Sunday, March 23, 2014

Chai Tea

This is the chai tea recipe I made today.  Not sure if this is gonna be my final recipe but it's at least a decent start.  I will probably cut back the tea since I'm pretty hopped up right now after having this after like 3 hours of sleep last night.  If I'm feeling motivated maybe I'll do a few more batches to get a better understanding of what each of the spices is bringing and then work it out with the scale.

What started this is I got green cardamom pods.  I got maybe a half a cup of them for $0.50! You know you're jealous.

Based off of this recipe

Chai Tea

Ingredients

12 oz water
1 (1-inch) piece cinnamon stick
 2 green cardamom pods, smashed
4 whole cloves
1/2 star anise
2 quarter-sized coins fresh ginger
1 heaping teaspoon black tea leaves
sweetened condensed milk, to taste

Directions

Boil the water.
Steep all the ingredients for 15 minutes.
Heat as needed to keep just below a boil.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Eclairs

Look I'm writing a post!

So I made eclairs.  In case you couldn't tell from the title.  Though if you couldn't tell from the title then you probably aren't reading this.

Anyway.

Pastry cream.  Chocolate glaze.  Some sort of shell.  What's not to like?

So here are my not so glamorous glamor shots:



I followed this recipe.  Well, for the most part.  Because I'm mentally incapable of following a recipe.

I didn't have any cream and the eclairs were in the oven when I realized it.  So I used some butter with the chocolate for the glaze.
Oh and I used home made vanilla extract rather than steeping the vanilla bean.  And probably some other little things that I can't think of.

It's good to bake again, like from scratch.  It's been a while.  Well, I've done some savory stuff but baking pastries is just mentally different.  I should make some cookies.  Or pie.  mmmm I should make pie for Pi day.



On another note, I've started my first batch of seeds.  Tomatoes, tomatilloes, peppers, a few other random ones, I forget which else.  Right now they are seeds on a damp paper towel sitting on my heater.  I'll transfer them to seed starting soil in a few days assuming I have some sprouts going by then.  Hopefully I'll do better this year with seeds than the last few years.  And hopefully the snow will melt sometime.  My raised beds are 10" tall but I can barely tell where they are because they are still covered in snow.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Purse Organizer

Ready for a complete non sequitur post?  Too bad. 

So I bought a sewing machine a few months ago.  Thus far, I've hemmed pants, made a lot of balls of thread and a couple other little things.  I forget what else.

My mother bought this bag.  Can you guess where?  A tough one, I know.


It's a nice big bag that can hold lots of stuff.  The base is 14 1/2" wide, to give you scale.  If I'd been thinking, I'd have taken the picture with something in it to help give scale but I didn't.  And I'm too lazy to get a ruler out and retake it.  I'm nothing if not a dedicated blogger.  hah.

The trouble with this bag, the reason why it hasn't been used in the 2 years since it was purchased,  well, one of the reasons anyway, is there are no pockets in it.  It's just one big bag.  And if you try to use it, everything just gets lost because it's just a black hole.  Because it's black.  And everything disappears into it.  Get it?  Aren't I hilarious?  Aren't you glad you are still reading this blog?

So like I was saying, I made an organizer for it.  Yay.

So here are some pics.  I just noticed the string hanging off of it.  I'll trim it but I am again too lazy to retake the picture.  And the price tag on the sketch book. And the random junk in the background.  At least I wiped down and took off most of the other junk on the counter.  Maybe I should start a new blog, the half ass blog. Seems appropriate.







It's made out of mostly bubble wrap.  Everything that looks white in the pictures is ironed down bubble wrap.  You can google it to get real instructions and an actually well written interesting blog if you actually want to do it.

I put a divider in it so you have a section for tall things like a thermos or water bottle and a section for papers, books, computer or whatever other random crap you want to carry.

To do it, there is an outer layer and an inner layer.  Each layer is made into the bag shape and then put together and the top is folded down and top stitched.  I think it's fairly standard process for making a bag.  Again, there is this wonderful thing called google that can give you real instructions and less snarkiness.

The pockets are polyurethane.  It's a really tough, stretchy, clear film.  The pockets along the top on the outside are about 4" deep and divided into a bunch of different size sections for all the random crap that can be shoved in them.  There are also big ones on the inside for more random crap things like power cords.  The side pockets are we'll call it pleated for larger thicker items; in my mother's case it will be for her glasses in a big thick case.  I have no clue where you would get polyurethane if you want it.  The wonders of working in plastics is you can take home scrap and turn your house into a horrible hoarder stash have supplies for all sorts of crafts.

