Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ride the Changing Tide on Etsy

It feels like I am riding a changing tide. At the end of my first year on Etsy, I'm pondering how to survive the economic crisis and still grow my Etsy site.  There's so much I would do with my site, if I had more capital to invest.  I would make a lot more jewelry, advertise more and certainly expand my options.  I have made a vow not to create debt while starting this small business, and that has kept my business small.  I have made ten sales this year, though I have made more sales off line at trunk shows and craft fairs.  Ten sales feels too small.

I enjoy making jewelry, but I've other work to do, too.  I would enjoy hearing from those of you with Etsy businesses how you find time to grow your business and do whatever other jobs you have.  I will share some of the things that have been storming my brain and look forward to your ideas, too.

Claire's Ideas for Growing Business

  1. Make simpler, quicker jewelry, which can be sold for less.  
  2. Repeat designs instead of making "one-of-a-kind."
  3. Find a less expensive source and recycle materials.
  4. Diversify what I make to include non-jewelry items (there's a glut of jewelry on Etsy).
  5. Find a good, active Street Team on Etsy.  I love the team I have, but I maybe need another.
  6. Advertise myself more off-line.
  7. Focus on preparing for a few big craft shows and fairs and participate big time.
  8. Guard my spare time with a passion so I don't get burned-out.
  9. Passionately uphold my schedule, with an eye for boundary busters. (They don't know who they are, poor things, but they suck up a lot of my energy for my work.  Only I can create my boundaries - and only I can enforce them.)
  10. And I will be aware of the fact I am learning and not compare myself to other artists. 

I will honor that I am doing the best I can, even in those times when I need to do better.

So tell me all of you out there in Etsy Land - any advice for growing my business, without going into debt or spending too much? How do you guard your time for other things?  What has served you well?  What hasn't?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

To Wonder at Beauty, Stand Guard over Truth


As the year spins to an end, I hope all is well at your house.  I  offer these words attributed to Rudolf Steiner, philosopher and mystic of the early 20th century (revised for inclusivity):

To wonder at beauty,

stand guard over truth,

look up to the noble,

decide for the good,

leads all on their journeys

to goals for our lives.

These words work well to say to oneself at the beginning of a walk, especially a labyrinth walk, if you do such things. Even if you don't, life can be a labyrinth, the twists and turns confusing. I love the expression that all those who wander are not lost. I would like to add wonder to my wandering, especially when I feel lost, and find the beauty in the place I am.  

May you find wonder, beauty, truth, nobility and good to lead your goals for 2010.  

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Special Gift: Have You Found What You're Looking For?

Something New: Red Tiger Eye, Garnet, Jasper &Copper

I love giving gifts.  I don't always have much to spend, but how I love figuring out a way within my means to bring a look of pleasure to someone, along with the sense that they are appreciated and understood by me.  At the end of this blog post, I will share some of my free or low-cost ideas for gifts.  If you can afford very reasonably priced jewelry items, I recommend you visit my Etsy site to do some carefree gift-shopping. I will even gift wrap for you and postage within the USA is free this season.

I hope that my ready-made designs will please some, but I am always open to collaborating to create something that speaks to the heart.  That is why I call my store the Heart Space, because I put my own heart and soul into these items.  It is a way of sending my joy outward - via color, precious metals, beautiful beads and natural stones.

If you have an idea for a gift that you might like my help realizing, please don't hesitate to contact me.  We might be able to collaborate.  You can contact me via email at, where you can leave a message, even attach a photo of something you might like.  I'm fully aware, gauging by sales this year that this might be a tight season financially for me and many others.

Here are a few ideas for free or extremely low cost gifts and community-building that I especially enjoy.

10 Hearfelt Gift Ideas
  1. The gift of time. Start with a hand-written invitation on a pretty card (You can find many nice cards on Etsy, by the way)  Invite a friend for a lunch you cook yourself.  Sit deep and catch up on each other's lives.  
  2. Copy out a favorite poem on nice paper - choose one that reminds you of someone special.  Copy it in your best handwriting or on your computer with a nice font. With a glue stick glue on a relevant picture from a magazine or old greeting card.  Toll  Tie it with a pretty ribbon. 
  3. Even BETTER - if you can write a poem or paragraph of your own - with a memory of a special time with that friend or loved-on.  You can decorate it to the extent of your ability - and time.
  4. Give nature lovers something you have found in their favorite places - the beach (a shell?), the mountains or forest (a river stone or pretty pine cone).  You could combine this gift with a poem above, or quote from Nature writers such as Thoreau or William Stafford.
  5. A loaf of bread, a dozen cookies, a jar of spaghetti sauce, anything home-cooked to anyone living alone or anyone terribly busy is always welcome.
  6. Time again - invite someone to accompany you for a special walk. Bring a picnic?  If it's cold you could eat it in the car.
  7. Sachets: Buy bulk lavender at the Health Food store.  Sew tablespoons into little pockets and fill in the rest with cotton stuffing.  Tie with pretty ribbons. Include in gift baskets with bars of nice soap, or your homemade jam - or the sea shells or poems. (See above)
  8. Shop local and help small businesses succeed - these are your friends and neighbors.  A few pennies saved here and there can't make up for the community you lose (not to mention the gas to drive around) when big stores take over and the little guys close down.
  9. Even on Etsy, there's a shop local feature where you can find people in your city and state from whom you can buy gifts.  Heart Space is located in Portland, Oregon.
  10. Always shop in a good mood.  Take a walk in the fresh air first and you will be in a good mood.  Believe it or not, statistics show that when you are happy you make much wiser choices overall.
I hope these suggestions are useful to you.  Here's to a Happy Holiday to each and every one!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Due to the untimely demise of my hard drive, I've been invisible in the blogosphere of late.  The computer was still on the warrantee, I managed to save my photos and my two novels, so I have much for which to be grateful.

