Handmade Jewelry

Monthly Archives: May 2013

Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole

Hashbrowns are one of my favorite comfort foods.  They also make a great side-dish for barbecue’s or potlucks.  This is another awesome recipe from my friend Kim Ziesmer.  I’ve taken a some liberties and changed a few ingredients but the result remains a pan full of warm cheesy yumminess that will please even the pickiest eaters.

Hashbrown Casserole

  • 1 large pkg. frozen shredded hashbrowns
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 24 oz sour cream (light sour cream works nicely)
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper

Spread the hashbrowns in a 9X13 pan and let them thaw.

Meanwhile combine cheese, sour cream, soup, milk and salt & pepper and heat at medium until smooth creamy.  Set aside.

Dot half of butter over hashbrowns.  Combine creamy mixture with hashbrowns then on top with the rest of butter.

Bake at 350F for 45 minutes.



Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Be A Life Enthusiast

In March Kristi & I travelled to coastal California to attend an amazing conference for creative small business owners called Craftcation.  We met so many amazing people but one person in particular had a huge impact on our business focus and energy.  Her name is Tiffany Han and she is a certified life & business coach.  She specializes in coaching highly creative people.  We highly recommend that you check our her website and subscribe to her blog to get your daily dose of awesome inspiration.  Tiffany’s website is  You can also follow her on Pinterest – that is where we borrowed this quote by Roald Dahl.  It makes you want to be better at being a life enthusiast doesn’t it?

Roald Dahl

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

DIY Polymer Clay Pendants

Are you looking for something to do with your kids this summer?  This project is one of my favorites and is perfect to do with kids. Its fun to play with the clay and the supplies you need are easy to find as well as affordable.  You bake the clay in your own oven, and some items you may already have in your house.
Supplies Needed

Supplies Needed

What you will need:

  • Polymer Clay – I use Sculpey which you can find at most craft stores in a variety of colors. Any brand of polymer clay will work.
  • Studio by Sculpey Antiquing Medium – If you want to add color to your piece once it is baked. I like the chocolate brown color the best.
  • Studio by Sculpey Satin Glaze – This is a clear glaze that goes onto the piece at the end to protect it and seal it. They also make a gloss if you prefer that.
  • Rubber Stamps – these can be wood block or clear, it really does not matter. You can also use anything with a texture that can be pressed into the clay.
  • A spray bottle with water – I use an old windex bottle but any type of squirt bottle will work.
  • Scrap Paper – Any type of white paper will work, I use scrap paper from my office or old homework sheets from the kids.
  • Paint Brush(es) – I find it easiest to use smaller brushes to apply the antiquing medium and satin glaze.
  • A Wood Barbeque Skewer – Or anything that will make a hole in the clay so you can add a jump ring or put some sort of stringing material into it. You will want your hole to be at least a 1/16 inch and I find these bamboo skewers work best for me.
  • Small bowls or cups – for water and to put your antiquing medium and satin glass into while you work with it. You can use just about anything that you have around.

Step 1 – Pull a piece of clay from your package. The clay is marked in bars and I usually pull out one of those bars and start working with that. Whether your clay is soft or not you will want to work with it for a good 15 minutes. Knead it, fold it, roll it, flatten it, roll it again. This is what cures the clay and gives it strength. If you do not work with your clay then it may be brittle and/or break after it is baked. A good test to see if your clay is ready is to flatten out a piece to about 1/8” and if you see any cracks around the edges you will need to work with it some more, if not it should be ready to go. If the clay is really dry you can add a bit of water to it and work it in slowly.

Shaped Clay Ready to be Stamped

Shaped Clay Ready to be Stamped

Step 2 – Decide how big you want your piece to be and pull off a piece of your clay, shape it and flatten it to approximately 1/8” thick. I don’t like to go much thinner than this so the piece is strong. You can roll it out with a roller and cut a shape if you want but I like to organic look of shaping it myself. I will sometimes use the back of a stamp block to flatten it so it is a nice clean flat surface.

Place Clay Onto Stamp

Place clay onto stamp that has been spritzed with water

Press Down Firmly to Make the Impression

Press down firmly to make the impression

Step 3 – Pick a stamp or other textured item to imprint into the clay. Spray it will a spritz of water from your spray bottle. This helps to keep the clay from sticking to the stamp. Place your stamp so the impression size is face up and place your clay where you want the image to be. Using the other stamp or your hand press down firmly on the clay without flattening it out completely. Pull your clay from the stamp and take a look at it. If the image is not even or you don’t like it then just scrunch up your clay and try again. This is the best part of this project, if you don’t like what you see you can just scrunch up the clay and try again until you get something you like.

