Tuesday, March 31, 2009

~ Balanced Dinner in 30 Minutes ~

You may be wondering why I haven't blogged any recipes lately?  No, I am not out of recipes.  I just haven't cooked lately.  You can guess why :)

I work a weird schedule...11pm - 7/8pm.  So, by the time I come home, I am hungry and just want to make something real quick.  So, this is what I made in 30 minutes last night.

Looks good?  Salad with raspberry vinegarette dressing, pasta with fresh veggies and parmesean chicken.  Yum!  I think it has all the food groups....

Does it look like a lot of work?  The chicken needs to be breaded and fried, things need to be sliced, boiled, drained.  How can I do it within 30 minutes??  The key is multitask.

Ok, I cheated a little bit too.  But, I like to call it preparation.  It's salad in a bag.  I usually don't buy that stuff, but it was on sale.  It's Prego pasta sauce, but I added green chilies (my fiance likes it spicy), red bell peppers, and onions.  Fresh veggies is healthy and doesn't take a long time to slice up.

The chicken was cut and frozen over the weekend when I had the time to do it.  I buy huge family packs when it's on sale ($1.79/lb for chicken breast), cut it, date it, and stick it in the freezer.  In the morning, before I got to work, I take a pack out and stick it in the fridge to defrost.

Now....the details....

Step 0:  Boil water for pasta
Add some oil and salt in the water.  Put pasta in the pot when it boils.

Step 1:  Beat an egg
Uh.....in a bowl.  Enough details?

Step 2:  Pour Parmesean bread crumbs into a big bowl
You don't need a lot.  Just pour like half a cup into the bowl.  You can always add more if needed, but you can't put it back once you dip the chicken in it.

Step 3:  Heat up the pan
Hight heat please.

Step 4:  Slice up garlic
Just a few cloves.  

Step 5:  Pour oil in pan and put the garlic in it
The garlic should sizzle.

Step 6:  Turn down the heat to medium high

Step 7:  Dip the chicken in the egg, THEN the breadcrumbs, then put it in the pan
Cover all sides evenly.  Do one and put it in the pan, every other piece, you should flip the previous pieces.  When all the pieces are in there, continue to flip the pieces till you think they are cooked.  Chicken breast doesn't take that long to cook.  Slice it open when in doubt.  The meat should be white.

Step 8:  Turn off the heat for the pasta

Step 9:  Pour the prego sauce in a pot and heat it up

Step 10:  Slice up fresh veggies and dump it in the sauce
Stir occasionally.

Step 11:  Drain the pasta
Chicken should be all done by now too.

Step 12:  Take out salad and dressing and mix
Chicken should be done by now

Step 13:  Try the sauce
Because you added stuff, you may want to add additional seasoning like salt, chili powder, oregano, and whatever else.  I like to add ketchup.  I love ketchup.

Step 14:  Put everything on a plate and eat!

I used 1/2 lb of pasta, 1/2 jar of prego and, half of a huge red bell pepper, half of a green chili pepper, a small onion, and about 2 chicken breasts (cut into 7 pieces).  That's enough for my fiance and I and lunch for me today.

It takes practice to get a good work flow going.  What can you make in 30 minutes? :)

Monday, March 30, 2009

~ How to Photograph Clear Crystals ~

I have always had issues with take pictures of clear crystals.  The easier way is to use a black background, but the black background doesn't match my shop's look and feel.  Looks nice though.

Then, Licia of LiciaBeads advised me to use a gray background.  So, I took a gray cardstock and tried it out.

I am not happy with this though.  I think the gray is too light?  Maybe I need another pattern?

This is Licia's picture.... much nicer I must say.

So, I tried other backgrounds.  This is a pink and brown Juicy Couture lingerie box.

I think the dots maybe a little bit distracting.

Of course, nothing beats the mannequin shots.  The sun only shined into my living for 15 minutes yesterday!  I was taking my time and then, the sun went away and it started raining :(

Ooo, by the way, the mannequin's name is Yuki, like the hot nurse robot on Railway Galaxy:

I think I am going to reshoot all my clear crystal creations on the Yuki and in the Juicy Couture box.  I need to find her new clothes though.  Why are all my cute tank tops so low cut?!? :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

~ Upcycled Containers for Fish Food ~

What a beautiful sunday~!  Finally some sunshine!  I am busy making lots and lots of jewelry today, but I want to post a short note here.  A lot of people liked the Ocean Spray Bottle Fish Nursery that my dad created.  I just thought, I would show you what else he reused for the fishies.

