31 December 2007

Non-permanent Vandalism

Norman and I went to the Hobby Lobby today so I could take advantage of some sweet post-Christmas sale action. (Meh... I got some Advent tapers and a spool of ribbon.) At one point I lost Norman, called him, and subsequently found him staring at a wall of plain wooden letters. You know, they're about a foot tall, flat, for painting or decoupaging and hanging in a kid's room or something cheesy like that? They were arranged on this wall to say nice things like "NOEL" and "BABY" and "GIFT" and "TREE".

Norman was staring at the wall trying to figure out what else you could spell given those letters and the constraints of only four letters across. He told me so far he'd figured out "GO LIFT PINT O BEER". So I said, "Well, let's do it!" He was afraid we'd get caught, but really, I say, what could anyone do to us? This is the result:

It's probably still there. Check out the Norman Hobby Lobby if you're curious. I kind of want to go back every day until it's different, just to see how long it takes them to notice. Perhaps we will have started a revolution, and every day it will say something different! Oh the possibilities!

26 December 2007

Holiday Food Roundup

I've been making a lot of special foods for the first time this Christmas season. Some I've remembered to take pictures of; others, not so much.

Breadsticks -- Nov 30 (church-wide Advent dinner)
They didn't rise as much as I would have liked, and they were a little too sour for my taste -- definitely could have used some dipping sauce. But all 30 or so were gone by the time I went through the line, so they at least looked tasty.

Butternut Squash -- Dec 14 (Advent dinner)
Prepared the only way I knew how -- like sweet potatoes. Sliced, put in a casserole dish with lots of butter, cinnamon, and a little maple syrup. It was delicious.

Ratatouille -- Dec 22 (Advent dinner)
I actually managed to take pictures of the process here. Whoa.

Pealing my first eggplant. Skin is surprisingly thin.

Cutting into my first eggplant. It's almost spongy. And see all those little things in there? Seeds. There's really no way to remove them. They were entrenched. So I just left them.

Chopped up and ready to be salted. Apparently eggplants contain a bitter juice that is removed by tossing the pieces with a whole lot of salt, letting them sit for an hour, then rinsing them off.

Ratatouille also contains zucchini, tomato, onion, and bell pepper. Please excuse the mess and the lack of counter space.

All done! Well, kinda. I let it keep cooking at the dinner before we ate, and it got all roasty up on top. Mmmm... It turned out very salty, but everyone seemed to like it. It was an educational experience for all involved.

Christmas Dinner!

Cornish Game Hens --
Wow. Those suckers are a lot bigger than they look. We bought two, but one would have fed us just fine. I stuffed them with fresh basil leaves and garlic and poured olive oil on top of them. They turned out very, very tasty. I'm making broth out of the carcasses later. :-)

Gravy --
I made gravy with the pan drippings. I just added some flour. This turned out to be not exactly awesome, because all the olive oil rose to the top and we had to keep stirring it and/or pouring off oil. But it was also very, very tasty.

Mashed potatoes --
Believe it or not, I had never mashed potatoes before. Wow. They're not hard to make, and they're so much better than the ones that come out of a box. Of course, that could be due to the half stick of butter I put in them. Or the heavy whipping cream. Or the whole milk. Or the cheddar cheese. Or the crumbled bacon. Yeah.

[Salad, with basil leaves and climbing spinach -- Norman made the salad. It was awesome! Thanks, Jenny, for the spinach!]

Wine --
Well, of course, I didn't make it, but we'd never bought wine for ourselves before. Turned out pretty well. Oh, but we don't have wine glasses. But we do have little off-white, ceramic Chinese tea cups with no handles and a bamboo motif. Very festive. :-)

Pumpkin Pie --
I made a pumpkin pie! Also not that hard. Interesting... All these "from scratch" things that I thought were so horrible, back-breaking, and time-consuming... Not so much. Photos!

(There's only a hole in the middle because I had to stick a knife in so it could come out clean.)

Mmmmm.... Oh yeah, and I whipped up some heavy whipping cream for the top. Again, not hard. Five minutes and 3 extra pieces to wash. And oh so tasty.

21 December 2007

Branching Out

In an effort to take my little business to the next level, I've started consigning some of my items to various places. You can find my neck tie stockings at a little antique store in Fairmont, MN (hi, Mom!). You can also find an assortment of my wares at Pink Andie Beads in Mechanicsburg, PA. It's a small bead store that just opened earlier this month, which also carries a smattering of handmade goods. Check out the pictures, and see if you can spot some of my items!

And another picture that for some reason doesn't show up at the above link:

(Those are my book journals, board game coasters, and lavender sachets!)

09 December 2007

Estate Sale Shopping Hazards

Yes, you read that correctly -- hazards. Not physical, just emotional. ...This time.

I attended an estate sale this weekend (both Friday and today). It was a lovely sale. I bought lots of stuff. Books, linens, clothes, crochet hooks... all sorts of stuff. Today I went back for the half-price sale to pick up a bunch of 35mm slides for my Etsy shop. And I did. Three shoe boxes full of sets in smaller boxes. Great stuff -- it's all from the 50s and 60s, lots of travel photos and family gatherings. I'm excited about them.

However -- tucked away at the bottom of one of the smaller boxes, in a folded slip of paper were two slides of a NAKED MAN. I'm not talkin', like, no pants or something. No -- Buck. Naked. Thankfully, they were candid shots, not really posed in any way. Somehow that would have been much worse, I think.

Usually I'm a sucker for speculating about people and their lives and why they do the things they do. But in this instance, I really just don't want to know.

(Oh, and you can thank me later for not adding photos to this post.)