Thursday, July 21, 2016

SAA Feature July

As I'm attempting to get my life back in order after several weeks of working on the magazine, a week of Grand Assembly, and two weeks of vacation; it was time to re-organize and re-stock the booth at Southern Antiques and Accents.

I tried to do a complete clean-out and overhaul.

There was much that stayed where it was, but several items that had been in the etsy shop moved to the booth. Here's a closer look at each shelf (top to bottom).

This first one is so high up (and it isn't even the very top shelf) that I'm hesitant to put much up there for fear that no one can see or reach it. So, these three necklaces sit there.

This shelf is a little more at eye level so I've packed it full of necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.

As this one is a little below eye-level, I've not put much high in it and instead have a sign and a mirror to fill the space.

Close to the bottom are more earrings and necklaces displayed in a variety of manners.

On the very bottom shelf, I have items pushed forward for better viewing. As well, most of the earrings on this shelf are at reduced/lower prices.

Here's one last look at the whole booth.
I think it's inviting and cute, but I'm not sure it garners much attention. What would you add to make it stand out? Do I need to add more color or pack more into it? Should I offer more than just jewelry? I often feel like I'm grasping at straws when it comes to this whole retail thing. I just wanna make stuff, trying to sell it is much harder. What gets your attention at an antique mall?


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Sectional Sofa Storytime

All kinds of fun stuff has been happening here on the homefront in the past month or so. Going through the camera roll on my phone has helped me realized that I captured much of it, but haven't shared. Today, let me share the saga of the new couch!

When Pat and I moved into our first place, we had almost no furniture. For several weeks, we actually sat on lawn furniture before finally buying a cheap, unfinished wood futon to serve as our couch. We used the futon for a few years before we inherited a real couch.
My uncle had the couch for quite a few years before we got it. So, by the time we moved into the new house last year it was well-worn. The cushions were sagging, the frame had collapsed (and was held up by 2x4s), the fabric was ripping, and there were stains all over it. We knew it was past time for a new couch. In fact, we went shopping many, many times to look and see if anyone had something like what we wanted.

After the old house finally sold, getting a new couch was at the top of our list. In all of our previous shopping trips, we had only found one couch that met our wants and needs: large sectional (so Pat and I could both stretch out), not leather, dark gray, attached back cushions, etc. Direct Furniture in Foley was our destination. The couch we wanted wasn't displayed anymore, but it was easy enough to order. J Henry Furniture makes the sofa and is based in Mississippi. Unfortunately, because the couches are made to order, it would be 6-8 weeks before our new couch was delivered. We waited on pins and needles, counting down the weeks.

When it was ready, the delivery guys hauled out our well-loved couch before bringing in the three-part sectional sofa. Because our house is laid out oddly, we anticipated some issues but figured it wouldn't be too big a deal. We were mistaken.

The first two sections went in with just a few small issues that re-positioning handled. The final section though. . .
Yup, it landed in the kitchen. Pat and the delivery guys tried everything they could to get it through the kitchen door. But, it just wouldn't go.

Fortunately, there's another entrance to the living room through a storage area. After Pat moved a ton of stuff to get the couch into that area, they realized that the couch was still to large to make it through the doorway.
Off came the door and the door frame. Sigh. However, it worked. The last section was wedged through into the living room after only two hours. The delivery guys received a very generous tip!

For days afterwards the door looked like this.
Pat needed some supplies from the hardware store before he could replace the door and frame completely.

It wasn't pretty, but totally worth it in the end to finally have this beauty of a beast.

Oh, and in addition to picking out the color of the sectional, we were able to select the fabric (from an array of choices) for the six pillows that came with it. I really liked all the colors in this paisley print that we ended up choosing.

It took a few hours for the cats to get used to the couch, but Asia has yet to find a spot on it that she doesn't like.

So that's the tale of the couch that almost wasn't. We've had it over a month now and are still absolutely in love with it. I guess that's a good thing because it looks like it's stuck in here for a while. Have you ever had issues with getting large furniture moved? I'd love to know your stories.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Arugula, Tomato, and Cucumber Pasta Salad Recipe

Last week Pat and I hosted a Fourth of July party. We wanted it to be as casual as possible: bring something for the grill, maybe a side too; come swim and play yard games; we'll do fireworks when it gets dark. Easy peasy. I think it went well.

