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Thursday, September 29, 2011

I've Just Added All These Beautiful Crosses To My Shop - I Love Them!

Thanks for checking out all my new Cross and Crucifix Pendant Necklaces I just added to my Etsy shop!

I just love them and am having so much fun making them out of silver, jade and glass beads, etc...
I've priced them from $40 to $48, depending on my cost of supplies, so they're very reasonably priced for Christmas gifts, for other holiday gifts, or to treat yourself  ;)

I can't wait to get my hands on some more cross pendants so I can get back to work - these have really inspired me and gotten my creative juices flowing.


OMG, this sounds so good! I know what I'm doing this weekend!

How to Make Chocolates

Based in both Paris and Amsterdam, Yvette van Boven works as an illustrator, food stylist and recipe writer. Her first cookbook, Home Made, brings together over 200 from-scratch recipes in one beautifully illustrated collection. Together with her cousin Joris Vermeer, she has a restaurant and catering service in Amsterdam called Aan de Amstel. She is very fond of eating oysters, but today she’ll teach us how to make chocolates. Here’s Yvette.
I grew up in Ireland. I am no stranger to writing cookbooks. I wrote my first one when I was four years old. From then on I continued to indulge my almost morbid passion for collecting recipes and cookbooks, preferably illustrated.

My mother and the women on our street made a lot of things with their own hands, out of necessity or by tradition, and my sister and I did the same. We made soda bread, biscuits, shortbread and stew for our toy restaurant. We made ice creams, yoghurt, butterfly cakes, and ginger ale for our dolls or friends.

My mother made everything herself because there simply wasn’t a lot to buy in the stores at that time. She showed me that by making things yourself, you can adjust the flavor to your own taste. Even now, in our restaurant or at home, we make everything from scratch ourselves. I wouldn’t know how to do otherwise.

As far as desserts are concerned, I would say I have a weak spot for bread and butter pudding. I have a recipe for Panettone and custard pudding in the book that uses Italian Panettone bread instead of a regular loaf. This makes the dessert lighter, so you can eat more of it. It also contains prunes soaked in Amaretto…need I say more?

My recipes represent a starting point to help you on your way, but I hope you will make up your own versions and create fresh memories. Be sure to invite me.

Making Chocolates, the Home Made way

When making chocolates, you need some skill. Melting chocolate is just not that easy and you have to acquire some experience. Stirring too much is bad, since the chocolate will become grainy. Heating it too much is also bad, since it will also become dry and grainy. Under all circumstances, the following applies: If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. And be prepared for some failures. For your first chocolates, stock up on some extra chocolate. Then you can make another batch, no worries! The best temperature for chocolate is 104° F, hence a little warmer than body temperature. Just check with your finger.

For the ganache:
1/2 cup cream
7 oz chocolate (70% cocoa)
2 tablespoons butter
Cinnamon or liqueur for flavoring
Plastic wrap
Wax paper
For the outside chocolate layer:
7 oz chocolate
4 oz melted white or milk chocolate for decoration
Parchment paper to dry the chocolates
Wax paper for the icing

For the filling (ganache) you need twice as much chocolate as cream: 1/2 cup cream and 7 oz chocolate (70% cocoa).

Heat the cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. You can add flavoring such as cinnamon, liqueur, or nothing!

Melt 2 tbsp butter in the hot cream.

Finely chop the chocolate and add it to the cream. Turn off the heat and leave to melt.

Stir the mixture carefully into a glossy smooth mass.

Pour the ganache into a tray lined with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least two hours.

Transfer to wax paper.

Cut into equal squares.

Melt 7 oz chocolate over a double boiler.

Using a carving fork, quickly dip the ganache in the chocolate...

And leave the chocolates to dry on parchment paper.

Create an icing bag with waxed paper.

Fill it with 4 oz melted white or milk chocolate.

Decorate and leave to dry, then serve with coffee.

Did you enjoy this recipe? For more sumptuous sweets (and savory meals!), pick up a copy of Yvette Van Boven’s Home Made. Abrams Publishing is offering a 30% discount to Etsy readers who buy directly from their site. Simply enter “etsyhomemade” at  checkout. This coupon code expires on October 11, 2011.

 Have you ever made chocolates? What’s your favorite type of sweet?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My First Festival / Market is this Weekend in Humble, TX

Well, Peeps....Wish us Luck.....Mom & I are gonna give the festival thing a try this weekend at Trade Days in Humble, TX.  I'll have my handmade jewelry and upcycled purses/journals/dayplanners for sale, and Mom will have her gorgeous handmade cards there at a super low price, because she wants some major sales!

Let's hope things go better than the time we tried to sell designer clothing at the flea market in Security, TX....I don't think anyone in that neck of the woods (literally woods) had every heard of Chico's, Coldwater Creek, J Jill, or Talbots.  I sold 1 necklace that day, and we sold no clothing. 

I'm excited to see what Trade Days is like.  It's at the Convention Center on Will Clayton Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  If the weather cooperates, there's supposed to be a pretty good crowd.  I'm interested to see what other vendors show up too.  It should be fun!

UPDATE:  We had a ton of fun at Trade Days, and we're really looking forward to going there again the 3rd weekend in October.  We'll be in booth 17D, so come by and say Hi! 

We met so many awesome vendors and made some sales too, which was exciting. Everyone just loved Mommy's cards and thought they should have been much more expensive.  I agree, totally!

This is a very well run trade fair in my opinion. They allow the vendors to set up Thursday evening, and there is 24 hour security on the site, so you can leave your booth set up all weekend, which is a big help!
We loved it and can't wait to go back! 

I have to admit we did some shopping while we were there, so that kind of cut into our profits, but we couldn't help ourselves. There are so many awesome antique dealers there, as well as jewelry, supplies, 1200 thread count Eqyptian cotton sheets for $20.00 (couldn't resist!), and a really cool booth with everything Scottish. Mom & Dad bought a beautiful bonsai tree, and we got some great ideas for our booth set-up.

Hope to see you there!  :)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Check me out on Ebay - I'm a Top-Rated PowerSeller now!

I'm listing and selling things like crazy these days. Check out my auction listings...I've got so many name-brand clothing items, it's not even funny!

Coldwater Creek, Chico's, Lucky Brand, Talbots, Lane Bryant, Ann Taylor, Levis, 7 for all Mankind, Citizens of Humanity...

I started out with womens' items, and now I'm branching out to mens' and boys'.

My prices are awesome....Don't pay Retail - are you crazy??!!