The Happy Planner! <3

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So I've officially found a new obsession planner! The Happy Planner is exactly how it sounds! It makes you happy just using it. I love how spacious it is. It is slightly larger than the Planner I was using (a Franklin Covey desk size Planner) but it's really not a problem. I normally use my planner as a planner/scrapbook/journal, so some extra space is certainly welcomed, and this book is exactly what I need. I tend to stick with binder planners as opposed to spiral bound planners, but this one is really neither. The papers are held in place by these little discs, so that means you can organize it as you please, just like a binder. The individual customization is an absolute must for me, so I got rid of my binder planner and took a chance on this beauty.

 I'm really into inspirational quotes and nice colorful things lately and this book covers all those bases. There are several different styles and colors to suit all tastes, but every one is full of inspirational quotes. It really keeps me motivated to keep using it.

Now onto another obsession necessary planner accessory. Don't even get me started on the stickers made for The Happy Planner. I am a certified sticker junkie so it was love at first sight from the gate, but these stickers really stand out as works of art in themselves. I bought two of the sticker books with 30 sheets that retail at $20 each. They are completely amazing and I can't wait to use all of them! The organization of these stickers can be tricky, but I made a book out of the sheets to make an awesome little sticker organizer. (I'll be posting a blog about the process so stay tuned for that!)

I have been using this planner for about a week, so my first setup is kind of a jumble with no real direction yet. I've got a bunch of ideas on how I can make this Planner a little more coherent, and will begin implementing them for next week. Check back soon for a few upcoming blogs I have for Planner hacks!  

Jolly Rancher Vodka!

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So, one of my favorite things lately has been VODKA INFUSIONS!!  The first one we tried was Skittles vodka.  The taste was awesome, let me tell you, but the work involved was just ridiculous.  I would  definitely try it again (because, lets face it, it tasted amazeballs) and will most likely blog about it after the fact (to give you guys some tips and tricks to make the process a little less intimidatingly tedious)  but if you're looking for something simple, skittles vodka is NOT IT. 

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So now, since I've left myself this beautiful seguey, if you're looking for something simple, JOLLY RANCHER VODKA! Because let's face it, everybody is looking for something quick, simple, (relatively) cheap, impressive (so you look like a real G to your friends and family) and something to get you drunk! I'd say this covers pretty much all bases, and then some (it's soooo pretty to look at!)

So now that I've talked you all into it (except for grouchy, over there), let's get started! 

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

1. Vodka (duh!)

2. Jolly Ranchers (whatever flavors you fancy most.  I wanted a full color specrtum, so I went with all of them)

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3. A container of some sort; one for each flavor (I went with small mason jars, because they're cute, smaall, relatively inexpensive, and because I had a whole set of them that I bought years ago because they were 'just so darn cute' and didn't have a use for up until now.  HOARDERS, ASSEMBLE!  I know they also sell really awesome 8oz flasks on amazon.com, but maybe I'll try that next time around.

The first thing you need to do is seperate all the different flavors (segregation at it's finest) You can, however  mix flavors as you see fit; like, I imagine watermelon and apple together would be just dynamiite.  

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Next, unwrap the sticky little devils, and toss em' into the jars. The amount you choose to use is up to you.  I went a little crazy, and decided to put 16 Jolly Ranchers in each 8oz mason jar.  Please learn from my mistakes, and DON'T DO THAT; that is, unless you are looking for a super syrupy add-in for mixed  drinks (which ended up being really very good after all, but don't think you can do shots with that amount of sugar, unless you plan on dying that night anyway.)  I made this again a little later and found that one jolly rancher per ounce gives it a very good flavor and just the right amount of color.  

Now, for the fun part (although any part of anything that involves liquor is fun, but I digress) once all the little Ranchers are in the jars, pour that vodka right over 'em! You'll see the vodka takes on a very faint color right from the gate. (oh, so pretty) The vodka will go to work almost immediately, dissolving those little candies like nobody's business.  I found that shaking them a bit from time to time did help the disolving process.  

The infusions should be ready to go in roughly 8 hours, (whether you shake them or not) so hold your horses already.  If you find you need to pass the time quicker, just do a couple (6) straight vodka shots, and you'll probably forget what you were waiting around for in the first place.  

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Fast forward 8 hours (you've been beautifully patient) and TA DAAAA!  There you have it; super tasty, super alcoholic, pretty colored, homemade Jolly Ranchers Vodka, sure to impress & make all your friends jealous.  Go ahead and take a shot, or ten! Thank me for the instructions, just not the hangover!  Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more awesome tips and tricks to make life just a little bit cooler!

