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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

ICP Featured Artist: Illyria Pottery

Our featured Indie Craft Parade artist of the week is Illyria Pottery!

Illyria Pottery is run by the lovely and talented Katie, who enjoys the impressionable nature of clay. She works many textures into her fine art pottery, mostly from the earth... a tiny shell impressed somewhere on the body, or the imprint of a bit of coral. Her elegant pieces serve as functional sculpture. Many of works have a utilitarian purpose, but have forms and surface decorations for the eye. Katie creates everything from buttons to teapots and pendants to vases. Her new line of "booklaces" are a tiny journals with a ceramic covers, intended for wear around your neck.

I love the delicate nature she brings to this medium, and the creativity of her forms. Katie will be doing a live demonstration of wheel-thrown pottery on Saturday, Sept 11 that you won't want to miss!

Check out Illyia Pottery, and shop here and here. Don't forget to save your pennies for Indie Craft Parade!

I'll be featuring an artist from Indie Craft Parade each week until the festival is held this September.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Weekend Glimpse

Thank you all for your kind words about Kitty. We really appreciate it.

Cory's birthday on Saturday, his favorite breakfast.

My dad was here for a few days, he and Marshall shared an ice cream cone.

Many helping hands making garland for Indie Craft Parade.
We made 860 feet so far! Working on more tonight.

Not pictured:
- sleeping in
- purple potatoes
- hanging out in Saluda, NC
- the happy hum of sewing machines
- girl chatter

Friday, August 27, 2010


Kitty was the best cat in the world. She was a stray that adopted us over 4 years ago... one night, shortly after Cory and I were married, she wandered up to our apartment deck and politely asked for a bite to eat. Within a week, she had gone from a skittish feral cat to a sweet and loving pet. We tried to give her a real name, but nothing but "Kitty" ever stuck. Although she was as docile as could be, she refused to come inside, not even to sleep at night.... too used to the fresh air and freedom, I guess. When we bought a house, she moved with us to the nice open yard and quiet street. She was the happiest cat, and perfect too. Never roamed around, never picked fights, never caused any trouble. She was sweet with our nephew, letting him tug on her ears and squeeze her too tightly. She was our little guard, and no one got through without her friendly greeting. She would follow us around while we worked in the yard, and would trot alongside us on short walks. If we stopped at a neighbor's house to chat, she'd wait patiently at the door. She had the sweetest little meow, a very friendly sort of chirp. She moved so gracefully. She was so brave and strong and gentle. Her fur always smelled good, like leaves and fresh-cut grass. She was our best friend and our baby.

Two nights ago, a pack of dogs grabbed Kitty right off our porch while she was sleeping. We heard the commotion and ran outside. By the time we realized what had happened, they took off down the street, dropping her body as they went. I thought she was already gone. She was lifeless, no heartbeat and no breathing. She was soaking wet, drenched from our neighbor's pool that they had dragged her through. Then as we bent over her, touching her and calling her name, she started to come back, and made the tiniest little purr. Her chest moved again, taking short, shallow breaths. There were no exterior wounds, but it was obvious she had major internal problems and most likely a broken neck. We rushed her to the emergency vet, we had to try. I pleaded with her the whole way there, telling her she could do it, that she couldn't leave us yet. Once we arrived, she went into cardiac arrest. They were able to resuscitate her, and managed to keep her heart beating. She hung on for a while, deteriorating slowly, then it became clear we had to let her go.

She shouldn't have died like that, on that metal table under those fluorescent lights. She should have just fallen asleep in a sunny spot, stretched out on the warm grass, surveying her kingdom. She shouldn't have had to suffer.

With her last ounce of strength, she had managed to bite the vet, so we weren't allowed to take her body until we provided her rabies paperwork. We drove home in silence, it was now 4 am. Cory dug a grave in the moonlight, then we we went back for her.

I don't know what the worst part was... the image I can't shake of her lying there in the street... knowing how scared she must have been, knowing how they hurt her... seeing her cold body in that little cardboard box.

It doesn't feel real. I keep expecting to open the door and see her sitting there, to hear her sweet voice greeting me in the morning. Anyone who's had a pet that they loved like family knows exactly what I mean. This type of grief is hard to explain if you haven't been through it, and to people that aren't animal lovers, it just sounds ridiculous.

I'm sorry to end the week on such a sad note. I didn't intend to share this story here, but for some reason I felt like if I didn't tell people, then she wasn't important and she didn't matter, which couldn't be farther from the truth. She was the best cat in the world. We loved her and will miss her every day.

Update: Thank you all for your kind words, it means a lot to us.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


A whole store of nothing but gold items... Sounds like paradise to me! That's exactly what Be Golden is, gilded home goods, accessories, gifts, and quirky items. Shop around here!

