Friday, April 29, 2011

Guest Post :: Lobster Bisque

Readers, please welcome this fun guest post from a great cook, fun business owner, and fantastic cousin of mine! Enjoy!

Hi FW&MP fans! My name is Sarah, and I’m proud to be guest-posting on this blog! I have a few things in common with the lovely Katie P: we both love food, wine, and being creative! (I’m also proud to say that she’s my cousin!) For me, my creative passions include singing, acting and developing my own brand of healthy bath and beauty products.

Sugared Beauty, LLC specializes in dessert-themed handmade skin care made from organic ingredients. (You can find them at my shop on Etsy!) I develop all the products from scratch in my kitchen, and when I’m not working on making sugar scrubs or trying to created the perfect chocolate-flavored lip balm, I trade my lab coat for an apron and use my kitchen to make delicious FOOD!

This recipe for lobster bisque came to me from a dear friend. It’s surprisingly easy and will not disappoint! The sweet and creamy broth is perfected by the sherry, and be sure to keep plenty of Old Bay on hand for added seasoning.

Enjoy, and thanks to Katie and FW&MP for the happy hijacking of her blog so I could share this wonderful recipe with all of you!

Lobster Bisque

1 - 2 cups cooked lobster meat (you can now find lobster meat frozen or canned in most supermarkets, otherwise buy one and cook it yourself) If you strike out in both cases, I’ve cut up raw, peeled and deveined shrimp and no one was the wiser...
1/2 cup dry sherry
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/4 cup celery, diced
1/4 cup carrot, diced
Salt and white pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning, or to taste
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cups whole milk
1 cup half and half
1 cup chicken stock (if you have lobster stock, use that instead)

Combine the lobster meat with the sherry. Cover and refrigerate.

In a hot pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Once it stops sputtering, add the onion, celery, carrot, salt and pepper and Old Bay. Stir and let cook until the vegetables are translucent and are getting soft.

Add the tomato paste and cook for another couple of minutes.

Add the flour and cook for two to three minutes, stirring all the time.

While whisking, add the cold milk, half and half and stock and bring to a boil. Let boil for about 1 minute, still whisking constantly. Turn the heat down and let simmer until slightly reduced.

Now, you have two options.

Option 1: using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth.

Option 2: Strain the soup through a fine mesh strainer, pressing down on the solids.

Taste, and add more salt, pepper or Old Bay, if you think it needs it. (We thought it did!) Add the reserved lobster and sherry to the pot and simmer for just a couple of minutes, so the lobster is heated through.

Serve with some nice crusty bread, and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mother-Daughter Photo Shoot

This year for Mother's Day, I wanted to do something a little special for my mom, something she could enjoy for years to come.

You see, back when I was in the fourth grade, I wanted to do glamor shots at the mall more than anything in the world. And because she's an awesome mom, that year for my birthday she took me and the two of us got our glamor shots on.

Let me tell you, those are some awful pictures.

But regardless, it meant the world to me, and I even have one on my nightstand after all these years! Not because we look awesome (which we do not) but because I remember how excited I was that day, and how much it meant to me.

This year, I decided it was time for a little picture update, from a real photographer. Luckily for me, I knew a great photographer!

This is Jax, and I know her through her awesome blog, Aly&Ash. But of course, she also has her own photography business, Jacquilyn Avery Photography. So when I knew I was flying home to AZ for Creative Estates, I immediately contacted her to see if she could be available for a mother-daughter photo shoot!

Working with Jax was amazing. Since I was working all the details out long distance, she sent me multiple examples of different locations where we could do the photo shoot, so we could get just the right feel. Then the day of, we met bright and early at the Mesa Arts Center. What a fun place to take pictures!

We walked all around the whole campus, finding fun and unique places to take pictures. We got some great shots in during the photo shoot, and had a great time!

This past weekend, she finished editing the photos and they were up on her website.


They are spectacular! I'll let you see for yourself, but I can't express how much I love them! And of course, they made my mom cry, so that means it was the perfect Mother's Day gift!

