Monday, April 30, 2012

mcm vol 13

it's a lie. no mcm today. it's my blog, i can say screw it i don't want to put a post up if i'm not feeling like it, right? i feel a touch guilty about not posting something spectacular for everyone to gawk at and wish they owned. but i'm feeling cranky and just uninspired. 

cranky pants trisha is my name today. 

the plague of 2012 has about run its course - i have 2 more days on meds, and just a very slight cough left so that is a positive in my life. 

the other positive and exciting thing that was happening was we were making progress on our front yard gardens-  building beds and having a plan. (pictures and update to follow on wednesday) but just when you think things are going in the right direction...those damn lemons start falling.

the lemon - a notice on our door from the "code enforcer" - all it said was "sorry i missed you, please contact us to set up an appointment" in scribbled writing on the side it says "in regard to planter boxes". great. just great. we have no idea what this is all about. are they going to tell us we flat out can't have them?  is there some ridiculous law on planter boxes? no front yard gardens? (don't even get me started on that rant/vent i could post about that topic) are they too big? too close to the sidewalk? what is it? i had to call and leave a message for the guy. 

i am going to be very extremely upset if they are saying we flat out have to remove them. especially seeing that the MAYOR stopped by our house on sunday to discuss them (more on that wednesday too - yes i'm a snot and keeping the happy, yay it's a garden! memories to post on wednesday!) 

i know i shouldn't get upset before i know what they are going to tell us not to do. because obviously there is something we have apparently done wrong for the codes guy to come knocking on our door. but i can't help it. i fixate on things. i get frustrated and then that's all i can think about. booo on that as being one of my personality flaws. so with that. i'm going to find something to watch on netflix- eat some popcorn and sour patch kids and hope for the best tomorrow. best case scenario - we just have to move em not so close to the sidewalk. fingers crossed.

please don't be too mad at me for not posting what i was supposed is a fuzzy bunny to make everything a-okay and right with the world..

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Buy Handmade vol 3

Buy Handmade; Behind the Scenes brings you:

Name: Peter and Juwels

Tell us about yourselves:
alOha : )

We’re Peter and Juwels - husband and wife, creative partners, and most of all, best friends. We’ve had many creative projects over the years, but our most recent offering is a line of antique bottle-shaped beeswax candles. We see this concept as a fusion between historic charm and organic craftsmanship. Juwels and I have had a lot of extra time to create and play with new ideas since we made a slight change in our living situation. About three years ago, we left our fancy top-story loft and moved into a 1975 Winnebago Chieftain. We bought “Miss Winnie” with the idea that we’d spend a few weeks fixing her up and then start living the simple life. This wasn’t exactly the case. It was a bit more like building the pyramids … on a shoe string budget.

We received a lot of dubious looks from family and friends when we announced our plan to simplify our lives and expand our horizons. Even Juwels wasn’t so receptive when I first suggested that we sell off all our anchors and set sail in a hundred square foot box. “Think how much more time and money we’ll have for art and travel and health and friends. It’s totally sustainable, and we can live anywhere.” She may have been thinking about all the lovely furniture she’d collected over the years, some of which she built by hand, or her chef’s kitchen or large closet.

There was a lot to be sacrificed, no doubt, but I was taken by the idea, and continued to nibble away at her conventions. “And if we want to travel abroad, we won’t be paying thousands of dollars to hold our cement box. We’ll just put the Winnie in storage, and she’ll rest up until we come back.” The idea of traveling abroad won her over, and we first exercised that freedom when we flew across the Pacific to enjoy our four-month honeymoon in South East Asia. We stayed in hostels and thatched huts. We ate dollar curries with the locals on the edge of town and rented Vespas in place of expensive tours, but we were alive and present, and everything was new.

