Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What I'm Working On: Sewing with my Daughter

This fall I wanted to make homeschooling my 11 year old daughter really fun and different. She has begged for years to spend more time learning to sew, but with three little boys, time always slips by. I wanted it to change so we started by making her a little wristlet. However as all you other sewists out there can agree, she has caught the bug and wants to sew more NOW!

A quilt is what she really wants to make. But not just any quilt. A full size quilt for the bed she has requested because "I am growing up you know". This is a huge project for us to tackle in the evenings when I'm usually crafting for my own business. Having never made a quilt before I feel the need for a pattern for general sizing. This is the one she likes the best, although I think the amazing fabrics are what drew her in.
Quilt by Sweet Jane.

Now in our house we have baskets of sewing stuff. I hope that you are now inspired too!
Written by Jenni of Lana Bella.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Favorite Etsy Shop: K Fehr Designs

I've fallen in love with metal clay jewelry, and I recently discovered this amazing Etsy shop putting it to a beautiful, unique use: Braille jewelry. The written language of the blind is beautiful on its own; when it's featured in copper and bronze jewelry, it's delicate and elegant.
Love, Hope, and Faith Triple Copper Pendant
Optimism Pendant
Be Strong Braille Bracelet

Written by: Jamaila of Anapurna

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Random Baltimore Photo

Baltimore - Fells Point: Bond Cemetary - Fell Family Grave Marker

Bond Cemetary - Fell Family Grave Marker. Photo by wallyg. For more info, please click here

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Recipes - Raw Oatmeal

I have been eating high raw for over a year now and am loving all of the health benefits that I've seen. People often ask me if eating raw is boring. They must think its all salads all the time.
Well its not!

I thought I'd share some recipes over the next few months to give people an idea of what eating raw looks like for me. And why not start at the 'beginning' with breakfast?

I make a very yummy, VERY satisfying raw 'oatmeal' and the best part is, the recipes is totally flexible. No exacting measurements, no hardcore list of ingredients. You can vary this with items you have on hand, with a few exceptions. The staple is raw oats. Not rolled oats, but raw oat groats.

The oat groats are first ground in a coffee grinder (they really don't seem to grind well in my mini-processor). I grind into a coarse meal.
In a minichop processor, place a couple of medjool dates (remove pit first!) and a variety of nuts.
It will look something like this - coarse, crumbly.
Now the ground oatmeal goes into a bowl. Add the date and nut mixture and give it a quick stir.
Then decide what fruit to add. Part of the meal mixture goes back into the processor
and the cut up fruit goes in on top - its a tight squeeze!
Give it a good whir to blend. I like to leave some texture in there so I try to not overdo it!Sometimes I will add some raw chia seeds or cocao nibs. The cocao nibs are EXTREMELY hard but when mixed with the oatmealish dish, they soften up and are so yummy!
Cut up some fresh fruit for the top if you wish. Drizzle with agave or raw honey or maybe add a little dollop of almond butter.OR a sprinkle of raw dehydrated coconut!
This is really a fabulous raw morning treat. I have this or some variation of this a few times a week. Enjoy!

Written by Janice of Doxallo Designs.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Craftermath Design Marketplace

This Thanksgiving weekend, instead of going out in the madness of the malls or chain stores, bring your holiday shopping lists to the first annual Craftermath event at West Potomac High School in Alexandria, Virginia. This event is organized by the students in the Design LAB at the school, who's mission is "to promote independent artists and designers and build a community of creative’s that assist and inspire. We look to build events and opportunities to promote our local creative community."

From 10 am - 3 pm you can come out and shop the handmade event, featuring some of your favorite BEST members, including:

Adornments by Atelier-Beads

Fuzzy Mug



Yummy & Company

The event takes place at West Potomac High School, 6500 Quander Road, Alexandria, VA 22307. For more information, visit their website.

written by Lauren of JerseyGirlDesign

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Black Friday Sales

What can be better than buying handmade at home while wearing your pajamas? A Sale that's what! Check out the following BEST shops and take advantage of their sales starting Friday, November 26 and running through Monday, November 29.

photo by TheLittlestBean

Mixed Media Wearables: TheLittlestBean is offering 15% off and free shipping on any US order over $25 or more. International customers pay $1 shipping. Use the Coupon Code: THANKS2010

Bright Colors, Bold Textures & Unique, Original Designs: BlockPartyPress is offering 10% off and Free Worldwide Shipping. Use the Coupon Code: THANKS2010

