Monday, March 2, 2015

Not So Rainy

I thought it was going to storm this weekend, so I planned a lot of inside, cozy activities.  Turned out it merely sprinkled, but I still had a lovely weekend inside.  I always feel a little guilty when the sun is shining and I'm not outside enjoying it or doing something productive in it.  Of course, living in Southern California, I pretty much feel guilty all the time since the sun is perpetually shining.  Luckily I had a bit of cloud cover for the past couple of days, so the guilt was assuaged a bit.

I worked on some more tea cup candles, this one is a gift a friend wants to give to a fellow tea lover. When I first poured the melted wax inside, it looked exactly like a cup of hot tea:



Then it hardened and looked a little like I'd put some creamer in it:









I also came very close to completing a baby blanket I've been working on for months.  I finished all the squares, and just have to connect them and crochet a border.




It's taken me such a long time because I had to completely redo it from the original pattern.  It was a "circle to squares" pattern, and I completely botched it and had to redo it.  

Yuck!

Luckily some lovely ladies in a crochet forum told me what I was doing wrong.  

Unravelling and starting over.  Story of my life.  Ha!




It took me too long to do the original pattern, so I reverted back to my old tried-and-true granny squares.  If I'd tried to do the other one it would have taken me a lot longer, and the child is already five months old as it is!  She'd be a teenager by the time I was done.

Since it was bit cooler than usual (even in SoCal) I defrosted some of Ralph's delicious pozole leftover from the holidays.  This soup/stew is perfect for a cold night and it freezes beautifully.  (That reminds me of a scene from Steel Magnolias.)


I also finally watched Gone Girl, which I liked, but not as much as the book.  In both, however,  I was left shaking my head, thinking, "Man, these people are psychotic!!"

Hope everyone else had a nice weekend.




Thursday, February 5, 2015

This is 40



Got my free birthday Grand Slam at Denny's (see above) and then spent the entire day at Glen Ivy Hot Springs (you get in free on your birthday when you book a service).





Middle age is good so far.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Teacup Candle


A few years ago my grandmother gave me her china set.  Well, she gave me what was left of it.  The remaining pieces that survived 70+ years and six kids consists of a serving plate, a few bowls, eight dinner plates, and four teacups and saucers.  Upon receiving them, I promptly broke the handle off one of the teacups, which is now relegated to housing my earrings on top of my dresser.  Realizing that I would probably break the rest of the set if I tried to actually use it to eat with, I hung the serving plate and a couple of saucers on the wall for decoration, and stuck the rest in a high cupboard.  

After languishing there for a few years, I've tried to slowly bring out pieces here and there to put around the house for beauty's sake, if not function.  One of the other teacups had a chip on the lip of it, so I figured it would be a good candidate for a teacup candle craft that I've seen all over Pinterest.  I dug up an old, dusty candle that's only been lit once or twice, and got to work.



Most tutorials say to chop up the wax (if you haven't bought wax for this specific purpose) and put it in a pan within a pan full of boiling water.  Or use a double boiler if you have one.  (I don't.)

I boiled some water in a pot and then placed a metal vegetable steamer inside so that my candle wouldn't touch the bottom of the pot, just in case the glass broke.  I then just stuck the candle jar in the water and left it to melt.

I will say that this probably took a lot longer than if I'd properly cut up the wax and put it in a separate container, but I was lazy.  Plus, this way I could just recycle the glass holder afterwards; no clean up!!  That's one thing I think would be a pain, to clean a pot that has melted wax all over it.  There was still a big blob of wax around the wick that refused to melt, so I just plucked it out of the jar by the wick and stuck it in the teacup and poured the melted wax around it.  The jar was small enough that I could just used some large tweeters I had to pull it out of the water.

End result:  not too shabby.  And clean up was a breeze.  Double bonus.




Friday, September 26, 2014

Summertime Blues

Man, I've been away for a long time.  I tend to reverse-hibernate.  While most people run to bask in the sunshine during summer, I prefer to close all the blinds and wait for it to be over.  I'm sure a lot of it has to do with the insane heat and the fact that we don't use the ac.  My body rebels by refusing to go any speed higher than sloth.