There’s much history leading up to our winnebago diaries: When we met, Juwels was a competitive skateboarder. She was sponsored by some pretty huge companies, appeared in magazines and flew over seas for photo shoots. I opened a skateboard shop fresh out of high school and patented a piece of skate equipment which makes sliding handrails and benches smoother and faster. In 2006, Juwels and I published a novel to great reviews. It briefly became required reading and then a banned book at a Los Angeles public school. Crazy enough,we were on campus speaking the day it was banned. We have too many passions and stories and projects to list here, but if you want to come along for the ride, jump on over to the winnebago diaries, where there’s always room for one more : ) 

When did you start creating?

From the finger paints and play dough, to the mash potato snowmen and paper boats … we all start off as curious beings, makers and learners. The challenge, though, is having the courage and determination to sail into the “real world” in your paper boat amidst a swirling sea of cargo ships from China. 

How would you describe your creative process?

Our creative process is kind of like a verbal, and slightly telepathic, game of ping pong. Ideas bounce back and forth across our little kitchen table, scattered with notes, tools, and materials, and when the ball suddenly unravels into a beautiful butterfly and floats around the room, neither of us know exactly who did what. It just is. And we love it.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Our inspiration comes from the great delight that we get from sharing. Whether it’s a new type of food, a piece of music, or a special tint in the sky, the instinct is always to nudge the person next to you and say, “check it out!” Creating things is just a wider reaching nudge.

Also, we’re always inspired by a good cause, and with this project in particular, there’s such a great opportunity for environmental and health progress. Most candles are made from chemical paraffin, a byproduct of petroleum. There’s been a lot of awareness lately about the hazards of burning petroleum into the open air from our cars, but what about burning it on the kitchen counter, bedside table, or in the meditation room?

Honey bees produce an organic, smokeless, ionizing, sweet smelling fuel. It burns longer and brighter than any other wax, and these days with millions of bees falling victim to Colony Collapse Disorder, it’s very important to employ as many bees as possible. They say that we vote with our dollar, so please vote for our buzzing bee boys. They need you : )

What is your most cherished handmade item?

Easy! Maybe it’s because we’ve given so much blood and life to it, or maybe it’s because we live within it’s finished seems, but as a whole, the Winnie is by far our most cherished handmade possession. For one, she’s sustainable, turning sun beams into music or night time electric light. Many appliances such as this computer, our air purifier, and the motor which pressurises our water pipes are fueled by the warm and renewable rays of the sun. We developed ways to recycle dish and bathing water to our garden or to flush the toilet, and the refrigerator needs no electricity at all, just LP gas. Which means we can have a glass of cold juice in the middle of the desert. Besides functionality, she’s a museum of projects and ideas, little nooks where days went by shaping out a curve or building a secret hiding spot. Ideas kept reinventing themselves and surprising us. I remember standing in the torn apart gully of the girl, saying, “I wish we could just snap our fingers and flash forward to see what she’s going to turn out like.” That’s the fun, being the performer and the audience. It’s kind of like planting flower seeds with a blindfold and then waiting for that first flash of color come spring.

Part of what made the outcome such a mystery was that most of our aesthetic materials were salvaged or secondhand, so we never knew what we were going to find. Our stained wood counter tops began as a few sheets of furniture grade plywood somebody left out in an alley, and our little claw foot bathroom vanity was stuffed headfirst into a dumpster and covered with ants. The ladder which hooks to the edge of our reclining bedroom was pulled out of an old motor home in the junkyard, and our kitchen sink was an antique wok which we found in a small shop in northern Viet Nam. Thick picture frames became crown moulding and window dressings. We connected with contractors for scrap bamboo flooring and carpet, found close out slate tile, and old copper water pipes began living lives as curtain rods. Day to day it was an effort and a surprise to see what we’d hammer out next. 

Apart from creating things, what do you like to do?

