Sunday, July 17, 2011

Renegade Craft Fair 2011

Dear friends,

We had a blast today at the Renegade Craft Fair by Chinatown, well, my husband would beg to differ but I’m glad he came along! I can fairly say I took more time (than last year’s) to see a good amount of merch up-close and though I did spend for a few paper goods, a terrarium and two Uppercase magazines, I’m proud to say I didn’t go too crazy with my debit card.

I’d have to say, because of the 405 freeway closure (carmageddon!) it is noticeably less crowded. I spoke to some vendors and they confirmed that compare to last year, it’s been slow! I wonder what the people behind RCF will do next year when the City of Los Angeles will close the 405 once again! I sure do hope it won’t fall on the same weekend, but I don’t think that’ll stop me from going! After all, we made it there today!

So here are some photos from the fair:
Dan sampling the preserves.
You can view the entire album here.

I couldn't resist trying the FREE photo booth provided by Magbooth. What a fun way to cap a wonderful craft-ful day! 

Thanks to the people behind Renegade Craft Fair! See you all next year!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Blog Giveaway

Crystal of The House of Hearts is giving away this awesome camera and postcards from her Etsy shop to celebrate her 100 followers. Of course, from when this was posterd, the number of her followers has gone up! If you'd like to win these for yourself,  read the full entry now! There are numerous ways you can improve your chance to win so good luck to us!

A Confession

Dear friends,

I have a confession to make.......................




A certified, chronic, obsessive, interminable, eternal snacker. The idea of skipping proper meal for bars (yes, BARS) of chocolate or a bag of chips to me is nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, I could live solely on snacks and won't have a problem with it. Heck, that is my idea of diet!

It doesn't help that I was born out of snacker parents, one was into sweets and the other into the salty stuff. So much so that the one into sweets now has diabetes and the other into salty snacks lost a kidney (around the time I was born) due to so much salt consumption! I know, those two facts should serve as my double, persistently-waved red flags. I would, in more than one occasion joke that I should be fine since I'm a good mix of both. For now, it's too early to tell how this would all boil down to.

Substituting chocolates with fruits and chips with peanuts just don't cut it! And the loves of my life indulge me, so you see, I really am in no position to complain (not that I would care to anyway!).

My Mah sends me and my husband boxful of treats several times a year, while my mother-in-law whips up yummy bars and cookies on special occasions. Whenever she travels to France (the other love of her life) and other parts of Europe, she always brings us (or mostly me, my husband doesn't want to have anything  to do with the chocolates save for a couple of bites) these chocolates that make you feel like a billionaire with every bite!

I've always loved European chocolates, they put all other chocolates to shame! Here's what my mother-in-law, Donna recently brought back.

I also have a soft spot for nice boxes and packaging, so this one is definitely a keeper long after the chocolates are gone, and they are long gone!

Here are other chocolates and other snacks with cool packaging (waiting to be sampled and blogged about some time in the future):

Ardeche - Chocolate covered chestnut


Is a wonderful source of French products from cooking and baking ingredients, cakes, candies, beauty supplies, etc. Here are some of the snacks they carry that I've got my eyes on:

Microwaveable Fondue Dark Chocolate with 70% REAL Cocoa.
La Mere Poulard Galettes au Caramel au Beurre Salé - Salted Butter Caramel Galettes in Collector's Tin
This is supposedly more crumbly rather than crisp and more buttery, too, than the Galettes above.
Both have irresistibly awesome tin packaging though! 
Le Petit Saunier French Salted Butter Caramels - Caramel au BeurreSalé
The packaging reminds me of a beauty soap bar you can find at luxury hotels!

Paris Caramels - 9% Charentes-Poitou Pure French Butter - Vanilla French Caramels 
Also available in Fig & Walnut, Hazelnut, Chocolate and the packaging just as elegant.

Amazon also carries a good selection of imported goods.

French Dark Chocolate Truffles.
There are lots of it but this is probably the only one that comes in a wooden box. Now, how chic is that?

Chocolat Bonnat Trinite 75% Dark Chocolate Bar.
There are nine classifications available on Amazon, this one is trinite just one of the nine places they sourced the cocoa from. Makes you want to sample all to find out which has the best!

30 pcs. 100% Natural Basswood Chocolate.
It comes in a thick wooden crate and is handmade by Pascal Caffet, World Chamion French Chocolatier. It doesn't get any richer than this!

Primo Pan Noccioli Hazelnut Cookies with Chocolate from Italy.
Beats any premium biscotti out there just by the packaging alone!


