Bluegrass Cookin: Deep Fried Candy Bars

Welcome to my first installment of Bluegrass Cookin'! It is my goal to bring you unhealthy sinful treats you can make right in your own kitchen with as few ingredients as possible to make an awesome treat! Of course from time to time I may bring HEALTHY choices, but for now lets do the fun stuff. Now lets get cookin'!

Today I bring you: Deep Fried Candy bars!!!!

I had an oppurtunity to go to the mega spectacular Heartland Music festival in Elizabethtown and while I was there I was tempted by the smells of sausage and onions cooking, cotton candy being spun, and deep fried candy bars! I stood and watched carefully the nice man who was serving up these treats and I uncovered a secret...they use funnel cake batter. Or you can use my recipe and have a batter almost as awesome!

The nitty Gritty:

*1 cup of self rising flour ( who has time to mess with baking powder!)
*5 or more tablespoons of sugar (I recommend Turbinado cause its healthier)
* 1 egg
*water/soy or rice milk or regular milk use enough to make a batter that is thinner than pudding but thicker than water...kinda like a pancake batter. (Sorry I never measure this part!)
*vegetable oil to fill the smallest pan you got. These arent very big so you don't need a huge pan. Its best to cook one at a time.
*And last but not least you need packs of those "fun size" candy bars. Snickers, Milky Way, Reese's cups, whatever your favorite is! You can also use Oreos for this too!

How to pull it off:

Mix up all the above ingredients with the exception of the candy bars. While you're doing this, put the oil in the pan and fire it up on medium heat. You don't want the oil TOO hot but you want it hot enough to start cooking the batter as soon as you drop these puppies in there.

Once your oil is hot, and your batter mixed up, let's get busy!

Take some tongs and pick up a candy bar...dont eat it! resist the temptation! Drop it in the batter and get it coated REAL good. Make sure its a pretty thick layer. Drop it all in the hot oil....turn when one side is brown. They should float on top of the oil too, so turning is tricky.

When your candies are nice and golden brown, take them out with the tongs and put them on a paper towel to drain real good.

Resist temptation to eat, and repeat this process till you have enough candy bars to feed the crowd that has now gathered around you.

You can sprinkle these with powdered sugar if you wish! Best served warm and melty. With vanilla ice cream is best.

Sorry I do not have pictures of the finished product as my son and I ate them all before I thought about posting the recipe! Boy were they GOOOD!


Feature Friday: The Pink Needle

Today we feature another talented Bluegrass team member, Jessica Brown of the Pink Needle. Jessica's style is cute, whimsical and feminine!

How did you first hear about etsy?

I heard about etsy through the blogging community. I had never even read blogs until I heard about Nie's story (from the Nie Nie Dialogues) and from there I've been hooked.

Tell us about a little about yourself and your favorite craft/art!

I'm Jessica :D I live in Louisville and am the wife to a man obsessed with batman and the mother to a pesky cat named Alfred Kittyworth the First. My favorite craft used to be crochet but recently I've really been enjoying sewing. There's something so wonderful about taking a piece fabric and turning it into something beautiful.

What inspires you to create?

Nothing inspires me more than to see what other people are doing. I love that so many people are taking it upon themselves to make the world a more beautiful place and I love being a part of that.

How long have you been a member of Bluegrass etsy and how did you hear about the team?

I've been a member of the BEST team for about 6 months now and I heard about the team from fellow teammate Spoolofplenty. I was in one of the etsy chat rooms one day and she told me that I should check it out. I'm so glad I did.

Any advice you would give to aspiring designers?

Don't give up! Sometimes it just takes a little perseverance!


Thanks Jessica!

To see more of Jessica's creations, visit the Pink Needle etsy shop, and check out her musings about life at her blog.

To see more talented artists from the Bluegrass etsy team, go to www.etsy.com and in the search box type teambluegrass. Shop local, shop handmade!


