Monday, August 31, 2009

Zucchini and Homecoming

When Gloria came at the beginning of May we planted a billion zucchini and cucumber seeds, but nothing grew until around July and then it was just one lone zucchini. It grew really big and strong and kept flowering and flowering and never bore fruit. Well, when I got home from my sister's, Rita, who was watching my garden, pointed out that I had zucchini! I swear it waited to grow until Michele was about to come home!! And, as proof, here's a pic of Michele on the couch I made holding a slightly misshapen, but hopefully delicious, zucchini from our garden! Her diktat is that I make zucchini bread for her to take when she goes back out on the road.

Speaking of Michele: she's home (see proof above)!! I went to a truck stop close to my work and picked her up. I got to meet Tom, her driving partner. He's so very nice and proper and Southern. He ma'amed me every other word. "Yes, ma'am, it has sure been a treat haulin' with Michele, yes ma'am, it has." Since I was picking Michele up right after work and we were both hungry we had a very simple dinner, though it was all based on veggies from the garden. I made her roasted green, purple, and white garden beans and Italian quesadillas (tomatoes and basil from the garden with mozarella cheese between two tortillas and then into the quesadilla maker). It's so wonderful to have both zucchinis and Michele home!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Life is So Good

Life is indeed most excellent! I just got home from a weekend jaunt to Pennsylvania to see my niece for her second birthday. She has to be THE cutest, smartest, most independent almost 2-year-old ever! (She was sort of named after me, so I know where she gets it!!) She has the sweetest voice and says the most amazing things, like "Daddy, I would like some more toast, please." and "No, I'm being careful. I don't need any help. I'm fine." Just too clever for words!!

I also got to see my nephew, who has to be THE cutest, most energetic, naughtiest, most adorable almost 4-year-old ever! (He was not named after me, but some of his naughtiness seems vaguely familiar!) He loves to ask "Do you have a problem?" To which the answer should be "Yes, can you help me?" He will then say "No, I can't solve it!" And the game will repeat for about five times until, instead of saying he can't help, he'll sing "If someone has a problem, just give them a hand, give them a hand, give them a helping hand!!" and will give you the best hug ever!! I swear my mom and I played this with him half a million times if not more - it was worth it just to get one of his awesome hugs!! So that he wouldn't feel left out of the gift giving, I brought him a truck just like the one his other Aunt Michele drives and played with it with him about a half million times (it shoots matchbox cars out of its back and everytime we raced he "won." He may get that cheating streak from me, but I think it's from his mom - she used to stay up late memorizing the answers on the back of the trivial pursuit cards and I think she slipped herself extra money when we played Monopoly and she, as oldest, was always the banker.)

To top off the visit, I got to spend time with my sister and brother-in-law, and my mom, dad, and step-mom. It was a treat! I went to PA with one very large, very empty suitcase, and came home with one very heavy (48 pounds!!) suitcase filled to the brim with fabric from my sister's stash!! I traded some jewelry supplies that I've had and would likely never use for more lovely fabric than I imagined!!

And to really put the cherry on top of my life: Michele is coming home!! She was supposed to be here next weekend and called yesterday to say that she'll be here this afternoon, but will now be here tomorrow afternoon, which is so very exciting!! If I were any happier I'd be twins!! (OK, #1: that saying has never made any sense to me, but seemed to really fit my mood today. #2: I cannot think of a way to use today's word, interlocutor, in a sentence and decided that it's my prerogative not to try since it's my personal challenge to use each word every day anyhow.) #3: Thank you all for your well wishes. I am feeling much improved. Flying never helps, but besides some stuffy ears, I am well over my cold!)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Home Sick Today

My saturnine spirit, sore throat, cough, and feelings of general weariness have kept me home from work today. I've actually felt under the weather all week. I do feel better than I did yesterday, though, and hope that I feel even better tomorrow. It is a pretty day today and that always makes me feel better. Being sick when it is overcast and gray is the worst, in my opinion! Feeling bad always depresses me, so laying in bed under my cheerful yellow quilt in my cheerful yellow bedroom with the cheerful yellow sun shining always makes me, you guessed it, a little more cheerful (but thankfully not a little more yellow) (and having a Star Trek to watch helps too)!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I Love Getting Pretty Things in the Mail

