Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bessie Says...

A great big THANK YOU to Stormy Designs for a truly unique, one of a kind business card holder.

Gotta love custom requests. Stormy Designs does a great job. Requesting a white couch with black cow spots is no easy task but Stormy stood up for the challenge and did an absolutely remarkable job! Click here to see more of Stormy's custom work and/or to order your own custom business card holder. You may also want to check out Stormy's Blog.

Monday, July 28, 2008

We've Got Some Aggressive Tomato Plants

They just keep growing and growing.

Part of the problem being I was in too much of a hurry earlier in the spring and planted them close together.

They've had no place to grow but UP...well they are also doing a good job of growing OUT, too!

Add weight of tons of tomatoes and this here chick will be canning and freezing all sorts of tomato products before long...and of course, over indulging on sweet, ripe, juice tomatoes.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

What can I say? I love to grill. I prefer a charcoal kettle grill, but the convenience of a gas grill on busy days does come in handy. I have so many favorites on the grill but the ULTIMATE grill food for me is Jamaican Jerk Chicken.

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/2 cup Sliced Green Onions
1 Small Red Bell Pepper, chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp. Dried Thyme
1 tsp. Curry Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Cumin
1/2 tsp. Ginger
1/4 tsp. Pepper
1/4 tsp. Paprika
1/8 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
6 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (I cut into strips but you can leave whole)

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat until hot. Cook all ingredients except for chicken for about2 minutes, stir frequently until pepper is crisp tender, cool. This is where a good ziploc bag comes in handy to coat and smoosh the marinade over the chicken...marinate for 30 minutes - 3 hours (I have been known to leave overnight). Don't be put off by the color of the spice combination...trust me, this won't taste at all like it looks!

Grill chicken 4-6 inches from medium coals 15-20 minutes or until done, less if cooking strips. If cooking for a crowd like I find myself doing quite regularly, you can put the cooked chicken into a crock pot set to warm while you finish cooking the remainder of the chicken.

Leftovers are great cold on a chef salad.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

4 Today, 1 Yesterday ~ EtstyBloggers ROCK!!!

The Etsybloggers Team has been busy today. We've managed to snag 4 new treasuries. Each one shows a different side of the talent within the Etsybloggers Team.

This treasury "These Are Smokin' Red HOT" is my rainy day fun project. It will be available until 8:21 PM on Saturday.

My fellow Etsyblogger friend over in the rainy Adirondacks ~ A Keeper's Jackpot ~ was busy at the same time putting together her "Rain, Rain, GO AWAY" Treasury. You can view this wonderful collection until 1:50 AM on Sunday.

WOW is a fun treasury that Shell Mitchell put together. You can view this gorgeous collection until 8:16 AM on Sunday.

This lovely treasury "ACHOOOOooooo" is lovingly curated by EcoKate and will expire 10:11 AM on Sunday.

AND WE MUST NOT FORGET that Meismama created a colorful Treasury "It's All in the Color" yesterday and it will be available until 2:26 PM on Saturday.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Whipped Soap Mania

Whipped Soap is unique and on my list of favorite bath "candy". This is some great stuff! Leaves your skin feeling clean, soft and moisturized. A Great Facial Cleanser and Excellent for shaving. Added bonus that a little goes a long way. You can get some for yourself, here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My House Smells Like Christmas!!!

Christmas is my favorite time of year. In fact, I am still finding bits and pieces of last Christmas around the house that have become permanent year round decorations. If I could get away with it, I would leave all of the decorations up year round. There is something magical about the lights and glitzy glittery decorations that make a house feel "homey".

I've been busy making lots of soap and goodies for the upcoming Holiday shopping season and this is just the start. You can find them here.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cupcake Fever

And I'm JUST getting started! I've been busy making these absolutely adorable cupcake purses. I scaled back the size of my bath puffs to fit the purse, and at the same time more closely fit the size of smaller hands and bodies. I'm "hooked" on the super cuteness of these cupcakes. Since my girls are older, I enlisted the help of an eager young girl to help pick out colors, etc. And of course she was the recipient of the first one off the production line for all of her hard work and input.

Neon and Colorful Frosting on White Cupcake, Purple Frosting on Chocolate Cupcake, or Jazzy Blue, Pink & Purple on White Cupcake.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Productive, Busy Weekend

Yesterday's Farmer's Market ~ what can I say? The weather cooperated, everyone was in a happy mood, and in the mood to shop.

