Friday, April 30, 2010

Free Form Friday: Upcoming Places you can see my wares...

Tomorrow, I'll be vending at the Lawrenceville Little Flea.  As of right now, the weather forecast looks promising, with thunderstorms not anticipated until around 6:00 pm.  As the flea is over at 3:00, you'll be able to shop and even make it home before the storms roll in.
Next Saturday, May 8th, I'll be vending at Oddmall Emporium of the Weird in Hudson, OH.

The following weekend, May 14-16, is the big even I've been busily gearing up for: The Steampunk World's Faire.  Niffer, of 19Moons, is sharing the travel, adventures, and a vending room, with me.  Please feel free to peruse either of our Etsy shops and if you stop my the faire, please look for us and tell us you saw us on my blog.  I'm working on a small, free gift for those who do.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tale Tuesday: Fade Away Part 8 aka A Tale of Two Zombies

The next night, Lyn and Seth find themselves back at the Zombie Zone, sitting at a table along the wall.  They'd barely had time to order coffee, when Vanessa came bounding through the door, with her friend Eric following behind her.  Vanessa immediately went up to Seth, who stood as he saw her approaching.  She smiled, beaming, and gave him a huge, tight hug.  Seth, returned her hug, smiled, and said, "I'm glad you came."

"I told you we'd stop by", then turned to Eric and asked, "Have you met Seth and Lyn?"

Seth turned to look at Lyn, smiled, and answered, "We've seen each other."  He then held out his hand to Seth and shook Seth's hand.  "It's nice to meet you.  Vanessa has told me a lot about you."

Vanessa sits down at the table next to Seth, leaving an empty chair next to Lyn, which Eric quickly sits in.  Seth takes Vanessa's hand, and the two begin whispering to each other, oblivious to anything else around them.  Eric turns to Lyn, smiles, and says, "So, we finally meet.  I wanted to talk to you the first time I saw you, but I had a situation to take care of."

Lyn laughed and answered, "You did look fairly busy.  Vanessa told us a bit about what happened."

Seth suddenly pulled away from his conversation with Vanessa, "I couldn't believe it.  I have had women get upset with me, but never anything like that.  You should be happy she didn't throw the glass."  Then, in a mock godfatheresque accent added, "You want me to, uh, take care of her or somethin'?"

Eric laughed, then answered, "Nah.  I've got it covered.  Thanks, though.  I thought we could still be friends, but I guess she couldn't deal with it."

Lyn, teasingly asked, "Why?  Are you the kind of guy that women can't seem to resist or let go of?"

Softly, but seriously, Eric replied, "I'll let you be the judge of that."

At this point, Seth looses interest in their conversation and resumes talking to Vanessa.

Lyn, slightly sarcastically, hesitantly, asks, "So what do you do when you're not breaking women's hearts?"

Eric, laughs, then answers, "I work for a local theater but seem to be spending much of my time trying to adjust to my new zombie lifestyle."

"Working for a theater sounds interesting.  I used to act, now I just watch from the audience.  I can identify with you needing to adjust to being a zombie.  It's not easy being a zombie."

"I used to act too.  For one of my auditions I recited my favorite soliloquy from Shakespeare:
She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word. -
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
creeps in this petty pace from day to day.
That's all I can remember, though, and I don't remember which play it was from.  I find it oddly fitting, now that I'm a zombie, though."

Lyn's eyes lit up, as much as they could in their undead, decaying state, and she smiled as she replied, "I know it well.  It's one of my favorites too.  It's from Macbeth, right after he learns that his wife killed herself."

Eric is obviously impressed as he says, " That's it."

Lyn begins to recite, finishing the quote, "To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death.  Out, out brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow; a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more:  it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing."

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday Meals with Mincie: Pineapple Grape Koolaid

For summertime meals, Mincie would often make Pineapple Grape Koolaid.  It wasn't anything overly extravagant but always made us feel special and we thought it was one of the most delicious drinks in the world.

To make it, follow the directions on a packet of Grape Koolaid unsweetened powder, omit 1 cup of water and add 1 cup of pineapple juice, stir, chill, and enjoy.

Please share your memories of having this drink or any other comments you'd like to share.