If you're looking for a great photographer in the Phoenix area, definitely check her out -- I highly recommend her!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Red Coconut Chicken Curry - Revised

**Welcome!  If you're finding my site from Pinterest, you'll notice that the picture below may not look like what you clicked.  I've revised my red curry recipe, and you'll find it below.  I promise it's much better and easier than the recipe that used to live here, and I hope you love it!**

Hands down, my favorite Thai dish is red curry.  Salty, sweet, with just enough heat, I think it's a great way to spice up the average weeknight.  After a lot of tweaking and plenty of mediocre curries, we've finally got the recipe just right that yields a great curry time after time.  And best of all, it ends up being pretty quick!

You'll notice that I use prepared red curry paste as part of this recipe.  Though I'm very much a from-scratch type of girl, I did some research and quickly learned that making my own curry paste was not an easy thing to tackle.  

Thai Red Curry

Thai Red Curry
serves 4-6

1 tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil
1 small chopped onion
1 teaspoon fresh finely chopped ginger
2 cloves garlic, diced
2.5 tablespoons jarred red curry paste (Thai Kitchen brand is the most accessible)
1 can regular coconut milk
1 can light coconut milk
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons red chile-garlic paste (adjust to your heat preference)
1-2 pounds raw meat of choice, cubed or sliced (optional - omit for a vegetarian or Meatless Monday meal)
1-2 tablespoons cornstarch
Assorted vegetables, cut to your preference, such as bell peppers, carrots, snap peas, etc
1/2 cup rough chopped basil (Thai basil, if available)

Heat oil in a large wok or skillet.  When hot, add chopped onion and ginger, and stir until onions soften, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the diced garlic and the red curry paste.  If you're using heartier vegetables that need time to soften, such as carrots, add them now.  Stir fry 1-2 minutes.

Add the light and regular coconut milks to the wok.  Stir to incorporate the red curry paste.  Add chicken stock, and bring to a very light simmer (do not boil).

Stir in the brown sugar, fish sauce, and chile-garlic paste.  Keeping the mixture at a low simmer, add the raw meat and cook for 6-8 minutes, or until meat is fully cooked.

Sift the cornstarch lightly into the curry, stirring constantly to ensure the cornstarch gets fully incorporated into the sauce without clumping.

Add any remaining vegetables that have a quick cook time or should remain slightly crunchy ("tender-crisp"), such as bell peppers or pea pods.  Also add the basil.  Simmer for another 3-5 minutes.

Serve with freshly cooked rice, and enjoy!

Friday, April 22, 2011

We've reached the digital age


I'm so happy to announce that Food, Wine, & Mod Podge is now a dot com!

It's still hosted on blogger so all of you reading this on your RSS feeds should hopefully see no interruption. Also, if you bookmarked our .blogspot address (love you for bookmarking us!) it should redirect automatically. But if you like to just type the name directly into your browser, you can now type in:

dot com

Thanks so much for your continued readership!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

To grow your food is to know your food

...I think I just quoted a Wendy's commercial.

But no matter.

It's true!

Growing your own food is such a tasty and rewarding experience. All my years growing up, I picked oranges and grapefruit from the trees out back for breakfast. I shucked sweet corn in the backyard and brought it in for dinner. I carefully guarded my strawberries from those pesky birds. And yes, all of this was in the desert of Arizona.

You see, though I grew up in AZ, my dad will always be an Iowa farm boy at heart. So of course he had to plant a garden each year, wherever he was! In fact I'm pretty sure I was the only kid in Arizona who had towering stalks of sweetcorn in my backyard. And boy, were those other kids missing out.

When I was in AZ for Creative Estates, I got to loot his garden once again. It's still early so the late spring and summer crops weren't full-grown yet, but they were working on it!

Dad's garden (14)

You can see that it's not very tall yet, but give it a couple weeks and everything will be exploding with growth!

Of course some things won't grow very big...

Dad's garden (11) least not above ground. These bright green leaves are the tops of carrots! Aren't they pretty?

