Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Deepshade Creations is back with a vengeance! And with a coupon code!

I have returned! After a five month long stay down in Chile (with side trips to Argentina, Peru, and Easter Island), I'm back and so is Deepshade Creations. Joy, right? I still had a limited stock up for sale while I was gone, and that's still there, but I know you're excited to finally see and get your hands on some excellent new tasty chainmaille treats again. Well, never fear. Just you wait til the New Year.

Hey, that rhymes. That deserves to be formatted like the cute little song it is.

Well, never fear!
Just you wait til the New Year!
So much excitement in the air
Brand new chainmaille for you to wear
Just like a prayer
Your voice can take me there

Oh wait.

But yeah. Watch out during the first week of the New Year for things special and new. And I might hint that if you check back here on the 1st, you might find a special gift in the form of a coupon code for the Etsy shop. Just sayin'. And until then, I'm saying straight out that if you go to the main site,, you'll be able to take 25% off your entire purchase right now until December 31st. Well, isn't that something!

So, to summarize:

  • I'm back from South America and Deepshade Creations is back from its hiatus.

  • When you call my name, it's like a little prayer.

  • New jewelry coming to next week along with a coupon code. Check back for it.

  • 25% off sale going on as we speak at! Use coupon code "2011" until December 31st!

And just because I'm still excited about Chile, a picture of where I was living for four months: a city called Valparaiso:

Beautiful, no??

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Colors and names and LOST, oh my!

This is a short post, people. Quick and to the point. I have a couple questions for you about a new item that's getting ready to make its debut in my shop.

This is the Lace Bracelet:

Pretty, no? It's an intricate little design, and I love the way the pattern looks once it's complete. I had planned on putting this out at a recent craft show to see how it did, but it mysteriously ended up going home with my mom instead, haha.

So my questions:

1) Do you like the pink, or are there other colors you would prefer to see it in first? Cool summer shades like blue or green? Fancy girly colors like purple or magenta? Bright yellow or orange? Red? Would you love to see it in a neutral like black or silver? Is there another color you had in mind that I didn't mention? Pistachio-chartreuse perhaps? (dare you to say that one three times fast.)

2) Do you like the solid one-color design or would you be interested to see it in a mix of shades? Any color combination in particular?

3) Would you be on the edge of your seat if I told you I'd created a necklace version of it, or would you feel underwhelmed and be all, "Don't bother me, LOST is on"?

4) Now I'm saving the most fun question for last. Can you come up with a better name for it than the Lace Bracelet? It's been my working name pretty much since I first created it, but I think it deserves better! I dub thee... what?

Thanks in advance for your answers, you guys!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Ice cream tastes best when served as revenge.

Vanilla with Fresh Lime

It's only the first week of May, and already we're being broiled here in New Jersey. Normally this isn't such a bad thing. I'll take a scorching steering wheel any day over having size 7 ice blocks for feet. You never have to worry about digging your car out after a thunderstorm, and even if you did, it's not like you would have to bundle up. Summer is the best.


For me, the beginning of summer weather no longer signals cold glasses of lime mojitos and handpicked baskets of local strawberries. No. Now that I live in a massive apartment complex filled with kids, it means something entirely different.

It marks the beginning of the Blue Bunny ice cream truck's six month reign of terror.

I wonder.. does the music of the approaching ice cream truck inspire nostalgia for other people? Fond memories of sharing delicious frozen treats with neighborhood friends after a long game of freeze tag on a summer afternoon? Does it? Because I tell you, that's crap. I was a country kid, sheltered from the knowledge of such things as strangers circling the neighborhood for hours in their big white trucks, luring children over with ice cream bars and songs. I knew no such thing. You know what I had? A 100-pack box of freezepops in my very own freezer, ready for me whenever I wanted without my having to chase after a stranger's van and give every adult in the neighborhood a migraine with my frenzied yelling and shrieking for overpriced treats.

