DIY Lace Snowflake Ornaments

December 2nd, 2014

The past few weeks I’ve been working on some handmade snowflake ornaments over at the local pottery studio. I’m planning on giving some of these as Christmas gifts, although they turned out better than I expected, and now I’m tempted to keep them all for myself!

These were about as easy to make as sugar cookies. I just rolled some clay into a slab, pressed a crochet doily into it, and cut out snowflakes with a cookie cutter. I punched holes in the tops of each flake with a plastic straw.

DIY Lace Snowflake Ornaments

Then the folks at the pottery studio fired them for me. My favorite thing about using the pottery studio is that I don’t have to worry about dealing with the kiln. I just put my finished pieces on a shelf, check back in a week or two, and they are magically fired. Two of my snowflakes broke during the process, but luckily I made a few extras. After they were fired, I painted a couple coats of glaze on.

DIY Lace Snowflake Ornaments

One more firing, and the glazes turned out like this! I love how the glossy semi-transparent glazes collected in the crevices and made the lace texture pop.

DIY Lace Snowflake Ornaments

DIY Lace Snowflake Ornaments

DIY Lace Snowflake Ornaments

If you don’t have access to a pottery studio, you could easily make these with air dry clay like this and paint them with watered down acrylic paints to get the color-in-the-crevices effect.

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Weekend Sale!

November 27th, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! I just wanted to pop in and tell you about my Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday sale. (Someone needs to come up with a catchy, one word name for this crazy shopping weekend, because I never know what to call it.)

Now until the end of the day Monday you can use the code TISTHESEASON2014 to take 15% off everything here at witandwhistle.com! Or if you prefer, the same coupon code will save you 10% in my Etsy shop. In addition to that, all my jotters and pillow covers are 50% off. I have limited stock left of them, and when they’re gone, they’re gone!

That’s about the gist of it! What are you fellow Americans doing to celebrate Thanksgiving? We’re mixing it up and having ham this year instead of turkey. How crazy is that? There are still mashed potatoes and gravy, and that’s all I really care about. Oh yeah, and spending quality time with my family… but mostly mashed potatoes and gravy.

Wit & Whistle black friday sale

Wit & Whistle black friday sale

Wit & Whistle black friday sale

Wit & Whistle black friday sale

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Loose Tea Nerd

November 26th, 2014

I’ve had some requests for a tea post, and this cold rainy day is perfect for it! I didn’t always love tea, it was an acquired taste for me. The calming ritual of brewing it, the scents, colors, and my mug fetish kept me coming back for more until the flavors grew on me.

Lately I get most of my teas from Tin Roof Teas. They offer monthly tea tastings, and the walls of the shop are covered in every tea you can imagine. Lucky for you guys they now accept online orders, so if you aren’t in the Raleigh area you can still shop. I’ve also worked my way through a bunch of teas from DavidsTea over the years, and they have some great ones too.

If you don’t know much about preparing tea, the most important thing is not to brew it in water that’s too hot and not to brew it for too long—otherwise you can end up with some foul tasting concoctions. Any loose tea worth its salt will be labeled with the amount of tea to use per cup, the brewing temperature, and time. I’m a little lazy and don’t use a thermometer—I just put the kettle on and listen for that hissing noise the water makes when it’s hot but not boiling. You’ll need a good infuser with super tiny holes to make sure the leaves don’t escape into your mug. Basket infusers like this work great and give the tea room to expand. This is how I store my tea collection.

I’m going to recommend some teas, but for the record I’m pretty terrible at describing the flavor nuances and scents beyond “yum” or “it smells good”. If you really want to geek out, head over to steepster.com and read some wonderfully eloquent tea reviews. Sometimes I don’t even realize what flavors I’m tasting until I read someone else’s description.

