Tuesday, September 29, 2009

blog #339 >> Almost Needed Stitches

(WARNING: This gets gory, not for those with a week stomach... also unsuitable for young cow creamers and eggs.)

As I'm sitting here typing this with one lonely hand, I ask myself, "Do I need stitches?" I finally finished cleaning up the gore in the kitchen, and the bleeding seems to have subsided for the time being. But the pain is growing, which I'll accept as a good sign, since it didn't hurt at all when I first sliced it open. But the real reason I don't want to brave the emergency room is... (Well, outside the fact that it's late, and it's bound to take until 3am, and the flu is going around, and I am terrified of needles, and I feel like a wimp compared to my dad who lost four fingers and gouges his hand all the time is...) I really don't want to relay the story any more than I need to. I mean, why can't I ever hurt myself like a normal person? You know regular everyday accidents, such as robot attacks and the like. I always end up with these long involved stories, with unbelievable situations, which normally end with me in a cast or all the skin pealed away from the palms of my hands.

This story begins innocently and safely enough... I was baking cookies. Yes, sweet-delectable thumb print cookies with my delicious freshly made mint jelly. I needed to separate an egg, so I reached for a bowl and knocked over my darling cow creamer. I tried to catch it, but I was holding an egg which broke on impact, knocking the cow creamer into the batter bowl, breaking the cow creamer cleanly in half right down the middle of his belly. Poor cow creamer! You will never be able to vomit cream into my tea ever again. Not that I used you very often, but you deserved a better end! Well, my hand was covered in egg, so I picked the cow creamer up put him together. (He looked perfectly fine sitting there on the counter.) And I sat him aside until I had finished baking the cookies. After I finished the cookies I thought, "Oh I'll wash the cow creamer, glue him together, and put him away." I had sort of forgotten "where" he was broken, or even really that the cow creamer was broken at all. When I grabbed the cow creamer he broke apart in my hand slicing my little finger, really, REALLY deep. And after a great deal of bleeding, I got it closed up with a couple of band-aids. I don't think I've ever had a cut bleed THAT much! It was even worse than the time I tried to use a scalpel when I couldn't find an Exacto knife. Anyhow, I suppose it will be fine. After all, I've never heard of a cow creamer killing anyone.
Good night!
p.s. This episode was however fatal for the cow creamer. After the cow creamer cut me I was rather cross with it and decided to throw him away instead of fix him. Plus I doubt he would have held cream without leaking after that anyhow.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

blog #338 >> Mint Jelly

Today I made a batch of mint jelly. I think this is the easiest thing I've made thus far, in the way of jams and jellies. It's like making jelly out of tea. This is giving me all sort of ideas for making peach tea jelly, and earl grey jelly, and chai tea jelly... mmmm... I will definitely be making this one again sometime. I got the recipe here, and I decided to go with the liquid pectin recipe instead of the boxed. I was all out of pectin anyhow, and since I was buying more, I decided to go with the more common recipe. It turned out very sweet and the lemon juice makes it taste a little bit fruity. It will be perfect for thumbprint cookies. I think I'll make some later this week.

Friday, September 25, 2009

blog #337 >> More Garden Goods

More tomatoes and the first half of the carrots.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

blog #336 >> The Best of "The Bins"

I love "The Bins!"
It's so much fun.
It's like sorting through piles of trash to find treasures.
This week I found lots of vintage fabrics, books and records...
oh and a few doilies too.

The Village Apple Book. Apple recipes from The Salisbury Congregational Community Church in New Hampshire.
Let me tell you those old ladies can cook!

