I reached my goal – now for the next goal!

A little while ago I realized that I was just a little short of a convenient and beautiful even (I have a thing for even numbers) number – 20 items in my shop! 20 items!

It’s not the biggest amount of things in my shop – especially when you think of how much Abigail has in her shop – but it’s a goal. I’m trying to push the limits, and I certainly will not make the goals if they are set too high.

But I got there! 20 items in my shop now. Actually, I looked at my expired listings, and it turns out that I had just missed one item – so, make that 21 items. 😀

So that’s nice. And I’m all excited about it, so I’ve already set a new one! 30 items by the end of July. So that leaves me a little under a month and a half.

And I made a cute little widget thing to count down! So you can keep track of how many days I have left. And I will (try really hard) to post my progress, each new idea popping into my head, each project in the early stages, and each completed item! So keep on coming back – it’ll encourage me to reach my goal!

The Items that Helped Me Reach 20

Rustic Embossed Antiqued Blank Card

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Happy Anniversary Greeting Card

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Love Birds Card

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Elegant and Simple Thank You Card

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And my two hats!

Cherry Red Sand Dollar Slouchy Hat

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Coral Color Spiral Slouchy Hat

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Tell me about your goals for the summer? Fun goals, silly goals, scary goals – anything you have planned!

 

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It’s been a while…

I have to confess… I procrastinate.

*sigh* Got that over with!

Actually, it’s perfectly obvious – I just put things off. Like this blog! I put it off until it’s a nice big pile of  demandingness (is that a word?) and then put it off again! Very silly!

Anyway, I wanted to give you an update for a few things that I’m doing. First off, I was planning on this week being the Big Etsy Making Craziness and Creativity Time, because I was doing a boutique/summer craft fair thing this Saturday. But then, after a few bumps in the road, it suddenly came to a stop.

But I don’t want it to completely bring me to a stop. So I’m going off after this to create. And do this study thing for something I’ve been putting off (procrastination again!). But I’m squeezing in more creativity, as much as I can, because I’m really in a creative mood. And an Etsy mood – which is nice, because, honestly, it can be a little exhausting trying to promote things.

And I want to get back to blogging, my dear readers! I like blogging, I really do. So I will try to keep blogging. They might not be very long posts, or very pithy, but I’m going to give it my best try anyway!

I just posted a picture (the one bellow) to my Instagram account, and wanted to show it to you. I’m going to try making compilation images like this one more in the future.

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Recently I’ve been taking this bag of my crochet stuff, one or two projects at a time, to random places. I can work on it in the car, or when I’m sitting, sipping my Starbucks iced coffee, or waiting for the movie to begin. I may not get very far, but I’ve been surprised that I have been getting through a few of my projects this way! 🙂 Oh, and Artiste, from Hobby Lobby, is totally my new favorite thread!

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And recently, I’ve had to get prescription glasses. Not so happy with that at the beginning. But now I’m not only getting used to them, but kind of enjoying using them!

WP_20160429_15_57_24_Pro.jpg Abigail made this beautiful pen for me, same style as her beautiful earrings, as a clip to put onto one of my headcoverings. I like how it looked on my pink scarf! 😉

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And one last picture. I love our hikes in the mountains – and one of my favorite hikes too! And here I am with my two beautiful sisters!

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And that’s all. For now – I promise I will be back. Maybe I’ll do a whole post about my twice-over shipment. But for now, I’ll sign off!

~Hannah

Cogs and Gears: New Look for My Shop

Hello everyone!

Just a little before the beginning of April, Etsy started sending out emails about how they where changing the shop layout for everyone’s shops, updating the look. I checked out what they had as an example, and I liked it. It looks crisp, modern and it’s even easier to navigate.

I had been thinking – and working on – updating the look of my shop a little, and so this came at a good time, giving me a little incentive to get a move on it. I can always use that!

