Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Recipe Tuesday: Last Second Lemon

I had to make a quick dessert for my father-"in law" on Saturday and after obsessing over a million recipes I've never tried, I decided to do something simple and quick. My mom and I have a secret - it's called Duncan Hines. In a pinch, I will use a Duncan Hines cake mix in lieu of making my own cake batter. The flavor is delicious, the cake moist and most varieties are also dairy free. It makes my life a lot easier, that's for sure.

Em picked up a bunch of delicious strawberries, blueberries and raspberries from the store and I rinsed the strawberries, sliced them and sprinkled a couple tablespoons of plain ol' sugar on top to get the juices flowing. I didn't rinse the blueberries or raspberries until I was ready to serve the cake because they tend to get mushy.

I modified the standard Duncan Hines yellow cake mix as follows. Just bake it up in a Bundt pan or your pan of choice.

1 Duncan Hines yellow cake mix
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about one lemon)
zest of one lemon
1 cup of water
1/3 cup of canola oil (or applesauce)
3 eggs

Let it cool and place it on your cake plate. Then prepare the following glaze to drizzle on top:

2 cups powdered sugar
juice of one lemon
zest of one lemon

Drizzle the glaze! When you're ready to serve, find the prettiest plate in your kitchen, cut a decently sized slice of glazed cake and serve with a heaping spoonful of berries.

Absolutely scrumptious! How's that for last minute?

Sneak Peek: QD Giveaway

So...you're wondering...what in God's name are you putting in the QD Giveaway Meaghan? Here is my attempt to tantalize...a small sampling of my personal contribution to the giveaway. I have the great pleasure of knowing quite a few crafty folks who have graciously contributed wonderful things to the giveaway...and you'll see them tomorrow. But today you can see what I made for one of my lucky readers to win...these are things that are in line with the aesthetic I'm following at my Etsy shop, oh ginger.

First, we have a lovely pair of stacked pod earrings in bright primary colors. I know these vintage Czech glass pods have been all the rage for years now on Etsy and in the vintage-turned-new jewelry designers market. But I love them and I complemented my love of them with my new love of brass. So these earrings also feature unique antiqued brass chain and handformed brass earwires. They're about 2.5" long. They retail for $17. These are not available in my shop, so the winner will be the first person to own this style!

I've also made a new style of felt ball necklace that I will be adding to the shop after the giveaway. I'm calling them the Spectrum necklace because, well, I've focused on creating color spectrums with the felt beads. For the giveaway, the winner can choose one of the five (5) color spectrum styles: Bloom, Earth, Moss, Sky and Fire. The handcrafted felt beads are made of wool and the chain is antiqued brass; it's about 18" long, so the necklace will rest along (most) collarbones. I can make it longer if neccessary. These will retail for $22 in the shop.

Click the image to see a larger version of the color options.

Please check back tomorrow for the full giveaway!

For folks interested in the papier mache mini-dress form I've added to my "photo shoots" you can find it here: Creative Imaginations Bare Elements Jeramee Dress Form (12") - $6

Bunny Hop: Over to the picnic

I can't really sweeten what I'm about to tell y'all:

I'm already over Easter.

If I see another pastel egg, bunny, chick, or milk-laden sugary treat, I might lose my composure. I think we all know that these things do not an Easter make, but just like Christmas, it's hard as hell to separate the two. And in the case of Christmas, I'm quite ok with the flagrant consumerism. It just seems like Easter is trying too hard. So I've decided to take the high road and redirect my frustration towards something more positive. Spring is, after all, the season that ushers in sunshine, daffodils and tulips...it also brings us lush greenery in the form of trees, leaves and fresh, fresh grass. And what's better than throwing down a festive blanket on a plot of grass and opening up a picnic basket with friends? Dare I say it's better than Easter? I DARE!

You've got a few weeks to prepare for your picnic, which will help you plan a simple and delicious menu, purchase a few last minute picnic accessories and time to send out the invitations...you might even have the time to sew up a quick picnic blanket! What an unexpected treat, too! Most friends plan events in stuffy apartments, or loud and busy bars and restaurants, but there's nothing like combining laughter, tasty treats, a kite, some wind and a hefty dose of sunshine. I know this sounds campy, but I'm serious. Picnics are the jam!

