A Year in Review

Reflection is a good thing.  Sometimes you may feel that you haven't done a lot in a year, probably because you have that much more you want to do in your head.  But as this year comes to a close, it is very beneficial to reflect on what has transpired.  Here are my reflections:

On the crafting front:

I also - 
  • participated in a craft show
  • continued to build upon my relationship with other crafters, both on and off line
On the photography front:
I photographed - 
  • two engagement sessions
  • one bridal shower
  • two wedding receptions 
  • a few portrait sessions
  • a pottery show
  • a fashion shoot
  • a baby shower
  • two family reunions
  • several gatherings
  • and a lot of food!
I also - 
  • joined a photography club
  • participated in an art exhibit
And how can I forget that in 2010, Artistic Expressions by Elisabeth became an official registered business and a fulfillment of a long-time dream.

Thank you all for following along in this creative journey.  I wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year in 2011.

Happy New Year,

Crafting during the Christmas Holidays

This is a quick post to let you know that yes, I finished some projects over the holidays.  It was such a wonderful feeling to be able to craft on consecutive days.

The Christmas Red Scarf

Gray and Purple Fingerless Gloves

Black Slouch Beret with Flower

I also made a child-version of the fingerless glove, but I only have made one glove so far.  Hopefully I'll get around to making its match!

Out with the Old

...in with the new, the adage goes.

This post is a bit bitter sweet. 

As I mentioned before, I'm embarking upon a hair challenge in 2011 and I had to get a trim.  I knew it was overdue, but after my trim I was taken back a bit.  I fought back tears (I know it sounds a bit crazed, but it's true).  I know you have to let go of what's damaged and serving no real purpose, but all I could think about at that moment and many moments after that is how long it took to grow what I had and the hairstyles I just was able to do with my length that I now won't be able to do for a while...again.  I felt I had gone back to last year's length in one salon visit.  The good thing is that my hair feels really good and I can tell that the new practices that I started recently are paying off.  Even still, I'm still wearing a hat, even as I type....


The supposed "trim" 
Bye Bye!

(If you notice, you'll see that vertical "line" on my forehead 
which tells you when things aren't so well.  It's not in the Before picture.) 

Today, while wearing my hat, I finished purging my closets and drawers.  This was another lesson in letting go.  It was time to let go of all those clothes that aren't being worn, whether new or not and regardless of who gave them to you.  If they're in good condition, it's better to let someone else enjoy them than to sit around in the closets and drawers for some unknown time when they might be worn.  So, I let them go.

Out with the old, in with the new!

New Blog Design

What a difference a break makes!  I've been desperately looking for a blog design that I would be satisfied with, and I think I've found it.  (Don't hold me to it; you know I'm prone to change.)  But, what do you think?

It's still a work in progress.  I'm going to change out the pictures in the Polaroids in the header image with images of my own.  I'm still working on the links under the buttons too, but some links are up.  Go ahead, check them out.

I recently finished the "About Me" page.  To access that, click directly on "About Me" in the header even though when you hover over it, other menus will appear.  I also created a page for the 2011 Hair Challenge, sponsored by MopTop Maven (which can also be found under the "About Me" menu button) that I'm about to embark upon starting January 1, 2011.  I'm prepping for it now, starting with a much needed trim on tomorrow.

I'm so excited about a new layout in such a happy shade of pink.  I've also got some new design ideas for after I finish what I'm currently doing.  (You like how I'm being evasive, right?)  :-)

p.s. If you've interested in joining the 2011 Hair Challenge, stop over MopTop Maven's blog.  It's open for people of all hair types, textures, and styles.  The bottom line is you aim to grow healthy hair in 2011.

Curried Red-Lentil Stew with Vegetables

If you've never heard of Dana Treat, then you're in for a treat.  Let me mention up front that she is vegetarian so you won't be disappointed when you go clicking over on her site.  lol  I found Dana's blog/website some time ago, drooled in fascination over all of her delicious meals, but never tried one.  Yesterday I finally decided to make her Curried Red-Lentil Stew with Vegetables.  It was so aromatic; I wish you could have smelled my kitchen!

Over the holidays I made a quick trip to an Indian store while out of town and picked up some red lentils.  I should have gotten some more curry and turmeric because I do know that all curry isn't equal and my turmeric was new but I wasn't sure if it was a good one.  I ended up using the curry I have which is a Jamaican curry.

I'm not so sure of the etiquette of posting recipes that someone already modified, so I'll just link you over to her blog post for the recipe.  Click here for recipe.

Curried Red-Lentil Stew with Vegetables


 Red Lentil Stew with Vegetables
(I served mine over basmati rice)

Dana gives private cooking lessons, as she is a personal chef.  If I lived in Seattle, I would definitely invest in her lessons.  Until then, I'll just keep perusing her blog!
 Buen Provecho,

Recounting Christmas 2010

This year Christmas came on a Saturday, so for the first time in a long while, I actually woke up on Christmas Day at my grandma's house.  We (the parents, brother, SIL, and myself) drove in on Christmas Eve, stopping and snacking at every house of family members along the way.  Eventually we reached the small town where my grandma lives.  The town that doesn't even have a stop light!  Nevertheless, there's no place like grandma's.

