29 December, 2008

wrap you in my (new) colors

i've got new stripe-y tea towels, in more colors now. i put 'em up in both of my shops -- etsy, and the other one.

25 December, 2008


...is, without any doubt whatsoever, my very favourite gift this year. it's maybe my very favourite gift ever:

from my five-year-old nephew.
holy sweetness, it is amazing.

24 December, 2008

visions of cookie birds danced in my head

this is what my dreams consist of in the weeks before christmas:

cookie designs.
i've been dreaming up these birds for the past week. mama went out and bought the very thinnest piping tip available so that i could carry out my vision -- she's so supportive of my dreams.
they aren't EXACTLY what i had in mind (do artistic ambitions ever turn out exactly as they were imagined? mine dont...) but i'm happy with them. originally i had wanted them just to be decorated with fine, delicate feathers, but then i found that the bird shapes that i had cut were all really too small for that idea. so i just went freestyle and doodled patterns and designs on them. i like that they turned out a little dutch-y.

happy christmas, dear friends and readers! i hope you are all in a place that makes you very happy, surrounded by people you love. xo, k.

22 December, 2008

honey, baby

this weekend's adventure: i helped a bee-keeper to extract and bottle this year's honey crop.
my friends lillian and michael live rather far out there in the country (okay, it is only twenty minutes from where i live, but those back-country roads are long and wind-y. it was a beautiful drive, actually -- all of the trees and fields were covered over in ice; the roads, thankfully, were not.) their property is adjacent to a field, and across that field is where michael keeps the bees. he's been doing this for four years now --- it's quite a cool hobby, no? anyways, although he did all the bee wrangling weeks (months?) ago, this weekend was the first chance that michael got to take care of the honey harvest. i am very glad the lil gave me a call and invited me to be a part of the experience.
the honey harvest was time-consuming, but remarkably simple (as in, uncomplicated). nature is so cool.
here's how it works:
these are the supers, where the bees stored the honey:

you pull these frames out and find the honeycomb:

the honeycomb is fascinating -- the bees build this stuff! the frames have an existing honeycomb pattern as the foundation, upon which the bees build. they then fill them up with the honey and then -- get this -- they put a little wax cap on the filled-up honeycomb -- creating a honey storage container. amazing.
the patterns and texture of these are beautiful -- i could definitely find some inspiration here. (hmmmmm........)
(i'm pretty sure charley harper did a bee/honeycomb illustration... i'll have to look it up in my big book.)

then you use a hot (electric) knife to cut those caps off of the honeycomb, thus exposing the honey. (i didn't get any good photos of this stage.)

you then put the frames into a centrifuge-like machine that spins around and around and whips the honey out of the combs:

see? the honey was whipped out:

after the frames are all emptied, the honey goes into a bucket that is lined with cheesecloth-like material, and then it is strained. (this gets all of the residual wax and bees knees out of the honey.)

then we put it into jars!
SO cool!

my challenge now is to make a little label for the honey jars... a challenge, indeed, as i am NO graphic designer -- but i think i can come up with something.

thank you, lillian and michael for inviting me to be a part of honey harvest '08! i'll be there this summer to check out the bees and make sure michael is working them to make more honey.

oh -- here's the last step -- which i couldn't stick around for -- separating the wax:

this is the wax that we cut off the tops of the combs -- the little wax caps. it looks like a lot, but by the time the honey is all separated out, it really doesnt amount to much. michael has been saving the wax from the last three years, maybe next year there will be enough to combine them all and make a few candles. (my little pioneer-girl heart leaps...)

18 December, 2008

new stitches

last night's experiment:

i'm happy with the way the letter came out, but the vines and the scollwork are a little too jagged, i think. next time, i will try stem stitch or couching. and next time i think i'm going for multiple colors...

17 December, 2008

cookie cooking

rounds one and two of x-mas cookie baking are complete. those of you who know my family and me know that we don't take christmas cookies lightly. we used to honor the annual christmas cookie WEEKEND, but now that kelly and i are all grown up, things have changed and it's even tough to find a single day where all of our schedules align. this year we had x-mas cookie day, where the little ones have become the head chefs and artistic directors.
aidyn is already a master at the roll and cut:

and so is bella! (check her out in the smock i made her!)

notice that the cookies with sprinkles on them are crushed; that's because aidyn put them on, and bella took them off (and into her mouth).


and then last night, i baked up the traditional bats and rats. oh yes, bats and rats. i realized that this is year three that i have been posting my bats and rats on this blog! hole-y! (here is year one and here is year two.)

the decoration of the bats and rats this year is decidedly more cutesy than the previous couple of years.
the bats got all dressed up in hearts and sparkles:

and the rats got hearts for eyes:

hey, wait a minute -- what's that blue-scarfed rat?
it's the hanukkah rat! (by request of my friend jay.)

i also tried hands and hearts -- or loves and gloves, but my royal icing wasn't the right consistency...

there are more cookies to be made.... so, more later.

15 December, 2008

signing off

this year, for bazaar bizarre, i embroidered all of the letters making up "chez sucre chez" onto separate dishtowels and i used this as my banner.
here's a really poor photo:

well now that the fairs are over, i don't really have need for all of these towels! i sold a bunch at the divine studios sale, but those that i have left over i am listing on etsy. click on over to see a couple of E's, some C's, Z's an S, a U... i think that's about it...

good night and thank you!

nyc this weekend was a blast.
ron -- good times at coco as always.
dana and greg -- great party.
divine studios sale -- wonderful experience.
but now i'm tired -- i havent had much sleep in the past week -- i need to get some zzzzzz's; christmas-cookie-baking-day is tomorrow!
so now i'm all finished with this year's holiday craft fairs -- and i've just kicked off a last-minute procratinators' special sale in my etsy shop -- i'm ready to clear out my remaining inventory! get it -- here.
x's and o's to all of you, friends.
just so i have an image for this post:

aunt mary's cracked black pepper cookies! i made these for this weekend's holiday party. mmmmm, sweet and spicy.

by request -- here's the recipe, which i am thrilled to share, as long as when you make them and serve them, you call them Aunt Mary's Black Pepper Cookies, in honor of my late great aunt mary. my great aunt mary was one of my very very very favourite people. she was quirky as heck, and handy, too. she lived in a huge old farmhouse (which i STILL regret to this day that i did not somehow buy.. it was built in 1777 and it was torn down after her death and a stupid housing development was built on the property.... GRRRRRRRR!) where she housed her collection of gnomes, stored her completed jigsaw puzzles under the rugs, and made me rings of firefly glowers.
wear a witch hat when you bake these:

Aunt Mary's Black Pepper Cookies:
1 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 c. sugar (3/4 for dough, 1/4 for tops of cookies)
1/2 t ground pepercorns
1/2 c. butter

blend the flour, baking powder, 3/4 c. of sugar, and crushed pepper in food processor. stir butter over medium heat until it browns. add to flour and process until dough forms compact ball. roll into small balls. dip bottom of glass in sugar and press each ball gently to 1/2" thick. bake at 300 degrees on lowest rack for 20 - 25 minutes.

12 December, 2008

nyc -- this weekend!

nyc peeps --- come on out to see me at the divine studios craft fair on sunday (in manhattan):

do you see that list of participating vendors? se-ri-ous!

09 December, 2008

my new friends

i am quite in love with these two.
they sure weren't easy to photograph, though --
first they were all inquisitive about the camera and just wouldn't stand back and give me space:

and then squirrel got all "spspssppspsppsppsps" and wouldnt stop whispering secrets into mouse's ear:

but then i finally got them posed in the right light for their portrait.
so cute:

okay - i'll grow up and be serious now.
these adorable finger puppets are the work of maritza, of soto softies. i've noticed her work before and long admired it, but i didnt know just HOW amazing every little creature that she creates really is until i saw her table at this weekend's bazaar bizarre. i fell in love with everything. everything. like, i want them all. oh my goodness it just makes my head spin sometimes when i see people who are so talented and creative and they make such amazing stuff. it's that same kind "i need to scream into a pillow" thing that happened to me when i watched the science of sleep. anyways -- i chatted with maritza for a little while and made her acquaintance and swapped business info and scooped up these little guys for sweet baby aidyn and baby bella. (but i dont WANt to give them away!!!) she was the one who gave me the scoop on big cartel -- where i am now hosting my new shop. (it is all set up now --- you should click over and go shopping -- now!). maritza has a shop on there -- you should click on over there, too, and buy me (um, i mean, you...?) some of her softies. it looks like she doesnt have the shop fully stocked right now -- probably due to craft fairs. so look at her softie gallery on her flickr site - i can pretty much guarantee that you will fall just as head over heels for these little guys as i did.

i was telling dana, on our drive back from boston that night, that craft fairs are always good for me in terms of meeting two or three really great peeps. i always admire the people who get to the craft fairs and get all set up early and have time to go around checking out the other booths before the public is let in. i am NEVER that girl. i am the girl who is rushing to get it all set up exactly so and then, even if i do get it finished to my liking, i have a zillion other little things to do -- like making tags, and bags, and putting last-minute finishing touches on things. but i always do get to meet at least a couple of really great crafters. in addition to maritza, i also met and chatted with:
---laura, of wren handmade. she is one of the first crafters whose work i noticed (a year or two ago, i think) and thought, "damn, she is doing it! that is awesome!" oh my goodness, i just clicked over to her main site and had a little freak-out. she is so good. so -- it was good to meet and talk to her and i am happy to now know that she will also be there this weekend at the divine studio craft fair that i am doing on sunday in manhattan.
---heather, of heatherjeany. she does gocco and screenprinted stationary and custom invitations. she had the table next to me and when she walked up to take her spot, i was standing on her table, which i had dragged over to my space so that i could hang my sign. i turned around and saw her and i think i yelled "i'm standing on your table!" like a scared little kid who has been caught standing on the counter to get to the cookie jar. but she was very nice about it. she was very nice in general, in fact, and tolerated (with a smile!) the tomfoolery and delirious antics of dana and me.
yeeeeeeeeeah craft fairs!

...of the portuguese

hey look! a chez-sucre-chez write-up in portuguese! cool!

mika, from brazil, found me through my flickr page and let me know that she had posted about my work on her blog, a elegancia das coisas.
that is just so cool.

dental impressions

heh-heh-heh -- word sure does travel fast on this here internet.
sometimes, it is in a cool way - like it was last week, when fred, the company that makes the molds that i used to make my teeth and jewel soaps, wrote to me saying how they heard about my project and think it is cool and can they link to my site.

it was actually on the very same day that i posted about the project. wow. very cool -- i sure am glad that they approve!

08 December, 2008

weekend update

craft fair madness weekend was pretty great -- but i didnt get much sleep, that is for certain. i just got back home last night and now i have some digging out and readjusting to do before i post about the weekend's adventures.
take a look at something i did do, though:

i've opened a new online shop! and you dont need to be a member to make purchases -- you dont even need a paypal account. click on over here and check it out. i seriously JUST did this, so i dont know if there are any kinks and of course i want to tweak the design and all of that, but so far, seems pretty okay. i've got more items and lower prices here than on my etsy shop -- i'm offering this shopping experience to my friends, family and blog-readers only until after the holidays. be the first to make a purchase and i'll send you something extra!

03 December, 2008

R -- for right on, red

i had a custom order request for red stitching on the white fabric.
in all honesty, i thought to myself, "hmmm, red on white..." for some reason, it just didn't sound good to me.
oh, but i was wrong -- jenny was right. it is SO right.

01 December, 2008

hear ye hear ye...

...i've just etsy-listed the cross-stitch piece of the month for december.
snow deer:

get it here.

thanks, a.t.!

i just noticed this:

there is a FANTASTIC post about my work today over on apartment therapy chicago. click here to read it.
(thanks so much, sarah!)

on a lighter note...

i havent done any funny little crafts like this in quite a while -- sheeesh! i have been so serious lately, havent i?
well, there's noone quite like my friend dana b (aka ding dong) to bring out the nutty in me. we did a little collaborative crafting yesterday and made funny soaps.
check these out --

hahaha! teeth soaps!

and jewels, too!

i've been wanting to do these for a while.
wanna know how it's done? with silicone ice cube trays! they are both from this company called fred. i had seen the jewels one a couple of years ago and have been wanting it ever since. then, when i visited the newly opened fred flare shop in greenpoint, i saw that they had not only the cool jewels one that i wanted, but also this frozen smiles one, too. well miss dana b LOVES teeth stuff (seriously - like a crazy lady) so i thought she should have it. and i thought it was about time i got the one i wanted, too. i bought them both and dana and i made a plan to make some funny soaps. i had leftover soap base from these and these that i did a long ago so really, it was all rather simple. we went out for a couple of bloody marys, came back home, and got to work. in a few hours, we had this pile of teeth and jewels! i cant say they are the most luxurious or gourmet soaps (nothing like the from-scratch stuff i made with my friend molly last week. lye is scary!), but they sure are silly. the teeth ones are grapefruit scented and the jewels are enriched with sweet almond oil and scent.
anyways, we're gonna package them up and peddle them for cheap next weekend at bazaar bizarre. fun!