Saturday, December 17, 2011

And the Winner Is...

Congrats to Diana H.
for winning the We Know Stuff giveaway for December! Enjoy!

Many thanks to all who've entered! :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Almost Time!

It's almost time for the drawing! Have you entered yet?

Many thanks to those who have, to We Know Stuff for sponsoring the giveaway, and a HUGE welcome to each and everyone of you!

Good luck!


Monday, December 12, 2011

Homemade Burger Buns

Boca Burger on a homeade bun
I'm a label reader. And into healthy living, despite my unstoppable attraction to chocolates and lattes. Lately, reading the label of bread on the store shelves is like a trip back to high school chemistry class.

No thanks.

But making bread the old-fashioned way, especially during the busy month of December isn't practical in my house.

Unless I want to go without sleep.

All the coffee and chocolates in the world won't help a woman who doesn't get enough sleep. Just ask my husband.

Many years ago, I received a bread machine as a gift. For the next ten years, it took up residence in the closet, which meant it seldom saw the light of day. I mean, let's be honest. It isn't the easiest thing to haul out, especially when stored under teetering stacks of unused paper plates and cups from birthdays gone by. But this year, I made a decision to give it a new home - on the kitchen counter.

(Yes, out of the box...)

And, do you know what? It's getting use. An added bonus? Freshly baked bread is a great way to add scent to the home! And this week's bread? Burger buns! The recipe, from, is originally intended for hotdogs, but the beauty of making your own dough is that you choose the ultimate shape. (In our case, it's burger-sized.) We ended up with 12 buns. The ones we did not use, we cut in half and froze for another day. (Boca Burgers are a go-to lunch in my home.)

These are likely denser than the fluffy, air-infused ones we are all accustomed to. But, I promise, you will recognize every ingredient, and chemistry class flashbacks aren't part of the process.

Try them! They are so easy - and better than bagged!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Giveaway Time Over at We Know Stuff

It’s giveaway time, and the December featured giveaway on We Know Stuff is a mini tote bag and change purse in hot aqua mint from my Julie Clark Art Etsy shop

Not familiar with We Know Stuff? It’s a super cool blog that truly has something for everyone – causes to support, crafts, life and living, reviews and recipes. And for those, like me, who wish they could cook, there are mouth watering photos to tempt us to try.

Have you entered the giveaway yet? Head over to the blog and read what you need to know in order to enter. (Click HERE for the link, and scroll down the page.)

Want to know little more about the set? It is made using a mod aqua mint fabric, and is machine washable. Although I do create fine art pieces, I love designing and making sustainable totes and other practical pieces. All totes and pouches are creating using cotton – never polyester or vinyl. (This particular set retails for $25.)

Love the styles, but not so much the color options? No problem. Feel free to send over suggestions and I’m open to trying new color combinations. And, let’s face it, it makes for a perfect excuse to buy more fabric!

And as we all know, fabric doesn’t go straight to the hips…

Thanks for stopping by, and welcome to the page!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Logging December Memories

Advent Calendars have always been a big part of the Holidays in my family. Whether it's hanging handmade felt ornaments on a cut out of a Christmas tree, opening paper doors that reveal a picture or message, or choosing a chocolate one, they provide a quick and easy moment of happiness during a hectic month.

For this year, I thought up something a little different. College is just around the corner, which means my daughter's calendar will be with her, at school, not sitting in the kitchen, at home. I wanted something that would capture the last few years, giving us something to look back at when we are no longer together.

Sitting atop our counter is an active memory-log. (Doesn't sound like an exciting name, now, does it?) Each day, we record something we are thankful for, something that made us happy that day, or something just plain silly! By Christmas Day, we'll have a page full of special things, which we can scrapbook, frame, or simply tuck away for another time.

Want to create one? Here's how:

Using a word processing program, make the margins narrow, then create a 4x6 table. Add a background image, but be sure to edit the picture to "washout". Add numbers 1-24 to each block, in any order you choose. Depending on the size of your family, you may want a few of these, or make the blocks larger (say, 3x4 over two pages, instead, etc.) Each day, write down something special. It can be one per person, or one thing for the entire family!

As for me, I'm tucking ours away, not to be seen again until my daughter is away at college.


...and feel free to pass along suggestions for naming this calendar! :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's December, Time for Something Handmade

It's December tomorrow!

Are you ready? Are you planning to make it a handmade holiday?

Over the weekend, my daughter and I tried our hand at making cookie mixes in canning jars. You know the ones. The beautifully layered, ribbon and fabric-topped homey goodies that make for great hostess gifts.

But there was a problem.
Yes, I realize the picture is upside down.
The first several recipes we tried must not have been invented by someone with a background in math or physics.

Or common sense.

They all wanted us to take 6 cups of ingredients and place them (neatly, of course!) in a one quart jar. Ok, folks. Remember elementary school, when we all learned volume? How many cups are in a quart? That's right.


Six cups of ingredients in a four cup container.

And the funniest part? We actually tried it. (Hey, we figured these were tested ahead of time. Silly us!) But after some digging and persisting, we found a few recipes that did work perfectly, and we can't wait to pick out just the right embellishments to make turn the jars into stunning gifts.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cyber Monday is ON!

Cyber Monday is ON at Julie Clark Art!

Stop by Julie Clark Art on ETSY - where everything over $10 ships for free!

Or over to Julie Clark Art on ArtFire, where shipping is free for select items, including quilted housewares, totes and zip pouches.
Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Want a Black Friday or Cyber Monday Deal?

Want a Black Friday or Cyber Monday deal from Julie Clark Art on Etsy or ArtFire?

It's easy. But you are needed to make it work! Head on over to:, and comment or "like" the posts you are interested in. Once each post reaches the required amount of feedback, a special will be revealed.

Wondering what there is to pick from? There are handmade, cotton totes (great for books, short trips to the store, and more...), sustainable zip pouches (great for holding phones, keys and cash - even pencils!), as well as fine art pieces.

And there is a promo going for new fans, too! If Julie Clark Art adds 15 new fans (that's all!), I will offer a 10% coupon for everyone! 

Are you game? Stop by the page and tell me! ~Julie

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Are You Ready for Thanksgiving?

Are you ready for Thanksgiving? Are you cooking? Shopping? Packing? Traveling?

Any or all of the above?

Our dinner will revolve around homemade stars, such as sweet potato casserole and freshly mashed potatoes.

So, are you ready? Enjoy!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Simple Handmade Coasters

The Holiday Season is already here, and simple, handmade coasters make for a quick, cheap and affordable project. Not sure why to give them a whirl? Consider this, for many of us this time of year means having a guest or two pop by. And for others, it means rummaging for a last minute hostess gift. But the economy being what it is, running to the store means settling for something inexpensive, mass produced, and unlikely to hold up until next Autumn.

Here's an affordable, quick and easy idea that comes from your hands to their hearts! Handmade coasters. The directions are loose and easy, making them easily adaptable, which is why dimensions are left up to you. Ready? Here goes!

Supplies, etc.:
  • Fabric
  • Thread
  • Batting (Cotton is a great, sustainable choice. Bamboo is another.)
  • Sewing machine or sewing needle
  • Decide how large you want your coasters to be, and cut a square of batting that size.
  • Take a cut piece of batting and lay it on your fabric.
  • Cut a square of fabric large enough to fold over and cover the batting. (The pink represents the fabric, the lighter, inner square represents the batting.)
  • Fold the fabric over the batting, tucking in corners as needed to make it neat.
  • Cut a heart shape out of a different fabric and sew to the center. This will attach all layers. If you want, you can use fusible webbing on the heart, but you will still need to stitch the heart in a few locations in order to secure the folds.
  • Use a pumpkin or leaf center shape for Thanksgiving
  • Use Holiday shapes for December
  • Use a cupcake shape for fun!
Cautions and Tips:
  • The fabric and batting you use will determine how waterproof your coaster is. 
  • Keep in mind that cotton is "breathable" and water will seep through. These coasters are great for light use, such as coffee, tea and wine, where condensation isn't much of an issue. 
  • Always test your coasters before using them on fine furniture and other spaces where water seepage may cause staining and damage.
  • Consider using two or three layers of batting for a thicker coaster, keeping in mind that the thicker the coaster, the greater the wobbly mug factor!
If you make any, I'd love to see them!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

One Clever Cottage, a Preview

Welcome to the cottage! Come on in, take your shoes off, pull up a chair and stay for a bit. Would you like some coffee? Sweet tea? Maybe a good read?