We’ve recently discovered an abandoned horse ranch near our studio. It’s a wonderland of wild edible plants, tree frogs, butterflies, raccoons, flamboyant skunks, and about a million feral cats and song birds …it’s an easy place to make a single Sunday afternoon feel like an entire year. The footpaths of this forgotten ranch have become our local escape these days, but other pleasures include: going to the hot springs to give the old birthday suits a soak. Having friends over and spending the night making food, telling stories, and laughing way too loud. Strolling the farmer’s markets, creating new recipes, thrift store hopping, people watching, bargaining massages out of each other, getting lost at the Rose Bowl swap meet, researching child prodigies, sliding across our bamboo floors in our warmest pair of socks, being nostalgic about whatever season we just left, and all sorts of other things which keep us young and deepen the smile lines below our eyes. We never run out of things to do and see and learn, but honestly, since we launched our last couple of projects, creating has been pretty full time for us. It’s a lot of work, but we’re like two friends in the same class, sneaking our little moments and notes all day long. We’re blessed.

Where would you like to see yourselves in ten years?

We dream of branching out beyond our little winnie stove and studio space to someday find the Pollen Arts home base on a simple, green piece of land with plenty of plants and animals, beehives, solar power, spring water, and open airy work spaces full of good people chatting over the music and pouring as much love and positive energy into the candles as we do now.

We’re currently renting a large studio space at an artist collective. Watching thirteen creative people, from all walks of life, live and work together has given us some pretty unique ideas about what we can do to keep our future team happy and healthy. Juwels will surely be passing around some of her raw food snacks and smoothies. Also, as they do in some Asian companies, we’d love to offer our people a morning yoga class for a warm up of the body and mind. And the idea of being able to offer a free on-site daycare/ arts and nature program for our people with small children really tickles our family bone. This way our moms and dads can have lunch with their little ones and enjoy a visit to the goat pen, flower gardens, or watch the chickens scratching up the soil.

Handmade is about bringing something into your life and home that was created by happy hands. We have many goals, and if you want to hear about phase two of our Pollen plans, “The Blue Bird Project”, you can read about it in our shop bio. Or just go checkout our candle shop and help us get our wings ; )

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Chemical free cleaners

Chemical free is the only way to go. Here is a great starter list of non toxic, homemade cleaners you can all make. It will save you money, save the planet and also be much better for your health.

Homemade Substitutions:

  • Baking Soda: cleans, deodorizes, scours
  • Soap: unscented soap in liquid form, flakes, powders or bars is biodegradable and will clean just about anything. (avoid any soaps that contain petroleum distillates)
  • Borax: cleans, deodorizes, disinfects, cleans wallpaper, painted walls and floors.
  • White vinegar: cuts grease, removes mildew, odors, some stains and wax build-up.
  • Washing soda: cuts grease, removes stains, cleans wall, tiles, sinks, tubs (do not use on aluminum)
  • Cornstarch: cleans windows, polish furniture, shampoo carpets and rugs
Porcelain and Tile Cleaners:

Baking Soda and Water: Dust surfaces with baking soda, then scrub with a moist sponge or cloth. If you have tougher grime, sprinkle on some kosher salt, and work up some elbow grease. 

Lemon Juice or Vinegar: Got stains, mildew or grease streaks? Spray or douse with lemon juice or vinegar. Let sit a few minutes, then scrub with a stiff brush. 

Disinfectant: Instead of bleach, make your own disinfectant by mixing 2 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of liquid soap and 20 to 30 drops of tea tree oil. It's easy!

Kitchens and Counters:

Baking Soda and Water: Reclaim counters by sprinkling with baking soda, then scrubbing with a damp cloth or sponge. If you have stains, knead the baking soda and water into a paste and let set for a while before you remove. This method also works great for stainless steel sinks, cutting boards, containers, refrigerators, oven tops and more.

Kosher Salt and Water: If you need a tougher abrasive sprinkle on kosher salt, and scrub with a wet cloth or sponge. 

Natural Disinfectant: To knock out germs without strong products, mix 2 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of liquid soap and 20 to 30 drops of tea tree oil. Spray or rub on countertops and other kitchen surfaces.

Windows and Mirrors

White Vinegar, Water and Newspaper: Mix 2 tablespoons of white vinegar with a gallon of water, and dispense into a used spray bottle. Squirt on, then scrub with newspaper, not paper towels, which cause streaking. 
If you're out of vinegar or don't like its smell, you can substitute undiluted lemon juice or club soda.
Carpets and Rugs

Beat Those Rugs: Take any removable rugs outside and beat the dust and hair out with a broom. 

