Jewelry Class

For a long time, I have been interested in taking an intro to jewelry making class. Well I finally got around to it last month when I did a quick google search and found a local class taught by Karenna Maraj at her jewelry shop in Belmont. I signed up for an intro to metalworking class that was three 2-hour sessions.

It was great to learn the basics and create a few pieces of my own. Below is a sample of the items I made in each class. It was so fun to get to make some real jewelry by hand and also to admire all of the beautiful jewelry in her shop made by professional jewelers in the area. If you've ever wanted to take a jewelry class, I would highly recommend signing up with Karenna!

National Pickle Day: Make Your Own Pickles!

Today, November 14, is National Pickle Day. While every day is pickle day for some people, today is the official day to celebrate the brined cucumber goodness that is pickles.

In honor of this day, I am sharing with you an easy way to make homemade pickles, WITHOUT traditional labor intensive canning methods. It's really quite simple. I started making my own pickles with the recipe below about one year ago as a nice gift idea for hosts of parties, or for homemade treats for the holidays.
The ingredient list is short, and prep time is quick! And now is the perfect time of year to make a big batch!

There are several non-canning methods you can find online. I adapted my recipe from the website Never Trust a Skinny Baker.

3 cups distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp of pickling spice
2 cups hot water
2 pounds pickling cucumbers, sliced in spears or discs
1 bunch of chopped fresh dill
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

Mix vinegar, sugar, salt, and pickling spice in a large, heat-safe bowl. Pour the hot water (I just boiled it in a kettle) over the vinegar mixture, and mix until the sugar is dissolved. Cool to room temperature.

Chop cucumbers into spears, and divide them into jars (I used pint sized Ball jars which you can find in your local supermarket or hardware store for cheap).

Chop the dill and the garlic, and divide it evenly among your jars, and pour the cooled brine over the cucumbers. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours or up to two weeks, and enjoy!

Boozy Brunch in Boston

Learn all there is to learn about cocktail drinking by day, and have some samples in the process, at the Boozy Brunch book tour stop at Trident Booksellers this week!

On Thursday October 25, author (and friend of mine) Peter Joseph visits Boston to talk about Boozy Brunch: The Quintessential Guide to Daytime Drinking.

The book is packed not only with cocktail recipes, but also a lot of the history behind them, plus some suggested food pairings, and funny quotes from legendary drunkards.

Sound interesting? I know. See you on Thursday!

They're back! Congratulations on your XX/XY New Baby Cards

It had been a while since I had printed my XX/XY chromosome new baby cards. Prompted by an inquiry via Etsy for a bulk order of them, I updated the design, then printed and posted the new lot in the Fraske Designs Etsy Shop. I forgot how much I love these cards!

If you have a science geek living inside of you, and have a hard time finding the perfect new baby card at the drug store, give these a shot!

Congratulations on Your New Baby Boy - XY Chromosome Note Card

Congratulations on Your New Baby Girl - XX Chromosome Note Card

Fourth Annual Red Nun Music Festival

September 1 is the fourth annual Red Nun Music Festival at the Red Nun Bar and Grill in Chatham, MA. I created the event flyer for Sidewalk Driver who participates in this event each year (here is the flyer from last year). The Red Nun Music Festival benefits local arts organizations.

The lineup includes:
Sean Brennan & Dave Hickey
The Elbows (Rock music for KIDS!)
Tad &; Kate
Marc Pinansky & the Bored of Health
Shango Axe
The Spampinato Brothers
Chris Fitz Band
Sidewalk Driver

 It's pretty much guaranteed to be a good time. Sidewalk Driver + Labor Day Weekend + Cape Cod = Awesometown USA! Go check it out if you are on the Cape! Tickets are $10 online in advance, or $15 at the door.

Boston Handmade Somerville Marketplace 2012

The 2012 Boston Handmade Somerville Marketplace is taking place
THIS Saturday, June 30th! 

Saturday June 30 from 3-7pm in Union Square, Somerville, MA 
rain date: Sunday, July 1st 


The 5th Annual Handmade Marketplace features work hand-crafted by New England artists, craftspeople and artisans associated with the artists group, Boston Handmade.

At the 2012 Boston Handmade Marketplace 20+ exhibitors will be showing and selling handmade jewelry, accessories, housewares, art, photography, paper goods, ceramics, glass, and more, along with hands-on craft demonstrations from exhibitors throughout the day, and local arts organizations:
The Common Cod Fiber Guild, the Stitch House, and Creative Union.

There will be LIVE MUSIC at the Marketplace with
The Grownup NoiseNowhere Lights, and Boston Handmade Member Nancy MacCallum

For a list of exhibitors, click here.
For more information, click here.

Daily Lovely Update

So remember that New Year's Resolution I made to take a photo of something lovely, daily, in 2012? I'm 5 months in and so far so good. Here are some of my recent favorites:

I've enjoyed this project so far. I like to think I have always noticed the little pops of happiness in life, but this is forcing me to take an even closer look, and I think it's been a very positive experience. It's also definitely easier to find the lovely in the nicer weather this time of year. But, nice weather or not, some days are harder than others.

Here's hoping I make it through the rest of the year! Follow the project at

On Loving Pinterest

Pinterest Logo

I'm seriously enjoying Pinterest.

You know about it by now. A virtual pinboard, Pinterest allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find online in a visual way. I love having the ability to create a bulletin board of bookmarks vs. a text list in my browser, because after a while, I forget about what I bookmarked in my browser unless I review it often. Even then, it's a list of words that, if not titled descriptively enough, lose their meaning over time, and I forget why I am interested unless I click through. (I realize I could be proactive and organize my bookmarks better).

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles... OMG!

Pinterest, on the other hand, is a visual system where all I need to do is look at a board I created for a certain category to instantly remember what I bookmarked. I don't need a title for a craft project to jog my memory: a picture of the final result works perfectly.

Pinterest seems to be the most popular among women who are into decorating, crafts, fashion, cooking, or entertaining. Then there are the ladies planning weddings. My goodness, Pinterest is probably one of the best wedding planning tools to come around in a long time.

Pinned Image

Me? So far, I am using it mainly to organize craft or home projects I want to try, fashions I wish I had in my closet, food I want to make, books I want to read. I also have a board for my own photographs.

I've definitely taken action on some of my pins. I tried a fabric version of the wallpaper dresser tutorial from my to make board, whipped up a few batches of refrigerator pickles from my to eat board, took some cues on how to cut my hair from my hairstyles board, and bought several books that I have pinned on my to read board.

heart bracelets

From a purchasing standpoint, Pinterest is a great wish list tool. It makes it easy to mark a potential purchase and allow yourself to think about it for a while before shopping. At the very least, the item can continue to offer inspiration.

Pinterest is fun! Give it a try! If you would like an invitation, let me know and I'll send one your way.

Already on Pinterest? What's your favorite way to use it? how has it changed your online experience?

ArcWorks in Peabody: Gallery Talk

Installation view of CREATE: The Art and Craft of Boston Handmade 
Installation view of CREATE: The Art and Craft of Boston Handmade

THIS Friday, April 20th, at 6:30pm
Join Jessica Burko and Lynne Parrella for a discussion in the gallery about their artwork and the recent popular resurgence of handmade art and craft in conjunction with the exhibition, CREATE: The Art and Craft of Boston Handmade  at ArcWorks Community Art Center in Peabody, MA 22 Foster Street, Peabody, Mass 01960 


Don't you love cinemagraphs? If you haven't seen them before, they are basically the animated GIF to end all animated GIFs. Here is an example... a moving photograph.

I started seeing them several months ago, showing up on various websites. If you'd like to see more, visit From Me To You for some amazing examples. It might take a while for the pages to load, but your wait will be worth it.

To learn how to make your own, Photo Jojo has a tutorial you can try!

Celebrate National Craft Month with Boston Handmade at the ArcWorks Community Art Center in Peabody

It's time for the first Boston Handmade show of the year! Myself and several other Boston Handmade members are exhibiting this month in Create: The Art and Craft of Boston Handmade to celebrate March being National Craft Month. The exhibit will be on view at ArcWorks Community Art Center in Peabody from March 15 until May 5.

The opening reception is Thursday, March 15 from 6-8pm. Be sure to add it to your calendar of National Craft Month events (even if it's the only one you go to!)

I'll be debuting some photos from my Daily Lovely photo project. Other exhibiting artists are Kerrie Beck, Jessica Burko, Kerry Hawkins, Arthur Halvorsen, Karen Mahoney, Lynne Parrella, and Lucie Wicker.

This is a great chance to see a variety of handmade arts and crafts being made in the Boston area, as well as an opportunity to discover a community art center!

Oreo Cookies Turn 100 Today!