So I got to work, whipping up a few ink drawings and filling them in with watercolors. Here are a couple pictures of the Little Dancy Ladies:

I liked how they turned out, and they were really easy to do, so I will definitely be doing a lot more of them. Actually, I have always drawn dancy ladies, in one way or another, but only recently have I added color to them like you see here. Here are two more:

Putting them together for the banner picture for the shop was interesting, and took a little rearranging, but I think it came out alright!

But really, the weird part was trying to get all of my updates to show up. They kept on getting stuck somewhere in the Etsy servers and nothing changed for a few days. But today, it did! (Just as I was about to ask a question from the Etsy forums too! Note to self: always check if the problem is still there before you ask for it to be fixed.) But I was so excited that it showed up that I had to show you guys the new look! So here it is!

The New Shop Look!

Also, I put in a few behind-the-scenes pictures on the about page, and updated the shop story.

I really like the new look and I can’t wait to keep adding to it. It really feels a lot more user friendly. But you’ll just have to check it out for yourself!

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One of my favorites – probably because I love the color of the dress!

 

Go check out Abigail’s and Sarah’s shops – hopefully they’ve got the updates actually working for them too. It didn’t work for them at first either!

Just for the fun of it, I’d like to see which of the Little Dancy Ladies is our blog reader’s favorite?

Do you like the new Etsy shop layout?

~Hannah

Favorite Younger Sister – Sarah!

Well, today is a special day. Today is the day we celebrate our favorite younger sister, Sarah!

She’ll get annoyed at me posting pictures, but I can’t help it – I love her flower-like face, and her summery prettiness, so she’ll just have to skip over the pictures parts!

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My lovely sister, drinking a Frappuccino almost as sweet as she is!

 

You have seen her photography, which is truly beautiful and amazingly talented. I’ll repost a few of her pictures, so you can see again some of her aptitude in this area. She is always dashing off a few more photos, constantly and quietly surprising us with her talented eye.

You also have seen her delightful bags – pictured below. And they are well worth looking into, since she puts a lot of thought and care into all of her projects.

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My Blue Pink Tote Bags, now on Etsy

But before she sewed bags (and placemats, and mug warmers, etc…) she sewed for herself lovely clothing! You might remember seeing detailing for this dress – she did hand embroidery as little sprigs of flowers all over the skirt. She is always sewing a new and awesome project! (Oh, and she sewed that adorable little bolero that she’s wearing in the first picture)CIMG3027.JPG

She also cooks and bakes! This year, Sarah made out favorite Blackstrap Molasses Cookies. And they tasted so good that they did not last very long!

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But she is so much more than her talents and abilities. She is one of the most dependable, patient people I know – she wouldn’t be able to put up with me if she wasn’t as patient as she is. She has a funny sense of humor, and a quality of light and laughter and bright beauty about her personality which is like summertime and spring beginnings – which are, not surprisingly, a couple of her favorite seasons. She is always there to be a ready listener for either Abigail or me. She is a dedicated worker, working at places where the rest of us are uninterested or too lazy.

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There are too many things to say about this wonderful, delightful, funny, sweet, quiet great young lady who I am proud and honored to call my sister. But for now, I will just say that the Lord has blessed me and my family greatly Sarah

Happy Birthday!

Hannah

Saturday Random Recipe: Manicotti

A little while ago, I did a post all about our favorite meat sauce. And the sauce is so good – believe me! Here’s the post for how to make some of the best tomato pasta sauce you’ll ever taste!

But today, I will show you what to do with this delicious recipe, once you’ve whipped it all up.

Manicotti!

Once the tomato sauce is going, you get out your favorite sausage. We get ours from a local deli, Keller’s Farm Store, their Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage. We used to do the regular Italian Turkey Sausage, but we discovered the sweet one is really good! But then all of their stuff is good! But any good Italian sausage works, though. You start browning it and then break it up to smaller pieces. I think I would prefer larger pieces than we did here, but whichever way you like.

