Thursday, December 20, 2007

Florida Bound....

The last of the Kopah orders have been sent out, the Christmas gifts have been mailed and PeeWee and I are off to the airport! I will try to blog when I am home, if I can pry the laptop away from my stepdad! I hope to do a lot of relaxing, baking, crafting, and watching of HGTV! Have a happy holiday everyone!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Countdown to Christmas...Day 19

The last of the presents were mailed out today, what a relief! I leave for my vacation tomorrow. I am so looking forward to the break...just keep your fingers crossed for good weather so I can get off this island on time!!!

So with just 6 days left until the big day I am including an easy recipe for Christmas brunch. With everyone's last minute preparations for the holiday I am sure the last thing anyone is thinking of is what they are going to make for Christmas breakfast! This is super easy and a huge hit with my family...I get requests for it every year!

Breakfast Casserole

1 pgk shredded hashbrowns or tator tots
1 can cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup
1 16 oz container sour cream
chopped onion to taste
1/4 stick of butter
2 cups cheddar jack shredded cheese
1 pkg Jimmy Dean Italian or Sage sausage (last year I shopped at Whole Foods and couldn't find Jimmy Dean and it still came out great so you can use any breakfast sausage for this)

Brown sausage, drain and let cool
Mix soup, sour cream and onion in medium sized bowl. Let chill for a few minutes.
Spray casserole dish with cooking spray.
Place hashbrowns on bottom, salt and pepper to taste
When sausage is cool, mix with sour cream mixture. Let sit for a few minutes.
Pour and spread mixture over hashbrowns.
Cut butter into cubes and place on top of casserole.
Bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Add cheese and bake for another 15 minutes or until cheese is completely melted.

It's not the healthiest dish in the world but it tastes sooo good! Enjoy!

I'm off to pack!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Countdown to Christmas...Day 18

One week left!!! Is everyone ready?!? I think I am, I am getting the last of my gifts mailed out. I am really looking forward to getting on the plane Thursday and starting my vacation!!

We all know that Christmas is the season for giving so that is what this post is about. I have listed some great charities below. With as little as a $35 donation you can support 200 children! That is amazing!

Support the troops with socks, toiletries, or their favorite snacks. Find their wish lists at

Donate to Doctors Without Borders, an independent international medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural or man-made disasters, or exclusion from health care. A $35 donation can provide two high energy meals a day to 200 children -

Shared Hope works to rescue and restore women and children in crisis due to sex slavery. A $30 donation can provide a month of care for a woman or child rescued from sex slavery -

The new year is all about cleaning and organizing so start by cleaning out your closet. Donate old glasses (, shoes (, even your old wedding gown (

Donate frequent flier miles to injured soldier's families at, an organization that gives family members of wounded servicemen and women free plane tickets to visit their loved ones recovering at military hospitals across the country. is a great organization that allows you to lend money to a specific entrepreneur in the developing world. Think about it, you can help a woman in Cambodia support her family by lending her money to buy supplies for her crafting.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Countdown to Christmas...Day 17

So Mike gave me a bit of grief today because I have been slacking on my "Countdown to Christmas." I have just gotten bogged down with all kinds of other Christmas projects and have sort of let this slide! I promise to do better next year!! Anyway, here is a helpful bit about how to ship cookies. I always worry about how my baked goods actually arive when I ship them to people who are probably too nice to tell me that they arrived in a crumbled mess and completely inedible!! So here are some great tips on how to properly ship those holiday cookies you slaved away at for hours!

1. Stack cookies and roll in bubble wrap to form a log.
2. Pack into a small tight box with more bubble wrap, then place inside a slightly larger box. This will help prevent crushing.
3. Wait for the last pickup of the day and send frosted or meltable cookies by air, planes are cooler than trucks.

Now rest assured that all that hard work you put into your cookies will pay off when your recipient receives their delicious baked goods fully in tact!!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A perfect day...

Mike and I had our Christmas this morning. It's too much of a hassle to drag presents to Florida and back so we usually celebrate our Christmas before we head home. It was such a great day.

We opened gifts and drank tea...

Had brunch at the restaurant downstairs...