We have three active fish tanks, and one waiting to be filled up.  We.....have a lot of fish and being the economical person that he is, my dad buys the food in bulk and divides the food into different containers for each tank.  Makes feeding a lot easier.

He just grabbed my contact solutions bottle from the recycle bin one day.  and cut off the tip a little bit.  He put the pebble fish food in it.  This one is great 'cause it snaps close, so even if it gets knocked off the top of the tank, nothing will spill out.  Also, it's so easy to control proportions.  Five shakes of this baby and the fishies are good :)

This one used to hold sprinkles that I got for cupcakes.  This has the flaky fish food.  Also snaps close and easily controls proportions.  He has a few of these with different food in them and they stack up nicely for the baby fishies.

Not as cool as the fish nursery, but I hope you guys like it!

Friday, March 27, 2009

~ My Beads Obsession ~

In celebration of my tax refund, I went on a supplies acquisition rampage!  I got a huge order of Swarovskis and sterling silver findings.  I have never ordered this much Swarovskis before and was surprised when it came in these cool Swarovski boxes:

So neatly packed!

Here's some of what I got, just looking at them got me all excited!

I got a bunch of pearls....looking into doing some bridal pieces :)

So, when I was ordering all this stuff, I realize that I really need to do inventory because I don't know what I have!  When I order, sometimes I order stuff that I already have and neglect to order some because I thought I have some.  It took 4 nights to do inventory of just my Swarovskis!  I don't think I am going to do the sterling silver stuff for a while.  Doing inventory sucks.

But, it's worth it.  It's all nicely stored in my Snap 'n' Stack boxes.  I love these boxes but they are a little expensive.  Like $8 for a stack of 3 at Target, I think.  But, they do go on sales after holidays like Halloween and Christmas 'cause they have the "holiday colors".  Just FYI :)

Got one stack of Swarovskis on the left and a stack of tools and other beads on the right.  This is my working space.  My dining table :)

Yay~!  I am finally done~!  I just need to write an application to help me track this stuff and to provide forms so I can input what I used for a creation and it'll automatically calculate the price and update my inventory for me.  That's my goal for April!  After I am done, I am certainly going to share with you all :)

Happy Friday~!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

~ Debut of the Red Magma Crystals ~

I love this new Swarovski crystal color, Red Magma~!  It's like Crystal Copper but bolder.  When I first saw the pictures of it, I thought it's just like another red.  I am a sucker for new things though, so I order some bicones and rondelles.  I am so happy when I saw them on Sunday!!  It feels so much warmer than the other reds like Siam and Light Siam.

I have been dying to do something with them, but I have been swamped with inventory.  I decided to track all the beads I have.  It has been a tough 3 nights and I am still not done.  I will be done tomorrow though and I am going to show you all my beads!  

Sorry for the digression.  So, I couldn't wait anymore.  I was almost done with inventory, but I keep hearing the beads whispering to me.  So, I made this pretty and simple necklace.  

I named it Fiery Night.  I am not sure why "Night".  Maybe it's because I made it at 2am?

Look at that beautiful color!

Also, my mannequin came!  So, I wanted to try her out...what should I name her?

Here she is being a nice girl.
Here she is showing some skin.

I am so excited to make something that I rather blog about it than sleep!  :)  I am going to add this beauty to my shop tomorrow!  Watch for it!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

~ Treasury: Sterling Silver in Your Ears ~

I don't see alot of treasuries of supplies.  So, I thought I would just show off some of my favorite earwires.  I want all of them.  Is my birthday coming up yet?!?!

Here are the shops featured in this treasury:
I am interested in making earwires too, but I must focus on what I am doing now before I branch out to other things.  Which one is your favorite?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

~ Fun, Sparkly, Music-in-Your-Ears Earrings ~

I am currently obsessed with making these fun earrings!  And I like their names too!  They are unique, a little bit ethnic (according to my mom), and just so colorful and sparkly!  I also enjoy taking pictures of them.  They are so versatile.  I started using a small blank canvas as a prop.  I like the texture that it has and how it provides a good platform for my pieces.

I started with this pair, pink and girly and I named them "Flirt with me".  This pair of earrings has the best heart to view ratio in my Etsy store.

Then, I really wanted to use my Fire Opal and Sun Swarovski crystals, so I made this one called "Fire Me Up".