Dad's garden (4)

Of course we can't forget the corn. These little guys are only a foot or two tall now, but soon they'll be reaching up to the sky.

Dad's garden (3)

I think this plant might be my favorite. Yes ladies and gentlemen, those are Brussels sprouts! They grow on a big, long stalk, with huge leaves fanning out on the top. Then you just pop off the sprouts when they're big enough!

Dad's garden (10)

The baby spinach was coming in nicely. I snagged some of this to bring home to cook with!

Dad's garden (8)

The beginnings of what will become a giant bush of a tomato plant. The cage around it helps the vines have some support when the fat, juicy tomatoes try to weigh it down.

Of course, the best thing about all this home-grown goodness is that everything is so wonderfully fresh. For a huge cook and foodie like myself, just-picked-fresh produce is heaven!

This year is the first summer that I have a deck, even if it is a bit measly. They're hard to come by in Chicago so any deck at all is a great find! I can't wait to start planting my own small garden. I'm hoping to have basil and tomatoes, both which grow well in large pots. We'll probably also throw in a smaller herb garden, maybe some chives and dill? I'm holding off for another week or two for the weather to get out of this rainy/snowy/slushy/windy mess before I plant, but I'm definitely beginning to get the itch.

Summer can't come fast enough!

Dad's garden (13)

Monday, April 18, 2011

April Sponsor :: Sassy Owl Designs

Can you believe Easter is this weekend already? This month is sure flying by! But of course it can't fly by without introducing you to Jayma, my lovely sponsor and the girl behind Sassy Owl Designs.

{ Meet Jayma }


Tell us about yourself!

San Diego is “home” to me, but last year my husband and I relocated to Fresno, CA. We have been married for 4-1/2 and our “baby,” Oslo, is an husky mix full of energy. We don’t have kids yet, but I have niece and nephew who are 3 and 1, and I absolutely adore them.

My mom is very crafty, so growing up she nurtured my creativity. We’d always have a project going on—painting t-shirts, making jewelry, floral arranging, science experiments, knitting, sewing, etc. Then one day at a craft fair I was introduced to rubber stamping. This is where my love of papercrafting began. My parents bought my sister and I a starter set and I couldn’t stop making cards. This turned into scrapbooking, which is my now my first craft love.

Jayma 1

What made you decide to open up shop?

I love to create, but there is only so much jewelry I can wear and so many decorative frames I can display in my house! I make a baby name frame for every baby shower I attend and the mom-to-be and attendees are always in such awe, that this is where I began my journey. Then I kept thinking of other ways to use my collection of scrapbooking supplies and began repurposing them into fun things to wear and decorate your home with. Felt, feathers, tulle, ribbon, and buttons have all been known to turn into jewelry, hair accessories, and home decor.

Where do you get your inspiration?

A lot of my inspiration comes from color, and my favorite color combinations seem to change with the seasons. If I flip through a Crate and Barrel or Pottery Barn catalog, I am guaranteed to fall in love with the colors they have for the season. Which brings me to my next inspiration—catalogs and magazines. They are great sources for the hottest color and fashion trends.
I also find a lot of my inspiration from all the talented bloggers and online shop owners out there. The saying is true—imitation is the most sincere form of flattery—and I am constantly inspired by others’ creations, often sparking a new idea or giving me a jumping off point for my work.

Sassy owl 1

What are your favorite color combinations?

Right now I’m really into green. I love the combo of bright spring green with coral and aqua, and just added a photo wall in my craft studio with these colors. This spring feeling is so inspiring!

Other than your Etsy shop, what hobbies do you have?

I love the outdoors but am also a homebody. I love snowboarding, hiking, boating, scrapbooking, DIY projects, cooking, and anything where I get to be creative.


In addition to her Etsy shop, you can also get to know Jayma at her blog, Playing With Paper. Hop over and tell her I say hi!

Jayma is generously offering a 15% discount to Sassy Owl Designs for all FW&MP readers! Just enter the discount code FWMP15 at checkout, valid now through April 30. Happy shopping!

