Wednesday, March 31, 2010

April Showers Bring May Flowers - Giveaway! CLOSED

Contest Closed - thank you!
It's my birthday,
It's when I start peeking my pale face from out of my lava-heated underground shelter,
Plants start to tentatively stick out a green leaf here and there,
When it snows (and it will most assuredly snow again till June) it melts within 24 hours.

To celebrate I'm giving away these cute handmade baby deer post earrings!
Made with genuine vintage glass cabochons in vintage brass settings.

The measure 7/16 inch - 11 mm.
Silver plated post earrings with super comfortable clear recycled plastic earnuts. They come with the cute handmade earring card made from upcycled paper.

Open to all nations. To enter you don't have to tweet, follow, or jump through hoops balancing an egg on your head, just tell me what you're favorite item in my shop is and post the link in the comments below! Leave your email so I can contact you if you're the winner.

Ends April 30th. One winner will be randomly chosen on May 1st. Winner has 48 hours to respond to email, otherwise another winner will be drawn.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Eye Candy of The Day - Chemistry!

How does ammonia and salt turn brass and copper a deep blue? Science, that's how!

He used to be a plain old brass bug...

She's lovin' the new look...

They're the new kids on the block...

He's more than just copper now...

This is a different type of patina than the normally blue-green kind referred to as verdigris. It turns out salt is the key.

Here's how I did it:

-Solid brass or copper items (not plated base metals!)
-Large airtight plastic container with a smaller plastic bowl inside
-Plastic mesh - like a stitching canvas or screen
-Ammonia, clear or household without any added ingredients. about 1 cup.
-Plastic spray bottle with a small amount of salty vinegar water. The ratio isn't all that important as long as the salt is fully diluted.

Basically I placed the metal pieces on the mesh, on top of the bowl containing the ammonia, and sprayed lightly with the salt mixture. I closed the airtight container. I then wrapped it in a thick plastic bag since it wasn't all that airtight after all...
It can take like 48 hours to get a good color going and copper seems to take longer than brass. Once out I rinsed the pieces in water and let them air dry completely. They appeared much brighter after they had had time to dry. If it's not bright enough you can put them back in and spray on some more salty goodness.

The ammonia fuming method is basically the same used for creating a green verdigris patina but the added salt is what makes it turn blue.

Pro tips:
-Ammonia is really strong and will clear out the worst congestion. If you're not congested you might want to prep all you stuff before hand and work on your stove-top with the fan on, windows open. You can actually set everything up and pour the ammonia at the last second through your pieces on the mesh.

-Items with small joints might totally be ruined if you do this. I'm not sure yet if it's just the ammonia, or the added corrosion caused by the salt, or just some low quality stampings, but some of them got really weak and any thin flexible joints basically broke off. Anything that was soldered on also broke off. I'm going to experiment using just ammonia to see what happens but it's best to use thick stampings with no thin dangly bits.

-Don't use items that have been plated, like brass or copper plated steel, or use anything that might contain it like a metal mesh or wire. If there's enough ambient heat it will copper plate your items - yeah I'm still trying to figure that out, but seriously, I plated some brass items in copper this way! It also stripped the copper from some other copper plated steel which could be cool if that's what you want. Chemistry...the more you know. Just avoid anything non-copper or non-brass.

-If it ends up looking really crappy and you want to start over just plop your stuff in pure white vinegar for a few hours. When they're back to their original color rinse off with water (or they will tarnish on exposure to the air).

Here are some links I compiled on the subject of aging metals including some Etsy threads:
How do you give brass a BLUE patina?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Weird Food - Can't. Look. Away.

Presenting Home Deconomics aka HBIC (Head Bitch in Charge), maker of a line of retro 'ugly food' cards:  a hilarious, and stomach-churning, ode to the questionable North American mid-century culinary arts.

Call it a morbid fascination - you want to look away but just can't!

How sweet! They do say the road to a man's heart is through his stomach, you know...provided it doesn't take a wrong turn.

