Friday, February 27, 2009

TNO, yo

Troy Night Out time again, kids! Yep, another month has come and gone...already. Where does life go? We're not up to a whole lot in the shop this time around. No big sales, but there's a bunch of new art for sale (both on the walls and in the gallery), new onesies and t-shirts for kids, Laura from Birds are Beautiful brought in some incredible new merchandise, I've been busy with jewelry (no new sewing this time around, unfortunately), my mom brought in a few new kid's items and some new jewelry...the list goes on and on. Tonight we'll be serving the two staples: Caramelized Onion Dip and Sundried Tomato Dip, plus a new staple, Salsa Verde Dip. I made the Salsa Verde Dip for last month's TNO and it was a hit. People loved it. I'll include the recipe at the end of this post. Oh! And I shouldn't forget the Jalapeno Popper Dip. Not sure about this one yet, as it's the first time I've made it and it's chilling in the fridge. That wonderful flavor exchange thing that food does overnight, the thing that just makes everything taste so much better, is working in my favor, I'm sure. We shall see. In addition to the dips, we'll have Pat's amazing brownies (get there early because the brownies FLY out of there quickly), some fruit breads, veggies and dip, and various other munchies. Ben will be manning the wine, in his usual post. We're featuring paintings by Joseph Yetto and Alee Corbalis in the gallery. I'd like one of each of their paintings, please! Great stuff.

That should cover it. Come on out tonight! If you've never attended a Troy Night Out event before, you're in for a treat. Not sure if the weather will hold, but it's worth a shot. And next month's TNO is officially named "Kid's Night Out", so bring the whole family in March.

Here's the Salsa Verde Dip recipe. So simple. Make it in your food processor or blender and try not to gobble it all up before you serve it. I can only imagine how amazing this would be on fish or chicken, or smeared all over a burger. Mmmmmm.

Salsa Verde Dip

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 jar of tomatillo salsa (you can use anywhere from 7 0z. to a full jar, depending on how loose you want the dip to be)
1 bunch fresh cilantro
Freshly ground black pepper
Ground cumin
Garlic powder
Lime juice

Roughly tear up the cilantro with your hands and put it in the bowl of the food processor. Pulse a few times until the cilantro is minced into little pieces. I use the stems, too, because they actually have more flavor than the leaves. Don't worry, no one will notice. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl, and use as much or as little of the pepper, salt, cumin, garlic powder and lime juice. I used a generous sprinkling of pepper, salt, cumin and garlic, and the juice of 1/2 of the lime. If you like it limier, use the whole dang thing. It's your call. Blend the ingredients until smooth and test the flavor. Adjust your seasoning according to your preference...if you want more of a sauce to serve over meat, add more salsa. If you want a thicker dip, only use about 1/2 to 3/4 of the jar. Pop that baby into a serving bowl and chill it. And watch everyone fall in love with you when they devour it. It's that good.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What you wear from ear to ear

So, I've gotten the second e-mail from the second person reminding me that this blog has become a den of slack. I know a few out-of-towners rely on my posts to keep them in the know when it comes to what goes on in these parts, and I'm sorry for being so slow with the posts lately. I've been plenty busy, but nothing I've been doing warrants a blog post about it. I'm a boring gal, what can I say? So, for times like these, I'll simply fill the void in a constructive way, or at least as constructive as I can be under pressure. I'm going to follow in the footsteps of many other bloggers and post a "favorite things" list when the going gets rough, or in this case, when decent subject matter is lacking.

So, dear readers, I give you a list of the things that have made me smile today:

1. A trip to see my dear old friend Taryn. Ladies and germs, I've officially gone four months without a haircut or an eyebrow waxing. Gross, I know. Taryn just had her third (yes, third) baby and took what felt like an incredibly long maternity leave. I wouldn't dare let another soul touch my head because Taryn has been the only one in charge up there for many, many, many years. I just don't trust people enough for that. So I waited. And waited. And in the meantime my head grew furrier and furrier, and I let my bangs grow down into my eyes to cover up the caterpillars I called eyebrows. I finally managed to get in to see her today and I'm happy to report that I'm all cleaned up and presentable again. If any of you noticed, I apologize. It was bad, and I'm sorry.

2. My dear Ben, who accompanied me on the voyage for said haircut. I know he was busy and should have been home working and yet he took the trip instead. Such a fantastic man.

3. This soap. I'm a bit of a soap whore and despite the fact that frequent changes in brand really messes my skin up in a major way, I can't help but try different things whenever I possibly can. I'd been threatening to buy this soap at Fo'Castle Farms for close to a year now, and just never did. It smells so good and I broke down the last time I visited Fo'Castle and bought the stuff. Mmmmm, Lemon Verbena, one of my very favorites. Oh, and I'd be lying if I said one of the main reasons I love the scent wasn't because Laura Ingalls Wilder frequently mentioned it. I'm a Little House dork like that.

