Thanksgiving 2017!

I have held back on blogging about Thanksgiving because I don’t have much to say that isn’t purely gushing with excitement….but sorry, going to go ahead and tell you ALL about it.

So! I am incorporating a few new things this year, and sticking with the old staples that make the day Thanksgiving. Menu this year includes –

Roasted turkey, which I have ordered from Porter Road Butcher and is probably frolicking around in a field right now which makes me happy. I wish these turkeys came with names. This year, I’m going to do a wet brine again (a cider and citrus brine which sounds AMAZING), and I also purchased an injector this year! Going to inject a butter and cider/citrus marinade that I will probably make up next Wednesday. I’m excited about how this will add to the flavor of the turkey – have never done this before!

I’m also going to do a roasted acorn squash for Katie because Stephen has an amazing recipe and I feel bad that Katie never gets a “main dish.”

Stephen will be making the stuffing this year. I made it last year since he was out of town…but I can’t remember what recipe he uses so can’t say anything about it…..

I’ll be doing Aunt Carol’s Sweet Potato Casserole, OF COURSE, and I’m also making mashed potatoes (of course). This year I’m going to try Julia Child’s recipe for garlic mashed potatoes, which basically consists of blanching a fuck ton of garlic (30 cloves, to be more precise) and then combining them with a bechamel….and then adding that to the mashed potatoes. It sounds amazing.

I’ll make the cranberry sauce that I made last year, except I’ll probably use bourbon instead of brandy. And Faith is bringing a cranberry salad, so we’re covered on the cranberry front!

I made some honey butter rolls last year which were delicious, so I’m going to use that recipe again this year. Nothing new or exciting – except that rolls are always exciting, so I should really just say nothing new.

Katie is bringing some kind of green dish (like made with green vegetables). Not sure what yet, or how many.

And probably last on the menu is another Thanksgiving staple – Grandma’s Magic Chocolate Pie. And Faith will make a custard pie.

So that’s the menu.

Have about a million things to buy this weekend for all that. Also I bought a carving board for the turkey this year; it’s basically a cutting board with a grid of small pyramids in the middle to hold your [piece of meat] in place while you carve. I had been pining over silver platters recently, as the turkey platter I’ve used the last several years was purchased at a thrift store and basically feels like plastic. And the more I use it, the more the silver finish washes off. So – new serving board this year!

I realize that it’s on Tuesday…but I really can’t wait for the weekend. Going to spend it cleaning out the refrigerator, grocery shopping, making pie crusts, and cleaning up the kitchen (etc).

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Dollhouse update

I feel like I’ve been posting FAR too many dollhouse pictures on Instagram, so am giving it a break to blog a bit!

Everything’s coming along nicely. I currently am half-way through painting the exterior trim, and am almost done with the floor on the lower storey. This is a picture from two days ago; I added a second coat of the stain yesterday and am going to put the polyurethane coat on soon (probably the weekend as we have Billy Collins plans tonight and symphony plans tomorrow…).

floor I made a little cushion for the window box too – omg I love that color of green so much.

Yesterday, I worked up a little prototype of the bookshelves that I want to line one of the upstairs rooms with. I was at work and had no glue, so used tape …

dollhouse - shelf prototype

It turned out so well (I mean, the design, not the execution) that I measured and cut new popsicle sticks for a legit shelf that I put together once I got home. A quick note first – I found some printable 1:12 “leather bound” books on some miniatures website yesterday and threw these “books” together – aren’t they the cutest thing?!

dollhouse - books

Anyway. So yesterday when I got home, I stained the wood for the shelf and then glued it together. It’s PERFECT. OMG it is the cutest thing I have EVER made.

dollhouse - bookshelf

Sooooo pretty. I’m going to make like several more too, and some half size cases. And probably some odd-sized ones too to fit into the little nooks upstairs. Not explaining well but will post pictures whenever I actually make it that far. I haven’t done any work on the upstairs yet so still have a ways to go…..

This is what the house currently looks like. Can’t wait to remove the tape to see how it REALLY looks…..

dollhouse - what a mess

Dollhouse Renovation

Back when I was…oh, not really sure how old…ten or so, I received a dollhouse kit as a Christmas gift from my parents. I believe that this was given to me after I had started making my own dollhouse out of a cardboard box and cardboard accessories. Dad did most of the work on assembling the dollhouse, as I recall, but I know I helped at least some anyway….

I spent many hours playing with that dollhouse. I received a lot of dollhouse furniture as Christmas and birthday gifts back then and had a very nicely furnished Victorian dollhouse for quite a while. Of course, I eventually stopped playing with it and it has followed me around through a few moves, sitting in garaged and collecting dust and mud dauber nests.

