Sunday, December 25, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Hanukkah

To all who will be celebrating tonight and for the next eight days, a very happy Hanukkah to you!  Here's a great sufganiyot recipe for you from King Arthur Flour :)

EASY JELLY DOUGHNUT HOLES - Yield: 24 jelly doughnut holes.

2 cups (King Arthur Unbleached) All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons (= 4 1/2 teaspoons) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup lukewarm milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
FILLING: your favorite jelly or jam

1) Get out a skillet that's at least 2 1/2" deep; a 10" electric frying pan is a great choice, if you have one. Fill it with about 1" of vegetable oil, peanut oil preferred for best flavor.

2) Start heating the oil to 350°F while you make the doughnut batter.

3) To make the doughnuts: Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

4) Whisk together the lukewarm milk, melted butter, egg, and vanilla.

5) Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients to make a thick batter (or soft dough).

6) When the oil has come up to temperature, use a tablespoon cookie scoop (or spoon) to drop balls of batter into the hot oil. This recipe will make 2" doughnut holes using a tablespoon cookie scoop and dropping in balls of dough about as big as an undersized ping pong ball.

7) Fry the doughnut holes for 2 minutes on the first side, or until they're a deep golden brown. Some of them may turn themselves over; that's OK, just use a pair of tongs to turn them back. After 2 minutes, turn the holes over, and fry for an additional 2 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer the doughnut holes to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain and cool.

8) When the doughnuts are cool, use a piping bag with a long, plain tip to fill them with as much jelly as you like. If you don't have a piping bag, try using an inexpensive plastic condiment squeeze bottle (think mustard or ketchup), with its tip cut off midway down to make it wider.

9) Shake the filled doughnuts gently in a bag of granulated sugar. Enjoy warm, or store at room temperature, loosely covered, for a day or so.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Handmade Gift Exchange Awesomeness

This year, for the first time, I participated in Craftaholics Anonymous' Handmade Gift Exchange, and it was awesome!  For the uninitiated, essentially you sign up to create a handmade gift for a random partner that is assigned to you, and cross-your-heart promise to mail the gift by November 30th.  My partner, the mastermind behind milk in my martini glass contacted me straight off and we each researched each other through all the usual social media outlets.  Luckily, she seems wonderful so I was happy to make something especially for her.  She gave me a few color combos she enjoys (lime green and black among them) and mentioned she likes polka dots, and so...voila:

I really hope she likes it, especially after I received this incredibly awesome cash box she painted for me:

I LOVE it!  I feel very honored that I have a sign my husband hand-painted for me and a cash box that a very thoughtful gift exchange partner painted for me too.  I know my logo well and understand first hand just what a pain in the butt it is to paint.  So thank you :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Painting Changes Everything

Sometimes I just need to be more art than craft, you know?  I struggle with always wanting to create functional pieces while also dying to reconnect with my fine art passion.  The compromise?  Little paintings on chalkboards I've created from discarded cabinet doors I snagged at a local recycled building material store.  Here's my favorite so far:

It's currently part of the "Think out of the Box" show at the Block Gallery in Winooski, so if you'd like to see it up close or even, heck, buy it, head on down :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It's Craft Show Season!

It's here... Holiday Craft Show Season (a.k.a No Sleep Till January Season)!  I'll be part of the Queen City Craft Bazaar and the Women's Festival of Crafts, and have my work available at the WAG Holiday Market and as part of the "Think out of the Box" show at the Block Gallery.  Considering that my first show EVER was the Queen City Craft Bazaar all the way back in June, it's a little crazy how fast I've expanded.  So no, I don't sleep, and yes, I really enjoy it.  It's maddening and exciting and overwhelming and satisfying and terrifying all at the same time.  So come out and support me!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

More Skirts and a Sweet Blog Feature

Before I show the fruits of my skirt to purse making labors, I need to confess that I've wanted to answer the featured seller questions etsy so badly since I first read them.  AND NOW I HAVE!  And it was harder than I thought.  But I still enjoyed the process.  So check me out on the WAG blog!

