Sunday, October 27, 2013

OctoberFest '13 Blog Hop

I'd like to give a big thank you to Rita of Toltec Jewels for Jewel School Friends for hosting this autumn-inspired blog hop.

I'm currently getting my stock made for a really big holiday craft festival and haven't had a lot of extra time to make any jewelry purely for fun so, I decided to share a favorite autumn recipe and my variations.

I really love pumpkin so,  I buy up a year's supply each autumn because it's not always available during the summer and I crave pumpkin year 'round.  I'm embarrassed to admit it but I've been known to panic when I start running low on my stash of tinned pumpkin.  I have no preference between sweet and savory pumpkin recipes but when I do bake with pumpkin, I tend to prefer my pumpkin with warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice.  If you like that flavor combination, you'll love this recipe.

King Arthur Flour is one of my favorite sources for flour (the others are Arrowhead Mills and Bob's Red Mill) and their website is a fantastic source for well-tested recipes that will not fail and waste a lot of expensive ingredients.  International readers will appreciate that their recipes are offered in both Imperial and metric versions.  

Their recipe for Easy Pumpkin Bread is excellent as written but with a little tweaking, it can really become your recipe that suits your family.  

The link shown above will take you to  the original recipe and my variations are listed below:

  • 1 cup light olive oil or organic canola oil or substitute ¼ C of unsweetened applesauce for ¼ C of the oil
  • 2 2/3 cups granulated unbleached sugar or substitute dark brown sugar for granulated sugar  
  • 4 large eggs  
  • 2 cups (or one 15-ounce can) pumpkin when fresh pumpkin is out of season or 2 C of cooked pie pumpkin (sweet pumpkin)
  • 2/3 cup filtered or distilled water--our tap water is heavily chlorinated
  • 3 1/3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or substitute Arrowhead Mills (whole wheat) Pastry Flour for 1 C of the all-purpose flour  
  • 1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder  
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt 
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon homemade vanilla extract (add cut vanilla beans to bourbon or dark rum and allow to steep at least two months before using--I like the added flavor that the darker spirits add so I don't use vodka) 
  • ½ C chopped walnuts and ½ C pecans (I've also baked this with black walnuts and hickory nuts and both single nut versions were excellent) 
  • ¾ C chocolate chips, optional 
  • ¾ C dried cranberries, optional  
  • I do not sprinkle sugar on top   

I bake the pumpkin bread according to the original directions.  This bread is excellent right out of the oven and remains fresh for several days unrefrigerated and a week if it's refrigerated.  I love to bake this ahead of time during the holidays because it freezes well and after thawing, it is indistinguishable from loaves that were not frozen. 

I hope that you and your family enjoy this pumpkin bread as much as I do!

pumpkin bread

Please visit the other participants:

Andrea Glick-Zenith  
Dolores Raml       
Karla Morgan              
Susie Harris              
Mischelle Andrade    
Kay Thomerson          
Jean Yates                  
Kelly Hosford Patterson
Kathy Lindemer          
Liz E                              
Jasvanti Patel            
Christie Murrow          
Jodie Marshall            
Andrea Trank              
Dini Bruinsma            
Elsie Deliz  Fonseca  
Karla Morgan              
Vera Lynn                    
Rana Wilson              
Catherine King          
Lily Vincent                  
Janice Hidey (Janimar)
Cory Tompkins          
Candida Castleberry
Cynthia Kent Machata
Alicia Marinache        
Linda Anderson        
Leah Curtis                
Jennifer Reno (JenRen)
Robin Reed                
Tanty Sri Hartanti        
Lisa Lodge                  
Ingrid A.                        
Judy Turner                
Gina Hockett              
Nelly May                      
Tanya McGuire            
Sonya Stille                  
Carol D.                      
Asri Wahyuningsih    
Ginger Bishop            
Shaiha Williams        
Toltec Jewels (Rita, our hostess)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Content Scraping

As if I haven't had enough to worry about with all of the Etsy nonsense, I have found that my blog has been a victim of content scraping.  As you would expect, the stolen content now ranks higher in Google search than  on my own damned blog.  I'm not going to provide any links because I'm not about to give them any more traffic than they've already stolen from me.  Google it if you're curious but be sure to click on the cached versions.