Thanks Jayma!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Creative Estates :: Full Wrap-Up


This is going to be one long post.



Creative Estates was an amazing crafty blogger conference held last weekend in Chandler, AZ (hometown!). It was fantastic for so many reasons: I got to meet amazing women who have the same passions and morals and loves as me, I learned so much about blogging/photography/etc, and I got to see my parents!

The Conference, Thursday

Thursday night kicked off the weekend with a cupcake party and dinner in downtown Chandler. I walked in and didn't know anyone yet, and immediately a table near where I was standing called me over and asked me to sit down! I was so grateful because I am not always the best about inserting myself into groups, so having them invite me over was such a blessing. I got to meet them all, and learn about their blogs and shops and lives. And of course, we all shared some awesome cupcakes!

Creative Estates 1

The Conference, Friday

To start off the day, we all piled into the Inspirador, a wedding, banquet, and meeting hall in downtown Chandler.

Creative Estates 6

They couldn't have picked a more perfect place! This place had class and style but in such a perfect, understated tone.

Creative Estates 4

Creative Estates 5

After a brief welcome and introduction by the founders of Creative Estates, Shey B and Tauni Everett, it was time for our topic-specific classes. There were two classes, one focused on posting on a creative blog, and one focused on how to create a thriving business from a hobby. Since I currently have a job and don't yet plan to open up my own handmade business, I opted for the creative blog posting seminar.

A few takeaways:

- Blogging is a juggling act between family, friends, church, home, and job. You have to learn to find a balance.
- Pass it on. If someone helped you when you were a wee lil' blog, turn around and do the same for someone else. It will mean the world to them.
- When inspiration strikes, don't spread it out over a few days so that the posts have space between them. Just tackle it all and schedule the posts out.
- Set a policy for things like giveaways, post topics, guests posts, etc and stick to your guns.
- Find bloggers with the same size and focus as your blog and promote each other. Lean on each other to boost yourselves up together.
- Learn to manage the dry spells.
- Make a friend who knows code so that if your blog crashes, you can get it back.

These are all just some highlights of course, but I thought they were the ones worth sharing.

After the session and then lunch, we all got together to listen to a session hosted by Tauni Everett (one of the founders). While she's not a huge blogger herself, she works in PR and specializes in online social media. I have got to say, out of all the learning sessions we went to this weekend, this one just blew me away! I am amazed at her ability to wiggle her way into the most amazing situations. She actually managed to get herself invited to Martha Stuart's blog launch party in New York just because of twittering with them!

My biggest takeaway from this session was that if you want to be big, if you want to grow, and if you want to make a real name for yourself, you can't rely only on yourself. You have to get published, get featured, and get quoted by bigger companies and bloggers than yourself. And how do you do it? Tweet them! Follow them! Email them! Do whatever you can to get in the door, and be genuine and real. And of course, it's all about long-term relationships!

The Conference, Saturday

Saturday morning kicked off with a panel by some incredibly successful handmade shop owners and bloggers, touching on how to balance a small business and motherhood.

Creative Estates 21
Photo courtesy of Sandy a la Mode

When this session initially started, I thought to myself that this wouldn't really speak to me since 1) I didn't have a business and 2) I wasn't a mom, but oh boy am I glad I stayed! This was such an interesting panel because there were such drastically different personalities amongst them. From outrageously organized to just plain outrageous, they were able to appeal to every personality in the room!

Some highlights:

- Multitask if you're a good multitasker. Don't if you're not. Success is about knowing who you are and how to maximize your own potential.
- You need to achieve your own level of success. Before starting any business venture, you need to know what you want to accomplish, instead of just comparing yourself to others.
- If you are not truly passionate about what you are doing, you need to find what lights your fire.
- If you feel cluttered down with ideas and worries and thoughts, write them all down in a notebook you carry around and free up some mind real estate.
- Celebrate the small victories. Small celebrations along the way will help the journey feel much more rewarding.
- Don't take your personality out of your blog or product, just because you think that's what the consumers want to see.
- Customize your life to fit who you are, not the other way around.