My top picks:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Best Buttercream

I have had a love/dislike relationship with buttercream. I love it for it's piping abilities, but haven't been fond of the taste... it's so buttery. Sometimes it seems to overpower the cake with it's heaviness. Until now.

This recipe was created out of desperation. I was rushing around, getting ready for a party, had just made up a batch of mediocre buttercream, and then promptly ruined it with some overly-potent food coloring (FYI, Wilton's "rose" is actually hot neon pink). And now I was nearly out of butter, with no time to run to the store. So I threw this together using odd and ends that I had on end. And. it. was. perfect. It had the holding power of a buttercream, with a lighter taste. Success!

Best Buttercream

1 c. room temperature butter (my preference: 1 stick salted and 1 stick unsalted)
¼ c. shortening
4 oz. softened cream cheese
3 tsp. vanilla
4 ½ - 5 c. confectioners sugar

With an electric mixer, beat the butter. Beat it long and hard, until it's very white and very fluffy. Add shortening and cream cheese, beat until completely incorporated. Beat in vanilla. Add in confectioners sugar ½ cup at a time, mixing on low speed. Continue adding until you reach the desired consistency. (If frosting becomes too thick, thin with a tiny bit of milk.) If you wish, tint with food coloring.

Yield: enough to generously cover 2 dozen cupcakes or a 2 layer cake. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

ICP Featured Artist: UrbanGypZ

Our featured Indie Craft Parade artist of the week is UrbanGypZ Artisan Yarn!

UrbanGypZ Artisan Yarn is one of a kind fiber art. Stacey is a former art director, now painting yarn and spinning full-time. She offers yarn that is ready to knit or or crochet, as well as beautifully painted fibers that you can spin yourself. I am in awe of the all the lovely colors, such perfect combinations! I will definitely have to be adding to my yarn stash.

In addition to her own fibers, UrbanGypZ also carries "Helping a Sister Out," a line of yarns and fibers  that come from a fair trade collective in Nepal. "These women hand spin from recycled fibers. Sales of their beautiful yarns and fibers help them earn a livable wage and supports their community."

Check out UrbanGypZ 's shop here, and read Stacey's blog here. Don't forget to save your pennies for Indie Craft Parade!

I'll be featuring an artist from Indie Craft Parade each week until the festival is held this September.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Weekend Glimpse

birthday cupcakes. 2 am.

picnic party

Cooling off with Annie and Marshall.

Not pictured:
- impromptu dinner + movie
- plastering downtown with ICP posters
- rainy Saturday
- sleeping in when I should have gotten up early
- homemade pizza. yum.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sparkling Raspberry Lemonade

This punch was served at the baby shower, and it was a smashing success. Light, refreshing, not too sweet, and sooooo pretty!

Sparkling Raspberry Lemonade

1 gallon pink lemonade

2 two-liter bottles of Schweppes Raspberry Ginger Ale
1 small package frozen raspberries (optional)
1 pint fresh raspberries
1 lemon

Puree the frozen raspberries in a food processor until smooth. In a punch bowl, combine pureed raspberries, pink lemonade and ginger ale. Stir to combine. Slice lemon into thin rounds. Float lemon rounds and fresh raspberries in the punch. Serve and enjoy!


The photo was taken before pureed raspberries were added (sorry! we were waiting for the food processor to arrive.) They did add a delicious real fruit flavor, but you can leave them out if you desire.

Don't forget to refrigerate your ingredients beforehand, that way you won't have to dilute the punch with ice.

I prefer punch without ice cream. So foamy! So Sweet! So messy! So impossible to eat the ice cream out of the bottom of a cup! But, if that sort of thing makes you happy, feel free to add a pint of vanilla ice cream or raspberry sherbet.

The recipe multiplies very easily. This amount serves 12-16 people.

I just kind of threw this recipe together, obviously it would be simple to switch ingredients out and change up the flavor... Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade...Sparkling Limeade...Sparkling Lemonade... etc.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

Chocolate. Cheesecake. Cupcakes. How can you go wrong? Annie, who is a cupcake connoisseur, said that these were the best cupcakes she has ever eaten. I will not argue with that award.

Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

1 pkg. chocolate cake mix (I prefer Pillsbury's Devil's Food)
1 pkg. instant chocolate pudding

3 T. cocoa powder (did you know that this is the world's best cocoa powder?)
1 egg + the eggs called for on box, room temperature 
Water, as called for on box
Oil,  as called for on box
2/3 c. milk

1 eight oz. pkg. softened cream cheese
1/3 c. sugar

1 c. mini chocolate chips

Fold together cake mix, pudding, cocoa powder. Add eggs as called for on box (reserving 1 extra egg), water, oil, milk. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, set aside.

In small bowl, beat together cream cheese and sugar. Beat in the reserved 1 egg. Stir in mini chocolate chips.

Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full with cake batter. Drop 1 rounded teaspoon of cream cheese mixture in each. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until cake tests done. 

Yield: 2 dozen cupcakes

Once cooled, top with your favorite buttercream frosting. Mine is Best Buttercream.

If you want to be extra fancy, garnish with chocolate curls. See how to make them!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Baby Shower Recap

Here's an overview of the baby shower I hosted for my BFF, Heather.

The invitations were made using the wonderful I used the "Birch Trees" design, which is intended to be a wedding invitation. The site instructs you to enter your text in Word, but as the editing possibilities are very limited there, I used Photoshop instead. First I took a screen capture of the design parts, and then put them back together at the size and placement I wanted. Then the trees were changed from a gray to a robin's egg blue, and some little bird silhouettes were added in a bright pink. I added the text, and ta-da, done! I took the file to my local copy shop and had it printed on a heavy cardstock. (Note that all the PS work was done with some help from my resident expert, Cory.)

- Sparkling Raspberry Lemonade
- Ice Water

- Cookie Dough Truffles
- Sugar Cookie Doves
- Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes
- Lemon Berry Trifles

- Baby BLT's
- Spinach and Artichoke Dip
- Cheese Tarts

I'll be back with a couple recipes later this week. The food preparation was shared with my lovely co-hosts, but even with all that help, the cheese tarts fell by the wayside and didn't make an appearance. I ruined my puff pastry (long story) and didn't have time to improvise. In the end, it was fine, nobody missed them, and we had plenty of food.

   Who better to set the mood for a baby shower than these sweet little muffins.

Heather received some gorgeous gifts, including this owl that my mom knitted.

I made some onesies using this fantastic set of iron-transfers. Pros: I love that they actually transfer the ink, not a plastic-y decal. Cons: the colors came out a lot brighter than the transfers appeared. I preferred them more subdued.

The gorgeous guest of honor!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

ICP Featured Artist: Involution Design!

Our featured Indie Craft Parade artist of the week is Involution Design!

Involution Design is run by Jessica, who is "a seamstress, wool felter, and jewelry maker, and loves continually exploring new ways to combine these arts into well-crafted, original pieces that are made to be loved for a long time." These gorgeous jewelry designs feature felted wool, delicate stitchery, and hand-forged sterling silver. I love that Jessica creates every aspect herself, it shows a great devotion to her craft. Each piece is so unique and wonderful, I can't decide which is my favorite!

Check out Involution Design's shop here, and don't forget to save your pennies for Indie Craft Parade!

I'll be featuring an artist from Indie Craft Parade each week until the festival is held this September.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Weekend Glimpse

This weekend was Heather's baby shower, among several other things, and it was a whirlwind of fun.

Shower preparations...
Farmer's market flowers waiting to be arranged, 
the remains of frantic baking, 
sugar cookie doves with gold-encrusted wings,
and my second attempt at blush pink frosting.

Little golden shoes for the baby, and countless other lovely things.

Still only Saturday, we attend a marvelous kid art show.
Cory purchases this piece, "Odysseus and the Sea Monster"
See video here.

Sunday night, spoils from a spontaneous Charlotte run with friends.
I scored some sweet Anthro clearance items and behaved myself at Ikea.

Still enjoying the flowers. 
The cockscomb is enthralling.

Not pictured:
- no sleep for me on Friday night
- no balloons at the dollar store
- 2 magnificent co-hosts that saved me from going completely crazy
- making new friends
- post-party crash & fashion show 
& watching YouTube videos that make us cry
- running into my almost sister, Dani Faye, who I miss every day. 
So glad to see her face.
- girl talk
- still haven't finished all the dishes

Friday, August 13, 2010


This is my one hundredth post... so crazy! In the few short months I've been blogging, I've already had so many great opportunities and gotten to know so many lovely people. I just wanted to thank you all for hanging around as I'm figuring the whole thing out!

Here is a sneak peek of one of my new designs that I've worked up for Indie Craft Parade. These butter yellow rose earrings are my new favorite, and I hope you like them too.

In celebration of my one hundredth post, the first person who comments will win these earrings!
Please leave your email address so I may contact you.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Work Day

Today was a work day, spent on the Frazee Dream Center project. Here's a few shots of our progress, as demonstrated by my wonderful helpers...

Cory putting on the second coat of gorgeous paint

Amy & Lisa painting the cubby system

Brittani organizing mountains of books
She drove all the way from Charlotte to spend the day working with us!

It's coming along splendidly!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Peach Blueberry Crumble

A treat for the office was long overdue, and I had some succulent peaches on hand, so I came up with this Peach Blueberry Crumble. And it was good.

