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yay, cardinal!

Published July 5, 2013 by lisaolisa

Northern CardinalBeyond giddy to have gotten a peek-a-boo view of a male Cardinalis cardinalis (Northern Cardinal) on the cedar fence two mornings in a row. I haven’t seen one since I moved, and I don’t know how many years it was before that I last did. I don’t know if I’m more unlucky than average, but for the amount of years I lived in their year-round territory, I’ve seen almost none of them. Like, twice before 1980 and not again.

planning out a tattoo

Published July 3, 2013 by lisaolisa

Here are some pictures to go with my words so Matt has an idea of what I’m explaining terribly.

My drawing skills peaked in 5th grade with a pencil horse head on loose leaf that people later didn’t believe I drew, so here is a hodgepodge of web images that, cobbled together, would be close to what I see in my head: a heart with a not-too-curlicue ribbon horizontal across the front, pierced by cupid’s arrow from the top right to the bottom left, and, if I can withstand the additional time, offset by my favorite daylily.

Step 1: Start with a sort of Sailor Jerry heart, like the example that says ‘NAME’, similar to the stand-alone, which has a ribbon that is a little bit too froufrou.

sailor-jerry-flashthCAAUKASG

Step 2:

Make the red more candy apple red and the texture a little less two-dimensional — sort of like the stand-alone. I just don’t want it to be so shaded that it looks like it’s trying too hard to appear three-dimensional, like the UI of OS X first release did.

Step 3:

Use a more contemporary Flash font, with serif and just a little embellishment, like the home page of The Body Shop website does, to spell out ‘SWEETIE’. Here are some bad examples:

23_VTC-Freehand-Tattoo-One-Font-500x305TattooGirl

Step 4:

If I’m still in the chair, which is doubtful, add the little flower details like the example, except instead of pansies, use my favorite flower: Hemerocallis ‘Strawberry ‘Candy’. This example appears true to color on the PC I’m using:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If I were made of stronger stuff, I’d use an Anna’s hummingbird up top and Lonicera ‘Goldflame’ on the bottom. That’s what we have in our garden and they are very special to us.

anna-hummingbird AnnasHummingbirdMale (2) AnnasHummingbirdPH1 FemaleAnnaHummingbird

5899-goldflame-honeysuckle-close-up 5899-goldflame-honeysuckle-extreme-close-up honeysuckle (3) Honeysuckle HoneysuckleGoldFlame

original artwork for you, for free

Published July 2, 2013 by lisaolisa

Astro Boy by Vincent Sarritella

Artist Vincent Serritella has an amazing project going on. Like the artist El Rey, he believes that original works of art shouldn’t be only the purview of the well-heeled.  Serritella is creating 365 days of free art, one piece per day, one lucky recipient per day. Nothing is more affordable than free. He even mails them to you for no charge — domestically, at least.

This is the Astro Boy that I was super lucky to get. The expression suits me perfectly.

It couldn’t be easier to become part of this movement. Just Like him on Facebook and ask nicely if something strikes your fancy. If you like it but miss the chance to have it, give him a word of encouragement and Share with your Friends. I love this so much I couldn’t Share it fast enough.

Thank you, Vincent.

florence reardon’s oatmeal spice cookies

Published July 2, 2013 by lisaolisa

I call these sacred oatmeal spice cookies because they were the only thing I knew that pleased my father besides driving sports cars really fast, flying jets really fast, and drinking beer really fast.

Who’s Flo? Someone my father’s mother knew. His mom used to bake these for him. She also baked really good white bread and was a cold bitch.

Preheat your oven to the most pedestrian of oven temperatures, 350°

Collect these ingredients:

  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 cup shortening or butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar or Splenda from that bag you bought at Costco and never used
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached or bleached white flour, whatever
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped finely  (I usually chop them mediumly)
  • 2 1/2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats, such as Quaker — not cubicle instant or Martha Stewart steel cut
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I usually double this)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (I usually double this)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (not powder — these cookies are F-L-A-T)

Combine them thusly:

  1. Cream shortening and butter until fluffy.
  2. Separately, whisk together eggs, vanilla, spices, and baking soda till mixed.
  3. Beat the egg mixture into the shortening mixture.
  4. Separately (again — you will wash a lot of bowls), sift the flour, and then measure it.
  5. Mix the flour, a little at a time, into the nearly-everything mixture.
  6. Fold in the nuts.
  7. Fold in the oats.
  8. Make a lifestyle choice: bake now or bake later?

If you want to bake now:

  1. Drop the batter by rounded tablespoons onto parchment- or shortening-covered cookie sheets.
  2. Bake for about 8 minutes, then check for doneness.
  3. Remove cookies from the sheet, and cool them on a wire rack. If you leave them on the sheet, they’ll continue to cook. Is this what you want? Sometimes, yes. But if the cookies are the perfect crispiness when you take them out of the oven, you do not want this.

If you want to bake later:

  1. Divide dough in half.
  2. On waxed paper, which is so old school you might not have, but was the only thing we had at the time to wrap our bologna sandwiches for our lunch boxes, shape into two rectangular logs.
  3. Wrap ’em up, secure with tape, and toss in the freezer, laying them flat somehow, like on a Tofurkey box.
  4. Tick tock, tick tock, Clarice. Time goes by and the cookies await. HOW CAN YOU STAND IT? You can freeze until the Apocalypse, but the longer the dough is in the freezer, the more it tastes like freezer.
  5. When you’re ready to bake, disrobe the logs, cut widthwise into quarter-inch chunks, and bake as described previously, for 8 to 10 minutes.

Play with your oven settings till you like the results. If you use a convection setting, babysit at the 8-minute mark; they go from almost done to unpleasantly overdone in a flash.