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eggs2

Soooo. Darn. Good.

Lately I’ve been delving deep into the paleo cookbook collection, trying to find things that are not sweetened with honey, coconut crystals or maple syrup. I found it quite illuminating to realize how much honey and other natural sweeteners I was still including in our diet even though we were eating paleo. I can’t do any of that while I’m clearing up the candida and certainly not much once I am in the maintenance phase. So in addition to burning questions like, “Can I eat yucca? Is tapioca starch ok? What about tomatillos? How about kabocha? WHAT THE !@#$ DO YOU MEAN, NO MORE GLUTEN FREE JO JOS???” now I’m constantly asking, “Can I eat this AT ALL?”

Ok one of these things is not like the other – gluten free Jo Jo’s are NOT paleo, but I did keep a box in the pantry for rare but urgent Jo Jo Emergencies. Alas, not anymore.

The clear no-sweeteners-at-all winners thus far, in terms of taste, flavor, and variety, are the Well Fed cookbooks by Melissa Joulwan. But I’ve also rediscovered some cookbooks that I’d shelved and basically forgotten. One of them is Paleo Lunches and Breakfasts On The Go by Diana Rodgers, NTP. I hadn’t looked through this much, and I’m so glad I gave it another glance. We made these for breakfast this morning and they were really great! I used different veggies in our version simply because that’s what we had on hand, and I adapted the recipe slightly to my preferences. The original recipe is on page 138. You can buy it on Amazon, and I recommend it highly!

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Ingredients:
1 TBS coconut oil
4 slices of bacon, fried, then chopped
½ onion, minced
½ c. baby broccoli, chopped fine
¼ c. red bell pepper, chopped fine
¼ c. fresh spinach, chopped fine
8 eggs
½ c. coconut milk – we use the unsweetened coconut milk by So Delicious (in the green carton) instead of canned, because it’s a little more cost effective when you’re just baking it in.
2 TBS coconut flour
zest of 1 lemon
½ tsp red pepper flakes
lemon pepper and salt, to taste (Trader Joe’s lemon pepper grinder does not have sugar added. Lawry’s brand does. Read your labels!)

Preheat your oven to 350 and grease your muffin tin with coconut oil (I use the spray from Trader Joe’s) or better yet, use those little parchment baking cups for easy cleanup.

In a skillet, sauté your bacon and remove when it is done. You’ll chop this up later. Next, right on top of the drippings, melt your coconut oil and sauté your onions, red pepper, broccoli until they are brightly colored and mostly cooked. Throw in the spinach and your chopped bacon, just till the spinach is slightly wilted. Remove this from the heat.

In a mixing bowl, mix up the eggs, coconut milk, coconut flour, red pepper flakes, salt and lemon pepper, and then add the veg mixture from your skillet.

Using a ¼ c. measure, fill your muffin cups. If you use ¼ c. per cup, this recipe will make exactly 12 muffins.
Bake for 16-18 minutes, until they are set and the middles are firm.

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It’s easy to overbake these – I overbaked ours just a little. You want to make sure you have the cups filled evenly. If some of the cups are filled lower than others, they’ll overcook while the higher ones are still a little raw.

Ask me how I know!

Let them cool for a minute and then use a butter knife to loosen them gently from the pan. Put on a rack to cool, or, if you’re like me, eat them hot while standing over the rack, blistering your fingers and swearing. These are a winner. The Cap’s son dubbed them “tiny omelette cakes” and has requested that they be a household staple. Translation: “Dear Rain, please keep these on hand at all times, so I can grab them on the go and sate the Teenage Appetite. Love, Cap Jr.”

I can totally do that.

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Since I finally have my shiny Thanks President Obama! Health Insurance card, I’ve been going to see All The Doctors about All The Things that I’ve been ignoring for the last 8 long, uninsured years. I was really fortunate to find a great local doc who is a conventional MD and also a naturopathic doctor. He blends allopathic medicine with natural medicine. Herbs and labwork. Pharmacy and supplements.

I like his “let’s treat the body like the interconnected series of systems that it is and not like disassociated parts without a person attached” thinking. Even if it means that I’ll be spending the next unspecified number of months eating a severely limited diet.

The good news is that things won’t be too far off the normal paleo diet. It’s like squeaky clean paleo but with zero fruit, no sweeteners of any kind (oh honey and maple syrup, I’ll miss you!) except stevia (I hate stevia) and this is the worst part – no coffee or caffeinated tea.

I have to confess that even though I went paleo last year, if I want a cinnamon roll? I get one. If I want a sandwich on sourdough bread, there’s nothing stopping me. Usually it’s me stopping me, but if I really want to break the rules, I can. Which means that there have been the occasional burgers from Andy’s, forays down to the Thai place for a curry, and the rare but delicious turkey sandwich from the café.

