Sunday, January 31, 2010

Saturday, January 30, 2010

What's for Dinner? Maryland Crab Soup

I have had a Tupperware container of crab claws in my freezer since the summer. I always save them with the intention of making soup, but for some reason I have always been mystified by Maryland crab soup recipes. Last week, I decided to jump in and make my first pot. I googled the recipe while in the grocery store and discovered that there are 1000 different ways to make it. I combined a few of the recipes to make my own, and I must say it was a huge success! J even compared it to his favorite restaurants version and Nolan said “mmmm, nummy, mommy!” So here it is, my own patented Maryland Crab Soup Recipe.

1 box of chicken stock and 1 box of beef stock (I couldn’t decide which I wanted and the mix was great!)

10-20 leftover crab claws

1 lb. crab meat

1 bay leaf

3 crushed cloves of garlic

1 onion chopped

1/2 bag frozen corn (or 3 ears fresh)

1/2 bag of frozen green beans (most recipes call for lima beans too but I am protesting here)

2-3 chopped carrots

1 28oz can of diced tomatoes (with juice)

3 cups cubed potatoes

Old Bay to taste (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)

Add beef stock, chicken stock, bay leaf, garlic, old bay and crab claws to the pot and bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer with the lid on. Let this simmer for about 30 minutes then remove crab claws, bay leaf, garlic cloves and any foam from the pot. Now you are ready to add all of the vegetables, canned tomato and potatoes and return to a simmer. Put a lid on it for about an hour. Now add the crab meat and and check if you need more Old Bay. Be careful here, because it is better to add too little spice then to make it too salty. At this point, it is best let to soup rest on the stove for all of the flavors blend, then reheat at meal time. We ended up not having time for this step, and it was just fine. It is even better the next day!


Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Finds - Pie!

In the winter months between the cold and the dark I often find myself looking for comfort food. Well, to me nothing is more comfortable than a good piece of pie. So here is a little shout out to my favorite dessert in an Etsy way.

Cakes, Cherry Pie and Cheesecake, OH MY! Who can resist baking up or should I say sewing up these sweet treats using a pattern from Little Crickets .
It's Naturally Delicious and won't go straight to your bum! These Sweet Little Pumpkin Pie made out of woo from Fair Trade Family will satisfy anyone's cravings.
Perhaps I wouldn't have to go to Weight Watchers if I would have just satisfied my urge for Blueberry Pie with this deliciously scented Blueberry Pie soy candle from Old Pond Mill.
Show your pie pride by wearing these delectable Lemon Meringue Pie Earrings from Light Blue Square. All these treats are sure to satisfy and no extra time on the treadmill required!
Written by Kolleen of Design by Night

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Favorite Etsy Shop - OlaDesign

These beautiful, airy paintings are the work of artist Olga Cuttell. Her work caught my eye because of the stunning colors and weightless brush strokes, but the depth of her portfolio is what kept me searching her shop. With a love for nature, I was drawn to her work, which contains many images of birds, trees and flowers. She’s recently expanded her shop to include pendants of her paintings, so if you see a painting that’s pretty enough to wear, it can be done! Her work has such a happy, whimsical feel to it, the hardest part is choosing which of her paintings I want to display on my wall!

Written by Jersey Girl Design.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What I'm Working On: Valentines by Linda's Paperie

Love is in the air and Valentine's Day is less than a month away. When I first saw this bird paper, I knew I wanted to put them inside a heart. The sentiment is hand stamped. The inside of the card is blank for you to fill with words of love and devotion. More Valentines can be found in my Etsy shop.

Written by Linda of Linda's Paperie

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

CNN's Dream Jobs Featues Tigerlillyshop

Here is the LINK! We were featured on CNN's American Morning today with footage from our everyday lives and our studio !!!

Erin's body product line from was also featured.


Ten Question Tuesday - Green Post

Q: Who are you? Give us the 411 about yourself.
A: My name is Kendra Zvonik. I am 38 years old and a Sagittarius. I am an abstract painter and eco paper crafter on Etsy. I am also a Pacific Northwest native who has recently moved to St. Petersburg FL with my husband, Christian, who is a glassblower by trade and is presently working for a sailboat canvassing company. I also live with my dog, Herbie, who keeps me company during my solitary days.

Q: When/How did you start your business?
A: I have been painting full-time for about 10 years. I started selling paintings online in April 2008 after searching for a fellow artist friend whom I had lost contact with and discovered again on Etsy. She talked me into joining Etsy and I have been obsessed ever since.

