Teach Yourself Soldering!!

Hello My sparkly friends!!
It is that time of year again... when I teach my online classes at Artful Gathering events.com!!!
This year's class is a very special one, not just because I love to solder, but because the proceeds
from the class tuition will help me help breast cancer survivors who have undergone Breast reconstruction and need to have areola repigmentation. 

  My portion of the proceeds will help  pay for  several micropigmentation classes, my new machine and supplies which are incredibly expensive!!
I plan on gifting my services to women who need this crucial last step in feeling whole again- but who just can't afford it or don't have insurance.  

This is a very special gift for me to be able to help, to use my skills that I have been building for a lifetime as a makeup artist and artist- to give back and have my art leave a lasting feeling of wholeness at last.
I get goosebumps when I think about being able to help these women. 

 It will also help me with healing my own hurt from years ago, when I pretended to myself that my mom wasn't sick and that she would never leave me. 

 Looking back, I wish I had used my talent to hook her up with a bunch of awesome wigs and hats with hair ponytails... but instead I chose to just hyperfocus on my work and business and pretend that everything was going to be ok.  I still beat myself up about that, but by getting out of my own head and giving to these women, 
 I know my heart will mend and one day I will be at peace with it

 It is so true- the saying "Youth is wasted on the young"...  but I DO know better than to let myself get all caught up in "would-coulda-shoulda's"!
On the very bright side of all this (there is ALWAYS a bright side),
this new class is super fun and creative and you will LOVE making jewelry and gifts for all of your friends and family for this holiday season!!!

Summer is the time- just think- everyone will think you have stock in Etsy or something
by all of the handmade lovely trinkets you can make!
The great news is, you can pick up all of the supplies right in Home Depot or Lowes and it won't cost you a fortune!!

All the pics in this post are things I made using the techniques I teach in this class, 
One more thing to note:
I will be adding special project tutorials to the live online class that will NOT be a part of the DVD when it comes out in February- so that's just something to think about!

Please share this post wherever you can- I will love you forever-
 (I will love you forever anyway even if you don't share but please do! :) LOL
xoxo with all my heart,
Tobi and the Pixies

Eat Your Weeds- Purple Dead Nettle

Today's post is a perfect example of "Yard to Table".
It all started this morning when I went out to check on my baby strawberry plants like the Impatient Farmgirl that I am.  I noticed these beautiful yellow flowers and ran to look them up to see what they were.  I have always had a fascination with Herb Lore and Herbalism, and for some reason, today was the day I actually did a little bit of it!  I found out the pretty yellow flowers were Lesser Celandine, which is an edible herb but not that popular.  While I was googling I figured I would look up the pretty purple plant that was hangin' out with my Lesser Celandine.
This plant turned out to be Purple Dead Nettle.  
Now Purple Dead Nettle was pretty much all over my yard, and I was thrilled to find out that it too, was edible and had medicinal value as well!
Here's what I found out thanks to Livestrong.com.  
Purple dead nettle is a medicinal plant used in folk medicine in Europe and North America as a complementary treatment option for controlling and reducing allergies. Also known as Lamium Purpureum, purple dead nettle is a nonstinging species of nettle that can be eaten, or dried and made into a tea or percolated into a tincture. 


Purple dead nettles are significantly anti-inflammatory, according to a study published in the "Journal of Ethnopharmacology" by Gazi University in 2008. Researchers tested different varieties of nettles, including purple dead nettle, and found all of them possessed anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing properties. Purple dead nettle works through inhibiting the release of the hormone prostaglandin-2, the principle mediator for inflammation in allergies and chronic inflammatory conditions.

This was exciting info for me as I have been in a lot of pain with Plantar facciitis and carpal tunnel since last May and really hate taking meds.  


During a study published in the "Hacettepe University Journal of the Faculty of Pharmacy" in 2007, researchers discovered purple dead nettle had a wide range of antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Extracts of purple dead nettle fought many microorganisms, including staphylococcus, enterococcus, e.coli, pseudomonas and candida. Purple dead nettle is a rich source of antibacterial essential oils, such as germacrene D, which explains its action against these organisms. Taking purple dead nettle when you suffer from allergies will help protect against these pathogens and prevent secondary infections of the sinuses, throat and lower respiratory tract.

How cool is all of that??
I promptly went back outside and picked a bunch of it.
I brought it inside and plopped it in the sink to wash and de-dirt it so I could prepare a tincture, a few bundles for drying, and a green Dead Nettle Smoothie, which tasted better than it sounds.

Step 1:  Wash your herbs

Step 2:  Lay out on paper towels to dry 

Step 3: To Make a Tincture:
 Put herbs in blender with high proof Vodka and make a vodka smoothie-
But don't drink this- this is your tincture that will be strained in a few weeks!

 Step 4:  Tie a few bundles with twine to hang and dry for winter use.

Step 5:  Make a smoothie to drink right now!
 Purple Dead Nettle Smoothie Recipe
In a high speed blender, mix 
1 1/2 cups filtered water, cold
large handful Dead Nettle tops
1 ripe banana
2 or 3 slices of fresh Ginger root
2 scoops of chocolate Organic Protein Powder

When all ingredients are beautifully smooth- pour into a beautiful vintage glass and enjoy!!  I plan on using DN in my smoothies every morning with kale now.

