Tag Archives: Ariella Fiore

Haiku: A Simple Pleasure


Olallieberry –
so good on buttered wheat toast!
This jam is a treat…

Until a few years ago I’d never tasted olallieberry jam, and boy was I missing out!  I was introduced to the wonders of olallieberry by my friend, Ariella Fiore, and I’m so glad I was.  I bought some jars of homemade jam from Ariella, and was instantly smitten with both the taste and the deep, jewel-like color.

Given that I was an “olallieberry virgin” I had to Google olallieberries, and learned from Wikipedia that they’re a cross between the loganberry and the youngberry.  The olallieberry “grandparents” are the more familiar blackberry, raspberry, and dewberry.  I guess it’s fair to say this is a hybrid berry love child, blessed with both good looks and great taste!

As you probably guessed from the haiku above I love to put this jam on hot, buttered wheat toast.  And while I’d also love to use it for sandwiches, and maybe ice cream topping, I’m resisting the urge.  Because I only get a certain number of jars of jam from Ariella each year I kind of ration it.  Yep, I’m a jam hoarder!

I use regular Smucker’s Strawberry Jam for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and save this jam for my breakfast toast.  This year I purchased six 8 oz. jars of ollalieberry jam, and hope we make it through the year without running out.  Sure, I can make do with something else, but life is sweeter and brighter with olallieberry jam from Ariella’s kitchen…


Do you have special ingredient, condiment, or treat that you savor?  Something that makes a meal special for you?  I’d love to hear about it.

Warm regards,

p.s. Ariella (aka The Quilting Mama) was the first to be featured in my Remarkable Women Series.  She sings, acts, sews, cooks and bakes like nobody’s business.  She lives in The Valley (Like, Omigod!), but keeps chickens, gardens, and harvest fruit from the family’s trees.  I love her jam, and am also a fan of her Plenty Big Blankets and bibs for adults.  (I had a bib custom-made for my large, spill-prone father.) Hurray, Ariella – go on with your talented, eclectic self!

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$25 Visa gift card winner!


Our Winner

Congratulations, Letty G. – you’re the lucky winner! I’ll mail your prize as soon as you email me your address, and hope you enjoy using the gift card.  Everyone: I’ll be hosting another giveaway soon, so please keep an eye out for details!

It’s Time to Shop!

In other news, The Handmade for All – Holiday Gift Boutique starts tomorrow!  So Cal. Residents: Please plan to stop by tomorrow or Saturday to shop.  Choose from incredible handmade items that Ariella Fiore has assembled for your shopping pleasure.  Read all about the event here.

Guest Curating for the fabulous Jenny Doh

Another bit of exciting news is that I’m going to be a Guest Curator on crescendoh.com later this month.  I’ll be featured from December 27, 2010 – January 2, 2011, so please keep an eye out for more on that.  My Art Saves story will be published and they’ll feature links I’m providing in my Guest Curator window.  The links will include some of my favorite how-to features, artists, and other great sites, and new links will be posted daily throughout the week so there’s always something different to see.

Upcoming December Features

And finally, here are some of the posts you can look forward to this month: two new recipes, a collage basics tutorial, a new Letting My Inner Child Out to Play feature, a photo tour of my 2004 trip to Ireland, and more!

In the meantime, thank you for reading my blog.  It’s very nice to have you here…

Warm regards,

p.s. If you’re enjoying my blog and know others who may enjoy it as well, please feel free to spread the word.  Whether you email folks a link, post a link on Facebook, share my website with an online group, or tweet about melodynunez.com on Twitter, I’ll really appreciate your time and effort!

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Handmade for All, Holiday Gift Boutique!


Ariella Fiore, the fabulous Quilting Mama, is hosting a holiday gift boutique
and you’re invited!

If you live in Southern California and you’ve got some holiday shopping to do, consider making a trip to Van Nuys where a unique shopping opportunity awaits you.  Each year Ariella and her “elves” merchandize part of her home and open the doors to those in search of unique and handmade gifts.  Ariella hand-selects the contributing vendors, ensuring a wide variety of quality merchandise.  Both cash and credit cards are accepted, and the single pay-point gives you the variety of an open-air market without the hassle.

Speaking of vendors, some of my creations will be available for sale, and I hope you’ll take a peek if you stop and shop at the boutique.  Choose from a variety of note card sets, and consider buying multiple packs – some for your personal correspondence and some to give as gifts!  I’ll also have earrings for sale, each pair made from vintage buttons.  A pair of these earrings would make a lovely gift or stocking stuffer.







A Shopping Extravaganza!

Items for sale by other vendors include baked goods, candles, jewelry, paintings, sculpture, bath and body items, items for babies and children, and much more!

Attention Orange County Residents

Consider making a morning or an afternoon of it, and enjoy a meal in Van Nuys before or after you shop!  Ariella recommends the following restaurants:

Nat’s Early Bite (for breakfast or lunch)
14115 Burbank Boulevard
Van Nuys, CA 91497

Tequila’s Restaurant (for lunch or dinner)
13627 Victory Boulevard
Van Nuys, CA 91401

Gift Boutique Dates, Times & Place

Friday, December 3rd 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Saturday, December 4th 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

14127 Kittridge Street
Van Nuys, CA 91405

Happy Shopping!

Warm regards,

p.s. If any of my Orange County readers would like to buy note card sets before I ship them off to the Quilting Mama, please let me know sometime this week. You’ll get them for a discounted price of $13 for a pack of five cards instead of the $14 I’ll be charging at the boutique!  Choose from several different images (including some not shown above), and a few variety packs!

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The Remarkable Women Series: Ariella Fiore – The Quilting Mama!

Welcome to the first installation in my Remarkable Women Series!  A little something I’ve whipped up for my blog, the Remarkable Women Series will highlight admirable women in short articles that will be posted here at melodynunez.com.  Words that might apply to these Remarkable Women will include: kind, active, talented, philanthropic, and fun!

If you haven’t subscribed to this blog already, please do so now. You’ll be eligible for upcoming giveaways and you’ll catch future blog posts – including additional installations in this series.

That said, on with the show!  Please allow me to introduce my first Remarkable Woman:

Ariella Fiore, The Quilting Mama

Ariella Fiore’s life combines the best of many worlds.  She lives in the urban San Fernando Valley, but keeps chickens.  She’s tech-savvy (and seems to be addicted to Facebook!), but also sews and puts up jam made from the fruit harvested from her fruit trees.  She’s a bit of a wild child, but is also a devoted wife and mother.




Ariella is not easily defined, and she is a spectacular example of joie de vivre.  French for “joy of living”, joie de vivre doesn’t mean that every moment and every day in Ariella’s life is perfect.  On the contrary, some of her Facebook posts mention the trials and tribulations of her everyday life.  I think Ariella embodies joie de vivre because of her gusto.  She’s not an observer – she’s an enthusiastic participant in this crazy thing we call life.

I met Ariella, then Ariella DeCastro, in my 10th grade year.  We were both students at the Alexander Hamilton Academy of Music, and she was a grade ahead of me.  We were on the same bus route, and we remained friends after she started driving herself to school soon thereafter.  I was drawn to Ariella, as many were and are, because of her kindness, sense of humor, and abundant personality.  She wasn’t a “blend in with all the others” girl – could not be shaped by the cosmic cookie cutters that molded others, restrained them.  Even then, at the ripe old age of sixteen, Ariella was unique, knew it, and – most importantly – embraced it.




Flash forward approximately 20 years, and Ariella is living the dream – her dream.  She has a loving husband, two bright and adorable children, and she’s got a garden that turns this apartment-dweller (several shades of) green with envy.  She’s active at her children’s school, involved in the Fiore family computer business (EPG Technologies), and frequently performs in local musical theater productions.

A social butterfly, Ariella has a knack for bringing people together, and her cooking and baking skills are invariably put to use whether she’s the hostess or is a guest.  On top of all that, she’s also got her own business – The Quilting Mama, which offers hand-sewn items at craft fairs and through an etsy.com store.



Ariella is a decidedly passionate person, and one of her greater passions is saving the planet.  She is the reduce-reuse-recycle queen, and is so vigilant that she doesn’t even use disposable party goods (plates, cups, etc.) when hosting get-togethers – regardless of size.  While many of us (myself included) are blithely using plastic sandwich bags and tossing them after one use, Ariella ensures that her family contributes as little to the landfills as possible.

She’s so committed to responsible living that even her Quilting Mama product line is earth-friendly.  Her reusable, sandwich-size Food Bags, Green Sleeve Coffee Cozies, and Reusable Swiffer-style Dry Cloths are just a few of the ways she’s trying to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.  She also sells wonderful baby blankets, adult bibs, and other goodies.




Click here to visit The Quilting Mama Store

Oh, and don’t be afraid to contact The Quilting Mama with special requests. In the past I’ve asked for baby blankets and an adult bib with special patterns and dimensions, respectively.  Ariella was very accommodating, and the finished products were just what I hoped for.  (Please note: I’m not a paid endorser, just a fan!)

Some people you meet in life are admirable.  Some are unforgettable.  Some are fun, some are talented, and some are simply a joy to know.  Ariella Fiore is all of these things, and I’m glad to have met her on the school bus all those many years ago.

(The photo of Ariella Fiore was taken by Maggie West.  All other photos were taken by Melody Nunez)

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