Italian Pasta Night Dinner Party

When my husband and I got married, we decided to finally get some “grown up” dishware to replace the set I’d purchased when I was 18 and had been using ever since. (They were clear glass – not very exciting, but they didn’t conflict with any of the decor through my numerous moves and held up for over ten years!) We decided what better way to celebrate the new dishware – and silverware – than by hosting a little dinner party for some friends? Our theme was “Italian Pasta Night.” We had an enormous array of food, and everything was delicious.

Italian Pasta Night Dinner Party

Our menu included:

– Two kinds of homemade pasta (spaghetti and fettuccine)

– Two kinds of homemade pasta sauces (pesto, and a red marinara sauce)

– Garlic bread with a delicious herbed garlic butter

– Caesar salad with homemade Meyer lemon Caesar dressing

– Vanilla panna cotta topped with grated dark chocolate, accompanied by almond brittle

Vanilla Panna Cotta with Chocolate Shavings and Almond BrittleWhat would a dinner party be without the decor though, right? OK, maybe I get a little bit more excited about this kind of thing than other .. normal.. people do, but I really wanted an excuse to be fancy and try out some projects that were on my DIY list!

Italian Pasta Night Dinner Party 3I spent a little bit of time sourcing out different candle holders for the center grouping. I found some for .49cents each at Ikea, which conveniently can hold either a stick candle or a votive! I also went to our local thrift store and picked up a few other clear glass candle sticks in varying heights.

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The blue goblets were already part of my collection. They are vintage “Kings Crown” style goblets, by Indiana Glass company. They were made somewhere around the 1960s-1970s. I loved them so much when I first got them, that I ended up buying the same ones in different colors for the head table at our wedding. (You can view those here!)

The silver colored chargers were on sale at Michael’s craft store, 2 for $3. They added a nice touch!

Italian Pasta Night Dinner Party - Rosemary Wreath Name Card Place Holders

I am quite obsessed with these place cards! Obviously they weren’t necessary for a small dinner party, but when I saw the idea, I just couldn’t resist. They were one of the easiest crafts I’ve ever done. You simply take a sprig of fresh rosemary and bend it into a circular shape, then secure it with a little piece of floral wire. Adorn it with a bow of your choice, and a name tag clipped from a piece of printed cardstock. My rosemary stalks were pretty sturdy, so I had to break them just a little bit in a few places as I formed the circle. It wasn’t noticeable at all, and it achieved the nice wreath shape for each of them. I used a little bit of kitchen twine for the bow. You could use colored ribbon or whatever you’d like!

DIY lemon leaf garlandOne of the biggest projects was the lemon leaf garland. I didn’t take too many in-progress photos, but have included one so you can get a better idea of what I did. I found a tutorial online, and it was actually a really simple project!

I used about 2 large bunches of fresh lemon leaves, which I purchased at a florist. I clipped off each leaf, leaving about 4-5 inches of stem below it. Cut a long length of twine and attach each leaf/stem to the twine by wrapping floral wire around it. Wrap the stem, lay the next branch over it, and wrap again. You will keep overlapping each branch with the new leaves until you get to the end. How close or far apart you wrap them is completely up to you. I ended up wrapping 2-3 at a time for a full look. The garland extended the entire length of the table!

I made this in advance, so I stored it in our guest shower, and misted it with a spray bottle of water 2x a day for 2-3 days. I wouldn’t advise making this more than 3 days in advance, or it will dry out. 1 or 2 days is preferred, or even same day if you have the time available.

To accent the garland, I simply placed fresh lemons around it on the table. So easy, and beautiful! As you can see, our dinner party looked really elegant without a whole lot of time or money spent to decorate the table.

Don’t worry, I am not leaving you without any recipes.. here’s the recipes for the vanilla panna cotta, and the almond brittle. Both are very simple and incredibly delicious.

Vanilla Panna Cotta

yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings

This recipe was created by chef Lachlan Mackinnon Patterson of Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colorado. It’s part of a special menu he created for Epicurious’s Wine.Dine.Donate program.

Start this recipe a day before you plan to serve it. Both the pear jam and the panna cotta are best if chilled overnight.

Ingredients:

  • 4 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin from 2 (1/4-ounce) envelopes
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise

Directions:

In small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over cream. Let stand until gelatin softens, about 1 minute.

Meanwhile, in medium saucepan over moderate heat, whisk together milk and sugar. Scrape in seeds from vanilla beans; add beans. Heat, whisking occasionally, until sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in cream mixture. Strain through fine-mesh sieve, discarding vanilla beans, then ladle mixture into 8 (4-ounce) ramekins. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

Unmold and serve:
Run thin sharp knife around inside edge of each ramekin to loosen. Dip bottom of 1 ramekin in bowl of very warm water 6 seconds. Put plate over ramekin, then invert panna cotta onto plate, gently lifting off ramekin. Repeat to unmold remaining panna cottas.  (Note: I poured my mixture right into a fancy glass serving dish, as shown in the image earlier in this post. I did not unmold it, and instead left it in the pretty dish. I topped it with grated dark chocolate.)

Almond Brittle

Yield: 13 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light-colored corn syrup
3/4 cup coarsely chopped almonds, toasted
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
Directions:
Line a jelly-roll pan with parchment paper. Combine sugar and syrup in a 2-quart glass bowl. Microwave at HIGH 3 minutes (sugar mixture will be clear and bubbly). Stir in almonds. Microwave at HIGH 3 minutes or until mixture is a light caramel color, stirring every minute. Stir in butter, vanilla, and salt. Microwave at HIGH 1 1/2 minutes or until mixture is the color of peanut butter. Add baking soda, and stir until texture is foamy. Quickly pour mixture onto prepared pan. Spread to 1/4-inch thickness. Let stand 30 minutes. Break brittle into pieces, and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

DIY Backyard Brunch Wedding in New Hampshire

SarahJaynePhotography-CampAllisonWedding1Image by Sarah Jayne Photography.

This past May, I married my best friend and partner of 10 years! We held our ceremony and reception in the backyard of my parents’ New Hampshire home – complete with a mix of sun, rain showers, and heavy downpours (in true New England fashion,) a cupcake chandelier, and a make-your-own waffles brunch.

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My husband and I spent nearly an entire year planning, DIY’ing, and vintage sourcing, with help from our lovely family and friends along the way.

One of my biggest projects was designing my own wedding gown. As a graduate of FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising,) I don’t think I would have forgiven myself if I didn’t put my skills to good use, especially for such a momentous occasion in my life! I also made my necklaces, bracelet, and the accessories for the wedding party.

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Our dog Butters joined us for the event, of course.  He wouldn’t leave my side the entire time I was getting ready that morning!

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Frank and I both enjoy cooking, and decided to host a waffles brunch reception. We tested out various waffle recipes and purchased 4 double-waffle irons for our guests to use. My sister and I mixed the dry ingredients for the batter the night before the wedding, and our fabulous friends John and Amanda finished the batter the morning of. There was no shortage of fun toppings, from sweet to savory! (One of my “must have” toppings was real maple syrup! We purchased a gallon of it from a local farm, Ben’s Sugar Shack.)

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We wanted to break away from traditional floral centerpieces and invoke a “wow!” factor as our guests entered the tent.  Some of my favorite DIY projects to achieve it included hand-rolled crepe paper rosette pomanders. I chose three colors – mauve, white, and olive – and made of them in varying sizes, which were hung above our head tables by my brother-in-law and Best Man, Jim. With the help of our friends and family, we cleaned and spray painted nearly 100 recycled and vintage glass bottles! We arranged them along the center of the main reception tables, over burlap table runners.

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For the head tables, mom and I collected vintage milk glass and vintage goblets in amethyst and olive. I sewed looped ribbon table runners and matching napkin rings, while my mother-in-law and nieces helped us fold and set all of the cloth napkins.

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One of the best parts about these decorations was that I got to keep them once the wedding day had ended!

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My sister Amity arranged both of our beautiful bouquets (peonies and lilacs, adorned with extra green ribbon from our reception decor projects.)

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Frank’s cousin Annie made all of our cupcakes and our cake. They were delicious -chocolate cake, and chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with buttercream frosting piped into rosettes.  One of the highlights after the cake cutting was the lowering of the cupcake chandelier, which was designed and fabricated by my husband! A former stage rigger, he also hung all of the pendant lights to illuminate the tent.

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After the reception, we headed to the local ice cream shop (Kimball Farms) for a giant banana split.

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After our ice cream, we headed across the street to the beautiful field for some post-reception photos. Of course, I had to perform a quick change of my shoes and jewelry to be more “field appropriate!”

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Nearly 3 months later, I still feel like I have wedding-planning fever. With that being said, I want to share a series of some of our DIY projects with you! In addition to my usual recipe and jewelry posts, I’ll be adding tutorials and photo posts for those crafty brides-to-be out there, in hopes that it might add some inspiration to your own wedding planning.

Here’s a list of everything we made ourselves (photo posts and tutorials will be posted and linked later. Check back on this post!)…

My wedding gown

– Bridal necklaces

– Maid of Honor and flower girls’ jewelry

– Corsages

– Ribbon boutonnieres

– Flower girls’ hair accessories

– Invites/RSVP’s

– Clay rose ring holder (ring pillow alternative)

– Ceremony arbor

– Burlap table runners

– Paper-cut cake topper and table numbers

– Hand rolled crepe paper rosette pomanders

– Looped ribbon table runners and matching ribbon napkin rings

– Cards box

Homemade vanilla extract favors/seating placements

– Spray painted bottle centerpieces

– Cupcake chandelier

– Chalkboard signage

If there’s any tutorials you want to see first, let me know, as I won’t be working in chronological order.

Happy day!

All images in this post were taken by our fabulous photographer Sarah, over at Sarah Jayne Photography. She also has a blog and Facebook page. Hair and make-up by the talented Regina Garnett.

New Year – BuzzFeed Article Feature – and Custom Map Quote Compass Necklaces!

Happy New Year! I know, I know, it’s February and I’m a little late to the 2014 game. I think it’s socially acceptable to wish someone a Happy New Year up until January 31st, after that, well.. what can I say?

I spent the first couple of weeks of the new year catching up on orders from December, and then spent the last part of it working on a happy flurry of new orders, thanks to a Buzzfeed Travel list that included one of my designs!

Map Quote Compass Necklace featured in Buzzfeed Travel

Map Quote Compass Necklace featured in Buzzfeed Travel

The article was titled “21 Things Every Traveler Wishes They Owned” and can be found here. The quote on the back of the compass can be personalized with anything you wish – poetry, a special message, a birthday, etc.

This piece is a really fun design for me with an amusing story about its conception. It started over a year ago, and was inspired by a Christmas gift I gave to my parents: a GPS for their car (how ironic, no?) I didn’t have the GPS on hand yet to physically give to them – it was being shipped from the store to their home – but I still wanted to give them something tangible in the mean time as a place holder. I mailed them an envelope that I’d made out of a paper road map, and on the front of the envelope I displayed the following Robert Frost quote, printed onto paper that I had tea-stained:

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by.”

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Yep, I liked it enough to take a picture of it before I mailed it! A picture of the GPS they would be receiving was tucked away on the inside of the envelope, along with a note.

My mom called me and said how much she loved the envelope, and was carrying it around in her purse to hold coupons. She was so sad when it started falling apart, that I decided I needed to make her something a little more permanent that she could carry with her.. subsequently, I made her a compass key chain with the same design – a map clipping background, and the same quote on the same tea-stained paper. And with that, a new design idea was born!