That's what the Blue Bunny truck is to me. Not nostalgia, but a headache. When I hear the sound of "The Entertainer" approaching from afar, I feel no twinge of wistfulness in my heart for childhood days gone by. Rather, I feel pure terror at the prospect of it parking directly in front of my apartment for twenty minutes, forcing me to listen to hordes of screeching banshee children and the same droning song that summons them over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

You know that crotchety old lady who spends her days glaring out from between her window shades and bitching about those rotten kids getting too close to her car? Well, imagine her young and beautiful yet similar-tempered granddaughter, and there you have me. But today, I decided to take a break from hurling freezepops at the unsuspecting little goblins' heads, and instead chose to stick it to the Blue Bunny truck a different way. By slashing its tires? No. Not this time.

I decided to make my own ice cream. It won't make the truck go away, but it will soothe the headache splendidly.

1- Turn the kitchen radio up really loud to drown out the evil circus music coming from outside.

2- Pour a cup of half and half, a cup of heavy whipping cream, and a half cup of sugar into a freezer-safe mixing bowl. Mix it really, really well with a whisk.

3- Add pretty much anything your little heart desires to flavor it. I used vanilla, fresh lime juice, and lime zest for one batch, and rosewater and fresh shredded mint leaves for the other. No measurements. Just start with a little and keep adding until it suits your tastebuds.

4- After you've mixed it until it's started to look thick, bubbly, and puffy, place it in the freezer. Take it out at 15 minute intervals to re-whisk it so that the frozen pieces at the edges get mixed back in with the rest and it freezes evenly.

5- Once it's solid, take it outside and enjoy it on the front step in front of all those kids who already finished their popsicles.

Fresh Mint and Rosewater

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Treasury East: Too Much of a Good Thing?

Was anyone else as surprised as I was to hear about the new Treasury East? I guess I don't spend enough time on the forums, or reading... uh, whatever it is you have to read to hear about these things when everyone else does.

So far, I'm not a fan of it. I know it's only beta, but it seems like there's a very large amount of tweaking that's going to need to be done.

My main complaints, which seem to be in line with what many are saying:

  1. The thrill of the chase is gone. I know this is meant to be a positive thing, since now everyone has the opportunity to take part in the fun, but it's difficult to see it that way. Getting your hands on a treasury isn't special anymore. There's no more excitement in waiting for that little box to appear. A huge part of the appeal was in knowing that if you got one, you were one of a lucky few. It's like the trite yet strong sense of regret you're hit with when your favorite local band winds up on TRL (I totally just dated myself, but I don't care enough to look up the 2010 equivalent).

  2. What does the above lead to? It leads to diminished quality in all these treasuries. If you no longer have to wait days for just a chance to curate a treasury, why are you going to continue to spend days working on that perfect selection and layout of 12 items? The logic of, "If I'm going to wait 36 hours and be one of only 333, then I better make this good," no longer applies. Now you can curate a treasury any old time. If this one's not your best, well then maybe the next one you make will be. It's not like you might not have another chance, after all.

  3. Anyone can create as many treasuries as they please, and none of them will ever expire. Seriously? Who's going to take the time to actually look through all of these? We already get overwhelmed trying to search through hundreds and thousands of pages of item listings--now we have to do the same thing with treasuries? I'm writing this the day after Treasury East opened up, and already there are 89 pages. When Treasury East hits 10,000 pages filled with expired and sold listings, is anyone really going to gratefully think, "Well, but at least mine are still in there somewhere!"

  4. You'll notice that above I said 89, but in the screenshot it says 87. That's because it's already gone up 2 pages in the hour since I captured it.

  5. There is zero way of searching through all these treasuries. When we only had 18 pages of them, it wasn't that big a deal. But when we're already at 89 and counting after a single day, it just makes the whole thing seem even more overwhelming and ridiculous than it already was. Who's going to have the courage to venture into the craft marketplace equivalent of the labyrinth, especially when there's no David Bowie waiting in the middle of it?

