Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Street Art in NY – 5 pointz

Anyone taking the 7 train in to Manhattan has seen the Phun Phactory or what was once called the Phun Phactory. Currently known as 5Pointz the building is an ever changing canvas for graffiti artists.
This is a Sunday, Artists are out enforce.
5pointz isn't the only place to see stunning graffiti. The original Phun Phactory has re-launched in Brooklyn.
They are on twitter too. -
Follow, participate or just admire.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Victorian Inspired Monogram Shield Necklace - Custom

Victorian Inspired Monagram Shield Necklace Custom by SacredUrban

New to our line is a Monogram necklace

Inspired by Victorian love token worn on a watch fob, this sterling silver pendant has a center shield for a monogram.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Custom Piece made by Gillian Bates

As I said , I loved Gillian Bates' work. When I decided to contact her with an idea for a custom piece.

I told her my idea and sent her some pictures of art work and photos representing the Bliss St station in Sunnyside NY. (guess where my store name came from?)

Cornelis Verwaal had this picture "Queens Noir" of the station stairs at the far end. He also has some beautiful photos on his site of NY


Simon Donikian who painted "Under the Bliss St Station" is one of my favorite queens artist. As luck would have it I met him at the Sunnyside Art Fair the weekend I contacted Gillian.

After seeing the pictures and hearing what I wanted Gillian asked for more photos of the station and arches.
I went to the Art fair over that weekend and took photos of the subway station.

Of course it was after I got home that I realized I took a picture of the wrong side of the station! 

Really what self-respecting coffee snob wants starbucks in a piece of art work? 

The opposite side in the same position is Alpha donuts, a place that means more than a few random meetings with family members. 

If you duck your head in there when my Father in Law is in town you are bound to find him with a donut (tsk tsk) and a cup of coffee. Knowing all to well that he shouldn't have the sugar his defense is almost always " I had a feeling I would run into you today, here I bought you a donut" To remedy matters I sent a picture of alpha donuts and asked Gillian to replace starbucks.

The blog sunnyside adventure supplied the picture and has some interesting pieces on the neigborhood.
ok so it doesn't look impressive on the outside, but it was voted one of the 10 best donut shops in NY. They apparently have superb French crullers. (note to self: buy one and tease Father in Law over phone)
So not long after that Gillian wrote that she finished the piece and mailed it out. A few days later, record time for a transatlantic package I received her creation.

Bliss St station By Gillian Bates

What is not to love?

Bliss St Station By Gillian Bates @ Etsy

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Gillian Bates Textile Artist.

I discovered Gillian Bates on the front page of Etsy.
A textile artist that lives in East Sussex UK, Gillian has some contemporary pieces with a touch of the classic.

Four 99s Please

I am missing something in pop culture reference. 99s? As a New Yorker it looks like Mister Softee to me.

Eastbourne Pier

Wish you were here - Bournemouth Pier

Both Piers look like heaven...especially since it is 103° where I am right now. Ahhh to lounge in those chairs and have something cold.

 De La Warr Pavilion

This building was built in 1935, very modernistic. I would say more but I would just reveal myself as the geek I truly am.

While I loved Gillian Bates' work nothing personally screamed ME!

So I contacted her....

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Specializing – Atheist Necklace

Originally written for Passion Preferred by me.

The wonderful world of business and of course life sometimes calls for specialization. We see it in professionals all the time.
Legal law
Spanish translation
Stay at home mom or dad
People specialize. It insures that when you are looking for something you find it. That the focus of the shop or person is clear. "Niche" is another word for a specialized market.
This I am going to look at some of the specialized shops on etsy.
First is Gold Mettle a clever but cutesy name. Before you conclude that that is an insult, cute sells look at Disney. The name made me smile.
Gold Mettle sells one thing. (so far) Atheist Necklaces. She has 6 up currently. Photographing each one one in a slightly different way with different backgrounds. She has 14 sales since sept.
Would you put only one item in your shop. Probably not. It would be nice to see GM expand but what her shop offers is a niche item to a percentage of the population that is usually forgotten. After all how many non atheist have thought about creating a product that declares a non belief?
Yet Gold Mettle has found some success in this focused approach.
What can you learn from Gold Mettle?
Where can you focus your line to a specific group?
Are there things you need to drop to give your line, shop or life in order to become a specialist?
Can your categories help you separate your line or items into niches?
How does your clients see your shop or site? what do you sell?
Atheist necklace Via Gold Mettle @ Etsy

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mysterious trauma

The last of the day’s light is streaming through the window. I spent the day in bed. My guy told me not to get up this morning. He brought my my laptop, books and a personal pizza. Hot peppers, olives and pepperoni.  Today was to rest and heal. My cage ribs hurting like I had been beaten.