In honor of the Oreo Cookie's 100th birthday today, March 6, 2012, I would like to share this amazing Oreo Cookie Cupcake recipe I whipped up a few weeks ago. I decided I wanted to try an Oreo Cookie baking recipe when I saw a huge birthday celebration display for the Oreo Cookie in Market Basket. It helped that the bag of Oreos was also on sale for $1. I also have fond memories of Oreos, much like most people in America, I am sure. We often had them in my house (and when my mom got Hydrox cookies, it just wasn't the same!). In high school, there was one year or two where I kept a stash of Oreos in my locker at all times because I needed a snack between classes to keep my stomach from growling and mortifying myself in front of my classmates (I never could really go more than a couple of hours without eating, even to this day, which is why I always sympathized with Garfield the cat - poor guy, just wanted some lasagna.)

Anyway, I searched recipes online, and while many seemed delightful, I was most drawn to the Cookies and Cream Cupcakes recipe by Annie's Eats (check out her site... lots more recipes to try out another time, too!). Her recipe uses a vanilla cake base with Oreo's mixed in, a decadent cream cheese frosting, and a surprise half Oreo at the bottom of each cupcake.

The recipe yields 24 cupcakes. I chose to bake 12 cupcakes and then use the other half of the batter to bake a cake in a loaf pan. I actually like the way my cake turned out better than the cupcakes. I think it's because I overcooked the cupcakes (my own fault), but the cake came out just right.

Happy Birthday Oreo Cookie Cupcakes recipe can be found at Annie's Eats. Hop on over there and give it a whirl! And in the very least, eat an Oreo today!

Making mundane tasks a little bit brighter

Recently, posted an article that really resonated with me. It was about little changes you can make that will help you complete otherwise undesirable tasks. The author Erin Doland's example was that she was less disappointed when it rained because she had received a gift of bright yellow boots as a gift. These bright yellow boots make it a little more fun to splash around in the rain.

It got me thinking about little things I could to to put some happiness into mundane tasks. I don't have a dishwasher and I hate cleaning dishes, so immediately took to Etsy and purchased a pretty pair of dishwashing gloves to make the chore just a little bit brighter!

This tip can be applied to so many parts of our lives, and in many cases, for hardly any investment. Another task I loathe is packing my lunch for work (I have hated this since grade school - I don't think I'll ever get over it). To make the activity a little less terrible, I bought a lunch bag with a pretty print on it. The lunch bag cost me $2.00 on sale! A worthy investment in my opinion.

What tasks to you put off that might benefit from a little pick-me-up?

A month of Daily Lovely

It's been a month since I started my New Year's Resolution to take a picture of something lovely, daily, recorded at It's going pretty well, although I'll be honest - I can't wait for winter to be over so we will have more sunlight and I will have a greater window of daylight time in which to take these lovely photos! But even during the drab days of January, I've been finding inspiration. Here are a few January highlights:

01.19.12: Birthday Card Candles

01.17.12: Fresh Flowers

01.12.12: Stoddards, Boston MA

01.10.12: Paramount, Boston MA

01.05.12: Little Blue Box!

Want to follow along? Visit to receive your daily dose by email, follow on facebook, or twitter!

National Popcorn Day

Today is a very special day.

Today, January 19, 2012, is National Popcorn Day.

On this day, I present to you one of my favorite recipes I have learned recently... Smores Popcorn. Enjoy...

Smores Popcorn by Emily of A Cambridge Story

Daily Lovely - A Year Long Photo Project

There is so much beauty in every day, even in the dreariest, coldest months. So I am challenging myself to take a photo a day of lovely things in 2012. Big or small. Grand or mundane.

This might not sound like such a difficult resolution to keep for a photographer, but sometimes I get wrapped up in planning what I want to photograph that I am not paying enough attention to what is photo-worthy right in front of me. And there is plenty of that to be had every day.

You can follow on facebooktwitterinstagram (@allisonfraske, #dailylovely) or at!

One week down, 51 to go. Wish me luck!

Oh hi 2012.

2011 was an eventful year. It had its ups and downs and its bittersweet moments, but I would say it was generally a positive, fulfilling, and eventful year.

I met some great new people, but also had to wish bon voyage to some very special friends as they moved out of town.

I celebrated the marriages of some great friends, and welcomed some new bundles of joy into the world.

I expanded my crafty abilities and learned such things as how to sew, how to make homemade pickles, and how to etch glass.

I took a lot of pictures, but mostly for myself instead of for sale.

I bought in iPhone and discovered instagram.

I read two great books: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and Bossypants by Tina Fey. (I recommend both of them)

At the beginning of 2011, I resolved to do two things: schedule more time for myself, and make sure I start planning for the holidays early so I can enjoy the season instead of having to bustle around trying to get everything in order. I think I did a good job of keeping both of those resolutions. For 2012, I do have one creative resolution that I'm pretty excited about, but I'm going to hold off on sharing it for a bit until I am sure I can commit to it!

Happy New Year to everyone!