I started out drinking herbal and fruit teas. Tin Roof’s Blackberry Royale and Roasted Almond are winners. You won’t believe the vibrant colors that come out of them! Peppermint tea is a safe bet too. I like this one from Stash.

loose tea nerd

Rooibos teas are also great for beginners. They’re caffeine free and never get bitter (even if you accidentally steep them too long or in water that is too hot). There are tons of rooibos flavors and combinations out there. Tin Roof’s Rooibos Cream Caramel and DavidsTea’s Jessie’s Tea are both excellent.

loose tea nerd

White teas are really subtle and a good choice for tea novices too. Sometimes the color and taste are so subtle that I’m like, “Wait, am I just drinking hot water?” They’re not all like that though—Tin Roof’s China Fancy White Peony and DavidsTea’s Gold Rush are truly scrumptious.

loose tea nerd

At first I hated green teas, because I thought they were always bitter. It turned out I was brewing them for too long and in water that was too hot. Green teas are usually brewed at around 165 degrees F and only for a minute or two. Then you’ll end up with a cup of sweet deliciousness (that’s good for you too!). I’m particularly fond of Tin Roof’s Sencha Fuka-midori and DavidsTea’s Gyokuro Yamashiro. (Just don’t ask me how to pronounce those names.)

loose tea nerd

Oolongs are yum. They’re a happy middle ground between a green and black tea. Milk oolongs (like this one) are my very favorite. You won’t believe how creamy they taste—and the scent! There’s nothing like it. Ginseng oolongs (like this one) are another excellent choice—the sweet ginseng hits you after you take a sip.

loose tea nerd

I don’t love straight black teas, but maybe I’ll come around some day. I love black tea in chai with milk and sugar though! This is how I make Masala chai from scratch, but it’s a little time consuming. Tin Roof’s Tiger Eye Chai and DavidsTea’s Saigon Chai are both delicious. You know, Earl Grey is pretty good too as far as black teas go. I just haven’t found my ultimate favorite yet.

loose tea nerd

In case anyone else is wondering, two of the three tea plants I planted last year are still alive, but they haven’t grown at all. Bugs really seem to like to eat them, and I think the climate just isn’t ideal for them here.

If you have any tea questions feel free to ask. I’ll try to answer or make something up that sounds feasible! ;)

(I pulled these tea photos from the websites that sell them—Tin Roof Tea and DavidsTea.)

6 Comments

Bunny Sitting

November 20th, 2014

My sister recently joined the ranks of house rabbit owners. She’s on vacation this week, so I get to bunny-sit my new niece, Misha the Flemish Giant. Misha is still growing, so we’re waiting to see just how giant she’ll get! Right now she’s about Mabel’s size. Watching a big bunny and a small dog entertain each other might be the cutest thing ever.

flemish giant house rabbit

Mabel and Misha like to play a sort of whac-a-mole inspired game. Misha hides under the bed poking her nose out in different places, and Mabel rushes over every time she spots her.flemish giant house rabbit

Then, while Mabel is still looking under the bed where she last saw the bunny, Misha pops out from under the other side and sneaks up on Mabel from behind.

flemish giant house rabbit

It’s kind of hilarious.

flemish giant house rabbit

Aww, bunny butt!

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New Stamps!

November 18th, 2014

As promised, I just added a batch of new stamps to the shop!

Every geology teacher needs to own this “you rock” stamp, so if you know a geology teacher send them my way. (Great for non-geology teachers, too.)

you rock rubber stamp

A long while ago a customer suggested that I come up with a “please deliver to” stamp without the lines underneath. So finally, here it is!

please deliver to stamp

Gold stars are the best rewards. Here’s a gold star stamp, because stamps are cooler than those little foil stickers.

gold star rubber stamp

A big thank you to Lara for suggesting that I create a “do not bend” stamp for photos. I had a blast looking at old cameras to coming up with this design.

camera do not bend rubber stamp

This “not a bill” stamp will ensure that your outgoing happy mail isn’t mistaken for sad mail.

not a bill rubber stamp

This ribbon award stamp is great for a zillion occasions, but I’d recommend using it for something sarcastic. For example, make a “most dirty dishes left in the sink” award for your roommate/husband.

ribbon award rubber stamp

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