Sunday, December 27, 2009

Recipe for a Redneck Christmas

   The stuff of Redneck dreams...

Recipe for a Redneck Christmas:
(Aka Let's Set Some Stuff on Fire!)

Prep Time:  Approximately 85 minutes and $217 spent at a fireworks outlet.
45 minutes at Walmart selecting flamable fluids (hand sanitizer, who knew?!) and Gingerbread Trailer supplies.

I wasn't able to get the entire logo in the said "Live Free, Burn Sh**"

 Um, fireworks... 

Hey, Maw, we's outta toilet paper! 
Pick me up some Loud & Lavender when yer at th' Winn Dixie, w'd ya?

Oh, wait, better make that Loud and Nasty...I did have pork 'n' beans fer dinner...
Who names these fireworks, anyway? They're made in China, so some things get lost in translation. I mean, "shoots flaming balls"? I think it's time to bring in an editor.

Additional ingredients:
Some gifties for under the tree...

Directions:  1. Lay out all the goods.

2. Assemble Gingerbread Trailers.

3. Take a Beef Jerky Break.


4. Hot Dogs Roasting on an Open Fire...
And feeding the homeless...

5. Most importantly, SET STUFF ON FIRE!

Seriously, I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. And I want to publicly apologize to the residents of Chelsea, AL as well as their police force that made more than one slow drive by...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mr. Postman

One person's attempt to stop junk mail. It's got me thinking about a New Year's resolution...

I love to get mail. Opening the mailbox is like opening a present to me. What could that Pandora's box at the end of the driveway hold for me today? A letter from a long lost friend? A package containing some amazing gift? A swarm of ants so numerous that they appear to carry the mail to the edge of the box for me to grab and shriek and hop up and down? Yeah, that was not a good mail-box-opening-day.
What I had in my package (good word choice...?): An original design by Melissa Barrett.

Sadly, most days it's just credit card apps and ValuPak coupons. Blah. When I was a kid, mom used to give me all of her junk mail to play Office with, whatever that was. Sounds like an excuse to get outta buying me real toys. If I had been a smart kid, I could have started my own identity theft biz, but instead I doodled, stamped and stickered the junk with Strawberry Shortcake. Imbecile.
The pillow is already mildly covered in cat hair, so it's right at home. Also in this photo: an adorable knitting bag from my friend Jaime and a chair Mitch's dad just reupholstered.

Yesterday, I got really lucky. When I opened my mailbox, it was a double whammie: A package from a long (not lost) friend (wait, a "long friend"...? She's not even that tall) and an amazing gift. Can you believe this awesome pillow? I absolutely love it. And feel so lucky to be the proud owner. My friend Melissa is a working artist and teacher at Pratt Institute. She and I share a common bond because of a tramatic art experience we both had one summer. Think The Apprentice meets Survivor and you get Yale Summer Painting Program. Or something. Can't remember the exact name. Electro-shock therapy (and Diet Coke) have managed to drain most of my memory bank. And I rarely make new deposits.
One person's solution to junk mail...cover a tank! Since I don't own a tank, I guess I should look to rid of the junk.

Melissa sells these amazing pillows at her etsy store, by the way. Feel free to spend lots of money here:

And as for that New Year's Resolution, did you know that you can stop junk mail? I know, I'm usually the last on the band wagon, and you are probably already well-informed and junk-mail-free, but if you are not, check out this:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Marshmallow Madness Chapter 1

Who could forget the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man? Who ya gonna call?!

I'm the worst Christmas-present-buyer ever. I never know what people want, what their tastes are or what size they wear. When I go shoppin, my eyes only see what I want, not that silly stuff that others hope I pick up for them.

And buying for my hubs is the absolute worst. On most occasions, I haven't the faintest what he might want. Other times, he'll tell me but it's usually something so dude-esque that I can't stand getting it. An LED flashlight? A radar detector? A camping stove? Booooring.

The Mother's of the 'Mallow: Sugar, Corn Syrup, Powdered Sugar, Gelatin and other stuff

Well, not this year. This year, I lucked out. Hubs walked right up to me and announced:
"I know what I want for Christmas."

I braced myself. Thoughts of a radar detector that can morph into a camping stove and shoot a Bat Man signal into the sky with it's 50 LED lights in case of a roadside emergency popped into my head.

"Um, okay. What?"

"I want to try every different kind of marshmallow there is so I can find the ultimate marshmallow."

Put all other Mothers into a pot and get it hot.

Let me just start by saying that there are some mysteries in life that shall forever remain unanswered:

How does the filling get inside my jelly donut?
Why do round pizzas taste better than square?
Will my head really explode if I eat pop rocks while drinking coke or will it just give me a mean case of tourette's?
And lastly, and probably the most mysterious, how is a marshmallow born?

Recipe said: Place under a Stand Mixer for 15 minutes. I own no such thing. So I had to Stand with the Mixer for 15 minutes. Until I got all Einstein and rigged it up.

While doing a little homework to find "every different kind of marshmallow there is", I found several recipes. I was surprised to find that they sounded relatively easy to make.