Here are some fun accessories I've got on my list for pre-picnic planning. I'm going to try to include some recipes in the coming weeks for great picnic foods, such as potato salad, sandwiches and even delightfully refreshing beverages. By the time we're ready for a picnic, we'll have everything ready to make neighboring picnic-ers supremely jealous and the friends you don't invite will clamor for an invitation to your next soiree on the lawn.

Extra Large Canvas Tote Bag - $32
Carry the heavy things like bottles and such in this
super-durable tote bag. I know it seems rather "suburban
housewife", but I'm telling you...these tote bags are the BEST.

Eco-Friendly Flatware Set for Two - $28
These seem a little pricey, but they are reusable. Tell your
friends to bring their own flatware and cups to the picnic
to limit the amount of garbage you generate.

Table in a Bag - $44.95
Do you have pets? Or bug issues? This fold-up, roll-up table is
just what you need! Keep your delectables off the ground
on a reusable, easily transportable wood table.

Retro Condiment Set - $37.99
Perhaps this isn't the set for you, but it really does have
everything you need. Consider saving jars and containers to
bring small portions of standard condiments rather than
buying new bottles just for your picnic.

Green Picnic Basket - $19.95
Line this with the cloth napkins you plan to use at the picnic
and fill it up with delicious sandwiches and other treats.

Eat Me Apron - $22
Aprons are great for inside and outside the house, and what's
better than dressing up a picnic with an apron made
of authentic red and white check fabric.

It's plain to see that putting together a picnic can be both a fun and affordable affair, as my suggestions here are only jumping off points. Get your friends involved too, and spread the work around. I would highly suggest trekking to the National Mall, if you're a DC-dweller. Although National Kite Day has passed, it doesn't mean you can launch a fantastic kite any old day. Trust me, it's so much fun.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Repost: An ode to a Birthday Lady

Today, my Mom turns 60. I talk a lot about my mom and how much I love her here on this blog. In lieu of a second mushy post about her, I'm reposting the first. Happy Birthday Mom! I love you!

I realized today, when I was sipping my coffee and checking out my Google Reader, that everyone has an inspiration when they blog. I mean, there is some sort of tangible motivation for people to sit down and catalog some aspect of their experience and share it with the world. It wouldn't come as a surprise to me that the people who are the least successful bloggers are the same people who feel like composing for a blog is like writing for their lock-&-key diary that they kept hidden under their mattress so their brother wouldn't read it.

::pause for a reflective moment and a shake of the fist to my journal-reading brother::

Anyway, this blog is not one of those hide-and-seek kind of blogs, nor am I committed to chronicling every aspect of my life in here, be those aspects domestically related or not. I do, however, have an inspiration for all of this and that's what keeps me coming back...or, at least, I hope it's what keeps me coming back to this place and writing this stuff down!

My inspiration for this blog, without a doubt, is my mother. My mother, for all of our tiffs and frustrations, is a woman with accomplishments and qualities far beyond your average mother. She began working at the age of 17 for the Federal Government and continued working for them, through numerous shifts of power and scandals, until she was in her 50s. A few years ago, she finally retired. My mother worked full time for all those years, having two children in the middle, dealing with everything...the good: vacations, celebrations, big events; and the bad: illnesses (including her own), deaths and all of the frustrations life brings along. My mother is a power house.

Now that I'm "pushing" thirty, I find myself reflecting a lot and trying to find a balance between who my mother was, who she is, who I was and who I am. I find that we're similar in a lot of ways, and people who know my mother remind me of this fact regularly. Work was not the only portion of life to which my mother was committed. She was a family woman, dedicated to keeping a clean, neat and organized household for her family. She was involved like every parent should be, baking cakes, sewing costumes, hosting slumber parties, coordinating Girl Scout events, and managing budgets for music boosters. She rarely complained about being tired, and if I look back I can't remember any occasions where my mother actually professed to be exhausted. She was constantly on the go, constantly involved and always available.

