small business saturday

Get on out and support your local businesses and artisans tomorrow during Small Business Saturday! I am selling all sorts of my woodland egg ornaments at Rare Device in San Francisco, and I would be surprised if you couldn't get most of your holiday shopping done there in one visit. For all the crazy things happening to San Francisco with the economy and the wealth divide, one thing that is really blossoming is the small business/artisan scene. You can find many great small shops with the work of local artists and craftspeople all over this town now. There is a lot of momentum behind this movement, and so many beautiful things to see.

If you can't get there and you still would like some pretty little egg acorns and such for your tree or home, don't forget I sell them through my papel SF Etsy shop. I consider papel SF a small business, don't you? I'll be shipping again starting Monday, December 2nd, so grab them while they're still in stock!



six donuts for thanksgiving or chanukah (but maybe not thanksgivukah)

I have a basic understanding of what kosher dietary laws are, but with the confluence of Chanukah and Thanksgiving this year I imagine it might be confusing for many to plan a Thanksgiving meal for a Jewish and non-Jewish guest list.

That said, I've picked out six of the most holiday and seasonally appropriate donut recipes I've made so far. I will leave it up to you to decide which can be served where, but they are all fantastic! Happy cooking!

With a little time and very few ingredients, each guest can have their own cranberry jelly ring with their Thanksgiving meal. Garnish with dried or fresh cranberries, a sprig of rosemary or some pomegranate seeds sprinkled on top.

This recipe makes enough challah rings for all eight days of Chanukah. A perfect breakfast for Thanksgiving guest as well. So good with jelly!

These are adorable. Make them with plain or composite butter. Curry and anchovy are my favorites, but maybe a salty sage butter for your Thanksgiving table?

These are so good, and so fun. You can prepare them way ahead of time and throw them in the oven right before serving. A great finger food before your meal.

Did you know you can save 2-4 hours on your matzoh ball soup time by coddling the dough in the donut pans for a few minutes instead of having to wait for them to set up in the refrigerator before cooking in the soup? Brilliant. I've heard talk of replacing the chicken stock for turkey in this recipe for a more Thanksgivukah-tasting soup. Sounds good to me.

We are smack dab in the middle of persimmon season in northern California. This recipe uses the ripest, most jelly-like Hachiya persimmons you can find. These pudding donuts are so delicious. They would be a perfect dessert for Thanksgiving, a total contender against pumpkin pie. I really mean it.

Happy Chanukah or Thanksgiving and/or Thanksgivukah to all of you! 



grocery bag gift tags

While I am not necessarily a thrifty lady, every year I search out the best holiday grocery bag designs to cut up and make gift tags from. Last year's tags were snowy and bright, printed with white and blue ink on kraft paper. This year I happened upon these great holiday bag designs from a little store you might've heard of with the initials "T" and "J.", drawn in their signature 19th century style. Very sweet.

Obviously you can dress the drawings up with glitter or a white paint marker, and use them one sided or fold into little cards. Any way you do it, they are awesome little tags and toppers.  Also obviously, this year is all about "woodland" and acorns for me, so I am extra enthused about these bags. I am never one to rush into the holidays, but I grabbed these now, lest they run out.

I am at the tail end of finishing two big pieces ordered from my first One Kings Lane sale in October and feeling really relieved, and ready for Thanksgiving so I can relax with all eight of Oliver and Stella's cousins from David's side, and all of his brothers and sisters, too. It's going to be crazy, but everyone knows I've been working too hard lately and I don't think I'm going to have to cook a thing!

See you next week, have a great weekend!



what i: my new blue bib

Recently I discovered the work of Cathy Callahan (a.k.a. Cathy of California). Her macraméd and tasseled and hand-dyed jewelry pieces are amazing, so I sought her out this past weekend at the West Coast Craft show here in San Francisco. It was so nice to meet her, she's a doll, and such a supportive person. I came home with this totally gorgeous macramé bib necklace and designs to own one of her awesome tassel bracelets in the very near future. I am no trendsetter, but I am so, SO attracted to anything gray, navy or denim in color right now, and the dye colors Cathy uses makes my brain light up!

Photo by me. I'm starting to wonder if amateur product photography could be in my future.

