Saturday, October 30, 2010

Leaving to Washington DC

In the planning for a little while now,
tonight I'll be leaving for a small 4 days trip to Washington DC.
It's not a vacation or anything like that
(I have to go there to take care 
of some personal business),
but since my brother and sister-in-law
are going with me,
we are aiming for a whole day
to visit the National Mall and surroundings.

besides being busy
 with paperwork and whatnot's related to the trip,
I've also been working in some projects.
Yesterday morning
I made a envelope pouch and a bag intended for this trip.
The pouch is to carry around in the subway,
small but enough for the wallet and cellphone.

It's a small quilted pouch,
 with velcro closure,
to carry at the front of your body
while traveling.
The other one is a raggedy tote,
dots and blue tones,

with a fringe at the top.
I'm happy with them both,
and specially because I didn't spend any extra money
(all I can save is good, right?),
only a bit of time and materials that I already had.

And that's it for today.
Hopefully I'll have lots of pics
to show and blog about when I come back.
Till then!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

How I made a "Princess Vampire Cape" from a Skirt

Yesterday there were warnings and alerts of tornadoes all evening long.
I have to confess I got a little scared,
but fortunately everything went alright,
wind and rain but no touchdowns. 
It seems it was real bad around us, and in other states too.
This is what it looked like yesterday around 5:30 pm
at the top of my driveway.

yesterday I've finally sewn the "Princess Vampire Cape" for my niece.
She had asked me a few weeks ago if I would make her one.
So, I went to a thrifty store
and found a plus size black skirt, taffeta like material,
and thought that would do the trick.
Cut it open in one side (zipper side)
and serge it all around.
Insert a string in the waist band to form the collar 
 and use heat-bond to applique some felt bats.
A little glitter... et voila!
That will complement well her princess vampire costume, don't you think?
She seemed to be real happy with it, as did her dog!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Seafood Mix Stew

I went to Sam's last week
(I haven't been there in a long long time).
For those of you who don't know
Sam's Club is a chain store from the same company as Wall-Mart
that sells in bulk (very competitive prices) and one need to pay
a yearly member's subscription
to be able to shop there
(thus the name Sam's Club).
I bought there a seafood mix package
that is not easy to find around here.
It had octopus, squid, mussels and crab meat. 
As you can see the mix is intended for paella and is quite a large package.
Oh boy, I was happy!, and couldn't wait
to cook something that would take me back to the old flavours from home!
And so I decided to prepare a seafood
kinda stew with boiled potatoes.

For the ingredients (servings would be good for 2 or 3):
  • about a pound of seafood mix
  • 1 big onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic gloves
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 medium potatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • parsley
Start by chopping the onion and the garlic really fine.
Pour 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a medium sauce pan
and add the chopped onion plus garlic.
Stirring often, let it cook slowly, till the onion gets soft and translucent.
Add the diced tomatoes
(you can use fresh tomatoes, about a cup, or canned like I did)
and let it slowly simmer for about 15/20 minutes.
Then add the seafood mix and let it cook
(medium low)
for about 20 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper to taste,
even some red hot pepper if you like it.
Meanwhile, boil the potatoes,
cut in 4 pieces lengthwise,
for about 15/20 minutes.
Place the potatoes on the plate
and pour some stew on top.
Sprinkle with parsley.

It sure fitted that spot and cravings from the old country!
Bon appetit! 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Selling crafts at a Church Bazaar

Today's post it's all about a craft sale event. 
I've been busy all week long, 
trying to get everything ready for this bazaar.

It was a very small event at a cute little Baptist Church
back in the way to the Smoky Mountains.
Beautiful little Church,
with just the enough look and taste from the past
and very nice people, as in good tradition of East Tennesseans.
Tough I had meant to take pictures of the surrounding scenery,
the good intentions just flew away
as soon as we got there.
 Just had enough time to set up the tables and display the items
and then you just can't abandon your stand, right?
I was invited by a beary nice lady
(lol... promoting my beary nice stores... lol), 
whom I just recently met,
but honestly one of the nicest gentle persons I've ever known.
Also she is very talented and skilled to socially interact,
something I regret to say I was not very good at, ever.
Somehow I always lacked the ability for small cordial talk,
chit chat about this and that...
My husband J was very good at it too
but not me.
Back to the craft bazaar.
It was a very small event, six artisans total,
some good southern food prepared by church members
(hm-mm.... tough I don't eat meat, I just love the smell of the smoke
and the fire on the pit).
It was really cold when we got there
(I'm talking freezing cold on the shade)  
 and the fire was already going, which made it much more attractive to me.
Here's a couple pics of my tables.

Like I said I wish I was not so socially shy
and had taken pics of the other stands too, but I didn't.
I made some sales,
and I've learned that if you intent to sell in a small craft event like that,
you do have to have small cost little items!
Most of the things I make
are long time consuming to create
and not eligible for a couple dollars sale price.
But my work was very appreciated,
people would ask questions and compliment it,
my bags and the Lolita Dolls,
as well as the Christmas ornament quilted balls, 
were really popular
tough people would give up after checking the price.
But promoting and getting known is as important as selling a lot, right?
Overall I'm happy I did participate,
I had a good time and was out of the house for a whole day long,
for the very first time in more than 6 years.
And that felt really good.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cod Fish in Portuguese Iconic Cuisine

Today I thought about sharing some facts with you ...
... about something.
For my last BD (past week)
I received a package
from my sister in Portugal (thanks again sister) with...
... cod fish!
I bet you all very surprised that I got cod fish by mail!
Eh eh eh... I knew it!
And that's the reason this post is all about salted cod fish
(bacalhau, in Portuguese).
From my life experience in Tennessee,
nobody here has ever really seen or known about salted cod fish.
But in Europe and specially in Portugal, dried salted cod fish
is the most usual way of buying this so delicious and healthy fish.
It will keep for quite a while in this salted condition,
if properly rapped and kept in a dark not too hot place.
So... how do you prepare salted cod fish...?
First... it needs to be soaked in water,
for at least 24 hours,
and the water needs to be changed a couple of times
(to remove the salt).
After being soaked, it looks like this,  
 and it's ready to cook or to freeze.