For a long time I felt obligated to BE just like my mother, because I didn't feel like there was any other way to be. Over the years I've negotiated this feeling and have decided that one of my favorite qualities of my mother is her creativity. If I told my mother today, sitting in her crafting room, hands buried deep in a pile of paper, glue and stickers, that she was/is my creative inspiration she would fan her hand in front of my face and say, "NO! Who? Me!? Not me! You're the creative one!" But she is immensely creative and encouraged me to cultivate that since I was a small child.

My mother, now retired, is a creative force to be reckoned with! She is an avid scrapbooker, and is in the midst of cataloging many generations of my family into unique, colorful albums. She also designs and creates beautiful papercrafts, including the cutest sets of greeting cards I've ever seen. (I'm trying to get her to sell on Etsy!) She bakes cakes, can sew like a professional, and crochets like a machine! All of this despite regular pain in her joints (hand especially) due to arthritis. All of this in an effort to maintain her mobility and flexibility just so she can keep doing this.

So when I bake something amazingly tasty, or when I craft a pair of earrings that I feel are absolutely gorgeous, or when I wrap a gift meticulously, or even when I look at my cup full of Sharpie markers, I think of my mother. I think about her big, reassuring smile and the way she would just glow with pride whenever I created something magnificent. I think about the way she honored my talent, despite all of the struggles we had with one another through childhood and into adulthood. And I think about how hard she tries to keep her mind and body charged with creativity now, not accepting for a moment the concept that somehow the world tried to tell her to take it easy.

Creative people have to create. We don't know why, and sometimes we don't even know how. But despite the unknowables that exist in our lives, we never cease to stop moving. My mother never stops moving. That's why my mother is my inspiration. And that's why I love her.
Picture Key:
  1. Mom & Me at Christmas, 2006
  2. Mom & Me atop the France Perkins Building, Labor Dept, circa 1981
  3. Mom (right) and Karen (left), sisters, 2005
  4. My mother's amazing pumpkin pie

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Update: New stuff @ oh ginger

Happy Sunday! I added a few new things to the Etsy shop this afternoon, including my most recent shot-in-the-dark creative idea...incorporating rik rak (ricrak, ric rak, rickrack...so many different spellings!) into jewelry. So check out the shop and let me know what you think! Feedback is always welcome and appreciated.

Oh, also! Thanks to all the feedback about my little embroidered pictures. I'm planning on adding them to the shop when I have restocked...I managed to give away most of them to loved ones, as per my usual fantastically profitable business strategy.

Off to prep for the GIVEAWAY! Please make sure you check back for my giveaway post which should go live Wednesday April 1st at 9am! It's a collection of wonderful crafty bits from my favorite crafty sellers, crafty friends and a few things handmade by me and not yet available to the public! Ooo!

Buy Handmade

Best Buds: Be a Facebook friend

Queering Domesticity is on Facebook! Won't you be our neighbor?!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Interlude: I Feel It All

This song has been ringing through my head for weeks. Happy Friday Night!

Feist - I Feel It All

Vintage Friday: I'm a little teapot

My mom constantly reminds me of my repetitive "I'm a little teapot" performances as a kid. I think that if I did it now, she'd giggle and get all nostalgic. Today's Vintage Friday post is dedicated to that silly song and my general love of tea and teapots. I tend to think that anything squat and plump is adorable, but I was pleasantly surprised to find some really lovely teapots that were neither. Whether your personal aesthetic involves clean lines or comfortable farmhouse simplicity, I feel like I've collected a decent assortment of teapots to suit your fancy. I cannot say whether these are functional or not, but I also feel that they would look lovely on a shelf, as a stovetop accessory or even with the lid removed and a bundle of springtime wildflowers bursting out the top.

This post is long but worth it!

Red Mid Century Cone Coffee/Tea Pot - $30
A fantastic thermos-style coffee pot with an amazing cherry red
color and a shape/style I haven't really ever seen.

Saffron Hornsea Tea Set (small chip) - $30
The subtle floral motif on this set is pretty awesome, as it also
has a simple graphic appeal. I also really love the angular shape of the spout.

