Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lilac Treasury Love!

I'm featured in a treasury this morning! Huzzah! Thank you to Cthings for including me in her Lilac Treasury! She featured my Capped Lilac Drop Bead Earrings, seen here:

Here are a few lovely goodies from Cthings' shop. I have a special place in my heart for anything related to Orange Sherbert. It was my Breakfast of Choice on many of our Hawaiian Vacations as a child. While I don't crave it now, I think the next time I get out to my favorite islands, I'll have to resume this tradition. And yes, there WILL be a next time. With that, I present you with the Orange Sherbert Earrings!

Delicious! I think this is also delightful:

This Winter Blue Bracelet would be lovely year round, in my opinion! Light, crisp, airy, & sparkly, and I love that it's easily adjustable for those of us with itty bitty wrists. I'm usually not big on lampwork beads, but I love the simplicity of these, and the contrast of the opaque sky blue swirled into the crystal clear glass. I may have to do further investigation into the shop of fellow Etsian mommawoodsy, who is credited with the creation of these beautiful beads.

Wednesday's Child is in the Showcase

I've got another slot in the Earrings Showcase today, so I thought I'd feature a couple other items that were keeping mine company this morning. The first earrings that caught my eye were the Branch Bamboo and Roses from Michael S. Levine Studio (Kate Levine):

I love the red and green together! I've been stuck on coral lately, and I haven't seen roses like this before. I'm usually not a fan of floral designs, but I like the simplicity of this one. I think it's a great contrast in shape, color, and texture.

Next up we have the AIR earrings from Ashley H Designs:

Wonderfully soft color on the faceted Amazonite; I can only imagine how lovely these would be in person! The stones look perfect paired with the pinched sterling silver teardrops - so light & fluttery! Browsing her shop, we seem to have a similar aesthetic, which, of course, I very much like.

May many sales come to both of these fabulous artists! Be sure to check out everyone else participating in today's Earrings Showcase! Just follow the link, and then select "Jewelry Earrings" from the drop-down menu at the top right-hand side of the display.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

More Treasury Love!

Another one of my Fallen Holly Berries photos has been featured in a treasury! Here's the photos from the "hippos and nail polish" treasury as selected by theGlassOnion!

The treasury features warm, textured grays and deep reds - I love it! I also must say I'm a fan of theGlassOnion's jewelry as well - great designs, & great photos!

Here is one of their featured items, the Lonely Urchin Necklace. I'm a sucker for almost anything ocean-life-related, and this is no exception. Love the color, love the texture, and it makes me wish we had tide pools around here - I haven't seen any so far, just tons of weird little squishy jellies washing up on the shores of Jones Beach. This necklace is much more pleasant.

Speaking of beaches, I would much rather be heading off to the beach tomorrow instead of heading back to work after my forced vacation. I did bake some cupcakes today - the intent was Pink Velvet, but my food coloring failed pretty hardcore and I ended up not with "fuchsia" as advertised, but a rather unappetizing mauve that would be far more appropriate applied to shag carpeting as opposed to cupcakes. They taste pretty good, but I had to camouflage them by dunking their little frosted heads into a bowl of shocking pink sugar. I might take pics if there are any left after tomorrow.

As a reminder, I'm offering FREE SHIPPING all weekend through Monday in honor of Memorial Day in my Etsy shop, along with some other discounts. I'm also proud to introduce my new favorite photo prop - THE SNOW CONE HOLDER! After I bought the set of 4 for props, I couldn't resist the $18 electric ice shaver. I'm going to try to incorporate ACTUAL SNOW CONES into some of my photos for summer. We'll see how that goes.

Friday, May 22, 2009

I Really Like Your Peaches

Desperate to bake, but not wanting to repeat the 72 Cupcake Salute, I looked at the bundle of unrelated ingredients I had sitting around in my pantry and decided I could probably end up with muffins if I played my cards right. I noticed I had an abnormally large stash of Maple & Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal from Trader Joe's. I also had a gigantic unopened jar of peaches in white grape juice, also from TJ's - I think I had planned to use these in conjunction with Italian Buttercream on a cake, but the buttercream went wacky (which is a horror story for another gloomy evening), and so the peaches stayed in the cabinet. I had milk that was about to go bad, an opened bag of whole wheat flour that I didn't have any plans for, and half a jar of wheat germ.

