Sunday, January 27, 2013

Long time, no post.


It has been a little while since I've posted anything, and it must seem like I've really fallen off the map, especially since I have this goal to post every workday this year.


Just look at my cute puppy dog. You can't see that face and make accusations, can you?

Now, I don't want to seem like I'm blaming Luna for not posting. We adopted her from the Humane Society over a month ago, so that's not it. Mainly I was just super tired and occupied.

I may not be able to post much in the near future, as I am having issues with my computer's charger.

Still, you can't look at her face and be sad.


Just look at her big brown eyes. All is forgiven, right?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cocktail Wednesdays: Antrim Cocktail

Antrim Cocktail

This week's cocktail used the last of a bottle of port that we very much enjoyed.  We drank the rest of it paired with stilton cheese.  This particular port has a lovely nuttiness to it.  Just enough was left for us to try a cocktail using it. The Antrim cocktail was created by "Monk" Antrim in Manila around 1925 and appears in The Gentleman's Companion, vol. 2, by Charles Baker, Jr. (1939).

Antrim Cocktail

1 oz Cognac
1 oz Port
1/2 tsp Sugar

Shake with lots of cracked ice and serve in a rocks glass.

The verdict: The port is the primary element, but it is lightened by the cognac, and of course by being served over ice.  Surprisingly, the drink does not seem particularly more sweet than port alone, so the sugar is definitely a good addition. An enjoyable drink.
Today, the time I expected to spend being productive was spent curled up on the couch trying to feel better, so there's no real update to give.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


So I had this idea that I was going to be super productive this weekend and get a lot of things done. You ever have one of those weekends? As you might have guessed, I barely worked on anything and managed to mess up the things I did do.  This weekend felt like a big failure.

Saturday, we tried to make mozzarella, but only managed to make something similar to ricotta.  Now, I've made mozzarella before, with my mom. It turned out great, and it was easy. We used the same kit and everything. Maybe the pot we used isn't stainless steel.  Maybe I should have used bottled water rather than deciding that tap would do fine when the recipe said chlorine free.  I don't know.

Sunday, after a meeting with some folks to help plan a dance workshop, I stopped by the super nice fabric store, where they were having a sale. I found some gorgeous stuff, but I had no idea how many yards were needed for any of the projects I wanted to make.  Therefor, I spent hours digging through pattern books and trying to settle on similar items to use to guess the yardage.  What a waste of time.  I only walked out of there with a yard of remnant fabric, for which I now need to figure out what shirt pattern to use, so that I can make something with it right away and not violate my plan.

Today, well, it was a bit better, but I still didn't manage to get my planned stuff done. I couldn't find the supplies I needed.  Instead I cleared off my desk, which was something of an undertaking, as I hadn't dealt with it in a couple of months.  That means progress on the office, rather than progress on the basement, which is what I am trying to concentrate on at the moment.  Ahh, well, I'll have to share pictures tomorrow.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Planning Dance Class

Signs of a problem: you spread you books all around you, look at them and say, "I don't have the dance book I really need..."

Cocktail Wednesdays: Attilio


The other day,  at one of our favorite local Italian restaurants, Scott tried a drink special they called Attilio, a combination of cognac and Drambuie. He is a big fan of the Rusty Nail, which is equal parts scotch and Drambuie, which led him to pick this particular drink. He enjoyed it quite a lot, and was determined to look it up and mix it again a few days later. This is when we found that Attilio appears not to be the name of a standard cocktail, but was probably selected by the restaurant. It appears that the drink without ice but with the same proportions we finally settled on may be known as a Drambuie Snifter.

Saint Attilio was one of the legendary martyrs of the Theban Legion, and is venerated in the area of Trino Vercellese, in Piedmont, north-west Italy. Additionally, Attilio di Fabrizzio is a renowned Italian chef. Either of these may have been the inspiration for this drink's name.


2 oz Cognac
1 oz Drambuie

Stir over ice in a rocks glass. and serve.