I opened up the mail Monday and found a pretty little package inside from this great little shop, Heavenly Creations PGH, which happens to be owned by my big sis. My face aglow with a rictus (the grinning one, not the grimace), I opened the box and look what beauty I found. She made me a key keeper for my new tote! Isn't it divine! I don't actually keep my keys on it, I just use it to decorate my tote! (Mostly because, though I only carry two keys, I have about 15 key chains and all that junk takes away from the lovely key keeper!) Thanks Kym, I really love it!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Not being one to flout convention (yeah, right), I decided to use my garden tomatoes and basil in a very Italian dish: Capellini-Tomato Pie. Oh boy, was it delicious. One would think that it would be no surprise that tomatoes and angel hair pasta would be good. The thing is, the pie is baked in a "crust" of cabbage leaves. I will admit that I was just a bite nervous about the combination of cabbage and pasta, but it was amazing! Tomatoes were really the name of the game in this recipe. I even made my own bread crumbs using sun-dried tomato bread (and then I missed the part of the recipe that said to sprinkle the bread crumbs on the bottom of the pan before layering in the cabbage leaves! I just mixed them with the Parmesan cheese and put the mixture on top - yummy!) The recipe claims that it is better the second day and that is definitely true.
As you can see, I still have a host of tomatoes left, so I may make this again for next week's dinners. I have a couple eggplants (gifts, not grown by me) I may throw in, too, so we'll see how that goes. Mmmmm, I am so enjoying being a gardener!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

And the Winners Are . . .

Everyone! After vetting all the entrants, how could I possibly choose? I mean really! There were ten who entered and if I'd picked eight from those ten, two would be so sad and excluded! I couldn't do that and don't think that would go along with the nature of the giveaway. So, I am really paying it forward and all TEN of you who entered are winners (and subsequently 40 folks after that are winners too, and on and on and on)!! So, this is what I need you to do:
  1. Email me at with your address (unless you are in Rochester (Sara, Paul, Sarah, & Tina) in which case I can hand deliver it (unless you'd like to receive it in the mail - I just love getting mail!!))
  2. Keep it going by following through and paying it forward to four people each - and remember to instruct your recipients to pay it forward, too!
  3. Look out for something absolutely wonderful from yours truly within the next few months.

I am so pleased that you all won! I can't wait to send each of you something great!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Just a Little Note to Say 'Hi'

OK, now I don't want to sound full of myself, but at times I just feel so very creative and clever! This is one of those times. Everytime I make something I think that it's my favorite, but this one really is! I thought that I wanted to make some cards people could send just to say 'hello' and low and behold, I created the Big Fat Hi card! I am so in love with these, it's not even funny - but they are - they just make me giggle uproariously!!


OK, as you may have noticed, I have been trying to use the word of the day in each of my daily posts. Today's word, however, has really stultified me! My goal was to blog about whatever I had planned and just work the word into the post wherever it fit. Well, since this word really crippled, or stultified, my creative blogging process, I decided to write a post just about it and it's affect on me today. And now I can go about my day.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Walking in the Rain

It's hot and now it's raining and I am so tempted to go out for a walk in the rain. After perorating with myself about how lovely it would feel, I've finally decided NOT to do it. Hey, it's after 11 at night and, although it is likely that no one would be out in this downpour to abduct me, if I did get abducted I'm sure I'd never hear the end of it from Michele, and Mum, and Daddy, and Gloria, and Kym, and Joel, and the list goes on and on!

Note (#1): I put a leaky container of baked beans, an ice filled bottle of water, my smoothie, and my milk in my bag today & no wetness on the bag!! I think my design is sound and production will begin!

Mote (#2): One day left to enter the Paying It Forward giveaway!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Overwhelmed with Tomatoes

For weeks, I was fretting about my tomatoes not redding up. Well now I have so many tomatoes, I don't know what I want to do with them! The tomatoes on the counter (please ignore the dishes in the sink) I picked just this morning and the ones on the window sill are ones I stole before the groundhog could get them!