This one is "Wave to Me".  I don't know if you can really tell, but I alternated sections of light and bold colors, like waves.  I really love the Indicolite color.

I thought I would make a pair with softer colors, "Sway with Me".  It's not as bold and certainly gets less views in my Etsy shop.  But, I like them!

I want to make more!  But, my order of headpins haven't come in yet.  I am planning on making more to match these names: 
  • Make Me Hot (Reds and Yellows)
  • Whisper to Me (Peach and Light Green)
  • Wink at Me (Pink and Orange)
  • Dance with Me (Reds and Purples)
  • Come with Me .... 
  • Toy with Me ...
What other names/colors should I try?  

Monday, March 23, 2009

~ Ocean Spray Bottle as Fish Nursery ~

I am all about reuse and upcycle.  I thought I was cool for reusing baby food containers as bead storage.  Then, I came home one day and saw this:

Hmm... what is it??  Well, my dad's fishies had babies.  He can't just leave them in the tank though.  It's hard to feed them in such a big area and the big fishes will eat them and it's just hard to see how they are doing.  So, he took a cranberry juice bottle, cleaned it, drilled holes in it and hung in in the fish tank.  Now, the little fishies are safe and comfy!

Here it is outside of the tank.  This one is a little bit different.  It has a compartment on top and the bottom can be opened.  I forgot what the compartment is for though.

My dad is awesome!  Look at these neatly drilled holes!

Here's a close up.  It's hard to take pictures of little fishies!  I actually went to a session about fish photography, but it's just easier said than done.

Cool right?  My dad has a lot more reuse/upcycle ideas.  Stay tuned for more!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

~ A Moment of Fear ~

I had a good time today!  My friend came to visit from Chicago and we had a great day, hanging out, reminiscing and such.  Time flew by and it was like 1:00 am when we parted in the heart of DC.  

To get back home, I had to drive up George Washington Parkway.  During the day, it's beautiful!!  But....it was 1am.  There were no lights.  There were no cars.  I was utterly alone for a few miles, surrounded by trees and darkness.  

I tried to be brave and not think about all those scary books and movies that I love so much.  All those scenes of people/bad things jumping out of the woods or appearing in the rearview mirror.  I made it though.  Got home without incident, played with Momo for a lil bit and decided to take a shower.

So....I just got in the shower, enjoying the steaminess.  All of a sudden, I heard scratching at the door.  And in that one moment, all the scary shower scenes in books and movies came rushing into my head.  It's 2am.  I am alone, in the shower, with scratching sounds at the door.  I just drove through some dark, lonely woods.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What if a blue hand reaches out to touch me (Grudge) ?!?!?  What if someone is now on the other side of the shower curtains?!?!

Then, I heard.....

Momo whining.

It was Momo.

You may wonder why I didn't think of that, why I got all worked up over nothing.  Well, Momo is enclosed on the first floor by 2 gates.  He's not trusted to be on carpet unsupervised yet.  But, somehow he got out!!  I haven't figured out how he did it yet, but hopefully I do.  Otherwise, he'll have to be crated tonight.

Sometimes, he's just too smart for his own good!

Friday, March 20, 2009

~Crystal and Pearl Hair Pins~

I almost forgot that I made hairpins before I started making jewelry last year.  I love hairpins and I have a ton!  I didn't know people made hairpins with Swarovski crystals till my friend showed me the ones she got for her wedding day.

What a shock!  They charged so much for 3 little crystals on hairpins at the bridal salon!  So, I was determined to make a bunch for the bridemaids (including me) for the wedding.  Now that I have tried it, I can kind of understand why they costed so much.  But, I still think they were way overpriced.

Her theme was green and brown, so I made these for myself.  I only used a few though...now they are sitting in a pretty box.

I experimented with this.  Also, sitting in a box now.  These flowers are cute :)

Some white ones too 'cause our dresses were brown and white...

Here's my lovely model:

I'll probably be making sets for my etsy shop sometime this month.  Simple ones or fancy ones?  I want to explore hair vines too.  Wedding season is coming up!  Very excited!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

~GA Tutorial: Basics to Advanced~

If you haven't set up a GA (Google Analytics) account for you Etsy shop, you should. It's another Etsy-related obsession of mine and it is very interesting.

For basic setup instructions, check out this article on the ACE blog: Google Analytics and Etsy, a picture book story. After you set this up, you can to see how many people visited, when, from where, what they looked at and what links they clicked on or searched on google to get to your shop.