  6. There's no rhyme or reason to the hotness ranking. And they're being extraordinarily vague about explaining it: "'Hotness' in Treasury East works a little differently than the way it does in the current Treasury. Because Treasury East lists never expire, time plays a different role. We're actively refining the hotness algorithm and it will get better as more people use Treasury East." Hotness algorithm? Oh my, how complex! We'd better just leave that alone--questioning it further would be like pulling the curtain on the Etsy wizards. Can't have that.

  7. Love that it already looks like the beginnings of a popularity contest as far as who the hottest curators are.

Like I said, I know it's still in beta testing. Which means hopefully they're actually listening to what people are saying about it, and actually plan to fix these problems before they replace the original Treasury and Treasury West with it, as they say they plan to do. I'm skeptical though. Etsy has its reasons for the way it does things, and as much as anyone might like to think they put their sellers' interests first, these are all things they would have taken into consideration in the first place if they actually cared what we thought.

In closing.. it's up to 90.

Friday, April 02, 2010

McDonald's: Ruining Photos Worldwide

Fast food chains. They embody so many of the things I hate. Animal cruelty; poison and chemicals disguised as food; convenience over quality; money over ethics; the almighty worldwide corporation; the loss of character in individual towns and cities in favor of generic strip mall sprawl; the ever more prevalent "they made me wait for more than a minute in my air-conditioned car for my lunch, so I deserve to get my $1 burger for free" attitude of entitlement. I could go on all day--but I won't. Why? Because these two photos from my trip to Mexico this past January say it pretty well for me.

La Casa del Whopper--it doesn't matter what city or even what country you're in--there is no escaping the King.

Or if you like irony in your photography--

It's hard to read the monument on this mini-sized photo, but it says:
"Los recursos naturales del pais deben servir para su propia prosperidad. Entregarlos a intereses extranjeros es traicionar a la patria."

Or in English:
"The natural resources of a land should serve for its own prosperity. To turn them over to foreign interests is to betray the country."

Whatever McDonald's wants, McDonald's gets though...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Check out what I have in store for you for April Fool's Day--

By my New Jersey time, it's only 12 minutes left til April Fool's Day! Excitement!

You know why I'm excited though? Not because I get to make my friends ice cream sundaes topped with shaving cream, although that is a bonus. No, it's because it's the first day of the Deepshade Creations Holiday Weekend Sale! Yes you heard me!

For four days (count 'em, four--Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday--that's FOUR glorious days), you get 15% off everything in my shop that your little heart desires. Everything! No limits! And this is in addition to the free US shipping I already offer! Madness!

But wait. I know what you're thinking-- "Is this a joke? Is she toying with our fragile emotions? I don't think I could handle such disappointment.."

Rest assured, this is no joke. Despite beginning on April Fool's Day, this is the big "Deepshade Creations Yes For Real Sale!" Want proof? Go shop til you can shop no more, check out, and within hours you will find an email stating you've received that 15% discount refunded back to you. Oh yes, it really is that simple.

The sale is happening at both my Etsy and Artfire shops:
Deepshade Creations on Etsy
Deepshade Creations on Artfire

Ready? Only 8 minutes to go...

Wordless Wednesday

Saturday, March 27, 2010

It's like a fiesta in your mouth!

So I had a Spanish-themed potluck to go to last night, and totally forgot about it until the night before. And I had class from 9:30am to 6pm beforehand. Did I panic and fake sick? No. Did I flee to Taco Bell, discard the wrappers, and hope no one would notice? No. I thought to myself, "What's already in that kitchen and what would Marta, Martha's Spanish sister, whip up with it?"

I cannot wait til the day I can say, "Oh, I just whipped this up!" on a regular basis. Better, I need to learn to say it in Spanish.

Well, never mind. I just looked it up. There is no Spanish equivalent for "whip up." I am very disappointed.