Since we were hosting, I made three sides: my 'famous' corn casserole, a super basic potato salad (it was really just potatoes, mayo, mustard, relish, and seasonings), and this amazing pasta salad.

I hardly ever make or eat pasta salad because Pat's not a fan of cold pasta. When he goes out of town, I tend to make a batch of this and eat it for DAYS as a meal or a side! Since we were having a summer party, I figured a cold salad would be perfect.

Here's how I made it. Complete instructions are at the bottom. Boil your pasta of choice until al dente. Make sure not to overcook it. You don't want mushy pasta in your salad. Drain and rinse it with cold water when it's done. While that's going, slice grape tomatoes in half and quarter chunky cucumber slices. I would normally peel the cucumbers first, but I knew that there would be some non-cucumber eaters at the party so these needed to stand out from the rest of the salad.

Toss in your feta and Parmesan cheeses, pine nuts, and red onion. You could just use feta, but I have a real love affair with cheese so I can't help but add all the cheese. Also, you're welcome to toast the pine nuts. I wasn't feeling like fussing with the oven myself.

Mix up the dressing

Dump the pasta in with the veggies, and pour the dressing over it all. Stir the whole thing together, cover it, and chill it in the fridge.

Now, I have another confession to make. I have a thing for arugula. When I made this pasta salad for the first time (as a pot luck dish back in the fall), it was the arugula that drove me to do it. Wash and rinse some arugula (in a salad spinner thing). Put it aside until you are ready to serve the salad. If you put it in too early, it could possibly wilt. I just stick it in a zip-top baggie until I'm ready for it.

As I made the salad, I knew there were guests coming that wouldn't eat certain ingredients. One was allergic to pine nuts, some don't like cucumber, onion is an issue for another. I figured if they didn't like the ingredients; they didn't have to eat it. I could have it ALL TO MYSELF! Whahahahaha! (that was my evil laugh). Anyway, the salad did get eaten, some was even taken to other homes. I did have a little left over just for me though. Yay!

Before I give you my recipe for it, I need to tell you that the whole dish was inspired by this Arugula Pasta Salad with Tomatoes recipe from Little Spice Jar.

Arugula, Tomato, and Cucumber Pasta Salad

Ingredients:
1 box of Bowtie Pasta
1 container of grape tomatoes (sliced in half)
1 large cucumber (sliced and quartered)
1/2 red onion (finely diced)
1/4 C pine nuts
6oz feta cheese
1/4 C shaved Parmesan
2 C arugula 

For the dressing:
1/2 C olive oil
4 T red wine vinegar
2 T white balsamic vinegar
3 T agave
1 t granulated garlic powder
1 t Italian seasoning
1/2 t pepper
salt to taste

Directions
1. Boil pasta until al dente. Drain and rinse with cool water.
2. Chop and combine in a large bowl the grape tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, pine nuts, feta, and Parmesan. 
3. Mix together dressing ingredients.
4. Add pasta and dressing to bowl. Toss to combine.
5. Chill bowl in fridge. 
6. Wash and rinse arugula. Place in baggie in fridge until ready to serve.
7. Toss arugula into bowl and enjoy!

Feel free to add any ingredients you think this needs and more or less of anything. I'm happy with it as is but did consider adding broccoli (had it not gone bad). I could also see grilled chicken or shrimp in with it. And, while I think it's a perfect dish for summer, I can eat it all year long!

Do you have a favorite 'summer' recipe?

I'm linking up this recipe at the Link Party Palooza 150 on Lil' Luna.


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

ZnetShows Creative Spark Summer 2016 Reveal

As I mentioned in my previous goal review post, I'd been busy with the ZnetShows.com e-magazine, Creative Spark. The virtual publication is now live and ready to inspire. I know you've got to come in from the Summer heat at some time, so why not peruse these virtual pages while you're at it? If you're impatient, you can follow this link to go straight to Creative Spark Summer 2016 to see all the designs.
Creative Spark  Summer 2016

While I edit the publication and manage the social media for ZnetShows.com, I'm also a designer for them. So, you'll find some of my designs within the pages. The whole theme for this magazine was to promote some of the new bead shapes and styles. As such, I divided it up by those categories. When I first saw a few of the beads, I immediately saw particular designs.