Here you can find a direct link
to the wikipedia pages for salted cod.
It has a pretty good description
and does refer a little bit
the important role of the Portuguese in the processing and use of salted cod.

Since my early childhood
 salted cod was part of every weekly menu.
It's said the Portuguese have more than a 1000 ways to prepare salted cod.
I will not say I know the all thousand ones... but I do know a few.
My favourite however is the Portuguese Cod Fish Stew
(aka Caldeirada de Bacalhau),
and you can find the recipe on my Recipe Box.
Also on my Recipe Box there's a Fish Casserole
(aka Bacalhau a Bras)
that I've published sometime ago.
I do believe those two are the most famous Portuguese recipes
for salted cod,
or so I do remember from my childhood.
But this time I've decided to make my own version of another famous Portuguese recipe Bacalhau a Lagareiro.
There really isn't a translation for this,
but I'll do my best...
The word lagareiro comes from lagar,
which is the place where olives are crushed in a huge press to make olive oil...
so, lagareiro it's the name given to the man who operates the lagar,
 thus the name for the recipe Bacalhau a Lagareiro 
(you'll get it better as soon as you read the recipe).
my version of the recipe differs from the original because
in Portugal
this dish is made with small new unpeeled potatoes
(I didn't had any)
that you slightly smash with your fist as they come out of the oven...
(batatas a murro).
The garlic and the olive oil give it a heavenly flavour!

Now to my version of the recipe.
You'll going to need (for 2 servings):
  • 4/5 medium potatoes
  • 2 pieces of cod fish
  • 1 head of garlic gloves
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh lemon, parsley
Slice the potatoes not too thin, maybe about one inch slices.Start by placing the cod fish pieces on a baking dish
(large enough to accommodate both the fish and the potatoes).
Place the sliced potatoes around the fish.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Crush the garlic gloves, thinly sliced,
and sprinkle over the fish and potatoes.
Generously pour olive oil over potatoes and fish.
Put in preheated oven at 425 degrees for about one hour,
or until slightly tan
(the garlic will get a bit dark).
I've covered the pan with foil for about 45 minutes, and then uncovered and switched to broil for about 5, 10 minutes.

Squeeze a little fresh lemon over, and sprinkle some fresh parsley if you like it.
You can also serve with some roasted bell peppers.
Yummy!... it is good!...

Giveaway - packages on their way

The week has been busy so far,
and it looks like it will keep busy.
Which is very good.
The kitten is growing fast, not only physically
but also  for the cuties and smartness... lol...
He (or she?) is a little rascal and does make me smile a lot,
specially when it tries to sneak on me.
It's favourite spot to snuggle and sleep is on my chair,
when I'm working either at the computer or sewing!
Here's Baby
(that's what I've been calling it),
begging to come up to the chair!
Who can resist its eyes?

the pouches are on their way to the winners.
Last Monday I've mailed the giveaway prices,
and once again I would like to thanks everybody who participate.
It was lots of fun and excitement to promote this giveaway
and I'll repeat the experience soon, and that's a promise!

And that will be it for now.
I'll see you all soon!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Giveaway winners

The past week was a busy one,
divided between sewing, craft projects
(I have a craft bazaar coming next Saturday)
the online stores, the kitten and the girls...
... didn't get any time left for blogging.

But today is the 16th,
and the giveaway I've been promoting 
was over yesterday @ midnight.
I want to thanks everybody that participate
and left a comment.
I wish I had a prize for each one!...
Oh well... after the random sorting...
(I've used Randomizer, as you can see)

... the lucky numbers are...

- 13 Carmilla said... I follow via gfc as Carmilla
 - 14 Moncsi said... Szia! Tetszik az oldalad, sokat járok ide. Szeretnélek megajándékozni valamivel ezért kérlek nézz be hozzám.
Szia Moncsi
- 33 Rochelle said...
Just dropping by to leave a comment for the giveaway and to say hi :)
Congrats to all three
and thank you all for your comments!
I'm emailing the winners and will be shipping the prizes
as soon as I have mailing addresses.
And for now this is it.
Have a good one
and I'll see you all shortly!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Giveaway - seven days left to enter and win!

Once again,
I've been up since 3:30 AM!
I reckon that's the price to pay
for becoming a little kitten adoptive mom!
The little bugger
wakes me up 'cause he wants to eat
but what it really wants is to play!
Oh!... and he is good, really good, at hide and seek!
Of course, he's asleep now and me... I have to fight my own yawning just to stay awake!

Now about the giveaway...
... you still have 7 more days to enter
and win
one of my 3 Tunisian crochet handmade pouches.
The last day to enter is next Friday, October 15,
and I'll announce the 3 winners  on Saturday, October 16.
It's easy to enter,
just leave me a comment about what you like the most,
either about my blog or about my BearyNiceCrafts Etsy shop.
That's it!
Go ahead, and click here to enter!
And don't forget to leave your email
so I can contact you if you win.

On another note,
I've been keeping myself busy
(kinda forcing myself a little bit, but busy is definitely good).
I've finished two more totes,
a new polka dot series, with patchwork applique,
and I think they came out really nice.

Soon I'll be listing them on my

And that's it for today.
You all have a good one!