4. This video by a newish favorite. Sam Amidon has one of those voices that just sounds so...haunting. Love it. And the puppets in this video really make me smile. If you're not familiar with Sam, take a listen to the album "All Is Well". You'll thank yourself for it.

I guess that's it for today. What made you smile?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I'm totally absorbed in making jewelry lately and I haven't really been doing much else. I've been getting some really great feedback from customers and it seems as though as soon as I make a piece (whether it be a necklace, bracelet, earrings, etc.) and put it in the display case, it sells right out from under me. I'm thrilled! I'm also really excited to have that anxious and eager feeling to make stuff again. I realize now that creativity was what was missing from my life. I wasn't making anything that interested me. It feels good to make things that I like, and things that my customers like, too!

I'm struggling with taking pictures of my work, though, and I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions on set-up. Do you use a lightbox? Are there magical picture-taking clues out there that would help me take stellar photos of jewelry? I need help because the photos in this post are a perfect example of what I'm dealing with now. They're just not cutting it. Any pointers you can give me would be greatly appreciated.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Drumroll, please!

The winner of the contest from earlier in the week is.......


Congratulations! I don't have your contact info, though, so please send your e-mail address to and I'll get your prize out to you.

Thanks to all of you for playing along. That was a lot of fun!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine's Day Can Kiss My Pasty White Buttocks

My least favorite holiday of them all! Despite whether I was single or attached, I've always despised it. Humbug! Hope wherever you are, whether you're alone or stuck at the hip, you have a great day nonetheless. It's Saturday and you can't go wrong with that.


spring. sprang. sprung.

Have you had the chance to look through the newest issue of Martha Stewart Living? Yes indeed, the March issue is out. That's when I know that Spring is just right around the corner. Don't get me wrong...I've noticed little hints of the new season popping up all over. Temperatures here were close to the 60s over the past few days. The light shining through my windows is much brighter and livelier than the dull grey light of winter. I woke up this morning and looked out the window and a tiny little robin was perched next to the remains of the dingy snow, digging up worms. And I'm sure we've all noticed that 4:30, 5:00 and now even 5:30 at night comes and goes and there is still a little daylight remaining before everything goes dark. These are all good signs that warmer weather and longer days are coming soon.

The newest issue of Martha arrived in the mail yesterday, stuffed tightly into the mailbox next to countless seed and bulb catalogs. I've been slowly and carefully browsing through it this morning. It is, quite possibly, her most beautiful issue yet. The entire magazine is devoted to gardening, or at least the beginnings of gardening season. It got me thinking about my own little garden. Since we bought our house a few years back, we've planted things here and there, but mostly it is a work in progress. When I worked for Verizon, several of my coworkers, seasoned gardeners themselves, used to bring in cuttings, bulbs, seedlings and shoots to share with me, and I admire their new growth every year since they were planted.

Nabua, knowing full well about my obsession with Columbine, brought me some uprooted wild Columbine three years ago and it has since gone from a single plant to gigantic clusters of red spiky beauty. Another friend, knowing full well about my insane love for lilacs, gave me a small shoot from her gorgeous bush and it has given me flowers since it was planted. It gets a little bigger each year, strong and resilient. Nothing can compare to the smell of those flowers. Upstate New York is known for its prolific lilac seems everywhere you go you can find them in full bloom in the spring. And I can't wait.

This year I'll be trying my hand at a full herb garden. I've grown herbs in the past with decent success, but I think I might give it another shot this time around. Eating healthy food is really one of the only resolutions I made in late December that I've actually stuck with, and there's nothing quite like taking a few short steps into your own backyard to harvest the ingredients for your meal. Besides, I cook with fresh herbs constantly, so I think some basil, chives, cilantro, tarragon, thyme (lots and lots of thyme of all varieties), rosemary, and maybe even some oregano would work well along side my perennials and veggies.

Anyway, I feel like I'm in a daze today, dreaming about spring. The smells. Clean rain. Fresh air. New growth. Green as far as the eye can see. The return of birds. Open windows and silky sheer curtains billowing in the breeze. Lighter layers. Bare feet. Crocuses. Digging toes and fingers into the cold soil. Relaxing while spending time outside.

What are you planting this year?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Birthday spankin's squared

Here's wishin' a very happy birthday to two of the raddest men in history, Chuck Darwin and Honest Abe!

Oh, and if you haven't already, don't forget to post your Top 5 list in the comment section of the last post for a chance to win on Saturday, mmmmmkay?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A challenge and a prize

So Ben hooked me up with a sweet sound system in the kitchen and I essentially have an endless supply of music at my fingertips while I'm cooking, cleaning, or just spending time in my favorite room in the house. Being married to a computer guy with access to unbelievable amounts of music, I now have access to a music collection that would knock your socks off. I feel like a kid on Christmas morning, playing with my new toy until I just can't anymore, and loving every minute of it.