Now, in my family, wheat germ is not a substance we allow in the kitchen under most circumstances. I understand the health benefits, but my mother once attempted to include it in pizza dough, which resulted in a consistency that was somewhere between particle board and backhoe tires. Even the dog was unable to eat it. This unfortunate turn of events has come to be known simply as "The Wheat Germ Incident".

Why did I have it in MY kitchen? I attempted to make dog and cat treats this past holiday season. Neither turned out terribly well, but it was a (smelly) learning experience and it left me with some interesting leftover ingredients, namely the wheat germ and brewer's yeast.

After searching the interwebs for an instant oatmeal muffin recipe, I found one that looked alright and made some modifications. I swapped the white flour for whole wheat, the white sugar for turbinado, tossed in about 1/4 cup of wheat germ, added a pinch more baking powder. I also used exclusively cinnamon, and I omitted the allspice and the sugar "topping" recommended. With the addition of the whole wheat flour and the wheat germ, I anticipated I might have a moisture issue, so I broke out the peaches, quartered the halves, and shoved one peach chunk into each batter-filled muffin cup prior to baking. Baked at 400 degrees for over 15 minutes (read: I didn't hear the timer go off), and then let them cool. Outside of a slightly over-toasty bottom, they came out fabulous! Hubby & I each ate 3! No butter needed! Next time I would definitely monitor the baking time, possibly lowering to 375, and or sticking a cookie sheet under the muffin pan to disperse the heat evenly.

Memorial Day Weekend SALE!

I'm all set for my Memorial Day Sale in the land of ElloPoppet! I'm offering FREE SHIPPING (which I am convinced is not actually "free" unless you write it in all caps), $5 off orders of $30 or more, and $10 off orders of $50 or more! I'll be running this sale through Monday, May 25th. Everyone cross your fingers! Or, better, yet, uncross them an buy something! I kid, I kid....sort of.

More Pearls!

I'm trying to expand on my pearl cluster earring selection, as they seem pretty nifty for weddings and such, and I've had some good responses. Here's the new peachy pink version, with sterling silver:

Love these little plump pearls! I do kinda feel bad that these aren't vegan friendly, but I am working on non-pearl beaded clusters with lovely stones and maybe some plastics for the vegan crowd .

Aside from listing these beauties, yesterday I trekked out to Best Buy with what I thought was a failing power cable for my laptop and had the Geek Squad order me a new cable. For the last 36 hours I've been using alternate computers and have not been able to access things like my printer's memory card reader. I was desperate to retrieve a photo this morning, and decided to try it out one more time, and low and behold, my charger works! I'm not sure what the problem was, but I think that after the guy tested my laptop with a different cable, it may have realigned the pins or something. Or shoving the cable in my laptop bag somehow squished or un-squished the wiring into place. Either way, the new cable didn't cost anything and will be arriving in 3-5 days. Thank you, warranty!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Belated Mother's Day

For Mother's Day, since I couldn't hop on over to CA for the weekend, I had Mom design some earrings for herself based on my Eridani Pearl Cluster Earrings, which you can see here:

We decided on a combination of Sterling Silver (which I am overly enthused about lately) and ice blue freshwater pearls. I'l have you know I went to 5 different shops in an attempt to find exactly what we were looking for. The ones I found were a touch larger than I had anticipated, but they were very consistent and got the job done. Here is the final result:

Above: Natural light atop one of my original black & white photos.
Below: Yes, I flashed these, I know it's a no-no in the world of product photography, but this actually shows the color a bit better, as well as showing how deliciously shiny the sterling silver is. So :p.

Mom does read this occasionally, and yes, she has already seen these photos. Yes, she likes them. I mailed them off and they should be arriving safely within a week. I will probably be making some for my Etsy shop, but I'm kind of out of 3mm jump rings, so I can't really do that just yet.

