Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Brewing a STRONG Travel Mug of Coffee in Your Keurig

This is the inside of a k-cup. It has actual ground coffee in it, not instant coffee, and a teeny tiny cute mini filter, which is what makes them famous for fresh tasting coffee :)
I have a love affair with my Keurig. I got it a year ago, and the honeymoon phase is still not over! But it wasn't always like that. Last Christmas when I opened it (a gift from dear ol' Dad!) I couldn't wait to brew that first "perfect cup of coffee". So I woke up Christmas morning, fired it up, stuck in my travel mug, set it for a 12 oz cup and brewed. A weak, watery cup of coffee. Thinking it was a fluke, I tried another. And got a weak, watery cup of coffee. This was bad, because I yearn each morning to fill my 16 oz mug and sip away! But I want my coffee to TASTE like coffee. Even if it's in a big cup. I guess I want my cake and to eat it to ;)

I did a little research online and discovered it is not recommended that you make a cup larger than 8 oz. What?!?! Then what is the point of the 12 oz setting? The problem seems to be that the water runs through the grounds quickly, which is fine and dandy if you want a small cup. But if the water runs through quickly for a large cup, the grounds aren't saturated enough, so you get a weak cup of coffee. Does that make sense?  One well meaning blogger suggested you pop the lid halfway through brewing to pause the cycle and give the grounds time to steep. I did this for a while, which did in fact make a  much stronger cup but realized that this can cause damage to the air pump in the machine. SO DON'T DO IT THAT WAY :)

After some trial and error, here is my best method for brewing a perfect 16 oz travel mug of STRONG coffee :)

Start with a dark, or bold coffee. We all have different tastes, so test the different flavors and see what you like. Some of my faves are Dark Magic, Santas Buzz, Kona Blend, and Neumanns Own Extra Bold. Or, use a my kcup and fill it with whatever brand you like.

Set your machine to brew an 8 oz cup. If you have a smaller machine, it will automatically be an 8 oz setting. Hit brew, and walk away for a minute while it works. (I am a multi-tasker. I can't wait the 30 seconds it takes to brew!) I usually do 15 other things here such as make lunches, eat breakfast, yell at kids to hurry up. It's ok, the coffee can steep for a few minutes ;)

Get out your creamer if that's what you like. Today I was in a vanilla mood.... BTW, I'm loving the new natural creamers. Why did it take us so long to discover that real cream tastes better. HELL-OOO!

After brewing that first 8 oz cup, I add my creamer. This allows the second part of the coffee to mix the cream in, no stirring needed. Hello! No spoon to wash= less time cleaning up!

To brew the second phase on a platinum, you must lift the lid and re-close it to reset the brewing cycle. DO NOT change your K-CUP! Now that the grounds sat damp, they will let out more flavor :)

Brew the second cup and voila, a nice, strong cup of coffee. MMMMM.
This method works with any k-CUP that steeps, even apple cider.(although some will be stronger than others, so I only make a 12 oz apple cider, at the MOST)  If you aren't sure, open up an empty k-cup and see what's left behind. Hot chocolate or Chai Latte, for example will be empty, because they are instant. Don't try this method with those, they WILL get really watery.

Please let me know if you've learned any fun tricks with your Keurig! I'd love to hear them :)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Small Business Saturday

Thanks for supporting small businesses today. If not for people who buy my products, I wouldn't be living the dream I am. I appreciate each and every order.

I've got new items to list, but haven't got them uploaded to etsy yet. For those of you who can't wait, here are a few of them :) Each of these ruffle bags has a zipper closure, and two slip pockets on the inside. Perfect as a gift, if you live locally I will get it to you wrapped nicely in a gift box, so all you have to do is watch their face as they open it!
I also have ruffle wristlets available in many colors/patterns.

 Oh, and did I mention that they swing in the breeze when you walk, like your favorite spinny skirt when you were 5???
Photo credit

The larger Ruffle Bag. Perfect as a large purse, diaper bag, book bag, bible bag and more.
 Approx size is: 
14 1/2 inches wide 
11 inches tall
3 inches deep.


The pics below are the purse size ruffle bag. This is the perfect size to use as your every day purse. Also great as a small diaper bag or bible bag. 

 Approx. size is:
13 1/2 inches wide
9 1/2 inches tall
3 inches deep.


I am offering a coupon code "mypurseisugly" which gives you free shipping. If you see a bag here, email or convo me, I'll hook you up! Thanks for supporting small businesses today. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Great Birthday and GREAT open house!

Wow, I am once again in awe of how wonderful things in my life are, especially the people! My phone rang off the hook all day with birthday songs, old age jokes and teary Grandmas who are proud of me (they are so cute!)
I had a fun little break for a lunch date with my Dad. We had so much fun, I wish we could do that more. Oh wait, we can! He's retired, a man of leisure ;)
Then when Ryan and the girls got home, they presented me with my colorful birthday socks that Audrey picked out, and a card, that nearly gave Chloe a heart attack; she was so anxious to give it. It was a picture of a dog, hanging his head, underbite and all, out a car window. The resemblance to our furry four legged family member, Spencer was so uncanny, we all laughed. The hubs was so kind as to get me a new vice to feed my addiction. A new smart phone. Good bye relic of a phone {that I am a bit embarrased to pull out of my ruffle purse} hello blogging on the go!

