Monday, December 31, 2012

A Turkey-flavored Postscript

Do you know what happens to a toad when it's struck by lightning when you eat insane amounts of turkey for dinner?  I will tell you: by 8:00 you're bumping into walls and giggling at everything because you're SO SO SO SLEEPY.  And then you watch a few Avatar episodes, just to keep yourself awake long enough to eat pie.  And then you laugh some more and then, thank goodness, everyone goes to bed.

But it was so worth it!


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Crafty Christmas

I guess I get crafty around Christmas time because, once again, I got crafty this Christmas.  It was so fun making those Christmas spider ornaments I decided to make ornaments again this year to send to my family.  For whatever reason I immediately settled on making snowmen, without any idea of how to actually do this.  Luckily I found this tutorial, and even though it does not have nearly as many instructions as I like, they turned out so cute and snowman-y.  One thing I learned: sew the buttons on first!  It's so much easier.
This is a partial fleet, as two members were already boxed up.  But you can imagine it.  Can't you???

Then, just because, I decided to make ornaments for my Mama.  These were even easier than the snowmen and I think they look so pretty and wintery.  I kept a few of the uglier ones for us.

I found the instructions here.  I think the model magic stuff gets a better consistency after you've rolled it out and squished it a few times.  I was kind of surprised how light they were once dried...they can look so heavy and pottery-like in pictures.  But this way they will never break, right?  Also I put super glue in the bow because ribbon is slippery, and also because I like to super glue things.

Months and months ago, I had an idea for a present for Drewbles--fish biscuits like the ones on LOST!  I thought maybe you could buy them somewhere, and perhaps one day Harry & David will corner the market on fish biscuits.  But for now, one must make one's own.  Luckily I found these great instructions, and they turned out just right!  Well, aside from me breaking half of the first batch (oops).  Oh, and aside from misreading "quarter" as "half" a bottle food coloring (oops). Here's the process, in pictures:
Also this happened once:

Oh that sneaky Dharha Initiative.  Dharma doesn't even look like a word anymore.

This has nothing to do with Christmas, but I made this today!  
I'm so proud, mostly because it turned out so far beyond any of my expectations.  Can I eat turkey every day?  Or rather, can I eat this turkey every day?  I had a goal for the last two years to roast a chicken--I think this covers it.  And just for reference's sake, I basically adapted this recipe for a turkey (ie, lots more lemons) and followed these instructions (I skipped putting liquid in the pan, and it definitely didn't need any).  Perfecto!

This last Christmas crafty is not mine at all, but something Santa gave me (how did he get hold of it???  It's a Christmas miracle!). Drewbles did the sketch during our weeks in London to document some of the highlights as time went on, and then one of Santa's elves colored it, printed it and framed it for me.  Is it not charming?

It will go perfectly with our London-themed living room decor once we hang it up. Man, I wish I could have that ice cream again.  *sigh*

Well, I think that was enough craftiness for one Christmas.  Of course, this is not including the Christmas baking I decided to do in a weekend instead of over the whole month, like rational people.  Who knows what craftiness is in store for next year!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Looks Like Christmas

This year's tree is named Thorin.  You know, from Les Miserables. 
My partial fleet of snowmen.  More on them later!
Christmas spider!
Every year I have said we should make snowflakes and this year we followed through.
Winter makes for some pretty sunsets.
Yep, looks like Christmas!  Also, can I just say how happy I am that clementines are back?  I love oranges but they take me about an hour to eat because I have to pick off all that nasty white stuff (ALL of it).  But I can eat a clementine in the time it takes a normal person to eat an orange!  Win-win-win.  (The clementine also wins because it gets eaten.)

Happy Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

In Which I Boil Down a Two-Week Vacation into a Single Post

The nice thing about not sharing a blog with the Husband is that he sometimes writes about events in detail, which spares me from having to do the same.  So, if you want all the details about our big trip, check out his blog, where he has recounted the whole thing.  We did a lot of amazing things so I'm glad he got into the nitty gritty of it.  I'm also glad because now I can just whittle the whole trip down to a single top ten list.  It's numerical (duh) but not ordered in importance.  Well, except for #1. 

(I should also say that one of the highlights of any trip, regardless of the destination, is the company you have.  Drewbles is always good company, but it was fun to spend so much time with Elise and Jeff throughout.  Jeff is a pro navigatron and Elise makes awesome sandwiches.  Of course it was nice to see Emily and KC again too, who are excellent hosts with excellent food.)