Photo Assistant

Dexter was "helping" me take some product photos the other day:

We got a lot accomplished. I couldn't have done it without him.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cosmic Acorns

My new Cosmic Acorn Series is here, just in time for Graduation!

Sterling silver and an assortment of vintage & new beads combine to create these darling little futuristic acorns! I made them in 6 colors so far:

Cosmic Blue, Loquat, & Orange

Charcoal, Jalapeno, & Coconut

You can find them all at

New Vintage Lucite Earrings!

Just listed my new Clementine Earrings:

Sterling Silver & Vintage Lucite Moonglow Beads. I rather like them! Thankfully I have enough beads to make a pair for myself! I can't get over how awesome these beads are - I found these when they popped up in the Just Listed ticker on Etsy, and they ultimately resulted in the purchase of quite a few other vintage beads from BlackSheepBeads. I think she originally called them Marigold, but with my citrus-y naming scheme and my love of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I decided Clementine was more appropriate. My Cosmic Acorn series will be coming up shortly as well, I just need to finish processing the photos.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Learning Curves

I finally picked up some mini cupcake/muffin pans. I bought two pans , figuring that 24 mini cupcakes might be equal in volume to 12 regular sized cupcakes. After popping 48 mini cuppies into the oven, I discovered that this ratio is more like 3:1. Three bowls of tinted icing and 72 cupcakes later, I had my final figures. I guess I should be more careful when adapting a recipe that is supposed to yield one tall 9" round layer cake. I ate and distributed most of the pink swirly and orange swirly topped cupcakes prior to deciding to photograph them, so I grabbed a few shots in the fleeting filtered sunlight of my basement living room before heading upstairs to drop off what I'm calling my Topiary Cupcakes:

I couldn't resist picking up a Wilton grass tip the last time I was at Michael's, and I was dying to try it out. As Hubby pointed out, these cupcakes don't actually need excessive amounts of frosting due to the awesomeness of the cake itself, and the grass tip really helps moderate the amount of icing that gets piped on. Here's the plate that went up to the future Mother-In-Law:

The lesson learned is that I need to fill one NORMAL cupcake pan first and THEN utilize the mini pans. Even with 6 dozen little guys, I had many that were overflowing their little papers. Even though mine still appears to be too big for the mini pans, I highly recommend a self-scraping ice cream or cookie scoop for filling cupcake or muffin pans (the link is to the one I purchased). I had VERY little mess (outside of the frosting and batter smeared all over my face) and helped me distribute batter evenly, even though it was a bit too much. I did just find a teaspoon-sized scoop available from King Arthur Flour (which is what my Red & Blue Velvet Cupcakes are made from), so I'll have to order one and try it out for my next encounter with the minis.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

'tini time

I made a treasury! After an hour of stalking this morning (not counting a failed attempt a couple says ago), I managed to snag a treasury spot. Here it is!

It will be gone in a couple days, of course, but I think it's nifty for the time being.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Showcase Day!

I know it's early in the day, but I have yet to see any success from my Earrings Showcase. Started off the day noticing that the link that was provided in my confirmation email for the Jewelry Earrings Showcase So I posted it in the Bugs forum. We'll see if any admins take care of it.

The first item up in the Showcase is my Sugared Sky Earrings:

All I can really say is I like these. The photos don't do them justice. The only thing I would consider changing is possibly upgrading to all sterling, but these aren't for kids, and I like the crystals, and I haven't had a problem in my own ears with the same ear wires, so I'm not all that concerned. I think they are delightful, and if I ever find more beads that look like this, I'm buying ALL OF THEM.

I decided to offer free shipping today & tomorrow for all earrings purchased through the showcase in what may prove to be a feeble attempt at luring in unsuspecting buyers. I kind of feel like making a t-shirt for all my items & wearing it around town that says "YOU NEED THIS" across the top, with a slab of velcro in the center onto which I can affix item photos. (BTW, if anyone steals this t-shirt idea, I know where you sleep, and I will send Miles to "cut" you.)

