September 20, 2009

We’ve had a change of heart and our blog will be sticking around after all!

M and J have just listed the following piece in our Etsy shop…Click HERE to go to the listing or click HERE to go to the storefront.

Octopus Triptych - Pen and Paint on Canvas

Octopus Triptych - Pen and Paint on Canvas

Ocean love…three octopi need a loving home…

This triptych of octopi is made with pen and paint on cotton duck canvas. Each features a two-color octopus on a bright green background with 3-dimensional dots surrounding the octopus.

red octopus
Each canvas measures 5in x 5in x 3/4in (12.7cm x 12.7cm x 1.9cm) and is gallery wrapped to be hung without framing (though, of course, you may frame them if you wish!). Each octopus has tentacles that roam over the edge of the canvas and back to the front.

red octopus 9

***Please note: Colors may appear slightly different on your screen. The colors are quite bright.***


red octopus 10



September 15, 2009

Mr. Squid in all his blue and white glory has officially been listed in our Etsy shop!  Check him out!

Mr. Squid on Women's Medium Short Sleeve Tshirt

Mr. Squid on Women's Medium Short Sleeve Tshirt

Preview of what’s to come…

September 15, 2009

Well, it is T0-Do Tuesday!  And, believe me, there is plenty to do today!  It all starts with a morning of household chores, followed by stenciling, photo taking, uploading to Etsy, a school test for J, more chores, more stenciling and uploading, and a tutoring job for M in the evening (I hope…details are still a bit up in the air!).

I am a total list maker!  I am obsessive over my lists to the point that I sometimes don’t get anything from the list completed but I’m working hard to fix that.  This past weekend I took all of my to-do lists (I usually have several going all at once) and combined them into one master list, broken down into categories.  Much easier to manage but I still haven’t gotten much done from that master list!  Hopefully by the end of “To Do Tuesday” that will have changed!  Stay tuned for an update later in the day…

In the meantime, I am so excited by the latest items being prepared for the M and J Designs Etsy shop that I just had to share a little preview!  The problem with projects that turn out exactly the way you imagine them is that you end up wanting to keep them for yourself!  These beauties are no exception…

A little preview of Mr. Squid

A little preview of Mr. Squid


More UFOs....

More UFOs....

Monday Munchies – Eggplant, Bell Pepper, Tomato Pizza

September 15, 2009

Love tomatoes? Eggplant? Bell peppers?  Put them together on top of a nice crust and you’ve got a great pizza pie for dinner!

The J half of M and J doesn’t like tomato, eggplant or bell pepper.  Thus, he got pizza crust with sauce and a drizzle of olive oil…and, because we are both allergic to dairy products, we opted for no cheese.  Try it sometime…cheeseless pizza is yummy!

pizza pieThe original recipe can be found at the Williams-Sonoma website.  We altered it a bit to suit our tastes, timeline, and ingredients on hand.

My altered recipe:

1 1/2 Cups frozen bell pepper strips (I like the tricolor mix); thawed
1 medium eggplant
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, crushed
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 large, ripe tomatoe, cut into thin slices
4 Tbs. olive oil
1 C of your favorite pizza or pasta sauce

FOR THE DOUGH (This part of the recipe is from the original, it is very thin and crispy. Of course, feel free to try your own favorite pizza dough or prebaked crust)
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 Tbs. olive oil
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup water

Preheat an oven to 450°F. (For those that wait until it’s really necessary, preheat FIRST…its really necessary.)

If your frozen bell pepper strips are not already thawed, thaw them now and drain any liquids.

Place the eggplant on a baking sheet and roast, turning several times to cook evenly, until the skin is wrinkled and shriveled, about 45 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to a paper bag (SERIOUSLY…). Close the bag and set aside until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Leave the oven on.

This is a good point to make your crust if you are doing it from scratch: In a bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. Make a well in the flour and add the olive oil and egg yolk. Gradually add the water, mixing the wet ingredients into the flour little by little with a wooden spoon. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead until soft, smooth and elastic, about 1 minute. Form the dough into a ball and place in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let stand in a warm place until the dough puffs slightly, about 30 minutes.

While the eggplant cools in its bag and your crust dough rests, heat 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil in a pan. Add the pepper strips and garlic. Saute until garlic is translucent and peppers are starting to wilt. Place pepper-garlic mixture in a bowl and add olives.

Remove the eggplant from its bag and peel off the skin. Cut into thin strips (about the same size as your bell pepper strips). Add to the bell pepper mixture. Mix together and season with salt and pepper.

Lightly oil a 12-by-9-inch rimmed baking sheet. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle to fit the pan. Press into the prepared pan and trim away any excess dough.

Cover the dough base with the pizza/pasta sauce and layer with tomato slices. Drizzle 2 Tbs. of the olive oil over the tomato slices. Arrange the eggplant mixture evenly over the tomatoes and drizzle with the remaining oil.