Yet another vintage alarm clock to join my collection. Someday I will find the perfect alarm clock. But I never know if I like one until I try it. And I'm very very picky when it comes to alarm clocks. First off it must, have real numbers, no little dots, or Roman numerals. I need something I can read when I'm half asleep. It also needs a light, or at least light up handles. It's dark in my room at night. And above all it needs to be QUIET! Loud ones simply scare me awake. Once I recognize to wake up at a certain sound, it will wake me up no matter how soft or quite it is. That sound doesn't need to wake up the entire apartment complex. Also I normally wake up naturally about two minutes before it goes off anyhow. Really it's just an insurance policy in case I over sleep.

And the dessert cook book with happy flowers.

Alright, it's getting late now so I'm off to bed with my new alarm clock in hand.
Good Night!

(and if I do the math, I figure everything cost me less than seventy cents each.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

blog #335 >> The Adventures of a Macro Box

I will readily confess... I'm not a photographer. I don't know how to use my camera, I can never get decent lighting. And I don't have the patience to arrange or wait for a good composition. Despite all this, I know a good photo when I see one. Which just makes me even more aware of the fact that I'm a terrible photographer.

This week's challenge has been trying to get a photo of these little red owl earrings for etsy. They've proven quite difficult, and in most photos look more like little red blobs than owls. I tried indoor lighting, natural lighting, a spot light, the flash, adjusting the manual exposure, adjusting the levels in Photoshop and a combination of all of the above. At last I tried making a Macro Box. (Thanks Lisa for the link!)

My newly made macro box.

Happily, I had everything I needed to make it on hand, and it came together pretty fast. I used tracing paper to defuse the light, and I put my desk lamp on one side, the bedside lamp on the other side, and my light table on top. (And I tried combinations of one light source and two, as well as with flash and without.) Overall it does a pretty good job for close up images, but it eliminated the shadows on the object, and now they still look like little red blobs. But I think it will work really well for other things. I guess I need to play around with it some more. Or perhaps I'm just being too picky, and in the end I'll probably go back to using plain old natural light.

The owl earrings in the Macro Box.

This is the best picture I took (out of about 1000) it's natural light, with increased light exposure, and adjusted A LOT in Photoshop.

Hopefully, I can finish taking my pictures tonight and get this little guys posted!


Sunday, September 20, 2009

blog #334 >> Pigs and Pickles

Yesterday I went up to my brother's house and visited their new baby pigs. They're very cute, but still afraid of people.

• • • • • •

And after that my mom helped me can some pickles.

Here are my two recipes for those who are interested.
This dill recipe is my first step closer to Martha Wiztel's pickles. Martha Witzel was a friend of my great-grandparents who lived down the street from us growing up. And I used to clean house for her when I was young. Every week when I was done cleaning we'd open up a jar of her famous homemade pickles and share them. (Basically, I was paid in chocolate cake and pickles... and I had to make the chocolate cake.) And every week I'd ask her for that dill pickle recipe, and every week she said it was a secret. (I think she said that just to vex me.) Anyhow I never did get her recipe, and now I never will, so it's up to me to rediscover her long lost secret dill pickle recipe.
This is my first attempt.

Dill Pickles:

5 large cucumbers sliced into spears
2 cups white vinegar
6 cups water
1/3 cup pickling salt
7 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
14 heads fresh dill weed
1 3/4 tea. mustard seed
1 3/4 tea. peppercorns

1. Wash and sterilize 7 pint jars.
2. In a large pot over medium-high heat, combine the vinegar, water, and pickling salt. Bring the brine to a rapid boil.
3. In each jar, place 1 cloves of garlic, one head of dill, about a 1/4 tea. of mustard seed and 1/4 tea. of peppercorns, then enough cucumbers to fill the jar. Pack them tightly. Fill jars with hot brine. Seal jars, making sure you have cleaned the jar's rims of any residue.
4. Process sealed jars in a boiling water bath. Process pint jars for 10 minutes.
5. Store pickles for a minimum of 8 weeks before eating. Refrigerate after opening. Pickles will keep for up to 2 years if stored in a cool dry place.

Makes about 7 pints

And for those of you sitting near us at Skating with Scissors, here is my grandma's bread & butter pickle recipe.

Bread & Butter Pickles

6 cups cucumbers
2 cups thinly sliced onion

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1/2 tea. salt
1/2 tea. mustard seed
1/2 tea. celery seed (I usually omit this, but only because I never have any.)
1/2 tea. turmeric

Mix sugar, vinegar, salt, and spices in a large pot and bring to a boil. Pour over onions and cucumbers. Cover and refrigerate for at least one week and up to one month.


blog #333 >> Craft Show

Ahhh!!! It's over and done, and my apartment looks like it's been hit my a train filled with felt, thread, pins, needles, scissors, and other craft supplies. It took me all morning to pick up the mess of the past week. But now I can sit back, enjoy the pot of tea I made this morning, and spend a little quality time with the computer.

Well, I can't say it was a profitable craft show. After all profits are an ambiguous thing, which in the end, is really quite meaningless since it's all for fun. But if I added together everything I bought or traded for and my half of the booth, I just broke even. So it wasn't so bad either. And even if we didn't get rich, we still had a lot of fun. I think my favorite thing about craft fairs is hanging out for a day with other crafty people. They're all so friendly! And we got a lot made during this show for our next show, which made it a very successful craft day. And I'm now inspired to embroider a sign that says, "We accept cash, checks, haggling, bartering, and bribes." I have to admit, I love bartering!

This is the vintage dress I bought while I was there from Giddy. They were sitting across from us, and all day I watched people come by and try it on, and nobody took it. At last I couldn't take it anymore and I had to go over and buy it. It's slightly too big for me, but it will be easy to alter. I feel really bad about cutting the tags off of it though. It's still got the original tags, and that's so rare.

And here is the ring I traded for from Elle Paisley. I was eying it all day, but after the dress I really didn't want to buy anything else. So when they came over to ask if I wanted to trade I was really, really excited.

There were so many great booths there. It was a really nice craft show, even though it was really more of a craft swap.


Friday, September 18, 2009

blog #332 >> Buy our stuff, get a FREE bag!

We have a new deal going on right now at Door Mouse Designs. Buy our stuff, get a FREE bag. Are you tired of stuffing your newly purchased craft goods into your purse. Well worry no more. Now we will give you a cute little Door Mouse Designs bag to carry your purchases in for FREE with any purchase. Limited to however many people get one until we run out or make more.

As if I didn't have enough to do to get ready for Saturday, I decided to make bags for our craft show last night. I love how they turned out, but now I need to focus on the important points of getting ready... like picking up the table and chairs.
Once again come and visit us at Skating with Scissors, Saturday 19th, 11am - 7pm at the Oaks Park Hanger.
I'll see you there!

blog #331 >> I wish these were real...

If modern classic movies were made in the past, would they still be classics?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

blog #330 >> Another Post about Chutney

I panicked this morning. I thought one of my chutneys had mold in it. This was very puzzling since I had boiled them for nearly two hours and that is really quick for mold to grow. But when I opened it to investigate, it was only a flaw in the glass that looked exactly like mold. It kinda reminded me of these. I'll have to be sure to throw that jar away. I am also happy to report that the thickness was perfect. I had some for breakfast on toast with happy cow cheese and it was delicious!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

blog #329 >> Plum Chutney

I actually made up my own recipe for this one. The only plum chutney recipes I found had pretty terrible reviews, but I found one mango chutney recipe with really good reviews. So I ended up combining them. I used the spices from the mango chutney and the ratios from the plum chutney. Only it was still too bitter, so I added more sugar in the end. I also added about a half of a box of pectin. It was suppose to "jell" but even after boiling for two hours it never really did. At last I gave up and added the pectin. Only now I'm worried that I made it too thick. The jars seem fine right now, but the tiny bit I put in the frig to taste turned really "sticky." Perhaps that is just because it was refrigerated, or because it was such a small amount. I don't know. But I can't wait to open a jar. They all sealed and I only had a tiny bit left over to taste. If anything I got the flavor down, it tastes delicious!

Here's my recipe, it's basically my chai tea recipe with garlic, onions, vinegar, currents, and plums.

The spices:
10 whole allspice or 1/4 tea. ground
8 whole peppercorns or 1/8 tea. ground
3 whole cloves or 1/8 tea. ground
1/4 tea. crushed cinnamon stick or 1/4 tea. ground
1/8 tea. nutmeg
a pinch of chili pepper
(crush together in a mortar and pedestal or in a coffee grinder, unless you're using regular spices.)
1 T. grated ginger (freezing it first is the trick.)
1/2 a clove of garlic

• • • • • • •

1/4 cup golden raisins, regular raisins, or currants, or a mix or all three. I used currants.
1/2 cup minced red onion (or any color really)
6 cups chopped plums
3 cups brown sugar
3 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar (5% acid)
1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar (5% acid)
(In hindsight, I think I would have preferred all cider vinegar, but I suppose it depends on your taste, you can also use plain white distilled.)

• • • • • • •

Mix everything in a big pot and boil it for a really, really, really long time. I ended up boiling mine for somewhere between an hour and a half to two hours. And you're going to need to stir that almost continuously. Now hopefully yours will "jell" mind didn't and I added a half a box of pectin. Now I'm thinking that was the wrong thing to do, and it would have jelled when it cooled down. I'll update this when I open a jar and find out for sure.

Process in a hot water bath canner for 10 minutes.
Yields 6 half-pint jars

Let me know if you decide to try it!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

blog #328 >> create your own relatives

If you don't have any old family photos, don't despair...
just make your own!
That's what Travis Louis did, see his website here.
Being a little bit jealous of other people's old family photos, he created his own. And just so long as you're creating your own, you might as well make them really interesting. After all everyone loves Uncle Six Eyes!

Oddly enough I can kinda see my family in these people too.

Monday, September 14, 2009

blog #327 >> Great-Grandma Kohl

I found this great picture of my great-grandma and I think she looks just like me. But no one else seems to see it. It's mainly the nose I suppose, and the hair, and a little of the eyes perhaps, and she has that smug smile I get when I'm trying really hard not to smile... well anyhow. Her name was Effie Cordelia Kirchem Kohl. Her husband was Louis Phillip Kohl. And she was born in Logan, Ore. That part of my family came to Oregon right after the Oregon Trail. I'm going to see if I can get some more pictures scanned in the future. I love looking through them and thinking, "Oh, this one looks like my sister, and this one looks like my uncle, and this one like my cousin, etc. etc. etc."


Saturday, September 12, 2009

blog #326 >> Lappy's Back!

I'm so happy to have my little laptop back in my arms again. I've spent almost my entire day replacing the missing files and setting up a bigger and better back-up system. It's kinda like unpacking a new house, but with files, and an archive drive. But even with all my technological worries, I still manged to get some other things accomplished today in between downloading.

This morning I took advantage of the nice weather and restored my new bed, vanity and an old in-table with some dark wood scratch remover. Now they look like new... well, sort of.

I watered the garden and picked a few more tomatoes, it seems like they're never ending!

Obviously it's getting late, and I hope I can get this dress finished this weekend. (Unfortunately, the dress is in the dark part of the photo.)

And I finished embroidering these dolls for my sisters.

I suppose that's all at the moment.

blog #325 >> Sense and Sensibility...
and Sea Monsters

I actually really want to read this book now, this makes me just laugh and laugh and laugh...

Monday, September 7, 2009

blog #324 >> More Stuff

I don't have much time at the moment, so very quickly, here are some more projects I've been working on.

An owl to sell at Skating with Scissors.

A plum pie.

My new skirt... and

Three of the fabric paper dolls for my sisters' Etsy store Baby Dear. I love their new faces.

All for now,