Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Your Cottage Foods Business and the Internet

As soon as I heard the California's Cottage Food Laws I jumped for joy! Before this law went into effect, you could not sell any foods that were not prepared in a certified, commercial kitchen. 
Fresh Baked Honey Wheat Bread - Nothing Else Like It
A while back I had a friend that created the most delectable chocolates I have ever tasted to this day. She tempered her own dark chocolate blends, then added roasted Macadamia nuts from her own trees in Whittier, CA. She rented nighttime kitchen space from a Chocolate shop in town even though it was very expensive. She worked long nights and marketed during the day. In a few months, she had all the customers she could handle and life was good. Then the shop owner was offered a position with Disney, she closed the kitchen and the chocolate shop down the next day. Without a certified, commercial kitchen to create these wonderful small batches of specialized chocolates, my friend had to go out of business. She was so discouraged, she never ever tried again. Oh, I miss those chocolates. 

Maybe you have always wanted to sell your goodies from your own kitchen. Maybe you have already heard about the Cottage Food Laws that are slowly sweeping the nation. If you are lucky enough to live in a state that offers you the opportunity to make money from your cooking and baking, and the passion is strong, now it the time to rock and roll!

The Cottage Foods Laws vary from state to state and not all states have them, yet. Check with your state's department of health or county offices for the rules and regulations before you start. In California, you cannot sell anything that needs refrigeration and that eliminates lot of things, but still leaves breads, spices, candies, chocolates, dried fruits and much more. You also cannot ship your products anywhere. This means you have to provide pick up or delivery service and/or sell your goods at swap meets, yard sales, farmers markets and flea markets. Oh, well. At least you can sell, right?

Since you cannot ship your home-made items, many people think that they cannot advertise on the Internet. You can use the Internet just like any other business, like a pizza restaurant does - take out and delivery. You can still receive orders and payments over the Internet. Just market locally, like a pizza place. 

Some Cottage Food Business have a large budget, others not so much. If you can invest in a nice website with a blog and shopping cart, along with local advertising, yeah! It can only help. If you are starting this business because you need money, then look to Craigslist.com and Nextdoor.com. List your business with your local chamber of commerce, senior center, PTA, Boys and Girls Clubs and other organizations in your area. You can also list your items in online marketplaces, such as HandmadeCatalog.com, just be specific that your business is a pick up and delivery business. 

Many small home-based food companies become larger in a few years and move on to a commercial kitchen and grow and grow. Whether this is your dream or not, your business will benefit from an online presence. Start as soon as possible and tell everyone about it. 

Wishing you the best with your Cottage Foods business. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

When Handmade Jewelry Becomes Fine Jewelry

In my quest to share the creative works of fellow Americans I have seen my share of handmade items. I see what I think of as fine jewelry every day in our online catalog but when I go out to shop, I end up wondering what makes something "fine jewelry".

I live near Palm Springs, CA, a city known for Art and Movie Colonies. The desert and mountain views continue to bring artists of all medias. It is rumored that Leonardo DiCaprio and President Obama are moving here. Similar to Rodeo Drive in Hollywood, we have El Paseo Shopping District. There are many art galleries and jewelry shops nestled between the Apple Store and Banana Republic. On El Paseo, a hand-crafted pewter bracelet with a dolphin charm might be several thousands of dollars.

The pieces in these shops are beautiful and the makers are extremely talented, yet my question lingers. Why these pieces, what makes them so expensive?

Ultrasuede Hand Beaded Adults Bracelet by Sally Spring
After all these years, I guess I will never fully understand the definition of fine jewelry. I have no problem deciding what I like. If money were no object for me, I would still know what I like and the value of the item, like diamonds and rhinestones.

What I cannot do is put a price on design, that has to come from the designer. Does ego play a big part of the price tags in fine jewelry? Does rent money play a bigger part?

To emphasis my point, let's look at this wonderful bracelet by Sally Spring, a renown gallery artist from New York.

Sally's bracelets would would fit right in on any store shelf on El Paseo or Rodeo Drive. This leaves me to think that "fine jewelry" is just like beauty, it is in the eye of the beholder.

Soutache Bracelet with Green Cats Eye Oval by Sally Spring
Come buy what you like at reasonable prices from Sally Spring and the other creators, artists and makers at HandmadeCatalog.com.

Every American maker is welcome to list with us. We don't judge or jury our handmade items.

