Saturday, December 24, 2011

Rummy Christmas (there's still time)

Alright, so after the rant about last year's gift-giving downer I am showing you what handmade things I've given this year to great success - booze! I made several liqueurs, but today we're talking about Rum Cream.

After a trip to Belize, we got hooked on this unicorn in a bottle. After my husband figured out this recipe, we don't buy Irish Cream anymore... this is much, much better.

While "formatting" my D: (whatever that means) I apparently deleted my artful photos that showed how fancy the gifts were presented. So... no pictures. They weren't that interesting, anyway. :)

Recipe makes 5 Cups/1.2 L/40 fl oz.

1 1/2
Cup
Spiced Rum (We use Admiral Nelson's, but Meyers is even better!)
1
Cup
Heavy cream
2
Tsp
Instant coffee (Folgers is fine)
1 (14oz)
Can
Sweetened condensed milk
Scant 1/2
 Cup
Liquid Eggs  (don't worry, the citric acid is a good thing in it, contrary to intuition!)
1
Tsp
Vanilla extract (use the good stuff)


Instructions:

-Melt coffee crystals into simmering cream
-Remove from heat
-Blend all ingredients except Rum
-Add rum and pulse in blender to mix
-Refrigerate and use within 6 months

Additional tips (learned through trial and error):
-Add no less than 1 1/2 Tsp coffee
-Can also add very small pinch of spice (try pumpkin pie, nutmeg or cardamom!), chocolate powder, or small amount of extract (try peppermint).

**This is most delicious between 2 weeks and 6 months, but it's still good the day of.

Put in coffee and cocoa, pour over ice cream or make a White Russian!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

When your handmade gift is underappreciated...


I would like to send a plea out to all you folks who say you want something handmade: mean it. 


Something thrills me about coming up with fun homemade gifts - but the flip side can be really discouraging.

I make things for people that I would love to receive, but unfortunately there are few people in my life who appreciate the awesomeness. Like last year... a person asked for a basket after she had seen my weaving. So I carefully chose one that she should find useful. I tucked other things into it like candy and lip balm, and included it in the bag o' gifts. She pulled it out of the bag, ooh-ed and ahh-ed over each filler item inside the basket, placed the unnoticed basket on the floor and proceeded to go through the other gifts in the bag. I held my tongue and waited until later to tell her why the basket was special. I was interrupted because she wanted me to go to her garage for some unremembered reason.

I let my little-kid ego feel hurt, then decided that the basket (and my efforts, time and money) deserved better than to be shoved in her garage or worse, tossed out later. I mustered all the courage I had and asked for the basket back if she didn't want it. There was no protest, but she tried to pass it off as it being an item "that meant so much" to me. It was amazingly liberating to drive home with a gift that was unappreciated by the intended recipient. On the ride home I was giddy with my assertiveness and felt really badass. I was quite cheeky  to everyone I encountered for the rest of the day!

I am pretty sure my action saved her from guilt (I know her quite well... she is my mother after all). At the time, I offered to make her a custom one to her better liking - "just tell me specifics of what you want, I'll happily make it!" She has yet to take me up on the offer.

So, folks - sometimes it happens. Our super amazing efforts and love and brilliant ideas aren't accepted on our terms, and it sucks. I suggest that we take control of the situation by reclaiming our amazing gift! And next time just give them something with a Starbucks logo on it.

Next post: What gifts I'm making this year! :) 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

Meet my grandparents. They'd explain a lot, if you knew me.

There are several things that make me sad about going to my grandparents' garage sale recently. One is that many of my grandma's clothes were too small for me, which is still a little confusing. Apparently my brain is expanding at a slower rate than my waist since I've gone back to school.

Another is that I didn't even get a family discount even though I drove 45 minutes to their house. Yes, I paid full asking price for tchotchkes and granny clothes.

One more sad thing? I had to write a check. I wrote a check for $25 to my grandparents for their old crap they told me (later) that they were just going to haul everything to the dump that they didn't sell. FYI, the dump charges you to bring your stuff there. I'm regretting that I didn't make a note in the memo that read: you'd better leave me the house.

By the way, they spent most of the time I was there attempting to guilt me into visiting them more often. I'm working on snappy comebacks in my head that I'll never really share with them.

I'm not sure if all this beats the Christmas my grandma gave a 14 year old girl a garage sale Dynasty blazer with some used bras tucked into the inside pocket.

Sigh.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Koala

This needs no intro.


Photo taken by my husband at the zoo a few years ago.





Saturday, April 30, 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Makes you think...


While out nettle harvesting I saw this. Ordered husband to take a photo.

