It’s my pleasure to present a little Q&A from our own @MistressJennie !
Tell us a little about yourself
I grew up all over the state of New Hampshire, from the White Mountains to downtown Manchester. While living in the mountains we were very isolated, so I often did crafts and art projects to keep busy. Later we lived in the city, where I did theatre and band in high school. Since budget is always an issue, theatre gave me a very ‘I’m sure I can figure out how to make that’ mentality. After getting my Bachelors degree in technical theatre, I went to graduate school for costume design & technology at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. There I met my husband Jim, and we got married a week after I graduated. I spent 6 years teaching costuming at a college in Kentucky, before my husband got offered a job in TN that we just couldn’t refuse. So now we live in a suburb of Nashville, with our slightly neurotic dog Astrid, and soon our daughter who is due to be born in April.
What are some of your favorite crafts to make?
My main crafts are jewelry making, quilting, sewing, crochet, and cooking/baking, which I seem to cycle through depending on my mood of the month. But I really like to dabble in just about any medium when I see something fascinating or get inspired by something like a new swap or a cool swap partner. That’s how I came to try candle making, soap making, paper crafting, weaving, miniatures, shrines, etc.
You share some fabulous recipes here on LC. What are some of your favorite go-to weeknight dishes, or even Date Night dishes, to make?
I’d say we have various kinds of tacos once a week, and since they are my husband’s favorite food, I often make them for Date Night on Fridays. I think my favorite to make are shrimp tacos, but we’ve also been having Impossible Korean BBQ tacos, or spicy pork with corn salsa and avocado. I like making simple grain bowls with farro and veggies, or risotto topped with bacon and fried egg. I think I make miso maple salmon and roasted broccoli every other week, and Ras El Hanout chicken over saffron rice, both of which are recipes I picked up from Blue Apron over the years. One night a week I get lazy and make pizza, often pesto pizza with fresh tomatoes and salami. Right now while pregnant, I’ve been enjoying making a large batch of something, and freezing most for later, like my White Chicken Chili and Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork.
You also post a lot of baking recipes. What are your favorite things to bake?
I do like to bake, and I’m addicted to watching the bakers on Great British Bakeoff make elaborate things each week, but I’m going to admit something terrible… I’m a very lazy baker. My favorite thing to make is muffins because they are so fast to throw together, and with a short baking time, you have nearly instant gratification. I’m also not big on very sugary, frosted baked goods, so I like to make bundt cakes, which always look impressive, and can either be left plain, or get just a drizzle of icing. I was thrilled to have an excuse to make a Citrus Olive Oil Cake for pottermouth and her daughter, when they visited just before the pandemic. In the last few years I’ve been working on losing some weight, and I also like that both of these things can be easily modified to use less sugar, to include whole wheat flour or oatmeal, or can replace fats and oils with mashed bananas or applesauce. Finally, if I have a little more time and patience, I make quick breads. I think my Coffee Infused Banana Bread is my favorite to whip up on a chilly morning.
How did you learn to crochet?
When I was in high school I was in a store with my mom, waiting for her to look through curtains, and got bored. I wandered over to the craft department, and saw some chunky, beautifully colored Lion Brand Homespun yarn. As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to make something with it, so I walked around the aisles till I spotted a kit called I Taught Myself Crochet. I bought the kit and the yarn, and went home and taught myself to make a super simple scarf. Over the years I’d stop crocheting while busy with school, then reteach myself when I needed a quick handmade gift for a friend. As I got older I found myself interested in more intricate patterns, and used YouTube to teach myself new stitches, and to follow diagram patterns.
What are some of your favorite hobbies outside of crafting?
I like to spend walking the neighborhood or local parks with my pup, swimming laps at the local YMCA, and when not in the middle of a pandemic, we spend Sunday mornings having breakfast at a local Irish pub, and visiting the Nashville Zoo.
What is it like to be a moderator?
Being a Moderator is both fun, and interesting. Sometimes I have to put on my tough girl Underroos, and step in when someone is ignoring our community rules, but thankfully those instances are few and far between, because we have such a wonderful and supportive community of members who try to ‘keep up the neighborhood’ . Since we moved from Deadster to LC, the new site software has made spammers less of a problem, letting us Mods focus on the site itself, and doing fun things to keep the site vibrant and active by running Challenges or hosting holiday parties. It’s wonderful to be able to help maintain the place where I have made so many dear friends. People I talk to every day, and whose creativity surrounds me in my home.
Thanks so much for the interview, Jennie! If you’d like to check out links to some of her favorite projects she’s posted here on Lettuce Craft, they are listed below.