Vintage Enameled Tea Pot - $16
I love the classic look of this teapot. I can imagine hanging around
with my girlfriends in the '50s, smoking Lucky Strike, talking
about boys (or girls) and bitching about our girdles.

Vintage Green Ceramic Tea Pot - $18
Now this is a teapot! Tall, slender, lovely moss green color and
a contrasting white top. I bet this would look amazing with some striking
spider mums shooting in every direction.

Small Leaf Green Vintage Tea Pot - $5
Tiny, plump and just waiting for you to brew a quick pot of
Earl Grey for a cool, rainy Spring day.

1950s Ceramic Robin's Egg Blue Tea pot and Pie plates - $25
What a lucky find! The swooping, whimsical spout, the graceful
and smooth handle, the gentle slope of the entire
piece...and then matching plates for PIE! Nom!

Vintage Silver Tea Pot - $42
Pure sophisticated elegance...and a matching creamer and sugar bowl to boot ($36)!

Vintage White Enamel Kettle - $50
Now this is my style! Big, enamel (!), simple and utilitarian.
I especially appreciate the small black handle on the
side of the pot to make pouring easier.

Asian Flower Tea Pot - $18
Sometimes when my mom and I were feeling fancy, we'd have
afternoon tea out of a blue and white tea set she kept in the
dining room. This reminds me of that, and I'm particularly
fond of the adorable black handle.

Mid Century Coffee/Tea Pot with Cherries - $35
I don't really have words. This thing is adorable, and it
might need to be in my BFF's new kitchen, if she thinks it'll match.

Zeuthen (Denmark) Red Clay Vintage Modern Tea Pot - $45
Between the straw handle, the delicate and organic pattern
of white polka dots and the lovely red clay/sienna color,
I find this tea pot gorgeous, despite it not really being my preferred style.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Speaking Of: Totes

That's all that really goes in them, right? :-)

things tote by foliage @ etsy - $28
(also available: happy face tote in olive corduroy - $27)

Great Reads: Blogs I'm loving lately

I'm pretty discriminate about the blogs I add to my Google Reader, mostly because I don't always have the time to read every single word and I wind up feeling overwhelmed. I have added a few blogs recently, though, that I find spectacularly awesome. I decided to dedicate a post to the blogs I'm interested in these days, and perhaps it'll become a regular feature. Click on the image above the description to go directly to the blog. Enjoy!

Dutch Girl Cooking has fabulous and unusual recipes and amazing food photography. The recipes are also written with American cups and spoons measurements, eliminating the need for conversion! I'm particularly excited about the Crazy Meatballs and the Peachy Chicken.

The Cooking of Joy
features amazing food photography too, but also adds unique twists on traditional dishes, like corned beef hash pasties! The Cincinnati Style Chili recipe from today also looks absolutely amazing. I also appreciate her sub-header..."I make people drool."

Pennies on a Platter
has been around for a little while, but the recipes are certainly more relevant today then they probably were then! Nikki, the author, shares money saving tips and recipes for delicious treats like Apple Dippin' Peanut Butter Cookies and her recent recipe for English Muffins.

Jena Coray of Modish has expanded her expertise and created Modish Biz Tips, a blog dedicated to indie business owners and all of the trials and tribulations we face getting our businesses off the ground. She focuses on just about every facet of the creative and business process, and I look forward to how this blog will evolve!

For the Love of Food is a fantastic, comprehensive blog dedicated to the creation, display, photography and consumption of food. I'm especially fond of the 30 Meals that can be cooked in under 20 minutes post. We can all use some time-saving inspiration.

The Art of the Tote
is a blog dedicated to my favorite bag of all time - The Tote Bag. Boxy, simple, utilitarian and full of potential, this blog features fabulous tote bags that run the gamut from designer and pricey to those with the potential to be inexpensive and/or DIY.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Nostalgia: 1930s House & Garden Magazines

As a general rule, I don't (and won't) talk about my day job. It's not important, but my livelihood is, so I keep my lips sealed. To introduce this post, all you really need to know is that through some benevolence on the part of a learned man, I had the great fortune of accessing a few editions of the venerable House & Garden magazine from various months in the 1930s. Amazing? Why yes, it was!

