Saturday, January 25, 2014

Extreme Makeover for the Dollhouse

Even dollhouses need a makeover time to time. How can Barbie, the Bratz girls or the sweeties at Horror High keep the same of furniture around year after year? Boring!

Thanks for Doll Things & More, these dolls can really doll-up their bedrooms. The husband and wife team create all kinds of unique dollhouse accessories, doll clothing and more. They items for Barbie-sized dolls and for American Girl sized dolls.

If I were designing an upgrade for my Barbie's room, I would definitely start with some basics like the ones below. You an buy these at our website and they do accept custom orders so let your dreams go wild!

A Twin Sized Bed for 10-11 inch dolls.

Dinette Set for  Barbie-Sized Doll House

Double Bed for 7-11 inch Dolls

Barbie-Sized Pillow

Hand-Sewn Pillow Cases for Barbie-sized Dolls

Be sure to visit Doll Things and More at HandmadeCatalog.com!

Have a crafty day!



Saturday, January 11, 2014

Happy New Year from HandmadeCatalog.com

Wow, 2014 already. So much has changed in my life since my last post in October. We have moved from Salton City to Desert Hot Springs and are once again in a "real" city. We have stores and traffic and sirens and that goes with city life. Our new place is on the side of a hill and we have a great view of the mountains and the Palm Springs area. We do not have any northern exposure at all and I truly miss the sunrises of the Salton City. Here is a picture from our last morning there:

Instead of these wonderful sunrises, we get to see some awesome sunsets and the views of the desert are just as fantastic! 

And although it took a while to get everything working (try scheduling cablers during the holidays) we seem to have a very steady Internet connection, something that has eluded us for 4 years. 

Enough about our move and on to the new year. We hope to continue to offer our customers  a unique online shopping catalog filled with unique and unusual hand crafted products. Happy New Year!



Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Crafts from the Past

Trick or Treat! 

About 50 years ago or so, Halloween was quite different for most American kids that it is today. Halloween was all about your friends, your home and your neighborhood. It was all about THE Trick or Treating! The farther you ventured from your own house usually depended on your age and how for the adults in the group were willing walk. The only worry that night was if your pillowcase could hold whole night's candy or would you have to go home and do a drop-off?

It was something of a block party that most families planned and looked forward to after the back-to-school drama was over. 

The only way to get a costume was to make one. I remember the trips to the local thrift shops and dime stores (not dollar stores) where we would buy used clothes, wigs and jewelry to complete our look. All over the country mom's were busy at the sewing machine cranking out ballerinas, princesses, witch hats and spooky ghosts. Dad would help made foil robots, little cowboys and eye-patched pirates. And if you were caught last minute without a costume, then the ever-popular Hobo could be put together in a few minutes. 

The whole month of October would filled with orange and black construction paper, streamers, glitter and glue. We made Thanksgiving Turkeys from our hand prints, cut-out and glued-up some millions of jack-o-lanterns and black cats with arched backs. We had a little costume parade of students at school and our moms and grandmoms came to see us (most moms didn't work away from home when I was growing up). The PTA would have a bake sale with the sweetest fruit punch. We all had so much fun.

Halloween was certainly different before the techno-revolution. I think it was better, but that may be because old folks always think the past was better. 

One thing for sure, I have enjoyed every single Halloween of my life so far and am looking forward to seeing the kids at my door tonight.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The New CFO is in the Kitchen

Pretty Kitchen by Spurwink Country Kitchens
CFO.

Sounds impressive doesn't it?

Well I am now a CFO but it does not have a thing to do with corporate finance! The new CFO, the one in the kitchen, has a registered Cottage Food Operation in their home.

What is a Cottage Food Operation? It is a business that makes food in a home kitchen and is able to sell to the public and do it legally.

Almost all states in the U.S. now have a Cottage Food Operation law on the books. Basically the law states that you cannot stop people from making food in their own homes and selling to their neighbors and friends. The laws are carefully constructed to maintain a level of food safety and CFOs must register their business, as well as pass food-handlers classes. There are many websites with the basics of the laws in your state so you can easily find the information you need to become a Cottage Food Operator.

Sounds easy, let's cook up a quick, profitable business right at the kitchen table.

But is it really that simple?

This is a new concept and as with any new ideas, people are resistant at first. Many people I encounter during our weekend swap-meets are very skeptical about foods from a home kitchen. They wonder if you wash your hands regularly, how clean is your kitchen, what do you put in the food, is it organic, laced with marijuana, what kind of person are you? We all have been pushed into fear of germs and food-borne illnesses for decades now. Many of us cringe at the site of street vendor or a catering truck. Well, catering trucks (also known as roach coaches back in the day) have busted through the fear and have renamed themselves as gourmet food trucks. I have a feeling that Cottage Food Operations will be the same way. It will just take time for the public to trust their neighbors again. I notice folks relax a little when I tell them I am a CFO and explain about kitchen registration. Once they get a taste, they become customers!


Besides the public, you have to deal with the health department and maybe the county recorders office. Be aware that the staff may not know what you are talking about (it's new for them too). The websites for these agencies are often not up-to-date and you may have to do some digging to find the forms and fees needed to register your CFO. I had to make a couple of calls to get everything I needed here in California but was able to to take care of my registration by taking an online health class and mailing in my registration forms, a copy of my health permit and the registration fee of $134. The registration is easy, there is a self-questionnaire which you sign off on. There is NO kitchen inspection unless the agency receives a complain.