Lately, I’ve had a lot of requests to personalize the map behind the quote. I don’t typically do this, as I like to use maps cut from the same atlas used in the sample photos (it’s a vintage atlas with beautiful earth toned colors and really great fonts!) However, I do love to make my customers happy, so I worked on a design that does allow for a custom map in the background behind the quote/text area. Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of small towns available, but do have the major cities and large suburbs of most areas in the U.S., and major cities worldwide. Both the map and the quote are protected under a hard glossy layer of jeweler’s resin, for a professional finish and durability.

Personalized map quote compass necklace

The sample shown is with a map of the San Francisco bay area. I’m using prints from my antique atlas collection for these – the atlases are nearly 100 years old!

Large Compass - Custom Map and Quote 3 - Sm

I made a samples showing 8 different cities, but you can of course request your own different city!

Antique Map Compass Options

You can order your own Custom Map Compass Necklace with Personalized Quote here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/178183879/large-custom-map-compass-necklace-with

Speaking of quote compasses, I need to go make some more tea-stained paper. Happy February!

Amending the All Work and No Play mentality..

Dear Blog,

I know it has been a while since I’ve written, but I promise that I still care about you! I have been so busy these past few months, I never had the time to sit down and collect my thoughts. Contrary to my prior all-work-and-no-play lifestyle, I decided that massive amounts of hard work and designing schedules that consume all daylight hours do actually merit some time away, even if I don’t leave the comfort of the West Coast.

With that in mind, I have tried to schedule time to see family, get some fresh air, and try my hand at some new baking recipes (one of which I’ll share this weekend.)

Much love,

Victoria

PS- Here’s a glimpse of what I’ve been up to in my blogging absence..

April..

After my Fab.com sale ended, we took a couple of days up north to relax along the Sonoma County Coast, and spent some time at the Timber Cove Inn (with a room overlooking the cove and shoreline.) Foggy mornings mixed with patchy afternoon sun, delicious food, no television, and little to no cellphone reception made for a peaceful and rejuvenating escape.

Timber Cove Inn – morning fog..

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Family photo, taken in the spot where our room’s view overlooked. Butters was more interested in the scenery than posing for yet another picture..

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I could have spent the entire two days photographing the amazing scenery; there are many more, but here’s a glimpse..

Obligatory Butters photo. I'm pretty sure this was one of his favorite places ever. I would have to agree that it was one of my favorites, too.

Obligatory cute Butters photo. I’m pretty sure this was one of his favorite places ever. I would have to agree that it was one of my favorites, too.

May…

The month of May brought with it an engagement, followed by a graduation ceremony for my fiance, in which I watched him speak to his graduating class as Valedictorian!…

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Antique edwardian ringAnother shot to show off the beautiful detailing (it’s an antique!)

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Towards the end of May, I also had the privilege of seeing some of my jewelry designs on TV! They were on the air in Salt Lake City for a Celebration Gifts segment on The Daily Dish.

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You can see my jewelry there in the center! (Heart lockets, constellation lockets, and constellation compasses, all available on my website http://www.victoriacamp.com.)

June…

Both May and June were so busy with gifts for graduates! Some of my most popular designs were the quote compasses:

Working Compass Necklace - Robert Frost Two Roads Diverge Poem - 4Working Compass Necklace with Vintage Map and Robert Frost Quote – The Road Not Taken (http://www.victoriacamp.com/Working-Compass-Necklace-Vintage-Map-Robert-Frost-p/compass-mapquote.htm) Available with the quote shown, or a custom quote of your choice!

..as well as my constellation compasses, in the small size:

Custom Small Working Constellation Compass Small Working Compass Necklace with Personalized Zodiac Constellation (http://www.victoriacamp.com/Small-Custom-Zodiac-Constellation-Compass-Necklace-p/smallconstellationcompass.htm)

But, keeping with the mindset of not living an all work and no play life, we decided to take a road trip down south for some family time. We visited my sister and her family in So. Cal, as well as my future brother-in-law and his wife in Las Vegas.

