Geode Gimlet

Today I had fun cleaning my fridge! Now fridge-cleaning isn’t usually super fun, but it’s not everyday I find a bit of violet simple syrup from a month or so ago.DSCN5001

I went to check on the syrup, and found it had crystallized, a la the rock candy of my childhood! I didn’t want this beautiful find to go to waste, so I mixed up a gin gimlet, and went easy on simple syrup. Then I poured it into the violet syrup container and drank myself a geode!DSCN5000

Want to make one yourself? No guarantees, but make some simple syrup. Use violets for pretty purple notes. Let it sit undisturbed in the back of the fridge for a month or two. Remove. Drain any excess syrup that hasn’t crystallized into another container. Mix a gimlet, or whatever drink you fancy, and serve in the geode class. Enjoy the fruits of gemology 🙂DSCN5002

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Pretty in Pots

I should be doing some serious spring cleaning. But I’m not. I have made a start on spring-cleaning my fabric stash, but got a tad overwhelmed, and so the living room is more of a mess than usual, with bits and bobs of fabric into piles that make sense to me, at least.

Instead of finishing that project, I took a look at all my plants (and I have a lot!) and decided to do some indoor gardening. I had two empty pots and two plants in desperate need of re-potting. But remember; I’m procrastinating here, so I couldn’t simply re-pot and be done with it! No! Instead, I painted the pots! And I’m in love with how they turned out!DSCN4774

I used some cheap white house paint I had around for the base coat, and then free-handed the designs with some gold acrylic paint. I looked at henna designs and some mandalas on pinterest, and did some sketching to get my hand and eye in, and then just went for it! Very fun and liberating 🙂

I re-potted my arrowhead, but I need to get some more potting soil for my aloe.  I really like how the shape of the arrowhead leaves compliment the patterns I painted!

Thoughts on La La Land

It’s almost spring, so I’m almost out of the dark, snowy funk of winter that leaves me less-than-interested in writing.

And I’m not even back to writing about my usual crafts and sewing. Instead, I’m writing about a movie. La La Land, specifically. Which I know everyone and their dog has talked and written about. So of course this post contains spoilers, just in case you’ve managed to avoid all the other ones out there.

But when I saw it a second time (I really liked it, for the record), something struck me and stuck with me. I need to get the observation out of my head, and, well, I haven’t posted in a while, so why not share it here!

My first watching, I fell in love with the Audition Song. And watching a second time, the song still stuck out. But this time I wondered about the aunt.

The one who “Lived with her liquor and died with a flicker.”

The one who must have had a sister in Mia’s mother. (I keep thinking the aunt was Mom’s sister, rather than Dad’s. Probably because it’s my own mother who has sisters.)

The aunt who traveled the world, and did wonderful crazy things, like jumping into the Seine. And who at some point came home and shared the dream of theater with her niece.

And while Mia and her aunt watched old films at the library, Mia’s mother worried. She worried about her sister, and her increasing drinking problem. She worried what dreams the fools were dreaming; she worried that hearts would break and worried about the mess they’d make. And then mother lost sister, who died with a flicker, drinking too much, perhaps pining away for the lost glamor of the stage.

And mother watched daughter join theater clubs, and write plays, and eventually drive down the dusty road towards Hollywood. Mia’s mother supported her through six years of bit parts and coffee-shop jobs and attempting to be the stand out from the crowd.

And in the back of mother’s mind, there must have been fear. Fear of seeing her daughter fail, of daughter following aunt’s footsteps, not just into the Seine, but all the way to the bottom of the bottle.

In one scene, a one-sided, overheard phone call, Mother is clearly worried, and questions Mia’s life, and her love. She hopes beyond hope that Mia’s boyfriend is successful, and working, and not just living for a dream, like her daughter is and her sister was.

And when Mia gives up and comes home, to an orderly house in a quiet neighborhood across from the local library, to a childhood room filled with carefully dusted triumphs of grade-school acting, did Mother breath a secret sigh of relief as she brewed her daughter another cup of tea?

Did Mom say a prayer of thanks that her daughter came home from La La Land before it was too late, even while comforting her?

How many years of encouragement did mom give? How many doubts and fears hid behind the love?

 

In the end, I love the music, and admire the clever twists on traditional musical progress, and was blown away by the alternate-universe-flashback. But what stays with me is the question of Mia’s mother, and the hidden story of sisterhood.

 

 

 

Stash Busting 8/15: Little Flowers

Another quick stash buster, and again with flowers!039

I made these cuties with leftover bits of wire and nail polish. Basically, shape a flower and carefully carefully brush nail polish over the petals, hoping the surface tension in strong enough. I made bunch of these years ago when I still had long hair and used them as hair ornaments, tucking them around buns and through braids. 042

But this batch is just to add a touch of spring through out my space. Peaking out of a pencil jar, brightening up a builtin board, filling a miniature vase.034

Blanket Fort Friday!

021This past Friday night, late work assignments and bad traffic meant the fiance and I couldn’t pursue our original plans for the evening. Still, we wanted to make our unexpected night-in special.

Of course, we did it like adults. Made paninis, uncorked some wine, and built a massive blanket fort in which to watch a movie 🙂001

It was quite the undertaking, involving chairs stacked two high, lots of safety pins, some duct tape, the bookshelves on either side of our tv, the couch, and a rather long piece of pvc pipe.015

We dragged all our pillows and our comforter in from the bed and got cozy! The only light we had on was from our little fish tank. I think Candide (my beta fish) was a bit confused by the sheets draped over his tank…019

The movie we watched was Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, which I enjoyed thoroughly. It’s a fun love story, that isn’t heavy handed on the love bit. And it’s set it 1940’s London, just before England entered the War, so lovely period costuming.009I’ve made a few forts in my day, but never used safety pins this liberally. I must say that they make a tremendous difference. I used them to join sheets together, to pin the sheets to the chairs, and to make sure the sheets didn’t slip off the couch.006

In a few places, I doubled down, using tape and a pin. The tape didn’t stick all that well to the fabric, so the pin made it secure. Additionally, I gently taped areas of the sheets under high tension before pinning so that the pins didn’t damage the sheets: Basically interfacing for forts!

