Monday, March 8, 2010

I forgot how much I love making jewelry

Phew, I've been so busy! Sick and busy. Our wedding planning is in full swing, in fact our amazing cake topper arrived today and just sort of sealed my level of excitement! I've got a few projects done and several more underway so look forward to a DIY wedding post soon!

Through working on designs for my Bridal party's jewelry I have seriously rediscovered my love for jewelry making. I'm on a bit of a kick right now with it so I'm making new things for the etsy shop. I'm thinking of offering jewelry pretty consistently. I just finished the two pieces above, what do you guys think? They're currently listed on etsy for any interested parties.

I'm still doing a ton of swapping on Swap-Bot. These are a few recent swaps and projects but you can often find more things that I'm working on and projects that I don't post here at my flickr.

This blog desperately needs a new layout, rainbow winter is over. I'm working on that! I've also had a lot of encouragement about my painting lately, I've been doing watercolor nearly every day. I'm planning to test out the idea of selling prints soon, I'll have a big art post coming. I'm working on designs for my Zazzle shop featuring my watercolor work, so that information is coming.

Really, I'm just surrounding myself with all manner of arts and crafts. I constantly want to improve every crafting skill, making things is what I am passionate about. It is my life, hopefully it will a real sustaining career soon. I'll be hitting a few craft fairs this spring, the first will be an experimental/indie festival here in Athens in April, info coming soon =)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I've been doing tons of swaps...

Swap fever has hit me again, hard. I'm spending my days making things for the shop, swapping, and planning the wedding- it's nice to have so much creative freedom right now!

I've really gotten into making stuffies and plushies out of felt... it all started with a felt donut swap. I made four and then sort of couldn't stop. I'm actually working on embroidered felt flowers for my wedding bouquets, I'll post pictures and most likely a tute for that soon.

A stuffie sent... and a stuffie received. I got that fantastic cupcake package from kickasspeanut on Swapbot.

I'm really getting into the swing of wedding planning now. I'll start doing a lot more wedding blogs shortly as I begin to piece together my plans and make them reality. I'm heading to my first bridal show this weekend, which should be a lot of fun despite the fact that we're doing this hella DIY style!

And be sure to check my etsy shop for some great new soaps! I've added Strawberry Fields Forever and Cup of Cocoa!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

At last!

Announcing, The Mermaid's Apothecary!

I have spent the past couple months making batch after batch of scrubs, soaps, and salts trying to perfect recipes. I've always loved brewing up beauty products, and after working in the beauty industry I developed a passion for healthy skin. I am so happy to be able to share my products at last!

I have lots more coming soon, I'll be expanding constantly so look for great new things coming soon!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Holiday Goodies and Tasties

Happy Holidays!

I can honestly say that this has been the best Christmas that I have ever had; this may be an economically dismal year but the bad times have further shown me what is truly important.

I hope that you and yours are having a great holiday season full of love and joy, here's to hoping that we all enjoy a 2010 full of happiness and prosperity!

My fiance, mother, and I celebrated Christmas Eve together at our apartment this year and I cooked. I made walnut chicken, stuffing, broccoli and hominy cassarole, and sweet corn. All the recipes are super simple, dinner was ready in about an hour, and everything is budget friendly :)
Walnut Chicken
  • I used three fresh boneless, skinless breasts and baked them at 375 degrees in glass baking dish sprayed with non-stick spritz. Bake these according to thickness and number of chicken breasts.
  • The batter is comprised of tablespoons melted butter mixed well with chopped/mashed walnuts (if you can squish these a bit to get the walnut oil out the flavor becomes all the more delicious and nutty) and ultra-fine breadcrumbs.
  • Coat chicken thickly in batter, use any excess to top off breasts once you place them in the glass baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake. Remove foil 3/4 through baking. You can lightly broil these to make them even more golden but make sure you watch them very carefully as they will burn!
Broccoli and Hominy Casserole
  • Blend a can of cream of mushroom soup, 1 regular size bag of frozen broccoli florets, 1 can of drained hominy, a dash of pepper, 1 cup of crumbled saltine crackers, and 1/3 cup milk in a glass baking dish.
  • Create top layer by spreading a generous amount of crumbled saltines or breadcrumbs (or both, like I did) on top of the mixture. Cut thin pats of unsalted butter and distribute on top of the casserole, cover with cheese (I like sharp cheddar or a cheddar blend).
  • Bake in oven covered with aluminum foil for about 30 minutes, remove foil and bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until cheese is desired level of bubbly. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.
    My mom and I split the dessert duties, she made my request of a strawberry pie and I made her request of something with chocolate and peanut butter. These are quick little candies that are so simple to make, I've served them at parties and given them to friends and they're always a hit.
Easy Peasy Peanut Butter Candies
  • Mix 3 cups of broken up pretzel sticks with 1 cup of peanut butter and blend together well. I like to use 1/2 to 3/4 crunchy peanut butter though you can use all crunchy or all creamy. If you choose to use all creamy then add more pretzels as you lose a lot of the crunch and stability.
  • Drop spoonfuls of these onto wax paper, each spaced a little apart.
  • Microwave (on high) 1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips in 30 second intervals until fully melted, stirring frequently as you heat it. You can burn it very easily so keep an eye out, you want it to be fully melted but not start to cook too much.
  • Spoon chocolate onto the drops of peanut butter. I find a tablespoon works best, one full tablespoon is the perfect amount to drown your little peanut butter yummies in. The top and sides will get decently covered but don't worry about the bottom- too messy!
  • Pop these in the fridge to cool for at least an hour and you're done! They can be a bit messy to easy so have some napkins handy!