DCMA takedown notices are a pain in the ass to submit but I guess I'll just have to add that newest pain to the ever-growing stack of things that I must accomplish in the very near future.  I wonder when I'll actually have any time to get back to making jewelry?

For those of you who read my blog via RSS feed, you will find that my posts are now truncated.  I'm sorry that it will be less convenient but it is necessary.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Temporary Shops

I have opened new shops on Zibbet.  I won't close them when my website is ready; instead, they will serve as my temporary shops right now and as additional shops later.  All of us who sell handmade need to have as many 'irons in the fire' as possible!

 Libellula Jewelry

  Cicada Silver

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Bye Bye, Etsy!

I had planned to let my listings expire but I am totally sick of all the worry that accompanies selling on Etsy. I wasted a lot of time sitting on the Etsy carousel going around and around but never getting anywhere. I finally jumped off.

My blog won't be going anywhere and the addresses will not be changing. Both and will still redirect to this blog. 

(Coming Soon!)
This site will include:
  •  Libellula Jewelry
  • Cicada Silver
  • Firefly Supply Shop

Failure of Imagination?

I can't improve on Doug's post:

UPDATE: Miss Fakey Fake is learning how to back pedal. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Excellent Blog Post: Sh*t Craft Show Shoppers Say

The blog, Art 2 The Extreme has a great post that I'd like to share.

I'd like to add a few points to Nicole's list:

  • Do not tell a metalsmith that you know that she didn't make the jewelry in her display.  No; my husband did not make it. (Men--I'm talking to YOU.  Stop being sexist!)
  • Do not tell me that you "can get the exact same thing at the flea market".  Have fun trying!
  • Please do not set your drinks on my tables and then tell me not to worry that "coffee will wash right out".  
  • Please don't let your children take multiple business cards.  This is not really a big problem for me because I stamp and emboss my own cards so, they're relatively inexpensive. Some cards such as Moo Cards are much more expensive and a very thin stack of those cards could have easily cost four or five dollars.  Most artists can't afford that much waste.
  • Please do not photograph our work.  It is rude and makes us think that you intend to have your aunt or cousin or best friend copy it for you.  We work very hard on our designs and have enough to worry about without the added stress of wondering if we're going to start seeing copies of our designs at the next craft market.
  • If you own a boutique, please do not lead us on about how much you would like to carry our creations if you aren't serious.  Time is money and when we take the time to meet with shop owners and email photos and you never take the time to return calls or email us, you've wasted our time which could have been better spent creating or taking care of other business matters.
None of these comments are meant to be taken in a manner that would suggest that I don't love my customers.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  The problem is that the other shoppers with the bad behavior prevent me from giving my full attention to the serious customers who deserve it.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Little Guy Doesn't Stand A Chance

UPDATE (11/13/13):
Your desperate attempt to spam my blog, Allison, only serves to make you look even worse.  Comments have been turned off and will remain 'off' on this post!

Etsy Sellers Partnering With Manufacturers

One seller that is exalted in Etsy's free advertising blog post states in the comments, "However, I work with retailers and that is how/why I started working with a local small business, Fall River Apparel. They are a small company of 5 seamstresses, and are just as dedicated to making super quality handmade products."

Does THIS look like "a small company of 5 seamstresses"?

If Etsy can redefine "manufactured" as being the same as "handmade" then maybe she can redefine "5".

