Monday, March 28, 2011

Out like a lamb

Good morning everyone!  Well, we went an entire weekend without snow although it's still brutally cold up here in Maine.  C'mon Spring where are you?

Anyway, I'm currently working on taking part in some upcoming fairs and festivals and should have some news soon.  In the meantime, there is a joint venture between Etsy's Team Homefront and NiceGurlNotes on Facebook called the Cute Stuff Sale on Friday April 1st.  I've been edged out by the other candlemakers but feel free to take a look at the sale anyway.  It's a great group of chicks selling some great stuff:)  

I'm also a member of April's Army, a group of extremely talented artists who found each other through their love of Regretsy.  For those who don't know Regretsy is a website run by April Winchell, voice of many of your favorite cartoon characters of old and daughter of Tigger, and her fiance.  Together they (and their fans) poke fun at the cringe worthy crafts being sold on Etsy, bring attention to some really cool and off the wall art, call out resellers and Etsy's insistence on not doing a damn thing about them or even acknowledging their existence (or the cyber version of closing your eyes, sticking your fingers in your ears and yelling LA LA LA LA and hoping the complainer will shut up and go away).  They have over 70k fans on Facebook and April's Army is made up of over 1000 artists.  Of course, there are many on Etsy who hate the fact that Regretsy exists (many of them are crafters whose items have seen the Regretsy spotlight).  However, far from being just a group of meanie doody heads who pick on Etsy sellers, Regretsy has also held many charity events raising hundreds and thousands of money for Cancer patients, children and pets in need, and sellers (some fans some not) in dire financial straits.  There's another charity drive coming up shortly that I'll be participating in so keep watch for details.  

Finally, as March draws to a close here is a list of upcoming obscure holidays and their discounts:)  Have a great week everyone!  Chow for now:)

March 29 - Happy Birthday Coca Cola!  
20% off all cola scented candles
March 31 - Orange and Lemon Day  
20% off citrus scented candles
April 1 - The Apple Computer was invented (1976)
20% off Apple and apple pie candles
April 2 - The birthday of the US Mint (1792)
20% off Mint scented candles
April 3 - National Chocolate Moose Day
free shipping on all chocolate candles
April 4 - Chocolate Milk Powder (1828) and Homogeneous Milk day (1892)
Free shipping on Chocolate shake candles 
April 5th - Apple Cider Mill Day (1806)
free shipping on apple/pie candles

Monday, March 21, 2011

Chai Tea and a Magnetic Personality

Chai Tea candle
Well, it's been a pretty busy week, enjoyed some beautiful weather and scowled at some falling snow as winter just doesn't seem to want to just go away!  So I broke the monotony by working on some new candles and projects.  This week I'm revealing a brand new Chai Tea candle!  I admit I've never partaken myself but I love the smell of it and understand it's a very popular drink.  So in a plain yet elegant white tea cup I've set a sweet but delicate scented Chai Tea candle complete with cream and a dusting of real cinnamon to complete the experience.  I've also decided to make a smaller version of my Cola scented candle.  This one is only 6 oz and is about 1/3 the size of the original in a thick green glass.  I'm also happy to report the supplies I've been waiting for for an entire month are FINALLY on the way and I hope to reveal three new concept candles I've been planning these last few months.  Stay tuned!

In the meantime I've been working on bringing my Foodie line back.  I just didn't have the heart to let these little guys die so they've returned in refrigerator magnet form.  I'm also experimenting with pins and creating more characters.  For now though we have:

Sandwich Cookie Monster
Fortune Cookie Monster

Black Eyed Pea


French Bread Ooh la la!

Deviled Egg

That's about it for now I think.  Next week I'll have more candles and items available for sale and news about a brand new promotion featuring Etsy Homefront Team.  In the meantime, pop on over to my Fluffy Chiq blog for the results of all the recipes I tried last week.  Have a great week everyone.  Chow for now!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Back in the saddle again

Greetings and salutations!

Yes, I know, where have I been?  Apologies to all for dropping off the face of the earth, life just got away from me I guess.  You know what that's like.

Anyway, there have been a few changes since my disappearance.  First I've closed my Etsy shop until the holiday season and moved to Artfire.  I also have a fan page on Facebook, so if you haven't done so already please head on over and "like" me, and I have my very own YouTube channel where I post my favorite epicurean videos as well as commercials I make for Culinarychiq Concepts.  My latest Easter, Ostara and Spring candles are now available so head on over to Artfire and check them out!

