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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

karenswimmer.etsy.com a review...

983 etsy sales...So close to that 1000. In 2008 I started on etsy with my beaded jewelry along with the other 700000000 jewelry artists. In the first year I didn't break 100 sales. At the time I was working and taking care of 3 kids..not much time to invest in my craft. The next year I started more crochet projects..specifically play food. Big doings in 2009 for play food. Pricing was low, work was intense and still I was working at the YMCA as well as staying with Brady at home til the other kids got out of school.

2010 started making more items that spoke to a wider population and began phasing out jewelry. In April of 2010 my job ended at the Y for a 9 month stint while renovations were happening. I decided to give my little business a serious chance to take off. I did more shows, joined Facebook, promoted my work like never before. In September 2010 I bought the owl hat pattern from crazysockscrochet. That was the beginning of a whole new dimension. I was now a hat maker mainly. Repeat customers started...as well as a huge online support from other shops like whimsical willows coture.In Dec 2010 I had my 500th sale on etsy( my mom was the lucky buyer). I began designing my own hats...with a few gentle nudges from customers suggesting I could do it. Themainegirl on etsy gave me lots of inspiration to grow and create the ideas from her head..turkey hat, reindeer, bender, elf,..all credited to her vision, my panic and finally learning to think out of the box.

Which brings us to the insane and fast year of 2011... I made a gazillion hats it seems like...I made a lot of new and fabulous friends via etsy teams, facebook and getting my name out in the Rochester art community. I did 2 shows this season rather than carting my wares to 12 shows. I made the BIG mistake of participating in heartsy. I had my first negative review, I sometimes wanted to put my yarn away and have a week where I slacked. I made a studio designed for just my yarn.which was taking over our house. I made my business happen and it was hard but rewarding. It was now a J-O-B.

So back to that 983. I would love to have 1000 by March 1, will I sweat it if it doesn't happen....nah it's just a number. What I am excited for is the future of my business. March 1 st will be my biggest celebration yet. My day was spent contacting the best artists with like minds and superior wares to do an online auction. lots more to come on that. Remember the play food? Since I am done making it, I am going to publish my patterns on etsy and ravelry. After that, it is time to bring DuncanCreative to the gazillions of gift shops in the wine country. So 1000 or not, this woman has big plans for her hooks.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mutha Sauce

Rochester boasts 2 fabulous BBQ restaurants. Sticky Lips and Dinosaur BBQ. Most people like one more than the other..I am divided equally. I love to go to Sticky Lips whenever I can, but my battered copy of The Dinosaur cookbook proves my love of cooking their recipes.


So many of these recipes require 3/4-1 c of Mutha Sauce..this recipe has a gazillion ingredients, and make a MUTHA load..it is a sweet, spicy, tangy delicious sauce..When I make this, I freeze a few containers, and plan a few of the recipes from the cook book.

Tonight we had Maple Apple Pork loin, baked potato, cranberry sauce and key lime pie (Dinosaur style of course), tomorrow making the Not Your Mama's Meat loaf and later in the week, Jamaican Jerk Pork Tenderloin.  Using up some of that delicious sauce in each.

By John Stage, co-owner of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. It is a balanced blend of sweet, savory, spicy and smoky flavors that acts as our leaping off point for creating a world of barbecue sensations. This sauce can stand alone as a traditional slatherin' sauce for ribs or chicken.
Ingredients
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup minced onion
1/2 cup minced green pepper
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
pinch each of kosher salt and black pepper
2 T minced garlic
1 can (28 ounces) tomato sauce
2 cups ketchup (preferably Heinz)
1 cup water
3/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup cayenne pepper sauce
1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 T chili powder
2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground allspice
Directions
1. Pour the oil in a large saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Toss the onions, green peppers, and jalapenos and give them a stir. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook til soft and golden. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
2. Dump in everything else. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the sauce simmers. Simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Let the sauce cool. Pour it into a container, cover and store in the fridge till ready to use.
Notes:
Alternative:

Hot BBQ Sauce: Add 2 or 3 seeded and minced habanero peppers (about 1 1/2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon) along with the onions, peppers and jalapenos. Also add 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper along with the other ingredients for extra punch

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Patience and All That

Today I need to find that small pocket of patience which I know MUST be there somewhere.  I feel as if each turn today leads down a frustrating path. 
1. It is blech outside..seriously sloppy weather
2.Slept in..which should be a good thing...but not as late as I did, the whole morning is off
3. Had to go to the ACTUAL post office which required me getting dressed and actually out in the world as a pkg had to go to Canada.
4. Bag ready , all set, out the door..to the PO and I realize I had 10 minutes before they closed for 2 hrs (which is enough to irritate me on its own) and realize NO BANK CARD IN MY WALLET
5. Back home to do Paypal shipping on the 3 domestic orders..only just 2 will take and I spend 15 minutes trying to figure out WHY Paypal hated the correct and verified address I had..only to still have to take it to the PO tomorrow
6. Go to put the 2 packages in the mail only to discover the mailman (and he is a man) has already come.