One event I am grateful for is my first Open Studio November 13.  It was fun and pretty successful.  I built a merry fire and served tea, persimmon cookies and scones, with the hope of making it more of a party than a marketing venture. I didn't want anyone I invited to feel obligated to buy anything, but to feel free to browse at my work and enjoy the refreshments and atmosphere.  I hope they all had fun.

I must create a larger sphere of fans locally in order to really have a knock-down-drag-out open studio, but this was a practice attempt at introducing my fledging business, showing some of my altars and installment art, as well as the jewelry which with more people are familiar.

Last December I started my Heart Space store on Etsy and have made 9 sales online. Much more sales have been to people who have met me and have seen the work in person.  I am hopeful that I can keep increasing the quality and style of my work, and sales will continue to increase online as well.

There is so much for which to be thankful.  I am grateful for my friends, customers, blog followers, and everyone who has supported my creative ventures. My husband has found work (after nearly a year of unemployment) this month, which is a huge relief to us both.  This year taught us much- especially how strong and resourceful we can be.  But we couldn't have survived without those who helped.

The provisions and kindnesses that have sustained us this year have been so many.  I hope you all will give and receive the same to whomever you may.  Life is indeed too short to be lonely, hungry or sad; let us all share good things with each other.

(P.S. - the grandmother in the Norman Rockwell picture at the top, always reminded me of my own - and though N.R. is not by any means my favorite, images like this never fail to make me smile.)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Make Your Own Day of the Dead Altar

Hi Friends and Followers,
To read about how to make your own Day of the Dead Altar, please follow this link.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Jewelry Trends For Fall and Winter

A little bit steampunk, a little bit 1960's modern.  Beautiful hardware silver earrings aren't heavy to wear.

Beautiful, autumnal moss greens, copper and feminine pink.

Stunning sky blue turquoise makes a statement that you're beautiful, strong and in tune with the natural world.

Hardware Edge: Heartspace's Glass and Chrome earrings

A statement necklace: choose stones and colors that enchant you.  
(Emily wearing Heartspace's Autumn Fire Agate Necklace.)

I've been Googling the trends for Fall and Winter 2009 and then thinking about which of Heartspace's offerings fit the bill.  I'm happy to say that the natural look of semi-precious stones in the rough is ever-popular this fall.  Look for what they call a "statement necklace," that is, some piece of jewelry that makes a statement about your personality and style. 

Try combining color trends with the healing qualities Gem Lore celebrates: luscious red garnets for steadfast love, sky-blue turquoise for protection and power, rainbow moonstone for feminine intuition, and yellow citrine for positivity and prosperity.

I am seeing a lot of steam-punk: that is watches and gears, etc. in jewelry.  There's a lot of this available on Etsy, but what is top fashion is a bit more refined.  Heartspace offers a couple of affordable, hardware earrings with silver findings that look like metal parts.  Very chic and handsome: not at all heavy, either.

Coral is big.  I fell in love with it last year, but learned to be careful to purchase fine coral that isn't illegally harvested, or even worse dyed red, only to come off on your neck!  I have yet to find any coral this fall that is affordable and not dyed or "fishy" in origin.  When I find quality affordable stones and shells, I will pass the savings onto you. 

The bohemian look just won't die; I think because it's so fun to wear Gypsy jewelry.  For just a few bucks, you can layer on a necklace or two, and try out some of Heartspace's beautiful earrings, that are guaranteed to flatter your face.  

I make test samples of all Heartspace earrings, wearing a pair for a full day to make sure they are comfortable.  None of my designs are heavy or scratchy to wear.  I promise!

Jewelry is a very affordable way to update one's wardrobe without breaking the bank.  May I suggest you don't scrimp with ho-hum jewelry that doesn't glow with color or interest. If in doubt, go without, until you find what really sings to you. 

Thursday, October 1, 2009

El Día de los Muertos: The Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead Necklace available at Heartspace store

In Mexico and other Latin American countries colonizing Spaniards combined their Catholicism with the traditional religious practices of the indigenous peoples.  The Day of the Dead is such a synergism: a combination of the Catholic holiday of All Saints Day and All Souls Day with the cult of the dead, dating back to Aztec and Mayan traditions.  

Many cultures believe that as autumnal days approach, the veil between the worlds of the living and dead grows very thin.  The Latin American indigenous peoples prepare for the celebration beginning in early October, when the bakeries start selling calaveras de azucar (sugar skulls) and pan de muerto (bread of the dead) which will be used to decorate the altars in honor of long-gone ancestors and recently deceased family members.  

