Monday, August 11, 2014

Music Monday for August

So it's Monday (I think) and I'm running around like a crazy person. I've got many many craft shows happening. One is just two weeks away (I really need more hours in my day...) and I have not one now, but TWO shows in September for back to back Saturdays. The first one is one I just found out about and will be shooting my application off to later this week. The other one is the one I did back in May. I also heard back from the Wayne, NJ show I've been dying to get into and my spot has been reserved. That application will be on it's way later this week as well. I'm super excited! I'll be busy busy busy from now into the foreseeable future. :)

Anyway! I will make announcements for these independently as they grow near. Expect another blog entry for the August show on the 23rd either later this week or  early to mid of next week.

Enough of that though. I know I shared this band a few months back. But I really love them and listen to my Pandora radio station for them almost every night I work my day job. They're having a concert at a great little venue on Black Friday this year. I'll miss going but I'm hoping maybe next year I can see them!

Anyway I hope you enjoy!~

Halestorm - Here's To Us (Contains some explicit language!)

Halestorm - Freak Like Me (Contains some imagery not for kids!)

Halestorm - Bad Romance by Lady Gaga Cover

I hope you enjoy the music! I'll see you all in the next post. :)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Late Music Monday Edition!

I had promised to get you guys a post on Monday with some old, classic music that I love. But I got so busy this week I never had the chance. I apologize! So for this beautiful Thursday night heading into Friday morning I bring you a little Throwback. How far back? Well scroll on down to see...:)

Fun Fact: I share a birthday (month and day only of course) with this wonderful music icon.

Strangers in the Night - Frank Sinatra

Come Fly With Me - Frank Sinatra

(Bad, Bad) Leroy Brown - Frank Sinatra

Luck Be A Lady - Frank Sinatra

I hope you enjoy these songs as much as I do! I'll see you all in the next post. :)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

End of the Year Craft Show Announcements on a Sleepy Sunday

Hi guys! This is going to be a nice, short post. I have been scrambling to find dates for craft shows this year since May. I'm pleased to announce that out of the four shows I have been working to get into(one being extremely last minute) I will be attending three

The first show I will be attending is in Wharton, NJ on August 23rd. So in just a little over a month. :) Wharton holds an annual Canal Day Festival and this is their 39th year! I'm super excited to be attending. There is going to be a huge turnout of people and this will be the biggest event I've done to date. There will be free boat rides, horse drawn carriage rides, a huge variety of music from classical to jazz to rock and more, as well as lots of delicious food, a traveling zoo, and of course a slew of craft and art vendors within the park. Keep a close watch on my Facebook and Google+ pages as the date draws closer. I will put up events and post information with directions and times. You can also visit the above Canal Day link to see their official website which provides this information as well. :)

Next up after August I will be revisiting the Skyline Lakes Fire Department venue in Ringwood, NJ. They will be having a fall version of their May Craft/Vendor show and Pet Adoption. The date for this is September 27th! Mark your calendar and remember to check my Facebook and Google+ pages as the date nears. I'll put up more information there with directions and show times. :)

And lastly I will be attending the Wanaque First Aid Squad Craft Show in Wanaque, NJ on November 22nd. I have never done this venue before so it will be a new experience for me! Again, make sure you are keeping watch on my Facebook and Google+ pages so you can catch information on show times and get directions!

The show I'm not sure on is the Packanack Lake Mother's Club Craft Show held in Wayne, NJ where I live. The date from info I have collected is Novemeber 8th. This was the venue of my first craft show. I missed it last year and I am hoping the delay in response from the new heads of the Mother's Club doesn't cause me to miss out on it.

Some other exciting news is that for the Canal Day Festival and Ringwood shows I will be bringing along my jewelry/accessories AND vintage items. This will be the second and third time ever that I'll be at a live venue with both my wares. I am going to try and bring as much as I can without crowding out my canopy. lol

That is all for now. If I am able to book any additional shows I will make a new update! Should any of the above information change I will also make an update to let you all know. I just sent out my contracts yesterday so I should hopefully hear back with confirmation before the end of this week.