I have so much going on in my brain (returning student trying to figure out how to make house repairs; get accepted to a private university while making someone else pay for it; maintain my sanity) I sometimes yearn for the time this was true.

It is now my desktop.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Why did I do that?

Last week I impulsively applied for a job. I sent off a resume, got called to an open interview with one day's notice and was given no contact information. I went.

I asked for an entry-level position. I did say the words "low stress" and "part-time" and made it clear that school came first, but in the most "hire me I'm awesome" kind of way. I only wanted an entry-level position. Really, I only wanted a paycheck and no personal obligation (i.e. high turnover rate).

Let's just be real here, and say that I have this debilitating need to be liked. I got nervous, and tried to be as likable and hire-able as possible.

They seemed interested in my history and started talking about training in another city for a job I did not apply for, but I need to be liked (and valued), so I nodded and smiled and tried to figure out how this new job with increased responsibility might work with my life.

As soon as my husband was available I told him that we were going to get beer so I could talk at him about this job. And I did. He tried to convince me to mull it over, as I usually make my best decisions with time. So, I had another beer and tried to put it out of my mind. I tried so hard to tell the dweller in me to "shut it for the day - I'll get back to you tomorrow!"but I just shook with stress most of the night.

I woke up at 3am with a terrible headache that not even three Excedrin could fix. Man, am I lucky! I decided at about 5:30 that I was not going to take any job because, hello, I just recently got focused on my passions and have recently gotten overwhelmed with my to-do lists anyway. So why would I regress to take a job I never wanted (again) with more responsibility than I signed up for (again) and be so spineless that I let this unwanted job take over my personal life (again)?

I got a phone call at 9am the next morning. That 3am headache saved me an even bigger headache, 'cause I would have agreed to anything since I didn't have a plan in order.

Dude was not too thrilled with me, understandably. I feel like such a gomer for wasting his time and mine, but at least I'm reminded of my priorities I guess. Gotta find something useful out of this, since it's not a paycheck... heh.

Since I did this idiotic thing I've been on the "quitters high" and started planning what I'm going to do with all this new-found "free time." Bah!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Winter Weaving


Now that spring has officially sprung and I attended my first basketry retreat last weekend (and I found my camera, but let's pretend that the timing was planned), I feel it's time to share what I've woven over the winter... and spring, since some of this is a few days old. But nevermind those technicalities.

I apologize in advance for the lighting and photography.

I did all these with instruction - Thanks to the wonderfulness that is Kathey Ervin I made this fantastic cowboy hat. Everything I've woven up to this weekend is because of her classes. I also took a cedar prep class from her, and it sure is amazing fun splitting that bark!

Closer look at the twill (can you spot my mistake? It's all I can look at!):

Also she taught me to make these bracelets - two of which I made in class. The purple accented one (in the middle) I did at home later.



At retreat I took classes for the first time with Jo Ann Hart and George Hart - Cedar Utility Basket and Cedar Rope, respectively. They are amazing as well, and I am thrilled to have gotten in to these classes!



You can't really tell from the photos, but this thing has three (three!) rims and when done properly and viewed from the top, it is lovely!

Close up of the weave:


I totally feel macho (does "totally" cancel out the "macho?") when I say "When the apocalypse comes and you need a rope, come to me for all your rope-making needs!" Which I have said only once, but I came across very heroic. Like a car salesman. But with cooler product.


The rope is not finished, as I need to oil it up and pound the crap out of it. I will also be giving it a shave, as you can see it's hairier than I am! Once complete, it will go on the Cedar Utility Basket where it will be adjustable(!) and used for many foraging adventures. YAY!

It is difficult to bring myself to do anything else, I just want to weave! Sorry, dishes.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Pleasure of Tiny Things: For Japan

Like many of us, Diem Chau has been keeping up with the news about Japan. Unlike many of us, she's doing something about it. Support her, enter to win amazing art, send money and good vibes to Japan.

The Pleasure of Tiny Things: For Japan: Raffle for Japanese Red Cross

Brilliant.

Also, take a look at how amazing technology is. This gives me hope for mankind, and The Wikipedia gets updates pretty darn quick!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

If only I'd known...

School is awesome!

I have returned to school with focus. And it is fan-freaking-tastic. I am really amazed how much easier the mundane stuff is (lectures, powerpoint slides and midterms) when you actually give a rip about the content!I wish I'd had realized what I wanted to do earlier, but I guess I would have missed out becoming me as I am.
I sadly didn't think of scholarship applications until after they were due, so school may take me a few more years yet, but a class here and there will make me happy.

Focus is fun, I tell you!