1)  The Colosseum.  

This building (or the remains thereof) has had a special, large chunk of my heart ever since it almost singlehandedly led to my decision to switch from Illustration to Art History in college.  It's so grand and old and Roman!  
This was a recurring theme of the trip, but it is so strange to see something in person that a) you never thought you would see for yourself and b) you'd only seen in pictures.  In some ways it was hard to even grasp that this was, in fact, the ACTUAL Colosseum.  I am still processing this, but as it is, I loved it and stroked the travertine with much fondness (I tried to find patches that looked less tourist-touched).  
2) Food!

We ate SO much food and it was all so good.  A few of my personal highlights were: the sandwiches Elise made for our trip to NYC.  Yes, they were just meat and cheese (turkey and provolone, if I remember correctly?) on potato bread, but I was so hungry and I will never, ever forget those sandwiches.  

*Ahem*  Aside from those delicious things, the breakfast buffet on the ship was truly magnificent (aside from their dry bagels and low-fat cream cheese--travesties, both). Gelato and pizza in Italy were always winners and the nightly sourdough rolls at dinner were my favorites.  Also, there was a turkey and Swiss panini I got more than once from room service.  Free room service!  That's how life should be.
Chocolate gelato in Florence!  It's amazing Drew got any of this.
Pizza in Pompei!
More gelato in Rome!
 3) The D.C. Museums

Because my trip tunnel vision was focused on the Colosseum, I didn't really stop to think about, you know, the Smithsonian and stuff.  We spent most of our first day in D.C. at various (free!) museums, and I was both amazed and impressed at what we saw.  There were so many artists and paintings that I have loved and never seen myself, like Gilbert Stuart and John Singleton Copley.  Be still, my American art-loving heart. 

The other highlight, which must be mentioned, was seeing the ACTUAL Star-Spangled Banner.  For some reason, I did not expect this flag to be real (???) or to still exist.  And then it was just THERE in its own exhibit and it was just amazing to me.  It was so large, so grand full of holes from Americans wanting souvenirs. 

4) The David

Here's a secret: I have never loved Michelangelo's David.  I always preferred (and still do) Bernini's version.  But I will say that seeing Michelangelo's in person was really quite awe-inspiring.  Awe-inspiring enough to not notice the hordes of people everywhere. 

5) Arts

So many arts!  So many things I have only seen in slides!  I saw some Caravaggio, some Gentileschi, some El Greco, some Velasquez, a copy of Laocoon, some John Singer Sargent, some many beautiful things.  I bought many postcards and a guidebook from almost every museum.

6) The European Coast

Um...need I say more?  (No.)

7) London!

Okay, our time here was short (exTREMEly short on the way over), but it was so delightful and inspiring to be back on English soil, even if it was only Heathrow soil.  I'm happy to say that we loaded up on pretty much every English chocolate and candy we could.  And no, we have not eaten it all yet because I want to keep it forever. 


8) Markets

So many markets!  And so many delicious looking things!  I don't even know what to do with most of the goods available, but I wanted to buy them based on how pretty they were.  Wouldn't it be amazing to have something like this in our neck of the woods?  The closest comparison I can think of is the Bloomington farmers market and sadly, that is not in my neck of the woods anymore.
The Barcelona market
French market

9) Supreezes: Barcelona and Sorrento

Here's another secret: I have never had any interest in Spain.  I have no explanation or reasoning for this, other than that I can only have so many countries in my heart at once and the ones already there aren't budging.  But both of these cities were such pleasant surprises, and were so pretty and interesting and full of interesting things.  Barcelona had the amazing market, and Sorrento had the ocean views and narrow streets you expect from Europe.

10) Seeing-all-those-things-you-never-think-you'll-actually-see-in-your-lifetime.
(Insert like 20 more pictures here...too much work)
Like I said, this was a recurring theme.  I always have trouble registering when I am in a new place after being hundreds of miles away the day before and this happened many days in a row.  So, I am still absorbing the fact that I have, in fact, seen the Duomo, been to Italy, walked through Pompei and dipped my toes in the chilly Mediterranean.  I will probably still be processing this in a year, but I do really enjoy seeing these places on TV thanks to hours of international House Hunters and recognizing them.  I always SAID I would surely go to this country or that one, but I don't think I ever thought I would ACTUALLY go.  And now I have!  Wacky.  I like this life of mine.

(No, this won't be followed up by a list of 10 Lowlights.  But in case you're wondering, it has one item and it's called "Too many airplanes.")