I meant to sew the side pockets into the seams but I forgot about them when I was putting it together.  I ended up top stitching it because I wasn't going to rip the seams and redo them.

I did the stitching in black to make it easier to see where all the pockets are.  I'm not sure that is actually working because once it's in the bag, it's pretty dark and you can't see much but I tried.  Also, the black thread was already set up on my sewing machine.  But I found a good story to tell so we'll go with that.

This is actually the 2nd version I've done.  The first version was too tall.  And a bit too wide.  The stitching quality was close although I could argue this one is a little better.  And I added a bunch more pockets.
 
Yay I actually wrote a post.  Still no guarantees that I'll hit publish....

Monday, December 16, 2013

Hello World

It's been a long time since I've posted anything here.

In some ways, my world has changed a lot.  In other ways, it hasn't changed at all.

So what am I doing back here?  What is the point of this post?  Where am I going with this blog?  Is this one post and then I'll disappear again?  I'm not sure I have any answers.

So what's changed.

I've moved.  Not since my last post but the last few were just posts for the sake of having posts and pretty crappy so let's pretend they don't exist.  I have a single family home now rather than a townhouse.

I have a reasonably large garden at my new house.  My main garden area is about 20'x20' plus I have a couple smaller side plots.  Though I don't seem to have the enthusiasm I had my first year.  Hopefully this year I'll clean it up well this year and get more into it next year.  Assuming I'm still here next year.  Which I guess stands to be proven.

I've thought about getting a beehive but right now it's way too much commitment.  Just think of all the honey and the better garden.  But I can't handle that much commitment right now.  It's like getting a pet.  But yummier.

I have a large nice kitchen with decent appliances.  But I seem to use it less than I used my kitchen in my apt 5 years ago that was less than a quarter the size of my current kitchen and crappy appliances that my pans barely fit on/in.

I have a new job.  Well, it's not really new any more since I've been here over 2 years.  And it's not really a new new job, it's a different but not all that unrelated job and with the same company at a different location.  I seem to end up doing a lot of the same stuff as I was doing in my old job, which I guess is one of the things I'm struggling with.

I'm getting old.  I'm now in my 30's.  In the last couple years is the first time I've had coworkers who are younger than me and not entry level.  Some of them are even somewhat competent.  That's strange.

I'm also not the new kid.  Once upon a time, I expected everyone I worked with to know what they are doing and be better at their job than I am at mine.  Not any more.  Which I guess is another thing I'm struggling with.  The world is not as competent as I once thought, which is disheartening. 

Like this post, in a lot of ways I am feeling very aimless.  I am feeling pressured to want things that I don't want.  Whether it's to get married and pop aliens out of an orifice that is clearly not sized for that, or to want to do the things that I've already done or move into roles, the thought of which, make me feel like my soul is drowning in a vat of hydroflouric acid.  I know that these are things that I don't want but I don't know what it is that I do want.

So I guess this post is about just getting started and figuring things out.  Trying to figure out what I want, rather than identifying the constraints of what I don't want.  Figuring out where I want to go, literally and figuratively.  What I want from life.  What I want to do.  What I care about.  What matters.

I seem to be at a turning point.  I guess it's a matter of what's next.


I started this post 2 months ago but never published.  I feel a little exposed.  I know this post is no where near as personal as many other blogs but this is much more than I typically share.  I'm not quite sure how to end this post but if I don't hit publish, I probably won't ever.  

Monday, August 20, 2012

Spray Paint Remover

In my infinite brilliance, I decided to do some spray painting.  Maybe I'll even post pics when I'm done.  If my track record is any indicator, then it's pretty clear I won't.

Anyway.... like I was saying, I did some spray painting.  For some reason it made sense in my mind to hold the stuff in my hand while spray painting.  I know, I'm brilliant.  By the time I finished, I had a pretty freaky looking hand.




At this point I came inside and tried scrubbing at it with hand soap.  Nothing.  Couldn't even turn the soap faintly gray.  Then I tried the dish soap.  Still nothing.  I used my tried and true scrubbing toothbrush and still nothing.

Now I was starting to get concerned.  I have no problem having a few paint spots on me but having my whole hand pretty much black would get some pretty odd looks.  Because people don't think I'm strange enough as it is.

