Saturday, May 29, 2010

Girl and Snake on Glass

I found this photograph printed onto a glass plate (not sure exactly what that process is called) at an estate sale today. It's about 4" x 3".


It will be tricky to display because it needs to be backlit in order to clearly see the image (I photographed it here resting against a white piece of paper and a window pane with daylight on the other side).

Monday, May 24, 2010

Over the Weekend

Zoë loved the beach.

Weird, palatial beach houses.

Fresh Prince...

...of Galveston Island?

Geodesic domes.

Hurricane damage.

And then there were grand, historic homes—an area of Galveston I would have missed completely had a friend not recently clued me in to its existence.

On the way back to Houston, the chemical plants and refineries of Texas City loomed in the distance like some creepy dystopian city.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Homemade Homemade-Peanut-Butter Cookies

Behold—peanut butter cookies from homemade peanut butter!

In my peanut butter cookie recipe Google-ings, just prior to making these, I kept coming across mentions of the Fannie Farmer peanut butter cookie recipe, so that's the one I went with (or, tried to, anyway--the recipe's lack of specifics plus the mispelling of "Fannie" did have me questioning its authenticity, but no matter, cause the cookies turned out really well). I was very nearly deterred from making them when I discovered the peanut butter jar was almost empty, but I did happen to have plenty of dry roasted peanuts on hand and realized I could probably just make my own PB in the food processor. So that's what I did and it was super easy. I did need to add a tiny bit of oil (I used coconut, melted) to keep things moving as it was grinding, but aside from that I just dumped in the peanuts, pressed the button, and, voila! Peanut butter!

Not perfectly smooth, but that was okay with me and the texture worked fine in the cookies. I should mention that the peanuts I used were labeled as "salted," however they were only very lightly salted. I think next time I will try using unsalted peanuts and then figuring out a measurement of extra salt to add in, just for the sake of exacting the recipe. Aside from using homemade peanut butter, here are the other changes I made: 1) Subbing both the white and brown sugars for sucanat (which I ground in a coffee grinder to get it nice and fine, and which I am now back to calling sucanat after realizing that the term "evaporated cane juice" can actually apply to almost-white—like,off-white—sugar). 2) Forgetting Leaving out the vanilla (which I will add next time). 3) Subbing regular white flour for white whole wheat flour. Also, I doubled the recipe, so now I have like fifty cookies. Yay! This recipe is definitely a keeper. One more note about it: I found the batter to be far too sticky for fork marks, so I skipped that part.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mermaid Pocket (Toddler Dress #2)

This took me forever to make, whew. I am one slow seamstress. But I'm improving (I think/hope). There are a few imperfections (crooked pocket, strap ends that don't quite match), but overall I am very happy with how this turned out. I used the same pattern as before but used two different fabrics instead of just one, changed the straps for ones that buttoned, and added a pocket.

I'm really loving this fabric combination. The yellow is cut from a giant linen tablecloth I got last year at a yard sale for next to nothing, and the other is from Heather Ross's Mendocino collection (which I finally bought some of upon noticing that it was way marked down now that she has a newer collection out).

I also have a third dress that's just awaiting some final details, and a fourth one cut and ready to be sewn together--I'm kind of hooked on making these dresses right now!

Friday, May 14, 2010

First Sewn Dress (for Zoë)

I just noticed the fabric I chose is very similar to the one pictured with the pattern.

The straps are designed to be worn as they appear in the photo below.

But as I was making the dress it was turning out to be too big up top, so I adjusted the pattern for a better fit around the chest but neglected to change the placement of the straps, so they wound up too far out to the sides, and thus fall off the shoulders if worn as intended. (Yes, those are hands full of mud—thank goodness for OxyClean!)

So first I hid the back straps inside the dress and tied the front ones halter-style.

Then I realized I could use all four straps and just cross them in back, which I like better.

Really they should be re-sewn because they are a little goofy, but I don't think I'll go back and make any changes to this dress at this point. Using this pattern as a guide, I've already started on two others that incorporate more changes than just the strap placement.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bowl of Baby's Hair Not Gross to Mom

No more wild hair. I kind of miss it. Normally there is something kind of gross about a bowl of hair, but this time is an exception (for me). I don't even want to get rid of it. I'll save a tendril or two at the least.

Here's the new shorter do.

Looks like this blog is just going to be all about Zoë!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Homemade Deodorant—At Last!

I've wanted to try making my own deodorant for awhile now, but it just recently jumped up to the top of my to-do list after I heard that what I had been using for years, Thai crystal deodorant, might actually contain aluminum. My research into this was inconclusive, and left me with an uncomfortable amount of doubt. And right about that time is when I came across a perfect (I hope) homemade deodorant recipe.

I was originally planning on using this recipe here, but then Molly pointed me to this one the other day, which was decidedly simpler (for me, anyway, because the only ingredient I had to buy was arrowroot powder—everything else I already had on hand). I heated the coconut oil to make for easier mixing and made two separate batches—one for myself with rose essential oil, and one for Enrique with bergamot and a few drops of tea tree essential oil. It firmed up quite a bit overnight, and I definitely had to dig into the surface a bit with my fingers to get some of the deodorant out. But then it easily smoothed out and went on clear as I rubbed it on my underarms. Personally I don't really mind this fingers-in-the-pot method, but Angry Chicken does go over some other options in her most recent deodorant post here. As far as performance, so far, so good, but it's really too early to tell, so I'll update this post with my final conclusions once I have them.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Buried Treasure

There's this spot on the greenbelt here in Austin where you can find buried glass bottles. I'd been once before, sometime in high school, and just went back again the other day.

Most of these are from the first time I went, which resulted in a much larger yield. I think I probably spent more time on the first trip, but also I'm sure the area has been further looted countless times in the past ten years. We still turned up plenty, though, without too much effort.

I guess it used to be a trash dump site but now it's just an anonymous patch of the greenbelt, set apart only by all the broken glass pieces littering the ground's surface. The uneven terrain and uncleared growth made it pretty awkward digging around, but it was so fun. Each good find renewed the desire to dig more, and made it easy to ignore itching mosquito bites and stinging scratches.

I'd like to clean the bottles better but am not sure how (soaking in Coca-Cola comes to mind as a possibility, following recent discussions about it's very corrosive effects). And then to find good uses for them all. This tiny one I glued a magnet to the back of and made it a fridge door vase. The first couple tries the glue didn't hold, but this time is successful so far.

Update: Another photo: