Something to Look at Until Monday

Before leaving for our cabining trip this morning, I thought I'd post a few more earrings in my etsy shop (since I'll not be able to post here for two whole days - oh, how that kills me!). You can now find these:

and here.

I thought I'd also draw a little attention to several pairs of earrings that I put in the sulu-design etsy shop a while back, but never posted on the blog, including:

these, found here

these, for sale here

these, listed here

these, right here

and these, posted here.

Enjoy your weekend! I'll be back on Monday, hopefully with lots of new earrings (and maybe a few necklaces, too).


There's Nothing That a Little Gnocchi Can't Fix

While not totally cured of my annoying cold, I'm feeling a lot better this evening. In part, my recovery may be due to indulging in a plate of my favorite gnocchi with fresh mozarella and basil from Manetta's in Long Island City, and, following dinner, a drink at the Creek and the Cave, all to celebrate a friend's birthday:

Thank goodness I'm feeling better, because I'm beyond excited about this weekend. Barry and I have rented a little cabin near Bear Mountain. Peter and Jennifer, my brother and sister-in-law, will be joining us there on Saturday. And since Barry and I don't have to work on Monday, we'll be spending Sunday night on our own there, too. A weekend full of hiking, reading, sitting by a camp fire, making jewelry on a picnic table (I plan to bring my supplies), and generally soaking in the fine fall weather is just what I need to kick what remains of this cold. Enjoy a wonderful weekend. I'll be seeing you in a post again on Monday.


Subdivision - Long Island City, Queens

I just got home from Subdivision, an awesome boutique in Queens that I've raved about before. I met up with the fantastic Eva, who chose several new pairs of sulu-design earrings for the shop:

Aside from the great clothing and accessories that Subdivision carries, they've also got some adorable softies made by my knitting pal. You can check those out in her etsy shop, too - in case you can't make it to Queens.
I'm only feeling the slightest bit better, so I'm going to wrap it up for this evening and try to take care of myself. I've got some fun plans for this weekend that just can't be ruined by a cold!


Like the First Time Every Time

I owe thanks to certain Christine who made my day today. I got home from a grueling day at work (my cold has been kicking my butt) to find another sale at my etsy shop! The novelty of etsy sales has probably worn off for you loyal blog readers by now, and you're probably getting really bored with images like these:

But I still get giddy with excitement when I see that a pair of sulu-design earrings has found a new home. I was so happy to see that Christine bought a pair of earrings (and one of my favorite pairs at that), that I had to immediately wrap them up for her. I actually felt healthy there for a few minutes.
I hope to have some thrilling images for you tomorrow... or at least some images that you haven't seen multiple variations of in the past. I promise a more exciting post - that is, if I have it in me to peel myself off of the sofa.


Warning: Battery Exhausted

I was really disappointed to get that message when I turned on my camera tonight, thinking that I was going to be able to take a few shots of my Tuesday knitting group's projects to post here when I got home. Luckily (since I am allergic to photoless posts) I had taken a picture before I left for the meet up:

Lexie, a regular reader of my blog, is the fourth customer at my etsy shop! I was so excited when I got home from work and found that she had made a purchase that I immediately wrapped up the earrings and found a post office near me that has new evening hours, so Lexie should be receiving this little package so soon. Thanks, Lexie!
And now (with my apologies to Barry, who hates painful metaphors) I must admit that the exhausted battery reference above was meant not only to fill you in on my camera woes, but also to let you know (in the cheesiest way possible) how I'm feeling recently, which is totally wiped out. Most of you know that my manifesto this school year has been, "Work shall not interfere with my social life." However, I hadn't considered that the manifesto needed an addendum, which should read: "My social life shall not interfere with my health." Today, I felt like I was under a train ("Io sono sotto il treno" - the expression that my friends in Italy used to use to describe being hung over, although hung over I am not). I've been getting up way too early, staying up way too late, and relying on too many cups of coffee to get me through the hours in between. I'm completely exhausted, and maybe a little bit sick. So please excuse a little less sulu-designing over the next few days. I think I'm going to indulge in some seriously needed sleep.

