Welcome to my blog! Here is where you'll finding me rambling about a variety of subjects, including my family, vintage, thrifting, Etsy shops I love, and more!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Snow Snow Snow!

Some of our cars have to park in the front yard for now!

YAY! snow plows!

Dangling live electric wires

Why is it always a surprise when it snows here!?  We live in Cleveland, Ohio, so yes, it does snow! 

I will admit, it's pretty!  And it used to be fun to play in the snow when I was a kid (my Dad made the coolest igloos!), and to play in it again when my kids were little!  I loved skiing, skating, sledding, and even on occassion, hanging onto the back bumper of someone's car and being pulled around on the snowy roads (stupid teenage thing-don't try it!)!

So we've got another snow storm and all schools are closed today.  I will still venture out later to go to the post office to ship off some orders, but in the meantime, I'll just admire it from my warm house.

Speaking of a warm house, we could loose our power at anytime.  Check out the wires near the van.  Those are downed power lines from a ice storm Monday night.  We haven't lost power yet, but it could happen anytime.  We have an electrician scheduled to come out Monday, and hopefully everything will be aok after that!

That brings me to another worry!  The electrician has to get into our basement to do some wiring stuff, and if you've seen my shops (here comes the cheap shot at promotion) http://www.jenscloset.etsy.com/ http://www.mymilkglassshop.etsy.com/ http://www.thechinagirl.etsy.com/ and I wish I knew how to change those links to just one word, I see everyone doing that, but I can't figure out how it's done!  Anyways, what was I talking about, oh the basement; yeah, there's shelves up china, glassware, and more fragile stuff, and it's not just on shelves, it's all over the floor too!  I look like the crazy hoarder lady...wait, I am!  So I have to clear stuff away so the electrician can get in there to fix things!

Oh geez, not sue when this will clear up!

Enjoy your weekend, stay warm and safe!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Vegetarian Soup Recipe

I love meat, but my 17 year old daughter, Katherine, does not!  She's been a vegetarian for several years now and she's well aware that she needs to get protein into her growing body!

I try to make a yummy homemade soup for her every week; a big pot of it, so it will last for about a week.

My soups are always different, but I start the same way almost everytime.  I start with a little butter/olive oil in the pan (less butter for Katherine's soup, since she doesn't like butter either!).  I then saute onion, celery, carrots, and if I have any green, red, yellow, or orange pepper, I'll add that too.

After that's sauteed I will add "Garden Vegetable Broth" (this one happens to be from College Inn.  I added 3 cans this time.

I also added a  bean medley.  This started with bag of dried beans, a good mixture of several beans.  I followed the directions on the back for the quick soak method: rinse the beans, cover with water in a pan, boil for a few minutes, then put a lid on it and let it soak for 1 hour, then drain and rinse beans.  I did find that some of the larger beans were still not soft enough, and I know Katherine will not like that, so I'm going to cook the soup longer to soften them up.

I usually use canned beans, whatever you like is fine!

I also added some rice, italian seasoning dried mix (break it up in your hands), a bit of garlic salt, and a pinch of sugar (just so the broth isn't too bitter).

After this has cooked for awhile I will add some pasta and then let it cook for maybe another 8-10 minutes, depending on what kind of pasta I use.

It's fun-just make it up as you go! Notice my retro large yellow Pyrex bowl and my Corelle Spring Blossom plate and bowl!

I'll jot down my regular veggie soup (the non-vegetarian version) that I make for my husband & I soon!

Perfect on a cold winter day!  Add a nice salad and some bread and it's the perfect lunch or dinner!



Saturday, February 19, 2011

Here's More Pics!

another whoops-I'll get the hang of this someday

I want this beverage set!

I'm a Foodie

love the Fenton!

and more Fenton!

cool bowls!



I love watching cooking shows (in fact the tv is usually tuned to the foodnetwork during the day)!  I also love cooking, and most importantly, eating!

I recently purchased a bunch of older Better Homes & Garden Cookbooks. I love to look through the old cookbooks and home decorating books to try to spot the retro china, accessories, etc, that you'll usually find in these books.

I love the beverage set found in the Better Homes & Garden Salad Book (from 1958)!  I'd love to find something like that at estate sale!