And took a ride on an old Subway car...

Every Sunday until Christmas they are running old Subway cars on the V line. The subway cars are from the 1930's. It was so neat to see the old cars, a big change from what they are now!

We came home and cooked a big dinner and watched Home Alone. We wanted to watch a Christmas movie and I hadn't seen that one in such a long time! It's cold and windy and rainy outside so now we are all bundled up in our apartment reading and working on the computer. The perfect end to a perfect day. Good night everyone, stay warm!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Countdown to Christmas...Day 15, Making Christmas Gifts

I am officially in panic mode trying to get the last of my Christmas gifts finished before I leave on Thursday to go home. I picked up the fabric I needed from Purl on Friday and have been working on gifts all weekend. Here is a glance at a project for my mom...

It's going to be a yoga bag which will be the death of me....let's just say my seam ripper and I have gotten to be very good friends this weekend!! I also picked up fabric to make some hand towels for my grandparents and my dad. Luckily that is a fairly easy project and I have already gotten one set finished. I also made peppermint bark for some people at work and to send to my dad. Here's the recipe, it's quick and easy and makes a great gift

Here's what you'll need:

1 pkg white chocolate chips
1 pkg candy canes to yield 1 cup of crushed candy canes
Wax paper
Some good music to listen to while you are working, Christmas music works but I was in the mood for Van Morrison today so that is what I listened to

In a double broiler melt the white chocolate. Crush the candy canes in a plastic bag (I usually just use the back of a spoon for this). Just be careful, this can make a mess as it usually puts holes in the bag so either double bag the canes or work on top of the wax paper. Pour the candy canes into the melted white chocolate. Then pour the mixture onto your wax paper and spread evenly. Put the wax paper in the fridge for approx. 45 minutes to harden. Once the mixture is hardened remove it from the fridge and break into pieces. It's ready to go!

You can package it in cellophane bags or cute containers or tins. I took paper mache boxes and covered them with some really adorable Christmas paper I found at Kate's Paperie.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Countdown to Christmas...Day 14

The countdown is back, courtesy of Mike who found me some great info on the history of Christmas trees. I attempted to do this research myself but became quite overwhelmed with the abundance of info I found on Wikipedia.

The German religious reformer Martin Luther is often credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition but the first appearance of a Christmas tree was actually recorded in Germany many years after Luther's death. By the 19th century the Christmas tree custom had spread across most of Germany and beyond. Several royal Germans are credited with helping extend the tree decorating custom beyond Germany. However, it was actually German immigrants who brought the tradition to America.

Here's an extremely cheesy and posed photo of Mike and I last year in front of the Christmas tree in Bryant Park. My hair was so long then!!

Well tonight I make attempt #2 at getting fabric at Purl. Hopefully they won't be having another radiator disaster because I have to get these Christmas presents finished! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I currently have a love hate relationship with my computer...I have been glued to the screen all morning reading through the new blog I disovered, Make It. I want so badly to stop reading but I can't!! So now I have a headache and some serious eye strain.

I received a very nice e-mail yesterday from a fellow soap maker who had discovered my blog and gave me props for making soap in a 300 square foot apartment! I thought I would share with everyone this pic of just how small my kitchen really is. I don't even think you could really call this a kitchen as it is simply a corner of my living space where they hung some cabinets and appliances but for all intensive purposes, we will call it a kitchen! *Note the VERY limited counterspace!

I went to Purl last night to pick up fabric and was distraught when I got all the way to the shop only to find the front window cleared of all displays and two girls looking more distraught than me, tearing apart the radiator with a sign in the window saying "Shop closed until 6:30 for store emergency!" Needless to say, I didn't get to pick up any fabric for my projects so I had to make an executive decision with less than two weeks left until Christmas....the quilt for my grandparents is not going to get done. Which is probably a good idea considering I have no motivation to sew in this apartment because it literally takes me 15 minutes to pull everything out from its respective hiding spot or nook or dusty place under the couch and when I do finally get all set up you can't open the fridge!! I long for the day when I can have a whole room devoted to my crafts and soap and I don't have to fight for a flat surface in my apartment but that is the sacrifice I must make to live in one of the best cities in the world, in my opinion of course ;)

Oh, BTW...for those of you who are wondering I have not abandoned my countdown to Christmas, I have just had some serious creative block when it comes to posting ideas so if anyone has ideas I would love to hear them and/or stay tuned for this weekend when I will be blogging about Christmas baking!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Cute stuff

Check out this pincushion I ordered from Thecherrystem. I just got it in the mail yesterday, I love it!! I am thinking of getting one for my mom for Christmas.

