Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Smithville Jamboree

I shared a booth at Smithville Jamboree (July 4 weekend) with Maggie (in the picture). Not a bad show - about the best I've done at a craft fair, actually, but I still wasn't happy with what I made, considering I sat in this tent for 25 hours that weekend. And packed up in a storm, with the car a block away.

The economy is really killing craft fairs. Anyone else notice this? Seems like people go to browse, with no intention of buying anything. They walk by with this glazed look in their eyes, not really seeing anything. It's kind of sad. I did another fair two weeks after this one and made $13 over my booth fee.

And I gotta ask myself, is this worth the hassle of lugging my stuff and setting up and losing a day of "real" work? I'll post more on the gallery opening in a few days, but my stuff is selling a lot better there and I don't have to do anything... I think my plan is to lay off the craft fairs until the holiday season.

How are craft fairs going for you?

Friday, July 24, 2009

I Think I'm In Love <3

I've never really grown out of the obsession with horses that started when I was ... I dunno, three? I can't drive by a pasture of horses without gawking and I browse horses for sale ads just to look at the pretty ones I'll never EVER be able to afford. I rode hunter/jumpers as a teenager but had to quit when I became a single mom just because it was unaffordable to ride even once a week.

Well, it's a buyers market right now for horses and our financial situation has changed such that I can think about actually -- after 30+ years -- owning a horse.

This is Abbey. We went to visit her last night and I think we'd be an awesome match. Best of all, I can afford her. She's an eight-year-old BLM Mustang mare. She was caught wild in California as a two-year-old and has made her way here to Tennessee. She's been ridden English and on trails and those are the two things I'm most interested in. Mustangs like to bond with one person and that's really what I'm looking for... an equine BFF :) We seemed to hit it off really well for a first encounter and what training issues she has (it seems like she wasn't started under saddle very gently) I think I can handle. And my saddle fits :)

Now to find a good place for her to live and seal the deal. Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Eat it, Pizza Hut

First, the news: Smithville Jamboree was a moderate success, not sweltering hot, and although we got rained out on the 4th, I did better than other shows I've done. The Fragrant Mushroom Gallery opens the 18th so I need to start tagging my stuff for someone else to sell (this is more complicated than you probably realize). I'm looking forward to the artists' atmosphere, though. I also have a little fair at Cookeville Hospital on the 17th.

Now for some fun stuff. The last few weeks my family and I have had make your own pizza night. I make the dough in the bread machine, and they decide on their own toppings, we bake and we eat. I stumbled onto a dough recipe that is AWESOME. Pizza Hut has nothing on this. So here's the awesome recipe. You could probably do this by hand too, but a bread machine is a wonderful thing.

Bread Machine Pizza

1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees or so, I just put my tap on hot and go)
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
corn meal

My bread machine calls for wet ingredients, then dry, so this is the order I put the stuff in. Dough cycle it up. When it's done, pull it out and divide the dough into enough dough balls for the number of people you've got. This pretty comfortably serves the 3 of us. For four I made 1 1/2 times this recipe (my 2-lb. capacity bread machine handled it fine) and we had some leftovers. No one complains about pizza leftovers.

Once your dough is done and divided, I drizzle about 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil in one bowl per dough ball, oil up the dough, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for another 30-40 minutes. Preheat your oven to 500 F. You want it HOT. While it's rising prepare your toppings. Get creative. A list of ours from last night:

marinara sauce, pesto sauce, pepperoni, chicken, mushrooms, olives, onions, artichoke hearts, tomatoes

Bran and I had pesto/chicken/tomato/artichoke pizzas. YUM.

Try using cheese marked "pizza cheese" that is a blend - I think it works out better than mozzarella alone.

When your dough is done rising, if your pans are not nonstick give them a hit with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle with corn meal and let everyone spread their dough (little kids love this and I'm not sure my big "kids" love it less!) and apply their toppings. When I was a kid the dough we used was really springy and hard to get to reach the edges of a pan, but this recipe spreads really nicely. This dough doesn't rise a whole lot so spread it thin if you want thin crust and leave it thicker for a "pan" style pizza. Bake 8-10 minutes (longer if you left it really thick), break out the pizza cutter and dig in.

Let me know if you use and like the recipe!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree

This weekend I'll be sharing a booth with a friend at Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree - it's a competition for people who play bluegrass music, as well as a HUGE craft fair that fills all of downtown Smithville TN. If you're local, stop out and see us.

Sure would love to bring my violin but I doubt my Rachmaninov would fit in :) I need to learn that good bluegrass improv!

In other news, the gallery opens next week - details to follow.