scenes from Handmade Arlington

Another successful show marked down in the books!

Despite the rainy weather this past Saturday, the Handmde Arlington event went off without any noticeable glitches or hitches.

The organizers did a wonderful job of getting browsers and shoppers to come on in, all throughout the day. It was so nice to meet so many lovely people! That includes some of my fellow vendors. I got to chat with Julie from Jules’ Jewelry, Lisa from Royal Revolution Crowns, Eileen O’Brien who does beautiful mosaic work, Robin from Heartfelt by Robin and Kate from Mirajean Designs. Kate has some wonderful handcrafted fabrics that I immediately loved, being the fabric addict that I am. I hope to get my hands on some of her textiles and use them in my work in the future.

It was such a great event and I honestly can’t wait to do it again next year!

Here’s some snaps of my set-up this year:

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better than take-out

Truly!

I came across this recipe by way of Buzzfeed of all places. You know how they have all of those list posts? I love a good list post, especially when it focuses on food. This is the post right here. Funny enough, it’s title is Easy Weeknight Dinners Your Kids Will Like. My kids though? Yeah, not so much. To say I live with two very picky eaters is an understatement and honestly I can write a whole post about it. Nee, a whole BOOK about it. It would be boring, but oh I’ve got the experience and content to author it, I do.

But back to the good.

I wound up pinning a few of the recipes, and hopefully I’ll give those a go before they fall into my pinterest food wasteland.

The details of this dish:

fresh broccoli florets
diced chicken breast
brown rice

And a fantastic little sauce.

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I will admit, it took me slightly longer than 12 minutes. Brown rice takes over 40! But still this was relatively quick and it was very easy and it was VERY delicious.

You can find the original posted recipe here.

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
salt and pepper
1 bunch broccoli, chopped into small florets
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds

Directions:

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts, and season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is browned and mostly cooked through.

While the chicken is cooking, make your sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, honey, cornstarch, garlic, ginger and sesame oil until combined. Set aside.

Once the chicken is browned, add the broccoli and stir to combine. Continue cooking for an additional 3 minutes, until the broccoli is bright green. Stir in the soy sauce mixture, and cook for an additional 1 minute until the sauce has thickened.

Remove from heat and serve immediately, garnished with green onions and toasted sesame seeds.

I only made three small modifications. I didn’t have rice wine vinegar, so I used apple cider vinegar in the sauce. Instead of just one crushed fresh garlic clove, I used 4 small ones. I LOVE garlic! Further, I didn’t have any ginger on hand, so that I completely omitted.

Appearing this Saturday!

Here’s where I’ll be in just a few short days!

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This years is expected to be even bigger and better than last years event. (Which was great by the way!) They even had food trucks coming in. Foooooodd truuuuccckkks!

current work

I’m working hard to bulk up my inventory after the rush of holiday shows! Just a few snaps of my completed items. Only the tip of the iceberg!

3ringbinders

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scrunchies

sachets

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Flowers and polka dots and kitties and oodles of adorable fabric prints! I’m so in love with color and nature this spring!

DS zippy pouch

My 10yo LOVES any and all of the DS game systems that Nintendo has put out over the years. I think we’ve had just about all of them. From the first incarnation to the 3DS and now the 2DS (which, weird right?). We’ve had a few cases that worked okay. Though they never have enough room for the game, the power cord, and the cartridges, so it winds up being annoying that things don’t get to stay together when they’re not in use or we’re traveling. I can’t tell you how many times those teeny tiny cartridges came spilling out of a ripped ziploc baggie. Frustrating!

I don’t know why it took me so long to make a case for all this trouble, but sometimes the most obvious things slip right by our view. I mean, I’m the queen of zippy pouches! I’ve made hundreds over the years. Perhaps even over a thousand? Could be!

So here’s one more, heehee

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I made this using cotton linen for the exterior and cotton lawn for the lining. I interfaced it with fusible fleece and added the wool felt DS applique. It’s smaller in size than a piece of paper and holds everything together!

chicken sausage tortellini

I came across this one-skillet dinner one day about a month ago. Don’t even ask me how/where/why. It came upon my screen and I thought, yes please! (I mean, I’m sure it was on Pinterest somewhere, but I can’t even find the original pin. Oh wells!) The original post was from last October, so seriously, I must have been sitting on this one a while. You know how you bookmark and pin stuff that you SWEAR you’re going to make? Hundreds of them yo.

Here’s what I like about this dish: it’s easy and SUPER flavorful. Need any other reasons to whip this up on a weeknight?

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On to the details!

2 tablespoons light olive oil
1 package pre-cooked chicken Italian sausage (4 links)
1 small shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 cups tomato sauce (I used homemade, because it’s better!)
1/2 cup heavy cream
18 ounces cheese tortellini (fresh, not frozen)
kosher salt & pepper
fresh basil

I’m going to include my own instructions because I altered it just slightly for my own preferences and tastes.