My sister in law G described it as “the mysterious trauma” . A few years back I had a chest cold and because of family history of heart murmurs the doctor ran some tests. Told me I was fine and the pain I was feeling was a swelling of my chest bone. Xrays revealed it healed well but inflammation was going to happen from time to time. 
Healing well??? Healing from what. I asked
The accident I was in. said the doctor.
I had never been in an accident. The doctor proceeded to inform me that I had. years ago. The xrays clearly show a severe trauma, most likely a car accident. 
I protested. but there was the xray and a doctor that assured me I had infact been in a major accident. 

Rewind a few more years before that....
I had picked up a box the “wrong” way and pulled my back. The chiropractor looked at my xrays and said my spine was damaged. He wondered how soon after physical therapy was I walking again? 

He too said my xrays showed I was in a major accident. that It clearly showed in the xray and yes of course I seemed to be healing quite well but to not over do it. 

Xray necklace via Tillybloom @etsy

Both doctors estimated the year of the accident. both said the same year.
Now I swear I have never been in a major car accident. When I asked if it could be a minor 
fender bender they said no. Never had physical therapy. Have no idea what the where taking about. Yesterday I woke up with sore ribs by the end of the night I couldn’t turn with out winching. 
So today I stayed in bed per my guy’s orders. G called asked me what happened? And that’s the most embarrassing part. I have no cool story not even a boring story the truth is I have no idea. So G theory is “mysterious trauma” in a former life I was in a accident and it is showing up as physical pain in my body now. 
ok….or I could just be a doof that doesn’t realize I’m getting hurt until a few days later when my body is sore. 
Of course there is also the Geek theory. I had been in an accident but the memories where blocked by time travelers for the safety of the human race. Neither me nor anyone around me remember any such accident. Either way it means a day in bed with streaming netflix and a couple of books.
Xray necklace via Tillybloom @etsy

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Is it Wrong?

          D, my friend, is afraid of squirrels. I love D. She is funny, even when she doesn't mean to be. 
NY is not the place to be afraid of squirrels. They are all over the place. She avoids parks. Rarely goes near them and never when she has been drinking. It was on one of those occasions that the conversation came up. We had been out to dinner, had a few glasses of port and were walking through the neighborhood. Her fear of squirrels came up. I know some people with odd phobias. Feathers of instance. There is a person I know that is scared of feathers. A male bartender that is afraid of butterflies. Phobias don't have to make sense. The reaction is real enough. 
So when D told me she was afraid of squirrels. It seemed reasonable enough. To many NYers. Pigeons are rats with wings and squirrels are rats with bushy tails. When I asked her why, I'm not sure what I expected. but I didn't expect this.

"A Squirrel tried to kidnap me."

What? Of course I hadn't had that much to drink. D repeated and added to her previous statement.

"When I was a baby a squirrel tried to kidnap me."

I must have looked doubting because she explained it was true. Her father told her so. She was out with her mother and father, sleeping in her baby carriage when a squirrel tried to take her away. No type of "well maybe the squirrel..." had any affect on her. Her father told her and that was it. A reasonable woman in a medical profession decided that squirrels freak her out because of a story her father told her as a child. The story doesn't freak her out. The truth to her is a squirrel did try to take her away. 

So is it wrong that I want to get her this for Father's day? 

If I have to ask it probably is. But I can't help it every time I see a squirrel I think of D.
I'm just happy that D phobia of squirrels is very mild and she just gets a little *insert bad pun here*. 


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Clouds around the World

Have you ever dreamed of traveling the world? Ellie's mom has. Ellie is a dear friend, she is a fellow coach and a fellow jewelry designer. She even has a shop on etsy- Joy Happens. . Ellie recently made this request on Facebook -

I hope this finds each of you well and happy.