The verdict: As I already indicated, this is one that we enjoyed. Scott even said that he likes it better than a Rusty Nail. At just 1/3 Drambuie, its intense flavor is tempered. It's an unusual alcohol, with an herbal flavor, recalling some types of bitters, but also including honey and quite a bit of sweetness.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Basement bar Progress

Today's progress on the house was rehanging the cabinet doors in the basement after painting some interior edges, and adding cabinet pulls. It looks much more finished now, but we're not quite done yet.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Scarf nearly complete

I finished the knitting on this scarf today. Now all I have to do is Kitchener the end where I used a provisional cast on.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Goals for 2013: Consistency

Given how many goals I failed to meet last year, I think I need to reassess how I am making them.  First of all, I think that I need to make the list shorter, to keep it from being overwhelming. I just wasn't starting small enough.  Secondly, I need to make each resolution about the concrete actions I will take toward achieving my desired outcome rather than the finished goal I will accomplish. Also, I will apply the idea that doing something every day is easier than doing something every once in a while.

The idea is for this year's theme to be "Consistency".

So, here goes:

1. Do something toward my masters degree application every workday.

2. Post every workday, even if it's a small post. Also, this means being more timely in my cocktail posts, and providing more content on other topics.

3. Exercise every day, even if it's only walking the dog.

4. Make something every day.  That could be knitting, sewing, jewelry, bread, etc. The item made does not need to be finished to count.

5. Do something to beautify my home every day. That could mean home improvement projects I mean to tackle, yard work, or just cleaning up.

6. Make a meal plan, and only buy the items on the plan.

7. Don't buy anything I won't use immediately. That is to say, don't buy for stash.

8. In conjunction with #7, use the stash before buying. On the whole, in the last few years, I've done quite well with these two goals, and I want to continue with them, but I could do better at using up the stash.

9. If it takes less than 5 minutes to do, don't procrastinate about it.

10. Treat internet & game time as rewards - not to be done unless earned by crossing something off of the to-do list.

11. Review these goals at least every month, preferably more frequently. Post about achievements made by following these actions.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Years Goals: 2012 Recap

Here we are at a new year, and of course that has me wanting to put my goals in writing and recommit/commit to them. It also makes me want to take a look back at the year and see how I did at accomplishing my goals.

When I look back at my goals for 2012, I find myself looking at things that I was considering as resolutions for 2013, not realizing that I was supposed to be implementing them all year! This really comes down to me failing to review and recommit to my goals frequently. I also feel that the list was far too long. Although individual items may have seemed small and manageable, they just piled up to an overwhelmingly long litany. I believe that was more of a hinderance than a help.

So how did I do?

General Goals:

Work toward getting a job or going back to school every single workday. I did that sometimes, but only really got consistant when a friend became my accountability partner and asked me what I had done each day. And thanks to that effort, I did get a job.

Post at least three topics a week. This is one goal I had totally forgotten that I had made.

Focus on doing things myself rather than watching and reading about what others are doing. I did better at this at the beginning of the year.

Exercise at least three days a week. Not lately!

Finish unfinished projects. Success on the knitting front, at least. Not with much else, though.

No new hobbies. Pretty good on that front.

Use my craft supply stash. Little bought, but little used other than yarn and fibre.

Make either bread or cakes at least every other week. Did I really resolve to do this that frequently?

Continue to decrease my consumption of processed food. Better maybe, good, no.

Continue to buy organic, free range meats and eggs. Ok, but not ideal when it comes to meat.

Continue to eat local in-season vegetables. Pretty good.

Continue to choose local options for cheese, wine, beer, etc. Pretty good.

Canning & freeze all garden produce not eaten immediately. So-so. I definitely missed canning some things I could have used. Still, I did put up a lot of tomato sauce and green tomato chutney - I ran out of jars trying to can salsa.

Declutter something every workday. Really, this was a goal I had made?

I've already posted my fiber goals on Ravelry. They are as follows:

Finish at least 12 projects. I only finished nine projects. I let myself get stuck on the frustration of the Cadence socks and didn't finish a thing for months.

