Sunday, February 28, 2010

Eco-Friendly Rambeling - Cleaning

This week I want to talk about eco-friendly cleaning. I noticed that more and more companies are going 'green' with their cleaning material but there are other ways perhaps even more inexpensive ways to clean your home without the chemicals.

For instance: 

Baking Soda, Borax, Washing Soda and White Vinegar or Lemon Juice

For more information and recipes go to : Alternative Cleaners and Recipe

I think that if we all do a little, then we can preserve our planet just a little bit longer and perhaps we can also save it. 

Friday, February 26, 2010

Contest - Give Away - Riddle Me This

So for the past months we have trivia questions and I will go back to them, but I thought that since we are almost done with February and heading into March, I would to do something different. Well okay maybe not that much different..perhaps more challenging? Who knows...

So here it goes: Riddle me this

Feed me and I Live
Give me Drink and I Die

What Am I?
The individuals with the correct answer will be entered into a drawing that will be completed via You will receive a $5.00 gift certificate to be used in any of the 3 stores:
Contest ends Wednesday March 3, 2010 at midnight. 

And the Winner is....

Zooni .. Congrats!!!

Head on over to Hippie's Bath & Body and choose anything of your liking... w00t!

Email me with what you want and where to ship it too to this email:

The correct answer was Paul McCartney.

The drawing was done via!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Food of the Week

On cold days we would always have soup and Lentil Soup is one of my favorites. It is not a super hit in my home, but occasionally I get away with making it. 

Lentil Soup - Linsen Suppe 

You will need:

Let's make soup:

  1. Rinse lentils thoroughly under cold running water (brown lentils don't need to be soaked b4 cooking).
  2. Heat oil in a lrg pan & gently fry onion for 5 min till soft. Add leek, carrot, celery, bacon & bay leaves.
  3. Add lentils & water to the pan & slowly bring to a boil. Skim the surface & simmer (half-covered) for 45-50 min or till the lentils are soft.
  4. Remove piece of bacon, cut into sml cubes (trimming off any excess fat) & return bacon cubes to the pot.
  5. Add parsley + frankfurter slices & season w/salt & pepper to taste pref. Simmer gently for 2-3 min, remove bay leaves & serve garnished w/the extra parsley. 
One of the things I do is add a smidgen of vinegar and that is what makes an awesome soup!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My Featured Item or rather project for the week

I love to burn ..burn on wood or tagua nut. Tagua nut, known as vegetable ivory, is the seed of a tree similar to a palm but botanically not belonging to the palmaceus but to the ciclantaceus. Its scientific name is Phytelephas Aequatorialis Macrocarpa. Tagua grows in the tropical rainforests of some South American countries, mainly Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela, being Ecuador the country that fulfills most of the world’s demand.

There are some amazing things one can do with a tagua nut. Commonly used in figurines, but at times also beads that are colored in an array of colors.

I like to burn on them, well the tagua nut slice. I will buy them in bulk, sliced but unsanded. To get them ready, I will sand either by hand (whew) or with my rotary tool to obtain a smooth surface. The image that I will burn on the 'nut' depends on the shape and size of the nut slice. Once I have decided on an image, I will trace or sketch it onto the nut slice. If I don't like the pencil sketch, I will erase and have a do over until I am happy! 

Then I will go heat up my burning tool and start burning. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Artist of the Week - Ingleside Farm

Nancy Chase - Ingleside Farm

I run a small, historic farm in Buckingham, VA, raising Icelandic sheep.  My sheep provide me with the materials I need to produce and sell:  breeding stock and meat lambs; wool for spinners and felters; pelts; horns; skulls; sheep's milk soap, hand-carved sheep's bone jewelry; needle felted jewelry, sculptures, and other fiber arts; plus photo cards, calendars, and gifts featuring photos of the farm and sheep.
1. Why did you decide to open a shop?

It was the next logical step towards helping my farm become a little more profitable.  I love to experiment with lots of different ways of being creative.  And my sheep provide me with so many wonderful, all-natural materials, I'm constantly inspired with new ideas of ways to use them.