I received a supply shipment on Friday filled with tons of new fragrances I am dying to try. Of course this will all have to wait until the new year because I am too busy to get into new stuff right now so they are all stored away in my supply cabinet...*sigh* Some scents to look forward to include: Kumquat, Champagne, and Black Tea. Well I am leaving work now to head over to Purl Soho to pick up some fabric for some Christmas gifts I still need to!

Oh, BTW I almost forgot to mention this AWESOME blog I found's called Make It and it is geared towards craft entrepreneurship. Right now she is documenting the first 100 days of launching her handmade gift wrap business. I'm addicted! I have been reading through her archives all day today (while trying to look busy at work!!).

Monday, December 10, 2007

Countdown to Christmas...Day 10

In continuation with my tree trimming theme from yesterday I have to share with you these AWESOME ornaments by Meganaumanhome. These are a must have for the tree! I stumbled across these in a blog a few weeks ago and then again at Bust Craftacular. I just love them!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Countdown to Christmas...Day 9 Tree Trimming

Mike and I went and got a tree this morning They sell miniature trees in potters up here for all these tiny Manhattan apartments! The guy who sold it to us told us we could even plant it after Christmas and it would grow to be full sized. Huh? It's New York, do you think I have a backyard where I can plant the thing? I'm not even allowed to have a plant on my fire escape...that guy needs to get a new marketing campaign! Anyway, we spent all day listening to Christmas music and making bird ornaments to decorate it with! I love the way it turned out! Check out the pics below:

Getting started...

The completed project!

I am so happy with the way they turned out!

I had to throw this picture in. My dog is a true lap/couch dog and NEVER lays on the floor, ever! It's been so cold in our apartment recently that he has started laying on the floor next to the radiator because it is always really warm there! So cute!!!

The winner is...

Rio Oso Designs!!!

Thank you everyone who participated in my blog contest. I loved hearing everyone's family traditions!! Rio Oso Designs will win a Sample Soap Gift Set. Congratulations Rio Oso Designs!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Bust Craftacular!

I went to the Bust Craftacular today! It was awesome, there was tons of great stuff there. Here's a pic...notice Mike in the right hand corner of the picture checking out a table!

Before we left we came across this great jewelry by Funky Artsy
who has an Etsy shop. Her pieces are so unique and they would make great Christmas gifts! I love this necklace

Good news, I finally finished my wholesale order!! Mike and I mailed it out this morning before we went to Craftacular. I am so relieved to have that finished! I now have a little more room in my apartment, 116 soaps take up a lot of space in a 300 square foot apartment!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Countdown to Christmas...Day 7

Well the holiday party was a hit. I left early to work on my wholesale order but by the looks of everyone in the office this morning, it's a good thing I did!

So with 18 days left until Christmas here are some fun Christmas facts that I bet you didn't know

According to a 1995 survey, 7 out of 10 British dogs get Christmas gifts from their owners

After "A Christmas Carol," Charles Dickens wrote several other Christmas stories, one each year, but none as successful as the first

Alabama was the first state to recognize Christmas as an official holiday.

Animal crackers were imported from England in the 1800s. Barnum's boxes were designed with a string handle so that they could be hung on a Christmas tree.

Well that's all for today. I'm going to Bust Craftacular tomorrow. I can't wait!! I hope to meet some Etsy folks and finish up some of my Christmas shopping!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Countdown to Christmas...Day 6

Tonight is our office holiday party. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how much of it I will get to enjoy since I have to complete a wholesale order! Did I also mention that it's oh 25 degrees outside and I wore a skirt to work today! I had to look festive for the party after all...pain for the sake of beauty!