Great, but I think a very important question is, what did Etsians search to get to your shop? You have to setup GA to do that. Here's the storque article about it: Etsy Web Analytics Enhancement.

Awesome!  Now...another common question is:  "Was I on the Front Page?"  More setting up to do, but it's not hard.  Good instructions can be found on Blog Handmade:  Using GA Goals as front page alerts.

Now, you get 4 goals in GA, so let's not be wasteful.  You can apply the same concept discussed on Blog Handmade and find out whether your shop visits came from someone looking through the categories or pounce or if they looked around your shop through clicking on pictures in "Seller's other items" widget on the listings page.

Here are the goal URLs you can use:
  • Seller's Other Items:  http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?ref=vl_other
  • Pounce:  http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?ref=pounce
  • Click on a picture while browsing a category:  http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?ref=sc
  • Click on link while browsing a category:  http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?ref=cat2_galley
  • Recently Listed Items: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?ref=recently_listed_items
*edit*  I saw this list on the Etsy forum.  It's more complete.

Here's what my screen looked up after I setup a few that I wanted:

I relisted a pair of earrings today and I got 3 views from people clicking on a picture in the category!  Yay!

Oooo yeah, this is what I renewed...yes it's a shameless plug :)

Hope this is helpful for you!

~My Treasury: Fuzzy Chicks~

It's Wednesday again~! Is it spring yet?? It has been so dark and dreary outside, so I want to look at something bright and cheerful. Plus, it's almost Easter! And....I was born in the year of the rooster and I have always loved little chicks. And they are yellow! Can there be any more reasons to love these little chicks?

Don't forget that you can click on the picture to go to the item listing on Etsy! Please support these wonderful artists!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

~A Day Away From Etsy~

I have been pretty bad these past couple of days.  I was chatting and forum combing for hours on Etsy.  I really need to stop etsying before I go to bed.  I didn't sleep till 3am last night!.  Bad, bad, bad!!!  

So, today, I am taking a break from it all.  From now till tomorrow morning, I am not going to sign into Etsy.  And no craftcult either!!  Nothing!  Wish me luck!

Happy St Patrick's Day~!

Here's something green just for this happy day :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

~Final Fantasy Memories~

During my first couple years of high school, I was just a typical quiet girly girl.  I liked pretty, sparkly things, dabbled in jewelry making, drawing and painting, read VC Andrew novels and other books, and studied hard.  I am not exactly sure how this happened, but I became a geek.

I started building web pages.  I started watching anime.  And the geekiest thing of all...I started playing role playing games.  Thanks to my little brother.  The memories!  We used to take turn playing Xenogears and Legend of Legaia.  I played while he slept and vice versa.

I was so obsessed with Xenogears that I had wallpapers on my computer and I was drawing the characters like this one.

The obsession just escalated when I started playing Final Fantasy VIII.  Unfortunately, I never played Final Fantasy VII and most fans consider that the best one.  But, I love FFVIII then and now.  Squall is so hot~!  :)  And of course, I can totally see myself wearing Rinoa's yellow dress.  I watched the ending on youtube yesterday and felt everything all over again- all the pain and joy and triumph.

I played Final Fantasy IX, but wasn't as happy with it.  Then, Final Fantasy X arrived.  Another awesome game.  Tidus is not really my type and I wasn't very thrilled with Yuna's outfit.  But, they were sweet and romantic too.  

Now, Lulu's outfit is nice.  She actually inspired me to make a bracelet which will debut here in a few weeks.

She's so hot!

FFX is so good that they came out with FF X-2.  But, I think it's for girls.  The main characters are girls and they change outfits to get more power.  It's fun for me though :)  Look at these outfits~!  Hot stuff!

Of course, there's romance.

I was obsessed with Final Fantasy XII for a long time too.  Though, this time, I am not as thrilled with the character designs or the story.  It's just a very, very good game.

I can't wait till Final Fantasy XIII come out!!!  I may have to buy a Playstation 3 just for this game.  

I guess I am still a girly girl.  The RPGs that I like have great love stories.  That's why I am not crazy about FF IX and FF XII.  

And I just love the graphics.  Every time I play, I wish I can create graphics like that!  I have tried and realized it's way beyond my capabilities.  I have so much respect for 3D artists.  I have gotten over my Bejeweled obsession already.  Maybe I should go and finish FF XII :)
Blog Widget by LinkWithin