2. How did you get into your art?

I've been doing art and various kinds of crafts my entire life.  But it was my years of involvement with the Society for Creative Anachronism (a medieval recreation group) that originally got me interested in fiber arts, which led to me eventually starting to raise sheep.  So I guess you could say that at first my interest in art inspired my desire to farm, and now the farm inspires my art!

3. What do you love about what you are doing?

To me, there's the most amazing sense of connection and accomplishment when I create a finished item from raw materials that I've raised myself.  Each piece I create represents whole cycles of life and seasons on my farm. 

For example, for even one small piece of my needle felted wool jewelry, I have not only created the piece itself, I've also helped that lamb be born, raised it and cared for it every day of its life, sheared the wool myself, and washed and carded it by hand, before ever beginning the needle felting process.  So by the time I make the finished item, I literally have YEARS of love and labor invested in the materials. 

It's such an honor to be able to work with materials that have been grown with joy and respect at every step of their development.  In today's world of mass-production, that can be a rare opportunity for most people.  I feel so lucky to be able to live this challenging and beautiful life on this beautiful old farm.  I hope that some of the joy I feel is passed on to the people who buy my work.

4. How does your art fit into your dreams for your life?

I've had quite a few different jobs over the course of my life.  Many of them were both easier and higher paying than this one.  But living here on the farm, creating beautiful and useful things from my own home-grown materials, is the most authentic and satisfying thing I have ever done.

Now I just have to keep making progress, both with my art and my marketing, so the profits can begin to grow a little bit too!

5. What have you learned about yourself from starting your shop and learning your art form?

For me, creating the art is inextricably entwined with running the farm.  Both of these are constant learning experiences!  Nearly all of the pieces I create are one of a kind, so there is no set routine.  It's always new, every time.

I've learned patience, because my ideas flow so quickly but they take time to bring them to fruition.  I've learned courage, persistence, and the ability to take responsibility and make the tough choices, in the face of overwhelming and sometimes heartbreaking circumstances.  And most of all, I've learned what my sister and I refer to as "thinking sideways."  That means, when your path seems blocked by an insurmountable obstacle, you develop the habit of brainstorming a dozen different ways that you can still reach your goal, even if you have to do it a different way than you'd originally planned.

How you can contact, stay in touch, fan or follow Nancy Change from Ingleside Farm:

Icelandic sheep:
Fiber arts and handmade jewelry:
Farm-related cards, calendars, & gifts:
Farm Blog:

Monday, February 22, 2010

Thought for the Week

If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain. 
Maya Angelou

This quote by Maya Angelou can be applied to so many facets in our lives. I think this months has been focusing on that we are the captains of our boat. How we think and often feel influences our behavior and actions to follow. 
There are a few areas of my life that I do have control, that I am changing one day at a time, while other aspects are beyond my control but I stay positive. 
In the last week I was tired, wanted to nap 'n sleep and not do much of anything. Stress was triggered by several facets of life and mostly items that I cannot change. My body has been aching (in part because I feel the weather in my bones) but also because I'm tired and my body yelling at me to take care of it. So I slowed down, didn't do half the things I wanted to, laid on the couch, took napes and yesterday...well yesterday was a super lazy day though I did end up crocheting in the evening. 

I can change my attitude and so today is a new  day. It is time to refocus and change the things I can and be okay with the things I cannot. It is very true that attitude (which we control) is what influences who we encounter and how we approach things.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Production can be painful

One of these days I will learn that standing on my feet all day is painful at night. Yesterday I spend all day in my kitchen ..creating. In the evening hours of the day, I dearly seemed to have to pay for it. However, today I was proud to list more items in my Bath & Body Shop!!! Here are some things I have done:

Other items not pictured are: Coffee and Cocoa Goat's milk soap (they need more curing), mint with rosemary, lavender and lemongrass soap (waiting to come out of the mold and cut into bars) and one I am waiting to list is dragon's blood soap.