Ok, now back to bags.  It's been a sew-a-thon here at Found Beauty Studio and I really dig the bags I've made lately.  So for your viewing pleasure, I submit for your approval more before and afters :)


And after (for sale on etsy):


And after:


And after (for sale on etsy):


And after (for sale on etsy):

I have more coming, as well.  I actually am most of the way through creating a bag from a pair of pants which has been quite the adventure!

Monday, September 12, 2011

On Opening a Gallery

Wooh September, you've been a heck of a month and you're just getting started!  Etsy sales are up and my studio looks like a tornado hit it while I've whipped through 10 bags, 3 frames, 8 dinosaur planters and 2 sewing machines (RIP, sewing machines).  While I thought that I'd be less busy and stressed out as I transitioned from working two full time jobs to one (i.e. this studio), I was WRONG.  Now that I have no boundaries for when I'm in the "office" and when I'm home, I work constantly.  But it's exciting!  I mean, seriously.  Who gets to focus solely on doing work they're incredibly passionate about?  That's right, I do.  I love my studio.  I love creating,  especially when I have functioning sewing machines.  It taps into my true self - not the persona I use in important business/government meetings when I have to be appropriate and dignified.   My true self is outspoken, weird (a.k.a "interesting", "different" or "quirky" as I've been called many times), funny and creative.  And I get to be that person again!  It's a-maz-ing.

As I was, um, transitioning out of my federally funding job (i.e. laid off due to funding cuts), out of the blue my friend and fabulous photographer Mary Claire (  - check her out) told me about a group of women artists in the Richmond area who were putting together a temporary gallery in Williston, VT for the holiday season.  Now, I'm an idea kind of person.  I love planning new opportunities and building things from scratch so this was right up my alley.  They were looking for a few more artists to join the group and I was all over it.  And so, after a few enthusiastic emails and a great meeting, I officially joined WAG, aka the Women Artist's Guild of Richmond.  This is a pretty new concept.  We'll staff the gallery, exhibit our own work, split the rent and operating costs, and keep the place in order, and in exchange we get a retail space for the holidays so we don't have to grind ourselves down by attending holiday craft show after holiday craft show.  It's a great idea and I'm all in.  We've been meeting constantly and I've been marketing my little social media heart out, so stay tuned.  We'll be open from October 12 - December 22 at 6180 Williston Rd. in Williston, VT (the old Williston Driving Range right next to Maple Tree Place).  In the mean time, feel free to follow our effort on facebook, on twitter @wagmarketvt or via our blog.  You won't be sorry, because we're fantastic.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

They Use to be Skirts, and Now They're Purses

I've discovered a few things as I embark on week three of running Found Beauty Studio full time.  I LOVE not working in an office, I LOVE not having set office hours, and most importantly, I'M SO MUCH MORE CREATIVE NOW!!!  Now that I have the time and energy to create, that's exactly what I'm doing.  And the first few bursts of new creativity are embellished purses made from upcycled skirts. 


And after!  I present my Ollie the Octopus bag :)


And after!  It's my Bike on the Go bag (and as of right now is still for sale on etsy):


And after!   Ribbon stripes studded with vintage buttons :)

Expect more to come.  I already have three more in various stages of progress...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The March of the Toys....or Rather, Planters!

After a few weeks of painting, cutting (both toys and my hands), more painting, planting, and constant mothering, I have a bunch of new planters ready for Vergennes Day on Saturday!  The process is time consuming... once I finally find the toys at yard sales, thrift stores, and occasionally on ebay, they're thoroughly washed, a hole is cut in their plasticky exoskeleton, they're primed twice, given three coats of paint, sealed with mod podge, and then planted.  And since spray paint does not work (it will remain sticky permanently) all this is done by hand with a good ol' brush and tube of paint.  And whenever possible I grow my own plants, but I don't consider that part of this project.  That's an entirely different hobby/obsession...

Oh yeah, and all of this takes place in my living room, kitchen and porch...

But it's fun!  It's really just so darn much fun.  Finding the toys, choosing the paint, figuring out what plant will look good and thrive in each container,  I LOVE it.  So here are a few of my latest creations:

If you just can't get enough of planter pictures, and I know you can't, I have more on my flickr photostream!