Sunday, June 23, 2013

#2. Make some macarons.

7535 macarons #1

Hey, technically we're only three days into summer, aren't we?  From my "10 things to do this summer" list, I'm pleased to say, I can cross something off!  That is, #2. Make some macarons.  

I used the recipe at Brave Tart, and read the referenced blog post at eatlivetravelwrite, and made some macarons!  I did not find that they were difficult, I think primarily due to the fact that I've made meringue before.  I made my own "almond meal" by grinding up almonds very finely in the food processor, but otherwise followed the recipe to the letter - including weighing the ingredients!  I didn't end up with the elegant foot that the cookies are supposed to have, they definitely aren't perfect.  However, I do see there are some things that could be done slightly better next time:

~ Next time, look into finding some actual almond meal.  Or if not, investigate blanching, and grinding a little more thoroughly.
~ I would indeed beat the meringue batter just a pinch longer.  If I hadn't been in such a hurry to get to the end product, I would have realized it was not quite ready.
~ It's time to buy some real pastry bags.
~ I would not go round and round with the batter to make the cookies.  On my third sheet, I just started in the middle and blobbed up a bunch of batter, and those are the ones that looked the best.

I filled them with my standard chocolate buttercream recipe, as the Brave Tart had recommended not doing anything fancy with flavors the first time out.  By fall, perhaps I'll have some lavender macarons under my belt.  In the end what matters is that I have a nice picture, right? wink-wink
How are you doing are your summer projects?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

SO true.

7341 comparison

A couple of weeks ago, a friend stopped by and made me realize that the life I have is really wonderful.  But sometimes it is hard to remember, so I'm posting this little note to myself. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

You don't have to tell ME twice!


I'm watching the cats for my neighbors, and they left a note saying to help myself to the flowers, especially the peonies.  Yes please!  I cut every one that was blooming.  Hey, they'll be dead by the time the neighbors return, anyway.  Smells like... mothers and grandmothers, and being loved.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

10 Things This Summer

I made a list of ten things I want to do this summer; reasonable things that are within my control, although perhaps somewhat ambitious.  Should I shoot for 10%?  Nah, I'm shooting for all ten.  At the very least, maybe 7 or 8.  Of course, besides these I'm still working on my garden - though putting that in the list would be cheating.  We all know that's a success, right?  We've eaten herbs out of it so yeah, that's already success.  And I'm working on my "113 in 2013" photo list, which I probably haven't posted about.  Will I get all 113?  I'm working on it, but it can't be done by the end of summer.  Here's my latest find, #52 cobweb.  (I'm not going in order.)

113in2013 #52 cobweb

Anyway, back to my 10 Things This Summer list:

1.  Knit a Christmas gift. 
This might seem like an easy task for me.  It would be, it's just that so many other projects seem so much more urgent.  But that's exactly the opposite of what I want - urgency.  I want to savor the knitting and know there's no rush, and that I have time to do it right, should there be reason to take out any mistakes.  And yes, I do have a project in mind.  No, I can't tell you about it, it's a Christmas present, for goodness sake!

2.  Make some macarons.
The french ones, not the coconut ones.  Why?  I don't know.  Somewhere I saw them, and I just love their little pastel colors and fancy fillings.  If I had almond flour in my pantry, I would be making them tomorrow.  But I don't.  

3.  Paint my basement.
Or even part of the basement.  Because now's the time to enjoy the cool basement, when it's hot outside.  When it's cold outside, no one wants to be in the basement.  And it would be so nice to draw or read down there if it weren't all dark brown paneling.  So now's the time. 

4.  Make shirts with my kids. 
I have a looooong list of project instructions, of all kinds of things I'd like to try and see how I like it, and I just don't make the time.  Everything from sewing a pincushion to building furniture.  And on that list are a couple different t-shirt embellishing projects, and I know my creative kids would love that.  I'd like to say that my list of ten things is to try ten things off that list, but for now, I think a shirt will do. 

5.  Finish a book.
Can't remember the last time I read more than one book in four months.

6.  Knit myself something fabulous in qiviut.
Working for Windy Valley yarns for the past couple of years, I have built up a little bit of a lovely yarn stash with qiviut, and I go to these knitting conventions and have nothing to show for it.  So maybe next time...  

7.  Explore something new in Colorado.
The boys and I are doing a little bit of reading about Colorado, and there are many places we could go without much effort, time or money.  

8.  Hike up to the Hanging Lake.
I dread this because I'm more of the sit-and-weed, sit-and-read, stand-and-stir, sit-and-knit sort of person, but I know it would be so worth it.  I've been there before, without a great camera.  I should definitely do it with a great camera.  

9.  Take some beautiful portraits of my kids.
Apparently I haven't done that in three years, and they are the most gorgeous boys you ever saw.  There definitely should be more pictures of them.  And some of them should be up on my wall.  

10.  Make a quilt for the Cutest Baby in the World.
My sister told me when she was pregnant that she was really looking forward to the quilt I'd make for her baby.  I made a quilt for each of my kids, and each of my brother's kids, and actually, each of my brother-in-law's kids.  But I don't really do quilting so much anymore, so the CBW is going on two years without a quilt.  Time to remedy that... hopefully.

Well, what are you going to do this summer??

So, funny story for you.  The Bruise is bemoaning the chicken stir-fry that I'm making for dinner, and wishing we'd have something besides all this chicken.  "What do you mean?" I ask.  "Like last night's dinner," he says.  Last night's dinner was pork chops on the grill, so I'm a little confused.  I point this out, that it was pork chops.  He looks at me with that, Exactly! sort of face.  So I ask what he would like instead of all this chicken.  He says,  "Chicken enchiladas.  You know, because they don't taste like chicken."  Go figure.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Garden Update - Early June 2013

At the moment, we've got lots of herbs, some flowers, and the beginnings of future fruits and veggies.

I'm very pleased to see that my Red Hobbit is back after a two-year absence.  I wonder if it got mowed over, or perhaps it just needed a break.

IMG_5178My first clematis (Niobe) looks the best it ever has, though it has never filled out like my mother-in-law's.

My peonies look like they'll finally fill a vase this year!
Equally wonderful in food as it is fragrant to brush past, buying a second lemon thyme was a good idea!  

And we have blossoms on several plants.

I'm hoping to squeeze a potato plant in somewhere.  We may also do a second planting of some items that don't seem to have taken / are recommended to plant again / the cat dug up.

I was wondering why nothing was growing in the center of the left-most bed, and then it hit me.  I didn't plant anything there!  One last trip to the local nursery and we have our first ever tomatillo and a roma tomato.  

Yesterday, I made a watermelon salsa (so much better than it sounds!) and used basil and mint from the garden.  Maybe the next time it'll include our home-grown peppers, cucumbers and onions.  I'll let you know!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Saturday Morning

The early bird gets the best pictures, to be sure.
113in2013 #Droplets or dew

On Wednesday, I went to my friend Tammy's house, and was greeted with lots of beautiful lupines that had sprung up since my last visit.  I was reminded of my mother-in-law, who loves lupines.  Tammy said she wouldn't mind my stopping by again with my camera, so I've been looking for lovely light.  Yesterday, the boys and I drove by, but it was too sunny.  This morning, I woke up to cool and cloudy skies, and even though it's Saturday, I knew it was time to get pictures of these lovely little flowers.  

When I got back to my house, I sat outside at my favorite table, and enjoyed toast with homemade peach preserves, and loose leaf tea, which always seems fancier.  The birds are chirping and singing and I've got a handknit sweater to keep out the chill while the clouds burn off.  What's better than this?