Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Break

Our Christmas cactus is blooming, a reminder to me that it is time for a break.

It's been a good year full of home renovations, great vacations, and new growth in our business. I tackled the most challenging upholstery projects I ever attempted and did the worst craft show ever. This time of year is so nice to relax, eat some chocolate and reflect on the things we did all year long while being surrounded by family and good friends.

I hope all of you out there have a great holiday break and get the rest and rejuvenation you need.

Thanks to all of my customers, friends, family and business ladies that help make the year manageable! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

HANDMADE Custom Pet Tag Sale

My sister Maria woke up Sunday to a very ill kitty pawing at her belly.
The kitty needs a surgery procedure that is out of my sister's price range so she decided to do some DIY fund raising ASAP!

All handmade tags are 20% off!!

The tags are made from hand cut 18g aluminum, and finished with silver ball rivets. They're made to size (sm/med/lg) for your pet, and stamped with your pets name (front, occasionally back) and number (back).

Check out her website at
for more tag selection. Custom orders are welcome!

Thanks for the support!

Christmas Cooking

I am trying to squeeze in some baking this season. It is important to me to at least make some cranberry bread and a few cookies. I can't go too overboard since we are still working on furniture around here....

I had to get a picture of these loaves, they we so warm and cozy in there. This is the same holiday bread that my mom makes every year -minus the nuts thank you! For as long as I can remember, I have watched this stuff rise and brown in the oven. Yummy.

Now, back to this chair that is staring at me in the studio. And one more (maybe not the last) trip to the post office for my rush orders.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snowing, But Cozy Inside

I think this is what all the Christmas carols sing about. Cold and blustery, snow piling up out there. Inside, cookies, warmth, family. Even if it is not falling exactly on the day, I am going to call it our own White Christmas.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chocolate Crackle-Tops

I was given a cookie cookbook one year as a Christmas present from a good friend who loved baking. I have used this book over and over to make the best cookies ever, hands down. The recipe in this book for roll out/cut out sugar cookies is better than my mom's. The lemon shortbread recipe is to die for. I have tired fancy cookies that looked too hard for me to even attempt, and those came out beautifully! So when I saw this recipe, it was one I had to try.

These chocolate cookies are one of my favorites for the holidays. They are pretty, fun to make with my daughter, and delish to boot. The better quality chocolate you use, the better the taste. The trick to this recipe is to keep the cooking temperature low at 325 as to not melt the powdered sugar coating.

7 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
scant 1/2 unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
scant 2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar for coating

1. In a medium saucepan, over low heat, melt chocolate and butter together until smooth, stirring constantly.
2. Remove from heat, Stir in the sugar, continue stirring for 2-3 minutes until the sugar dissolves. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then stir in vanilla.
3. In another bowl, mix flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Gradually stir into the chocolate mixture in batches, just until blended.
4. Cover the dough and refrigerate for at least an hour, until the dough is cold enough to hold it's shape.
5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, Grease baking sheets. Place confectioners sugar in a small deep bowl. Using a round teaspoon or small ice cream scoop, scoop the cold dough and roll in to balls between the palms of your hands. Roll 1 1/2" balls.
6. Drop each ball into confectioners sugar and roll until heavily coated and place on baking sheets.
7. Bake cookies for 10-15 minutes, until the tops feel slightly firm when touched. When slightly cooled, move the cookies to a wire rack with a spatula to cool completely.

Open Studio Now 'till Christmas!

Lost of stock left for those last minute gifts and stocking stuffers!

*Button rings, plastic rings, button earrings
*Silver and Copper Earrings, Necklaces and an overabundance of Cuff Bracelets
*Electroformed Acorns, twigs, maple seeds and really cool pods

Remember to shop local and get first dibs on my best stuff. I don't list everything in my etsy shop, so you can take your pick in person. And I give deep discounts at the end of the season, deals, deals, deals! lol.

Open studio hours Dec. 16-21 from 11 am - 7 pm.
Just let me know when you might be swinging by 410-522-7375!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Squidfire Winter Art Mart

Join 60+ talented artists and crafters on December 12, when the Du Burns Arena in Canton will be transformed into an alternative shopping center. DIY/indie crafters from all over the east coast will join all of us from Baltimore to offer you the most unique, handmade gift ideas.

BEST will have some things for sale from the button jewelry line. I, however will be in NYC that weekend selling at the One of a kind show! Squidfire is sure to be a great show, the space this year is huge and will accommodate a big crowd. Get your last minute gifts and finish up holiday shopping at super hip show!