House & Garden was launched in 1901 by Conde Nast Publications and focused on interior design, architecture, gardening and entertaining. A common theme in the issues I was able to read was also advertising for the upper class, including boarding schools for children, purebred dog breeders nationwide, and luxury cruises and train rides nationally and internationally. The content was varied, the text luminous and colorful, and the layout vibrant and accessible, especially for the time period. I took quite a few pictures (the best I could) and I've uploaded them to my House & Garden Flickr Album. The rest I'm featuring here, some with special commentary as I was highly amused at certain points.

The covers of each issue ran the gamut from bland to BOLD. Check out that ridiculous gray poodle leaning on the fabulous mustard wingback chair and the neat photograph of the Christmas scene through the "eyes" of a glass ornament!

Lucky Strike advertisements on the back cover were a common theme. I especially love "Helga the Skiier - She'll stare you down and steal your hot toddy!" and the cute curvy pin-up in the darling green summer dress.

Why would this woman care about saving money? She's wearing the furriest-fur-collared coat I've ever seen!

Sorry, I had to...this is queering domesticity, after all!

A splendid Dobermann? I've heard them called a lot of things, and splendid was never one of them. Also, a breeder in Herndon, Virginia! That's not too far from where I grew up.

Finally, everything was canned. It was obviously the age of convenience, so I understand why that was important. But seriously, canned bread-like desserts? Heinz brand products also dominated the magazine, right after Campbell's and weird pre-Popeye style ads for Dole Pineapple Juice.

I always find it fascinating to read and look at examples of daily life from way back when. This magazine was obviously upscale...it wasn't at all close to what my grandparents were dealing with at the time, but nevertheless, I really enjoyed the view into domesticity and I especially enjoyed giggling at all the condescending (to women) absurdity. If only a garbage disposal could make my life easier.

Reduce Refuse: Give glass bottles a new life

My mother handed me a liter-sized glass bottle when I visited her in February and said, "here, it's a great bottle, I use it for my grape juice." It was originally full of balsamic vinaigrette that she purchased at Costco. It has all of the aesthetic nostalgia of an old fashioned milk bottle, with the depressions on the sides that help you grab and hold onto it without dropping it. You may think this silly, as it could've easily been left in the recycling bin in Arizona and not traveled across the country to claim its righteous place in my kitchen. But this is how my mom and I operate. Every glass jar or bottle has at least one other use, and so passing along this fabulous and lovely milk bottle was a cherished gift.

Wandering Chopsticks provides two examples of simple, floral reuses for interesting bottles. In one example, a repurposed vinegar bottle is used to display a few roses, undoubtedly clipped from someone's backyard (and hopefully with permission! ETA! I stand corrected; the roses are from her garden!). And the second example features grape hyacinth nestled in a tiny Spega Italian yogurt jar (which used to be available at Trader Joe's and is SO INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS) to add a little punch of Spring to a dining table. I used to have close to 20 of the Spega jars when I worked for TJ's. I remember donating them to a friend during one of my many moves so she could use them for a project. Before I gave them away, though, they were lined up in the center of my coffee table and each one held a votive candle.

Before Christmas, I merged my love for Martinelli's apple juice (ok, it's bordering on obsession) and my Christmas decor by lining up their small glass bottles, which are shaped like an apple with raised accents, on the kitchen table with some cranberries and a small tapered candle in each. It looked homegrown, rustic and festive. Juice bottles made of glass can also be kept around and used if you have kids visiting, as they fit perfectly in their hands and aren't made of potentially-harmful plastic.

There are a number of tutorials available for how to reuse glass jars. Here are few I came across, but note that there are innumerable tutorials and information available with a quick Google search:
The glass bottle my mom gave me in February is currently holding a batch of Em's barbeque sauce (YES!). Once the barbeque sauce is gone, we'll save it for a picnic, or for flowers or even for homemade salad dressing. My mom even uses one of hers to store her button collection. By insisting that almost every glass bottle or jar that passes through your hands has a second life, you not only sustain the environment, but you save energy costs from recycling and you also save some cash. Flower vases, storage jars and even decorative glass accents can add up quite a bit. Do your part and make your home look one of a kind at the same time!

