Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Item of the day: Deconstruction Cups

I've been blog crazy today! So many different things to blog about!! But I mustn't forget the item of the day!

Today's item and shop was found through Pounce. This Etsy feature allows you to view brand new shops that haven't had a sale yet. I was struck by the simple beauty of these cups by rossedwardsdesign:They're so awesome... I want to drink my orange juice out of these each morning. Or my tea for that matter.

You should really check out these stunning hanging lamps by Ross as well. Absolutely breathtaking!

Giveaway Winner

The winner of my hearts giveaway, doublecatbatik, received her contest winnings recently. I was happy to see that she blogged about it ~ and that she loved the goodies I sent. She also sent me some great feedback, check it out:

It was so fantastic to open the package. The earrings are cool. I am not an earring person, but I have worn these three days so far and I am loving them! I can hear them tink when I move my head. Makes me feel pretty.

Comments like these give me inspiration to create even more! Back to the craft table tonight!

Award Winner!

I just received a brilliant blog award from Diane over at Diane's Mixed Art. I'm really excited to get one of these ~ I've been putting a bit more work into my blog and I feel as though this means it's getting noticed.

Now I have to pass along the honour and give this award to some blogs I think deserve it. After looking through my Google Reader, these are the ones I most look forward to reading each day:

A print a day
Jessica Jane
Misses Kwitty
Katelyn Jane
Fur Will Fly
Bower Birdz

Recipe: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

It's been a while since I posted a recipe, and after devouring nearly 2 dozen of these muffins in as many days, I figured these would be a perfect fall recipe. I had a can of pumpkin and I wanted to use it, plus I love pumpkin baked goods.

So I searched for some recipes online and found a few that sounded good. But I wanted to add oatmeal, so I borrowed from a few different recipes and made my own!

Now I just have to remember exactly what I did...

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Dry Ingredients

2 cups flour
1 1/4 cup oats
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp allspice
1 bag of chocolate chips

Wet ingredients

4 eggs
2/3 cup apple sauce
1/3 cup oil
1 can pumpkin puree (28 oz)


1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Mix all dry ingredients except chocolate chips.
You could substitute whole wheat flour with the oats, but I love oatmeal muffins so I specifically wanted to include this. I started out with 1 cup of oats, but then I realized my can of pumpkin is larger than the "can" called for in all my other recipes. So I added a bit extra at the end.
I'm also a big fan of ginger, so I think I ended up adding a bit more than a teaspoon. The dark brown spice is allspice. Some of the recipes I had called for ground cloves and nutmeg, neither of which I had. So I used allspice and it turned out great!
Don't forget to add in the sugar. And always firmly pack in the brown sugar unless otherwise noted.There, now mix all the dry ingredients together.

3. Mix all the wet ingredients together.I really liked the thought of adding in some apple sauce. I figured it would help keep the muffins moist, and replaced plain old water or extra oil in some other recipes.
So most recipes called for maximum 15 oz of pumpkin. I was going to use only 1/2 of my 28 oz can... but who can resist? The beautiful orange looked so pretty with the yellow eggs. And more pumpkin just means more moist, right? Either way, mix all that together.

4. Add dry ingredients to the wet. Now mix it gently with a spoon, and DON'T OVERMIX!!! Just make sure to get all the dry powder wet and then stop. This picture shows dough that still needs a bit of mixing.

5. Fold in the chocolate chips. Again, DON'T OVERMIX! Just stir until the chips are evently distributed. If you aren't a big chocolate fan, use a cup or so, but if you're like me, just dump in the whole bag. Use whatever kind of chocolate you prefer ~ I went for milk chocolate.

Of course, right around now I got excited and forgot about taking pictures. But you should be able to get it.

6. Line your muffin pan with paper cups, and fill each cup with a scoop of batter. I used about 2 heaping tablespoonfuls, but then I like big muffins. My mom uses an ice cream scoop and swears by that.

