Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

We're hoping our new neighborhood is full of trick or treaters tonight. There is much candy to pass out.

This seemed like the perfect day to post one of the squid from the latest Squid a Month Club:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fall Walk (photo dump)

I spent the morning finally exploring more of the neighborhood while listening to the new Tom Waits album. Both did not disappoint.

Frick Park from the bridge

Makes me feel like I'm in New Jersey

New neighborhood. Wide streets, ample parking! No drunks!!

The squirrel is winning

Friday, October 21, 2011

New Things

I spent my sick days photographing new items for the shop. All but the squid pins are up (need to wait for a sunny day) but hopefully there's something there that will strike your fancy.
(also, free shipping until Oct. 31 if you enter the code FREESHIPPING during checkout)

Thanks guys

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Wedding Couple

I received a custom request for a wedding present earlier this month. Actually the requester was the girl who we "gave" our old apartment to (our landlady asked us if we knew anyone who would want it). I dropped these off so I could pick up some things that got left behind. It was fun seeing an old place you lived in, especially since you rarely get to do that. I also got to see some adorable guinea pigs hanging out in our old living room in their super crazy fancy pen. Those pigs have it made. Anyway, the squid were for a couple who had recently wed in a doughnut shop. Since they also weren't wearing traditional wedding attire I changed up the colors of the squid to match the outfits worn. I made the squid groom match the human groom's shirt color and embroidered a similar pattern onto his tie. The human bride had an adorable bat dress that I wanted to represent somehow so I gave the squid bride a little bat necklace. And since they were wed surrounded by doughnuts I figured it was only natural to have them each holding a doughnut half, ready to be united.

Also, to make this extra cheesy and lovey dovey, the bride is holding the doughnut with the groom's initial and vice versa for a nod to the whole exchanging rings thing.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Thank you, Columbus!

This weekend was Craftin' Outlaws and it was lovely.  I haven't done this show in a few years and it was nice to be back in Columbus. I also adore the folks who put it on. We had a lovely breakfast (giant baking sheets with freshly made cinnamon buns) plus a lovely little vendor gift bag. It just made the day that much nicer. 
My neighbor was the ever delightful umbrella girl productions so I stocked up on greeting cards and a fancy little scarf. I was hoping to grab a cape from Amy D but sadly she was sold out by the time I walked over there. I totally wish I did more shows with her. That lady is hilarious.  
After the show was hopped back into the car and headed to our old neighborhood to catch World Inferno play. We had about an hour and a half to kill before which killed my energy so sadly the show was not as enjoyable for me as it could have been. I was almost falling asleep but the band was fantastic and the crowd was hilarious. I forgot that the success of crowd surfing is inherently tied to alcohol consumption. I didn't make it to bed until 2:30 Sunday morning which meant I had been up for 23 hours straight, but it was worth it.

Friday, October 14, 2011

See you Saturday at Craftin' Outlaws Columbus!

There will be a smattering of new items for Craftin' Outlaws including loads of new felt colors and since I haven't been there since their launch, Tadly and Abigail will be making their debut.

Columbus, OH
Gateway Film Center

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Squid A Month Club (October Cosmos)

And another Squid a Month Club squid. The description for this was "second career astronaut" and was the conclusion of this squid story.

Tina Kova is back from space and ready to share the marvels of the universe. All of her photographs are being posted via NASA's twitter feed but she has a whole new way to showcase her experience. She is at the opening exhibit of her space embroideries and is having a delightful time going into the specifics of space walking and needlepoint.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Squid A Month Club (October Anatomy)

One of the Squid a Months for October. The description I had to go on was "anatomy"

Erin has been preparing for her latest school report all week. She just put the finishing touches on her skeleton suit and is now practicing her report in front of the mirror. She's pretty confident on explaining blood flow without her notes but she still needs to work on being able to identify all of the veins in her illustration.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Report cards

A five part series of a journalist/historian tracking down the owners of old report cards he found marked for trash. Most of the ones discussed are from a sewing trade school from the 1920s. It's pretty amazing seeing what became of these people and experiencing their timeline. My favorite story is the one of Mary Meyer.