Peach Blueberry Crumble

1 c. flour

3/4 c. rolled oats
1 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. melted butter
4 c. sliced peaches
1 c. blueberries
1/2 c. white sugar
1 T. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 c. water
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Add melted butter, mix together with a fork to form crumbles. Press half of the mixture in the bottom of a lightly greased 9x13 pan. Cover with the peaches and blueberries. In a saucepan, stir together the white sugar, cornstarch, ginger, and nutmeg. Add water and vanilla, cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture is thickened and clear (about 10 minutes). Pour over the fruit. Top with the other half of the crumb mixture. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until crumbs brown slightly. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

Note: This recipe was adapted from an apple crisp recipe. You can use any type or combination of fruit.. try cherries, blackberries, apples! Add some nuts or chopped ginger! You may need to extend the baking time 5-10 minutes to allow firmer fruits to soften.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

ICP Featured Artist: Sweeteeth!

Our Indie Craft Parade featured artist of the week is the marvelously-mouth-watering Sweeteeth!

"Sweeteeth makes handcrafted chocolate bars and truffles by combining single-origin Colombian chocolate with bits of goodness and addictive fillings." Are you drooling yet? Combining gorgeous design, fresh seasonal ingredients, and tantalizing flavors, Sweeteeth doesn't hold back. The Charleston-based chocolatiers are "devoted to the production of finely crafted truffles and chocolate bars, with an emphasis on high-quality chocolate couverture, innovative flavor pairings and fine craftsmanship."

Check out Sweeteeth's website, and view their sweets. Don't forget to save your pennies for Indie Craft Parade!

P.S. If you're looking for me at 6 pm on Friday, September 10, I'll be standing in line at Sweeteeth's booth, waiting to get my hands on a "Sea is for Caramel" bar. Mmmmmm.

I'll be featuring an artist from Indie Craft Parade each week until the festival is held this September.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Weekend Glimpse

Monday always comes in a whirlwind of busyness. Then it's almost gone, before I've hardly realized it.

It was a nice weekend, some good wholesome work and some good wholesome play.

Prepping peaches. I wanted to kiss every one of them, they were so perfect!
Recipe to come on Wednesday.

The remains of crafting, planning, snipping, and tying.
Hosting a baby shower on Saturday! You will hear all about it soon.

Yummy cookies in harsh lighting.
Welcome home presents for some boys who had been hiking for the past couple weeks.

Not pictured:
- tending to our neglected yard, the bushes had not been trimmed in 400 years
- finally moving that pile of topsoil
- me almost passing out from the heat and Cory bravely rescuing me from the hedge trimmer
- a perfect soak in the neighbor's pool
- fresh salsa for almost every meal
- trying to rid myself of this lingering sinus cold
- planning and scheming baby shower plans with 2 wonderful co-hosts
- fluffing little tiny tissue poufs, all strung together

Friday, August 6, 2010

Before Photos and Style Board

I think I have solved my design dilemma, I had an epiphany earlier today that was quite helpful. This project I'm working on is with Belle magazine, they've assigned 3 decorators in the area to work with 3 different charities and given us a budget of $100 to redo one of the charity's rooms. I was assigned to work with the Frazee Dream Center, a fantastic group doing long-term education assistance in one of Greenville's most under-resourced neighborhoods. I'm redoing "Kory's Room," which is used for the kindergarten-2nd grade group. Here are the before pictures...

As you can see, it's a good-sized room...plenty of work to be done! They asked for a better storage solution and bright, cheerful colors. So here is the style board I came up with...

Note: there is a decent amount of pink in the board, which is due to the images I could find and the level I was able to manipulate them. There will be zero to minimal pink in the actual room.

The first thing is to liven up the walls with a bright sea glass blue. All the large furniture pieces I've shown here are just to get the idea across, they have built the desks and storage system already.

1. Whiteboard... they requested a laminated poster board, but I've got a nifty little scheme to make a nice whiteboard.

2. Chairs... existing chairs will have the seat cushions reupholstered.

3. Storage Totes... I found white plastic dishpans that are just the right size, and in my budget! They will work perfectly for storing toys and supplies.

4. Storage... existing cubby system will be painted charcoal gray (currently raw plywood).

5. Birds... an installation of paper birds will be placed over the desk area in shades of red with a few accent pops.

6. Curtains... breezy white curtains will let in plenty of light.

7. Pom Cluster... a cluster of red poms will be hung over the bookshelves to create a cozy nook.

8. Red Trim... sewn along the bottom hem of the curtains.

9. Books... need to be organized.

10. Desks... existing desk system will be painted charcoal gray (currently raw plywood).

So that's the idea, I hope I can stretch the money far enough to accomplish all this. I'll keep you updated on my progress!

I will be painting the room on Thursday, August 12 from 9 am-2 pm. I could definitely use some help, so if you're interested, please let me know!