Buck Up: The Chaise Lounge Shrink speaks

I stumbled upon this article from the Huffington Post yesterday and felt that a lot of what the writer said really resonated with me...either from experience or as something I can incorporate into the way I deal with stuff around me. Throughout the years, people have given me (and I have subsequently given people, hence the chaise lounge shrink reference) a lot of advice, solicited and otherwise, about how to manage stress, sadness, grief and even just hair-ripping frustration. There isn't one right way to do things, but I do feel that this list is a fantastic starting point. Some of my most favorite suggestions are:
1. Know your triggers.
In most cases, the easiest way to handle the world around you is to know yourself. I think that's what our late teens and 20s are for...we go through a lot of trial and error to figure out who we are, what makes us tick and what we want to avoid like the plague. Some of my triggers are: Republicans, anti-choice activists, The Wiggles and fennel root. If any of these subjects are brought up, I tend to disengage and/or walk away. Especially with the fennel root...it's so "hot" these days and I personally feel like it tastes vomititious.
4. Celebrate your mistakes.
I'm actually quite skilled at this, which makes me happy. There is beauty in mistakes, you just have to look. Not everything has to be perfect. The writer quoted a lyric from a Leonard Cohen song which reminds a friend of her's not to let his inner perfectionist get the best of him: Ring the bells that still can ring, Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything, That's how the light gets in.
5. Add some color.
No, they're not talking about a bright and cheery vase in an otherwise humdrum room. They're talking about seeing any situation from all sides, versus relegating discussions and disagreements to right or wrong. Considering we're all human, and we all have perfectly legitimate methods to our madness, it's easy to see that there would in fact be a spectrum of reasoning and reaction to a myriad of situations. I think that this is one of the basic tenets of compassion, and one that I often struggle with; I have a neurotic, type A personality when it comes to life organization and disorder, and I often project a lot of my stuff on people. My way isn't the right way for anyone else but me.
11. Make a self-esteem file and read it.
One of my biggest challenges in life is not being able to self-validate. I often rely on friends and family to congratulate, support and provide commendation for a job well done. I also tend to look at my accomplishments as perfunctory rather than exceptional, which I believe is a complication of growing up with an expectation to be above average. But what I do, even on a daily basis, is worthy of feeling great about! I'm going to start leaving myself post-it notes here and there, or in some sort of journal. I deserve to feel awesome.
Basically folks, we're living in some seriously stressful times. The last thing we need to lose are coping mechanisms. Consider printing out this list, even without the subtext, and sticking it somewhere you'll see it often. The ideas provided are a great jumping off point for managing the hazy, dazey and mixed-up world we live in. There's no sense in being pulled in by the undertow.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Recipe Tuesday: Shi-shi coffee drink

One of my favorite places in the world is Shepherdstown, West Virginia and one of my favorite coffee shops just happens to be along their main street, which is actually called German Street. The Lost Dog is a home grown, indie establishment built in the mid-90s (I think). It hasn't changed much since then. The owners and employees have a laid back approach to barista-ing and tend to prefer an irreverent, [some would call it] hippie aesthetic over the clean lines and soulless design of urban coffee shops.

The drinks there are amazing, diverting from standard fare and experimenting quite heavily with what tastes good rather than what seems most orthodox. The Lost Dog has employed baristas, including the owner, who have gone on to national espresso competitions. I went to Shepherd College and I probably spent $3-5 a day (on my miniscule student's wage at the neighboring flower shop, that was indulgent!) at Lost Dog, always focusing on one particular drink. Garth, the guy who I believe still owns the place, would make the drink for me more often the not and he'd coat the top with deliciously colored sugar sprinkles in various tie-dye patterns.

