Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day!

What is freedom? We’re all suppose to take today to observe the freedoms this country affords each and every one of us (I won’t address those freedoms that are systematically being taken away lately), and to thank those brave servicemen and women who have fought for us to have those freedoms. But what is freedom, and how does it affect us on a daily basis? The way I see it, freedom is the ability to live the way you want, to take chances, to explore new things, to love who you want, how you want…to be happy. As long as you’re not hurting anyone else, I think we each have the freedom to experience life to the fullest.

I see too many people throwing away their chance at personal freedom, and ultimately happiness. From birth we’re each told what our lives should be like, where we should go to school, what jobs we should have, what lifestyle is acceptable to our friends and family, where we should live, how we should act and dress, all so we will theoretically fit within the posse we’ve been born into. I see so many people follow these pre-drawn maps, forcing themselves into boxes that were not designed for them. Consequently, there seems to be a whole lot of unhappy,

confused, frustrated, unsatisfied people wandering around each day doing things they are “suppose to do”.

Well, I say to hell with that! I’ve always been a bit off the beaten path, but have basically tried to stay right next to the path, one toe on the line, so as not to upset anyone. But as I’ve started breaking the rules (i.e. quitting my corporate job, making art, starting culinary school), I’ve found that nothing bad has happened! In fact, my whole life has opened up. I’m seeing through new eyes, trying new things, and like magic new prospects have come my way that I’ve never even considered. Sure, some people have said that I’m selfish and crazy for giving up a lucrative corporate job just because I want to enjoy my life
more, but I’m finding that the money is still out there, I just needed to find it.

Most of us in crafty Blogland seem to have the same vision—a life filled with more enjoyment, creativity, independence, friendships, and for many of us, a new business. So today I’d like to take my hat off not only to our veterans, and servicemen & women, but also those walking off the beaten path and trying something different. I salute those folks who dare to go back to school in those who quit jobs they hate to find more personally fulfilling careers. A HUGE thank you to the founders of ETSY who figured that there must be others out there who want to purchase beautifully handmade products. Most of all, I want to give a great big “Hell Yeah!” to all of us crafty bloggers who put our art, crafts and thoughts out there in the world just because it makes us happy!

So go out there today and enjoy the freedom to be you in all of your wonderful, unique, creative, off-beat, unconventional ways!

My new journey started this week with my first week of culinary school. My first class is Intro to Breads and Rolls. All of these delicious pics are my class products. I think they’re just beautiful!

I’m also long overdue to show you the fabulous swap package I received from my partner in the Atomic Housewife swap. Isn’t this apron just to-die-for? I love the vintage Jello mold fabric. Thank you Debbi!

Everyone have a great Memorial Day, eat tons, stay safe, and do something unexpected!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary to my adorable husband! Isn't he just the cutest? Love you Bunny! We've been together seven blissful years. We got married in Rhode Island and try to go back as often as possible, so this year's vacation was back to Newport, RI.

We've spent many vacations visiting Newport, but we finally took the time to tour several of the famous Newport Mansions. Above is The Elms. If you ever get the chance, take the the Elms' "Behind the Scene's Tour". The tickets for this one are extra, but you get to see all of the areas that the other houses don't show you: the coal room, wine cellar, servant's quarters, kitchens, etc. It's really fascinating to see the inner workings of such an enormous historic home.

The other mansions we toured were: The Breakers, Rosecliffe, and Chateau-sur-Mer. You can find out more about the historic Newport Mansions at the Newport Preservation Society.

We always do at least one meal at the Red Parrot Restaurant. It's causal, but the food is always excellent. Here's a picture of my lobster pizza. Yes, it was ALL mine!! Accompanied by an Midori Sour, and I was a happy girl! OK, I didn't eat it all in our setting, but I claimed the entire thing as my own. I dream about this pizza between our visits to Newport.

Here is a rare picture of me on Scarborough State Beach in Narragansett, RI. It was a breezy 60 degrees, but I was walking on the beach barefoot, dammit!

On to my favorite portion of the program...dessert!
Welcome to one of my favorite spots on earth...the Captain Jack's dessert counter in Wakefield, RI. I love this seafood restaurant so much that I had my rehearsal dinner here, and had to get special permission to have a big party from Captain Jack himself (yes, his name really is Jack, but I'm not sure he's really a captain). What I do know is that the good Captain and his crew make amazing clam chowder (with thin broth, the way it should be), to-die-for clam cakes (doughy fritter-like balls with huge chunks of clams--really, they're good), and killer desserts. As you can see, they are picture perfect. And they taste even better.
This is my favorite of all of the magic Captain's creations--Caramel Apple Bash. These are just the individual portions, the full-sized versions are easily 9 inches tall. It's a deep dish apple pie, very rich, with chunks of homemade blondies piled on top, and drizzled with thick caramel. Honestly, words can't describe how orgasmic the experience is. I wish you all a trip to Captain Jack's, really it's more of a pilgrimage.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Here's to new beginnings!

My apologies that I haven't posted this week. I've been super busy finishing up my job and getting ready for school (note to self: NEVER give more notice at work than is absolutely required). Anyway, my last day at work was today & now I'm on to another chapter to my life. Whew! I'm off to Newport, RI for vacation this week then I start school on May 19th. I've spent over 14 years in corporate administration and now I'm a full-time culinary student. Wow, sometimes life is wonderfully strange. I just realized a long time ago that life is too short to do things you don't enjoy. I truly believe if you don't like your job, quit and try something else. Bad relationship? Get out. Don't like where you life? Move. Life sucking? Go make cupcakes!

Here is the latest batch of felted cupcakes. They were for three separate orders, but they made a nice grouping before I packaged them up and shipped them off.

In the midst of all of the changes in my life I also keep signing up for swaps. They seriously are addictive! This week's swap was The Atomic Housewife Swap hosted by Julie at CupcakeDD . This was seriously fun--equal parts antique shopping and crafting. I started out at the antique store where I found the glass party plates and cups, and the mint condition cookbook. I really hadn't planned to doing any needle felting for this swap, but I lived with the plates on my shelf for a few days until a big "duh" hit me -- the plates needed treats on them!

I really like the tea in the cups and the sugar cubes. They tickle me for some reason. This package will go in the mail on Monday to my swap partner Tracey. Check out her blog Itching 2 B Stitching . Don't you just love that blog name? I hope you like your treats Tracey!

How amazing are the colors of these roving balls? I'm a member of the Felting Forum . If you are a needle or wet felter check out the Felting Forum. It's a great site with wonderfully supportive members. Each month there is a themed felting challenge, which I try to do and post whenever I can. Each quarter vendors donate prizes for the challenges, and I won one of the prizes for the first quarter of this year. The super generous Marlene at Timbre Ridge Farm donated 8 glorious ounces of roving!! I even got to pick my own colors, which I couldn't believe she let me do. Aren't these colors delicious? I see yummy felted cakes in my future. Thank you soooo much Marlene. Please check out her site, she has tons of colors and the quality of the roving is fabulous.
So, I'm off to Newport. I'll check back in a few days. Everyone take care & have a sweet week!