Now that you have the sausage all cooked up, you get your casserole dish out. We have a wonderful, big Pampered Chef roasting stoneware dish. It’s all pale and unseasoned right now, but someday we’ll have it the right, deep brown color that it’s supposed to be. Spoon enough sauce on the bottom to cover it.

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While the sausage is heating up, you work on the filling for the manicotti. Take about a pound of ricotta cheese, one egg, salt and pepper, and some ground nutmeg. Mix it up in a food processor until its all smooth and creamy, and then you fill either a pastry bag or a big plastic bag with the cheese mixture. It’ll look something like this. Cut a small hole off of one tip.

IMG_0134.JPGTraditional recipes will have you boil the manicotti until a little softened. We don’t do that – in fact we kind of cheat! But actually it totally works fine – just don’t tell your fancy chef friends about it and they won’t know the difference! We leave them uncooked. They’re much easier to handle at this stage that way!

IMG_0138.JPG Fill up the manicotti tube with the cheese mixture. You first squeeze it into one end until you can see that it’s about half way through the tube, and then you switch sides and squeeze it into the other end. It gets it into there more efficiently this way, otherwise you make a big mess, since it starts oozing out the wrong end. IMG_0143.JPG

Fill all of them up and lay them side by side at the bottom of the casserole dish. The sauce underneath and on top creates enough moisture to soften the manicotti. Then you sprinkle on as much sausage as you want, and then the sauce. It has to have enough to completely cover the pasta. I did the picture with a couple of the manicotti sticking out so you can see them better, but then I pushed them back under the sauce.

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We did a couple different cheeses this time. Usually, we just do grated mozzarella, but we added provolone. So now you can call this three cheese (ricotta, mozzarella, provolone) manicotti, or you could add Parmesan and make it four cheese (ricotta, mozzarella, provolone and parmesan) manicotti!

Dot the Provolone all over the top. It doesn’t need too much, since you’re putting on the mozzarella in a moment.

IMG_0155.JPGAnd then the mozzarella.

IMG_0160.JPGAnd then you pop it in the oven for about 30 minutes with some sort of covering (a lid or foil, and the foil should dome enough so that it doesn’t touch the cheese). And then a few more minutes without the covering so you can brown the cheese a little. When you take it out, it should be all hot and bubbling. Bake it at 350.

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And now you serve it up with a yummy green salad, some garlicy broccoli or bacon and apple Brussel sprouts. And there you have it! Our family style Italian food – and however good or bad you are at cooking, there’s nothing like home cooking. And this really is pretty simple, so you can’t go wrong!

Four Cheese Manicotti

~ 1 pound of ricotta cheese

~ 1 egg

~ salt and black pepper, to taste

~ freshly ground nutmeg

  • Grated mozzarella cheese
  • 2 or 3 slices of Provolone, broken into pieces
  • A grating of Parmesan cheese

Pre heat the oven to 350. Put the ricotta, egg, salt and pepper, and the ground pepper into a food processor and blend until smooth, and then put into a pastry bag or large plastic bag. Cover the bottom of a large casserole dish with meat sauce. Fill the manicotti with the cheese mixture, filling it half way on one side, and then half way on the other side of each manicotti. Layer the filled manicotti on the bottom of the pan, side by side. Sprinkle liberally with Sweet Italian Sausage. Cover them completely with meat sauce. Dot with provolone and sprinkle mozzarella.

Cover with lid or aluminum foil, domed so it doesn’t stick to the cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake again until browned and bubbling. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese and enjoy with the family!

 

What is your favorite Italian cooking?

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Hannah

Cogs and Gears: Putting It All Together

Well, this is my first Cogs and Gears post. I’m going to keep it short, mainly because I have less time today than I could to get this done, but also because I like short posts. Keeps me to the point.

I started this batch of cards a couple of weeks ago, but they ran into a couple of hitches.

Actually, it was basically just one problem. The little pair of roses for the middle did not look right with the background paper. You can see in the picture below how the one on the left is pale compared to the finished one on the right. It looked washed out on top of the background.