The fort turned a basic movie night into something much more special, and I’m so glad we tapped our inner children to make it happen!

disclosure: Our inner children are pretty darn close to the surface 😀

 

Snowed-in baking!

So there was a pretty massive snow storm in my area this weekend. Like 30 inches of snow in under 48 hours massive.

My car is somewhere under this snow.031

I wasn’t going anywhere. So I uncorked a bottle of wine, had my fiance cue up some of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (new favorite show! Glorious 1920’s costuming, thrilling murder mysteries, and sassy strong women!), and did some baking!

The pictures aren’t great quality, ’cause there was very little light in the storm. But the first thing I made was a goat cheese tomato basil quiche. 002I found this recipe in the Joy of Cooking, and will probably make it again, except with more cheese. The recipe calls for four to six ounces, and I played it safe with just four. Next time, definitely adding all six!020

For dessert, I whipped up cream puffs. These treats are my new favorite; I had no idea how easy they are to make!008 They also paired very well with the red wine 🙂012

The morning after the storm, the sun rose on a glorious frozen world, and I had left over quiche to fuel me through a lot of shoveling!035

How do you keep busy during bad weather?

 

 

Happy New Year!

Happy 2016, everyone!004

…wait. Why are you all looking at me like that?

Did I show up late for the party? Again?

Ah, yes. Well. I suppose the first day of the new year was almost two weeks ago. And it’s been radio silence from me. But I have been doing stuff!

Mostly eating pasta. And making pasta! I received a pasta attachment for my stand mixer, and have been in. love. ever since. I’ve only tried the basic pasta recipe, but it is wonderful and lovely and all I need for the rest of my dietary life!

…okay, and chocolate.

But look! So pretty and elegant and tasty!

I’ve also spent hours gazing at my Christmas cactus in bloom, the delicate petals translucent and glowing in the sun.013

And as winter finally showed up (see, I’m not the only tardy one!) I decided to cozy up my desk area with some over-sized string lights! 002

I’ve been up to a few other things, and I’m planning to share a tutorial later this week, based on a winter solstice gift I made for a friend, so stay tuned!

Colorful Christmas

Happy December 28th everyone!

I know, I know. Nothing really special about this date. Except now we’re past Christmas, and past Boxing Day, and can finally relax a bit. I’m taking advantage of the unseasonable warmth and going on a hike later today, but this morning was all about relaxing with a mug of cocoa and one of my favorite presents: an adult coloring book!017

I’ve been seeing these everywhere this year, and even bought one for my sister-in-law-to-be. But I’ve been coloring and making my own coloring pages for years. So I was super excited to open not one but two coloring books. One is actually a calendar, so I’m excited for the challenge of coloring a page a month.

The other is an adult coloring book with animal designs published by Blue Star. My sister got one too and we’ve been coloring together. I thought I’d share some of my finished pages, as well as a WIP.008I tackled this one first, as it was one of the simpler designs. It was delightful using prisma colored pencils for this. I’ve not really used them much since I took art classes, but they were perfect for this book.005
These are supposed to be super relaxing. And they are, at first. But as I get closer to finishing, I get sort of frantic to complete each page, so that’s a bit of a drawback. But still, super fun!

And the pages are sturdy enough to even stand up to watercolors! Or at least water color pencils…003Anyway, that’s how I’ve been relaxing. I hope you’ve all found something as well!

It’s Beginning…

…To Look a Lot Like Christmas!

If you read my last post, you’ll know I’ve already made Christmas cookies. And I’m in full swing now. But what’s my favorite thing?

Well, although I love the poinsettia as a living centerpiece, it’s not the best thing.014

And stringing vintage Christmas balls between my bookshelves makes a fun and beautiful accent, but isn’t my main event.006

I’ve set up my nativity, with an angel watching from on on high, but we’re still waiting for Jesus.007

I’ve even baked more cookies, Doctor Who themed this time. But while they’re tasty, they’re not it.001

What’s gotten me super-duper excited is this:004

My Christmas cactus is going to bloom! And for the first time in about five years! It had a really rough time with all the moves in college, but when I moved to my current digs a few months ago, I scouted the perfect lighting location and gave my little guy plenty of love, and it paid off!005

I’ll share pictures of the blooms when they open 🙂

 

How about all of you? What’s getting you most excited about the upcoming holidays?

Frankly Box-worthy

Hand up here!

How many of you actually use a recipe box? Like, with cards and everything?

I never used to have one. I mean, I thought they were a nice idea, but I have several cookbooks, and several pinboards, to organize my recipes. Why use a box too?055Well, a few years back, my grandmother gifted me a collection of her recipes, all handwritten on cards. It was a touching gift and allows me to carry on with family baking. But I had nowhere to put the cards! So I got a box.053 Since then, I’ve slowly built up my recipe collection, saving my favorite recipes from books and online, taking the time to write them out long-hand and make my own little notes and adjustments. My fiance knows that if I declare a dish to be box-worthy, it’s super tasty, super easy, or both.

Last night, I found my latest box-worthy recipe, from Green Valley Kitchen.  It’s a ravioli asparagus dish with a lemon-butter sauce and topped with walnuts. It tasted super fancy, but only took about twenty minutes to make 🙂050

If it looks like something you want to add to your own recipe box, head on over to Green Valley Kitchen and try it out! You won’t be disappointed.  046