Baking and cheese making...

In the "learn something new" part of my life, yesterday I learned how to make mozzarella cheese.  Making and baking French bread was also part of the class, but I bake bread pretty often.  This was a quick and easy recipe though.

There were seven of us in the class in the charming little town of New Harmony.  My only disappointment in the day was when I found out that my favorite shopping destination in  New Harmony is now closed on Sundays.  I had been looking forward to shopping there after the cooking class, but it was not to be.
I cannot believe that I made fresh mozzarella!  As soon as I got home, I located the ingredients I need to make more cheese.  Nothing too drastic...citric acid (which I've used before), rennet, and "cheese salt."  Just so I would get free shipping, I added a mascarpone cheese kit.  Who doesn't love mascarpone?  Tiramisu and other wonderful things, here I come!
The class ran longer than I thought it would...10AM-1:30, but I learned lots of stuff.  Always a good thing.
I learned that I would love to have an induction cook top (or maybe just a burner).  What a cool gadget.
Instant heat, instant off.  No residual burner heat.
Right after everyone at home got up from afternoon naps, we had a snack of tomato bruschetta, with fresh basil (from the windowsill), mozzarella, and homemade cheese and bread.  Pretty delicious!  This might become a dangerous habit.


The 100 Day Project


This is day 1 of the 100 day project.  I pulled the bundle for the New Leaves A-Line dress out, and this will be my project.  I commit to working in the for the next 100 days.

One section of the back had been clipped together, and I spent a little time this morning stitching a cluster of “new leaves”.

This is just one of four Alabama Chanin kits I need to start and finish.  I hope this 100 day immersion will spur me on to finish the remaining wardrobe pieces.


Weekend Reading

 It looks like it is going to be another gloomy weekend.  Cold and gloomy.  The only relief is sight is reading...I really should have picked a sunny tropical beach read for myself, and of course there is stil time to do that.  In the meantime, here's what we're reading:

This one is for Vivian to add to her collection of strong female characters.  One of my favorites just came out in a Little Golden Book...Frida Kahlo.  Beautiful colors and a highly condensed and sanitized version of Frida's life.  Definitely a good read though!

Yesterday's mail yielded a couple of things for me...In Her Studio, a magazine that makes one want to have a studio, but it is just more satisfying to look at other people's art spaces.  Looking without doing or having the mess to clean up.    The second item is Julia Cameron's (The Artist's Way author) newest book, The Listening Path.  Other reads for the weekend...a plethora of mystery/thrillers loaded on my Kindle.

Even though for lots of people this is a three-day weekend.  Not for me, because alas, I'm the Saturday Librarian, counting down the hours until I can go home!


The Weekend...

     I cannot remember the last week that I worked five days in a row...full days, mind you!  It was rough.  Really rough.  Cold, darkness, and gloom in addition to the awful antics in Washington DC.  I can't believe we've sunk this low.

     Friday finally arrived, and when I got home the entire fireplace insert/surround had been removed and the bricks were cleaned.  Megan pulled all out and we tried to decide what to put in the big opening since the gas logs are gone (yay!!).  I brought down the Buddha from upstairs, and we filled the space with electric candles, Buddha, a start of a painting (as a background), and bamboo plants.  Different, but very serene.  A good spot to look at and think, or not think.

     Saturday and Sunday flew by, as usual.  I didn't leave the house.  I did watch too much CNN and MSNBC, but finally switched over to Hulu to catch up on soaps, and Sundance for the first episode of the second season of Discovery of Witches.  And then Monday morning arrived...


January 4

 Seems like there are lots of Frida Kahlo "things" out there.  Books, dolls, and now quote cards.  I love all things Frida.  Strong, courageous, witty...too bad Diego was such a dick.

After an another weekend of WTAF "news", it's good to get back to work, and hopefully one day soon I'll actually know what day it is.  One super good thing about work since mid-March is that music can flow...Spotify every day.  It will be missed when we open back up to the public.

