20 October 2009

Yard Saling

Boy am I one lucky duck!
A few weekends ago, Jason and I sang a couple of songs for a wedding of a girl whose parents go to our church. The wedding was held on Crane Beach and had about 20 people in attendance. It was a gorgeous day, perfect for a beach wedding...not too hot, not too cold, a gentle breeze blowing in the right direction for the bride's and bridemaids' hair, the whole beach to ourselves (besides a few seagulls here and there). So lovely. Jason and I sang "Come Thou Fount," "Fairest Lord Jesus," "Take My Life," and "Be Thou My Vision." And in addition to having free entrance to a lovely morning at the beach, Jason and I got paid for our little gig! So we decided to celebrate the supplementary income and the glorious weather with a little yard saling. We went to 6 different yard sales and spent $107, and we came home with the biggest, most amazing pile of loot ever:Metal Fish: $2
Child's Rocking Chair: $15
Random Assorted Fabric: $33
5 Country Living books: $5
5 other assorted books: $5
4 casserole dishes: $2
Pineapple hooks: $1
Antique needle book: $1
Copper cannister set: $6
Frame, Green Glass Juicer, Silver Fondue Pot, Cookbook, Embroidery Hoop, Set of vintage lady's golf clubs, Large Trunk (not pictured because it's in storage): Free!!
(You can click on the pictures for a better view.)

The big find of the day was a nearly full set of China including 6 dinner plates, 9 salad plates, 11 bread plates, 4 soup bowls, 7 dessert bowls, 10 teacups, 14 saucers, 1 teapot, 1 serving platter, 1 lidded vegetable server, 1 sugar bowl, and 1 mini teacup: $45
Buying a new set of china kinda came out of nowhere. I was originally taken in by it because it came with a teapot. (It is so hard to find a set of china that comes with a matching teapot!) Upon closer inspection, I discovered that the teapot was a different pattern than the rest of the set, but by that time, I was in love with the bright colors and bold patterns, and the lady at the sale knocked $5 off the price for me. Jason said that he liked it too, and it was a done deal. The lady selling it to us mentioned that it was a reputable name, so we did a little research when we got home and discovered that in order to assemble our set on replacements.com, it would cost over $1000! Antique Roadshow, here we come!! (Except that I am far too intoxicated by the set--and our awesome find--to ever sell it. Go figure.)
Normally, Jason and I would not go out and spend $100 on things we didn't need. We're just not big spenders, and we're not stuff people. And after all, Jason is in seminary. But we had the extra income, and I just love yard saling. I love love love it. I feel like I'm on a treasure hunt, out to find wonderful bits of happiness that others may have overlooked. I love going out with a purpose and finding things that I need for way less than I would spend if I bought them brand new. I love obtaining little lasting treasures that already have a rich history of use, their own little story as they are passed from one owner to the next. I love finding a good deal, and I rarely haggle over prices because I generally cannot mask my obvious excitement when I find something I really want. So we treated ourselves to a little treasure hunt and found some things that I've been wanting to buy anyway (a juicer, a fondue pot, a set of golf clubs for myself, and a casserole dish..or 4) and got them for for a total of $2.00!

The original intention of our little excursion was to find fabric that I could turn into something else and embroidery hoops for more fabric collages. I am ridiculously excited about the fabric I found, especially the bright yellow curtains which are going to be some sweet aprons!! I was also on the lookout for shutters to make into craft show displays, but I have some good ideas for the frame--the free frame, I should say--which I'm really excited about making into a place to hang my embroidery hoops.

So there you have it...some very fun finds to welcome fall (which is too quickly turning to winter). They spent 4 days crowding our living room before we set them up for some pictures and finally packed most of them up to take down to storage. Alas. That's what happens when you have 3 fulls sets (and a few more partial sets) of dishes and no china cabinet to house them in...and no dining room to house a china cabinet. :o/ But someday, I will have those things, and when that day comes, I will be well equipped to fill them with beautiful dishes!

11 October 2009

Apple Butter and Mango Salsa

Two weeks ago, I tried my hand at another preserving venture. This time on the menu: apple butter. I love love love apple butter. It makes me very happy. So Jason and I went to Russell Orchards, picked up some Gravenstein apples (a very good variety for sauces), found a tasty-looking recipe online, went out and bought a foley mill, and got down to work. Here are the lovely apples at the beginning:and at the end:(Pictures of apple butter in progress are not very beautiful. But here is a picture of Jason swirling the foley mill, which he enjoyed a lot more than squishing strawberries between his fingers.)I found the recipe here and altered it slightly. Next time, I probably won't use quite as much lemon.

I'm planning on selling my apple butter at show #3 in Peabody alongside the strawberry jam and strawberry lemon marmalade that isn't claimed from my giveaway back in July. For those of you who won, it has not left my mind. I'm making it too complicated, wanting to be all cute and crafty about packaging. But it has a shelf life of one year, so it's still good, and it's still coming your way. I just need to simplify. Surprise surprise. :o)

As a little unrelated bonus, I also made some delicious mango salsa:
I think I got the recipe here, but I'm not exactly sure. It looks awful familiar, but I used red onion instead of green onion. And I made a double batch. And I don't think I followed these amounts exactly. But that's the basic gist. You should definitely make this salsa. It is so very tasty. You won't be disappointed. (Also, a great big thanks to Jason, who spent a very long time cutting up the mangoes into tiny little corn/bean-sized bits.)

10 October 2009

Show #1

And the updates keep on coming...
2 Fridays ago, I had the Kalos coffee house. I brought my tree wall-hanging and a few embroidery hoop fabric collages (a name which I made up and am quite proud of because that's exactly what they are). Here is a picture of the hoops:
You'll probably recognize the big one as the crazy quilt square I made a few weeks back. I'm planning to sell this set and more like it at the upcoming Cranberry Fest in Chatsworth, NJ.

For the most part, my little creations were well received, especially my tree wall-hanging. I don't know if people really understood my fabric collages because they're meant to be wall art, but they were placed on a table...which kind of made them look a little silly, as if they weren't really finished.The event itself was really fun. We got to hear some really good music and some...other music. :o) There were some really amazing pieces on display (my favorites belonged to Jen and Chris Anderson, who displayed prints from linoleum and copper etchings, respectively). The Kalos journal turned out beautifully. And there was an excellent turn out, probably about 300 people. By the time I got to play during the open mic portion, that number had dwindled quite a bit. For those of you who are familiar with my music, I played "Ebony" and "Don't Mess with Me." My guitar playing was a little sloppy, but it had probably been about a year since I'd done that sort of thing, so on the whole, I was sufficiently satisfied with the performance, and I'm glad I did it. You can hear "Don't Mess with Me" here. For some reason, my myspace page looks all funky, but the music player still works.

The show was a little bitter sweet for me. I had a bit of a "fan base" from my friends from the seminary--you guys rock! thanks for your support!!--but for the most part, the people who got the best reactions during the "open mic" section of music were the people who were...on the other side of awesome, and I think it's a shame that people find it so necessary to rave over the courage of minimally talented people and end up encouraging mediocre performances. Maybe that makes me a bad person. It probably makes me selfish. I just want people to listen to my music, to really hear it and appreciate it. But the truth is that for the most part, people don't really listen unless they already have an invested interest in me. And that's hard to come to grips with because I never know if my stuff is any good or if people are just complimenting my music because they're my friends and that's why they like it.

Oh well. I saw the remake of Fame a few weeks back with a friend of mine. It basically comes down to this depressing moral: you can have either fame or a meaningful personal life. You have to throw away all your relationships in order to be successful in performing arts. You can't have both.

A part of me still wonders what would have happened if I would have been brave enough to pursue music and songwriting. My life would have been drastically different, and it's easy to fantasize that I would have been so much happier to be living my dream, even unsuccessfully. But I know I would have had to sacrifice in other areas...big areas that are really important to me. So even though the movie made me all sad and nostalgic for my days being part of a lively and challenging artistic community, it was comforting to see other people (albeit fictional people) fail because they chose relationships over success, rather than some big romanticizing, fairy tale portrayal of the performing arts (which is what I expected it to be).

Wow...this post got all depressing. I just wanted to show you all my fabric collages and give you an update on the coffee house. Sorry for the existential despair. :o/ More lively and chipper crafting posts coming soon, documenting the results of the nothing-to-sell-at-upcoming-craft-shows panic. :o)

09 October 2009

I don't want to be a pincushion.

Now that the Great Goat Vote is far behind us...I have SO MUCH to tell you...quite a bit of catch up to do. Although I've been thinking very few thoughts over the past few weeks other than "goats goats goats goats goats," I have gotten quite a bit done in September that I want to tell you about! So...here goes.

A few weekends ago, Jason and I took a 24 hour trip down to South Jersey (aka the Promised Land) to welcome my new niece into the world. Her name is Molly Grace Benson and she was born on September 5th. To read more about my trip to meet her and to see just how adorable and perfect Molly is, click here. But since this blog is about making, and I had nothing to do with making Molly, I'll forgo my Molly gushing here and proceed to makes of weeks past. (But oh my goodness, I love her.)

In the midst of a very busy Saturday, my mom and I fit in some felting. We made felted pincushions using the same water-felting method I used to make the felted balls for my glass vase. Basically, you get some warm water and add some gentle detergent, and you agitate the wool until it's done. We made shapes like burritos and then sliced them into 4 pincushions. I forgot to take in-progress photos, but here is my finished product:
I'm planning on needle-felting designs onto the sides and maybe even turning the smallest one into a pincushion to wear on your wrist. Felted wool makes for excellent pincushions because wool naturally sharpens needles. Pretty cool, huh? These were made in an effort to build up some inventory for my upcoming shows, which I have been a little lax in preparing for. I'm hoping that soon a bit of panic will ensue. Panic has always been a good motivator for me.