Furnishings are moved to make room for elaborate altars (ofrendas) within family homes. Arches decorated with garlands of marigold flowers stand at the head of the altars and papel picado: intricately cut banners of tissue paper are hung about the space dedicated to them. Framed photos of the deceased, as well as their favorite foods, objects such as cigarettes, military medals or jewelry that once belonged to them are favorite offerings.  Everything is planned to celebrate the lives of those who have died, as well as to entice their spirits into the home to celebrate with the living. It is traditional in preparation for the Day of the Dead to clean and decorate the grave sites as well.  

On the eve of All Saints Day, Mexican families meet for a candlelight vigil in the cemetery. Although there is prayer and reflection, there may be music, singing and a picnic at the grave, the family strewing marigold petals to guide the spirit of the loved one to the altar at home. 

On November second, the family will eat the food from the altar and proceed to the cemetery one last time, again strewing the marigold petals to lead the spirit back to the grave site before the veil between the two worlds closes and the spirits are stranded in the world of the living.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Many Moons Necklace

This necklace is made from fair trade U.S. mined and cut, whole natural Sleeping Beauty turquoise and moonstone buttons.  Hand wire-wrapped with fine sterling-silver wire, it is light as a feather and very comfortable to wear.  The design came to me first in a dream, but it took me awhile to find the little moons to space between the smaller clusters of turquoise and the focal clusters of longer dentate turquoise.   

It is fairly uncommon to see moonstone and turquoise used together in jewelry.  With this combination I attempted to capture the wonder I first experienced as a child upon noticing a white moon in the blue daytime sky.   I could not keep my eyes off such a wonder and in my dream I affixed tiny moons between bright turquoise, just as I have in this necklace.

Turquoise is a stone attributed with properties of protection and strength, while moonstones are supposed to have feminine properties of intuitive power, enhancing cycles and rhythms. In India the moonstone is sacred for lovers. Seafarers were known to carry moonstones as talismans, but to what end I do not know.  Perhaps sailors carried moonstones to protect them from the whims of the tides, so dependent the moon's gravity. 

Enhancing this respect for gravity, is the grounding property of turquoise, which the First Peoples of this hemisphere prize so highly, expertly incorporating turquoise into beautiful amulets and jewelry.  

It has come to my attention recently that many of the Third World sources of turquoise mine and cut this semi-precious stone in conditions that are dangerous and unhealthy for the workers.  For this reason I have undertaken a search for American turquoise, such as that used in this piece.  No matter what wonderful folklore may be attributed to a stone, it is important to know it's origin as well.  

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

September Special: Free Postage in U.S.A.!

Free Postage for every order shipped within the U.S.A!
Click this link to visit my Etsy store:
Two tier Autumn Fire agate and copper necklace, as shown, $45.00.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

End-of-Summer Give-away!

This fifteen dollar-value necklace is only available 
to those participating this give-away,
but the winner can choose any Heartspace item
valued ten dollars or under.

 Want to Play? Here's how: 

  • Just post your comment here and--
  •  Feel free to comment on this blog as often to increase your chances of winning.  
  • Winner will be announced the day after Labor Day Weekend.  Be thinking of which prize you want: the pictured necklace or anything in my shop under ten dollars.
  • Good luck -- and best wishes from the Heart Space.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

How to Make Blackberry Pie: Part One

Kneading the dough

Rolling pie dough between sheets of wax paper

The dough sticks to wax paper and is easy to transfer to pie pan.

Waiting for the lid.

Fluting the crusts together

Good idea to cut a vent

¡Esto es!  See my recipe in posting below. 

Berry Pie: The Zen Way

Preheat Oven to 400 degrees.
(Yes, this is my antique, 1970's Magic Chef Electric Range.)


Mix and let stand while you make crust:
About 6 cups fresh wild blackberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Minute Tapioca

(make sure you have 1 tablespoon butter to add to berries before top crust)


  1. Measure two cups unbleached flour, exactly as possible. "Cut" off excess flour at top with table knife.
  2. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon sea salt.
  3. As you pour in 1/2 cup canola or other suitable oil (mild flavored), mix with fork.
  4. Add approximately 1/2 cup milk (this is the Zen part) according to atmospheric conditions the dough will come together with more or less milk. As dough begins to stick together stop pouring milk.  Sometimes I have used as little as 1/4 cup milk. 
  5. Knead the dough slightly and form soft ball.  Divide dough into two equal balls.
  6. Flatten 1 ball onto wax paper and cover with another sheet of wax paper.  
  7. Roll with rolling pin from center outward until dough is about 1/4 inch thick, roundish and larger than your pie pan.  
  8. Lift top sheet of wax paper and place over 8 1/2 inch pie plate, wax paper side up. 
  9. Peel off wax paper.
  10. Add berries + 1 tablespoon butter, broken into little dots that you scatter on top of fruit.
  11. Repeat the roll and lift, laying top crust over berries and butter.
  12. Crimp together top and bottom crust.
  13. Cut out vent. I always put a heart: for Heart Space, for love, for the courageous heart it takes to brave those thorns and pick the wild blackberries.
  14. Place pie pan on cookie sheet and bake for one hour at 400 degrees. (Middle oven rack)
  15. Cool for at least 1 1/2 hours for best results. 
See photos of steps in posting above.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Little Mermaid Surfaces in High Summer

or La Serenita:
The Sea Goddess of South America

Mermaid Necklace, by Clarita
for Heartspace

The clear and darker aquamarine stones in this
necklace catch the light and pool cool oceanic color.  Notice the 
silvery dolphin the mermaid rides and the little gold stars.
I found this onyx, hand-painted in Ukraine pendant 
in Santa Fe, New Mexico!

