Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Oven Fried Chicken

Trying to save your calorie overload for the holidays but still want a taste of down home southern cooking? Why not try this recipe for oven fried chicken. It saves you the calories but not the taste!

-1 Whole Chicken cut into 8 pieces
-4 Cup of All Purpose Flour
-1 Tbsp of Salt
-1 Tbsp of Black Pepper
-1 tsp of Granulated Garlic
-1Tbsp of Paprika
-1 tsp of Dried Thyme Leaves
-1 tsp of Dried Basil Leaves
-1 tsp of Dries Oregano Leaves
-2 cups of Milk
-4 cups of Vegetable oil

Use a frying pan or Cast Iron Skillet (best results)

Rinse Chicken and pat dry with a towel.

Combine next 9 items (hold back 1 cup of flour) together and set aside.

Start by dredging chicken in unseasoned flour.

Place chicken in milk and allow the milk to soak into the flour (about 3-4 minutes).

Remove chicken from milk and place into seasoned flour and coat. Seasoned flour should stick to all surfaces of chicken.

Place oil in skillet and warm to 350 degrees.

Very carefully place chicken in oil (always place product in oil going away from you body). Brown on all sides. Place on paper towels to drain excess oil (the purpose of this recipe is to reduce calorie count).

Place on a baking sheet and place into a preheated 400 degree oven. Cook until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Serve hot and crispy.

** a quick word about cast iron. A well seasoned cast iron skillet is one of the best tools you can have in a kitchen. DO NOT ever use soap on a cast iron skillet. Scrub with a metal scrub pad and wipe dry. After many uses you will notice a shinny build up, that is the seasoning of the pan and the flavor of your food will be enhanced. Again do not use soap**

Monday, November 29, 2010

Crafty Shopping List

It is officially Cyber Monday!!  Start your online shopping right here.  Since our launch a couple of months ago, we've been thrilled to introduce you to some crafty people with unique ideas in our Artist Spotlight blogs.  These entries always get a lot of attention...and the giveaways are as much fun for us as they are for you.  If you are looking for one of a kind gifts for someone in your life...we've compiled a short list of the artists we have featured so far...and those we are introducing you to in the weeks leading up to the holidays, along with links where you can find their crafts.  Happy Holidays!!

1-Abishai:  Fatima Bey makes beautiful shoe bags, popular on the ballroom dance scene.  People can visit www.AbishaiStore.com, where they can purchase the Shoe Bags and see the other products that are available.  A portion of every sale goes toward Warm Blankets Orphan Care International.  For those who would like to see where Abishai will be next and want to see the products in person, there is a link titled "Calendar" on the home page.

2-The Clock Keeper:  Deanna Pawlenko Hubbard makes brooches with clips you can pull down to reveal hidden clocks. Go to http://www.clipclocks.com/ to see clips in stock.  If you don't see anything there, she can turn any piece of jewelry into a ClipClock. Your Grandmother's, Mom's, Aunt's or a favorite gift from a friend can have a new life.  Just mail it to her and Deanna will come up with some designs, photograph them, and email them to you for approval. Crafty Life and Style readers get free first class shipping through the holidays!!!

3-Loretta Fontaine Jewelry:  You can keep the people you love most close to your heart with a necklace, earrings, a bracelet, or brooch featuring pictures of your sweeties the size of your finger nail.  Loretta takes your loving photos, crops them to size and inserts them into beautiful jewelry that she creates, including her own metalwork.  Find her goods on her website:  http://www.lorettafontaine.com

4-Ragged Edge Print Studio:  Kathy Klompas uses a unique printmaking to build designs for silk scarves.  She'll even host a class for 3 to 6.  You can contact her directly at The Open Door Bookstore in Schenectady, The Textile Studio in Saratoga, and The Artisan's Gallery in Middleburgh.  At Boght Art Center in Cohoes, a portion of sales supports their programs.  Visit http://www.raggededgeprintstudio.com/ or schedule classes at http://www.kathy.klompas.com/

5-Barclay Fine Woodworking:  David Barclay makes everything from headboards to bowls, clocks, rolling pins, and cutting boards.  For 27 years he was an engineer for Eastman Kodak.  He turned a passion for woodworking into a full-time job five years ago.  http://www.barclayfinewoodworking.com/ has not only many of my items for sale but the list of Fine Craft Shows David will be at as well.

6-Tammy Lee Bradley is a familiar face and talent to our readers.  Tammy shares her fabulous photo tips with us on select Shutterbug Sundays.  She even offered up four custom greeting cards for a special giveaway last week in her I Heart Bokeh blog.  Now, you can order her beautiful pictures online.  Tammy recently launched a sale site.  You can buy orders of her prints and some great vintage pieces!!  Log onto:  http://www.tammyleebradley.bigcartel.com/ and scroll through the blog to find several of Tammy's posts.

7-Sharon Bottle Souva Fabric Handworks:  The pictures of her work are visually stunning.  Imagine seeing them in person or hanging one on your wall!!  Sharon is inspired by nature, incorporating it often in her quilts and other handsewn creations.  Her work is in several galleries: Grovewood Gallery in Ashville, NC; Haven Gallery in Austin, TX; Painted Fish Gallery in Dunedin, FL; Eureka Crafts  in Syracuse, NY; Gallery 54 in Skaneateles, NY; Sea Hag Soaps and Art Mercantile in Brackney, PA;  She has pieces on display throughout her home AND on her web site  http://www.sharonbottlesouva.com/

8-Captured Moments:  What started out as a scrapbooking business venture by two sisters has evolved into a full-fledged artistic outlet.  Tiffany Reutter and Tara Burtt hold themed workshops every month, inviting locals in New York's capital region to come in and create for the day.  They have games, contests, and incredible homemade food.  If you love to scrapbook or create in general, their site is worth a look.  We will be shining the spotlight on these artists later this week.  For now, find their work online at:  http://www.capturedmomentsstore.com/  But, we hope you come back here to find our interview with them.  We are big fans of their creations.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Change Of Season

 Yesterday when we were decorating our house for the Christmas season it started to snow. Not a big, oh my goodness it's the first official snowfall of the season type of snow. It was just enough to see the flakes whirl around and it got down right cold outside. It put me in the mood to create all kinds of holiday crafty goodness but I was left with absolutely no time to myself. I had my head in the clouds with ideas of creating a whole bunch of handmade ornaments and one by one taking all the store bought ones down and replacing them with joy. Then I thought about making a big wreath to go on our door. What are your favorite holiday crafting projects or any projects in general? I'm looking for inspiration for future blog posts. In the meantime- I hope you enjoy some of my photography.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Magical Handmade Centerpiece

 It is a family tradition for us to have a magical handmade centerpiece for special gatherings. I love spending time with my children coming up with the concept and the going on a scavenger hunt for the supplies to make a beautiful display. I know it's a running theme with me- but once again, we did not spend a penny at the store to come up with our creation for this year's Thanksgiving centerpiece. All of these items were either recycled, reclaimed or re-purposed! My kids absolutely loved the idea that we could make old things new again and the fact that they could be a part of it!

We Mod Podged a toddler's shoe box with fall-like paper. It just took us a couple minutes to measure the paper, lay an ample coat of the gooey stuff then place the paper down. My crafty friend Amy tells us that once we put our first layer of Mod Podge down and lay the paper on top of it- don't touch it for 20 minutes- and not a minute sooner or else it may bubble. I followed her spot-on advice then put a top coat of Mod Podge on the paper, allowed it to dry and then glittered it up! It looked perfect! To me I thought the box symbolized the passing of Thanksgiving and ushering in of Christmas all in one!

Then we went searching in our yard for some pine cones, a couple different tree branches, a dried out hydrangea and some foe raspberries I had leftover from a previous display. It was fun to glue gun the items together in layers. I did this separate from the box and planned to marry them later. It was trial and error to get the perfect composition but once the glue firmed up it looked great. I then cut a hole in the top of the box and put the stem of the hydrangea into the box down to the pine cones and then I positioned the branches with some more hot glue.

It was wonderful to have this beautiful little centerpiece to highlight our holiday this year!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Bonus Pictures!

Sharon Bottle Souva has some amazing designs! I just posted the information on our new giveaway yesterday and as I was preparing a new blog I came across some pictures I took of her work at a recent Artist Fair. VERY eye catching!!

Be sure to comment on yesterday's post for your chance to win one of her beautiful quilted purses!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Chef Donavan was busy in the kitchen today and I, Crafty Girl,  thought I'd show you the fruits of his labor! He has a couple future recipes for you as a result of all this work- maybe you can use them for Christmas! Hope you had a wonderful holiday!

Giving Thanks

On this Thanksgiving Day, here is a big thank you to our latest WINNER of a Crafty Life and Style giveaway.  Gailanne is the proud new owner of a finely crafted wooden earring tree, designed and handmade by our previous artist in the spotlight, David Barclay of Barclay Fine Woodworking.  We love offering our readers a taste of fine homemade products and hope you'll support the artists by visiting their websites.  We'll conveniently list all of them for you on Cyber Monday in a Crafty Life and Style shopping list.  Thanks to David for the latest offering.  If you want a chance to win...keep reading the next giveaway is already underway!!

Spotlight and GIVEAWAY: Sharon Bottle Souva Fabric Handworks

Vibrant colors and fine craftsmanship. You will not be disappointed by Sharon Bottle Souva Fabric Handworks. The attention to detail and beautiful creations are going to make all of you quilters out there giddy with excitement.

Sharon Bottle Souva is based out of Syracuse, NY

Q: Sharon- you sew beautiful creations. Tell us how you got your start and how that start took you to today.

A: Sewing is one of my greatest pleasures. I have been working with needles and fabric in one form or another since I was a child, starting with sewing my own, then my children’s clothes. I began making quilts in 1976, putting them on the walls instead of beds. This allows a greater freedom in exploring ways to manipulate the fabric.

I find myself looking at nature and man-made structures with the question: How could that be interpreted in fabric? How can I incorporate those elements of texture and design into my work?

Several years ago I discovered the joys of unfinished edges and loose threads which has become an important part of my current work. Dying and painting my fabrics has given me another dimension to my creativity. I work rather intuitively; the expression of “if it occurs to you…. Do it” is a big part of how I work.
Today all of these beginning elements show up in my work in various forms. Coming from sewing clothing has given me the technical accuracy I need for construction, while exploration of color and pattern brings in the creativity aspect. The needle is an extension of my fingers, the threads and fabric my palette. For me, color and pattern are equally important as my finished work. Fabric art is appealing to me, due to the fact that it’s more than a visual art. It is very much linked with a sense of touch and with memories.

Q: You are also great with combining various colors and patterns. You make it look so easy- but we all know it's not! How do you come up with your designs?

As I said, I look at the simple design in nature. I am keenly aware of the lights and dark, shadows and shapes. These all feed me information that end up in my work. I very rarely make a piece from a photograph (in fact I don't even take alot of photos for inspiration), instead I try to pick out elements in the view that speak to my spirit and bring that into the process. Sometimes it's a matter of a simple shape that gets the juices flowing. I work on a vertical design wall that allows me to put fabrics up and move them around until I see something pleasing.

Q: What is your number one tip for someone who wants to be a quilter or get better at it?
TAKE A CLASS AND START SMALL (sorry I'm not good at one tip)

Q: It's ok, It's a great tip! He He! How can people see more of your work? My work is in several galleries: Grovewood Gallery in Ashville, NC; Haven Gallery in Austin, TX; Painted Fish Gallery in Dunedin, FL; Eureka Crafts  in Syracuse, NY; Gallery 54 in Skaneateles, NY; Sea Hag Soaps and Art Mercantile Brackney, PA; my home AND on my web site  http://www.sharonbottlesouva.com/
Sharon thank you so much for being in the artist spotlight!
Sharon would love to give one lucky winner a hand quilted purse!!!

*Drop us a comment on this blog post. Tell us what you love most about this blog post.
* For a second entry be a follower of our blog and leave a second comment telling us you are follower. Just press follow- to the right of this blog! It just takes 2 seconds to do it but it makes us oh so excited!
* Contest ends Wednesday December 1st at high noon!
* One person will be randomly selected!
* Winner will be announced Thursday December 2nd.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Creation Station

I absolutely love the place where I create! This is where I sit and come up with all the lovely ideas I can. This is part of a building I call "The Scrap Shack". It's a work shed that has been transformed into a place for crafty goodness! My hubby basically used it for a storage shed for a year and just when he actually started using it for home improvement projects, I asked him if he would help me transform it into my "Scrap Shack".

He really does love me because not only did he say yes, he painted it, carpeted it, tiled the entry floor and work bench, and built all of my cabinets, and hung anything I asked him to hang!! You are only seeing one angle because since starting this blog I have accumulated more and more "things" and it's not as tidy as I'd like it to be. But, you should know it has another work space across from it. Crafty Cat has a permanent seat at the table and many of my other friends come and enjoy scrapbooking in the other seat!

There's a small seating area behind my chair you see here. You can see part of the "living room" as I like to call it to the right of the picture. My friend Francie actually put 2 of those great chairs on her curb-- so I snatched them up! I did absolutely NOTHING to them! They were perfect! I know you're drooling over the ribbon holder! I did the same for several months when I saw Crafty Cat's! Several months later, her sweet daddy made me one and she put the finishing touches of Mod Podged details on it! Crafty Cat is working on a future blog about it- it's really special! It's one gift I'll never forget!

I have used my Mother In-Law's antique Singer Sewing machine as a buffett. I have all of the comforts of home except for a bathroom and air conditioning or heating! So, in the summer we use lots of fans and in the winter we use heaters! But, honestly I don't mind!

We've had some wonderful Scrap Shack parties here. We've enjoyed many laughs, heart to hearts, tears of joy, delicious food and our share of cocktails. It's the memories I've made with some very close and trustworthy friends that makes this place so special to me.  Where do you create your magic? I'd love to see a picture of your work space. Post a picture right here on this blog post!

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

GIVEAWAY Last Chance

Display your lovely jewelry in style with this fine piece of woodwork, designed by our most recent artist in the spotlight, Dave Barclay.  You can have it for FREE, if you win.  How?  Comment at the end of the post in which we interview Dave.  Find it by clicking here.  If you are a follower, let us know and you double your chances to win.  If you aren't a follower, it is as easy as clicking the follow button on the rightside of this website.  Here's the deal:  You only have until Noon EST Wednesday, November 24th.  Hurry up.  We'll announce the winner on Thursday, November 25th.  Happy Holidays and good luck.

Tasty Tuesday: Evelyn Couch Fried Green Tomatoes with a Cajun Aioli sauce

4 large green tomatoes
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 cup Cajun seasoning
1 quart vegetable oil for frying

-Slice tomatoes 1/2 inch thick. Discard the ends.
-Whisk eggs and milk together in a medium-size bowl.
-Scoop flour into a bowl.
-Mix cornmeal, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning in another bowl.
-Dip tomatoes into flour to coat.
-Then dip the tomatoes into milk and egg mixture.
-Dredge in breadcrumbs to completely coat.
-In a large skillet, pour vegetable oil (enough so that there is 1/2 inch of oil in the pan) and heat over a medium heat.
-Place tomatoes into the frying pan in batches of 4 or 5, depending on the size of your skillet. When the tomatoes are browned, flip and fry them on the other side.
-I use a counter top fryer with oil, if this is what you use you will need to flip them over because they will float and one side will be darker than the other
-Do not crowd the tomatoes, they should not touch each other.
-Drain them on paper towels.

Cajun Aioli Sauce
1/2 cup of mayo

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/8 cup of Cajun seasoning

Mix all ingredients together and allow to chill for 30 minuets

Can anyone tell me who Evelyn Couch is?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Crock Trashcan

I never quite understood the fascination with giant old crocks...until I saw this crafty idea.  They are heavy, sturdy, and far more reliable and creative than your standard trashcan.  I have to admit...I normally just spend the money to get the can that matches whatever set I picked for a room.  I have one in my bathroom that goes with my bathroom theme...same deal in my bedroom.  Easy...but boring AND expensive.  I loved this idea for an antique lover.  It allows you to stick to the theme of keeping history alive in your home...and you can actually use all the old crocks you own.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Don't Forget This Giveaway

Don't forget about Dave Barclay's GIVEAWAY of a piece of his fine woodworking.  After you comment on the Shutterbug Sunday post for a chance at those custom greeting cards, click here for another GIVEAWAY opportunity.  Visit our Artist in the Spotlight this week, Barclay Fine Woodworking.  Be sure to comment at the end of the interview with Dave.  That will make you eligible for one of his handcrafted earring trees (earrings not included).  If you are a follower, just let us know...and that will give you a second chance.  You have until Noon EST Wednesday, November 24th.  We'll announce the winner the next day.  Good luck.

Shutterbug Sunday: I Heart Bokeh & GIVEAWAY

Vintage Heart Bokeh
As I discussed in my last Shutterbug Sunday post, I love bokeh...gorgeous blurry, round, magical bokeh. This week, I wanted to show your something different, my attempts at heart-shaped bokeh.

First, I scoured the house looking for black construction paper and finally came up with a piece of brown paper. Close enough, I was in business! Using the small end of the lens hood from my 35mm 1.8, I traced a circle on the paper and cut a heart in the exact center with my husband's pocket knife. With all fingers still intact, I trimmed the circle a bit with a pair of scissors and taped it to the inside of the hood with some blue painter's tape.

With my family laughing at me for making my D90 look like a school craft project, I headed out in search of bokeh producing light. I shot the sunshine streaming through my bouganvillea arbor. I skulked around the neighborhood after dark capturing headlights, street lights, and signal lights. I punched holes in a piece of cardboard and captured the perfect heart-shaped dots that appeared when I placed it in front of a window. I even dug in the attic for our white Christmas lights and added them to our garden hedges to make more defined hearts that you see in photo above. Our neighborhood lawn crew must think that I have lost my mind.
A few tips:

Use a lens with the largest aperature possible (f1.4, 1.8, 2.0) and make sure the heart is exactly in the center of the circle.  Due to the large amount of the lens covered, I found that I had to adjust the shutter speed to a slightly slower speed to allow in additional light and I set my ISO to 100 to prevent grain.

Get out and try it, experiment with other shapes, and link-up your own photos to the Linky tool that I have provided.  As an added incentive, I am giving away a set of 5 greeting cards from my print collection to one person that links up by November 27th at Midnight.

I invite you to visit my blog, bliss and folly, to see more examples.
Until next time. Stay sweet. ♥ tammy lee

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Operation Rehab

I acquired this little dusty jewelry box at the Salvation Army thrift store. It’s solidly constructed, pretty and I paid $1.99. I saw its potential and gingerly cleaned all the little nooks and crannies with a Q-tip. I thought it would be a wonderful trinket holder if I could pretty it up. It has a couple nicks in it from wear but I think they add character!

I found a cute piece of 12x12 paper , measured twice and cut once. Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge on the box, gingerly rub your paper into place. Make sure you work out all the little bubbles that may be under the paper. Then apply a thin layer of Mod Podge over the paper. Once that's complete, your project may still be a little sticky. Remedy that by spraying it with a couple coats of a clear acrylic sealer.  Once that dries glitter it up add some ribbons and the end result is the cutest little custom designed box you’ll ever see!

Friday, November 19, 2010

On the Road: PA Outlets

Crafty Cat is on the road again, this time to the state of Pennsylvania!!
I took an overnight bus trip to Lancaster a week ago and spent too much money at "outlet" malls.  Growing up, my dad spent a lot of time in November at hunting camp with his buddies.  The wives got bored and decided to organize their own retreat...a shopping trip.  A yearly ritual was born.  When I was young, the ladies did a lot of shopping for their kids.  In recent years, their trips involve lots of eating and pedicures.  Here's the recap of the latest trip:

First stop:  Rockvale Outlets.  This is average to large in size.  There are several stores that cater to kids, from Disney to Carter's, etc.  The young mothers in our group spent the most, combing through the racks in the kiddie wing of the mall.  There are also several restaurants here, making it easy to go out to dinner without a vehicle.  My favorite perk is the hotel right on the grounds of the mall.  It was very convenient for dropping off packages throughout the day...and it is literally right smack in the middle of the layout.

I was also pleasantly surprised to see a scrapbooking store at this mall!!!  My jaw dropped when I saw the letters on the sign, spelling out the words of my favorite hobby.  I ran there, frenzied.  An outlet scrapbooking store?  Holy mother of...get me there!  Hold on.  Back up.  No big deals here.  This was your typical shop.  Prices aren't any cheaper than normal.  But, they did have all the usual trimmings of a shop that specializes in scrapbooking...lots of specialty papers and totes.  I found many items that I bought cheaper in big box craft stores.  Sorry.  But, a cat can still dream about the existence of an outlet scrapbooking store.

The next day I headed to The Tanger Outlets.  This is much smaller.  Lots of brand name stores like Coach and Tommy Hilfiger.  But not many places to eat...you've got a Subway, an Arby's, and a hot dog stand to choose from here.  The two malls are conveniently close.  So, you can take an overnight trip to Lancaster and plan stops at both.  There are some Amish goods around town too.  Bottom line:  like any outlet mall, you can definitely find some deals and the coupon books helped me a lot.  But, you'll also run into your fair share of full-priced merchandise.  If you consider going, you have to be an "outlet" person.  Also, don't go relying on the idea that you'll save lots of money, go with a bunch of girlfriends as a getaway.