I really need help with something.
My mother is terminally ill. We don't know how long she has left...could be a few weeks or if we are lucky, she might be with us for a few months.
My mother has always LOVED clouds and watches out of her hospital window for them.
A couple of days ago, when she was able to speak about it a bit, she said that she would be able to do what she has wanted to do since she was a a cloud and travel all over the world.
I am putting together photos of clouds from all over the world to bring her joy now.

Could you please, please, please either email me (or post them on my FB wall) a photo or a few of clouds in your part

of the world or that you have taken on your travels? Please tell me where they were taken.
It would mean so much to her and to me.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart. ♥
peace, ellie

A cloud hiding my mom's flower in Portugal. - BlissSt

So I ask a favor. Please join this Flickr group Clouds around the World add a cloud and tell us where it comes from!
Help someone travel the World
Love Carolena (akaBlissSt)

Monday, May 10, 2010

For the Love of Filigree - Front page Material?

This treasury has pieces with amazing detail. Wonder if it will make it to the front page? Etsy seems to like sleek, mod, front pages. Or simple "Martha stewart" front pages. Would Etsy pick a front page with this much detail? Just wondering....

Vermeil Filigree Butterfly Swirls Pin via BlissSt @ Etsy

Glass and Silver

For the first time both my guy (Indigo Heirlooms) and I have been included in the same treasury and it's a beauty.

Hmm does his water pitcher need a new picture?
Click on the picture of the treasury to be taken to it. Please leave a comment.
The Izmir Charm is @ Blisst on ETSY

Friday, April 23, 2010

Mr. Darcy Proposal Mug

Mr Darcy Proposal Mug Classic by Brookish on Etsy
"You must allow me to tell you... how ardently I admire and love you"

Love Austen love the mug! but even if you don't love Pride and Prejudice how loving and wonderful to read each time you take a sip.

personal pet peeve: I like mugs that I can fit 4 fingers in. ( ok I'm strange) but it's not stopping me from buying this one soon.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rocker Mom!

Rocker Mom!

Just love this simple and edgy purse! Perfect gift for the edger mom with style.

$89 Handmade via Una shop @ Etsy

Polishing Silver

Getting in a patch of vintage silver means more than photographs and research. It means POLISHING and lots of it.

I remember my godmother’s pink polish. Out came the house hold flatware and the teapots and all the thing-a-ma-jigs that were bought and used in a proper home.Out came rags and the big jar of pink polish bought at woolworths. Of course all the kids were enlisted and the pink polish quickly (or not so quickly) became black on the cotton rags as the silver began to sparkle. I screamed slave labor, I wasn’t a radical kid but honestly felt that the kids should be able to use the sterling tea set if we had to clean them. The adults disagreed.

Fond memories of my family doesn’t make polishing silver any more of a joy today. Especially when we get in a large group. Laziness however is the mother of ingenuity and experimentation.

Eco Friendly silver polishing

1tablespoon Baking Soda
1tablespoon Salt
a crumbled up or not so crumbled up piece of aluminum wrap
a big glass or plastic bowl
warm water
and cotton rags
I have seen a few versions of this formula. I have tried out all if not most. Some call for boiling the water. This one seems to be the most efficient and the best for the lazy polisher. Really easy and eco friendly how can you go wrong?
Just put warm water, baking soda and salt in a bowl mix add silver and aluminum foil. The warmer the water the quicker it cleans. I leave it for about an hour. The tarnish is pulled off. Then dry and buff with a cotton rag.

what you need to know:
this does not work on gold wash.
Do not use this with jewelry that has sensitive stones. If you drop a piece of flatware in that is not silver by mistake it will become black (pulls the tarnish instead of the aluminum)
some pieces are too tarnished for this to work. :(

So I got my first patch of sterling spoons, baby cups, porridge bowls and silver chains done today. So much easier and with less elbow grease than the pink paste polish. Of course I left on a bit of patina what good is the point of making vintage silver shine like new?
oh and the best way to prevent tarnish on sterling? USE IT.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Boiler bursts and then…..

What happens when your parents’ boiler busts and destroys your mom’s china cabinet?

Well if you are my dad you try to fix it and move it to a new “safer” location. If you are my brother you use the new empty space for a bigger TV after debating it the right size with the rest of the family. If you are me you try to talk your mother into replacing it with a solid wood vintage piece that will last longer than anything that can be bought today.