You can find a list of stockists of her work here, as well as get information on where to find her showing her wares this winter. I'll take one of everything!


donut pan idea no. 59: bird seed rings

They're back! At this rate, it's going to take me a few more years to make 101 donut pan projects. This time I've made some bird seed rings, a very easy undertaking. It's just finding places that the squirrels can't reach them that's the hard part! Someone mentioned to me as I was out in the park photographing them yesterday that they will be safe if you place them on very skinny branches that can't support a squirrel. Makes sense to me. I also rigged some up on a twine garland that would only support the weight of a few birds, so there are some work-arounds when it comes to wild critters stealing your donuts.

Aren't they pretty? I've been thinking about these for a long time, and they have been suggested to me many times, too (but you cannot stump me, I've thought of them all)! I have done some research and can't determine for sure if this is just junk food for birds, or maybe unnatural to be supplementing their food in the winter. If you have any opinions on the matter, please let me know. I ordered one bird mix that is specific to the birds in our area, I did some with millet because I think it is pretty, and some with a random seed mix including a lot of corn and peanuts (that and the millet are probably the junk food). I am sure it will work with any seed mix.

Let's get to it! Click on "read more" below for the tutorial.


holiday decorating artisanal sale with one kings lane

Image courtesy of One Kings Lane (not my ornaments).

I'm pleased to announce that my work is being included in another One Kings Lane artisanal sale! Starting tonight, my holiday cards and ornaments will be featured in their holiday decorating sale entitled "Artful Impressions". This sale will run from 6:00 p.m. PST tonight through Wednesday, November 20th at 8:00 a.m. PST. 

It's so great to have a retailer like One Kings Lane support me and my work. I hope it is a successful sale! I worked my tail off to get my stock up after filling several other orders, so I am ready to go! 

Have a great weekend, by the way. Signing off until next week! 



the plaid dress

Kindergarten through third grade. 

I don't know if any of you read a few months ago about Dale Irby, the teacher who wore the same outfit for school photos for FORTY YEARS, but when I heard about it it made me laugh. Because for the last four years we have been doing the same thing to our sweet Stella, with no objections from her. She has been rocking this plaid flannel dress to school picture day every year, and if it doesn't fit next year we're turning it into a headband or scarf, so that it always makes an appearance. 

Poor Stella. I think they make her keep her mouth closed for the photos because if you have kids at this age, you know what it looks like when all those teeth start moving. She's our beautiful girl, though. 


on the air

Oh em gee, I did it! Did anyone catch my online class Friday morning on creativeLIVE? I lived through the experience and came out the other side a little more confident in parts of me, like the fact that I know what I'm doing and am pretty good at what I do, and a little sad about other parts of me, like the fact I am undeniably middle aged now. I am that person who has to face that I have a face inside a face now. Total bummer, and it took being on camera to see that, it's not apparent to me when I look in the mirror. Sad violin.  

Setting up for the second segment.

I was feeling nothing but absolute horror right until I walked onstage Friday morning. Thursday night I told David I was "going solemn", which is something I do whenever we're driving to the Elbo Room for a burlesque performance or even before some of my real-life classes. I get really quiet and nothing can make me smile. It's just how I cope with extreme nervousness. With the help of the sweet and talented woman doing makeup, whose name eludes me right now, I was able to keep my head from exploding backstage before the broadcast. Also, getting there early enough to set everything up for the studio audience who were crafting along with me was key to my keeping it together.

The hosts, John Kennedy O'Connor and Jamarie Milkovic were amazing. They made me feel right at home and took great care of me on camera, as did the producers, and the four great women who were working on the project in the studio audience. So sweet and forgiving of any mistakes I made (like when I knocked the tree of my ornaments over in the first segment!).

JKO was a great sport and an excellent person to have by my side!

While I was working, I got a chance to talk a little about how I "avoid" finding inspiration, how I waited a long time for something to come to me that I really wanted to do, and I got to touch on the "craft vs. art" argument, which I would like to sort out in my own work and mind one day. 

Jamarie and I having fun in the second segment with our matching dahlia headpieces.

If you would like to download the class (for a fee, but worth it) to use in the future, you can find that information here

What fun I had once I got going. It's really the anticipation of anything that kills me. Once I jump in I always know how to swim, and I'm grateful for that. I'm sure if you ever speak publicly you can relate!


round up: ramping up

David and I joke about this. I'm round and sweet, and he's dark, bitter, and everyone loves him (including me).