At the same time, I've been thinking about music, its impact on my life, and the weird way that certain songs (or even albums in their entirety) can bring me back to places and times in my past that were both pleasant and not so pleasant. The Breeders' "Pod" album, for example, brings me back to a night when I was still in high school where a bunch of my friends crammed into another friend's bedroom and just spent time talking and enjoying the company of one another. We stayed up all night listening to that album over and over and over again. I love the way that the first few notes of that album brings me back to that night and sends the most vivid memories swirling around in my brain. There are many albums like this.

And so I've started compiling a list of the most influential albums in my life. Man, that's tough. Never one to step away from a challenge, I'm still working on it, although I'm struggling. I get a top ten list assembled, one or two selections away from completion, and then five more pop into my head and I have to start all over again. Positioning is another issue. What makes one album sit at the #2 slot as opposed to the #3 slot is a mystery, and I'm trying to think long and hard about it before my list is complete.

And so, dear P&B readers, I invite you to participate in this challenge of mine. Make up a list of your top five albums of all time. Albums that have influenced you, albums you feel should be a part of everyone's collection. Leave your list in the comments section of this post and I'll choose a list at random (we'll let Lola do that). The selected list will win a prize (we'll pick a winner on the 14th). Are you up to it? Don't be shy! I'm interested to see what you come up with, although I have a feeling some of you are going to remind me of albums I've totally forgotten about and I'll be at square one all over again!

Have fun!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Got 'em.

Tickets are in the mail. Look out, Ithaca! Heh.

what the...?

Words of wisdom, I suppose.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I need dudes!

Not for my own personal use, per se, but we need volunteers for this year's Walk A Mile event! If you participated in the walk last year I better see you there again this year. And if I didn't see you there last year, I better see you there this year. I'm kidding, really, no need for threats. But I wish you'd consider it. We had such a great time last year and it's such a wonderful cause. If you're interested, please let me know. Thanks! Oh, and go here (at the end of the post) for commentary and photos from last year's walk.

Monday, February 2, 2009

bad blogger

I've been a very naughty blogger lately, I know. But honestly, I haven't had much to say and I haven't been up to much so I thought I'd spare you from the boring and mundane.

After Troy Night Out on Friday night, I settled into slowpoke mode and didn't do much of anything. We're not Superbowl people at all (only boxing and hockey allowed in our house!), so instead we decided to mingle with the other anti-football people and headed to the movies. I was surprised at how busy the theater was considering how popular the Superbowl is, but hey, we can't all be fans of the sport, right? Ben and I saw The Wrestler, which was good, but I didn't think it was anything spectacular. Aronofsky directed The Fountain, one of my top three favorite movies of all time, so I figured he couldn't go wrong here. Major props to Mickey Rourke for pulling it together after all these years...he did a fantastic job. But dude, what did he do to his face? People in this country really have to lay off the Botox and plastic surgery, but I'll save that rant for another post. Anyway, yes, the movie was decent. Certainly not my favorite, but okay. I loved the way it ended which is totally rare for me. I'm a huge movie buff, but most movies leave me disappointed with their endings.

I spent Monday bumming around the house for the most part. I woke up to a dead torso after enduring 65 pounds of Labrador/Pitt Bull slammed against it all night. The dog and I mozied our way out to the living room, while motivation kept right on going out the door. We spent the morning on the couch watching Funny Games, a movie that I particularly enjoyed, mostly because it freaked me the "F" out. Horror movies don't scare me, if only because they're comprised of make-believe and things that just don't happen in real life. Movies like Funny Games, or others like it, well, they scare me. These things can and do actually happen in the real world. Anyway, from what I've read, people either totally loved or completely despised this movie. I can see why. I'm on the "love" side of the spectrum, but I almost wish I had watched the original, 1997 Austrian release of the movie first. Apparently the folks who created the remake kept the original dialogue and recreated the entire set, but they switched it up by adding Tim Roth and Michael Pitt (two of my favorites), and Naomi Watts (who strips down to her skivvies, for all you boys). It was funny, it was disturbing, it was somewhat gory, and gosh darn it, I loved it.

Here's the trailer:

And go here for one of my favorite scenes from the movie.

Sooooo, that's the excitement here. See why I haven't updated the blog lately? Not a whole lot of fun going on. I'm still making bags and jewelry, and sold 3 bags, 2 bracelets, and 12 pair of earrings at TNO. That's enough motivation for me to keep going. I didn't take a whole lot of pictures before I sold this stuff, but I'll leave you with a few shots of what's left after everything was picked over. Hope you crazy kids are well!

I made three of these bags and two sold...this is the only one left. I love the shape.

Whipped up a few little totes just to fill in the empty spaces on the wall.