Club Soda: You've probably heard the old adage that club soda works well on carpet stains. But you have to attack the mess right away. Lift off any solids, then liberally pour on club soda. Blot with an old rag. The soda's carbonation brings the spill to the surface, and the salts in the soda thwart staining. 

Cornmeal: For big spills, dump cornmeal on the mess, wait 5 to 15 minutes, and vacuum up the gunk.

Spot Cleaner: Make your own by mixing: 1/4 cup liquid soap or detergent in a blender, with 1/3 cup water. Mix until foamy. Spray on, then rinse with vinegar. 

To Deodorize: Sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch on the carpet or rug, using about 1 cup per medium-sized room. Vacuum after 30 minutes.

Wood Floors

Vinegar: Whip up a solution of 1/4 cup white vinegar and 30 ounces of warm water. Put in a recycled spray bottle, then spray on a cotton rag or towel until lightly damp. Then mop your floors, scrubbing away any grime.
Oven Cleaning

Baking Soda and Water: Coat the inside of your dirty appliance with a paste made from water and baking soda. Let stand overnight. Then, don gloves and scour off that grime. Make spotless with a moist cloth.
Clogged Drains

Baking Soda and Boiling Water: Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda into the problem drain, followed by 2 cups of boiling water. If that isn't doing it for you, chase the baking soda with a 1/2 cup of vinegar and cover tightly, allowing the vigorous fizzing of the chemical reaction to break up the gunk. Then flush that with one gallon of boiling water.

Antique Linens

Sunlight: What could be easier than sanitizing and removing stains... with sunlight! (Just don't do it too often with fragile pieces, because they can start to break down). Simply lay your old lace, curtains and other fine linens on the grass in the sun for a few hours. Dirtier pieces can be dampened first.

Boiling: If that doesn't do the trick, fill a pot with water and bring to a boil on your stovetop. Drop in linens and let steep until stains lift. 

Detergent and Borax: Mix dishwasher detergent and borax together until you get a thick rubbing paste. Rub into soiled linens, then rinse clean. 

Peroxide: If you have stubborn stains, try spraying them with peroxide, then rinsing with water.


Aluminum Foil, Boiling Water, Baking Soda and Salt: Keep your sterling shined with this seemingly magic method. Line your sink or a bucket with aluminum foil, and drop in tarnished silver. Pour in boiling water, a cup of baking soda and a dash of salt. Let sit for a few minutes. The tarnish will transfer from the silver to the foil. 

Toothpaste: If you can't immerse your items or are otherwise inclined to polish by hand, rub tarnished silver with toothpaste and a soft cloth. Rinse with warm water and dry. Instead of toothpaste you can substitute a concoction made of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water.

Ketchup: To keep your copper pots, pans and accents looking bright and shiny, try rubbing with ketchup.


2009 - Documentary - 75 minutes

Story Line:
Blending humor and education, this engaging documentary follows the Goodes, a typical American family, as they attempt to rid their home of all toxins. The film provides simple remedies to help viewers reduce the toxic substances in their lives.

This documentary is a real eye opener to how reliant people have become on chemicals as "cleaners". It's actually pretty horrifying. While we watched this we noticed a transformation in the Goode family. Not only that they became receptive to the fact you don't need all those chemical cleaners to clean, but actually in their appearance. By the end of the film they simply looked healthier. We were shocked in the beginning at how addicted they were to all their cleaners. I didn't realize that people could have such a strong attachment to something like that, I would love to take this challenge and get rid of everything in my home. We actually don't have many cleaners in our home and what we do have are from Seventh Generation. But we have decided that we are going to go one step further and start making our own detergent and look into different shampoos and deodorants. 