Using Skewer Make a Hole at the Top

Using a skewer make a hole at the top of your piece

Step 4 – Using your skewer or other tool make a hole in your piece where you can either put a jump ring or run a string through it to hang it. Be mindful of not getting too close to the edge. After you make your hole look at the back of the piece and flatten out any clay that may have been pushed through with the skewer.

Place Clay on Paper on a Cookie Sheet

Place clay on a sheet of paper onto a cookie sheet

Step 5 – Place your clay piece on a sheet of paper on a cookie sheet. Follow the baking directions on the clay you purchased. For the Sculpey they suggest 275° for 15 minutes per 1/4 inch of clay. My pieces are usually closer to 1/8 inch and this time works fine for me.

Step 6 – Let your clay cool completely

Brush on Antiquing Medium with Water to fill in Impressions

Brush on antiquing medium with water to fill in impressions

Step 7 – If you choose to add the antiquing medium to your clay now is the time to do it. Simply put a small bit of the antiquing medium in a bowl and also have a bowl of water ready. Dip your paint brush into the water and then put a small amount of the antiquing medium on it. Then paint over your piece. The idea is that the color will go down into the impressions made on the clay. If you have too much color then add some water to your brush and go over your piece again. This is another time you can play with how you want it to look. If you don’t like what you have done you can wash it off, dry off the piece and try again. Once this is dry you can do the same to the back of the piece if you want or leave it as is.

Cover Clay with Satin Glaze After Antiquing Medium is Dry

Cover clay with satin glaze after antiquing medium is dry

Step 8 – Using a clean dry paint brush put some of the satin glaze into a bowl and then using your brush apply to the front of your piece. It is clear and may bubble up a little but these will disappear as it dries. Let it dry completely and then do the back of your piece also. You want to be sure that all sides are covered with the glaze so the piece is sealed.  Let it dry completely. (takes about 20 minutes to dry completely).

Proud of her new necklace she made all on her own.

Proud of her new necklace she made all on her own.


Some of the pieces we made today. Some are finished, others are waiting to be added to other pieces. Gotta love the mustache necklace my daughter made.

Some of the pieces we made today. Gotta love the mustache necklace my daughter made.

That’s it, you are done, except for hanging it. You can hang it on a cord or a chain or whatever you have handy. I put a jump ring through mine and then put them on a suede cord (you can find these at most craft stores also.

Happy Creating from Hang Ups in KC!







Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Little Junk Food Heaven from Quebec: Poutine

I think we can agree that when we move far away from home there are always foods that we miss.  I was born and raised near Richmond, Quebec, Canada….very close to several of the towns that claim to have invented the Canadian food that I miss the most – Poutine.

Poutine is a Quebec dish made with French fries, topped with white cheese curds and brown gravy.  The best poutines can be found at chip stands or chip trucks in rural Quebec.  Recently a friend of ours in Kansas City, Missouri shared a poutine recipe from a magazine with me.  It was a little too fancy for me so I took the sauce recipe and made a traditional poutine with it.  For my Quebec friends who want to make a poutine at home – this gravy is the real deal!  For my American friends who are brave enough to try this crazy delicious and decadent dish I highly recommend sprinkling white vinegar on top…but then again I am Canadian and vinegar is a must for homemade or chip truck fries.



  • 4 Russet potatoes, peeled and sliced into uniform sticks
  • 5 cups canola oil
  • 12 oz bag of white cheddar cheese curds

To Prepare the French fries:

  1. Soak cut up potatoes in cold water overnight.  Before deep frying, pat dry.
  2. Using deep fryer, heat canola oil to 375F.  Deep fry for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden.  remove fries from fryer and drain on paper towels.

Ingredients for Poutine Gravy:

  • 3/4 cup diced yellow onion
  • 2 Tbsp. diced carrot
  • 2 Tbsp. diced celery
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. chopped garlic
  • 1 Tbsp chopped rosemary
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

To prepare the sauce:

  1. In large saucepan, sweat onion, carrot and celery in canola oil over medium heat until they are slightly caramelized.  Stir frequently.  Add sage and tomato paste, and sauté for 2 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle flour over vegetable mixture and combine to form a roux.  Heat for about 1 minute.  Add stock, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic.  Simmer for 35 minutes.
  3. Using immersion blender (also called a hand blender), puree gravy.

Putting it all together:

Put the fries in bowls and sprinkle cheese curds over them.  Ladle the gravy over the fries & cheese curds and enjoy!




Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Unique and Affordable Boutique Shopping: Catfish & Tater

There are so many big box stores in every city that it’s difficult to find a boutique that is both unique and affordable.  One of our favorite boutiques totally fits the bill.  Catfish & Tater is located at 8 N Main, which is right on the historic town square in Liberty, Missouri.