One of my favorite mythical creatures is the mermaid.  I love the thought of a beautiful sea creature: half-human and half-fish.  The iridescent scales, the comb of shell and the hair that floats like seaweed atop the water.  The story of a mermaid will always enchant me, whether Disney or something more numinous, such as The Secret of Roan Inish, or the Silkie of Shule Skerry.

In Hispanic cultures, the mermaid is a sea goddess: La Serenita, often pictured in a floaty white dress with a star on her forehead and instead of long golden hair, Serenita's locks are as black as the night. This South American goddess is descended from the African goddess Yemaya.  

The sixteen-inch mermaid necklace I created for my Heartspace Etsy store consists of a Ukrainian pendant painted on semi-precious onyx, with what must have been a minute paint brush.  The pendant is an one inch by one half inch faceted oval.  The necklace itself is of onyx, fresh-water Aegean blue pearls, aquamarine faceted rondelles, gold-plated beads, aquamarine chips and lovely Japanese seed beads, like opalescent water droplets.  The clasp is gold-filled. A truly winsome bit of fancy.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

10 % Off Sale for Blog Followers

Hi Friends of Heart Space,

I am frying slowly in Portland, Oregon.  It's the third day of a killer heat wave.  The forecast for today is one hundred eight degrees!  And it's not dry heat, either.  It's putting me in the mood to let go of all this stuff that has been sitting around in my store.  It's putting me in the mood to earn enough gas money to take us to a much-earned trip to the sea side for a day soon.  If I make 50-100 dollars I could pay for gas and take us out to dinner.  Anyway, I'm going to try.

Here's the plan.  If you're a follower of my blog and order before August Fifth, I'll give you a 10% discount on any item.  Such a deal!  The prices are already quite low.

Surely someone out there is about to drive down to some mall or other to pick up a gift for someone. (We do it out of habit without even thinking.) Well, I don't blame you if you have no Air conditioning and are having a heat wave like ours. But wait, you could be purchasing a handmade, fair trade item from yours truly!  I'll gift wrap it for free, too!  What could be more easy?  Well, I know some of you love the thrill of the shopping hunt. So. . . .

Go ahead and troll the mall. I bet I can beat their prices and you will still enjoy the air conditioned walk.  Here's the link -

P.S. For those who don't know: the link is to my shop on, a site where millions of artisans compete for attention from potential buyers.  It is not unusual for a newer store to only have a few sales like mine does. It is no reflection on the quality of my work.  I don't have money to advertise, etc.  This blog is about it. Luckily I do sell my work in person, too.  Still, it would be great to sell more and build a business that has many outlets.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Little Lupitas

Three New Little Necklaces 
The third one has sold already!


Monday, July 13, 2009

You Are What You Love

Clarita loves the color robin's egg blue. 
What do you love?

Today I recommend a new form of shopping that costs absolutely nothing.  It occurred to me while contemplating how people who shop on Etsy leave virtual "hearts" at their favorite Etsy stores, or give to items that catch their fancy. Maybe an Etsy shopper never buys that thing, but just having "hearted" it, they've made it a part of their Favorites Section on their Etsy site. It's a way you can come to know a person on Etsy, by what favorites they display.  Some people keep their Etsy hearts secret from all others, but many are so proud of their favorites that they announce them on blogs or on Twitter.  Maybe this is a metaphor for a very valuable spiritual and creative exercise: listing your favorite things in some tangible form.

First, spend a few moments with your Heart's Longing, what you'd love to see around you, or how you would like things in your life to be.  Then imagine that you have left a bit of your heart at the place where those beloved nouns are sold, or appear, or congregate, just as an Etsy shopper might.

Finally, create a book, either real or imaginary where you might store images or words that represent those nouns, or even some verbs, if what you love is an action word.  Now imagine that this book has a photo of you on the cover.  All these qualities, things, experiences, etc. are part of what you store in your heart.  You might title that book: My Heart's Desires.  

Such intentionality might actually help you obtain some of these desires.  I intend to make such a book this summer and keep it in a sacred place.  Can you list at least a hundred things you love? I guarantee that just doing this will lift your spirits. 

What do you cherish in your Heart Space? Please leave a comment with one favorite thing you love.  It doesn't have to be anything fancy or ponderous: just what first comes to mind!

Wishing you every happiness,

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Audrey Necklace: Wondrous Citrine

This is my latest posting in my etsy store (link at left).  I call it the Audrey Necklace because it evokes the 1960's style of the elegant actress, Audrey Hepburn.  It is reminiscent of a necklace Audrey wore in the movie, Breakfast at Tiffany's.  I was aiming to create something classic and natural enough to go through an entire day: from breakfast (at Tiffany's?) to that nightcap on your penthouse balcony.  Okay, you don't have a penthouse, but wouldn't these stones catch the sunlight on the way to work?  Wouldn't they brighten up that tired black linen suit?

The longest strand of this necklace is approximately 19 inches long and the shorter strand about 17 inches.  But the most interesting facts about this necklace are the stones, gorgeous citrine, which has a topaz-like glow and a wonderful LORE about its supposed properties.  

