Thursday, December 27, 2012

BITS IN THE BREWING


Last week I announced that I will be opening a new shop in 2013. I will feature original art, vintage treasures and clothing, home decor and yes, more jewelry. It takes a lot of work to stock a shop! Here's a sneak-peek at what's brewing in the studio for OMT opening in January. . .







Not long now until the shop is open for business. You'll be the first to know!  In the meantime, visit my existing shop for my after-Christmas $15 sale!! 

And here's a picture of my Christmas dinner, Pork Wellington with garlic mashers and chard gratin, made by my amazing husband (and also a featured artist in the new shop!!). This has nothing to do with the new shop other than the fact that it was delicious and beautiful and we need to REC-O-NIZE. 

Cheers to you...hope  you are still at home in your jammies, eating Christmas leftovers like us! 
~Rachel 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

COMING SOON

Original art, decor, vintage goods, and museum piece jewelry...
coming in January on Etsy

A VERY TODDLER CHRISTMAS

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Having a child tends to turn the volume up on Christmas. As a single gal, on Christmas eve, I would often find myself with a completely empty fridge, getting in late, crawling in bed and anticipating getting to my mom's house in the morning where there would be a tree, cookies, and all the warm fuzzies of Christmas. I had a stocking until I was...well...30.  Candy and toys became quarters for laundry and "the good razors."

Now that I'm a mom, I am creating those traditions in my own home; some are new and some are recycled from my childhood.  This Christmas Eve the Man and I will be frantically setting up an art easel, unwrapping a Radio Flyer wagon, and assembling a train set around the tree, (which is decorated only on the top two feet). Yes, seriously. Christmas looks pretty storybook at our house. I can't wait to see the twinkle in her eyes as we come down the stairs in the morning after Santa has visited.  There are some magical moments with kids that you can't create...they just happen. My favorites of the season: 

"SOCKS". As in, Santa fills my socks with toys on Christmas Eve. In her defense, they ARE socks. I've been unable to keep them on the mantel. 

"COFFEE"  While reading the Christmas pop-up book my aunt sent me, the Bug points out that the mama is having her coffee. As in, An angel of the lord visited Mary while she was having her coffee and told her she would have a holy child. Awesome. 

Only 5 days til Christmas!
Cheers!
Rachel 




Monday, December 17, 2012

BLESS MY BITS


In light of last week's tragedy in Connecticut, it is more important than ever to focus on the small things we take for granted each day--pushing your kid in the swing, seeing your spouse walk through the door, and watching your child step off the bus.  Being a mom and the wife of a first grade teacher made this latest tragedy even more terrifying. I asked myself what you are most likely asking..."Why?"  "What can be done?"

There will never be an answer that eases the pain or brings justification to such a horrific event. Like you, I hugged my kid a little harder, lingered a little longer in the rocking chair, and sneaked in as many extra kisses as she would allow. This post is dedicated to being grateful for every tiny blessing in our lives...no matter how trivial. 
Here are a few of mine today. . .

Cookie Day at our house.  Bug helps. And takes smiling seriously.

Homemade Tree topper. Drugstore cheapo got the One Man's Trash treatment.

Leaves. In her butt crack. 

My holly jolly manicure for office Christmas party...thank you Dollar Store. And pretty jewels.

Daily affirmations from the government. One of the funny things about being married to a teacher. . . Sometimes these parent bits make their way home. It's on our fridge now. 


To being grateful. 
Cheers
Rachel 


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

HOLIDAY AGENDA STEP 2: WATCH MORE TV

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Yes, you heard me... more tv. Or movies, that is. With temps in the 80's here in Austin, I am having trouble getting into the season this year. There are a few classic holiday movies that always get me in the mood. Even if I can't light the fireplace yet, the Man and I can still put on our flannel jammies, make a big batch of salt & pepper popcorn, and enjoy the annual must-watch list.  Of course there's all of the usuals: Frosty, Rudolph, Mickey, and Grinch, but here's my extended list: 

Home for the Holidays
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I usually start at Thanksgiving with this quirky family dramedy starring Holly Hunter as the struggling artist, Robert Downey Jr. as the obnoxious, liquor-peddling, little brother, and Anne Bancroft, as the eccentric mom, has me roaring every time. It's a perfect mix of "love-em-but-hate em" family realism and over the top hilarity--think dropping the turkey on your most whiny family member and your wacky aunt getting drunk and passing gas. Pairs best with red wine. 