Please check out the Chemical Nation website and take the 75 minutes out of your day to watch the film. It is on streaming Netflix as well as on Youtube if you don't have Netflix. We joke that we must be dirty little hippies because we have turned into a homestead that we grow our own veggies, (soon will be) keeping our own bees, making our own soaps, refusing to use plastic, buying local and organic, buying handmade. It just makes you feel good as a person. I know we are just two people, but if enough 1 or 2 people all do this, it will really make a huge difference in the world.

Here is the Laundry Detergent Recipe from their website:

34 Cups  (8.5L) Water
2 Cups (500ml) Washing Soda
2 Cups (500ml) Borax
2 Cups (500ml) Soap Flakes

Bring 4 Cups of water to a boil.

Add soap flakes to the boiling water and dissolve over low heat. Find a stainless steel or aluminum container with a lid and pour the mixture into it. Stir in the washing soda and borax until it disappears.

Add the 30 cups of water to the mixture, combine and you now have your own laundry detergent!

Check out my post here for more non-toxic cleaners.

Obviously I am going to say "watch it now!!"

Friday, April 27, 2012

fff vol 12

Been a very long week, but I am so glad friday is finally here. My plague is finally breaking, of course it starts to die around the same time I pay to go sit in a doctors office for two hours. But they did give me some meds, so hopefully being on them will give this thing its last kick in the pants and get out of my system. 

I'm hopeful for a productive weekend, I really am wanting to get out in the yards and get some work done - it just feels like (because its true) it's been raining non stop raining for an entire week. 

I've been a little lax on the internet this week but I have scrounged up some of my favorite finds, because who doesn't love a favorite finds friday?!

The first is on the sentimental side. My gramma Kiner (aka Vera of veranellies), was a traveler. She would go on many vacations each year. She used to get me charms for a sterling charm bracelet I used to have from all her ventures - France, Hawaii, Ireland, England, out west etc. I digress.. I just always remember this turquoise long slender ring she used to wear that she had gotten in Arizona. I can still picture it on her thin fingers with her long perfectly manicured nails. (side note she used to torture me by pushing back my cuticles every time she saw me and telling me how important it was to keep your nails perfect, thats probably why I was always fixated on her ring!) When my gramma passed away I was only 20. I was devastated. I remember my mother asking me if there was anything of hers that I had wanted. At 20, I said no, what do I want with furniture and antiques. My sister has a few things that were my grammas, but I have nothing. As I grew older, I just kept picturing that ring. I have told my mom on many occasions how if I could have one thing of hers, it would have been that ring. I guess no one knows what happened to it and that makes me really sad. Every time I go into an antique shop, I look and search for a similar ring. I have never found one that was like it. At least like it from what I remember, it's been 15 years - your memory begins to fade a was sort of like this, but not exact... I randomly check Etsy every once in a while to see if I can find one..this week was just one of those weeks...

So lets pull out of depressing and back into "yay, it's friday!" mode. I love all the items in this post. Here is a snippet:

This is just the the sweetest birthday party I've ever seen for a little human. Check out the blog, if you have kids, there are some really cute ideas.

I haven't spent too much time looking at cute clothes lately, mainly because I am broke and shouldn't look at things I can't afford. But I saw this adorable skirt. I like adding things to my wish list that I would never be able to afford to buy.

This is one of my favorite dog photos ever and just always makes my day to look at it. I really need to dress up Ella like this:

I hope everyone has a great weekend. Any good plans?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

garden wednesdays vol 2

Due to the plague and also the weather we have been having here in NY (since Saturday the weather has been cold and rainy every day) we haven't made any dents in our garden projects. So unfortunately I don't have any beautiful garden posts for you. So instead I wanted to share a couple books that we had bought last year that are really inspirational in creating your own backyard (or front yard)  garden feasts.

The One Block Feast is a great instructional book from the people that bring you Sunset magazine. 

"Based on the James Beard Award–winning blog The One-Block Diet, this all-in-one home gardening, do-it-yourself guide and cookbook shows you how to transform a backyard or garden into a self-sufficient locavore’s paradise.

