Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Favorites for the End of the Year

Pearl Necklace - TulipsTreasureBox
Beautiful Dreamer Silk Scarf - MysticSilks
Burgundy Pleated Bag - daphnenen
Grey Crocheted Choker - Magdalinen
Victorian Necklace/Bracelet - perfectlydivine
Handspun Yarn w/Ribbon - Weirdandtwisted
Beaded Necklace - TopCat
Ruby Earrings - Malves1009
Magnolia Booties - FrostingCouture

Capo D'Anno: Buon Cibo

Capo D’Anno (New Year’s Day): A Special Italian New Year’s Day Recipe

I have recently become friends with a mother of one of my son’s friend Elizabeth. Her mother, also Elizabeth, and Pia, Francisco, and Pasquale (her other children or should I stay adult children) come from Rome. I love listening to her stories about her parents, and growing up in Rome. She moved here when her daughter Elizabeth was 14. Not only do I love her stories, but love when she invites me for lunch, which is always something delicious.
A few weeks ago she asking me if I knew where she could get some sausage called, Cotechino, which I admit I had never heard of before. She explained it is only made for New Year’s. It is a large pork sausage which can be cooked in a sauce or mainly in Lentil soup. So I figured it I would find it anywhere it would be Arthur Ave, a small, very Italian neighborhood in the Bronx, where most people still speak their Italian dialect. When I took Elizabeth there for the first time, she was elated to be able to speak Italian to all the shopkeepers. They have the best markets, where everything is made fresh; from their Italian pastries to the Olive Loaf Bread. Even better are there restaurants, and small cafes which serve the best Cappuccino!
Anyway, I did find the “Cotechino” sausage, and last night made Italian New Year’s Lentil Soup with this very large sausage.

Here is a great recipe to try and very easy to make!
Boil one bag of Lentils in 8 cups of water, (half of which use Chicken Stock). Continue boiling for 45 min.

While that is boiling; sauté in olive oil, celery, carrots, 1 large onion and 2 cloves of garlic.
Drain then add this to the boiling lentils, and chop up 2 tomatoes, and 1 bay leaf then add to the soup.
While this is cooking, heat the Cotechino sausage then cut into slices and sauté in a pan until golden brown.
When cooked through, add to the soup and let simmer for another hour.
When serving, add a bit of fresh grated parmesan cheese on the top.
And of course, you must have nice fresh homemade Italian bread, and a glass of Chianti to finish off the meal! Eating this on New Year’s, is a sign of good luck for the rest of the year. Buon Cibo (good eating!)

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Christmas Pageant 2008

Although I love all the designing and crafts I do, nothing is more rewarding to me than our annual Christmas Pageant. I have been involved in working with the Children's Masses for 18 years. The culmination of our work leads to the Christmas Eve Pageant. I started when my children were very small, and attended our Parish School, Sacred Heart in Hartsdale, NY. Now several years later, although I am still involved, it is rewarding to see my daughter as the Director of the Pageant for the past few years (she somehow has a special gift with children!)
We usually begin the planning in early October. Of course, every parent wants their child to be the star of the show! So that is our main obstacle to overcome. Once all the main characters are chosen (Mary, Joseph, Wisemen, angels, etc.), without any hurt feelings or comments from some parents; the practices begin. Besides helping my daughter with the staging of the children and doing costumes, she begins her directing. The children range in age from 3 (which are the little angels) to age 12. The older children get the main parts, which gives the other children an incentive to work up to each year. Oh sorry, I should mention, our youngest participant is only 3 months old, playing the "Infant Jesus." We have a wonderful Children's Choir who do all the singing throughout the play. As with any play, once the children put on their various costumes, their whole demeanor changes. They suddenly assume the role they are portraying. A lot of credit goes not just to the Director, but to the small group of parents who dedicated themselves each year working on the Pageant. They each automatically assume the positions they have had each year. One assembling the little angels, another for the shepherds, and still another for the Wisemen, and drummer boy and girl. It is team work that makes this so successful. The success is well noted as the Narrators (children grades 5-7) begin to tell the story of the Nativity, and you look at the smiles on the faces of each parent. Although our little angels, who I said are mostly 3-4 year old's, completely steal the show; the other children are so professional, and kneel so reverently as they portray, Mary and Jesus from the time they are approached by the Angel Gabriel, to the birth of Jesus, and the arrival of the Wisemen. The final scene is the little Drummer Girl (this year we had 2 Drummer girls, not to hurt anyone’s feelings, and the Drummer Boy who walk so very slowly down the center aisle playing their drums while the choir sings 'The Little Drummer Boy,". The most adorable thing is not only watching them, but watching the little angels singing their hearts out - pa rum pum pum pum, I could continue talking about the beauty of the children in the Pageant, but the pictures tell it all.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Pluggers! Unite