I go out every morning and pick at least ten cherry tomatoes that I take to work with me for a snack. When it was just the cherries and the Juliets, I was fine. I was getting as many as I could eat in one day. Now that the Best Boys are turning red and the cherries, Juliets, and Romas are producing prolifically, I need to get busy! I'm starting a list of what I will make:
Tomato basil salad with the cherries - I usually make often in the summer. It's really simple. No furbelows, just tomatoes, basil (which I have in the garden!), and balsamic vinegar.
The Best Boys will be pasta sauce - same with the Romas of course - and sandwiches.
The Juliets will go in a salad, I think.
And, hmmm, I do have a recipe for a tomato casserole that I've never tried. I'll keep you posted on that one!

By the way (#1): My bag is working out great! I didn't drink my smoothie right away, so it sweat a lot and my bag stayed dry! Yippee!! I'm going to try it out for a few more days just to make sure the design is solid.

By the way (#2): Don't forget to enter the Paying It Forward giveaway. With 8 chances to win, the odds are in your favor!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Something for Myself

I have finally made something for myself. I honestly don't do so often. Usually I am making things for the house or Michele or gifts and now for the shop. One of my faithful followers asked if I could make a tote bag that was lined somehow to protect the bag from moisture from cold food and drinks inside it - sort of a lunch edition of The Perfect Tote. Well, I decided that I would make one for myself to see how well my design works before selling them. I just finished it tonight and am pleased! I made a liner out of vinyl that I attached to the bag with Velcro. That way it can be removed and wiped with a damp cloth and the bag can still be washed normally. Isn't it cute? It's perfect for the smoothie, water, and milk I take daily to work for breakfast. I'll use it for a few days and then, if I'm satisfied, I'll make a few to list in the shop for sale. I'll keep you posted.

Don't forget, you have until Friday night to post a comment in the Paying It Forward post for a chance to win.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Paying It Forward

I have won two give aways and - lucky you!! - eight of you will get to benefit from this propitious occurance. They are pay it forward giveaways, which means that in addition to winning, I need to make others winners, too. There are a few rules, some of which I have bent a bit to make it work in your favor.

Here's how it works:

  1. You must leave a comment on this post. You can leave as many comments as you would like to raise your odds of winning. I'll take entries until Friday night and will randomly select 8 winners on Saturday morning. (It'd be nice if you told me something about you in your comment: i.e. your favorite color, fruit, veggie, fondest wish, etc.)
  2. Before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st you will receive something fabulous crafted by the artisan of The Quilted House - that's me!!
  3. You in turn will be required to Pay It Forward - now here's where I'm bending a few rules:
    • You can pay it forward any way you like, it doesn't have to be handmade, though that would be nice.
    • You have to pay it forward to 4 people.
    • You can find those 4 people anyway you like (pick them randomly from your address book, host a contest on your blog, host a contest on Facebook, find four people at work, however works best for you.)
    • Your four people must also then Pay It Forward.
  4. If you win, you will need to provide me with your mailing address (unless you live in Rochester, in which case, I'll hand deliver it to you.)

OK, that's the deal. Many thanks to Sue at Charlotte's Cottage and Teresa at Sewing Trials for making me a winner so that I can make eight of you winners!! Oh joy! Remember you only have until Friday, so get your comments in while you can!

Featured in a Blog!! Whoo Hoo!!

Hey everyone, guess what? My shop got featured in a blog!! Sono, a fellow Etsy seller, has a blog in which she features a few new sellers every Monday (Newbie Monday). Well, this Monday, she picked my humble establishment to feature. Please check out her post here: Sono's blog. I've actually been following Sono's blog for a week or so now and, in addition to her Newbie Monday, she also has Japanese Friday, which I think is really interesting!

She also has some really beautiful listings in her Etsy shop. Check out this one: Notice the undulation of the chain - very elegant!! (If you click on the pic, it will take you to Sono's shop - ain't technology grand!!)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Culprit

Well, I have always been one to admit when I am wrong. I have been wrong to condemn the bunnies and squirrels. It was not they who were eating all my tomatoes, oh no! It was a groundhog - and I always thought they were so cute! Unfortunately, ground hogs are quite large and, when they are standing up, are able to reach at least midway up my tomato plants. So, the generosity I have displayed in "letting" what I thought were bunnies and squirrels eat the fruit on the bottom of the plants with the knowledge that they wouldn't be able to reach the higher fruits is now moot! The friendly neighborhood groundhog can reach whatever fruits she wants! I will say that when I saw that groundhog plucking up my tomatoes, I had to bowdlerize my mind before being able to generate the family-friendly text of this post. Tomato-stealing groundhogs certainly bring out the worst in me!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Shop Disappearances & Being Fruitful

Things have been disappearing from The Quilted House. No, it's not aliens or anything otherworldly! People have been buying things from me directly! Though my shop says I have had only one sale, I have sold five additional items in the past two days!! This is incredibly good, but it means that I need to get a bunch of things made so that my shop's shelves don't go bare! So, I will be listing new things with as much celerity as I can get them made!

