Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Giveaway: NOVICA. the world is your market

I’m so excited to show you my new bracelet and tell you about today’s giveaway. Have you heard of NOVICA?

NOVICA is one of the leading fair trade artisan websites. They work with National Geographic to give artisans around the world a place to express their artistic talents and provide access to the world market.

Blog Novica Bracelet-001
They carry thousands of items – tableware, décor, fashion, jewelry and more. I was thrilled to be offered the chance to review a product and offer a giveaway.

I spent quite a bit of time on the NOVICA site because I couldn’t decide what to get. I finally settled on this beautiful bracelet from Thailand that I’m modeling above.

Now, I have to say, it took a few weeks for my bracelet to arrive. But that’s because NOVICA works directly with artists, stressing their stories as much as the art. Goods are shipped direct from the country of origin – cutting out the middle-man – and arriving with an exotic postmark and handwritten postcard

When my bracelet arrived from Thailand it was nestled in this beautiful box. 

Novica Collage
A little booklet tells the story of the artist and the product. The jewelry box is made out of mulberry bark. It’s handmade and uses a sustainable practice. Yay for being green!

I was surprised [and thrilled} that the bracelet is actually one long strand so I can also wear it as a necklace.

I love my bracelet. It’s absolutely stunning and I’m now a big fan of the NOVICA site and their products.

So here’s the best part. NOVICA is offering a $50 gift certificate to a homework reader. You can get a beautiful bracelet like the one I got or choose from any of their thousands of items. Here are a few words from NOVICA:

We want to give artists and artisans around the world a global platform to express their true artistic talents and to spur their creativity. And, we want to provide you with access to unique, hard-to-find items at great values that only the Internet infrastructure can allow. 
In the spirit of the Internet, let us bring you together. 
NOVICA. The World is Your Market.

And here are a few links to help you start choosing what you would like.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for visiting.
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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Inspiration Board: link party [66]

From my archives - fall inspiration board

Hello friends! It’s my favorite day and I’m so happy you’re joining me for the Inspiration Board link party. Whether you’re linking up a project or visiting for inspiration I want to thank you for taking the time to stop by. I know how busy life gets and I truly appreciate each and every visit, comment and link.

Here in the U.S. we had a three-day weekend and “unofficially” waved goodbye to summer. My mind is on fall décor and the upcoming holidays. What have you been up to? I can’t wait to see. I’ll be going through the projects and featuring some on Friday.

A few rules:
  • Link up your own project - something you created, made, did, etc.
  • Grab a “homework” button and include it somewhere on your blog.
  • Follow homework.  You’ll find the “Follow via Google Friend Connect” gadget on the right sidebar.
  • Please visit the other links that intrigue you and make someone smile with a comment or two.
If you have a giveaway, I have a separate giveaway link party -  see the Giveaway Link Party tab at the top of the page.

I’m ready to be inspired - don’t forget to add my button somewhere on your blog. Spreading the word helps bring more visitors to your linked project.

Want to host your own link party? Click here to sign up for InLinkz

Thanks for visiting.
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Monday, September 3, 2012

Little Crafts: crepe paper jellyfish

Jellyfish 5_FinalHere’s a fun under-the-sea craft that little ones can do.
Make a crepe paper jellyfish.

Depending on your little crafters age, you can make this project simpler or more elaborate.

Materials Needed:
  • Cupcake liners
  • Crepe Paper (for this project, I used white, pink and purple)
  • Glue
  • Needle and thread

Jellyfish Collage Final
  1. Start with two cupcake liners stacked together to form the base of your jellyfish. I found that one liner was too flimsy so I used two. Thread your needle and poke the needle up through the cupcake liners.
  2. Cut rounded-edge strips of crepe paper and stick them onto the needle. For smaller children you can just glue them on. Once you are done covering the cupcake liner with the crepe paper strips, poke the needle back through creating a loop to hang your jellyfish. Tie off the bottom of the threads.
  3. Cut various lengths and widths of crepe paper to form the tentacles.
  4. Flip the cupcake liner over and start gluing the strips of crepe paper to the inside. Allow the glue to dry thoroughly.