After making a quick run to Chik-fil-a with some lovely friends, we came back and had the afternoon session. I decided to take the Photography class, and it was really interesting! I have actually done a lot of reading on photography when I got my DSLR a year ago, but it was nice to get a quick refresher. However, my one significant takeaway was that I was using the fancy new expodisc I got for my birthday all wrong! Ok, not all wrong, but I now know why it seemed to overcompensate and make all the colors funny. Now I'm excited for my next cooking adventure so I can test out my expodisc correctly!

The photo session was then followed by a fun craft. We got to pick between painting and making a necklace, and I chose making a necklace. It was interesting to learn how to make a fabric flower necklace backed with felt!

Creative Estates 17

That night we all had dinner together then came back to the Inspirador for a few cocktails, cupcakes, and giveaways. And guess what? I snagged this awesome painting from Lindsay of Aisle to Aloha! Love it!

Creative Estates 18

The Handmade Market at Creative Estates

One thing I think I was most excited for was to go shop shop shopping at the handmade market! Some of my favorite shops were having booths, and the best part -- no shipping! I've been ogling at some cute accessories for ages, and finally I got to see them in person and purchase. Talk about fun!

handmade market

I also got to claim my purchase from Jacqui from Craftee McGee. She didn't have a shop at the handmade market because she actually made over 150 felt flower headbands for every attendee in their swag bag! Talk about a lot of work!

I purchased the necklace in the photo below in Jacqui's shop before the conference, and she agreed to hand-deliver it in AZ rather than ship it. I have gotten a million compliments on it already!

Creative Estates 14

We met online
and we're not ashamed!

Of course, aside from the amazing conference itself, one of the best parts of my weekend was meeting all the fabulous women who I had only ever talked to online. Though we felt like we had been friends forever, in reality this was the first time we were ever actually meeting each other! I've done you the favor of collaging (yes, collaging) these pics to consolidate, but I have listed everyone's name and blog/shop below so please hop over and check them out! Tell them I say hi!

friends 1

friends 2

{ Sandy of Sandy a la Mode, Moriah of Josiah's Nest, Lindsay of Aisle to Aloha, Ilene of Much Love, Illy, Kim of Oh Sweet Joy, Allison of A Glimpse Inside, Jacqui of Craftee McGee, Amy of Amy Cornwell Designs, Nicole of Olive Blue, Alison of aPearantly Sew, Megan of Flawed Perfection Jewelry, Elizabeth of Sew Chatty, Kristen of Rock-A-Bow }

Talk about an amazing weekend! A huge thanks to everyone who made it such a success!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Creative Estates :: Lasting Friendships

I still fully intend to do a full Creative Estates follow-up post, hopefully tomorrow. But as you can probably understand, taking two days off of work last week to go to CE = me coming back to madness at work! I really can't believe it's Thursday already. Where did this week go?

One reason I'm excited it's Thursday is that tonight I have a Skype date with some amazing women I met at Creative Estates. Throughout the conference, these women were the highlight of my weekend. From going out to dinner to staying up late laughing until the wee hours of the morning, I can't imagine my time at CE would have been as memorable as it was without these ladies. I truly believe that God put us all there together so that we could become a part of each others' lives!

Creative Estates 20
Photo courtesy of Sandy a la Mode

And the best part about meeting them in this day and age is that through the magic of Skype, we can all hang out together again without actually being in the same room. Tonight we are all meeting up online and are going to chat and laugh just like we did last weekend! I've already warned my husband that it's probably going to be loud, and it's probably going to be long.

I think you should get to know these women too; check them out! All are bloggers as well as handmade shop owners, and they make some of the cutest items. Check them out below!

{ Jacqui of Craftee McGee }

{ Amy of Amy Cornwell Designs }

{ Nicole of Olive Blue }

{ Alison of aPearantly Sew }

{ Megan of Flawed Perfection Jewelry }

{ Elizabeth of Sew Chatty }

{ Kristen of Rock-A-Bow }

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Elephant's Trunk Giveaway Winner!