So recently I remembered that it existed and I decided that I wanted to fix it up. Can’t remember what prompted this, but that’s not important.

I still have a LOT of work to do, but wanted to put up some pictures of my progress so far. Things are starting to come together….

First step was cleaning the house, and re-gluing everything together. Hot garages aren’t good for glue and the house was feeling very flimsy.

After gluing and cleaning, I decided to add a stone foundation to the house. I did this by cutting pieces of styrofoam into rectangles, and painting them a stone color. I then glued them to the house —

dollhouse-foundation.jpg

After the glue was mostly set, I added the mortar. Which I bought off of Amazon – very convenient.

dollhouse - foundation front

The mortar in this picture isn’t totally dry – it’s much lighter in color now.

After finishing this, I removed the plastic “windows” and sanded down the frames. I have to figure out what kind of window I’ll install, but I’m still weighing my options…. I also removed the wallpaper and carpet from the inside of the house so that I could prime everything and redecorate later.

Picture on the left was after I painted the attic and the room on the left; picture ont he right is after I’d finished with the interior. I’m not going to paint the floor as I’ll be putting down hardwood panels later. Er, soon – that’s actually next on my agenda.

dollhouse - flooring

This is just a picture to give you an idea of how the floor panels will fit. These are popsicle sticks which I’ve modified a lot – and have a lot more modifying to do before I can glue everything in. I got some stain and polyurethane the other day though, and am excited about how this is going to turn out!!

dollhouse - outside primer

This last picture is how I left the house last night. This is with two coats of primer (except the front porch which is trickier to get to). I’m leaning towards leaving the house white and painting the trim brown…..but I haven’t quite decided yet.

Really excited about finishing up the floor and the painting so that I can start decorating the interior of the house!! Want to glue the window box in soon too, and work on the window installations. I’m thinking of doing a stained glass panel on the front door. We’ll see……

So, the library is now doubling as a craft room. Last weekend, we got this new cube storage unit, and rearranged some furniture, and now it looks like this!

library

The shelf on the left is holding most of my craft tools …not pictured are the four bins of fabric plus some extra sewing accessories. Also not pictured is a basket of leather. But yeah – I’m feeling pretty excited about everything having a home – and about this huge table that I can use as a work surface!

I finished this scarf for Stephen yesterday. It’s a grey linen yarn, with a cobalt blue cottolin yarn. Turned out very well, IMO – I love the look and feel of linen soooo much. It won’t be the warmest scarf ever, but it hangs well and Stephen said he likes it, so.

scarf

Started on another one last night – a wider warp – greyish blue with some cobalt and light peach stripes. I’m going to use a grey cashmere as the weft, with a couple of blue and peach horizontal stripes as well. Going for a sort of plaid look, I suppose. We’ll see how it turns out – am hoping it’ll look good! I ordered this cashmere yarn from an Etsy store and it shipped from France, so you know, trying not to waste it. Will post a picture once I finish this one…which might be a bit since I don’t have a whole weekend ahead of me to watch horror movies and weave. (sigh)

 

Thursdays

I went to bed around 9:30 last night, and was asleep before 10:30 – and omg I feel so much better this morning than any other mornings this week. I have such a love/hate relationship with going to bed early. I love sleeping, and love feeling rested. On the other hand, I don’t love hastening the next day (unless it’s before 5pm and the next day is Saturday) and I want to have as much time at home with my hobbies – and boyfriend – as possible.

Well, last night I finished the yellow scarf thing I was weaving (turned out fine, will probably use as a Christmas present for someone who really likes yellow), finished the episode of Grey’s Anatomy that I was on, and decided it was time for bed.

Lately I tend to be a little apprehensive of Thursdays. Today, for example, I’m meeting one of the sales reps and his customers for lunch, and then I have an appointment with my therapist, and then after work I’m tutoring. This puts me home around 7:30 or thereabouts, and basically eats up my entire day. It’s not all bad since the variety makes the work day much more interesting – but it also means that I’ll have catching up to do, and that I won’t get to see Stephen until tonight. Which is fine, but.

I also ordered some new yarn (one is a grey 100% linen, the other two are cotton/linen blends in light peach and cobalt blue) which should be delivering today – but that won’t do me any good since I won’t be home in time to use it. (I’m making Stephen a scarf in grey and blue, and making myself one using some combination of all three colors, probably. Or maybe just grey and light peach. Haven’t decided yet. AM very excited about it though.) Might end up weaving all weekend. This isn’t technically a new hobby, but it’s one that I haven’t practiced all that much, and I have new techniques that I want to try out (lace and the like). Exciting!! I need more friends who will do craft nights with me. Seems like it would be so much fun……..

 

Craft room planning!!

Dear, lovely Stephen has said that it’s ok with him if I use the library as a craft room.

I forget how many hobbies I have until I try to fit them all into an organized space in one room. I need to find places for leather crafts, crocheting crafts, weaving crafts, drawing and painting, and sewing crafts. That might be it, but it’s a small room. And already houses several shelves of books.

So the biggest space killers are going to be fabric and yarn and leather. Raw materials, I suppose. Organizing tools should be fairly painless…lots of jars! I might mount a coat rack or something to hang the loom from – it definitely needs a home. And my leather tools/etcs (have lots of bottles of stuff) should probably have a shelf of some kind.

A shelf for fabric would be so nice, too – so that I can fold and stack everything and not have to feel like I’m exhuming a body every time I try to look through my fabric stash. The yarn ought to be able to go in a bin, though – don’t mind digging that up.

For right now though, I will probably just put everything into milk crates. That will be a step in the right direction, anyway.

I thought blogging about this might help me to brainstorm organization ideas, but doesn’t seem like that’s really working. I think I just need to get home and start doing it.

Salvaging!

Sooo guys.

I decided to pick up my rigid heddle loom again and start a new woven project. To that end, I bought some yarn in cute fall colors and warped the loom. I had it all set up, and finally started trying to actually weave – and discovered that the yarn I bought was too heavy for the heddle reed I have.

So I got depressed and did nothing for a day or two. Funny how one failed project setback will make you think you can’t do anything right….

Then yesterday, I decided to try to make the best of the situation, and I ordered some new yarn for the warp, and planned to use the old yarn for the weft. This was going to be a pain in the ass AND the back because I’d have to UNwarp the loom and then REwarp it, which is hard on the spine. Or at least it’s hard on mine, maybe because I need to be using a taller work platform. At any rate, along with unwarping the loom, I’d need to salvage all the yarn I used, which is now cut into 6′ strands and would need to be tied together.

So you can understand how this salvaging job wouldn’t be filling me with glee.

BUT! I realized today that I’m using a 10 dent reed, which is definitely on the finer side. If I could use a 5 or 8 dent instead, this yarn should work! So, I just ordered an 8 dent reed to go with my loom. It was kinda expensive, so I should probably start planning to weave Christmas presents for everyone. (Don’t expect to get a woven Christmas present from me though – these things take time. I’ll see what I can do.)

Anyway, so I am excited about this weaving project again, having realized that I probably will not have to unwarp the whole damned loom. Very exciting. Unfortunately, I suspect that I’ll have to wait a bit to get the new reed since Amazon Prime does not sell them and I had to buy it from the loom manufacturer (better for the local economy anyway, I suppose…).

But anyway, wanted to share my excitement over realizing that I may not have to scrap this project. I would have taken pictures of my failed warp except I was too depressed, but I might take some of the salvage job. We’ll see!

 

 

Camping, finally!

I had a LOVELY weekend. I guess weekends like this one are why people love summer – it was not humid, it didn’t get above 90*, and the water kept a breeze flowing through the area.

We went to Paris Landing State Park, which was a bit different from some parks, mainly because it has a marina and a restaurant, and only one or two trails. You can see the marina from the campground, which I was happy to discover. The park is on Kentucky Lake, which is basically the Tennessee River, and had a little beach area as well as a swimming pool (we swam in the dirty river water, not the pool, in case anyone wonders). Was DELIGHTFUL.

We got in on Friday night and had some roasted veggies plus sausage for dinner. Next morning for breakfast (which wasn’t done until lunch time) we had dutch oven biscuits, plus bacon and fried eggs. For dinner that night, we made a new recipe from a dutch oven cookbook I got — garlic lemon chicken. It was a one-pot meal which called for instant rice; we used couscous instead because I forgot to put rice on the grocery list. Honestly I like couscous better than rice anyway, so it all worked out and was absolutely delicious. Breakfast the next morning (also done around lunch time) was a breakfast casserole consisting of some leftovers (bacon, biscuits, veggies, etc). As always, food cooked over a campfire just tastes better.

The reason that we didn’t get breakfast cooked until around noon both days is that we got a new tent and it made summer sleeping so much more comfortable than I’d been anticipating. Before, we had a Coleman 2 person tent, which worked best for cool weather camping; when it’s hot outside, the tent isn’t as well-ventilated as we’d like, and isn’t big enough for us to not have to struggle to not actually touch each other. Nothing like sleeping in an incubator next to a hot body. When it’s hot outside. Having flashbacks to trying to sleep in Mississippi – thought I was going to die.

So anyway, new tent was $30 at Aldi of all places, and is a 4-sleeper. Which basically means that we have SO MUCH ROOM now. Like, room to put our stuff at the end of the tent and still have space to stretch out without touching it. AND also at Aldi (amazing grocery store that it is), we got a tent fan! With two speeds, and a light! Didn’t even need it the second night because the breeze was so strong, in fact.