LORE: Citrine emits such positive energy, it is said to never need cleaning to remove negative vibes, as some stones do.  It's the recommended gift stone for Virgos and your 13th and 17th anniversaries. The joyful golden color of citrine probably inspired the lore that it's the Success Stone, which brings good fortune in unexpected ways.  If a long lost uncle dies and leaves you a million dollars, or the old poetry notebook you threw away falls into the hands of an enthusiastic editor who searches you down to publish it, you might be wearing citrine!  

Those who believe in the healing powers of stones say citrine helps the heart, kidneys, muscles and promotes mental clarity, as well as heightening sex appeal. Hmmm, all that abundance, AND it eliminates any self-destructive tendencies you might have picked up on the way to the bank.  

I don't have anyway of proving all the lore, but the rich golden color of the citrine makes me happy just to wear it.  The sunlight moves through them and spills out golden rays.  More gold than yellow, they look good anyone who can carry off gold jewelry.  

The Audrey necklace is one of my favorites so far, and it available for $50, from my Heartspace etsy store.  Just click on the etsy store link at the left and check out my new summer jewelry. 

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Tell me what you want?

"Tell me what you want, what you really, really want!" the song by the Spice Girls begs. Now I beg of you, appreciators and artisans alike.  What is it that would tempt you sorely to part with your hard-earned dollars these days? What would you like to see in the store window above?

Why do I need to know?  

Any artist trying to survive needs a public, needs to find a need and fill it.  I don't care if you're a poet or a sculptor, you are looking for a niche to fill.  And those of us who read, listen, wear, and most of all have hard-earned dollars to share want something really special.

Lately I haven't cared that I don't have much to spend because I don't see all that much that really sings to me.  However, I will save my desires for the next post.  Right now I want to hear from you.

  • What stories that haven't been told are you longing to read?  
  • What colors can't you find out there?  
  • What would you wear and need to wear that just isn't being offered anywhere?  
  • And so on?   Tell me more. . .
Please, please tell me in your comments on this blog.  All you have to do is click on the word comments and the window will tell you what to do.


To get what you want and need and more, it is necessary to formulate a vision of it and most of all ASK!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What's Happening at Heart*space?

Hi Friends,

I've been neglecting my Etsy Store and this blog for a few weeks due to some unpleasant adventures. Trust me, it was no picnic, but love carried us through. At last everyone is well and hope is rising with the flowers.

I'm back on a creative binge.  I have begun work on three altar installations and have placed some of my newest jewelry creations at a cool beauty salon called Images Unlimited where Jenny, Tari and the other talented stylists help men and women to look their best from head to toe.  I'm so pleased to have already sold a few of my most fashion forward pieces to Images Unlimited clients already!  Just for joy and for a Mothers' Day gift to myself I got my scraggly hair cut for the first time in ages.  I must say they did a great job.

So, if you live in Portland, Oregon and need a good haircut, you'll have to run down to Images Unlimited where they'll pamper you royally.  Tell them Claire sent you and take a look at my Mermaid Necklaces, one with the look of beach glass, the other with charms and pearls.

While my life settles back to its usual happy chaos, I will finish the Wise Women installations and hope to post them soon.  In the meantime, I pray that spring warms into summer less eventfully, or at least may all your events be blessed.  I know I am glad to be alive and living right here at this time.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Spring Sale Ends on Sunday, April 12th

This is an invitation to visit my Etsy Store and order something for Easter.  I am offering free shipping within the USA and reduced shipping overseas to all jewelry customers.  If you wish to order from out of the USA please convo me at 
There are a few countries to which I cannot ship.

After Easter I will be posting many new items, including new smaller nichos (portable altars in boxes) with the wise women: beautiful old women with faces kind of like this one.  The nichos will sell for around forty dollars.  

I hope the sun's warmth is returning to your neck of the woods, and you can feel the hope of Easter approaching.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Starving Artist's Recipe: Pizza San Antonio

I hope you'll visit my Etsy store and check out my Spring Sale.  For less than the cost of a cheap pizza, you can find a nice gift for someone special. I love pizza and a movie, but why spend your hard-earned money on greasy pizza, when you can make it so much better and healthier at home? Homemade is pretty easy and fun to make. I have a recipe for delicious crust, and you have control over the quality of the toppings. 

Use the best cheese you can afford, fresh veggies and anything else you love. Always, always lightly bake the crust for about five minutes in a very hot oven before you top the pizza, that's the secret to getting a homemade crust that you can pick up in your fingers without it wilting.  (If you have a brick oven, you can forget that step, but most of us are stuck with the usual electric or gas range.)

Before you sit down eat your pizza, don't forget to thank Saint Anthony, the Abbot, patron saint of Naples, and the original pizza, which originated there! Saint Anthony is pictured at the left, preparing a fire on which make a pizza al fresco.  The barnyard animals are encouraging him to make it vegetarian style. 

Though I admire his campfire skills, I won't be making an altar to San Antonio any time soon. I will be making my own delicious pizza and eating it while I watch a DVD from the good old Multnomah County Public Library!  Dinner and a Movie on the cheap!  Monday I begin a whole series of altars to the wise women. Maybe you're becoming wiser when you try this new recipe.