There is very little balance at home right now. Our flat is a whirlwind of paper scraps and papier mâché from Sunday night through Tuesday afternoon when I do the majority of my work and then have recovered enough to straighten up. The One Kings Lane sale went so well that I have been asked to provide cards and ornaments for another artisan sale starting November 21st. I also just delivered a big order of ornaments to Rare Device and to the set of my online class coming up on Friday, and I am feeling really happy and extremely lucky to have stumbled onto this work for now.

Everything else is a little out of whack, though. I remember the days where my only goal was to get one donut post out a week while I was home with Oliver. Now I am in the mode where I can't stop anything I'm doing. Can't stop putting feelers out for more opportunities, can't catch up with what I'm doing right now, and feeling totally exhilarated. But boy is our place taking a hit in the cleanliness department. David has picked up the slack big time, but I am dreaming of the day (hopefully soon) where papel SF is getting so many orders that I can justify renting a studio space, preferably shared with David so he can enjoy it as well. Coming soon with any luck.

For now it's a conscious effort to make sure the kids get enough attention, that I bathe and that I am still home cooking most nights. I am putting my mind to all those things that suffer when I get in "work mode", because I know there is balance to be found there. It just takes the kind of effort that everything else does and it is important to take the time to figure out how all of it can work together harmoniously. I'm planting the seeds now which usually assures I'll have acted on it in a few months, because I always change at a glacial pace.

Below are few photos from the past few weeks. Not a lot to take photos of around here, besides the mess!

I received my copy of German Couch Magazine with a short piece on my braided basket.

Waiting for the bus with Oliver's preschool for a Dia de Los Muertos field trip to honor their fallen fish.

Persimmon time. I adore crisp fuyu persimmons, but here are my hachiya persimmon pudding donuts, which I love just as much!

Oliver is allowed to pick at and play with my eggshell casualties. Here, goose eggshells.

Stella's idea of an awesome Saturday. Mine, too.

Everything happens here, including a donut project up on the shelf that I may never find time to finish and share!

Oliver and his schoolmates.

Oliver's calavera. Look at the control on those teeth! Beyond is their altar for their beta fish.

That's all for now. I'd love for you tune in to watch my DIY Holiday Woodland Ornament class coming up Friday morning at 9:00 PST with creativeLIVE. Click here to register to see it for free (you can always purchase it and other great classes to download for use any time as well). If you watch it, PLEASE let me know. Any and all critiques are welcome! We had the pre-production meeting today and I'm still nervous, but I'm pretty excited as well.

Have a great weekend! xoxo


diy crepe paper woodland ornaments

Today I am happy to share with you my second featured artist post for Carte Fini, my crepe paper woodland ornaments. I combined Carte Fini's amazing papers with my egg piñata technique to make these wonderful and shiny acorns, pine cones and other fun shapes using chicken (and sometimes goose) eggs. These are going to look gorgeous on our tree this year, and will be gifts for many of our friends and family, I'm sure. I will also be selling these through One Kings Lane just before Thanksgiving, so I will keep you posted on that! 

To learn how to make your own woodland ornaments from eggs and crepe paper, head on over HERE for the full acorn tutorial and tips on the other ornaments as well. Thanks again to Carte Fini, I am thrilled to be the featured artist again this month!

My October featured artist project:


halloween 2013

The ubiquitous Hermione Granger, and Sackboy, from the game Little Big Planet which they play with their father every Sunday night when I set in for my weekly all-nighter of work. The soundtrack to Little Big Planet is so nice that it was the soundtrack to our road trip this summer! Oliver knew months ago that this was what he wanted to be, and luckily I've always got a half dozen papier mâché balloon shapes lying around so it was easy to conceive of, if a little more difficult to execute. Oliver was a trooper though and kept swaying his head this way and that to keep the helmet in place without using his hands. They were both adorable, of course.

David and I had fun and dressed in Dia de los Muertos regalia. I've never actually done the face paint before (I have a great mask though). Turns out it goes on very easily and is really fun, and not nearly as difficult to remove as I had imagined it would be. David's beard got in the way a little. Next time I would just white that thing out!

Feliz Dia de los Muertos, everyone. I'll be back Monday with my second featured artist post for Carte Fini, which I can't wait to share. Have a great weekend! xoxo

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