No more of that. Can’t cheat at all.

I know that I will be allowed to relax eventually, but I tell ya, this morning I’m looking at my lemon water (detoxifying) and my unsweetened herbal tea (just fucking depressing) and feeling like “eventually” is code for “you will never get a lovely cup of rich, creamy, honey-sweetened, locally roasted coffee ever again.”

Plus it’s the height of stone fruit season here in the Valley and he said “no peaches.” Which is when I said, “ARE YOU HIGH? But I just figured out how to make gluten free, nut free, sugar free cobbler crust!!”

Ok I didn’t actually say that, but I thought it. As I wept silently on the inside.

There are murky grey areas here. Tomato season is coming. Technically it’s a fruit. What about plantain? I was going to make plantain tortillas. I just found a recipe. Plantain is basically banana and bananas aren’t allowed until Phase 3 – “maintenance” and they are listed as “limited.”

Limit plantain? Is this possible?

So. Many. Questions.

I figure it’ll take about a week of feeling ill-done by the ‘Verse and then I will get on board and be a little more stoic about it all. That’s what happened with Whole30 anyway. The thing that ultimately caused me to quit on Day 20 was the futility of trying to drink my coffee without cream or honey. Maybe having to give up the coffee right now isn’t such a bad thing.

Wait, what am I saying?

The end result of all this pain and suffering (Oh, First World Problems) will be a much healthier me, but today, the end result is a decidedly sulky me.

Look for squeaky clean paleo and candida diet posts for the next few months. Recipes. Musings. Links. Also, probably whining.

Getting your work into a store is one of those benchmark goals for a lot of small indie designers and makers. It’s so exciting when a shop-owner says they like your work enough to sell it! Positive affirmation plus you can widen your exposure to customers and get more sales? What’s not to love!

Sad truth: depending on how you go about it, plenty.

I’ve had my work carried in stores located all over California and the experience has taught me a lot.

The most common “selling to stores” scenario for new jewelry designers is probably consignment. You agree to lend the shop’s owner your creations and they agree to lend you space in their store. When your work sells, they pay you a percentage and keep a percentage to cover their costs. The benefit to the shop-owner is that they aren’t tying up liquid capital on inventory. They can present a well-stocked store with less financial risk. If your work doesn’t sell, they can return it to you, without having to take a tax loss or being stuck with it at year’s end. The plus side for you is that you are getting exposure to a wider market than you might otherwise have had. The time where someone else is selling your work is time you can be in your studio or doing other things. On the downside, you’re only making 50%-60% of whatever the piece sold for and your inventory is tied up so that you can’t sell it in your own shop for top dollar. If you haven’t priced your work to compensate for this, you can actually lose money on the sale. That’s not great for growing your business.

Consignment is a two way street. You’re in it together. The shop owner is trusting that you will provide them with quality merchandise that will result in happy, repeat customers for their store. You, in turn, are trusting that the shop-owner will do a good job of merchandising and promoting your work. It can be very frustrating to find your work poorly displayed, tarnished and dirty, or thrown haphazardly in a dusty case. Every single one of those scenarios has happened to me! It’s even more frustrating when you have to chase down shop owners so that you can get them to pay you. It’s no fun to feel like the bad guy. The force of the desire to never experience that, ever again, is strong in this one.

True Story: when I owned the Night Market at Crafted I was always a few days late when I was paying my artists. I was overwhelmed and swamped with tasks and it was easy to make excuses for myself. I thought “well, it was only X days late, that’s fine, they know I’m good for it.” Mostly it was fine, and I was good for it. The artists didn’t complain, though I am very sure they didn’t love it. But as long as it was “fine”, I had no incentive to change. Then one day, about 4 months in, when I was “just a few days late” yet again, one jewelry artist called me on it. I was humiliated and angry, but the experience really drove home an important point. Plain and simple, you need to pay up when you said you’d pay. People may say it’s ok when you don’t, but it really isn’t.

Having seen it from both sides of the ledger, I do try to give my store accounts the benefit of the doubt. I’m not going to freak out when a payment is a little late but I really go off the rails when “you’ll have the check this week” slowly stretches out into a long wait for checks that never come. It’s a horrible feeling and frankly, it just doesn’t have to happen.

You’re not “just” an artist. If you are selling your work, then you’re a business owner and that means it’s your job to make sure you get paid. You are not doing yourself or the shop owner a favor if you let it slide again and again.

These are things that are really important for you to consider if you’re going to be consigning your work.

1. Eyeball a store when you go in to talk to them about a consignment arrangement. Shop there once or twice as a customer beforehand so you can get a feel for the place. If you don’t like what you see, if they’re rude or something seems off, if displays are dirty or work isn’t nicely merchandised then let it go. It’s folly to think they’ll change for you.

2. Stay on top of your paperwork and keep it up to date. Know what inventory you have out in which stores. Keep track of what has sold, for how much, and if you have been paid for it. I won’t lie, when I had my store? Making those sold inventory lists for each artist once a month was a pain in my ass. I hated it. I was tired on Sunday nights and I wanted to chill with some Game of Thrones, not stay up late doing books and spreadsheets for the weekend sales at Crafted. Well boo hoo. It was my job to make sure people got paid on time. I couldn’t exactly say, “Sorry, Joffrey was being a super compelling jerk, there was a cliffhanger, George RR Martin is an evil genius and that’s why your check is late.” when payday rolled around.

3. Be upfront about what you expect. A consignment contract is an opportunity for negotiation. I know that you’re excited and it feels like they believe in you and they’re doing you a favor by carrying your widgets! True fact: they aren’t. It’s a business arrangement. You can find sample consignment contracts for free online.

4. Keep a copy of your contract where you can find it quickly. Preferably with an up to date inventory sheet and store contact info.

5. When providing your own displays, list them on your inventory sheet. Mark them and make it clear that you expect them to be used for your work only. True story: Once I stopped into a gallery that carried my work and found my $65 linen bust displaying someone else’s necklace while my beautiful, high-end, sterling and gemstone creation languished flat on a dusty tabletop.

6. Ask around your local art community before you sign on with someone. You’ll find out pretty quickly if a shop owner has a bad reputation for problems with artist/vendors. That information can save you trouble later down the line. I have a few “Gosh I wish I’d listened…” scenarios in my own consignment history.

7. If you have problems with a store, speak up right away. Don’t wait. Start with polite but firm and work from there. The worst thing that can happen is the store won’t carry you anymore or that you will decide to pull your work. Either way, it won’t be the end of the world, I promise you.

Hold out for stores that meet your expectations and nurture those relationships when you’ve built them. They are worth their weight in gold!

What is it Captain Mal says in Firefly? “I do the job. I get paid.” Artists, you did the job. You deserve to get paid. If you choose to consign, work with people who think integrity is important and remember that you are a partner in the process.

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May’s Earring Club just shipped off. I know, it’s totally June, but my knee put me behind. I think they were worth the wait, though. June, round 3, is Art Beads. It’s also the third and last round in the spring club, which means that SIGNUPS FOR SUMMER ARE OPEN!

If you missed out on the Spring Earring Club, which was a super-bonus-surprise!-luxury-round, don’t fret! You can totally get in on the next round of Summer fun!

$99 buys you a club membership for three months. You get three pairs of gorgeous earrings – one will show up in your mailbox every month. It is a great value. Round 1 of this last Spring club was henna-patterned, fine silver chandeliers, accented with carnelian teardrops and yellow garnets. Those would normally retail in my shop for around $125. We moved on to gold-filled and gemstone bouquets for Round 2, which would normally retail for around $95. And we still have a month to go! The designs are exclusive to the club for 3 months after they ship. You won’t see them anywhere else for that time. Not at our shows, not in any of the stores that carry our designs, and not in either of our online shops.

An amazing value, exclusive designs, and a sparkly surprise in your mailbox every month… how shiny! Sign up for the summer club round here. It runs through July, August and September and I can guarantee you’ll love it!

The Blooper Reel

You know how DVDs and movies sometimes have a blooper reel? Well I wound up with a blooper reel from a recent bead photography session, for my new destash bead store, Six Bad Cats.

In fact. Given the name of my new bead shop, I guess the bloopers are really accurate.

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Mostly it worked ok for them to sit in the lightbox behind the little bead platform I’d set up.

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Mostly.

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At any rate. I thought you’d enjoy this look at some of the behind the scenes trials and tribulations that go on here in our jewelry studio. Because, cats.

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Lots of bead pictures with no cats over in our new Etsy store. Great prices on gemstone and art beads that I’m destashing from my inventory!

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Because, we remember.

Here for bead soup? Click here for my reveal!

I don’t suppose I mentioned this, but we have a new website! After over a year of design and work and life and Reasons and delays and changes, the Honey&Ollie Designs website is finally UP!

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The Etsy shop will remain open and fully stocked, since some folks really like that platform, but we’ve hit a point where it makes more sense to transition to our own beautiful, branded, website – complete with our very own e-store!

You may notice that the blog link on the new site brings you back here – that’s because I really hate the Shopify blog interface and this one works better for me. But you can totally navigate back to the store just by clicking the shop tab up top!

We’re still making a few adjustments here and there, and right now the only checkout option is Paypal, but we’ll have credit card processing up and working soon. You should definitely go check it out! I’m so very pleased and excited about it.

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