Share our Success: These Precious Things, Jama Watts

Our very own Jama Watts has been featured on Fire Mountain Gems Website!

Jama, as you know is a super talented beadweaver who constantly amazes and wow's us with her mad beading skillz. She has rightfully been selected as a featured artist on this popular website.

If you would like to check out more from Jama here is a link list:


Jama, you rock! We are proud to share your success! You go girl!

If any other team members have a success they would like us to share let us know, or post on our facebook page. I will pick it up and post when I see it!

Share Our Success: Kellibeans Part 2

If you remember our very own Kellibeans got on at Handmadenews.org as a columnist in the marketing Department.

Well, she has blown the doors off the department in every way possible. Her article about Guerrilla Marketing has made the list of most popular articles by vote with 23 votes! The great thing is this article went live on Aug 9 and this is Aug 23 that I am finding this! Kelli, thanks for blowing our doors off over in the Marketing Department. Your talent and skillz are so valuable to us there and to the team! You have been such a success in such a short amount of time, I wanted to celebrate that here! Congratulations you lucky dog! You deserve it!

You can see Kelli's handy craft work in her Etsy shop stuffed full of crafty goodness!


Feature Friday: Fanciful Expressions

Today we feature fellow team member Carolyn Mallin of FancifulExpressions. We met Carolyn at the Celebrating Life Through Art craft fair back in June. Carolyn impressed everyone with her metalsmithing skills and we recruited her to join the team! We are pleased today to feature Carolyn's original artwork!

How did you first hear about etsy?

I think that my first introduction to etsy was through art magazines.

Tell us about a little about yourself and your favorite craft/art!

I was a dental assistant for 23 years until we moved here from Illinois 2 years ago. I didn't want to go back to assisting so I decided to make my hobby into a business. I took some silversmithing classes 18 years ago and loved it. Did it mostly for fun until now. I've always been driven to do artsy crafty things and have no idea where that desire stems from since not one person in my family is artistically inclined.

How did you get started as a designer?

I started doing my own designs with my first class. The teacher that I had at that time encouraged that in all her students. I've also learned techniques from other teachers along the way and picked up some on my own.

What inspires you to create?

I'm generally inspired by things in nature. Flowers, leaves,butterflies. Anything of an organic nature.

How long have you been a member of Bluegrass etsy and how did you hear about the team?

I've been with the Bluegrass team since June of this year. I friend of mine told them about me and Kim approached me at a show. I was so honored to be asked to join this terrific and talented group of women.

Any advice you would give to aspiring designers?

Yes, don't be afraid to try. And never give up learning new things. It's important to stay fresh and will benefit whatever you're designing.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I'm so excited to be featured here. I'm also so very grateful everyone who is encouraging me to be the best I can be.


Be sure to learn more about Carolyn by following her blog, and visit her etsy shop, FancifulExpressions to see more of her wonderful jewelry.

To see more talented artists from the Bluegrass etsy team, go to www.etsy.com and in the search box type teambluegrass.

If you are a team member and would like to be featured next, contact Kim Ries or leave a comment. Thanks!


Kentucky Wild Weeds: Black Walnut

This week in Kentucky Wild Weeds, Jackie Alberti tells us about the medicinal use of black walnut.

This tree is quite abundant in Central Kentucky and is a very important medicinal plant. The nuts are delicious and nutritious, of course. Black walnut hulls are green when fresh and black after they are dried. The hulls are one of the most potent antifungal substances available to herbalists. I wouldn’t formulate an antifungal without it. The leaves can also be used for skin conditions that involve weeping and oozing, including athlete’s foot.

An extract of the green hulls is used internally to treat parasites.

The dried walnut hulls can also be used to make a dye. A simple infusion of the dried hulls can be used as a rinse to darken the hair.

Now is an ideal time to gather the nuts. They are nice and big and starting to fall off the trees. If you have an area with black walnut trees you can try searching the ground for freshly fallen nuts. When you get them home you break them open with a hammer to remove the meat and then dry the hulls in a shady area or break the green hulls into smaller pieces and extract with alcohol.

If you have any questions click here for my store and start a conversation with me.

Thanks to Jackie Alberti for featuring a native Ky plant for us each week!


Feature Friday: The Artistic Touch

Each Friday we feature a Bluegrass Etsy team member to spotlight. Today we feature Tammie Bartlett of The Artistic Touch. We think you will love Tammie's work and especially her custom pet portrait paintings! Her love of horses and animals is evident in her etsy shop.

How did you first hear about etsy?

I was searching online for venues to sell my art. All I had ever heard of was Ebay and was wondering if there were other auction places out there. I stumbled across Etsy. I spent 3 months reading in the forums (not logged in) and reading all the site information trying to learn as much as I could about how it all worked before I set up my own shop. In December 2007, I took the plunge. It has been a constant learning experience to which I still consider myself a beginner as I do not have this promotion thing in particular down pat yet.

Tell us about a little about yourself and your favorite craft/art!

I am a country girl, born and raised, and I absolutely love animals and always have. I am a sucker for animals needing loving, care, etc. I was raised on a farm and mistakenly thought that when I grew up, maybe I would be better at how farm life is supposed to work, i.e. selling animals for profit, etc. Well, everything I got seems to have stayed as I tend to make pets of anything and everything I get, so profitable farm life has not been so good in that department, but I've got lots of pets to love!

As for my art, I guess my favorite is the pet portraits and graphite portraits that I do for people as they give me the most satisfaction. I love taking a picture of a person or pet that means so much to someone and making a completed piece for them to keep as a memory always whether it be a sweatshirt, picture, or piece of jewelry.

How did you get started as a designer?

According to my memory, I would say second grade, but my mom says that I took my first steps for a pencil, so there might be some discrepancy there. My mom used to let my sister and I get 2 "funny" books (comic books) apiece when we went to the grocery store each week. After reading the funny books, I would draw the pictures out of them in an art tablet my mom had bought me. I drew everything in colored pencil or graphite pencil. I'd draw cowboy calendar pictures that my dad got every year and so on.

I didn't start painting until I was around 17 or 18. My mom tried to get me to paint all along, but I didn't like painting at that time. I finally tried some fabric dyes on sweatshirts, and I was hooked. I started selling pet portraits on sweatshirts probably as my first selling experience and did pretty well just by word of mouth which is probably how just about all my artwork comes about since I'm not too good at the promotion part. I have always dabbled in and tried just about any kind of craft or art that comes my way that sparks my interest. I tend to take these crafts such as polymer clay, paint, etc. and incorporate them together to try to make interesting, one-of-a-kind, custom-made pieces.

What inspires you to create?

I think that my creativity comes out most when I am making a piece for a customer or a gift for someone I care about. When I can take what they care about the most, their favorite colors, style, person, pet, etc. and turn that into a piece for a memory keepsake, that is when I find I get the most satisfaction from my God-given talent. Lots of my customers will have in mind something they think they might like, and I take those ideas and combine mine with them for a completed and hopefully satisfying piece that they will cherish.

How long have you been a member of Bluegrass etsy and how did you hear about the team?

I got invited to join the Bluegrass Etsy Team, I think, at the end of last year or so. It is hard for me to remember since time seems to be flying by so fast these days! I was so glad to be invited to join a team. I am on the introverted side, so it has been hard for me to get myself accustomed to being online for everyone to see whether I know them or not. We had a "meet and greet" which I attended, and I got to meet a lot of wonderful people on our team who were very "down to earth" and made me feel very comfortable. I couldn't have asked to be associated with any nicer or helpful people!

Any advice you would give to aspiring designers?

If you design something, make sure it is the best you can do. Get it as perfect as your talent will allow so that you have a good product. Keep learning. A person can learn something from everyone they meet if they just listen and are aware and don't be afraid, above all, to ask questions. The people on Etsy and on this team are some of the most helpful people I have ever experienced being involved with, and it was very surprising to me to have this experience in an online venue. If you need help, just ask. If someone can't help, they will more than likely point you towards someone who can!

Anything else you would like to add?

Yes, I meet people all the time who tell me when they meet me or see my work that they don't have a talent and wish they did. Everyone has a God-given talent. It might not be a "creative" one so to speak. It could be that you are good with children, good with finances, are a good listener, etc., and I think that all of these talents can give you so much satisfaction if you can find a way to use it to give back to those who may need it in some small way. Figure out your talents and desires and use them!


Thanks Tammie for the inspiring interview! To see more of Tammie's work, visit her at The Artistic Touch.

To see more of the talented artisans on the Bluegrass etsy team, visit etsy.com then click on the search box and type in teambluegrass. Remember to shop handmade for your gift giving needs!


Kentucky Wild Weeds: Coneflower

Today's feature on Ky Wild Weeds focuses on Coneflower.

You make recognize the scientific name - Echinacea. There are about a dozen species of echinaceas that are used medicinally. The most common Echinacea purperea occurs in our area. They are also widely used in landscaping.

All parts of the coneflower plant is medicinally active. I often use the flowers, stems, seeds, and leaves to prepare medicine in the summer. Autumn is the time to dig up the roots-the strongest part. The plant should be at least 4 years old before the roots are harvested (and you’ll have a lot of roots).

Echinacea stimulates the bodies natural immunity to help fight off infection. I also give this to my dog when she is sick. Echinacea should only be used when it’s needed. It won’t prevent infection and if you take it every day then it won’t help when you are sick. Some herbalists say it shouldn't be taken for more than five days at a time, but I think it works best when it is taken until the infection is gone.

Dosing is different with this herb than others. I dose every 2 hours when I start to feel sick until I start to feel a little better than I back the dosages down until I’m taking it 3 or 4 times a day. An herbal extract is my preferred method for taking this medicine. I really don’t like capsules full of powdered herbs. To calculate dosages of Echinacea, use 1 drop of extract for every 2 pounds of body weight. This works for kids and pets too.

Thanks Jackie for another interesting installment of Ky Wild Weeds. To see Jackie's herbal products, check out her GloryBeHerbals etsy shop.


Share Our Success: Kellibeans

Many many congratulations to our very own Kellibeans for landing a job as a columnist in the marketing department at handmadenews.org.

She works hard for the team and is a marketing genius. Please bookmark her profile as it will soon be filled with links to her amazing articles she has in the works. Any Etsy shop can benefit from her wisdom as she has spent countless hours researching marketing and also has a natural knack for it.

Thanks so much Kelli for all you do for the team and I am so proud your wisdom can be shared with the whole handmade community!


Feature Friday: Carmen Garling of Dentedhalo Designs

Today we are highlighting the very talented Carmen Garling of Dentedhalo Designs. Carmen is from Frankfort and she always amazes us with her beadweaving skills. She also makes greeting cards in addition to her jewelry.

How did you first hear about etsy?

Wow, that's been a little while! I think that I first saw people with etsy shops in their signature lines on a message board I belonged to. I checked out their shops and started to hear a little more about etsy. I liked what I saw and read. I just loved that there was an online place just for handmade artsy things for sale by the artists themselves.

Tell us about a little about yourself and your favorite craft/art!

I'm originally a Hoosier, I've been transplanted here for quite some time though. I love Kentucky and call it home now. I have lived in Frankfort for nearly 17 years now. As far as crafts, anything goes! If it's crafty, I'll try it. Even though I am drawn to all types of crafts, I love beads and paper. I began jewelry making seriously about 4 years ago. I like to make cards too. I like to sew and scrapbook, but I just run out of time in a day to do all the things I'd like to.

How did you get started as a designer?

I think it comes naturally. My family is a very creative one. My grandmothers were both wonderful seamstresses. My maternal grandmother reupholstered furniture and my grandfather made and refinished antiques. I always had the example of re-purposing and fixing things, not throwing them away. You have to become something of a designer to make those types of things look attractive! :) My mother is also a seamstress of the best caliber, and my Dad is one of those types who can fix anything. I've gotten a little of both of them, at least enough to be passable with most things.

What inspires you to create?

Everything! Color, texture, joy, sadness, you name it, it ends up in my pieces. Even much later, I still look at a piece that I've made and it will bring to mind what was going on emotionally when I made it.

How long have you been a member of Bluegrass etsy and how did you hear about the team?

I've been a member for hmmmm, about 8 months maybe? Kim Ries and I struck up a conversation from a mutual board we belonged to and she couldn't say enough nice things about Team Bluegrass. I just had to join after all that!

Any advice you would give to aspiring designers?

A couple things spring to mind. Never quit learning about your craft! If you can learn a new stitch, brush up on basic skills, and broaden your horizons, do it! But most of all, make the best product you can, put your heart and soul into it, and have fun!

Anything else you would like to add?

Support other artists! I try to buy as much as I can afford to from other artists, whether it's someone selling supplies, or other arts that I'd like to support. Especially the local folks! One of the reasons I love belonging to a team like Team Bluegrass is the camaraderie of other artists, and sharing of ideas and marketing tips. It's also nice to see all the interesting types of crafts that everyone does. We may have several jewelry designers, but everyone has a different style and look.

Thanks Carmen for allowing us to interview you! It's always so interesting to learn more about our talented team members!

To see more of Carmen's work visit her Dentedhalo etsy shop here. You can also follow her blog to learn more about her.

To see more of the talent from the Bluegrass etsy team, go to etsy, then type in "teambluegrass" in the search box. Enjoy shopping from the comforts of home and support the Kentucky Handmade movement!


Meow! Our August Giveaway!

Congratulations to Paige of BrooklynAlizabeth! Paige is our July winner of the oh-so-cute ribbon flip flops from Momosbows. Congrats to Paige and kudos to Stephanie Key for the donation to our team's monthly contest!

Our contest giveaway for the month of August is courtesy of Becca Block from PurrPrints. If you love kitties, you will want to get to know Becca's shop. Her art captures the essence of cats!

The giveaway this month is a 5x5" signed archival print of PurrPrints most popular design, Kitty Love, in red and brown.

This prize is valued at $10.

To enter, please visit Becca's Purrprints shop and come back here to leave a comment and tell us what you like about her shop or her art. If you tweet about the contest let us know for another chance to win. And if you post this at your blog, leave a comment with the link for yet another chance to win.

The contest ends August 31. We'll draw a winner that evening and post by the first week of September.

Good luck to all and thanks for playing!!


Kentucky Wild Weeds: St. John's Wort

This week's installment of Kentucky wild weeks focuses on St. John’s Wort. Thanks to fellow team member, Jackie Alberti for writing these articles each week. Check out Jackie's GloryBeHerbals shop to see some of her wonderful oils and herbal products.

This plant may be hard to find. I haven’t found any growing wild in my area but it is supposed to be found in Kentucky. I’d love to hear from anyone who finds some. If you are interested in this plant, I recommend growing your own because the active chemical evaporates very quickly and the dried plant material is not very useful.

St. John’s Wort is used primarily for mild depression and to heal nerves, inflammation and wounds. Clinical studies have proven it to be effective for mild to moderate depression. It is also useful when there is any kind of nerve damage, however internal use can cause sensitivity to sunlight.

I also like to make an infused oil out of this. It is unbelievable on sore muscles and actually is a mild sunscreen. The oil can be used for sore or inflamed muscles, and as a wound healer (especially if a nerve has been damaged), and to soothe burns and rashes.

You can contact me through my Glorybeherbals store if you’d like to learn more about how to prepare any of these remedies.