That's when I started searching the internets.  It did not look good.  Because of the fine mist of spray paint it's really hard to clean off.  And the oh so helpful tip of cover yourself before you spray paint.  Because that really helps with my alien black hand.

Fortunately someone mentioned that most spray paints are oil based so an oil based cleaner may work.  How have I managed to ramble this long without getting to the point?

So here's my trick.  Sugar scrub. 



Rub it into your hands until the paint loosens up.  The oil of the sugar scrub will help dissolve the paint and the grits of the scrub help get everything moving. 

 

After all the paint is dissolved into the scrub, use soap to actually wash away the oily painty residue.





Here's a bonus tip: don't stick your hands in a hot skillet.  It's just stupid.  Yes, that explains the bandaid in the pictures

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Knife Drawer

OK so we all know I suck at blogging.  So there's no before picture.  And my after picture isn't great.  But you get the idea.  For the before, picture a drawer with knives randomly thrown in there, fearing getting dinged and/or a finger getting cut.  It always bothered me to put my fancy expensive Wustof knife in the drawer so it usually sat on the counter on my cutting board.

I'd been thinking about getting a slab of wood and cutting grooves in it for the knives so that they would stand vertically, ie a custom homemade drawer knife block.  But obviously that would require effort and like so many other things, I hadn't gotten around to doing it.

I saw this and realized what I needed to do. This is a much simpler solution and can adjust to whatever knives are in the drawer at the time.  No figuring out which one goes where.  No figuring out how to get all these cuts into a piece of wood.

Krista used cork but I had a stack of foam sheets that has been steadily growing with no particular use in mind.  I cut them into lots of about 8"x3" sheets.  Stacked them up, stuck them in the drawer and stuck the knives in.  It took all of 15 minutes to do.  And really that's just because I cut them to the wrong size the first time and had to recut them.  You want the length to be the length of the blade of your longest knife.  There is a small section of the knife where the blade meets the handle that tends not to want to go into the foam.

I could actually see this being done with cardboard and looking pretty cool.  You would probably get the sizes more consistent with cardboard.  Or if you are less spazzy than me.  We'll call it 'artisan'.  Cue the hate mail from people who actually do artisan crafts that don't look like a 5 year old made it.  But hey, at least my knife drawer is finally getting some order.




Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Making a Mess

My neighbors love me.  Ha.  Hopefully I won't make a big enough mess for someone to actually complain.

So I've decided to make a mess of my yard.  The previous owners had it all nicely landscaped and pretty.  Well, since I bought it, I didn't water the lawn so I let the grass die and the weeds take over.

I never really cared for that planting strip at the front.  What purpose does it serve? So I decided to plant some tulips last fall.  Directly into the grass because I didn't feel like figuring out how to get rid of the grass.  

Well, then spring came along and the tulips started coming up.... and I realized I needed to do something.  So I laid mulch.  To kill the grass, I put newspaper down under the mulch to help suffocate the grass.  

So far this hasn't worked out so well.  First, I didn't buy enough mulch and so I ran out and the newspaper was peeking out from under it.  At the time I didn't think it was that hideous but the next day, as I was leaving or work, I realized how absolutely horrendous it was.  So that night I went and bought more mulch and laid that down.

Well, now it's been a few weeks.  The grass is peeking out at the edges.  And in places where the paper has shifted, leaving a gap for the grass to come through.  And next to the plants.

I also decided to cut some babies off a spikey plant closer to the house and plant those.  No clue what it is other than a spikey plant.  I transplanted 4 of them and it looks like 2 of them should survive.  I'll probably try another 2 or so again.  The original plants are pretty big and over grown and haven't appeared to have been harmed by my earlier attempt so I have more material to play with.




If you take the picture at the right place and angle, it doesn't look too bad.  Look! I have flowers.  What's that thing next to the flower?  It must be some glare or something.  It couldn't be newspaper peeking out.  Why would there be newspaper there?  hah
  


The garden center is not a good place for me.  It's a really nice garden center and they have tons of cool stuff.  It's really hard for me not to spend an hour just browsing what they have.  It's also really hard not to walk out of there with way more than I have any reason to buy. 

Case and point, the tree I bought.  It's a persimmon tree.  The reason this is relatively good is because it's only one tree, where I had 3 others I was also seriously considering.


So far it's just a stick in some mulch.  Hopefully something will happen soon.  I have no idea what I'm doing or when some signs of life will show up.