Thursday, April 30, 2009

Crafty Cocktails with the DC Craft Mafia

We're finally recovered from last week's Crafty Cocktails outing with the DC Craft Mafia at Open City. Knitting, sewing, cocktails and lots of fun!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Earth Day on Etsy

With Earth Day only a day away - this Wednesday! - I did a search on Etsy to see what crafters have to offer. You can find a lot of great sales and great ways to reuse and recycle. Here are a few stand-outs:

There are a lot of super cute reusable sandwich bags! These almost make me wish I didn't work from home - brown baggin' it has to be fun with these bags. [greenstreetbags]

What could be more environmentally friendly than a reusable shopping bag made out of recycled plastic bags? Not much! Buy the pattern to crochet your own. [tlwoldc]

Here's another fun sandwich bag. I also really love the apple print fabric! [mamamade]

Make your morning cuppa' a little more earth-friendly with this reusable cup sleeve! [agreensleeve]

Make your own snacksleeves with this PDF pattern! [agreensleeve]

I was going to make some very clever comment about this little tote bag made from Capri Sun pouches, but mostly I just want some juice now. [iluvmojo]

If I wasn't allergic to wool, I'd seriously consider buying this adorable skirt - the flowers are from recycled wool sweaters! [consciousclothing]

Actually, *this* recycled baby sweater is what I would get - you know, if I was a toddler. [consciousclothing]

Have any other fun Earth Day finds? Leave a comment here with a link.

More Peeps Postcards!

San Francisco anyone?

Offering some pointers on my golf swing.....

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Why Support Your Local Artists?

For years now the buzz words have been ringing and won't stop echoing no matter where you live - "Buy Handmade", "Support Your Local Artists," "Handmade Revolution," "Craft Revolution" - whatever term you use the message is simple - supporting your local artists and crafters go a long way in making for a cleaner, healthier and richer environment for everyone.

We all know that production of handmade products have lesser impact on the environment. Take a look at HerbanLifestyle's post on making violet syrup. Everything made from simple natural ingredients - no chemicals or harmful byproducts. There are even crafters that recycle materials to create new products, like creating jewelry out of found objects, or sewing tote bags out of a pair of old denims - how much greener can that be?

Supporting your local crafter also strenthens community. Everything comes full circle. Your local artists and crafters are independent businesses in your community and when you buy their products the money actually goes back into your community by way to taxes. But as a buyer, you also have the advantage of buying products that are high quality and give you value for money. Why pay $40 for a jar of salt scrub from a retail chain, when you can get a much better quality scrub from your local crafter for half the price? (Sorry, my obsession with bath and body products is showing!)

Last but not the least, a handmade item is special and unique. Because each item is hand wrought and created it's the best gift item to give a loved one or yourself. When you give a handmade product, you're telling your friend/loved one that they are special and unique. What better way to show you care for them?

So the next time you come across an arts and crafts show, show your support and buy handmade!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Shout out to the Richmond Craft Mafia

In the lead up to "the boss of all craft shows" (Spring Bada-Bing!), our southern cousins at the Richmond Craft Mafia included an interview with the DC peeps on their blog. Woot! Woot!

And in case it wasn't on your calendar already, head on south to Richmond this Sunday for some wickedly good indie craftiness!

Friday, April 17, 2009

How To Make Violet Syrup

Over the past few years, there has been a rising interest in DIY. And more recently, as the economy has taken a a downturn, many more people are turning to the ideals of simple, handmade. There is a satisfaction you get from making things yourself that you can never attain by just buying stuff. And you have the comfort of knowing exactly what when into it (e.g., natural ingredients, no sweatshop labor, no lead). I like the idea of getting back to basics, and in that vein, I'd like to share an olde timey recipe for violet syrup. It's easy, it's fun, and it tastes good too!

This tutorial was originally posted on


I love the deep purple hues of violets. These beautiful little flowers grow in abundance this time of year, so I took the opportunity to try out one of the recipes from Gibbons' book, Stalking the Healthful Herb. According to Euell Gibbons, violets are "nature's vitamin pill" containing 150mg of vitamin C per 100g of blossoms, three times the amount of that in oranges weight for weight.

I decided to make violet syrup, since it is healthful and a gourmet addition to desserts or cocktails.

So, I went out into my yard and picked about a cupful of violet blossoms. I did this in the early afternoon on a sunny day, a good time to harvest blossoms and herbs since the sun has dried off any moisture that might have collected on them overnight.

I placed the blossoms in a clean, dry canning jar.


Then I covered them in an equal amount of boiling water (1 cup). You can see from the photo that the water begins to take on a beautiful light blue hue.


Then, I let the mixture steep for 24 hours. I then strained out the violet blossoms (and put them in my compost canister, pictured behind the jar). What was left was this gorgeous jewel-toned blue liquid. Violet essence!


I put the strained liquid into a sauce pan and added the juice of half a lemon, and 2 cups of sugar (the only sugar I had was vanilla sugar that I had made by placing a halved vanilla bean in a jar of sugar and letting it sit for two months -- the color was a light brown, which may have affected the color of my syrup). The addition of the lemon juice caused a chemical reaction, turning the blue liquid into a pinkish-purpleish liquid. I brought this to a boil, and cooked it for about 3 minutes.


I then poured the syrup into a sterilized canning jar, and placed it in the refrigerator. The final result is below. I will try this recipe again with less lemon juice. I'm not sure how the taste will compare, but I'd like to preserve as much of the gorgeous blue color of the violet water as possible.


According to Gibbons, ancient herbalists used violet syrup to cure epilepsy, pleurisy, jaundice, consumption, insomnia and more. He found that it had demulcent and expectorant properties, making it a tasty cough syrup. However, he recommends enjoying just for the pure pleasure of the taste, putting on pancakes, making drinks from it, or pouring some over shaved ice.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Where my peeps at?

Several DC Craft Mafia members met up at La Casa de Ninny Saturday for a photo shoot of our crafty wares. Shayne of Novelty Kitten gave each of us a few these little peeps since they kept getting in trouble with her. A day later look who I found in my picnic basket! These peeps are relentless. I caught this one trying to get in my Izze! Where will they pop up next?

Tweet! Tweet!

Last Saturday, Erica Burns, Novelty Kitten, Polly Scoots and BeadJewelryShopgirl decided to hang in NinnyCat's cozy pad. Novelty Kitten introduced an adorable new peep - Tweet! Watch Tweet's adventures as she makes the rounds with each DCCM peep and gives her point of view on art, crafts and life! She's already getting into trouble with BeadJewelryShopgirl!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Cherry Blossom Mania!

The trees are breathtaking and the Cherry Blossom Festival is in full swing here in our nation's capital. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Hanging with the DC Craft Mafia

Spring is here and the DC Craft Mafia is kicking it into high gear! We're taking part in some craft-tac-u-lar shows and planning some sweet soirees in the coming months. First up:

And you're still saving the date, right? For Crafty Cocktails with the DC Craft Mafia! Tuesday, April 21, 8 p.m. at Open City .