Du Burns Arena, Boston Street, Canton, Baltimore, MD
Saturday Dec. 12, 11-6!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Buy Handmade and Help The MD Food Bank

It has been a difficult year for many Marylanders because of the tough economy. Many are without jobs and without food. In an effort to help those in need this holiday season, several BEST members will be donating a percentage of money from the the sales of their handmade items from December 1-14. Buyers will have a unique opportunity to support handmade and help feed hungry Marylanders.

The Maryland Food Bank provides nearly 14 million pounds of food annually to 1,000 Network Partners - including food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, low-income day care centers, after-school programs, senior centers, rehabilitation centers, and other feeding programs. They supply food for over 50,000 Marylanders each week who otherwise would go hungry or not eat enough, including families with children, the elderly, the homeless, the homebound, low-income workers, the recently unemployed, and people with AIDS and other health problems. For every $1 contributed to the Maryland Food Bank, they are able to provide 3 meals to Maryland’s needy families and individuals.

From December 1st through 14th, the following participating BEST members will be donating a percentage of their sales:

blockpartypress- 10% of Etsy sales
sweetpepita- 10% of all Etsy sales
jenmenkhaus- 10% of all Etsy sales
glowgirl - 10% of all Etsy sales
yummyandcompany- 10% of all Etsy sales
atelieradornments - 10% of all Etsy sales
lanabella - 10% of all Etsy sales
lolamiren - 10% of all Etsy sales
thebrokenplate - 10% of all Etsy sales
tigerlillyshop - 10% of all Etsy ring sales
greenstarstudio - 10% of all Etsy sales
vwstudios - 10% of all Etsy sales

Take some time to visit these Etsy shops, support handmade and know that when you make a purchase between Dec. 1 - 14, you will be helping to provide food and services to someone in need this holiday season. Here are some other ways to support the MD Food Bank:

* Make a direct monetary donation

* Purchase and donate food through the Food Bank's “Virtual Food Drive”

* Deliver the food directly to the Maryland Food Bank at 2200 Halethorpe Farms Road. Please call 410-737-8282 to arrange your delivery.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special

PeeWee Herman has been a marketing machine lately. He's on Twitter, Facebook, the Conan O'Brien Show, etc. He launched a great website, too, which I have been enjoying with my daughter! It may not be 100% appropriate fora 4 yr old, but it is so fun, I had to share.

The best part is, we have watched clips and even the whole episode of the Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special the on his website. The brings back memories of my 1980's childhood. so strange, so cool, so weird and funny. I have to admit, I love Pee-wee Herman!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Marry Mart at the Creative Alliance This Sunday!

Sun Dec 6, 11am-5pm.
Free! Cash bar. Lunch for sale catered by Water for Chocolate.

Avoid manic mall madness! Do your holiday shopping at The Patterson. 35+ fab local vendors with the best in regional crafts, arts, and gifts! Coordinated by Allison Dickinson, founder of Paper-Rock-Scissors Gallery.

These fellow BEST member swill be vending:




Buttons For Babes


Friday, December 4, 2009

Electroforming Maniac

These beauties just came out of the bath! Oh it's just like Christmas everytime!
Thought I'd share the happiness;)

Visit BEST at the Greenbelt Festival of Lights!

The BEST girls will be showing at the Greenbelt Festival of Lights this Saturday and Sunday.

Somehow a ton of local shows fell on the same 3 days this year. Not sure how this happened, but many of us are trying to show at all of them and are stretched pretty thin this weekend.

Although I won't physically be there manning the table, some of my work will be at this show. My generous lady friends agreed to host a couple of trays of button accessories for me! So look for button rings, plastic rings, button earrings and hair ties at the BEST tent. My trays are filled with deals at $6.00! All one of a kind, all handmade, and great for a quick gift!

Ok, see you around this weekend!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

3rd Anual Holiday Heap This Saturday!!!

It is that time of year again! This local craft show is my favorite of the season. The venue hosts a handmade loving crowd, the building has a warm and fuzzy feeling. Grab some coffee, listen to the DJ and feel good about shopping local.
This cool Charm City Craft Mafia show never lets us down!

Don't miss it!
Saturday, December 5th
Saint John’s Church, 2640 St. Paul Street, Baltimore, MD 21218

Not only can you buy handmade, but there will be an awesome gift basket raffle benefiting Art with a Heart, a local non-profit providing access to art activities for disadvantaged families, children, and people with developmental and physical challenges. Take a chance and give back.

We hope to see you this weekend! The following BEST members will be vending this year:

Jen Menkaus/Littlest Bean

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New York One Of a Kind Show and Sale

I am really looking forward to my first show in New York City this month. Nervous, yes!