What a whirlwind of a weekend! I can't wait to sift through all the wonderful photos I took this weekend as well as share a little bit of Creative Estates with you. But before I do that, I have a winner to announce!

The winner of The Elephant's Trunk Giveaway is....

Number 58, Hannah of Confessions of a Baby Mama and Military Wife!

Email me to claim your shop credit! Congrats!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Slow Cooker Asian Pork

I love Costco, but one downside is the sheer amount you must buy. The prices are great, but in a household of two, you have to strategically purchase items. Recently we bought some pork shoulder, and quickly came home and divided it up into approximately 2-pound chunks, bagged them individually, and froze them. And since that means our freezer is suddenly stocked with a lot of pork, we're always on the lookout for more ways to use it than just bbq pulled pork.

So when I was flipping through this month's Real Simple magazine and saw a slow cooker pork recipe with Asian flavors, I was all over it!

Asian Pork with Red Peppers
adapted from the March 2011 issue of Real Simple

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 tbs rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch squares
Chopped cilantro, for serving
Chopped unsalted roasted peanuts, for serving

In a bowl, mix together the soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, oil, ginger, and crushed red pepper. Place pork pieces in the slow cooker, and pour mixture over the pork. Cover and cook until the pork is tender but not crazy falling apart (ok Real Simple didn't say that last part), on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.

Five minutes before serving, sautee the red bell pepper chunks in a pan on the stove with a little bit of olive or peanut oil.

Put your favorite kind of rice in a bowl (we used short grain brown), add red bell pepper, then pork pieces. Use some of the liquid in the crock pot as a sauce. Sprinkle fresh chopped cilantro and peanuts on top.

Asian slow cooker pork (4)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Creative Estates: Day 1 Fun Surprise!

Hello from Chandler, Arizona!

I'm just loving my time here. I am here for the Creative Estates crafty blogging conference, but half the reason why I came is because my parents actually live here. So not only has it been a perfect weekend of meeting wonderful ladies I've talked to and gotten to know online, but I've also had such a great time seeing my parents!

I'm going to do a whooole recap post of the actual conference once I get home and get access to my usual computer (hellooooo photoshop!) but for now, I just had to share a fun surprise from yesterday.

My mom wanted me to meet her and some of her friends that have been a big part of my life growing up for a glass of wine last night after the conference. She said they all wanted to see me and say hi, they just love my blog, it'll be fun. Sounded great!

Well I showed up, and lo and behold...

014 Creative Estates mom shirts

Yes, that's right... they were all wearing Food, Wine, & Mod Podge shirts!

I laughed so hard when I saw them, it was so cute. My mom thought it would just be silly and fun to do, and it was great! My dad was even there in a blue shirt!

We had a great time all chatting over wine, catching up, and enjoying each others' company. What a fun surprise!

015 Creative Estates mom shirts

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Recycled Business Cards, DIY Style

I'm so excited to go to Creative Estates this weekend. So many fun bloggers and handmade shop owners will be there, and I can't wait to finally meet them all in person!

In addition to all the lovely ladies I already "know" through blogs/twitter/etc, I'm sure I'll meet plenty of new faces. That's why I decided I really should have business cards for my blog. Sure, I don't really sell anything, but it's nice when I tell people about my blog to be able to hand them something with the URL. Otherwise I have to trust that they'll go look me up on their own accord, which is just too much effort.

Anyway, I thought about ordering cards, but I'm not much on the computer-design savvy side of life. Also, I really like making things myself, and have seen lots of cute designs that people have made out of old cereal boxes, hand-cut cardboard, and more.

Then I remembered that I had a big stack of business cards that were pretty much worthless. My company recently changed its name and location, so literally the only thing valid on my old business cards was my name. And the best part? The back was completely blank!

custom stamp felt

So I ordered a custom stamp. This stamp was listed on Etsy as a wedding stamp, but I made it work for my blog! I also grabbed some felt. I thought it would be a great way to cover up the old job side of the business card.

business cards mod podged on felt

I stamped each business card, then grabbed my trusty Mod Podge. I brushed some Mod Podge on the backs of each business card (previously the front!) and stuck it down directly onto the felt. I rubbed it down well so that it would soak into the felt and really adhere.

diy recycled business cards

Then I simply cut them all out, and there you have it! Repurposed, recycled, DIY, handmade business cards!

