Craft & Consumption

Friday, August 31, 2012

Etsy Pick: Tick-Tock

I've been looking for a charming alarm clock to grace my bedside table. For the past 10 years I've woken up to a Bose stereo and still continue to jam out every morning with my Bose. However the old Bose clock has been relocated across the room and I have a tough time reading it with my terrible vision. I want something smaller right next to the bed, something designed well that makes me feel lovely right from the start of the day (and lets me read it easily!). Here are my top picks from the vintage side of Etsy:

**Not functioning, cannot keep time anymore. 

Do you have any great resources for vintage alarm clocks? 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Vynecrest On Main {more writing adventures}

I'm proud to share an article I wrote that was published in our local Berks County Living magazine's Sept 2012 issue. I've been fortunate to write for the BCL team over the last year, exploring local restaurants, art exhibitions, and events. This article allowed me to publish not only my writing but some of my photos. Ch-ch-ch-check it out:

Is it us, or is Berks County just getting more and more amazing as the years go by? Here at Berks County Living, we are so excited to introduce you to the newest addition to Kutztown’s Main Street. The team at Vynecrest Wineries has added onto their Lehigh Valley vineyard operation with a new wine shop and tasting bar on the charming streets of Kutztown. Now you can meander through downtown Kutztown and find great food, locally brewed beers, amazing cold-press coffee and award-winning wines to taste, sip and bring home.

The new wine shop in the 200 block of Main Street has undergone a transformation thanks to the Vynecrest team. Beautiful hardwood floors, fresh coats of crisp white paint and bottles upon bottles of locally grown wines create a relaxing environment for enjoying your favorite vino. For just $5 a glass, you can sip an afternoon beverage at rustic wine barrel tables, with experts available for consulting and guidance. The Vynecrest team has created an inviting, relaxing atmosphere perfect for exploring their estate-grown Chardonnays, Pinot Grigios, or Pinot Noirs. Guests are welcome to stop by the tasting bar for a free wine sampling of up to six Vynecrest wines.


The Kutztown shop and tasting room is the first Vynecrest outpost beyond the original Breinigsville winery location, where all of the grapes are grown. John and Jan Landis, a husband and wife team, started planting grapes on the rolling hills of Breinigsville in 1973. Jan, an editor at Rodale Publishing at the time, was inspired to grow grapes after editing the book How to Homestead on 5 Acres of Land. Shortly after this editing project, the husband and wife team were harvesting and fermenting grapes and drinking lots of homegrown wines. Sixteen years of trial and error led to the establishment of Vynecrest as an official winery open to the public in 1989.

Flash forward 23 years – John and Jan’s son, Sam Landis, has returned to the East Coast and joined the family business after working in California’s wine country. Family friend and business partner Malachi Duffy rounds out the relaxed, passionate Vynecrest management team.


You’re more than welcome to stop by Vynecrest in Kutztown for a little wine and cheese at the new shop and tasting bar. Whether you’re a studied oenologist or a complete wine novice, you’ll feel right at home at this open, friendly spot. Recommendations and discoveries abound from the charming experts at Vynecrest!

Need someplace to start for your wine tasting adventures? Sam explains that if you like dry red wines, you’ll like the Chambourcin or the Lemberger. If you normally love dry white wines, try the flowery and spicy Traminette. For something a little funky and delightfully fruity, taste the award-winning sour-cherry wine, Cherry DiVyne. Look out for a brand new addition to the Vynecrest line-up, a sparkling Chardonnay scheduled to release this summer. Once you try the award-winning wines at the new Vynecrest shop, more than a few bottles of this local harvest will be coming home with you for dinner!
Vynecrest on Main | 277 Main St., Kutztown | 484.641.5149 |

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Etsy Pick of the Week: INTERVIEW DEBUT!

Let me start off by saying that there is a wee bit of philosophy behind my "Etsy pick of the week" posts. I believe that when we make things we are proud of, we are rewarded with a persisting sense of self value and self worth. I believe that when we own the whole process of making something, our creations filter out into the universe and become part of us, out there representing our life in a tangible, semi-permanent way. I've experienced this with some of my silk screening projects. Gifts that I've made for friends become a way for me to be with them, even when they're thousands of miles away, across the Pacific ocean on entirely different continents. 

So... with that said, I'm excited to debut my very first Etsy Pick Interview. I hope it gives us all a little more insight into the artists behind the Etsy Pick of the Week series here on Craft & Consumption.

I just purchased the very cutest and coolest and best address stamp from the Etsy shop Chatty Press. It is delightful. It actually makes paying the bills kind of exciting. I know... that's ridiculous, but true.

Jen Pepper, who designs and crafts everything over at the Chatty Press, was kind enough to answer some interview questions here on Craft and Consumption. 

Etsy Shop: Chatty Press
Name: Jen Pepper
On Etsy since: Feb, 2011

How did you first start making your pieces?
I've worked as a graphic designer for the past 10 years, and I love designing for print. There is something about paper that just makes me so happy, which is why I love mail so much, but I do get tired of writing my super long address on everything I send out, so I designed a return address stamp for myself. I got so many compliments on the design that I decided to design more and start a little shop. I try and create a new design every couple weeks to add to the collection and hope to add even more stationery products in the future. 

