect match.

I am currently in the process of drafting a business plan along with both short and long-term business goals.  I hope you join me as I go through this very scary and exciting journey of starting a crafting business!

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