And remember, handmade gifts are the best gifts and please try to buy American made products!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Handmade Flutter Lures Catch More Fish

Drive the Bass crazy with this hand-crafted, one of a kind, Flutter Spoon Lure by Jeff's Lures of Wisconsin.
As an avid fisher of fresh waters, I know the value of a good lure. Which lure you use to catch fish is one of the most important parts of the entire fishing process. And lures have a tendency to go missing, so you must keep your tackle box packed with plenty of extras. 

Time to Meet Jeff's Lures of Wisconsin. He has perfected the Flutter Spoon Lure! He make each on by hand, no two are the same!

His Flutter Spoon Lures are carefully constructed with glass and steel, dressed Eagle Claw Treble Hook and 128 lb test carrier wire. 



Click here to browse and Buy Jeff's Flutter Spoon Lures at L & L

Custom orders, requests and questions are welcome!

And Jeff's Flutter Spoon Lures make an unexpected gift!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Handmade Butterscotch Pudding Recipe

By Irma S. Rombauer's Joy of Cooking

This is the real thing, made with dark brown sugar cooked in butter.

Have ready a 3-cup bowl or mold or four 5-6 ounce cups or ramekins. If unmolding the pudding, oil the mold(s).

Melt over low heat in a a small, heavy saucepan:  
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Stir in:  
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

Cook, stirring, until melted and bubbly.
Gradually stir in:
1/2 heavy cream (not milk)

Stir over low heat until the butterscotch is dissolved.

Add and stir until blended:
1-1/2 cups whole milk 
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt

Remove from the heat and let cool to barely lukewarm.

Mix until smooth:
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water

Stir into the milk mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat until the mixture begins to thicken. Reduce the heat to low; stirring briskly, bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
Then stir in:
1 teaspoon vanilla

Pour the pudding into the bowls or cups, then press plastic wrap directly onto the surface to prevent a skin.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.  Serve with:
Whipped Cream!

WineSlippers Creations - Fall 2014 Craft Show Schedule

Wine and crafting? They simply go together so well.

We have enjoyed being part of and watching the WineSlippers Creations brand grow over the past 10 years and we are so excited to see the Fall 2014 Show Schedule!

Now you will be able to visit Carol, the creator of WineSlippers Creations in one of these locations later this year, purchase hand painted and hand created items directly from her or maybe order something custom?

Shoppers, don't miss these shows if you are anywhere near the OC.

October 4, 2014     Time:  Saturday, 10AM to 3PM BOOTH 64
Fall Boutique & Craft Faire
Sea County Senior Community Center
24602 Aliso Creek Road
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677

October 17 & 18, 2014  Time: Friday, 9AM to 8PM  Time: Sat 9AM to 3PM
Early Bird Boutique
28211 Josefina
Mission Viejo, CA

October 16 & 17, 2014    Time: Thursday, 12:00 to 7PM Friday,  9AM to 6PM  
CHOC Children's Foundation
Littlest Angel Guild's Gift Faire
4501 Casa Loma Ave
Yorba Linda, CA 92886​ 

October 24 & 25, 2014    Time: Friday, 4PM to 9PM  Saturday 9AM to 4PM​ Space:  10
El Toro Holiday "Bull-tique
25255 Toledo Way
Lake Forest, CA 92630

November 7 & 8, 2014    Time: Friday, 5M to 9PM Saturday, 9AM to 4PM
Irvine Fine Arts Center
14321 Yale Avenue
Irvine, CA 92604

November 20 & 21, 2014    Time:  Thurs, 6PM to 9PM Friday, 9AM to 5PM
Choc Children's Foundation​
City of Tustin Community Center
300 Centennial Way, Tustin, CA 
November 22, 2014​    Time:  Saturday, 8AM to 5PM   Space 12
Gifts & Goodies Boutique - Norman Murray Community Center
24932 Veterans Way
Mission Viejo, CA 92692

Go to one or go to them all, shop handmade shop MADE IN THE USA!

See you soon Carol.....

Thursday, September 11, 2014

USA Crafts Map for Americans that Sell Their Hand-Works

 Made In America By HandA push is on to shop local in America. We realize the value in cutting transportation costs and farm to table ideas are starting to take shape. We also help our neighbors when we shop local and buy American made products. Between technology and outsourcing and a slow economy, it is more important than ever to buy locally made items whenever you can.

In support of local shopping we have created USA Crafts Map by HandmadeCatalog.

To start the map off, I have included some of the professional craft businesses from HandmadeCatalog.com and they have already received some orders from it. It appears that the local shopping trend is really catching on!

You don't have to a be a member of HandmadeCatalog to be on the map. Put your business on the map for free as long as you live in the USA and your products are made by hand.

Let's get local and have a crafty nation!