January 30, 2012

Meet Maude

When I started this blog I figured I would end up talking about Ye Olde Etsy Shoppe pretty often. As it turns out, I don't like talking about it on here, as it feels like I'm pimping myself out. Like, 'Hey, read my weird blog that's about nothing in particular, and while you're at it BUY STUFF FROM ME.'

Ahem. I don't like that feeling, so I usually refrain. However, today is one of those Etsy shop days. I feel it imperative that y'all meet Maude.

When the shop was opened, the inventory was a mix of clothing and everything else, ie housewares, decor, tools, and the like. After some time had passed, I figured I would streamline the shop and only sell what was more successful. I always thought the clothing would sell better, but I was wrong. Which happens a lot, so I should have seen that one coming.

So. Out with the clothing, in with everything else! To help take better pictures of the clothes (and to hopefully get them out the door) I purchased Maude.

When I put her together, she was crooked.

Look at that. It's like she got sloppy on gin before she arrived. So the Mr straightened her ass out for me. Then we dressed her up, only to discover she had big ole man shoulders. A tubing cutter was used to give her more flattering proportions.

In case you're wondering, this is not an actual dress form, and she does have a bottom. She's more than just boobs, ya know. It's supposed to be used as decor, or to hang stuff off of. As I don't plan on stocking more clothing in my store, (except military uniforms) it didn't make sense for me to spend a lot of money on an actual dress form. Old Maude here was pretty cheap. I bought her from LTD Commodities.

Keep an eye out for Maude if you ever visit the Etsy shop! In the meantime, we'll be hanging out together. We're BFFs.  
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January 27, 2012

How to Fix a Farting Shoe

While there is seemingly nothing more annoying than a shoe whose sole squeaks on certain types of flooring, I do believe there is one other shoe-related noise that tops it.

The farting shoe. 

It's not the sole of the shoe, it's the insole. And every time you step down, you hear a 'poof' sound. Like a fart. Really attractive. Walking around sounding like you have the walkin' farts is going to win you lots of friends, lemme tell you. 

This issue came to my attention when one of my favorite pairs of boots started making the Dreaded Fart Noise. In both boots. Every time I stepped down on the heel, there it was. I Googled, I asked, I searched, and could find nothing about shoes making a farting sound. 

One day it dawned on me to check the insoles, and there it was - both had come completely loose. I figured gluing the original insoles (which are damned comfortable, FYI) would be a lot easier than buying new insoles and trying to cut them to fit the shape of a cowboy boot. 

Now. It needs to be noted that what I'm about to tell you will only work if your shoes are making noise because of a loose insole. If you can't figure out what's causing the noise in your shoes, you may have to take them to a cobbler. 

Ready to fix a farting shoe? To start, grab a tube of this:

Make sure you read the label that mentions all the ventilation/use this in California and DIE/use this and get high as a kite warnings. Did you know that you have to be 18 to buy Shoe Goo? Seriously. I watched my husband get carded over Shoe Goo

Take the insoles out of your shoes. Aren't those cute? They look like little Middle Eastern slippers. 

Apply a thin layer of Shoe Goo with a popsicle stick. You don't need to put the glue everywhere; just in the areas of the insole that actually lie flat against the sole. If that makes any sense. 

And cram the insole back into the shoe, making sure to smush down the glue. Wait 24 hours. Impatiently. Then try the shoes on and see if they still make noise.


Even the dog is happy. 

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January 25, 2012

Greyhound With Mint

Did you know that a vodka + grapefruit juice was called a greyhound? I had no clue. I thought it was just, you know, vodka and grapefruit.

And really, why is it called a greyhound? Grapefruit juice is tangy and bright. It should be called a Chihuahua or something. Anyway.

I made one with mint the other night. It were tastee.

Squish yourself some grapefruit juice. 

Throw a few leaves of fresh mint into the bottom of a glass. I grow my own mint, and the leaves are itty-bitty right now.

Mush the heck out of the mint to release the oils in the leaves. Add a shot or two (I won't judge) of vodka. 

Add the juice, through a sieve preferably. Stir gently...

And there you go. A greyhound. If you want an ice-cold greyhound sans mint leaves, mix the drink in a shaker with ice, and strain the mint out. If you're a pantywaist and grapefruit juice is too sour for you, add a teaspoon of superfine sugar.
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January 23, 2012

Ten Things

1.) I really detest goat cheese. It tastes like freezer-burned wild grouse. Trust me on this.

2.) I also think black olives come from the right hand of the devil. Not good. Trust me on this. 

3.) Every time someone buys something made of glass from my Etsy shop, I worry. I quadruple wrap in bubble wrap and pack the box so tightly that when you shake the crap out of it you can't hear any movement inside, and still I worry. 

4.) I'm a total homebody. Home home home. It's where it's at. 

5.) Number 4 is a result of being somewhat hermit...ish.  

6.) And while I'm on the 'antisocial' thing, lemme tell you: I have a glare. The Glare of the Firemonster. I give someone The Glare, and they usually understand that it means 'BACK AWAY'. Yet some people just don't get it. Yes, you, drunk old man in bar.  If I wanted to be touched by weird people I'd go hug my family members, 'kay?

7.) I have no patience. Like whoa. Stop beating around the bush. Cut to the chase. Shit or get off the pot. That be me. 

8.) I don't drive much. Me + vehicle = bad juju. 

9.) I have monkey toes. I pick things up off the floor with them, can cross them over one another, and can roll them underneath themselves. It's very odd. 

10.) I have an unnatural attachment to polyester. You may or may not have noticed this from previous clothing-related posts on zee blog, but it's true.

So there you have it, 10 things about moi. You may run screaming in the other direction now, if you like.

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January 20, 2012

Tightrope Chicken

The other morning the chicken decided to perch on the dog kennel. I didn't think this was nearly as amusing as she did.

She looks like a tightrope walker when she does this, because she walks all over the top bar on the kennel with her wings stretched out for balance.

Someday I'll understand. Maybe.
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January 18, 2012

In the Woods

It seems to me that I have an awful lot of posts that center around being in the woods. Huh.

Anyway. My husband is helping to log off some land that was damaged by a tornado last spring. At the end of the day when the machinery is quiet and the chainsaws have been shut off, the deer come out of hiding to nibble on the fallen treetops. It was the promise of seeing deer that lured me out of my warm house to go stand around in the freezing cold.

That's right. I have a Pepto-Bismol pink hardhat. Contain your jealousy.

It's a big stump. 

See all those big lumps in the snow? Those are ripped up tree roots. Now that the fallen trees have been cleared away, new growth can come in. 

It's an even bigger stump!

While this stump may not seem that large to some of you, it's pretty damn big for this area. 

Before we left, I was able to get a few pictures of the moon. While I did see some deer, it was too dark to get any pictures.

And here's the requisite creepy alone-in-the-woods moon shot!
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January 16, 2012

Northern Sunrise

I shall not tell a lie. I am not normally out of bed early enough to catch a sunrise in the winter.

My body runs on a rather seasonal clock - if the sun is up, so am I. If it's not, my ass is still in bed. This is great in the spring and summer; I'm up between 6:30 and 7:00 AM most days. In the winter, this is just bad. I end up sleeping way too late.

But once in awhile, I get up early, and get to see things like this.

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January 13, 2012

How to Make Drawer Dividers

I recently purchased one of these handy-dandy carts, for the purpose of holding all my unmentionables in a neat and tidy manner. 

The problem with that is that these carts, while handy-dandy, are not conducive to being neat and tidy. I know myself well enough to be certain that within a month, the inside of that drawer would look like a bomb went off in there.

Drawer dividers are the obvious answer, but of course I'm too cheap frugal to buy something when I could make it myself. That, and drawer dividers are generally ugly. I want cute, not ugly.

Here's what you need to make drawer dividers:
- A heavy piece of corrugated cardboard (any cardboard thick enough that it won't bend)
- Pre-pasted wallpaper border
- Scissors
- Measuring tape
- Utility knife

You *may* also need this. But I'll get to that later. For now, fuhgeddaboutit. 

First, measure the length, width, and height of the drawer in question. Write it down! 

The next step is all in your head - think about how you want everything arranged inside the drawer. Rows, divided into little compartments, etc. When you have that figured out, start making your measurements on the cardboard. 

For the height of the dividers, you can choose whatever height you like. I cut mine half as tall as the drawers themselves.  

Mark the measurements on the cardboard...

...and super-duper carefully cut them out with the utility knife. 

It helps to score the cardboard first, then snap it, and finish cutting. If there are any rough edges, trim them with the scissors. 

Finish cutting them out according to your measurements, and put them inside the drawer to make sure they fit. 

Do a dry run if you like. Two dividers running lengthwise worked well in this drawer, so I didn't cut any to run the width of the drawer. 

Cut the wallpaper border to the size needed. Is that wallpaper border not wonderful?! I wanted something abstract, but when I saw this one I had to have it. There's just something about having Bette Davis and Rita Hayworth in your sock drawer that's irresistible.

Anyway. Cut the border to length and height. I left the height on mine alone, as it was large enough to just fold in half over the divider. To apply the border, follow the instructions on the package. Mine was the typical application - get it wet, and apply with a squeegee.

Now, I would like to issue a kindly word of warning here. My only previous experience with wallpaper had been a good one - there is a wallpaper border in my bathroom.  It installed beautifully. This stuff, however?  It would not stick. To anything. This wallpaper border was sent to me from Satan.

I may or may not have screeched like a 10 year old girl at this point.

So here is what I did. I took my cardboard and painted a pretty heavy layer of Mod Podge on it.

Then I squished the paper into place with a squeegee. This worked like a charm.

I would suggest trying a small test square of your wallpaper border, following the directions on the package, before you really get started into this project. If it doesn't want to stick, just glue the damn thing down instead. Mod Podge works, but regular wallpaper adhesive would also work.

Set the dividers aside to dry, which will take 30 minutes to an hour. Trim any overhanging border.

Install in the drawer, and ta-da! That's it. It cost me less than $8 for the border, and with that border I'll be able to make 5 yards of drawer dividers. That's a bit much, even for me.

There is a variation for this project - feel free to use wrapping paper or scrapbook paper or any other type of paper in place of the wallpaper border. Just wrap the dividers with the paper and tape or glue it in place.

Have fun!
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January 11, 2012

I Am Special, I Am Special, I Am Special

I wanted to share a little something with you. Yes, you. In the front.

I am not a moron.

I graduated in the top quarter of my class in high school, can spell Czechoslovakia right the first time, and know the difference between your and you're. 

That being said, I am a moron indeed when it comes to any sort of crafting and/or DIY-ing.

I was working on a small craft project and needed to spray paint something.

Only to grab a can of spray paint with a nozzle I'm unfamiliar with, and blast myself full in the face with spray paint. In the face. In the face. 

Oh yes. Right in the glasses. Lucky me.

So. If you ever spray yourself in the glasses with spray paint, dip a Q-tip in some nail polish remover. Lightly scrub the paint, and it will come right off.

Or, you could just not spray yourself in the face with spray paint at all, and go on to live a happy, healthy life.

Your choice.
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January 9, 2012

Polyester Shirts and Bad Old Lady Jokes

Everyone seems to like this shirt. I like it because I didn't have to perform a shoulder-pad-dectomy (also known as shoulder pad removal for those that aren't dorks) on it. And it's polyester, which I love. I think my past life was in the 70s. Bring on the patchouli and the Creedence.

I like this blouse even though it collects static electricity the way old ladies collect cats.

I've been wearing it just tucked into a pair of jeans. In the photo above, I was not only rockin' a side pony, but also wearing a necklace my grandmother gave me many moons ago.

This blouse also has shoulder...puffs? I have no idea what you call them. But it's a puff. And it's on the shoulder. Shoulder puffs. No clue what it's called, but I like it anyway.

Blouse - thrifted
Necklace - gifted
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January 6, 2012

How to Render Lard

Yeah, I know. Lard is evil. Lard is fattening. Lard is the right hand of the devil. Okay, maybe not that last one.

In all actuality, it just ain't that bad. It's high in mono- and poly- unsaturated fats, which are the good kinds of fat. And it has less saturated fat than butter. Word. Check out the stats here.

While olive oil is the fat of choice in our house, I do use lard for seasoning cast iron and frying venison. My main use for lard is in my homemade soap. Whenever I buy a pork shoulder, I cut most of the fat off and save it in the freezer for my devious lard-making purposes.

Pork fat produces the best type of lard for cooking, but if you happen to be a soapmaker, you can use this method to render any type of animal fat; it will all make a good bar of soap. 

There are several methods you can use to render lard, this is just what I do. 

First, cut your fat into tiny pieces. That has to be one of the most disturbing sentences I've ever written. The pieces on the cutting board in the photo below could actually stand to be smaller, but I was in a hurry. 

Throw them in a frying pan (cast iron preferably) that can hold all the fat in a single layer. Add 1/4 cup of water and crank the heat to medium high. Adding the water is optional, but it helps heat the fat up quickly without burning it. The water will evaporate quickly. 

When the water has evaporated and the fat is sizzling away, reduce the heat under the pan to its lowest setting. And walk away. Let the fat render for about an hour, stirring occasionally, until it looks like the photo below. 


Use a slotted spoon (or a sieve) to remove the cracklin', and there you have it. Done. Easy peasy. The fat is still hot and therefore liquid in the photo above, but when it cools down it hardens and turns white in color. Of  course, I didn't take a picture of that because one, I am a doofus; and two, I had to use the lard before it had a chance to cool down. Once it cools down, store it in the refrigerator.   

So there you have it. Render away, folks!

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