September 28, 2012

Photo Friday: Copper + Fire

Copper + fire = blue and green flames of wonder.






These were taken at my in-laws' house, at their gigantic firepit. The copper they used? Old Christmas lights. Feel the science, people. 

See you next week!

P.S. I got this song stuck in my head while typing this. I'm a Mellencamp fan, but this song is not one of my favorites. Of course. Why would I get one I actually liked stuck in my head? 

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September 26, 2012

If I Get Seven Years of Bad Luck...

...then I'm taking someone down with me.

I made the innocent mistake of trying to open a medicine cabinet the other day. Silly me.


I think we need a judge's ruling on this. Let's take a closer look, shall we? The photo has been lightened just a smidge to really bring out the detail. 


The only bright side? I never thought I'd be able to do this:


DUMBLEDORE!!


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September 24, 2012

A Root Cellar. But Not Really.

It's as close as I'll ever get to a root cellar or cold pantry.


A shelf in the basement! Full of canned-food-goodness - tomatoes (and more tomatoes), jams, pickles (and more pickles), relish, and pumpkin. Sandwiched next to the stairs, and right in front of a wood pile. You know. Cozy.

The majority of what I've canned these past few months are now residing down in the basement, in all those boxes. Some jars I've left upstairs in the kitchen cabinets to make life easier. But the bulk of everything is in the basement, where the cooler temps and darkness will keep the food fresher longer.

Is it weird that I'm so excited about this? Extra storage! Livin' the high life, I tell you.


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September 21, 2012

Photo Friday: A Flock of Flickers

These pictures are blurry for two reasons - I was taking them through a window (bad) and the little bastards would move every single time I clicked the shutter (also bad).

These were taken about 2 weeks ago, when a flock of a dozen or so northern flickers landed in the yard. Incidentally,  'flicker' has to be about the most fun bird name ever.






See you Monday!


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September 19, 2012

That Man

I am so proud. I've just accomplished perhaps the greatest achievement of my lifetime.

My penchant for overdressing for every occasion has finally rubbed off on my husband.

He dressed as the Doctor from Doctor Who for his brother's wedding.

Please re-read that last sentence and let it soak in. 

While he was unable to find a brown pin-striped suit, as worn by David Tennant while portraying the 10th Doctor, he found a gray suit at Goodwill* for $20. Close enough. Throw in a pseudo-sonic-screwdriver and he was in business.




* And BTW? This is a truly fan-freaking-tastic suit. Older and extremely well-tailored. You never know what you'll find at Goodwill.


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September 17, 2012

Kitten!

My brother-in-law got married on Saturday. Tied the knot, got hitched, took the plunge, jumped the broom, hooked up to the ball and chain, put a ring on it, and done said 'I do.'

While I've had a full day of recovery since the big day, I still got nothin' for you today.

Except...kitten pics! Not my kitten (heaven forbid) but my sister-in-law's kitten, named Ilsa. These were taken a month or two ago, when Ilsa was still teeny-tiny.



Most pictures turned out like the one below. Turns out that kittens are not the best photo subjects. Who knew, right?


Those are my husband's hands. Ilsa was so tiny, I can't get over it. I'm a dog person, and just not used to such tiny cuteness.



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September 14, 2012

Photo Friday: Sunset

Living in the woods, my view of sunsets and sunrises is often blocked by all these g.d. trees. From our house, I can't even see the actual g.d. sun as it sets. But clouds I got! And so, for this photo Friday, clouds!






See you on Monday!

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September 12, 2012

Peasant Tops From Men's T-Shirts

The other day I was in ShopKo and saw a super cute peasant shirt, which I did not buy because I am excruciatingly cheap and it was $11.00. Abe Lincoln is in pain, I am pinching him so hard.

Pinterest to the rescue, as usual! How to turn plain old white men's tees into peasant tops. They don't look like the one I saw in the store, but I think I rather like this one better.

I did not come up with this tutorial, I actually found it on Pinterest. It comes from the cute blog 'My Gramma Said.'

How awesome is it that you can go from this:


to this:


in about an hour; and then to this:


The only changes I made to the tutorial were subbing ribbon in for the elastic, and not using the armband casings.

I don't do white clothes because I'm clumsy they stain too easily, so I threw each one into a dye bath after I finished sewing it.


I used 2 bottles of liquid Rit dye - one blue and one yellow. I used the yellow and blue to make green. The blue shirt took the longest to dye at a full 30 minutes. The green I was satisfied with in 20, and I kid you not, the yellow took 5 minutes. It was becoming a rather virulent shade of yellow, and I was afraid to let it soak any longer for fear of looking like an egg yolk. 



The 3-pack of men's tees I bought was a bit over $7, and when you include the dye, thread, and ribbon each finished top probably cost around $3.25. Not bad!




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September 10, 2012

No More Tomatoes

I canned 25 pounds of tomatoes last Saturday. I never want to see a tomato again.


25 pounds equaled 25 pints. One jar didn't seal, and that was the first time EVER that one of my jars didn't seal. I'm taking it very personally.

The Canning of Tomatoes also usually means I'm nearing the end of my canning run for the year. This year is different, however, because I went out and got one of these.

Slightly intimidating. I haven't used it yet because between the pickles and tomatoes, I've used nearly my entire stock of mason jars. When I get more jars, I'll be using this to can chicken stock, among other things.

Anyone else canning anything?


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September 9, 2012

Ready for Fall

Oh am I ever ready. The leaves. That smell, of mud and rotting leaves. Wood smoke from the chimney. COOLER TEMPERATURES. That's the big one.

Last Wednesday the weather was rainy in the morning and cooler, with a high of 73, instead of the 80s we'd been dealing with.

Which, of course, made me want to bust out the long-sleeved shirts and heavier materials.


Zee old braid bun - hair into a low ponytail, braid it, wrap it around the hair tie, and secure with pins.


I don't know. I must be a 4 year old. I can't see anything lying on the ground without wanting to climb it.


Shirt - thrifted
Skirt - Goodwill
Shoes - endless.com


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September 7, 2012

Photo Friday: The Moon, Again

Photo Friday several weeks ago was nothing but photos of the moon. As it is today. I have a problem. I like sunrises and sunsets, but for me, nothing beats the moon.

And my new camera lets me get close-up shots of the moon that my last camera did not. Me likey.



I took the shot below while standing in the middle of a street a few miles from my house. The elderly couple that drove by seemed quite concerned.






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September 5, 2012

This is Getting Ridiculous

I didn't pick cucumbers for ONE WEEK. Just one week. And this is what I found. Keep in mind that these are pickling cucumbers.


To show my displeasure, I ate that cucumber. It was tasty.


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September 3, 2012

An Experiment: Vanilla Bean Paste

Vanilla bean paste is...well, you know, a paste made from vanilla beans. I've seen it listed as an ingredient in several recipes, but have never seen it in a store.

Meanwhile, moldering away in a kitchen cabinet:


They were all rock hard. Instead of throwing them into my vat of vanilla extract, I decided to grind them up instead.


I don't have a food processor. Or spice mill. Don't judge.

I mixed in enough corn syrup to make a thick yet pour-able paste. Store-bought vanilla bean paste uses simple syrup instead of corn syrup, but I already had the corn syrup on hand and was lazy. So corn syrup it is!



I had to test it out right away, so I made sugar cookies. As you do. The coffee grinder didn't grind the beans as finely as a spice grinder/food processor would have, so I ran the paste through a sieve just to be certain there wouldn't be huge chunks of bean in there.

Once mixed, the dough looked like this.



Do I even have to say that the cookies were delicious? They were particularly good the following morning day, the flavor of the vanilla strengthened overnight a bit.

One tiny disclaimer - this is something I whipped up at the drop of a hat, so I have no clue how long this lasts or anything like that. I'm guessing it has a shelf life of probably 3 months or so, perhaps more if refrigerated. In recipes, vanilla bean paste can be used instead of vanilla extract, in a 1:1 ratio.


Vanilla Bean Paste

Vanilla beans
Corn syrup
Clean glass jar with a tight-fitting lid

The vanilla beans must be dry - air dry them on a counter, or dry them out in a low oven until they are brittle. Then grind them into a fine powder in a food processor or spice mill. Place in the jar, add corn syrup a tablespoon at a time until it becomes a pour-able paste. Store at room temperature, away from light and heat.

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