Needless to say I looking for the easy road for the rest of the day..chicken patties for dinner+'s happy kids, and no work for mom.

Since this is  a blog about crafting, cooking and general observations of my whacko world and not just a place to vent I will leave you with a book suggestion:
I'm going to Move to Australia

Friday, January 13, 2012

Joy in the Small Things

Snow is coming down fast out there today.  I am not a fan of snow.  Yes, I realize I live in Rochester NY where most winters see at least 3 ft of snow on one given weekend.  I am JOYFUL that this is only our 3rd snowfall this season.  I love those sunny 40 degree days and am filled with gratitude every time it happens.  However I am trying to find the small joy in this morning. 

Randy walks Mitchell to his bus stop every morning at 6:50 and then waits again with Ryan and Mitchell at 7:20 for their bus.  Where am I usually?  In my bed sleeping under warm flannel sheets.  Do I feel guilty about this..NOPE.  I battle the homework, meltdowns and dinner every night and do the bed time routines..all is fair. This morning however Randy had to be at work at 5:45 and as I mentioned before it is snowing!

I could grouch about getting out of my warm cocoon...but I looked at it this morning as a simple pleasure.  Walked and talked to Mitchell about his day.  Bundled the other kiddos up and also got spend a few calm moments with them. 

The house is quiet.  I put coffee on and made a quick cinnamon bread which is making the whole house smell warm.  I am still in my jammies and I have on my favorite cardigan sweater. I have nothing ahead of me other than a warm breakfast, a lap full of yarn and the rest of The Vampire Diaries.  Guilty pleasures indeed.

Sending you WARM sunny thoughts

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mid-terms

Mitchell is heading into 8th grade midterms next week and Ryan has his first 6th grade Midterm on Friday.  This means this momma has to have her game on.  The melt downs, arguments, stress levels rise exponentially around here.  I have to be the best calmest mom on the block to get us through this.  Yes hours of going over review sheets in bad handwriting, yes reminders to bring  home ALL the materials needed, yuppers the constant nagging to get it done..all go without saying. However this is behind the scenes magic the kids will never realize.  This mom makes super nutritious and yummy dinners to help with the hours of studying..and procrastinating going on.  Snacks must be thought out prior to their running through the door...or procrastination will be ahead of me.  Paper, pencils, index cards readily available.  Bedrooms neat and clutter free.  CALM zen like mom..might have to be attained through pharmaceuticals.

Snack today: chocolate chip cookie bars and milk..good old fashioned love in a pan
Dinner: Already simmering in the crockpot Old Fashioned Beef and Noodle soup
http://www.food.com/recipe/old-fashioned-beef-and-noodle-soup-471089
Both visible as they walk in so no arguments about what is for dinner.
Wish me luck

Saturday, January 7, 2012

OJ Madness

The other day at the market I heard the veggie vendor shout "Oranges, 3 bags $2)..thought hey even if they are smooshy oranges they will make great juice.  Unfortunately I did not remember the MESS the juicer makes when operated by 3 boys. 

 Randy and I found a juicer in the box at a local thrift shop.  I am not a juice fan..unless it used in a cocktail.  We have children who consume a bag of apples a day in the winter and in the summer when fresh fruit is rampant often they will make their ways through 2 quarts of strawberries, a bunch of peaches and a full watermelon in a day. As a Mom I think..hey fruit,,good for ya go ahead..until there is none left, 7 hrs after I went to the market. 

So back to the juicer...as anyone who has ever paid $5 for fresh squeezed juice will understand,...there is a LOT of fruit used to make a glass of juice.  The kids sat down to peel their oranges and did a great job..
This is the only picture of the juice progress I snapped before there was juice and pulp spitting its way across the room at me as those boys forgot to lock the top before hitting the fastest speed. 12 oranges, 2 cups of juice and 1 hr of cleanup leads me to believe those $2 oranges may not have been the deal I was looking for.