Two different views of my booth. This set up seems to gain attention to those who don't want to commit coming into the booth.

One common thread between online sales and Farmer's Markets...the Spa Washcloths and Cotton Bath Puffs are popular. It was off to the yarn shop this afternoon to load up on lots of yarn to replace the sold items (as well as take advantage of the tax free holiday in Vermont) and HOPE to keep ahead of the game for Christmas. Once school starts I won't have as much time to devote to creating.

All 10 of my soap molds were filled this morning with new batches of soap. The house is smelling mighty yummy...like Christmas! I would have kept going and line cardboard boxes with freezer wrap but alas, I ran out of soapmaking oils...for shame!!! Here I've been so worried about my yarn supply that I failed to realize I was extremely low on soapmaking oils!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Oragnic Cotton Bath Accessories

I've had a strong following of folks asking for organic bath accessories, both online and locally. I've been playing with two organic cotton yarns, one that is grown in the natural shades, and one that is grown, spun and dyed according to the Global Organic Textile Standard.

I LOVE the feel of the dyed yarn. The yarn is thicker, fluffier, and so soft. Actually, both are soft but this one wins hands down in my heart. It is a larger ply than I am used to working with, but the bath puff worked up so nicely. This yarn would be fabulous to make into baby washcloths because it is so soft!

The natural shade yarn is a smaller ply than the standard cotton yarn I typically work with. But I love how it feels and it behaves so well!

You can find my organic cotton bath accessories here.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Cake Meets Mr. Turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner

My favorite creation ~ I had to jump all over this one.

My sister and late Aunt shared the same Birthday that always managed to fall right around Thanksgiving. When my kids were little, I took to cake decorating as a means to earn some extra income, and decided to tackle the ULTIMATE Thanksgiving Cake the year their Birthday fell exactly ON Thanksgiving.

The cake was made in the shape of a turkey. 1/2 white and 1/2 dark(chocolate). The frosting was colored and textured to make the cake look just like the turkey had come out of the oven and I had even put some fancy frills on the "legs" to really show it off all the more. There was "Stuffing" made out of white cake protrouding from the "turkey". Surrounding the turkey on the tray there was a "baked Potato with a pat of butter", "peas", and "carrots".

My Aunt was a small and short, but she was a wild spitfire...and a nosey one at that! When she arrived I asked if she thought the turkey was going to be enough to feed everyone. She walked up to the cake, poked the leg and said "That is one tough bird!" It was then that I told her it was actually her Birthday cake. First words out of her mouth, "OH MY GOD!!!!" We heard those words repeatedly throughout the day...and sadly no one wanted to eat the Turkey Cake because they found it to be too fancy to eat.

This post was inspired by The Etsybloggers Team July 21 Blog Carnival. We could choose between two topics.

Theme 1: Your favorite creation. Tell about your favorite creation and share a picture.
Theme 2: It's a heatwave. Tell of things that you do to keep cool or have fun in the sun.

A Keeper's Jackpot - July Featured Etsyblogger

A Keeper's Jackpot is an amazingly talented individual. This absolutely stunning Crocheted Pearl Necklace happens to be my favorite piece.

Keeper is one busy lady. Not only does she create beautiful masterpieces, she also works full-time. AND, she lives in my favorite part of Upstate New York ~ The Adirondacks. In her spare time she likes to hike. If you check out her blog, she tells you to "Follow me on my journey of the fire tower challenge!" Amazing photos accompany the progress of her journey.

Written for the Etsybloggers Street Team ~ Etsyblogger of the Month. I'm glad to be part of this wonderful group.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Arte Y Pico Award

Thanks to Two Zany Zebras for giving me the Arte Y Pico award! This award recognizes a blog's creativity and overall contribution to the blogger community.

Now it's my turn to select 5 recipients!
1. All About Cats
2. Inspired Jewelry by Ann Burke
3. Life, Homesteading & Everything
4. Nature Manipulated
5. Scottie Acres
Once you've been selected, please follow these guidelines and pay it forward:

1) Choose 5 blogs that you consider deserving of this award based on creativity, design, interesting material, and overall contribution to the blogger community, regardless of the language.
2) Post the name of the author and a link to his or her blog so everyone can view it.

3) Each award-winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award.

4) The award-winner and the presenter should post the link of the "Arte y pico" blog , so everyone will know the origin of this award.

5) Please post these rules!

Lotion Packaging Test

I haven't put together any lotion for a while now. Mainly because I have had issues with shoppers coming to my booth and opening every single bottle to test when I had testers clearly marked. I tried using shrink bands and inevitably when my back was turned there were customers that would rip them open to get into the bottles. Who does that???? Frustrating!!! I finally gave up the "free lotion station" to spare the loss of product and keep my sanity.

Lately I have had several customers requesting the lotion be brought back so I came up with an idea that I hope will be a solution to the problem. Maybe if they see the bottles wrapped in plastic and embellished with a bow...kinda gift ready...it will deter them from turning every bottle on the shelf into a tester. Will let you know if my brainy idea works or not.

You can find more of these great lotions here.

In Memory of Brooke Marie Bennett

Today I attended the funeral for Brooke Bennett with two of my kids. My son spends countless hours with Brooke's older brother as best buds for almost 5 years now. We moved here about the same time as their family. My oldest daughter graduated with Brooke's older sister.

One of the ministers mentioned during the funeral that "good will come of this". It is hard to see that good right now, but it is my hope that tougher laws and stronger punishment for crimes like this will come as a result of this tragedy.

The following is taken from the Memorial Card at the funeral:

After Glow

I'd like the memory of me
to be a happy one.
I'd like to leave an after glow
of smiles when life is done.
I'd like to leave an echo
whispering softly down the ways,
Of happy times and laughing times
and bright and
sunny days.
I'd like the tears of those who
grieve, to dry before the sun
Of happy memories that I leave
When life is done.

On the ride home from the funeral we saw media lining up along Main Street. I wanted to reach out and knock over the cameras. Hasn't this family and our community been through enough already? Can we respect the privacy of the family by giving them the private burial that they are entitled to and deserving of?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

30 Recipes ~ 2 1/2 Day - Part 3

This is the last of the highlights from the Healthy Cuisine For Kids Class. If you missed Part 1 & 2 - You can find Veggies here and Meats here.

Asian Sesame Noodle Salad made with whole grain pasta. This one had some kick to it...I think there was a bit of measuring issues with the red pepper flakes, actually.

This dough is amazing. It is a yeast dough that is thick and pourable. It can be used to make pizza crust, or baked into focaccia bread. This one was made with half whole wheat flour, with herbs and garlic granules added to the dough and topped with olive oil and low fat mozzarella cheese. It is so delish that I make this one at home.

Tabouleh salad is my favorite! The flavor combination is fabulous! I find this does not go over well with the majority of students at my school when offered as a choice with the main meal, but it is a huge hit with my vegetarian eaters who frequent the salad bar.

These whole wheat sugar cookies are the bomb! The wheat flour lends a nutty flavor and if you get the right type of wheat flour where you find bits of the grain you can deceive everyone to think there are nuts in the cookies. I'm not a fan of nutmeg, but I can tolerate it in these cookies.

FYI - The Culinary Institute of America writes, reviews, and updates the recipes that the USDA gives all schools as standardized recipes. All of the recipes I have featured between the three blog posts are available to every school that participates in the National School Lunch Program.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Farmer's Market Blues

I've been doing the same market for 4 years now. I have a lot of local patrons that look for me every year in the spring, bring their visiting friends by my booth throughout the summer, and load up with soap in the fall. The location is such that it is in a hot tourist market, and we have been known to have tour buses stop by every once in a while. This year, however, the market has been sparsely attended by shoppers and those that do stop by are just looking. This market has a nice variety of products to offer...baked goods, produce, and crafts of all kinds.

This past weekend the market was bustling with shoppers. I sold a lot of goodies, but no where near what I've sold over a holiday weekend in years past. I have been debating over whether I will continue with this market next year due to the fact that I drive 30 minutes one way.

I was fortunate to have a gentleman next to me on Saturday that invited me to bring my goodies to a Monday market that he set up. It is close to home, and best of all...no weekly fees. Just show up, grab a spot and set up. Can it get any better than that? I figured, it is only a quick jaunt down the road so there was no harm in giving this market a chance.

Showing up 20 minutes before market was set to open is never a good thing. The location is covered in shade trees so I didn't need the canopy (Thank God!). I reduced my inventory to soap, spa washcloths and bath puffs. I was ready in under 20 minutes...shocking considering that I was melting and overheating with the extreme humidity and nice warm heat that accompanied! I set up not expecting to sell much. Well, blow me over if I didn't stay busy, busy, busy most of the 3 hours. Who would have thought!!!