Cutie pie kids.. my oldest niece, and my nephew (youngest of 4!)

Cutie pie kids.. my oldest niece, and my nephew (youngest of 4!)

During our San Diego visit, we visited some friends, went to the San Diego Zoo, as well as the Old Town area for some fun. Our time in Vegas included a backstage tour of the Celine Dion production at The Colosseum (or maybe I should say “up stage”, as we saw where the crew production takes place!,) played a few slot machines (obligatory,) visited the Boot Barn (lots of cowboy hats and boots!,) and ended with the Bellagio fountains show via a fabulous view from the Louis Vuitton balcony.

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As for July.. well, the month is only half over! I have a recipe to post for you this weekend – cherry crumb bars! They were so delicious, I’ve been daydreaming about them for days since we finished eating them.

Hope you’re having a great summer!

Behind the scenes at Victoria Camp Designs – Fab.com sale wrap up!

Oh my – I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since my sale with Fab.com!

When my sale started, I’d created half of the available inventory up front so that it would be ready-to-ship upon purchase, and the other half was made-to-order.  I was able to send my first big shipment the day after my sale ended, and sent the second shipment less than a week later. As of early last week, all of the merchandise has been received at their warehouse, which means it should be in most customers’ hands by now! Hooray!

It’s sort of funny that no matter how much prep work you do,  once the sale starts, it’s still a (happy) whirlwind! I thought it might be nice to share a few ‘behind the scenes’ photos from my sale event with you..

LOTS of vintage lockets..

LOTS of vintage lockets..

 

I took the above photo before I got started. I used almost all of these lockets for my sale. Doesn’t it look so daunting?! I spent a an entire month preparing the inventory for my sale, before it went live.

 

Prepping large heart lockets and tiny constellation lockets for the Fab.com sale!

Prepping large heart lockets and tiny constellation lockets for the Fab.com sale!

 

Work in progress photo above, with a collection of large map heart lockets towards the front, and tiny constellation lockets amassing in the back…

 

Orion constellation lockets

Orion constellation lockets

 

An army of Orion’s.. I painted each constellation type in groups. There were 14 all together – the 12 zodiac constellations, plus Orion and Ursa Major (Big Dipper.)

 

Fab.com Shipment - Victoria Camp Designs

First shipment ready to go!

 

My sale event was 3 days long, and I could hardly sleep the night before it started; I was so excited! I joked with my mom (who lives 3,000 miles away) that I spent all 3 days just staring at my computer, watching the ‘sold items’ number increase. She would routinely check in with me by email, asking, “What’s the current number?” We both got a kick out of watching the little red “sold out” flag appear on the item styles.

The morning after the sale ended, I had the final item numbers and could begin gathering all of the ready-to-ship pieces for the first warehouse shipment! At this point, I was feeling pretty thankful that I had already packaged and labeled each item individually. It saved a LOT of time later on.. time which I now needed to finish up the made-to-order items! The box for the first shipment was so large, I just had to take a photo of it next to my “floor manager,” Butters, for comparison. I think he was disappointed that the box did not contain any treats for him. Sorry, Butters!

 

Tiny Initial Notebook Locket Necklaces in progress..

Tiny Initial Notebook Locket Necklaces in progress..

 

Once the first shipment was on it’s way to Fab, I resumed work on the items for the second shipment. The first designs I needed to get started on were the Tiny Initial Notebook Locket Necklaces, since the finish on them needed adequate drying time before heading off to the customers.  The above photo is one of my favorites, because you can see all the various letters in the font design – so much fun! (I offer these in two different fonts, and with one or two letters, on my website.)

 

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Small heart map locket necklaces in progress..

 

The second item style I needed to complete were the small heart map locket necklaces. I offered 15 different cities for the sale event, and made sure to double and triple check the quantity of each city that sold. The most popular cities were Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New Orleans. (The first two didn’t surprise me – although the third one did!) San Francisco has always been one of the popular locations. Can’t say I blame you guys, as I do live in the Bay Area myself!

