Monday, May 27, 2013

Strawberry Lemonade!

Lately, this ideal weather has been calling for some vintage lemonade. I dug up (and pinned) the recipe I used the last time, which may be the last recipe for lemonade that I’ll ever need.
This recipe takes some time, but is well worth it. First, I measured out 1 ¼ cups white sugar. I then pared the rind off of 5 lemons, leaving the bitter white pith intact.
I mixed the rinds with the sugar and let it stand for 1 hour.

After the sugar had absorbed the oils from the rinds, I brought 1 ¼ quarts of water to a boil. I poured it over the lemon-sugar mixture and let it steep for half an hour. Meanwhile, I halved and juiced the peeled lemons. This gave me about ¾ cup of juice. Once the lemon syrup had cooled, I removed the rinds and stirred in the lemon juice and six cups of water.

Never one to leave well enough alone, I sliced about 7 ripe strawberries and sprinkled them with a few tablespoons of sugar. After they had macerated (about 30 minutes), I pureed the berries and juice, pressed them through a sieve, and added the liquid to my lemonade. Then I crossed my fingers and took a taste.

I will definitely be making this again. With or without the strawberries, this was delicious. I would recommend adding more water, about a pint or so, because this was very strong. Next time I may try it with blueberries. Or perhaps adding some sparkling water. But yes, this will be a regular in my fridge this summer.



Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Grumpy Cat, Part 2

Grumpy cat project is progressing nicely. Hat 1.0 came out better than expected, considering the color changes involved. I was able to get the angles right on the muzzle with the strategic placement of increase/decrease stitches. Good to know.

Alas, I had a PLETHORA of ends to weave in afterwards. We’ll deal with that issue on the next hat.

The eyes came together fairly quickly, until I got to the pupil, which I embroidered. The frown as well had to be pulled out and re-stitched twice. Embroidery is extremely tricky on crochet stitches, but there will be plenty of practice in the days ahead, I am sure.

I whipped up a couple ears, brown on the back and tan on the front and tacked those on. Voila!

After finishing the entire hat, I have decided I need to re-work the design of the ears and the nose so that they will have a more feline silhouette. I also want to try changing the top of the head to the lighter color to better match the original “Grumpy Cat”.
So I’ve got a bit of work ahead of me. Until next time!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Grumpy Cat Project, Part 1

Thank God there are a million and one distractions around here, otherwise I might succumb to panic due to the lack of response on my resume. I needed an excuse to get out of the house. I wanted to take note of some of the businesses in the area, (which I intend to research later). So I took a short trip to The Home Depot to pick up a couple of inexpensive coated metal plant supports in the hopes of keeping the cukes and the zukes from crawling across my lawn. Mission accomplished.

My big project, however, will be working on the final draft of the Grumpy Cat hat. Thanks to a recent success on my Etsy site, I was inspired to design and create more silly hats. Facebook and Pinterest were instrumental in deciding on a subject matter. Google was a perfect resource for images.

Thanks to Mr. Nick’s commercial art class in high school, I was able to apply my “basic shapes” knowledge and come up with a rough sketch.  Then, with some basic math skills and my handy calculator, I was able to work out a scale drawing for the details of the hat. And Mom thought I wasn’t paying attention in class…

For my color study, I opted to use some colored felt that I had on hand (and that miraculously fit my color palette to a T). I discovered that felt cut-outs are quicker and more forgiving than a furious coloring session with colored pencils. I carefully laid out the components to my liking. Once I stopped giggling at the results, I selected the yarn colors to match. And if you’ve seen my yarn collection it shouldn’t surprise you that I had all the colors in inventory.

Next episode – I work out the logistics for the stitches (and color changes) for the muzzle, as well as the eyes and ears. Stay tuned!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Now We're Cookin'!

94 in the shade! Holy flaming dirtballs, it’s a sauna in here! Yesterday I think I made a big mistake with the mini baking marathon. I churned out three different batches of cookie dough. Chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, and peanut butter. I only baked a dozen of each, but that was enough to send the indoor temperature skyrocketing. The remainder is in the freezer, and if the current trend continues, that’s where it’ll stay. I can’t afford another evening with my semi-bare thighs fused to the furniture.
Thank God it’s supposed to cool down soon. I’ll need substantially more income if I want to use the AC in this house. Luckily the water bill is more forgiving, because today is all about HYDRATION. I made sure the yard got a good soak before the sun reached its zenith. The produce-babies are thriving. The tomatoes have doubled in height and the herbs are climbing out of their pots. The peppers, on the other hand, are stubbornly refusing to change. Spiteful little beasts, they show no gratitude at all for the generous smearing of poo I provided for their greedy roots. Happy Mother’s Day to ME.

The critters out here are getting more brazen. During yesterday’s massive weed-purging, Big Al, our resident tail-less lizard, dashed right under my nose. He stopped, spun around, and stared me down until I noticed that his tail was actually growing back. I felt obliged to compliment him on his accomplishment – AFTER I checked over the fence to be sure no one would hear me. Wow, everything’s blooming this week, even Big Al’s butt. Way to go, Big Al. My butt’s growing too.
The birds are getting braver as well. I guess thirst is a powerful motivator, and the fountain in our yard is a powerful temptation. They no longer wait until I have vacated the area before stopping by for happy hour. It’s all well and good as long as I remember to duck every now and then. Good thing they’re cute, because they’re basically frat boys with wings.

And according to the thermometer outside, we have broken the three-digit mark. I have managed to keep the house substantially cooler with minimal electronics. That’ll be my big accomplishment for the day.  I don’t dare turn on the oven or stove, so odds are dinner will be cold cereal and popsicles (and maybe a margarita or two). Cheers!