Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Visiting Portland, Maine?!

We have almost been in Portland, ME for a year- come May, and I thought I would look back on our time here so far and do a little review- in the theme of being a hostess for my out of town guests.  I will preface by saying this blog post is essentially a food review- but I can't help it since Portland is known for it's great restaurants!

Also use this post as your own Guide to Portland!

Duck Fat- known for its fries cooked in duck fat- this place is a must. I love their chai milk shakes and add one of their paninis to the mix and you have yourself a tasty meal!
The Lobster Shack- a picturesque location right along the water in Cape Elizabeth- makes this an ideal spot for some Maine Lobstah! (note only a 15 min drive from portland and they serve other seafood, etc in case you have a crazy-doesn't like Lobster- person with you!)
The Lobster Company- if you want to stay intown, the Lobster company is a great spot! When my sister came to visit we ordered their Lobster rolls for take out and ate them on a blanket on the Eastern Promenade. Their rolls are essentially whole big chunks of Lobster with out much if any mayo- super tasty!
Hot Suppa- Perfect for Breakfast! I'm in love with their fried green tomato eggs benedict I can only order that every time! Their menu is super tasty and its a fun spot to get brunch!
Oh No cafe- our neighborhood go to place for Breakfast and sandwiches. I recommend the #4 with an egg! (it's a bagel sandwich with salmon and spinach and cream cheese)
Otto's Pizza- Thee best Pizza we have found in Portland! Great fresh ingredients and it really hits the spot! The closest thing to the Philly/ny style pizza I grew up on.
Paciarino- Italian restaurant by a husband and wife who moved to Portland from Milano and opened this fabulous resaturant. Perfect for Lunch or dinner and they also sell packaged pasta and  sauces for quick delicious meals at home!

Fine Dining: If you really want to eat and have the cash flow- or in my case your parents are in town, here are some great spots!
Evangeline- French Restaurant and it's amazing! I blogged about it earlier here.
Fore St- Great atmosphere with a local and seasonal menu, very good!
555- Another great restaurant! I recommend their lobster macaroni.

I hope you plan a trip to Portland in your future. Let me know your favorite eats!

Monday, March 29, 2010

customer feedback through the post!

Etsy is a great little community where the consumer and the seller can meet and get to know one another- making the customer an informed consumer.  As a seller I always tuck in a thank you note in the package and wait for feedback from my customers through etsy's feedback option. BUT this weekend was my first hand written thank you note from a customer in Alaska!  It's so sweet and touching to get feedback through the mail.  Just another great way etsy brings people together in the appreciation of handmade!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Etsy Favs for March

It's been a while since I did a little Etsy Fav- blog post, and so here's a new one!  Some of these shops are not "new" to me but have been amongst the large list of my favorites for a while and I thought the word should be spread to my blog readers! To see more of my favorites check out this link!

Above is an example of beautiful and vintage inspired jewelry by mommaslittlebabies. The whole shop is awesome!

PlanetFur-makes sweet felted animals like this fun faux taxidermy head- Party People

Cute Nautical inspired bag by bayanhippo.

Fun and flowly clothing like this Mysterious Me tunic by cocoricooo.
Leather I-Phone case by tovicorrie.

My friend Justin's new shop lakesinwhales.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Looking forward: new apartment and overall upgrade!

We are moving, thank the lord! As I sit here typing this entry the rain continues to fall and new leaks are popping up in our apartment. We have lived here for almost 11 months, and my friends it's time to move along.  As we prep for our new abode and for a larger space, we have been thinking about a more proper guest bed situation. (our current single air mattress isn't cutting it) After looking at countless sleeper sofas, my mother and I concluded that turning our queen bed into a Moroccan day bed would be a fun alternative.  Don't worry this will be cool, just try and visualize! (plus I'll post pictures of the completed project) 

In our new place we have a bedroom, a large kitchen a dining room and a living room. The very front room will be where the day bed will reside- and that room will also be my studio space and all around etsy hub.  Then the "dining room" the room you enter when you walk into our apt- will be the living room. Here our couch, chairs bookshelves etc will go. this makes the most sense since it's next to the kitchen. THEN when guests do come and stay their "bedroom" will be the front of the house and will be more private and more like a proper guest room.

NOW- what will Cameron and I sleep on? Well here comes the fun upgrade- we are going to get a king bed!!! And with a new bed comes the fun task of finding new bedding! Unfortunately bedding can be $$$ and often boring. But luckily I snagged these Fruit Salad- lemon sheets by Anthropologie on the sale section.   I will post entries of our new abode come April and I apologize in the meantime for any blog neglect as we pack up and move during the next few weeks!

Monday, March 22, 2010

A quick pasta sauce

In keeping with eating what's in the cupboard- tonight we cooked up some leftover lasagna pasta and a cream sauce to go with.  The sauce turned out really great and was quick to make so I thought I would share.