 

Another view of the small heart map lockets..

Another view of the small heart map lockets..

 

An overhead view..I still can’t get over this! I’ve never seen so many map lockets on my table at one time! This photo didn’t even include the lockets that I’d completed earlier. Crazy.

 

Second Fab shipment..

Second Fab shipment..

 

Five days later, and the second (and final) shipment is ready to go! *whew!*

I spent the week after the sale trying to relax a little bit, and working on custom orders. This week I am back to what is a little more “normal,” and have finally had some time to work on new designs.

Hope everyone is having a great March!

Victoria Camp Designs on Fab.com! – Constellation Jewelry, Map Jewelry and more

I promised you last weekend that I would come back here and tell you the fun news this weekend..

Well, here it is – I’m having a sale event on Fab.com!

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It’s a 3-day sale, and I’m offering my Hand Painted Tiny Constellation Locket Necklaces, my Personalized Initial Notebook Locket Necklaces, and a variety of small and large Antique Map Heart Locket Necklaces. Go check out the sale here: http://fab.com/sale/18016

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The sale runs until 8amPST on Wednesday morning, but I expect some styles may sell out before then.

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One of my favorites, and a highly popular item – the California Map Heart Locket, is also included in the sale. You can find that one here: http://fab.com/sale/18016/product/339689/

Please keep in mind that I think the links will only be active until the sale ends. I’ll try to remember to update this page after it’s over so no one is confused.

Happy Weekend! :)

The Inner Workings of Wintertime..

My oh my.. I seem to have lost track of not only the entire month of January, but half of February as well!

February in the Bay Area is one of my absolute favorite seasons. I find this amusing, because February used to be the month I absolutely despised back in New England. (Gloomy, dark, dreary, muddy snow, snowstorms and just plain cold weather. Need I go on?!) Ah, but February here in California…quite the different story! We have nights that are cool but not freezing; days that are warm and sunny but not too hot; the occasional rain shower; springtime birds singing morning songs, and least I not forget – spring blooms! The trees in my neighborhood start blooming and it makes my heart happy.

This one is right outside my window..

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I also like to pretend that my allergies do not exist during this favorite time of year. I’m living a lie, but what can I say? It’s worth it.

 

In these past 6 weeks of the new year, I haven’t been idle.. far from it, in fact. You see, the “slower” months of my business are used to prep inventory (for upcoming events, stock, and otherwise,) work on new designs, and work on business maintenance – you know, all the ‘boring’ stuff that needs to be done, such as taxes, website updates, and such.

For example, I’ve been working on a big (in terms of my usual scale) project, which I can tell you all about next weekend. It involves lots and lots of product-making. Here’s a glimpse of what my work table looked like at one point in time..

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I’ve also been taking some..okay, a LOT..of time to completely re-vamp my domain website, http://www.victoriacamp.com. When I started my site a few years back, it was originally intended to be more of a ‘portfolio’ type of site. Since then, I expanded it to include some items for sale. Fast forward to today, and the future, and it really didn’t leave me a lot of room for growth. With that being said, I now have a fancy schmancy new “shopping cart” function on my site, as well as a mobile version. Hooray! I’m excited. It’s not entirely finished – I still have quite a few items to add – but the layout is done and there are some items up. Here’s a peek..

Victoria Camp Designs site preview

Victoria Camp Designs site preview

It’s absolutely up and running, so feel free to check it out as-is, and keep in mind I’ll be adding more inventory later on.

 

Speaking of adding inventory, I did add one new product last night! I have a fun new design; a working compass necklace, with the constellation of your choice! (All 12 zodiac constellations area available, plus Orion, Ursa Major, and Ursa Major/Ursa Minor.) The graphic on the back was designed by me. The compass is made of brass and really does work! They hang from a long brass chain, so you are free to play around with it while you’re wearing it.