Things at home are popping.  Megan is on a home repair/home dec kick.  She has become really good at doing home upgrades.  We got a barn door slide ready to hang between a cold enclosed sunporch and the house...no door was there, and it gets a bit drafty.  I love the look of barn doors, and I'm hoping this takes care of the drafts.  


January 1-2


Here's a New Year's photo of the kitchen windowsill.  Basil growing in water from last summer's crop.  This is kind of my favorite way to "preserve" basil.  So easy, smells great, and looks beautiful!  I just snip stems of basil from the plants growing outside (in summer), and put them in water to root.  If you change out the water every so often, and keep the water topped up in the container, the basil continues to grow...even as you snip cuttings from the tips.  Great to have on hand to add freshness to salads and pizza!

Sure looks gloomy out that window!  I need a day of pure sunshine to brighten things up.  


End of the year, part 2


     "Watercooler" talk today...Bridgerton. I would never knowingly in my ancient age, pick up a paperback romance.  Watching it is entirely a different thing!  Beautiful costumes, music, gardens, etc.  Not to mention the eye-candy of the Duke.  I generally love anything from Shonda Rhimes, and this was just so good!  Eight episodes to watch during a gloomy, cold day.  I mentioned it to my two part time staffers today, one had watched it, the other will be jumping on the bandwagon when she gets home from work.  So nice to have something to talk about that is not political!


     Lots of unfinished "business" for 2020...my Goodreads goal was not met, and won't be, unless I add lots of children's books.  They count, don't they?  I've updated my planner for the year with birthdays, appointments, etc., so that' s ready to go.  This week finds me preparing for one of January's book discussions via Facebook for the library.  It is This Side of Paradise by one of my very favorite authors, F. Scott Fitzgerald.  The book takes place beginning in 1920...think of the 1918 Pandemic, prohibition, smoky jazz clubs...I hope the discussion is lively.

     One more day of work until a two day holiday, then back to work on Saturday (boo).  I still have lots of organizing to accomplish before the stroke of midnight Thursday.  Too much stuff!


End of the year...


      Another year draws to a close...just a few more days of this dumpster fire named 2020.  It hasn't been bad for me personally, but the nation and worldwide suffering is really almost too much to comprehend.  Surely 2021 will be better.

     The work hours have been a little strange the last couple of weeks.  I've been trying to squeeze in vacation hours which must be taken or lost by the end of the year.  It's been unfortunate that my one full time staffer has lots of vacation to use during this time too.  We've been using half days, and the occasional full day, and it has resulted in not working together for the past two weeks.  We're both working today, so it has been "catch-up" time with plenty of conversation.  It was kind of hard to motivate myself to come into work this morning...way too cold out!  I supposed retirement can't come too soon, but I still hope to hold out until the end of  May.  Then I will transition into watching Vivian while school is out.  Here's hoping we can have adventures this summer!

     On the agenda for next week...organizing for the new year.  I would like to start out the year with some semblance of order in my life!


A few of my favorite things...

 Day Designer   

I've been using Day Designer products for four years.  I love the allotted space for each date and the format for the planner.  I was gifted one the first year, and purchased the next two from Target or Staples.  This year I sprung for the original sized planner.  Here's hoping that 2021 will actually have something to plan for, other than retirement at the end of May! 

Peg & Awl Sendak Artists Roll

I've admired this product for a few years.  I finally ordered one this past month and love it.  There's room inside for a variety of pencils, brushes, tools, and papers.  Neat, organized, and ready to go.

Johnny Was Masks

Masks...while I'm tired of wearing them, I do get a kick of finding new and interesting ones.  Johnny Was has several varieties, mostly priced at 5/$25, with free shipping.  They ship quickly, and as a bonus, I'm on the mailing list for catalogs.  Overpriced clothing, but it's interesting.  I'll just stick with the masks.