My life has been fruitful in another way, too. My friend Lynne came for a visit to tour my craft room today - great fun! While she was here, I told her about the problem I had with the squirrels taking my peppers and she suggested I pick them green, since they take them before they have a chance to turn red. So, I now have more peppers that I know what to do with (Lynne also brought me some jalapenos, a white bell pepper, and cucumbers, which was very nice, especially since my garden did not produce any of the three!) I am still hopeful that the Best Boy tomatoes will red up soon, though I have given up hope of them doing it with celerity.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Craft Room Tour

Tomorrow a friend who heard a rumor that I have a pretty cool craft room is coming over for a tour. I figured since she's getting one, I'd give you all one, too. It is a pretty cool room, if I do say so myself - and it just happens to be the biggest room in the house (not because I am spoiled, but because I have the most stuff! The sad part is that half of my crafting stuff is up in the attic because I don't have enough room!) If you are interested, click on the pics to zoom in - it's fascinating, I know!

Let's start in my office alcove. This used to be a walk-in closet, but I thought that was a waste, so I took down the doors and made it my crafting office. I have had the desk since I was 10, but painted it orange just a few years ago. It was brown and that was all wrong!

Next we move to the back wall. I love these windows. I get so much light and air - see how my plants flourish! If the Home Depot guy who sold me these shelves saw them he would cringe, but I can't help it. If I see an empty space my soul aches until I fill it!

This is the other part of the back half of the room. It's space for my bead working and sometimes I sit in the polka dot chair and read for inspiration - that is if a cat hasn't already occupied the chair, sleeping furtively.
On the right wall, I house my bolts of batting, frames, glue, and other assorted sundries. I also package up any sold items here.
On the other side of the room, I do all my sewing. This ironing board and iron are primo! I asked for them for Christmas and reminded Michele constantly about them. The ironing board comes up super high so I can comfortably iron standing up without hunching over. And it goes really low so it can be level with my sewing table. I love it!!

This needs no introduction: my closet full of neatly ironed and organized fabric and neatly separated and crated scraps. Sometimes I just stand in here and breathe.

And last, but not least, my sewing area. I adore my sewing machine - another gift from Michele. Whenever I am near her, I am in bliss! After years of working on cast off tables, these work tables were heaven sent! They provide me with a massive amount of work space, but also fold up easily so that I can have a nice big clear space on the floor to work and really large quilts!
Well, that's about it for my room. It is my favorite room in the house and, not surprisingly, the only room I actually enjoy cleaning and clean regularly!
*Note: I would include today's Dictionary Word of the Day in this post, but doesn't refresh it's word of the day at midnight (as it should), so I will have to wait until it is officially today (according the before I will know what today's word is. You will note that I did use yesterday's above (I think it actually was yesterday when I wrote it, too!)

Bug Attack

I have made it plain over the past few weeks that squirrels and bunnies are not my friends. I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned my long-standing antagonists: bugs. Now, I haven't minded them much in the garden - they have a purpose and, plus, that is their domain. I believe that if I leave them alone in their world, they will leave me alone in mine. Well, on my way happily to work this morning, (and it was indeed happily: I stayed up late working on my commission, which was a joyful way to spend the evening, and sold three more items straight off the showroom floor!) a bug attacked my car. Now it wouldn't have been that big a deal as I was inside the car with all the windows shut tight and he was outside the car, but he was clinging to my driver's side mirror right on the other side of the window from me. He was huge, too! He stubbornly clung to the mirror and kept staring at me through the window. Then, when I pulled into the parking lot (after having barely made it to work alive because I was driving so distractedly!) he started cleaning his antennae maliciously and gazing at me in a furtive manner, as though he were preparing to attack me the minute I got out of the car! So, really, when you think about it, he was holding me hostage inside the car, right? Well, I took a series of deep breaths, steeled myself, braved up, and climbed over the seat to get out on the passenger side of the car! No bug is going to get the better of me!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Craft Show

OK, I feel that everything I have ever wanted is all happening all at once and way too fast! The chairperson of a local craft show just emailed me and asked me if I am interested in participating. Oh my! First I grow food right out of the ground, then I get my very first commission for a quilt, then make my very first sale to a non-related individual, and now I'm invited to sell at a craft fair! It's a good thing I am not prone to fainting, because I would be on the ground right now! I feel like a light-headed luminary at this exact moment.

