Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Get Crafty with Craftsy!

Is one of your New Year's resolutions to try an art form you haven't dabbled in before?  If so, Craftsy  is a great place to start.  The on-line instructional hub for crafters features experienced, highly qualified instructors who are offering a surprisingly wide selection of courses.  There are three courses on offer now just on spinning wool!  Once you enroll for a relatively low fee, you gain access to your course's  "homeroom" which includes video lessons and resources.  

You can watch and rewatch each lesson as needed for as long as you like, and your instructor is available to answer questions.  Your classmates can also discuss projects and pitfalls via a class forum, and students regularly post photos of completed projects, which are fun to see.  Keep an eye out for specials and sales on courses to save on registration fees.  These courses are appropriate for beginners or for more experienced to crafters to learn or hone a specific skill.  Why not give it a whirl?

Written by Brita of Beeps Peeps

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Recipe- Vegetarian Tomato-less Chili

Vegetarian Tomato-less Chili

Chili is a great winter dish that is both easy to make and filling.  Try this tomato-less version for a different spin on things- the herbs and lemon zest really add a nice flavor.  If you're not vegetarian, feel free to add ground turkey, chicken, or beef instead of tempeh.  Enjoy!

Vegetarian Tomato-less Chili by Savor & Nourish
(makes 5 servings)
8 oz tempeh (1 package), chopped into bite-sized bits 
2 tbs olive oil

1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 yellow squash, chopped
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2- 15oz cans beans (Kidney & Pinto), drained and rinsed
2 tbs chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
zest of one lemon
3 tbs lemon juice
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1.  Heat a large pot over medium flame. Add 1 tbs olive oil and tempeh. Cook tempeh until golden brown (about 5 minutes). Stir occasionally.

2. Add 1 tbs olive oil, pepper, zucchini, squash, onions, garlic. Cook 5 minutes.

3. Add beans and spices. Stir to combine.

4. Add broth. Bring to a simmer. Lower heat, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes.

5. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, and cilantro. Stir to combine. Cook another 5 minutes.

6. Enjoy!

Written by Open Eyes Press.  Photo and recipe courtesy Savor & Nourish.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Finds- post holiday shopping

If you didn't get what you wanted over the holidays, it's fun to do some bargain shopping in January. I found these vintage boots on Etsy that I love!

And even though the holidays are over, I still love to decorate. I just bought sleigh bells, similar to the ones in the below pic. They line my mantel and look fabulous!

Here's another awesome piece for decor. These rustic hooks would look great hanging indoors, or outside.

written by Charms City Company

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Planning Your 2013 Garden

I know what you're thinking: "Planning a garden?  But, it's only January!"  This was the mistake I made last year when I finally decided to plant a small vegetable patch in my backyard.  I didn't even start looking at seed catalogs until late February, and even though I still managed to put a lot of plants into the ground by summer, many of them were started too late in the season to actually yield a good amount of produce (or, in some cases, any at all).  So this year, I've decided to be a little more proactive; I've already drawn out plans for news plots, and put together a list of the seeds I'll need to make it happen.  Timing is everything in gardening, I've discovered, and the earlier and more prepared you are, the better.

Books (and the web) are a great resource for how-to and inspiration on getting your garden started.  I received this book for Christmas: "One Magic Square: The Easy, Organic Way to Grow Your Own Food on a 3-Foot Square".  It's great for beginners who are starting off small, or for anyone who doesn't have a lot of land to work with.  If you're an apartment dweller, don't despair!  Check out "Apartment Gardening: Plants, Projects, & Recipes for Growing Food in Your Urban Home", which has a ton of awesome suggestions for small-scale container gardening.  Another option would be to rent a plot or volunteer at one of Baltimore's community gardens, which has opportunities available in both the city and county. 


As you can see, there are many ways you can experiment with growing your own food.  Whether you're a veteran gardener, or just have a few small pots on your window sill, cultivating your own food is one of the most rewarding experiences you can undertake. : )

Image sources:, The Experiment Publishing, and BaltimoreDIY.

Written by Open Eyes Press

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What I’m Working On: What is that wood???

