Monday, October 15, 2012

Meet Monday with Zappy Cat

Everyone please welcome and meet Melissa and her Etsy shop Zappy Cat for Meet Monday

Quilts and jewelry...two of my favorite things :) Let's discover Melissa's creative story

Turquoise Poppy Trellis Patchwork Quilt
What is the first creative memory you have?

When I was maybe in the 9-12 age range, I started doing a lot of cross stitch and latch-hooking, all from kits at first. I remember being really thrilled to get all those colors of yarns and flosses, and loving the way the picture emerged as you followed the diagrams. But eventually, I wanted to do my own thing, so I started graphing designs of my own. The first one I can remember was a small latch hook rug with a unicorn and, um, I think there might have been a rainbow, too. Ok, so I didn't have any taste, but I had creative impulse like you read about!

What or whom began your creative journey on Etsy?

That'd have to be my sister-in-law, Jenn. Her current shop is Writesy Press, an independent-title self-publishing house. She just self-published "Ripple the Twine" – which she calls “a tomboy-meets-townie love story.” And before that, she made and sold cool things of varied descriptions from repurposed materials. (She recently closed that shop to focus on her writing.) She is also a whiz with faux paint finishes...the entire end wall of my kitchen and living room is faux brick: my idea, her paint expertise. It's so real-looking most people have to go up and touch it. She is a pioneer with nerves of steel, and I stand in awe, and then slooooowly try to follow her example. And darn it, she's younger than I am!

How did you come up with your shop name?

Pretty literally. I'd been thinking for months about what the heck to name a shop that I could live with for a while...something that kind of captured my personality, and hopefully, the personality of my work. But I had come up with nada. Then, it just kind of happened.

I'm a cat person...surprise, right? One day I was following my orange tiger cat George down the carpeted steps to feed him, and when he stopped at the bottom, I gave him a rub and got a nice little “zap” of static electricity, and said, out loud to George, “Ooh, zappy cat!” And then, “Oooh! ZappyCat!” Eureka.

Disk & Dangles Wire Wrapped Bracelet

Describe what creations you have in your shop

I sell quilts and smaller quilted or patchwork things, like table runners and pillows, and right now, am wrapping up a prototype of a quilted weekend bag. That covers the “quilts” part of “Quilts, Jewelry and Things in Between” – my tagline. The jewelry is my outlet for my bead obsession – earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings, so far, made from beads, wire and whatever new technique I am on the scent of. The “things in between” is a work in progress...I have been working on a shoulder bag prototype made from repurposed jeans, fabric scraps and beads. You can see a little piece of that in my shop logo, actually. Beading on fabric is slow work, but I'll get there eventually. I'm impatiently waiting for a shop I found recently to offer a class so I can learn more about that. The owner there made the bracelet of my dreams (but, sadly, not my budget), and I can just see the perfect way to whittle down my bugle bead stash (so I can reorder, of course!).

What inspires you?

Color...interesting materials...texture...movement...pattern. In everything. You name it!

What do you listen to or watch while creating?

Usually, iPod shuffle or Pandora internet radio. Lately, I can't get enough of my Jeff Buckley station, but I also rotate pretty heavily between my Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, Blondie, the Pretenders, Modest Mouse and Arctic Monkeys stations. Just depends on whether it's a melancholy day or a manic one. And whether I'm feeling 80s, 90s or 00s!

Amber & Blue Leaf  Earrings
Please share a favorite recipe

It's getting to be soup weather, so I think I'll go for my version of my mom's version of Tortellini Sausage Soup. I'm kind of a just-go-for-it cook, so apologies to any of you out there who are in need of accurate quantities!

Beef stock (homemade's the best, but a couple of vacuum-sealed containers or about 5 regular sized cans – preferably reduced sodium – will do fine)
Two 28 oz cans of tomato puree
One can of peeled whole tomatoes
One regular size can of tomato sauce
One can of tomato paste
Your choice of veggies: I use onions, sweet peppers and garlic all the time, but sometimes occasionally throw in a sliced carrot or two just for some extra veg
One pound of sausage...good quality, non-gristly is the way to go sausage will be a dealbreaker! Also, I've made this with pork (my favorite) and with chicken or turkey sausage (good, too)...go with whichever you like
Optional: a nice belt of red wine (make sure it's one that goes with tomatoes...some don't! Nothing too sweet or too sharp, in other words.)
Grated parmesan (even better if you have a rind to toss in the pot)
Spices: Again, go with what you like, but I use dried basil and oregano, and a bit of salt
Package of either fresh or frozen tortellini

The directions: Chop the veg. Brown the sausage and drain all but a tablespoon or two of the fat. Toss the veg in the remaining fat and cook until things start to soften up a bit. Then it's all about dumping: dump the stock and all the tomato products into a big stock pot and dump the veg and sausage in that. Add that glug of red wine, if you want, and your parmesan. Then simmer until everything's heated through and you're happy. Just before you're ready to serve, add whatever spices you want and add the tortellini and cook til it's done. Then eat up. If you're a cheese nut like me, sprinkle some Parm on top of your bowlful. Good, good stuff on a chilly day.

By the way...pretty sure you could do this in a slow cooker without much difficulty. You slow-cooker people know who you are and what you need to do!

Where else can we find you?

Right now, it's just me and Etsy, but I'm working with the goal of starting the craft fair circuit one of these here days! I have the I just need to produce! Anyone got some extra hours you want to send my way?


  1. Great interview! My "Melissa-in-law" is very talented and creative (and my daughter's sister-in-law.)
    Peace, Judi

    1. "Melissa-in-law" LOVE IT! Thanks Judi for showing Zappy Cat some love :)


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