And they're fun and colorful to boot :)

handmade business cards diy

I can't wait to hand them out to the crafty ladies at Creative Estates!

Don't forget about the fun Wine Accessories giveaway going on right now with The Elephant's Trunk! Enter here!

Monday, April 4, 2011

April Sponsor :: Elephant's Trunk + Giveaway

Happy April everyone!

I've got to say, I'm so happy it's April finally. Not that I don't love March (see: birthday) but April is wonderful because it means that the weather is finally warming up and the world is coming alive again! Not to mention, Creative Estates is this week!

But another fun thing about a new month is new sponsors. I just love getting to know new handmade shop owners, hear their stories, and share their wares!

{meet Lauren}

Lauren is the crafty lady behind The Elephant's Trunk, a super fun shop with crafts focusing on one of my favorite topics: wine!

Tell us about yourself!

My name is Lauren. I love wine, chocolate, food and diet coke (not necessarily in that order). I work at a golf course as an accountant but in my free time I blog and sell wine accessories on Etsy. I’m obsessed with my chocolate lab and live in San Antonio, Texas.

Elephants trunk

What made you decide to open up shop?

I opened my shop because I love to create and my boyfriend said something along the lines of, “its great that you love to make all this stuff but why don’t you try to sell some of it, instead of it sitting around our place”. So to please Mr. Subtle I opened up The Elephant’s Trunk on Etsy. I started with jewelry and realized that the market was so saturated and I was no good at is so I migrated to wine accessories because I love wine and I think a few other people do as well.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I get my inspiration from my Mom. She has the best ideas but doesn’t ever want to sit down and produce them so she passes them on to me.

What is your most popular item?

My most popular item is a new item I introduced, my wine cork key chains.

Elephants trunk 4

Where is your dream vacation spot, and why?

I desperately want to go to Turks and Caicos because every time I am watching the Travel Channel and they show a beautiful beach I say to myself, “Oh I want to go there” and then the narrator tells me that its Turks and Caicos. I think it’s a sign.

Lauren has graciously offered to give away a $15 credit to her shop, The Elephant's Trunk to a lucky FW&MP reader!

To enter:

{you must be a FW&MP follower}

Hop over to The Elephant's Trunk and let me know what you would get with your winnings!

For additional entries (leave a separate comment for each)

2. Tweet it, blog it, or share it on Facebook (include link -- one entry for each)
3. Follow @ElephantsTrunk4 and @foodwinemodpodg on Twitter
4. Be a follower of Lauren's blog

Please make sure to include your email address so I can contact you if you won!

This giveaway closes at midnight on Friday, April 8th. The winner will be announced on Monday, April 11th.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Handmade with Purpose

As you know, I have decided to donate all sponsorship fees that I collect for the month of April to support the American Red Cross in the Japan Relief Fund. This will run all month-long, so if you still want to participate and become a FW&MP sponsor, shoot me an email or click here for more details.

Though it's just a small effort, I'm happy to be doing what I can to give back. There are a lot of other bloggers and handmade shop owners out there also doing their small part, but when you put us all together, it starts to make a big difference.

That's why I am participating in Handmade with Purpose. Founded by Lindsay of Paint Me A Picture, Handmade with Purpose brings all us bloggers and shop owners together in one place where you can see all the good that's being done, and help out yourself. I hope you find something you like, and help make a difference in the process!

Over 20 handmade shops and blogs have joined together to give back.

During the month of April 2011 each of the participating shops 

will be donating proceeds to the charity of their choice.

Please help us give back by:

-buying handmade goods from participating shops

-sponsoring participating blogs

-donating to designated charities

-spreading the word on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter {#handmadewithpurpose}

-visit our blog, Handmade with Purpose, to receive updates and future information

Handmade with Purpose: