Monday, March 30, 2009

Some Quilt Blocks on My Design Board

Greetings Blogger and Quilter buddies!

I wanted to show you what I've been working on lately. I am a scrap hoarder by nature. I am the one you always see at the classes picking up scraps from the trash after everyone's left. I can't help it! I do put those scraps to good use making blocks. Here are a few I created using scraps and other fabrics I have on hand. The centers of the "tulips" are scraps. These are all 8 1/2 in. blocks.

This one below is my favorite.

I started assembling the blocks below a year or two ago and have about 10 total finished. They measure about 11 in. across. I used Makower UK and Moda Fabrics. I have yet to decide how I'm going to piece them together. On point maybe? I need to track down more of the center square fabrics so I can use it for a border.

Enjoying the newest issue of Mark Lipinski's Quilter's Home BTW... Just got it in the mail today!

Later Gators!

Signs of Spring!

I captured these two feathered friends visiting our feeders today.

Mr. Downy Woodpecker enjoying some suet. I couldn't catch a photo of his red hat. Maybe next time.

And trouble maker Mr. Starling trying to claim the feeders for himself!

The crocus are popping up everywhere!

And the daffodils are peeking through the dirt!

I ordered some snapdragon seeds and they arrived yesterday from Canada. I can't believe how small those darn things are! I think I'll start them inside to give them a head start.

I can't wait till they look like this!

We've been busy pouring Easter orders in the shop. Here is a picture of some of the clove and allspice dusted lambs and rabbits. CLICK HERE to snag one for yourself!

And lastly, our rat terrier Fiona enjoying the day in her favorite spot on the couch. Oh, the life of a dog!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Calamity Kim's Apron Celebration G*I*V*E*A*W*A*Y!!!!!!

You have to check this out! An awesome giveaway by a super talented lady! I read her blog daily!


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Updates, Catching Up and Giveaway!

Greetings All - We've been keeping busy here with our new addition. A big thanks to everyone who dropped by with well wishes and congratulations. Mommy is home with the baby and big brother, and daddy has been working up a storm! I think this is the first weekend since Brennan was born that I've had a moment or two to snuggle him! That darn FH phone just keeps ringing!

Big brother Rowan is having a blast helping mommy take care of Brennan. The question of the day seems to be, "Can I hold the baby?" or "When your done feeding the baby can I hold him?" Smile!

Brennan had his first well baby doctors appointment on Friday where they weigh him and check him out again. He's gained a full pound already. My wife called me to give me the update and I couldn't believe it. He sure likes his meals!

This picture has been one of my favorites. The flash made dark spots appear on the sides of his head. If it weren't for that, we would probably have used this photo for his announcement.

He's been sleeping for about three hours at a clip (Mommy likes that! She can get some rest!). He loves to be held and will sleep longer if he's laying on your chest.

We'll keep everyone updated! But, I need to make an announcement for the shop.

I think this weekend I should be all caught up with the orders that have come in through ebay and etsy. Some of the wholesale orders we got through our website are still in production. I've been trying to get candles poured while pulling and packing items. Depending on the type of candle we're doing and weather or not it needs more close attention slows the process down a bit.

I wanted to note that we have been getting so many orders for our bakers twine, that we had to alter the way we package it to save time. Normally we measure everything out and wrap it around clothespins. This has been taking way too long to do, so we've stopped wrapping it around the pins. Now the 100 yd twine we sell is just simply measured and tied in bundles.

One final note... our March Giveaway ends in 9 days! CLICK HERE to learn ow to enter if you haven't already!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Drumroll please... Welcome Baby Brennan

Mommy's contractions started coming regularly on Sunday evening. We decided to head to the hospital at about 2 AM. By 10 AM Monday morning we welcomed our new bundle of joy! Mommy did a great job!

Brennan Timothy (named after his grandpa Tim) was born at 9:58 AM and weight in at 7 lbs. 2.9 oz. He was 19 in. long! Big brother Rowan is all smiles!

And now for the pictures:

Brennan with Mommy and big brother Rowan.

Wrap that blanket around me, I'm cold!

Brennan with Grandpa Tim.

...and with Grandma Pam.

Brennan with Grandma Bonnie. I think he liked Rowan's red shirt. His eyes were open wide!

Getting ready to go home the next day.

Here he is wearing the hat Great Gramma Allegra made for him.

Finally at home resting in his seat. Big brother Rowan was proud to let Brennan use his seat from when he was little.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Happy Saturday

Happy Saturday Greetings Everyone - My sister in law came over to visit for the day and she and my wife decided to take Rowan to the playground for an hour or two. I stayed behind to finish up some orders for the shop and to make some lunch for when they return.