Clarita's Pizza Recipe:
4 cups unbleached flour 
(or you can mix 1 cup semolina flour, or half whole wheat - half unbleached, but I suggest that it's best if there's some unbleached for good texture)
3 Tablespoons dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 large can good quality canned petite diced or crused tomatoes (drain diced tomatoes, not necessary to drain crushed.)
fresh or dry basil
2 cups Mozzarella cheese
Toppings: your call! 
  1. In large bowl measure flour, make a nice little crater in the middle, add yeast and 1/2 cup warm water.
  2. Let yeast dissolve for a few minutes, then gently mix into dough with salt and olive oil.
  3. Add 1 cup warm water.
  4. Stir until well mixed.
  5. Knead till smooth on floured board. (Kneading involves folding the dough and pushing down on the mouth of the fold. After each knead, turn dough and repeat fold and push-press, until dough is smooth and elastic, about ten minutes of good arm exercise. Scrape the bowl clean with a strong rubber spatula and add all those little crumples to the dough as part of the kneading process.)
  6. Oil the mixing bowl with olive oil and roll ball of dough in bowl and cover with clean towel.  Leave dough in warm but not hot place to rise until doubled.  This might take 45 minutes to an hour. 
  7. Flour your hands, punch dough down and remove it from bowl. 
  8. Oil your pizza pan and sprinkle with cornmeal.
  9. Stretch the dough gently by hand onto large pizza pan, or two, depending on size and thickness preferred. You use more dough per pan for thick pizza, use rolling pin if you like the crust cracker thin. 
  10. Brush the crust with a tiny bit of olive oil in which you have crushed a clove of fresh garlic.
  11. In very hot oven (450-500 degrees) pre-bake pizza crust for five minutes until lightly golden.
  12. Drain some lovely petite diced tomatoes and spread thinly on crust, along with fresh or dried basil and lovely grated or thinly sliced mozzarella cheese. If you have the $$ for other stretchy Italian cheeses, such as Provolone, or accent cheeses, such as Romano, Parmesan and Asiago, sprinkle to your heart's content. Save a little to sprinkle lightly over your topping veggies .
  13. Top with whatever else your little heart desires. I love marinated and broiled eggplant, olives, mushrooms and artichoke hearts. 
  14. Bake for about 10 minutes at 450 degrees until cheese is bubbly and golden. Let cool a bit before slicing: maybe 5-10 minutes. ENJOY.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Etsy Going to the Dogs? May be, but it's a good thing!

Beautiful hemp items available at Earth Moon Beam's Etsy Store and website.
This dog looks so proud in her handsome Celtic collar.
And the prices are reasonable, too.

Hi Etsy Fanatics,

Have you found everything you needed on Etsy, the premier site for artisan made items?  Well, maybe not everything for your pet, eh? These handsome Hippie dogs in spiffy handmade hemp collars delight me.  

The collars and leashes should last forever and be a lot more comfortable than a lot of the collars around, especially more comfortable than those choke chains.  You can custom order a collar and have your dogs name beaded into the macrame design.  Check out Earth Moonbeams art while you're there.  What a versatile artist!

Amazing: all the beautiful things at Earth Moon Beam's groovy store!

That's all for today,
Your roving reporter, 
Clarita de Heartspace

Cooking From Scratch Part Two: Spanish Lentils

The saints love lentils. Why? I am not sure, but it must have something to do with the cheapness and ease of cooking the versatile little legumes. maybe it's because because lentils are mentioned in the Bible. In the story of Jacob and Esau: a story of extreme sibling rivalry. Esau traded his birthright as the eldest son to his brother Jacob for a "pottage of lentils."

I once watched a movie about a troupe of Spanish actors visiting early Nazi Germany.  They were starving for lentils, so they ended up in a Jewish restaurant on Kristalnacht, a night when Nazi brown shirts attacked Jewish businesses.  Though the experience horrified and frightened them, the actors didn't regret having enjoyed the thick brown stew. Lentils reminded them of home.

You can make such a homey stew, one will stir the passions of a gourmet, and meet the approval of the most saintly vegetarian, all for pennies.  A pottage for a pittance: what I mean is this recipe is good and cheap!

Lentil Stew:
(serves starving masses)
NEEDED: one very large heavy stock pot.

2 cups lentils
3 or more stalks celery
1 onion
4-6 carrots
1 large can diced tomatoes
2 cups shredded green cabbage
olive oil
rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil (or whatever preferred herbs: I often use Herbs Provence)
Options: Add cubed red potatoes or macaroni with the vegetables for a more hefty stew.
  1. Wash and sort lentils carefully.
  2. Put lentils in stock pot with six cups water and bring to boil.  Boil about 3 minutes.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon salt, garlic, two tablespoons olive oil and tomatoes, simmer 1/2 hour.
  4. While simmering chop vegetables into spoon sized bites, shred cabbage & add to lentils. 
  5. Add herbs if dried; if fresh wait till last fifteen minutes or so to add herbs
  6. Simmer until vegetables and lentils are soft, stirring occasionally. This should take about 1/2 hour to 40 minutes.  
  7. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and crusty bread for a satisfying meal. 