I love this! When you need a card that says "It might be not all that great, and a little frightening, but we know how hard you worked on it!"

Thinking of You
A great example of the gelatin trend!: the art of suspending every kind of food stuffs in various Jello-esque substances. These were considered 'salads'...

My favorite sentiment of the collection. Hopefully it wasn't an intestinal parasite!
Best of all, the cards include, when available, recipes or caption in case, you know, you get hungry and want to know what the frak it's made of:)

These remind me of some of the questionable cookbook titles I've seen at the used book store and I couldn't resist searching online for some strange titles. Get a load of these:

500 Delicious Dishes from Leftovers, Encyclopedia of Cooking 1952
The Can Opener Cookbook, MacFadden, 1967
Recipes that Pep-Up Meals with Wise(c) Potato Chips, presumably Wise(c) Potato Chips, 1957
Make it with Margarine, unknown
Canned Meat Magic, Home Economics Test Kitchen, unknown
Gel Cookery Recipe Book, Knox Gelatin, 1957
That amazing ingredient: Mayonnaise!, C P C International Inc, 1981

and my favorite:

Isn't she adorable?!

The above picture was found in the Vintage Cookbooks Pool on Flickr where I spent an obscene amount of time browsing, part of which encompassed lunchtime. It's really worth a look, especially for the comments! Here are some more highlights:

 oh wow, look at you...

Oh please tell me it's strawberry jello!
oh...oh hell no....

S'cuse me, Pepto time!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sinfully Delicious

I found this amazing artist while searching handmade items on Etsy using the word 'Lard'...I should probably explain. My bf was showing me some British lard marketing board posters and I thought "I'm sure there are some fabulous Lard themed items on Etsy"...I mean, wouldn't you?

Sure enough I found an incredible illustrator/ painter selling some seriously twisted, sinfully delicious artwork:

Yes, yes you are Mr. Pork, we love you!


This gallery piece titled 'Uncle Jello' used what looks like actually Jello, complete with floating strawberry people!

Craving more?

You can buy prints of her paintings on Etsy:
Check out all her paintings in her Flickr gallery:
Visit her blog:
And get updates on her gallery shows:

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Nose Knows - My Happiness Drug

One of the hardest things about winter is the lack of 'scent'. Our sense of smell has not evolved to pick up the sparse molecules in the air when it's cold. The first thing that signals the coming of Spring is the smell of earth. Ok, it's stinky wet mud but it's a start!

The sense of smell is one of the most primitive senses and is very evocative as well as idiosyncratic. My boyfriend's sense of smell is pretty much in complete opposition to mine. I have a hard time finding a perfume that I adore and which he can at least tolerate. Jasmine is my top scent of all time and the creamy heavenly recipe seems also present in Gardenias, Paperwhite Jonquils and Easter lilies. It also apparently has an unpleasant stinky 'chemical' odor to my beloved which means I secretly sniff my stash in private...

Yeah, I'm pretty much a scent junky. The power of a scent to make me euphoric or miserable is uncanny. I am no where near being knowledgeable about perfumes but I can certainly attest to the powerful effect certain scents have on me.

Vanilla - More precious than gold is a good Vanilla perfume. This one is has consistently been on the top of my list since I bought it almost a year ago. It satisfies my craving for a Vanilla that's better than the real thing - an über Vanilla! It's also a unique recipe with a satisfying complexity that keeps me coming back for just 'another hit'!

Another exquisite scent that my bf can hardly stand. It's a miracle he can stand being in the same room! A true lavender bestills my heart and this solid lotion really blows my mind in a good way. It's a glorious thick solid cream that goes a long way and is uncanny for it's calming effect.

Speaking of Lavender, I am dying to visit Bleu Lavande : a Quebec company dedicated to making everything imaginable with Lavender from soaps to chocolate! Their huge Lavender field is open to the public and located in the eastern townships about an hour from Montreal. I can't wait to go skipping in a whole field of lavender - I expect the experience to be nothing less than pure euphoria and wouldn't be surprised if I get arrested for public drunkeness!

