9.16.2010

inspired indeed

inspiredideas I'd like to direct you to a new online publication called Amy Powers' Inspired Ideas—it's truly gorgeous. You may know Amy already from her Inspire Co. blog and you'll probably recognize many, if not all, of the contributors. I didn't actually contribute a project but I did donate one of my embroidery patterns for use in Piper Wise's article about adding color to embroidery (page 26-28). And I have an ad on page 22, which you'll want to see if you're thinking of ordering embroidery patterns anytime soon (hint—there's a buy one get one free offer)!

You'll also find projects for rick rack flowers, embroidered blocks, pom pom sheep (so cute), and a kitty cat treat bag for Halloween, to name just a few.

So, head on over and show your support for Amy's new project. I promise you're going to love it!

9.11.2010

meet bella

Bella

A few days after we said goodbye to Little Bear another cat appeared at our door. It seems that our area is a prime dumping ground for unwanted cats. It's not too far from the city and it looks more country than it actually is. And everyone knows that cats can fend for themselves in the wild, right? Even ones who've been fixed and declawed and have never hunted a day in their lives. Don't get me started :)

Anyway, being all set up with food and water dishes and bags of food, I started feeding her. Look at that face—how could I not? But she wasn't eating much and seemed kind of sick - maybe a respiratory infection? I took her to our vet, not only to check that out but to see how old she was. Well, she's five or six months old and did have an infection. Which antibiotics cleared up just fine.

Obviously, she can't come inside with my two indoor cats, but we'll set up the winter shelter we made for Little Bear and see what happens. If we have a really bad winter I can move her into the garage.

We've named her Bella because of her tiny vampire-like bottom teeth. Unfortunately, you can't see them in the picture here. Bella, like Bela Lugosi with a nod to Kristin Stewart's Twilight character Bella. And she's crazy with kitten energy so very rarely sits still long to take her picture. I only got this one because she just woke up from a nap. Five seconds later she was careening (that's really the only word that fits) across the patio to chase some birds. Unfortunately, she's gotten quite good at catching them. And I'm not too happy about that. Still, she's a cat and that's what cats do.

9.07.2010

summer in a jar

I had plans to do some sewing today - there's a pile of tissue cozies and mini wallets on my work table that really need to get finished. But, it seems that I never got out of the kitchen. Although our vegetable garden is winding down we're still on overload with tomatoes and beets. Really, I got sick of looking at them all piled up on the counters and table. So, the beets got roasted in the oven, sliced, and topped with an orange sauce. Then bagged up for the freezer.

home canned salsa

And the tomatoes got turned into homemade salsa. This is the first time I tried salsa but it couldn't be easier. I used the Salsa Verde recipe on the Ball canning website and substituted red for green tomatoes. Ball makes salsa seasoning mixes, too, but I had a bunch of hot peppers here and I wanted to have some control over the taste (we like it spicy with lots of cilantro).

So, I peeled and seeded tomatoes, chopped red onions, and serrano and jalapeno peppers. Squeezed limes, chopped cilantro. Washed canning jars. Found the canning pot in the basement. Waited for the water to boil (I know better than to watch it). And finally got five jars of salsa cooling on my counter. And I'm happy to report that the lids popped so I'm positive they sealed. Yeah, canning is a lot of work. When I said the recipe was easy, I meant it, but the canning part takes some effort. Luckily, I have the supplies on hand since I've done a lot of canning in the past.

Can't wait to open these up in the middle of winter for a little taste of summer!

9.02.2010

shop locally

Last week I delivered a new batch of products to Green Being in Scranton—a few pillows (including the cute dog pillow shown here), lots of tissue cozies, mini wallets, pot holders, and some of the new key fobs. Just in time for the new Marywood and University of Scranton students arriving to start classes. And just in time for First Friday on Friday night!

Monday, Monday

First Friday art walks are held on the first Friday of each month at galleries and businesses around downtown Scranton. They all stay open late and showcase local art, photography, music, performance art - you never know what you'll find! Be sure to check out the local restaurants and clubs, too—make a night of it!

vintage fabric key fob

It's tough out there for small businesses these days and I think we should all make an effort to support local artists and keep things in our own neighborhoods when we can. Buy great produce from local farms at the farmer's market (we still have lovely peaches at ours, and the apples are just starting to come in—smells like fall). Attend local functions like First Fridays (or whatever local events your town or city sponsors). Buy gifts at local independent retailers like Green Being, especially if you're looking for something unique, handcrafted, or one-of-a-kind.

My friend Alex, who owns Hello Bluebird, wrote a blog post a few days ago with a love letter to her customers that is so timely and important. She says what I'm trying to say here but much better than I ever could. Read it here.