Hang your jellyfish and let the tentacles flutter in the breeze (or ocean current).

And the best part is these sweet jellyfish don’t sting!

Happy Labor Day to my U.S. friends ~ enjoy the day off!

Thanks for visiting.
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Friday, August 31, 2012

The Inspiration Board: link party spotlight ~65

Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful projects on the Inspiration Board this week. All the home and furniture renovations are inspiring me because I just found my first furniture roadside rescue. For you experienced dumpster divers, roadside rescuers and furniture upcyclers – do the furniture rescues always come with come with spider webs and creepy crawlers? It’s a little daunting!  But still, I can’t wait to start working on it – I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

I also loved looking at all the food, crafts and other projects. So many things to add to my list. Thank you all for inspiring me. I hope those of you who stopped by were equally inspired. Here are a few projects in the spotlight this week.

Damask Vinyl Box[6]
A cheese box transformed into a beautiful gift box by The Answer is Chocolate. Pretty paper and a dainty flower is the finishing touch for some lucky recipient of this box.

I don’t recall seeing a grandfather clock linked up before and I love this mint green makeover by Crystelle Boutique. Such a fresh look for a timeless piece.

Nom. Nom. Nom. Blueberry Pancakes by Sweet Boutique. A great way to incorporate a bit of nutrition into breakfast – 100% whole wheat flour and a big serving of nutrient rich blueberries. Nom. Nom. Nom.

porthole mirror 5
Homeroad takes nautical to new heights with a diy porthole mirror. As luck would have it, she had the perfect “old, chippy, round nautical thingy” {her words} and a round mirror that fit perfectly. It was meant to be!

Solar system 2
Creative Kids Snacks used healthy snacks to teach her daughter the solar system. Once the lesson was over, the snacks were all eaten up. Yay!  And, yes, Pluto is on the plate to show that it was once a planet. Poor Pluto!

Beautiful fruit printing with real fruit and water colors by Grow Creative. There are so many fun projects you could make using this technique and kids would get a kick out of using fruit as stampers. Fun!
Ooooh – I love hummus. Feeding my Temple shares a recipe for Roasted Jalapeno Hummus that I can’t wait to try.

Inspiration through photography by Live Laugh Rowe. Beautiful pictures of Newfoundland – gorgeous ocean shots, boats, rocks and more. I love “visiting” new places even if I’m not actually there.

fern dresser-001
A beautiful roadside rescue makeover {see my opening paragraph} by Art is Beauty. I love the stained top, Ce Ce Caldwell paint color and the fern details. The best part – the dresser is being donated to an auction to benefit a nature conservancy. Love!

photo (332)
Are you starting to think about Halloween. Eeeek – summer certainly flew by. Creek Line House made a sweet haunted house pillow to add a touch of Halloween to her décor.

We all better get moving on our Halloween projects – it will be here before we know it.

This week on the Inspiration Pinboard

Sugar and spice,
And everything nice,
That's what little girls are made of.
Features 65 Collage Final
1. Baby Shadow Box – Smart Schoohouse    2. Covered Closet Dowels – Design Stash  3. Old Fashioned Cupcake Sign – Just a Little Creativity   4. Ruffled Onesie – Etcetorize   5. Tiny Tooth Fairy Notes – Rook No. 17

If you were in the spotlight, please feel free to grab a button.

Thank you again to everyone who linked a project and to everyone who came to visit. I loved looking at all the projects and visiting your sites.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Good Taste: tomato harvest pizza

I have a delicious recipe to share with you today. I’ve recently discovered how easy it is to make homemade pizza. And with a few shortcuts it’s a quick and easy meal after a busy day.

With the weather cooling down but summer homegrown veggies still plentiful, now is the perfect time to turn up that oven and make a fresh, yummy pizza. And as luck would have it, the super nice people at Carapelli Olive Oil sent me some Carapelli Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil to try out on one of their summer recipes.

I chose their Heirloom Tomato Pizza with Prosciutto and Provolone Cheese recipe but modified the ingredients to use items I had on hand.