Bake until the edges are beginning to brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Cut into squares and serve warm. Serves 6.

I did not have fresh bell peppers. It was great using frozen but I bet it would be even better with fresh. If you have fresh peppers, follow the link to the original recipe for instructions on roasting and peeling them.

I thought the crust was just right. JP thought it was too thin and crispy. Since JP really doesn’t like bell peppers, I left one end with just sauce and cut that portion just for him. I meant to put olives on it but used them all up in the pepper-eggplant mixture. He didn’t seem to mind.

This could easily be made vegan by replacing the egg with Ener-G egg replacer, flax or whatever your preferred vegan egg substitute may be.

Postcards and Stamps

September 15, 2009

I thought I would take a moment to share some of the postcards to most recently make their way to my mailbox.  And…one fabulous stamp, courtesy of my dear friend Valerie in France!

Sent from Finland

Sent from Finland

and another…

Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

And, this is the nicest stamp I think I have ever seen…all the way from France:

France stamp from ValerieOne more postcard…

A postcard from Cameroon but mailed from the Netherlands!

A postcard from Cameroon but mailed from the Netherlands!

First day of new categories…

September 14, 2009

Today is the first day that I will be officially blogging on a schedule and using categorized days.  Mondays will be “Monday Munchies” so expect a recipe with photos later today!  I also have a postcard and stamp to scan and upload later in the day!  For those of you that don’t know me, I have several pen pals, collect postcards, and love unusual stamps!  My dear friend, Valerie, in France sent a wonderful postcard in her last letter and the stamp on the envelope is gorgeous!  Will be uploading both images later today… (it is only 17 minutes into Monday and I need to go to bed!)

If you like postcards too, please check out Postcrossing which is a postcard exchange program.  If you are interested in finding a pen-pal then check out Interpals, and if you just love written correspondence in general, take a look at the blog Letter Writer’s Alliance.  They are all FREE!

Introducing Categories!

September 12, 2009

Several fellow Etsyans were very helpful in giving me some advice about blogging. Starting Monday, expect to see the following on the Project-A-Day blog:
* Categories – kind of like themes for each day of the week, Monday through Friday
* Posts every Monday through Friday to help create a routine for myself and stay grounded and focused
* Better tagging

Goal setting…keep me accountable!

September 12, 2009

I have to make a pledge to do a project….I signed up for Wardrobe Refashion not too long ago and haven’t exactly done much of my own refashioning.  Instead I’ve been focusing on the M and J Designs Etsy shop and other mundane, daily life stuff.  So……..

If I don’t pledge here and tell everyone, I think I may not do a few of the projects in my head…so, here goes:

I pledge that in the next week I will
* apply hot pink skull and crossbone appliques to the elbows of a plain grey hoodie

* restitch the hems on my favorite blue Royal Robbins shirt

* shorten two almost ankle length dresses that I LOVE but don’t wear because of the length

* make journal covers for all of my son’s journals (he has about six…)

* make new scarves for myself and my son using black polarfleece and fabric from a pair of black and white pinstriped pants

There…now I HAVE to do it! 🙂


September 11, 2009

Bombs Away Stenciled Boy’s Polo Shirt

bomb shirt 4Watch out! This shirt is explosive!

Does your boy love things that go ***BOOM***? If yes, then this is the shirt for him!

This classic maroon polo style shirt gets a modern twist with a bomb graphic. Featured on the front chest is a small, unlit bomb, but at the lower right is a bomb with a lit fuse!

This shirt has been hand stenciled. Pre-washed, heat set, and washed again. Ready for your young man to wear with pride!

Maroon, Lee School Polo Shirt
US Size 8 (but fits up to a slim 12)

Measurements:bomb shirt 5
* Top of shoulder to front hem: 19in (48.2cm)
* Shoulder to shoulder: 12in (30.5cm)
* Chest (armpit to armpit): 14″ (35.5cm)
* Sleeve length: 7.75in (19.7cm)


Still working on photos…

September 8, 2009

We are still working on improving our photos and making progress by leaps and bounds!  Check out these pics of our Penguin Onesie:

Penguin in yard 3

Penguin in the yard 2

Mr. Penguin close up

Mr. Penguin loves to make new friends. He also loves to move around but he’s stuck on this white long-sleeved, Carter’s onesie (size 12). Help him get mobile…he loves to waddle around on a toddler’s belly as they crawl, scoot, and walk.

Hand stenciled using Tulip brand fabric paints (permanent, non-toxic, machine washable). Pre-washed, heat-set and re-washed.

For best results: Machine wash in cold with similar items. Tumble dry on low. No bleach. (Comes with cleaning instructions tag, perfect if you give Mr. Penguin as a gift!)

* Carter’s brand onesie
* Long-sleeved
* Size 12 months
* Tulip brand fabric paint

Direct link to our Mr. Penguin Onesie listing:  http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=29779184