Here are highlights of the killer open house that rounded out my birthday. I can't thank those who came enough. My dear fellow crafters and their goods gave the guests so many great things to choose from. And the ladies who braved our cold, dark November night to come shop at my house. They brought so much joy and laughter to my world last night, and they liked my purses. So that makes it even better {wink}
A lovely birthday gift from my friend Amy of Good Riddance :) featuring my FAVORITE verse. So true, huh???

The front door, a constant hub of action. Amy and I didn't get to move from there all night!
On the far left, Amy is talking to what appears to be half of my good friend and carpool partner, Brittney :) Love her!
And me on the right, with two of my favorite ladies, Jan (in red, that's her rear end. Sorry Jannie!) and Lois. You've never met anyone with a heart as big as Lois'  <3

As you can tell, not only was there lots of shopping going on, but so much great conversation. It was a female wonderland. Not a man in sight. Wait, except for Chris, the guy who grabbed my camera while his wife (Joyce in pink plaid) shopped. And my hubs, who was safely hidden away in the basement, away from all the estrogen!

Check this one out. My friend Sara was showing off her warm rice pillows, while Ann shopped with her old Gathered & Sown bag, and, OH YEAH, that's a second, brand new Gathered & Sown ruffle bag on top! She is hard core!

Come on Julie, you know you need those l' Bri products.....dig your wallet out of your Gathered & Sown purse (s). There is an s at the end because she has multiples. My customers R-O-C-K!

So the pic is a little blurry, but check out my friend Laura and her baby Nadia. Such a doll! She makes these awesome earrings out of ancient Wolly Mammoth tusks. I am wearing mine as I type this. You all need some. Go to my website, I'll hook you up. And the girl in grey? Amy's sister in law, Holly. We love her! And you should see the fabric I got from Dena (that's her with the cute hair cut!) Vintage, yellow, flowery goodness. More to come on that later :)

Love of Jules and their super fun Jewelry. I saw so many hologram boxes walking out and realized at the end of the night what they were....cool boxes full of cool jewelry made my this mother/daughter duo. I'm totally jealous.
All in all, it was a great day. After worrying that no one would come, I was proven wrong by a landslide! My house was warm, crowded and full of smiles and happy voices. The perfect way to round out my 24th birthday. Seriously. 24. I mean it. Have I ever lied to you?!?!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

She Works Hard for Her Money....

I've been quiet lately. Well, not really, I'm never really quiet, but I haven't been posting much lately. 
This Thursday, I am hosting my annual preholiday open house in my home. I set up all of my bags, ask a couple of friends to come and sell their crafts, and open my door for an hour and a half.

Every year, a few days before, I find myself wondering "am I nuts?!?!"   Typically in the hour and a half, I see about 50 people go through my house. Yet every year, two days before, I begin to doubt myself. I start to wonder if anyone will actually show up. I put an unbelievable amount of pressure on myself to make the night great for each and every person there, including the other artists. 

A few of my little soldiers, getting into formation. There are LOTS more where these came from ;)
Then the night comes, and I am humbled to see smile after friendly smile walk through my front door. I can't describe how much I appreciate all of the support I receive from those who follow me and my little business. Each face that walks though my front door feels like a much needed pat on the back, a little reassurance that I am doing the right thing. 

So I'm not even even going to think of the state of my 1st floor until Thursday morning, when I will do the "day of the big shindig" shuffle. And until my Thursday deadline, I will  be busy trying to sew as many bags as humanly possible. Trying to make as many choices for my customers as I can. I want everyone to walk out happy that they came.

Do you like how I am prettying up my post with these awesome prints???
Thanks Emily Burger Designs!

 I have 8 purses (a new style..yay!) that I hope to finish today, and if that isn't insane enough, I plan to make some small coin purses tomorrow. Oh, and did I mention I have a sickish kid home today? We'll see how this all goes...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Is your purse ugly?

Look at your purse.
 Is it dated?

 Is it tired?

Is it stained?

Is it one of those things that makes you say "WHAT WAS I THINKING"!!!

If you answered yes to any of these questions, please go immediately to www.gathered-sown.com and pick out a new bag. You will be glad you did.

This cause is so important to me, I am willing to pay your shipping, just to keep you from looking bad.
Use coupon code "mypurseisugly" at checkout.

Thank you for your consideration in this serious matter.
Angie Gordon
Ugly Purse Intervention Specialist
"I am so happy that Angie intervened when she did. All those giggles; those backwards glances. I never knew they were directed at me and my ugly purse. But now that I have this fabulous new bag, I have such a spring in my step. My world is suddenly a little brighter. Thank you Gathered & Sown. Thank you!"