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The example above shows the constellation Orion. (One of my personal favorites.)

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Here you can see it with the 32″ length. (Recommended.) You can also order it a little longer or shorter if you prefer. This necklace is available to order right here: http://www.victoriacamp.com/Personalized-Zodiac-Constellation-Compass-Necklace-p/constellationcompass.htm

 

Alright, time to get back to work. I’ll be back to update next weekend!

Homemade Peppermint Marshmallows and a Gift Packaging Template

It’s that time of year – peppermint season!

Okay..peppermint can be enjoyed year-round, but I personally associate it with wintertime. I’ve been so busy with work (for which I am grateful!) that I haven’t had much time to enjoy many holiday festivities, baking and candy making included.

The very first thing on my to-make list when I had a spare moment was marshmallows. Not just any marshmallows – peppermint marshmallows!

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If you haven’t tried your hand at homemade marshmallows, have no fear; they’re incredibly easy to make. The hardest part is the waiting! Last year I made regular vanilla marshmallows, and thought I would switch it up with peppermint. (Oh – I also made some pumpkin ones in October! Those were equally amazing!) I made a batch of these peppermint ones the other day, and shipped most of them off to various parts of the country as part of my Christmas packages to family and friends, but did keep a few to enjoy here at home.

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.. and as expected, they’re absolutely delicious in hot chocolate!

For whatever reason, inspiration struck when I was packaging these for gifts. I made some labels for the packages, and found some adorable red and white striped ribbon in my supply stash.

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It’s not too late to whip up a batch of these yourself for some last minute holiday gifts! To save some time, I thought that you might like to use these labels too..

PeppermintMarshmallowsLabel

You can right-click and save the above image (a .jpg) and print it as you wish, but I also made a high-res .pdf file that you can download and print (it has 6 labels per page.) Click the link to view and save or print the file: https://victoriaallison.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/peppermintmarshmallows-printout.pdf

And last but not least, here’s the recipe I used:

Homemade Marshmallows

Bon Appétit  | July 2008

by Molly Wizenberg

Ingredients:

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 cup cold water, divided
  • 3 1/4-ounce envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (for the peppermint version, I used 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1 tsp peppermint extract.)
  • * Optional: 2-3 drops red food coloring
  • 1/2 cup potato starch**
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar**
** I use cornstarch.. I also use about 1/4 cup cornstarch and 1/4 cup powdered sugar. It’s PLENTY!
Directions:

Line 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with foil.

Coat foil lightly with nonstick spray. Pour 1/2 cup cold water into bowl of heavy-duty mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Sprinkle gelatin over water. Let stand until gelatin softens and absorbs water, at least 15 minutes.

Combine 2 cups sugar, corn syrup, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup cold water in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over mediumlow heat until sugar dissolves, brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush. Attach candy thermometer to side of pan. Increase heat and bring syrup to boil. Boil, without stirring, until syrup reaches 240°F, about 8 minutes.

With mixer running at low speed, slowly pour hot syrup into gelatin mixture in thin stream down side of bowl (avoid pouring syrup onto whisk, as it may splash). Gradually increase speed to high and beat until mixture is very thick and stiff, about 15 minutes. Add vanilla and beat to blend, about 30 seconds longer.

*Optional: I added a couple of drops of red food coloring and gently stirred it into the marshmallows to create a light pink ‘swirl’ effect.

Scrape marshmallow mixture into prepared pan. Smooth top with wet spatula. Let stand uncovered at room temperature until firm, about 4 hours.

Stir potato starch and powdered sugar in small bowl to blend. Sift generous dusting of starch-sugar mixture onto work surface, forming rectangle slightly larger than 13×9 inches. Turn marshmallow slab out onto starch-sugar mixture; peel off foil. Sift more starch-sugar mixture over marshmallow slab. Coat large sharp knife (or cookie cutters) with nonstick spray. Cut marshmallows into squares or other shapes. Toss each in remaining starch-sugar mixture to coat. Transfer marshmallows to rack, shaking off excess mixture.

 

Enjoy!

A Glimpse into my Product Packaging Process..

One of the perks about shopping handmade is that there is a real person behind the item you’re purchasing. There is thought, love, care, and attention within each carefully crafted item, not to mention a unique product that you wouldn’t find at a mass retailer.

For many of us that sell handmade goods, the fun doesn’t stop as soon as we’ve finished creating the item – there’s still the joy that arrives when the item is purchased and sent to a new home somewhere across the country – or globe!

 

constellation packaging example

 

As an independent designer and “one woman show,” as its often referred to, I tend to get a little excited packaging my jewelry. I want my customers to be delighted, and think of each package as a gift (even if the customer is buying it for themselves!) My packaging has somewhat morphed from when I first began selling online, and I expect that it will continue to evolve as time goes on.

 

As the real person behind this business, I wanted to share with you a glimpse into my packaging routine.

 

packaginginprogress01

My very first step is to set aside each item that is ready to ship. I keep my inventory well organized, so it’s quick and easy to find the items that need to be mailed. If I am sending out custom orders,  I also move them to the ‘completion table’ here when they are finished.

packaginginprogress

The next step is really a multiple step process. I put out the “care instruction” cards for each applicable item, and affix a little decoration to the box when available, (in this case, I attach a map cut-out for the map jewelry, and a constellation map cut-out for the constellation jewelry.) Once those materials are prepped, I package up the jewelry and put it into a bubble mailer with the recipient’s name on it; this helps keep everything organized so that the customer does not receive the wrong item! Each box includes a business card with a quick note written on the back, and a satin ribbon tied around it.

floormanager

This is my Floor Manager, Butters. (Get it? Har har..) His responsibilities include chasing after runaway beads (don’t worry, he’s not interested in eating them,) greeting the mailman, and making sure I remember to take scheduled breaks and pay him some attention. He gets paid in belly rubs and squeaky toys.

finishedpackages

Once all of the boxes are tucked safely inside their respective bubble mailer (these ones are biodegradable!,) I print out all of the shipping labels and attach them to the packages. It’s somewhat of a matching game, especially when I have a large shipment. When the labels are printed, each customer receives an email notification that their package has shipped.

And there you have it! I hope you enjoyed a little behind-the-scenes view of what’s involved after you place your order.

 

Cyber Monday Holiday Jewelry Sale at Victoria Camp Designs

Sort of a “drive-by” post today! This image says it best..

That’s right, I’m having a holiday sale! You can purchase items in my shop on Etsy, or through my website. On Etsy, enter the coupon code in the “coupons” box in the checkout screen. On my website, write the coupon code in the “add note to seller” box in the checkout process, and I’ll refund the discount to you. This will be my ONLY sale for the holidays, so if there’s something you wanted, now is the time to purchase with a discount. The sale ends Monday, November 26th at midnight.

Despite the photograph, the sale is not just on map jewelry, of course! The discount applies to any item, with the exception of Gift Certificates.  I have two coupon codes for you to use:
Buy 1 item: Get 10% off when you enter the coupon code 10OFFONE in the checkout screen.

Buy 2 or more items: Get 20% off when you enter the coupon code 20OFFTWO in the checkout screen.

 

Yes, this sale applies to bridal/special occasion jewelry as well!

One more piece of news – I hadn’t gotten a chance to post this earlier, but my hand painted tiny constellation locket necklaces are in Etsy’s holiday gift guide: Editor’s Picks: Personalized Gifts. I took a screen capture from the website:

Pretty awesome, right?

You can order your own constellation locket through my website: http://www.victoriacamp.com/jewelry-necklaces.html I currently (as of Nov. 25th) have at least one of each constellation made and ready to ship, so the turnaround time isn’t quite as long as stated at this moment.

Time to get back to work .. enjoy the rest of the weekend!