Garnished with an orange wedge, the Wet Dog is essentially an espresso cream spritzer. Having worked at coffee houses since my experience with Lost Dog, I took it upon myself to experiment with various ingredients and steps in order to perfect what I consider my Wet Dog knock off. It is SOOOO impossible to explain this beverage to the robotic drones at Starbucks, but sometimes I can find a good homespun coffee shop to mix this up for me. Since I discovered my dairy allergy last year, I was terrified that my days lapping up the Wet Dog (no pun, ewwww) were over, but I went to Shepherdstown last fall and asked the barista if she could make a soy Wet Dog and she nodded approvingly. The drink was heavenly.

I'm salivating as I write this because I cannot wait to go back and get one. Fortunately, I can make multiple pit stops in a town I first grew to love over 10 years ago, as I have a new friend Pang out there and my old boss at the flower shop is always ready to bust my chops about my Miss Priss freshman year of college and what a tattooed, lesbian hooligan I've turned into. So go to Shepherdstown if you can, go to The Lost Dog, order a Wet Dog and enjoy what it means to be in a REAL indie coffee shop.

So here's the recipe.

The Knock Off Wet Dog
(16 oz. glass/cup)

2 oz. espresso or dark-dark roast coffee
1 oz. vanilla syrup
1 oz. caramel syrup
2 oz. half & half (or whatever milk you want)
generous scoop of ice
seltzer water to fill the glass

I made this fabulously technical diagram for you using my superb MS Paint skills and a little bit of Picnik.com. Don't say I never gave you anything!

Not everyone enjoy's the Wet Dog, or my knock off, but if you're adventurous I say give it a whirl.

(Lost Dog sign photo courtesy of cameragirl @ Flickr)

Wall Art: Ork Posters

Ork Posters might be old news to you. I first came across them over a year ago and bookmarked the page because I planned on getting Em the Boston poster for a birthday gift, as it is Em's hometown. I absolutely love the concept behind these posters, which are a wonderful combination of typography and geography. They've added a few new posters to the line-up since I originally became acquainted with them, including Portland, Seattle, and even the Great Lakes. These are a great gift for someone who has a particularly deep love for their city, or for someone who is far away from the city they love. The posters are reasonably priced at $22/each and they also offer screenprinted versions for $27/each in more unique color combinations.

I hope to juxtapose the Boston poster I picked up for Em with this Washignton DC poster soon; I think it would really make a neat statement in our living room. While I'm not always in love with the politics and people who fill up this small city, I was born and raised here and it will always feel like home.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Auto Straddle: That sounds sassy!

So just when I thought I had read the entire internets, and also when I thought I knew everything, I get an e-mail from Green of Autostraddle inquiring about the possibility of an interview. Autostraddle? They describe their effort:
Girlier than Queerty and gayer than Jezebel, Autostraddle aims to address all things terrible/AWESOME with a quick, queer and intellectual attitude. We’re particularly passionate about independent movies and music, books, theater, visual art, cyberculture and sex as well as queer theory, social justice, feminism and GLBT rights. We like the macro and the micro, the international and the close-to-home. We take a queer sensibility to everything — ’cause you know, something doesn’t have to be GAY to be, you know – gay.
Not unlike my five year-old self, who wandered around with my father's hand-me-down tape recorder and made multiple tapes of myself talking to myself, I relished in the opportunity to talk more about what makes me tick and what this blog, crafting/DIY, being queer and all the other stuff that I love means to me. Green asked some really fantastic questions and we struck up what I hope will become a lingering e-friendship.

Please head to Autostraddle and read all about me, and please continue to check AS often (or RSS it up, kids!) because there is undoubtedly more to come from this bad ass group of people.

(She's cute, idn't she?!?)

Damage Liability: The Hang 'Em Awl

My BFF and I had a slumber party on Saturday night so we could catch up on some Big Love, and Em and I drove her back up to Baltimore yesterday afternoon. We had some ridiculous conversations...everything from considering the plot twists and turns that Big Love could take, to the economy, to my career goals in the field of homemaking (all furniture and appliances in my home will be a tax write off as they are work-related expenses!), to the ridiculousness that is my father's attempt at hanging pictures and other ephemera around my childhood home.

I saw this a few weeks ago via Mighty Haus and I saved it for a time when I was inspired by something around me, and that conversation certainly sparked a need. The Hang 'Em Awl is an interesting little contraption designed to make hanging things with nail divots easier to hang. You simply screw in the little tools, center and level your artwork on the wall, give it a light tap and the holes are marked for you without requiring a degree in physics or engineering!