When Margo True and her fellow staffers at Northern California–based Sunset magazine walked around the grounds of their Menlo Park office, they saw more than just a lawn and some gardens. Instead, they saw a fresh, bountiful food source, the makings for intrepid edible projects, and a series of seasonal feasts—all just waiting to happen.

The One-Block Feast is the story of how True and her team took an inspired idea and transformed it into an ambitious commitment: to create four feasts over the course of a year, using only what could be grown or raised in their backyard-sized plot. She candidly shares the group’s many successes and often humorous setbacks as they try their hands at chicken farmingcheese makingolive pressinghome brewingbee keepingwinemaking, and more."

The only thing that stinks about this book is that it is geared toward California and the seasons out West, not something that can be transferred to living in upstate NY. But the book is full of a lot of other useful information, other than the plantings. K is also planning on keeping bees next year, so I liked reading about the bee keeping too.

The Backyard Homestead is also full of a lot of useful information if you are planning on creating your own gardens and becoming self sufficient.

"Put your backyard to work! Enjoy fresher, organic, better-tasting food all the time. The solution is as close as your own backyard. Grow the vegetables and fruits your family loves; keep bees; raise chickens, goats, or even a cow. The Backyard Homestead shows you how it's done. And when the harvest is in, you'll learn how to cook, preserve, cure, brew, or pickle the fruits of your labor.

From a quarter of an acre, you can harvest 1,400 eggs, 50 pounds of wheat, 60 pounds of fruit, 2,000 pounds of vegetables, 280 pounds of pork, 75 pounds of nuts."

All the books seem to overlap a bit, but the information is definitely so educational and useful. I loved all the cartoon drawing layouts of what you could grow and have on different size plots of land. This book was a better fit for us, in regards of the planting aspect. It gives cold and warm season veggies and isn't just for one locale. If you are looking for a book to get you started, look no further - this is your book. I can't even explain to you how much information is in this book, from planting seedlings, to building your own trellises, and a-z guide of veggies to plant and how to plant them(LOTS of info here), canning, wine making, home brewing, raising various animals, beekeeping etc. It's like the self sufficient gardener's bible. Go out and get this book now if you are even remotely thinking about any of these projects.

The Edible Front Yard is another great, visually inspirational book. 

"People everywhere are turning patches of soil into bountiful vegetable gardens, and each spring a new crop of beginners pick up trowels and plant seeds for the first time. They're planting tomatoes in raised beds, runner beans in small plots, and strawberries in containers. But there is one place that has, until now, been woefully neglected — the front yard.

And there's good reason. The typical veggie garden, with its raised beds and plots, is not the most attractive type of garden, and favorite edible plants like tomatoes and cucumbers have a tendency to look a scraggily, even in their prime. But The Edible Front Yard isn't about the typical veggie garden, and author Ivette Soler is passionate about putting edibles up front and creating edible gardens with curb appeal.

Soler offers step-by-step instructions for converting all or part of a lawn into an edible paradise; specific guidelines for selecting and planting the most attractive edible plants; and design advice and plans for the best placement and for combining edibles with ornamentals in pleasing ways. Inspiring and accessible, The Edible Front Yard is a one-stop resource for a front-and-center edible garden that is both beautiful and bountiful all year-round."

One of the reasons I liked this book so much was for all the pictures of amazing gardens in front yards. It gives so many great layout ideas. It's also full of information regarding all different veggies and how to plant them and what to plant them with for best results.

You can not go wrong with any of these books. It all depends on exactly what your project is and what you are after. The first two books are really similar, so if I had to pick between the two - while I really enjoyed the book put out by Sunset I would pass that one up and buy the Backyard Homestead instead. But that's just because I don't live out west, The Sunset book has beautiful photography where as Backyard Homestead is more like a text book chalk full of useful information. Again, you can't go wrong with any of these books, hope this helps if anyone is thinking about trying to become self sufficient. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bob's Burgers

2011 - Season 1
(streaming Netflix)

Story Line:
Bob's Burgers centers on the Belcher family (consists of Bob, Linda, Tina, Gene and Louise) who own a hamburger restaurant. Bob's burgers are really delicious and appear to be better than his rivals' but when it comes to selling burgers, his kids aren't really helpful, as more customers head over to Jimmy Pesto's restaurant.