Did I mention the labels? You do have to label everything and there are quite a few specific things that have to be on the label. The labels must be on everything you sell. Check your local requirements.

Lastly, there is debate over whose laws prevail, the state's, the counties or local government when it comes to selling food. I wouldn't let this stop me from starting a Cottage Food Business. As long as you register your kitchen you can deal with any problems as they come up.

Have you started a Cottage Food Business? Please share your experiences with us.

If you have started your CFO and need an online ordering system (even if it's regional and delivery only) you can list your business and your products with us at HandmadeCatalog.com.

Have a sweet and crafty day!

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

90 Minute Pork & Beans Recipe

I have a rule when we are shopping, only buy the meats that are on sale. I feel I am creative enough to take advantage of all the different cuts of meat that the butcher can throw out there and these days, the list of meat cuts is ever-expanding. This week I opted for a tiny bone-in pork shoulder roast with a thick skin on it for $4.75. It had plenty of meat on it for 2 light meat eaters (also known as heart patients), so I roasted it in the over with some veggies and potatoes - and it was great.

After dinner I started wondering what to do with the leftover bone which still had about a half pound of good meat on it......hmmmm. What about a pot of bean? I often use a ham hock to flavor my beans, maybe this would work as well.

I found this awesome recipe at http://www.thepauperedchef.com for making a pot of beans that goes smack in the face of my 50-year old traditional cooking methods. I had to try it.

A little back story:  the first 13 years of my marriage, I cooked every meal and didn't think much about it. Then my husband retired and wanted to take over the cooking and grocery shopping so I could rest a little. Guess what?  I said YES and immediately began teaching him all my tricks and all of my, my mom's and my grandmother's recipes. In a few months, he was an awesome cook and I was a very full and relaxed wife.

Then came the food network and my husband's cooking skills starting to really take off. He became the master of our kitchen and I loved it, yum, yum!

Well, he's been at it for over a decade now and is getting a little tired of cooking - it's my turn again and I couldn't be happier.

Why tell this back story? Because when my hubby saw what I was about to do to the left over pork roast and the beans he started laughing his head off. "That will never work" he said, "You and your crazy Internet ideas! You're going to ruin our dinner!".

Well, here is the recipe and the results was a knock-your-socks-off success. So easy, I will never make beans the old way again.
When I put this together it looked a little funky and I wasn't sure we would be able to eat it but 75 minutes later, yummy!

90 Minute Beans:

Place 1 pound of beans (I used pinto but this method works for most types of beans) into a dutch oven or soup pot that can stand to be in the oven for a while.

Pour in enough water to cover the beans completely and pick out any floaters. Leave the lid off and bring them to a boil on the stove. Let them boil for 15 minutes stirring occasionally and remove them from the heat. Place in the oven and bake at 250 degrees F for 45 minutes. Stir and add water if dry, put lidded pot back into the oven for 30 minutes. Remove and serve. The beans come out fully cooked but still hold their shape. Their interiors are very creamy and flavor is mild yet makes you want more.

Pretty simple huh?

I added my left-over pork roast (warmed it in the microwave for a couple of minutes first) before I put the beans in the oven and added enough water to cover the pork. I cooked this for a total of 75 minutes and they were perfect. Added some fresh jiffy corn muffins and dinner was served.

Husband stands corrected and then says "these are the best beans ever, make sure you cook them like this from now on."

I dare you to try the 90-minute beans, you may be pleasantly surprised! Please share your results with us.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Nutcracker Craft Boutique in Brea, CA 2013

Nutcracker Craft Boutique - Brea, CA 2013
Friday, November 15; 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. AND
Saturday, November 16, 2013; 9 a.m.-4 p.m
Where: at the Brea Community Center, 695 E. Madison Way
Admission is $2 and parking is free
Contact (714) 990-7771 or  visit cityofbrea.net for more information


This boutique has it all. Over 250 vendors display one-of-a-kind holiday gifts, decorations, food and collectibles. Shoppers can also pick up a quick snack or beverage at the Food Alley. All proceeds benefit the Community Center’s youth and family programs.

This is a fantastic show. There are both inside and outside (front and back) booths and no two vendors are selling exactly the same thing. I didn't see any questionable crafts, like the faux quilters or mass jewelry artists and I like that. You can certainly fill one day and possible two days if you really want to see everything. Brilliant new designs and ideas are everywhere as this is one of top North Orange County, CA, USA (close to Disneyland, CA) premier crafting events. If you are in Southern California and looking for a top Craft Fair or Boutique, this is the one to choose!

This craft event gets very crowded, so come early and be prepared to be patient while looking for parking.


This craft show is a "Rain or Shine" craft fair, so bring your sweater and umbrella if it looks like a storm is brewing. 

See you there!

Pam Wylie ~ HandmadeCatalog.com
Life-Long Crafter and  Professional Internet Marketer, Pam Wylie has helped 100s of professional crafters  and artisans sell their handcrafted work online through her successful website,HandmadeCatalog.com for over 10 years now. She also performs website design, SEO training and is a full-time, loving care-giver.