But now that September is almost gone, (don't let the door hit you on the way out, you hot, sweaty bitch), I am finally waking up and have a teensy-tinsy bit more energy.  I recently posted the following on Facebook and thought I'd share it here:




This year was the first time I read information on summertime SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Most people suffer from SAD during the cold, dreary winter months. To me, summer has always been pretty insufferable, especially since everyone else on the planet seems to love it so damned much. Personally, I'd rather hibernate in June, July, and August, and come out when the leaves start to turn.
I've actually hated it since I was a kid. Maybe it was because I was sure everyone else was off doing something fun and I was stuck all by myself, bored and alone. The days stretched out, unscheduled and endless. (I've always thrived best with structure.) Sure, my parents signed me up for swim classes and the like, but more often than not I was left to my own devices to fill my days. I guess I wasn't a very imaginative kid, because much of the time I just sat in front of the TV.
I think, to a certain extent, I still feel that way, especially as I peruse Facebook and see so many people's pictures of happy memories being made during these sunny months. (Don't worry, I don't hold it against anyone. Please, frolic away!) It's just that everything and everyone seems so amped up while I'm descending in the opposite direction into sloth mode. I can't seem to shake the torpor.
I think the main reason is the suffocating heat. (Summertime SAD tends to affect more people in consistently hot climates like India and other countries close to the Equator.) It's currently 92° inside the house (at 8:00 PM), and the days top out in the 100s pretty consistently. The heat saps every ounce of energy I have, and makes me just want to close everything up and hide from the world for a few months. (Circadian rhythms tend to get messed up this way, which I feel affects me, too.) Being outside is pretty awful until the sun goes down, and any activities that require movement pretty much go out the window until fall. And sitting around feeling sweaty and uncomfortable doesn't put me in the best mindset. Depression easily creeps in during these times.
However...
I don't know if it's all the advertisements for Back to School, the fact that Labor Day usually marks the unofficial end to summer, or just that I feel summer's been long enough, but I finally feel a change coming on. It's still hotter than Hades, and I know that we'll typically continue with triple-digit temps for another few weeks at least, but I swear it seems like there is a different slant to the sun these days. Like it's dipping closer to the horizon, giving us respite from it a little sooner now. I finally have a tiny bit more energy, and actually look forward to getting things done rather than feeling like I just have a never-ending to-do list that haunts my nightmares.
I feel like I'm almost (ALMOST) ready to come out of hibernation.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Scarf-Tying Tutorial

Just wanted to remember this video so that I can look back at it when I'm tired of the same style.  Since they crank up the AC in here to make my workplace akin to the Arctic tundra, I wear scarves pretty much year round.  In Southern California.



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Salsa!

This is more of a reminder to myself than an actual foodie entry.  I came across this recipe and adapted it.  Ralph always tells me to write down what I change so I'll remember for next time, and I NEVER remember.  So... here goes.

Ingredients:
1 large can tomatoes undrained
1 bunch cilantro
1/2 red onion (or whatever kind you have lying around)
juice from 1 lemon
1 1/2 tbsp chicken bullion
1-2 tsp garlic salt
1 jalapeño pepper
1 serrano pepper




Roast the jalapeño and serrano peppers by skewering them and holding them over an open flame until soft and blackened.  It's like roasting marshmallows for s'mores (which I happen to prefer charred).
Slice off the tops of the peppers and dump the remainder in a blender.  Take out the seeds if you don't want too much spice.  (I personally think it tasted great with no peppers at all, but I'm the minority in that respect, so I usually add a little kick.)  Chop off the stems of the cilantro and dump the rest of the bunch in the blender as well.  It doesn't matter if there are still some stems attached.  Throw in the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth, or just pulse if you like it chunky.  Add salt to taste.



[Here's where you can really tell I'm no food blogger, given that all I had to display the finished product in was some tupperware and an old spaghetti jar.  Plus I didn't have any chips to eat with it so I just cut up some cucumber to dip in it.]


I find it tastes best to have it sit awhile (even overnight) to let all the flavors intermingle, but I'm usually too impatient and dive right in.

Ralph surprised me after he saw me making this by frying some chips out of tortillas. And that made life glorious.