Sunday, May 15, 2011

blog #464 >> Burning House

Every once in awhile, while scrolling through blogs, I'll find something phenomenally fascinating and at the same time extraordinarily inspiring... this is certainly one of those websites. It's called The Burning House. They collect people from all over the world and ask them to take a picture of what they would save from their home if it were burning down. As they say on their website, "It's a conflict between what's practical, valuable and sentimental. What you would take reflects your interests, background and priorities." Which obviously got me thinking, "What would I save from my little apartment?" I don't think I'm quite posh enough to submit my collection, but here are my relics of choice and the reasons why I would save them.

• My old Dr. Martin's that I found at the GoodWill. They fit perfectly, and they are an excellent, practical pair of running shoes, ideal for escaping from a burning building.
• My glasses that belonged to my grandma. It's best to be able to see where your running.
• The vintage 20's deer dress, one of my favorite articles of clothing.
• My great-grandma's black and orange rhinestone necklace from The Roaring 20's.
• The key my grandma gave me when my grandpa died... I'm not sure what it opens, but I always thought it was lovely.
• My grandpa's pocket watch.
• I know it's lame... but I'm going to save my hairbrush. I LOVE that hairbrush, and I don't think you can get that type anymore. It's a creature comfort, and when all else is lost, well... at least I can still brush my hair.
• Although it's not in the picture, (because it's at the cleaners) I'd take my old wool overcoat. It would be cold standing outside watching the place burn down, and I'd want to be warm.
• I'd also grab my purse. I made and designed it myself, and I can see it being helpful to have identification and credit cards. I could also live on it's contents for several days, and stuff things into it as I'm running out the door.
• Lappy, that laptop has become like a part of my brain and my right arm combined.
• My grandpa's diary from WWII and the film negatives of the photos he took during the service.
• My three favorite books from the bookshelf. Replaceable, yes, but I love them. They're like old friends to me. I'd take Jane Eyre, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and Robinson Crusoe.
• Heilenröslein, an old book of German poetry that belonged to my great-grandma. I can't read any of them, but I sometimes translate them when I get bored.
• The big red accordion. My dad and my brother before me played it, and now I do too.
• The stripy umbrella, it's conveniently right by the door, and there's no point standing in the rain.
• A cup of tea, if I had a cup of tea, I'd take it out with me. No reason to let it go to waste. Plus, it would bring a little bit of comfort in the midst of the trauma. But if I didn't already have a cup of tea ready, I wouldn't take the time to make one while the house was burning down. That would just me silly.

(Kitchen, yes there are things I love there too... but it is not on the evacuation route, no time to save anything from there. Sorry kitchen.)

I can just picture myself, standing out in the rain, in my overcoat, with my purse slung over my back, the big red accordion in the front, holding an umbrella and drinking tea, while fearing for the worst and hoping for the best.

If your house were on fire... What would you take?

Friday, May 13, 2011

blog #463 >> Antique Lace Summer Dress

I was also able to finish my new summer dress last night. I made it from an old vintage lace bodice that Trina gave me, some of my grandma's old lace that I tea stained and used for the hem, and some muslin that I had leftover from my lace curtain skirt. I'm very pleased with how it turned out, but I wish I had a little bit more of the muslin so I could have made it longer. However, it's short enough that it looks cute with a pair of pants too, so I guess it's alright. And yes, I did go back and clean up the seams. I always get sloppy when I'm sewing with scraps, and I didn't use a pattern on this one either.

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And here's the latest project I've started. I saw these vintage car tea towels on my google reader and decided I need to make a set of my own. The first one I've finished is of my first love The Hornet. Man, I loved that car. More to come later....

blog #462 >> Chai Tea

At last! Blogger is back up! I haven't updated this blog in weeks, and of course blogger decided to shut down just when I had everything ready to post! But I realize, I need to be more patient with technology. Just think how new and amazing it really is! I mean I can actually remember a time before there even was such a thing as the Internet. We'd sit around and throw paper airplanes at each other because there was nothing else to do. I need to keep in mind, that the Internet is not always going to do exactly what I want it to do, when I want it to. Just think how remarkable it really is! Everything's amazing now & nobody's happy!

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Well, anyways... below is my favorite recipe for Chai tea. It's so delicious, it's like drinking a gingerbread cookie. I realize that there are about one thousand different ways to make Chai tea, and I've tired several varieties. But this is my own concoction mixed up from several different Chai tea experiments, and I think it's AMAZING! mmmm... cooking Chai from scratch makes my little apartment smell wonderful for days!

Here are the ingredients:
4 cups cold water
2 bags or 2 T. of any black tea, I like Darjeeling
6 whole cardamon pods
(this is a classic Chai tea ingredient, you can't make Chai tea
without cardamon.)

8 whole allspice
12 whole black peppercorns
(this is the secret ingredient that gives it a little bit of a bite.)

1 cinnamon stick broken in half or 1 T. crushed cinnamon stick
1 T. fresh ginger cut into chunks about the size of a pea
a generous dash of freshly grated nutmeg
(DO NOT USE GROUND SPICES! It won't turn out very good at all.)

Bring all the ingredients above to a boil and keep it at a medium boil for at least a half hour. You can boil this all day if you really wanted to. If you're boiling it more than a half hour, you'll probably need to add more water at some point. The more you boil it, the stronger the taste.
Remove from heat. Strain to remove all the spices and tea. Pour back into your pan and... Slowly add...

2-3 T. condensed milk depending on how sweet you like it
or 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream or whole milk sweetened with sugar or honey to taste.

Return to a boil and ENJOY!

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And here's a picture of the cute Jell-O poster Trina got me.
Thanks Trina! I love it!