Bellagio Cocoa (French Vanilla, Chocolate Truffle, Caramel Praline) Gift Set                                    This is perhaps the most classy hot chocolate packaging I've ever seen. I wonder how each tastes like!


French Broad is another online source for premium chocolates and they offer a service they call "chocolate subscription," how awesome is that? I've yet to try their services but I can surely vouch for Foodzie, a San Francisco based company that hand-packs handpicked artisan products in single-serving sizes cleverly called, The Tasting Box. My first subscription came in the mail yesterday and I am hooked! Can't wait for next month's harvest!

Foodzie July Tasting Box
I am in love with their Black Truffle + Aged White Cheddar gourmet popcorn by 479° Popcorn and Botanical Bakery's Fennel Pollen shortbread cookies.

And in the subject of snacks, See's Candies is having a National Lollipop Day Sweepstakes until July 23, 2011. You could win a trip for two to San Francisco for the VIP See's Factory tour or $50 worth gift cards! 

My go-to chocolates for my pen-pals are the minis from Ghirardelli. They are small enough like tea-bags to fit in letters and have very exciting seasonal flavors, too like Eggnog for Christmas.

So, what kind of a snacker are you?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

SandBook Interview

Hello friends!

Recently, my new friends at SandBook asked to feature Letter Parade for their July ezine, and was I ever thrilled? Raia, the Editor-in-Chief and awesome person with her team of two did a fantastic job with the magazine layout! I was surprised to see the logo on the front cover!! So I thought I MUST share this with you.

Download and read the full story!

To Raia and the rest of from the bottom of my heart thank you so very much for featuring me in this month's issue! Thanks for all that you do for the world of letter-writing! Keep up the awesome work!

Cindy Gonzales - Kujat

P.S. As part of this successful collaboration, I am offering FREE SHIPPING for all orders placed from now until August 31, 2011 11:59 PST just use code SANDBOOKSUMMER2011 at Letter Parade!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Paper Art : Charles Clary AKA Paper Extravaganza

Dear friends,

How are you all doing? I hope your week is starting out great! If not maybe I can help make it better with my FREE print-at-home stationery designs that you can find on my Letter Parade page, (there's a reason why I picked to share them on Mondays!) or you can marvel at the genius of Charles Clary.

The precision, the concept, the patience, the colors, the dept of work, the brilliance.... I can't praise this artist and his work enough. Simply amazing and definitely worth raving about!

As you scroll down to see photos of some of his previous work, please keep in mind that these are all done with paper and colored with Acrylic. Just paper, and that's why it's so awesome!

Flameobic Opulation

Flamungle Gestation

 Flamungle Gestation (detail)

Codastic Diddlation

See more of Charles Clary's work and follow his blog if you love his art. I know I do!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Lists and Scribbles

Hello friends,

How is your weekend going? Mine is just starting and the day will be filled with running around LA to see Best Coast at the Getty, then Alien Ant Farm at the Universal CityWalk. We have seen them live for free last May, some old favorites stay as good as the new ones.

Really quickly now, as the smell of laundry detergent awaits, are awesome lists I stumbled upon via Imprint Magazine which covers a broad range of topics focus on design and the people behind it. Imprint's blog today featured current exhibition of the Morgan Library & Museum which includes 80 lists titled Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists’ Enumerations from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art.

I thought Finnish-born architect Eero Saarinen's list about his second wife, Aline Bernstein's positive attributes is simply touching.

Designer Harry Bertoia's school assignment uncovered a chart he put together titled “My-Self Rating Chart.” 

Picasso, a renowned list maker himself wrote this one for Walt Kuhn, the organizer of the 1913 Armory Show when asked for the artists he recommends which includes Léger, Gris, “Ducham”

Very rarely have I seen visual lists out there, so I was amazed when I saw this one: Painter Adolf Konrad’s packing list that it inspired me to create my own.

The exhibit is ongoing, and not to be sad if there's no way you can possibly make it, like myself. There's a book out of the same title that makes a great addition to the coffee table or any artist's library.

More about lists and scribbles, I found Ms. Leah Dieterich's website and concept heart-warming. She writes daily something to be thankful about and has published a book of her compilation. Really, who will run out of such? If you look closely, you will find lots to be grateful about, and if you wrote it down and read back through all those years of blessings documented, it's almost guaranteed you'll triple the positivity in your life! 

Here's one about surprises:

I couldn't agree more!

Have a wonderful weekend, everybody!

Cindy Gonzales - Kujat