I am making lots of new metal work and electroforming like crazy. My sister Maria will be accompanying me at the show and she too, is making new nature work for the Tigerlillyshop.

The New York One of a Kind Show and Sale Open to the Public, Pier 94, 12th Ave at 55th

Preview Night Thursday Dec. 10, 5pm - 9pm
Friday Dec. 11, 11am-8pm
Saturday Dec. 12, 10am-7pm
Sunday Dec. 13, 10am-5pm

And! I have some FREE NYC OOAK Show tickets for you!

1st come, 1st served. E-mail or Convo your address to me and I'll ship you however many tickets you need.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas is coming!

One little collage to get us ready for what is to come. Snow, presents, and family. Cheers!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gearing Up for My Black Friday SALE!

I am offering a big online sale over the weekend:

Friday Nov. 27 through Monday Nov. 30

Buy 2 plastic rings, get one free!
(please request design of choice for free ring)

Buy 2 button rings, get one free!
(please request color of choice for free ring)

Buy 2 stud earrings, get a surprise pair free!

AND 20% off all metal jewelry!!!!
please check out as normal and i'll send a refund after checkout reflecting sale prices;)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dangling Ponies

The monster blue chairs are gone. It is time now to focus on the holiday selling season and our own family Christmas preparations. This year seems more daunting than past years with the New York show looming in the near future.

It is easy for me to loose sight of the little things every day that make for a happy family and happy life. I promise myself this year to stop and have some fun during this chaotic time. Even if it means having to work extra late some nights or spending money I don't have. My goal is balance this season, it may be harder to achieve than I expect, but I feel with the right mind set, I can do it.

I will enjoy this season, I swear it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sneek Peek Upholstery

Yes, just a little something so you'll keep checking back!
I wonder what this could possibly be?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Harford Day School: Festival of the Arts

The 8th Annual Arts Festival, a juried exhibit and sale, will be held November 6 and 7, 2009 on the campus of Harford Day School. More than sixty artists (including BEST's own greenstarstudio, Shelly Daly, and Tigerillyshop!) will be at the show to present original, handcrafted work in a variety of media.

The festivities will begin with a Preview Party for adults on Friday, November 6. Guests that attend the Preview Party will be the first to preview and purchase artwork while enjoying the food from many of our best local restaurants. Some of the participating restaurants last year were: DuClaw Brewing Co., Bonefish Grill, Manor Tavern, Bill Bateman's Raw Bar and Grill, Damon's Grill, Scotto's, Sizzling Bombay, and Josef's. Consistent with this year's Caribbean theme, Lenny Rogers from Trinidad will entertain the party-goers on the steel drum. Maui Wowi will serve island drinks from a Tiki Bar, and a lucky raffle winner will go home with a Caribbean vacation. Preview Party tickets are $65 each. If you would like to receive an invitation to this exciting event or would like information on sponsorship opportunities, please visit the website.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Q&A with Tigerlillyshop Today!

Join me in the Etsy Virtual Labs at 4:00 today for a follow up chat session about her Quit Your Day Job feature.

I am firing up my web cam for this! Not sure what to expect, but I am sure it will be fun.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, November 2, 2009

My Own Quit Your Day Job Feature!

I am so excited to share my story with you all on Etsy's Blog.

See my Quit Your Day Job Feature here!

I'll be in the Etsy Virtual Labs Thursday 4:00 pm for a web cam Q&A follow up session. Please come by and say hello!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I love this parade

Here are some pics from the night. Great time, as always. There are some hard working, talented people that put this parade on every year. Congrats to everyone who made it happen!

Our Kitty is Ready for the Great Halloween Lantern Parade, Eureka 2009!

Alright, we are rearin' to go to the Lantern Parade. Rain date be damned, we will go and be part of this 10th anniversary celebration! Brett and I put the finishing touches on our Cheshire Cat lantern. Whiskers, stripes, sparkly teeth -it's perfect!

See what it looks like lit up here.

Friday, October 23, 2009

New Gardening Club

This week was the first all volunteer garden club at the Southeast Anchor Enoch Pratt Library. It was a great day, 73 degree weather, raking sun, a perfect afternoon to set out a fall bulb planting.

With gloves and tools in tow, a group of community members offered to help us plant bulbs. We worked with a new local business, Baltimore Contained, who supplied about 200 bulbs for planting that day! The mixture of naturalizing daffodils and dwarf irises are really going to make a beautiful showing next spring!

