Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sailing Into Summer Sale

It's Summer and time for outdoor parties!  Don't forget the cookies.  They make perfect picnic deserts.  They're easy to pack, don't need a plate or utensils and they there's no worry about them spoiling .  Heavy frosting might melt, but why not make it easy on yourself and sprinkle them with some of our special sugars and confetti.  To get you started, we are having a 15% Off sale on all of our commercially made cutters and decorations in our Etsy shop.  

 Get baking - it's party time!

Use this code when checking out: SUMMERSALE2011

Saturday, April 9, 2011

More New Hats

I have been busy crocheting new hats.  They have been listed online but I have been pushing to get them done because Cross Roads opens in a few weeks and they will be for sale there as well.  I have to get the hats done this week because after that I will be knee deep in candle wax!  We have taken a second booth at the market and I have to stock it with candles before April 30th!  It was a last minute opportunity that sort of fell in our lap and we couldn't say no.  So - I will be busy melting, pouring and packaging candles for the last two weeks of this month.  I thought I'd better show you my latest hats before my head starts spinning.

The first one is a men's watch cap.  I did several of them in different colors.  This color is my favorite.  It is made with a bulky yarn.  I will be making some in worsted weight if time allows.  I know it's not warm hat time in the Northern hemisphere, but it has to be cold somewhere right?

This women's cap is intended for warmer weather wear.  It is 100% cotton.  To date, it is my most popular hat.  It is available right now in off white and this speckled ecru.

Click on the pics for more info.

Friday, March 25, 2011

All New - Edible Confetti

When I as about 9 or 10 I was still at the age where I thought my mother knew everything.  It wouldn't be too much longer before that attitude went South for a while.  One thing that still stands out in my mind though is the day I thought she was a genius.  It was my birthday.  At that time Betty Crocker, or one of those queens of boxed cake mixes had a white angle food cake that had confetti sprinkles inside when baked.  That was THE cake I wanted for my party.  Mom was taking it out of the oven and was just about to test it when my little brother fell off the back porch and started screaming.  Mom flipped the cake over onto the pop  bottle she was using to cool it and ran out to tend to him.  He wasn't hurt, just scared I guess.  When we returned to the kitchen my beautiful cake lay on the counter in pieces.  It wasn't baked through and fell apart.  I was sure my brother had fallen off the porch on purpose just to ruin my birthday!

Now my mother had two crying children on her hands.  Mom was NOT a baker.  In fact, she pretty much hated the kitchen.  Like me, she was good at it, just didn't like it.  On this particular day her baking skills kicked in, or rather her ability to  make do kicked in.  She had a plain white angel food cake mix in the cupboard so she mixed that up.  Next she took the candy sprinkles we only used at Christmas and dumped some of those into the batter.  I was sure I wasn't going to have my confetti cake, but low and behold it worked!  This time when the cake came out of the oven and was flipped to cool, there was a perfect white cake with colored confetti speckles through out.  Mom was a hero!

I guess it's that story that made me get all excited when I saw that my cookie cutter supplier also sells edible sugars, jimmies and fun shaped confetti.  All I needed  was to see the dozens of pretty pictures and I was hooked.  So, this week 4 cartons of wonderfully colored sugar, jimmies, pearls and confetti showed up at my door.  Now I can share them with you.  Take a look and see what you can find that will make you a hero with your kids!

 All these and more can be found our our Art Fire site:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

New For Summer

For those of you who live in the same climate I do, Summer can not get here fast enough!  I've been living under 2 feet of snow since December.  Now it's changing to mud.  My driveway looked like the Mississippi a few days ago.  Now it is a skating rink.

What better way to beat the Winter blahs than to think ahead to warmer days?  I  dug out my cotton yarn and got to work on cool Summer hats.  The results were these great, floppy, versatile sun hats.  Dress them up, wad them up, wear them to a party or the beach, or better yet - a party at the beach!

                                                             Click on the pic for more info.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fun New Kids Hat

If you like owls and you have a little one around that does too, this hat is for you!  Is it not just the cutest thing you've seen in a long time?   I don't usually like character hats, but this one was just too darling to pass up.  The original pattern is by .  She has graciously allowed me to sell these hats made from her design.  Stop on over and meet her.  She has a lot of other gorgeous patterns available.

Here's my little owl.  Just click on the picture for more info.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New Hats

The snow has been flying here at Forbes Farm and so have the hooks.   Click on the pictures for more details.

Here is a darling little hat for you princess.   Soft pink and sage green topped off with an oversized white flower.  Open stitch for warmer days ahead.  Just too cute!

This one is for Mom.  It's a big, slouch hat to throw on when you are having a bad hair day.  Stretchy, and comfy!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Shifting Gears

   This Winter I have spent a lot of time thinking.   There's not much else to do on a farm when the snow is 3 feet deep.  I've put a lot of thought into my business, where it was, where it is, and where it is headed.  Two things stand out. One, the jewelry I love to make just doesn't sell, and two, the cookie cutters I never intended to sell, do.

   We just stumbled into selling cookie cutters the first year I set up shop at Cross Roads to sell my jewelry.  People seem to love them.  Men even buy them although I suspect about half of them or more expect their wives or mothers to do the actual baking.  With a bit of effort and some creative financing to buy more, sales on cutters has kept me afloat while my jewelry tries to drag me under.   So, cookie cutters it is!

   I haven't given up completely on making jewelry.  I couldn't.  I love it too much.  I just decided not to list so much of it online.  It seems a total waste of time and money.  I still have 3 cases and quite a few shelves dedicated to jewelry in our shop, so I do have an outlet, even if sales are at a snails pace.