Whenever we do a show, the Flame Box Elder pieces always get more attention than anything made of Walnut, Cherry, Poplar or anything else. This wood is a mystery. According to the website Hobbit House

 "Flame" (or "flamed", or sometimes "candy", or sometimes "red") box elder refers to the wood after it has been affected by a process that has been the subject of both some scholarly investigation and some debate. … The process is described variously as one or the other or both of two separate possible causes. The first cause is any form of stress, such as a bug attack, wire wrapped around a tree, something (a fence post or another tree) pushing up against the tree, or long-term bending stress caused by wind or heavy snow. The second cause is a fungus, brought into the tree by a bug attack.
We are able to get Flame Box Elder from a few sources, and every time we do, we’re astounded by nature’s glory. Turning this wood is the ultimate fun for a wood-turner, since we never know what the result will be. 
Here are just a few examples of pieces we’ve turned. All of the pieces shown here have been simply treated with oil and wax that does not affect the color!  

written by Marcia of Wood Art for Living

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What Inspires Me: Carroll - Camden Industrial Area

I recently started working in an office near M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. I was a little skeptical about the area at first but quickly grew to love it! The industrial buildings offer a great backdrop for photo shoots. And there are hidden gems that I would never have found without exploring...

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I stumbled into my new favorite place on Bayard Street, House Werks architectural shop. I pulled into their parking lot after seeing 1920's office furniture, among other industrial pieces in the lot. I then walked into their salvaged wonderland, housed in the original Chesapeake Gas Company building (built in 1885). I was shocked that I had never heard of House Werks, especially having been to Second Chance oodles of times.

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Another awesome discovery was Charlie and Dee's (funny name if you've ever seen the show "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"), the best sandwich shop around. The couple has owned the deli for over 25 years. Not only are Charlie and Dee the friendliest duo, they make a mean sandwich. Talk about best bang for your buck, you get a freshly-sliced 5 inch-tall sandwich for under five bucks.

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Camden is easy to get to, and there's always parking! Take a field trip to the area if you haven't already.

Written by: Charms City Company

Monday, January 7, 2013

Places to Go: Celebrating 130 Years of Craft at the Women’s Industrial Exchange

It's easy to find handcrafted goods this time of the year. There are craft shows every weekend. But if it's the middle of the week, or maybe January or June, or you just want to see some new artists, the Woman's Industrial Exchange Gift Shop at 333 North Charles Street in Baltimore  is the place to go. 
For 130 years, the Woman's Industrial Exchange has been supporting the handmade movement. Its original mission was to provide an outlet for women to supplement their income by selling their handcrafted goods. The Exchange now provides both men and women crafters with both a place to sell their products and a place to learn new skills to enhance their businesses. This video, which appeared on a local TV channel in celebration of the 130th Anniversary, tells some of the story.             

There’s a lot to choose from at the gift shop. Just a few examples: There is jewelry made from buttons from Treena Moore (who also manages the shop); bags of all kinds made from rescued fabric from Phyllis Smith; plates, business card holders, mugs and more from Elizabeth Langsfeld. There are toddler and baby items and all sorts of toys. There are the wonderful hand-painted silk scarves of Susan Brandt. And Wood Art for Living just started showing their clocks, bowls and kitchen utensils at the shop.
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In addition to the wide array of crafts, the Woman’s Industrial Exchange building houses two restaurants. The Women’s Industrial Kitchen reopened last year with a seasonal menu that features many old-time favorites. The restaurant is open for lunch from 11-3. Jack and Zach’s, a restaurant that features organic and local food is open from 7:30 to 4 on weekdays and from 10-4 on Sunday.
The Women’s Industrial Exchange Gift Shop is open Monday from 11-4, Tuesday-Friday from 11-6 and Saturday 11-5.
Come in and find that unique gift you’re looking for or treat yourself to something special, knowing that your purchase helps support local craft.
written by Marcia Dresner of Wood Art for Living

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Thursday, January 3, 2013

My Three Things- New Years Sparkle

Still thinking about New Year's Eve?   Here are 3 sparkly items from Baltimore Etsy Team members that could make any night memorable!

The City Necklace, By Jersey Girl Design, perfect for a night on the town

Make your skin glow with Becca&Mars' sugar scrub.

Lovely clear crystal earrings by Heavens to Bessie to catch the light.

written by Clare Hayes, Fiorella Jewelry.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy Crafty New Year!

From all of us at BEST to all of you! 

May 2013 be filled with creativity, excitement and innovative ideas!

Oh, and a little glitter doesn't hurt!

image by Lauren of JerseyGirlDesign

written by Lauren of JerseyGirlDesign