I haven’t mentioned the hammock that I splurged on, and won’t gush too much, but let me just say that it was a DREAM to be able to relax and read in that hammock all afternoon. The breeze was pretty steady, and the shade was cool, and it was just lovely. You should all go buy hammocks.

So Sunday we packed up the campsite and did one/two/three? of the little inter-mingling trails they have. Ended up being about 2.5 miles. After, we were hungry and stopped by Sherry’s Bar & Grill in Big Rock, TN. It was off the main road and Stephen found it on Yelp. I was pleasantly surprised – they had very tasty food, and everything was clean (I mean, you could smoke indoors, but otherwise everything was clean), and  everyone was friendly. Not going to promise that everyone would have been friendly if we weren’t white (saw at least one stars and bars bandanna, and they had a “2nd Amendment” plaque hanging from the wall). But as it was (or as we were anyway), it was a nice little bar.

And now I’m back at work, and feeling lighter. The atmosphere feels less oppressive today. It’s nice. 🙂

hammock 2

Untitled

I remembered that I had a blog this morning when I received an email asking me to renew my domain name. I figured that as long as I’m paying for this….I maybe should update it now and then. I’ve been scratching my writing itch for the last several months by using an actual physical journal; I’ve always enjoyed nice pens, plus using a paper journal means that I don’t have to pay attention to proper sentence structure or, you know, making sense.

But does it really matter if I make sense? Meh.

Because I haven’t posted in a long time, I’ll make this entry into a list so that I don’t get overwhelmed and delete it before I finish.

  1. Lately, I’ve been reading the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. Had heard a lot of good stuff about it but didn’t want to spend $80 for the series on Amazon, and could not find all the books at McKays ever, so I finally started reading this when I remembered that Nashville has a library and I have a library card. It’s sooooo deliciously good. I haven’t been so engrossed in a book series since the Ender’s Game books, about 4 years ago. I’m going to the library today to see if they have book #6 ready for me to pick up yet…..
  2. Also lately, I finally started playing Elder Scrolls Online. Had held out for a while because it’s an MMO (massively multiplayer online) and I’ve never played that kind of game before. I haven’t spent much time playing the game yet, but so far I don’t hate it but also don’t love it. The quests (SO FAR) are suuuuper easy and I don’t really know how to do anything yet. But I’m hoping to learn some stuff over the weekend. May or may not update you later.
  3. Probably anyone reading this has seen pictures (or heard me go on about) our pool this year. It’s a blow-up kiddie pool. But it is PERFECT for cooling your body temperature down and just relaxing. Make fun of me all you want, I don’t even care. This year we bought some chlorine tablets and a little floaty dispenser thing, and it’s been helping A LOT to keep the water clean and clear. Highly recommend.
  4. I’m also reading this book called THE DANCE OF ANGER by Harriet Lerner. My therapist recommended that I read it, because she thinks I’ve had a lot of stuff in my life that should have made me angry, and she thinks I probably am a “bottler.” I have a lot of thoughts on this but am not sharing any until I finish reading the book and have a better mental grasp on everything.
  5. We’re tentatively planning a trip to Boston this fall! I’m hoping that it works out, although I also would not mind just spending a week at home – doing stuff like cleaning the house, baking bread, going to coffee shops in the middle of the day, maybe going to bars in the middle of the day, etc etc. ESPECIALLY since it’ll be fall. But the Boston idea sounds appealing too; I’m pushing hard for camping near a beach if we do go. Because that would be amazing. And day trip to Salem would also be amazing.
  6. Have been majorly slacking on creative endeavors lately. Heh. It happens, don’t judge. Or do, whatever. Last creative thing I did was painting a picture for a coworker (about a month ago). Or maybe making a glasses case for my sunglasses. But I’m not sure that counts since it just took about an hour. I keep meaning to make a silverware roll-up case for our camping cutlery, but I keep not doing that. It might be my next project though because I’ve been really wanting to go camping again.
  7. Which leads me to my seventh point – we just found a 4-person tent at Aldi for $30!!!! Have not actually used it yet, but need to try it out. We ALSO found a tent fan at Aldi – clips to the top of the tent and has two (I think?) speeds, plus a light. Is exciting and I want to use it.
  8. We’re (fingers crossed) going to see Roxane Gay tonight! I’m crossing my fingers because she’s a popular author, and the seats are first come first serve. And I’m curious about her new book and what she has to say about it. So, we’ll see, but I’m looking forward to it anyway!

I’m actually having a hard time coming up with more to say. I’ll leave it at this anyway, and kudos if you read through all this.