    A opportunity arose to make crocheted items to share a space with another vendor at Cross Roads.  After checking all the "stupid" government rules and regulations, I determined that although it was going to cost me some money up front for labels, I could manage to meet their requirements.  I can see large manufacturers having to have some regulation, but really, making the grannies who want to knit baby sweaters do flips and summersalts to meet government rules is simply ridiculous. They want more small businesses, but they're doing everything they can to discourage them.

   Rant over.   With all the rules read, and hopefully understood, and labels ordered, I put my beads away  and started making some crocheted hats to fill the booth.  While I was at that, I figured I might as well put some online too.  They're fun to make and my decades of crochet experience makes most of them easy for me to make.
I've pictured some of them below so you can see what has kept me busy day after day as the snow continues to fall!

Click on the picture if you would like more information on each hat.

There are more on the way!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Making Perfect Cut Out Cookies

Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Cookie

Tips and Tricks for  Perfect Cut Out Cookies

A major complaint regarding cut out cookies is they lose their shape in baking.   I’ve had quite a few customers refuse to buy detailed cutters because they are afraid the design will be lost when baked.   The problem lies in the recipe used, not the cutter.  Find a recipe that results in a cookie that does not “puff” when baked.  One of my favorites is Swedish Pepparkakor, a thin spicy cookie that holds it’s shape very well.

The type and amount of fats in a recipe effects the amount of spread when baked.  Recipes with butter or shortening will work much better than those using oil.  The more fat in a cookie, the more it will spread out as the fats melt in the oven.  

The flour  and sugar used also effects the outcome.  While most recipes call for  all purpose flower, bread and cake flour tend to produce cookies that spread less.  White sugar makes a crispier cookie than brown sugar does.  You may have to experiment to find a recipe that works for you.

One of the best investments I ever made was in a set of insulated baking sheets.  They allow air movement that helps the cookies bake evenly.  I’ve never had to grease mine and clean up is as easy as taking a wet rag to the sheet.  Jelly roll pans work well too.  Thin cookie sheets are the cheapest, but the hardest to bake on.  Parchment paper is another way to get great results when baking.  It not only helps bake an evenly browned cookie,  there’s no messy pans to wash afterwards!  Just throw it away.

Cold dough is another must for a good cut out cookie.  Separate your dough into manageable sections. Roll dough out between two pieces of parchment or waxed paper and place it in the freezer for 5 minutes.  You can also chill the dough before rolling it out but only take out a small amount of dough at a time to roll.  

For the actual cutting use metal cutters for a sharper, cleaner cut.  Dip the cutters in flour between cuts and pull the salvage dough away from the cut cookies.  Use a thin metal spatula to transfer the cookies to your sheets.  If you prefer, you can cut the cookies right on the parchment paper , pull the excess dough off and place to parchment paper, cookies and all on a sheet to bake.

Wash metal cutters by hand. Never put them in the dishwasher.  The harsh chemicals used in dishwashers can corrode the metal.  Dry thoroughly and store in an air tight container.  Hand wash cookie sheet also, especially if you have a lot invested in them.   Dishwashers are nice, but they are hard on your metal bake ware.

Now, decorate your cookies in what ever way you like and enjoy!

You might just find the cookie cutter you've been looking for in our Art Fire shop.  We carry over 300 styles and counting.  If you can't find what you want ask about a custom cutter.  We might be able to make it for you.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

OOAK Reclaimed Necklace with Swarovski Crytals

I just love to explore garage sales, estate sales and auctions.  There are treasures waiting to be found in just about every one of them.  I found a double strand white and blue faux pearl necklace without a hook and in need of restringing at one.  It was definitely something from the 50's.   At another I found a beautiful strand of Swarovski crystals, again, with no clasp.  I know they are Swarovski from the cut and the clarity.  No one makes crystals like they do.

Since I like a bit of bling in just about everything I create I decided to combine the two necklaces into one.  Here is the results.

This 18 inch necklace is available exclusively on Art Fire.  You can find it here:

Reclaimed Vintage Swarovski and Blue Faux Pearl Necklace

If you are looking for some real bargains, try our Etsy shop where everything is 50% off.
Just use the code WINTERSALE2011 when you check out.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Styles for a New Year - Pearls

2011 promises to be the year that revitalizes the beautiful look of pearls.   Never out of date, and forever beautiful, sometimes pearls get put on the back shelf in favor of more "in" jewelry.  This year, to my delight, pearls are once again making it to the main showcases.   I have oodles of them ordered.  Here is the first one I created out of what I have on hand.  

The glass pearls used in this 20" necklace are advertised as white but they have a very slight light creamy green cast to them.  I centered the front with 18 Swarovski crystals mounted in 3 nearly invisible settings.  They add just the  right amount of sparkle to this already elegant necklace.

Because everyone thinks of pearls as expensive, I am planning on using only gold or sterling silver when assembling this line.  This necklace has a sterling hook clasp.

Whither you wear this necklace with your best evening gown or your favorite blue jeans, it is bound to bring complements your way.  The best part is - it's pearls, and pearls will always be a wise fashion choice.  If they go out of vogue for a few years, just tuck them away.  They'll be back!

This necklace is available exclusively in my Art Fire shop.  You can pop right to it by clicking here: 

If you are looking for a great bargain, I have put over 275 items on sale for 50% off on my Etsy site.
Here is the link:  The Earring Boutique
Use this code when you check out for your 50% off the prices shown:  WINTERSALE2011

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