First up were the cultured sea glass top-drilled teardrop nugget pendants. When I saw the two sizes of the pendants, I knew I wanted to created a layered necklace. It took some finagling, but this beauty finally came together with some tubes and Chinese crystal beads, all from ZnetShows.com.


While I had the jet black sea glass beads out, I decided to play with altering them. Clear nail polish was a quick and easy way to give them some shine. I simply added dots to one side of the teardrop nuggets and a stripe (as best as I could) around the tube beads.


The double-hole flat freeform pendants also struck a chord with me from the first moment I saw them. I just had to make them into bracelets. Initially, I knew that the matte nature of the cultured sea glass leaned perfectly toward casual-wear. Using leather flowed naturally from that idea. It took a little force to get the leather through the holes (because I was too lazy to go find thinner leather), but I totally got these to work. As well, I learned to make adjustable knots so these could fit any number of wrist sizes. Oh, and I couldn't help myself again from altering at least one of them. I simply stamped a text stamp with some permanent ink onto one of the pendants. Because these are flat, it was a perfect base for stamping.


Once the leather ones were made, I decided to attempt to dress up the cultured sea glass a bit. Use of Chinese crystal beads in a rondelle shape made it easy. I used the light aqua 'coke' bottle seafoam-colored glass but wanted to make them match the crystals a bit more. As such, I altered two of the pendants with alcohol inks. The original-colored one is in the center of the picture below. Each of the bracelets work great on their own or stacked together. The construction of them also makes it easy to link all the bracelets together for one long wrap bracelet.


Even after making all that jewelry, I still had plenty of pendants left on my desk. With some E6000 glue, I quickly dressed up a square candle votive from the Dollar Tree. It totally matches the upcycled TV stand in our living room. It's no surprise that that's where the votive now lives.


My designs are just a few of the ones you'll find in Creative Spark Summer 2016. If you want more information on the beads I used, there are direct links to the products inside the magazine. Click over to see more, or use the viewer below to flip through the pages. I know you'll find something that inspires you.


Let me know what you think of the e-magazine and if you have any questions about how I created my designs, please don't hesitate to ask!


Thursday, June 30, 2016

May and June Goal Review

I've been a bad blogger lately. Much has been going on, but nothing I can explain. I never did do a May goal review and now June is ending and nothing additional has been accomplished. Between working in the yard and on the newest edition of ZnetShows' Creative Spark (should be ready for a reveal this weekend!), I've just not gotten much else done. Despite June not being quite over, I want to go ahead and just share some of what I did do in the last couple of months before yet another one passes me by.

Please remember that there were five goals/tasks I wanted to accomplish each month Goal, a piece of Jewelry, an altered Card, at least one Blog post, and a Journal page. This post should cover weeks 18-25. . .but I came nowhere close to accomplishing all those weeks or even making up for other ones.

Let's start with the cards because they're the prettiest.
This was for week 16 (back in April). I simply painted the card blue and stuck on a daisy  image that was floating around my craft room. I played with my new Posca paint pens to write the words and draw the dots.


This butterfly card was made for week 17 - another make-up. I really love it. I'm not sure what I used to create the background (sorry) but then used distress inks with a stencil for the teardrops. The butterfly was stamped on some under paper and cut out. A pencil was used to doodle. I used a Posca pen to write fly and a gelli pen to outline in white.


I did another daisy for week 18. This one was stamped on some typed paper and colored with neocolor iis. The background was a gelli print and the 'smile' from Tim Holtz's chit chat stickers. I used a stabilo all pencil in black around the flower and word.


I barely remember making this Week 19 card. I know I used a bunch of items that were just sitting on my desk: bits of paper and homemade gelli print stickers with some neocolor iis blended on top. A little gesso was added before the "give of your best" book cutout. I circled the words with the stabilo and doodled with a permanent marker, black pen, and white pen.


That was all for the cards for the two months. Next . . . um. . .goals.
  • Week 18's goal was to go an art retreat. I totally did that with the Art at the Beach 2016 fun.
  • For week 19, I wanted to catch up on my blog reading. It took me more than one week to get there, but I totally got through my feed reader, deleting blogs that no longer held my interest. Now, I'm behind again. . .Gah!
  • Week 20 I aimed to use Snapchat for my business and fun. I totally did that. Though, the last week or so I've fallen down on using it as much. You can follow me if you want. I'm CraftyHope of course!
  • I wanted to cover my mannequin and some other displays for week 21, but that hasn't come to fruition . . . yet.
  • For week 22, I had hoped to learn to cut stencils on my silhouette cameo. Again, I did not.
  • Week 23's goal was to create a file of focal images for art journaling. Nope. they're still all strewn about.
  • Week 24 & Week 25's goals had to do with Grand Assembly (for the International Order of Rainbow for Girls - I'm an advisor and their state convention was last week.) I did accomplish those, I had to.
That sums up May and June's goals for the most part. I now have a long list of goals to catch up on, and catching up is one of the goals I have to catch up on. Such a catch 22!!

I did get a few pieces of jewelry made. Some of them you'll see when I reveal the e-magazine. I'm counting those as week 20's jewelry. For week 17, 18, 19, & 21; I got these earrings made. 
They're not much, but I was happy to be creating SOMETHING!!

Now. . .blog posts. . .eek!
This is my first post for ALL of June. How is that even possible?
May was a little more successful. 
Week 19: Art Retreat
Week 21: Mindfulness

I really, really do want to get back on track with my blog posting. I miss y'all!!

For now, let me just finish this post. The last weekly task was to get a journal page done. Being on the art retreat really helped in that respect. However, I haven't really done any more since then. What a cryin' shame!! Here are the ones that did get completed.
This one (Week 16) was made with just playing with some paints and supplies at the retreat and then a little reminder for myself. I think I totally needed to see that right NOW. 

Week 17 was a whole lotta playing with paints and materials. It's kinda dark, but I dig it.

For week  18, I played with having just learned to draw a face. I really just left it at that.

Week 19 was the last page I got made. I used it as an opportunity to play with my new posca pens and neocolor iis. It's WAAAAYYYYY simple, but it's done at least. 

Now I need to catch up on everything I've been neglecting. Right now, one of the nieces is over for about a week or so while we take vacation. She wants to make some art and play outside and I'm right there with here. Maybe I can get some of these other tasks accomplished, but I won't hold my breath.

Thanks so much for bearing with me in this LONG absence. I do apologize. I really don't know where the time goes sometimes.

So, we're halfway through the year. How are you doing on your goals and resolutions? Be honest, I'm not the only one who's behind am I?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Mindfulness

I've had it on the books (in my planner) for a ling time to do a blog post on "A Day in My Life". Yesterday I tried to take the time to get the pictures and write down the notes of what I did. In that process, I discovered something: I got more accomplished. Or, at least, it feels like I got more done.

More daily tasks were completed and weekly tasks checked off.
A peek at my checklist of items I hope to complete each day.

Chickens were tended to.
Bertha, Ethel, and Hazel (L-R) getting some time outside yesterday.

Chores were done.
This was my to-do list first thing in the morning before anything was accomplished.

Art was made.
I made an attempt to catch up on my weekly altered playing cards. . .and made a dent! You'll get to see them when I do a goal review (next week most likely)

Shopping was done.
I picked these up after reading about them on BulletJournalJoy, and then NEEDING them.

Booth was stocked.
I added a few items to the shelves of my booth at Southern Antiques and Accents in Fairhope.

Husband was helped.
He needed some assistance while building the chicken coop. I just held some boards up for him. That's the extent of how I can help for now - I'll be painting it soon. Oh, and shhhh....he doesn't know I'm using this picture!

Jewelry was listed.
This Aqua Flower Brooch Necklace was added to the etsy shop.

Social media wasn't ignored. (You'll just have to follow me on Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat (craftyhope) . . .or take my word for it.)

And today's looking just as good despite it being a Wednesday (my 'shorter' day because it's family-visiting day. yay!).  I think my being mindful and paying attention to what I'm doing is helping me stay on track and actually get some things done. I definitely need to keep that up.

Now, I know I said something about a day in my life post. . .this wasn't it. I'm going to pick another day, another time. Even though I was being mindful about what I was doing, I didn't completely keep track of what I did or get as many pictures taken as I would like. It's coming though, just you wait!

How do you stay mindful and on track throughout the day?