I decided to make a pasta salad dish with sun dried tomatoes and shredded Parmesan cheese. I just love the tangy taste of sun dried tomatoes mixed with a good olive oil and some basil. This is a recipe I came up with. You can serve this salad warm or cold.

Penne Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes and Parmesan

1 Box Penne Pasta (we use Dreamfield's low carb)
1 8 oz Package Sun Dried Tomatoes chopped
1 5 oz. Container Shredded Parmesan Cheese
2 Tbs. Dried Basil Leaves
1/4 cup of good Olive Oil
1/2 tsp. of Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp. of Cracked Pepper Corns

1. Combine chopped sun dried tomatoes (even though the tomatoes are roughly chopped I chop them more so you don't bite down on hugh pieces of tomato), olive oil, basil, salt and pepper in the bottom of a large bowl. Set aside to allow the tomatoes to absorb the flavors of the spices.

2. Cook penne pasta till tender, drain and rinse in hot water.

3. While the pasta is still hot combine it with the tomato mixture in your large bowl. Add your parmesan cheese and mix. The parmesan will start to melt in the hot pasta.

4. Serve warm or chilled.

This is one of those salads that tastes better the next day after it has set in the fridge for a while. If you like garlic, you can add some fresh chopped cloves to your tomato and oil mixture. I am a cheese lover, so sometimes I add a little crumbled feta to the top of the salad and drizzle a little more olive oil over the top. Yum!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Home Again Spending The Day With My Wife

Ah... another day at home with my wife awaiting the arrival of our little one. This is so exciting! I wish all births were the same though. This one is going completely different than our first. Our son Rowan was a textbook example. No pains or contractions before my wife's water broke. I remember the day well...

It was Saturday, about 2 days before she was due. It was a nice sunny July day so we decided to go to Cooperstown Lake for a swim and have a picnic with some Brooks Chicken and sides. My wife quite enjoyed swimming at this point because it made her feel weightless. We had a great day under the sun, did a lot of walking and returned home just before dark. I went into the office to check on any orders that came in while we were out and she came trotting down the hallway exclaiming, "My water just broke!" I was like, "no way!" And she was like, "I think we need to call the Doctor." Her contractions started before we got in the car to drive to the hospital (about 20 min away). We got there and they got her a gown, hooked her up to the machines and the rest is history! Rowan was born sometime in the afternoon and we were delighted.

This baby on the other hand is quite liking it in momma's tummy. He still is VERY active even though he's cramped for space. Contractions are sporadic throughout the day. The strongest ones start about 2 AM and last for 40 min or so and she goes back to bed. I guess the day will come eventually.

Our day has been rather uneventful so far. She rode with me to our main office (about 20 min away) so I could help out with some paperwork for the morning. We had a nice visit and lunch with our secretary who is like a mother to us. Then we came home so she could do some more resting up. I am making a breakfast quiche for dinner with a nice fruit salad on the side.

I found this recipe online and we have never tried it before. It looks so good! You can beat some nice breakfast comfort food to finish off a day!

Hash Brown Quiche

3 Cups shredded frozen hashbrowns, thawed and drained
1/2 stick butter, melted
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup half/half
3/4 cup diced cooked ham (or bacon)
1/2 cup diced green onion (regular onion works)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F

2. Gently press the drained hash browns between paper towels to dry as best as possible. In a 9 in pie plate, toss the hash browns with the melted butter into the plate. Press them into the bottom and up the sides to create a crust. Bake for 20 - 25 min until golden brown and starting to crisp.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. When the hash brown crust is ready pour the egg mixture over it and return the pie pan to the oven.

4. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for about 30 min until the quiche is golden brown on top and puffed. Let set for at least 15 min before serving.

I normally mix whatever I can find in the cupboard or fridge together for our fruit salad. We normally have a few containers of strawberries in the fridge (a favorite of Rowan's). I slice those and add some pineapple, peaches, bananas and the juice from the canned fruit. We always buy our canned fruit in fruit juice. Never in syrup (my wife's rule). I was raised eating fruit cocktail from a can in heavy syrup as a kid.

Dinner is served!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Back From Our Walk... Look What We Found

Hey Everyone - We're back from the walk with no baby news. Can't you tell I'm going stir crazy? I've posted more in the last few hours than I have all month!

I had to check on a craft/candle setup we have at one of our local flower shops and pick up some things that were sold. To get things moving along my wife decided to go with and we decided to walk. While at the flower shop I saw these neat MINI African Violets! Aren't they cool!?! I haven't seen ones this small before. I picked up 3 to add to our violet collection above our kitchen sink. We've had good luck with these in the past and have acquired a good size collection. I've even had to install a wider shelf over the sink to hold them all. Ack!