 -Britt ^_^. 

Homemade Matcha Chocolates!!!

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I think that we can all agree that one of the best flavors in this world is Matcha.  If it's Matcha flavored, I love it; Matcha lattes, Matcha cupcakes, various Matcha flavored candy, Matcha hot chocolate, you name it.  I add Matcha powder to my milkshakes, smoothies; really anything sweet that can benefit from the flavor of Matcha.

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So, I had the opportunity to try Matcha flavored KitKats for the first time ever, this past weekend & I FELL IN LOVE.  They're even more incredible than I had imagined.  And I thought to myself; 'self, these things are amazing, but suuuuper expensive, considering the amount you are getting and the extra cost to have them imported.  There has to be a more inexpensive way to enjoy Matcha flavored chocolate.' And then it dawned on me; Can't I add Matcha powder to white chocolate? White chocolate is very sweet, but with not much of a strong unique flavor of its own, and Matcha has a very strong flavor, accompanied with a very bitter aftertaste.  I felt the two would perfectly compliment each other and join in one delectably heavenly union.  So, the very next day, I went out to Teavana to pick up the Matcha powder, followed by AC Moore to grab up some white chocolate melts and cute little candy trays.  

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When I got home, I tossed a bunch of white chocolate melts in a microwaveable bowl and melted that chocolate to a beautiful, silky consistency, then sifted Matcha powder over the melted chocolate.  I can't really tell you any measurements, as I live my life eyeballing anything I come into contact with.  But I would just say keep adding powder until it has the right flavor for you.  Some may like just a hint of Green tea flavor, while others prefer it to pack a punch.  It also depends on how large of a batch you are intending to make.  So once you have the desired amount of Matcha added, the fun part begins, adding them to a super awesome candy mold!

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Along with my AC Moore haul, I purchased a little plastic squeeze bottle.  I added the chocolate to that bottle, and used it to squeeze the chocolate into each mold.  I prefer to use this method, as it leaves very little mess, and you can perfectly fill each mold with little to no overflow.  If you don't have one of these, you can always pour the chocolate from the bowl directly into the mold (It will just be a little messy!)

The next step I take is putting the molds into the freezer to set.  I am not sure if everybody does this, But I find it works very well for me, and allows the chocolate to set very quickly.  (And this works especially well if  you only have one mold to work with.)  When the chocolate is set, just take it out of the freezer, and let it sit for about two minutes.  Place a paper towel down on the table, and turn the mold over on top of it and just use the body heat from your hands over the bottom of the mold to loosen the chocolate.  

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And voila! you have delicious, amazing Matcha flavored chocolates to enjoy!  Now if you're a minimalist, they are perfect right out of the mold.  While others may want to decorate the chocolates to give them a fancier, more enticing look.  I'm one of the others!! So I chose from my vast assortment of sprinkles and cake decorations to find the perfect accompaniment for my tiny green delicacies.  Then I went to work! They came out beautiful, and as if I picked them up from one of those high end, fancy candy shoppes (okay, maybe they didn't come out that well, but I thought they looked nice!) I decided to give about half of them to my lovely friend Jess, so I packed them up in one of those cute little candy boxes with some tissue paper, and they just looked adorable.  

So, verdict is, I never need to worry about importing any expensive fancy-schmancy Green tea chocolates from Japan again.  I can make my own authentically tasting Matcha chocolate at a fraction of  the cost.  If you are a fan of the Matcha flavor, please do yourself (and your wallet!) a favor, and try these inexpensive little darlings.  You will not be sorry!  

-Britt ^_^. 

Hamptons Comic Show

Me, super excited

Mikey, equally as excited!

Every show that you attend is different.  Leaving my second show, I felt on top of the world. I had a great time, and learned a lot. Now, this show was considerably smaller than LI Geek, and apparently was substantially smaller than it was last year, so we did not do well at all, in terms of business. But with all that aside, I still say that I feel on top of the world.  It is the times when you don't do very well, but still find yourself loving every minute, that solidifies your faith that this is what you are meant to be doing.  I feel happy being able to present my art to people.  Even if I don't make a sale, I enjoy the words of praise, reminding me that what I do truly is remarkable in its own way, and can be appreciated by a vastly different number of people.  

Now on the flip side of the coin, I truly enjoy being able to encourage people to do something for themselves.  I met a girl at this show, who thought what I did was great, and never thought she could do anything like it.  She had always wanted to try it, but never knew where to start.  I told her that it was a matter of practice, and that there were thousands upon thousands of youtube videos at her disposal that could teach her stitches and techniques.  I pointed her to the shooting star pattern I have up on my blog, which is the perfect project for beginners.  Integral stitches are used, but in a very simple way.  It is also a quick project, so there is the quick gratification (which, lets be honest, sometimes a crafter needs the instant gratification) that is just so important for a trepidatious beginner.  She walked away saying that I was very encouraging, and she might actually give it a try.  I told her to contact me if she ever needs help with anything, and it is my sincerest hope that she does give it a try one day.

Brea holding Cammy

Part of my hopes for The Artisan's Nook is for it to be a community.  A community of seasoned crafters, would-be crafters, and even just the casual admirer, giving advice and encouragement to one another.  Because sometimes all someone needs is a little help and an 'I know you can do this' from someone who's been there before.

Keyana holding Sailor Mars & Nicole holding Sailor Moon

There were some awesome cosplayers at the show, and I got a few of them to take pictures with my dolls! My little Sailor Moon, Sailor Mars and Cammy got some love from their live action counterparts.  So a huge thank you to Nicole as Sailor Moon, Keyana as Sailor Mars, and Brea as Cammy, for humoring me long enough for me to get my fangirl photos for the weekend.

So all in all, it was a really great day.  I got to spend time with my wonderful husband, my lovely friend Mikey (who was with us for our last show as well, and probably most shows we will do in the future)  met a few awesome people, and learned a lot in general.  Thank you to Patrick O'Connor, for letting us know about the show in the first place, and allowing us to be vendors.  Here's to hoping next year is even better!

See you at the next show!

-Britt ^_^.  

Sprite of the Week!!

As you may or may not know, I enjoy designing little 8-bit sprites.  I find they are absolutely perfect for so many different things.  First and foremost, Perler Beads!  They are the perfect medium for little 8-bit sprite designs.  I find numerous other uses for these sprites. For example, if you like crosstitch or plastic canvas, these little guys are perfect for either of those mediums.  

But now, to the point of this mini-blog!  I have decided to give away a sprite design every week! (until I don't feel like it anymore, ha!)  A new one will go up every Thursday!  The first one is available now, so go check it out! You know you wanna...

Make sure to check the 8-Britt page every week to see what new character design is up there.  Maybe it'll be YOUR favorite.  And please feel free to contact us if you would like to put in a request for a specific character you would like to see there next! 

This is just my little way of saying THANK YOU to everyone who takes the time to visit my site.  Thanks so much, everyone! 

-Britt ^_^.  

Amigurumi Shooting Star Pattern!!

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Yes, I noticed that I don't have any patterns up on my patterns page.  But I have decided to finally remedy that!  Please bear with me, and realize that I do not write my patterns in plain english that regular people understand.  I've tried my best to translate my clumsy shorthand into readable coherent human language, but I am sure I may have glossed over a few things.  So please feel free to contact me through the comments, or email, if you simply cannot understand something.  I will do my absolute darnedest to help you out!  And now, without further ado, get ready to make your very own adorable shooting star:

 

Amigurumi Shooting Star

3. 15 st in total.  Ready to start the next row

3. 15 st in total.  Ready to start the next row

Materials needed
Worsted weight yarn
Hook (any size, but I prefer to use 'H')
Stitch markers (5)
Scissors
Tapestry needle
Fiberfill stuffing
Stuffing tool
Colored yarn for accents

Abbreviations used
Magic ring = mr
Chain = ch
Single crochet = sc
Double crochet = dc 
Slip stitch = sl st
Finish off = f/o 

4. first round of dc to make the first point of star

4. first round of dc to make the first point of star

You will be making two sides to the star.  
 Note: you will need to leave a long tail on ONE of the star sides for sewing

1. Sc 5 into mr (5)

2. Sc 2 sc into each sc (10)

3. Sc in next sc, 2 sc in next sc. Repeat four more times (15)

4. Sc in next 2 sc, 4 dc in next sc
Repeat four more times 

F/o

the two completed sides of the star

the two completed sides of the star

Add eyes and blush marks to one of the star sides. 

Match the sides of the star up, and use the stitch markers to hold the pieces together at each point. 

Sew pieces together, careful to sew back loops ONLY. 

Make sure to stuff the star before the hole is closed. The stuffing tool makes it easier to get the stuffing into each point. 

Cut two short pieces of yarn, and use hook to loop each through on one side of bottom of finished star. 

using the stitch markers to hold the sides together at each point

using the stitch markers to hold the sides together at each point

sew the sides together, making sure to sew inside loops together ONLY

sew the sides together, making sure to sew inside loops together ONLY

I hope this was pattern was helpful!
Click Here to view this pattern in pdf format!

