Saturday, March 12, 2011

Its been too long...

Oh my, its been ten days since I last posted!  This is just a quick update to say that I'm not blogdead.  I've just been super busy, but more about that later.

First, a quick update about the market that I visited last friday.  It was more of a resellers/flea market, that kind of reminded me of the flea markets in Mexico.  I didn't see any other handmade type sellers, and very few food sellers/farmers market type people.  It didn't look like it would be worth it for me.   I may check out the swap meet that will be going on in June at the Yuma Civic Center since its only $10 for a space and they provide tables.  Its also indoors, where as the other market was outside.

As far as why I've been so busy...  The school district decided to cut my assignment as a biology teacher short and move me to another school to teach Algebra.  See, I was supposed to be filling in for biology teacher who was on maternity leave till mid April, but I got a call at the end of the day on Tuesday that they wanted me to start the next day at another school.  Needless to say, I was in shock.  I was quite comfortable as a biology teacher, the kids were good, I had daily lesson plans and everything was set up nicely for me.  The only downside was the ending date, and the fact that we had to leave a little early in the mornings so my husband could drop me off.  The new assignment... These kids haven't had a real teacher in 2 weeks, they're behind, there are no lesson plans, and I haven't had algebra II since I was in 9th grade.  There is an upside though, since I will have this job till the end of the school year, and its at the same school that my husband teaches at.  I also worked there last year, so I'm familiar with it.

So, between getting my bearings in the new assignment and sleeping I have had trouble keeping up with everything else.  I hope to have another post up in the next couple days to talk about my new vintage kimono fabric and my plans for it!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cooking Guideline (Recipe) Time!

As mentioned in my profile, I am a bit of a foodie.  Not the crazy, talks all the time about food and goes to extraordinary lengths to either source their foods or try new and different things, but the I friggin love food and trying new and different things.  I don't really go out of my way for it, but if the restaurant offers alligator tail etouffee or fried pigs ear in black bean sauce with wood ear, then yeah, I'm game for trying it.  

I also love to cook!   However, I have issues with recipes.  I like to look at them, and imagine how they would taste, but I rarely follow them 100%.  When I cook, I consider recipes to be more of a... guide line.  And often times, I prefere the meals that come about by a little fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants innovation.  Making it up as you go.   I start with an idea, like barbecue pork, and go from there.  This is what at least 80% of my daily cooking is.   Most of the time its pretty good, but some times I hit on a real winner.  And today, I would like to share one of those winners.  I'm not going to call it a recipe, but a guideline.  All measurements are approximate.

Lemon Pepper Honey Skillet BBQ
1 lb pork (or chicken, or beef if you want)
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp honey (I used raw local honey, lets just say I have a 12lb jar...)
2 tsp rice vinegar (I imagine apple cider would work just as well, add more if you want more tang)
black pepper to taste
1 tbsp minced garlic
Olive oil

1. Cut the pork in to 1/4 strips.
2. Heat your preferred amount of oil in a skillet on medium heat.
3. Toss in your garlic and stir till browned.
4. Add pork.  I usually wait till one side is browned before adding the other ingredients.
5. Add the worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and rice vinegar (pre mix them and add all at once if you like)
6. Add the ketchup.
7. Add the honey.  This is added last to give the other ingredients time to soak into the pork and some of the liquid to cook off.
8. Cook on medium until the liquid is a thick, saucy consistency.  When it cools to eating temperature the honey will give a nice, slightly crispy texture.
9. Add black pepper to taste.

And wha-la!  Yummy, quick bbq in about 15 minutes.
This is my hubby's plate... he's a meat and potatoes guy.
This is my plate.  I'm a bit more... out there shall we say.  I'm having mine with brown rice and kimchee!

New Things and Random Musings

Hello All! 

I believe I’ve gotten over my creative rut so to speak and am feeling much more up to muster.  I've two new things since my last post : A butterfly tote bag, and a new style of bag made with the same houndstooth that I used in my skirt and hat from this post.

The butterfly tote is just another, less swashbuckling, more flittery version of my pirate tote.  They are a bit different in size as well.  The butterfly tote is wider and shorter than the pirate tote, and for some reason the hand applique took me  about 2.5 days to finish.  This was probably because I was working on it during my unmotivated/ uninspired slump last week.  However, I really love that was able to free hand draw the shape of the butterfly.  I'm usually pretty bad at that kind of thing, but it really turned out well!  I think it has kind of a punky/goth vibe, with the blacks and hot pinks.  Click here if you want to see the listing on Etsy!

The other thing I made was different style of purse I've tried before, and I think it turned out as well.  I really like the addition of the running stitch across the top of the bag.  It was an after thought, because I ran into an issue of the edge not laying flat even after pressing.  So, I decided to do a simple running stitch across the top for more of a pop.  This bag is also larger than most of the other purse style bags I've made in the past, and I think it really works for this style.  This is also the first time I've worked with piping, which was a pain on the curvy parts.  If you're interested in buying this one, it can be found here.

Now, on to the random musings part of the post:

Still no sales in the Etsy department, but I’ve started looking into the local market.  I’ve found one location that I’ll be scouting out this weekend, to see if its worth my time and money.  It’s large semi outdoor weekly farmer’s market/flea market.  It costs $20 a day for a covered space and is open from 9:00am till 4:00 pm Thursdays to Sundays.  If I decide to do it, I have to figure out what I have that I can  set up with, like tables and display type stuff.  But I have plenty of time to think about that, as I’m no where near ready for it.  I need to build up more stock to make it potentially worthwhile to go.  I’m thinking about making some smaller items, like small purses and zipper coin pouches and small stuffed things like the Happy Goat.  I have an idea for a similar style bunny already in the works.  If anything, it gives me a chance to hand out business cards.

I feel like I need to speed up my sewing process a little as well.  I’m only making about one item per 2-3 days, but it’s hard to find time between teaching, sleeping and marketing/networking to actually work on making things.  

It’s also a little discouraging that people look at my items and comment about how cute they are and how original they are, but I’ve had no purchases, beyond two companion cubes quite a while ago.  I know that a lot of my stuff is fairly unique and doesn’t necessarily have universal appeal, so finding my niche in the market is hard.  I do know that sales have been slim lately, due to the economic state and timing, so I’m hopeful that something will move soon.  I’m also updating my Etsy listings and hope to find a solution to my lighting/picture quality issues soon.  Our apartment gets about 10 minutes of decent sunlight every morning and that’s it.  

But enough of my random musings... Its time to create!  Until next post: Good bye!