Friday, April 22, 2011

The Art of ReUse Contest Sponsored by Etsy and Green is Universal

 WoW, have the last two weeks been a wild ride!  Two Fridays ago, I opened up my Etsy email, and saw this:   Last Chance to Enter the Art of ReUSE Contest    Calling all upcycling DIYers!  Green is Universal and Etsy want to see your creative ReUSE project.   Get the details and submit your project here for your chance to win.  Last day to enter is Friday, April 8.  

I thought why not take a chance?  I have been selling my Tab Top bracelets for a couple of years now, and at my last show, a customer asked if I would make one into a dog collar. I said "Of course"!

This lead me to make one for my medium size Pit Bull Mix, Cali, and to give the design a run for the money.

I used snap rings from Tractor Supply,
and just clipped Cali's ID through the tab tops.
 This was the only collar I had made at this point - so I took some pictures - and submitted my entry.  I had to list and describe the materials, tell how it was made, and then talk about the finished product.
I didn't have a whole lot of time because I was supposed to meet my daughter Virginia, at school - we we going to hear Mary Badham speak.  She is the actress who played Scout - in To Kill a Mockingbird.   I managed to squeeze in submitting my Up cycled Feed Sack Totes as well but was informed, a bit later, that I was only allowed to enter one item per day.  I chose to drop the tote, and keep the Tab Top Pet Collars.  
We had a talk to go to that night, and then off to see Philadelphia University the next day, and then York, Pa to move a truck and trailer load of furniture.  It was CrAzy!

So on the 10th, I thought to promote the contest on Facebook.  I may have even tweeted it at some point.   On Thursday I was having Virginia help me design some business cards on the computer (to take to a show that coming Sunday in DC) - and I stopped to check my email.  

Go figure - I was told that my Tab Top Pet Collars were one of the products that were getting some buzz.  I was asked if it was possible to send a collar to NYC.   I said 'You bet'! Friday morning there was a FedEx label in my email - and I had 2 collars ready - one small size for a cat or small dog, and one larger, for a bigger dog.

Off to Rockefeller Center, NYC

I took some pictures before I sent them off - and thought - I better get these listed in my Etsy shop!  I was up a little later than usual that night - but I was good with that :)   I had re-engineered the design somewhat - and am pleased with the more durable results that you see here. 

On Saturday the 16th, Jessie Katz put together a treasury on Etsy titled The Art of ReUse giving a nod to the TOP TEN - and I was in the TOP TEN.  I was stunned!
Needless to say I was on a high all week long.  The products were to be received in NYC on Monday April 18th.  Of course the email said that breaking news would take precedence over our items being featured - but if they were to be shown - it would be during the 4th hour of the TODAY SHOW with Hoda Kotb and Kathy Lee Gifford. 

I called my Mom Ginny, my daughter Virginia, my husband Bob, and a friend Patty -  and told them to watch.  At the top of the hour - I looked at the desk where Hoda and KLG were sitting - and there THEY were!!!  MY Tab Top Pet Collars.  I was SO excited!  

There was all kinds of stuff they were talking about to start - and the banner at the bottom of the screen covered the top of the desk, and my collars (!)  But eventually they got to the Esty (sic) (Hoda) Etsy/Green is Universal contest.  First they talked about the jump rope made from dried up magic markers, then on to my Tab Top Pet Collars.  Of course I took pictures of the TV - with Hoda and KLG holding them - trading them back and forth - and Kathi Lee said they were cute!         

OK - so this is only Tuesday...but I am definitely floating on air.  How awesome :)

Somehow I made it to today - I watched the TODAY SHOW at 10:00 every morning.  
On Wednesday they showed the Firefighter Coat Turned Messenger Bag by Evon Cassier, and the sweater skirt by Brightly Colored Twirly Skirt of Upcycled Sweaters by Kelleyanne Wank  

On Thursday they showed the Flying Alumifish by John D. Richards Cast Iron Claw Foot Bathtub Couch by Jill Morrison,, and Weego the Scarecrow by Leslie Wilton,

They didn't mention Re-Zip It! Zipper Brooch by Heather Sennabaum, or Gift Card Earrings by Jessie Katz or 20 Minute Dog Sweater by Jennifer Kerr.

So that was it, Friday was here - and I was ready.  I spent the morning photographing and naming all of the colors of ribbon for my Tab Top Pet Collars.  Getting collars ready for A show next weekend in Purcellville - Paint the Town Green - as well as for a shop in  Purcellville - Everyday Elegance.

10 o'clock was fast approaching - and then I got THE email, at 9:36 a.m.:  "Although you were chosen from among hundreds of other participants as one of our ten finalists, the judges have not selected your project as one of the final three winning entries. We thank you for your participation, hard work and commitment to ReUse". 