There are a few things that WILL happen at grandma's on any holiday, but definitely Christmas:
  1. There will be food, but here lately she's given that to her kids to do.
  2. My uncle will cook almost everything.  Surprisingly though, he shared the kitchen with my mom this year.
  3. People will rotate seating all day.  Her house is small so if you get up, your seat is for grabs.
  4. Photo albums will be looked at.
  5. Pictures will be taken.
  6. My mom and grandma will argue that they can't take good pictures and then they brace themselves to take it anyways.  No matter how many you take of them, they won't be satisfied until they look at them in print sometime later.
  7. You will join hands in a circle to say grace.
  8. There will be music.  Probably that same cassette tape from long ago.  Probably quartet music, but music nonetheless.
Now here's a short slideshow recounting the day at Grandma's....

Holiday Dinner 2010

Tonight I attended the holiday dinner I mentioned to you a little while back.  And it was at the Country Club after all!  I thoroughly enjoyed my meal.  I wish that I could have taken photos.  I've always been enamored by the art of decorating a plate of food.  Chefs are very creative that way.

Well I never found a top to match the green skirt after all.  And so in a mad rush - I'm talking like the time I got home from work was the time I was supposed to be leaving out for the dinner (don't ask) - I threw together a few items and this is what I came up with:

Black spandex tee shirt, black skirt with a hem that flares out, a cool purplish-black sweater I found on clearance last week, and a scarf that I tied around my waist like a cumber bun.  Then I wore some black leather knee boots.  No holiday red, but I was satisfied.

My First Craft Fair Experience

Wear something you made, one fiber artist told me on Friday night.  
You know that's kind of hard, but I wore my knitted fingerless gloves and a semi-felted 
red, black, and white flower in my hair.

was a wonderful opportunity.  Did I sell a whole lot and make tons of money?  Of course not!  But, I was glad to participate in a festival that made me feel I was in a non-threatening environment.  The crafters there were super kind.  I got lots of feedback, tips, compliments that I will put to use at the next craft fair experience.  In fairness I was participating in a pottery festival that had other types of craft forms there, but mostly potters.  And although it was well advertised, this is only the second year of the festival, and it rained...a lot...over the weekend.  But I still had a wonderful time.  I'm so glad to have done this and now my head continues to swim with ideas.  :-)

I have some photos to share, some I took when I went to the preview on Friday and some my cousin took with her cell phone so I could keep my word about showing pictures.

I am super, super thankful to have shared a booth with Erica of Erica L. King Designs (ELK Bags on Etsy).  We had a lot of items packed in that one space, but we made it!  Erica takes anything she finds and turns it into functional art.  Check out her shop.

Pictured above are some of Erica's creations.

My cousin helped me out a great deal!

Erica and me.

A close up of my table.

That's it for now!  Gotta get going on some orders.  :-)

So Here's What I'm Taking....

to the fair:
  • 7 scarves
  • 4 neckwarmers
  • 2 shawls
  • 2 hat/neckwarmer sets
  • 2 blankets
  • 1 dishcloth/scrubbie set
  • 2 hat/scarf sets
  • 1 eyeglass case
  • 12 hats
  • 7 handbags/hobo bags
  • 3 change purses
  • 2 flower clips
  • 15 notecards
Hoped for even more, but I'm satisfied with what I can take.  I've still got to finish packing and weave in loose ends that I put off for later. 

I also received some more orders:  fingerless gloves (I'm on it, Sofull Sista), a Christmas red scarf, a toddler beret, a vintage style handbag.  And I set a personal goal for my stash.  I may tell you about it or just show you.  Yeah, I'll just show you.  :-)

Preparing for the Fair

I'm busy preparing for the upcoming craft fair every chance I get.  I don't have too much time to make new things, but I'm finishing up the older items already in stock.  That means weaving in loose ends, etc.  I also received an email stating that Christmas decorations were to be brought so I'm not sure if that means tables should be displayed with Christmas decor.  That's what I'm assuming so I'm looking through the stash to see what I have; hence the Christmas plaid table cloth.  Remember those thrifted Christmas decorations from last year?

I'm still looking to borrow from someone a traditional coat hanger with the wooden pegs so that I can display bags and purses.  My dad's convinced he can make me one by Friday, but it's really no need.  His heart is in the right place though.  Something will turn up.  Plus I have to consider that I'm the only one packing and unpacking all this stuff.  You know I'm taking Desiree, and she's a handful.

Anyways, this weekend I started laying items out on my craft table to get an idea of what I had and how to arrange.  Now I'm so thankful to have a craft table that has a center fold!

Here's some of what I have:

I also finished up the hat I was working on.  It's got earflaps and a waist-length scarf attached.  I'm going to put my notes on my Ravelry page.  So far, this is my favorite hat.  I'll definitely make more of these.  Great use for scrap yarn.

