Worms and Flowers

Self-Cultivation List 2

Posted in Inside by Lzyjo on March 27, 2010

When I was a wee child I used to love plunking down on my stomach with the Sunday Funnies section. Now that I am a *little* more grown up I love reading different types of articles and info for entertainment and education. Here are a few of my favorites of late on my never ending journey of self-growth and cultivation.

Diary of a Victorian Clerk

This is a great find from the City of Westminster, who has gone to much trouble to transcribe the 18th Century Diary of Nathaniel Bryceson, a 19 year-old wharf clerk (coal cashier) residing in Pimlico, a suburb in the area designated as Greater London.Photobucket I first read about it on the BBC site in this article. The City posts the entries on an almost daily basis, following the diary as it was written in 1846. Nat, (as I imagine he would be called) talks about everything,  from physics (laxative), wars, current events,  to  what he wore, what he ate, how the weather was, who died, who was born, and so on. He attitude is surprising modern and frank. Here are a few excerpts of interest.

March 12th 1846 Thursday

Shortly after 3 o’clock this morning a fire broke out upon the premises of Mr Kneller, bullion dealer and refiner, 60 Princes Street, Leicester Square.  It originated in the smelting house the back of the dwelling and when first discovered it threatened very serious consequences.  The speedy arrival of four engines prevented the flames from extending further, but the … entirely extinguished … the stock in trade, fixtures, utensils in the smelting house were very consumed …

And just a little reminder of social constants. This one concerns Nat’s female companion, Ann Fox.

February 22nd 1846 Sunday

Walked through Regent’s Park.  Rain threatened, halted, held up again.  Proceeded onwards over Primrose Hill and fields to Hampstead Church.  Rain fell in torrents, rather wetted.  Sat awhile in church; looked over some monuments and tablets.  Proceeded homewards raining very heavy.  Ann got very wet, self fared better.  Got across the fields to a narrow lane with an archway over.  Sheltered ourselves under arch.  Got to wicked tricks.

That happened to be the same day of the so-called physic…….  O_o

Civil War Preservation Trust Discovery Trails

As we well know, the local area here is rich with Civil War history.  Recently a new civil war trail was designated At the Spring Hill Battle Field.

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Rippavilla Plantation Photo courtesy of Kraig McNutt at the Battle of Franklin

The Battle of Spring Hill was the prelude to the Battle of Franklin.  The battle began with cavalry skirmishes. A separate Confederate charge crossed the Duck River to assault the reinforced Federal’s at the Spring Hill crossroads. By late afternoon the Northern troops defeated the disjointed Southern attack,  opening the road to Franklin where the entire army was congregating in preparation for the next day’s massive battle.

The Battle at Franklin, on the site of the historic Carnton Mansion, is known as one of the bloodiest battles (outside of Gettysburg) with Confederates losing six generals. The Union had established “works” previous that they used as protection during the Battle of Franklin, leaving the confederates on open ground. Both sides were evenly matched, but the Confederates losses were three times the Union’s, probably do to the protection that they lacked. Losses totaled over 8,000. Yet the wounded confederates under Hood managed to trudge on to Nashville in retreat where Hood ‘s forces where completed stomped out a few months later in the Battle of Nashville, but that’s another tale.

The Civil War Preservation purchases property to preserve the historic significance. They manage over 600 sites in 32 states from Maine to Florida, and westward. Find a local battlefield or historic site to explore and learn about local history.  Just click on any of the links and select your state to find a battlefield.

Business Education

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a wide selection of free business training materials on their website. The info there is useful for anyone who wants to start of already owns a small business. My favorite is the step by step Business Plan template, this is really helpful to help you hone your mission statement, see who your customer base is and why your products are unique. This module helped me also see what my goals are for my business. All of their presentations are about 30 minutes long, covering topics for setting up a business to surviving in a recession. According to the website the The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government, to help American small businesses grow. They have field offices in the major cities (Nashville/Memphis) that offer free consultations and advice from experienced professionals. Most large cites also have SCORE offices, (SCORE offers business mentor services locally and online)  States operate small business assistance offices in most cities, Clarksville/Columbia/Murfreesboro. Tennessee calls these Small Business Development Centers. To find State programs where you live,  go to your state’s website  and look for the business section. There you should find a page for starting a business, which includes links to all of the resources. It’s never too late to start, it’s also never too soon. So if you have a small group of employees, are a one person operation or ever considered, imagined, or dreamed of having a business, doing something you love, I encourage you to check out these free educational materials to inspire you and see if you can accomplish your goals realistically.

What have you been doing lately in your personal time?

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Quuuuiiiltfingah!

Posted in Quilting by Lzyjo on November 23, 2009

PhotobucketHi folks, where did the month go? Does anyone know? I’ve been working really hard as my alter-ago QuiltFinger, cookin’ up a ton of quilted holiday items imbued with good cheer.Photobucket I’m so excited to say that my Christmas pillow covers will be available at the Art and Invention Gallery in East Nashville during the month of December. If you haven’t been, you really should. Truly an awesome local gem.  Be sure to check out their huge Holiday Party the evening of Saturday December 5th. I’m sure it will not disappoint. They have a ton of cute accessories, jewelry, pottery, and art (at all price points). Basically a gift for everyone.  Did I mention they have, perhaps, the most awesome-est hot dog stand in the world. My “vegetarian” husband said he would have bought a hot dog, had they been open! You can read about the inspiration for the “I Dream of Weenie” hot dog stand, which is housed in a “real” VW bus (not a new fangled one.) See photo here in an IndieFixx article.