I say this as the person who managed to make this blob out of a boxed cookie recipe. When I mentioned the recipes to hubs, he said "so you're going to make some?" ... Um. Sure. I guess. Oh boy.

Pan of marsh left to cool for 8 hours. Flipped outta pan and cut with a pizza cutter.

So, I hit the grocery for the items the recipe called for that weren't already in my cupboard. Oh, who am I kidding, I don't have anything in my cupboard! Except some art supplies. And a hairbrush. Oh, and a pack of gum from the previous owners. Seriously, I did have to invest in a candy thermometer and a pizza cutter. As well as 3 different kinds of sugar.

'Mallows cut and rolled around in powdered sugar.

The verdict: They were pretty awesome, if I do say so. Soft and pillowy, sweet and melty in a hot cup of chocolate. As for all of the "different kinds of marshmallows", I have accumulated quite the stash for Mitch's present. Results of that taste off will be forthcoming.

Marshmallow heaven!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sweet Stuff

Scarf I knitted for a special little girl at school. It was started on Monday and put off until Thursday night. I've got the neck and shoulder cramp to prove it.

Do you remember in elementary school when kids would pass notes to each other? You know, "Do you like me? Circle YES or NO". We also used said notes to determine: "Do you think [Lil Miss Butt-Kisser] is nice?" Or there was the other, more desirable trait: "Do you think [Lil Miss Thinks She's Somethin' Special] is Pretty?" It's funny, now that I think about it, you were either one or the other...but never both. Guess the logic was that if you were pretty, you didn't have to be nice!

It goes without saying that I didn't fall into either category. When you look like this, you fly pretty low under the radar. Instead, you spend your time wearing your safety goggles trying to contact aliens on your Simon until your hair is fried.

But if I had one wish, I woulda wanted to fall into the nice realm. I still do. Those of you that know me well can take a second to retrieve the eyeballs that popped outta your head. But it's true. When my personality doesn't get in the way, I try to be nice-ish.

Which is why I knitted this scarf. I drew the name of a little girl at my school and was asked to give her something pink and under $10. I didn't want to invest in more "Made in China" junk, so decided to make something for her myself. The yarn is so yummy and soft (and probably made in China, now that I think about it!) that I immediately loved it. The intent was for the entire scarf to be the verigated white with thin stripes of pink but when I ran low on the white, I switched the pattern. So the other half of the scarf is pink with thin white stripes. I'm hoping she likes it.
Speaking of nice, my awesome art teacher friend Kelly made this book for me. We have an annual art teacher Christmas party and draw names. I was the fortunate recipient of this adorable hand-made book. Made with vintage fabric! And vintage buttons! Sweet! Kelly's in the biz of making and selling these adorable books.

Oh! And then there's this little blurb that was in the VIP Magazine. Look, it's my name. In print. With an explanation! mark! after it! Now that's really sweet. Thank you Nashville Clothing Company for continuing to rock.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Help Yourself

I am the (not-so-proud) owner of a plethora of self-help books. How to Win Friends and Influence People (I have the book AND the tape. My popularity rating has yet to skyrocket). How to Tame Your Tongue and Stop Gossiping (Life without gossip is like a twinkie without the filling. Empty and tasteless.) Don't Sweat the Small Stuff (but go ahead and wig out over the Big Stuff...?) And, of course, the classic: Chicken Soup for the Friendless, Gossipy, Sweaty Soul. While a majority of these books were Christmas presents (um, thanks...?), I do have a penchant for buying said books. That's buying. Not necessarily reading.

Well, I take that back. I often start one of these gems, get distracted by a much more enticing fictional book with a shiny cover and smaller words, and drop the self help book like something small that I sweated. But not this time. This time, I am bound like a book and as determined as a gopher with a machine gun (scroll down) to finish my new book of self-helperness. It's all about changing your mood by changing your thoughts. So, the other morning, I began trying it out.

When I walked outside the other chilly morning, I knew it would take several minutes for my car to defrost. Usually, the wait makes me anxious and annoyed. This time, I decided to start up the car and make the most of my outdoor time. I shot some frosty photos. Picked up some sticks in the yard...and noticed some little things. Like how the branches had patterns that reminded me of the frost in the photos which inspired these Stick Flakes.

Yeah, yeah, I know, they look a little too much like these things (It's Beginning to Look a lot like a Blair Witch Project, Everywhere You Go...), but it elevated my mood nonetheless. Hopefully, I'll see this book through to the end.

On a different note, have you ever sampled a fart? Yes, you heard me correctly: A Fart. And, how would you describe the taste? Bitter, perhaps...?

Apparently, the Germans would too...and the sampling of such is an Art of some sort. I was packaging up this chocolate for a friend and almost fell out when reading the label. It reminded me of hearing the German language whilst in Germany. I swore I heard "ClaudiaSugarBungalow" and "NutsPumpin" and "BagelGopher". When I got home, I googled all of these words and only managed to come up with the Gun-Totin'-Gopher. Does he use bagels as target practice? If he runs out, I may have a coupla self-help books he can use.