Blog Olive Oil Pizza Collage

Here’s the original recipe:

Heirloom Tomato Pizza with Prosciutto and Provolone Cheese

1 (1 pound) frozen pizza dough, thawed or fresh pizza dough*
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1-1/2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon Carapelli Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
1/4 cup pizza sauce
1 cup shredded Provolone or mozzarella cheese
6 thin slices (2 ounces) prosciutto, torn into pieces
2 to 3 medium tomatoes, preferably a mix of colorful heirloom tomatoes
1/2 cup packed baby arugula 

Cooking directions:
Heat oven to 400oF. Roll dough out on a floured surface to a 10- to 12-inch circle. Sprinkle cornmeal over center of a large baking sheet or in a 12-inch pizza pan; transfer dough to baking sheet. Brush 1-1/2 tablespoons of the oil evenly over dough. Spread pizza sauce evenly over dough to 1/2 inch from edge. Top with cheese and prosciutto. Slice tomatoes thinly; shake each slice to discard excess seeds and juices. Arrange in a single layer over cheese. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until crust is deep golden brown and cheese is melted. 

Meanwhile, place arugula in a small bowl. Drizzle remaining 1/2 teaspoon oil over arugula; toss to coat. Sprinkle over pizza just before serving. Serves 6. 

*Pizza dough
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110o to 120o F)
Pinch of sugar
2-1/2 to 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Carapelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil

In a small bowl, combine yeast, warm water and sugar; let stand 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in work bowl of food processor, combine 2-1/2 cups of the flour, salt and olive oil. Process until combined. With motor running, gradually pour in yeast mixture through feed tube. Process until dough is elastic and pulls away from the work bowl. If necessary, add additional flour until mixture easily pulls away from work bowl. Place dough in a medium bowl lightly brushed with additional olive oil. Brush top of dough lightly with oil; cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Punch dough down and divide in half. Cover; let rest 10 minutes before rolling dough out or freezing up to 3 months. Makes enough dough for two 10-inch pizza crusts.
Preparation time: 20 minutes 

Rising and resting time: 55 minutes 

Here’s my version. I used frozen pizza dough that I let defrost and rise in the refrigerator overnight. I substituted ham for the prosciutto and bell pepper for the baby arugula. Use whatever you have – that’s the best part about pizza! For even more fun, make several individual pizzas and let everyone add their own toppings.

Then get out the napkins and enjoy!

Thanks for visiting.
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I was provided with samples of Carapelli Olive Oil but received no monetary compensation. All opinions are 100% mine.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fresh Look: my kitchen chicken {crackle paint technique}

Have you ever used a crackle paint technique? It’s something that’s been on my list for awhile and I found the perfect test subject in my kitchen.

Nestled on my spice shelf was this cute speckled chicken. I’ve had it for years and although I don’t have  country kitchen décor, she’s been happily sitting there looking very country for the longest time. Funny how things just start to blend in. Time for a fresh look…

Crackle Paint Examples FinalPhoto Sources:  1. Cameron Homemade   2. Frivoli Tea   3.  Wild Roses & Blackberries   4.  EHow
You can buy crackle paint medium or you can diy with Elmer’s Glue. Here’s the Elmer’s glue tutorial from their site. It couldn’t be easier.

How do I use Elmer's to create the painted crackle effect or antique look on furniture or crafts?
  1. Paint the object or furniture with an acrylic craft paint. Let dry.
  2. Cover the paint with a coat of Elmer's Glue-All glue.
  3. While still wet, paint on another coat of a different color of acrylic paint. The painted item will begin to crackle as it dries.
  4. When dry, cover with another coat of the Elmer's Glue-All as a sealer.

Blog White Chicken
I followed the instructions but my chicken didn’t crackle very much with one side having more cracks than the other. I had read that a thicker application of glue will result in large cracks and a thinner application will result in small cracks. In my attempt to get a lot of small crackles, I don’t think I applied enough glue.

It’s okay – she was test subject and I’ll practice the crackle technique on another piece using more glue next time.

In the meantime, she’s back up with my spices looking less country and partially crackled. 

Thanks for visiting.
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