And last but not least, a few Christmas morning moments... we don't have kids yet, so Bubbles is fully spoiled during the holidays. She actually woke us up several times on Christmas morning, she could smell the catnip in her stocking and got excited. We finally had to get up early and open gifts to appease her highness. LOL!
And last in my agenda of holiday goodies to share, my Neopets stocking! I made Zane and I new stockings this year, this features the slime dudes from Dragon Quest (his favorite game ever) and mine is a Christmas Slorg from one of my addictions, Neopets. I actually made it for a contest on the website, I'll let you guys know how that turns out ;)

Edit: I won first place =D

The stocking is made from felt and cotton. I free hand drew a slorg shape (they are kind of like insanely cute slugs if you're not Neopets savvy, hehe) on felt and copied that onto a piece of polka dot cotton for the back. The fur is a sparkly white/silver, the rest of the shapes are felt. I did the majority of the sewing on a machine (though I tackled Zane's first by hand it did not turn out nearly so well) and used fabric paint for the glitter effects. Star sequins are in the eyes and a cool shiny bead is the accent on the flower.

Working with felt is a rather new thing for me but this project has encouraged me to try some of the amazing tutorials that I've seen on Craftster and the like.

Please check back for the BIG UPDATE! I have a big change... a new business... I'm launching something that I am really excited about on JANUARY 1st so check back! And remember, M&M Etsy is still offering free shipping until the 1st!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Big Changes!

I've had something secretly brewing for the past few months, something that is going to launch very soon and change the face of Mermaids & Monkeys!

A new business!

A new brand!

A new name!

A new layout!

Coming very, very soon!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New item; altered art journals!

I love journaling, the more creative and expressive, the better! The M&M etsy shop is now carrying a line of altered art journals, each one is made using mostly vintage papers and eupehmia, no two are alike and I'm having a lot of fun with these. I can do custom designs with these if you have a theme or idea, or want something similar to a journal that has already sold.

The one to the left uses pages from an old children's copy of Treasure Island. I've used pages out of a really interesting 1960's children's copy of Dracula as well as vintage encylopedias. I have pages from copies of Madeline and vintage coloring books, etc. I have been using water color paint, crayons, and pencils to color the pages before I decoupage them on.

If you want to try making these yourself check your local thrift store for inexpensive books with great illustrations but be careful not to shred a real gem ;)

I am also offering free shipping in my etsy shop until January 1st on every order, including customs!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Eek! So sorry about my lack of posting, guys. I've been working more hours at my non-craft job and trying to do some wedding planning for my nuptials next year.

A shop update: M&M on Etsy is now offering FREE SHIPPING for the Holidays! I just wanted to do a little something to say thank you to all my great customers.

Keep checking back in the shop for great holiday gift ideas, I have lots of journals and altered books coming very soon! The shop has also began selling vintage items, at the moment we have some housewares (a great set of teak bowls!) as well as accessories (vintage scarves, ooh la la). I plan on expanding the vintage department asap. And the last great shop news before I get on with something fun, I've finally gotten a good printer/scanner/copier so I'll soon be offering original art, prints, invitations, and other similar printed items with my art work featured. Very excited about this!

I thought I would share a few recent photos that I've taken. I love to explore with my camera, particularly on dark and mysterious evenings.

I recently had a very "Wonderland" experience. A friend and I went walking at night through a field with just my camera and a flashlight. Instead of using flash, we shone the light on what I wanted to catch and came out with some very interesting results. I swear we saw a mome rath arrow! Here are a few shots from that evening, they have had some editing done but the majority of the affects are natural. I'd love some opinions on the shooting style.

Note to all the great swap partners I've had lately- I'm working on compiling photos for a post to show off all the amazing things I've gotten in the mail lately!