But anyway.. eso es lo que preparé:

Spanish-Style Couscous

(by the way, if you've ever read one of my recipes before, you know I can't be bothered with measurements - just warning you)

-like a cup of uncooked couscous
-14.5 oz of vegetable broth (I only have a measurement for this because I used a can of it)
-a handful of green olives
-the other handful of black olives
-a single beautiful green bell pepper
-a clove of garlic
-a little bit of garlic powder in my life
-a little bit of cumin by my side
-a little bit of thyme is all I need
-a little bit of black pepper is all I see
-oh yeah, and some oregano

1) Boil the vegetable broth and throw the couscous in. You can literally throw it if you want, but I wouldn't recommend it.

2) Turn the heat down to about medium and let it cook for about two minutes. That's all it takes. That's why I love couscous.

3) Make sure you get those spices in there and mixed up during those two minutes. You can mix them in after it's done cooking, but it's way easier to stir broth than cooked couscous. Put it aside once it's done.

4) Chop the green pepper, the garlic clove, and the olives. Unfortunately, you will not be choppin' any broccolay.

5) Saute them up in some olive oil. Or mayo if you're Paula Deen.

6) Mix them up with the same spices as before.

7) Put it all together and sprinkle the oregano on top. Done! So freakin easy even I can do it. Y que sabroso!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Delicious Etsy Pet Peeves

I'd like to start with a disclaimer before I start ranting:

Yes, I know everything is subjective and that what one person hates the rest of the world may love. However, while you're on that one person's blog, you're going to be treated to that one person's thoughts, haha :)

Pet Peeve #1: Take a Peek!

Take a peek at my new necklace! I have a brand new design up, go ahead and take a peek! I'm having a sale in my shop, won't you take a peek? Ugh. I already have a hatred for cliched little phrases like this that you see everywhere and that show no sort of imagination on the writer's part. But this one, if you'll excuse my own use of unimaginative cliched phrase, takes the cake. Who wants someone to sneak around taking peeks at their stuff? Just come look at it! Is your shop really that big a secret that you require people to be so furtive about it? You can look, but only if you just peek!

The reason I really hate it though? Is because this is what it ALWAYS makes me think of:

Kilroy was here, taking a peek at your stuff.

Pet Peeve #2: Take a Peak!

I'm pretty sure I don't need to delve any further into this one.

Pet Peeve #3: Juicy

Vibrant, vivid, brilliant, sure. But if I can't bite into it and taste it, then I'm not buying that that bead is juicy. Watermelon is juicy. Hand-knit sweaters are not. (Or at least I hope they're not.)

Pet Peeve #4: Overuse of Emoticons

Particularly the wink ;) If you wouldn't wink at me for real after saying something, then why would you when you're typing? If you're not joking about something, there is no need to be winking. It gives the message an entirely different vibe than what you intended.

You should check out my treasury!

Okay cool, don't mind if I do.

You should check out my treasury ;)

Uh.. why? Just what kind of treasury is this, buddy? Are you trying to show me dirty pictures? Stop winking at me!

I only have four. Because I'm really not that negative of a person, haha. And I fully admit that I'm sure I do things that annoy other people to the point of blogging about them. So if you have any of your own to add, feel free to leave them in the comments, because I'd love to know! And with that, please go take a peak at the rest of my juicy blog ;)

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Philadelphia International Flower Show

How is it that I've never lived more than 45 minutes from Philadelphia at any point in my entire life, yet somehow I've never heard of the Philadelphia International Flower Show before this week?

A friend invited me to go with her yesterday, and I thought it sounded fun, so I agreed, not realizing it was any kind of big deal. But then I tell my mom and my boyfriend about it, and apparently not only have they both heard of it, but they've both always wanted to go. Who knew? Not me!

