Friday, December 30, 2011

A Tale of Sourdough

Hello! Before I went to Las Vegas for our Christmas family trip, I used this book to try out a sourdough starter recipe. I coddled this starter for several (eight!!!!) days, following the directions as best I could. The starter bubbled and smelled very sour - I was hopeful!

Finally the day came to make the dough. The directions said to take it out of the refrigerator (where it was in a "firm dough" stage), break it up into six pieces (no more or less :)  ) and mix it up with the dough ingredients.


After a rise, a rest in the garage overnight and another rise the next day, they looked like the above picture.


And then I baked them. They looked beautiful!


I only cut myself three times with the bread knife as it slipped over the hard crust. It looked pretty in the middle. Rather heavy, like it didn't really rise that much. And, bummer, not really sour! :(

Still, it made a wonderful soup bowl. And I'll just have to try, try again...


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Desk


Really? It's been more than two weeks?

It feels like a hundred years since I've had any time to myself. I don't mean that I haven't had alone-time; I've just not had any days without commitments - family in hospitals, family dying (Brian's grandpa - very expected), funerals, finals, grading, last-minute Etsy orders, lots of visits to the post office, making presents for family members, work potlucks (being at three different branches means three potlucks to participate in) and family vacation.



This year, Brian and I took the kids to Las Vegas for Christmas. Instead of presents, we do family trips or outings. We only have the kids for every other weekend and there is never enough time to play with their presents so we decided to start giving memories instead of things. Two years ago we did Disneyland. Last year, we went ice-skating with hot chocolate afterwards. This year we went to Vegas to watch the Condors lose to the Wranglers. It was FUN! The Vegas crowd is so different from the Bakersfield crowd. Ours is funner. Theirs is funnier.

While in Vegas, I got to see the Bodies and the Titanic exhibitions at the Luxor. WOO HOO! I spent nearly all of Saturday after the exhibits babysitting Kiff who got the stomach flu. I thought it would be fun in the hotel room all by myself, but - well, Las Vegas smells bad. I was pretty bothered by the cigarette smoke that was EVERYWHERE and in everything. Bleh.

Tomorrow night we have Brian's family Christmas and I have to make a million cookies for Brian's dad, whose name I drew this year. He's the kind of guy that you can't buy anything for because he already has it. In fact, he has a nicer one than you knew existed. He likes my chocolate chip cookies, so I'm making him a ton to keep in his freezer. Money cannot buy my cookies because there aren't any like them in the stores. ha ha.

Because we've been so busy with everything, we forgot to buy a tree. My house is a bit forlorn-looking. I think that I need to put up twinkle lights. That will make it feel Christmas-y in my house.

Here's hoping you are all well this season!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Kusudama Flower Ball


I learned how to make these flowers after seeing the eight billion tutorials (here's the BEST one) put out last year but was reminded about them when I saw a fellow Etsian featured in People magazine for her kusudama flower ornaments. Part of me hates when something becomes popular because I worry the value of the object lessens. Here is a lesson for me: do what you find beautiful. Again and again, if you want.

Here's how my desk looks after working this weekend. I don't even have the finished products on it!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

December Pine Tree Folded Book Pattern

My favorite thing about this month's free pattern is its versatility. Pine trees are appropriate for so many themes and times of the year. If you want, apply star charms to the tops of these trees for Christmas decorations! Ink the top part of the tree green and the trunks brown. Leave it naked for a subtle look. (That's me... subtle.)

Click on the below image to make it big and print out the pattern for yourself! I'd love to hear from people who've tried it and see their results!