Coupon Organizers, Grocery, Produce and Sandwich Bags: Glowgirl16 is offering 15% off. Use the Coupon Code: THANKS2010

One of a Kind Stuff for One of a Kind Kids & More: greenstarstudio is offering 10% off. Use the Coupon Code: THANKS2010
photo by TheBrokenPlate

Hand Printed & Hand Sewn: Namoo is offering $5 off all quilts and an additional 10% off with the Coupon Code: THANKS2010

Contemporary Recycled China and Home Goods: TheBrokenPlate is offering $5 off all pendants. Customer can receive an additional 10% off by using the Coupon Code: THANKS2010

Simple, Beautiful, Handmade Jewelry: JerseyGirlDesign is offering 10% off by using the Coupon Code: THANKS2010
photo by LanaBella

Hair and Lapel Accessories: DesignbyNight is offering 15% off. Use the Coupon Code: THANKS2010

Preserved Botanical Jewelry & Silk Button Jewelry: Tigerlillyshop is offering 20% off all electroformed and metal jewelry.

Handcrafted Artisan Jewelry: DoxalloDesigns is offering 20% on any purchase. Customers will be refunded the difference after payment.

Handcrafted soap and herbal teas: LanaBella is offering 10% off with the Coupon Code: THANKS2010 and Free Shipping for orders over $50.
photo by FoundStudio

Handmade Jewelry and Wedding Gifts: YummyandCompany is offering 10% off. Use the Coupon Code: THANKS2010

Art Infused with Found Materials and Textures: FoundStudio is offering free shipping on US orders.

Handmade Cards and Paper Crafts: LindasPaperie is offering free shipping on US orders and a $5 flat rate for International orders.

Hand Crafted Jewelry for Everyday Wear: JillPopowichDesigns is offering free shipping plus a free gift. To receive the free gift buyers must put BEST Black Friday in the notes to seller.

When searching for the perfect gift on Etsy use the tags: baltimoreetsyteam and shopbaltimore10 to find items by the Members of BEST.

Written by LindasPaperie.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What I'm Working On - JerseyGirlDesign and Yummy & Company

About a year ago I had a vision of how I wanted my designs to grow. While finishing school took up most of my time I thought it would just be that, a dream, a goal, but with the motivation and genius of Jen of Yummy & Company, our 'ah-ha' moments have recently started to become reality.

In a Reese's Pieces moment - you got chocolate in my peanut butter!...well you got peanut butter in my chocolate! - our first collaborative effort was to take some of the Yummy Ruffle rings and coat them in resin and glitter. The result was oh so sparkly and lots of fun!
We then took to the bench and tried our hand at soldering. The result was my original vision, to take my glitter collection to a new level, on a smaller scale, with earrings, pendants and eventually rings! The ideas are just flowing, and we're having trouble keeping track of them all! I couldn't be more excited to work on the next ideas we'll come up with, in between the fits of laughter and the trials and errors with our tumbler!
Written by Lauren of JerseyGirlDesign

Monday, November 22, 2010

Inspiration: Weheartit

If you’ve ever created an inspiration board for yourself, either by scrapbooking or in digital form, you’ll love this inspiration-heavy image bookmarking site. Weheartit is a place to click dreamily through gorgeous image after gorgeous image, marking the ones that inspire you with a heart to create your own online album of colorful eye candy – all tagged and sortable, of course!
You can check out the images that inspire some of our Anapurna jewelry here.

Written by: Jamaila of Anapurna

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Paper Towel Roll Flowers—Tutorial

Puppy puddle? Chips not strong enough to hold the salsa? Drippy pancake batter? I am constantly reaching for paper towels. Inevitably our recycling bin has it’s fair share of craft paper cylinders that make up the core of paper towels and toilet paper rolls.

For years my idea of repurposing the tubes was to use them as an amplifier and howl in them, driving my dogs crazy and earning an eye roll from my husband. However, recently I was struck with an idea. The curve of the cardboard would lend itself well to making paper flowers, hence this tutorial was born.