How did you hear about Etsy and come to create an online shop?
I actually have another shop on etsy (Peppersprouts) that has been up and running since 2009. When I lived in Brooklyn I went to the very first Renegade craft fair there and so many vendors had a shop on etsy, so I checked it out and decided to start making awesome things so I could be apart of this cool crafty community. 

Favorite piece of nostalgia from your childhood: Oh goodness, I have a Strawberry Shortcake mug that brings back so any memories of milk and donuts.

What's your favorite online destination (besides Etsy)? Right now it has to be Ravelry. I learned how to knit last year and I love looking at new patterns and yarns and making gifts for the holidays.

Coffee or tea? Trick question! Iced Coffee. 

How does the place you live inform your work? I now live on the coast of Maine and everything here is much slower than Brooklyn. That really makes me appreciate handwritten mail and cards and how special it is to get something besides catalogs and bills in the mailbox. Even though it's just a simple stamp on an envelope, I think it makes a daily trip to the mail box or the post office a little more special. 

Check out more of Jen's amazing stamps here at The Chatty Press (this nautical one is adorable for all of you Maine-ers out there) and her laser cut creations here at Pepper Sprouts (these cheese labels are hilarious and oh-so-cute). Big thanks to Jen for answering my questions so thoughtfully!! And for providing us with such kick-ass stuff on her lovely Etsy shop :)

Friday, August 17, 2012

DIY Ikat Wallpaper

Back in June I wrote this post about wall-papering my closet to create a vibrant jewelry area in my dressing area. I wanted to purchase this beautiful yellow ikat wallpaper from Graham and Brown, but it was pretty expensive. Plus, I'm not an experienced wallpaper hanger, so I would've had to pay to install it, or risk ruining my beloved (and $$$) purchase.

In an effort to figure out a better solution, I came across this cool DIY how to by Emily from MerryPad. She used some extra paint to create an ikat pattern at home in her closet. Inspired by her DIY-prowess, I set out to make my own version of her resourceful home project. 

It only helped that the writers over at Design*Sponge had a contest going on last month that involved the use of Scotch Blue painter's tape (check out the rules here), that just sealed the deal for me to get my bootie moving. And now I shall share with you my little DIY Ikat experience!

Step one involved laying out the painter's tape. I tried to use a level to make sure they were somewhat straight. I also used a pencil to measure out the horizontal lines 6" apart and then the vertical lines 4" apart. 

The next part gets the party started. You bust out a small brush and start systematically painting brush strokes in a diamond pattern within the taped lines. Same number of strokes in the same position, repeated seemingly hundreds of times.

After the first diamond pattern dried I removed all the tape. Then I painted smaller diamonds into the negative spaces with a slightly thinner brush. 

The closet has more work to be done (shelves, etc), but the big DIY painting project is complete! Can't wait to share the final look when it all comes together (if I'm lucky that'll happen in maybe, like... 6 months)! I'm super happy with the look so far, and I think it's very reminiscent of the original Graham and Brown yellow wallpaper that inspired this project. Already I'm feeling energized by the daily dose of yellow this brings to my dressing area. So glad I finally took the plunge and made it happen!

Do you have a DIY project you've been meaning to start? Go forth and get to it! :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Gardening: Journey of the tomato

The story of Lily's Great Tomato Gardening Adventure

I ventured over to the nearby Rodale Organic Gardening Institute and purchased 4 little tomato plants of varying varieties on May 12, 2012. (There I am below in red stripes! ...feeling so famous right now.)

About a month after plating the little guys, (on June 18th to be exact) I started to see some little toddler tomatoes emerging from the vines. They were green and small. The plants are supported by twine wrapped around wooden stakes that I drove into the ground with a serious sledgehammer (you know, like this). 

Last weekend (Aug 5, so about 2.5 weeks after planting) I harvested a TON of tomatoes in my little garden basket. You can see the small yellow ones, the red chargers, and the purple cherokee variety. There's also some cucumbers and onions in the mix too.

Subsequently, we've been feasting on tomatoes. Most recently, a fresh basil-tomato-mozzarella panini on homemade french bread (more on the bread-making to come). Nom nom nom. 

*For a reference on what nom means - please click here.

That, my friends, is the journey of my 2012 Great Tomato Gardening Adventure. 

The End.

P.S. For more tomato gardening inspiration, check out our family friend Tim Stark's book, Notes from An Accidental Tomato Farmer.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Etsy Picks: Call me, maybe?

If you haven't heard Carly Rae Jepsen's song Call Me, Maybe this summer, you have to be living off the grid. It's been every.where: on the radio, in stores, and all over YouTube (the USA Olympic Swim Team even did a music video rendition). The catchy pop tune has seeped into my brain and the brains of millions of Americans. Damn Carly Rae and her catchy jingle.

I couldn't help but giggle when I saw this Etsy postcard with the song's of-the-moment phrase. How cute would it be to get this little gem in the mail from a long-lost friend?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Good, Good Summer

Sometimes I make silly rhymes 
accompanied by sequential
Instagram timelines...  

I'm always sad to see the summer wind down in August. We've got a couple more beach weekends left to drink in excess, relax in the sun, and dig our little toes in the sand for clammers. Onward with this good, good summer.