A pumpkin for Tina

I found out yesterday morning that today is Tina’s birthday. Jamie wanted to make her the little brownie-cake thing like we had  made Robert for his birthday and I offered to make little pumpkin as well. I set to work on the brownie and, well, it didn’t turn out as great as I had hoped. For some reason the recipe called for more sugar than it needed, so the brownies themselves kind of broke apart while I was pulling them out of the tins. Then, in my attempt to fix it, I made this horrible mess of fondant-like peanut butter and partially carmelized peanut butter icing that turned out like peanut butter flavored Pixi Stix (now there’s a disturbing image)

I ran out of butter and powdered sugar (damn). After everything was said and done, we ended up cheating and getting a box mix, which turned out much better than my previous attempt.

I made a little Halloweeny pumpkin (with a face this time! splee) for Tina and Jamie took the brownie cake to work and texted me a little while ago to let me know that Tina enjoyed the brownie-cake and really liked the little pumpkin.

They’re pretty fun to make. I brought up the idea of making a little Frankenstein Monster and Jamie liked the idea. I may try to make a couple more with faces, just to see different things to do with them.

I’m finally working on book reviews. I’m a bit amused that the book reviews are a lot like my film reviews. If it really irks me, I just write a lot about it. I ended up writing a large bit on a book I found I really do not like at all. But I still have no idea how I’m going to write a comprehensive review for “Creepers” besides “dude this is so awesome!” (and yes, the photo with the pumpkin does show a bit of my RL Stine collection. They’re fun books)

So I made a skull

I was discussing different ideas with Jamie about what I could do with a mini-bag and realized: I should do a skull! It would be fun (and we love Halloween). After losing my knitting needle thing, I found my backup in the basement and Jamie found the first one in the couch (along with a cell phone case, a purple monkey dog toy, and a sock)

So I made this little guy yesterday while watching/listening to “Silence in the Library” and “Forest of the Dead” (Yay for Doctor Who on Netflix).  Of course, being the person I am, I had to make the eyes different sizes. I texted the photo to Jamie to see if I should add a mouth and he said no. It looks cute as it is, so maybe the next one I’ll add a little mouth to it.

Maybe I can make these little guys into decorations, or offer to make some for my friend’s shop as they are attempting to figure out just what exactly to do for their shop’s first Halloween. Maybe I could make a little Frankenstein Monster. Then I would have a pumpkin, a skull, and a little green monster. It’d be fun.

 
We headed to the shelter yesterday to take photos. I had a list of 10 pets and Jamie went with me. I ended up taking a little over 2000 photos and quite a few turned out really well. I got an email from Kathy, the woman who writes up the list of pets we need to take photos of and other things, asking for me to come by today since for some reason most of the photos didn’t copy onto her computer (and then flashdrive). So I will be heading up there sometime today and trying again with the mass of photos. While I’m up there, I’m going to try to get another few shots of Cowgirl or maybe some video.

We were discussing the possibility of doing some video for the pets and found that it is something the RVSPCA wants to do eventually. And who doesn’t love wiggle butts prancing around on video?

 

And lastly:
We’re going through our collection of books and pulling out ones we don’t care much for. It’s an interesting process. We’ve pulled out maybe 50 or so, and now we have almost an entire shelf on our giant bookcase empty. We’re probably going to donate them along with some clothes that we pulled out of the closet that we don’t wear. While we’re doing that, I’m pulling a few books off the shelves do double check against my list of reviews.

They’re ones I haven’t finished, but they’re ones that I don’t care much for. So I’d rather write up something like “It’s supposed to be about ____ but I didn’t like ____ so I stopped reading and got rid of it.” Or something to that effect.

A better example would be:
I started reading one book but had to stop because within the first few pages, even my slightly dyslexic brain got pissed off at all of the spelling and grammatical errors. I checked the copyright date and realized that when the book was published, it was during a time of mass horror publishing so the editor probably had too many manuscripts to properly look through it. Or, the editor was probably too overwhelmed and gave up after the first 2 pages (I have done this. I edited a manuscript for a friend and after the first 20 or so pages, I gave up putting footnotes and opinions on it and just highlighted what needed work. It was mainly spelling errors)

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Now to work on a little pumpkin and brownie-cake thing for Tina’s birthday. And dishes.

food fail and other things

So yesterday I decided, I really want to make cinnamon rolls. As I currently have all the ingredients necessary to make them (including various flours because I’m weird and I like to try new things) and I am too cheap to grab the store-brand tube of pre-made awesome, I decided to look up a recipe to make them. I also decided to actually go by the directions instead of how I would do it (dry with dry, wet with wet, yeast in wet and let it sit a few minutes before mixing. also putting all of the dry into the wet instead of “adding 1/2 c at a time until *just* pulled together.”) I kneeded, I added extra flour, I rolled, I kneeded, I pre-mixed the gooey center bits (and was thoroughly disturbed by how liquidy it was. it was too much). I yelled, bitched, and threw things.

I rolled the dough and went to go “pinch the seam” (what the fuck is this? how do you “pinch the seam”? what is the point in this? maybe I’m just more used to the bread request of “put the seam on the bottom of the pan!”) and the dough/gooey-inside-mix decided to ooze into a mass of room-temperature goo through my fingers. So I slammed some things around, grabbed my last remaining bread pan (I swear, there are gnomes that steal things in this house) and threw the mix into the pan. I shoved this into the stove and cleaned the kitchen.

Surprisingly, the only mess I made was when I was rolling the dough out and getting the cinnamon/sugar mix everywhere (including getting a nice large glob on Jamie’s lunchbox). Usually when working with flour, I get it on my pants, my shirt, jacket if I’m wearing it, sometimes my hair or face (messiness is half the fun). Sometimes it’s found on the table, the stove, the sink, counter, floor, a dog depending on what’s going on.

The mass of goo baked for about 40 or so minutes (longer than the requested baking time since this was not neatly cut little pinwheels of awesome), I had calmed down enough to pull it out. I’m still highly irritated by this failure (it is pretty rare that I make something and it turns out bad) but damnit, I want to try this.

I have had better luck making my “Cinnamon Twisties” and having it ooze into a mass of crumbly awesome when it messes up. I learned, while trying this out, that the dough did not bake all the way so half of the mix is raw dough. Ew. This was a disappointment. The parts that were cooked that I was able to eat, was pretty bland unless I had a mass of the partially carmelized cinnamon mix with the dough. I told Jamie that I have learned my lesson and will not use that recipe again. Next time, I’ll just make my cinnamon twisties or make waffles. Ooo, waffles (we have a Belgian waffle maker and it is awesome.)

 

I made scarves. Woot. The Sandworm Scarf still needs eyeballs and I just haven’t done it yet. Though, I did find a pillow I might be able to rip apart for the stuffing. The scarves are made two different ways so the darkblue/brightblue scarf looks thicker and more “messy,” while the lightblue/brightblue has a random “shit happens, let’s go with it” and looks thinner.

For whatever reason, my camera has decided to have a slow shutter speed today, so every time I went to take a photo of my black chenile scarf, it went fuzzy and not very good.

Soon I will be able to drop these off at my friend’s shop and see if they will bring any interest. I’m a little excited about that. I am working on a thinner scarf that uses that dark/folksy orange that I used for one of the pumpkins and I’m about to work on another little minibag just to see what happens.

 

And lastly: This past Saturday, 8/27, 16 pets were adopted from the RVSPCA! Woo! Eli, the puppy I was able to photograph last week, was among the adopted. Since there was a notice about these guys, I went and checked to see if any other pets that I had photographed had been adopted and found that both Elantra and Hope had been adopted! Elantra was adopted on 8/26 and Hope was adopted 8/25. This makes me very excited and I can’t wait to do another photo session. Hopefully more pets will be adopted!

little pumpkins

While surfing the web in search of different ways to do designs for scarves, I ran across this little pumpkin pdf. It’s your basic hat design but with a small twist.

Ok, so it’s your basic hat design with the blue Knifty Knitter loom (yes, I cheat, I use a loom. it’s safer that way). So I figured I’d do it and it came out pretty well.

But, I personally feel that it is a Really Bright Orange and black, although awesomely Halloweeny, does not go all that great with it. It probably would if I made a little face on the pumpkin itself, but I have currently misplaced my little blue pastic needle that I need for the little design.

Another thing I did with it was just braided the cincher. It was easier and I think it looks neat. Then, I got the brilliant idea to use my Chunky yarn to do a green top and the more folk-art orange for the pumpkin to make another one.

This one held its shape a lot better than the orange/black pumpkin. I like it. Jamie’s cousin, Tash, pointed out that these should be scented and, strangely enough, that is exactly what I was thinking.