Not only has Art and Invention been named one of the top 50 Shops in the Southeast by Southern Living magazine, but Photobucketthey’re locally famous for their open studio, the Garage Mahal and their mid-Summer Tomato Art Fest.  Art and Invention was rated the number two gallery (behind THE Frist!) by the Nashville Scene. As you might imagine, the owners Meg and Bret, are super sweet. This is from their website,  “after working many years in set design for the film, theatre and video industry, working artists Meg and Bret MacFadyen had a vision,” and boy did they execute it, converting an old garage into the Garage Mahal and subsequently the Art & Invention gallery, all since 2000! Shops that showcase local talent arPhotobuckete few and far between, even fewer match the gestalt that Art and Invention possesses.

My faux food pincushions are also available at Art and Invention. Pierogi pincushions and tacos, complete with faux lettuce, tomato and cheese, in addition to two styles of Christmas pillows that have very limited availability in my QuiltFinger Etsy shop.  I offer potholders, household items, table runners and other items, like quilts, exclusively in my Etsy shop. Speaking of my shop, I’m having a huge sale until until 11/30, CyberMonday. Many of my items are 40-50% off, including Christmas items and nonseasonal, everyday pillow covers.

PhotobucketYou may have already guessed that my alter-ego QuiltFinger is inspired by 007 antagonist Goldfinger, but it goes deeper than you think. You know how every year they have 007 marathons, especially after Christmas they love to do them. I watched Goldfinger again, while I was conceiving my quilting identity. QuiltFinger is not really inspired by the character Goldfinger, but by the incredible Dame Shirley Bassey, I highly recommend her performance of Goldfinger at Royal Albert Hall on YouTube, she owns that song! I just LOVE, LOVE how she

enunciates, finGAH with her mouth roaring wide like a tiger. That song is so titillating. I can’t help but imagine a QuiltFingah version when I hear it.  Since then we’ve thought of a few other names. Quiltsmith, after my last name, and DH thought of, I love this super-sweet one, Homegrown Quilts, awww.

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Photo from IndieFixx

Art and Invention
1106 Woodland East Nashville.

Friday and Saturday: 11 am – 6 pm
Sunday: Noon – 5 p.m
615.226.2070

Woodland is the main road with the bridge. Continue to the weird fork at Five Points (Woodland and 11th) and bear right, it’s immediately after that intersection on the right hand side. Their building and parking area is right along the alley.

Happy Halloween

Posted in Holidays, Inside by Lzyjo on October 29, 2009

Happy Halloween!

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I wandered over to the Martha Stewart website for some pumpkin carving inspiration. There are things I really love about Martha Stewart, some of her recipes are absolutely top shelf. My ultimate favorite is her Chocolate chip cookie breakdown, three different recipes for the cookies texture you want. When ever I make chocolate chip cookies the soft and chewy version is the one I refer back to time and time again. OMG. I used to get up at 5 Am to bake these cookies for my softball team. MMMM!! I also made my friend a cookie cake using this recipe, just poured it into a pie plate. OMG OMG!! It was SO good!

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Martha Stewart’s Halloween projects are always phenomenal.  I got my first Martha Stewart Living subscription was I was 15.  (Yes, I am a dork) Another great Halloween project of her’s, that I did, was a Halloween window monster, (sort of resembling a dragon). The dragon was cut out of black plastic landscape sheeting and taped on to the window and then the body was filled in the green kraft paper, it was awesome on a picture window!

Anyway, there are so many great ideas for Halloween decorating. I loved Martha’s carrot nose pumpkins, and i used the only carrot from the garden for the nose! LOL! One thing, the pumpkin and the carrot do desiccate, so it’s best to only make it a a few days ahead. Or you can do like me and replace the carrot with a pepper when the hole is too big.

I used Martha’s transfer method from the magazine. Draw your face on paper, tape it to the pumpkin and transfer the design with a pin.

Have a Happy Halloween!

Simply Salsa

Posted in Recipes by Lzyjo on September 1, 2009

Ah, salsa. The cherry on the nacho cake.  Okay, lousy metaphor for a wonderful condiment. Salsa comes in smaller, pricier jars than tomato sauce, so surely it must be harder to make? NO?! NO! It’s not. Blast! If anything, it is easier. It can be made in a frying pan using just 2 pounds of tomatoes! No kidding.  The following recipe is for salsa as simple as it gets. K.I.S. I like to leave of the last S, becuase it’s unnecessary, but inevitably I think Stupid, anyway!

Preparation

Rinse two pounds of tomatoes and blanch in a large pot of water to a boil.

Let the water come back to a boil and cook for approximately five minutes.

The skins of the tomatoes should be just splitting open. Cook too quickly and the skin will still be attached, cook too long and pulp will exit the cracks in the skin.

Cool tomatoes under running water or in an ice bath.

Peel the blanched tomatoes. The skin should come off in one piece (hopefully 😉 fingers crossed, knock on wood, pray to god….)

After your tomatoes are peeled you can take a break and let them rest overnight and a lot of the water will drain off, or if you’re feeling energetic, proceeded with the salsa. Draining the additional water off can help produce a thicker salsa more quickly.

Cooking the Salsa

Chop one onion

Chop the two pounds of blanched tomatoes

Chop 3- 5 ounces of green chilies for a mild-medium salsa. Approximately 8 oz for hot.

Bell peppers can also be added, but are optional.

Combine the ingredients in a skillet and simmer for about 40 minutes until the tomatoes break apart, mostly.

Season to taste with salt and sugar.

I used about 2 tsps of salt and 1/4 C of brown sugar for two pounds of tomatoes. Salsa, being a condiment, known for being piquant, (as in Picante) requires stronger seasonings than you would normally add to a sauce or main dish.

Yields approximately 3 Jars.

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