March 22, 2010

The Slackers

Originally uploaded by Stoic Manifesto
When I was a teenager, I was convinced that I hated ska music. I just didn't like horns. I blame it on a traumatic experience in elementary school, involving me trying to play the trombone.

At some point, after listening to mixtape after mixtape in friends' cars, I finally started picking out things that I liked. I'm still not a third-wave fan, but I've come around to the Way of the Horn. The only band that I still can't stop listening to is The Slackers.

They're not even ska, really. I mean, they're a modern rocksteady band from NY, heavy on the "rock". Even though their songs make me want to dance and sing along, it's the melancholia of the lyrics that really won my heart. And it has nothing at all to do with the fact that Vic Ruggiero looks smashing in a porkpie hat.

I've missed The Slackers every time they toured, usually because I was traveling on exactly the day they rolled through town, or I was broke. Not this time! In two days, I'll be at Mississippi Studios in Portland, getting to see my favorite ska-band-that-isn't-really-a-ska-band, for the first time.

If you're in town, SEE THEM. If not, buy their stuff. I especially love their album 'Wasted Days', and they've got cheap downloads from Whatevski Records (or Itunes or Amazon). The absolute best part of their website is that you can listen to samples of every single song! Hear a sample of Rude and Reckless right now, (from the 'Redlight' album), but keep in mind that these mp3's don't do the songs justice at all. Get a whole album, already.



March 15, 2010

Free Zombie Bottle Giveaway!

We're sponsoring for the month of March by giving away Zombie Apocalypse recycled glass spout bottles to two lucky winners. I would love for these prizes to go to our blog readers, so get over there and enter! You can even submit an entry every day until April 1, 2010 to increase your chances of winning.

These recycled glass bottles are perfect for syrup, oil & vinegar, sauces, dish soap, or as a vase! They each come with a classy metal pour spout, which has a side vent to make pouring smooth and easy.

Here's a direct link to the giveaway page. You'll have to create a login if you don't already have one. Visit their site for more info and more chances to win cool stuff.

If you want to pick up a bottle (or two) of your own, you can purchase them from our website or Etsy shop right now.


March 14, 2010

New Mugs and Stemware

March is traditionally one of our slowest months of the year, but that just means we've got more time to make stuff! I recently bought a whole bunch of mugs, teacups with saucers and champagne flutes from the thrift store, which we sandblasted with a whole assortment of images.

I've been listing them in our Etsy shop for the past few days, and one of the champagne flute sets has already sold! I'll be shopping for more stemware and mugs soon, to try to keep them in stock all the time. Sometimes they're really hard to come by, though. Matching glassware in good condition (without a bank logo or something on it) is hard to find. Also, you'd be amazed how many chipped or broken-handled mugs end up at thrift stores. I spend HOURS carefully scrutinizing items before I buy them secondhand. But I think it's totally worth it, don't you?

Since we had to move all our furniture for the carpet installation in our house, I had the opportunity to do some reorganizing of our inventory. The exciting thing is that I found a box with 4 brand new wine glasses in it, which I didn't even know we had! I promptly put mustaches on them and listed them in our Etsy shop as well.


No, it doesn't match the drapes

I feel really guilty that I haven't posted anything here in a long time, but business has been slow and Sean and I have been focusing on home improvements that desperately needed to happen. The most exciting thing was our carpet installation, which was finally possible after our strong and considerate friends helped us move the gargantuan wood stove out to the garage.

Now our house is cleaner and doesn't echo everywhere! We bought new socks as a celebration gift, since all our old socks have holes in them from being worn on the rough sub-floors for 6 months.

I took lots of photos, in case you'd like to check out our renovation progress on the house (Flickr). We've also been planting vegetable gardens in the yard, and removing all the overgrown blackberry bushes. There's still a lot left to do before the yard and house are the way we'd like them, but things get better every week!


March 5, 2010

Drinking Vinegars

I first discovered the exciting beverage world of drinking vinegars when some friends took me to Pok Pok, a Thai restaurant in Portland which immediately became my favorite. If I remember correctly, drinking vinegars are actually a Japanese thing, but the adventurous owners of Pok Pok just had to share them, because no other restaurant was.

I think the flavor I tried that first day was boysenberry, but plum is now my new favorite. Every trip to the Asian supermarket (Fubonn, here in Portland) has me searching for the best brands. They tend to be popular, and sell our very quickly.

Just mix 1-2 oz. with some club soda, and you've got a fabulous non-alcoholic cocktail that doesn't taste like it'll rot your teeth or make you crave the hard stuff.

After photographing these bottles, I noticed the little slogans for each flavor:

"Plum aroma, sweet and sour taste that moisture your throat and quench your thirst."
"Lemon keep youth, beauty and maintain healthy."
"Scent of strawberry is just like the scent of happiness and sweet love."

Each label ends with:
"Sweet and sour, refreshing taste, it gives you a new experience in love."

Tastefully put.

[The cup, by the way, is one of the silk-screened hi-ball glasses that Urban Outfitters made with my artwork on them.]


March 1, 2010

I Heart Art PDX + My Day with Visitors from

This past Friday was the first I Heart Art gathering here in Portland, set up as a meet 'n greet networking event for locals to meet each other and learn more about the group. There was quite a bit of networking going on between the 500+ attendees!

If you're unfamiliar with I Heart Art, it's basically a big collaboration between, PNCA (Pacific Northwest College of Art), the PDX Etsy team (sellers on Etsy), and other local groups that want to offer resources and business opportunities to students, Etsy sellers, and the general public. There will be FREE monthly professional development workshops, one of which I'll be teaching in August!
The day after the meet 'n greet event, Vanessa and Morgan (from headquarters in New York) met with Christine Claringbold and me at the Trillium Artisan store to discuss a potential partnership with the Trillium Artisans Etsy team. I'm super excited about the prospects of this collaboration! Christine outlined some great goals that will help our team enormously.
After our meeting, I brought Morgan and Vanessa over to Sword + Fern, which is a rad brick & mortar boutique run by fellow-Trillium member, Emily Baker. I couldn't stop photographing the rainbow-colored origami decorations she has around her shop! Emily has tons of stunning artifacts in every nook and cranny of her store, but I kept being drawn back to the bright colored paper.
For lunch, I brought the ladies over to the food carts on 12th and Hawthorne for some crepes. Really, what trip to Portland would be complete without eating at food carts? They're all over our city, and everyone has a favorite. My crepe had figs, prosciutto, chevre and honey. So good!
Spending the day with Morgan and Vanessa was such a great opportunity to learn more about Etsy's goals with I Heart Art, and to share some of my personal feelings on things. I feel like my voice was heard, which is sometimes hard in a group of over 4 million users. Since the majority of my business income comes from my Etsy shop, it's extra important to stay in touch with their company. I can't wait to see what else is on the horizon!


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