I've also thought it'd be fun to run some sales on days containing obscure holidays.  Here is the sale schedule for March:

March 14 - Pi Day - 20% off all Pie Candles
March 15 - Dumbstruck Day - Leave a story on Facebook of how someone or something left you completely speechless and you get 20% off your next order (please nothing pertaining to something you saw on the news or tv, this is something that happened to you personally)
March 16 - Lips Appreciation Day - 30% off heart and Valentine's Day candles
March 19 - Poultry Day - Free Cream Egg Easter Chicky with your order
March 20 - First Day of Spring - 20% off all Spring, Ostara and Easter candles
March 21 - National Fragrance Day - All scented items 20% off
March 25 - Pecan and Waffle Day - 20% off Hot Fudge Sundae candles
March 29 - National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day - Send me a link of your online shop to get 20% off
March 29 - Coca Cola is invented - 20% Cola candles
March 31 - Orange and Lemon Day - 20% off all citrus scented candles

Finally, I have much love for my favorite Etsy people, Team Homefront, featuring other talented military spouses like myself with great shops!  Every Monday questions go out for the team to answer and so here are the questions and my answers:

1. What song is your personal anthem? If you don't have an anthem a favorite song will do.
I don't think I have an anthem but my absolute favorite song is The Very Thought of You by Nat King Cole.

2. What is your favorite ride at an amusement park?
I love old fashioned wooden roller coasters but my favorite rides of all time are the Wonder Wheel and Cyclone in Coney Island.

3. What was your favorite restaurant at any of your past/present duty stations?
I have two (surprise;).  Teriyaki Bistro in Issaquah, WA (I still dream about their special garlic sauce) and Coconuts on the Beach in Cocoa Beach, FL (best jerk wings and sweet potato fries I've ever had).

4. Where is your favorite place to go for supplies?
AC Moore and Michaels of course but in a pinch Walmart and Dollar Tree have come in very handy.  And of course I go online:)

Until next week folks:)  Ciao for now!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What's new pussycat and a call for a little dog in need

Greetings to all:)

I know this blog has been fairly dormant over the past few weeks and I apologize for that.  There has just been so much going on both good and bad.  Never fear, all is well and I hope to have an updated Fall Fair schedule listed in my next post:)  To summarize I have received a job offer with the company Aramark, Inc. as a prep/grill cook two weeks ago which I took:)  I feel like the Dunkin Donuts guy when I get up in the morning but I love my hours and my coworkers are pretty cool too.  Granted it's a fairly entry level job but I understand practically everyone starts at the bottom with these guys and there's lots of room for rapid advancement so I'm not worried:)  I'm still volunteering in the hospital cafe Mondays after work so my days can get fairly long and tiring.  It's a situation that takes getting used to but hey at least I'm not bored right?;)

Anyway, as I mentioned earlier I've got a few applications floating around for the new holiday season and I should have my complete schedule up shortly.  In the meantime, I need your help.  Recently, as a favor to a family member who shall remain nameless for the time being, I took in a little Shih Tzu named Mugsy.  I won't go into full detail here but basically Mugsy arrived in a condition that was described by my vet as neglected and has medical issues that call for surgery to the tune of $700!  Said family member has decided Mugsy is no longer a priority and has since abandoned him to us.  Needless to say animal control officers have been contacted and charges of animal cruelty and abandonment are forthcoming.  In the meantime, I've set up a blog documenting Mugsy's story and our attempt to raise the funds for his operation by October 18th.  And so all proceeds from candles sold in my shop (this includes custom orders) until October 18th when we hope to have the surgery, will go towards Mugsy's operation.  We are also accepting donations if you don't wish to buy a candle.  Any money left after the surgery will be donated to the Coastal Humane Society of Maine.  So please, take a look at Mugsy's blog and spread the word to help us get Mugsy back on his feet again:)  Thank you in advance!  Ciao for now.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hi ho, hi ho it's back to work I go...

Heartfelt thanks to the well wishers who inquired after my mother's health. The surgery went very well and she's back home recovering nicely! So I'm heading back to Maine this weekend and will be opening Culinarychiq Concepts on Etsy and 1000 Markets again tomorrow with orders being shipped first thing Monday morning. I've got a lot of great ideas for some new Fall candles that I'll be working on this week and should be launching by next weekend. In the meantime, due to the shop closures, I'm extending my Christmas in July sale until Sunday August 22nd. This will be your last chance to get 20% off my mouthwatering tropical drink and ice cream candles before they disappear for the season.

Also, Sunday August 15th marks the 98th birthday of the one and only Julia Child. The Cooking Channel is asking people to post pictures of any of her recipes that you make and since I'm nowhere near the DC area to sneak a stick of butter into her display at the Smithsonian (something I've always wanted to do to play homage to the great lady. I thought about a nice freshly made croissant but that'd just attract ants which I don't think the Smithsonian people would appreciate;) I thought it'd be the perfect opportunity to actually attempt one of the recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking (volume 1). Even with the training I've received in school it's a bit intimidating, maybe because of how detailed the instructions are, so I haven't actually attempted anything yet but this week I'm going to be brave and crank out not just dinner but dessert!

Enjoy the weekend everyone. Ciao for now:)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

So what's for dinner?