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I started off by stamping the rose pattern. I didn’t take a picture of that, but it was just the plain outline of the roses and the leaves. I colored it in with artist quality colored pencils. That was the pale version, the one that didn’t look right.

The next thing I did, after coloring it was to realize that it didn’t look right without something to separate the rose motif from the background. That’s where the red band comes in.

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But before I glue that down, I get the background all ready. I tore the background paper to the right size, first measuring it.

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Now you put it all together, gluing it all down.

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And there you have it! That is how I put it all together. Although, actually there was a good bit of frustration between the creative layers – this card has not been the most straightforward of all my cards! But that is a part of the creative process.

Tomorrow I will put this card up on my Etsy shop, so go over there to check it out!

Update: I have the listing on my Etsy shop now! Yay! So now you can look over there – and maybe even buy one! Here it is!

Hannah

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Saturday Random Recipe: Mama’s Meat Sauce

I started doing manicotti, but I’m switching to our spaghetti sauce, which we will call Mama’s Meat Sauce. I totally love this sauce! I could have it as a meal alone – although I do love pasta. But this sauce is so hearty, thick, and meaty, I really could eat it alone. Yum!

We always make a thick, pretty-big batch and freeze it in Mason jars so you can take one out and stretch it with a bottle of marinara sauce. It’s that thick with awesome meat and onions and good stuff like that!

It’s kind of a modified Bolognese sauce. Only without the cream.

Anyway. I’ll stop talking about the sauce, and just tell you how to make it.

Mama’s Meat Sauce

Cut up the onion. Or two onions. I love onions, so if I could, I would put two onions in, but that’s up to you!

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Mince up or crush the garlic… same thing with garlic as with the onion; I would love it if we could have 10, nice and big cloves, but 5 is fine!

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Sautee the onion and garlic. I don’t have a picture of this, but it’s one of my favorite parts. You put the onion in first, coat it with a drizzle of olive oil and cook it for a couple of minutes, and then add the garlic. The garlic has a lot of condensed natural sugars in it, so it tends to burn really quickly if you put it in too quick, but once the onions are getting on pretty well, then the garlic won’t freak out and burn.

And then put in about a pound of ground hamburger meat. It’s all pink and weird looking when you first put it in. Cook for a while… stir… cook… stir… oh look! It’s changing colors! Once it looks like this, it’s cooked enough.

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Season with Italian herbs: Fill your palm with dried oregano, rub in your hands and put into the pot. Do the same with basil. This releases the oils from the herbs – causing them to smell a lot more fragrant.

Pour in 2 or 3 quart bottles of good-quality marinara sauce.

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The marinara sauce already has salt in it, so you don’t need to add any more. But if you want to, season it with salt to taste, and a good few grinds of black pepper. Now add around 1/2 cup of red wine – swish it around in the bottles of marinara sauce so you can get every last bit of it out. Even if you don’t drink wine, it tastes perfect in tomato sauce, and the alcohol cooks off. Also, if you happen to be cooking some mushrooms, and you have all of that excess juice, add this to the sauce: It tastes amazing! We do it with and without, but mushroom juice really deepens the taste.

Simmer for at least 30 minutes to an hour, or longer.

Now you have to taste it. And get a really big chunk of hamburger, and plenty of sauce. Oh, I don’t actually use this big of a spoon! IMG_0128.JPG

Well, there you have it! The best meat sauce in the world! Just try it and see! We use it for manicotti, lasagna, spaghetti or other pastas, and pizza – so many uses!

Soon I’ll write the manicotti recipe, and you’ll see one use for this yummy stuff!

 

Mama’s Meat Sauce

  • 1 large onion
  • 3-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound ground hamburger meat
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons basil
  • 2 or 3 quart bottles of marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • The juice from 8 oz sautéed mushrooms (optional)
  • Season to taste with salt and black pepper

 

Enjoy your weekend!

~Hannah~