I feel like my report cards would be rather boring compared to the trade school report cards. I don't even remember much about mine except I always thought it was crap that my gym grade always pulled down my GPA. Except for that glorious year I was in the Band gym class with Mr. Spangler. Just a bunch of fellow woodwinders and percussionists playing floor hockey and capture the flag in the most non-judgmental high school period ever experienced.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Fall Photo Dump

I've been really excited to not only have a front (and back!) porch to decorate but a cozy little apartment that has working heat. We even have hot water in the bathroom sink. It's so amazing to wash your face in the morning and not freeze. My flowers aren't dying inside and all of our vents are blowing out hot air instead of cold. I have not experienced this in 5 years and it is glorious. And now: FALL!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The Vanilla Experiment

I decided to start making my own vanilla after I had used up the last of my imitation vanilla. Mainly I did it for fun and to see how it would taste. I never bought the actual vanilla in stores because it's so expensive but I've had it in baked goods and I at least could tell a difference. I bought a 750ml bottle of vodka and 15 vanilla beans online for a little under $20. There are some differences in flavor for different beans. I got Madagascar beans because they are supposed to have more of a straight up vanilla flavor. You can also try different alcohols for different flavors. I stuck with vodka since it doesn't really add anything to the beans. Usually when I try something out I like to do the basic of all recipes to see if it's something I like to begin with.

Once I got the beans and the booze I set to work. I opened the bottle, popped in the beans and gave it a shake. It needs to be kept in a dark place so I put the bottle in a paper bag and placed it in the back of my pantry with my vinegar/lemon cleaner. A couple times a week I gave both of them a shake. It was pretty awesome watching the transition.

Day one.

3 months.

5 months.

Recipes vary on how long it takes to make the vanilla but a few months is usually the consensus. Most people say they keep a few beans in the jar and just add fresh beans and alcohol to keep it topped off. It of course keeps pretty much indefinitely. As a bonus you can take your used beans, split them and add them to sugar to make vanilla sugar. I haven't tried this yet but I'll probably get around to it later this week. There are also a crazy amount of other ways to use these beans afterwards in recipes.
I tried out my vanilla in some baked goods and I have to say it was quite better than the imitation vanilla. My friend Erin decided to make her own vanilla a little before I did and we decided to trade. I forgot what type of beans she used but she used bourbon for the alcohol.

Erin's bourbon vanilla
Her vanilla has a slightly different hue than mine and the bourbon vanilla was better in chocolate items (especially brownies) while mine was good for items like vanilla cake or lighter baked goods. All in all I think it was worth it for me to spend the money and time on this. Although it is more expensive in the start I think it does end up beating imitation in the long run for me. Mainly because I bake and cook a good chunk of our food. It lasts longer, can be replenished and the beans can be used for so many other things. Plus it's always rad to have various jars in your kitchen in different stages of transformation. Makes me feel like I have a lab.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Dad Got a Trail Cam

My dad got a trail cam. He then propped up an old stump and added some cracked corn and some apples that he got while drilling near an orchard. All of this is in the far side yard, past the field and near the grove of pine trees. Sometimes he walks up after dinner to throw out leftovers. He has been sending me photos of what creatures have passed by. I'm posting a few highlights here but you should check here to see the full album. It will not disappoint. 

I was pretty impressed with the quality of the photos and it was just really amazing to see the property that I spent so much time exploring in a different light. I just love all of the quick little "snapshots" of my home. It was also great seeing all of the animals that hang around our house, most of them I've seen quite often but 2 in particular were surprising. The black vultures and the black squirrel (they're at the link). Black vultures just recently started coming back to our part of the state and my Dad had never seen them around there before which is pretty exciting. The black squirrels have also started to appear lately. My dad hadn't seen one of them since the late 70's and the one on the camera is the second one he's seen this year.

A murder of crows

little buck
gray squirrel in the fog
Racoons. The two on the right are fighting over some chicken skin.
Little bear.