The Cottage is a new space, and I'd like to tell you how it came about. The same year my book was published, I hung the shingle on my artisan business, Julie Clark Art. My original blog covered aspects of both, which became a little trickier as time went on. In fact, wanting to focus more on Autism Spectrum Awareness, I made the decision to keep it the focus of my original blog. But I also wanted a space to explore, based on the principles of my artisan business. Hence, "One Clever Cottage" was born.

But as I write in my book, life consists of more than one aspect. Expect overlap between the two. After all, Asperger's is an integral part of my life as much as creating.

So, what does this mean for you?


For those who are more interested in Asperger's and autism, please continue to read my original blog. For those more interested in the handmade movement, news and new releases regarding anything "Julie Clark Art", short stories, and general life and living, the Cottage is probably the space for you.

And, of course, I'd love it if you would read both.

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you'll come back another visit!

Peace and best wishes,


Sustainable Cotton Totes Make Sense

It's an adorable tote, made of 100% sustainable cotton, it's earth friendly, and a fun and funky green choice, but what do I do with it? When am I going to use it? There are no wrong answers.

Aqua Mint Two-Handled Tote
Ok, well maybe a few. Might not be the best idea to give it to DH for a trip to the gym.

But, hey, being made of cotton, at least it can go in the wash!

Over and over again.

Ombre Sunset Shoulder Tote
Let's face it, not everyone wants to haul around a purse as large as an airplane carry-on. You know the size. You've seen passengers cram them over and under seats, making you wait your turn, right? But there are times it would be nice to carry a few magazines, an eReader, even a pair of dance shoes, and a few other odds and ends that won't quite fit into your pocketbook. These totes are perfect for that!

Unlike other toes that are extra large, made of canvas, these are soft and light, suitable for times you want to throw a few things together, grab 'em and go! And, unlike their canvas counterparts, they come in a variety of fabrics and patterns, keeping you fashionable and fresh.

Who says practical has to be boring?

Julie's totes are made using original patterns and 100% sustainable cotton fabrics and batting. They are machine washable, too. Julie's totes are available online in her Etsy and ArtFire shops, as well as at select selling events. New designs added regularly.

Some Nuts and Bolts: Products, Policies, Pricing

From time to time my handmade products will be featured here, as the blog allows me to fully introduce them to you! Sometimes, they will be presented in an unusual, fresh way. Other times, straight out. Links will be included for items that are currently available, taking you directly to my shop where it is listed for purchase. On the right hand side of the blog, you’ll see a few widgets for my current, active shops. Simply click on any of the images, and you’ll be taken there! My fine art pieces, however, are typically available for viewing (and purchase) locally. I do not offer delivery or pickup. However, if you are local, and wish to save on shipping, let me know and we can work something out.

Currently, I sell on ArtFire, Etsy and Bonanza. All shops take PayPal. My ArtFire studio also takes Amazon Payments. Did you know that PayPal allows you to make purchases via credit card as a “guest”, without signing up for an account? Pretty cool, huh?

Whenever I choose to feature other artisans, links will be included to their shops. However, I am not responsible for the quality of their service or work. (Yep, had to throw the Disclaimer in. ‘Tis life.)

And, as always, if you have any questions about a product, please ask! Computer monitor resolution varies from machine to machine, so color matches may not be exact. (Purple, for one, is notorious to photograph! Here is an example!)
Photo #1, natural light, fading sunlight, taken outdoors
Photo #1, taken 3 minutes later, same exposure, indirect sunlight
If size is of concern, let me know and we’ll talk about it. No problem. I want you to be satisfied with your new item. 

My policies are listed on every site I sell. In brief, if you don’t like it, let me know within a week of shipping (that’s the confirmed delivery date of your package, via Delivery Confirmation information listed on the USPS website.) The item must be returned in the same condition you received it in so I can relist it for sale. (Makes sense, right?) But some items, such as clearance, are final sale, which will be mentioned in the listing (That's pretty standard, isn't it?). Personalized items are not returnable, so we will work together to ensure the name(s) are spelled correctly before sending it out to you.