Sorry it is a little lengthy…

Tools & Materials
* 1- paper towel roll core
* Scissors
* Button
* Paper glue
* Page of paper (can be recycled from an old book or magazine)
* Brown paper shopping bag
* 28 gauge wire (or wire that you can bend and manipulate that is heavy enough to hold up a paper flower)
* Wire cutters
* White craft paint (optional)
* Small paint brush (optional)

1. Cut the paper towel roll lengthwise (fig. A).
2. From the cut, measure 1” and mark. Cut off the 1” marked area (fig. B).
3. Cut four strips from the roll anywhere between a .5” and .75” wide (fig. C).
4. Take the remaining roll and measure, mark and cut 1.5” from one of the edges (similar instruction number two).
5. Cut two strips from this roll approximately .5” wide.
6. Take the six strips and free form cut the petals similar to the shape shown in fig. D. These petals do not have to be exact, just make sure that the center tapers in.
7. Glue two of the larger petals at 90° angles. Repeat with the remaining petals keeping the larger and smaller petals grouped together (fig. E).
8. This step is optional! If you would like to add a bit of texture or color to your flower, take some craft paint and dry brush some paint on the tips of the petals. On the smaller group of petals I added some paint to the center also.

9. After the glue has dried, glue the groupings on top of each other, keeping the smaller petals for the top.

10. Glue a button to the center of the flower (fig. F).
11. From a piece of recycled paper use the pattern from fig. G to cut the calyx for the flower.

12. Curl the ends of the calyx by wrapping them around a paint brush, pencil, etc.

13. Take the wire and cut it double the length that you would like your stem. Fold the wire in half and twist together. Take one tip of the wire and bend it about a .25 at a 90° angle (fig. H1).
14. Cut a strip or two from the brown paper bag. Starting at the straight end of the wire stem, glue the end of the paper to the wire and start to wrap the paper to cover the wire (fig. H2). Make sure to add a dab of glue here and there to keep the paper secure to the wire stem (fig. H3). Stop wrapping short of the 90° bend.
* BEFORE CONTINUING TO THE NEXT STEP, please make sure the glue on the flower is completely dry.

15. Turn over flower and glue one of the calyx pieces to the bottom (fig. I). Let dry.
16. Take the stem and glue the bend to the bottom of the flower by taking the second calyx piece and gluing it to the flower bottom sandwiching the metal bend between the calyx and the flower. It will be necessary to hold the wire in place until the glue dries (fig. J).
Written by Design by Night

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Finds—Edgar Allan Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious Etsy finds…
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

Nevermore will you not have a perfect accessory to wear with this morbidly magnificent necklace from Art Under Glass
"It was many and many a year ago,In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee..."
Like Edgar Allan Poe, true love can be yours if you purchase this Wrist Cuff from Ghost Love Jewelry
“TRUE! - nervous - very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses - not destroyed - not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily - how calmly I can tell you the whole story.”

This altered HeART Trunk by Sauvage Raven Creations will tell it’s own tale.

Written by Kolleen of Design by Night

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Holiday Heist 2010

This weekend, Sunday November 21st, is the DC Craft Mafia's Holiday Show "Holiday Heist" at The Soundry in Vienna, Virginia. If you are in the neighborhood drop in and see BEST's own Designbynight and JillPopowichDesigns along with over 20 other crafty vendors. Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Creativity Everywhere, Even in Your Lunch Box

I found something beautiful today. It's not handmade. It's not "crafted." But it is thoughtfully constructed of durable materials. What is it, you ask? A lunchbox. More specifically, a PlanetBox. It's marketed to parents packing lunches for their kids, of which I have none (except the imaginary kind). But I think it will be perfect for packing my own lunches.
For me, living creatively means bringing creativity and beauty to everything I do, including making lunches. Eating a great lunch is as much about the taste and smell as it is about the colors and the forms. For years, I have been carefully packing individual elements into separate containers for assembly just before eating at the office. Making lunch is a bit like sketching in my sketchbook. It's clearly not as involved as making dinner or putting together a brunch, but the process is just as important.

The bento box approach of PlanetBox allows you to create a work of art in the morning and enjoy it's creativity the moment you open the box on your desk. The stainless steel frames everything perfectly making it look absolutely delicious. Lunch becomes a small work of art waiting for you to enjoy it. Not only that, it eliminates all the plastic tubs and individually packed cheeses. That means less trash and toxins.

PlanetBox looks like the perfect canvas for a creative lunch!
Photos are from AnotherLunch.com where I first discovered this fabulous contraption.

Written by Megan of VanWagonerStudios

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Three Things

Anyone who lived in the D.C. area during the '80s and '90s remembers
the great old radio station WHFS and Weasel the DJ. Weasel had a daily
feature called "My Three Songs"; in this game, he would present three
songs that had a common thread, theme, or leitmotif, and the object
was for the listeners to guess what it was.

My three things - all different, all the same
what's the key? you tell me!