-Britt ^_^.

LI Geek Con

our table setup! 

our table setup! 

So we attended LI Geek Con this past weekend.  it was completely awesome, and such a learning experience.  This was our first Con as vendors, so lets just say it was overwhelming.  There was a last-minute change of venue (not by choice) so it a was really difficult and clumsy starting point for all parties, but once we got into the swing of things (and accepted this is they way things are going, and to just roll with it) the weekend shaped up to be not half bad.  

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The first challenge was to set up the table! We bought all sorts of neat table stuff, so I wasn't worried.  I knew the table was gonna be awesome, and would just be a matter of how I wanted everything layed out.  I had experimented for hours on end at home in the weeks before to get a general idea of the setup I would like.

There are plenty of vendor essentials; tablecloth, baskets, jewelry displays, shelving units, racks, etc. but let me just say, that if you're planning on displaying ANYTHING, an absolute must-have would be a nifty little item called 'Design-a-Cubes.'  I found mine at Bed, Bath & Beyond, but they can also be found at a bunch of stores including Walmart & Target.  These can be built into a variety of stands or shelving units suited to your needs.  The table would not have looked the same without them.  

This is the doll display I decided on using

This is the doll display I decided on using

I bought two sets of Design-a-Cubes, and decided to use one for my dolls, and the other for my perler bead sprites.  Both displays worked out perfectly.   

Now for the con itself, unfortunately I did not have much occasion to leave the table, save for the necessary bathroom breaks, but I did not hear any murmurs of complaint among the attendees.  But I did get the chance to meet some awesome new people, and hear about upcoming cons that we will definitely be attending.

One thing I learned is it feels really incredible to have someone stop in their tracks to admire your work.  It feels even more incredible having someone take the time to stop and purchase your work.  This may be something that artists may more easily identify with, but a little part of you goes into every piece of art you create, and it's a really amazing experience to have someone invite that part of you into their homes.  I am forever grateful to all of my supporters and admirers.  

Thank you, everybody, for making this an awesome first experience for us.  See you at the next con!

 -Britt ^_^.

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Getting organized in 2015

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So this past December, I decided my life needed an overhaul.  I have always been riddiculously unorganized.  Being a mom for over 5 years at this point, you would think I would've gotten my crap together sooner, but I digress.. 

Marcus was the catalyst I needed to realize I was always better than I gave myself credit for, therefore, I needed to act like it.  Seeing as how organization was never one of my strong suits, I decided to start there.  I decided I would start a daily planner.  That way, I can see everything I needed to get done, with no exuses or brain farts.  Another plus; there's space for every single day, and if I decided to flake, the empty space would be there, staring me in the face, accusingly. "Nothing like doubt and internal struggles to propell you forward into greatness" is what I always say (y'know, in this blog, for the first time)

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Step 1 was buying a planner.  I decided to go with a Day Runner.  I loved this particular one because the pages were not dated.  Undated pages are especially useful if you don't plan on waiting until the new year to start one.  Plus it has just the right amount of feminine for me.  No mistaking this for a guys planner, but at the same time, fairly understated (which probably suits me more perfectly than I care to admit)

Step 2 was buying cute stuff for the planner.  There are so many different useful items to choose from.  I decided to buy little folders that stay inside the planner to help organize the mounds of stuff I would inevitably purchase.  Now if you're anything like me, stickers are pretty much priority #1.  I found SO MANY adorable and affordable stickers on amazon.com.  Depending on how obsessive you are, you might realize all of the stickers you bought won't actually fit in the planner at one time (a friend told me of her struggles with this, not me..) That just means a little prioritization is in order, and perhaps a rotation schedule.  Don't forget to make room for different colored pens, highlighters, post-it notes, post-it flags, washi tape, Mark-it dots, etc, all to help you organize your life.

Step 3, is actually starting! Now, it takes a LOT of motivation and sheer will-power to keep up with it, but believe me, you will be so surprised about the things you no longer let slip through the cracks, and not to mention how proud of yourself you will be for your little victories (holy cow, I actually worked out three times this week? Maybe next week I'll make it four)

The moral of the story: everyone can stand to be a little more organized.  Everyone can stand for a little introspection.  Everyone can stand to celebrate their miniscule victories on the road to great ones.  Nobody can go from zero to 100 automatically (except for maybe rich people in their foreign cars, but is that really the point? c'mon people)

Don't be afraid to put time into yourself, for yourself.  Future you, will be grateful.  Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more ^_^. 

-Britt