Friday, January 29, 2010

I Love Fridays

Happy Friday Everyone!

I'm in an especially great mood today-and not just because it's Friday...and not just because I'm going to see Exene Cervenka (X) at Emo's tonight, hitting up Le Garage Sale tomorrow, and fleshing out some of my music with talented seasoned musicians on Sunday...Okay, maybe all of that has something to do with it. However, I'm especially excited because it's one day closer to Valentine's Day, which means a second installment of Valentine's Day features!

Today's featured Etsy designer is another one of Etsy Austin's very own, April Wright of April Wright Design. Shown above are her Amber Glitterheart Earrings, which I love love love (she has an equally cute pair in pink too!). Being the inherent magpie that I am, I was drawn to these the first time I spotted them in her shop. The other great thing (besides the super affordable price) about these earrings is that it looks like the hearts are set in laser cut acrylic. Don't be fooled though! April does all the hard work herself of getting shrink plastic to come out to just the right clean shape for these fab pieces. If you aren't as drawn to glitter as yours truly, don't worry- April's got everything from kitschy animal pendants to cute anchor silhouettes to art deco. Enjoy!

The featured recipe for today is sherbert punch, a treat that I usually made/make for my parties. The punch itself is pretty simple. You can use any sherbert you desire, but for Valentine's Day, I think it would be most fitting to use raspberry or strawberry. Use 1/2 gallon of sherbert, 1/2 liter of ginger ale, and 1/2 liter of lemon-lime soda. Then voila! You've got your punch. Stir occasionally and don't let it sit for too long. You want the sherbert to melt a little without homogeneously dissipating into the fizzy soda mix.

Finally, the event o the day is another class happening, which is going on at Sugar Mama's Bakeshop in South Austin. The class is a short but sweet (ha ha) 2 hour session from 7-9pm on February 8th on how to churn out some beautiful sugar cookies for Valentine's Day. Just to sweeten the deal, the shop is offering a discount if you bring a friend. If you're like me, making serious looking (serious = pretty) cookies is no laughing matter...because my iced wonders sometimes look like a five year-old made them. So, check out the class if you are free, and be sure to send me your creations for taste testing purposes. :)

Be back tomorrow with more sweets to share.

Action Jackson out.

Currently Listening: X (various albums)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Eighteen Days of Valentine

After my last post about Valentine's Day, I was inspired to provide something fun and sweet for my readers' eyes to eat. As the title suggests, I will be featuring V-Day finds each day all the way through February 14th (hopefully I'll have the moxie to do so), which will include: Etsy designs, recipes, and Austin happenings. I'm pretty excited about the prospect of doing this as it seems like the closest I can get to throwing a Hearts Day Party for all my readers (hmm. gears are turning at just the thought of this). So, without further delay, let's get to it!

Our first Etsy design comes from one of Etsy Austin's very own, Tisa Jackson of Tisa's Creations ( The best part about these clever and affordable cards? You can custom order what the front says. My initial reaction to this card was a chuckle soon followed by an "awww". I myself am probably guilty of talking about how much I love my effects pedals, chai, or making jewelry more than expressing the degree to which I care for the people close to me. In several of the romance languages, they have different words for different degrees of love, i.e. in Spanish "Te quiero" is casual and "Te amo" is reserved only for someone you're in a serious relationship with, which is the perfect remedy for not blurring the lines of love. However, since we don't have that in the English language, I think these cards are our perfect remedy. I imagine if I sent these out, I would custom make them to say "I love you more than Siamese Dream" or something like that. What would you custom order yours to say? The possibilities are endless! Tisa has several other Valentine's Day goodies you should check out. My favorites are the glitter I<3U cards, SWAK notes, and Anti Valentine's Day magnets.

The recipe for today is rose flower cookies, which comes courtesy of 1 Dough, 100 Cookies (available on This makes about 55-60 cookies.