My life isn't only about watching documentaries, you have to have some silly shows in the mix! I just found this show on Netflix this past weekend and have almost watched the entire first season. It is hilarious. I love the humor and Louise is definitely my favorite character. I think my favorite episode so far has been the bed and breakfast episode, it's so funny to see parents afraid of their child. haha

If you have streaming Netflix, go check it out. And if you have cable tv, I'm jealous because I see that there is now a season 2!

Food Fight

2008 - Documentary - 71 minutes
(streaming Netflix)

Story Line:
Discover the disturbing problems inherent in today's food system with this insightful documentary, which profiles chef Alice Waters's efforts to promote local, organic and sustainable agriculture as a delicious alternative to mass-produced fare.

"Food Fight is a fascinating look at how American agricultural policy and food culture developed in the twentieth century, and how the California food movement has created a counter revolution against big agribusinesses" -  food fight (check out their website - lots of good info)

K and I watch a lot of documentaries that revolve around our food system and environment. This was definitely another one to add to the list of inspiring movies to watch. The food system in this country is just plain disgusting. I am definitely not saying I am a saint. I eat bad processed foods, which I really really know I shouldn't. During the summer months and once our local farmer's market starts up we eat so much better. I really wish we lived in a climate in which I could frequent farmer's markets year around for local foods. But living in central NY I do not have that luxury. Well, I shouldn't say that. There is an all year round market that we found, but to be honest it sucks. It's no different than going to your local grocery store. There is nothing local sold there, they are selling only imports. So we wait. May 5th can not come soon enough!!

So if you have some spare time and want to be inspired to shop local, check this movie out now!

the plague of 2012

hi everyone, i'm not dead. but pretty close. i have some really great posts and things i want to share with everyone, but i just can't seem to get over this..plague?! i'm now on day 11, yes i'm now keeping track of the days. i'm starting to feel somewhat better but just am really, really dizzy all the time. i promise to do amazing updates and posts as soon as i'm well. just bare with me in the mean time.

hope all is well and the plague has not spread to anyone else, if it has -please let me know what you are doing to kill it off!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

mcm vol 12

Last week I was cat sitting for my parents, please meet Gauge:

Gauge actually was once my kitty, when he was just a little guy, him and I (tried) to move to Boston. When my parents dropped me off, my mom was sobbing. I thought it was just because she was leaving me off in another far away city. Turns out, she was upset because Gauge was going to have to now live with me, my roommate and my roommate's two cats. Now, my old roomie will even admit, her cats were down right mean cats! So I decided that my parents could take him back to NY to live the life of a spoiled rich cat, instead of a poor, starving, apartment dwelling, dirty cat getting beat up by two big meanie head cats (haha) So, he has had quite the spoiled life. Living it up in the lap of luxury for the past 14 years. I love my Gauge, such a good boy.

Anyway - so I was at my parent home, which is just simply a gorgeous home full of rooms no one walks in and antiques that would make an antique dealer drool.

One of my favorite pieces is this jadeite cake stand. It's just beautiful. I have always loved Jadeite. So it is my topic for MCM today.

Jadeite was originally manufactured between the 1930's - 1970's. Did you know that in the 30's women were able to get jadeite in containers of  Quaker Crystal Wedding Oats, can you imagine if we could do that today?

"The glassware initially came into fashion because it was durable and cheap to produce. McKee was the first to manufacture jadeite, but the Jeannette Glass Company is credited for coining the name. However, Anchor Hocking Glass Corporation became its largest producer. In 1942, Anchor Hocking debuted the popular Fire-King line in a variety of colors, but jadeite (or “Jade-ite” as the company calls it) remained in high demand for 30 years.