Updated to add:

A seller made an excellent comment in the forum when describing how Etsy's new policy of lumping manufactured products in with handmade products:
" My example. - the free range butcher at the farmers market that people travel miles to shop at because they value quality, animal welfare, want to support local farmers etc suddenly puts up a sign that says
'Now offering feed lot beef, May or may not be imported'. Then they refuse to tell you which meat is which
I'd have a beef with that
I'd have to go find another butcher"

Buyers want to know the truth!

UPDATE  (10/15):
Etsy continues to flaunt the shops who are having their products manufactured and the Chairwoman of the Board of Etsy has declared that if you are against the new changes at Etsy that you must have "a fundamental failure of imagination about how marketplaces can grow".  Condescending much?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Future of My Etsy Shops

My husband and I have decided to phase out my Etsy shops.  He knows how disgusted I've become with Etsy and Chad Dickerson so, he gave me the push and his blessing.  No more items will be added and listings will be allowed to expire.   I've grown dead tired of what Etsy has become and I've decided that we have to part ways.  My husband and I are currently making our future shop plans.

I will keep my buying account (assuming that Etsy doesn't close it out of spite) so that I can make purchases from my favorite sellers who have chosen to remain but sell nowhere else.

The Brave New "Etsy World" Order
Leslie (Admin)
"Hi there,
Shops are now allowed to use third party or what has been referred to as drop shipping. It's completely possible that items will ship from a different location than where they are made or where the shop is located."

Etsy Praises The Shops That Use Manufacturers 

Monday, October 7, 2013

An Assortment of New Work in Silver

necklaces by Cicada Silver
Fine & Sterling Silver Necklaces by Cicada Silver
Left to right:  Fine silver lentil bead, fine silver sea shell pendant, amethyst geode sterling silver pendant,  fine silver silver agate pendant, fine silver flower pendant, and fine silver basket pendant

Regular blog readers will recognize the amethyst geode necklace because I've posted photos of it but the others were completed last week.

None of these items are listed in Cicada Silver on Etsy nor will they be listed.  Please email me if you're interested in one of the necklaces.  Thanks.

SO WHAT if Jerry Jones Uses A Flip Phone!

Have we Americans become so incredibly materialistic that it's considered shameful to not use a smart phone?  I've got news for all those people who commented on Twitter suggesting that Mr. Jones doesn't know how to use a smart phone or is too cheap:  Some people actually use phones until they break!  Not everyone buys a new phone each year nor do all people want or need smart phones.  It's also incredibly rude to assume that just because a man is 70 years old, that he doesn't know how to use smart phone.  Ageism anyone?  I also think that Mr. Jones' wealth is unimportant in this discussion.  Whether or not he chooses to buy a more expensive phone is his business.  And of those who do want smart phones, not all fall in line in the Apple Army.  I know lots of people who have fallen in love with my husband's Samsung Galaxy Note and out of love with their iPhones.

For the record, my Nokia "candy bar" style phone just won't die.  It must be built like a tank because it's been dropped more times than I can count and is still in fine working order at the ripe old age of 8.  I do not replace things that aren't broken or obsolete so, this baby isn't going anywhere until the cell phone grim reaper visits.  Am I old?  Not even close.  Am I cheap?  No.  Do I not know how to use a smart phone?  I use my husband's phone all the time.  Will I replace my phone with a smart phone when it breaks?  NO.  I don't need one and I don't want to pay for another data plan.

FYI:  I'm not defending Mr. Jones because I'm a Cowboys fan.  Go SAINTS!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Tropical Storm Karen

Those of us who live along the Gulf coast had hoped to make it through an entire hurricane season without having to deal with a storm.  Historically, October is a troublesome month for tropical systems forming off the Yucatan or in the Gulf so, it's not surprising that our first storm of the season is an October storm.

 Watches and warnings have been issued from Louisiana to the Florida panhandle.

T.S. Karen is not expected to make landfall as a hurricane but it's always wise to be prepared--just in case.  Even tropical storms spawn tornadoes so, keep that weather radio on and make sure that you have fresh batteries.  Stay inside and stay safe!