So in honor of holiday "cheer" here are a few cocktails to lighten up even the dullest of holiday parties this year!

Candy Cane Martini
1 1/2 oz. vodka
1 tsp peppermint schnapps

Mix ingredients with ice in a shaker and strain into a chilled martini glass. For an extra special presentation, rim the glass with crushed candy canes!

Hazelnut Toddy
1 1/2 oz Frangelico
1/2 cup hot water

In a mug stir together ingredients. Top wtih lightly whipped heavy cream.

White Christmas
1 1/2 oz white chocolate liqueur
1 oz Southern Comfort
4 oz eggnog

Gently mix ingredients together and serve.


I have been tagged by Denise at Bellis

I’m to share seven random/weird facts about myself, post the rules, and then tag seven other people.

My 7 random/weird facts about myself:
1. I was raised in Kodiak, Alaska...a tiny island with a population of 6,000 people.
2. I have a serious magazine addiction, I subscribe to more than 16 magazines a month and when I go to a news stand, I still find things to read!
3. I am a teaholic, I have over 10 different kinds of tea in my current favorite is vanilla black tea from Sympathy for the Kettle
4. I used to hate mustard, now I love it.
5. I love watching reruns of Law and Order
6. When I was 9, I broke the growth plate in my finger and had to have a cast up to my elbow. The doctor had never set a finger before and wanted to medivac me to Anchorage (the closest big city by plane to Kodiak). Instead of medivacing me, another doctor walked him through the procedure over the phone!
7. I have been in 7 car accidents, only one was my fault!

The rules:
Link to the person who tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
Share 7 random and/or weird things about yourself
Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

My 7 tags:
Melissa: Kunce Krafts
Janell: Dancing Mooney
Camille: Pretty Girl Things
Marilyn: Pulp Sushi
Love & Squalor
Country Morning Crafts
Marisa: Tootsie & Grace

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Countdown to Christmas...Day 5

Only 20 shopping days left!! I am starting to feel the pressure of the holiday approaching! Luckily, I am almost finished with all my shopping. Just a few odds and ends and a quilt that I need to start making and I will be finished. Did I mention this is my first attempt at a quilt, ever! Should be interesting, to say the least. In my pledge to buy handmade this year I of course looked to Etsy to find gifts. There are so many things to choose from, here are some great gift ideas (friends and family who are reading this, feel free to shop at will as I LOVE all of these items) ;)

I'm a paper fanatic and love absolutely everything in Earmark's store, especially these fabulous journals. They are pocket size and would make great stocking stuffers.

I just love this zipper pouch by Sanfranciscocrafts. This would make a great gift for girls of all ages and there are several other fabric options available in the shop.

This leather journal from Artisangraham is absolutely gorgeous and would make a perfect gift for the artist or writer in your life. The entire book is made by hand out of real genuine latigo leather. I bet it smells amazing!

Stumped on what to get the man in your life this holiday season? How about these gorgeous cufflinks from Lotusjewelrystudio. They are made of palm wood and silver. They are a perfect combination of classic and modern.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Countdown to Christmas...Day 4

There are more than a dozen "little towns of Bethlehem" throughout the United States. However, there is one in particular located in Pennsylvania that has declared itself "Christmas City, U.S.A." Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is an old steel town but beginning the day after Thanskgiving and lasting through New Years Eve, this town transforms itself into a Christmas wonderland complete with strolling carolers, rides in horse drawn carriages and a Christmas marketplace, Christkindlemarkt, that is recognized by Travel and Leisure Magazine as one of the top holiday markets in the world. Perched above the entire town is an 81 foot long star made of steel and lighted so that it can be seen from nearly 30 miles away.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Countdown to Christmas...Day 3

Well if you are anything like me, you still haven't sent your holiday cards and might be lucky to get them in the mail by Christmas Eve!! If you haven't even purchased your holiday cards yet, check out these wonderful holiday cards from Etsy artists

I absolutely love this card from Roundrobinpress. It's a letterpressed card that is made on plantable paper embedded with basil and chive seeds. Not only is it adorable, but it's also great for the environment!