Monday, August 10, 2009

My First Sale - Whoo Hoo!!

Yesterday, I made my first sale from my etsy store! What an amazing end to a roller coaster of a weekend. I had a great day on Friday, but then, that night, I got some very constructive, but negative feedback on my shop, which made me sad. On Saturday, however, some friends invited me to celebrate our friend Jeff's birthday with them. We went to a great place for dinner and then to see 3 Mo' Divas. Oh my, was that wonderful!! They were amazing and really shook me out of my funk! Then, yesterday, some wonderful, wonderful person bought one of the totes I have listed in my shop! It is so very exciting to have sold something! In fact, I'm so excited that I am having trouble breathing!

It is now beyond any peradventure of doubt that something I made with my own two hands will be attractive and purchase-worthy to someone not related to me by blood or marriage - which, of course, does not preclude anyone related by blood or marriage from feeling free to make a purchase, too. (You are not allowed to just wait until Christmas to see if you get that lovely item you have been eying.)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Foolish Endeavors

I believe I have mentioned a time or two that I play football with friends from work on Thursdays. Well, tonight I made a beautiful touchdown - and also twisted my ankle, bent my fingernail, and subsequently my finger, all the way back, pulled myriad muscles, permanently agitated several areas of my spine, and probably jarred something loose in my skull. And why do I play, you may ask. Well, because it is great fun, great exercise, and a great way to work out work-related angst. Also, because we go to my favorite hot dog place afterwards - they have about 30 styles of hot dogs on the menu and will make any one vegetarian - plus they have THE BEST pickles and strawberry rhubarb pie! I always get the Veggie Mongrel hot dog which has sauerkraut, relish, onions, sweet peppers, mustard, ketchup, melted cheese, and veggie chili on it - yum!! So, though I will not be able to walk tomorrow, the touchdown and hot dog, with pickle, fries, and pie, made the effort more than worth it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tomatoes, Two Ways

Yesterday, I ate the juiciest, sweetest, most delicious tomato I have ever tasted. One of my Sweet Cherry 100s was a really vibrant red and I just had to try it. It was like tomato heaven exploding in my mouth.

My Best Boys are very prolific, but still very green. I read some advice that removing some of the fruit will divert all the energy to those left on the vine and they will red up faster, so I made plans to have more fried green tomatoes and came up with a new recipe (if not new, then one I'd never heard of before): Fried Green Tomato Parmesan. It's like Eggplant Parmesan, except with green tomatoes instead of eggplant. Now the only problem was that I had no idea how to make Eggplant Parmesan. I didn't let that stop me, however! I made the tomatoes just as I did before, except I added Parmesan cheese to the flour coating, then fried them up. I also made my homemade pasta sauce - though not with any produce from my garden. Arranged over some angel hair pasta, the Tomato Parmesan and sauce were scrumptious!!

And, regarding the reddening of the rest of the Best Boys, I picked the tomatoes for this recipe on Sunday and when I got home from work yesterday, one of the tomatoes on the vine were tinged with red! So, those few I picked made a sacrifice for their tomato brethren and I ate them with gusto for their valor.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Grand Opening of The Quilted House

Hey everybody! My etsy store, The Quilted House, is now open! I just listed my first few items and have even more to come soon. I am so excited about this!! I'm sure that you can guess from the name that this shop will feature quilted items. I am focusing on cards, bookmarks, and totes right now, and hope to make some table runners, potholders, and placemats in the near future. I also want to have a few small wall hangings and lap quilts. I designed the store banner myself and created the logo for the business. I'm definitely not a graphic design pro, but I think it turned out right pretty! You can now see my store on the side bar of this blog as well - ain't technology grand! I think it updates whenever I list a new item, too. Well, check out the store at and let me know what you think.


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