We also saw this one with pink variegated leaves. Haven't seen that before either. That had to come home with us as well!

We'll keep you posted on the baby developments!

Some Hearty Soup

Greetings All - My wife and I are still home today awaiting the arrival of our newest son. She's all settled on the couch in front of the TV. I've been keeping busy downstairs. At noon I thought I'd take a break and make some hamburger vegetable soup for dinner tonight. My whole family loves this soup. It is so hearty and versatile. Good year round as you can mix anything together that you can find in season. Fresh veggies from the garden is the best!

Excuse the first photo, I heaped everything in the pot and then realized I needed and bigger one! Oops!

Here's the recipe we use. This soup is great for freezing also! Just omit the potatoes and add them when reheating the soup later on (otherwise they break apart and turn to mush if frozen):

2 lbs Ground Beef
1 Medium Onion (diced)
4 Large Carrots (sliced)
4 Stalks Celery (diced)
4 Medium Potatoes (diced)
1 Medium Yellow Squash (diced)
1 Medium Green Zucchini (diced)
2 (28 oz.) Cans Diced Tomatoes (do not drain)
1 (32 oz.) Carton Chicken Stock
1 (32 oz.) Carton Beef Stock
2 Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce
Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Coat the bottom of a large stock pot with good olive oil and place over medium heat. Once the oil is warm, throw in diced onions and celery. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and allow to brown and caramelize.

2. Once the onion and celery is translucent, add the ground beef and cook till brown.

3. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Once the potatoes are soft, the soup is ready to eat.

4. Sprinkle fresh chopped parsley over the soup when serving and enjoy!

As I said before, this soup is SO versatile. You can make it any number of ways. Just start with the onion, celery, and hamburger base and then add any vegetables and stock you want. You can even substitute ground chicken, turkey or veal instead of hamburger. Want to go low carb? Just take out the potatoes.

Now we're off for a long walk to see if we can get those contractions more productive!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Still Waiting...

Well my wife went to take a nap and I'm still pacing waiting for her to tell me it's time to go. I've always been a planner and a list maker, so this not knowing is just driving me mad! I got the majority of work done for my job, so I thought I'd take a break and mix up some fixins to take my mind off things.

These simmering potpourri mixes are one of my favorite creations from last year. I couldn't keep them in stock during the craft fair season as they would sell out constantly. They are so simple and primitive; filled with lots of star anise, cloves, apple dices, orange peels, allspice, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks and apple slices. They look neat all bagged up and they smell wonderful!

Here is the saying that we put on every bag: Gramma used to always have a pot of boiling water on the stove. She would throw in apple peels from that days pie, cloves, bay leaves allspice and anything she fancied from the scrap bin. Her kitchen would always smell wonderful!

Directions: Place 1 cup of simmering blends spices into 3 or more cups of gently boiling water on your stove top or in your simmering crock. Keep on low heat, allowing aroma to permeate the room. May be reused several times. Never leave unattended or allow to boil dry. Not for consumption.

We also have an orange spice scented mix available.


No Baby Yet

Hi All - I received the last of the addys for my giveaway and am packing the last of the tags and items up to send off today on my lunch break. Enjoy everyone and thanks for participating!

Still no baby yet. My wife and I went to her doctor's yesterday and she said it can happen any time now. Our second son is due on Saturday the 7th, but our first child was born 2 days before his due date. Our doctor seems to think this baby will do the same, so here's to hoping. My wife is so ready to get this over with. She's been home all day with irregular contractions. We can't wait to see our new son!

I need to get back to getting orders out. My customers must be getting agitated from waiting. I've already had some issues with eBay customers complaining in feedback for the wait. I've explained time and time again, but they just don't get it. Oh well, I'm still not gonna let it ruin my excitement!

Take care everyone!

Ryan @ Catskill Country Cupboard

Monday, March 2, 2009

First Lot of Prizes

Here is the first round of giveaway prizes going out in today's mail!

I still haven't heard from our grand prize winner Dana of Magick Moon Soap Wurks yet!Got addy - tags sent!

Also I am still waiting on addresses for the following runners up:

Kelly of City Life to Country WifeGot addy - tags sent!

Birgit of The Primitive Country BugGot addy - tags sent!

Lorraine of PiECAke PRiMiTiVESGot addy - tags sent!

Beth of Wee PereasGot addy - tags sent!

Jean Elizabeth of Lilac Lane LiveryGot addy - tags sent!

Ryan @ Catskill Country Cupboard
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