Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Feature - Baghdadbum

This week's feature is on another of my Homefront Team members. His shop is called Baghdadbum and is full of lovely items to spoil any woman, which seems to be his goal. He has some fabulous bath teas like this one made for muscle relaxing - something this seamstress needs after a long day working at the sewing machines. He also has some great candles, gift baskets and even a bit of jewelry. A little something for everyone at Baghdadbum's Etsy shop. So without further ado here is my interview with Joe of Baghdadbum

What is your favorite item you've ever made?

Ok the favorite item I ever made? My daughter :) She is a blast and is such a great kid. I couldnt ask for anything better. But as for with my hands it would be the first necklace I made for my wife. It was wooden beaded with silver accents and she wears it still. It is what motivated me to open an online shop.

What keeps you going when your creativity wanes?

Creativity waning? Starbucks. But if that doesn't work I like to look to a notebook I keep nearby. Whenever I dream or think of something I try to and at least write some short details about it. That way if I lose my bearing I can look back on that book for inspiration. Although only 2 things have ever come from it.

If you could do anything what would it be?

If I could do anything. Well I already am. I served in the Us Army for 11 years as a Field Artillery crew chief. Now I have the opportunity to be a stay at home dad, husband 24/7 and be able to make things I enjoy with my hands. I think any soldier would agree that coming home after a deployment, field exercise or just being on leave is the best feeling in the world. Well I get that all the time now.

Who gave you the best advice and what was it?

The best advice I ever received was before our push into Baghdad in 2003, My 1st sergeant told all of the Non commissioned officers that the following hours would be the toughest thing we would ever face in our lives. To strive to bring all of our soldiers back from the mission safe, and that if we made it through then just about anything else that we faced would seem simple in comparison.
So even though I stress from time to time. I always remember that conversation and it brings me back to the here and now.

If you could have super powers, what would you have?

As for super powers, I'm not really sure I want any. For example Superman is super and all, but that brings with it responsibilities like saving Lois Lane, and fighting with Lex Luther. Or Batman, attempting to avenge his family, but all of the sudden all of these super villains show up. He has to work out of a cave and save the city all the time.
So what would happen if I had super powers? I think some villain would pop up somehow always wanting to fight, The city would look to me to save everything from a cat in a tree to some sort of disaster that only happens when a super-hero is in town. So to keep my city safe and quiet and keep my schedule free of villain fighting and city saving I would forgo any super power at present. Besides what would I be, Stay at home, middle-aged, slight bald-spot average dad :)And one last thing, he is having a give away contest in his Etsy shop. Here is the information to enter, do it quick before July 2!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I just LOVE felted items

I am a seamstress and am completely fascinated by the art of making felted items. So here is a quick pictorial blog of some of the fun things I've found (click on the pic for link to purchase). Granted most of them are food, but I just am amazed at how realistic these look. I wish I'd discovered this kind of kid friendly toy when mine was young enough to want to play pretend with her "kitchen."

Monday, June 28, 2010

Big Government Survival Kit

I found this through a link on face book and just had to share it. Funny stuff for sure. Please note these are their pictures and you can click on either one to get a link to the Big Government Survival Kit site to purchase one of your very own!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Fried Green Tomatoes

Not a Southerner that is living in the South? Need to impress someone with your ability to cook Southern Food? Try this recipe, its easy, tasty and will impress the locals and transplants alike!

First thing is first, the tomatoes must be green! This means they will be small because green tomatoes are not yet ripe therefore not grown up to their fullest size. You'll need to figure no more than 3 - 4 slices out of each tomato, so gauge your purchase accordingly.

Notice the flaws in my tomatoes?
Yup, I like the ones that DON'T look perfect. The fruits and vegetables that look too perfect have little flavor in my opinion. I purchased these at the local Farmer's Market this morning. Don't get any that have any signs of ripening (yellow, orange or reddish skin), they just wont taste as good.

Heat oil in a skillet (I always use cast iron to fry in) about 1" deep. The egg wash I use is 2 eggs, about 1 Tbsp. of milk and salt (I always salt my egg out of superstition). The batter I use is White Lily White Flour, King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour (sometimes I'll use Jiffy Mix Cornbread mix instead of corn meal, but I skipped this all together tonight and it didn't seem to make a difference) and some seasonings - I used a basic chicken seasoning tonight. So set your assembly line up like this...

I'm working from Right to left as that's the space allowance in my kitchen. The skillet is on the far left just out of the picture. So Tomato, egg wash, flour, skillet. Repeat until the skillet is full, but do not let them touch if you can help it.

Last bit of info, if you'll put a cake cooling rack on your plate between the plate and paper towel (that you'll have to drain the oil off of the tomatoes) you will drain better and have less oil and grease in your meal. This works for bacon and anything else that you might drain on a paper towel and keeps things ever so slightly on the healthier side.

And here is the finished product. About 21 - 26
Fried Green Tomatoes

And I don't know if this is Southern or just the way we got the kiddo to eat these, but they aren't too bad with katsup either...! ENJOY

Friday, June 25, 2010


Congratulations to two of my Etsy Homefront team mates
for making it into the Etsy finds!

LilacAve for her
Ginger Peach Tea Lights


SygnetCreations for her
Family Travel Neck Pillow Set.

Way to go ladies!

The Etsy Homefront Team is made up of over 200 shops, all owned by spouses and significant others of members of the U.S. uniformed services. We are male and female, of all ages and several different nationalities and are located, quite literally, worldwide!

Our one common thread is that we are personally involved in supporting our countries on a day-in, day-out basis. Without prejudice, or regard for religion, race, nationality or political views, we keep the homefires burning and our families together, no matter how far apart we are.

Check out our blog at:

"Off-the-Wall Art Strip"

First let me say that this is NOT my idea. I found this on "" via face book. It's says it is for a Toddler, but I think my 1st grader would live it just as much although slightly higher on the wall. I wanted to share it with you all, my readers since most of you are moms or have kids in your life one way or another. Please check for more great recipes, printables, 4th of July and many more ideas on things to do to keep the kids busy this summer.

Picture borrowed from

"The family refrigerator is happy to moonlight as an art gallery, but your in-house studio may be churning out more work than a couple of magnets can hold. Our kid-level display uses Velcro to make the most of a sticky situation: a small piece stuck to the back of the artwork means that it can be hung on and taken down from the Velcro-covered strip by the artist himself -- perhaps with a little help from Mom.

  • 5-foot length of wood molding
  • Tools and mounting hardware (we used screws)
  • 5-foot strip of self-adhesive Velcro tape
  • Packing tape
  1. Mount the molding on the wall at your child's height. Adhere one side of the Velcro tape to the molding, positioning the Velcro so it covers the screws.

  2. Next, apply a strip of packing tape to the back of each piece of artwork and top it with a 3-inch strip cut from the other side of the Velcro tape. (This allows you to remove the Velcro without tearing the paper.)

  3. For added sturdiness and decoration, we affixed our artwork to larger pieces of card stock before hanging them. When your artist decides to take down his work, store it in a clean pizza box."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wishes and Dreams!

Is there really anything more to say? This is NOT where I am, this is a picture I took last year at my absolutely favorite beach resort . This is where I wish I could be and where I dream about going again soon.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New item - Notebook Tote

I'm not sure if this is going to be something I do a lot of or just once in a while. At my mother's request I made a laptop carry bag for her notebook. There is a Velcro pouch going across the whole length of the front for cord storage or what ever else might need to be tucked away. This is a trial run and will continue to be worked on and improved upon. I've got one of the same notebooks (in fact that is mine in the picture) so expect at least a few more of these to show up. I hope to make matching check book cover, business card holder, and mom would like a Passport Cover as well. We should have fun with this and after all Maddie & ME is suppose to be a little about the items for the mom as well as the child. Hence the "ME" in the name. To see more pictures please check out www. the pictures will be uploaded soon.

Friday, June 18, 2010


This feature is an absolute pleasure for me to do. Deb of LilacAve is one of my favorite vendors on etsy and over the past few years I've come to rely on her to keep my home smelling good. But I first met her when she was making some beautiful custom cards like this one. From the card shop she moved on to open LilacAve. She has a knack for recycling all sorts or containers (including shipping boxes) and I have more than one of her recycled candle tins. My personal favorite is her melting tarts though. She makes some wonderful soy tarts that I don't think I could live without. Most recently she has moved on to add some bath and body items which I can't wait to start trying. So without further ado, here is the interview with Deb - of Lilac Ave!

What is your favorite item you've ever made?

That's hard... I have a bit of a wandering eye when it comes to my items. I think I am totally in love with one on one day, and then become infatuated with another the following day. I DO have a favorite scent...Ginger Peach all the way. But then there is also Blueberry Cobbler, Gardenia, Monkey Farts, Pumpkin Cheesecake...oh my ;)

What keeps you going when your creativity wanes?

I think when creativity wanes, it's a sign you need to take a break or do something new. I usually take a day or two to concentrate on family, and taking care of myself.

How do you balance family duties and your shop?

Normally during the school year it is quite a bit easier. I have found this to be much more of a challenge during the summer. I WANT to get the kids out and explore, but I also need to work. I'm lucky though that they are older (7 and 8) so they don't really WANT my attention all the time, but I have to admit my hours have been cut back quite a bit.

If you could do anything what would it be?

Career-wise- I'd LOVE to open a craft consignment shop. The type of place where Crafters rent out spaces, and have a "mini-store" to sell their items.
Life-wise- I'd love to take a European trip with my husband and kids. I am dying to go to France.

Who gave you the best advice and what was it?

Wow, I've gotten great bits of advice from so many people. I think all of it builds you as a person. I have to say, this quote is what keeps me motivated to never give up on my business:
"Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go." ~William Feather
I think it is quite the statement in persistence and hard work.

If you could have super powers, what would you have?

Endless energy!
So please take some time to visit LilacAve and see all the wonderful things she has to sell. You can check her items out on facebook, 1000Markets, etsy or her blog. Great gifts for your family and friends and even for yourself ... and tell her I sent ya!

Feature Coming Soon

I will start doing a weekly feature which will include a short interview and hopefully some fun and funny stuff to read. Until then, please enjoy a few pictures of some of the most beautiful places in East Tennessee...

Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

A creek in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Scrumptious Saturday

30 Minutes or Less - Steak, Steamed Fresh Vegetables and French Bread.

This will make a great dinner for Dad for Father's Day and he DOESN'T have to grill it. I do all the grilling myself!

Marinade the Steak, I make my own marinade with my own fresh herbs, Balsamic Vinegar & Worcestershire Sauce.

Here I've used Rosemary, Thyme, Marjoram, Greek Oregano and Basil. I chopped it all very fine in the mezzaluna (pictured above and below).

I pour balsamic vinegar and a touch of Worcestershire Sauce over the steaks, just enough to cover and sprinkle the herbs over.

You can salt and pepper if you like, but I prefer to avoid such common seasonings if I can get away with it. The IMPORTANT trick with the balsamic vinegar is to not let it marinade too long or it will pre-cook the meat! Also a note on balsamic vinegar, if you are cooking game meat such as Venison this is good to take the "game-y-ness" out of it.

Steamed Fresh Vegetables, I picked these up today at the local Farmer's Market. It's a shame that as green as we try to be, the farmers still prepackaged the vegetables in plastic. Well, not the carrots - those aren't in season yet locally those are from the grocery store. Even with your local vegetables, be sure to wash them. Cut the florets off of the broccoli and cauliflower stems, put in a steamer basket (in a pot) and add about 2" of water to the bottom - just enough for the water to be barely visible through the steamer basket. Cover with a lid and bring the water to a boil. Boil for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are bright in color. Steaming is the best way to keep the most nutrients in the vegetables.

French Bread was pre made (by someone at the Bakery) and all I'm doing here is slicing it, buttering it adding a bit of seasoning and toasting it. OK, I skipped the seasonings on the bread because it smelled so good without. And I was right, adding seasoning would have spoiled the taste of it.

As a testimony to this meal, my daughter, who usually wont eat steak at all, chose this dinner over her PB&J! The medium to medium rare cooking of the steak made it easier for her to chew and swallow. She ate all the broccoli and carrots and of course the bread, but wasn't too keen on the cauliflower. I'll introduce that one a few more times to see if she'll take to it.

Monogramming Available

All items are now able to be monogrammed for a small fee. Please choose either the single or 3 letter listing. If you'd prefer a full name or anything else larger please contact me in my etsy shop for a price quote depending upon the size, number of letters, etc that you'd like done.

Duck Tales Inflation Lesson


Please note that all designs sold by Maddie & ME, Children's Handcrafted Couture AND Mommy's Little Helper, Bath & Body for the Soul are the intellectual property of the owner and are subject to all Copyright protections as provided by law.