And what say's "comfort food" more than more than Scrambled Brains!  Found that delicious recipe in the Better Homes & Garden Meat Cook Book from 1970! 

I actually might try the Beef Stroganoff recipe!   (Yes, I'll skip the scrambled brains; they also have a deep fried brain recipe.)

Enjoy your Saturday!


P.S. I didn't get all the pics up that I wanted to, so I'll have to make a 2nd post (I'm not cool enough to figure all this out!)-plus the brain picture is not upright, but be sure to check it out!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Shipping International

Shipping international is easier than you might think!

For example, just this morning, someone from Japan asked me what the shipping cost would be for a cute pitcher and coffee cup would be. 

I put them on my handy dandy official USPS scale (that included the box and packing material-if you've been reading my blog you know about that little trick).  That gave me an estimate, and I always add just under 1 lb to that, because when it's all packed, from my experience, it works out just about right.  In fact, my estimate on the weight was 2 lbs 12 oz, and the actual weight was 2 lbs 9 oz!

The http://www.usps.com/ is a great place to get free priority shipping boxes, priority labels, the customs forms, and more, all for free!  Order both the Customs Declaration CN 22 Form (for anything shipping 1st class international).  If it weighs over 4 lbs, it must go priority.  You will need the Customs Declaration & Dispatch Note-CP72 for those items.

Sign up on http://www.usps.com/ to then order a stack of both of these forms.

The 1st class international form is quite easy.  Check the merchandise spot, the detail of the order, quantity, weight (of the item), value, and there's 2 options for the exemptions/exclusions legend, I always check the 1st one, NOEE1 30.37(a) , for under $2500 value.  Sign your name and the date.  On the right there's a place for you to put your info and the buyers name & address.

See, isn't that easy!?

It literally took me maybe 30 minutes to add her shipping information to the listing, she then ordered, I packed it up, went to the post office, came back and gave her the customs ID # (be sure to save that receipt and they will also give you a part of the Customs Declation page for your records.

Next, I will go over the priority customs form!

Have fun!


Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day!

I hope you had a fun Valentines Day! 

I gave my husband the traditional "love gift"- a couple of cans of Foster's Beer, yes you heard me correctly!  Class act here!  We did go out to lunch, so that was nice!

Speaking of Valentines Day, I love pink & red together!  It probably all started when I was a little girl (just a few years ago), and I dressed myself in a pretty pink dress and put on my favorite red shoes.  I proudly showed my Mom my outfit, and she had a look of horror on her face!  "Pink and red don't go together!".  (Well, it seemed that dramatic at the time, not sure if it was all that bad!)  So I promptly switched to my basic black patent leather shoes.

Maybe I'm  a bit rebellious, but I don't think that's why I love pink and red together!  I just do!

So I thought I'd grab some of my pink & red to show off on this special day.

Happy Valentines Day!

Love from Jen

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Vintage Jewelry

Brilliant Rhinestones

Goldtone and Aurora Borealis

Retro Sarah Coventry

Classic Sarah Coventry Brooch

I love vintage jewelry!

Brooches can add that extra touch to a dress, coat, hat, and so much more!

Clip earrings are so versatile!  Use as clip earrings, shoe clips, one as a pendant, even hooked to spaghetti straps to turn your favorite black dress into something new!  My daughter added some of my sparkly vintage clip earrings to one of her prom dresses instead of wearing other jewelry!  Her friends loved the idea!

I've seen several beautiful Etsy shops that upcycle vintage jewelry and turn them into new pieces!  I'm eyeing a charm bracelet from one of the Etsy shops, it's full of gorgeous vintage jewels!

Maybe you're lucky enough to have your Grandma's old jewelry box full of her wonderful jewels!  Bring new life to them.  And if not, just stop by my shop! I try to add new jewelry everyday! http://www.jenscloset.etsy.com/ .

Enjoy your weekend!  So happy we're having a "heat wave"!  Over 30 degrees today and sunshine!


Friday, February 11, 2011

My Recent Etsy Purchases

From Sewfaithful

How cute is he!!?

From Mariapalito

As you know from reading my blogs, I do attempt to craft!  I haven't shown you my lastest, but I guess I should!  It should have been a simple little hand sewn felt heart, easy, right!?  Wrong!  More to come on that.

But onto better things!

