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30 April 2011

More for the Etsy shop!

I've added some newly crafted 100% recycled self-watering wine bottle planters to my Etsy shop. Make sure you swing over and check it out!

When they are all planted and pretty, they look something like this:

Check out my shop here.
And I'm offering free shipping to domestic addresses in honor of Mother's Day!

While you're here, a vote for me?

29 April 2011

Florida Wrap-Up

The trip to Florida was quick but fun. The weather was gorgeous, the family was well behaved, and it was a good time for all. I took lots of pics (not as many as usual), and, since I've been a bad blogger, here are a few for you all to enjoy.

Sunrise on Good Friday

Me, my nieces, and Mom

The nieces in a rare moment of getting along.


Wading in

Rinsing shells like Oma taught her

An impromptu shell lesson with Oma

Three generations walking the beach

About to be washed away

Digging for shells

Unbridled joy in the setting sun

Cartwheels are more fun in the sand

Friends are more easily made at the beach

Leah's Bo Derek photo

Someone created this on the beach on Friday. When I left on Sunday, it was still undisturbed. 

Bird in the setting sun

On the breeze

Sailing in the setting sun

Easter egg dying!


This heron takes the easy way out.

Look at that hair.

Beach umbrellas

Soaring high.

Leapin' lizard!
And there you have it. Florida.

Negligent blogger

I had grand intentions of blogging while on my mini-vacation in Florida.

That didn't happen.

I had grand intentions of blogging upon my return and catching up with my photos.

That didn't happen either.

I've simply been a negligent blogger. I've been really tired and really busy this week, and I still feel behind. And tired. Hopefully this weekend will allow me opportunity to breath, relax, and catch-up on life in general.I mean, I just did my post-trip laundry last night, and I even did it wrong. I ran the whole cycle through the wash without closing the lid. And discovered it this morning. Total laundry fail.

I'll try to be better. I'll even post some Florida pics to make up for it.

19 April 2011

THE coolest thing I have ever made

In my bottle cutting adventures, I have created tumblers and aperitif glasses and stemless "stem"ware and Collins glasses. Pretty much all manner of glass. I'm pretty happy with my results this far, so I'm ready to try something new: The self-watering planter. I tried it out today in "art class," and I LOVE my results. 

It's pretty simple, too. All you need is a wine bottle and (hopefully) one accurate cut. Seriously. That simple. The hard part is finagling the measurements. You want the neck of your bottle to almost touch the bottom of your base. The problem with this is that wine bottles are always tapered and fancy, AND you have to put the top INSIDE the bottom which messes up just eye-balling it. I'll say that my first attempt was pretty much luck in that it worked out perfectly. My second attempt (which I'm still working on) is requiring a little more ... coaxing. Hopefully it will be done tomorrow and I can share it. 

For my first attempt, I used a pretty simple ice wine bottle with no curves and fancy lines. I actually think it is pretty and simplistic that way. The long cylindrical neck made it easier; today's project has a more tapered neck and that is where I'm facing some challenges. 

The bottle requires one cut and then some sanding. Of course, if your measurements are off, you'll require a lot of sanding. 

The finished product. Simple, right?
Once I had success, I stopped at Lowe's on the way home to find a low-growing, creeping or trailing plant to place in my new planter. I didn't want something with height since the planter is tall on its own, and I wanted something that would eventually trail or creep because I think that would look cool. I also wanted something dainty because this planter isn't very substantial. I chose some kind of ground cover with little blue flowers. 

I placed a cotton ball in the neck to serve as a wick and a stopper (so all my dirt didn't fall out!). I filled the neck with soil, compacting it nicely so there were no air pockets. My plant turned out to be too big, so I split it in two (the other half will look nice in my other planter when I finish it ... tomorrow?) and placed it in the top of the wine bottle. 

How cool it this, really?
I love how you can see the roots through the glass. It's pretty cool. I LOVE this project and foresee many more in my future. I just need to master the measurements and getting right the first time every time.

I've had some crafty moments in my life, and I've attempted to make a lot of different things over the years. This little planter is by far the coolest thing I have ever made. EVER.

A vote while you're here would be great! Thanks!

NC Life 365 - Day 91

The moon setting this morning. 

It's a little grainy. That disappoints me. 

Please throw a vote my way while you're here. Thanks!

NC Life 365 - Day 90

I've finally finished my complete set of wine-bottle tumblers!

I like that they are mis-matchy. 
A vote while you're here? Thanks!

NC Life 365 - Day 89

Tornadoes? Rain storms? Flash flooding?

I don't know what you're talking about.
The calm after the storm

While you're here, a vote? Please? Thanks!

17 April 2011

Makin' mice!

I saw a recipe for chocolate-cherry mice a while back and have wanted to make them. But, without a real reason, I haven't had the opportunity. Well, I finally got my chance! This Wednesday night I am getting together with some of my girlfriends, and our dinner theme is "chocolate." The ladies requested that I make some of the mice, so, obedient as I am, I obliged. I put them together today, and they are absolutely precious! Almost too cute to eat. Almost ...

How cute is this, really?

It's quite easy to do, so I highly recommend trying it out. I thought it was going to be much more labor-intensive, but it wasn't at all. I spent about 30 minutes from start to finish. Not bad at all.

To start, you need cherries on their stems, chocolate for melting, chocolate chips, and slivered almonds. I was able to get organic everything (yeah!). Of course, cherries are out of season, so I couldn't purchase fresh. But Earthfare has this really great brand of maraschino cherries that have been pitted and still have their stems on. What's even better about them is that they are preserved with all natural ingredients: sugar, water, and vegetable and fruit extracts for color. And, honestly, they are the most amazing cherries I've ever tasted. Seriously. Outstanding. Anyway, I'm getting sidetracked.

First, separate out your ingredients so they are handy. You need to work while your chocolate is hot, so you don't want to be scrambling for ingredients. Pay special attention to the slivered almonds. You'll want to have some nicely shaped slivers readily available, so you may have to sort through some of the broken bits.

Very tasty cherries!
I rinsed my cherries after taking them out of the bottle. Be sure to dry them before dipping them in chocolate. The water and left-over syrup will ruin your chocolate and make it grainy. And that's not good.

Chocolate chips. Yum.
Slivered almonds.
Chocolate starting to melt in my "double boiler."
Yummy progress! 
 After your chocolate is melted, dip each cherry into the chocolate. Rest it on wax paper and then decorate. Place a chocolate chip on the end (for a nose) and one sliver of almond on each side (for ears).
An army of tasty mice. 
You may need to place your mice in the fridge to make the chocolate set, especially if you make these on a warm day. It takes about five minutes to make the chocolate set, so it's not a huge time commitment. I'm keeping mine in the fridge till Wednesday anyway, so it's not a big deal.

I had some leftover chocolate and slivered almonds, so I made a little edible "nest" for them. I mixed the almonds and chocolate together and spread it out on the plate. I added some crushed almonds on top and then stuck it in the freezer to set it. After it was set, I added my mice. Hopefully this will be the only mouse nest I ever find in my house.

The only problem is that now I have to wait until Wednesday to enjoy them! (Although, I will admit that a couple got "ruined" in the process and just had to be eaten.)

While you're here, a vote? Please? Thanks!


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