I apologize for the brevity of this post, but it's been a very full and busy day and I'm sadly exhausted.  For once, I simply don't have much to say.  Those of you who know me personally know that's quite the rarity.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Free Form Friday: Gallery Crawl in Downtown Pittsburgh in the Cultural District Tonight, Friday April 23rd

Come see some of my new anatomical oddities and other new items in person tonight, at the Gallery Crawl in Pittsburgh's Cultural District.

I'll be exhibiting my wares inside the Northside Urban Pathways Gallery.  Visit The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust for full details about other stops on the crawl.  You can also download a full Gallery Crawl Schedule Map.

Other members of the Steel Town Etsy Team will also be there exhibiting their wares as well.  Hopefully I'll see several of you there tonight.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thursday Thinking Green: Happy 40th Anniversary Earth Day! 10 Easy Ideas for a Greener World

Show your love for Mother Earth by doing your part to take better care of her.

Earth Day turns 40 years old today, 1 week before my husband does.  I celebrated the day by working outside in my garden, hauling composted soil from my compost pile to one of my veggie patches and then hauling leaves, weeds, and bits of trimmed dead plant material from last year's garden back to the compost pile.

As I was working in my garden, I began pondering ways the average household can easily be more green everyday while saving the green we call money and came up with a few simple ideas.

1)  Ban bottled water in your household.  Instead of buying bottled water, buy a water filtration pitcher and fill your own reusable bottles.  Not only will the water filtration pitcher quickly pay for itself by eliminating the need to buy bottled water, but you'll also reduce your waste.

2)  Like to stop for coffee on your way in to work?  Bring your own travel coffee mug.  Not only will you reduce countless extra cups being discarded (you'd save 7 in just 1 week), some places also offer a discount for doing so.


3)  Help eliminate even more waste with reusable shopping bags.  If you do end up at the store and realize you forgot your reusable shopping bags (sadly, I am occasionally guilty of this), reuse your plastic bags whenever possible, and take any surplus you're not able to reuse to a recycling station.

4)  Pack lunches in reusable bags, with items in reusable food storage containers, and include a cloth napkin that can be washed and used repeatedly.

5)  When cleaning around the house, repurpose worn t-shirts as rags for your cleaning.  We use them as dust rags, for washing walls, spot cleaning spills on floors, and for washing our cars.  Not only will you save money by not having to buy paper towels, you'll also give something that may have been thrown away a new purpose.

6)  Whenever possible, walk or ride a bicycle to cut down on emissions and save on gas.  Not only will you save money on gas, you'll also reap the added benefits of burning a few extra calories.

7)  Find a spot for a compost bin, and compost all vegetative kitchen scraps, coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, grass clippings, leaves, etc.  Not only do you reduce your waste but the composted items result in rich, dark, organic soil that plants thrive in.  I often think of it as free organic fertilizer.

8)  Plant a garden.  Even if you only have room for a few pots of tomatoes on a deck, you'll save money on your food costs and be able to enjoy fresh produce that you'll know is pesticide free.

9) Recycle.  If your area doesn't have curbside recycling pickup, try to find recycling centers near you.  In many areas, recycling centers still pay you for items like tin cans & aluminum cans, though the price for tin is considerably lower than for aluminum.

10)  Save energy and money by installing items around your house like low flow showerheads, CFL bulbs, and even switch timers.  When your household appliances need replaced, purchase those with an Energy Star rating.

I hope you're doing something special to help dear Mother Earth today and would love to hear your thoughts and any easy suggestions you may have.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tale Tuesday: Fade Away Part 7 aka A Tale of Two Zombies

The next night, Seth is sitting at the table in the center of the room, parallel to the window, with a bouquet of flowers under his chair. Anna walks in, sees him, smiles, and approaches the table.  Seth returns her smile, while reaching under his chair, grabbing the bouquet of flowers, then standing and handing them to Anna.  "Hi. I was getting so hungry I was starting to worry that I was going to have to eat these."

Anna beamed, smelled the bouquet, and laughed as she said, "It's a good thing I got here when I did, then.  Thank you!  These are great! I was looking forward to seeing you tonight, but I wasn't expecting flowers."

As they both sat down at the table, Seth said, "I was looking forward to seeing you tonight too."

Anna, smiled and replied,  "I'm glad you asked me out.  No one has ever given me flowers on a first date before. I usually only get them after a fight."
Seth grinned and said, "Stick with me; I'm willing to bet that you'll get them for no apparent reason more often."
Anna said, "That would be nice."
Seth suddenly blurted out, "So, do you want to stay here or go somewhere for dinner?"

Anna seemed slightly off guard as she replied, "Oh, I hadn't really thought about it. Dinner would be nice, though. I didn't have time to eat before I came.  But, could we go somewhere dark?  I'm not in the mood to be stared at."

Seth nodded, "I know a place we can walk to from here that's dark and zombie friendly.  What do you say we get out of here, then?"

Anna, sighing with relief, "Sounds perect!"
The two stand, and walk to the door. As they approach the door, Seth steps in front of her and opens the door, holding it for her.

Anna beamed and said, "Thank you. What a gentleman, I’m impressed.  You may be undead but you definitely get points for politeness."

Seth laughed and they walked out the door and down the sidewalk to an Italian restaurant close by.

They are seated, across from each other, at a small square table covered with a white tablecloth. In the middle of the edge of the table is a lit votive candle. As they sit, gazing into each other's eyes, Seth reaches across the table and gently grasps Anna's hands.  "I just have to tell you that I'm really glad I met you. It's been a long time since I met anyone I was interested in at all.  I'm just sorry I didn't meet you before I became a zombie."
Anna answered, "Well, I'm glad you feel that way. I'm glad I met you too and I don't mind that you're a zombie."

Seth suddenly changed the subject and enthusiastically asked, "Are you close to your parents?"
Anna replied, "My father still lives in Georgia, but my mom doesn't. My parents divorced when I was in high school."
"That's hard for me to imagine. My parents are still together."
"It always seemed like they had the perfect marriage, but suddenly they decided they weren't happy anymore. They're both remarried now and I stay in touch with my father and step-mother, but I never really see or talk to my mother anymore."

Seth, concerned, asked "Why not?"

"I was always close to my father growing up and have always blamed her for what happened. Besides, I don’t get along with my stepfather at all. It’s easier this way."

Seth, still concerned, replied, "I could never do that. I'm really close to both of my parents, and I really admire their relationship. I hope to someday have a relationship like theirs."

"Yeah, well, that's a nice dream. I don't think that really happens much anymore, but I hope you someday find what you're looking for."

Seth smiled, and answered, "Every time I meet someone new, I hope so."

Anna blushed slightly, spoke softly, and simply said, "Oh."  After a brief reflective pause, she added, "I just hope that even though we're zombies we'll have time to find out."

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Meals with Mincie: Mickey Mouse Pancakes

While Mincie did make pancakes from time to time, I actually associate pancakes more with her son Mick, my father.  As I was making these for my boys yesterday morning, I decided they needed to be today's blog feature, even though they technically aren't a "meal with Mincie" item.

There was a period of time when Dad worked an early shift that ended around 3:00 pm and Mom worked a night shift so dinner duties fell to Dad.  At the time, grilled cheese sandwiches and pancakes were his specialties, so we often had them for dinner.  One night, we were presented with pancakes Dad dubbed "Mickey Mouse Pancakes" which were a normal size pancakes with two silver dollar size "ear" pancakes attached.  To be honest, I think they were an accidental creation caused by putting pancakes too close together on the griddle, but he passed them off as something he intended to do and we ate them up (literally).  Since then, pancakes are rarely made in any of our houses without at least a few of them being shaped like Mickey Mouse.  My boys and I have even invented a few shapes of our own.  During the fall we make pumpkin shaped pancakes and during the winter we make Santa heads and snowmen. 

Buttermilk Pancakes
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 cup buttermilk
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

1)  Beat egg.

2)  Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar; add to egg.

3)  Add buttermilk and oil; beat until smooth.

4)  Pour about 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle or skillet, then about 1/8 cup (silver dollar size) at each side of the top of the larger pancake so that they're touching and look like mouse ears.

5)  As the pancake cooks, bubbles will form and pop.  Turn when the popping bubbles start to leave small craters on top and the edges look cooked.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Snippet: Last Week in Review

Once again, life interfered with my visits to this now slightly neglected blog and this past week flew by and was over before I knew it.

Taxes are partly to blame as I waited until almost the last minute as usual and it took me most of Tuesday and Wednesday to complete both my Federal and State taxes.  When I wasn't working on them I honestly had no creative energy and couldn't seem to convince myself that writing blog entries was on the agenda.  So, sadly the only blog posts this past week was the lone Wordless Wednesday entry.

