21 September 2010

Jewelry Scroll Redux

It's been almost 3 years since I refined my design for a travel jewelry organizer, which I call the "jewelry scroll". (You can read all about it and see how it works here.)

It's refined from the original, which I made for my college roommate. She had a lot of fun jewelry, and she spent a lot of weekends out of town, dressing up fancy. She told me she was going to look for a good jewelry organizer at WalMart, but I volunteered to make her one before she had a chance to find out that WalMart wouldn't have what she needed. That first prototype was kind of a disaster. It wasn't padded; it wasn't quilted and it didn't have the dowel rod on the inside, so it sagged all over the place. I've since given her an updated version. :-) Here's a photo of the first one:

[The prototype. Oh my.]

I made the first new batch at the end of 2006, and I slowly sold them over the course of the next year. I didn't make any more until my husband's friend's mother saw one that her daughter-in-law had bought from me, and she ordered 6 more last year for Christmas presents. Well, I figured if someone would buy 6 of them, then surely I could get 6 people to buy one of them, right? So I've brought them back. I finished making another 8 of them about a month ago. I'm just so proud of the design, I couldn't give them up, even though they take forever to make.

So here are some photos of the latest batch.

[There's only one made from an old quilt, but I plan on making more of those if I can get a handle on the rest of my inventory.]

[Most of these are made from upholstery fabric samples.]

All the new scrolls will be listed in my Etsy shop shortly. Plus they all have matching makeup bags, which I will also be listing.

07 September 2010

Kitchen Appliances Anonymous

Today I put an electric grill/griddle on my Wist. This prompted me to start listing for my husband all the other small kitchen appliance we own, which I am pretty sure is every kitchen appliance known to man besides an electric griddle and an electric can opener. And then my husband said I should write a blog post about it.

[They hide in every nook and cranny of my kitchen.]

So, without further ado, here is the list:

purchased second-hand
{how often we use it}

Toaster {every day}
Toaster Oven
{every other day}
{every other day}
Coffee Grinder {about once a month}
Hand Mixer {once every couple months}
Stand Mixer
{haven't used it yet; need to see if it will knead bread for me!}
{once a week, on average}
Immersion Blender
{once every couple months}
Air Popper {at least once a week}
Stove Top Popcorn Popper {just got this for my birthday; gonna make kettle corn!}
Percolator {I think I used it once; it's constantly in danger of being purged}
Waffle Maker
{once every couple months}
Hot Pot
{4-5 days per week}
Espresso Machine
{haven't used it since Lucy was born; before that, a couple times per month}
Bread Maker {once or twice per week}
Food Processor
{several times per month}
Crock Pot {once a month}
Dehydrator {once or twice a month}
Ice Cream Maker
{three-ish times per year}
Large Coffee Pot
{once or twice per year}
Smaller Coffee Pot
{1-3 times per week}
Juicer {haven't used yet; wondering if I should keep it; hi, Mom!}
Meat Grinder
{haven't used it yet}
Pasta Machine
{haven't used it yet, but will very soon}

So as you can see, we actually use most of these fairly frequently. Which just confirms my suspicion that I spend too much time in the kitchen. But just think of how much time I would spend if I didn't have all these gadgets! (Or something similarly cheery...)

[Isn't that contact paper fabulous? What kind of mind decides to disguise a stove vent pipe with brightly colored floral contact paper?]

Oh my gosh -- I just realized I'm also in desperate need of a tortilla press (which I would use at least once a month). I have a sickness.

03 September 2010

Faux Pumpkin Spice Latte

OK, y'all. This is information you need to have. Well, only if you like pumpkin spice flavored coffee drinks, I guess. Or if your wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend/mother/father likes them. Then you could be super-considerate and make one for them sometime this fall.

"Pumpkin" latte

I'd seen this DIY recipe before, but it's kinda complicated. They want you to use canned pumpkin and a whisk. I don't usually have time for that just for a coffee drink.

But my version, while it does not taste precisely like a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks, has the advantages of being cheap, easy, and free of processed sugars (if you're into avoiding that sort of thing).

So, here's the plan. Brew some coffee. Stronger is better. I make strong decaf, for whatever that's worth.

Put some stevia and/or honey in the bottom of a mug. That's how I do no-processed-sugar in my coffee, anyway. You can put plain sugar in if you want, or just stevia, or just honey, or probably even maple syrup and/or molasses, which would probably make this drink even better, come to think of it. Mental note.

Sprinkle some pumpkin pie spice on top of your sweetener(s). About 3 small shakes for about 12 oz of beverage, I find.

Pour in your coffee. Stir.

Add a significant amount of half and half, or if you're me, heavy whipping cream. Stir. Sip. Melt into a puddle of happiness on the floor.

It's true, there's no foam involved. If you like foam, it's gonna require more time or more money. I don't like foam enough to give up either of those. But if you do, go for it! You can make foam by whizzing milk around in a blender (if you don't have an espresso machine, of course).

But the real lesson here, is this: You can just plop pumpkin pie spice in your coffee and it tastes good! I wouldn't have guessed that would work until one day I was lazy enough to try it. So even in laziness, it's possible to be productive. Which might be the real real lesson.