Apologies for the unannounced hiatus, sometimes life throws you a couple of curve balls and it takes a little while to come back from it. Anyway, lots to talk about this week so let's get started:)

First, I found a new website that though it definitely needs some tweaking, has lots of potential! It's called Dinner Tool and I found it via one of those ads that hangs out along the sides of your Facebook page. It's geared towards the busy mom but basically if you're usually too busy to cook or are tired of standing in front of the fridge and staring endlessly at the contents trying to figure out what you're gonna make for dinner only to throw up your hands and run to the nearest fast food joint, this is the site for you. You can log in either with or without your facebook account, then you can make up the menu for the week or just set it up one day at a time. You can enter an ingredient (say you wanna make chicken but chicken and what?) and you have boxes to tick off (or not) of whether you want the recipe(s) to be easy, fast, budget, healthy and made ahead and drop down boxes with dietary restrictions like gluten free, low carb, vegan etc. and another drop down box asking which of 16 cuisines you prefer (if any) ranging from African, English or French, Latin American, New American (whatever that is) and Thai. Once that's done you get a list of main dishes, sides and desserts or meals which include the other three lists. My one complaint about this is that should you see a meal that you want you can't just click "drag to menu" like you can with the other tabs. Instead you have to click each course in the meal, drag that into the menu and hope you remember to click "search results" instead of back or you lose the whole thing and after to start all over! You also have to remember to save every time you add to the menu or once again back will clear everything out.

Now if you're not picky or don't have any allergies to worry about, clicking the "I'm Hungry" button is like activating the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button on Google. Do this and your whole week is planned out for you. Once you have your week set up, click shopping list and it exports your menu to a neatly arranged list according to section (dairy, baking, grocery etc.). The recipes are very good too and only as elaborate as you'd like them to be. Because I like a challenge I refuse to click fast and easy and so far my two favorite meals are the Jamaican Jerk Pork Roast which I've made both with Gingered Sweet Potatoes and with yellow rice and it's just phenomenal although a word to the wise, if you don't like much spice or heat I suggest dramatically reducing the amount of spice the recipe calls for. Lightly dust it rather than coat it. If it's still too spicy, a tall glass of milk or a bowl of ice cream will easily extinguish the flame:) The other recipe I'm in love with is the Grilled grouper with orange ginger glaze and roasted asparagus only I substituted salmon for grouper and it was excellent! The Pasta Sauce with beef ribs and cinnamon gave hubby and I indigestion which we usually don't get and I think next time I'll just stick with my old faithful Ropa Vieja recipe. Anyway, I've only used the site for about a week and a half and as i mentioned before it's got some real promise.

Businesswise the shop is starting to pick up as my Christmas in July sale winds down and my Back to School sale starts up (courtesy of Etsy's Team Homefront) I've started working on my Fall and Winter candle line.

The fall candles are available now, the winter candles become available in September but here's a sneak peak:

Nice aren't they? Anyway, that's about it for now. Who can believe July is nearly gone already? Have a good week everyone and stay cool!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Toaster Oven Talk

Once upon a time, before the existence of microwave ovens, people used a little invention called the toaster oven. Recently when our microwave decided to make its journey to Silicone Heaven we hit the store to buy a new one and found them sitting next to some toaster ovens. We'd been mulling over the idea of going with a toaster oven when our microwave and toaster died but now we were faced with that decision. I mean sure you can make something super hot super fast with a microwave but you mostly get rubberized food with all the flavor nuked out. With a toaster oven you can do pretty much whatever you would with a regular oven except you wouldn't raise the temperature of your kitchen which means if you get tired of grilling all the time this summer and start jonesing for a winter favorite, there's your trusty toaster oven for all your baking needs! Since picking up our toaster oven we've toasted things, made pizza, baked ziti, chicken wrapped in bacon and reheated leftovers.

I'm looking forward to experimenting with a traditional Sunday roast but in the meantime I'll be trying recipes and seeing what works and what doesn't. So far the only thing I can't do with a toaster oven is make popcorn, but I'm working on it:)

In the meantime, for anyone out there who have a toaster oven collecting dust or have been considering buying one. Here are some recipes to try:

prep: 10 min, cook: 10min
10-12 pieces round
dumpling wrappers
3 oz. red pasta sauce
3 Cups ricotta cheese
2 Tbs heavy cream
2 tsp grated mozzarella
1Tbs olive oil
green vegetables or meat of choice

Bring a pan of water to a boil and reduce heat. Add wrappers individually, for 10 seconds at a time and spread them out (they will be sticky). Fill them with sauce and steamed vegetables or meat of choice, fold over. Spread olive oil onto a heatproof dish. Combine cheese and cream, pour it over the folded wraps. Sprinkle with mozzarella and bake in toaster oven for 10 minutes, until slightly browned.

Good Housekeeping has lots of great recipes including this one for Maple-Glazed Sausages and Figs and Big Oven has a terrific selection of toaster oven recipes including this one for Stuffed Chicken Breasts!

That's about it for this week except to announce my Christmas in July craft fair has been cancelled due to lack of interest. Oh well, guess I'll stick with Etsy and 1000 Markets for the time being. Next week I hope to announce my membership with a local Arts Group and dates of a rrrrreally big shoe (ok, ok, bad Ed Sullivan impression)! Chow for now!