Thursday, I was fortunate enough to have to report for Allegheny County jury duty.  Happily, I was not selected for a jury this time around but I still had to spend my entire day sitting in a room in the courthouse.  Again, the day robbed me of all creative energy so not only did I neglect the blog but also neglected creative projects that have been swirling around in my imagination.

Friday, I spent my morning outside, working in my yard, and getting one of my vegetable beds ready to plant lettuce and snowpeas.  I also spent a bit of time snapping some shots of my Magnolia tree.  A thunderstorm was forecast for the afternoon so I quit working just in time to run to the post office to mail an Etsy order and pick up a few groceries we needed then returned home with about 1/2 an hour to spare before the boys arrived home on the school bus.  I quickly loaded my car for the Lawrenceville Little Flea I was scheduled to vend at on Saturday, then retrieved the boys from the bus stop just as rain drops began to fall.  A loud clap of thunder sent the boys scurrying inside as fast as they could go.  No sooner had they settled in when heavy wind caused a power outage that lasted until a little after noon on Saturday.  The flea market in Lawrenceville ended up being cancelled due to weather, so even that part of my week didn't go as planned.

Now, I find myself at the beginning of a new week, fully intending to make the most of the week.  Hopefully I'll even keep up with my blog posts this week.

While the first picture represented a new week full of possibilities, this one represents the week that was.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Crafting Insanity

As I hastily try to complete as many of the crafty ideas dancing around in my head as possible before this weekend's Art is Alive show, I feel as if I'm too long on ideas and too short on time.  This week has been a creative whirlwind and I feel slightly insane, but more like a mad scientist such as Dr. Frankenfurter, and less like someone who needs to be committed.  My family may disagree, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I apologize for having to skip this week's installment of my zombie tale. I just couldn't find the time to sit down and write it amongst all the crafting chaos.

Some of my creations made lead some customers to believe that I'm truly crafting insane creations, but I'm happy with them, and for me, that's my ultimate barometer of success.  Of course, customer's cash doesn't hurt either.

If any of you are in the Canton, OH area, please stop by the Art is Alive show and say hello.  I'd love to hear your reactions to my crafty creations. 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday Meals With Mincie: Easter Eggs and Potato Salad

Potato Salad is a favorite way to use some of the abundance of colored Easter eggs in Mincie's family.

Easter, during my teenage years, always included a cookout at Mincie's and potato salad was an integral part of the meal.  While Mincie used my mother's recipe for potato salad, I still consider it a part of meals eaten there and feel it needs to be included with the rest of the recipes I associate with her.  Sadly, I couldn't find the recipe, and make mine until it tastes right, so the recipe included today is my best approximation of the potato salad Mincie made.

After last week's Meals With Mincie post, I was talking to my sister, Ann, who reminded me that when we were young the Easter meal was always spaghetti and it seemed like the only time all year that Gram made it.  The spaghetti was always served in two bowls - a large bowl filled with cooked spaghetti noodles and a slightly smaller bowl filled with a meaty marinara sauce, though back then we just called it spaghetti sauce.  Growing up, it was the only kind we knew.  I recall the meal also consisting of biscuits and baked potatoes, though my memory could be faulty.  Yes, I know it's a ton of starch for one meal, but it's what I recall.

Our Dad's younger brother, Mack, would mound his plate with spaghetti about as high as it would go, eat it all and go back for seconds.  The funny thing is, he was quite tall and thin and Ann always wondered where he put it all.

Mincie would also always make something that we could "eat out of hand" as she called it.  Many years it would be Texas Sheet Cake and, as we got older, it would often be Black Bottom Cupcakes.

Christine's Potato Salad
About 10 medium sized potatoes
2 boiled eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. yellow mustard
1 Tbsp. dill pickle juice
2 dill pickle spears
1/4 cup white, sweet onion
2 stalks of chives

1)  Peel potatoes, dice them into approximately 1 inch cubes, cover with cold water, bring to a boil, and cook until tender.

2) Peel and chop the boiled eggs.

3)  Dice dill pickles and onions.

4)  In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, dill pickle juice, dill pickles, and onions.  Set aside in the refrigerator until potatoes have cooled.

5)  Once potatoes are cooled, add to the egg mixture and stir until combined.

6)  Wash chives, then finely snip them over the top of the potato salad, using a pair of kitchen shears.

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