Here are some great pictues of the event!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

NYC Museum Visit

We had a great time navigating the New York subway system and visiting the American Museum of Natural History this past weekend. I had never been to this famous museum before and was really excited to share the experience with our 4 year old. It was easy for us to get there, the museum actually has an underground subway stop entrance which made it very convenient on our rainy weekend.

The Hall of Biodiversity was pretty impressive with a state-of-the-art science exhibit. From mushroom spores to lobsters and giant jellyfish, this display was stunningly beautiful.

Dioramas, ancient bones, fossils, mineral specimens, gems -it was all so much to see in such a short time. We'll be going back again soon. Memorable for sure.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Squidfire Philly Art Mart

Fall is a great time for a road trip. This weekend, grab a friend, hop in the car and jet up to Philadelphia for Squidfire's first Philly Art Mart. It will be held on Saturday October 17, from 11-6pm in the fancy schmancy neighborhood of Society Hill.

Over 40 of the best local and regional crafters and artists will display their handmade wares at the Old Pine Community Center in the heart of Philadelphia. Come visit BEST's Sugar Paperie, Jennyjen42, Yummy & Company ,Sweet Pepita, The Littlest Bean and The Broken Plate. This event goes on rain or shine. We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

WE WON!!! Congrats Girls!

Yay! We won the Mobbie Award for Outstanding Art & DIY blog in Baltimore! Won't you come and help us celebrate tonight at Metro Gallery? Say around 7 or 8? Thanks so much again to all of our wonderful readers and the Baltimore Sun!

I'm In! Holiday Heap Craft Fair

Mark it on your calendar's folks!

It's the best seasonal show in Baltimore!

The Charm city Craft Mafia's 3rd Annual Holiday Heap

10am-5pm December 5th
2640 St. Paul Street
Baltimore, MD 21218

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bee Keeping, In the City

I have a friend who started a bee hive earlier this year, in his garden, right in the middle of Baltimore City. He was scheduled to check on them, to open up the hive and see what progress the new colony had made later this week, but had to do it last week before it got too cold. We were lucky enough to get invited over to witness the event!

This particular inner city hive made a lot of progress early on in the season, it even established more quickly and more robustly than another hive that was started by another friend out in Laurel, MD simultaneously. Even though Baltimore lacks trees and green space in some areas, there are spaces of thriving growth where nature has taken over. We do live in an old city that has a ton of wild growth out there.

We were very excited to see this type of Top Bar Bee Hive in action.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Featured in Air Tran Go Guide

A few months ago, I sent some things out to be photographed for a promo shoot for Air Tran. I guess they have a decent online site that promotes different city attractions for the places they service. I hadn't heard, then I happened upon this! Totally surprised me!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Vote for the BEST Blog!

Our BEST blog, where my friends and I write many of my craft-relate blog posts, is in the running for Baltimore's craftiest blog. Please vote for us today! (and tomorrow too!) don't worry if you are out of state, your vote counts anyway! thanks!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Growing a Grasshead

We brought this little guy home the other week after a trip to Port Discovery. The public programmers had the kids make these grassheads. Start with some grass seed first, then put some sawdust in a nylon stocking, add a few rubber bands for a funny nose and ear features. Next we threw on some eye stickers, watered daily to keep moist and soon we had a new friend on our kitchen windowsill.

He stares at us at breakfast and we just love him. Definitely going to do this project again. It really has been fun watching him change as the days go by.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Crafty Bastards , Check!

This is all I saw for the entire time Saturday from 10 -6. OMG, I am still recovering.
Thank you all for stopping by, we had an insane and great day~!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

First Hint of Autumn

Ada and I found these on the way to the farmer's market this morning. So beautiful.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cool Little Mod Red Footstool

So, here is my first upholstery listing on Etsy! I plan on adding more from now on. Check back, I have some cool little chairs to list.

I plan on promoting my upholstery business a little more the rest of the year. If you might have something for me to redo, let me know. I also sell upholstery and drapery fabric, have tons of fabric books at the studio to choose from. Feel free to call or e-mail!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Gift Guides on Etsy!

Crafty Bastards Picks

Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts Fair is an exhibition and sale of handmade alternative arts and crafts from independent artists presented by the Washington City Paper. The fair is all-day, outdoors, free to attend, and will offer goods for sale, food, entertainment, prizes, and more! Crafty Bastards will take place Saturday, October 3, 2009 in Washington, DC. More details about the fair can be found or not you can make it to the fair in person, be sure to browse the selection of work from Crafty Bastards vendors below.

check it out here!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ada's Creation

Found in my daughter's sketchbook after watching Spirited Away. On the left is a "Wind Spirit" and on the right is a "Bear".

I love these, had to share.