The Dragon Blood soap was a special request and I hope that it is liked they way she has envisioned it.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Cute Soaps for a good cause

I wanted to share some pictures of the items I have been doing for the National Urea Cycle Foundation. I ventured and bought some molds, melt and pour soap from one of my favorite suppliers and started to create. I think that the kids will love these and the money is going towards a good cause that I am passionate about and want to advocate for. There is a part of me that screams and yells inside that says "We need to find a cure" so that we do not loose anymore precious loved ones, that individuals no longer endure brain damage or slip into a coma. This is personal in every way shape a form. A liver transplant "appears" to be the only thing that cures "some" urea cycle disorders. Some of them, a liver transplant seems a mute point, so we have to find something else, another way. And I want to help in any way that I can... 
 Saving one life one wash at a time!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Contest - Give Away

Every week I host a contest give-away. The rules are this: I post a question. You answer it correctly and you get entered into the drawing. The drawing is then done via for fairness reasons. So are you ready? Here we go with this weeks question:

What rich and famous singer-songwriter owns the publishing right to Stormy Weather and Hello Dollly, as well as the soundtracks of Grease, Mame, Annie and A chorus Line, among many others?

As every week you have until Wednesday 11:59 to answer the question!

The winner will receive any item out of my Hippie's Bath & Body Store!

And the Winner is....

Margaret Ropp!


The question was:  
Which British band released the hit single "Hippy Hippy Shake" in 1963?

And the correct answer was: The Swinging Blue Jeans

The correct answer is entered into the drawing. I use in which I enter the names of each person that has the correct answer. then chooses (at random) the winner!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Food of the Week - Sauerbraten

Next to Bratwurst this is probably the most known 'German' Recipe. By adding spices and putting meat into a high acid bath was a common way to ensure the days hunt was saved until a major event. Families could not go out hunting on Yule, so this was the result. 
It's one of my favorites no matter the time of the year, though often families will have this food during the holidays or Sunday family get-together.

The key to this recipe is to allow the roast to marinate for the full 3 days.
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
  • 1 Tablespoon juniper berries, coarsely crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Sauerbraten Spice ( I have found them at Foods of All nations)
  • 4 pounds boneless beef roast, preferably bottom round

  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 1/2 cups onions, diced
  • 2 1/2 cups carrots, diced
  • 1 1/4 cups celery, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup gingersnap cookies, crumbled
Combine all marinade ingredients, except the roast itself, in 2-3 quart saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Place the beef in a deep, non-reactive (glass or ceramic) bowl or pot just large enough to hold it. Pour marinade over beef. The marinade should be at least halfway up the sides of the roast. If necessary add more wine. Cover tightly with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-3 days, turning the meat in the marinade at least twice each day.
Remove meat from marinade and pat completely dry with paper towels. Strain the marinade through a fine sieve and reserve the liquid. Discard spices and onions.
In heavy, 5-quart dutch oven, heat the butter until bubbling stops. Add the meat and brown on all sides, turning frequently, so that it browns evenly without burning. Transfer to platter and set aside.
For roasting, add the onions, carrots, and celery to the same pan you cooked the meat in. Cook over moderate heat until soft and light brown (5-8 minutes). Sprinkle 2 Tablespoons of flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, 2-3 minutes longer or until the flour begins to color. Pour in 2 cups of the reserved marinade and 1/2 cup of water and bring to boil over high heat. Return the meat to the pot, cover tightly, and simmer over low heat for 2 hours, or until the meat shows no resistance when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Alternatively, bake in 350 degree oven for 2 hours.
Transfer the roast to a heated platter and cover with foil to keep warm while sauce is made.
Pour the liquid left in the pot into a large measuring cup and skim fat from surface. You will need at least 2 1/2 cups for the sauce. If additional liquid is needed, add some of the reserved marinade.
Combine the liquid and the gingersnap crumbs in a saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently for approx. 10 minutes, allowing the cookie crumbs to dissolve completely and thicken the sauce to the desired consistency. Depending upon the amount of liquid, you may need to add additional cookie crumbs.
Strain the sauce through a fine sieve, pressing down hard with wooden spoon to force as much of the vegetables and crumbs through as possible. Return the sauce to the pan, adjust seasoning and allow to simmer over low heat until ready to serve.
Slice the roast, pour some sauce over slices on platter and pass remaining sauce separately.

This recipe was provided by Alexander Rhoads from Adel


1/2pound potatoes
1ounce bread crumbs plain
1large egg
2tbsp      butter
1x salt and pepper to taste

This refers to dumplings made from boiled potatoes which is the traditional Swabian method. Dumplings made from raw potatoes originated in Bavaria and reached Swabian kitchens relatively late.