Making these into little potpourri things would be pretty neat (and kinda festive), but it brings up the question of what would be the best way to do it. Jamie pointed out ziploc bag, but that wouldn’t work. I mentioned tissues, but that’s a bit weird (though it does work really well. The air-vent in our living room has these little tissue-bombs taped to the inside of it filled with nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon). Cheesecloth is a bit expensive and, frankly, it’s my cheesecloth and I don’t want to cut it up. Then we realized that if we put in sticks of cinnamon, whole clove and whole allspice, it should work. I have whole allspice and cinnamon sticks, so all I would need is whole clove and that’s not all that expensive.

Overall, they’d be fun to put together and I’m already formulating ideas for other ones. I’m hoping to find my little blue needle soon so I can put faces on the pumpkins. I figure “traditional” triangle eyes and smile would be sufficient (and not everyone is weird like me and does odd designs to their pumpkins). I also want to see if I can do a 1UP mushroom, Bob-omb, or a Goomba in this style. It would be neat.

 

The other night, Jamie ran across dog cinnamon-swirl cookies (made to imitate cinnamon buns), so I decided to make them. They looked fun and I had all the ingredients I needed, save for the cream cheese for the “icing” and that is fine by me because I don’ like cream cheese. Besides, the dogs wouldn’t know any different, nor would they care. It’s a homemade treat!

The recipe states that it makes approximately 15, and surprisingly, I got 15 out of it. The recipe also calls for walnuts and, sorry, but I am not giving the dogs walnuts unless one happens to fall on the floor and Bug vacuums it up.

I accidentally baked these for 17 minutes instead of the 15 that it is called for, so they weren’t “springy” when they came out. They cooled and the dogs loved them.

Last night, after we found that we have to go back to “Fly and Izzy out first, then Bug and Hobbes” routine, we had Bug and Hobbes in the kitchen and Hobbes was all about getting some swirly cookies. Bug was loving the cookies (then again, Bug loves all food and will scarf down anything you give her).

After everyone got one last cookie, I found I only had 1 left. Wow. So, today, I am going to make more swirly cookies, but this time I think I’ll do a double batch instead of just one batch. They don’t spread on the cookie sheet while baking (I was afraid they would), they’re not sticky when you roll out the dough, and they come off super easy from the cookie sheet.

I also have a couple scarves done, but I haven’t taken photos of them. I like how the Chenile one came out (yay for random stock in the discount section of the craft store) and I like how the blue mixes came out. They’ve been fun to do and they look neat without fringe so yay.

Hope

**Edit:: On 8/25/11, Hope was adopted! (I feel a bit silly for not double checking before I posted photos here, but hey, it happens)

This is Hope. She is a 2 month old “Torbie” (Tortise/Tabby mix) and she has some really beautiful markings.

She is a curious, but cautious, kitten but I’m sure someone can help her come out of her shell just a little bit.

Hope was really sweet when we went to do photos (as you can tell, she is on a counter. I didn’t think to move the cleaning supplies) She likes nudging cat toys around and was a really sweet little girl.

If you are interested in seeing her, she is at the RVSPCA in the cat/kitten room. Or call 540-342-6730 to make sure she is still there and waiting for her forever home.

Cowgirl

**Edit! — Cowgirl was adopted on 09/01/11! How awesome is that! I’ll miss seeing her wiggly butt at the shelter, but I am so glad she’s found a home and people to prance around.

 

This is Cowgirl. She is a 2 year, 1 month old pittie girl who loves prancing around.

She’s more interested in getting scritches and being excited by people than she is chasing toys and, like other pitties I know, she loves treats.

While working on getting some nice shots of her, I learned that she likes to nose the camera and she’s more interested in trying to sit on your lap than have her photos taken.

If you’d like to meet her, come down to the RVSPCA and check her out (her kennel is in the Dog Room). If you’ prefer to call before going to see if she is still available, the phone number is: 540-342-6730

Eli

**Edit** As of 08/27/11, Eli was adopted! I’m glad he was able to find a new home along with 15 other pets that were also adopted today. That is so awesome!

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Eli is a 2-month old Boxer/Hound mix puppy. His sister, Ellie, had just been adopted right before we went into the Behavioural Suite with him.

Eli is a very adorable puppy with beautiful colouration. He’s super eager to please, really calm, and a fast learner. By the time that we were done, he was doing “sit” eagerly and acting like he wanted to do more.

He’s all about snuggling and getting scritches. I can see him as being a lovable lap-dog. He likes to chase toys.

If you’re in the Roanoke area and want to see this adorable little boy, head down to the RVSPCA. Or call: 540-342-6730