7. Bake for about 20 minutes. The timing depends on how full you've stuffed your muffin cups, but 18-20 min should just about do it.

Try not to eat a dozen a day...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Item of the day: Elegance

Since I missed a couple of days recently, I'm featuring two pairs of earrings today - and I think they really complement each other. First I'll start with the light:These sea opal briolettes are handwrapped in sterling silver wire by TheCrazyDaisy. Opals are a huge favourite of mine, and I found these while searching Etsy for them. I love the shimmer of colour throughout the stone.

And now for the dark:These dark elegance earrings feature a crystal vitrail Swarovski crystal teardrop handwrapped in sterling silver by queenb. I love how the same colours that appear in the opal are intensified by the black of these crystals.

I think if you had a pair of each of these, you'd be pretty well set. There'd be no need for any other earrings... unless you're addicted to them like I am!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Item of the day: Killer Cattails

I was searching though Etsy for long-sleeved shirts since I'm going to need some this winter. I want this one by ellembee:
The colour is great, and the design reminds me of home: there's a little swamp with cattails beside my parents house. I just might have to get this for myself...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Item of the day: cobalt and cranberry

These awesome bowls first caught my eye in a beautiful treasury... now I can't remember if that was on the front page or not, or who put it together. But more importantly, these cobalt and cranberry bowls:Hand-thrown by utilemud, these bowls are the perfect size for ice cream, cereal and a soup. I love the bold (bowled?) colour on the inside.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Item of the day: Wisteria Tree

I feel bad... I didn't post an item of the day yesterday. I was so incredibly busy. And today will be too. But tomorrow is the deadline, so this weekend will be one of relaxation, crafting and cooking. I can't wait.

But first, an item that caught my attention ~ from the front page of Etsy: This adorable little Wisteria tree is made by winsomehollow, a favourite seller of mine. I love the soft blue pattern, and these little trees are just too sweet! I want a whole forest for my shelf!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

7 Random things about me...

I'm excited! I've been tagged by BowerBirdz! That means you get to learn 7 random facts about me!

1. To start at the very beginning, like BowerBirdz did, I was born... blue. While my mom was in labor, she started to really complain of her contractions. The nurses were all talking, and thought she was exaggerating, and not yet that close to giving birth. So, without checking her, they sat her up, leaned her over, and gave her an epidural (shot in the back). Once she lied back down, they were surprised to see that mom had been sitting on my head the whole time! Mom only remembers them carrying off a blue things... then the drugs kicked in.

2. I was also born with my left toes touching my shin, my foot bent all the way forward. All mom had to do was stretch my foot down daily, and I was fine in a couple of months.

3. I used to get my (one year) older brother to play Barbie (he was Ken) and stuffed animals with me. I had lots of stuffed animals, but my favourites were the Simba and Nala (The Lion King) with magnets in their noses. We would almost always play school, and of course Simba was the cool one. Awesomly, I played Simba, and my brother played Nala. HAHAHA!

We would also played cars in the sandbox, making sand/mud houses, so my brother wasn't that warped.

4. I skipped grade 7 (and since we went to a small school, my brother and I were in the same class for grade 8). Then I did an honours co-op program for my undergrad, which was 5 years instead of 4, so I'm no longer the youngest in my class.

5. I met my boyfriend Pat on the bus to Canada's Wonderland, a trip they put on for the kids on the honour roll. This was right at the end of grade 10 (he was in grade 11, and so 2 years older than me). I didn't see much of him again until my friend James put on a party. Pat's sister (my age) wanted to go because she kind of had a thing for James, so Pat had to go. He's so glad he did though, because we spent the night talking and he got my number off my other friend (jellybeans) who had kind of been seeing his friend. hahahaha confused yet?

So, Pat and I have been together for just over 7 years. No, we're not engaged yet... tsh, what is he waiting for??? Just kidding! I know what he's waiting for: money for a ring!

6. I've only travelled outside of Canada once. I went to a smooth muscle conference in Providence, Rhode Island last year. Plus, I've only travelled outside of the province of Ontario a half dozen times or so, and only to Quebec (a few little towns a couple hours drive away from Nipissing, the township where Pat and I grew up, and once to Montreal for a trip with friends).

7. I'm a bibliophile. I love books. I collect books. Well, sort of. I just don't like giving them away after I've bought them. And I don't like just borrowing from the library, because I may want to read it again. It's becoming a problem, especially since we don't have much room in our small one-bedroom apartment!
(The Bookworm by Carl Spitzweg)

OK, there! 7 random (not-so-weird) things about me! It was a little harder coming up with things than I thought!

And now I get to tag 7 people... they are: jellybeans, Nickileigh, jvdarcy, furwillfly, Silver, Jessicajane, and lemondropstudio.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Item of the day: Tea Bird

Now that the cold weather is here, I've been drinking a lot more tea. So when I saw this cutie by kwilson544, I just couldn't resist:That's right. Sweet little Sylvia is flying over to live on my wall, along with a few other birds I've been collecting. Isn't she just adorable?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Item of the day: free to fly

I spotted this cute little linen clutch on the front page. Of course, brezomayo was already a favourite shop of mine, but I just had to feature this particular item:The hand-embroidered bird is just too cute, and linen is one of my favourite fabrics. The stripe of rich mustard fabric, the linen doily, and the buttons just adds to this little purse's charm and make it the perfect clutch for fall!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Item of the day: slim stacking rings

I came across these stacking rings today in the critique forums... PaysonWinters was asking about pricing. I think they're priced too low, so get them while you can!Aren't they beautiful?

Saturday, September 20, 2008


I snagged a treasury today! You can find it HERE. I featured the awesome artists (and my new friends) from the More Meaningful Gifts BnR. There's really a great bunch of people taking part in this BnR, so much fun to talk to! And we really help each other out ~ I'm featured in 2 treasuries made by 2 of the girls in the BnR. THIS ONE is by jvdarcy:
And THIS ONE is by Nickileigh:If you want to join this great group, click on the link above. However, we do use a new thread each day, so to make it a little easier to find us, just search "More Meaningful Gifts" when on the forums page. We should be right at the top of the list! Not only will you find great products, but you'll make a few friends along the way! I look forward to seeing you there ~ tell them Ulixis sent you!

Item of the day: spooky jack-o-lantern

So I'm already thinking about Christmas, but I have to remember, fall and Halloween come first. When I came across this candle holder, I just had to feature it:It was created by LetYourLightShine and is soooooo spooky! I think this picture of it is excellent too. I came across this through this More Meaningful Gifts BnR I'm taking part in. All of the people are really friendly and helpful, and I've had a blast talking to them each day. My sales have also gone up since joining, so that's really exciting! If you're an Etsy seller, you should definitely check it out!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Item of the day: coolest cloud

I fell in love today. With ArgyleWhale. Don't tell Pat.

Too bad she's married...

This cloud print made me laugh out loud, for real. So I had to post it today:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Item of the day: pumpkin earrings

I was browsing through the Halloween gift guide and came across these adorable pumpkin earrings by ivcreations55:I love the warm colours that, as opposed to shocking orange, will be more wearable year round. I love the extra little curlicue... having grown pumpkins myself, I know the plant actually grows these little curls. I think it's because it's a vine of sorts, and helps to anchor itself (but I'm no expert gardener). Snag them while you can, I think they'll be sold very quickly!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Item of the day: button tag tote

Whenever Pat and I do groceries, we always bring tote bags with us so we don't use up any plastic ones. None of them are handmade, but I might have to change that soon since some of them are starting to rip. The other day, this tote bag by LAMdesigns was on the front page and caught my eye:
I love the green inside, and I especially love the button detailing on the front:You should check LAMdesigns out ~ there's a sale going on right now!


So this morning I checked where my hearts were... and I was sitting at 275. I decided to host a spur of the moment giveaway! The next 25 people who hearted me where entered into a draw for a really great prize! It didn't take long for me to make it to 300 hearts. With the help of a random number generator (#8 was chosen) I had a winner......


I was so pleased! This seller is super sweet, has a really cute bunny (with her own blog) and has a great shop. In fact, just the other day I bought this from her:
Isn't it a beautiful garland? Each star is tied to the next, so they can be given as little favours... but I'm not going to do that. I'm going to decorate my tree with it. And my living room the rest of the year.

So what did doublecatbatik win? Well, I haven't exactly decided yet, but it will include:
  • a set of my bacterial notecards
  • a set of mini notebooks
  • a piece of jewelry
  • the next Klimt goddess in my series!
Thanks to everyone who hearted me! I'm at 302 hearts now!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Gustav Klimt

Two days ago, I couldn't have told you who Gustav Klimt was. Now, his name comes out of my mouth nearly every second sentence! I wanted to tell you about my journey with Klimt.

As I'm sure I've mentioned before, I take part in a weekly challenge / ACEO (art card, editions & original ~ mini pieces of art measuring 2.5x3.5") swap. MAMMA's swap to be specific. This week's challenge was Klimt. I had to google him to discover his very recognizable paintings.

I wasn't sure how to make my ACEO. So I compiled a Klimt treasury for inspiration.
I soon realized that Klimt's style is very similar to mine. Here are a few sketches from some of my notebooks as examples.This one is from my high school notebook, dated November 2003, using markers. Again from my high school notebook, dated November 2003, also with marker. I (heart) Pat draw in swirls.More of the same - dated November 2003, my name (Amanda) in marker.This one is from a notebook I made for myself, and is dated September 2007. One page is filled with circles, the other with triangles. I used markers, highlighters, pencil crayons and pens.Finally, this one is from my moleskine notebook and is dated sometime in the summer 2008. These pages are filled with orange pen squares.

Now Klimt's style not only includes intricate patterns such as these, but often centres on a strong female figure, often with a phallic shape, bent neck and bright red hair. Warm colours, such as spicy orange, deep red and gold, are very predominant in his work. So I decided to include these elements in my ACEO. I decided to use a mixed-media collage technique.

NOTE: Since my camera's adaptor is still broken, and the new one isn't in yet, these pictures were all scanned. So the beauty of the collage and the brightness of the papers is a little off.

This is my Klimt Aphrodite, she was my first: I had planned on making this for the swap... but I can't part with her. She is too beautiful! I used patterned paper for everything, then used pencil crayons to draw in her hair, features, the design on her dress and on the background. I also used gold paint and a polka-dot stamp on the background.

I love her so much, I just had to make more! This is Hera, and she is being swapped for MAMMA's challenge:I'm also swapping a few ACEO's with bellsakabin, so I made a goddess, Artemis, for her too: This time, I used more pastel colours, since that is more my style than Klimt. I also drew the flowers in felt-tip pen instead of collaging them.

I'm going to add to my Klimt goddess series, but I'm not certain if I should change up the goddesses pose or not. I'll have to think about it... let me know what you think!

Item of the day: measure

Today featured shop, lusummers, has been in my favourites for quite some time. I noticed one of her mixed media creations on the front page, and decided to show you my favourite item in her shop.This blue notebook has also been in my favourites for a long time. I love her signature flower print, as well as her use of a variety of vintage collage elements.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Item of the day: Moments Remembered

I participate in an ACEO swap (MAMMA's) where we have a new challenge each week. We must interpret each weeks theme, and create an ACEO for swapping. It has been a lot of fun. This week's challenge is Gustav Klimt, an artist you may or may not have heard of ~ but I'll guarantee you've seen at least one of his magnificent paintings (most likely The Kiss).

The reason I mention all this is that while searching Etsy for some inspiration, I came across today's item of the day: This gorgeous painting of Frida by wjcatnip was inspired by Klimt, and I thought her angelic expression was perfect for today's feature.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Item of the day: little green trees

Let me remind you of these AWESOME Swiss Alpine plates I got a while ago. I LOVE that vintage china pattern. Well, look what I found on the front page today: That's right, this ring by TheBrokenPlate is made with a small piece of a Swiss Alpine plate. It makes me a little sad that the plate was broken, but I trust is was before this ring was made. And really, what better way to make lemonade out of lemon! It turned into a beautiful ring!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Item of the day: multi-coloured oak leaf

Today's item of the day is sold already ... to me! I can't wait to get it!Made by marriageofmetal, this copper oak leaf was heated to produce the violet/brown/red/blue variations. It's just so beautiful and unique ~ I absolutely love it!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Item of the day: Super Flower Fairy Tree

I have 2 reasons to feature this beautiful tree pendant today. The first is that it's gorgeous ~ I love these wire trees, but I especially love the use of flower and leaf-shaped beads. The second reason is much more important. While the creator of this beautiful piece is starsb117, it was donated to alysonscure. I think the shop announcements and profile say it best:

We are a collective of artisans who have come together to help out a very special little girl named Alyson. Alyson was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and is undergoing treatment at Denver Children's Hospital.

Alyson is a three year old girl who has been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. She enjoys playing with her brother, play doh, fisher price little people, dolls and watching TV. (Her Mom thinks she does a little too much of the latter.)

Her website is at alyson.mystyl.us , where you can read more about her and her family and keep updated on how she is doing on her journey to a cure.

Her website says that she has around 3 more years of chemo, but is now officially in remission (meaning the doctors can't find cancer cells in the small sample of bone marrow they've taken). Please keep her in your thoughts, and do check out the shop and lend your support.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Item of the day: Here Comes the Sun

Today's item of the day is from a seller I met while taking part in a BnR. BnR stands for buy and replace. There's a list of featured shop, and if you buy from them, your shop takes their place! I've really been enjoying the "more meaningful gifts" BnR that's run by dorana. Just search that title in the forums, there's a new thread each day.

Now on the the featured print, Here Comes the Sun by MatthewHamblen:I love the vivid, rolling colours, especially in the clouds. All his paintings have so much movement and life ~ Matt is truly a talented artist. Why don't you lend him some support?

Sewing Projects

So I've been meaning to post about my recent sewing projects, but was having trouble with my cameras adaptor so it didn't happen until now. After my pincushion, I wasn't too sure what to make. I wanted to make a seat cover but never really got around to it. I got in a bunch of great fabric, and just wasn't sure.
So I decided to embellish my lab coat before the lab I TA started. Just something simple. So I sewed ribbon onto the pockets. Of course, I didn't have enough of one colour for all three. So I went with black for the two larger pockets:
And burgundy for the smaller one:
I picked a ribbon with a subtle polka-dot pattern. My supervisor / boss / program coordinator Denis noticed. And asked why I hadn't done the sleeves too. Maybe for next week.

Next, while at the grocery store, I picked up a magazine called Sew Simple (vol 10). I found this great pattern for a pillow cover, envelope-style:
I used fabric I received from fabricsupplies: Joel Dewberry - buttercup in deep water. This fabric supplies shop was really easy to work with, putting together a custom order for me no problem. And shipping was pretty speedy too.
Here's a close-up of the flap. I need to work on my pattern making and cutting... it wasn't exactly straight... I also used a button instead of a loop and chopstick the instructions called for. But my machine did both the button hole and the button, so I was quite impressed with that. The inside of the flap is lined with Amy Butler - seeds in okra. I really like how the fabrics contrast yet still match. All in all, I'm quite pleased. Next, I really want to make fabric napkins. I just have to decide on whether they'll be single or double-sided, and whether I should make them "quilted" in order to show off more fabric.