Finish everything I already had a plan for before the start of 2012. Still working on one of those projects, and two are in the queue.

Use up all of the remaining commercial yarn in my stash. One sweater's worth to go.

Spin one colorway per month, until I run out of small batches, then at least 4 oz per month. Stopped at the end of the small batches. Have part of a large batch spun up.

Cold sheep yarn until I run out of commercial yarn. Success! Finally, something on the list I did well at. I bought no yarn this year.

Cold sheep fiber all year. Success!

Knit at least three items using handspun. I didn't finish a single thing using handspun, although I am knitting with it now.

Minimize pattern & book purchases. Success! I bought very few patterns, if any.

Knit every day. Sometimes I did fairly well with this, other times, not so much. I find it much easier to do now, as I knit during my lunch break at work.

Spin at least once a week. Decent in the beginning of the year, but total drop off in April or May.

Post my goals every month, with concrete plans for each month. I forgot about this especially when it comes to non-Ravelry goals.

Use fabric stash - at least one sewn item per month. Fail. Very few sewn items.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Cocktail Wednesdays: Black Feather

Black Feather

Black Feather
2 oz Brandy
1 oz Dry vermouth
1/2 oz Orange Liquor
1 ds Bitters, Angostura

Stir over ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a lemon peel.

The verdict: Scott and I both liked the Black Feather. I found it surprising how forward the orange liquor was, given the proportions. Scott felt that it had some parallels to a Rusty Nail in that it is a mellowed out version of the Grand Marnier we used, mixed with cognac, which is the base spirit of Grand Marnier in the same way that scotch is the base spirit used to make Drambuie, and the blend of the two makes a rusty nail. Personally, I note the dry vermouth as well, and I am definitely enjoying the Dolin French dry vermouth Scott picked up the last time we went to Eastern Market. Trying different things with this vermouth is one of the main reasons I selected this drink. The Angostura definitely contributes a spiciness as well. I find it interesting how similar this drink is to the Metrolpole in ingredients, and yet how different it tastes; much more orangey and spicy, less floral, but also less dry. No lemon peel garnish because I simply had no lemons.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Eve Cocktail: St. Germain Cocktail

St. Germain Champagne Cocktail

Happy New Year! I snapped a photo with my iPhone of the cocktail we brought to our friend's New Year's Eve party, The St. Germain Cocktail. We chose it because it is a cocktail involving champagne, and partially because when we bought the St. Germain, the lovely people at the liquor store that we chatted with sent us home with a complimentary St. Germain pitcher as well. This pitcher has graduations for the proportions and ingredients for the cocktail marked on the side.

St. Germain Cocktail:

2 parts Champagne
2 parts Club Soda
1.5 parts Elderflower Liquor (St. Germain)

Stir and serve chilled.

The recipe I found later shows the cocktail in a highball over ice and states to garnish with a lemon twist, though this is not how we tried it. We also made it with a brut cava, which is Spanish sparkling wine, rather than true champagne.

The verdict: As you might imagine, the St. Germain added a floral note to the base sparkling wine favor. We both really liked it, as did all of our friends who tried it. I was surprised by the variety of people who said that they actually preferred it to champagne - from people who usually drink whiskey to people who prefer fruity drinks. I thought it might be too floral for some of the guys, but they all liked it.

Cocktail Wednesdays: Metropole


The next drink we tried was the Metropole, named for another New York hotel. This one was just off Times Square - before it went bankrupt in 1912 - and it had an unusual all night license, with gamblers, actors (of a certain type), and all sorts of late night seedy characters.


1.5 oz Cognac
1.5 Dry Vermouth
1 ds Orange Bitters
2 ds Peychaud's Bitters

Stir the cognac, vermouth, and bitters with ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

The verdict: In the Metropole, I find the dry vermouth to be a large nod to the Martini, and the Peychaud's and cognac a nod to the Sazerac. I feel that it is somewhere between a Martini and a Manhattan in flavor. A thumbs up from both of us.