It's a Wonderful Life. 
It just doesn't get any more classic than this. Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, black & white and wonderful. I get warm fuzzies as soon as the "welcome to Bedford Falls" sign flashes on screen. I still tear up when the druggist gets the telegram and hurts his sore ear. Hell, I'm crying just writing it.  When I was little, and you couldn't watch any movie, at any time, at the press of a button, my mom and I would watch it on TV and then flip to another channel to finish watching it again, and again, until my dad finally cut us off. Egg Nog and cookies REQUIRED. 

A Christmas Story
Only the funniest movie, ever. EV-ER. I always watch this with my Dad on Christmas Eve. After my parents divorced, I always spent Christmas Eve with my Dad, and Christmas Day with my mom. In the battle for Christmas custody, she got It's a Wonderful Life and he got A Christmas Story.  When my father was little, he looked just like Ralphie and he was born in 1956 so it's kind of the right era. He is a really quiet guy but this movie always makes him laugh so hard, it adds to my joy in watching it.  Scott Farkus. He had yellow eyes--so help me god, yellow eyes!  CLASSIC.  

Home Alone
Okay, I may be on my own here. This movie is super silly and probably meant for kids. But I think pre-troubled, little, Macaulay Culkin using aftershave, eating pizza on the bed, and booby-trapping his house against burglars of the Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern variety is pretty damn hilarious. Reinforcing the "All you want for Christmas is your annoying family around" theme. Totally awesome. 

Last but not least
Beautiful Girls

Partly filmed in my home state of Minnesota, with Timothy Hutton, Uma Thurman, Michael Rapaport, and a pre-teen Natalie Portman, Beautiful Girls is a great story about relationships, growing up, and well, snow.  Not actually a Christmas movie, but wintery and awesome.  Watched best with several brown cocktails and some apps. There all sistas, Willie. Each and every one of them sistas. 

Happy Watching!
~Rachel 






Friday, November 30, 2012

MOTHERBUBBLES AND HOLY SALSA


The Bug turns two this weekend. It's hard to believe and yet bringing home my little four-pounder seems like ages ago. 

It is so fun to watch her explore and develop and yet, at times, surviving the changes at this stage requires a level of patience beyond my redheaded capabilities.  Last week's full moon saw a Twilight-esque transformation from adorable princess to rabid-werewolf-child complete with new upper vamp teeth, full on attacks of rage, and uncontrollable urges to leap from furniture to furniture. Do they all go through this, or is mine just a special hybrid of spoiled brat (the Man's side) and redheaded stepchild (mine)?
Yes, the above photos are the same kid. 

Your kid might be turning two if:
The answer to every question is "YESNO" or "NOYES," followed by ten minutes of thrashing and and throwing toys.

When you pass an RV or a fire engine on the road, you think it looks like a character from Cars instead of a vehicle.

Your Netflix is trippin because it thinks your "recommended" preferences are all day-glo animated kid shows and you just want to watch something violent with angry adults in it. NO GABBA GABBA if you know what I mean?

A tiny person is running around your house saying "awww salsa" and "oh bubbles", because every swear word you use is instantly repeated back to you, only louder, and more often, causing you to replace the F-word with "Bubbles" and shit with "salsa." Example: Eat Salsa DJ Lance. 


Your kid automatically associates cookies with going to Target because you've been doing an embarrassing amount of bribery just to get through the store with your Clorox wipes and half and half without a meltdown. And the express lane is just too bubblin' slow.

Approximate time to move from the house to the car for an event is somewhere around an hour and a half, starting with ten minutes to get the jammies off, approximately 20 minutes of chasing tiny person around living room with a clean diaper, another ten for putting on clean clothes, another ten putting on sweatshirt, another ten for putting on shoes, another ten for finding keys hidden by tiny person. Another ten for finding left shoe removed by tiny person while finding keys and putting left shoe back on. Another 25 for convincing argument and negotiations to get tiny person in car seat. Another ten for putting shoes removed while in carseat back on feet. Five for mom breathing deeply and trying to ward off stroke, before trying to operate vehicle.  Repeat for leaving original destination. Bonus points for remembering where you were going in the first place or actually remembering the package you were going to mail.

While all of this is true, at this stage she couldn't be cuter. She couldn't be funnier. She couldn't be more honest and tender. When she's mad, she bangs her head on the floor. When she's happy, she smothers you with cuddles and kisses. If only it were that simple when we get older.  Banging my head on the floor sounds about right, some days.  

Cheers to being two, my little Bug!  You are the cutest little salsa in the world and you leave your sparkle on everyone who meets you. 

love,
Mommy

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

HOLIDAY AGENDA STEP ONE: GAIN 5 POUNDS

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I am soooo excited for the holidays this year! Obviously this is a warm and fuzzy time for most people but it really feels like our first Christmas with the Bug as she was only a few weeks old the first year, and last year we traveled to MN for the grandparents with a one year old--not exactly relaxing. This year, we are doing the big tree, the baking, the big home-cooked meal, and Santa will be visiting a very adorable two year old.