Beat the butter and egg until fluffy. Add the cold, grated, boiled potatoes, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper, and knead well. Depending on how watery the potatoes are, flour may be substituted for the bread crumbs in order to get a dough that is neither too firm not to pasty.
Form dumplings, and cook in barely simmering salted water for 15 minutes. Be careful to not boil to rapidly or overcook.
Serve immediately, while still piping hot.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It's a Hump Day Sale!

I'm having a sale in my Bath & Body Shop! Today Only Take of 17% from any item in the shop. You have one or two options, you can wait to pay and I will send you a new invoice via paypal or you can go ahead and pay and I will refund the difference. This only applies to product and not shipping or tax (if you are in virginia).

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Artist of the Week

This week I am keeping it a little local! Diane from HappilySewingDiane is local to Scottsville, Virginia. She's the mother of a disabled child and keeps tugging along like the rest of us. She loves to sew and has several items listed in her etsy shop. I like the Buttefly Bag:
Or how about a neat storage item for when you travel:
She has lots more adorable items in her shop. It's interesting that we live in the same small town but that we don't seem to have crossed path.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Thought for the Week

" Once I started seeing through the eyes of my heart, 
instead of a socially conditioned lens, 
things started to transform dramatically."  
Jonathan Mead (2010)

I think we all should do this! I am keeping it short today because this says it enough for me.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Eco-Friendly Rambeling - Upcycle, Downcycle, Recycle

I want to upcycle. I have saved skirts and other clothing to engage my sewing machine into some activity to upcycle those items. I know what I want to do, but for one reason or another I haven't quite gotten there yet.
Upcycle is recreating something new from used and existing material that is useful in some capacity, its preventing, reducing and eliminating waste because it doesn't get thrown away.

There is also downcycling, the other end of the spectrum which constitutes being the material of lesser quality while saving and/or reducing energy, waste and so forth. Alas recycling is simply the process of either downcycling or upcycling.

Quite of few artisans pride themselves in being a creator of upcycled wear or simply for art purposes. I have seen utensils being used for jewelry, the material from old knitted sweaters unraveled and turned into something else. I love this process and the functionality. I try to be very aware of what I purchase, and how we impact our planet. Yes, I'm a tree hugger! But I am not as extreme to protest! I believe in being proactive rather than being reactive. We know what loitering and trash can do to our world, we don't need anymore evidence, do we?

I like that plastic bottles are now turned into shopping bags. I like that a lot more companies are going with the green movement. Some of the things I do, well the plastic bags you may receive your item in (if you purchase from my stores) comes with my son's medicine. His IV pods are tuckered into small plastic bags. I save them for one purpose or another. Yes, it is those little things that can help and make it happen.

But I think it is a matter of not only being conscientious, but having the ability to look at an existing item and transform it into something new.  I am hoping to transform the clothes that I have saved into something new!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The week in review (so far)

So far? Well that's because my week goes from Monday through Sunday not Sunday through Saturday... I never quite understood that but then I suppose that is the difference in culture (German vs. American). This week was busy even for being snowed in and not really going anywhere. I received a few shipments (yay) of I am still waiting on my soap supplies...though I have received some molds for the NUCDF Soap line. Anyway, I ordered some Caron Yarn Natura and it was not quite what I expected since I have worked with the Simply Soft yarn. I started a project with one thing in mind, but soon realized that umm no a scarf will not be the finished project. So I sat there with the design and wondered and thought, worked on it and wondered some more what could I do? And here's the result:

And this inspired me to do more of incorporating pictures but I only have two colors of the natura yarn (off white and sage) so I am using the simply soft to create picture incorporated pieces... but you will just have to wait until those are revealed.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Contest - Give Away

The rules are simple! I post a question that may or may not have multiple choice answer. You respond with the *correct* answer. If you have the correct answer you will be entered at for the drawing. The more that answer the question, hopefully correctly ...well ya know the better the contest!

Which British band released the hit single "Hippy Hippy Shake" in 1963?

Contest ends next Wednesday the 17th at 11:59 pm EST. This weeks price is a new and luscious shampoo bar scented with herbal essence and tea tree. Be the first to have one as it is not yet listed in the shop!