OH WELL!  I was still a winner!

I had the greatest ride for two weeks of my life - MY design/product was on National television - if only for a minute - and the judges Andy Cohen, Angela Matusik, Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee, Lauren Bush, Martha Stewart and Tori Spelling all may have hands on my project.
And the most important part - people obviously saw merit in something that I created!

Thanks to Etsy/Green is Universal, the Today Show, AND everyone who supported me on facebook, twitter, Etsy, and in my local community.  

It was a great adventure!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bolognese Sauce from O Oprah Winfrey magazine

Karl, here is the recipe I promised you!  With pictures even :)

I am not much of a cookbook person, or a recipe person, or even a spaghetti and meat sauce person.  But when I read this article and the accompanying recipe for Bolognese sauce - I had to try it.  Family and friends are glad I did!
The smaller you cut up the celery, onion and carrots, the better.  
I am also not much of a kitchen gadget person, but the Vidalia Chop Wizard
is perfect for cutting  down the onions and carrots.  It DOES NOT work well
however, on stringy celery!

I use the smaller gridded cutting blade to cut both.
This makes them about a quarter inch in size.
Cutting them this size ensures tenderness by the
time the Bolognese is done cooking.
I have 'rendered' the Pancetta (only Italians could make bacon look pretty)!  The celery, carrots and onion are 'softening'.
Because this recipe takes a bit of time to cook, I usually make a double batch.  It is well worth it if someone wants seconds, if you want to freeze some, have a larger family, or want leftovers!

Bolognese Sauce
'O' Oprah  Magazine


1 medium Onion                                                               pinch of Allspice
1 large or 2 small Carrots                                                 1 cup whole Milk
       2-3 stalks of Celery                                                         1 cup dry white Wine
1 ounce Pancetta, very finely chopped                      1(15 ounce) can diced Tomatoes and juice
1 pound Ground Beef (not lean)                                                   1 pound Pasta
1 tsp. Salt, 1/8 tsp. freshly ground Pepper                Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese, for grating

 1. finely chop onion, carrot and celery.  In a heavy bottomed sauce pan or Dutch oven,  over low heat, cook pancetta until all fat is rendered, and pancetta is just beginning to brown.  Add chopped vegetables, raise heat to medium, and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent and soft.
2.  add ground beef, breaking it up with a spoon, 1/4 tsp. (to start), plus pepper and allspice.
MY comment: the AROMA, when the allspice is mixed in with the ground beef is Amazing!!Cook until meat is brown.

3.  Add milk.  When it begins to simmer, reduce heat to low and cook at a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally until milk has mostly boiled away, about 30 minutes.  Add white wine and cook as with milk, until it has mostly boiled away.  Add tomatoes and juice; bring to a simmer.  Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and allow sauce to cook very gently at barest simmer, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
MY comment:   at this point, I sometimes transfer the sauce to my large Crock Pot - on low, and cook all day.

4. Just before sauce is done, bring a pot of water to a boil, salt it generously, and boil pasta according to package directions.  Drain, mix with a third of the sauce, then serve remaining sauce on top with lots of the grated cheese.
The rest of MY comments:
As I said earlier - I usually make a double batch.  This of course changes the cooking time - especially at step 3. with regards to the milk, and then wine, cooking off.

Also as to ingredients:
I am the kind of cook that uses what I have in the house - or what I want to use.  If you want to make this low calorie - use lean beef and non fat milk.  I have made this with venison (very lean), and also have used all of the combos of 'fat' versus 'non fat' ingredients.  I always err on the 'more' side when it comes to the veggies - especially the carrots and celery.  The wine  - as long as it is 'dry', can be inexpensive.

Although this recipe takes time - remember that the final hours can be done in a Crock Pot.  This is absolutely DELICIOUS.  You won't be disappointed!


If you have any comments of your own - leave them below!

Sorry I bailed on you...

I'm back...

My Story:
Some time ago, someone was searching the web and came across some photos of my newly redone 1960s French Provincial furniture. They had similar pieces, and their furniture was in need of some love. They wanted some advice.  To be able to share it with everyone - instead of just answering her questions privately...I wrote this great post, answering in great detail, how to redo this type of furniture.
Because Google doesn't allow you to be logged into your Gmail address while being signed into Blogger - and I was currently signed into my mail account - when I went to post this particular blog entry - I lost the whole thing.
I was so pissed off - I haven't posted since.

But I need Blogger - Facebook is great for the 'close in' circles - but I want the wider audience, and the ability to share more info - so -

So here goes...  don't disappoint me...  My first post will be for my Cousin Karl - he wanted my recipe for Bolognese Sauce :)  
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