Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mother's Day Special Offers

Mother's Day is just around the corner!  But here at Scarlet Threads, we celebrate moms all the time.  It is a special day here at Scarlet Threads, for it gets to the heart of our mission: To empower rural women to meet the needs of their families through meaningful and dignified employment opportunities.


So for the holiday, we have some special mother's day promotions:  Free gift-wrapping and a card, or even a special offer on a matching mother/daughter apron set!  Just click on over to learn all the details

Though an apron might not be the most traditional mother's day gift, we know the heart behind it will bless just about any woman... to know that you're a part of transforming another woman's life?  Well it doesn't get better than that...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Press Release: New Spring Line

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Eileen Viscontini, Scarlet Threads
eileen@scarletthreads.org

Dignity Never Goes Out of Style: Linking Moms with Scarlet Threads Spring Line

Beijing, China, April 21, 2010 – With Mother’s Day just around the corner, Scarlet Threads, a small social enterprise based in rural China, is gearing up to link Asian mothers with American mothers by their apron strings. Scarlet Threads has just released their 2010 Spring Line, including unique aprons and linen handbags in preparation for Mother’s Day and the spring/summer wedding season.

“These new products are beautiful,” says Carrie McKean, Scarlet Threads co-founder. “But what’s more beautiful is the transformation occurring in the lives of the women behind each stitch.”
No matter which country they call home, women care about the same things -- their children and their families. Scarlet Threads products make a great gift for Mom on her special day, and when you purchase a boutique-quality item, you become intricately connected to a woman half a world away. What better way to honor Mom than by empowering a mother just like her? A mother like Dou, whose husband’s mounting medical bills left the family impoverished and unable to provide for themselves. She’s now working for Scarlet Threads and is able to pay her son’s school fees!

Scarlet Threads is a compassionate boutique, specializing in unique products created by talented seamstresses in rural Asia. Scarlet Threads exists to make its core vision of "Work. Dignity. Beauty." a reality in the lives of its partner seamstresses by empowering them through fair trade employment. Each woman works in the safety of her own home and is able to adjust her working hours to meet the needs of her family. By not asking the seamstresses to lower the cost of their labor, sharing 5% of profits with the artisans, and an additional 5% donated to developmental projects in Scarlet Threads home village in rural China, the local community finds a compassionate influx of money in the local economy. Visit them on the web at: http://www.scarletthreads.org/


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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Carrot Cake (with Carrots!)

I have returned safe and rejuvenated from my girls' weekend in Albuquerque with two of my sisters-in-law to be! Sadly, Carrie could not fly in for the occasion, but she was truly missed. To celebrate the occasion, we decided to make dessert for dinner!

My lovely cousin Jennifer sent us this recipe for carrot cake last Tuesday and this weekend provided the perfect opportunity to test it out! I have never been able to follow a recipe, and I may or may not have forgotten a few things. I don't remember adding any baking soda, we used all purpose instead of self rising flour, and Jane negelected to read the frosting recipe and added a full cup of cream cheese instead of a quarter.

Jennifer informed me that this is one of the few recipes with a serious amount of carrots and shredding those carrots can provide a serious arm work out. What's the reward? A fabulous and healthy carrot cake!
Serves 9
Calories per serving: 310

For the cake:
1 orange
3/4 cup golden raisins
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
1 lemon
2 1/2 cups carrots, finely grated
1 cup self-rising flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

For the icing
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup full-fat cream cheese
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Line the base of an 8-inch-square pan with parchment paper. Lightly brush a little vegetable oil over the base and sides.

3. Grate the zest of the orange and set aside. Squeeze the orange juice into a bowl and add the golden raisins to the juice. Set aside.

4. Using a handheld or standing mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar with the orange zest for five minutes until pale and full of air. Add the grated carrot and beat to incorporate.

5. Slowly add in the spices, salt, ground almonds, baking soda and flour, then quickly mix until all the ingredients are combined.

6. Using a spatula, mix in the raisins and walnuts, along with any orange juice left in the bowl, until they are evenly distributed.

7. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake and removed comes out clean.

8. Remove from the oven. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, and then remove from the pan. Chill in refrigerator for an hour once cooled.

9. To make the icing: In a large bowl, beat the first cup of sugar with the cream cheese, using a wooden spoon. Once you reach a paste, add the remaining sugar along with the lemon juice and zest. Beat vigorously to combine. Refrigerate at least a half hour. Ice all over the top of the cold cake, slice into 9 portions and serve.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

SIX Glorious Giveaways!

We have 5 amazing blogettes spreading the message of "Work. Dignity. Beauty." And, we have our own, albeit poorly participated, photography contest. That is a total of 6, count them: 6, chances to win a fabulous fair trade Apron.

Owning an apron is NOT an excuse for lack of participation. Knowing the generous spirit in your heart, I'm sure your first instinct would be to give it to a friend or donate it to your church's silent auction (like one of our readers). And, don't forget Mother's Day!

1. In order to motivate our massive blog following, I have included my submission to our Photography Contest called Apronize America in April, here. Take your lens caps off and get to work. There are still 2 weeks left!
2. Green Onions is celebrating their blogoversary by giving away our Phoebe apron. Do help support their blogtivity, enter the contest, and wish them a many happy return. - Ends April 26th

3. One of our favorite new Virtual Volunteers is our friend over at Tea and Crumpets. She's giving away a Caroline. - Ends Friday 4/23!

4. 1 Savvy Housewife is giving away Caroline, too! We are so happy that she featured us in her "Fabulous Finds" post. Hurry! This one ends Thursday 4/22!

5. AnnOnandOn is celebrating her 500th Follower by hosting a giveaway a day all this week. If she reaches 30 comments on the Scarlet Threads post, she will give away a Molly Apron! Let's show her that her efforts are not in vain!

6. Moms Making a Million is giving away a $3500 prize pack, which includes our Anna Apron! - Ends May 7th!

We always list the sites hosting our giveaways here, so check back regularly! There's always something going on!

Open for Business

Our beautiful new products are in the Scarlet Threads shop.  What are you waiting for?  Why are you still reading this?  See you there!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Other Surprise

Remember when I said there was another surprise in our new shipment of products?  Besides the Olivia, Lucy, and Elle?  Well... this is what it is...

Purses!

It's just a simple and fun little shoulder bag... and like the Elle, it is reversible!  With different print/solid combos, it's a handy little bag for casual trips to the park.

What do you think we should call them?  I'm not sure if we should give them girls' names, place names, or something else entirely.  Thoughts?

Oh, and by the way... the new stuff should be for sale in our shop this week!  Just a little behind schedule, but hey... we're new to this international trade biz.  We'll figure it out eventually.

Until then, you just get to experience a bit more anticipation.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Puerto Rican Beans (?)

Xindi came over this weekend with a recipe for our Tasty Tuesday segment that her coworker Carlos had made for his last get-together. When she told him we were going to put it on the blog, he was ecstatic! (I didn't see for his response for myself, but let's imagine he was indeed ecstatic). We donned our aprons to make it an official Scarlet Threads event and set to work.


Ingredients:

1 med onion diced
1 green bell pepper
4 cloves of garlic minced
2 cans of tomato sauce (little cans, not the 14 oz cans)
1 can of kidney beans (drained)
1 can of black eyed peas (drained)
fresh cilantro chopped
1/4 lb of ham steak cubed
1/4 lb of sausage sliced
2 cups of cubed butternut squash
1 packet of Sazon Goya spice and color (the one for beans)
Rice
1 bouillon cube

The prep work is the only real work involved in this recipe. So enjoy a virtually effortless meal!

Boil the squash until tender (put a dash of salt in the water). In another pot, while the squash is cooking, add olive oil and garlic. After browning the garlic, add the ham and sausage and brown. Throw in the diced pepper and onion and cook for a couple minutes. Season with garlic salt. Add the peas, beans, and tomato sauce. Stir in the spice and color packet. Bring the mixture to a boil. Drain the
squash and add to the pot of beans. Add cilantro, to taste.

Note: we added a teaspoon of sugar and a little water to thin out the beans and it was fabulous!

Serve over rice (made in the regular way, except this time add a chicken bouillon cube!).

Thanks, Xindi and Carlos for an amazing recipe.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Photography Contest: Apronize America in April

Spring is here, the birds are twittering, the snow is melting (in some parts of the country), and in Texas the wildflowers that line our highways and adorn our pastures are in full bloom. In the spirit of this spreading joy, we would love to see our customers in their elements and in our aprons. So, we designed a contest:

Our little organization has shipped aprons to 29 states in the union (+ DC), but we would like to reach them all! Hence, the name of our contest is Apronize America in April.


Here's how to play: Take a fun picture of an apron – be as creative as you can because you are representing your state. ST Apron pictures will receive brownie points, you can be present in the picture or not. Submit the picture and the state in which you reside to Eileen@ScarletThreads.org. We are hoping to reach all 50 states this month!

Prizes: Each participant will receive a coupon code for 10% off their next item they purchase, the top 3 runners-up will receive 25% off their next purchased item, and the grand prize winner will receive our Anna apron!


Contest Ends: Midnight -- May 1st, 2010!

Rules: This goes without saying: Safety First. This, too, goes without saying: be appropriate, be funny, be creative, be sentimental, be a state-patriot (a Stateriot?)!

If you would like credit for facebook, twitter, internet bonuses please provide links to your facebook page, the websites that feature your photo, your blog post that features the contest, the post that features your photo submission, and your twitter handle. If you find other sites to post your photo before the May 1st deadline, do send an update before the contest closes. Please include Apron Party Host requests in your photo submission email.

Entries will be scored on the following criteria:


*unreached states: Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Kansas, Arkansas, Wisconsin Nevada, Mississippi, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.

**We've posted the entries received so far on our Facebook Fan Page! I think that you can see them even if you don't have a FB account. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Springy Giveaway

Just a little spring fun...

Lexi of Tea and Crumpets is hosting a giveaway of the Caroline apron!  You can hop on over and enter, if you like!

And want to host your own giveaway or an Apron Party?  Check out how you can be involved with Scarlet Threads!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Pork Tenderloin over a bed of Apples

Easter Sunday was here before we knew it! We spent the weekend on Lake Travis at the beautiful wedding of our friends Allen and Lauren. It couldn't have been a more beautiful day: the weather was perfect, the flowers were in bloom, the bride was gorgeous, and the eyes of the groom were moist.

Before we left for the wedding on Friday, we invited my parents and brother over to our new house for Easter dinner. Needless to say, I had nothing planned come Sunday morning and no groceries in the pantry. I raced to the grocery store, and slowly perused the meat section: a pork tenderloin caught my eye. (roughly 2.5 pounds--perfect to feed 5). I had trouble deciding on the fixins but ultimately I decided that apples and pork go together like pasta and tomato sauce. With egg noodles as a starch and asparagus as our veggie we were on our way to a well balanced meal!

I walked in the door and immediately set to work. First, I marinated the tenderloin in olive oil, garlic, and herbs du provence. Then I heated butter and more EVOO in a heavy duty pan that could transition easily from stovetop to oven. (I lost my dutch oven somehow in the move, I'm sure it will turn up.) I browned the tenderloin ( a couple min per side) and removed it from the pan. While the pork was browning, I had sliced up 4 apples (2 fuji and 2 Granny Smiths), leaving the skin on. I added the apples to the hot pan and stirred in some salt, black pepper, and a couple tablespoons of brown sugar. And, yes more herbs du provence. I cooked the mixture a few more minutes and then placed the tenderloin on top of the bed of apples, added yet more garlic on top of the meat and placed it in my fabulous new CONVECTION oven at 375 degrees. I set the timer for 45 minutes and readied my meat thermometer.

While we wait for the pork to cook, I'm going to take a few moments to talk about my new Convection Oven. We have begun a torrid love affair! It cuts cooking time by 25%, is wonderfully efficient, and cooks evenly. I told Carrie of my joy last night and it was one of those open-mouth-insert-foot moments. Of the things that Carrie misses from her former life in the US, two rank near the top: kitchen counters that are the appropriate height for her stature and an oven that is larger than a shoebox. She affectionately refers to her apartment oven as "Easy Bake." No harm done, however. I will actually say that smaller ovens might be better for even baking than big non-convection ovens. I can't tell you how many times my mother has told me about the tiny oven in my parents' first apartment. "It was perfect," she always exclaims, "it would cook a roast beautifully! Medium rare, end to end!" And, I would say from her pictures, Carrie's shoebox oven is hardly holding her back as a Baker.

Please enjoy the recipe! If you try it and tweek it, do let me know. I didn't really measure, but I'd imagine that I used:

2 tbsp herbs du Provence
2 tsp salt
1.5 tsp black pepper
1.5 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp chopped garlic
4 apples
2.5 lbs pork tenderloin.

Again, those figures are imaginary. Julia Child is fond of writing: "Season to Taste." The Cook should always taste during the culinary process, don't be shy! No one will know that you put the wooden spoon to your lips for a sip of sauce now and again. They will even thank you for it!

Buon Appetito!

Eileen

The New Girl in Town

Eeek!  I almost forgot that I was supposed to pick a winner for Apron No. 3 today!

And she shall be called...
Elle!

I love the palindrome naming idea.  Great fun.  Clever.  I never would have thought of that myself, which is why asking all of you for ideas was BRILLIANT!  (See I do have some good ideas.)  Heather, e-mail me for the coupon code!  carrie@scarletthreads.org

And guess what, as I type this post, all of these new lovely ladies are up in the air, somewhere above Antarctica right now.  They're on the way to my sister-in-law Jenny, our lovely distributor, and will be available for sale mid-month, as long as they don't get lost somewhere along the way.

There's one more little, bitty surprise inside those boxes... but I'll save that for another post, as I'm off to bed.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

She's Got a Name! {And Apron No. 3}

Meet Lucy!

Thanks, Miss Anne, for the beautiful name.  We loved the retro-feel of your name.  We think this apron is so very reminiscent of "I Love Lucy," and we couldn't resist matching our sunny apron to her sunny personality.  So Miss Anne, please e-mail carrie@scarletthreads.org to claim your 50 percent off coupon good for anything in the store. 

{Side note: I've been getting some questions about when all these lovely new aprons will appear in our store... if all goes as planned, they'll be available for purchase by mid-April!  So, plenty of time to get them to you for Mother's Day, or in time for the spring Bridal Shower season!}

Ladies, it was seriously so hard to choose a name.  There were many close runners-up... Nora, Millie, Willa, and Evie almost made the cut.  These names will definitely be kept for future product consideration!  I'm trying to come up with a runner-up prize... so stay tuned!

But now, it is time for the Big Reveal No. 3!

Here she is, in all her glory.  {Click to see her in greater detail.}

She looks like two separate aprons, right?!  But she's not!  It's just one... One word: REVERSIBLE.  Or maybe two: UNBEARABLY CUTE!

For those of you who were carefully watching our blog, you might have noticed that this isn't the first time she's made her appearance on our blog.  She's so adorable, I couldn't resist sneaking her in a couple of days ago in our Virtual Volunteer post.  But I don't think anyone caught it!  Sneaky, eh?

So calling all names! Can't wait to see what you come up with.  And, please tell your bloggy, facebook, and twitter friends to join the fun!

Fine Print: Contest closes on Sunday, April 4. Winner will be announced Monday, April 5. If more than one person suggests the same name, the person who suggested the name first will win. You can also enter the contest on our facebook fan page!