And the Winner is....

Cheryl .. from Cheryl's Purple Cow .. Congrats!!  Head on over to Hippie's Bath & Body and choose a lotion of your liking... w00t!

Email me with what you want and where to ship it too to this email:

The answer to the question was: Owsley "Bear" Stanley!

And this was the question:

Just like Ivory Soap, his product was supposed to be over 99% pure. This gentleman, the grandson of a United States Senator, was the first underground chemist to produce pure LSD in mass quantity. Who was the sound man and 'chemist' for the Grateful Dead?

 The winner was drawn by always its about being fair!!!

Stay tuned for the new question will be posted soon.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Food of the Week - Herring in Sour Cream

Growing up, I sometimes went to my grandparents who lived at the Baltic Sea and we had herring rolls on a broetchen. Yum. One of my favorites however is this recipe that I can make at home: 
Herring in Sour Cream
2 cans (6-oz size) matjes-herring fillets
3 matjes-herring fillets
1 medium anian
24 whole black peppers
2 bay leaves
3/4 cup dairy sour cream
1/4 cup sauterne
Rinse fillets in cold water; drain; dry on paper towels. Cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Then slice anian into thin rings.

In medium bowl, layer onion rings, black peppers, bay leaves, and herring pieces.

Combine sour cream and wine. Pour over herring mixture, mixing gently to combine.

Refrigerate, covered, 8 hours, or over­ night.

Serve with boiled potatoes!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My featured item of the week

Since we had to deal with a few power outages and snow that had has blocked from well going outside, I haven't been able to wood burn much or finish the pieces that are done. Instead I have been able to crochet and here is what I came up with. First up .. Hearts for your car


Inspired by a team member to help create awareness. This theme is for Heart awareness month! When I was approached to find out if I ever did any awareness items...the only thing I could come up with is my soap for the National Urea Cycle Foundation. So I sat around, looked through some pattern books. I am a slight fan of fuzzy dice for the car and have some "Grumpy Bear Dice" hanging from my rear view mirror. I thought, well wouldn't it be neat to have other ornaments for your car..and the Hearts for your car was born. And then I thought, well what else would look cool in a car and while we are all still worried about valentines day,  I came up with this little cute crochet piece: 

A leprechaun with shamrock leaf ..a little bit ahead of St. Patrick's day but really it's for anyone who takes pride in their Irish heritage. I have a few more design's in my head that I will be trying to work on.This pattern for leprechaun and leaf is available here . Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Artist of the Week

This morning I decided to pounce on Etsy and see who was new, had no sales and just what is out there. There are a lot of great artists out there..this one caught my eye!

The artist of this store creates needled felted spirit dolls like this one "Mother's Love"

I don't needle felt but I love the art and the creations one can do with them. But my favorite in her store is the "Figgy Pudding Faerie",

This would be beautiful in any window for sure. I also love this one with spring right around the corner (so we hope because we had enough of snow this Spring Jubilation Faerie would just be very fitting.


 Want to be the next featured Artist? Send me an email to 

Have a nice day and if it's snowing wherever you are...stay warm and crafty!

Monday, February 8, 2010

My thought for the week

What is difficult for some people is not difficult for others and the difference is in their attitude. Everything is possible when you believe in yourself and when you blindly believe that it can be done, when you have a burning desire and a stubborn and persistent attitude to succeed." © 2010 Eduardo Dominguez

In my search for today's post, this is what I read and thought..yeap this be true. Our attitude decides how everything is done from creating until the point of selling. When I'm at the Farmer's Market during the summer months, its evident that when I am in a bad mood or even have a headache...people notice. It's in out attitude and body language. The days that I'm in a good mood...well I am having a good day...and a good day in sales. 

Sometimes I doubt myself, don't we all? I mean seriously some of us go weeks (if not month) without sales and wonder what the heck have I been doing this for? But we have passion and a "burning desire" to do our craft and continue to push forward and move on. In the past few weeks I needed to re-design and revamp my store into stores, and I noticed a change..its a good change. 

For some folks its difficult because they aren't exactly sales people, for instance I don't like sales but I love to create, create, create... but all this creating has to go somewhere and so I have turned into a sales person. Oi! 