What a fab way of using your weeds.  Just make sure when you are gathering, that you do so from a non sprayed, non fertilized area, away from car exhaust... so don't gather from the side of the road or if you use weed killer on your lawn!!!

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did making it and sharing it with you!!

xoxo Tobi :)

 This is Chickweed- I can't wait for more of it to grow- it is supposed to burn fat!!!  YAY!!
I will write about it soon :)

Linking with



 Today's "Healthy Yum" come from The Novice Chef
I was captivated by the beauty and simplicity of the dish- hope you enjoy it as much as I did! xoxo Tobi


4 Organic chicken breasts, Skinless
Celtic Sea salt
Telicherry black pepper freshly ground
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
10 large basil leaves, finely chopped
8 oz fresh buffalo mozzarella, sliced in 1/2 inch thick slices
balsamic vinegar reduction


Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breasts and set aside.
In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add chicken, cover pan, and cook for about 10 minutes. Flip chicken breasts and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked throughly (or has reached an internal temp of 165°F).
While chicken is cooking, in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add tomatoes and continue sautéing until tomatoes skin starts to soften/wrinkle, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in basil. Set aside.
Once chicken has reached desired doneness, top the tops of each chicken breast with 2 slices of mozzarella. Pour tomato mixture on top. Cover pan with lid once more and let the mozzarella melt, about 1-2 minutes.
Lastly, drizzle with a splash of balsamic vinegar and serve immediately.

The Impatient Farmgirl- Bubble Wrap Success!!!

Well my sparkly friends. my bubblewrap snow protection worked like a charm!
Look at my lil babies!!

The Impatient Farmgirl- Strawberry Growing in the Snow...Yay Spring!!

So yeah, remember in my last post how I figured I could plant strawberries in March in New York?
This is what I woke up to about a week later!

 The good news is that I totally didn't panic.  When I heard that we were in for a possible snowfall, I carefully covered them with bubble wrap and plastic sheeting, then held it in place with some wooden pickets and a few bath towels!
Here's what that looked like



 Then I went out front to my Tulips and Hyacynths and covered them with aluminum baking pans left from Christmas

Funny thing was this beautiful winter wonderland completely melted by the afternoon!
But not before I took some last minute wintery pics- enjoy!!

Linking with


The Impatient Farmgirl- Growing Strawberries in March!

So a few weeks ago I went to Costco and Sams and saw the first "spring bulb" displays out in the aisles.  Beautiful neat rows of white handled bags with pictures of sunripened sweet fruit beckoned to me.  "OH- Strawberries!!  Oh Raspberries!!!" I thought to myself excitedly, picturing my raised beds brimming with buckets of fruit that i could make jam with.

Photo from a great post on  houseofjoyfulnoise.com
They immediately triggered my "I better get these before they are all gone" response, and before I knew it-well, my cart was full.
It was such a strong pull from deep down that made me know that NOTHING was going to get me to miss out on this find!!
In hindsite- I am noticing that for the past several years I really believe that the stores have been conditioning us to "get it now or forget it" buying by offering seasonal and holiday items ridiculously early every year.   We  have become conditioned to get into crazy early pre-purchasing frenzy for pretty much everything. 
Back to the strawberries.  So there I was, in early MARCH in NEW YORK, looking at stuff I wasn't supposed to plant till May!!
Needless to say, not only did I get strawberry plants (for fear that if i waited till planting season they would already be gone)
but I also got blackberry and raspberry bushes, lillies and hollyhocks.

I justified it all to myself: the weather had been unseasonably mild for New York early spring, so I figured to ignore the steadfast rule to not put stuff in the ground till Mother's Day.

Heck- rules are made to be broken anyway- right??

So in the ground they went!!  I actually planted them all quite nicely in my raised beds!

I figured with the weather we were having- we most certainly wouldn't have to worry about snow...

DIY Easy Peasy Copper Bucket Vessel Sink !!!

Hello my Sparkly Friends!  Decorating my home in unique ways makes me sparkle.  I have had so many requests for a tutorial on how to create a vessel sink from an old bucket, so here it is....and it's SUPER SIMPLE!
You can use pretty much any old water sound pot or pan for a vessel sink. (If you are really brave you can try it with a large Old Porcelain  washing bowl- but you do risk it cracking.)  I made Copper vessel Sink quite by accident 9 years ago when I was redoing my house after we had a big fire.  You see, I had forgotten to order the sink I wanted for the downstairs powder room, and the contractor was ready to install it!
Yikes- I freaked out for about a second, and then remembered a picture I had seen in a Log Home magazine of a simple zinc bucket sink...   LOL   So I handed it to the contractor and said- "Here it is- just drill a hole in it please".  He looked at me in total shock and said "Uh, we can't do that".  I looked over at the plumber who by now was loving this job because of all of the unconventional things I was making them do
"YES we can" he said and took the sink into the back to drill it!  I had no base cabinet- I totally dislike "normal" base cabinets.  I had a chunk of rough sawn wood left over from my fireplace mantle and had the guys create a base for my bucket sink out of that.

It is affixed very simply to the wall on one side, the other to a free standing "leg made from a stump sawed in half.  There is a hole drilled thru the base and the bucket is drilled to the size opening needed for the drain you have purchased.  It is really simple.  You can use copper buckets, zinc washtubs, zinc coal buckets- use your imagination!