Lavender + Vanilla
Two of my favorites together. You can't beat that! The long lasting scent of this cream is heaven. It starts off as a sweet lavender with a warm creamy vanilla surfacing a few minutes later. Another drug of choice- a little hit to boost morale!

Chocolate and Coffee
When it comes to soaps I have an obsession for marvelously scented thick cold process. They are rich enough that I can actually use these for body, hair and shaving and thus have banished plastic bottles from the bathroom! I luckily have access to some local artisans who do amazing things but I find it hard to resist all the amazing soaps on Etsy. When it comes to soaps I have a particular craving for anything chocolate or coffee and their myriad incarnations. Exhibit A:

Kahlua Coffee Soap - This is what dreams are made of folks. Need I say more?

Every combination of chocolate, coffee, vanilla that you can think of is available from my favorite soap maker on Etsy. They are always coming up with new interesting varieties and the last time I bought from them I believe I purchased one of everything that had the word 'chocolate' or 'coffee' in it.

Vanilla was my gateway drug to the idea of woodsmoke in perfume . I could not resist the curiosity of trying a novel Vanilla and thus was introduced to powerful woodsy, smoky scents. This perfume oil is so sexy and dark, a little goes a long way. Not for the shy violet ;) If you are tempted but still hesitant try the soap first, you'll be hooked!

And saving the best for last! Roxanna's Illuminated perfumes high quality organic gourmet perfumes.
She has an incredible line of Chocolate perfumes: every which way you can imagine of experiencing chocolate! I couldn't resist trying 'Bois de Chocolat' with my new found obsession with woodsmoke and later was lucky enough to win one of her latest solid chocolate perfumes through the excellent blog ScentHive! (The blog author was even kind enough to feature one of my necklaces!) I choose 'Chêne' which is a gorgeous woodsy oak chocolate. They are sold as creamy solid perfumes in little pods.

Here are her current selection of most excellent chocolate perfumes:
1rst tier:  Noir, Cerise, La Forêt, L'Orangerie, Bois de Chocolat, L'epice
2n tier:  Pétales, Coeur de Jasmin, Fleurs de Orange, Blanc, Chêne

She even sells all eleven in a heart shaped box that would make an incredibly romantic gift!

Have I got you drooling yet?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Eye Candy - Posable Paper Aquatic Pinups

From illustrator extraordinaire Leila Hijazi of Illustrated Ink comes funky tattoo style pinup paper dolls. Sold as high quality prints you cut and assemble (everything needed is included). I especially love the mermaids and octogirl pinups!

How's this for a do-not-disturb sign!

Inspired by old school tattoo designs and Day of the Dead, she sells a variety of items made from her original illustrations including prints, original art, shirts and hand-painted ceramics. Worth checking out!:

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Eye Candy of the Day - Scally Rags

Super sweet handmade clutch purse from ScallyRags

I love the tattoo design fabric and the kiss-lock frame used is a cool modern design - yay! My spare change can now travel in style!

Also from her shop:
More cute clutch purses. This was my second choice:

And some funky geometric clothing:

Shop Scally Rags . She's having a 20% off sale with free shipping!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Eye Candy of the Day - Embroidered Wall Art

I'm so excited to have received some awesome handmade embroidery art from a trade with Andrea Majot from Crazy but Cute!

Mini shiny green beetle embroidery - so cute!

Jack-in-the-pulpit embroidered sketch.

Love the lime green thread on eggplant colored linen! A beautiful and unusual woodland plant which is one of my very favorites.

They are both hung on the wall directly in front of me, a little inspirational eye candy for the hours of slaving in front of the computer:) Thanks Andrea!

A few other favorites from her shop:

She also does custom work!
All designs are copyright 2009 Andrea Majot, CrazybutCute.