So I leave this note and start this week with a good attitude. I will continue with my passion and desire and move forward. 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Snowed in...power on and off

Today's post will be late. We lost power and had to fire up the generator for some other things I needed to do and just wanted to let everyone know I didn't forget or anything. With that said.. hope everyone has a good day!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Be Featured

I have decided that on Tuesdays of every week, an artist will be featured. I currently am choosing the ones I want to feature but want to give you the opportunity to be featured if you are interested!
This is what you will have to do

1. I need an email indicating you want to be featured with the subject line: I want to be featured on your blog". I will need your shop name and/or URL with a description of what it is you make or do.

2. I will fill the spots I have available kind of on a first come first serve basis. All will be featured, it will just turn into a waiting list!!

3. If you want to be featured, these are some of the questions I would like to include:

1. Why did you decide to open a shop?
2. How did you get into your art?
3. What do you love about what you are doing?
4. How does your art fit into your dreams for your life?
5. What have you learned about yourself from starting your shop and learning your art form?

And of course whatever else you would like to add

*By applying, you give me permission to pull images from your shop and/or blog.*

 Send me an e-mail to

Looking forward to featuring you!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Contest - Give Away

The rules are simple! I post a question that may or may not have multiple choice answer. You respond with the *correct* answer. If you have the correct answer you will be entered at for the drawing. The more that answer the question, hopefully correctly ...well ya know the better the contest!

This weeks prize will be a bottle of lotion chosen from Hippie's Bath & Body. Don't choose the scent ya want to today...wait until your are announced as the winner. There are more lotions in the works!!!!


Just like Ivory Soap, his product was supposed to be over 99% pure. This gentleman, the grandson of a United States Senator, was the first underground chemist to produce pure LSD in mass quantity. Who was the sound man and 'chemist' for the Grateful Dead?

Answers are due by Wednesday nights!

Have fun and good luck!

And the Winner is....

... Danyel from Crazysocks Crochet!

Congratulations! The correct answer is Bob Dylan!

The question was

Which of these artists did not participate in the Woodstock festival, an event regarded as the high point of the hippie movement?

Janis Joplin
Joe Cocker
Jimi Hendrix
Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan refused to take part in the event. He had a house near the Woodstock area and was said to feel disgust of the hippies gathering around. The Woodstock Festival was held from August 15 to August 18, 1969 at Max Yasgur' farm in Bethel, New York.

Stay tuned for the next contest give away question!

All names were entered at for the drawing. I did not pick the winner, did!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Food of the Week - Szegediner Gulasch

This weeks food, well this be my favorite..haha I think I say this every week. And in reality these are all my favorite foods that I just don't make often enough..perhaps I will have to now eh? Well this way I could post here's a for now I can't do with the pictures but there a plenty of them online too look up ..or you can just jump right in and get to cooking!

Szegediner Gulasch

  • 1 lb. beef stew meat
  • 3 T. Hungarian paprika "edelsüβ" or sweet
  • 1-2 T. Hungarian paprika "rosenscharf" or sharp (if you want this spicy)
  • 1-2 T. oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 lb. onions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 c. water
  • 2, 15 oz. cans of sauerkraut, rinsed and drained or equivalent amount of bagged sauerkraut
  • 1 T. flour mixed in 3 T. water (optional)
  • Sour cream or crème fraiche (optional)

Prepare the meat by cutting into bite size pieces (if it isn't already) and removing all hard fat or sinew. Toss the pieces with 2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika, 2 teaspoons sharp Hungarian paprika, 1 tablespoon oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Add black pepper to taste and let it marinate for 15 minutes to 1 hour or more.

Cut onions into half rings and chop garlic.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet, add meat and brown on all sides. Add onion and brown for 3 minutes. Add the rest of the paprika to taste (sharp paprika can make the stew fairly spicy). Mix in garlic and water. Cook for 2 hours, or until meat is tender.

Add sauerkraut and cook for 30 minutes.

Serve with boiled potatoes or noodles.