Q: Apart from creating things, what do you do?
A: Much of my time is consumed with my work, especially since I started my eco paper business. But, I try very hard to maintain some kind of balance in my life. So, I enjoy walking on the beach with my husband and dog, hunting for good vintage finds, watching movies and, most especially, doing nothing. I also enjoy spending time with Christian's family who live about an hour south of here. Christian's grandmother, Betty, is one of my best friends. At age 87, she gives me a ton of perspective on life and she makes me feel at home.

Q: What first made you want to become an artist?
A: I have always had a strong desire to express my innermost self and I have always wanted freedom more than anything else. I equate being an artist with freedom. I don't think I chose to be this person, it was chosen for me by nature. I have simply allowed my nature to exist instead of repressing it. I have seen what happens to people when they repress their true nature and it is a real tragedy.

Q: What inspires you?
A: The changeable nature of things inspires me; impermanency and growth. I am also inspired by the characteristics of color. Context is everything.

Q: What's your favorite thing about your craft?
A: Currently, I am creating upcycled boat canvas collage paintings using the scraps that my husband brings home from work for me. I am very excited about adding this eco-friendly aspect to my paintings. I was inspired by my other work as a paper crafter to try to add this element to my art as well. I love making art and feel it needs to serve a higher purpose, not just act as decoration. Right now, I feel that protecting our environment is the highest purpose to serve and I want to do my part.

Q: Where would we most likely find you working?
A: I work at home. My studio has taken over the entire house- my life is my art.

Q: What's you favorite music to listen to while you work?
A: I often listen to and choose Beirut as a radio station. So, I listen to music similar to Beirut(who I am crazy for!)- DevotchKa and Antony & The Johnsons are a couple of other top favorites. I also listen to movies while I work. Some movies have wonderful soundtracks and you don't need to watch them to enjoy them. Run Lola Run is one of my faves to listen to.

Q: What's your favorite thing right now?
A: Sunshine.

Q: If you could have one wish granted for the craft community, what would it be?
A: I wish that Etsy would consider promoting abstract painter more. It feels like we get overlooked.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Creative Space-Where Jill Popowich Designs in Metal

Much to my husband’s dismay, three years ago I set up a makeshift workspace in “The Man Cave” and for three years he threatened to move me back into an unfinished work area in the back of the basement. Cold, dark, dirty and lonely. About two weeks before Christmas he started construction on the back room finishing the walls and floors, adding lighting and installing storage and work surfaces. Then it arrived, my BEAUTIFUL Christmas gift, an actual jeweler’s bench. Oh how wonderful it is not to be working on an old table hunched over with absolutely no organization at all. Now I have everything at my fingertips, stored nice and neat with a place for everything and everything in it's place.

Since we were working with a clean slate and we share the space (he is a boy with wood working tools) I was able to work a few essentials into the space. We included a vent in the ceiling, a centrally located fire extinguisher and the most important of all, a partition so I can curtain off my space in an effort to keep it clean and saw dust to a minimum.

It won't be clean for long, I've got some creating to do!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Chocolate, Baltimore Style

Wow (and yum!) Check out these stunning chocolates designed by area artists for Artisan Confections, in Arlington VA. Fellow BEST member, Val Lucas' modern chic design is second from the left. Also representing Baltimore is the talented Rachel Bone of the Charm City Craft Mafia. Baltimore is proud of you, ladies!

Friday, January 22, 2010

VOTE Baltimore

There's quite a lot of voting going on right now! The Poppies have been announced and there's a bunch of Baltimore artists nominated! Please take a minute and vote for us and our Craft Mafia friends! Anyone can vote, and everyone is allowed one vote per category, per computer, per day, so please take a minute to vote each day, if you can. The voting ends on January 26th at 11:59 pm.

Ceramics - Pink Kiss

Crafters - Green Star Studio

Affordable Art - Illegible Ink

Eco Artist - The Broken Plate

Also, I'm nominated for a Valentine contest on Etsy, please vote for my conversation heart brooch! The contest ends this Monday at noon, so vote soon!


Arts StartUP 101

Join Maryland Lawyers for the Arts at School 33 (1427 Light St., Baltimore 21230) on Feb. 6 and 13 for Arts StartUP 101, covering the legal, financial, and regulatory basics of selling your art.

On Feb. 6, artist/attorney Tim Faith will cover business licenses, business forms, (LLC, partnership, or other), leases, zoning, and copyright and contract basics while Bill Richardson of Fidelity Financial covers business basics like financing and business plans.