This card from Citrustree is so cute and great for doglovers. There is also a cat card available for those who aren't crazy about dogs!

This set of six letterpress cards from BellisStudios are absolutely gorgeous. I just love the look of letterpress cards. According to the site, these are printed on a Vandercook No. 3 press which is known to be the "gold standard" in letterpress printing. Get these before they are gone! Coordinating gift tags are also available.

Here is some fun information about the origin of holiday cards...

The practice of sending holiday cards began in London in the 1800's. These early cards rarely showed holiday or religious themes. Instead, they were filled with flowers and whimsical designs in an attempt to remind the recipient of the approach of spring. Americans had to import greeting cards from England until 1875 when Louis Prang, a German immigrant, published the first line of U.S. Christmas cards. Over the years holiday cards have evolved a great deal changing with the times and tastes of Americans and there are many variations available today!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Countdown to Christmas...Day 2 & Week 1 Blog Contest

This morning I woke up to find that the snow they were predicting had arrived! A fresh layer of white snow was covering everything!! Yeah, the first snow of the season!!! Mike and I went out this morning to play in it and pick up doughnuts. Now we are back at the apartment, enjoying our doughnuts and tea and listening to Christmas music. I just love this time of year!! Here is a great and simple recipe for those of you who do get snow to enjoy:

Vanilla Slush - Mix together a large bunch of snow (make sure it's not yellow!), sweetened condensed milk, and a dash of vanilla extract and enjoy!

This time of year is full of family traditions. My family has a few, like getting to open one present on Christmas Eve and the rest on Christmas morning, or one of my mom and I's new favorite traditions, going shopping the day after Christmas to pick up all of our Christmas supplies and decorations for the following year at half price! So that brings me to my first blog contest in my Countdown to Christmas. What are some of your family holiday traditions? Share them in the comments section of this post by Saturday, December 8th. A winner will be chosen at random and announced on Sunday, December 9th. The winner will receive my Sample Soap Gift Set with the smells of the season: Spiced Pear, Balsam Pine, Peppermint, Vanilla, and Orange Spice. A great item to keep for yourself or give as a gift!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Countdown to Christmas...Day 1

Welcome to my first annual countdown to Christmas! Every day from December 1st - December 24th I will be posting about the Christmas holiday. Look for Christmas recipes, pictures, indie gift ideas, contests, and much more!

Advent is known as the season of Christmas. Many people countdown the days to Christmas using an Advent calendar. The origins of the Advent calendar come from German Lutherans who would count the days leading to Christmas physically, usually by drawing a line of chalk on the door each day. Some families had more elaborate rituals that would entail lighting a candle or hanging a religious figure each day. The first known Advent calendar was handmade in 1851. Gerhard Lang, a Swabian parishioner, is known for commercializing the tradition of the Advent calendar. Lang was a printer in Munich who in 1908 made 24 colored pictures that could be affixed to a piece of cardboard. He eventually introduced the well known 24 day calendar with little doors. Over the years he designed over 30 different calendars before going out of business in the 1930's. During World War II the practice of Advent calendars disappeared in an effort to conserve paper. After the war, Richard Sellmer of Stuttgart resurrected the calendars and is responsible for its popularity today. His company, Richard Sellmer Verlag, is still producing calendars today. Today's calendar is made up of two pieces of cardboard on top of each other. The calendar contains 24 doors. A door is opened each day from December 1st - December 24th. Each compartment can show a part of the Nativity story or some can be filled with a piece of chocolate or sweet behind each door. There are several variations of the Advent calendar available. The German city of Dresden has a giant calendar built into a castle at it's Christmas market, Streizelmarkt. Check out some of these unique Advent calendars from Etsy crafters:

This Advent calendar by greatcraftdisaster is made of fabric shoes using vintage style fabrics, very cute and unique!!

I love this Advent calendar stocking design by ohsosassy. It contains 24 pockets for candy or other little gifts and is a great way to count down the holiday. I love the colorful Christmas fabrics!

This Advent calendar by millyandeve features 24 tiny handmade gift boxes. Each box is unique and different!