Yes my friends, this hat was completely made from pre-existing yarns (i.e. navy blue and white - from that navy/white baby blanket, orange - Ana Luz's lapghan, light blue - that polka dotted scarf).  I have ideas!!!!

Now I'm working on a table runner....

Oh yeah, almost forgot.  Some time ago, I ordered some satin labels to go inside of my custom designs.  I ordered them from all the way from Paris (via Etsy) and they got here before I knew it.  I also ordered some more business cards from a different company this time (123print.com).  Loving the new color scheme.  :-)

Lucky Girl

Tonight I smiled a great big smile.  Why?

Reason 1:

Image Credit:  AfroMartha

Tonight I received this amazing scarf I purchased from Yetunde of Jesplayin (Etsy Shop) and AfroMartha (Etsy Shop).  I love her amazing cornrows design and this fabric.  So soft.  Thanks, Yetunde!

Reason 2:
Image Credit:  MiA

I found out that I won MiA's of VickeVira (Etsy Shop) handmade bracelet in one of her blog drawings!  I can't wait, but of course I will since it's coming from overseas.  :-)

Happy Friday everyone!

NC Pottery Fair


Guess who will be participating in this?  Yours truly.  This will be my first craft event.  Erica from ELK Bags (Etsy link) and I will be sharing a booth.  :-)

Hometown Christmas 2010

Tonight I had the opportunity to attend Hometown Christmas 2010 in the town where I work.  This event started a couple of years ago, but this was my first time being able to attend.  All the businesses in the downtown area stay open until 8:00 p.m., the business owners serve hot drinks and snacks, and visitors get to socialize and do a little shopping too.

It was really pretty with the luminaries lighting up the available streets, Christmas decorations everywhere.  The local middle school band played Christmas songs and of course, there was a visit from Mr. Claus himself!  I spotted many of my students and their families, some people I hadn't seen in a while (even though the town is very small), but you know my eye will always find the crafter in the crowd.

Out of all the vendors, my eye was drawn to the booth with the monogrammed purses and the tables filled with handmade jewelry and other small accessories.  I spotted a bag with one of my initials on it and made it my own.  The bag is very well made and should have really been priced higher, but I find that crafters have a hard time pricing their work.  Anyways, the crafter, her crafting sister-in-law and I shared ideas, business cards, and I went home a happy camper.

Being that I stopped by Hometown Christmas right after work, I was without my camera.  Fortunately, however, I spotted my long-time photographer friend who had his.  So, if you want to get a glance at our Hometown Christmas, check this link to his blog.

2010 Holiday Catalog

I'm thrilled to show you the new Holiday Catalog by the members of the Etsy Artists of Color.  Check out this fabulous guide.  One of my items is inside.  :-)

The Merger

I've officially merged my blogs.  Some of you may have remembered my other blog, El Viaje de Vida that focused on my journey first with jogging, food, and the exploration into food photography.  Then I moved my craft blog to this location.  Now I've finally merged my blog posts from El Viaje to this blog so that I can officially delete the old blog, email account, and just manage this one.  Streamlining is a really good thing.

Holiday Fashion Help

I need your help.  Within the next two weeks I am to attend this holiday dinner.  Think country club. 

Hors d'Oeuvres:  
Crab Bundle/Sweet Potatoes
Spring Roll/Chilies Sauce

Mixed Spring Salad, Balsamic Vinaigrette

Filet of Salmon broiled with white wine lemon butter, capers, and orange segments
Served with Potatoes Au Gratin and Sauteed Vegetables

Creme Brulee, Coffee, Tea

You get the idea?  Anyways, you know I'm around kids all day and now I get to hang out with adults.  I'm not really sure of the fashion etiquette, it's been a while, but someone gave me this skirt recently (still has the tags on it too) and I thought it might be a starting point.

The label says it's "marine blue", which looks an awful lot like green to me, and the fabric is some rayon/silk blend, but my first thoughts were something like crushed velvet.  What really caught my eye was this belt though.  I love those glittering jewels.

Now my friends, if I choose to wear this skirt, anyone have any ideas of what to match it with?  I'm pretty sure it probably originally had a matching top, but I know me; I wouldn't have worn it then for sure.  That bottom fabric would overwhelm me.


Chinese Chicken Stew

For the recipe, hop on over to Alessandra's blog.  The recipe is posted there.

Now, I think you know me well enough to know that I almost always modify recipes, except for baked goods.  So, my main modification for this recipe was that I didn't use a crock pot; I used my Dutch Oven instead. I also added red and green bell peppers and rearranged the order I added the ingredients since I wasn't slow cooking.  The one thing I'll do next time is add a little salt to the chicken first.  Most of my spices/seasonings are salt-free so that I can control the salt-intake, so yeah, I should have added a little salt to the chicken.  :-)

Hands down, this recipe is so good and flavorful!  I had everything but two ingredients on hand (the chicken thighs and mushrooms) and I have been waiting a long time to find a way to use Chinese Five Spice.  That spice is so aromatic, I can't wait to use it again.

Ok, no more talking, just photos now.


Served over a bed of jasmine rice and topped with fresh cilantro. 

Bon Appetit!