If you’ve ever gone to a show where I’ve sold, you might notice a slight difference in pricing from my online shops. Here’s why. Sometimes, I offer deals, such as buy 3 zip pouches at a discount. Sometimes, a few items will be featured at a special discount for that event, only. But the biggest difference comes regarding tax. All North Carolina residents, by law, are responsible for sales tax. For shows, I’ve precalculated the amount of the tax, and included it in the sticker price (yes, there will be a break down at purchase). Here’s an example. For a tote bag that lists for $25, sold in a county that charges 6.75% tax, the final price (online) is $26.69 – not counting shipping costs. When you purchase the same tote in person for $25, you are actually paying $23.43 for the bag, $1.57 in tax, which equates to a 7% savings for you. Other times, the price might be slightly higher, as tax does take quite a chunk out. (Using the example of the $25 tote, I might charge $26.50 in person, in order to make sure the tax is covered.)

As you can see, I’m wordy. But that also means I strive to be thorough. I want you to have knowledge of the process. And, most importantly, I want you to enjoy it!

Got questions? I'm here. :)


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A List of Thankfulness, the One Per Day Challenge

Years ago, I saw a show where the subject was thankfulness, encouraging everyone to make the choice to record a handful of things we are each thankful for. It could be anything from a meal to a happy moment, such as holding a warm cup of coffee at the start of the day. In that spirit, here is a list of things I'm thankful for, and I'd love for you to comment below, adding your own! This is an active list, which I plan to update daily, up until Thanksgiving (that's November 24th.)

1. A warm cup of coffee in the morning, even if it's decaf
2. Morning sunshine
3. Soft and warm blankets
4. Grapes. (sure, why not?)
5. Take Out
6. More coffee
7. Having extra sewing machine needles on hand (yes, this means I broke one today!)
8. The way morning light filters through the last golden leaves, clinging to the trees
9. Silk Pumpkin Spice Pumpkin Pie (don't knock it til you try it!)
10. Backup alarm clocks (if you have to must be a morning person.)
11. It's 11/11/11 :)
12. Meeting wonderful, affirming people at a craft show
13. Taking the day off!
14. Pumpkins
15. Handmade totes, made of sustainable cotton
16. Homemade jam
17. The scent of fresh cookies, wafting through the kitchen
18. Those who support the handmade, "buy local" movement!
19. A vacuum cleaner that workds
20. That strike-through button that allows you to edit typos... (see #19)
21. A daughter who enjoys doing the dishes (by hand, even!)
22. Leftovers

Santa Needs His Cookies, Brian Needs a Plan

Brian knew Santa would be here, and needed a plan. Halloween was over, and as he sat in the corner, counting the minutes until timeout ended, he just knew he was on the naughty list. He didn't mean to yank his sister's halo off her head.

He simply meant to knock it a little crooked.

Yeah, that's it.

And about that thing he said to old Mr. G?

Yeah, Dad heard it.

Any prospect of a toy filled stocking, with candy spilling out and over the thick white fleece cuff were done. But he knew, deep down inside, Santa was a kind, jolly (whatever that means), reasonable man who knew kids, right? That's when it hit him.

Mom appeared around the corner and had the "get out of timeout talk" with him. He apologized, and knew he had to try harder to behave. And he did. Thanksgiving came and went, and Grandma commented how much of a gentleman he'd become. That boring old concert his sister was in was easier to deal with now that he decided to sit still and actually listen to it. In fact, he enjoyed it. (Well, some of it.)

copyright 2010 Julie Clark Art
But, now that the calendar said December 24, it was crunch time, and all bets were off. He asked his parents if he could make a special placemat for Santa, for his cookies. And what if his sister made a coaster for his milk? What a sweet idea, mom thought. She handed him an older placemat and a permanent marker for the task at hand. Carefully, oh so carefully, he wrote the words that would help save his Christmas stocking from dirty old coal.

Carefully, he penned the words, "Dear Santa, We are allergic to coal."

Then Brian, and his sister Judy, signed their names.

Surely Santa respected allergies, right? Do you think it will work?