Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dance to the Reggae Beat: An ArtFire Collection

Monday, August 1, 2011

All That Leave it to Beaver Stuff

Saturday’s event was relaxing. It was a small open house for a local yarn shop located out in the country! This is such a cute little yarn shop and I’ve made friends with the family who runs it. They are the ones who taught me how to spin and this is also where I get my alpaca fleece. Well a few weeks back, they invited me to come in and have a table with my wares and just hang out for the day. I gladly accepted especially since she didn’t charge me!. 

video inspired bracelet
I said good bye to some much loved one of a kind pieces. Although I didn’t expect to sell anything while there, I was surprised by a few sales! The one and only remake of my personal tribute bracelet to a video by She Wants Revenge sold.  Unfortunately, the owner has no clue who She Wants Revenge is (just like a lot of you are wondering who they are right now). That made me a sad panda but she was an awesome person and NOW she knows who they are so ..yeah..good things. I also sold a dear to my heart tatted pendant to a very deserving lady. She fell over heels in love with it so I felt good about letting that go.  

I got the chance to sit around with 60-70somethings and chat about this and that. I learned that even back in the 50s and 60s it was impossible to be a “typical 50’s housewife” woman in the 50s and 60s. They said, “all that Leave it to Beaver stuff made us feel incompetent and less than a catch because, c’mon…who can do all what June Cleaver did…impossible!”  Another followed, “she must have been taking some pretty good stuff to do all that with a patient hand and a smile”. Still another chimed in, “well what do you expect, a man wrote that show…shows how much they really know about us..hmmph!” We talked about raising kids and cooking and housekeeping and how NONE of us ever liked to do that. One woman claims that cleaning oppresses creativity…we all agreed. You can learn so much about yourself when you take the time to sit and listen. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

My Shop Now Carries Premium Hemp!

Rainbow Hemp
Rainbow Hemp
HempCraft is now carrying premium hemp in a variety of colors! You can find it at www.hempcraft.etsy.com

  Several months ago I did a blog series, "The best hemp on the planet" that reviewed a few different companies in the search for the best quality fiber hemp. I came up with a company called Ecolution as the victor. I have been using their hemp ever since I found it and have never wanted to use anything else. They have some of the softest yet strongest hemp I have ever found. Ecolution grows, cultivates, and processes their own hemp 'in house' and are located in Transylvania, Romania. A little over two months ago I decided to take my business in a new direction by supplying other crafters with this same premium hemp.
 I continue to use and praise Ecolution to this day not only for their superior quality but also because I know they are an eco conscious company and use environmentally safe methods. Ecolution is extensively involved in making their methods of processing hemp as environmentally safe as possible. Ecolution has mastered the art of producing fine hemp without the use of chemicals. One way they do this is by using air! They started using a new eco friendly technology that uses short compressed air blasts to soften the fiber making unwanted chemicals unnecessary.
 They have four natural dyes from plants; brown, grey, yellow, and golden green.
The brown is dyed using bark from European oaks which are found throughout the forests of Transylvania. The grey tones are dyed using the juice from the fruit of a bilberry plant, found throughout the forests of the Transylvanian mountains.The yellow and golden green are made using the entire plant of a pansy and oregano, respectively, which Ecolution grows right there in their fields.

 In addition to natural colors, Ecolution uses fiber reactive dyes which are European Union approved, non toxic, environmentally sound, and contains no heavy metals. Fiber reactive dyes are superior to traditional dyes in quality and environmental responsibility because Fiber reactive dyes are specially formulated to ensure the dye molecule and fiber molecule make a complete bond. This allows a more vibrant brighter color with little waste in the wash water.

 So where can you find this awesome hemp I speak of? In my Etsy shop! I am still busy taking pictures of and listing all the colors I have available so keep checking back for more options.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Star Wars Hello Kitty Cake

Welcome to yet again another installment of Betty Rocker where I toot my own horn about my amateurish cake baking skills. I have never thought of myself as domestic in the 'cake baking mom' sense of the word but I guess all the hours of reality cake baking shows I watched are finally paying off. Everyone always says the same thing, "You should open your own business!", and they say it with such enthusiasm as if I hadn't thought of that by now. Alas I am not even entertaining that thought ...just yet. But on to the cake I made.

Boba Cat

A Star Wars Hello Kitty cake; Boba Cat to be exact. I got this idea from the recipient's Facebook profile picture. Well here let me back it up; I was throwing my son's 3rd birthday party and was getting comments left and right on the Kipper cake me and my husband worked on together. Missy, the friend whom I made the kitty cake for, lit up with great delight as she asked the question, "Will you make me a Star Wars Cake?" NOW we're talkin!

Kipper cake

I immediately started thinking about star wars cake possibilities. I could do a scene from one of the movies! No, too complicated for my skill level plus too time consuming. A death star! No, too ..played. R2D2? No, that would be expected. Then as I was on Facebook and saw her Hello Kitty Boba Fett profile pic and I knew it was easy and personal to her...perfect!