Catfish & Tater is packed with stylish clothing lines from NY and LA in bright bold colors.  Handmade items are key to the artistic vibe in the shop, so you will find several items from local artists and designers, including Hang Ups in KC!  The house brand “catfish & tater” offers one of a kind leather handbags, tattoo shirts, baby items, re-purposed goods and vintage accessories that you are sure to love.

Catfish A    Liberty Square

Catfish & Tater has been carrying our jewelry line of a couple of years.  We appreciate Heather’s, enthusiasm for vintage and upcycled creations.  These are just a few of our most recent pieces that are available at Catfish & Tater.

Vintage Jewelry 2 Vintage Jewelry

We love to shop at Catfish & Tater too.  The clothes that Heather carries are always different than anything you will find at the big box stores.  Our friend Jen, who shops all around the world (she’s in Paris right now) always makes a point of stopping by Catfish & Tater when she’s in town.  She’s had great luck finding unique pieces that she loves.  Jen is also the proud owner of one of Heather’s absolutely gorgeous tattooed leather clutches.

Check out Catfish & Tater’s Facebook page at this link:  If you “like” the page you will see Heather’s frequent updates of what is in the store.  She sells out fast and new stuff is coming in all the time so if you like something message her right away and ask her to hold it for you.  If you don’t live in the area but love something you see online, Catfish & Tater ships within the Continental US for a flat rate through USPS.  Just message Heather on Facebook or call her at 816.820.3791 to let her know what style, color and size you want.  It’s that easy!

If you have any favorite boutiques that are unique please let us know.  We love checking out unique small businesses. Happy shopping!



Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Grilled Avocado with Salsa

Happy Foodie Friday!  With all the gorgeous weather we’ve been having this week in Missouri I thought I’d share one of my favorite grilled recipes.  Anyone who knows me knows that I love to eat, I love to cook and I love to try new recipes.  Over the past year or two I have made several recipes that I discovered on Pinterest.  One of the best is also the most simple.  As with happens with Pinterest the link no longer works but this is such a simple recipe that it’s easy to remember.




  • avocado (s), halved with the pit removed;
  • 2 Tbsp. of lime juice;
  • 1 tsp. olive oil;
  • Pepper & salt to taste;
  • Salsa;
  • Sour cream (if desired).


  • Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit.  Score with a fork so that the marinade soaks in better.
  • To make the marinade, whisk the lime juice, olive oil and pepper & salt together in bowl.  Brush each avocado with the marinade.
  • Place avocados meat side down on a hot grill.  Cook for about 5 minutes, or until grill marks appear and meat is warm but not too soft.
  • Remove the avocado from the grill and fill the hole left by the pit with your favorite salsa and sour cream, if desired.
  • Eat with a spoon or fork.

Enjoy all of the smooth, smoky yumminess of this amazing and healthy food!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Subscribe and Win a Vintage Spoon Handle Bracelet from Hang Ups in KC!

We are excited to launch our very first contest on our Hang Ups in KC blog!   It’s so easy – all you have to do is subscribe to our blog before midnight on Friday May 31st and you will be entered to win this upcycled vintage silver plated spoon handle bracelet from Hang Ups in KC valued at $38.  The winner may exchange this prize for any item of equal of lesser value from our online Etsy store (


To subscribe to our blog simply click on the subscribe button on the menu at the top of our blog.  Input your email address and preferences and you are done!

If you subscribed to our blog before this contest you will automatically be entered into the draw.

Everyone and anyone is eligible to enter this draw to please spread the word.

On June 1st we will announce the winner of the draw right here on our blog.  Then we’ll make arrangements to ship the prize out to the lucky winner.

Thank you all for your support.  Good luck!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lime Marinated Flank Steak

Welcome to Foodie Friday!  I thought I’d share the recipe for the lime marinated flank steak that I made this week.  I served it with mashed potatoes and peas.   Peas are not my first choice but when your 7 year old requests them you make sure he gets them.  It was a very quick and easy meal and the whole family loved it!  I made pizza with the leftover steak, spinach and gorgonzola cheese with a balsamic reduction the next day.  It was to die for!

Flank Steak


  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped or smashed
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 1 (2-pound) flank steak, fat removed


Place the lime juice, garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and salt & pepper in a large plastic bag over a shallow baking dish. Add the steak and turn to coat both sides. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, then pull from fridge and allow the steak to come to room temperature, about 10 minutes.

Heat the grill to medium-high heat. Remove the steak from the marinade and season both sides with Montreal Steak Seasoning. Grill for 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Let rest 10 minutes. Slice the steak against the grain, into thin slices.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

West Bottoms Shopping in Kansas City

One of our favorite things to do, aside from making jewelry out of vintage and upcycled materials, is  shopping for vintage and upcycled materials.  We go to yard sales, estate sales, thrift stores, antique stores, flea markets and salvage yards to find material and inspiration.

As we mentioned in a previous blog (Hang Ups at Lucky Dog Vintage), Kansas City has a neighborhood called West Bottoms that is made up of antique stores and art galleries housed in historic buildings.  If you love an original artsy and vintage vibe and are in the area, it is definitely worth visiting.  The first weekend of every month is a big deal in this area – it’s called Warehouse Weekend/ First Friday Weekend and all the stores are open.  We thought we’d share our First Friday shopping adventure with you by taking you to the stores that we visited today.

P1140457 P1140453

Hickory Dickory is a great store that has an inside and outside retail area.  I found some typewriter keys and fabulous vintage earrings there.  They are only open on First Friday Weekends but are worth the month long wait to check them out.

P1140460 P1140462

Next stop:  Lucky Dog Vintage!  Of course they are our favorite not only because they carry our jewelry line but also because they have beautiful repurposed furniture, home décor and unusual finds.  Look what else we found there – Junk Mafia’s Junk Journal!  Junk Journal is a great place to learn about great new finds in the world of repurposing.  To learn more about Junk Mafia visit their website at  Lucky Dog Vintage is open Friday & Saturdays every weekend of the month and extended hours Friday, Saturday & Sunday’s of First Friday Weekends.

Third Stop:  Stuffology.  One word:  Gorgeous!  They are open First Friday Weekends and by appointment.


Fourth Stop:  Liberty Belle.  We fell in love with the metal art that was located by the door.  They are open First Friday Weekends only.

P1140469 P1140470

Fifth Stop:  Bella Patina.  Three floors of fabulous vintage, antique & repurposed furniture, and decorations.  They are open First Friday Weekends only.

Hats P1140474

Sixth Stop:  Restoration Emporium.  Check out these displays!  There is so much to love about this very large store which is full of repurposed home décor items.  They are open First Friday weekends of every month.  On their Facebook page they note that they have Boutique hours on Monday/ Wednesday/ Friday 10-3pm.

P1140480 P1140481

Seventh Stop:  Nook & Cranny.   Nook & Cranny has typewriters, vintage jewelry, silverware and antique books so of course we fell in love with this store!  They have so much diverse and interesting stock that you need some time to properly go through this store.  They are open every Saturday of the month and Friday/ Saturday/ Sunday on First Friday Weekends.

Books  P1140483

Eighth Stop:  Good Ju Ju. Good Ju Ju is a store made up of more than 20 antique dealers so there is an excellent variety available.  Our favorite find today was the pink antique Maytag washing machine.  Good Ju Ju is open First Friday Weekends.

P1140486 P1140487

Ninth Stop:  Rag and Bone.  This was our first visit to Rag and Bone and we loved it!  They have a great selection of re-purposed furnishings, original art and unique vintage treasures. Check out their record department.  How cool is that display?  Rag and Bone is open every weekend.


Whew, nine large stores in one day!  We didn’t even come close to visiting all the amazing stores in the West Bottoms and are excited about our next trip down there.  If you’d like to learn more about Kansas City’s historical West Bottoms you can visit their website at

Have a great week!





Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pizza Casserole Recipe

We decided to go with comfort food this snowy Midwest May weekend.  It turns out that a cozy casserole making the house smell delicious goes a long way towards healing weather woes.  My son Ben had a great time helping me prepare dinner last night.

P1140413 P1140416


  • 10 oz bow tie pasta
  • 3/4 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2, 24 oz jars of your favorite spaghetti sauce
  • 3/4 lb cubed cooked ham
  • 1, 8 oz bag of mozzarella cheese
  • 4 Tbsp. parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano


  1. Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente.
  2. Sauté ground beef, garlic, onions and oregano until ground beef is completely browned.  Salt & pepper to taste.  Add both jars of spaghetti sauce and stir well.
  3. Grease a 8X11.5X2 inch (or larger) pan.  Coat bottom with thin layer of spaghetti sauce.
  4. Pour about 1/2 of the pasta into the pan and distribute evenly.
  5. Pour 1/2 of remaining spaghetti sauce over pasta.
  6. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella cheese and 2 Tbsp. of parmesan over sauce.
  7. Pour remaining pasta into the pan.
  8. Pour the remaining spaghetti sauce over the pasta.
  9. Distribute ham evenly over spaghetti sauce.
  10. Add remaining mozzarella and 2 Tbsp. of parmesan.
  11. Cover entire top of casserole with pepperoni.
  12. Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes.




Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,