I'm interested in what else the creators of the Hang 'Em Awl come up with as far as around-the-house tool mediation is concerned, because we all need a lot more help than we are willing to admit.

Hang 'Em Awl has a great video tutorial that you should watch to better understand the process. They're $7.99 for two and you can pay using credit cards or PayPal.

Regional Envy: The Casserole Queens

I've been told by a few people that I'd like Austin. They clearly don't know how much I love snow and how I'm mostly scared of the rest of the state. Nevertheless, when I saw these ladies on Throwdown with Bobby Flay recently, where they competed with their Casserole Queen Pot Pie, I honestly contemplated a relocation.

The Casserole Queens are a two-lady operation (Sandy Pollock and Crystal Cook), serving up traditional to completely off-the-wall-unique casseroles to the greater Austin area. Wearing vintage housewife attire, they hand deliver their delicious concoctions to folks who either lack the time or just want a bit of old timey nostalgia. I know at least two ladies in my life who are casserolevangelists, so this concept probably has their mouth watering as I type!

The Casserole Queens serve breakfast/brunch, lighter fare, vegetarian, hearty main dish and dessert casseroles. Each order is delivered already prepared and frozen with reheating/serving instructions. Here are a few that sound ridiculously amazing, served in two different sizes (12"x6" and 12"x10"):
B&B Casserole - Escape from the daily grind with this Casserole Queen favorite. Rich layers of brie, sausage and egg give this casserole a gourmet flair that is sure to please.

Zucchini De-light - Our zucchini casserole tastes just as good as mom's, but without the additional fat and calories. Rich in flavor, the casserole pairs fabulously with roasted chicken, ham, or pork chops.

Lunch Lady Doris' Spicy Mac & Cheese -Who said macaroni and cheese is just for kids? Savory veggies, a medley of cheeses and a little cayenne pepper take this simple comfort food to a gourmet delight.

Corn Dog Casserole - Just the smell alone will get the kids to the table in time for dinner. Maybe even the neighbor kids.

Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie - It is just simply bananas how good this dessert is! Seriously folks, it doesn't get much better than this. Drizzled with rich chocolate sauce, this creamy peanut butter topping covers layers of fresh bananas and a tasty vanilla wafer crust. We think it is the best in the bunch!
There are so many fantastic options to choose from with The Casserole Queens. You can even give a gift certificate as a gift and let someone else choose their preferred meal! If you know someone with a new baby, elderly folks or even just someone who deserves a break from cooking dinner some random Wednesday night in the Austin area, I feel like this service is just right for you! The Casserole Queens also offer some fun and helpful kitchen tips to make your solo-adventures that much easier.

I think that these ladies either need to franchise their operation and go national with this concept, or someone in the DC/Baltimore metro area needs to get their stuff together and open up a Casserole Cart so that when the cranky lobbyists and non-profit workers need a quick nostalgic pick-me-up, all they need is to log online, choose a dish and wait for two adorable ladies in heels and pearls to drop it off. Casseroles are clearly the only way we're going to achieve peace in this country.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Little Bits: Doodles into art?

I was at the craft store the other day and as I wandered about, I remembered that I wanted to find some small embroidery hoops, and I was able to find some 4" natural wood hoops. I had this wild idea that I could make itty bitty pieces of art to hang in my cubicle, but as I have no drawing abilities, I surrendered myself to the reality that I would just find patterns elsewhere an squish them into tiny frames.

Last night I decided to doodle really (really) simple stuff and it turned into a doodle-palooza of things that remind me of Spring. So I copied the little doodles and used bold lines to make the patterns easier to copy onto fabric, cut up an old cotton shirt I had not worn for approximately three years, and set to work with my itty bitty needle and embroidery floss.

This is how things turned out! I'm pretty pleased and looking forward to trying the house, zinnia and other doodles as they come along. What do you guys think? Should they be a fun little side project or should I put them in the shop? Leave me a comment with your thoughts on the matter!

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