The stain- and heat-resistant tableware was served in frugal diners across America. Additionally, restaurant owners could save money by serving coffee in thick-rimmed “cheater mugs” that appeared to hold more than they actually did. The simple design of the Anchor Hocking Restaurant Ware was one of the most popular lines produced from 1950 to 1956. Today, Restaurant Ware is also the most collected, in part because of its sheer abundance.
Collectible jadeite pieces come in many forms and, as usual, the hardest to find items fetch the highest prices. Whereas mugs generally sell for around $20, a Fire-King grease jar can run $100. A set of four nesting bowls in mint condition may sell for $200.
A keen eye can tell the difference between vintage jadeite and department store knock-offs. You can identify the maker (and worth) of most pieces by examining the markings on the underside: “McK” in a small circle indicates McKee, and a “J” inside a triangle indicates Jeannette Glass Co." 

jeannette jadeite

(my mom has a set of these as well - but this one is sold here )

Here is also a website to give you a little insight into reproductions and what to look for if you are going to start collecting jadeite.

I simply love the stuff. I'm envisioning an all white kitchen with only pops of jadeite. That would be my dream kitchen.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Buy Handmade vol. 2

This week our Etsy; Behind the Scenes takes us to Madrid, Spain. 

Name: Cristina and Javier
Occupation: Designers

Tell us a little about yourself:
My name is Cristina and I am behind Olula se casa, a brand of handmade accessories and home decor. Together with me, is Javier. We are based in Madrid, Spain. We both are autodidacts and we come from different sectors: Law and TV/Advertising. Yes I know it sounds a bit weird but we always had the sensation of being spoiled working on things that we were not enjoying. We were always daydreaming with the possibility of doing something that really love and one day it became true.

When did you start creating and how long have you been on Etsy? 
When I was a child, I was always sewing and drawing, using different materials and building stuff, such as cardboard robots. At the same time, Javi was painting strange creatures and mixing things. A long time later, I started designing accessories for my friends and myself and everybody seemed to love them, so I decided to set up Olula se casa, about six years ago, with the willing of offering high quality handmade accessories, bright, colorful and easy to wear. Little by little my project was growing. Javi joined the company and together increased the range of products, techniques and materials. Now we design a wide range of accessories, bags and products for your home such as hand screen printed cushions and soft toys.

We opened our Etsy shop in October, 2010. From the very moment we discovered the potential of Etsy decided: WE WANTED TO BE THERE!

How would you describe your creative process? 
Everything starts with a drawing. There are always thousands of doodles surrounding us. Then we try to solve some technical difficulties (as we are autodidact we are always making up how to giving shape to the idea, but we think that this is the fun part).We are pretty demanding so it is not easy at all. There are some stuff that are not finally released because our standard of quality is very high. If it does not move ourselves, we are not able to present it to anybody so we prefer to work on it again or putting aside until we felt more comfortable with it. 

Where do you get your inspiration from? 
From Nature. If you look around you can always see many different shapes, colors and combinations. I also like simple geometrical forms and patterns. We are now starting to design our own prints for fabrics.

What is your most cherished handmade item? 
It may sound a bit drippy but we have a deep affection for every single item we create. If I had to choose one it would be my little ornamental fishes. I have been making them from the very beginning but I am not sick of them at all. Moreover, we relaunch them every season with new fabrics and still make me smile. 

Apart from creating things, what do you like to do? 
We are super fans of Nature in every way. I love riding my bicycle or walking around the mountains (Javi prefers to climb them). Last year we started our own ecological vegetable garden without using any kind of chemicals and was a complete success. We also love cooking, I cook the salty dishes and Javi bakes the sweetest ones.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 
We can only see ourselves creating things. We have a very clear vision about the life we want to carry, so while there are people who keep enjoying our work we will continue designing, making the products ourselves and sending them to the more different places around the world the merrier.

Do you have any advice for anyone thinking about starting their own shop?
The main thing I can say is: Find your own style and strengthen what makes your products different. If you get a product really different and you can give expression to yourself, no matter how hard sometimes it is, because at the end of the day you can say: Another satisfactory day in which I have felt free for doing what I really love: CREATING.