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Kreative Blog Awards

Here are the rules [I must follow]: List 7 things you love and then pass the award on to 7 people tagging them and letting them know they've won.  You can copy the picture of the awar and put it on your sideboard letting the blogger world know you're a KREATIV BLOGGER [their spelling not mine].  Here are some things I love"
  1. Color: couldn't live without it every day in massive doses. Especially Blue, green and yellow...
  2. Sesame Seeds and almonds, also in massive doses.  Very healing.
  3. The herbs lavender and rosemary have cheered me all my life.
  4. Birds: Hummingbirds, meadowlarks, mockingbirds and mourning doves.
  5. The sea, the sea! Oh my, it is my favorite location.  
  6. Sailboats: the way to go nowhere with joy.
  7. Cats, (especially my cat Xochitl) horses, dogs, and just about any creature.
Now friends here are some blogs you shouldn't miss. I give them all the Kreativ Blogger award:


Friday, February 27, 2009

Cooking From Scratch Part One: Your Own Delicious & Healthy Bread

Dear Starving Artists,

I am about to share a secret that will halve your grocery bill and allow you to ride out this recession with finesse and style.  Get yourself a good, simple cookbook and learn the work the grocery store to your advantage.  Prepared foods cost more per unit than basic ingredients and are definitely less healthy.  Cook from scratch from bulk ingredients.

This may sound difficult if you don't cook at all, or if you hate to cook but it will definitely protect your health to cook your meals from the best ingredients you can afford.  For example: bread is a healthy staple and a lot easier to make yourself than you might think.  

If you turn on your oven to bake, it does cost something, but your house gets warmer, and delightfully fragrant in the bargain. Not only that, but your bread will be so much more delicious and you have control over the ingredients.  

So many of the brands of bread contain corn syrup which in NOT GREEN (google KING CORN, the documentary) or healthful.  I put ground flax seed meal and all kinds of healthy stuff in my bread, and minimize the fats and sugars.  I buy my flour from the bulk bins at WINCO (a very affordable grocery store) and when I am rich, I buy organic flour.  We do the best we can with the dollars we have, right? (Please don't scold me; buy something from my Etsy Store and I will buy organic flour in your honor!)

So, I'm going to share my easy and excellent bread recipe here.  It makes four beautiful loaves, and as you improve as a baker you can vary the ingredients.  From time to time I will share more recipes, especially Hispanic ones that my family has passed down for ages.  

5 cups flour
3 Tablespoons yeast
1/3 cup sweetener (honey, brown sugar, or molasses) or less to taste (must have 1 tablespoon)
5 cups warm water
Mix above ingredients quite well: no lumps or clumps.  Allow to rise about 1 hour, or until the sponge is bubbly and doubled.

Later add: 1/3 cup oil
1/4 cup flax seed meal
2 Tablespoons good salt
enough flour to make dough (about 4-5 cups, so that you can knead and it's not sticky)

  1. After the sponge has risen for about 45 minutes to an hour, add the oil, salt and continue to stir in flour until you can no longer stir with a heavy wooden spoon. 
  2.  Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead the dough.  You do this by pushing and stretching the dough with the heels of your hands and then folding and turning the dough, each time pressing the dough forward with you hands and refolding until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.  How do you know the dough is ready to shape into loaves? When you pinch it, the dough will feel like your earlobe!  Add flour as you need to to keep the dough from sticking.
  3. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts and cover with towel as you shape each loaf and set it into a greased bread pan.  The best size for this recipe is about 6 by 9 inch pan.  You can grease with butter, PAM spray or shortening.  Oil doesn't work well.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Allow loaves to rise under a light towel until they're curved about 1/2 inch above the top of the bread pan.  Be sure it's a warm place, but do not place loaves too near heat as they will rise too fast and the yeast will die.  If the place is too cold, the yeast will sleep and rise sluggishly.
  6. Before you place loaves in oven, you might choose to brush with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  7. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes in center of oven.  The bread crust will look browned and the bread will sound hollow when tapped if done.
  8. Remove from pan and cool at least 15 minutes.  (Use willpower; it wrecks the loaf to cut it too soon!) If you  must leave the bread out for awhile, cover the loaves with towels to keep them from losing too much moisture.
  9. To store unused loaves wrap and place in freezer.  Bread defrosts fast!

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Jen and Chrisy were neck and neck, but Jen had the most correct answers.  So Jen wins the necklace.  However I'd like to reward Chrisy for being such a loyal contestant by offering her a $5.00 coupon to go towards any item in my store, except vintage and the custom altars.  Jen and Chrisy should convo me to claim their prizes.  

In the midst of all this, I have been on jury duty, so the contest hasn't been promoted as it should have been.  I will try again later.  I am still learning about this business and don't know how to do a lot of the promotional things.

However I love to write, so I'll stick to that for awhile and we'll revisit contests and promotions in the spring.  
Keep warm and happy, everyone.  Life is so short!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Contest Question # 5 & 6

Midnight tomorrow I will announce the winner: the one who posts the answers to 5 &6 first on the blog and has correctly answered all the previous questions.  

Here are the last two questions:

A.  Good mojo, I say she has it! Who is she and what item features her?

B.  This pendant, I describe that it looks like cherry candy.  Odd of me to say that, better check to make sure I'm right.

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE! Wish you all could win...Hope it's been fun/
We'll have to do this again soon.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Contest Clue # 4

You deserve a medal for getting this far.  So does she; and while you're at it, pick up some roses.
Who is she?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Question # 3

Did you answer #2?  What was the item that might be used to turn over a new leaf, or as an affirmation for hurtful memories?