And if you are my guy? Well you buy one and give it to her as a gift.
Look are what he bought today :) 

It’s solid wood handcrafted and the perfect size. It’s not that old but it is a quality piece.
So what do you think? Think she would like it? He’s going to surprise her on Friday.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Vintage advice (1938) - Tips for Dating (Modernized)

I was over at Sad and Useless and scans of this 1938 article on tips of the single ladies. People commented on the posting saying the article was antiquated and sexist. A little dated yes. Sexist? not really. So I posted the pics here with updated advice and the men version. Will this be for every date? no.

Both – when your date arrives don’t keep them waiting, Don’t dress in front of them and Smile.

Men don’t like women borrowing their hankerchiefs, brushes, or other grooming items when you first meet them. Handle grooming including make up and perfume in private.

Women don’t like it either. Men groom in private and please light on the cologne.

Women, sit in a relaxed position. with your legs closed or crossed . Don’t look bored. Don’t chew with your moth open no one needs to hear or see your gum or dinner.
Men- don’t spread your legs and take up one and half seats. Don’t slouch half way down the chair. Sit up in your chair.  Don’t look bored. Don’t chew with your mouth open no on needs to hear or see your gum or dinner.

Woman- when a man dances he sometimes just want to dance. If you talk leave it light on the dance floor and then only if it does not interfere with the dancing.
Men – If the music is load and the girl is enjoying the dance. Don’t talk. there is time for that at the table. It just shows that you are uncomfortable physically with a woman. Dance when you dance. talk when it’s time to sit and talk. (Does not apply to slow dances but keep conversation light or romantic)
Both – leave grinding to a minimum. While it is a form of dancing that is popular and has been  it also sends a “I want to have sex with you” message.   Your partner may get “I ONLY want to have sex” message instead.

Women- where a bra if you need one. Don’t wear clothes that are too low cut or too low riding. Wear clothes in your size not two sizes too small. Wear sexy and comfortable shoes. (yes there are such a thing)

Men -If you need a belt wear one. Do not show your ass crack, scratch your crotch or butt. Wear clothes in your size not two sizes too big.
Both- Fashion has it’s place. over sized pants, under size shirts are fine after the person gets to know you. until then you should be the focus not the clothes. What you were should accentuate not mask or over inflate who you are. In other words let them date you not your outfit.

Both – Don’t use the car mirror to fix your hair, contacts or adjust yourself. The driver need it to drive along with turning for blind spots. Use the mirror that’s attached to the passenger side sun visor. there is always one there. why the hell would you need to screw with the driver?

Both – Don’t be overly familiar with date. Touching them may not be appropriate. holding hands is fine. Light touches on the arms and shoulders is fine. adjusting their clothes? no. Cleaning something off of their face is only ok if they say so. It is never ok to use spit to clean someone else.

Women -  Don't be sentimental.....(above)....

Men – Don’t be pushy. Or give too much advice. If she doesn’t want to talk about her work, then drop it. Some women don’t want to work on their career when they are on a date. Most don’t want their date to fix them.  women don’t like their men crying in public places either.

Both – Don’t be overly familiar with the waiter or  waitress. Don’t talk about how much fun you had with someone else. Your date deserves your full attention.

Women – don’t talk about clothes, shoes or your “favorite” girly show. (you know which they are) Talk about things that he wants to talk about. If it happens to be the same thing Great!

Men – Don’t talk about the latest trade to your favorite sports team or the motor in your car or your favorite video game Talk about the things she wants to talk about. If it happens to be the same thing. Great! (she may love sports, cars or video games)

Both – Don’t drink too much.

Some women are clever but most get silly. Some men get fun, most get loud and sloppy.

Both – Don’t flirt with other people or have long drawn out conversations with others. It’s rude to your date.
This includes cell phones. Leave them off or tell the caller you will call them back at a later time

Women -  don’t pass out

Men -Don’t pass out. You are too damn heavy to carry home.
Both – You may be left.

Both- If you see the man all the way on the right. Avoid him. He is off of his meds.

Friday, February 12, 2010

New York gets ready for a Blizzard

New York schools were closed Wednesday . We were expecting 18in of snow. Will we get it? No. A week ago when DC got hit they said we would get 6-12in. how much did we get? zero. I should of taken this one more serious. The day before my postman said he wouldn’t pick up – snow day. But of course I didn’t.