Tomorrow is Music Monday so don't forget to check back in with me and see what my picks are for the day. Your hint is that they are some classic old tunes!

See you all in the next post. :)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Music Mondays - The 1st July Edition!

Hey guys! I'm doing as I promised and keeping up on here! Yay. :) I've been so super busy this last week. I had thought this one would be slower...but no such luck. lol

Anyway, enough babbling,. On to the music!

Seether - Words As Weapons

Shinedown - Adrenaline

I'll always love rock! These are just some of my newer favorites. My tastes swing pretty wildly as far as music goes. Maybe next week (if I have time and remember...lol) I'll share some of the older music I adore. You'd be surprised. :)

Until the next, entry~! :)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

An Epic Quest for Tasty Thai! (Secret Awesome Chicken Recipe also Within)

Boy am I so glad it's the weekend! This whole entire week has, regretfully, not gone as planned. I'm torn between whether I enjoy the extra down time to plan and do things as I like or whether I prefer being super busy like I was this whole week with pre-scheduled tasks. I definitely think I may just been leaning toward having a more "lax" schedule. It drives me a little batty when I reach the weekend and look back on my week and go "Nothing got done!!!"

Have you ever had just one of those weeks? I think you know by the second day in a row that it's not just "one of those days" any longer and it's just going to be a loooong crawl to the weekend. lol

Somehow most of my lost time seemed to have gotten dumped into food related errands. Monday it was a family chicken dinner fiasco. I have this fabulous recipe for healthy "fried" chicken but the prep time can be a little lengthy. Trust me though, it's more than worth it. I'll share the recipe at the end of this post in case anyone is feeling up to treating themselves! :)

The second food related blunder this week was on Thursday. One quick errand to two stores turned into an epic (mis)adventure. Anyone who knows me can tell you I LOVE Thai curry. A good friend of mine got me absolutely addicted a few years ago. So naturally when I found a way to get it at home without having to spend a fortune going out to eat I was ecstatic. Now I've sort of brought my family along for the ride. My mother tells me on Wednesday night about how a friend of hers was making this amazing shrimp curry. Naturally she wants to give it a go and I offered to grab the ingredients we needed since I was going out for errands on Thursday. The list was super short. But one, tiny item held me up for HOURS...Curry Paste.


Apparently anywhere you go in Wayne, NJ people will look at you funny when you ask them if the store they work in carries this stuff. Trader Joes was my first stop. They have a wonderful Red and Yellow curry sauce (bottled) that I adore. Sadly they don't carry the paste I needed. They are two very different things! So my next stop was all the way in the complete opposite direction. I arrived at our local Shop Rite thinking they MUST have curry paste. Their entire aisle 13 is dedicated to foreign foods after all. I believe I was in there for a good half hour and the first two associates I found to ask for help had no idea nor interest in helping, though the second directed me to customer service. I do work retail so I thought perhaps they could at least look this up in their system if they even carry it. Quite naturally when I have these adventures I get back to the front of the store only to find it completely swamped with people. Luckily I landed on the help desk line next to a lady who happened to know the manager on duty and called her over. Thankfully she was able to help me out. They didn't end up having any curry powder, but she did recommend one other place for me to try...Corrado's.

I don't know if you have one near you but Corrado's is a weird little market. They are kind of like a grocery/supermarket store only they have some more ecclectic variety. The selections are supposedly healthier or at least this is the purported rumor. By the time I leave Shop Rite I'm a bit disgruntled. Corrado's was back in the direction Trader Joes was, quite literally down the street from them. So back across town I shlepped....

I am not a frequent customer of Corrado's. I don't find their selection all that much better than other super market chains. They are also rather expensive. But as I search and cannot find what I need I do locate an associate. Just my luck they spoke very little English and I don't think he understood my inquiry other than to ask if he could flag down someone else to help me. So he does...and this guy didn't know anything either. He also didn't look like he worked there at all! Frustrated I just thanked them and left to turn down the next aisle....and lo! There was my curry paste no more than a few yards away.

So how was this curry shrimp we had? Well, sadly it wasn't all we had been hyping it up to be. I'm leery of recipes on pre-packaged food containers. They never turn out as delicious as what the recipe says it will. In the end it was, I think, the curry paste to coconut milk ratio that wasn't working out. I didn't get the taste of the curry as strongly as I did coconut milk. It's my opinion that you should avoid following Thai Kitchen brand food recipes. We even added extra curry paste than what was called for and it didn't help. We'll have to keep tweaking and I'll let you guys know when we come up with something successful!

But now for something that was definitely a delicious success. This chicken recipe I have is for making your own "breaded" chicken tenders. You bake it instead of frying. My entire family loves it as do my two best friends. These chicken tenders go excellent with French dressing or your fave hot sauce with blue cheese/ranch. It's a much better alternative to getting that pre-packaged stuff or getting greasy fat filled take out.

Rice Crispy Chicken


You will need:
  • 4 cups Rice Crispies (I usually need at least double this)
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Egg
  • 3/4 Cup milk (I substitute Vanilla or Original flavor organic Soy milk, but you can use Almond or Coconut)
  • 3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 Tsp  salt (I typically use Sea Salt but this last time used Pink Himalayan)
  • 1/4 Tsp Pepper
  • 1/2 Tsp Paprika
  • 3 pounds of boneless & skinless chicken - Wash & pat dry (You can do wings or thighs too if desired)
  • 3 Tsp Melted Butter
Steps:

  1. Take the rice crispies and put them into a shallow dish. I use a pie plate. Take a potato masher and grind up the cereal until most of the crispies are broken up. There will be some powder but not all of it. There should still be chunks of the cereal. NOTE: The original recipe does not say to mash them. I didn't do this the first time I made this and I ended up using almost quadruple the rice crispies.
  2. Stir in your garlic to the rice crispies you just mashed.
  3. Take a mixing bowl (a medium one should do unless you need to expand the recipe for extra servings for large families/gatherings) and combine your egg and milk slightly.
  4. Now add in the flour, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Mix everything until smooth. NOTE: I add salt, pepper, and especially the smoked paprika to taste. The first time I made this we couldn't taste the smoked paprika so I added a ton extra into the batter to bring out the flavor more.
  5. Now take some baking sheets/pans and grease them with cooking spray.
  6. Take your chicken (be it tenders, wings, thighs, pieces, etc) and start dipping them into the batter. Then coat them with the cereal/garlic mixture until they are covered. Lay the battered & coated chicken onto the pan and repeat until finished.
  7. Optional: The original recipe calls for melted butter to coat the chicken with once you have coated it in cereal. I did this the first few times I made it but I always ended up needing way more than 3 teaspoons of melted butter and there is no noticeable difference in taste with it added.
  8. Optional but RECOMMENDED: This last time I made this chicken my brother added extra seasoning on top of half the batch. He used more smoked paprika and some other dried herbs like oregano/basil, and some pepper and a little extra salt. The chicken with the extra flavoring on top had a more distinct look and flavor when compared to the ones not seasoned extra. 
  9. Bake your chicken at an oven temperature of 350 degrees for 1 hour or until the chicken is tender, no longer pink inside, and juices run clear. DO NOT COVER OR TURN CHICKEN WHILE IT BAKES. Just leave it be. The only intensive hands on thing about this recipe is the prep.
And then you're done! I like to serve mine with a fresh salad, biscuits, and mashed potatoes. I have been making this recipe periodically since October last year when I first found it in an article in Relish magazine. I promise you it's something everyone loves. We barely have any left overs and those don't last through the 12 hours after dinner. I'd highly recommend this to picky eaters. One of my BFF's is picky about her food and she really loved these with hot sauce. You can even take any leftovers and make your own crunchy chicken wraps for lunch or dinner the following day. If you can manage to keep your family from eating them all the first night anyway. lol

I've rambled on enough. So I will see you all in the next post. Have a fabulous weekend everyone. I know I will! :)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Christmas in July! (Yes, It's That Time Already)

Another blog post you say? What?! Sorcery! Alas no, not quite! But Halloween is really just around the corner. Soon, my lovelies. Soon. ;)

But is is July and it's the 4th so...Happy Independence Day!



I hope you are all having a wonderful and safe day. I also hope you didn't have to work today and got to enjoy the day at home with your loved ones. It cooled down here significantly and I am enjoying the reprieve from the nasty, sticky heat. It rained (thanks in no small part to Hurricane Arthur I'm sure). Despite the cloudiness the rest of the weekend will be sunny albeit hot and probably sticky again. But for today I enjoyed my time indoors and playing around in my shop. My family postponed our BBQ plans until tomorrow so it all worked out.

But with July comes other things. What you ask? Well, Christmas in July of course! I'm celebrating in my Etsy shop (and soon my Artfire shop) with 15% off everything: Handmade, Accessories, Vintage, AND Clearance! Just put in coupon code CIJ15 during checkout for your discount. It also applies to custom orders too!

I'm not the only one celebrating. Many, many shops around the handmade, vintage, and supply community are too. I took some time out of my evening to put together some lovely little treasuries. If you haven't begun thinking of what to get people this holiday season or you just don't know what to get for everyone why not take a look? There's a little something for everyone. :)


Share the links around if you can to help gets these fabulous shops some added exposure. Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Craft Shows! Late but Better Than Never

I've been so hard at work getting things situated in my shop but I haven't forgotten about my Blog readers. :)

Earlier this year, just two months ago in May, I attended the Skyline Lakes Fire Department Annual Mother's Day Weekend Craft Show. This was their 9th year! We were a bit nervous about the weather. Just like last year we were supposed to get terrible roaming thunderstorms and just overall generally crummy weather as far as craft shows are concerned. But the morning of the weather did a complete 180. It was sunny and there was a fabulous turn out.

 My friend Michelle attended the show with me and was a wonderful help and great company during the down times. It was nice getting a chance to sneak away from the booth with her watching the shop while I was away. I hope she is able to attend my future shows with me! :)

Despite the scorching heat a lot of people showed up and the Threaded Chains outdoor booth was a big success compared to last year. I'm so glad to have given this venue another chance! I plan to continue going back and hopefully next year will be just as wonderful.

We did eventually get some rain but not until the end. I was so busy I didn't get a chance to take photos until just before the rain hit. I had very little time to prep the table for photos so some things are a little disheveled from shoppers.


I've made some progress in how to lay out the tables and I hope my next one turns out even better. I'm VERY pleased with the white table linens. They'll be good until I find some permanent cloth ones of the proper colors to match my shop logos. :)

I am planning to do a bunch of craft shows this fall as well. One is being held in Wanaque and I'll be submitting my application before the end of July. As I am very much looking forward to attending the Packanack Mother's Club annual November Holiday craft show which is held right here in Wayne, New Jersey, my home town! :)

There was also one other show I had my eye on so once I have finalized dates I'll be sure to update everyone! And as always you can tune in to my Facebook and Google+ pages for updates.

I hope everyone has a Happy 4th of July tomorrow and a great weekend. There will be a Christmas in July special coming up in my shop within the next few days so keep your eyes out for that!

I'll see you all in the next post.

Monday, June 23, 2014

More Music Mondays - June 2014

It's been a while since I last updated. My apologies! Things have been rather hectic. Threaded Chains appeared at the Skyline Lakes Fire Department in Ringwood, NJ for their annual Mother's Day weekend Craft Show. It was a huge success! Much like last year the weather forecast was for severe thunderstorms, rain, basically anything other than your ideal weather for outdoor craft show shopping. But by some small miracle the morning of the forecast completely turned around. While it was incredibly hot and humid the turnout was fantastic. I am hoping next year will be even better. I've got a few pics I snapped of the Threaded Chains booth that I'll post up within the next few days. :)

Other than that I've been working hard to try and get myself outside on sunny days to take photos of new items both for jewelry and vintage alike. It seems that much like our winter where it snowed almost every day our summer is in store for much the same only with rain. We are in for a humid, muggy summer...or so I hear.

If you haven't stopped by the shop lately please come take a look. A lot of items have been updated with brand new photos. As well new vintage and jewelry items are up. And there is just one week left to get 15% off your vintage item purchases of $10 or more. Be sure to enter promo code Vintage15 at checkout!

Now without further ado here is what I'm listening to this lovely, sunny Monday. :)


One further thing I want to mention is I am currently working on thinking up some things to celebrate Christmas in July which is also fast approaching. Keep your eyes peeled for that as well! :)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Music Mondays - The March 2014 edition!

So last year I wanted to start being more consistent. We all see how well that turned out...haha. Well, last year I shared a musician I really love on a Monday. I thought it would be fun to share someone I like to listen to every Monday or every other thereabout.. So since I'm getting back into this whole blogging thing and seeing how it is once again a Monday, I am going to share with you another band I have come to love.

Nothing fancy but I hope you enjoy it! :)


 Monster by Skillet (Lyric Video)

 Hero by Skillet (Official Music Video)
 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Creative Cake Baking + Glad to be Back!

My goodness it's been so long. Almost a year...I really should hire someone to stand over me and smack me with a ruler whenever I neglect my blog!

Well I hope everyone is coming out of winter on a good note. I am getting back to my shop at long last and it's been wonderful. :) I've had a busy week and the weekend wasn't an exception. Before I get down to the real reason for this post I just want to let you all know I'm having a sale to celebrate my Etsy shop's grand re-opening! Just use the coupon code WELCOMEBACK when you check out and you'll get 10% off anything in my shop including made to order and custom items and anything else listed. :)

Yesterday was my dad's birthday. I took it upon myself to make him a cake. But not just any old cake. Oh no..this one was going to be themed! Anyone who knows me can tell you I'm not that great of a chef and I'm so-so at baking. Visually my food may not look spectacular or noteworthy but I pride myself on at least making sure it tastes great. When it comes to baking I like doing creative things. The last few years I have done special Easter themed brownies (seen below).



I thought that since I have so much fun doing these brownies I could try my hand at doing a fancy sort of cake. A shaped one. An epic one!

My family, as you know, is big on Halloween. All of us have a nickname those on the Halloween forums we belong to know us by. My dad's just so happens to be Vlad. He's made props before using the bat logo associated with that name and Vampires so I though it would be awesome to make him a bat shaped cake.

The original idea stemmed around having a two layer cake but shaping the top layer into the bat. Simple right? Yeah. Sure. We'll go with that!

So here we go. A short little step by step (with photos) on how to make a bat shaped cake. Just remember: I don't claim to be an expert cake designer!

How to Make a Bat Shaped Cake Mini Tutorial

Step one: Choose your poison. For my cake I decided on a butter cake. Just a store brand, off the shelf, box of mix that required the added stick of butter, three eggs, and 2/3s cup of water. Mix on medium or 450 strokes by hand and viola! You can pick any sort of cake flavor you would like though. :)

Step two: Evenly distribute the cake mix into two round cake pans, 8 or 9 inch in size. I think mine were 9 inches. Then pop them in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Mine baked for about 25 minutes to a half hour.