I've probably mentioned my cream sauce before in other pasta related entires but I will repeat it once again because it's so good and easy to make!

Chop 1 onion and cook it in a pan with olive oil.  Once that onion is golden and soft, add 1/3 or 1/2 cup of flour to the mix. Stir it in so the olive oil really mixes with the flour. Then add milk in proportion to how thick you want the sauce to be.  Salt and nutmeg are great additions!  TONIGHT- I tried something a little more "fun"- which is all relative to your own personal level of fun! Yes folks- I added a can of mushroom soup to the sauce. How daring, quite the back of a soup label am I! In doing so I didn't have to add as much milk since the soup provided the liquid. However I did taste as I cooked along and added milk here and there to balance out the salty-ness of the soup.

The sauce went on top of the lasagna pasta and was topped with some parm. The whole thing took maybe 20 mins tops! If I had walnuts I would have chopped them up and added them to the mushroom sauce. We have enough sauce leftover for a future use and I know I will be doing this again. Next time I might try the squash soup.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A little interview with an etsy customer

Through my graydaysprintshop on etsy- I had a customer who bought a print follow up with a few questions for an art school assignment.  It was fun to start thinking about my art in that realm again, since life has been a little hectic this last year.  I thought I would share the interview with my blog audience.

Q: What made you want to become an artist?
A: I grew up in a very artistic household. My mother is an artist and we had artwork by my great grandmother and other ancestors around our house. Thus I was encouraged at an early age to paint and draw. So I set up a little easel in our basement and worked on my first series- gnomes! Naturally, lol. Then I won a drawing contest in kindergarten- for the best teacher portrait, and poof I was off and running and making art ever since!

I majored in Art in College and went on to get my MFA from The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

Q: What do you find inspires you the most?

A: I would say color and light. My first favorite artist was Edward Hopper and his use of color and light with nostalgic subject matter had a big impact on me. Thus I am also drawn to vintage images, including working with old family photographs and well as the old and the worn with found objects that allow me to include texture in my work.

Q: What influenced you to work with traditional printing methods?

A: During my Undergrad- my school was so small we did not have a print department. So when I went and studied in Florence my senior year, it felt like a natural and new challenge to take a print making class. I soon fell in love with print making's ability to capture texture and atmosphere. And the sort of rough interaction you can have with a plate- a ding or a "mistake" can actually make a print more interesting- like a worn old chair that shows character and history.

Q: How do you think your art will develop in the coming years?

A: These last two years, after graduating from Grad school- I have been focusing on my knitting at it provided a nice balance during our move from Philadelphia to Maine last spring. And now I have an outlet for my prints! I joined a local print shop in Portland and I have print ideas stacked up and I'm waiting for a day off to make! For marketing purposes I am going to print on some canvas bags- to include in my print shop and I will also make prints on paper with the same images.

I also want to continue to make installations and big work as well as continue to paint paintings! I'm inspired by etsy and it's - quit your day job series. And my goal is to hit the ground running with all 3 of my shops come June and make art full time!

To see more of my artwork go to my website!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Free shipping for March at Urban Knitfits!

As I continue to make more spring like merch for my U.K. shop, I am enticing customers to stock up on warmer garments for the cooler seasons- with free shipping!  I am also making a little sale section which I will add to as the warmer months progress- in order to thin out my inventory, etc.  Also on the to do list is to finish some pillows for my grayday shop as well as make new prints for my print shop!

And did I mention to finish my couch redo I spoke about a while back!?  In the mean time it's off to do more knitting for custom orders! I sold a custom order today for a navy, white and red version of my band majorette hat! Should be festive and fun.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

a little press for my print shop= sales!

My GraydaysPrintShop was featured on the etsy blog yesterday- as a new "undiscovered" shop. As a result I gained an increase in traffic and sold 2 prints! Slowly on my way! 
Now I must to get into the print shop and print out new work.

PLUS free shipping at Urban Knitfits for the month of March!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Custom Hat- doubles figure skating

The other week- when my skier hat was all over etsy, I received a request to make a doubles figure skating hat! And here it is! I knit it in purple eco wool and stitched the two figure skaters over top (after mapping them out on knitting graph paper) and then I finished them off with sequins on their skates!

Now to the post office!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Selby- have you heard of it?

The Selby-Is like the satoralist- but for houses!
Check out their website and you can preorder their book on Amazon!
(Pst! mom I've done this and it will be coming to your house in May!)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Monday, March 1, 2010

New Etsy finds for Spring!

Vintage bird book ends by Eclecticpelican.

Love this new shop karmensega on Etsy! Hand made leather slippers and zip money wrist pouches!

A decorative bee hive by SeaPinks.

Garden deck chair by galantandjones.

Dried flower arrangmenets by floresdelsol.


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