Monday was...

taking the N train to the 7 to get to Long Island City
(my car was empty - the train is never empty!)

meeting up with Heather at Lounge 47 for one last meal together
before she returns to Cleveland
(and hoping to see Heather and Mark again soon)


Sunday was...

brunch at Cup Diner in Astoria
(where the cups of coffee are big enough to swim in)

thinking of Maritza and wondering how her hexagon quilt is coming along

making the most random series of earrings ever
(what was I thinking?)

finally putting together a necklace out of long-neglected pieces

and wondering if my sister might like this one

Not to mention seeing Little Miss Sunshine. And having a drop-dead amazing meal at Casa Mono and equally fabulous dessert at Bar Jamon with our visiting friends, Heather and Mark. Glorious! So glorious, in fact, that I'm already gearing up for next weekend. Have a wonderful week, all!


Spicing up the Shop

I've been telling myself for a while that I need to add some serious inventory to my etsy shop. Not becasue things are flying off the virtual shelves, but because there's currently a rather limited selection posted there, and it doesn't represent the variety of available sulu-design pieces. So, as I mentioned earlier this week, I'm trying to carve out some time to post a few more pieces. Now, you can find some more whimsical things like:

these, and

these, and

in my etsy shop. There should be several more additions soon. Sincere thanks to all of you who have mentioned sulu-designs to friends - I appreciate the visits that I'm getting from your word of mouth recommendations. And thanks to Jodi, who is officially my third etsy customer!

Stop Reading Now if You Can't Handle Sappiness

I did not do a single bit of jewelry-making on Friday, so if I'm going to share anything about my day, it has to be work related. And since I'm sticking to my promise not to complain about work, I might as well tell you what happened in my class yesterday that just about melted my heart. Remember the little boy in my class who asked, completely innocently, if I was an escort before I was a teacher? He's quite a little character - very bright but super impulsive and fidgety. Well, yesterday, as the class was packing up to leave, he walks over to me and says, "Ms. Lutjen, I really miss you on the weekends." How can I ever compain about work when adorable little kids say stuff like that to me?
And a bit more child related goodness... Barry, along with being an amazing photographer, runs a community center for kids, and he came home with these yesterday:

Figs from a garden that he and his program participants cultivated this summer! I was thrilled, seeing as I'm fig-obsessed, and so happy to see that the kids' garden is thriving.
On a non-work realted note, Barry and I went with Michael Stipe, yes, the one from R.E.M., to see Old Joy last night. Okay, we weren't exactly with Michael Stipe, but he was two people ahead of us in the ticket line. Sorry, but I rarely have celebrity sightings, so I thought I should report this one.
This morning, I'm going to get to work on some necklaces (made with pieces from this post) that I've been too busy to start until now, and then Barry and I are meeting up with Heather, one of my best friends from as far back as I can remember, and her boyfriend, who are visiting NYC from Cleveland this weekend. Heather said that the plan is to cram as much amazing eating into the weekend as possible (and we might pop into a few shops and museums, if we happen to pass any between restaurants and cafes), so I hope to have some good food experiences to report on Sunday. Have a fabulous weekend, all. I can tell that I'm going to.


Loveday 31 - Astoria, Queens

I stopped by Loveday 31 this evening, where Ivona picked out thirty new pairs of sulu-design earrings for the shop. I took a few photos of the pairs of earrings, but I thought Ivona's window displays were far more fetching.

She picked out several of the larger, more dramatic cinnabar pairs (for you local girls who are interested), but I have a couple from yesterday's post left, which may become etsy items this weekend, if I can find some time to get them in my shop.


Cinnabar, Thanks to Ivona

I ran into Ivona, the super down-to-earth owner of Loveday 31 (the hippest vintage clothing store located right here in Astoria), the other day, and we made plans for me to stop by her shop tomorrow to update her stock of sulu-design earrings. Months ago, Ivona asked me to make some earrings with cinnabar, the red stone seen here.

Earrings made with the stone were such a hit not only at Loveday 31 but at all of the shops that carry sulu-designs that I've since made several trips back to my bead supplier for more. While I have several pairs of earrings made with carved cinnabar on hand, I thought that I'd make a few extra pairs for Ivona to choose from tomorrow, since she was the inspiration for their purchase in the first place.