Something rather interesting that made me think...I had several tourists comment they were happy to find a Monday market because they were so busy on Saturday and shopping a Farmer's Market was not on the top of the list. Hmmmmmm

Family, Fun & The Sun

I've had entirely too much sun over the past weekend. My face is red, but not from blushing. Just for the record, I am not complaining about the sun, I LOVE it when the sun is shining!

I have over-indulged with one picnic after the next since Thursday. Couldn't have asked for a more perfect weekend. Today it has turned a bit warmer and the humidity level is climbing right along with the heat. I have a lot of "planned overs" lingering in the refrigerator which means I don't have to actually cook tonight, I can work on other projects, or be lazy if I want to!

It was very special to have my parents here to help celebrate my Birthday this year. Ashley had the brainy idea to invite some friends and family over for a party last night. All good intentions, leaving me to prepare for the occasion. LOL Oh well, I love to cook so I don't mind. We had grilled turkey, grilled BBQ chicken, and all the fixings...except for a cake. Ashley quickly ran into the kitchen and found a lingering Red Velvet Cupcake I had made a few days prior, shoved a candle not intended for B-day cakes into the top, lit the candle and brought it to me as everyone sang "Happy Birthday". We all got a good laugh out of it, and precious memories were created from the experience. Unfortunately, my camera was on vacation yesterday so I have no candids to share.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

With Tears And A Very Heavy Heart

Tragedy has hit our area. Tonight a community was brought together under the most horrifying circumstances. A family greaves the loss of a loved one and a community came together to show their love and support for their loss. One week ago 12 year old Brooke Bennett vanished with few clues. Vermont's first Amber Alert was issued and we have had multitudes of law enforcement agencies and media flooding the area. As the days have gone by and evidence examined, the mysteries surrounding her disappearance have escalated into the worst imaginable discoveries.

Late this afternoon law enforcement found the remains of Brooke Bennett. The hair on my arms stood on end as the public service announcement came over the TV announcing the Amber Alert had been cancelled because the victim had been found. With sad and heavy hearts, the candlelight vigil that was scheduled for tonight turned into a Memorial Service for the victim. I stood with painful tears in my eyes, not even wanting to imagine the pain the mother is going through. My son is close friends with the victims brother and this tragedy has hit entirely too close to home.

RIP Brooke Bennett, and may justice be served to those involved in your disappearance and untimely death. I've created a Treasury in your memory.

Shocking Discovery!!!

We've been working on small projects around the house. Hubby finally painted the upstairs bath (the paint has been sitting there for over a year). And...miracle of all miracles, I found a house underneath all of the piles of dirt and clutter ~ GASP!!! For a while I've felt like my house was looking like Ma & Pa Kettle's and at any given moment expected to see chickens, pigs and cows come tromping through. I've also been accused of taking over the entire house with my soap and crochet projects.

It's just not fair that the cleaning fairies keep skipping over my house. And my maid...humpf...she's fired! I had forgotten that I have a table in the kitchen that could be used for the purpose of eating. And Oh my gosh, there is a room full of furniture in the living room! It is a great feeling to start out the month feeling like I've got a handle on the household chores once again.

With housework complete (for the most part), I need to tackle the outside of the house. My porch is serioulsy looking like a trash heap. It's summer, and I want to be able to sit outside and enjoy the nice weather. My flower beds are in need of weeding (again), and the vegetable garden is looking fabulous!

Before I get too carried away, I have far more important "catching up" with my family. My parents arrived yesterday afternoon to spend a week with us. We always look forward to their visits and will cherish this one even more seeing as this will be the only visit they pay us until next June (Ashley's graduation) due to soaring gas prices.

This post was inspired by The Etsybloggers Team Blog Carnival this week. We could choose between two topics.

Theme 1: Catch up! Now that it's summertime, and you (and/or the kids) are out of school, it's a good time to catch up on those chores, reading list, organizing that etsy shop, etc. What are you going to catch up on, in July?

Theme 2: Your favorite widget(s) and how it/they work, with links, etc.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

30 Recipes ~ 2 1/2 Day - Part 2

More Highlights from the Healthy Cuisine For Kids Class. If you missed Part 1 - Veggies - you can find it here.

Chicken Salad

Beef Stirfry

Taco Bake (made with ground turkey)

Breads and Grains will be next, so keep watching for those delicious treats! OH...and my Birthday is coming right up so I feel another blog contest coming on.....