That said, I think I'm going to head off to Michael's for a replacement crochet hook - I lost my H and somehow don't have a spare. I might try to go to the knitting shop in town, but being as "knitting" is in the shop title and there is no mention of crochet, I kind of feel discriminated against. I bet they will have hooks anyway.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I almost forgot... boldly go where I'm sure thousands of nerdy bloggers have already gone before.

Star Trek.

Yes, I watched it on opening night. Best $24 dollars I ever spent collectively on myself & future-hubby.


Ok, so back to The Trek. The new Spock was fantastic. There are no words to describe the awesomeness that is Spock. I was also very pleased by Simon Pegg's performance as Scotty I will watch and enjoy anything Pegg does, as he is the star and writer of my favorite TV series of all time, Spaced.

I can't give too thorough a review as I want everyone on this planet (and every other inhabitable planet) to go see this movie. Effects, casting, action, dialogue, Nimoy...everything is great.

Now go see it.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


I'm in my very first treasury! One of my Fallen Holly Berries prints was chosen to be in the berries and cream treasury, selected by trishafern.

Here's the featured print:

Check out the berries and cream treasury! It's delicious!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Go Big Blue

For anyone wondering how I did in the baking competition, it was not a success. Apparently someone decided that the desserts and the clothing should be judged TOGETHER, and thus my cupcakes lost to someone in the company t-shirt, blue jeans, blue-tinted sunglasses, and a blue plastic top-hat. The prize was a gift basket...filled with baking supplies. Clap. Clap. Clap.

For the "Second Annual" contest, I'll be sure to bring a tiered Blue Velvet cake, tint my icing, and deliver it in blue stilettos and an electric blue, floor length ball gown with a cathedral-length train, studded with blue LEDs. Oh, and a plastic hat.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Blue Velvet

We had our "First Annual Spirit Week" at work last week leading up to our major adoption event. I'm skeptical of anything calling itself the "First Annual" - are you SURE it will happen again? What if it's a huge failure? What if you get hit by a car and are not around to plan it the following year? Friday May 1st we were challenged to either wear our bluest outfit or bring our bluest homemade dessert. I wasn't working on Friday, but I felt obligated to out-bake everyone else. I had great success with my Red Velvet Cupcakes:

These are FILLED also, with the same cream cheese frosting. A bit much for some, but I thought it was great - kept the cuppies moist for like a week in the fridge!

This photo came out pretty good, so I decided to make greeting cards out of it! They're available in singles or sets of 6 in my Etsy shop!

I had already purchased some Electric Blue food coloring & colored sugar in a bake shop in Manhattan the week before, so I decided to go with that instead of the red using the same recipe. I tossed in a tablespoon of Captain Morgan to make up for the alcohol in the liquid food coloring I would normally use in the same recipe. Not sure if it did anything for the flavor or the texture, but I like tossing booze into just about anything.

The batter looked ridiculously awesome. I love the glossy texture this recipe gets, though I wish it wasn't due to the 1.5 cups of oil that gets dumped in there. Here's post baking:

I try not to think about the dangers and toxicity of commercial food colorings. If this cupcake gives me cancer, so be it. I'll just have an even better excuse to bake more of them and consume vast amounts before I die. I do kind of want to look into making these vegan - the only things holding up the cake batter are the eggs & buttermilk. As for the frosting, I'd have to get soy cream cheese and use margarine instead. Not too far off, but I'm kind of lazy and cheap. That and these taste so darned good already.

Moving on, I decided it wasn't enough to simply make the cupcakes blue with blue sugar. I wanted to leave the frosting white for contrast, so I needed another blue element.

Cue the marzipan!
I decided to use my Noah's Arc cookie cutters, since I work at an animal rescue organization.

The marzipan is store bought of course, but I tinted it to match the cakes, & I used silver dragees for eyes.

Didn't have any dog or cat cutters, but the elephant was sure cute.

I only got to eat 2 of the two dozen I made, but they were delicious!

I have Electric Green, Orange, & Fuchsia lined up as the next velvet colors. I'll post them as I bake them - I'm kind of hoping to do like an Andy Warhol set of cupcakes. We'll see what happens.