Project Gnocchi

Reading a post by Connie the other day reminded me of something I've been meaning to do for a while now. Several months ago, my neighbor, Ines, invited me to a gnocchi-making party that she has every year or so with some of her friends from her church choir. I was a bit skeptical about the get together, but was eager to learn how to make one of my all-time favorite foods. It turned out that the party was tons of fun - you can't go wrong with a bunch of silly Italian and Irish Catholics getting together to eat and drink. I also learned (or so I thought) how to make the delicious dumpling-like pasta. However, when I attempted to make gnocchi several weeks later for my brother and sister-in-law, the results left something to be desired. I'd been meaning to try making it again, so last night, I visited Ines and asked for a few tips. Like many good cooks, Ines doesn't measure anything, and she had no idea about timing ("You just boil it until it's done"). So I also consulted my kitchen bible:

What would I do without Mark Bittman's book?

Ines told me to boil three potatoes (NOT waxy ones). Mark suggests doing so for 30 - 45 minutes. While they're still hot, using a towel to protect your hands, peel the potatoes and run them through a ricer:

Make a little bowl out of the potatoes and break one egg into the center.

Grate a little less than half of a nutmeg (is that how one refers to one of them?) over the bowl. Add approximately one half cup flour ("I don't know how much, just enough") and start kneading. Add more flour, using about one whole cup in total, and keep dusting your hands and the board on which you're kneading until the dough is no longer sticky. Break off a portion of the dough and roll it into a little snake, about a half inch thick. From this, cut off half inch long portions using the side of a fork dusted with flour, and roll each piece over the tines of a fork for texture, and drop them in boiling water:

Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon when they rise to the surface. It only take a few minutes. Add your favorite sauce to the pot, heat, and return the gnocchi top the pot. Serve!

Ines was so sweet - when she heard that I was trying to make the gnocchi again, she ran to her fridge and pulled out a jar of homemade pesto sauce that she had whipped up a day earlier. Delicious!


You Get What You Pay For (Or, You Get That For Which You Pay - I hate ending on a preposition!)

Back when I was in college, David Spade, the comedian, did a stand-up act in my university's gymnasium. There was no charge for the performance, so the gym was packed. David was having a really rough time - his jokes were bombing and the crowd was merciless. Finally, near the end of his set, he yelled into the microphone, "What, do you all want your FREE back?" It was the funniest thing he said all night.
Tonight, I want my free back from Blogger. For the past several days, I've encountered serious problems with my blog, the biggest pain being that I am often unable to upload photos. It took me over an hour the other night to post pictures from my perfect Sunday. And I've been trying for several hours now, on and off, to post a few pictures of the gnocchi project, but Blogger isn't responding. Ugh!
Hopefully everything will be back in working order tomorrow, and I can tell you all about my lovely neighbor, Ines, who taught me to make the pasta in question. Until then...

Guilt Induced by Lack-of-Post

I worked on a few pairs of earrings last night, but I just couldn't take any decent photos of them. However, I feel worse when I don't post than I do when I post poor images, so here goes:

Stay tuned for tonight's project - an attempt at homemade gnocchi, inspired by Connie's earlier post. Mine won't be as healthy or creative as hers, but I hope that they'll at least be edible (unlike the batch from my last attempt). Wish me luck!


Workin' for the Weekend

This weekend lived up to my expectations - and more. Instead of going on and on about how great it was, I'll show you instead. Saturday was all about:

finishing another project - a pair of earrings,
(happily, Erin finally received her earrings, too)

going to Sodafine's grand opening

our car overheating when we went to leave the opening
(perhaps because I had kept Barry waiting in it for quite a while
during my successful Beacon's Closet visit beforehand),
allowing us some time to leisurely stroll around while it cooled down

eating darn good Vietnamese food (I'm the Clean Plate Club member here)

and seeing a fun show at the Knitting Factory

Sunday was filled with:

a strenuous hike in Bear Mountain State Park,
leading us to an old cemetary in the now-abandoned Doodletown:

so many of the grave markers there had gorgeous carvings
that had grown faint with time

insects and flowers of the most intense colors were everywhere

And just think - next weekend is only five days away!
Enjoy your Monday.