Step Three: Allow your cake to cool in the pans until they are able to be handled by hand. Then remove the two layers and place them on SEPARATE plates. Pop the plates into the refridgerator for about an hour or so. This is supposed to help reduce the amount of crumbs and whatnot when cutting your cake and spreading the icing on exposed parts of the cake that will be showing after you've cut your shapes.

Step Four: Pick our your icing. For my bat cake I used whipped white icing and regular chocolate. Make sure you stir the icing in the cans before applying. It helps with spreadability!

Step Five: Once your cake layers have sat in the fridge for about an hour or so pull them out and grab a sharp edged knife. This will help make cutting your cake shape easier. I used a serated steak knife. Next I just traced a very light outline of my bat's body on one of my cake layers. I did NOT cut the cake yet!

Since I am terrible at evenly distributing cake batter into pans I chose the thinner, smaller layer to make my bat shape out of. Think of the body shape as being a snowman with only two sections. Make sure to include two pointed ears on top!

Step Six: Once you have a tentative outline on the top of the cake you're ready to start cutting. Try and follow your outlines as best as possible! Mine looked like this when I finished cutting it:

I removed the little top piece between the ears so you could better see my body shape and the head.

You should now have three parts for your bat: two wing sections and the body. The wings will be too large for the cake so you will need to cut them down further. You can just wing it on the one wing by freehand cutting it. Then to get a matching opposite wing place the two wing pieces together (with the top golden parts touching) and cut off the extra pieces of the other wing by following the edges of the first one. Keep cutting until you've made the wing parts small enough to fit on top of your cake and so they don't stick off too far (no more than a quarter of an inch).

Step Seven: Ice the bottom layer of your cake. For this I used my white whipped icing. Once done this is what it should look like:


Step Eight: Time to place your bat pieces on top of your iced bottom layer. Place the body on top first and make sure to center it as best you can. Make sure to try not to have the ears stick off the top of the cake too much. DO NOT PUT THE WINGS ON YET. I did this and had to pull them off the very sticky icing so I could properly ice the body of the bat. You need to ice ALL the sides and edges of the body and the wings would get in the way.

So ice the body of your bat first! Be careful when icing the ears. The tips are going to be thin and prone to crumbling off. It took me awhile but I was able to slowly ice them with little, tiny dollops of icing until none of the cake was showing from underneath it. Try also not to press to hard or you could risk breaking the ears off completely.

My cake looked like this before I had to pull the wings off and ice the bat's body. Make sure you DON'T DO THIS:


I used chocolate icing for my bat so he would be "black" or in this case brown.

Step Nine: Now it's time to add your wings and ice them. You may find it helpful to hold one side of the wing as you ice the edges to keep from pushing it around on the white icing or from sliding. It shouldn't slide too much, if at all, but it helps get the icing to spread better by stabilizing the wing as you go with your fingers.

Make sure to ice in along the sides of the wing closest to the body so none of the underlying cake parts are showing! I went the extra step and iced under the parts of the wings that jutted off the edge of the cake as well.

My cake looked like this once I was finished icing the bat:


 Step Ten: Time to add a face and any other details you would like. I choose to just use plain white icing that was leftover to do my detailing. I used a small plastic zip lock baggy with one of the bottom corners snipped off to use as a piping bag. You could also use an actual icing piper if you have them.



Two little dots for the eyes and a sad attempt at a mouth later....:
Now you should have what looks like the ghost of a dead cartoon cat with a mustache! Darn....Might as well as one final flourish:


A bow-tie with a dried cranberry cluster for the center.



Now just place your cake in a cool place (I put mine in the fridge) because there is no way this is going to fit under a cake plate until people have eaten the extremities off. Haha. :D

Anyway, that is my attempt at making a bat cake. Thankfully my dad loved it. You can't get something like that at the store!

I hope you all have a fabulous rest of your weekend and enjoyed reading. Feel free to comment if you've got questions. I didn't do a very good job at taking more photos. Next time....



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