Meet “Plugger’s United”! We are a new group, in fact we just started last week, through the many efforts of Rod from “Blockhead Rod’s Radio”, and my favorite little witch, “agoodwitchtoo” . Although our group is a creation of the many artists from Etsy, of which we already (as of today) have 27 members, we are already united as a group supporting each other. Thanks to the exposure we as Etsian’s (Bloggers Team) have gained through Rod and Allison’s exposure on their Radio station, we hope by tomorrow to have made our “Plugger’s” an official team on Etsy.
Who are we? “Pluggers United are artisans for artisans”....working together to can gain more exposure for team members and their shops. This is done through radio shows, blogs,advertising, guerrilla marketing, entrecard generator, website, etc. and there will also be charity events. As for now we can be found every Monday night on chatting away on “Blockhead Rod’s Radio Show”, (http://blockheadradio.blogspot.com/). Although we do tend to chat a lot, and occasionally get a visit from “buttbubbles”, the Chipmunks singing, a nightly phone call from ET; one of the first night’s that I was on, earlier that evening we learned of an “Blogger” teammate from Etsy, that her husband had just come home with the news that he has just been laid off: “Merry Christmas”. Concerned for our teammate, we automatically came up with many ways of helping them out financially during this time when one should be thinking of the many gifts one would like to be putting under their trees for their children. Many brought items from her shop to increase her sales; and it was suggested, as she does crochet work, that we send extra yarn, which will now be an added expense, so that she can create more and generate more sales to help while her husband is now out of work.
Like I said earlier, there are currently 27 members (as of this morning), I have chosen a few to highlight, and in the days to come will showcase more “Plugger’s United” as we continue to grow.

Of course the first shop I wish to showcase is "agoodwitchtoo@etsy.com". Her unique designs of soaps always makes me wonder if I should be bathing with them or eating them. According to her profile, things she can't do are: eat fire, bathe a cat, leap tall buildings in a single bound; but Things that she can do: is make small batches of soap to wash the "wicked" away!

The second "Plugger" I wish to showcase is "WinifredCottage.co.uk" , know to us as Sassy, her Etsy shop is Sassalynne@etsy.com. Sassy has been working with textilea for over 20 years, and dyes her own wools to create the most beautiful yarns and thread, of which I had created some beautiful scarfs from. She calls her pieces Serendipity which means 'the result of a happy accident' - the results created from her random dye pots are so very special and individual. These are just samples of her beautiful work:

The third artist from Etsy who has joined "Plugger's" is "
TulipsTreasureBox@etsy.com" Lily also has another shop on Etsy, "MockingbirdDesigns@etsy.com". Her beautiful pieces of jewelry are created with natural materials, such as gemstones, turquoise, silver, rock, glass, beads and crystals. I especially loved these two pieces from her shop:

Although there are so many other talents artisans who have joined "Plugger's", many of whom I will showcase in future blogs; I would also like to mention some of the work by "
Beadedtail@etsy.com". Sharla is a true animal activist, who designs and creates beaded jewelry which she donates a portion of the sales proceeds to animal awareness causes. If you read her profile you will see the many animal causes she is involved with. Her love of animals is also defined in her work, each one with an animal motif.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thanksgiving Day Parade!

The annual Thanksgiving tradition in New York is the Macy’s Parade. This is the 82nd year of the Parade; and my daughter, Kelly with her husband celebrated her 29th birthday standing for hours in the freezing cold to wait for the Parade to begin. They arrived at 6am, and of course, had to call me to tell me they had a great spot to view the balloons, floats, clowns, etc.
Each year a new balloon is introduced. For those who are really adventurous, you can head to Central Park in the City to watch them inflating the balloons for the next morning. I started watching the Parade on TV in the days of black & white, sitting with my sister in great anticipation for the opening of the Parade which begins with the huge Turkey marching down Fifth Avenue. So it is only natural that my children followed the tradition of watching the Parade, but no black & white for them, a 42” color screen showcased the many balloons and floats that followed the Turkey down Fifth Avenue. Of course, the Parade is not complete until the finale - the arrival of Santa on his sleigh! Once Santa stands and waves to all the children, even those of us sitting in front of the TV, you know that the Christmas season has officially arrived.
Thanks to my daughter here are a few pictures from this year’s Parade.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My Newest Lisitings