Archive | December, 2004


30 Dec

Here are two of my bottles of homemade kahlua. I printed out address labels for them. One of these is going to be a hostess gift for Jen. I gave the rest to my parents, uncle, brothers, and sister for Christmas.

Unfortunately, I gave away my two bottles of amaretto, so I don’t know how it tastes. But when I tried the kahlua before Christmas, it tasted good but very, very sweet. It was also very, very potent. It should be good to drink in about two weeks.

Kahlua bottles1.jpg


What to do with your Xmas money

30 Dec

When I was home in NJ for Christmas, my mom and I went to see my sister Lisa’s shop, Crazy Eye, on 9th St. in Philadelphia across Passyunk (I think) from the Italian Market. She sells all locally-made or -designed T-shirts, handbags (her own and others’), scarves, and other odds and ends. It’s pretty cool. Say hello to Nutter, the shop dog for me. It’s open Friday through Sunday.

Lisa sells some of the glasses, mirror compacts, coasters, and other items made by my cousin Pat’s company, Lazy Susan. I bought the “Mirror, mirror… Oh, forget it, I know I look good” cameo compact from Lisa’s store. I’m thinking of getting some of the glasses, too. Once I saw the Lazy Susan catalog, I realized that I had seen their products all over the place and coveted many of them (especially the lace dresses glasses. I LOVE them). You can find them at all sorts of stores including Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters, as well as on the Web.

I guess we’re a pretty creative family.

Support Big Blue!

22 Dec

No, not IBM. Finish up your Christmas shopping by giving your hard-earned money to companies whose political donations go to Democrats and progressive causes. Try these websites for a start:

I must say, I’m disappointed to find that just a few weeks after my discovery of the cool products at K-Mart (thanks to the really impressive Martha Stewart Everyday collection), I won’t be shopping there anymore. And I do find it interesting that Guess, whose advertising tends a little too far towards the Lolita look for me (seemingly underage, scantily dressed women posing suggestively with grey-haired males), gives 83% of its political contributions to Republicans. How’s that for moral values?

And, notice that Urban Outfitters, who caused a pre-election stir with its “Voting Is for Old People” t-shirt, gives 63% of its political contributions to Republicans. Now I get it… No more shopping at Anthropologie for me.

[Thanks to columnist Mark Morford for bringing my attention to these. Read his column on the subject here:]

Homemade Hooch

18 Dec

I almost gave up the idea of making kahlua for Christmas gifts this year because I didn’t get around to doing my test run. Once I actually started on it, I realized just how darn easy it is.

I based my recipe on one from Ready Made magazine, with a few changes:
1/2 cup ground coffee beans (Peet’s Major Dickason’s Blend)
2 Tsp. espresso (also Peet’s, Espresso Forte)
2 cups water
4 cups sugar (we ran out of white sugar, so I used 3.5 cups light brown sugar and .5 cup white)
3 Tsp. Trader Joe’s vanilla paste (really just goopy vanilla extract)
2.5 cups vodka

I brewed the coffee in our French press (next time, I’ll let it steep a bit longer than normal–maybe up to a half hour). Then I poured the coffee into a pot with the sugar and vanilla and boiled the mixture until all the sugar dissolved (Ready Made said it would take about an hour; I found it took about 20 minutes). Once the coffee-vanilla-simple syrup mixture cooled, I poured it into a bottle with the vodka and shook it around.

I bought a case of 375 ml. clear bottles and 12 T-corks today at San Francisco Brewcraft, which, for the record, was a pretty trippy place. From the amount I made, I filled 3.5 bottles.

I’m going to try it this weekend to see how it tastes. It should be too sweet right now (apparently the sweetness dies down after a few weeks), but I want to make sure the vanilla isn’t too overwhelming.

Once I make a label for the bottles, I’ll post a photo.

By the way, if you’re thinking of trying this yourself, All has a pretty informative article on making your own hooch.

Feria Urbana

18 Dec

I love Feria Urbana. Although sometimes I go and think, “I could make that for so much cheaper,” it’s always cool to see people who are out there who are creative enough to come up with the ideas, execute them, and put themselves out there to sell them. Chad and I went today to see if we could find something for his sister.

We saw Colleen Keenan’s cool pocketbooks (er–handbags, as soon as I said, “pocketbooks,” Colleen asked if I was from the East Coast). They were made of vintage tapestry fabric and were really nicely done. They had the magnetic clasps of professional bags, the metal feet, labels on the front, and the designs and fabrics were really cool. But the execution of her designs was really top notch, and considering that, the prices were really reasonable. So often, I see handbags there that are nicely designed, but the execution is still a little amateur. Colleen’s bags were really well done, very professional.

Lotta Jansdotter had some gorgeous textiles–very clean designs printed on a coarse linen as well as some paper products and ceramics. I was tempted by her 2005 calendar.

Jill Bliss had these great wallets made out of old sheets. At first I thought the fabric was a little too flimsy, but then I realized you can just toss them in the wash if they get dirty! A negative becomes a positive!

There was also some nice jewelry there, but nothing as cool as the Maya Kini Organix necklaces and earrings. I so loved the radish one.

We didn’t buy anything, but I’m considering saving up for one of the small-ish Colleen Keenan bags (the one I want isn’t on her site), at least until I can find a Kelly-style bag that doesn’t look too fake.

Card-Carrying Liberal

18 Dec

The creators of the cool card designs at Card-Carrying Liberal got a lot of press in the weeks before the election. As well they should. The designs and messages are clever–great for those folks who like to mix their progressive politics and desire to keep their civil liberties with get well greetings, thank-you notes, and other civil niceties. And, half of all the profits are donated to suport progressive causes.

If you, like me, are late in getting your holiday cards out, check out their great selection, including this one:

(Thanks to Kath for permission to use an image from their site.)

Click on “Join” to print out your very own membership card, so you too can be a card-carrying liberal.

Chelsea Market and political art

17 Dec

Although not about crafts necessarily (and not about democrats, admittedly), this article from Reuters UK talks about a painting of President Bush/monkeys that was recently pulled from an art showing by one of the Chelsea Market’s managers.

Feel like telling the Chelsea Market what you think of this decision? Go to, click on “Market News”; then scroll to the bottom and click on “Email Us.” Fill out the web form. Whatever side you’re on, be brief and polite, and be sure to include some contact information, should they choose to defend their position to the folks who write them.