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat
Cut sausage links into coins, place in olive oil, let them brown for about 10-12 minutes. (You want a nice caramelization on the edges.
While the sausage is cooking, mince your shallot and garlic.
Remove sausage, let the oil drain off of them by placing them on paper towels.
Leave the bits in the pan!
Put a splash more of olive oil in pan.
Throw in the shallots and let them sweat for about 3 minutes.
Add in your minced garlic.
Give it another minutes.
Your pan is getting brown now, but don’t worry!
De-glaze the pan with the chicken broth. Release all those flavorful bits!
Slowly stir in the tomato sauce and the cream.
Add about 1/2 tsp each of black pepper and kosher salt.
Carefully add in the tortellini and sausage.
Give everything a stir.
Lower heat to simmer.
Cover.
In 12 minutes, it’s all ready!

To serve, chiffonade some fresh basil leaves and sprinkle on each serving.
You can also add some freshly grated Percorino Romano cheese. Yum!

I serve this alongside steamed asparagus with lemon zest.

An easy, lovely, delicious 20 minute meal, enjoy!

Washington-Lee Holiday Bazaar

After having such a successful event at TC Williams a few weeks ago, I’ve really had my work cut out for me producing more items for my inventory. Especially with the Washington-Lee Bazaar happening in mere days! I’m making lots of fresh new goodies for my booth with super cool and adorable fabrics. I’m excited and exhausted!

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starting a tradition, making a lasting treasure

We had plenty of Christmas traditions growing up, ones that I still do for myself and my kids. I adore traditions and the more I can partake in with my little family, the better.
One traditional Christmas activity that my family didn’t do was an advent calender. It’s something I always wanted to do though.
But each year, Christmas time would come and go and I didn’t even attempt to create one. I kept telling myself that I should do it in the months outside of the Christmas season so I could take my time and not feel the looming pressure of December 1st. Because once the 1st is here and gone, it just doesn’t make sense, the whole thing is blown. BLOWN. Sometimes I’m just very rigid yo.

My production schedule this fall season going into holiday and winter is NUTS. More than I can handle comfortably. But I just couldn’t let another year go by without making an advent calendar. I was determined! So I decided to do some image searches in hopes of finding something that struck my fancy. And was relatively simple.

Quickly, I came across this one. Adorbs, right?

I like how cute it is, how simple and clean the overall design is, and that it reminded me of a traditional advent calender. I usually think of little boxes or pockets. Specifically with the idea that each day is an ornament to be placed onto a tree.

I gave myself 1-2 days ONLY in order to complete this project. Very ambitious! My fingers were quite sore and angry with me when all was said and done. Every single bit of wool blend felt was hand-cut and fused together with fusible webbing using a ripping hot iron. Actually the felt work reminded me a lot of the alphabet train I made for the boys a few years ago.

I snapped some pics throughout my process:

The layout:

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LOTS of numbers to trace and cut out:

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Fusing all of the pockets and numbers down:

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I usually don’t work this messy:

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Each ornament tucked into their cozy pockets:

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Mitten, horn, skate, wreath, reindeer:

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Toy soldier, gingerbread house, candle, ball ornament, candy cane:

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Christmas lightbulb, peppermint candy, drum, present, sleigh:

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Santa, bell, gingerbread man, snowman, holly:

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Angel, stocking, dove, poinsettia, and of course the King of Kings!

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All together!

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I’m just in love with it! And my kids and Mike think it’s wonderful too, which is just icing on the cake. It’s something that I hope will last all the years of our family, throughout our history and future. Perhaps even being handed to a new generation. Just like tradition.


materials used:

wool blend felt
fusible webbing
thread
wood dowel
ribbon for hanging (not pictured)

pics from TC Williams event

Almost to the last minute I was unsure if I was going to do this show. I had applied and paid for it months ago and it was on my schedule for as long. But as the date was nearing, I was dealing with Halloween costumes, a last minute trip to Florida, and a horrible bout of family sickness (norovirus AND strep!). I didn’t have nearly enough time to produce an appreciable amount of inventory and I was feeling leery that I’d have adequate stock to present in my booth. I had sold A LOT at Art on the Avenue in early October and was worrying about how I could handle the TC Williams event and be well prepared for the Washington-Lee Bazaar coming up in early December. At the beginning of the week, I pretty much resigned myself to losing my paid up booth fee and just focus on the W-L event.
But on Friday afternoon, I had a wave of energy that served me well. I was able to prepare some new signage, price the box of new items I had produced, and mentally get myself ready. I went to bed early and woke up feeling optimistic.

And I did well! GREAT even!

The traffic was pretty steady, the space was nice, the organization was good. And my sales were really good. Better than I had hoped and better than the sort of arbitrary silent goal I had set for myself. By days end I had surpassed that goal by over a hundred dollars.

Here are some pics I took of my booth right before the customers started flowing in.

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