I decided like any good NYer to do all my errands before the snow got deep.
Everything was closed except food places. That was the first time since 1996 that NY partly shut down because of snow. It was the first time I can remember it shutting BEFORE a blizzard.

Snow just got started
Snow just getting started

Snow after 20 min
one man cleaning his car while it is snowing
These were taken early in the day. It snowed all day and all night. NY was open for business and back to school the next morning.

Coolest thing? the photos you see above were taken with my phone and cropped down to less than half their original size.

Uncool – my guy says I don’t need a camera with a phone like that. So much for my valentine day gift.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Rum Buttered Scallops over Lemon Pepper Pasta

You can make rum buttered scallops over any pasta but lemon pepper makes a great contrast to the sweet buttery taste.

What you need to buy -

Lemon pepper pasta. :

I like Trader Joes. Pappardelle you can’t miss the lemon or pepper it makes a wonderful surface of the butter. or Ronzoni makes a lemon pepper angel hair which gives a more subtle flavor. Either is fine



of course real butter, good butter is best, while you can use margarine it will make your pasta and scallops oily instead of the buttery goodness we are looking for. as much as you would like.


Make sure they are as fresh as possible (of course). Scallops can be eaten when cooked to medium, some even eat them raw (I wouldn't) but to not get sick the the rawer the scallops the fresher they need to be. 1 1/2 pounds to 2 pounds.


When cooking with liquor always choose a quality that you can drink. It makes the food taste better. Cooking a bad quality liquor will not make it taste any better. Choose what ever rum you would like. I like bacardi but that’s just me. 151 is just because that's what I had in the house but any unflavored rum will do. Later you can experiment with other flavors.

Optional – Bacon:


I don’t use measurements. I will include approx amounts for 4 , adjust to your own tastes

Ok start preparing the pasta as the package indicates. I use 1 package of the TJ pasta or 1/2 of the ronzini box. Al Dente preferred or Med please.

opt – If you have chosen to add bacon this is a good time to cook it. Take a large frying pan and brown 4-5 slices of bacon. cut into 1 in pieces. If your bacon is frozen don’t worry just cook it first then cut. Remove bacon from pan. let drain. You can now cook the scallops in the bacon grease or clean the pan and add butter. don’t add butter to the bacon grease. While it will be tasty it is just too much grease. It will also make it more likely that the butter will burn.

After the pasta is done- drain the water. I know that many people like to rinse their pasta but this makes no sense unless you are making salad. Now that your pot is empty put 2 pats of butter in the pot (burner should be off). The heat of the already hot pot should melt the butter. add pasta back to the pot and mix until the pasta is coated in the butter. This will keep the pasta separated and warm while you cook the scallops.Its also the reason to make it al dente or med. because pasta will continue to cook with it’s internal heat.

If you haven’t chosen bacon then heat up a large frying pan. add 2 pats of butter or enough to coat the bottom of the pan. The butter should be very hot. sizzling and add scallops. Once you put the scallops in. Scallops take no time at all

to cook. if they are over cooked then they will get rubbery. Their thickness determines how long they should cook.

note: if you have never cooked scallops. leave lots of space in between the scallops and DO NOT stir or mix. Just place them in the pan and let them sit. you can lift one to check the bottoms after 1 min (for large) and keep checking periodically. If you stir them or they are too close together then instead of searing they will steam. Increasing chances of over cooking.

The scallops should look just change color before turning them to the other side. (DO NOT turn golden brown) cook the other side the same then remove scallops from the pan. It is easy to over cook scallops that’s why you have to remove the scallops before reducing the rum.

keep the pan hot and add 2 shot glasses of rum or just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. you want the rum to start reducing

Plate buttered pasta.

Rum should be sizzling and steaming. once the rum is reduced add the partly cooked scallops to the hot pan. (bacon too) let the scallops sear on each side in the rum now you are looking for that golden brown color. scallops should be springy if they are firm they are over cooked. Once you get that nice golden brown color you can put scallops (and bacon) on top of pasta. you can also add the buttery rum liquid. Serve immediately.

This recipe should take about 45 min in total. that includes waiting for the water to boil.

I tweeted about making it for dinner the other night . @libertyimages from etsy ask more about it so I decided to include the recipe on the blog.