Wedding invitation by designwomb.

Illustration by NanLawson.

Decal by Macetera.

I Heart Art: Baltimore - This Friday!

Don't forget about the meet-n-greet party on MICA campus this Friday, November 19, from 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. ET. Food, drink, music and a craft activity will be included in the festivities taking place in Brown Center’s Leidy Atrium, 1301. W. Mount Royal Ave.

Come meet Vanessa and Morgan from Etsy and members of the Baltimore Etsy Street Team. There will be a raffle full of goodies from BEST artists, MICA, and Etsy, so get there early! And don't forget to bring your business cards!

Please RSVP by calling 410-225-2219 or e-mailing spcs@mica.edu. We can’t wait to see you at the party! For directions, please visit: www.mica.edu

Monday, November 15, 2010

Favorite Etsy Shop- SpaceDog Studios

One Etsy shop I adore would be Ohio-based bookbinder par excellence spacedogstudios. I can't get enough of her charming, distinctive, and impeccably assembled sketchbooks and journals! All of these are hand bound; each is so artfully and thoughtfully decorated, and they are often playful as well as lovely.

If you own one, I'm sure that all the artists who see you scribbling in one of these will be green with envy! She also has other paper products like bookmarks, recipe cards, and flash card sets.

Post by Laura of Bakerswife.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Baltimore on a Budget

Everyone is talking about the economy, how bad it is, the high cost of things. And now we are getting close to the holidays...I don't know about you, but I need to start saving! However, I don't want to resign myself to cutting out entertainment so I went searching for low cost entertainment ideas and actually found a wealth of FREE things to do in Baltimore. Here are just a few of the things you can do around town while going easy on your wallet.

Climb the Washington Monument. It's GREAT exercise with 228 steps! You also get a great view of the city. (A $1 donation is suggested, but not mandatory)

Tour the Basilica. The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was the first metropolitan cathedral in the United States. This historic site contains neoclassical architecture, a 17th Century organ, and more.

The Holocaust Memorial. This is an open air memorial dedicated to the Jews that lost their lives in the Holocaust.

The Walters Art Museum offers free general admission except for special exhibits.

The Baltimore Museum of Art is also free for everyone, every day, so that great art is accessible to all!

The National Electronics Museum exhibits telegraph, radar, radio, and satellite equipment. Open every day except Sunday - and its free!

The Maryland Historical Society Museum is where Francis Scott Key's original manuscript is displayed, as well as musical scores by ragtime composer Eubie Blake, propaganda from the Civil War era, and some one million pieces of printed ephemera, including obsolete currency, political material, and tobacco trading cards. Admission to the museum is free on the first Thursday of every month.

There are probably many more inexpensive things to do around town, but this list could keep you busy for a while!

Written by Janice of Doxallo Designs

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Recipe: Tzatziki

So lately I've been trying different things, and I decided to try making falafel. The falafel turned out pretty good, if a tad on the burned side...I'll have to remember to not leave it in the oil for so long. But, I realized that I would need something to top it with. So I looked for a good, simple tzatziki recipe. You wouldn't believe how many there are. And I finally came upon one that was easy to prepare.

image by pinchmysalt

14oz of strained Greek Yogurt
1lb. cucumber, grated
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 tbs. lemon juice
1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tbs of. fresh chopped dill or 1 tbs. dried dill
salt and pepper to taste

* Use strained yogurt to skip the overnight draining in a cheese cloth stage.* Yes, I know it's weird, but use a cheese grater. Use the smallest grate holes. And if you don't have a garlic press, you can use it with the garlic, as well.

Stir together yogurt, grated cucumber, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil in a bowl. Add dill, salt and pepper, and stir.Pour into serving bowl, and refrigerate for at least an hour before use, but preferably overnight. Goes great with falafel, gyros, and burgers.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Finds-Sweet Potato

I'll bet you didn't know November was sweet potato month. Makes sense since it is a favorite at every thanksgiving table. While I love sweet potatoes, my husband seems to have sworn off all orange vegetables. If you like them or not, here are a few yummy sweet potato inspired treasures.

This lovely Sweet Potato Pie Tutu by rufflesandstitches would certainly make a statement at your thanksgiving gathering

Sweet potato pie soap by savor will get you in the mood for fall

This Ray of Sunshine by novaofsweden could be the 'go to' piece in anyones jewelry box

Some oh so tasty sweet potato butter by MMMandMore for breakfast toast

And for a little home decor, this fabulous mod pillow cover by precioussewingbox.