Optional: Add the slurry of flour and water and bring to a boil to thicken sauce. Either stir in 1/2 cup of sour cream and heat through, or serve sour cream on the side.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wrist Warmers

I have in my past 18 years of crochet designed various things from afghans and place mats, but until recently I have not just plunged into a design or pattern without enough practice, or thought i.e notations. So the other night as I was just sitting around this started to take place and I liked how they came out and so I took notes. I was leery of the thumb gusset as that sort of has been my struggle point but I am pleased to say that this seems to have worked out with the exception that when I made the second warmer I didn't know where to attach my chain 2 to create the thumb hole. I was considering to place the pattern on my blog today but because I am sort of a perfectionism kind of person. I will post the pattern once I worked out my technical difficulties with the thumb. Until then just enjoy the pictures!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Artist of the Week

This weeks Artist is Redneck Candles ..and yes candle making is an art form! But candles is not all they do...they also have soap and laundry detergent.
What I like about them is that they custom orders that they don't ask you to buy a specific scent, but rather create your own scent with fragrance listed on the policy page and that list is extensive!!!
What caught my eye one day is the fact they actually have a candle that smells like Bacon. Now I don't know about you, the smell of bacon will leave me wanting well bacon. But the fact that a Bacon Candle exists, well that just awesome.
Perhaps what make the candles "redneck" is the various scents like monkey farts..or buck lure candle...but irregardless it the candles are on my next shopping list.

This venture is a family run business in which all 5 members partake in some part of creating the candles, right down to the 3 year old. So if you like Soy Candles that are stacked with scent, Redneck Candles is worth checking out!!!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Food for thought - its getting personal :)

So today I want to talk about why we do what we do...or why I do what I do. I think that recapping, remembering why we do certain things allows us to stay focused and continue to push forward even when we feel a little discouraged. Some stories are more heartbreaking than others, and some stories will make you want to shed a tear or stand up with hands in the hair applauding.

As a former foster child, I dealt with a lot of well things I shouldn't have, some that others are to blame for and some that I have taken accountability for. Irregardless, when I was in my late teens when my oldest (almost 18 now) was just a few months old, I knew...I mean I just knew I wanted to help other foster children. At 33 I entered my master degree program in which I will be graduating from this year. It took my son's illness to give me the plunge to follow what I belief I need to or should be doing. At the same time, I have always loved crafts and it doesn't matter what it is...I like to paint, crochet, bead, macrame, sew and well my bath and body products. Each bringing and requiring a different skill. In 2005 I started to macrame after giving up crocheting that I had done for 16 some years. In light of macrame I wanted to design my own I went out bought wood beads and a wood burner..and from there I started well..wood burning. With the macrame and wood burning, Hippie's Creations was born. My craft(s) allow me to meditate, relief stress and alas are my own form of therapy. When my youngest son was diagnosed with a rare disorder I entered back to school (and that was difficult or not as I just had finished my bachelor's in a different're gonna laugh... its accounting). When my son underwent a liver transplant and the judge agreed that my son is disabled for medical reasons but also due to developmental issues, I knew I needed something. Something that I could do from home that could still generate income. I continued with my studies as my son was fighting and healing. In March, 2009 I found soap. Having been always the one in where I love nature and loving the most natural of what it is that I can find, I found soap was awesome. Who knew that I can make soap in my kitchen. My love affair with soap began.

I recently decided to separate the soap and crochet (yes I have started it away from my jewelry and wood burning and bring it back to its roots. This of course means that the soap and crochet items will need a new home. So I decided to have Hippie's Bath & Body and Hippie Crochet on etsy, but on my domain site you will find it all. I know that this may be confusing but to me that allows it for me to be organized for now. Who knows eventually the bath and body will need to be completely separated. However, I don't want to take away the essence of who I am and what I do. Which is an individual who appreciates and loves all art and crafts forms and you never know what I will come up with next or what I may venture into.

So why am I writing about this? Well, has I mentioned that I have been going through some transformations and I want to take it to the next level. As my son is facing more medical issues it becomes more clear to me that my priority is to be at home and to be available to meet his needs, while not leaving out my other children. I have been able to support organizations that are dear to me in the process, fulfill my dream of being a counselor and have my craft store(s).

So here it is, I started my business out of love for art and eventually turned it into something more because of a need that I had to meet. Now that I have spilled some of me, I'd like to hear why you have started to your craft and/or started your business.