First order of business on my agenda. COOKIES. I have been making my Aunt Edith's sugar cookie recipe since I was old enough to hold a cookie sheet. See evidence.

I don't know what it is about this recipe as it is the same butter, sugar, and flour combo as any other sugar cookie recipe. But these cookies are IN. SANE. Ask anyone. Careful rationing must be planned over the month or they will be gone in a flash.  Sorry, can't share this recipe. . . It's too special.

Bug Tested and approved.

This year I'm simplifying the traditional (seriously like 30 years straight) decorating scheme and doing a new snowflake dusted with white frosting, blue sugar and crushed peppermint. Similar to this:

For my tree, I'm going to forgo the traditional multi-colored candy sprinkles and do green sugar crushed with cinnamon candies. Similar to this:
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My mom and I always did the white chocolate dipped pretzels with red and green sugar but I'm thinking of trying a pretzel stick done with dark chocolate this year. That white stuff is mostly paraffin and not actual chocolate.  I want something easy that I can just melt and sling and perhaps sass it up with some random nuts and bits from the pantry.
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I think for our special xmas DINNER we will be trying Beef Wellington. A yummy mushroom paste is slathered on a juicy hunk of beast and then wrapped in pastry. Yes, please.
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For NEW YEAR'S EVE we do Cioppino. With lots of wine and probably Scrabble by the light of the Christmas tree. We are wild and crazy like that.
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This is a tomato and wine based seafood stew that originates in San Francisco, which is where I had it for the first time. We have been perfecting our recipe ever since. I'll share ours here:

BEST FREAKIN CIOPPINO EVER
For Broth:
1 28 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 c. clam juice
1 c. red wine (drink the rest)
6-8 c. chicken broth
can tomato paste
fresh squeezed lemon
1 T. olive oil
chopped fennel bulb
dash of  balsamic vinegar
fresh garlic (great roasted) and fresh shallots

herbs: as a garni or dried..sorry I don't measure
          1 or 2 star anise pods, red pepper flakes, oregano, basil, thyme, parsley, rosemary sprig, couple of bay leaves, black pepper

Simmer until fennel is tender
Add any combination of seafood starting with a firm white fish like marlin or halibut, shrimp, crab, scallops, mussels, clams etc.. 
We buy teeny tiny portions of a bit of everything at the seafood counter and throw it all in. 
You really can't mess this up and if you're missing a few items, a simplified version turns out great. This is the precious version. 

Serve with toasted sourdough or french white bread, and squeeze more lemon over everything. 
SO. GOOD. 

    In all seriousness, I am not condoning gaining weight by stuffing your face, but delicious and special foods are part of the holiday season. I find that I actually lose weight because I am eating such great foods and meals and not eating lots of crap in between meals or take out. The variety of goods at parties and on your table have a variety of nutrients that you probably don't get otherwise. There is so much out there that you get to be ultra selective and eat the most delectable. And if you gain a few pounds...SO BE IT. It gives you something to plan for on New Year's Day.

Happy Celebrating!
Rachel

Sunday, November 18, 2012

HANDMADE HOLIDAY-DEAR SANTA, I WANT. . .


Doesn't it seem like when you're shopping for others you suddenly come across soooo many things you NEED for yourself? I think most of us do a little self-gifting or maybe really obnoxious hinting to those closest to us?? Hmmm??

As promised more awesome handmade shops from Etsy, featuring all the goodies that I am lusting after this season. Here's hoping you find something for someone on your list. If not, my address is. . . 

Handmade wax batik pillows from Sister Batik. I die... So colorful and juicy. 



This is my absolute favorite shop on Etsy and one that inspires me in my own jewelry work. So unique, beautifully crafted, and I love the photos! La Touchables I want I want I want!! 



This print and painting from fellow Texan, Sarah Greenman Art.  Hey dudes, want to do something romantic for your lady without having to pick out expensive jewelry that she might want to return? How about a very special piece of art? I would have loved that. 

Of course now I'm married and we buy each other stuff like a new vacuum cleaner filter. Awesome. 

These beautifully packaged little perfumes from For Strange Women. I am a perfume JUNKIE. In my perfect world, I would have a huge tray of delicious scents for the choosing on my dresser. I love the dreamy, creepy, Victorian vibe in this shop too.  



Also today is the last day of my 20% off sale at One Man's Trash. Take a look!! And if you're super slackery...the code just maaaaaaaay still work on Monday ;) 
Happy Shopping
Rachel