It was amazing though. It was in the Convention Center, and as soon as you walked in, you were enveloped by the scent of flowers. Flowers in every direction and fancy displays everywhere. At one point we overheard someone remark that there should be arrows on the floor to direct you where to go- we mocked them at the time, but after while, we had to agree that we could see what they meant. Enormous elephant and giraffe sculptures made of flowers, an enclosed bamboo walking trail, crazy intricate bonzai trees.. we spent hours in there, and I'm still not sure we even saw everything.

The above picture of the orange flowers is what the giraffe sculpture was made from. Yeah seriously. Little glass vases filled with these beautiful blooming orchids hanging from an enormous constructed giraffe. They even had a little bird perched on top for good measure. Definitely one of my favorite parts of the show. The other favorite was the pressed flower exhibit. These things were works of art. I never imagined you could work flowers and pieces of plants into such intricate landscapes. One used hydrangea petals to make a sky that was so many shades of blue and purple with wispy white clouds; another was a clock tower constructed from all kinds of metallic leaves. It was amazing.

And of course I couldn't get out of there without checking out the vendor section. That part was hit or miss- I loved seeing all of the handmade work, and there was plenty of it. However, one of the most aggravating things to me is spotting something beautiful and different, then on closer examination, finding a "Made in China" sticker on it. And unfortunately, there was plenty of that too. I can't really complain much about it though, since it was a flower show and not an art show. I think getting critiquey about mass-produced just comes with the territory when you're a handmade artist. One thing I have to say though is that seeing the displays those vendors were using seriously got my mind working as far as my own display goes. I'm hoping eventually I'll be at the point where I can move up to doing shows on that level. Not anytime soon, but maybe next year will be my year for it!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Twitter Tips. Or... Twips.

I always wonder how so many people manage to keep their blogs going consistently when I struggle to post even just a few times a year. Where do they find the time? Where do they come up with topics to write about? Are their lives really that much more interesting than mine?

Or maybe it's just that everyone writes about the same stuff.

Like Twitter. Yes, that's right, I believe I've discovered the secret. You're not a real blogger until you've posted an "Awesome Tips for Succeeding on Twitter!" post. So here you have mine. Read and be enlightened.

Twips to Have You Tittering Like a Pro!

  1. In order to be a success on Twitter, you must send each and every one of your new followers a direct message saying, "Thanks so much for following me, my special friend! I am so very looking forward to tweeting with you! :) You, only you ...and the 4587 other people I messaged immediately after you. Keep in touch and have a restful day!"

  2. After you send said direct message, proceed to ignore all tweets from said new followers forevermore.

  3. When said followers catch onto your little game and unfollow you, let them go. Unfollow them in return. But only for a week. Then add them back and hope they don't notice you're the same person they just deleted.

  4. It's rude not to say good morning and good night to your Tweeple each and every day. We worry. Are you mad at us?

  5. Don't you ever let your followers go a day without knowing you had three square meals and a fancy coffee. It's just cruel to leave people hanging like that.

  6. If you're an Etsy seller tweeting about your new items, don't just post the link. Make sure you preface it with "Just sold and relisted!" It's vital that your followers know how lucky they are to be graced with the opportunity to purchase such hot-selling merchandise from you.

  7. As long as I'm talking to you, Etsy sellers- if you're going to post your items on Twitter, then by George, do it right and post all 97 of them in a row.

  8. Oh yeah, by the way Etsians? We don't care about your personal life. We only want to know what you have to sell us and how many hearts and sales you're up to. You know, the interesting stuff. Obviously.

  9. Use as many abbreviations and omit as many vowels as possible in your tweets. The more indecipherable, the better. B Grg Im gn 2 mk dis twt ft if it kls m! Kn u stl rd dis? IDK I tnk Im spkng Grk! Kn sm1 trnsl8? Il py u!

  10. If shorthand isn't your thing, it's okay to post multiple tweets one after the other to make sure you get in everything you wanted to say. Who needs a journal when you have Twitter to post your master's thesis on?

I think that about covers it for this class period. Please study the lesson, and if you have any of your own Twips to share with the class, please feel free to post them in the comments!