Okay, question #3 is as follows:
The birthstone for January...which item did I design around a 1930's glass bead?

Happy day to you!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesday's Clue and Question #3

Time to turn over a new leaf.  This item might be worn as an affirmation to heal hurtful memories...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Lonely Hearts Clue and Question #2

Cheap wine, a favorite on Skid Row, had a little jingle vintage 1960's: "How's it sold/Good and cold/What's the jive?/Bird's Alive." It's between 13 & 18% alcohol by volume, made by Gallo, and is responsible for a lot of public drunkenness.  Sadly, this wine's name name was taken from the great totems of Native American origin.

What's the wine called?  And which item features this totem? There's an extra clue if you read the first line of this post very carefully. Post your answers to the question on this post and the one below.  If you are the first one to post the correct answer to the last question and have posted the answer to each day's question you're the winner!

Good luck!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Lonely Hearts Scavenger Hunt Begins Now!

You could win the lonely valentine heart necklace above, if you can find the answers to each day's question in my Etsy Store.  It's a scavenger hunt of sorts, but not too hard.  Here's how it works.  
  1. There will be six questions, one per day; the last one's on Friday.  The clues refer to descriptions of items in my Etsy Store.  You can find the answers in the descriptions. Remember to check both pages of the store.
  2. Each of the questions have a clue as to which posting might include the answer. 
  3. Each evening until Friday, I will be posting a question and--you can leave the answer in the comments to that posting on this blog.
  4.  On Saturday I will be selecting a winner from whomever comments first with the answer to the very last question (provided he or she also gave the right answers to the other questions). 
  5. GOOD LUCK. If you have any questions, post them today as comments.  If two people comment simultaneously I will look back to see who commented first on previous postings.
  6. FIRST QUESTION: This one is easy. I'm leaving a clue.  A clue: in spring a little bird paints hers bright sky blue.  This item is sadly unhearted and I can't understand why.  It is classic and timeless and would look as good with a little black dress as it would with a sweater and jeans. Which item is it?
  7. <-----There's  a link to my Etsy Store on this blog...Happy hunting!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Heartspace Lonely Hearts' Contest

Dear Friends of Heart*Space:
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!  I hope your heart is happy, and that your rose looks better than the one my cat gnawed on (see right.)

I want you to be the first to hear about my Lonely Hearts' Contest.  In my store there are some lonely hearts that didn't sell for Valentine's Day.  You could be the lucky winner of one of them.

Tomorrow I will be posting the clues to a scavenger hunt throughout my Etsy Store.  Those who visit my store and search through the postings will find the clues in the item descriptions in various listings of artisan jewelry or custom altars.  I won't tell you which, but I will drop some clues on postings this week! I will be offering one of my Valentine necklace's as a prize for the potential Queen or King of Hearts, who through expert scavenging, is able to deduct the most answers to questions by the deadline.  I will be posting the contest deadline, directions and clues Monday at 12 noon Pacific Time.  

Be sure to check this blog daily for updates.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Visit the Treasury?

Hi Dear Friends who Follow this Blog,
Just a quick note. One of my vintage items has the honor of being featured in the Etsy Treasury of the Spanglish Team.  It's a beautiful springy treasury. The other artists are so cool, I feel honored, even though I didn't make what is featured.  It may help lead some buyers to my Etsy Store, or so I hope. 
Here's the link:

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

PS. After writing this, I  discovered I'm in another treasury! Another vintage item, which is a good start. Here's the link:
Thank you for looking!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Blessed Kateri

This week I want to introduce you to Blessed Kateri, Lily of the Mohawks.  I have made a necklace with her image to celebrate this Native American saint who awaits canonization.  I have been drawn to her image in the garden surrounding Saint Francis Cathedral in Santa Fe, New Mexico, loving her story, which is seems so sad and is probably completely misunderstood. 

That Kateri was a deeply spiritual woman attracted to the story of the wounded, rejected Christ and His grieving mother is not for me to dispute.  Yet, the reasons for her rejection by her Mohawk peers when she became a Christian do not ring true to me. I believe the pain caused by the Missionaries, colonists and the White Man in general is the reason Kateri was ridiculed and marginalized by her people.  How could one who knew the pain and sickness brought from Europe worship their God?

I believe Kateri's vision of Christ was in accord with her innate knowledge of The Holy that preceded her conversion.  I believe there is "that of God in each one" and Blessed Kateri's gift was compassion and love not only for her own people, but for the conquerors who had so misunderstood Christ's teaching  as to justify the destruction of an entire culture, a civilization with values and truth as viable as their own.

To wear this necklace if you're Native American is to celebrate the life of a great and compassionate ancestor Skin.  If you are not Native American, perhaps it would serve as a reminder of the great souls that trod this Holy Ground before your ancestors came.  May you walk softly, spread light and love and treasure the beauty all around you.  Here, in honor of Kateri and her People is a reverent Mohawk Prayer:
Oh Great Spirit, Creator of all things;
Human Beings, trees, grass, berries.
Help us, be kind to us.
Let us be happy on earth.
Let us lead our children
To a good life and old age.
These our people; give them good minds
to love one another.
Oh Great Spirit,
Be kind to us.
Give these people the favor
to see green trees,
green grass, flowers and berries
This next spring;
So we all meet again
Oh Great Spirit,
We ask of you.