Alabama Chanin School of Making Kits

I have loved Alabama Chanin clothing since I bought the first AC book in 2007.  This year I've "collected" four key pieces to work on in the above mentioned retirement phase of life.  The wrap top is my latest purchase, now nested alongside the Long Skirt, the Factory Dress, and a partially finished poncho.

Ugg Boots

I have hated Ugg boots for as long as I knew what they were.  I thought they were ugly, clunky, and in-general unattractive.  Since then, and since chemo nearly three years ago, I've suffered from cold feet and general foot pain.  Ugg to the rescue.  They're comfortable, cozy, and yes...still unattractive.  They don't hurt my feet, so that's a plus in my book!

I have lots of favorite things, but this is just a small portion of things that have brought me joy this year.
No affiliations on the links.



Milagro Tree from Sundance Catalog

 Wow...can't believe it is December already!  What a crazy year.  I rarely know what day it is OR what month it is.  I'm trying to burn vacation days...a half day here and there, and those fabulous whole days scattered around the weekend.  When we came back to work in mid-May, there was really no place to go or things to do, so it didn't even occur to me to take a vacation.  Now it is use it or lose it time...we can only carry over 80 hours of vacation into next year.

So...what have I been up to?  Not much.  Still prepping for retirement...in this case purchasing things I want/need before I cut the employment cord.  Lots of painting and art supplies, Alabama Chanin School of Making kits, embroidery projects from Dropcloth designs, punch needle and rug hooking supplies, fabric...lots of fabric.  I have serious intentions to make quilts, something I haven't pursued in years.  

All Christmas presents are purchased and wrapped, so I'm ready for our tiny family holiday.  We Thanksgiving-ed in our little pod.  I'm glad that Megan takes all of this COVID stuff so seriously.  I'd rather isolate now so we can be around in the future.

The house is having a good Christmas so far...new carpeting, another robot vacuum, and regular maintenance upgrades.  The garden has been "put to bed"...just last Saturday...just in time for our first snow of the season yesterday.  I'm hoping for a quiet, productive winter.

Aldi Wine Advent Calendar



Well, we're halfway through week three of being home-bound.  Having sunny skies makes it better, right"

I went "elderly" grocery shopping early yesterday morning, and picked up all that we should need for the next week or so.  Should have gotten more than one four-pack of blueberry muffins, because they seem to be Vivi's favorite.  Maybe next week. I'm always pretty happy to have beverages stocked...Starbucks K-cups, Coke Zero, and tea.  I've accumulated so many kinds of teas this past year...so many that we probably won't need to order/buy any for the next few years.

After the grocery, on the way home I was driving past Lowe's.  It was early, and no one was there in the garden center except for the cashier.  I got an herb planter filled with rosemary, oregano, and thyme.  In addition, I picked up a nice tomato plant and a few packages of seeds.  Early tomorrow morning, I hope to make it out to Rural King (just 2 miles away) and pick up a 6' x 2" x 1" galvanized planter (water trough) to place out on the deck.  It's time to start the garden...and even though there is plenty of space to dig out a garden in the back yard, it's just too much work...and it's too far away from a water source.  I do not want to be carrying buckets of water down the hill.  Lazy?  For sure.It will be nice to have our little trough of crops right outside the sliding doors.  Easy to take care of, and nice to look at.

The Flora Kahlo rose bushes I planted two years ago are finally starting to sprout some leaves.  I swear, they've looked like dead sticks for the past year.  I was considering pulling them out, but I'm so glad that I didn't. 

One full week of my library science class is out of the way.  Seven more to go.  Considering the amount of projects and papers that are required, I'm kind of glad I'm not working.  SO GLAD this is my last class for certification!

Currently reading:
One Little Secret by Cate Holahan
The First Mistake by Sandie Jones
Way too much CNN and MSNBC
General Hospital and Y&R

We're well...hope you are too!

Baking and cheese making...

In the "learn something new" part of my life, yesterday I learned how to make mozzarella cheese.  Making and baking French bread w...