-1 cup butter, softened
-generous 1 cup superfine sugar
-1 extra large egg, lightly beaten
-1 tbsp rose water
-2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
-1 tsp baking powder

-1 egg white
-2 and 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
-2 tsp all-purpose flour
-2 tsp rose water
-pink food coloring

1. Put the butter and sugar into a bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon, then beat in the egg and rose water. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt into the mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Shape the dough into a log, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.

2. Preheat the oven to 375 F/190 C. Line 2-3 cookie sheets with baking parchment.

3. Unwrap the dough and cut into thin slices with a sharp serrated knife. Put on the prepared cookie sheets spaced well apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until light golden brown. Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheets for 10 minutes, then using a metal spatula, carefully transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.

4. To make the frosting, lightly beat the egg white with a fork in a bowl. Sift in half the confectioners' sugar and stir well, then sift in the remaining confectioners' sugar and flour, and mix in sufficient rose water to make a smooth, easy to spread frosting. Stir in a few drops of pink food coloring.

5. Let the cookies stand on the racks. Gently spread the frosting over them and let set.

And finally, I present you with a Valentine's Day-related happening. Austin's very own Stitch Lab will be hosting a Valentine Creation Class on Saturday February 6th from 4:30-8:00pm at their studio (1000 S. 1st St). The classes are limited to 6 students and cost $25 to register, and they supply the materials. It sounds like a great way to get into the spirit and chat it up with other creative Austin gals.

Hope you guys have enjoyed the first installment of this new experiment. Feel free to send me any Etsy designs, recipes, or Austin happenings you have to share!

Action Jackson out.

Currently listening: Fake Plastic Trees- Radiohead

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

La La Love You

So, this post may seem a little premature. And you may find yourself thinking, "if one more person mentions Valentine's Day, why they love it, or flaunts their relationship status, I'm gonna..." Hear me out. Even though I personally have been single for more V-Day's than I've been in a relationship, I revere this long-celebrated Hallmark holiday (long is relative as Wikipedia says it began as a tradition in 19th c. England). I attribute this to the always anticipated sugar comatose gorging hours we had in elementary school a la Valentine's Day parties.

I know a lot of people despise Hallmark holidays such as V-Day (and with good reason) because they claim it is a planned consumerism day sinisterly disguised as a special occasion to show your devotion, show people you care about them, etc. And I agree. The fact is, that without prompt, the ever-present hustle and bustle makes it hard for many people (maybe most) to do this purely out of their own incentive for everyone they care about. So, when it comes to celebrating, curbing the daily grind, and giving people a reason to be especially excited about pink cupcakes and chocolate, I say damn the torpedoes!

It's been a tradition of mine to go all out for the day of love ever since I was a kid. Whether that translated to throwing girlie singles' parties, finding the most unique V-Day cards, or whipping up tasty treats for my beau, it was go big or go home. I hope this year will be no exception.

One crucial element of doing Valentine's Day right, to me, is crafting. I can think of few occasions that are as perfect an excuse for kitschy cute crafts as February 14th. In years past, I've had guests for parties make boudoir-style bottles to hold a take home gift of creme brulee sugar scrub, heart shaped decor/jewelry boxes, and hand-painted martini glasses.

Second on the list is plans for the day of. Like I said before, I usually opt for hosting parties for all the girls, but there's also the occasional date night that's been thrown in there (usually dinner and a movie, but nothing wrong with a safe call). I know Austin always ensures its city that there is plenty of fun to be had- Alamo romantic flick feasts, special spa events, museum charity cocktail parties, and the like.

Much like Whose Line is it Anyway, the list of priorities for V-Day is unpredictable as to the order of what ends up on top. So, my third ingredient for the essential day list should in no way be overlooked as the least important: food. Amy's makes special order chocolate-covered strawberries, Mangia unleashes their heart-shaped deep dish, Uchi has a waiting list of 2+ hours, and I'm almost certain Godiva stores everywhere implode.

So, what do y'all think? Do you hate Valentine's Day too much to dignify this post with a reply? Have you seen any awesome V-Day crafts? Should I shut up and not post about this for the next 2-2 and 1/2 weeks? Is there a delish recipe or food find you'd like to share? How do you see Austin (or your respective city) celebrate or give back for the day of hearts? Let me know because I'd love to hear!

~Action Jackson

Currently Listening: Eels Pandora Station

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Tie One On!

Happy Weekend, everyone! Hope this post finds y'all relaxing and enjoying time off from work/school/job hunting. And if you're like me, maybe you even got a head start on the weekend. On Thursday night, I headed over to the Art Pad (i.e. the new home for The WonderCraft, where you can find some fabulous DGAJ pieces) for the WC's trial Grand Reopening Party, which will be goin on February 25th. By the time I arrived, the lovely WC ladies were already hard at work entertaining guests with tie revival. Beth A was outside teaching and assisting with tie screenprinting while Beth H and Jen were inside livening up some fuddy duddy ties (some of which I daresay I might find in my dad's tie collection) with embroidery and embellishments.

I opted for classic stripes and printed a trendy autumn tree on my tie (top left). Upon completing my master creation, I chatted it up with fellow Etsy Austin gals, Samantha (Nepenthe's Bathtime) and Cathie (Sweet Wolf). The rest of the night was spent perusing The Art Pad's huge mosaic tile stock as well as the beautiful beads of neighbor, Lapis Lane Beads. Needless to say, it took some self control not to indulge in a spending spree right then and there. However, I highly recommend that you check out both shops if you find yourself dabbling (or wanting to dabble) in mosaics or jewelry. The shop hosts classes and is an open studio workspace for customers, so it's the perfect concept if you're an artist starting out in either of these crafts. All in all, it was a fabulously fun night, and I was able to take home a funky fresh creation for my beau. If you have the chance, check out The WonderCraft's Grand Reopening at The Art Pad (4520 Burnet) on February 25th. I'll be sure to post more details closer to the date.

P.S. Check out my rockin feather fascinator that Beth H was nice enough to snap a pic of! More bedazzled beauties like this one will soon make their way into DGAJ land. Keep your eyes peeled.

~Action Jackson

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Emerging from the Shadows

I think the title of this post is appropriate albeit a tad overstated and dramatic. Though, going without writing for 2 and 1/2 months in the blogging world suggests you've been sick and bedridden for the entire duration (or in my case, and probably yours, just really really busy). Going into November, I had big aspirations to gab about the completion of my Bioshock Collection along with the scads of shows I was participating in during the holiday season. However, since that didn't happen, I'll give the concise short and sweet of what I've been up to.

In mid-November, I participated in E.A.S.T. (East Austin Studio Tour), an artist-run initiative to highlight studios and galleries in east Austin, with some of the gals from Etsy Austin. I even got to demo creating DGAJ jewelry for a few folks that stopped by (see above)! If you have the chance to check out E.A.S.T. next year, I would definitely recommend it (after you take a few deep breaths and brace yourself because there are hundreds of featured artists and galleries).

December brought a few ups and downs, with the downs being attributed to some canceled holiday shows I'd signed up for. Rest assured, those lemons were put to good use in lemon chills (or lemonade if you really prefer that over delicious lemon chills). With said lemon chill in hand, I am proud to announce that Diamonds and Guns is now available at The WonderCraft (which will be having a Grand Reopening Bash at 4520 Burnet on February 25th from 6-9pm) as well as Pangaea (located on The Drag, new location announcement coming soon). In December, I also participated in the Etsy Austin Craft Riot (see display setup above), which was great fun since I was able to hang out with a lot of my favorite people from EA. :) The EACR was a weekend-long event with wine (for 21+ only), wine food fare, and goodie bags for attendees.

December also marked the beginning of my work on the Bright Lights, Big City Collection. So, keep your eyes peeled for the slow leak of Bioshock and BLBC Collection pieces onto my Etsy site as well as new flickr pics (some available now for your viewing pleasure). No upcoming shows planned for DGAJ until spring/summer, but look for me in the shops listed on my home Etsy page! Also soon to come- feather fascinators adorned with Swarovski crystals. Oh my!

-Action Jackson
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...