I used pound cake this time since I knew I would be doing some carving of the helmet, butter cream frosting, and marshmallow fondant. I baked two 6x3 cakes the night before to allow plenty of setting time. When the cake is cold and firm, it's much easier to cut and carve as opposed to a hot moist right out of the oven cake.

To start, I cut the crown off one of the rounds so that one would sit on top the other without wobbling. Next I spread a thin layer of butter cream frosting atop the round I just cut and set the un-cut round on top of that. I then had a stacked cake, yay! Frosting the entire cake with a butter cream frosting can be overwhelming when it's finally time to eat it so I was careful not to spread it too thick...this time around. Ask the people in attendance of my first cake...I'm pretty sure everyone left completely drunk on sugar.

The next part is applying the fondant. I mix marshmallow and confectioner's sugar until I get the right consistency. Add a little vanilla for flavor and a very small quarter size dollop of shortening. Sorry I don't use a recipe for this! I used to but ..meh. So after I mix it up I ask my wonderful supportive husband to mix in the color and roll it out. I must say he's great at this!

From here I covered the cake in green and molded two ears out of the same green. Using toothpicks and some water, I stuck and glued the ears in place. Adding the visor was super easy. I just cut the red part first and set it in place using water; then I cut and applied the black visor onto the red. The bow was as easy as cutting two long diamond shapes, folding them in half and putting them end to end then adding a quarter sized flattened ball for the middle part. Before I knew it the cake was complete!

My one regret with this cake is that I ran out of time to make his cool helmet attachment. Oh well...next time.



making black fondant is one of the hardest colors to achieve


Sunday, May 22, 2011

New Cuff Design

Besides my upcoming photo shoot that I've been obsessing over for days now, I decided to finish up a project that was long overdue to be finished. It came out so awesome that I listed it and I'm glad that it is done in time for next Sunday. I wanted to make a wide cuff and came across a very easy design in an old macrame book I have upstairs. The first one I did I kept the colors neutral to see what the color pattern would look like.

Since it turned out so well, I am doing one now in rasta colors, and then one in rainbow, and so on until I'm obsessed with another design.

So three of the models are due to come over today with the clothes they will be wearing so I can get an idea of what pieces to put with what model. This also allows me one whole week to make last minute additions. I have to meet the photographer today (although I haven't heard from her) to go over locations, wardrobe, etc. I'm assuming I will have to come up with a picture list; an order the pictures will be taken in. Oi...

In other news...my son loves Elmo Potty Time, and I love that he's interested in the potty :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Refreshing Lemon Collection from Artfire

Dive deep into your senses and imagine the scent of fresh lemon; how refreshing a tall glass of lemonade is on a hot summer day or how uplifting it is in a cup of tea.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cakes and Drum Rolls

All business aside, my son’s third birthday is coming up and I’ve worked up a Kipper cake for his birthday BBQ celebration this Saturday. Be on the look out for Betty Rocker posts. And …drum roll please…I graduate on Saturday!!!!  I will finally hold the golden ticket that may or may not help me gain employment when I decide doing what I want and being my own boss isn’t working out anymore ;)

On to business…
Ok where to begin. Lots going on in the shop at the moment. Trying to keep up with everything has been rough and a challenge at the very least. Wearing all the hats is tiring and often leads to dead ends and frustration. Calling on my friends and family to volunteer their expertise has been a lifesaver. Being an analog girl in a digital world can be bewildering. Add being a full time mom to the mix and you’ve got a recipe for stress but I’ve been fortunate enough to have strong support so …onward….tally ho..sally forth…and some suchness.

First bit of exciting news I’ll share is that I have recently opened an account with Ecolution. They have some of the best hemp available and I can’t wait to get my knotty little hands on it. Some of you may remember my post about the best hemp on the planet. I will be using it as well as having it available for other hemp jewelry artists to purchase. Compared to the cheap manila hemp coming in from some parts of the world, Ecolution hemp offers premium quality from cultivation to harvest. They are passionate about eco consciousness and I am proud to be using and soon to be carrying their products. So that’s one thing happening.

sneak peek - barefoot sandals 
In June, I will be releasing my summer line including barefoot sandals and anklets.  I still have so much more to go but have so much.. that I could easily start trickling them into my shop. I have made tons of under $5 stack bracelets for the upcoming festivals and hemp fests but have never thought of listing them. Would it be worth it to list something for $3? I still haven’t decided. Apparently it’s working for others so it’s worth consideration. And considering my recent business ventures, it couldn’t hurt to get an increase in sales and promotion. Considering…

And lastly, I started listing the fiber I spin. I can't knit, can't crochet (good), I can tat but I'm not going to sit there and tat all that I spin. So I am delving further into the fiber arts and offering up my hand spun wares. I've only listed bamboo and alpaca so far. I am currently spinning up some hemp to ply with olive green bamboo. Need dyed bamboo? Go to Fiber Lady, you can find her on Artfire. She loves bamboo and her colors turn out wonderful.

hand spun "stormy night" bamboo and chocolaty alpaca