My latest Etsy purchases start with the cutest fabric Easter eggs (but I think they look cute any time of year) from http://www.sewfaithful.etsy.com/ such high quality and the price is so reasonable (she could definitely raise her prices with such a great product!).  I love the way it came in a simple cellophane bag with a pretty pink bow.  I must mention the gift tag, even that had stitching on it, so cute!

My other purchase was from http://www.mariapalito.etsy.com/ .  I bought two cute valentine cards (one sent to my sister and her son, and one to my older daughter).  I also ordered the cutest little pink felt owl.  I'm just going to have him hang out with me on my desk to brighten things up!

So there you have it, more great Etsy shops! 

Enjoy your day!


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Friday, February 4, 2011

Shipping International

I love to ship internationally!

I've shipped all over the world! 

Only 3 problems I can remember happening.  One was a jewelry shipment to Germany, it took forever for her to receive her items (and I had shipped to her several items before with no problem), but, like 2 months later, she finally received it!

Another was a very heavy shipment to Switzerland.  This great guy was buying beautiful china for his girlfriend for Christmas.  It got stuck in customs, but he did receive it in the nick of time for Christmas!

And the third, is a shipment to Italy.  I've heard Italian customs are terrible, and learned first hand, when my shipment was held up for quite awhile.  This was a huge order of milk glass, which she finally received, but she has since ordered more from me, and I'm guessing that has also been held up.  This customer even said she knows Italian customs are known for being very picky!

When I'm listing and item and know that it will weigh under 4lbs (including the box and packing material), I will go ahead and add the Canada and "Everywhere Else" shipping quote.

If it is over 4 lbs, the post office rule is it must ship priority mail, which brings the cost weigh up.

No--I have not checked in UPS or Fed Ex yet, but I'll be researching that info for sure this year!  What I've learned so far, is that USPS is still the least expensive for shipping international.

I created an excel spreadsheet with the weights and cost for Canada and "Everywhere Else".  I usually use the cost for Australia since that's one of the highest rates.  That way if it is less, I just refund the buyer.  I also state in my listing that if the buyer would like to give me their country info, I can get an accurate quote for their country.

Okay-back to the spreadsheet.  What I did was to get my rates from http://www.usps.com/
I have a column for the weight, Canada, and I usually check one of the higher cost, such as Australia.  I need to get it updated, since the last time I updated it was at least a year ago.

So that's a bit about international shipping.  I will talk about the customs forms next.  There's one for regular international shipping and then the one I use for anything over 4 lbs, which is a bit more detailed, but very easy to fill out.

Enjoy your weekend!


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

It's Time For Jen's Crappy Craft Tutorial!

"Hey Jen, when are you going to do another crappy craft?" 

Yes, you've be asking for this for so long, I thought it was time to show another Crappy Craft from Jen!

You see, in my mind, when I see something pretty, I think...."maybe I could do that".  But it never works out quite the same!

The artistic stuff really passed me by!  My Mom could do everything, from the 70's decoupage, needlepoint, knitting (won blue ribbons for her afghans), oil painting, I could go on and on!  Both of my daughters, Lindsey & Katherine, are amazing artists too!  I called Lindsey (27) an old soul!  Lindsey creates the most gorgeous quilts, she can whip up the cutest outfits on her sewing machine (she has a fashion design degree), designs jewelry (she had 2 shops on Etsy), knits, crochets, and more!  Katherine, well, I call her mini-Martha (as in the notorious Martha Stewart)-yep-kind of scary when she's decorating cookies or cupcakes.  I don't even try to help her!  If you need a handmade greeting card, Katherine will create the most adorable cards!

So, back to me!  Nope, it passed me by!  But that doesn't mean I won't keep trying!

There's an Etsy shop I just love.  Can't think of the name right now, but she inspired me to try to create something!  So off to Pat Catan's I went, and $70+ dollars later, I had a bag of stuff!

So I took these cute cardboard heart shaped boxes, painted them, sprinkled them with glitter, and adorned them (that makes me sound creative when I use words like that) with pretty strings of pearls, lace, pastel buttons, and more!  I only burnt myself a few times on the hot glue gun!

I don't think they're too bad-for me!

In fact, I had so much fun, I'm going to make more tomorrow!  Oh..I do love to cook, and so that's a great way for me to use what creativity I do have!

Happy Crafting!