On Feb. 13, MLA treasurer Stephen Oliner of Hertzbach & Co. will cover basic accounting for artists, including recordkeeping, spreadsheets, accounting software and taxes.

Sessions run from 1:30 to 3:30. They're free, but reservations are required, and can be made by emailing or calling 410.396.4641.

Friday Finds: Soup Bowls

When it's cold outside, nothing satisfies me like hearty warm winter soups. They fill your stomach, your house and your heart with comfort, and they start warming you the moment you pick up the bowl. I just love soups!

So check out these great soup bowls I found on Etsy. They are sure to give you visual pleasure and a special touch to your dinner table on these cold winter nights while that yummy soup warms your soul.

The Ultimate Soup Tureen by larryspearspottery

Raspberry Red Soup Bowl by Misspottery

Soup bowl inspired by Bollywood by Creativewithclay

Small Soup Cup with Handles - 14 oz by JDWolfePottery

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Favorite Etsy Shop - Totus Mel Tats

To look at me you wouldn’t know it, but I am a total romantic at heart. Fantasy worlds where woman are clothed in corsets and men can be described as swashbuckling are where my mind wanders. So it is no surprise that one of my favorite Etsy shops is Tutus Mel’s Tats. Totus Mel needle tats beautiful creations that are whimsical yet wearable. Her pieces will add a little bit of magic to anyone’s wardrobe turning the simplest dress into an enchanting frock.

Written by Design by Night

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

BEST Member: Greenstarstudio needs your Vote!

In the midst of award season and with the growing anticipation of the Olympics, acknowledgement and praise is in the air, and the Handmade Community (never to be outdone) is finding more ways to join in on the fun!

Early in the year, the fabulous website PoppyTalk announced a new (hopefully annual) competition called "The Poppies". They describe The Poppies as "a virtual awards ceremony of sorts celebrating the Handmade Community!"

Nominations were made in several categories and BEST is happy to announce members up for the award in many of those categories. The second category up for voting is "CRAFTERS (Embroidery/Crochet/Knitting/Quilting) Artist/Designer/Shop)" and BEST's own greenstarstudio has been nominated for her Knitimals!

Anyone can vote, and everyone is allowed one vote per category, per computer, per day, so please take a minute to vote each day, if you can. The voting ends on January 26th at 11:59 pm.

You can vote here! and stay tuned for more nomination announcements.

Baltimore Life: The American Visionary Art Museum

If you live in the Baltimore area and you've never been to the American Visionary Art Museum, get thee hence! It's the wackiest, sparkliest, strangest, most compelling museum I know. The premise is that all the work within is known as outsider art. This means that it comes from artists who often teach themselves, who are driven to create without the influence of the "inside" of the art world- art schools, professors, and mainstream galleries. These people are every bit as fascinating as the art they make, so be sure to read about each artist as you wander through the collection.
Admission is 14 bucks, 8 with student ID. They don't let you take pictures inside, but outside the museum there are plenty of sculptures and neat things to photograph and explore. There are three separate buildings, so be sure to visit each one when you go. Also, note: the gift shop is WICKED cool. It's full of offbeat original arts and crafts, weird toys, lots of upcycled stuff, creepy jewelry, cards, books, and great gag gifts. I bought a gorgeous handmade basket, imported from Nepal. It's created with discarded plastic wrappers and, for costing me only 30 dollars, it's quite sizable, easily 13 inches across. I also got a long necklace made with paper beads for 20 bucks, and of course, the postcard. Go forth, friends, and visit AVAM!
Written by Bakerswife.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Shop Local: Didn't Your Mama Tell You to Wear a Hat?

The Sprout has decided he is a many of man hats, and while this is great coverage for his noggin, his style choices aren't always shall we say- stylin'? Enter Born To Love Clothing! Stylish infant and toddler fedoras and skate visor beanies! What I love best is that the line was started by a stay at home Mom, with help from a creative Dad, and all inspired by their son! Resulting in a hip entrepreneurial family business! My favorites are the black fedora and tan argyle visor. You can check out the entire line at Urban Baby Runway which coincidentally is a locally owned online boutique started by another stay at home Mom!

My Three Things

Mojito Necklace by PoleStar.

Summer Sangria Necklace by Carollai.

Merlot Drops by BEST’s very own Jill Popowich! Can you guess what these three things have in common? We made this one easy for you!
Written by Lauren of Jersey Girl Design.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Let’s Go Out! For Sushi!

Feeling like sushi for dinner tonight? If you happen to live in Baltimore, there are thankfully a multitude of choices for where you could go to indulge your cravings. Tonight I’ll be heading to Fells Point with my friends in this super cute dress by circularaccessories.

The outfit is complete with a 14k gold necklace featuring a fortune cookie! Made by Lanyapi.

And what night of sushi would be complete, if you forgot to bring chopsticks?! Yeah, I know they have them at the restaurants, but these are just too cute to pass up! Made by WindAndRain. So off we go, for california rolls and some yummy vegetable tempura!

Written by Lauren of Jersey Girl Design.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies You’ll Ever Put in Your Face

Just because these cookies are vegan doesn’t mean they are filled with rainbows of health and nutrition; they are however filled with luscious chocolate and gooey goodness. I guarantee they will melt your face off as well as your non-vegan friends’ faces with happiness and joy for this old-fashioned favorite that happens to have a non-dairy spin. Throw some nuts into them to shake things up. Here's what you'll need:

½ pound buttery vegan sticks
1 ½ cups sugar
1 tsp molasses
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp baking soda
2 tblsp non-dairy milk
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups chocolate chips
1 cup cashews (optional)

Preheat oven 350F. Cream together with a mixer the buttery vegan sticks and sugar until fluffy and light. Toss in your vanilla, molasses & non-dairy milk and blend more. Add in salt and baking soda and blend a little more. Add in flour a little at a time (to prevent a poofing mess by the mixer). Fold in by hand the chocolate chips and nuts. Drop tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake 8-9 minutes, less for a softer finish, more time for crunchier. Let them cool for a few minutes before placing onto a cooling rack. Eat while warm for maximum deliciousness. Makes about 3 dozen.

Written by Kathy of The Garbologist’s Wife

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti Relief

I'm sure you've all heard about the horrible earthquake in Haiti. When we heard, we all wanted to help however we could, as many of you probably did. In speaking with many BEST members over the last few days, it is clear that while we've already given, we hope to be able to give more. So, we've decided to donate portions of our Etsy sales... and the shops below are participating.

10% of sales this week will go to the Red Cross International
Response Fund- yummyandcompany

25% of sales this week will go to the Red Cross International
Response Fund- jenmenkhaus

10% of each sale for one week to Doctors Without Borders/
Médecins Sans Frontières- AtelierAdornments

$5 from each sale this week will go to the Red Cross International Response Fund- thebrokenplate

10% of sales now through 1/20 to American Red
Cross- sweetpepita

10% of sales now through 1/20 to American Red Cross- galla15

10% of all sales until the end of January will be donated to the
American Red Cross to support relief efforts in Haiti- lolamiren

10% of sales now through 1/20 to American Red Cross- dandelionblu

$5 from every sale through the end of January to Doctors Without Borders- tarabu

$5 of every sale till the end of January to Wyclef Jean's Yele Haiti Foundation- jennyjen42

10% of sales now through 1/20 to American Red Cross- Namoo

You can also give directly to the Red Cross on their website here or donate $10 to Haiti relief by texting “Haiti” to 90999. Thank you.

Friday Finds - Left 4 Dead

For the zombie lovers, and Left 4 Dead widows out there. Enjoy

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Anne Chan Photography Open Studio

Anne is a local Baltimore photographer who's photographs, "convey a sense of entrapment, claustrophobia and mental confinement in imaginary self-made spaces". Ah, the worlds we can build with the average office supply.

Anne is relocating her studio which means it's time for a SALE! This is your chance to pick up limited edition prints, black and white photos, paintings and more. Stop by and check out her work!

School 33 Art Center
1427 Light Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
Saturday, JANUARY 16

Favorite Etsy Shop - Strawberryluna

One of my favorite Etsy sellers is darling strawberryluna. The work of this artist is bright, modern, and lively. She is a screenprinter, which is an elaborate and painstaking art process that results in a limited set of bold, colorful prints. She is very prolific, updating frequently. You'll find gigposters of some familiar bands here, as well as an adorable animal alphabet series, some art prints, cards, tees, stickers, and something really neat called test prints. Test prints are one of a kind, the result of many layers of trying out designs one on top of the other to ensure the screen is really ready for printing. They are all different, and since I really enjoy her work, I appreciate the way the test prints "quote" her other finished prints in colors, text, and images.

Written by: bakerswife